Chapter One:

Joey sat alone on his front porch steps, silently smoking a cigarette and gazing up at the full moon. He had too much on his mind and wished he could walk away from himself, if only for a little while. Summer had seemingly gone by so fast, in the blink of an eye, and he had done nothing special in his time off from school. Just simply sat around the house, sulking. Or if he wasn't home, he had been working, pulling long doubleshifts to keep himself from thinking... His thoughts were slowly driving him mad.

He sighed after taking the last draw of his cigarette and put it out before carelessly tossing it into the yard.

"I knew you'd be sitting out here again tonight."

Joey glanced over to see Seto Kaiba approaching him, out for his usual late night rounds.

Joey nodded at him and lit up another cigarette.

Seto came off as if he had been having the same kind of Summer Joey had been having. Joey would see Seto walking aimlessly around the neighborhood each night, lost in his own little world. It became a routine thing- Joey would sit outside and smoke and Seto would come strolling by.

But they'd never really said much of anything to each other before. This was a first.

"Out for another walk tonight, too?" Joey asked.

Seto nodded and licked his lips.

"Mind if I sit with you?"

"Nah, man. Go 'head."

Seto took a seat next to Joey, sitting on a step above his.

They sat in awkward silence for a moment, both staring up at the midnight sky.

"Why do you always walk the streets at night?" Joey felt compelled to ask.

Seto shrugged.

"Gives me something to do... Time to think..."

"I know that feeling all too well."

"What about you? Why do you always sit outside and smoke this late at night?"

"Same reason, really. Just a lot on my mind."

"Like the breakup?"

Joey cringed. It seemed like everyone knew about how Mai had heartlessly dumped him on his birthday a couple months ago... It was mainly the reason Joey couldn't stand himself. Like... What had he done to her to deserve that big of a fuck you? He'd given Mai his all. Never mistreated her... And yet she'd shown up on his doorstep early that fateful morning in another guy's arms to inform him that that was the end of their one year relationship...

"Sorry. I... I didn't mean to bring that up... I shouldn't have said anything." Seto instantly began to apolojize.

"No... It's okay... Things happen." Joey replied, "Obviously I wasn't good enough to be with her."

Seto shook his head.

"Dude, no one is, according to her. Mai's all about Mai. You know it had nothing to do with you."

"I don't know..."

"You're too hard on yourself."

"...Why did you come up to me tonight, anyway?" Joey asked.

Seto blinked and cleared his throat.

"Um... I just thought maybe you needed someone to talk to... I didn't mean to... Um... I'll leave if you want me to."

Seto got to his feet and started to walk away.

"I didn't mean for that to sound hateful... Actually having someone to talk to would be pretty righteous."

Joey hopped up and followed after Seto.

"So what's been your big deal this Summer?" he asked.

Seto shrugged.

"Just..." he sighed, "I can't stand things at home. Dad expects too much out of me and he won't freakin leave me alone about the company... I just really wish I could be a normal teenager for once."

"Yeah... That would get to me, too."

The two of them started walking around the neighborhood together, rambling on and on about their problems and their worries. Joey was actually relieved that Seto had started talking to him. Talking to Seto made him forget how much he hated himself, if only for tonight. Joey wasn't sure why, but he figured it was the sudden change in the norm. A new, unexpected budding friendship- something he needed.

And it was nice...

Joey had never seen Seto like this, never knew what was going on inside his head. Seto never talked much at school, and now Joey knew why.

"I was always so tired at school. Dad wanted me to stay home and do my studies there, but I couldn't let go of the one thing that made me like everybody else. Someplace where I could pretend I was normal..."

"Wow. I always thought you were just stuck up." Joey replied, "No offense."

"None taken. It's an understandable assumption."

Joey discovered that they were more alike than he would have ever imagined, in so many ways. Although he had only been talking to him for a short while, he considered Seto to be a close friend now.

They talked and talked until the sun began to rise in the distance.

"Wow, I didn't realize we'd been walking for this long." Joey said with a smile.

"I know. We'd better get home. If dad finds out I'm gone he'll kill me!"

"Yeah, we better head back... Maybe we can hang out later today."

Seto frowned and looked down at the ground.

"That would be awesome, but..."

Joey grimaced.

"I understand..."

"I'm sorry... Dad would never let me... I mean, I'd really like to actually hang out with a friend for once! But..."

"Man, it's cool. I completely understand." Joey said, "I should've figured from all you told me about your dad-"

"You know what? Give me your cell number and I'll text you later. I'll talk to my dad about maybe having you over."


They exchanged numbers, hoping everything would work out. It would be nice for Joey to have something to do on his day off.

"Well, I've gotta high tail it outta here. Talk to you later." Seto said.

"Bye." Joey replied, turning to head back towards his house. He turned his head to see Seto hurrying off and smiled.

He was pretty damn cool.