A/N: Welcome to the Special Edition of Summer Diaries. Like the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, this story was originally broadcast out of chronological order. Also like Haruhi, it is now presented to you in the order in which the stories take place. If you have not read the original, chrono-illogical version, I suggest you read that one first. For those of you that have, there is still plenty to look forward to in this version, such as DVD Commentary by the Beta-reader, LazerWulf, and several Bonus Gaiden chapters, which took place during the timeframe of the story, but did not have direct influence on the main plot.
The following chapter is chronologically first, yet was posted ninth.
I'm getting ready to go to work soon, but before I do, a man should be lucky enough to have their girl fix them something delicious in the morning!
I, Kazuma Kuwabara, am a man who daily gets his healthy breakfast before a long day of construction work. And who is that lucky lady to greet me every morning in bed and in the kitchen?
"Good morning, Kazuma," Yukina greeted me with a genuine and high-spirited smile as I walked right into the kitchen. I greeted her with a kiss and sat down on a chair near a dining table with an American-style breakfast set out. "I fixed you your favorites. I hope you like it." The plate consisted of some delicious-looking scrambled eggs, two slices of buttered toast, and some bacon. Oh, and a cup of orange juice to go along with the set-up. Coffee's too bitter for a sweet soul like me.
I picked up my fork as I ate some of the scrambled egg. "Wow, Yukina! Your cooking is always second to none!"
"I'm glad to hear that, Kazuma. Now hurry up and finish or you'll be late for work again!" Yukina playfully scolded me.
"Yeah! Chow time!" I quickly wolfed down the rest of my breakfast in less than 10 minutes. It's true I've been late getting to my work lately, but that's because I've been getting that funny feeling again. My spiritual awareness, much more sensitive than Urameshi's, has picked up on some odd activity. I can't really explain it, but it's been making me get an itch in the back of my head. "Thanks, Yukina-chan. I've gotta run."
"Right and here's your lunch!" She handed me my lunch box. I leaned over and kissed my beautiful snow goddess before heading out our apartment door.
After graduating from High School (barely), I decided not to go to college. Instead, I joined the work force, starting out as a construction worker before eventually moving up to foreman, and now I actually own my own company, Double-K Construction. My latest job is for some friends who want to renovate their arcade on the other side of town, so I have to take a train from here in Sarayashiki all the way to Domino.
Yeah, I'm talking about the Royal Flush Arcade, run by two well-known Domino City's Duelists, Joey Wheeler and Mai Valentine. I've been going in for almost a month trying to get the place ready for their planned Grand Reopening just before school lets out for the summer.
Once I got off the train, I felt that weird vibe hit me again. Was something in the works? Demon activity? A Digimon breaking through from the Digital World? Some new kind of trouble I'm not aware of? I can't tell, but I've got work to get done! I walked right into the Royal Flush Arcade with my head held high, and beckoned a loud whistle to get my friends' attention.
"HEY! THE MAN HIMSELF, KUWABARA, HAS ARRIVED!"
As I walked up to a stack of boards set against a counter, I put my lunch box down and hefted a few boards over my right shoulder. I turned and noticed Joey Wheeler bolting down a stairway with his girlfriend and business partner Mai Valentine strutting behind him.
"Sheesh, couldn't you just knock?" I heard Mai hide a giggle behind her fake irritated tone. She winked to me. "Nice to you see you, hon."
"Yo, Kuwabara!" Joey walked up as he gave each a firm manly handshake followed by a tight hug. I used my free hand to embrace him into a manly hug. "So, how much longer do you think it'll take here?"
I resisted the urge to chortle. "Well, the electrician says he's finished rewiring the electrical systems for all the new games, so all that's left is just a few finishing touches. Should only be a day or two more, at most."
"We should hang out more after this," Joey added, nodding. "We like having ya around and we appreciate all your hard work."
"No need thank me, guys," I gave them a modest grin and snickered. "Really, guys. I'm glad I'm able to work and hang out."
"So, how's your dear Yukina been doing, Kazuma?" Mai smirked as she walked up behind Joey and folded her arms around him. "Did she make you lunch again?"
"Yeah, and the best breakfast a man like me could ask for!"
"Aw, how sweet." She sighed and lightly bonked her lover's head. "Joey never makes me breakfast. He's such a lazy bum in the morning."
"Look who's talking? I have to make breakfast 'cause you like sleepin' in until one!"
"That's only on our 'special' nights. We have to entertain ourselves while Yugi and Morpheous are off with Tea and Serenity!"
"Yeah, I know..."
"Usually, you're the one who sleeps in until after noon anyway, Joseph," she flickered his forehead and turned her back to Joey. "I'm up first thing before nine to open up shop."
"Feh, I could use some breakfast now."
"Go make something yourself then, lazy bum," Mai scoffed.
Looking at these two, their heated exchange really shows the passion of their relationship. Although they're not lovey-dovey like me and Yukina, these two show their love with this antagonism. Joey and Mai really are meant for each other.
"Guys, if you wanna make breakfast, help yourselves. I'm off to work!" I announced.
"Right. Do your best, Kuwabara! We'll come back and check on ya after I get something into my stomach!"
Mai brushed her hair back and gave me a clever smirk. "Work hard, Kazuma. I'll make sure Joey gets his breakfast fix."
"I'm gonna try and finish up all I can," I offered an assuring nod and walked off to carry the boards to another end of the room. Seeing those two argue one minute and then coddle the next always brings a tear to my eye. They're a good couple. Normally Yugi would be here, but Joey told said Yugi's in New York spending time with Tea. Tea's taking some dance classes and trying to break into theater from what I know. Yugi's there to support her and I'm glad he is. Every guy should be supporting what their girlfriends do. I mean, I support Yukina's choice to be a homemaker, but if she wanted to get a job, then I'd support that as well!
As I placed the load down, I drew out a hammer from my tool belt and prepared hammering down a section with missing floor boards, where the electrician had run his wires. I need to nail down this last section near the new game stations and cover it with tile. After that, I need to finish painting a few walls and rearrange a few game machines away from the entrance. Joey told me he got a good deal on some of Seto Kaiba's virtual world simulator things. Sounds pretty neat.
Yep, all in a day's work. Kuwabara's a man you can count on to get the job done!
While laying down the floor boards, I heard Joey and Mai's erratic commotion coming from the stairway again. I quickly tuned them out and continued going to work hammering done another board to the ground. I wiped sweat from my forehead and turned to see Joey sitting on a stool and placing a token bag on a counter.
"Sheesh, why do ya always get on my case for the littlest things, Mai?"
"To show my affection. How else, silly?" I turned and saw her scratching the side of her nose, giggling a subtly evil snicker. "Make sure and get all those tokens into those machines, got it?"
"Yeah, yeah, it's my turn to do it anyway."
I dropped my hammer and turned toward Joey, offering to help him. "Need any...?"
"Nah, I've got this one, Kuwabara. Why don't you take a break?"
"Hey, thanks for reminding me. I lost track of time there!" I picked myself off the floor and looked at my watch. "I've been working a good four hours. Time to see what Yukina-chan packed for me!"
I opened my lunch box to find a triple-decker ham and turkey sandwich, a bag of wasabi-flavored potato chips, and an apple. After grabbing a soda from the vending machine, I sat down on one of the stools at the snack bar and proceeded to chow down. Mai walked over to one of the giant pods and ran her hand along side of it, almost nostalgically.
"You know, these aren't too different from the pods we used that one time..." she mused.
"What time was that?" I asked.
"Oh, it wasn't too long after Duelist Kingdom. I was approached by some bigwigs at Kaiba Corp. who wanted me to test their new virtual reality program. It wasn't until I ran into Yugi, Joey, and Mokuba that I found out that those bigwigs, 'affectionately' known as the Big 5, had used the program to trap Kaiba within the game and rule Kaiba Corp. in his absence. That scheme didn't turn out too well for them." Mai opened the pod and lowered herself in. "Ooh, I take that back. These pods are MUCH more comfortable!"
Suddenly, Joey burst out of the back room carrying a sack of tokens. Being his usual clumsy self, his foot stepped in one of the open floor holes, tripping him. The sack of tokens went flying out of his hand and slammed into the back of the pod causing the lid of the pod to close and the machinery to activate. There was a low hum, then electricity started to arc inside the pod, and Mai screamed.
"MAI!" Joey cried out, pulling his foot free from the hole.
"It's electrocuting her!" I yelled. "Quick! Cut the power!"
"That won't work. These things have an internal power supply, to keep people from getting trapped inside the virtual world in case of a power outage."
"That's great and all, but how do we keep her from getting trapped in the pod itself?"
"Just shut up and help me pry the top open!" Joey shouted as he grabbed a crowbar from my tool box and jammed it underneath the lid of the pod.
"JOEY, WAIT!" I warned, but it was too late. As soon as the metal crowbar came in contact with the pod, electricity arced across it to Joey and threw him back several feet.
"Metal and electricity don't go well together, Einstein. Look, where's the locking mechanism on these things?"
"In the front, but how does that help us?"
"Because I got the master lock pick, right here." With that, I summoned my every-trusty Dimension Sword and lunged forward, slicing the front of the pod right under where the lid connects. The pod popped open and Joey pulled Mai out before she was fried to a crisp.
"MAI!" I heard Joey yell, checking over his girl. "ARE YA OKAY?"
"Joseph... I'm ok. Just..." She stuttered. "Just got a few shocks."
"Damn! That was stupid of me!" Joey blamed himself. "I should've watched where I was going! Stupid me!"
"Guys! Quiet! I'm feeling some strange vibe... it's not good..." I quietly murmured, drawing the couple's attention away from each other.
My keen instincts drew my eyes to the slash I made through the pod, or, rather, the slash I made through space-time, which was growing wider as what looked like a couple of freaks dressed in otherworldly gear stepped through the rift. I didn't sense any Youki from the guys and quickly surmised that they weren't demons. Whoever they were, they still gave me a bad vibe. There were four guys wearing purple-and-black body suits with weird metal masks.
"Kuwabara, I think you just opened a door for them..."
"No duh, Joey. I know," I scowled, staring intently at the weird otherworlder guys.
One of the masked guys pulled out some kind of device and read something on the display. "Dimensional coordinates confirmed: Yankee Yankee Golf Delta Mike Dash Zero One. Primary planet: Earth." He put the device away, took a bow and addressed us. "Greetings, native Earthers. We were just patrolling the Æther Sea when we noticed a disturbance. We'd like to thank you for opening a rift into your world for us."
"Yeah, well whoever you are, you're not welcome here!" I angrily protested. "I already don't like your company here. So, leave!"
The freak at least acknowledge me and chuckled. "Are you always this rude to your guests of honor? What if we choose to refuse?"
"Then, I'll send you back where ya'll belong!" I defiantly roared and charged forward, Dimension Sword raised high.
"Wait, Kuwabara!" Joey and Mai called out.
Before long, I saw Joey and Mai activate their Spirit Fusion powers. Joey turned into the Flame Swordsman and Mai became the Cyber Harpie. The four masked guys bolted towards us and opened fire, shooting rapid beams from strange-looking laser guns. I blocked their shots with my sword. One of them got up close and opened fire on Joey, who forced himself to retreat back. Mai evaded most of the barrage, but the after effects from the shock made her lose some of her agility. One shot closed in and burned through one of her Harpie wing feathers. Alarmed, I saw Mai regain control and whirl her whip around. Joey charged forward and swung his sword, sending one masked guy back through a wall. I turned and punched another of those masked creeps. Mai flew up into the air and threw her whip, yanking a gun from one of the other freaks and giving Joey an open shot to nail him with his sword. I swung my sword and batted the fourth masked guy into submission.
"Yeah, that ought to take care of them!" I heard Joey laughing.
Mai dropped down near us. "Well, that wasn't too tough."
"No, but I'm gonna get some answers from these guys," I proclaimed, lifting the invader I had felled by the front of his uniform.
"That won't be necessary."
Suddenly, we heard a soft and devilish chuckle come from the portal. We all turned as someone stepped through the portal and making grand entrance. Standing at the front was some short, built gray-skinned, pointy-eared freak wearing a silver turban, a black shirt covering his body, white baggy pants, and purple pointy shoes. He looked like some weird Arabian genie.
The weird turban guy noticed us at the front facing him and smiled devilishly. As his eyes suddenly flared, the four bodies of those weird masked guys floated on their own and went through the portal behind this freak. Man, I sense a strange psychic power from this guy. I don't know how he managed to do it, but his psychic power is something beyond my understanding!
Firmly holding my sword, I bellowed toward this weird-looking genie guy. "Who the hell are you?" Most of the bad vibes was coming from this guy. He's definitely on a notch above these supposed flunkies of his.
"Greetings, Earthers. I am Yyenesa," the creature introduced himself, speaking with a thick and mild-mannered tone. "You saw nothing here."
"Saw nothing my ass!" I angrily protested as I charged forward and went to cut him down with my sword, until my whole body became paralyzed. I watched as my whole body hovered into the air on its own. It's that weird psychic power he used to pull his crew away! "Hey, let me go!" I noticed there were threads attached to my body and noticed them attached this Yyenesa's fingertips. "Threads?"
"Let our friend go, ya freak!" I watched Joey lunge forward and cut through the threads with his fire-imbued sword. After cutting the threads, I dropped to the floor and steadily picked myself up with the Dimension Sword in hand. I turned the other corner as Mai threw her whip at the turban guy. I watched as he used his own threads to ensnare the whip and pull it from Mai's hands, sending it across the room. I sprang up and bolted toward the freak and threw a punch with a free hand. That Yyenesa guy disappeared, then reappeared right behind me. I turned and swung my sword, only to cut through an after image of that guy! Just as he was about to catch me from behind, Joey blasted him back with a fiery blast from his sword. I pivoted my view and saw Mai striking the freak with her recovered whip. There was a sudden chirping noise, and Yyenesa jumped back near the portal as activated what looked like some kind of communicator device on his left wrist, which he used to speak with a blue holographic image appearing over it.
The figure spoke, her voice sounding remotely feminine yet distorted. "You and your men disappeared from the grid. Report."
"My men found a portal in the Æther Sea, and went to scout the new dimension. As soon as I received their notice, I followed, only to find them defeated by three beings with... interesting powers. One of whom seems to be the one who opened the rift."
"You and your troops pull back. That is my order."
"Don't question me, Yyenesa. You must report in on this new dimension."
"Understood, Mistress Angelia." Turning off the device, the freak pivoted his view toward us. He said nothing and hovered backward near the portal.
I should mention that as he was having this conversation, he was deftly countering all our advances. After he finished his communiqué, we tried for one last push, but he slipped back through his portal and closed it. I stopped the moment the portal closed right in my face and sealed my sword through my hand. "Wh-what the hell was that?" And what did that person that guy spoke to mean by new dimension?
Joey walked up behind me, equally as distressed. Likewise with Mai. What we just saw was something completely out another world.
"Who were those freaks?" A perplexed Mai wondered.
"You're asking me?" Who am I kidding? Did my sword just open up some dimension to another world? "All I heard was that figure he was talking to called this a new dimension."
I turned to Joey as we speculated over what just happened. Suddenly, I noticed Mai lean against Joey, reeling from the after effects from the shocks.
"Mai, are you gonna be okay?" I looked over and saw Joey help Mai to a chair. "Thanks, Kuwabara, for saving her."
I smiled and nodded. "Sure thing, Joey." A real man is always there to help his friends in need. Damn, and that quick fight just made a complete mess of where I was working.
But, how are we gonna explain this to our friends?
LazerWulf's Commentary: Back when this series was just an inkling in Kanius' head called Summer Days, K and I had a conversation about what he wanted to do with this series. He said he wanted to show a lighter side of the heroes, what they do in their off time, but still have some kind of overarching story, with a common villain, even if they don't fully appear in every chapter. I suggested he try to write this story in several first-person perspectives, something he had never done before, and he agreed to give it a shot. And thus, the name was changed to Summer Diaries, since the first-person perspective almost made each entry like a diary or journal entry. I also had the idea to post the entries out of order, to further push him creatively. Personally, I am a big fan of this series, and I consider it a huge privilege to be involved with it in such an extent that I am.
This chapter was actually the first one I thought up (I actually wanted to write it myself, like I did with Kazu's chapter, but in the end I didn't have the time, so I let K do it), and the first one chronologically, though we decided to save it until just before the final battle. Since we began with the ending, I thought it would be fitting to, not exactly end with the beginning, since the climactic battle made a better final chapter, but postpone the beginning for as long as possible. We knew we wanted to have pirates from another dimension, and there was Kuwabara, with his dimensional sword, the one thing able to inadvertently summon them to our dimension. Also, since the Spirit Detectives and the Duelists are the two groups who have the least amount of interaction with each other, so I wanted to include them in this chapter, as well.
Admittedly, I got the idea for Kuwabara being a construction foreman from Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This gave him an excuse to visit Joey and Mai, who own an arcade, and the rest of the story just evolved from there. Personally, I just love the fact that this whole thing is Joey and Kuwabara's fault.
As Kanius would say: Please review and Stay Gold!