Chapter 2: Words of Courage

"What?" the blond asked with a confused look.

"Someone's adopting you, and they willing to pay 17 million for you," Azuka repeated with slight of hesitation.

"17 million for me?" he repeated to himself in disbelief. Who would be willingly to pay that much for him, unless… oh hell no! Yami couldn't have! Oh, the blond is so going to kill him!

"Joey? Are you ok?" He hadn't realized that he was death glaring the floor. He quickly composed himself and manages a fake smile, but likewise, Azuka knew him too well.

"Your smile is not fooling me one bit," she pointed out. The blond shrug and kept his gaze away from her. Her gaze softens once she realizes he was tremblingly, "Joey? Look at me." He hesitated for a short second, but looks up anyway. A soft smile spread across her face, "Look at this opportunity positively. If you do, it's not all that bad. You're not alone anymore. You have a real family now, not a makeup family like this. I want you to be happy, not grieve over these sudden changes. You are still too young to understand and look at this positively, but one day you will understand. I also want you to understand," she paused and looks straight into his honey amber eyes, "I'm not saying these things because this person pays a lot for you, but rather because I want you to be happy. I raise you myself all these lonely years, so I knew better than anyone else when I said you always wanted a family. I remember you used to draw lots of pictures of you and your mother… and your father." A clear crystal tear slide down from her eyes, "I want you to be happy, Joey. You waited all your life for a moment like this, don't let it go to waste."

He continues to stare into her clear dark brown eyes. His heart sank lower and lowers with every passing seconds. "Who is my… adopter?"

She frowns, "I'm sorry, but even I don't know. Your adopter's lawyer came by and did all the paper works himself, though he did say you will be introduced to your adopter tomorrow. So for today, you will have to stay here."

Joey turned away and headed for the door without any another questions. Azuka didn't bother to stop him or ask where he's going. It's best to let him sunk it all in.

The blond walks out of the orphanage and into a dark alley that led to the cemetery. At times like these, the cemetery is heaven rather than hell. Sudden changes in temperature overtook him as soon as he stepped onto the dirt road. The air got slightly colder, and the sun was completely hidden behind dark rain-like clouds. The leafless trees still manages to howl in terror. The season is getting ready to welcome winter.

Joey continues to walk through the dark cemetery despite his lack of courage. The wind was getting icier by the minute, telling him to go back, but he chose to ignore it. He continues on and on until he reaches his mother's grave. The grave lay near the end of the first set of hills under a large willow tree. It is said that the willow tree only grew after his mother was buried there. It was freaky at first, but it turns out to be one of the greatest thing that have ever happens to him. It means that his mother is still alive within the tree and him. His mother is alive after all.

He kneel down in front of the grave, "Good evening mom." Silence overcame him. He stared at the gravestone lost in his own thoughts. "Guess what mom?" he manages a faint chuckle, "I'm getting adopted as of tomorrow. I probably wouldn't be able to visit you as often as I used to. And you know what mom? I don't even know who my adopter is. If I didn't know any better, I'll say it's Seto Kaiba, but that jerk probably wouldn't help someone like me. The only thing he ever cared for his little brother Mokuba and his stupid gaming company." He let out a depressed sigh, "Grandma was right when she said I always wanted a family mom, but… is a family really what I wanted? Will I even gain it? I don't know anymore," he cover his face with one hand as tears slide down from his eyes.


THE NEXT DAY

His eyes were slightly puffy and red, but you could hardly tell if you don't pay close attention. The classroom was still empty and the only one there was him and the class hamster (well, he was always here, so he doesn't count), which means it was only him. Joey rubbed his eyes and lie his head down on the desk. He could feel a headache coming on step by step. He was crying so much last night that it drain all his energy. He could barely get up this morning, and yet he manages to get here way before anyone else does.

Letting out a long heavy sigh, he stood up and walk out of the room. The hallways were still empty and peaceful. The school was one of his favorite places when it's quiet and peaceful. It help calms the mind and clear your every thoughts. Now that he think about it, he still had to kill Yami later on today or at lunch. Thought what Yami did was a good thing, the blond doesn't like feeling indebted to anyone. And if this situation turned out good, he owes him.

"Joey?" The blond turned his body side way to locate the voice. Not far from where he stood, an old man in a black suit was looking at him. "Good morning Joseph," he greeted the blond.

Joey bow instantly, "Good Morning sir."

The old man looks around the hall as if making sure nobody heard them, "Why are you here so early? No even Mr. Kaiba arrived yet."

"Oh, I just went for a walk and ended up here," he replied.

The old man gave him a suspicious look, "Joseph, what is it that is really bothering you? I've been watching you ever since you enter this school, I know you better than you thought. So remember that you can tell me anything. So tell me, what is it that is bothering you?"

Joey bit his lower lips, "I'm meeting my adopter today, and I guess… I don't know why… why I cry… every time I think about it, I just… cry. Grandma said I always wanted a family, but… I don't know if that's really what I want. I'm… just so confused."

He was starting to cry again. The old man turns away to give the blond time to regain himself. Outside, a black luxurious limo pulls to a stop outside of the gate. The driver got out and opens the door for the one and only CEO of Kaiba Corp. Joey probably didn't know, for he was still crying. "You know Joseph," the old man begins, keeping his gaze outside the window, "I was an orphaned much like yourself. I was adopted when I was your age, and I too, was confused. But I kept my head held high with a smile. I never falter or think negatively. My foster parents weren't like any other foster parents. They had never loved me nor accepted me. They were highly skilled scientists over in America, and that was practically why they adopted me… I was their research material."

Joey's eyes widen with tears as he listens to the old man's life. "Even when I was going through all those test and pains," he continues in a low soft sad voice, "I never once cry. I keep myself strong and cherish the hope I have left. I kept my head held high with a smile through everything, and now… I am here and alive. And that's what I want you to think about, Joseph." He turns to the crying blond, "Keep your head held high with a smile. Experience this through to the end. Be strong, strong enough to endure anything that comes your way."

"D-Do you b-believe I c-could b-be strong t-too?" the blond stammered between sob.

A genuine smile spread across the old man's face, "I do. You're a strong kid Joseph," he patted the blond's shoulder, "You can do anything if you tried. And I'm sure this confusion of yours will clear up pretty soon."

"Wheeler?" The two men turn toward the voice. A tall teenage with icy cold blue eyes, and hair the color of brunet stared at them. The old man greeted with a smile, "Good Morning Mr. Kaiba. Would you mind escorting Joseph to the fountain?"

The brunet nodded after a few second of debating against him whether he should do it or not. He ended up losing to his nicer side. Like every story always said, light always wins. The old man gave a satisfying nod and turned back to the blond, "Be strong. Remember, always keep your head held high with a smile." With that, he left a very confused brunet and puffy eye blond behind.