A/N: Ok sorry if this isn't that interesting…I've got like…two major halves of the story to link together with this bridge bit that has been going on since chapter 8, I think, and I just need to get through a couple more bridge chapters before we get to the good GOOD part. And I mean the meat of the story. So don't think that means pr0nz. XD
Disclaimer: I do not own GX.
Jesse stared down at the slip of paper in disbelief. Disgusted, he slammed his locker shut and slumped against it. Why had he let his grades slip so much? He had never done so badly before. He was so mad at himself for slacking off like that. What had happened?
Thinking back over the past month, he began to realize that it was not just because of the Viper incident. He noted that he had been spending more time with Jaden and less time studying. And most of those times they were doing…absolutely nothing. Either they were goofing off on the roof or just lying in the grass. Or they were dueling. He did not consider this last one wasted time but…he supposed he should not have been allowing rematches late into the night. He had been shirking his homework because of it.
Well, it was clear to him what he had to do. He set his jaw as he looked grimly back down at his report card. If he wanted to bring his grades up again, he was going to have to seriously hit the books.
He was so deeply absorbed in thought that he failed to notice that someone was approaching. He jumped when he felt someone's arm grasp him around the shoulders in a tight half-hug.
"Hey, Jesse!" Came Jaden's cheerful voice, "What're ya doing?"
He glanced over at the brunet and sighed. "Not much," He replied. Indeed. He was in too much of a daze.
"Well, that's good because I was hoping we could go hang out? Ya know, get a few sandwiches from Ms. Dorothy and go duel or something?" He looked hopeful.
Jesse shook his head. "Sorry, Jay, I can't. I've been slackin' off too much. You're rubbin' off on me. I gotta study or I'm gonna fail." He held his report card out for the other to see.
Perplexed, Jaden took the paper and scanned it briefly before snorting and shoving it back in Jesse's hands. "So? It doesn't matter. I do it all the time. Come on." He tugged at Jesse's wrist.
"Jay," Jesse did not look impressed. "I can't fail. I'm not like you."
Jaden looked confused again. "But…it's not going to hurt anything if you make a D."
"It bothers me," Jesse replied, "We've been hangin' out an awful lot lately. And we can hang out some other time. Promise." He grinned weakly.
Pouting a little, Jaden told him, "Aw, come on! Can't it wait? Today is the only day we have a chance at snagging that eggwich. You know you want it!" He coaxed, poking Jesse's cheek and grinning widely, "Come on…."
"No," Jesse said firmly, frowning a little, "I'm sorry, Jay, but I have to study and do my homework. I can't spend every little second with you. I'll see you later." He jerked free of Jaden's grasp and turned to walk away.
Jaden's smile wavered a little. "Uhh…Ok…" He sounded so…disappointed. Maybe even more than just that. He sounded a little hurt. "Well, I guess I'll just see you later, then…If you're not busy." This last part was muttered under his breath.
Feeling guilty, Jesse glanced over his shoulder at the brunet, who had jammed his hands in his pockets and was walking in the opposite direction. When he thought back on it, he had sounded a little harsh. Maybe even to the point of being downright snappish. Of course Jaden was going to be hurt. After all, they weren't just boyfriends; they were best friends too. And Jesse had always been there for him to share pretty much so…every aspect of his life. Until he started getting concerned about his grades. Maybe he just…didn't want to be sent back to North Academy. Maybe he was just afraid that if he wasn't careful that would be the case. Granted, he was not certain this would happen but…the reason he was there in the first place was because he was a good duelist and a good student, and very trustworthy with his teachers back home.
Sighing heavily, he just hugged his books closer to his chest and slipped into the library where he could find peace and quiet. What was he thinking? The whole reason he wanted to stay was because of his friends. And if he had to study like this to stay at Duel Academy…when did he have time for a social life? He just couldn't win. His only comfort was knowing that after awhile, things would die down again in his classes. He could hardly wait.
"Well, I guess it's just you and me today, huh, pal?"
Jaden sighed, grinning weakly at the floating duel spirit in front of him. He took a big bite of his sandwich and leaned against the tree, chewing thoughtfully. He watched in disinterest as the cool wind toyed with the leaves, and as Kuriboh flitted about. He hated to admit it but…he was lonely already. Because he knew where this was going. After all, it had happened before. He wondered why Jesse had even paid him any attention at all, recently.
There was a nagging possibility in the back of his mind, and as much as he didn't want to think about it, it still surfaced. What if…no. He couldn't think that. Still…It really bothered him that Jesse had seemed so interested in him only after the issue of sex was posed. And then once he had made it clear that he wasn't ready…Did Jesse even love him like that? He knew that the other cared about him as a friend. But…what if he was just saying that to—
Jaden shook his head to clear his mind of the thoughts. No, Jesse did care about him. He would never use him. That was just something he didn't see him doing. But maybe he didn't mean to. Maybe he didn't even know. Maybe it was just sexual attraction mixed with their natural chemistry and friendship, and poor Jesse was mistaking it for love. If it wasn't his fault, Jaden wasn't going to be mad at him. But…he knew they were moving too fast too soon. No matter what the reason the fact of the matter was that the transfer student was pushing himself on the Slifer. He felt as though he were being almost forced. And although he wanted to give in, although he wanted to try it…he just wasn't sure anymore. He had wanted more than anything to give in, to believe that Jesse did love him and they should go further. But…the fact was…he had tested Jesse and he had failed…right?
At least he had respected Jaden's wishes in the end. Otherwise, he didn't know what he would have done.
Ok, so maybe Jesse just had weaknesses. That was all right. Jaden could understand. Maybe given some time, he could forget about this and they could work things out. But for the time being, he just couldn't bring himself to face the issue. Maybe it was just the fact that Jesse had just pushed him away. Maybe he was just ashamed at the way he had been so fickle. Well, whatever the reason, he was confused on how to feel and what to do.
He drew his attention back to Kuriboh as the creature made its noise at him. He frowned again, and murmured, "I know, I know. I should talk to him." He took the final bite of his sandwich and crumpled the paper up into a ball, stuffing it into his jacket to throw away later. Sighing, he lay down in the grass, folding his arms behind his head. "I just…don't know what to say. I don't know if he'll understand." His expression drooped.
Kuriboh pawed at his face, scowling and making somewhat angry noises. Jaden couldn't help but smile weakly, as he brushed it away. He sat up to look at it.
"Yeah, I guess I'm not being myself. I guess I'll talk to him tonight."
The little creature made its noise again, happily this time, and seemed to almost nod in approval. Jaden smiled a little brighter, and lay back down again, more relaxed. If Jesse truly was his best friend, then he would understand. He would have to.
It wasn't until that night that Jesse saw Jaden. He had spent all day in the library, furiously attempting to make up his homework. He still felt bad for the way he had snapped at Jaden earlier, and was hoping to apologize to him. It had left this sick, burning feeling in his stomach all day, and he supposed he should have said something, but knew if he talked to him, he wouldn't be able to stop. He had eventually given in and texted an apology, but…he hadn't heard back from him.
He shifted uncomfortably as he lay in Jaden's bed, and pulled the covers higher up over himself. He wondered where the brunet was. Had he chased him away? No…that wouldn't be enough to chase Jaden off. He didn't give up on people that easily. Still, he worried that Jaden didn't want to talk to him.
It was at that moment that his phone buzzed, signaling a text had been received. He nearly jumped off of the bed, having not expected the sudden vibration. Still mildly shaken, he flipped it open and read the text.
He stared at it for a moment as the information sunk in. That was all Jaden had said. Was he still mad? He couldn't tell if it was that or Jaden was just being lazy. Swallowing hard, he texted back. "Where are you?" He pressed the button to send it, and lay back, staring up at the bottom of Syrus' bunk.
A moment later, he received a reply. "I'm drying off. I'll be there in a few. I wanna talk."
This last part made Jesse's heart sink down into his stomach. Wanting to talk was never a good thing in relationships, it seemed. From what he'd heard, it always signaled a break-up. He really hoped this wasn't the case. Maybe it was something dumb and he would laugh at himself when it was. He knew he was being paranoid. After all, he hadn't really done anything. Not anything worth breaking-up over, anyway. He slowly relaxed and closed his eyes, pressing his phone against his chest.
The minutes seemed to tick by endlessly until he finally heard the door open, then close. Slowly, he opened his eyes to see Jaden crawling into bed next to him. He moved over to give the other some more room, then put his phone aside and laid his hands down on his chest, still staring up. His face burned and he felt strangely ashamed. Deep down, he knew why.
He felt Jaden snuggle against him, and he shivered as the warmth spread over him like a comforting blanket. He relaxed more and curled up against the brunet as well, before finally letting his gaze drift to meet Jaden's dark eyes.
"I'm sorry," Were the first words that passed his lips in a soft whisper. His tone ached in regret.
"I already told you; it's all good," Jaden murmured, shifting so he was lying on his side. He offered the teal-haired duelist a heartwarming smile. "But…I'm sorry to question you but I really gotta after what's happened over the past few weeks. Do you really love me?" He tilted his head a bit to one side, looking inquisitive. "I mean…It's Ok if you don't. I'm not gonna dump you. I just don't want you to feel like you have to tell me something that's not true to keep me around."
Jesse gawked. Was Jaden serious? How could he not love him? Hadn't he proved—Ok, he hadn't proven anything. "But, I do love you!" He protested, his voice strained in distress, "I'm sorry if I've been selfish lately but…That's not what I wanted you to think."
Jaden blinked, his expression unreadable. He didn't seem to know what to say. Instead of responding right away, he just played with the sheets, bunching them in his fingers then releasing them. "Well…" He smiled weakly, pausing. "…Ok. I'll trust you. But I guess you're probably wondering why I thought that."
Jesse nodded, his eyes wide. "What did I do?" He asked, his voice barely above a hoarse whisper.
"I think you know the answer." His grin widened, though it was more of a nervous reaction than anything. "It was that sex thing. I wanted to but…you just came off too strong and I felt like you didn't really care about how I felt. I know that's not true but I can't help but doubt you. I want to give it to you but…you…didn't seem interested in spending time with me until then. I guess it could have been coincidence but…that's how I feel." He shrugged, remaining calm.
He wasn't going to get all upset about this and make a mistake like last time. There might be a simple solution and he'd already thought it through. If that was what Jesse wanted, in the end, maybe he would be stupid enough to give it to him. Maybe it had freaked him out but…he kind of regretted not allowing him. After all, he had told him they could try it. And then pushed him away so suddenly. He had said he would give it to him. Confusion overwhelmed him once again.
Jesse shifted uneasily. He lay on his side and propped his cheek in his hand. "Well…I'm sorry. I didn't mean for things to turn out the way they did. I won't do that with you if you truly don't want to. But if you want to try again some time…" He stopped himself before he could stick his foot in his mouth. Taking a deep breath, he carefully redirected himself. "I mean...I felt like we had gotten close enough in our relationship to take it further. And maybe it was just me. I'm really sorry. I thought you were ready too."
"Oh…" Jaden grinned weakly, blushing, as he said sheepishly, "I thought I was too. Maybe I am. Maybe I just—"
Jesse put a finger to his lips, stopping him in midsentence. "Jay," He pointed out, looking concerned, "If you hafta stop me, and if you really feel like that, then you're not ready."
"I…guess…" Jaden seemed even more confused. His dark eyes darted about the room, as though searching for an answer. "I don't know. For some reason…I want to try it again. I want to make you happy." He mentally admonished himself. After all, he knew part of the reason he wanted to try was to test Jesse. Would he shower him with affection and attention if he thought there was a chance? Would he later drop him? Or would their relationship grow stronger? He knew that it was not a good idea to play with his virginity like that but…he almost didn't care.
"Don't just do it for me," Jesse told him, frowning. He grasped Jaden's shoulders and looked him directly in the eyes. "I don't want you to do something you're not ready for. Even if I want it that badly…"
"And I say that we try again sometime," Jaden argued, looking determined. "Look, I know I messed up last time. I know I got scared. But I told you I wanted to and I gave you permission. I told you if you wanted it you could have it. And I don't want to go back on my word."
Jesse's head spun. "But…Jay…" He blinked, and tried to make sense of this situation. "You basically told me that you took back everything you said. You've changed your mind three times now. Please…if you're not sure, don't do it!"
"I don't care," Jaden insisted, looking a little upset, "I promised you first off that it was yours. I slipped up when we tried it. I want to try it again. This time, though, maybe we should leave it more open. I mean…it might take me a couple of tries to get used to it. But I don't want to give up on it. I've thought about this…"
"You're not makin' much sense," Jesse pointed out, looking concerned again, "I'm really gettin' worried about you, with the way you're going back and forth. Please make up your mind once and for all. And please don't do it on impulse like you've been doing."
"Ok, Ok," the brunet agreed hurriedly, waving it off, "But can we try again?" He bit his lip, slightly anxious.
Jesse eyed him warily. "I don't know…This is awful suspicious, if you ask me. Why would you come out of the blue like this? You were all upset about it earlier. I don't understand you. What's goin' on in that head of yours?"
"I don't know," Jaden admitted, looking sheepish, "I have my reasons, though." He paused for a moment as they stared into each others' eyes, trying to understand the other. Then, with a heavy sigh, he finally spoke again. "Look, I know it might not make much sense to you. But, like I said, I feel bad about what happened. I guess we just need to ease into it a little more. It's still yours. It always was. And I really do think I'm ready to give it to you. Like I said, I got upset. I got scared. I worried that that was all…" He trailed off, not really wanting to say it.
Jesse tilted his head a bit to one side, frowning. "That was all…what?"
"Ah, nothing." Jaden grinned and waved it off. "Don't worry 'bout it."
Silence. They stared into each others' eyes again, Jaden's grin wavering and Jesse frowning in thought. Finally, Jaden glanced over at the time, looking nervous, and settled back down on the pillow.
"Wow, it's kinda late. I'm tired. Maybe we should just get some sleep." He peered up at Jesse, who was still hovering over him, hoping he would just agree with him.
Slowly, the other eased down, and heaved a heavy sigh. He just couldn't understand why Jaden couldn't say it—though he could guess what it was. Couldn't the brunet tell him anything? Well, he supposed it didn't matter in the end. It was going to be said sooner or later. But he should reassure him, at least.
Cupping Jaden's face in his hands, he leaned down and planted a gentle kiss on the other's lips. He lingered in it for a moment before pulling away and dropping on the pillow next to Jaden, a mournful smile playing on his lips. "Well, good night, Jay." He paused as he watched Jaden close his eyes, then leaned forward and pressed his lips to the other's forehead, capturing him in a hug. Moving his lips down to graze against the shell of his ear, he whispered, "No matter what, I love you. Don't ever think otherwise. I want to have sex with you because I love you, and not because I just want it. I'd never give it to anyone else." He smiled fondly down at him.
Jaden cracked one eye open to look up at him. He couldn't help but smile. "Ok, if you say so, I'll believe you." He sighed and snuggled closer to Jesse, deciding to let it go. Maybe he had just been over-thinking it. Maybe it would be all right to give in to him. After all, he couldn't go on like this forever.
They fell asleep rather quickly, troubles since forgotten. They didn't feel they had anything to worry about and were rather oblivious to the clear and imminent problem that had risen. It was not going to go away even if they thought it had been resolved for the time being. In fact, it was bound to get worse.
Jesse yawned and glanced at the clock as he sat in his first period class. Groaning, he laid his chin on his arms and watched the teacher in disinterest. It had only been fifteen minutes into the school day and he already was bored out of his mind. The other classes weren't so bad but this teacher really knew how to turn a mildly interesting subject into the driest, dullest lecture on earth. He almost wanted to bang his head against the desk because he was just so bored. Anything would have done to entertain him. Anything.
Perhaps he should not have wished this to be, though. For not but five minutes later, who else but Chazz walked in the room, and whispered something to the teacher. Jesse perked up a bit at seeing the black-clad Slifer. He couldn't help but smile a little. He hadn't seen him in awhile, and had been kind of worried about him.
He then realized, much to his embarrassment, that he had been staring at him for the entire duration of time he had been standing there. His face burned a little and he sank in his seat, glancing uneasily around him. No one seemed to have noticed, thankfully. He tried to look away but found himself gazing once more at Chazz. This would not have been a problem but…
Old feelings came back in a bit of a rush. Horrified at himself, he quickly tried to shove them down. Why was he still feeling this way? He thought he had gotten rid of them and he had forgotten about him for quite some time. But all of the sudden…they were back? It was like some sort of switch had been flipped on inside his brain, and suddenly he was attracted to him again. He was confused but supposed it could be because he was bored and because Chazz could be unpredictable and exciting. Even so, he felt guilty because he felt like he was emotionally cheating.
He watched as Chazz turned around, probably to leave, he thought. But instead, he seemed to be headed up the steps towards the spot he was sitting. His cheeks flushed again, and he looked away. It couldn't really be true…could it?
Jesse glanced up, surprised. "Oh, um…hi…" He kind of mumbled it, then quickly composed himself. "What's up?"
"I want to talk to you. Outside." Chazz's expression could not really be read, but his tone said that he meant business.
Jesse merely nodded and stood up. Wordlessly, Chazz reached down and grabbed his bag for him, and hoisted it over his shoulder. Jesse would have questioned it, and opened his mouth to do so, but one look sent over the shoulder was enough to silence him. He followed the other out of the classroom and into the hall.
Nothing was exchanged until they were well on their way to the infirmary. Then, Chazz stopped in the middle of the hall, and dropped the bag on the floor. "Ok, I confess. I lied that the Chancellor wanted to see you just so you could get out of class and talk to me."
Jesse blinked, his face reddening a little. "Really?" He was kind of taken aback. Sure, Chazz had done some things in the past of this nature but…he hadn't done those things in a long time. What could he be up to? "Why?"
Chazz sighed and leaned against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest and looking irritated. "Andersen…" He hissed, hugging himself a little, "I can't believe you would pull this on me now of all times."
Jesse frowned. "Now what are you talkin' about? You just came in there and dragged me out here and never told me why. No one told me why. And you expect me to know?"
He lifted his onyx eyes to gaze at the teal-haired boy, his expression serious. "You really don't know…"
Jesse shook his head. "Of course not!"
A ragged sigh. "Oh, geez." Chazz pinched the bridge of his nose, looking pained. "Ok, several things…First of all…Viper may be gone but I don't think the problem is."
Jesse's eyes widened. "Really? What do you mean? What's going on?"
"We're not really sure…" Chazz admitted, "But…some of the guys have claimed that this school is haunted or something. Because they say they keep hearing voices telling them to do things, or telling them weird things…"
"Like…mostly it has to do with Jaden, they say. Really weird." Chazz rolled his eyes. "I don't really know what's going on. But I don't think it's a spirit because otherwise, I'd have known about it. These guys wouldn't let me hear the end of it." He jabbed his finger at the Ojamas, who had appeared by his shoulder.
Jesse smiled weakly. "Well, you never know. You can't always tell…"
"I guess. I just think that Viper had set up some way of getting these messages through and scaring the kids into turning on Jaden. It's really beginning to creep people out, whatever it is. And then there's this." He dug through his own bag for a moment before pulling out his camera and holding it out to Jesse. "Check this out…"
Jesse leaned over to look at the same time Chazz did, causing their shoulders—and their faces—to bump slightly. They pulled back and glanced at each other, faces pink. Embarrassed, they quickly diverted their attention back to the camera's screen. And soon, all was forgotten.
"Whoa…" Jesse's eyes widened again at the sight. There, at the back of the Slifer dorm's wall, was lettering carved into the surface. It was tinged with a red substance, which, upon closer inspection, seemed to be blood. "What happened? And why didn't I see that when I left this morning?"
Chazz shrugged. "Well, I came across it after you left. Who knows. You probably didn't go around the building, though. And I don't know what happened but I think we should tell Jaden about it."
"Well, then, why didn't you bring him out here to show him?" Jesse asked, frowning again.
"Because…Because…" Chazz paused, stuck. Finally, he sighed in exasperation. "Look, I just wanted to see you, Ok?"
Jesse raised an eyebrow. "So you would put Jaden in danger just to see me?"
"No, it's not like that!" Chazz shifted from one foot to the other, growing irritated again. "Look. I was going to show him. I just wanted to talk to you first. Because…that's not all. There's some things I don't want to tell Jaden."
"Oh really?" Jesse crossed his arms and looked skeptical. "And you can tell me instead? Well, Ok, shoot."
Looking stuck again, and uncomfortable, Chazz tried to come up with some excuse. Jesse knew that what Chazz had done wasn't exactly the logical thing to do, and it really made him wonder why he had come to him in the first place. He had an idea, but he pushed it further in the back of his mind, embarrassed. He felt his heart beat a little harder as the thought resurfaced again, and shoved it aside. It was difficult not to think about when he knew it was true. Still, he kept looking at Chazz with a steady gaze, awaiting a decent explanation.
"The thing is…" Chazz shifted from one foot to the other, biting his lip. "Ok, maybe there's not much sense in coming to you but I feel comfortable telling you this for some reason, Ok? Maybe it's because…we were close before." His face burned in humiliation as he admitted this bit of information.
Jesse was a little surprised that he would admit it so easily but…he wasn't going to stop him. Whatever Chazz wanted to tell him, he would hear. "Ok, well…go on." He smiled weakly, trying to seem encouraging. It was awful hard, though, when he was so skeptical and nervous. However, he managed to hide it.
"I…I," Chazz sighed and took a deep breath, averting his gaze so he wouldn't have to look into Jesse's eyes. His expression fell and he seemed forlorn. "I don't think Alexis is going to make it." He finally confessed, running a hand through his hair.
There was a brief moment of silence as the information sunk in. Then, Jesse said softly, "Well, you never know. She just might recover. You can't give up hope that easily."
"I'm not," He insisted, hugging himself a little tighter and glancing up with an angry gaze, "Do you think I want to believe that? Huh? I've been with her every single day since she's been unconscious and she hasn't gotten any better. Do you know what?" He stepped a little closer to Jesse, backing him into the wall.
"Um…what?" Jesse looked up, biting his lip.
"She's gotten worse. Not better. And Ms. Fountaine hasn't said much about her condition to me. But I heard her make a phone call to Alexis' parents last night and…" He trailed off and shook his head. "It…It's not good, Ok?" He paused, putting a hand to his forehead and sighing again.
Jesse tried to think of something comforting to say, but in the end, he found he was at a loss for words. He could only gaze up at the other sympathetically, and wait for him to go on. It wasn't that he did not care. He just did not know what to say. Well, he supposed it should not have been a shock but it really was.
"I'm sorry," Chazz grumbled, lifting his face to look at Jesse with dark eyes, "I can't go on. I just…don't want to repeat what I heard."
"That's Ok," Jesse told him after a brief pause, laying a hand on his shoulder comfortingly. "You don't have to tell me anything if you don't want to. It'll be Ok." He offered a wan smile, trying to seem encouraging but worrying that he was only making things worse.
Chazz looked up at him with dark, weary eyes. "Thanks, Andersen," He finally murmured, tired and worn.
"No problem." He smiled again, warmly this time.
Before he had a chance to say anything else, he felt himself being engulfed in a tight hug. A small little gasp of surprise escaped his lips as he felt Chazz's arms encircling his waist securely. The black-clad Slifer clung to him as though his life depended on it, pressing him close. Jesse knew that he was just upset but…there was more to the embrace than a need for assurance and support. He glanced up at the other's onyx eyes, uneasy. Already, his smile was wavering a bit. Chazz said nothing, just grimaced and pressed him closer, resting his chin on top of Jesse's head. There were a few moments of awkward silence as this continued. Jesse swallowed hard, feeling more nervous as the minutes ticked away, his heart beginning to beat faster as his face flushed.
"Um…" He finally cleared his throat, trying to find his voice again. Another weak smile. "Chazz…do you think this is appropriate? I mean…given the situation and—"
"Don't even go there," Chazz grumbled, hugging him all the tighter, "I don't care anymore."
"But—" Jesse began, trying to protest.
"Shush!" It was hissed, and soon after, a finger fell upon his lips, preventing him from continuing. Chazz was obviously irritated. "I said I don't care, Ok?! Just…shut up."
He never had been too good with handling emotion. Even though he sounded angry, Jesse knew it was just a cover-up for his distress and sorrow. So he decided maybe he should just let it go. He was only comforting a friend, after all. And, because of this reason, he allowed his own arms to slip around Chazz. A little sigh escaped his lips as he rested his cheek against the other's shoulder and closed his eyes. When would things ever get better? It really didn't help that he found himself being sorely tempted…yet again.
"I…" Chazz began, breaking the silence. He snapped his mouth shut quickly, his face flushing in embarrassment.
"What?" Jesse looked up at him worriedly.
"I…I don't know." A ragged sigh. "I'm so scared I'll lose her." His voice shook a little, as he finally allowed his emotion to show through a bit. "Don't tell anybody about this. I really don't want them to know yet. I can't stand it, or any sort of sympathy they might show. As sincere as it is, I don't want it."
"I reckon that makes sense…" Jesse wasn't sure he completely understood it but he did know that Chazz didn't want the others to be upset or to injure his pride by breaking down in front of everyone. He understood that the other needed his room, and perhaps that was all that he had to comprehend.
He gazed up at the older boy worriedly. Chazz sighed again, looking down at the floor, then brought his eyes up to Jesse's. Seeing the concern evident in them, a faint smile flickered at the corners of his lips, and he brought his hand up to the European's face. He brushed some hair out of it, then, leaned in and brushed his lips against the junction between his jaw and neck, causing him to flinch and blush.
"Ch-Chazz!" He exclaimed, startled. He stared at those charcoal eyes, dumbfounded.
"Sorry," Chazz grumbled, quickly pulling away and jamming his hands in his pockets. "I just wanted you to know…that I still cared about you and really appreciated that you'll listen. I guess I shouldn't do this but…screw it…" He glanced back down the hall, sighing. "Just forget it, Ok? I gotta go." He quickly pulled away from Jesse, and whirled around to hurry down the hall, his face crimson.
Jesse shivered as a cool rush of air enveloped the sudden space between them. He reached out to grasp Chazz's sleeve, but his fingers merely brushed the fabric as Chazz jerked away. "Don't go yet…" He was surprised at how tense and anxious his voice sounded.
Chazz did not reply. He seemed to be regretting what he had done, and with good reason too. Something was grumbled under his breath that Jesse could not quite make out, save for the last 'it would never be like that again.' He bit his lip and opened his mouth to call to him again, but stopped himself when he felt a hand fall on his shoulder.
"What are you doing?"
He jumped at the familiar voice and turned to find himself staring into chocolate eyes. The owner may have been smiling but it was a nervous one.
"J-Jaden…" He quickly composed himself. "Uh, so how long have you been standin' there?"
"I just came out to check on you," He replied, looking confused, "What's going on? Is something wrong?"
He breathed a sigh of relief. So Jaden hadn't witnessed that little scene. He was grateful but at the same time…he almost wished he had. "Oh, well, Chazz doesn't want me to talk about it," He answered truthfully, grinning sheepishly, "Sorry."
The brunet blinked. "Oh…well…Ok." He gave Jesse a strange look, but said nothing more. "Just…go back to class. Ok?"
Jesse nodded feebly and subjected himself to being dragged back to class. He sent one more glance in the direction Chazz had run off to as they were walking away. And then he forced the dirty thoughts that were playing through his head out of his mind.
"It's your move, Jes," Jaden said, after laying a card face down on the bed.
"Huh? Oh…yeah…" Jesse quickly turned his attention back to their duel, and pulled a card. He stared at his hand for a long time, finding it hard to focus. It felt so strange to not be so caught up in a duel for once…It felt strange to be so worried that he thought he would be sick.
"Um, are you Ok? You're really not being yourself," Jaden finally asked, after Jesse had stared at his hand for a few minutes.
"No, not really," Jesse sighed, looking up over his cards. He felt his stomach knot up all over again at the thought of everything that was happening. He wasn't sure how to tell Jaden or what to say to him, even. He had never found something so difficult to tell him, even when it should have been a no-brainer. He supposed it was only natural, seeing how he couldn't tell him the whole story. He'd been asked specifically not to. But Jaden deserved to know a bit, didn't he?
"Well? What is it?" Jaden didn't put his cards down but he did move closer to sit next to Jesse.
The European sighed and laid his cards face-down in his lap. "I'm not sure where to start. But Chazz told me some disturbing things today."
"Like about what happened to the dorm?" Jaden tilted his head a bit to one side.
Jesse was genuinely surprised. "Y-You knew about that?"
"Well, duh," Jaden smirked slightly, and hooked an arm around Jesse's neck, "That was pretty obvious, if you ask me. I saw it when I came back here to get my books. The teacher insisted." He rolled his eyes.
"Aren't you a little bit concerned 'bout it?" Jesse asked, skeptical.
"Not really," Jaden laughed, "I can handle anything, seriously. I got it. Ok?"
"Do you even know what it is?" He really shouldn't have been so surprised. Jaden was going to be Jaden. And he was not easily intimidated.
"Nah, but like I said…It's all good." Jaden smiled confidently. "Don't tell me that was getting you down. I mean, come on. The teachers aren't too worried about it…I think…because they haven't said anything. What, are you scared or something?"
The teal-haired duelist blinked. "Scared? What; me? No…"
"Yeah, yeah, that's what they all say," The brunet teased, playfully ruffling his hair. Jesse pouted. "Aw, come on, don't give me that look. Relax. 'K? Just cheer up. Let's just keep dueling and I'm sure you'll forget all about it."
Jesse opened his mouth to protest, then quickly snapped it shut again. There was no use in protesting and there was no use in trying to explain anything to him. He was just going to go on with the duel like Jaden wanted. After all, maybe Jaden was right. Maybe he was being silly and making a big deal out of nothing.
They didn't say much after that, except what they normally would in a duel. There wasn't anything more to be said. It wasn't until after a couple of matches that anything was really said…and that was only when Jaden challenged for another rematch. Jesse kindly declined.
"Sorry, Jay, I'm jus' not feelin' it right now." He sighed, laying back on the bed and slinging an arm over his eyes. Another heavy sigh and a pause, then he continued. "It's not like me, I know, I know. I just…somehow feel too tired."
"Ok…" Jaden sounded uncertain, but he didn't press for information. By then, it was clear to him that there was more getting his boyfriend's spirits down than he'd thought. He didn't say anything, but he slowly eased down next to him, lying close and placing a hand on his arm to try to comfort him.
Jesse lay still for awhile, before he finally peeked from beneath his arm to look at Jaden. Those dark eyes were regarding him inquisitively, worriedly. He was trying to read the transfer student, trying to gauge what was wrong and what he could do to help. Looking saddened, he laid his cheek down on Jesse's shoulder and stared up at him.
"Hey…" He said softly, breaking the silence, "If you need something…just ask. Ok?"
"Huh?" This caught his attention. He sat up a bit and looked puzzled. "Need somethin'? Jay, what are you talking about?"
Jaden shrugged. "I don't know. You just seemed kinda down. And I want to help you feel better." He offered a warm, cheerful smile, though there was underlying sadness.
After a moment's pondering, Jesse turned to the Slifer and surprised him by throwing his arms around him in a tight hug. "This is all I need," He muttered, resting his chin on Jaden's shoulder and sighing, "I'm just really stressed out right now. I'll be Ok."
Jaden hugged him back, burying his nose in the other's shoulder. "If you say so…" A little sigh escaped his lips as his eyelids fluttered shut. "I'll do whatever I can."
They ended up just holding each other in silence for about half an hour, until Jesse finally slipped beneath the covers and pulled Jaden with him. He held the brunet close, cuddling him and running his fingers absentmindedly through the choppy brown hair. It was comforting to feel the other's presence, assured that he was still there by the warm, gentle puffs of breath on his neck. It filled him with a sense of calm. He knew he should be studying or doing homework, but…
Before he could consider the idea any more, he felt the warm weight of a hand moving slowly up and down his back. He shivered slightly as the fingertips brushed against all the sensitive spots along his spine. Was Jaden doing this on purpose? Did he know what he had been thinking? One glance down at the mischievous smirk answered all of Jesse's questions.
"What do you want?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Nothing," Jaden replied, his smirk melting into a gentler smile, "I just want you to feel better." He pressed his lips against Jesse's neck and sighed contentedly.
He had no idea just how serious this was getting, Jesse realized. He swallowed hard and ran his fingers through the back of Jaden's hair, feeling nervous all over again. There was that familiar ache rising within him again. Why did it always seem to appear in the worst of situations? After all, the last attempt had not been that long ago…Jaden was still uneasy and uncertain. Even if he kept going back and forth, that was how he truly felt, in the end. At least Jesse was smart enough to know that. As much as he would like to mess around with him, it was not the time. Not at the moment, anyway. Maybe later…but not at that exact moment.
Sighing, he forced himself off the mattress, leaving Jaden staring at him with confused brown eyes. He had to stop this before he made a mistake. Turning with a wry grin, he apologized, "Sorry, Jay, I would like to have a moment with you, but I gotta do my homework. We can continue this later if you want."
"Um…Ok…" Jaden seemed caught off guard, and so he relented. Only because he'd been pushed away by Jesse so many times before. He really didn't want the other to yell at him again. If he promised they would later, then they would. For the time being, he just snuggled back against the pillow and watched him from across the room.
In reality, Jesse hadn't just pushed him away because he had to complete his assignments. It was also because he wanted Jaden to think it over, to make sure he knew what he was doing and was comfortable with it. They did not need a mishap like last time. And since he had an idea what that would be like, then, maybe he would be able to make a more proper decision. If it wasn't decided in the heat of the moment, then they wouldn't go too far. Maybe after dinner they could talk about it. But for the time being, they needed to think.
As they sat silently, unperturbed, in the comfort of the Slifer dorm, a figure watched from afar off. Perhaps it wasn't even a part of that world, but of its own. But it was watching, and waiting for the opportune moment. It could only wait for things to play out seemingly on their own, though the events were carefully orchestrated by an unseen force. No, it wouldn't be long then…Not long at all until this tranquil scene was shattered, the effects like ripples. Soon…
A/N: Holy fucking shit. You guys will NOT believe…I swear to you, I have been writing this thing since the beginning of fucking May. WRRRYYYY. BAW. You see, I have the ideas coming up and I'm trying to bridge to them but something, er, has to happen beforehand in order for it to work. And I hafta bide my time for that to happen first. X.x Hopefully it won't be much longer. ARGH. Sorry for the crap ending I just ended up rambling and aakljdgaga. XD I'm just glad to get it done. I NEVER thought I'd finish this chapter. For real. XDD