Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Authors Note: Hey Guys. I'm doing a special story. I'm planing to update it weekly and this time it isn't written completely yet. As you can see, the start of the story is today and every week I will write something from that one day of Joey's life and so you're getting a chance of going through this year with Joey. If you like it. I'll try to at least have a bit of Puppy shipping in every chapter but, just as a warning, they won't get together for a very long time. It's going to be a very slow moving relationship but there are a few twists and turns waiting for Joey in 2013 and I hope you'll enjoy it.
31th December 2012 / 1st January 2013
A New Year - A new start?
Joey walks though the streets on his way to Yugi's place. They all want to meet up there but Joey isn't sure if he's even in the mood to go there. This year was the worst ever. The fact that Serenity told him about having a boyfriend, getting engaged with said boyfriend and marrying him all in one year was one of the best things and that means something, since no guy could ever be good enough for his baby sister. And even the fact that it was Mokuba, which means that Joey is now officially related to a Kaiba, doesn't even count as the worst to him.
The last year had started with his sister telling him that she had a boyfriend and even daring to say in the same breath that she's going to marry him. It had been a shock but he had eventually gotten used to the thought. At least she was dating the nicer Kaiba and Mokuba could probably protect her from his brothers nasty personality.
About a month later Joey had lost his job. He had really enjoyed going to work which meant something. It had been great luck to get a job like that and Joey had been grateful when his neighbour had asked him to give her a hand in her little game shop that used to belong to her husband. He had died shortly before she had asked Joey, who gladly had taken the offer.
Going to the shop and seeing so many kids that wanted to buy a game or even asked him for advice to learn duel monsters was great. The kids had loved him and Joey always had a great advise what to buy best from their pocket-money. He had worked there for two years but then another shop had opened only two houses down the street. The first Kaiba Game Shop. Why couldn't that blasted jerk be satisfied with making games? Did he have to sell them too? Joey wondered every time he thought about it. But whatever the reason, he started selling them. And since the shop was officially part of Kaiba Corporation, it had all the newest games and a lot cheaper as well. They sold them there for the same price Joey's neighbour had to buy to get it into the shop.
There was no way to survive that close to that shop and eventually she had to close the shop, heart broken that her husbands legacy was gone. Joey had tried to cheer her up, stating that maybe it was for the better. Now she could retire in peace without worrying who would take over the business since she never wanted to have kids. In return she had told him that she already had thought of that, she had planed to pass the shop to Joey since he seemed to love it just as much as her husband had. Joey had told her that it was okay the way it was and that he'd probably would have it run down, since he might love the selling but he had no clue about business and could never have survived without her. In truth, he could have cried when she told him how close he'd been to own his very own game shop.
Some might think that it couldn't have gotten any worse then that but it did. Two months later, and Joey still didn't have a new job at that time, his boyfriend broke up with him. Or rather Joey broke up with him. He had been out to look for a new job but returned early because it started to rain really badly and he was getting soaked. He already had a cold at the time and didn't want it to get worse. When he got home, he found his boyfriend in bed, just that he was neither asleep, nor alone.
The day after that, he had to go to Serenity's wedding alone and everyone had asked where his boyfriend was. The only good thing on that wedding was that Mokuba must have found an awesome leash for Kaiba. There hadn't been a single dog joke all day. Well to be honest, Joey had avoided the jerk like the plague and it seemed Kaiba had done the same. Joey can't remember having spoken a single word to him.
And that wasn't easy since someone was stupid enough to put all of the couples relatives on one table. But then again, it wouldn't have been possible for Joey to talk to Kaiba. Joey had a hard enough time to hear his own thoughts over his parents fighting. Neither of his parents could win the parent of the year award, but alone they were okay. Joey might be closer to their dad while Serenity was closest to their mother but they both were okay. Unless someone dared to let them enter the same room. They nearly killed each other before Kaiba managed to get Roland to separate them and have them repositioned in different ends of the room. Joey had gone with his father to sit with Yugi and the others and after that Joey had been far away from Kaiba, happy about the escape.
Joey gave a sigh. That wedding and losing his boyfriend wasn't the worst either though. The nice lady next door, the one who had given him the job of his dreams, had died. She had killed herself and left a goodbye letter for Joey, stating that she was sorry but that since she had nothing left of her husband, there was no reason to live anymore. She had also written that while Joey had worked for her, she had started to regret not having kids since she wished she had a son like him. Joey felt horrible for not noticing how bad she felt and not visiting her more often or something. Not that he hadn't visited her at all, she was like a really great grandmother to him and always had tasty homemade cookies or cakes. But it obviously hadn't been enough.
Someone might think now that this really was enough of bad news for one year. Well that person is right, but faith seemed to have set out to really destroy the year while it was at it. Two days before Christmas Eve Joey's dad was out for Christmas shopping. It wasn't easy since Joey still didn't have a new job, even though he tried very had but with no college education it wasn't easy to find something and Joey's grades from high school weren't something to brag with either. If he hadn't lived with his dad he would probably have starved by then already. But his dad never earned all that much either, so they just about got by. Until that day. Just two days before Christmas Eve Joey's dad got hit by a car on an icy street with a Christmas present for Joey in his hands. He died right away.
Joey still missed him like hell but he hardly had time to think about it since all of his money, or rather his fathers money, went into the funeral. Mokuba and Serenity had payed the rest, since Joey didn't have any money. They had offered to pay everything but Joey didn't want that. He would manage somehow without relying on his kid sister but he had no idea how to. Right now he had 4 pennys in his pocket and that was it. His last bit of money had gone into breakfast the previous day and the only reason Joey was considering to walk to Yugi's for a party, where he would have to smile and joke to prevent that his friends would worry about him, was the free food.
Joey feels something cold and wet on his hand and looks at it. After that he glares towards the sky, noticing the white flakes falling towards the ground. It´s snowing again. It had snowed the day his father had died. The car that ran him over had lost control and gotten onto the pedestrian walk way because of that. Unable to break, it hit him and killed him right away. Part of Joey already wants to go home and crawl into bed. Maybe he doesn't have to wake up the next morning. Another sigh and he decids against it. He needs some food and Yugi probably has plenty there, knowing that Joey was so tight with money that he was cutting down since his fathers death. Of course he offered to help, but Joey wanted to at least try and get by on his own, well his father had helped him but he didn't count that since his father only had been between jobs for a few months, while Joey had worked in the game shop and since they had always lived together Joey had supported him during that time. But becoming a charity case for his friends is something Joey wants to get around at all costs.
Joey walks a little further towards Yugi's until he passes Kaiba's office building. He looks up and glares at it. If Kaiba would be satisfied with this monster of a company, he wouldn't have destroyed Joey's chance of getting his own shop. Joey noticed that everything was dark apart from one single light that was turned on all the way at the top. Joey glares at it for a moment before thinking that he could have known from the start. Of course the jerk's working. What else should he do? Since Mokuba kidnapped Serenity to move all the way to Bremen with her, there is no one left in Domino who is willing to spend anymore time with Kaiba than absolutely necessary.
Joey stares up and gets an idea. It's probably a really bad idea. Maybe the worst ever. But it might be worth a shot. He tries to walk into the building only to notice that the main doors are closed. Probably because Kaiba is in there alone, apart from the poor security guy who has the night shift on New Years Eve.
Joey feels his mobile vibrate in his pocket and gets it out. He's throwing one look towards the display to see if it's Tristan or Yugi who's checking up where he is. They're actually starting to get a little annoying with their constant worry about him. But Joey can understand it since he would be the same if any of them would have had a year like he had. "Hey Tristan." Joey says, trying to sound at least a little cheerful.
"Hey Joey." Tristan replies. "Where the hell are you? Apart from Duke we're all there already."
"Sorry dude." Joey fights to keep his voice cheerful, "But I just got an idea how I might get a job, I'll come right after that but it might be late. I'll hurry though I promise."
"You better show up or I'll find you and pull you all the way here by your hair, got it?" Joey could hear that the threat was only half way serious. Tristan would try to find him and bring him to the party, but he wouldn't pull his hair.
"I promise ya I'll come as soon as I can." Joey promises.
"Okay, but you know, I bet Duke would give you a job in his shop if you'd ask him." Tristan suggests not for the first time.
"No way in hell." Joey sighs, "I told you before. He didn't put a job offer in the newspaper and as long as he doesn't have a job I will so not talk him into finding something to do and having to pay me for a job he doesn't need anyone for."
"Why do you have to be so stubborn?" Tristan asks, "It would only be temporarily. As soon as a job is free you'd have that and you know you'd work for your money anyway so where is the problem?"
"The problem is that I'm not going to beg my friend to give me a job." Joey grumbles. "And now give it up and don't dare to ask him for me because I ain't gonna take a single job offer from him then."
"How will you know that I asked him?" Tristan wonders.
"You know what, I'm just not going to work for friends. I mean, if there's a problem at work and my boss is my pal that could really put a damper on the friendship, right." Joey answers.
"Didn't you used to say that your old boss was a real pal too?" Tristan grumbles.
"Sure she was." Joey really had to fight to keep most of the sadness out of his voice while being reminded of the nice old lady that helped him so much. "But she turned into one because it worked out great with me working there. She wasn't a friend to begin with and I never had to risk a friendship in case it wouldn't work out." Joey knew that he is just being plain old stubborn. But he really was worried about being a charity case and getting on his friends nerves that way. He has to find a way around it and that fast, no matter the means.
He looks up towards the dark building in front of him. Kaiba's office is still lit. Part of Joey wonders if it really is Kaiba's room at all. Maybe there is something else and a light has to be on at all times for some other reason. Well, Joey thought, it doesn't harm if I stick around a little and see what will happen. If Kaiba is in there, he'll have to get out at some point.
"Whatever." Tristan grumbles clearly upset. "But get here soon."
"As fast as possible." Joey assures and then quickly ends the call. Another look to the lit window proving that if it is Kaiba's office and it's lit because he's there, he's still working. The light is still on and Joey leans against the wall in the cold night, waiting for him.
After the first hour Joey wonders if there's any point in waiting at all. Kaiba mightn't even be in that building but somehow, Joey had a feeling he is. Kaiba is a workaholic and since Mokuba isn't home, there's no reason for him to limit his amount of work at all. He's definitely the type to work on such a day till possibly past midnight. But if that's the case, Joey knew that Tristan will kill him for not being at Yugi's on time for the fireworks to start.
One more hour Joey stays in the cold snow. He hardly feels his feet anymore and still leans against the wall of Kaiba corp. Joey looks up to the window again, glaring at the light in it. Maybe he really should leave but he really needs some money and Kaiba might be his last chance. At least he isn't a friend so Joey doesn't mind asking him. He does mind having to talk to Kaiba since he knows that he'd only get a bunch of insults and if Kaiba gives him a job, said job will be hell. As long as it pays the bill, he will have to do it at least until he finds a better job. After all, better a bad job than no job.
Joey's lips are already blue by the time his phone vibrates again. "Hey Yugi." Joey's voice was shaky from the shivers that constantly ran through his body.
"Joey, where the hell are you?" Yugi clearly is really worrying right now and Joey wonders if it's because he still hasn't shown or due to his voice.
"I'm just waiting for someone." Joey sighs, "If he doesn't show soon though I'll try again tomorrow and come I promise."
"I hope you'll make it in time." Yugi says shyly. Joey knows that even if he is going to leave now it will still be a close call.
"I can't promise but if not I'll show up really soon after that okay." Joey promises, "I'm starting to freeze a little anyway."
"A little?" Yugi asks, "You sound like an icicle."
"I doubt that." Joey chuckled, "If I'm frozen solid, I can't move my lips."
"You should come soon though." Yugi begged, ignoring the joke, "You'll catch a cold. And by the way, I saved some food for you and will heat it up once you'll come so once you're on your way, let me know when you're here if you can."
"Okay," Joey sighs, his stomach rumbling already. "I guess I should just come now, right?"
"Yes please." Yugi sounds more cheerful already. "How long will it take?"
"Not too long. Maybe 15 minutes." Joey replies.
He looks at his watch, if he runs he might make it a little faster and maybe even be there in time for the old year to end. If such a bad year ends it should be a reason to celebrate, no matter how foul his mood really is.
Joey quickly ends the call and looks up the the bright window one last time. Just this time, there is no bright window. The light is gone. Joey stares at it for a moment but then moves to stand in front of the doors to Kaiba corp. Just a few moments after that the elevator on the other side of the dark lobby opens. Joey can feel his heart beat. This might be his last hope to survive without turning into a charity case. And he knew how slim that hope was.
Joey couldn't see much in the dark lobby that was only dimly lit by the streets light shining through the glassy entrance. Joey does see a dark figure moving towards the entrance staring at something in his hand though while a limousine is stopping right behind Joey. Once the person stops looking at whatever he's holding, Joey notices him stopping for a moment, obviously seeing Joey who stands right under a street light, clearly visible and probably is recognized right away if that really is Kaiba.
Joey's heart feels like it's beating even faster once the dark figure is moving again. Once he's close to the door Joey can see more clearly and knows that it really is the dreaded CEO who is his last hope. Joey waits for him to move his card through a security slot and typing a code before the door opens while thinking fragrantly of what exactly he can say.
"Hey Kaiba." Joey says trying to sound cheerful right after the door opens.
"Get in the car." Kaiba orders and walks past him towards the limousine.
"Why?" Joey asks, "I just need to ask you something."
"Because it's cold and as much as I like white and blue, I doubt that blue lips suite me any better then you." Kaiba replies and gets into the car before he can turn into a snowman. Joey follows and once he is inside and the door close he enjoys the warmth of the heating system. Inside Joey takes a deep breath before daring to ask anything. "Hurry up and ask whatever you want to know."
Joey takes another sigh, "I know you hate me and that I'm the last person that you would want to help but if you can think of a job I could do for you I'd really appreciate it." Joey stares to the floor while Kaiba doesn't say a thing. "I mean, I'm really stuck and need some money and would do almost anything to get some."
"Almost?" Kaiba wonders.
"I mean, I don't want to beg my friends for help, not even Duke, for a job." Joey replies. "But I thought, maybe that fancy new game shop ya opened needs another salesman or something? I worked in a game shop before and it was great, so I thought, I can really do that work."
"All the positions are taken." Kaiba replies coldly. "I thought you knew since you already applied for it as far as I know."
"I didn't think the manager would tell you everything." Joey mumbled. It had been the only reason he had dared to apply. He had been sure that Kaiba would never bother to look through the applications.
"Why do you think I'm working until this late on New Years Eve?" Kaiba glares at him.
"Because you're a workaholic?" Joey more asks than answers.
"Because I take my work seriously." Kaiba explains, "I oversee everything others do for me, just to be sure."
"How about some therapy to help with ya trust issues?" Joey suggests, earning himself another glare. It doesn't matter, Kaiba obviously isn't going to give him a job.
"You really are nothing but a stupid mutt." Kaiba growls, "If you need someone´s help, you better watch that oversized mouth of yours."
"Oh come on, moneybags. It's not like you're going to help me anyway." Joey complains. "Why would you? You never gave crap about me anyway."
Kaiba glares at him for another moment before he presses a button and says, "To Yugi Muto's place."
Joey looks at him in surprise, hearing a strangers voice from a speaker, "Yes, sir."
"Why are you driving there?" Joey asks.
"I heard from Mokuba that you're supposed to meet the annoying geek squat there." Kaiba states. "And since you look like you're about to freeze to death any second I´d rather get you there. That way Mokuba will complain to Yugi for not taking better care about his brother in law and not whine to me."
"If you worry about him whining, you should think of a job for me." Joey grumbles. He doesn't like trying to force Kaiba into helping him but he really does need the money and at least it's only Kaiba who has to help. "If I slip up and mention something to Serenity that ya didn't help me, she'll whine to her husband and he'll whine to you. And anyway, we're practically brothers since your bro is my brother in law and my sis is your sister in law."
"Don't ever dare to say that we're like brothers again." Joey has never heard his voice as threatening as it is right now. "We are not related in any way."
"All right, I get it." Joey grumbles.
The rest of the drive was quiet. Joey wishes not for the first time that the snow wouldn't be there. Just this time it's not because he's freezing, this time it's because if the road would be free, he'd already be at Yugi's and out of this damned car.
Once they finally reached it Joey just wants to get out of the damned car as fast as he can. He hasn't even touched the door when the fireworks start. Joey can see his friends through the tainted window already, looking in surprise towards the limousine. "Happy New Year."
"Can I trade that wish?" Joey mumbles hardly coherent. The wishes he had the last time around didn't exactly work, so he'd rather have something useful right now.
"Be at my office tomorrow afternoon." Kaiba orders. "I'll have a security open it for you."
"Excuse me?" Joey asks in surprise. Why on earth should he suddenly show up there?
"I just remembered something." Kaiba replies, "I might actually have something you could do. It's not exactly a job, but if you do that one thing for me, I'll give you 300 bucks. That should be more than the rent for that dump you live in."
"Really?" Joey can hardly believe it. The year just ended and his luck seems to be changing. Maybe this year could be a little better than the last.