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So, this story is basically the brain child of re-watching the YGO series and an unhealthy use of the tvtropes story generator. This one is going to be a doozy (if I manage to stay focused long enough) so please bear with me. Also, please excuse my choice of names. I just went with what sounded right to me as I went, so there will be a mix of Japanese and English names used. Sorry if that confuses anyone. -_-;
Reviews appreciated, they keep me motivated! I'm gonna try and have at least the next two chapters done before posting again, so be ready for unpredictable updates! :P
This is a crossover b/n YGO Duel Monsters, GX and 5D's; if all goes well, there will most likely be some kind of sequel including Zexal and Arc V. So support this one if you want that one. ;)
Ships include Star, Puppy, Scoop and possibly Puzzle, maybe others as well. Definitely slow build. No promises on any, really, besides the first for that is the focus. If you don't see your ship, please give this a chance anyway! I promise most, if not the majority, of characters from all three series will find their way in here somehow.
I promise not to do any large a/n's after this, as well. So on with the fic!
(do not own; what a shame)
"Ten years ago, almost to the day, Domino City was devastated by the first invasion of what are now known as Duel Monsters during The Attack. Domino was left in ruins and only the sacrifice of a handful of duelists prevented the complete destruction of mankind.
From the ashes, Neo Domino City was born. Two years of struggle and hardship later saw the construction of the Wall and the creation of the new government branch dedicated to using the power of Duel Monsters to protect and defend what was left of the human race.
Prime Minister Chalmers, the founder of the Arcadia Department now fondly referred to as the Hero Division, saw to it that Neo Domino City became the shining beacon of hope and strength that it is today. Although faced with initial resistance from citizens who feared using Duel Monsters as weapons, the Department's success is undeniable as the first and last line of defense against attacking monsters from both outside and inside the city's walls.
It's been eight years since their debut and Hero-mania continues to grip the city. Our Hero Department has improved public opinion of Duel Monster Spirits and won over the people's hearts citywide. But most notable is Neo Domino's youngest Hero, Flame Wingman.
First appearing only a year after the Department's initiation, Flame Wingman's efforts and chivalry have cleaned up the streets and prevented public and personal damage on a grand scale. His actions have seen to the creation of new opportunities for spirit and human cooperation.
What were once deadly monsters terrorizing the populace, have now become pets, protectors, and tools for the advancement for the people of Neo Domino City.
Yet despite recent acclaim, some citizens still view Duel Monsters as a threat to security. Sartorius, leader of the anti-monster organization The Society of Light, was quoted in a recent interview saying that "Duel monsters are nothing but dark shadows of our own ineptitude. For this city to fully reclaim its former glory, we must cast off these demons and step into the light."
In the same interview Sartorius denounced Director Divine of the Arcadia Department for implementing the so called 'dark shadows' as tools for capture, instead of the destruction of Duel Monsters. In response to this, both Director Divine and Prime Minister Sheppard have arranged for a special Q&A interview to take place this afternoon outside of City Hall.
Rumor has it that in an attempt to counter the Society's platform, Flame Wingman himself will be present at this very special conference. This will be the first time in three years that the Hero will be available for questioning. Many believe…"
Jaden dodged in between pedestrians and traffic alike as he raced through the crowded streets of Neo Domino, occasionally jumping over the odd bench or fire hydrant. He just had to oversleep; today of all days!
"Come on, come on!" Jaden jogged in place at an intersection waiting for the lights to change.
The Channel 7 News had been broadcasting the same program all morning. The speakers mounted on the traffic lights usually used for city emergencies had started to broadcast the news as well. Apparently hijacking every TV station wasn't good enough for this 'historical event'.
"Won't be much of an interview if I never get there!" The lights changed to yellow and Jaden rushed out into the street, a few cars honking in annoyance as they stopped for the teenager suddenly in their windshields.
"Sorry sorry sorry!" 'Late! Why am I always late?!'
The broadcast was nothing but white noise to the people on the street. To Jaden, it was a countdown before he got in real trouble. Yet another night of video games and sugar had led to a 5:00 A.M. crash and a missed alarm.
Jaden's hand drifted to his deck in the pouch attached to his belt for easy access. Maybe just this once it would be okay… Jaden rounded a corner at a full sprint as a flock of high school girls appeared out of nowhere. The girls squealed, shouting something about a pervert, and leaving Jaden with a large red hand print across the face.
"…from every news station, paper and blog have gathered in anticipation for the famed Hero to appear. Prime Minister Sheppard, and the current Head of Arcadia, Director Divine, have already arrived and have refused to take any questions until Flame Wingman arrives. Some bystanders have been making bets on how they think the charismatic Wingman will make his grand entrance. Excuse me, sir, how do you…"
'Great, they've switched to live.' Jaden groaned. He was definitely going to get an earful later.
A short gray building came into view; a small cinderblock among shining towers. Hardly even worth mentioning when compared to the buildings surrounding it, unless it was to make a point of how much it didn't fit in. No one even glanced in its direction. Just what he needed.
Dodging down the alley along the side of the building, Jaden shouldered open the strangely polished steel door, letting it slam behind him. 'Latelatelate' whirled through Jaden's head as he raced across the empty room to the stairs. He finally took a chance to breathe as he burst out onto the roof. He skidded on the loose gravel, panting.
"Alright, almost there!" Jaden flicked open his duel pouch, drawing two cards.
"I fuse Elemental Hero Avion with Elemental Hero Burstinitrix!" The cards flashed in the midday sun before being slapped against Jaden's bare arm.
"I summon Elemental Hero Flame Wingman!" With that, the cards melted into the boy's arm. A gentle glow enveloped Jaden as he took a running leap off the roof.
The glow grew into a full-on blinding light. If there was actually anyone looking at the shabby building they would have gasped in fear for the boy falling to his death. Not two seconds later they would have screamed as the boy disappeared in a ball of light to be replaced with a huge, green, black, and red Duel Monster Spirit.
Jaden chuckled to himself at the thought. His large wing beat the air as Jaden-now Flame Wingman-made his way towards the Hub. In his haste he had forgotten to find out where the interview was actually taking place. Oh well, I'm sure it's somewhere around all those government buildings…
"Welcome everyone! Thank you for joining us today. I know there are more important places we all need to get to today. I for one have a nice BLT and a stack of invoices waiting for me at the office."
There was a smattering of chuckles from the crowd of reporters gathered around the stage.
"So I'd like to thank you all again for your patience." Prime Minister Shepphard stood at the podium, miscellaneous microphones almost blocking his view of the crowd. He cleared his throat and straightened out his burgundy suit anxiously. He glanced back at a man in a dark trench coat sitting in one of the chairs behind him. Divine looked to be just as anxious as Shepphard, maybe a little angry as well.
Divine frowned and shook his head slightly. The Prime Minister sighed before turning back to the crowd of rabid reporters. A few had pushed their way past Security to the foot of the small stage. It had been almost an hour since they had gotten really impatient; not bad timing considering the Q&A was supposed to start twenty minutes before that. Prime Minister Shepphard estimated they had about…five minutes before they started swarming.
"I'd also like to ask for just a little bit more." Boos and hisses were heard at the request.
"I'm sure that my Hero, and yours, wouldn't keep us waiting this long if it weren't truly important." Instead of calming them, the reassurance had started the questioning earlier than planned.
"What could possibly be keeping him!?"
"Is the city under attack?!"
"Is it true that Flame Wingman is shooting for the upcoming Neo Domino Documentary? Is that why he's late?!"
The crowd was working itself into a fervor. Even the everyday citizens gathered to catch a glimpse of the legendary hero were starting to get violent.
To his relief, Divine chose that moment to rise from his seat and address the masses.
"As it seems that our guest of honor is going to be delayed a little while longer, what say we get this show on the road?" The Director's voice carried over the shouted questions even without the help of the microphones.
Prime Minister Shepphard lightly dabbed his sweaty forehead with a handkerchief. I'm really not cut out for these kinds of things. Shepphard took Divine's empty seat and thought wistfully of his quiet office and imagined he was there, biting into a tasty BLT. He'd let Director Divine take care of the rest.
"As many of you have already heard, Sartorius would like you to believe that nothing good can come of Duel Monster spirits." Already the charismatic man had quieted the reporters. "Today we would like to remind everyone of the wonderful things that have already been achieved by the strength of the people of Neo Domino City via these 'dark creatures'."
"I would like to remind everyone of how far we have come as a city. Not ten years ago we were all thrown into chaos. Duel Monsters clouded the skies, wreaking destruction everywhere their shadows touched." Divine emphasized his speech with dynamic hand movements. "This is true. What is also true, is that these same monsters were what saved our people."
Everyone was enthralled with the story, including the government officials still sitting on the stage behind him. They all knew this interview was just a stunt to keep the people's confidence in their government, but they just couldn't help getting caught up in his words. Divine's passion was contagious.
"Citizens just like you and I harnessed the power of the Duel Monsters and protected us all. Two long years later and we have emerged stronger than ever thanks to the Arcadia Department!" Divine pumped his fist in the air, and the crowd pumped their fists as well, shouting their approval.
"And even stronger yet, thanks to our most beloved idol and hero!" Something in Divine's voice changed, signaling something big.
"Neo Domino City's number one protector between the people and danger!" Reporters frantically signaled for their cameramen to get ready, the regular audience members starting to cheer in anticipation. Divine jabbed his finger straight in the air, his eyes piercing.
"FLAME WINGMAN!" Right on cue, the Hero swept in from above the city line to fly just above the crowd's heads. The cheers were deafening, people jumping with their hands in the air trying to touch the Hero.
Jaden, as Flame Wingman, did a few laps around the square before landing on the small stage next to the red-headed man. Jaden tried his best to appear tall and powerful, puffing out his chest and flexing his wing a little. It seemed to do the trick as hundreds of cameras flashed in his direction.
Here we go. Jaden took a deep breath and readied himself for questions. Usually he was pretty fantastic at talking to the press; especially after accomplishing some 'daring do'. But this was the first time he would be doing it in front of so many people and when there was such a stigma about Duel Monsters lately.
"I believe we are ready for your questions now." The reporters gathered at the base of the stage practically fell over themselves trying to ask their questions first.
"One at a time, of course." Divine crossed his arms behind his back looking entirely too pleased with himself at their reaction.
A blonde woman elbowed her way to the front, hardly waiting to be acknowledged before launching into a question.
"Angela Raines! Channel 7 News! Can I get an official statement about the current rise in Duel Monster attacks? What is the government planning to do about this rise?" Angela thrust her microphone at Divine who simply stepped in front of the podium. The reporter was slightly miffed at the dismissal.
"Of course Ms. Raines. A pleasure to see you again as always. Prime Minister Shepphard and I have been working hard for the improvement of security around the city. In cooperation with the Kaiba Corporation, the N.D.C. Wall is nearly complete, marking the end of an eight year project in public defense. As for the attacks within the city's walls, Director of Defense Rex Goodwin and I have been working tirelessly to increase the ranks of both the city Security and Arcadia Department." A flurry of anxious whispers swept the crowd at the mention of more members on the Hero roster.
Jaden glanced at Divine, slightly surprised as well. I haven't heard anything about new guys. Hmm…I wonder if Jim and Aki know… Looking around at the gathered news cameras Jaden supposed they would know now.
"Next question?" Jaden snapped out of his imaginations of new heroes to face the crowd again. Another reporter jumped in before Angela could get another question out.
"Is it possible that the Hero Department is growing because Flame Wingman can't keep up with current demands? We all saw today how late he can be. Is this a sign that these so called heroes can't handle their responsibilities anymore?" The man smirked. Obviously thinking he had them on the ropes. Jaden bristled.
What?! Oh come on! I've never been late when it really counted! Jaden was about to step forward and defend himself but Divine was too fast.
"I'm sure you'll all find that all of our Heroes are up to the task and that they always have been. Our success rate has also been on the rise, to quote your own numbers put out just last week Mr. Brown." Said reporter withdrew from the front lines, properly chastened. Divine smirked, gesturing for the next question.
"Flame Wingman! Is it true that you've only been available for basic public appearances? The last time we saw you in action you were kissing babies at the N.D.C. Central Hospital!" A third reporter addressed Jaden directly. He felt a thrill trill down his back, his wing fluttering slightly behind him.
Finally! I get to answer a question this time! Although, Jaden did feel a little reluctant to actually answer. While it was true that Flame Wingman had been doing a lot of public service visits to hospitals and firehouses, it's not like he wanted to. To be honest, Jaden really missed fighting in the streets. There was something…personal about defending the people in the nit and grit of the city.
But this is my job too. I gotta do my best for everybody! Jaden took a breath to answer the question when Divine jumped in once again.
"We can hardly help it if everyone is clamoring for a little bit of our favorite hero's attention." Divine spread his hands in a 'what can you do' gesture, the crowd laughing at his helpless expression.
Jaden was incredulous. What the hell? Aren't I gonna answer anything? Jaden let his shoulders drop, feeling the large wing on his back do the same. He crossed his arms and allowed himself to relax. This is gonna be a looooong interview. Maybe on the way back I can swing by for some fried shrimp or something to make up for the wasted trip downtown…
Just when Jaden had decided to simply stand there and zone out, he noticed a thin girl with long dark hair and giant glasses struggle to make her way to the front. She seemed to get stuck right before her goal when a smaller kid with even more dark hair gave a giant shove, catapulting her into the air only to land on the Channel 7 reporter.
"Argh!" Both women shouted in pain and surprise. The boy who had given the girl the push just shook his head, obviously embarrassed. Are they brother and sister? They at least dress like it. If they were the same age they could be twins.
The boy in the striped blue and white t-shirt and tan vest helped the girl up, who was sporting the same outfit. If they hadn't planned that as siblings, then at least everyone knew they were team reporters. Especially when they whipped out a large camera and tape recorder respectively.
"U-um! Excuse me! Mr. Wingman! Carly Nagisa with the Daily Neos Newspaper! Would you like to comment on what it's like to be a Duel Monster Hero working with humans?" Carly held up her recorder as far as she could, the little kid snapping pictures as she did. Jaden smirked to himself.
Man, she's one determined chick. Maybe this time I can get a word in without the boss cutting me off. Not only was he impressed with her making her way to the front, but also taking out the number one newswoman and completely derailing the line of interrogating questioning the reporters had started. The Society's increasing influence around the city was like chum in the political waters; the people could smell blood.
Better make this quick!
Flame Wingman took three quick steps and kneeled down in front of the reporter, in front of Carly, trying not to look too intimidating for the pictures the kid was frantically snapping. At least this'll make one hell of a front page. Jaden smirked to himself.
Carly meeped, taking a step back but managing to keep her recorder extended towards the Hero.
"That's a wonderful question." Jaden tried to sound as put-together as Divine did when he talked to the press. Not that it really mattered. He didn't need to grab their undivided attention with pretty words like Divine did. Everyone was already focused on Flame Wingman, regardless of what he actually said or did.
"Being a Hero is easy because I know everyone'll have my back, and I've got theirs. Hero work is all about working together, humans and spirits, to make sure everyone is safe." Carly stepped closer, clutching her recorder tightly and nodding her head vigorously. It was a once in a lifetime chance to have the Flame Wingman talk to her. This day could only get better if she scored a scoop on 'the King' as well.
So far, so good. Jaden resisted the urge to look back at Divine to see if he approved of his answer. Maybe Divine was only trying to protect him from screwing up the interview, but at the same time, Jaden couldn't help but want to prove himself.
"It doesn't matter whether my partners are human or not. Everyone in the Hero Department works together to protect this city."
The crowd was silent as Jaden straightened and returned to his spot beside the podium, signaling the end of his answer. A smattering of applause started somewhere in the crowd behind the reporters before growing in strength. Cheers for Flame Wingman echoed around the square. Jaden couldn't help the satisfied smile that found its way onto his face…
"Then can you explain why all of these so called 'humans' use Pro-Dueling and duel spirit powers? They can hardly be true representatives of the human race."
Only for the smile to be replaced with a grimace. What is it with these reporters!? Are they trying to make me look bad?
It was true. Both Jim and Aki, the only other Heroes in the department, used duel monster cards to defend against rogue duel spirits. While most people in New Domino City couldn't see the spirits, occasionally someone would come along that could. Pro-Duelers were an even rarer breed that could see, touch and sometimes even use duel monster cards in real life.
Most of the Pros who had fought during the Attack no longer used their gifts to fight duel monsters and the younger generation of gifted kids had since started dueling for fun in the stadium. Aki and Jim were the last two Duelers still part of the Dept.
Jaden felt disgusted on their behalf. Just because they used skills that others didn't have, that didn't mean they weren't human. Jaden glanced down at himself. Me on the other hand…
"We understand your concerns and have already taken steps to correct this unfortunate…circumstance." The reporter's question had put an end to the cheering and Divine's added response had brought back the anxious silence. The revelation of the new Heroes seemed to be what Divine had really been planning for this interview. He hadn't even introduced them yet and already Divine looked like the cat that got the canary.
"As I mentioned earlier, the Hero Department will be adding two new members to its ranks. Due to current public opinion, our new Heroes are not gifted like our more seasoned Heroes. They are, however, in possession of enough duel energy to be able to see any Duel Monster threats that may arise, making them suitable additions to Arcadia." Jaden quirked a brow. He was completely out of the spotlight now.
As excited as he was to be part of a public conference, Jaden was just as curious as the rest of the crowd to meet the new guys. Jim and Aki had been the only dependable Heroes for three years until Divine okayed Jaden for duty.
Huh. Maybe three is the magic number…
"As I've said, Director Goodwin and I have been working towards a safer tomorrow for our shining city. As such, the good Director has chosen two new members for the Arcadia Department from the top class of the Public Security Bureau's many boot camps."
As if they had heard some hidden cue, two teens stood from their seats on the platform to stand on Divine's other side. Jaden had been so concerned with getting to the conference on time, and then focusing on trying not to act like a fool, he hadn't even noticed the two young men among the old dudes in suits.
Divine gestured to the dark skinned guy standing at attention on his right. His entire outfit screamed military, right down to his combat boots. The only thing that didn't seem regulation was his hair which went down to his shoulders and was held back with some kind of silver hair clips. The guy was buff; like really buff. He probably only had to flex and his sleeves would just rip right off.
That would explain the vest jacket. Jaden tried not to laugh at the thought of the dude trying on shirts at the mall and getting frustrated at the 'you rip it you bought it' rules.
"Allow me to introduce Axel O'Brien. He graduated top of his class near the outskirts of the Wall. He is the first to come from the Eastern Satellite Training Camp. Mr. O'Brien has dedicated his life to protecting our city and has demonstrated great tenacity and determination. As well as being in the top of his class, Mr. O'Brien has also earned top marks with his survival techniques and marksmanship."
The guy's facial expression didn't change at all despite the praise he was receiving. He just kept his gaze focused out towards the crowd with a slight frown on his face. Jaden watched him closely and noted that his eyes were shifting rapidly back and forth.
Is he…? Is he scanning the crowd for some kind of attack right now?! Jaden tried not to sigh. He's gonna be a joy to work with.
"I would also like to introduce Kenzan Tyranno." Divine gestured to the boy on the other side of Axel. Much like the first, he also stood at attention and wore combat boots and military gear. Yet his clothes were a dull orange and his shirt really did look like he had flexed the sleeves off, although he wasn't as built as the other guy. An orange headband with some kind of face on it kept his dreads in check.
"Mr. Tyranno has also just graduated from a Public Security Training Camp. From right here in the Hub, as a matter of fact." Divine walked around the still stoic Axel to clap a gloved hand on Kenzan's shoulder. The kid jumped in surprise. Jaden could tell the guy was much more nervous than his counterpart.
"While Mr. O'Brien has the lion's share of experience, Mr. Tyranno here has shown an incredible passion and dedication in all his courses. His strength and determination more than make up for his…youth." Divine's smile looked like it would be more at home on a shark.
Divine was practically oozing smugness and pride over them. Jaden felt a chill of unease slide down his spine.
"I see a bright new future for our new Heroes. And a bright new future for all of Neo Domino City!" At the statement camera flashes and shouts from the reporters washed over the group assembled on the stage. The crowds of citizens were going nuts behind them.
Jaden thought about how the Society of Light would take the news. He pushed down the feeling of being old news and smirked.
Maybe now they'll stop their belly aching.
"Are you saying these kids are supposed to protect us?!"
"More Heroes, more collateral damage! Down with Arcadia!"
"Does this mean that with new Heroes the Public Security Tax will go up?!" The crowd shouted in outrage.
"What good will they do against monsters without any powers?!"
While most of the people gathered seemed pretty ecstatic for more Heroes, there seemed to be a few bad apples among them trying to instigate a fight. The line of questioning the reporters had started didn't help matters. The Public Security officers standing at the front of the platform jumped into action trying to settle the wave of angry citizens who had started pushing forward.
The stuff shirt officials started getting antsy too; apparently no one had expected a riot to start at a high profile, very hot topic issue, press conference. At least the new guys seemed to be taking the turn well.
Jaden sighed, exasperated, and waited for Divine to give his orders. Said Director stepped back from the edge of the platform and nodded to the Minister who then started ushering the other officials down the back of the stage. The Public Security Officers escorted them to their respective vehicles. Director Goodwin stayed behind to oversee his officers as they went on crowd control.
Divine lead the new recruits to a nondescript black van. He turned back to Jaden, pointing to the sky, before getting in himself and driving away. Jaden was shocked.
He wants me to just up-up-and-away? At a time like this?!
With the apparent 'escape' of the government officials, the reporters had whipped themselves into a frenzy, shouting accusations at the retreating vehicles and then at Flame Wingman, who was still standing on the platform. Jaden growled in frustration. He couldn't just leave things like this!
He glanced around at the Security officers expertly corralling any trouble makers away from frightened citizens under the steady eye of Director Goodwin. With a sigh, Jaden vaulted into the sky once again.
Public Security had everything under control. Flame Wingman would just make things worse. Helplessness joined the frustration roiling around in the pit of his stomach. Jaden coasted around the square one last time before shooting off over the surrounding buildings.
So far, this day sucks.
Jaden sat cross legged, on top of the tallest building he could find, definitely not sulking.
Three years! Three years he had been working to protect his city and they all thought he was a joke! Kissing babies and posing for pictures; is that really all they thought of him anymore? Didn't they remember all those times he had saved people from rampaging Duel Monster spirits? All the times he had prevented fires from spreading or buildings from crushing people?
None of them really wanted to know more about him or his views on anything; they just wanted to use him as their scapegoat to make the government look bad. The reporters weren't so much as giving Divine a chance to defend Duel Monsters, they were just trying to pin him for not doing his job. Trying to blame Jaden for not doing his job.
Jaden sighed. Even Divine seemed to take him for granted lately. He hated to admit it, but the missions he had been given lately were very photo-opportunistic. It was as if Divine was just trying to keep Jaden from making a fool of himself. Just like at the press conference, it felt like the Director didn't trust Jaden at all.
He might not have been the first Hero in the Dept., but he was the youngest. Even though he had the most experience with his powers, being the youngest on the team had its pitfalls. Jaden winced just thinking of all the property damage he had caused over the years; intentionally or not.
Maybe those reporters had a point…
Pulling out his deck, Jaden's heart grew heavy. It had been years since he had transformed into anyone else besides Flame Wingman. Admittedly, he was Jaden's strongest monster. At the same time, Jaden hadn't had much time to really figure out everything he could do with his deck. He was sure there was nothing he couldn't accomplish with his Elemental Heroes.
He wasn't positive, but Jaden thought that maybe Divine kept assigning Flame Wingman simply because the duel monster was so recognizable. Easier to make posters and stuff that way. Jaden couldn't remember when it was decided to make Flame Wingman an 'idol' but now he was definitely stuck like that.
"Man! This sucks!"
Jaden threw his arms up in frustration. He flopped back and stared up at the sky. The gravel covering the rooftop was rough against his back, his t-shirt and hoodie combo doing little to protect his back and bare arms. Jaden let the sounds of the traffic below wash over him and started to relax.
"I guess I'll just have to show them myself!" Jaden jumped to his feet and rushed to the edge of the building, planting a foot on the ledge.
"I'll show everyone how awesome Duel Monster spirits are even if I have to do it one person at a time!" He thrust a fist out over the ledge.
"Just you watch, Divine! I promise to make you proud!" Jaden smirked. I bet I look so awesome like this! The wind ruffled his hair and hoodie in a dramatic way, as if to make the hero look more…heroic.
"All I gotta do is Hero up and….and…" Jaden sighed.
"Aah, I forgot. I can't use Flame Wingman without Divine's permission. Man!" Jaden ran his hands through his hair in frustration. Because Flame Wingman was so popular, anytime he went Hero he got swarmed by fans. No way was he gonna get any hero work done with that kind of crowd hanging around. Not to mention the kind of trouble he would be in for any kind of 'unauthorized action'.
So close! There has to be a way to…Wait! This is perfect!
Jaden whipped out his deck and fanned out the cards. His elemental heroes stared back at him; more than just the iconic one. If I use one of my other elemental heroes, I won't be recognized by anyone, and Divine won't find out! Jaden smiled in what could only be described as 'shit eating'.
"This is gonna be so awesome!" Excited, he started flipping through his monster cards for which one to use first.
A spot of bright color from the street caught his eye.
A few blocks away by a not-so-well lit alley, what looked like a little kid was following a not-so-friendly looking guy into said alley. Jaden watched as the kid followed the man into the alley without a backward glance at the people milling around who must have seen what was about to happen.
"A mugging, perfect! Uh—I mean," Jaden cleared his throat before holding out one of his cards dramatically.
"Don't worry citizen! Jaden-man is here to save the day!" He struck a pose on the roof's edge with a serious face and slapped the card onto his exposed arm. The epic-ness was only slightly diminished by his gleeful chuckle as Jaden was once again engulfed in a bright light. Then in his place stood a tall humanoid-shaped Duel Monster with large white wings and green skin, and feathers head to toe.
"Let's go! Avian to the rescue!" The (now) tall teenager pumped the air before swan diving off the building toward the mugging.
Get ready Neo Domino City. I'm gonna show you what Jaden Yuki can really do!
Today was Steve's lucky day. It was his first day on the job and he was already on a lucky streak!
First he had stirred up trouble at the town square: something about evil duel monsters and blah blah blah. Then this kid had just walked around the corner with that incredible 'please beat me up in a dark alley' face, and how could he refuse? It was like stealing candy from a baby.
The kid was so short that Steve almost had second thoughts. Almost. To really get in good with the big boss, he had to do something really outrageous. Beating on elementary kids wasn't really up there, but it was a start. After this, who knew what he'd do next?! Maybe he'd try his luck pulling a job on city hall later…
Steve looked back at the black and blonde haired kid to make sure he was still there, and led him farther away from the street. He blinked. For a second there, it looked like the kid had grown almost a whole head taller. Steve shrugged it off, blaming it on the kid's weird hair and a trick of the light.
"Just a little farther, friend. I promise." Steve tried not to laugh.
"So, there's really a Hero Convention back here?" Steve couldn't help the snort that escaped at the kid's question. How stupid could you get?! There wasn't even a chance a hero, licensed or not, would come back here, let alone a bunch of sweaty fanboys.
"Because I would have thought this would be more like the urine-soaked, rat-infested places scumbags like you go to pick up chicks."
"What the hell did you just say punk?!" Steve whipped around to face the boy.
"I think you heard me just fine. Unless you suffer from poor hearing as well as poor taste in clothing." Steve growled. It was an honor to receive the purple robe at the ceremony last week! It was a very high-end affair; there were lemon bars and everything!
"Y-yeah?! Well you…" Steve spluttered, trying to come up with a good comeback.
"I also think it's about time you answered my questions." The guy bulldozed over him. Where Steve was fuming in anger, the other seemed to have some kind of cool and threatening aura that made the robed figure back up a few steps. This mugging was definitely not what Steve thought it would be.
"Oh yeah?! Well…I think it's time I taught you a lesson!" Even in the dark, Steve could tell that the boy was smirking very condescendingly.
Steve charged at the little punk, yelling in rage, and bolstered by the knowledge that he would beat this kid to a pulp and then go rob a bank; all in the name of his boss. Suddenly, Steve was blinded by a flash of gold before a flying guy in a green leotard landed on his back.
"I bet he wasn't expecting it to be such a hard lesson." Avian struck a pose, hands on his hips and wings extended, face to the clouds. Very heroic. He kept one foot on the mugger's back, even though his dive bomb had basically rendered him unconscious.
Man, I gotta work on my snarky quips…
"Don't worry young lad! Fla—uh…Avian has dealt with the evil-doer! No need to thank me; all in a day's work." Ha. Everything according to plan! This is easier than I thought. Jaden held his pose for a few more seconds before slowly relaxing and looking to the citizen he had saved. Silence was definitely not what he would expect from someone who had just avoided a mugging.
"Hmph. Yes. Thank you very much." His words were crisp and anything but grateful. The guy with the crazy hair seemed to stare straight through the hero. Throughout the whole almost-mugging, he hadn't moved once since Jaden/Avian had seen him enter the alley.
Jaden tried not to flinch. There was something in the teen's eyes, something cold and sharp. His gaze sent worms wriggling through his stomach. If this is what he got for saving the kid, he shuddered to think what would have happened to the mugger.
He did shiver when the black and blonde haired boy looked him over appraisingly. The stranger 'hmphed' again before turning, and leaving, without a backward glance.
Was it something I said? Jaden looked between the bad guy still under foot and where the other boy had left. They were both equally creepy, although the robed guy got extra bad-guy points for the mauve robes in general. Anything mauve was automatically bad news in Jaden's book. Although…
Jaden looked back to the alley's entrance again. That guy was bad news too…
There was a dull pop, a cloud of gray smoke and Avian disappeared, replaced with Jaden once more. Avian's duel card appeared on his arm again so it could be returned to his deck. Jaden took out a small metal disk from one of his pockets and pressed it to the man's forehead. Once done, Jaden pulled out a small remote to turn on the small tracking disk. The disk blinked red, sending a signal to the Public Security Bureau who would send a few officers for pick up.
Maybe they were working together or something. Jaden frowned. Had he actually let one of them get away? He'd need to keep an eye out for him, just in case he tried anything. It would be just his luck if he had only caught the no-name minion and let the evil mastermind get away.
Jaden brushed off his dark thoughts and joined the bustling crowds of the main streets. To think, all these people were just a few feet away and they didn't even realize what had happened.
At least there's still some kind of silver lining. There's no way Divine'll know what I've been up to. Jaden smiled, overall satisfied with the outcome. He crossed his arms behind his head and looked up at the sky. Jaden had stopped some kind of criminal activity, and even got a thank you! …sort of. He shrugged to himself; he was just getting started, of course he'd have to shrug off a few cobwebs. Next time for sure.
Some of the stores had started to turn on their neon signs and it wouldn't be long before the street lights followed, and then the sun would sink below the Wall. Just enough time for another try before curfew. Jaden had to make sure to be back home before his Dad did.
Maybe I should try something simpler. Muggings have too many variables. Maybe I can stop a carjacking, or maybe a—
Jaden's musings were cut short by some kind of commotion behind him. Before he could turn and look, a guy on a motorcycle whizzed past, kicking up dust and debris.
"Stop that guy!"
"He's out of control!"
The young hero looked back in the direction the motorcycle had gone before rushing down a side street, whipping out his deck as he went.
"Yes! Alright, let's try this again! Game on, Sparkman!" Jaden drew the blue clad elemental and slapped it on his arm. Sparkman emerged on the other side of the street just as the cyclist zoomed by again. Jaden took up a runner's stance, suddenly serious.
Let's try this one more time! He took one last deep breath before speeding off in pursuit. While Avian had the special ability of super-fast flight, Sparkman was faster by far. In seconds the hero had caught up with the rogue motorcycle, actually having to slow down just to draw even.
"Hey, speed racer! License and registration!" The man only spared a quick glance at the blue and gold clad speedster. Jaden tried not to be miffed at the dismissal.
"Hey! I'm not kidding! Pull this thing over before someone gets hurt! Or are you trying to run over old man Jenkins?!" The high-speed metal death trap was headed straight for an old man with a walker, slowly trying to cross the street. Apparently his hearing aid was on the fritz and didn't hear the bystanders trying to warn him.
Jaden put on an extra burst of speed to pick up, and then dump said old man before he got hit.
What is with this guy?! Is there really an evil guy handbook on hurting old people? Jaden sighed. It never fails; someone's in trouble, it's either a little kid or some old lady with a cat…
The red motorcycle rushed by once again, this time dangerously close to the hero. In that split second they were even, with Sparkman's advanced senses, Jaden noticed something strange. The guy on the cycle was punching random buttons on his console. Images of oil slicks or rockets went through Jaden's head.
I have to stop him! And quick! There was no time to laugh at the irony; Jaden rushed off after the runaway. He was obviously a super spy mastermind, with a spy-cycle, intent on doing something…spy-y.
Jaden was thankful that the people in this city were pretty used to random acts of violence and craziness on the streets. Already they were ducking into stores and alleys; cars pulling over and out of the way. There was no telling when a Duel Monster Spirit would go rogue and wreck the mom-and-pop shop on the corner.
Or when some guy on a motorcycle would go rampaging through the streets and try to hit helpless, old people.
Jaden focused back on the problem at hand. There was even less time to muddle out motives as the motorist had managed to gain speed and pull even farther away. Sparkman raced after it, sparks of electricity coming off him in his determination.
He ran until he was directly in front of the vehicle and slammed his hands on the front of the bike, digging his feet into the asphalt. If the guy wouldn't stop voluntarily, Jaden would make him stop. His feet skid along the road, tires still turning at remarkable speeds, and the driver still didn't look up!
"Come on, man! What's it gonna take?! Crashing into a wall?!" As he yelled at the man, more screams came from behind the hero. Sparkman looked over his shoulder to where the out of control bike was headed, only to groan in frustration. The screaming was coming from a small café with a wide window facing the street so the patrons could see exactly what kind of trouble was heading their way.
"Aw, man! Really?"
All the while, the rider was still punching buttons as if nothing strange was happening, completely focused.
Gotta stop him before he shoots me with a titanium net or something. Jaden glanced around and smirked. With one hand still on the bike, Sparkman grabbed the front of the driver's jacket and swung him off the motorcycle. Without having to worry about the 'spy', Sparkman managed to stop the out of control cycle before it could smash into the small café. He looked over his shoulder to see the people inside clapping and cheering at the save.
Sparkman stood and waved at the applause. Heh, still got it. Jaden turned back to the street to see the blue leather clad man pick himself up out of the conveniently placed garbage bags. Completely unharmed, just the way Jaden planned it.
The man walked past the hero and to his bike. Jaden tensed, ready for some kind of spy-ware to pop out and do something, only to be surprised when he just switched it off. The man knelt next to the motorcycle, completely ignoring the Duel Hero.
"Uh…" Jaden stared. If he were an evil spy intent on destroying the city with his spy-machine, wouldn't he have done something by now?
Don't tell me. I've gone and screwed up again… Jaden resisted the urge to smack himself in the face. Why can't anything be straight-forward anymore?
The rider glanced up at Sparkman, still standing awkwardly between the bike and the café wall.
"Can I help you?"
Jaden bristled. With all he had been through that day,this guy's blunt indifference to him - a Hero for god's sake - was the last straw.
"What? No 'thank you?'" If Sparkman's voice sounded a little gruffer than usual, it was totally this guy's fault. Jaden only grew more frustrated when the man just went right back to fiddling with the dashboard. The least he could do was take off his helmet!
"Don't you have a kitten to save or some building to destroy?"
Jaden spluttered in shock before retorting back.
"Nope. Too busy stopping some crazy joyrider speeding through downtown." Jaden said bitterly. What was it with people today? It was like no one wanted his help, or anybody's help, at all. Everyone was just happy to go wandering in dark alleys and crashing into walls like a bunch of lemmings.
Are heroes really…not wanted anymore…? It couldn't be that all those reporters, the Society of Light and all their complaints, could actually be true? The Arcadia Department was founded to help people. There was no way they couldn't be needed anymore.
That he wasn't needed.
There was a rustling and papers were suddenly being thrust in front of Sparkman's helmet. Jaden blinked, surprised. He looked past the papers to see that the cyclist, finally helmet-free, was standing directly in front of him.
Jaden blinked again. Black and blonde hair seemed to be all the rage today. At least this one only had blond highlights. There was also a yellow tattoo that ran from his hairline, over an eye, and to his chin. Jaden made a note to find out how tattoos could be metallic-looking when he got home.
"What's this?" Sparkman looked from the offered papers to the teen and back again.
"My license and registration." The teen answered in a monotone voice. He just stared at Sparkman like he was an idiot.
Jaden brushed the papers away to stare open mouthed. This guy…!
"So you did hear me! Then why did you speed up?!" Jaden was beyond frustrated. He was fed up! He was done! Not only was the guy speeding and putting people in danger, he had straight-out ignored the guy trying to help him!
"There's something wrong with my onboard circuitry. I was trying to brake." The guy put his documents back in his wallet, realizing the Hero wasn't going to take them.
"So I guess you really did need my help, huh?" Alright! Two for two!
"Hmph." The guy turned back to his bike, obviously dismissing Jaden as unimportant.
Well, a perfect score for me at least. Two saves and two almost-grateful people. I'll just have to work my way up to adoration. Jaden had forgotten how hard it had been to get people to like Flame Wingman; he didn't know why he thought it would be any easier this time.
Sparkman crossed his arms, still standing tall in front of the café. Already cars had returned to the road and pedestrians had started to gather on the sidewalks. Jaden could feel the patrons staring and it was only so long before the cameras would come out. He had to wrap this up before he was found out. But what was he supposed to do with the guy? Give him a ticket?
"Well, then. I guess….Do you need me to call a cab or something? A lift to an autoshop?" The black haired guy looked down at the running motorbike and back at the hero. There really was no need for the raised brow; Jaden knew the other was exasperated with him.
"Just…uh…be careful next time. Okay?" The man didn't say another word as he put on his helmet once more and got on his bike. The engine revved once and Jaden assumed he would pull off an impressive peel out when he heard the man speak.
"…thanks." With that, the red motorcycle merged seamlessly with traffic and disappeared.
Jaden sighed. The sun had fully set now and he was running out of time. He turned toward home and took off.
Jaden made it back to the apartment he shared with his dad in almost record time. He stood outside the door, no longer in hero mode, trying to work up the nerve to go in. It wasn't like he was scared of his dad being mad at him for being late, he just hated to disappoint him.
His dad was usually pretty understanding with the Hero thing, and why wouldn't he be? But every now and then he would get overprotective and overbearing. Hence the eight o'clock curfew. Jaden did his best to humor him, but he was turning 18 soon and was ready to break out on his own.
Of course, that didn't mean his dad was willing to let him go quite yet. Together, they had decided that Jaden could spend his last year of high school at the public school across town. That was starting tomorrow. And Jaden was already breaking curfew. Not a good sign.
Jaden shook his head roughly. He could do this; he was still going to school tomorrow and there was nothing his dad could do about it! They had done the paperwork, gotten everything arranged and all the necessary school things. There was no way Jaden was going to let a little thing like a missed curfew keep him from his goals!
With this in mind, Jaden went in with a new determination in his eyes.
"I'm home! Sorry I'm late! There was this thing, and then…another thing…But I'm home now! All good!" Jaden called through the apartment. It wasn't large, but it was just right for the two of them. Jaden wandered into the kitchen when he didn't hear a response. He glanced around, but there was no sign that his dad had even come home yet.
"Still at the office?" Jaden mumbled to himself. He spotted the phone on the wall and the blinking red light indicating a missed message. Jaden sighed in relief. It was probably his dad leaving a message saying he would be getting home late and to help himself to the food in the fridge. He confirmed the caller ID and smiled broadly.
"All right! In the clear! Lucky~!" Jaden whooped. His good mood held throughout dinner and his post-work bath. Afterwards, he turned on the TV to wind down before bed and just chill for a little while.
Maybe I can learn something to talk about at school from the news…what else do kids talk about? Video games? Food? I wonder if anyone else follows the Motoracing circuit?
Jaden stood musing to himself, changing channels and looking for the news. When he found it they were recapping what had happened at the conference earlier. Not much had happened after Flame Wingman had left. The Public Security Bureau had settled everything really well; hardly anyone was injured and the reporters got away safely and with new things to report about to boot.
"In other news, it looks like the recent opinion about DM hasn't seemed to stem the public's admiration for Heroes like FWM. It looks like a new amateur hero has sprung up in downtown Neo Domino City late this afternoon." Jaden did a double take and gaped at the screen. The news was showing a very shaky video, most likely taken on someone's phone, of Sparkman stopping a motorcycle in front of the café.
Aw man! I'm in sooo much trouble now… Jaden groaned and flopped onto the couch. Even with his face in the cushions, he could still hear the news anchor speculating about the 'new' hero and his motives and origins. All in all, they were almost spinning it like a crazy guy in spandex had decided to take matters into his own hands. Jaden snorted to himself. As if a regular guy could run at those speeds, not to mention the electricity that had also been caught on camera.
"This station would like to say that we do not condone un-trained heroes acting on their own and would like to remind our viewers that only licensed Heroes are permitted by the city to take action. If you see any danger, please call the number on the screen for assistance. In other news…" Jaden rolled over enough to reach the remote and switch off the TV.
"Guess the kid didn't even think it was worth tellin' the police about me…" He was a little disappointed that only one of his heroic escapades had made it to the news, but at the same time, Divine was already going to have kittens since Jaden had been caught using his powers without permission. He could only imagine what would happen if he had known about the other one too.
Jaden shuddered. Nothing good, at any rate. Suddenly too exhausted to care where he was, Jaden fell asleep on the couch.
Tomorrow will be better…
Yusei had driven all the way back to the garage without any more problems. Almost as if there had been nothing wrong with the bike in the first place. But something did happen and it was weighing heavily on the teen's mind.
He had been working on this bike for most of his life. Every single part of her fit together perfectly, mostly because he had adjusted and created most of the parts himself from scrap. Eventually Yusei had even managed to integrate an on-board computer so that he could keep in contact with the base. Crow and the others were convinced that Yusei's tinkering, as they called it, would make them rich someday. Something about Motoracing competitions...
Yusei pulled the motorcycle into the garage, still trying to work out exactly what had gone wrong. Just last week he had finished a top to bottom tune up; the cherry red cycle was in near mint condition and the closest Yusei had ever gotten her to perfection. Although the Team always joked that Yusei would never actually be satisfied, even if he could make her fly.
Yusei smiled ruefully to himself. He knew they meant well, that they were just worried about him when he would spend all his time 'tinkering' and forget to eat or sleep. Last time, Yusei had managed to get a full week of work in before the others had dragged him out of the garage.
He only hoped they'd leave him alone long enough to fix her properly this time.
For a brief moment, the blue clad 'hero' popped into his head. He had definitely been a strange one, but nothing too out there compared to what the city was like every day. Yusei looked down at his hands that had clenched around the bikes handles. If he could fix his bike and never see another Hero again, Yusei would be happy.
Yusei glanced out the window on the second floor. He couldn't see much from there besides the skyline. He didn't really expect to see anything, especially since the sun had already set, but the thought of those 'heroes' running around haphazardly like the speedster before made his blood boil.
He looked back down at his fists and slowly stepped back from the bike. Now wasn't the time to dwell on things that had already happened. He could only fix what was before him right now.
Yusei tidied the garage a bit, taking out his tools to get started. Working on his bike always managed to calm him down, which was exactly what he needed after the day he'd had.
It had been hours since Yusei had left the Hideout for supplies. Crow grumbled to himself in annoyance.
"That gear-head probably got distracted at the scrap yard again." Crow would have gone himself, but the kids needed help with their preparations for school the next day and he really didn't trust the others to help out. Even for just shopping around town Yusei was the better choice. He might get distracted sometimes, but at least it never led to a fight.
Crow sighed again, his shoulders slumped. Maybe he's sleeping in the garage again. I hope he remembered to put the stuff in the fridge first this time. Life would be so much easier if I could just find one other person to look after the kids every once in a while.
When Crow did make it to the garage he couldn't help but smirk in triumph. Yusei was kneeling by his bike, already covered in grease and tinkering away. Crow chuckled, remembering what he had seen earlier on the news.
"Saw ya on TV today, Yusei. Ya get caught drag racing old ladies again?" Crow teased, leaning cockily on the railing at the top of the stairs. Yusei continued as if he hadn't heard him. Crow was going to continue his teasing when Yusei stopped fiddling with his bike.
"…she just needs another tune up…" He didn't look up from his bike, but mumbled to himself just loud enough for Crow to hear. After a few seconds of silence, Yusei went back to what he was doing. Crow just shrugged.
"Whatever you say, Yusei." Crow shrugged, crossing his arms behind his head carelessly. I'll give him two days this time. Crow smiled down at the black haired teen before leaving the way he came.
Crow's presence, or the subsequent lack thereof, didn't really even breach Yusei's focus enough for him to actually notice. Already, many pieces of the engine and other parts were spread out around him. Yusei kept picking them up and putting them down again, murmuring to himself all the while.
So that's chapter one. Let me know what you think! I'll answer questions if you have them, but they might be answered soon anyway, so look forward to that.
PUBLISHED FF 6/15/2016
PUBLISHED AO3 12/8/2017