Title: You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth

Pairing(s): Very light Jack/Carley.

Rating: K+

Warning(s): Brief language.

Note(s): Post-series. This was written in response to JusticeLock2's story, ILY, which in my opinion is a blatant rip-off of my older story, Messages. The story itself is a nod to another of my stories, Let's Get One Thing Straight, I'm Not. Enjoy.~


pla·gia·rism
noun /ˈplājəˌrizəm/

1. The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own


Carley Nagisa definitely was not a morning person.

Her hair was messy, her night clothes were grungy, and coffee was her best friend. Carley stood in front of her open fridge, digging around for breakfast. She smiled, content, as she pulled out a carton of milk. She had only just poured herself a bowl of cereal when her phone went off. Carley, juggling the cereal and milk with one hand, reached into her pocket and glowered at it. She really wasn't in the mood for talking to anyone, but...

"Hello?" Carley asked tentatively, answering the call.

"Hello, I'm looking to speak to Carley Nagisa."

"Yusei?" Carley's head perked up in surprise once she heard the man's voice over the line. She wondered why he would suddenly want to talk to her; they were not particularly close friends and they had not spoken to one another in months. They mainly knew each other by association, and had really only talked on a more personal level during interviews.

"Ah, Carley, I'm glad you picked up. I wanted to know if you read today's front page article in The Neo Domino Tribune."

Carley scowled as she put away the milk.

"Yusei, that's a rival newspaper."

"Well, it may be worth checking out."

"Why?"

"It's a special feature on the members of Team 5D's. It was written to celebrate our victory at the WRGP last year. In any case, I thought you should read it because I found it strikingly similar to an article you wrote about us before our duel versus Team New World."

"What?" Carley jumped up, nearly dropping her bowl of cereal as she did. "Do you... Do you think it was plagiarized?"

"I can't be sure. I'm not a journalist so I'm not as familiar with these sorts of things. I thought I should at least let you know, though."

"Yes, yes, thank you," Carley muttered quickly, rushing into the living room to power up her laptop. "Thanks Yusei, I'm gonna straighten this out."

"I hope everything works out fine." And with that, the line went dead. Carley dropped her cell phone on her desk and began typing furiously. She brought up the homepage for The Neo Domino Tribune and, as she had suspected, there was a link to the article in question at the top of the page. She clicked on it and immediately began reading. To her horror, she realized Yusei was right; this was suspiciously a lot like the article she had written. The information, she realized, had to have been snatched from her article because only she was close enough to some of the team members to know it.

Unless...

Carley grabbed her cell phone and scrolled through her contacts. It was time to do some investigative work, she thought, as she dialed the first number.

"Wer ist dieses?" answered a groggy female voice after a few long moments.

"Aki! Aki, is that you?" Carley asked desperately.

"... Carley? Do you realize what time it is here in Germany? It's like 1 a.m. and I have classes in the morning," Aki replied, sounding very much irritated now that she had shaken off her sleepiness.

"I know and I'm sorry. It's really important though and I have to ask," the reporter pleaded. The other end of the line fell silent for awhile.

"OK, shoot," Aki finally said with a sigh.

"Have you talked to anyone in the media recently? Any interviews or anything?" she asked.

"... No?"

"What about your parents? D'you think they would've said anything?"

"Mama and Papa? ... No, they would've called first to make sure it was fine with me," Aki said thoughtfully. "Carley, what is this about? Have you gone off your meds?" Carley ignored her and mumbled a quick thanks before hanging up and dialing the next number.

"Hello, who is this?" a gruff voice answered.

"Jack!" Carley's heart fluttered as she spoke. "Listen, I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me."

"Who is this?" Jack repeated again, a little more rude. Carley's face fell.

"It's me, Carley," she said, trying to the mask the pain in her voice.

"Oh." There was a pause. "Oh, yes. Carley. It's been awhile. What do you need?" He suddenly sounded much more amiable, which brought a certain level of comfort to the woman. She smiled and sunk happily in her chair- her content quickly dissapated, however, when she remembered the situation at hand.

"I just wanted to know if you've been contacted by any reporters from Neo Domino recently?"

"Excluding yourself?" he asked dryly.

"Yes."

"No. What is this about?"

"It's complicated. Um... I gotta talk to you later though. Thanks!"

"Wait-"

But Carley had already disconnected the call and was working on calling the next person. Within 20 minutes, the reporter had managed to contact nearly everyone who was a part of or was close enough to Team 5D's that would know all the information the copycat article read. After all, it wasn't common knowledge that Ruka had lapsed into a coma at the young age of three, or that Crow had inherited his ace, Blackfeather Dragon, from the late Robert Pearson, or that-

Carley shook her head. Yes, unless one of the people she had spoken to had lied about spilling this information to other media outlets, her article had definitely been plagiarized. There was simply no other conclusion. Reaching her resolve, she picked up her cell phone once again and dialed one last number. This wasn't someone she particularly wanted to chat with, but she really didn't know who else she could speak to regarding this.

"You've reached the office of Mikage Sagiri, this is her speaking."

"Um... yes. It's me, Carley," the journalist began sheepishly.

"Carley? What are you calling for?" she asked cautiously. "I'm sorry, but if you're looking for an interview, you'll have to go through the PR department before talking to me."

"No! No, it's not that." Though Mikage would not have been able to see it, Carley waved her arms around for dramatic effect. "It's just, I have a... legal problem, I guess you could say, and I really don't know anyone other than you who is involved with the law."

"And what legal problem is this?" Mikage asked, suddenly intrigued.

"Well... I think one of my older articles has been plagiarized." Mikage was silent for a long time, and it made Carley wonder if she had simply hung up.

"Carley, you do realize as head of Special Investigations, I have nothing to do with copyright issues, right? My work involves tracking down serial killers. Only if you had found a dead body in the trunk of your car this morning would I be able to help you." Carley felt smaller and smaller as the other woman continued on.

"I know that..." she said quietly. "But I don't know who else to turn to. I'm really, really upset 'cause I put a lot of work into that article. Well, mostly because I had to write it twice because Stephanie spilled her tea all over my laptop and fried the hard drive, but still. You remember, don't you?"

"How could I forget?" Mikage said with a sigh. "Tell you what. I get off of work at 6 p.m. tonight. I'll come over and see what I can do." Carley couldn't help but break out into a grin.

"Thanks Mikage, it means a lot!"

"Uh-huh." There was a click, and that was the end of the conversation.


By the time 7 p.m. rolled around, Carley had begun to worry Mikage had either forgotten or had simply decided to not come. She sucked in her breath and heaved a heavy sigh; she supposed this was to be expected. She knew in her heart there really wasn't much Mikage could do (if anything), and besides, they had never gotten along well. Carley stood up and dragged herself toward her bathroom; she knew it was far too early to sleep, but she sincerely wanted nothing more than to take some melatonin and drown out her sorrows in her dreams. Things would look better in the morning, she reasoned.

However, just before she was about pop a couple of the sleep-inducing pills, there was a knock at the door. She jumped in surprise, dropping the bottle and spilling the little tablets all over the tiled floor. She didn't stop to clean up the mess and rushed into the front room, answering the door. Sure enough, there stood Mikage, along with a taller, teal-haired man. The reporter tilted her head slightly; was this her boyfriend? He looked familiar...

"Carley," regarded Mikage politely. "This is Kazama. He's going to help us." Carley pursed her lips; that name...

"Oh!" Carley exclaimed suddenly, snapping her fingers. "I know you. You're the officer that tried to help clear Jack's name when that imposter started stiring up trouble." Kazama looked amused.

"And I know you," he said with a charming grin. "You're the reporter girl Jack always talked about." Carley's cheeks tinted pink and there was a sharp look in Mikage's eye. Kazama gave the female officer a sheepish look and apologetic shrug.

"Anyway," Mikage said after clearing her throat. "Kazama dropped out of law school before joining the force, so he'll know whether you have a case or not."

"Yeah, could you imagine me a lawyer?" Kazama added jokingly. "It's a pretty scary concept, eh Mikage?"

"Horrifying," she replied with a smirk. Carley's eyebrows shot up in surprise; she had never heard Mikage engage in playful banter before. She supposed love did crazy things to people.

"So, let's see this article," Kazama said, clasping his hands together. Carley nodded quickly and invited them inside. She returned to her laptop and booted it up once again, bringing up the webpage hosting the allegedly plagiarized article. She also opened up a separate tab for a digital copy of the original piece. The reporter then moved out of the way so Kazama could sit to read the two stories. Mikage hovered over his shoulders, also skimming through the pieces. Carley sat off to the side awkwardly, waiting for them to finish. Hardly a minute had passed before the silence became unbearable for her and she spoke up.

"So... uh... Mikage, I didn't know you were seeing someone," she said, fidgeting in her seat. This comment elicited laughter from both of the officers and Carley's face heated up, realizing she had made a mistake.

"You think I'm dating her?" Kazama asked playfully, suppressing a chuckle. "Sorry, but I bat for the other team." Mikage rolled her eyes at his euphemism and Carley, unaware of its definition, looked confused.

"What do you mean?" she asked innocently.

"Well, let's just say that I find Jack Atlas just as attractive as you do." He suddenly stopped, his expression growing serious. "Hm. Probably shouldn't have told that to a reporter," he mused.

"Oh, I-I didn't hear anything," Carley reassured, holding up her hands up defensively. Silence fell once again as her two guests returned to their reading. This time, Carley was determined to keep her mouth shut to prevent further embarrassment.

"Well, I have to say... the articles are uncannily similar," Mikage remarked after a few minutes, leaving Kazama's side and taking a seat beside Carley. "Of course, there always is the possibility that the reporter called the others and got this information themselves."

"No, I talked to everyone today. They said they haven't spoken with anyone recently," Carley said, shaking her head. "Shouldn't that alone be enough proof my article was plagiarized?"

"Unfortunately, no," Kazama said finally, rubbing his eyes after looking at the screen for so long. "I assume that because you studied journalism, you know about the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal?"

"Yes, I learned about it," Carley replied. Mikage, on the other hand, looked lost.

"I haven't heard about this," she said.

"It's a little before our time," Kazama explained. "It happened in 2011. We were just little kids. In any case, Rupert Murdoch was the CEO of a big media company, and it was discovered one of the English newspapers he owned had been tapping into phone conversations to get information."

"Are you suggesting that The Neo Domino Tribune has been spying on the members of Team 5D's for this one article?" Carley replied, skeptical.

"I didn't say that. What I mean is that the fact Jack, or Yusei, or whoever didn't talk to the reporter who wrote the article doesn't prove yours was plagarized. It's too much of a stretch in a court of law, and a judge would find it more likely the information was obtained by unfavorable means," Kazama continued. "The main issue is the similarity of the writing."

"So then it is plagiarized," Carley insisted.

"The problem is that it isn't word-for-word. If it were copied verbatim, you'd have a strong defense. But because they're only similar, it's subjective." Carley's face fell and Kazama added, "However, I don't doubt they were "inspired" by your article. I mean, Mikage and I both agree, they seem too close to not cause raised eyebrows."

"So what can I do?" Carley asked weakly.

"Legally, not much. This is more of a moral issue," Kazama said, standing up. He paused and smirked with a mischevious glint in his eye. "So, my advice would be to stir up a little controversy. Since you have one of the most powerful tools at the tips of your fingers, that shouldn't be too difficult." Carley stared at him blankly. Mikage sucked in her breath, a little annoyed.

"Carley, he means the media. You are the media," she clarified. Something clicked inside Carley's head and she suddenly understood what she had to do.

"Oh! I got it," she said with a flicker of passion burning in her eyes. The flame quickly died, however, as she turned to the two officers and smiled sheepishly. "Thanks for helping me out." Kazama waved his hand dismissively.

"Don't mention it. Hope everything works out," he said. After they had left, Carley settled down in front of her laptop and pulled up a blank document. She then called yet another person, wedging the phone between her ear and shoulder as she began to write.

"Hello, Henshūchō-sama? I know it's late to ask, sir, but I was wondering if you would allow me to write a column for the Sunday paper... ? Just a little opinion about the issue of plagarism, nothing out-of-this-world. I promise you, though, it'll attract a lot of attention!"


Yusei was quite glad he managed to get off work today; he had not had a break in weeks, and he wanted nothing more than to just sit down, relax, have a cup of coffee, and enjoy the Sunday paper. He normally was an early bird, but had opted to sleep in today; even he deserved to be lazy every once in awhile. Before he could reach the comfort of his living room, however, he heard his cell phone go off in the room above him. He pursed his lips, inconvenienced, but climbed back up the stairs to answer the call.

"Hello, Yusei Fudo speaking," he said politely after pressing the receive button.

"Yo, Yusei," said a voice he immediately recognized as Crow's. The scientist broke into a smile.

"Crow, how are you? Strange of you to call now, it's fairly late in Italy..."

"Yeah, yeah, well, I've been getting a huge influx of calls from various media outlets askin' if I know anythin' about this supposed plagiarism scandal that happened in Neo Domino City. Damn people woke me up. Just wondering if you knew anything about it. Does it have to do with what Carley was calling about last week? She asked if I'd been interviewed by any journalists lately and didn't explain what was goin' on before hanging up." Yusei blinked before his eyes widened just the slightest bit.

"Carley? Oh..." He stood and approached his home phone and was quite suprised to see that over 20 messages had been recorded on his answering machine since that morning. "Crow, I'll have to talk to you later."

"Wha- you too?" The line went dead and Yusei turned on his television to see that the alleged Team 5D's plagarism scandal was all over the news. He watched as the blonde anchorwoman, Angela Tanaka, explained that reporter Carley Nagisa had published a controversial column in The Neo Times discussing how widespread plagiarism has become with the invention of the internet, as well as accusing a rival newspaper of plagiarizing one of her older articles. Yusei sunk into his chair and sighed, resting his chin on the palm of his hand.

So much for a lazy Sunday.

He smiled. Well, he supposed he could try to get next Sunday off, too.

Fin.


Comments(s): Kazama is love.~

Reviews are greatly appreciated.