Chapter 1: Prologue
My father was the CEO of the Kimura Company. His wife, Yuko, was a generous woman. She was known and loved by everyone, but there is one thing she hated more than anything, and that was I. I was a child that they detest more than anything. The real reason was that I was the child of a maid that works for my dad. They fell in love in the little time they spend together. When she was five month, she quit her job because of the mistress. But that's hardly the reason why she quit, she wanted me to be happy and not burden with fancy stuff like manners and getting married by an arrange marriage. She wants me to married someone I loved and not by an arrange marriage like everyone else.
My mother was a strong and willful woman. She proved it to me each and everyday even when her heart was breaking apart. She raised me all by herself and never once had she ever shed a tear. She worked both day and night for my sake. I've never once heard her say that she doesn't want me or complain about raising me. She kept her head held high with a smile. She never once faltered or cried, not even when I asked her who my father is. She just smiled and said, "He is a great man who lived through all kinds of hardship and still smile in the end." That was probably the last time I heard her say that.
A few years afterwards, she died of a heart attack. Even when she was dying, she kept her head held high with a smile.
3 years later…
He stood among the many graves on top of the cemetery hills. The wind were hallowing by as they flew passed the gravestones. He pulled his black coat closer as he felt a shiver coming on. He let out a small sighed and slowly smile as the wind sway his golden blond hair. "Hello mom," he softly greeted with a mixed of sadness within his voice, "Today's my 16th birthday. Remember when you first told me that you were sixteen when you met dad? It's funny that I'm actually the same age as you when you met dad," he let out a small laughed and scratch the back of his head, "I missed you mom. I missed your voice and wanted to hold you so badly." He sniffed and smiled again, "Living at the orphanage isn't so bad. There tons of people like me who lost their parents at a young age. I met many who shared the same similar ideals in things and in life. So don't worry about me mom. I'm doing great and since I'm sixteen now, I will be able to take care of myself more, and once I'm 18 I'll move out of the orphanage and get a good job. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself so don't worry about me. I promise to make you proud. You know mom, I really loved and respect the way you lived life. I really do."
"Oh, you're back already Joey?" an old lady asked as soon as Joey came into the kitchen. His coat was already taken off to reveal a white long sleeve shirt and faded jean. His hair was longer once the coat was removed.
"I'm home, grandma," he replied with a soft smile.
"Why didn't you stay longer?"
"I wanted to help you with dinner." he reaches for the pink frilly apron that the old lady owns other than the one that she was using.
"You do know that today is your birthday." Stopping him from tying his apron.
"I know," he replied, continuing to tie his apron.
The old woman shook her head slowly, "No, you work too much. Today is the day you rest. Go on, I'll cook dinner and then I'll send everyone else to bed. You just rest."
"But-" "No but," the old lady said with conviction, leaving no room for arguments. Joey didn't know if he should insist or surrender, but decided to go with the after thought. Taking off his apron, he nodded and headed for the stairs with slight hesitation. He couldn't help but wanting to occupied his mind right now.
He was only up a few steps when the bell rang. "I'll get it!" he called towards the kitchen as he headed for the door. "Thank you!" came the old lady's replied. Joey beamed, at least he was useful, even a little of more like tiny bit. He opens the door, "Hello?"
"Hello," came a replied. Joey looks up at the man in suit. He smiles politely at him, "Is Miss Azuka home?"
"Yes, she's home. Please come in," Joey usher him in. once he was inside, Joey closed the door and led him to the sitting room. He then went to the kitchen and informs Azuka.
"What? I see. Um, Joey, would mind going finish cooking while I talk to our guest? I know I say-" "I'll do it," Joey said softly. Azuka gave him a pat on the shoulder and walk out of the kitchen. He turned back to the dish that Azuka was cooking and added a few spices to flavor it more. He continued to cook until he heard a loud clash outside.
"Grandma!" he called as he dash out into the living room where the sound comes from. He was stunned as soon as he enters the room. A very wet guest was angrily standing up with a few drops of warm tea on him, while a very angry Miss Azuka stood just a few feet away. He noted the broken antique vase by the door.
"What happened in here?" he asked in shocked.
"It's nothing Joey. This man here is just leaving, isn't that right Mr. Yamamoto?" Azuka replied with a death glared towards Mr. Yamamoto.
Mr. Yamamoto huffed angrily and stomped out of the room with his brief case in hands. Joey hadn't remembered him holding it when he was here. But then again He didn't pay much attention to Mr. Yamamoto. Once they heard the front door slam shut, he turns back to Azuka, "Grandma, what happened?"
She let out a tired sighed and sat down on the sofa, "Mr. Yamamoto is here to collect the debt we own his boss. "
"Debt? His boss? Who?"
"Mr. Kimura," she answered with a slight growled. Joey almost fell on his knees from hearing her answered. K-Kimura? F-Father? Joey managed to hold back his tears and turns away. "H-How much did we owned him?" Joey asked, not looking up.
Azuka sighed softly, "Don't you worried about this. You are still too young to be worrying yourself with this adult stuff. You just barely turned 16. I will not burden you with this stuff."
He looks up at her with a pained yet soft expression, "Grandma… Please tell me how much we owe them."
She hesitated, but ended up surrendering to his sad expression, "15 millions."
The blond frown, there's no way he would be able to pay the debt even if he spend the rest of his life doing it. He let out a quiet sighed, "Was it for my school fee and all?"
She hesitated again, but nodded. He walks towards her and got down on his knees, "Grandma…"
"What are you doing?" she asked with a concerned expression full of confusion. Joey shook his head, "Please listen to me until the end," he waited for her to nod before continuing, "Thank You Grandma. Ever since I lost my mother, I had never once say `Thank You' to anybody. To you, I'm truly grateful. I'll quit school."
"Joey!" "It's the only the way," he interrupted her, "I don't want you to keep doing this. I rather quit school and pay off the debt than see you go through this… humiliation."
"Joey," she said softly, "Are you sure you want this? You're only a sophomore in high school, how do you expect to work?"
He smiles and lie his head down on her laps, "I'll think of something. And I'm sure we'll be able to pay off the debts."
She gently stroke through his golden blond hair, "I know. You always kept your words. But remember, you don't have to do this. You can stop anytime you want."
He looks up at her, "I won't quit. I won't quit until I pay off everything we owe them. And even if I wanted to quit, I will keep my head held high with a smile and endured through till the very end… just like you… and mother."
The Next Day: Lunch Time
"What! You're quitting school!" everyone shouted in unison.
The group was sitting in their usual spot under the newly bloom cherry tree. They were about finishing when Joey told them the news.
"It's the only way to help Grandma," the blond replied with a short smile that quickly faded. Everyone was quiet and sad. They understand his decision, but they didn't want Joey to quit school. They wanted to graduate with him.
"Joey? Are you sure?" Yugi, the tri-hair color boy, asked in a soft quiet voice.
"I'm sure," the blond answered with a soft smile once again, leaving no room for anymore questions.
"When are you quitting?" Yami, Yugi's look-a-like but slightly taller, asked in a calm tone.
"In three days. I already fill out every resignation papers, but the principal wanted me to get a chance to say good-bye to everyone."
"I see," Yami quietly mumble to himself. There has got to be a way I can help Joey in this time of crisis. If only I can help him like- That's it! He thought to himself. "Um, I'll see you guys later. I just remember I need to do something," with that, he quickly dash away.
"Where do you think he's going?" Tristan asked.
"To the restroom?" Tea guessed.
"To cry on my part," Duke added.
"Oh, I know! He probably went to-" Bakura was cut off by both Yugi and Ryou with a death glare. He shrugged and wanted to shrink away into nothingness. Joey let out a slight chuckle before turning back to the direction Yami went… wondering where he's going.
All heads shot up as Yami slam the library door open loudly. The librarian glared at him, which cause Yami to flinched a bit. Luckily there wasn't any other student in the library except for him and a very angry looking brunet by the far end table typing away on his laptop. He quickly apologizes to the librarian who finally turned away and headed towards Kaiba. As he approaches, the brunet looks up angrily at him, "What do you want Yami?"
"Hello to you too cousin," Yami greeted back, almost a scowled.
"Just tell what you want and get out of here already," the brunet said icily and turns back to his laptop. He began typing almost instantly.
Yami let out an angry growled, which cause the brunet to look at him annoyingly. "What?" he growled right back.
"I need a favor," Yami quickly and quietly said with almost a demanding tone.
This caused the brunet to raise an eyebrow, "A favor?"
"Yes," Yami answered impatiently, "I need you to help Joey."
The brunet's expression quickly darken with hatred, "What's wrong with the Mutt?"
"You should already know!" Yami almost shouted, making the librarian turned around with a suspicious look on her face. Once she turns away, Yami continued in a quieter tone this time, "Now will you help or not?"
"And why should I help the Mutt?" the brunet asked with an uninterested voice while his face clearly shown hatred.
Yami is starting to really lose his patient with Kaiba, "Because I ask you too. Remembered the time Joey saved Mokuba? You had never once thank him or do anything that shows appreciation. Now, it's your turn to save him."
"Is that all you got to say?" the brunet asked.
He huffed angrily, "Are you going to help Joey or not?"
"Give me another reason why I should help him?"
Yami was k=now glaring at him, "Joey told me to never tell you this, but I guess I had no choice."
"Tell me what?" the brunet asked with a slight interest.
He let out a sighed and sat down across the brunet. He crosses his arms over his chest and crosses his legs as well. "Remember the battle with the big five and Noah?" he began, "Joey was the one who save you when you fell into your own despair. (Sorry! I haven't read those parts, so I'm only putting what I wanted. Hope you like it anyway!) You couldn't even remember your brother or his voice. You didn't respond to anyone, not even him. And yet, you respond to Joey's call. Don't you even remember that?"
Kaiba stiffened as the memories replayed itself inside his mind.
He was caught in the middle of his painful memories of what's going through his life as a child. In the midst of the darkness a light managed to shine through to him. A light figure reaches out to him, "Let's go home… Seto… you don't belong here. You belong with us. Those who cares about you, awaits you."
He remembered taking hold of the hand of the figure, but he had always thought it was his other self. The light side of him that is. And here Yami is saying that the Mutt was the one who saved him?
"Kaiba? Are you listening to me?" Yami asked impatiently.
He snapped out of his thoughts and turns to his annoying cousin, "Fine," he let out a sighed, "I'll save the Mutt, but on one condition."
"What?" he asked with a raise eyebrow.
Kaiba only smirk before turning off his laptop and swiftly left the library and a very confused Yami behind.