Firstly, let me just say that I have no actual plot planned out for this story, other than 'Yu-Gi-Oh GX sans Jaden', and revisiting the entire storyline, albeit with changes of varying magnitude, which I suppose constitutes a plot in its own right, but I digress...
Secondly, in regards to the summary's terminology, this story is an AU, both in the sense that Jaden has (somehow) excised both himself and Yubel from all twelve dimensions of the YGO-verse spacetime continuum, and in the sense that some changes don't naturally flow from that non-event.
By the latter, I mean that for the planned majority of this story, Alexis uses the Ice/White Night Deck instead of the Cyber Dancer Deck. Furthermore, Atticus won't be among the Shadow Riders: Who will be in his place is yet to be determined.
Similar to the visual of Elemental Mirage or Destiny Mirage, the crystalline fragments of the spacetime continuum were pieced back together. Crowler awoke with a sharp gasp to unfamiliar surroundings and faces, and the ringing of his cell-phone, from his back-pocket.
He reached for his pocket and extracted the device. A dainty finger flicked open the gray-slated phone, and he held it to his ear; if memory served, it was Chancellor Sheppard with a chastising reminder, he recalled faintly. "Ah, Chancellor Sheppard," Vellian greeted amiably to his caller.
"Just calling to make sure everything's running smoothly, Crowler," the Chancellor began, sounding, to the Department Chair of Techniques, a bit worried, for a reason that eluded the blond. "Wouldn't want a repeat of what happened last year... when you cut a third of our student applicants for some ridiculous reason. What was it? Calling you 'Mister' or Mrs'? Whatever. Just make sure everyone gets a fair shot," he finished.
"Absolutely," Vellian replied matter-of-factly, and hung up; that particular crazed notion of his would indeed be cause for concern, he mused off-handedly. He then rose from his chair, walking off with the parting remark, "Pardon me, gentleman, I'll be right back," for the lavender-attired personnel.
Several of them stared in confusion at him; his occasional eccentricity was a known fact, but this behavior was simply senseless.
"Doctor Crowler, where exactly are you going?" a dark-haired male called out to him; he paused in his tracks, and turned. "The applications are over; the ferry departs soon," he reminded the Department Chair.
Crowler had the good grace to look as though he had fallen to earth from the moon while trying to prevent an alien space lizard from causing an abandoned space station to crash into the planet; perhaps that simile was not quite right, as he was not Shadow the Hedgehog, Duel Academy Island was not the Space Colony ARK, and there was simply no Biolizard anywhere in the equation, so the metaphor was less than entirely apt.
"Jaden must really have done it," Vellian thought, but a bit shaken, "I never thought it possible, but he really must have removed himself and Yubel from time and space... but if so, how can I remember it? This is starting to sound more convoluted than a Doctor Who novel... The Ancestor Cell, my foot... Ah yes, I must have dozed off slightly," he explained absently.
The somewhat odd occurrence was quickly brushed off by them, and about an hour later, the ferry to Duel Academy Island was sailing lackadaisically through the quiet waters. Scores of students, attired in Slifer Red or Obelisk Blue or Ra Yellow varyingly, littered both the visible open areas of the ship and the interior.
Nearly all of the first-year Reds and Yellows watched the ever-nearing island, with its immense and foreboding center building, with a wide spectrum of emotions: Some regarded the island with hushed awe, others felt as though they were looking directly at the face of the devil himself, others still didn't sweat it. For a select few, it was extremely familiar territory that they had yet to actually visit.
In one of the ship's many rooms and bedrooms, a meeting (or perhaps more accurately; a confrontation) was taking place, between several of the newly-minted first years and a teacher. Syrus' eyes shifted, looking from Chazz to Alexis to Atticus to doctor Crowler. Their expressions were largely the same; slightly confused.
"I'm sure you're wondering why I asked you to follow me," Vellian began. Everyone could hear the faint traces of anxiety at the edges of his voice. "The reason is this: Do any of you remember Jaden Yuki?"
Alexis shifted and tensed. Recognition flashed briefly in her eyes, and a literal flood of memories replayed in her mind but only enough for her to get the gist of them; the memories were faded as she mused in an aside that time tended to make them. "Yes, professor Crowler, of course I remember Jaden," the blonde replied, recalling fondly the all quiet moments and dark times over the three years.
Quickly, Crowler received affirmative replies from the other three. "That certainly answers that," the seasoned teacher noted softly, realizing full well how self-evident it sounded. "I had rather hoped that it all had been just a particularly vivid dream, that Jaden and that ghastly Yubel hadn't really conducted that strange ritual, but I suppose that was too much to hope for-"
"Jaden?!" Chazz interrupted, audibly and visibly confused. That outburst was sufficient to grant him the attention of the other four. "Way I remember, it was those other people that did..." his voice slowed, and paused entirely, as he tried to decide on a valid phrasing; seriously, he thought with frustration, after everything that had happened over the time he'd known Jaden, this was the hard-to-explain-part. "I dunno, removed Jaden and Yubel from space and time altogether, or some weird crap like that."
The raven-haired male looked around the room, taking note of their perplexed faces.
"That's not what I remember," Syrus put in. All eyes were on him as he spoke. "It was Jaden and you guys," he paused and pointed to Alexis, Chazz and Atticus, "who rewrote history somehow. While Yubel was possessing you, I mean."
"And I remember it being something that those 'Celestials' told Jaden to do; Yubel didn't really have anything to do with it."
"How did I wind up in that movie... Rashomon, I think?" Crowler wondered idly. "So, do we all recall it differently?"
"That's not possible," Syrus protested. "It can't have happened in more than one way, right?"
He looked to each of them, almost pleading them to vindicate him. After a few moments of speculation, Chazz spoke, "yes, it could; whatever actually did happen back then at the Abandoned Dorm, Jaden screwed around with time and space, and I really don't think you're getting the whole picture there. Who's saying that it couldn't all have happened, but only in different universes?"
A downcast atmosphere descended into the room; along with that, a clear feeling in Syrus' mind, that whatever had happened back at the Abandoned Dorm was going to be just another of its mysteries.
Atticus folded his arms, looking perplexed at Chazz. "What exactly're you saying? Could ya elaborate?"
"Think it through," Chazz admonished annoyedly to the blond. "Whoever did it, something cosmic happened and screwed up the spacetime continuum- okay, I need to read more Sci-Fi... Look, the point is: How do we know that anything we remember is actually true?"
The second question made considerably more of an impact in their minds than the first one, and they regarded Chazz with horror. Though they tried, none of them could string together a mental or verbal rebuttal that couldn't be boiled down to feeble denial of reality.
The world around Crowler seemed to fade away, replaced by a note of confusion and sharp disorientation and... what he could only term tentatively as 'time-paradox anxiety', an overwhelming amount of it.
"What're you saying?" Alexis questioned. "Of course everything we know is true; why wouldn't it be?"
"How would we know?" Chazz retorted with audible frustration. "We know that something happened that altered history; how do we know that what we're remembering is what happened before time got rewritten and not after?"
Alexis' eyes widened in shock and disbelief; her brain had almost short-circuited in trying to process that, but it made a sickening kind of sense. The Armed Dragon Duelist laughed bitterly. "Heh, who knows? Maybe it's not just our memories, but our personalities too? Maybe everything about us got fucked up!" he spat angrily.
None of them could really fault him for the profane utterance; indeed, they were rather inclined for a foul-mouthed tirade themselves.
"Or maybe this is bigger than just us?" Chazz continued, as bitterly as before, but now also sounding distinctly in the mood for property-damage. He balled his fists. "How do we know that Yugi Muto even really exists? Or Seto Kaiba, or Joey Wheeler, or Mai Valentine? Koyo Hibiki, Howard X Miller, Mathmatica, Elroy Prescot, Aster Phoenix? How many people could just, poof, appear outta thin air because of this, and nobody being the wiser?
Alexis frowned, "Chazz, you're kinda going overboard with that line of logic; yes, I agree that it makes sense, but you're still going over the top," the blonde looked around the room, hoping for some small agreement.
Syrus shifted and looked down. "I dunno, what Chazz is saying sounds reasonable. Maybe, everything we know has just been created by events like this one; maybe these spacetime-warping things happen all the time, and we're just the only ones to notice. Maybe our entire world was made up just last week..."
"Well, that certainly escalated rapidly," Crowler commented facetiously, though a bit unnerved by the prospect. "I must say, Syrus, you certainly don't lack scope when you speculate; that said, could I ask you to refrain from indulging in... shall we call it solipsism?"
Syrus had half a mind to ask what this 'solipsism' thing was, but the other half didn't care much, for much of anything, not anymore anyway.
"And even if we were just created last week like you're suggesting, so what?" Alexis questioned. "We're real and alive, just the same."
Time passed, as quickly as unchecked, for the five after that point, as it was known to do.
Much of that time was simply spent, debating and discussing and exchanging theories about their current situation. The hour and more was spent by them in that room, hanging out together as friends even after the (possible and suggested) end of everything.