Chazz plays Go Fish. (Death)
Jesse gets some fresh air. (Rebirth)
The crew gets into costume. (Trick-or-Treat)
Important notes for Trick-or-Treat: #these are all like...snapshots i guess rather than an actual cohesive story. it's the best i could do sorry
These are the last batch! Hope you all enjoy!
Year Three, First Half - Dark World
At the end, all Chazz felt was hate, hate, hate.
Hatred towards Yubel for putting them in this situation. Hatred for this Mad King guy for doing this to them. Hatred towards Jesse for having to get left behind and making them chase him down. Hatred towards Dark World for being the way that it was.
Most of all, he felt hatred for Jaden. For being both the best duelist and the biggest slacker he'd ever met. For being unbeatable while letting himself stay down at Slifer. For running off on his own in Dark World, of all places. For putting Jesse above the rest of them. For letting them all die so he could keep going, keep looking for Jesse.
There was always another option, there had to be. Jaden never let them down before. And yet, he kept brute forcing his way through the situation, let the Mad King sacrifice them all.
Jaden met Jesse, they instantly became friends, and what, now everyone else met nothing to him?
Some people, at the end, are happy. Others become regretful. Feel guilty, plead forgiveness.
But, at the end, all Chazz felt was hate.
Then, he was sent to the stars. Died. Whatever. He'd seen it happen before and he was no idiot, he knew what this was. Wrapping it up in a fancy name didn't change that.
And death? Death was nothingness. Quiet. Peaceful. Restful.
Then Chazz opened his eyes and realized he'd basically fell asleep. Actual death was a lot worse. He was trapped in a small space and couldn't move very much. There was nothing to do. He could see the rest of his friends who'd been sacrificed, but they were asleep, and even if they were awake he had no way of communicating with them. The scenery here was dull and boring. And worst of all, Ojama Green and Ojama Black were here with him.
All attempts of escape or reaching anyone in some way failed. Eventually, Chazz shuffled his deck and began using it to play Go Fish with the Ojamas.
It was pretty clear to all three of them by this point that everyone was still alive.
Before he'd been sent to the stars, all Chazz could feel was hate. But now that he was there, all that hatred was gone. In hindsight, it was ridiculous he'd even felt that way. After all, he had no idea what he would've done if he was in Jaden's position. He was pretty sure there was nothing Jaden could do. Sometimes, there really was no other way.
He just wished he'd realized all this sooner. You know, before he got sent to the stars. He certainly hadn't said or done anything to help that situation.
Some people, at the end, are happy. Others are regretful. Feel guilty, plead forgiveness.
Chazz hadn't been able to feel any of that until after the end came and went.
Year Three, Second Half - Forest
"Look, they're serving fried shrimp for dinner. You can't just stay in here forever," Chazz argued.
Jesse rolled his eyes. "Chazz, I'm not used to being back in my own body yet." His voice was hoarse. "I haven't been cleared to walk outside therapy. It ain't like I'm choosing to not go out."
"Then, here." Chazz dragged over a wheelchair from the opposite side of the room. "I'm taking you out to get fresh air, they can't be too mad about that. And if they are, then I'm kidnapping you."
"Fine, fine, just… help me get into the chair…" Jesse relented.
Since returning from Dark World, Jesse had barely left the nurse's office, and never on his own. He was kept laying down in one of the beds most of the time, unless someone was working with him to help him regain control over his body. He was still transitioning back to being himself after having his soul sealed in Rainbow Dragon, and it was rough. He couldn't stand up without help, he wasn't entirely used to talking, and while he'd made a lot of progress, there was still a ways to go.
Then, it hadn't been very long since they got back, either, so it wasn't unreasonable. Jesse was trying to be more patient with his recovery than some other people were. Case in point, Chazz.
If Jesse was honest, he had no idea what this was about. But he didn't have it in him to argue against it. So Chazz helped Jesse into the wheelchair, Jesse adjusted himself as best he could, and Chazz wheeled him out.
"This can't just be about food," Jesse mumbled eventually. "They feed me, you know that, and I don't really care what I eat right now."
"Well, I'm still taking you to dinner," Chazz told him. "Everyone else is so gloomy and depressing when we eat, especially when they're serving fried shrimp. It'd be nice to be around someone who doesn't just whine throughout the whole meal for a change."
Jesse had his doubts that Chazz was exempt from that behavior, but didn't bring it up. "So, there is something else."
"You caught me, I guess." Chazz stopped. They'd taken a bit of a roundabout path back toward the Obelisk dorms, and still weren't there yet. No one else was there. Chazz stared straight ahead. "It's stupid, I don't know why I keep thinking about this, and you're the last person I should be dumping complaints on."
"I can't walk too great yet, but I can still listen, my ears work fine." Jesse tried to look up at Chazz. Chazz still wasn't looking at him. "What's on your mind, then?"
"It's stupid," Chazz reiterated. Jesse rolled his eyes. "I just…keep thinking back to Dark World. Before we found you, before we lost Jaden, even. He kept… He wouldn't slow down for anything, and he kept running off on his own if he thought we were moving too slow, even though he knew it was more dangerous to split up. You were all he talked about, all he could think about. And at some point, it started feeling like he cared more about you than he did anyone else."
Jesse blinked. His memories of the whole ordeal were fuzzy at best, and it's not like he knew what most other people were up to at the time, even if he could remember. He had no idea.
"And at some point everyone's feelings got weird because of some Spell card, we know that now," Chazz went on. "Most've what I felt then was biased against Jaden because of it. But… I still can't stop thinking about it."
"You know he cares a lot about you," Jesse offered.
Chazz appeared to be trying his best to glare a hole into a nearby tree. "As much as you, though?" he countered.
"We were in different situations," Jesse reminded him. "Y'all were there. I wasn't. And everyone was having a rough time, Jaden, too. He was blaming himself for what happened to me, none of you were sure I even could be found. But if anything, I think he trusted you. He trusted you to help him find me. He trusted you could handle yourselves on your own, that y'all would be okay while he made the extra push he thought he needed to to find me. If he thought you wouldn't make it, I don't think he'd have left you, or even let you go with him. And if you went missing, I think he'd have done all the same just to bring you home again."
"Maybe," Chazz mumbled. "Wouldn't be the first time he'd have to save me. Look where that trust got us, though."
"Look where it got me," Jesse said. "He trusted me to get everyone out of the desert, and I got myself possessed. That boy's stubborn. He believes in people way more than they believe in themselves. It brings out the best in us, though."
"Yeah." Chazz shrugged. "I shouldn't really let what he thinks of me bother me that much, anyway."
"Of course you do," Jesse replied softly. "And that's okay. You care about him, too."
Chazz had nothing to say to that.
"Anyway, if you don't want to think about that, how about this?" Jesse went on. "It'll probably be another couple of weeks before I'm good to go again. And until then I can't duel, go to class, or do anything. It's boring. What am I supposed to do with myself? But, after some negotiating, I was able to talk them down to a one duel per day limit. As long as I'm in the office, don't use a duel disk, and don't duel per long. So if any of y'all are aching for a duel anytime soon, I'm available."
Chazz snorted. "As if you'll be a challenge right now. Get back to me when you're on your feet again, Anderson. Maybe Syrus will take pity on you and let you duel him."
"Well, then he and I'll just have to work out all new strategies. By the time I duel you, I'll be like a whole new duelist," Jesse decided.
"As if I'm going to be the same duelist by then, either. You're on," Chazz declared. "I'll take down those Crystal Beasts of yours."
"I can't wait to see you try."
Afterwards - Home
"So, what're we all dressing up as for the Halloween party?" Jaden asked.
"I'm gonna be Jessie from Team Rocket," Jesse explained.
"Really? I'm just going to be myself," Jaden admitted.
Chazz snorted. "I'm also going to be myself."
"Well, uh… this'll be a fun party!" Jesse laughed.
"So, we're already to go, ri– Uh…" Jesse trailed off. He stopped in place, staring at the other two in front of him.
After they'd shared their costume plans, the party wasn't going to start for awhile yet, so none of them had needed to be ready. Jesse had gone into a different room to get his wallet (why did he leave it on the sink?) and, for the first time, he realized both Jaden and Chazz were dressed the same as before.
Jaden was dressed almost completely in black– black jacket, black shirt, black pants. Golden eyes peeked out from under his bangs, as opposed to the usual brown. Chazz, meanwhile, was mostly the same before, but now wearing a blue jacket instead of his usual black.
"I thought y'all were going as yourselves," Jesse said.
"Yeah, myself. I'm like, a toned down version of the Supreme King," Jaden explained. "Kinda? It's not super obvious, I decided on this last minute so I couldn't do anything better, but that's probably for the best. But like, it's Halloween? He was kinda scary."
"And I'm me, before I went to North Academy," Chazz added. "It's perfect, because everyone will hate it, including me. And it'll be worse for anyone who didn't know me back then. And, uh, besides, you're not one to talk. You said you were actually going to dress up as something, and then you didn't change."
"Yeah, because I was already in my costume," Jesse told him. He adjusted the jacket he was wearing so that it was no longer obscuring his shirt from view. It looked similar to the white shirt he normally wore, but with a giant red R on it. "I'm Jesse. From Team Rocket? From Pokemon?"
"Oh….oh, now I get it," Jaden said, nodding.
"What do you mean, you never went trick-or-treating?" Syrus asked.
Jesse shrugged. "Well, I mean, it's not really like I could. We lived in the middle of nowhere, there wasn't any place we could walk to. Unless, like, you're expecting a bunch of trees to give you candy? Which nobody is, that's dumb."
"Then what did you do?" Syrus pressed.
"Watch scary movies, I guess? And we'd get some candy in case anyone stopped by, but no one ever did because nobody's out there," Jesse replied. "One year we drove around to a few relatives' houses, that's the only time we did anything close to trick-or-treating. And, uh, I guess school made us dress in costumes on the day, until we were like, eleven. The last time I remember dressing up, I was some kind of princess. The sleeping one, maybe."
"You haven't done a costume at all for that long? Geez, that sucks," Syrus commented.
"I only ever really cared about the chocolate, so it never bothered me," Jesse admitted.
"Then what're we waiting for? Let's go get some of the chocolate."
"Professor Banner, no, we're not…doing that…" Jaden muttered. One hand was rubbing at his temples, the other place gently on Pharaoh, who was sitting in hsi lap.
Professor Banner's spirit floated in front of him. "I don't see why not."
"You don't see the problem with us, like, doing a ghost hunting youtube series where the ghost is just like, you, messing with us," Jaden reiterated.
"That would be correct."
"Well, the first problem is that I don't even want to," Jaden said. "Besides, it'd probably get really boring really fast, it'd just be like…" He pulled a portable game console out of his pocket and sat it on the floor. "Professor Banner, if your ghost is really here, then catch this Pokemon for me. That wouldn't even be fun for anyone to watch the first time."
"It's not like there aren't other approaches. Analyze audio! Video! Photos! Maybe something will actually happen," Professor Banner suggested.
Jaden sighed. "That'd be fun for like, a minute-long video, maybe. Probably not even that, though. Why are we even arguing this, anyway? Why do you suddenly want everyone to, like, know you're a ghost? Couldn't that get, like, weird for you?"
"I'm a ghost, it's Halloween. I'm in a haunting mood," Professor Banner told him.
"You're always in a haunting mood when it comes to me," Jaden shot back.
"I have to get enjoyment out of being a ghost somehow."
Wow, it only took me...look at calendar...over a month to put these all up here.