The Swing of Things
Author Note: I do not own Yugioh or any of the characters from the show. I hope you enjoy this story and I look forward to seeing what people think of it. If you like it please R&R. I don't expect this to be a long story like my other two Yugioh fics, but I think it will be a fun ride as it moves along. Just a warning this story will contain spoilers for Battle City and possibly the Noah's Virtual World saga. This fic has been beta read by Minor Arcana; a big thank you to her for all her help and advice on the story.
Dog Days Chapter Three: The Swing of Things
Joey waved goodbye to Mai as he walked away from her car. She'd been so nice to him and insisted on taking him to school even though it had meant that he got there forty minutes before class began. He shifted his backpack from his back, lowering it to his hand. There were only a few kids roaming around the campus, the air was just starting to warm up and he knew it would become unbearable by lunchtime. Since he had nothing else to do Joey decided to go to the outdoor picnic tables near the cafeteria and work some more on his story.
A few minutes later Joey sat down at one of the six empty picnic tables and looked around. There were only a couple of kids walking towards different parts of the school; the cafeteria being a central feature of Domino High, allowed Joey a good view of most of the buildings the classrooms were in. After he was sure no one was watching him, Joey took out his notebook and opened it to where he'd left off last night. It brought a smile to his face seeing that he was ready to start the next chapter and he took out his pen from his backpack.
He flipped to a fresh page and started writing. Deciding to open chapter three with the wife of Jack's target coming in to see him at his office. It didn't take Joey long before he was three pages into it and when he looked around he saw that it was getting to be too risky to keep writing, so he reluctantly closed his notebook and put it and his pen away. A voice from behind him startled him; it was a familiar voice, one that usually made him shout back in anger and this time was no different. Joey turned around and faced none other then Seto Kaiba, who stood there with his silver briefcase looking down his sharp nose at the young blonde.
"So the mutt is all alone and actually working on homework for a change eh?"
Joey clenched his teeth and glared at the CEO, "Oh please moneybags, mind yer own business for a change will ya?"
'I swear to God he has to be the most arrogant son of a bitch on the face of the planet! Why does he have to bug me like this?'
"Oh I do mind my own business mutt, unlike you I actually have a business to mind. Try to keep your stupidity to yourself for once why don't you."
And with that the tall brunette casually turned away from Joey and went towards their first class, which unfortunately Joey and the gang were in as well. Cursing under his breath, Joey stood up and upon seeing Yugi walking towards him, he started over to meet up with him.
"Hi Joey, I waited for you at the corner but I had to leave or else I'd have been late. How did you get here before I did?"
Yugi looked confused and Joey resisted the urge to snap at his friend. Yugi had no way of knowing Kaiba had once again tried to set him off and initiate some conflict between them. He sighed and shook his head as he met Yugi's gaze.
"I'm sorry Yug, my dad gave me a lift to school and I forgot to call you. Sorry about that man," he hated lying to his friend but the truth would only upset the young teen.
"It's ok Joey. I was just worried when you didn't show up. So what do you say we meet up after school and go to the arcade or something?"
Joey smiled, but he'd planned that he could go to the library to type up his second chapter so that he could get it posted this afternoon. So he tried to think of some believable excuse.
"Uh, I can't today. I have to study for exams and my dad has some things he needs me to do at home. How about this weekend we do something?"
Yugi's smile faded slightly and Joey felt bad for lying, but he didn't want anyone to know he was actually writing a story or that his dad was so abusive the only things he wanted Joey to do was to be out of his greasy hair.
"Ok Joey, sure. Maybe you could stay the night Friday and we could meet up with the gang Saturday at the arcade. Anyway let's get going we don't want to be late for class," Yugi smiled up at his blonde friend and the two headed off towards their first class, just as the bell rang to signal students had five minutes to get to their classrooms.
Joey waved goodbye to his friends as he headed off to the library. They had all said they were going to the arcade so he had no thought of being discovered when he was on the library computer. He actually whistled as he walked along the sidewalk in the summer heat. He was sweating pretty badly by the time he got there, but he went to the bathroom and splashed some cold water on his face. After he dried his hands off and dabbed at his face with some paper towels he left to go sign up for a computer.
"Hello young man, nice to see you again. You can go right over to any of the open machines. If you need anything just let me know," replied the same librarian he'd met yesterday, he looked at her nametag and decided to thank her using her name.
"Thanks Mrs. Reynolds. I will," Joey grinned over his shoulder as he made his way over to the same computer he'd used yesterday.
Laying his backpack down he loaded up his email and was shocked to see he'd gotten a few review alerts meaning people had already read his first chapter. Opening the first one he grinned as he read the text:
You have a new review for your story 'Jack Havoc Private Eye' from 'DarkAssasin'
Wow I really liked this chapter a lot. Please update soon RedEyesDuelist! Can't wait to see what Jack does next.
Joey grinned and then opened the next review alert, this one was from someone using the name 'RoseWhipLady'
Nicely written story RedEyesDuelist. I look forward to seeing what Jack discovers about his first client. I have to wonder if there isn't something he will see that might show his client has other reasons for wanting her husband followed. I'll keep my theories about it to myself for now, but I wanted to leave a review to encourage you to keep going and that I found your use of imagery quite entertaining.
Joey's grin widened as he read that one. There was one more and he was afraid it might be a flamer, but then he figured someone would flame him over it at some point so he held his breath as he opened the last emailed review alert. It was from a person using the name 'AngelofDeath'
This story is a complete joke. I'm sure my dog could do a better job then you did. Thanks for the laugh-looking forward to flaming your next efforts.
Joey rolled his eyes and then logged out of his email account to get started on typing up his second chapter. He was pretty involved in what he was doing so he didn't notice that he was being watched from the other side of the room. A dark haired man wearing a black suit, was sitting at a table with a book in front of him that he was obviously not interested in, and he had his eyes glued onto the young blonde.
'There we go. Chapter two all set to post. Hope people like it. What a trip knowing other people are reading my stuff. Reading those reviews really makes me want to keep on with it. I wonder how many chapters it's gonna end up being,'
Joey pondered that for awhile as he went over the second chapter one last time before hitting the save button that would post the entry adding it to his first chapter. Leaning back against the chair Joey looked down at his notebook, he read over the three pages he'd gotten done earlier and decided to type that up next. He glanced around to see if he would have to give up his spot on the computer anytime soon and from the looks of it he was just fine. There were at least twelve empty cubicles so he focused on transcribing the three pages into a new text document and then he kept on going.
He managed to get five more pages done before deciding to call it a night. Joey uploaded the rough draft to his user area on the website, saving it there so he could come back to it tomorrow and add more to it. He also printed off the eight pages he'd finished so he could keep going with it tonight. When the printer spat out the final page Joey took it and went to the main desk to pay for the copies and to thank Mrs. Reynolds again for use of the library computers. The kindly older woman smiled warmly at him and he told her he'd probably see her tomorrow to which she chuckled. He left shortly thereafter and hoped his father wasn't home. Or if he was home he prayed he wasn't awake and in a foul mood.
'The last thing I need is for him to knock me around tonight. I know I can't stay at Mai's again, even though we had fun. I don't want her feeling sorry for me. Who knows? Dad might be out with his drinking buddies if I'm lucky.'
Joey sighed as he walked home. He couldn't get Jack Havoc out of his mind and he thought about what he'd have Jack do next.
'It's too early for the murder to happen, so maybe I will just string the stake out along for another chapter. I can have it end with him talking to the wife about what he found out. Then I can open the next chapter with a bit about a second stake out where he'll get more information about the mistress. That will be perfect I bet,' Joey smiled thinking about it as he continued walking.
Ten minutes later he was home and cautiously opening his front door. He wrinkled his nose when the stench of vomit and booze hit him hard as he swung the door open.
'Dammit, he's here. No mistaking that horrific odor. God I hope I don't have to help him to the bathroom again. Ugh!'
"Where the hell have you been boy?" demanded his father in a tone of voice that chilled the blonde teen's blood.
"Sorry Dad, I lost track of time I guess. I was out with friends," Joey lied, something second nature to him when facing this volatile foe.
"Whatever, I don't really care what you were doing. Go get me another beer and make it snappy!"
"Yes sir," Joey rushed off to the kitchen, dropping his backpack on the floor beside the kitchen table as he opened the refrigerator to retrieve a cold beer for his father.
'Next he's gonna order me to clean up his mess out there. I wish he'd make it to the bathroom to puke damn him.'
So began another night of torture for the young teen as he walked on eggshells hoping to avoid angering his irrational father who was well on his way to becoming inebriated.
"So you posted another chapter did you Wheeler? I wonder if it'll be any better then first chapter of mindless dribble you put up the day before," Seto Kaiba mused quietly to himself.
He was sitting in his office working on his laptop; he'd been surprised that Joey Wheeler had been spotted at the library and even more amazed when the third rate duelist had actually set up an email account and registered a username to post stories on a popular website. This was only a minor distraction for the CEO as he had work left to attend to. But after hearing from Hamilton, the man he'd assigned today to silently observe Joey's activities at the library, the young brunette was just satisfying his curiosity as to what would draw his wannabe rival to actually get a library card, let alone go to the library itself.
'Oh this is pathetic. I don't know that I can make myself actually read this trash. Jack Havoc. What a lame name for a character. I can't believe other people read this and actually liked it,'
After getting to the end of the second chapter of Joey's story Seto couldn't resist leaving another condescending review for the RedEyesDuelist/, as the /AngelofDeath and it left him smiling.
Just when I thought it was bad it gets even worse. I hope you have a day job because you sure won't make it as any sort of real writer. Real authors know what a thesaurus is and skillfully use it; try getting some new lines. This Jack guy is about as fresh as twice-recycled newspaper only newspaper is useful unlike this flat one-dimensional monotonous excuse for a protagonist. Tell me Red, do you even KNOW what a protagonist is?
Seto chuckled as he read over his review again; he was sure Wheeler would be real miffed when he read that in his inbox. He even thought back to this morning and how guilty the dog had looked when he'd come up behind him, like he'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. After he hit the submit button Seto Kaiba went back to his work and didn't think anymore about Joey Wheeler and his stupid story. He had bigger fish to fry and was sure that his last review would make the mutt so angry he'd probably take his dumb story down which would suit the CEO just fine.
'We'll just see what you do next Wheeler, was catching you this morning a fluke or are you really writing for the hell of it? I find it hard to believe that you would ever do something as creative as writing a story just spontaneously without a teacher slapping down a due date.'
Seto soon caught up with what he'd been working on and he shifted in his leather chair before settling back into his working rhythm, long fingers fluidly stroking over the keys of the keyboard in rapid motions as he watched the long lines of code he entered. He didn't have time to write and barely had time to read as much as he'd like to, but in the back of his mind it still puzzled him as to what would bring about this change in the brash blonde friend of Yugi's. Seto worked for another two hours before he left Kaiba Corp HQ to go home. He was tired, but already looking forward to taking a long bath and relaxing his muscles, stiff from working too long in one position.
Mai Valentine groaned as she read the latest review on poor Joey's private eye story. Some goofball going by the morbid name of AngelofDeath really flamed the new chapter that Joey had apparently found time to post tonight. She took a bite from her meatball sub and smiled at another person who'd posted a second favorable review. She didn't think that Joey's story was bad enough that it warranted flaming it so badly. If that person had flamed any of her stories she'd have laughed it off, but she wasn't sure Joey was going to be able to ignore that scathing review the person left.
Granted 'Jack Havoc Private Eye' wasn't best seller material, but from the sweet look on his face when she'd come out last night and read from his notebook while Joey slept she could tell that the young man had enjoyed working on his little story. And to her that made it good enough to encourage him to keep writing. She'd never tell him she was RoseWhipLady of course, or that she'd written some of her own stories, but that didn't mean she wouldn't support her friend in his own literary endeavors, albeit anonymously.
She opened a new add review window and put down her sandwich to type in her own review.
That was a really cool chapter. I liked how you had Jack tailing Mrs. Hanson's husband and that he had his camcorder zoomed in on the action between his subject and his brunette companion I thought was pretty realistic. Sadly there are a lot of unfaithful spouses in the world and I'm sure Jack won't run out of potential cases to work on. Great job on this story so far RedEyesDuelist! Keep on writing, I'm really looking forward to how Mrs. Hanson reacts to seeing the video footage Jack shot of her cheating husband. From your characterizations she seems like one tough cookie though.
Mai hit the submit button and went back to her meatball sub. She surfed around a little before she shut down her laptop. Then she went out to the living room to see if there was anything worth watching on television. Thoughts of Joey ran through her mind as she wondered if he was all right tonight. She couldn't get it out of her head that Joey might be forced out of his home again and could be sleeping in the park or some other unsafe place.
'I hope you're ok Joey. No one deserves to be treated like that. I wish there was something I could to help, but at least I can follow your progress on your story. Maybe things I said last night and what I said as RoseWhipLady will offer you the comfort you need.'
She finally decided on watching a Tom Cruise action flick that was on one of the movie channels to try to get her mind off things she had no power to change. Mai laid down on the purple velvet; unable to get the image out of her mind of how peaceful Joey looked last night as he'd slept and the blonde sighed sadly as she tried to focus on the movie. It wasn't long before she gave up on the movie and flipped around the channels looking for something else. She eventually settled on one of those twenty-four hour news channels, but she still worried about her friend and felt a deep longing, almost stabbing loneliness she'd recognized in Joey.
It was after nine when Joey was finally able to go to his room and escape the drunken antics of his abusive father. He had an ice pack he kept moving around from his arms to his cheek. His father had been in a particularly foul mood and had taken his frustration out on the young teen. So far his father hadn't forced him to leave again which was good, but the heartless jerk had punched Joey twice on his left cheek for supposedly looking at him funny. And then he'd pounded on his son's upper arms like he was a punching bag he was using to get ready to face off against some pro boxer or something.
'One of these days I'm going to get away from all this. I don't know how or when exactly, but I am not going to live in fear for the rest of my life. He is the failure here, not me, no kid should have to live like this and no kid of mine ever will.'
Joey flopped down onto his bed, still holding the ice pack to his bruised cheek. He knew he'd have trouble trying to hide the evidence of his father's rage in the morning, but he'd think of something to tell anyone who asked about what happened. Most of the time people, even teachers never asked him about the bruises he had. He assumed it was because everyone knew about his history of running with some bad characters in the past. People that would make Bandit Keith look like a Boy Scout.
He didn't know whether that was a good thing or a bad thing and at this point in his life he really didn't care. Joey had no desire to go to college, his goals were more realistic. He just wanted to get a halfway decent job and get the hell out of this house and away from his father. To do that however, he knew he needed to graduate and as this was his junior year that meant he had over a whole year to get through before that could happen. He sighed bitterly and wondered why his father acted the way he did. Coming up with no answers, Joey moved the ice pack from his cheek to his left arm.
'I wish I had a real father. The man out there is such a total stranger to me. I can barely remember what it was like when things were good here. If I ever have a family I will not make his mistakes, that's for damn sure.'
He reached over and turned on his cheap stereo. Hitting play on the tape that was still in it, Joey tried to relax. It wasn't easy because he was afraid that his old man might want to beat on him some more so he made sure the volume wasn't loud enough to attract his father's attention. The sound of the television blaring in the living room offered him a shallow feeling of security because it meant that his music most likely wouldn't be noticed. But at the same time it made it that much harder to get his mind off the man out there watching it.
The stench of his father's vomit felt like it was burned into his nose and Joey tried not to think about how he'd had to get a bucket and the scrub brush to clean it up. Sometimes he felt like their roles were reversed with the exception of how his father still took care of the bills or the way he'd release his anger on Joey by hurting him either with words or fists and sometimes both like tonight. Despite all the pain his father inflicted on him, Joey felt sorry for him. It was sad that the only way he could relate to Joey was by trying to belittle him or slap him around.
'I wonder sometimes if he even realizes how loathsome he's become over the years. How he can get up and go to work every day and come home only to start this cycle over again. He's a lost soul if ever I knew one. It's him. I doubt we'll ever see eye to eye.'
Joey glanced at his backpack and thought about working on his story again. He was glad he'd start writing. It might not be something he would show to any of his friends and somehow having the anonymity of doing it under a penname made it easier for him to let loose his creative muse. He'd been pleasantly surprised to find he actually had one to unleash, unlike his father. He could not imagine him ever writing anything; the man never even read the newspaper anymore even though Joey brought one home every day and read through them himself. He was nothing like his father and hope still burned within his heart. Joey had his whole life ahead of him to find his way in the world, whereas his father's was practically done if he kept on drinking the way he was.
Since the television was still blaring and Joey was tired of thinking about his real life issues, he got up and put the ice pack down on his nightstand next to his stereo. Then he picked up his backpack and took out a folder he'd put the printed pages of what he had so far on chapter three. He also took out the notebook to have his notes to refer to, then he took out his pen and lay on his bed again on his stomach to read over what he had so far. He edited the text as best as he could using a pen, despite only have two days of work in on the story, he found he liked writing using the computer to be much easier.
Joey lost himself in his work and picked up where he'd left off after he finished editing what he'd gotten done earlier. After writing for about an hour he started to get so tired that he put his things away and turned off his stereo. The television was still blaring and he wasn't sure if his father was passed out by now or whether he was still conscious. He decided to risk going out of the sanctity of his bedroom to see if he could take a shower and get ready for bed. When there was no reaction from the living room as he tip toed down the hall he could hear the sounds of his father snoring.
'Maybe I can get ready for bed in peace. Sure sounds like he's out of it thank God. I'm glad tomorrow is Wednesday. I can't wait until Saturday when the gang and I go to the arcade. That should be a lot of fun.'
The blond entered the bathroom and quietly shut the door behind him. He got undressed and turned the shower on, then waited. After a couple minutes passed with no loud knock at the door he knew he was safe for the moment. Finally Joey Wheeler got into the shower. He let his mind drift as he washed his hair and body. The warmth of the water felt good and he imagined all the pain his father put him through oozing out from his skin and being washed away by the cascading streams of soapy water, taking it far away from him and down the drain. Something he had gotten in the habit of doing because it made him feel better.
By the time Joey got back to his room he was ready to pass out on his bed. After he got into a pair of blue pajamas his eyes were feeling very heavy and he had trouble keeping them open as he turned off the light. Climbing under the sheets he sighed contentedly and thought about the time he'd spent with Mai last night. He hoped she was all right and wasn't worrying herself too much over him. No matter what Joey would survive, he'd been through tough times and always managed to get through it mostly intact and he was certain that he'd get through this too.