Serenity Comes Over
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 Twenty-Two: Serenity Comes Over
The days passed by until finally it was Friday. Mai picked Joey up from school and they headed out of town into Maples to pick up Serenity. Joey called her on her cell phone before they left to make sure it was still all right for them to go get her and she said it was fine. She'd be at the library and to get her there. She'd brought a second backpack with her clothes and things she needed to spend the weekend with them. It wasn't going to be easy to get through the visit with Jim, but Joey was prepared to help his sister through it however he could.
They were almost to the library; Joey had downloaded and printed up a map so they knew right where they needed to go, and Mai was smiling singing along with the song on the radio. Joey was tapping his foot holding the map and watching out for the street they needed to turn onto. When he saw it he pointed it out to Mai and she got in the right turn lane to make the upcoming right they needed that would take them to the Maples Library. After she stopped at the light, she waited for it to change before making the turn and then they were moments away from picking up Serenity.
Joey was getting excited because he hadn't seen his sister since the last time Duke and he had picked her up to stay the weekend a few weeks ago. She had had a great time and Joey had enjoyed having her so close. Mai was staying over again and she would share a room with Serenity. Joey had already asked Duke about it and Duke had been fine with the idea. Joey also knew that he had some things to get done with regard to the house. He had to have his father sign it over to him and to get cleaning up and repairing the holes in the walls, so that he could see about getting it sold. But that could wait until after Serenity left.
He had no desire to live there again and he knew that his mother wouldn't want to either. He'd already had the utilities shut off so now it was just a matter of time before the house went on the market and was presented to a new owner. He thought about that as the library came into view. Mai giggled and turned the radio off, she was practically bouncing in her seat she was so eager to see Joey's little sister again. It had been since Battle City when she'd last seen her. Mai had had a photo shoot on an island the weekend that Serenity had spent at the Black Crown with Duke and Joey, so this was bound to be a great weekend once they got over the hump of seeing their father.
"Boy you really can't wait to see her huh Mai?"
Mai nodded and turned into the library parking lot, "I am so excited, I know it's not going to be easy for her seeing your father so ill, but I'll help get her mind off it later tonight. I brought some makeup and nail polish and all kinds of things for us to play around with. I'm really looking forward to seeing her."
Mai parked the car and Joey leaned over, putting his hand on Mai's cheek before leaning over to kiss her gently on the lips as they wouldn't be showing that kind of affection in front of Serenity. It would have to last them both for a few hours, until they could sneak off for a moment to be alone. Then he got out and headed up to the library entrance just as Serenity came out. She waved and came up to Joey holding two backpacks. Joey took them from her and gave her a big hug.
"Hi Sis, you're looking good. How are you today?"
She grinned, "I'm just great big brother. Thanks for having me over like this. Mom said she'd come get me Sunday afternoon so you don't have to worry about getting me home."
"It wouldn't be a problem for Mai and I to bring you home you know. Anyway let's get going. We want to get dinner before going to see Dad if that's ok with you."
She nodded, "It's fine with me, I hope he's doing ok. I have been so worried..."
Joey hugged her again, "It's ok Sis, he's not going to beat this and we have to understand that it wasn't found in time. He's not going to be bouncing back from this and we have to accept it."
She sniffled a little and hugged him hard, "I know, it's just so sad that only now do I get to see him. Mother was really nonchalant about it all, but I was devastated by the news. I wish you'd been the one to tell me about it Joey."
Joey sighed and released her, "Me too Sis, but Mom told me she wanted to be the one to tell you so I couldn't do anything but abide by her wishes even if I didn't agree with them."
Holding her backpacks in one hand he led the way to Mai's car and upon seeing Mai she waved to her. Joey opened the passenger door and tilted the seat forward so that Serenity had room to get in the back seat and then he waited until she was in before passing her backpacks to her. It was really hot outside and Mai had the air conditioner cranked in the car so that they wouldn't be sweating so badly.
"Hi Serenity! How are you doing hun?"
"I'm doing great Mai! So good to see you again," Serenity said as she scooted towards the middle of the seat so she could be in the middle of it right behind both Joey and Mai.
"I'm glad to see you again too Serenity. What do you say we go grab a bite to eat?" Mai replied coolly.
Joey chimed in, "How about Burger World?"
Serenity bounced up and down in the back seat, "Oh that sounds great! Will any of the gang be there you think Joey?"
Joey shook his head, "I don't think so Sis, but we can still go in and have a good time and catch up with the rest of the gang later. Sound good?"
She nodded, "Sounds good to me big brother."
Mai turned the radio back on and they pulled out of the library parking lot. Soon they were back in Domino and pulling up to Burger World. They went inside and waited in line to get their order taken. After they had their food they went to a booth and sat down, Joey next to his sister and Mai sitting across from them. They chatted about the good times they'd had during the Battle City tournament as they ate and before long they were back in Mai's car heading for the Black Crown.
Around six Mai, Joey and Serenity went to the hospital. Mai waited for them in the waiting room as Joey and Serenity went to the Oncology floor where they knew their father was staying. When the elevator opened up and they were on the third floor they both got out and Serenity reached for Joey's hand, squeezing it tightly for support. Joey turned and smiled at her as they approached the room Jim was in, 343.
Joey whispered, "It's going to be a shock to see him Serenity, but we won't stay too long if you don't want to. You just let me know you're ready to go by telling Dad you want to let him get his rest ok?"
She nodded and then they rounded the corner seeing Jim in the first bed Serenity choked.
"Well hi there baby girl. Hello son. Good to see you both."
Joey nodded, "Good to see you Dad. You're looking good. I bet the food is a little better in here huh?"
"Hi Daddy, I-I missed you so much..." Serenity managed to get out.
"Come here and give your old man a hug Serenity," Jim said as he opened his arms in the hopes that she would embrace him.
Serenity hesitated only for a moment and then she came around the side of the bed and quickly pulled the bed rail down and went into his arms. She was sobbing and he held her there talking softly to her, asking her not to cry for him. Joey just stood there and held his father's gaze over the figure of his sister. He could see tears forming in the eyes of his father and it was obvious how hurt he'd been over not being able to see her all those lost years.
"It's ok honey, I'm still here. I'm sorry I wasn't able to come when you were here last time, but I thought about you every day. Not a day goes by that I don't imagine your sweet face smiling at me."
Joey smiled at Jim, "That goes for me too Sis, we both miss you when you're not here."
Jim nodded and released her hoping she'd back away, his back was aching pretty badly and he did his best to hide it, but Joey could see the sweat forming on his forehead and figured it was pain setting in. Joey then looked at the clock just as a nurse entered the room.
"Mr. Wheeler? Would you like your pain medication now or shall I come back?" asked the red head.
"No now is fine, thank you ma'am."
Serenity backed away as if Jim might break and she'd just released how hard she'd been hugging him. The nurse came around the other side of the bed and held out a paper cup with some water and a little plastic one that had several pills in it. He took them from her and tipping the plastic cup into his mouth he then downed the water quickly. Then he handed them both back to the nurse who took them and smiled as she left the room.
"Are you in a lot of pain Daddy?" Serenity asked.
He nodded, "Yes honey this dying stuff hurts a lot. I should have gone to a doctor years ago and I wouldn't be hurting like this today. But don't be like me. Make sure you go to the doctor and get check ups. Ok sweetheart?"
Joey had to admit his father was on good behavior now, maybe being here for a few days had changed him somehow. The bed next to his father's was empty and Joey wondered how long it would be before they assigned another person to this room. He glanced at the garbage can and saw dead flowers sticking up from it. It made him shiver as he thought that perhaps the previous occupant hadn't left alive and that Jim probably wouldn't leave alive either.
They stayed awhile longer before Serenity gave the signal she was ready to go by saying it was time to let him get his rest, so after another big hug, and one for Joey they left Jim there. Joey knew Serenity was shaken up pretty badly, but it was better that she start to get prepared to say goodbye to their father because there was nothing that could save him short of a miracle and they'd already had one miracle in the family by Serenity's eyesight being saved.
After thanking the nurses they headed to the elevator and back to the waiting room where Mai was sitting reading a magazine. She got up as soon as she saw them and Serenity asked her if she'd mind taking her to the bathroom before they left. Mai looked at Joey and smiled before telling Serenity it was over towards the snack bar, then she led the way. Joey followed them over to the bathrooms and went into the men's room while they went into the ladies room. He hated that his sister was in shock but he knew she was.
'At least Mai is in there with her, I am going to go sit down and wait for them.' Joey thought as he washed his hands in the men's room.
He then went and pulled out some paper towels and dried his hands before pitching the crumpled paper into the trashcan. Joey sighed as he pushed the door open and went to a nearby chair to sit and wait for Mai and his sister to return. It was about ten minutes later before they appeared, Serenity looked sad still, but she looked like she felt better then when they'd left their father's room. Mai had her arm around the young girl's shoulders and she was smiling at Joey. They came over and Joey stood up.
"Are you ok Serenity?" he asked feeling stupid for asking.
"Yeah, I'll be fine big brother, let's go to your place."
Joey wasn't sure she would be fine though and he knew that he was having trouble with the idea of their father dying, but for Serenity it was like she got him back only to have him taken away again. It was almost too much to bear thought Joey as he held Mai's hand as they walked next to his little sister. She seemed to be dragging her feet and Mai looked over at her more then once with a sympathetic expression. He gathered that she had a lot planned for them both and he hoped that being with Mai might cheer Serenity up.
They got to her car and then all got in. After they got back to the Black Crown, Duke came up to Serenity to get a hug and to express his condolences about Jim's grim situation. She thanked him for his concern and for letting her stay over again. He winked and said it was no trouble at all, then he took her two backpacks and looked at Joey who was carrying a huge overnight bag Mai had packed, slung over his shoulder. Duke then led the way to the elevator and they all got inside as it lifted them up to the second floor.
"So did you get something to eat already?" asked Duke.
Joey nodded, "Yeah we went by Burger World awhile ago, but I could eat again. What about you two ladies?"
Serenity shook her head as did Mai, "No I think that Serenity and I have some girl stuff we could be doing so why don't you boys get a pizza or whatever you want. We'll be fine."
Serenity agreed and smiled, "Yeah I don't need anything either, but I sure do want to have you put some makeup on me Mai."
Mai giggled, "You will look gorgeous my darling. You'll see, I got some cool photographs taken of me earlier this week and I got one signed with your name on it Serenity. That and I want to take some pictures of us later after we get all dolled up."
Joey grinned, "You just let me know when Mai and I will gladly take them."
The elevator opened and they got out, going to the empty guestroom next to Joey's room, and both he and Duke put down the bags they carried onto the bed. Mai said she'd take it over from there and then Duke and Joey left them alone. As soon as the door was closed she giggled and Serenity did too. Mai was just what Serenity needed to get her mind off of her troubles. She and Mai were locked in the guestroom for hours before they finally came out. Mai had put a really sexy halter top on Serenity with a short miniskirt that made Joey squeamish just thinking of what their mother would say if she ever saw her wearing those clothes.
He couldn't voice how he felt though, not directly.
"Wow Sis, you look...really pretty. Jeez Mai you went all out with this. I think though she ought to change into her old clothes for the pictures, you know?"
Serenity blushed, "I know, I just wanted to show you. Duke isn't up here is he?"
Thankfully he wasn't, he would have lost it seeing her dressed like that.
"No, he's downstairs, but you know Serenity he's too old for you."
She rolled her perfectly made up eyes and flipped her curled hair at him, "Of course that is why I am glad he's not up here right now. I wouldn't want to lead him on or something you know. There is a boy at school in my class I like anyway. Well excuse me while I get changed into my old /clothes/."
Joey choked, "Hey Sis I meant that..."
"Can it Joey she knows what you meant, she even said your mother would freak out if she ever saw pictures of her looking like that so don't have a cow over it. She's a good kid Joey, now get the camera ready, I just wanted to show you what she might be dressing like in a few years, whether your mother likes it or not."
Mai was right and Joey knew it. But still he wanted her to remain innocent for as long as humanly possible, he hated to think of what their father would think of seeing her looking like that and he took the camera from Mai's hand as she held it out to him. Then he winked and she blew him a kiss before going back into the guestroom. After five minutes they appeared again, Mai was still wearing her trademark white halter top, and purple vest with a dark purple miniskirt and white boots. Joey grinned as he set up to take their photograph.
"Ok on three...One, two, three cheese!"
They both smiled at the camera and Joey snapped off two shots in quick succession. Then they changed position so that Serenity was on the other side with her arm around Mai's waist and then Joey took another shot. Mai came up to him and told Serenity to stand there with Joey because she wanted to get one of the both of them together.
"Ok Mai," she said as she waited for Joey to come over.
He came to stand next to her and she snuggled up to him as he put his arm around her shoulders, holding her there warmly.
"You really look great Serenity. I can't believe how much you've grown just since I saw you last," Joey whispered.
She pinched his side, not enough to hurt but enough to tickle him, "It's the makeup big brother, sheesh!"
Then Mai snapped a couple shots of them before pulling the camera from her face, "Now let me change and I want a couple with me and you Joey, ok?"
Joey swallowed hard at the lump in his throat getting a sinking feeling that she was about to come out looking extremely sexy and he'd be unable to even kiss her. She went into the guestroom as Joey began to sweat. Serenity laughed and tickled Joey some more. He told her it wasn't funny anymore and he felt a wave of anxiety hitting him and hitting him hard. Serenity looked at him and laughed.
"If you could see your face right now Joey! It's hysterical! You are so worried, it's just a dress, you'll like it."
Joey swallowed hard again and choked as the door opened and out came Mai wearing a lovely black strapless dress. He blinked stupidly for a few seconds before opening his mouth to speak but no words came out as Mai came up to him, handed Serenity the camera and posed next to him. Needless to say the first shot was with his shocked expression and then Serenity gave him a moment to compose himself before taking another one. This time he was smiling happily.
"You gals, I swear, that is an unbelievable dress. Thanks for giving me a minute to get a smile on my face and don't even think of taking one home of me and Mai like that, it would give Mom another thing to hold against me."
Mai frowned, "What is that supposed to mean?"
Joey rolled his eyes, "I mean that she'd hold it against me that I have a gorgeous girlfriend who graces covers of fashion magazines. She's not the milk and cookies type Mai. I know you haven't met her and I'd like to keep it that way, my mom and I don't see eye to eye on most things."
Mai's frown grew dimmer, "Oh I see. I'm sorry Joey, I was thinking you were ashamed of me again."
Joey kissed her cheek, "Mai you don't ever have to be worried about that. Now Mom? She is someone I am ashamed of, but /you/, never!"
"Yeah, my mom is rather overprotective over me. You know, I think she was listening in on our conversation the other night big brother."
"Oh, yeah, well Sis, she was. I heard two clicks before I hung up. You hanging up and then her. I'm sorry I'm not trying to drive a wedge between you and her, it's just that I am pretty upset with her for doing that," Joey said sadly.
Serenity nodded, "I know. It's not you doing it though Joey. I am still mad at her about Dad. Now more then ever."
Mai left the room quietly to go change back into her other clothes as Joey moved to hold his sister as she started crying. He rubbed her back and told her it would be all right. But he didn't know that it would. Their mom sure had screwed up when it came to Serenity. She should have let their father see her at least when she was in town, it would have made a big difference in all of their lives, Joey believed that with all his heart.
"Serenity, I know you love Dad, he knows you love him and I can tell you he never stopped loving you, but Mom wouldn't let him see you when you were here in the hospital. He wanted to so badly, she wouldn't even let his calls go through. I'm sorry about all that but it's on her shoulders for keeping him away from you."
Serenity sobbed, "I know and I am trying not to hate her for it...But I really hate how she thinks he is such a bad guy, he's not really that bad, is he big brother?"
Joey was put on the spot and he knew it.
"Well Dad is an alcoholic Serenity, that means he sometimes does bad things and makes bad choices, but sometimes good people can do bad things even if they don't mean to. Understand? Like Mom...She thought she was protecting you but she ended up hurting you. Don't hold it against her that she acted out of love, just be honest with her and tell her how you feel. She'll listen if she's reasonable. If she's not then you just wait until you're old enough to get on your own and you can come live with your big brother."
That made her smile and Joey grinned down at her, "There we go, that's the smile I want to see. Don't sweat it Sis, you and I are bonded forever no matter what. I'll always be there for you and I know you're here for me."
She nodded, "Thanks Joey, you always know just what to say to make me feel better. I don't think I am going to talk to her about this though. I am too upset about it to be able to express myself without getting angry, so maybe someday I can."
"Good, you see you know yourself pretty good Serenity. I'd trust your judgement any day."
She grinned proudly and Mai took that moment to come out from behind the cracked open door.
"Well I don't know about you guys, but I feel like some pizza. Did you manage to save any for us girls Joey?"
He nodded and put his arm around her shoulders, keeping the one he had around Serenity's so that he was between his two favorite girls in the world and he led them to the kitchen. It wasn't easy talking to his sister the way he had, but he believed that he'd done the right thing by keeping the abuse a secret. It was enough that he had told their mom about it so that it would weigh on her conscious that she'd made some bad choices herself that resulted in suffering for her son.
Joey pulled out the remaining half of the pizza and put it into the oven to reheat. Then he went to the refrigerator and asked if they wanted sodas. Mai and Serenity both nodded so he got them set up and then joined them with a can for himself at the table as they sat waiting on the pizza. He suggested going to the living room and led the way in there. Handing Mai the remote he went back to the kitchen to check on the pizza. It was close to warm so he sat there and waited on it. About five minutes passed and he was sure it was ready to he turned off the oven and pulled out the pizza onto two plates.
Bringing them into the living room he passed one to Mai and one to his little sister. They smiled and he went back to get his soda and then he came to sit back down between them. He laughed at the comedy show that was on, doing a parody of a sitcom he hated. After the skit ended he waited to see if Mai was going to channel surf at all and when she didn't he asked if he could and she nodded. He put on one of the music video channels and sat there as a hard rocking band he liked was playing in a live concert.
After the girls finished eating Mai leaned over and kissed his cheek, whispering her thanks for the pizza and told him he was a great big brother for what he'd done and said. Then she and Serenity went back into the guestroom to do their nails. Joey stretched out and enjoyed the concert. An hour later Duke appeared and asked if they had eaten the rest of the pizza which Joey said they had. Duke laughed and asked him if he was hungry.
"Are you kidding? Sure, you thinking what I'm thinking man?"
"Chinese Wall take out? If so then yes I am!"
Joey laughed, "Then you order it and I will go get it. Sound good? But better get enough so that they have something to come out and snack on later, like a family sized order of veggie fried rice to go with a family sized sweet and sour chicken. I know the gals like chicken so your pork is safe."
Duke chuckled, "If Serenity wanted some I'd gladly give her some. Same for Mai, but I know you're right I remember from last time she didn't like it. Ok I am gonna go call right now so ten minutes and then you should head out to get it."
"Ten four good buddy," Joey replied with a salute.
Duke laughed and headed to the kitchen to make the call. It had been a real roller coaster of a night, but at least it was ending on an up note. That was something Joey could live with. He figured they'd go see their dad again Sunday before Serenity had to go. And Joey was confident that the visit would go as well as the one tonight had. He was grateful Mai had been around to help cheer Serenity up. He could hear them laughing in the other room as he turned off the television. Joey got up and went to the kitchen where Duke was just hanging up the phone.
"Ten minutes and it will be ready. They already know me by name and order now since we seem to always get the sweet and sour chicken and pork they knew the veggie fried rice was the next thing I was gonna order."
"No wonder, we eat there enough. But heck I love their food. And the fortune cookies have yet to let me down."
"Me either Joey," Duke agreed.
The two teens sat there watching the clock until it was time for Joey to head down to get their food. The Chinese Wall was just around the corner so it was easy walking distance. He headed downstairs with a twenty from Duke to cover their order like he did several times a week. Truth be told it was like every other night that they ate from this restaurant and they both were fine with that. It wasn't like there was anyone there at the Black Crown who could cook and Duke was too proud to just hire a cook, so every other night they either had pizza or had adventures in cooking together. Either way it was never boring there with Duke and Joey was grateful to have such a good friend.