Prologue: It Ain't Me
My left forearm hurts like hell in these situations. Whenever I'm pissed off, it starts going at it like it's trying to tunnel through my muscle and bone and come out the other side like a red-hot hunk of metal. It makes me hiss in pain whenever it does, and that just makes me more pissed off.
It's always been like this, for as long as I can remember. I've never really known much about it, except what little my old man told me about it. He tells me that when it's burning, it just means that it's reminding me of something. Sure, I tell him. If it's reminding me that I want to beat the shit out of someone, then it's sure as hell making it clear.
Uh, right. Introductions, shit. I forgot. I'm Jay Goodwin. I'm the adopted son of Rex Goodwin. I'm 15 years old, and I've just been arrested because I beat up a fellow student at the Neo Domino Duel Academy. Big shocker, I know. Either you didn't expect to be listening to an unstable psycho, or didn't expect said unstable psycho being the fortunate kid to have been taken in by your benevolent overlord director of the Bureau.
To be honest, I don't really remember what I did. It's so damn hazy. All I can really recall is just me pushing somebody on the ground and then punching… punching… punching. When I came to I was already being pulled away by Bureau officers with no idea what the hell was going on.
Sure would've been nice if they gave me some food though. I didn't get to have lunch, and the boxed lunch that my old man's maids were so kind as to cook for me is still in my bag which either got confiscated or just got left to spoil back at the Academy. What a waste of good food. Imagine how many kids in Satellite that thing could feed, am I right?
Well, I'm a kid too. Legally. I'm only 15, and my custody is in the hands of the city's most prestigious man, so this means nothing. The old man'll probably just throw me in house arrest for a few weeks before sending me back, which I'll graciously ignore and sneak into the city like an unruly punk kid would do.
And like a kid, I have an imaginary friend that I talk to. Unlike the kind of imaginary friends you might've had, this guy… he's a bit different.
"This again?" 'He' asks as he leans up against the two-way mirror. He's one unsettling son of a bitch to look at, I'll say that much. Mostly because looking at him is like looking in a friggin' mirror. Though of course, his taste in fashion is worse than mine. My hair looks better brown than red, thanks.
"Why are we playing along with this again?" He asks, and I can't tell if he's being rhetorical or if he's genuinely confused. I never really could read the guy, but then again it'd be like reading myself. I don't think I could ever say something unbiased about myself, and by extension, him.
I wince as my forearm burns again, and I shake it a little to try and distract myself from it. "Dunno," I answer half-assedly in an attempt to get him off my ass. The red-haired me walks over to the table and starts tapping it with his fingers in the way he just knows I can't stand.
"I think you do," He says with a sneer, the tapping just getting louder and louder. I start gritting my teeth and I can feel my fists involuntarily clench. The snake's mark on my forearm burns harder and harder, my breathing becomes heavier and heavier. I stop really breathing and begin just involuntarily snarling with every heave of air.
His smile just gets wider and wider the more he sees me get ticked off. I'm sick of it, I get up and slam my fists into the table with an angry growl to get him to stop fucking tapping his damn fingers. If he wasn't imaginary, I'd have killed him the moment his smug tone of voice said my name. "Temper," he says, and I give him the most hateful glare I can muster.
All that does is get him to get up and lean back up against the mirror. I hate him doing that, he really is making me involuntarily look behind it just to make me look more crazy to whoever's watching. "I'd have a much easier time controlling my temper if you'd stop showing your face around me," I sneer back at him, stretching my fingers as if I'm about to punch something.
I want to hit him. I want to punch that grin off his face. I want to cave his damn skull in.
"You sure about that? Wasn't me who got you arrested, you know," he taunts back and my snake's mark feels like it's gouging into my flesh. "Shut the fuck up," I say, but he just smiles even wider. "Make me," he replies.
I want to. I want to so bad, I want to make him go away. But I can't hurt him. He's imaginary, so all that'll do is hit the mirror. So instead, I just slam the bottom of my fists into the table in front of me, rattling the handcuffs something fierce and producing one hell of a racket from the table's hollow metal near-buckling under the force.
"I know damn well who got me arrested, asshole. Don't act like I don't know." His all-knowing attitude reminds me too much of the old man. It pisses me off something fierce. And the worst part is, like my old man, this guy, this imaginary friend of mine knows a hell of a lot that he's not letting me in on.
But I don't want to know. Whatever he tells me, it's gonna just be what he wants me to know. Might as well be ignorant in that case. Or he'd just lie to me. Just like old man Rex in that regard. Besides, I might not remember, but I know what I do and what I don't do. That kid, he pissed me off, so I beat him up. Nothing else to it. I'm not screwed up like that, I'm just an aggressive punk. It's just me.
Whatever he's insinuating, I'm not fucking buying it.
When I blink, he's left again. My forearm isn't burning up any longer. Now it's just a mess of curving lines like always. I hear the rattling of a lock, and I move my handcuffed arms off the table as three men step inside the interrogation room. Two officers, and one adoptive father.
"Jay," Rex says to acknowledge my presence.
"Old man," I reply disrespectfully. Back in the day he'd get angry with me when I called him that, so I didn't stop. These days all he does is crease his brow in either annoyance or disappointment. He glances at my left forearm, and I notice his expression - there's a slight pleased smile there. That worries me. I've just beaten up some kid, my snake's mark has been burning like a bastard and he's… happy?
He's up to something, and whatever it is I'm not comfortable with it.
"What happened?" He asks, but there's no concern in his voice. Whatever. I'm not about to care either. "They must have told you," I reply. "I beat someone up at the Academy."
I scoff. "'Cos he was pissing me off."
"Why was he?"
Shit. Why was he pissing me off? I don't even remember who it was I punched black and blue. I can't have the old man getting ideas about me. "Why wasn't he," I spit back, hoping that he'll drop the subject.
Rex breathes in and sits down in the chair opposite me. He leans forward, tenting his fingers underneath his chin as I reflexively tilt a little backwards, or as backwards as I can get with cuffed hands.
"Show me your hands," he orders. I don't say anything, and all I do is lean back and look around. The two officers are both on opposite sides of the table - and it's pretty damn obvious what's going to happen if I don't to me. That being said, I'm not about to bow down.
"Jay, please. Show me your hands." I let out some sound from my nose, before spitting on the table in front of Rex. He sighs, and I hear the officers from behind me approach. One grabs the chain holding the handcuffs together and pulls them towards Rex, while the other grabs my neck and slams me into the table. I don't cry out, but it's a damn close thing. Instead, I start panting and breathing heavily through gritted teeth. I struggle to make it clear that I'm not bowing down willingly, but two grown officers against a punk kid in handcuffs isn't exactly a fair fight. Especially not when I struggle a bit too much and one officer hits me with an electric baton on my back.
That gets me to scream, alright. My forearm's burning again, and I'm crumpled over the table with my mark in full view of my old man. I can feel his gloved hands caress and prod it. I know it's his because one of his hands is icy cold and of metal. I start snarling and panting like an animal from the pain and anger.
Eventually I breathe in and with my hands still cuffed, push off the two officers and axe-handle the closest of them in the skull in the confusion. I can feel the helmet crackle and distort from the force of the blow, and he goes to the ground immediately.
Then so do I when I get shock-batonned yet again. I fall down on the cold, hard floor with a strangled cry. I feel the force of the baton strike me again and I scream and convulse. I don't care how manly you say you are, even grown men start crying for mommy after enough hits from that fucking thing.
It's the worst thing I've ever experienced, not counting the one time Rex decided to try and introduce me to the Neo Domino elite. I hate the feeling when my body is twitching and convulsing of its own, when I'm pinned down underneath someone's boot and I can only move as they want me to. I desperately try to get up, but a third strike gets me to change my mind.
My eyes are crying involuntarily, I'm sweating and out of breath. I can't… I don't have any control. I start hyperventilating and my body goes limp. I flop around for a second but I can barely even feel what's moving and what's dead still until I can feel that my arms are pinned under me and I'm in the process of dislocating them.
"That's enough," I hear Dad say, and I chide myself for even calling him that in my thoughts. I feel a foot be removed from my back, and a pair of hands pulls me to my feet. I can't tell if it's the old man's or just an officer. My legs feel like they're made of jelly and about to give out under me at any second. They're still shaking and twitching madly without me doing a single thing, and they feel so damn sore.
I lift my head up and there he is, with his smug smile and his red hair. "Time to go home," he says as I'm carried out of the interrogation room. As the door closes again, I see his smile widen just a little bit before he disappears behind it. What the hell is with that guy… even for an imaginary friend, he's a weird one.
Friend. More like an imaginary pain in the ass.
Mid-thought I feel myself be thrown backwards, and I see the officer that held me throw me inside a car, I land back-first with a soft 'whump'. Figures, as if he'd do anything he can get others to do. The door is closed on me before I can do anything, but I still put one hand against the window regardless.
And like that I notice that I'm not cuffed anymore. I turn my head to the left and see two heads on the other side of the wall that's there for the safety of the Bureau officers. In the driver's seat I see what must be the other officer, and his helmet has a very visible dent in it which makes me smile a little when I see it.
And in the other seat, I see my old man. I let out a 'tch' as he sees me looking at him and turn away. I feel the car rumble from the engine being turned on and soon we're well on our way to wherever the hell the old man wants to dump me. This isn't the first time the Bureau grabbed me by the collar, you know. Once it was for loitering, then disturbing the peace, then theft and now assault. Look at me, Mister Goodwin, your boy is all grown up and violent.
I never spent a day in the Facility of course, and neither did I get a Marker. That would look badly on the great Director Goodwin, wouldn't it? He's learned that keeping me out of the public eye is the smartest thing to do, since I'll obviously just embarrass him if I do. Though I don't get why he's still keeping me around, why hasn't he just unadopted my punk self and dumped me in the adoption service's lap so I can go bother some other family?
It's what's on my left forearm, of course. It has to be that. It's glowed before, but never this bad. Before I could just cover it up with cloth no problem, but now its blood-red gleam gets clear as day. Shines right through anything. Hell if I know what it's really about, but the old man knows and he isn't telling. I make a mental note to go and visit a library next time I run off so I can try and figure out what the hell this thing is. And ideally, if there's a way to get rid of it outside cutting off my left arm.
"A pipe dream if I've ever heard one," I hear him say to my left. I instinctively put my right hand over my forearm and clutch it tight. This time, I do everything I can to just ignore him. As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't exist. Not for me, or anyone for that matter. He's just another voice I don't bother listening to. I crane my neck downwards and close my eyes, trying my best to just focus on anything other than having to listen to anything he has to say.
It surprises me that apart from his introductory remark, he doesn't say anything. He stays silent, just like me. The worst thing is that it freaks me out. Every other time he's ever appeared he's been doing his damndest to piss me off, either by saying things to me or making me say something to him that someone else overhears. To have him suddenly just… stop gives me the goosebumps. Worse still, my arm's starting to hurt less and less. I can absolutely still feel it, but it's… calming down.
After what feels like hours, I feel the car finally stop outside my old man's home. For the lack of a better description, it's just huge. Eat your heart out trust fund kids, my old man's got a bigger house than your dad ever will. Being the guy responsible for keeping the status quo makes you basically the one who runs the entire show in a place like Neo Domino, and people are willing to do anything to give you good reason to keep doing your job well. An absolutely massive mansion of a home, butlers and maids at your beck and call and more status than you know what to do with.
I liked rubbing that in people's faces for the heck of it back in Academia, if only really to those dumbasses who think they're hot shit because mommy and daddy are rich enough to be living in the world's one and only utopia and flaunt their wealth and status like it's a birthright. Me, an adopted punk, having the same things as they do, and more of them? It's enough to make someone doubt themselves if a violent, impulsive delinquent like me had that.
The door out is opened for me by someone in a butler's uniform and I lazily lift my head up to look forward. I hear him say "-will be handled personally, not to worry." and I figure he's talking about me and my… incident, he'd tell me to say. I groan and push myself out of the squad car and onto my legs. They're a bit wobbly after my session with a shock baton, but otherwise I stand up just fine. A gloved arm tries to take me by the hand, likely to lead me inside but I shake it off. I can walk just fine on my own, thank you.
As I start walking forward, I hear what I figure to be my old man's footsteps follow me along the way. After a few seconds he overtakes me but then slows down his tempo so I can keep up. He's planning something, and it unsettles me that I don't know what. The huge oak doors at the entrance of his mansion are opened by more staff and we walk inside. The moment we do, my eyes fall on a particular place right in front of me.
It's an elevator leading underneath the mansion, where I've never been. Not for lack of trying mind you, I've several times tried to break in with the help of a crowbar I "found" on one of my trips into the city. I've had half a mind to just start digging instead, if only because it's the only other way I can think of. We walk past murals of ancient deities or figures, all of which I know nothing about. I'm not his son, and I certainly haven't developed his fetish for ancient history.
That's when I realize where he's leading me. He's leading me to the elevator. Whatever's past it, he's going to show me. On one hand it piques my interest, on the other hand it makes me wary as all hell. He's showing it to me after I beat someone to near-death. My whole body begins to tighten up, winding up like a spring. I'm ready to start punching my way out of this situation if anything even remotely unusual starts happening. Maybe it's some secret laboratory he's got under there, maybe he's finally gonna start cutting me open to figure out what's making this damn mark tick. My teeth grit and my fists clench as the elevator door closes and starts taking the two of us underground.
Halfway through the descent, I feel a cold robotic hand on my shoulder and it takes all of my willpower to not immediately jerk away from his touch, because as worried as I am I'm not about to give him a reason to incapacitate me so he can get to doing whatever he wants to do to me. I slowly turn my head towards him, and I think he notices the anxiety in my eyes when I look at him, because he gives me a soft smile.
It does not assuage any of my worries.
I'm near breaking point when the elevator finally stops and he leads me into a large chamber. Inside is a… temple, I think. A huge one - how the hell did Goodwin get something this big and this ornate underneath this place? The second thing that strikes me is the red light coming from the floor. In the shape of… something. I just stand there for a solid minute, trying to take this sight in and process it. Rex just stands there, waiting patiently while I'm busy being completely bewildered.
"Jay," he then says to get my attention. I snap out of my funk and turn towards him. "-allow me to welcome you to the ranks of Iliaster."
Prologue: It Ain't Me - END
Author's Note: First of all, let me thank you for reading the prologue chapter to Fortunate Son. In case you aren't familiar with a previous story of mine, The Darkness Within, then let me first explain that Fortunate Son is a complete rewrite of The Darkness Within. The previous story is something I wrote more or less on a whim, and making it up as I went along resulting in a mostly incoherent mess, that while I'm not proud of for content, is something I'm proud of because I actually did finish it.
But I've grown, and my writing style has changed drastically, and I feel personally that I should rewrite it in accordance. Don't worry though, Fortunate Son is entirely unrelated to The Darkness Within plot-wise, with only two characters from it being ported over to Fortunate Son. You don't need to know a single thing from The Darkness Within to enjoy Fortunate Son, and in fact I would reccommend that you do not read The Darkness Within regardless, as it might colour your interpretation of characters and events in Fortunate Son.
Second of all, allow me to extend a huge hand to a good friend of mine, EibonVirgo. She's also a writer here in the 5D's section, and she's the one I can thank for having given me the motivation to keep writing when I felt I was stuck in a rut back in the day. Her story, To Be Human is an absolutely excellent read that I can warmly reccommend that you give a read. If you liked anything from this prologue chapter, you'll love her work.
Thirdly, I want to make a few things very clear on the nature of how I approach the source material of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's in this fan-fiction. I will be following the plot of the first season mostly as you see it in the show, but with some marked changes by utilizing the original plot structure that was axed in favor of what you can see in the anime proper. It won't be Rex who is the final boss of the Dark Signer Arc, for example.
After that, the entire plot with the Three Emperors, the Meklords, the Arc Cradle and Z-One will not be happening. The WRGP will be a major in-story event, but the Three Tenors and their Meklord Emperors will not be a factor. Instead, the story will revolve around Iliaster and the Arcadia Movement, alongside a certain villain from the WRGP arc that was not given much screentime originally.
Also, another thing - I will not be using any custom-made cards for any duels between characters at all. The only cards you'll see are cards you yourself can use in real life, or cards that have made a direct appearance in the 5D's anime. This is in the interest of making duels far easier to follow, which leads me into another subject - how duels will be transcribed. When a monster is summoned, its information will be displayed as such:
In the interest of brevity, only the name, level and relevant statistic will be shown. I do not want to clog down the chapter by writing in redundant information, hence this is all that will be shown. If a monster has an increase or decrease in statistics, it will be shown like this:
ATK: 2300 - 3200
Again, for the sake of brevity. The rules of the game will be in accordance with what the rules were at the time of 5D's being aired - (the beginning player draws on the first turn, etc.). Turbo Duels are the same case, they will be using the same rules as are explained in the anime itself, with Speed Spells being the only allowed Spell Cards in the game.
That will be all the information that I have to share for now. I hope your interest has been piqued by the prologue so far. If you have something to share, please to tell me in a review - any and all constructive criticism is warmly welcomed. I fully intend to make this story as good as I can possibly make it, and any advice, insight or comments you have to share will be an immense help in that regard.