His Saving Grace
Yuki Judai is cursed with immortality, a side effect of his want to protect his friends. His sanity is waning. He's lost all will to live, and yet, he continues on. All he wants is her. All he wants is to have his burden lifted, that he might spend the rest of his existence happy.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything copyrighted in this story. This is a fan-based writing.
Prologue: A Long Journey
He sighed as he laid his head on the pillow. He had to remind himself that he'd chosen this life. He'd chosen this life. He'd created his self-imposed exile. To protect his friends. To protect what family he had left. It hadn't always been that way. He still had the fond memories of his childhood even if they were almost a century and a half old.
His earliest years were the brightest. His mother was a lawyer, who in her spare time, volunteered at a charity for those in need. His father was a corporate head at Kaiba Corporation. He remembered their constant hustle and bustle, their energy, despite their demanding lives. He'd always felt grateful that they always managed to allot enough time for him.
When he turned five, everything went downhill. It had started one night when his father had brought him to buy some cards at the local game store. That day, he'd gotten Yubel from a pack. As they made the short walk home, a man who'd been down on his luck attacked. It happened in a flash. The pop of the gun, the flash of light, and the command to run and not look back.
They'd never caught the man that did it. In the next two years, Yubel had taken on the big sister role for him. They'd become inseparable. But as their bond grew, so had her malevolence. She wasn't as such anymore, but if she felt that he was threatened, the offending object would end up destroyed, or in a coma, just like then.
People had become wary of him. His impending bad luck spread around his circle of people like a wild fire. So, as any child would do, he looked for a solution. He found that solution in sending his sister into space with Neos, hoping that she would be pacified by the space waves. That plan later backfired.
His life had already gone downhill at an exponential rate. He had two years with his mother. She shielded him from his nightmares, comforted him in his fears and worries, and did what every good mother would do. He figured out what had happened too late.
His mother had gone on for two years. For two years, she wore a mask to protect her son from her sadness. In those two years, her eyes had lost their vibrancy, her hair became wiry and grey, and she lost whatever youth she'd had. The doctors said she'd died of natural causes, but he'd figured it out. She'd died from a broken heart.
He'd officially been orphaned at the age of seven. He had no relatives and nowhere to go. He'd cried in that hospital for three days straight. The doctors and nurses were kind enough to allow him to stay. On the fourth day, his neighbor had come to pick him up.
She was young, barely twenty-two. Whenever his parents had been busy, they'd asked her to babysit him for the evening or however long was needed. He'd come to think of her as another big sister. She took him back to her apartment, telling him that he could live with her.
She told him that he would be alright, that nothing else would happen to him. She stayed true to her word. His life had become as complete as possible again, despite the series of unfortunate events beforehand. She and her brother, who visited often, encouraged him to follow his dreams, to become someone great, for his own benefit.
When he was old enough, she'd encouraged him to try out for Duel Academia, to follow his dreams. He'd still spoken with her, but it wasn't as frequent. When he was old enough to grasp the situation, he would constantly apologize. He felt that he'd been a burden to her. She'd taken him in out of the goodness of her heart, and he had nothing to repay her with.
In his first year at Duel Academia, like every other school before, he'd been ridiculed and scoffed at for his appearance and his rank. If his peers found out he was an orphan, he figured it would probably make it worse. So he kept it to himself and kept a straight face and fought through. He proved himself quite effectively. Injuring himself several times in the process, of course. But he saved the world, right?
That year, he'd met her. She was amazing in her mind, body, and soul. She was strong-willed, popular, and graceful. Above all, she was humble, a quality lacking in many of their other peers. She hated people who believed they were God-given, and tended not to talk to people like that. When he'd told his sister, she told him that she might be his saving grace, that she was thankful that a girl like that existed in that day and age.
In his second year, he'd lost those he cared about. Especially her, but he didn't know how to melt the walls of ice she'd erected. He'd met them around that time. That, he was thankful for. They'd helped him get through to her, to save her. Most of what he had been doing had been for her anyways. He fought those in white. The alien foes that wanted to cloak the world in illuminating redundancy.
He lost one friend and rival to the darkness. He lost three to the "illuminating" light. He fought for all of them. He'd broken through to them, no matter how far gone they'd been. That year, he vowed he'd do everything in his power to protect all his friends, no matter what the cost.
Like most of his other plans, that backfired too. It all started in his final year with someone who fell into his boat. The man had lost his son. All the man wanted was his son, and he'd do everything to get him back. He could relate, but the man took various extremes, even going so far to transport the entire school to another dimension, where his exiled spirit was revealed as the mastermind. He beat her the first time, but like everything good, it came with a cost. In her loss, she imprisoned one of his friends.
True to his vow, he went to the ends of the earth to retrieve his friend, losing his other friends and his sanity in the process. He thought they'd died. More importantly, he thought she was dead. He'd forever lost her illuminating smile. In his loss of sanity, he gained the powers of gentle darkness. He was the reincarnation of Haou, a king and emissary of the balance between darkness and light.
Like rubber bands that are stretched too far, he snapped. Haou's incinerating rage, anger and hatred stemmed from the series of unfortunate events that occurred through his life, tainting the king's good willed nature. It took another magical force, the eye of Oricalcon, to give him back his waning control. He lost his will to fight after that. His strongest rival challenged his friend, who was possessed by his first spirit, to show him that he must fight, no matter what.
His rival lost. His resolve strengthened again and he fought. He got his friend back, and then he fought to protect and retrieve his other friends. He chose to fuse with Yubel, to grow up, to face the harshest realities of life.
The rest of that year was an arduous journey. Darkness encompassed the entire world, swallowing it up and taking everyone he cared about. Especially her. Her light shined through and brought him back from his pain, his sorrow. Then, she was gone. He fought and won, for what would be the final time in his academic career.
At the end, he chose to leave silently. His excuse? To help those with powers like him. Only Yubel knew it was a lie. He was one of a kind. There was no one else like him. Sure, people could see spirits, but spirits always managed to communicate. The truth was; he wanted to reduce the pain as much as possible so that she couldn't catch him in a moment of weakness, so that she wouldn't be able to break his resolve.
He imposed the exile, secretly keeping track of them all. He even traveled back in time, albeit after a near death experience. When he returned, he continued his journey, wandering aimlessly. Wondering why it was he that was destined to live a life of solitude and hatred.
His experiences had changed him. His physical appearance hadn't changed since his fusion with Yubel. Biologically, he was still seventeen. Mentally, he was a sage that lived through heartbreak time and again. After he'd supposedly turned twenty-four, he didn't see her again. She disappeared from his life. He gathered that she moved on, and she had. She never married, however, never found love, but she lived a full life.
He'd appeared at her bedside one day. She'd whispered. She thought she had been hallucinating. That it was impossible for him to be there. After all, he didn't look a different from when they'd graduated all those years ago. She'd died with a smile on her face, muttering something about seeing an angel.
That had been almost seventy years ago. The world had changed around him. His experiences aged him further. Zero Reverse had destroyed the city, but it had been rebuilt, from the ground up. Yusei would be around by now. It was only a matter of time until the man made his appearance in the limelight.
He had all his friend's decks. They were all on his desk, sitting neatly in their original holsters next to his own. Unlike his jacket, they remained perfect. He'd be damned if something happened to them. He used each deck as his own, a tribute to them and his camaraderie and love for them
He'd gone through two different identities at this point. Yuki Judai, his original name, was a missing wanderer and Jaden Yuki, a prodigious American professional duelist. He was rather fond of those names, a luxury he allowed himself. He was going by Yuki Judai at the moment and planned to for the next sixty, seventy years.
He was disrupted from his thoughts by a loud rap at the door.
"What could it be now?" he grumbled, getting up from his bed. "Who is it?"
"You haven't paid the rent yet!" a grey-haired man in a dirty white wife beater yelled.
"So that's what I was forgetting," Judai mused, reaching into his wallet. Pulling out a few hundred dollar bills, he said, "I gather this should be enough for a few months. Sorry for the inconvenience." With that, he closed his door.
In all honesty, his life wasn't that bad anymore. He was attractive, "young", and quick on his feet. Money wasn't an option since he had accrued a significant amount from his parents and his previous aliases. His apartment was in a better part of Neo Domino. There was a single bedroom, a waiting room, a bathroom, and a kitchen. He didn't need much.
"Smart ass," he heard the landlord mutter. Judai sighed again while looking at the blazer framed on the wall.
"Someday, I'll have to sign you and sell you as an antique," he laughed dryly. "Come to think of it, that was a really bad joke."
The brunette haired teen ambled to the kitchen, fixing himself some simple ramen cup noodles. He'd have to find a job soon. He wanted to keep a low profile, otherwise people would have questions. Questions were bad.
In his time alone, he'd built a D-wheel, made Riding Duel versions of all the decks (each won a major tournament), and reflected on his first life, the one that was the most important to him.
"Judai, I'm sorry for burdening you. If it's any consolation, I understand what it's like to lose everything," Yubel, his demonic spirit, consoled.
"You're not burdening me, Yubel. I chose to bring this upon myself," he replied, waving his hand.
"You've been a brooding mess ever since she died," she pointed out, motioning to a faded picture and sketch on the wall.
"Yeah, I know. It was going to happen eventually, but I just kept denying it," he said, seating himself on the couch and flipping on the television.
The crowd was roaring. Chanting a name that was all too familiar. "Yusei! Yusei!" they chanted.
"And Yusei Fudo has won the Fortune Cup! How is a mystery, but it must have been an amazing defeat to dethrone the King Jack Atlas!" the announcer exclaimed.
"What do you know? Yusei's finally made his appearance," Judai laughed, switching the television off.
"Should we go say hello?" Yubel asked curiously.
"No. We can't until after Paradox attacks. Otherwise time-ending paradoxes might ensue, no pun intended. It'll be nice to have human contact again, however," he replied, taking a bite out of his ramen noodles.
'Judai, I'm sorry. You've suffered through so much. Fate has dealt you a cruel hand, and yet you've rolled with it. You really are commendable,' she thought to herself, disappearing from his presence.
After a while, he got up from his place on the couch. Dumping his cup in the trash, he made his way to the bedroom where he grabbed his coat. Once he pulled on the coat, he made his way to the desk. He put each deck inside the jacket before grabbing his keys and leaving, locking the door on the way out.
"Cloudy with a chance of rain my ass," Judai muttered as he left the lobby of the building. Outside, it was sunny and clear. There was a light breeze, but it was enjoyably warm. "This isn't even close."
He let his feet carry him. He wasn't consciously moving, but rather, he was going by instinct. Within the hour, his feet had carried him to the older part of town, to a cemetery, the one where she lay, to be specific. His eyes widened when he realized that he was there.
He looked at the stones next to hers, those of his friends who lived their lives to the fullest. She was the last to leave him. She fought for months before she succumbed to time. He admired her for that. He gathered that all his friends had waited for him, hoping that he'd return so that they could all spend the last years of their lives together.
Johan had been the first to figure out Judai's predicament. At first, the elderly blunette didn't believe that Judai was actually there. Like her, he thought the brunette was a figment of his imagination. Everyone had accepted that Judai was long gone, to god knows where. When Judai turned up at his bedside, he laughed weakly, something they shared together. He'd been the first to leave.
Johan had asked him why he hadn't returned sooner. But both of them had already known the answer. Judai was protecting them as Darkness and the Light pursued him, each wanting to recruit him to their side, finally figuring out his weaknesses.
He stood, frozen in his spot for only God knows how long. No matter how many times he'd gone there, the result was always the same. He would be weak, tired, and weary. He wanted to sit down and rest, to join them, where he belonged, but he couldn't. There was work to do. He couldn't rest until it was gone, then maybe… just maybe… fate would afford him one more opportunity.
The sun had begun to set as he trekked back to his place. The sky had become a pinkish hue with some orange tinting. As he passed, people glanced at him oddly. He knew why. His cheeks were stained with tears. The tears of years of pain and suffering.
"Judai," Yubel whispered as he burst through the door to his apartment. "Judai, are you alright?"
"Y-Yeah," he croaked. "Never better."
"If we defuse, maybe-"
"No! I will not allow that, Yubel! I made a promise to you that we'd stay as one for all eternity! If I went back on that, I'd be no better than Darkness. Do you understand?" he shouted.
She nodded hesitantly.
"I-I'm sorry. I-I shouldn't have yelled. It was out of line," he apologized, putting his head down.
"No, no. I understand," she replied, giving him a reassuring smile.
"T-Thanks," he stuttered, looking up at her with wide eyes.
"You're tired. Go to bed," she commanded half-heartedly, giving him a nudge toward his room.
"No 'buts,' just relax," she pressed. He complied, making his way back to his bedroom and undressing. 'I hope your luck turns around soon, Judai. You deserve some happiness.'
How was it? I found it when I was looking through some of my ideas. This was the only idea that went into a full blown story. I have most of it written, but I'm going to go through and look it over before I post it. If you like it, don't forget to review! Can you guess who the "she" in the story is? Until next time,
Transparentchaos signing out!