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Red Eyes

A short Jounouchi-Honda missing scene from the episode in which Jounouchi duels the Rare Hunters.


Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! belongs to Kazuki Takahashi. Just borrowing!

Copious Author’s Notes: This story is based on a scene from the Japanese version of Episode 55 “Ghouls Attack: Take Aim at Red Eyes Black Dragon.” In this ep, Joey is on his way to the hospital for Serenity’s operation when he’s waylaid by the Rare Hunters, who take his Red Eyes Black Dragon from him in a set-up duel, and then beat him up in the bargain. Joey’s so distraught he runs away. The next morning, everyone goes out to look for him, and Tristan brings him back on the back of his motorcycle.

What you don’t see in the English version is the scene where Tristan finds Joey on the beach, yells at him, roughs him up, and eventually convinces him to come back to the hospital in time to get Serenity to have the operation.

Since this is based on the Japanese ep, I’m using the Japanese character names:

Joey = Jounouchi
Tristan = Honda
Serenity = Shizuka

Finally, the story!

* * *

Jounouchi stepped through the front door, heeling off his shoes, calling out, “I’m home!” There was a hopeful note in his voice, even though he knew his father wouldn’t be home at this time of day, if he even came home at all. Still, it made the house seem a little less empty to at least pretend his father might be there.

He kicked his shoes to the side, not bothering to put them away on their shelf—not something he’d do if he thought his father really might be home, but pretending could only be taken so far—and went into his room, flinging himself down onto his futon.

Jounouchi tongued the hot, tender spot on the inside of his lower lip. He had other bruises and scrapes on his face and shoulder and sides, where the Rare Hunters had beaten him, after they stole his Red Eyes Black Dragon, but he barely noticed them. They were no big deal, just another fight. And a fat lip—that should be no big deal, too. He got hit all the time. But this one, this deep hot bruise covering the left side of his mouth, he couldn’t stop thinking about, couldn’t stop worrying at. The Rare Hunters hadn’t given him this. This one was all Honda’s.

He could still see Honda’s fist rushing towards his face. See the cold fury in Honda’s eyes. Feel Honda’s knuckles connecting with his mouth and cheek, and the red hot burst of pain. Flying backwards through the air into the sand. Honda picking him up by the shirt, holding him in the air like he was nothing but a rag doll, telling him what a fuck-up he was. Jounouchi shifted on the futon, heat flooding his face, spreading in his belly. He touched his fingers to his lip, felt the heat and pulpy softness of the bruise, then laid his hand on his stomach, the flat of his palm pressing down hard, as if trying to push away something, some feeling or realization he didn’t want. He scraped his palm down his hip-bone, across his thigh. He felt hot and uncomfortable everywhere. Honda had hit him. Not like the wrestling, shoving, goofing around they always did. This had been different. This had been one pissed-off Honda punching him in the face hard enough to knock him on his ass. Hard enough to give him a swollen lip he’d have for days.

This had been Honda picking him up out of the dirt and dragging him off to the hospital, making him keep his promise to his little sister. Because after all the times he’d gone on about how much Shizuka meant to him, after going through everything he went through to make sure she could have the operation, he would have let her down if Honda hadn’t come along to knock some sense into him.

Loser, the inescapable voice whispered to him. He pressed his hands over his ears. Loser.

“I’m not a loser,” he said softly to himself. He wished he could believe it.

* * *

Some time later he heard a knock on the front door, and Honda’s voice calling out, “Hey, Jounouchi! You home?”

Jounouchi didn’t answer. He wasn’t sure he wanted to see Honda. He poked his tongue at his lip again, testing it, pressing it until it hurt.

“Jounouchi!” Honda called out again. Then Jounouchi heard the front door open, and the sound of Honda thumping around in the entryway, taking off his shoes. Looked like Honda wasn’t going to give him a choice.

Jounouchi sat up on the futon, rubbing his eyes, pulling at his tee-shirt to straighten it. He pushed his hair back and tried to stretch his mouth into a smile as Honda came into his room, but only succeeded in wincing from the pain in his swollen lip. “Honda.”

“You okay, pal?”

And that was about the dumbest thing—Jounouchi jumped up and stuck his chin out, with his fat lip front and center. “No, I’m not okay! You hit me! Really hard!”

Honda stepped back, startled. “Well, yeah, but…,” we hit each other all the time, was what Jounouchi would swear was about to come out of Honda’s mouth. The look on Jounouchi’s face stopped him. Instead, “What was I supposed to do? You wouldn’t listen to me.”

“I didn’t ask you to do anything! I can take care of myself!” Jounouchi knew as soon as he said it that he didn’t mean it.

“Oh, sure. I should have just left you there, sitting in the sand feeling sorry for yourself. Where would Shizuka-chan be now?”

“I would have gone back,” Jounouchi protested, but with considerably less heat.

Honda shook his head. “Jounouchi, we barely got back in time as it was. The surgeon wouldn’t have waited any longer.”

Jounouchi sat down again with a thwump, the anger drained out of him. “Didja have to hit me so hard?” He cringed a little at the plaintive note that had crept into his voice.

Honda stood, shifting uncomfortably. Finally, he sat down beside Jounouchi. They both stared at the floor. “Yeah, I think I did. You can be awfully hard-headed sometimes. Especially when you get it into your head that you’re not good enough. Shizuka-chan needed you, and there wasn’t time to sweet-talk you into figuring it out.”

Jounouchi chewed on that for a while. He had been pretty determined not to go to the hospital. Losing his Red Eyes Black Dragon had just made everything feel so hopeless. Loser! the voice had been screaming. What good can a dumb loser like you do for anyone? Honda had tried to tell him he was wrong, but he just hadn’t been able to hear it. The other voice had been too loud.

So if the choice was between getting clocked by Honda, or letting Shizuka down, there was no question—he’d rather be beaten to a pulp any day. “I guess.”

He felt Honda shift on the futon, then cool fingers lightly touch his sore lip. He started to flinch away, then stopped. He wrapped his arms around his chest and shivered.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you, though,” Honda said. “I mean, I did, but… hell, I don’t know what I mean.”

Jounouchi managed a crooked smile. “It’s okay. Well, not okay, but… hell, I don’t know what I mean, either.”

Honda stood up, slapping Jounouchi on the shoulder. “Come on, let’s go to the soda shop. I’m buying.”

“All right!” Jounouchi jumped up, grinned, then grimaced as his sore lip throbbed. “Ow! Don’t make me smile! It hurts! I’m going to have to stay mad at you.”

Honda laughed and feinted a slap at Jounouchi’s face, then grabbed him around the middle when he ducked away. “I won’t make you smile!” He tickled Jounouchi until he was shrieking helplessly.

Jounouchi was red-faced and panting for breath when Honda finally let him go. Giggling, sore lip forgotten, Jounouchi turned away for a moment to adjust his jeans, then pulled himself up with as much dignity as he could muster.

“Idiot. Come on, you owe me a soda.”


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