(A/N: I am sorry that the last chapter was not a Jaden and Alexis chapter, but this one is, so please don't curse at me again, it made me cry. Okay, it didn't, but it still wasn't nice. Oh, and the story is still taking place in season 1 before Atticus was found.)

CHAPTER 9

Desperation

Alexis slowly lifted her head and looked around. She was still in the forest, and no one had found her yet. Gradually and carefully, she stood up again. Her legs were slightly trembling, but she ignored that. She began to move on.

"Ugh," she muttered to herself. "I feel terrible. I need some water."

Up ahead, she saw a pond. Alexis's eyes widened as she ran to it. She slowly bent her head down and drank the water. She scowled at the taste, but it was water, and she was parched. After gulping down a lot of the foul liquid, she walked away.

Alexis sighed. She had almost forgotten why she had even run into the forest in the first place. Of course, it was because Jaden had said he didn't love her, and that hurt her deeply. How she longed for the magical three words to come out of his mouth and wrap around her.

Alexis moved those thoughts to the back of her mind, and tried to focus on something else. Over time, she passed another pond, and looked at her reflection in the water. Her fur was ruffled and dirty, her uniform seemed worn out, and her eyes were full of sorrow and regret. "How could this all have happened?" she asked herself as she started to cry. "One moment, my life is going fine, the next, I'm turned into a cat and everything's a disaster! Curse the world! Curse everyone and everything in the world!"

She began to think that maybe she should just turn back, but she had lost herself in the forest. She had forgotten which direction she had come from. Alexis kicked a rock with her paw and grunted. She hated this forest, this island, and everyone on it.

Then she tripped on a pebble and lost her balance. "Somebody!" she desperately screamed. "Guide me home! Lead me back to where I came from and help me! …Atticus…"

She had barely thought about him this whole time. Ever since she became a cat, she hadn't thought of her brother once. "Atticus!" she yelled. "I'm so stupid! Why did I run away from Jaden? My life is even worse now than ever! I miss you, Atticus! Where did you go?! I can't do this on my own!!"

She began to cry again.

Meanwhile…

"Jaden…" A boy who looked somewhat familiar called out to him. "Jaden…Where are you? You need to find her…find her…Jaden…find my sister!"

"Ack!" Jaden yelped as he awoke with a fright. He stared at his surroundings and remembered where he was and what he had been doing the night before.

"Ugh," he moaned. Slowly and steadily, he rose from the ground and headed forward. Where was he going? He had no idea what direction to travel in. Which way lead back to the academy? What if Alexis was already back at the academy? But then wouldn't someone have called him?

His eyes widened in surprise as he reached for the PDA in his pocket. What if someone had called during the night while he was sleeping and he didn't notice? His PDA was on vibrate, and he knew that simple vibrations wouldn't cause him to acknowledge a call if he was asleep. Jaden quickly called Syrus' PDA. It rang a few times.

"Hello?" Syrus answered.

"Syrus!" Jaden shouted.

"Jaden?!" Syrus exclaimed in surprise. "Is that you?! Where are you?!"

"Somewhere in the woods," Jaden replied. "But that's not important right now. Has Alexis returned?"

"No," Syrus told him. Jaden sighed. "You mean you haven't found her yet?"

"No! I only searched for maybe 6 hours yesterday before I fell asleep! I was hoping that maybe she turned up."

"Well, as far as I know, she's not here. I'll ask around, but you keep searching, okay? We'll call each other if we find something. You take care of yourself while you're in there."

"Okay. Bye."

"Bye."

Jaden ended the call and adjusted his PDA from "vibrate" to "ring". He had to keep moving forward. "Where are you, Lex?"

As he was walking, he began to wonder about his dream last night. Who was calling out to him? He looked familiar. That hair, that brown hair kept reminding him of someone he couldn't quite place his finger on.

Jaden suddenly stopped. He slapped his hand to his forehead. It was so obvious! The boy who was in his dream looked so much like Alexis! He found this so pathetic if himself considering she was the main objective in his mind. However, he hadn't seen her as a human for quite a while, so that could explain it. So who could he be?

Jaden's eyes widened. "Could it be?" he thought. "Her missing brother? What was his name? Um, it was something with an 'A'. Uh, Abacus? No, that's a counting thing. Um, Adolescence? No, that's the stage between child and adult. …How did I know that? Focus, Jaden, focus! Um, hmm, uh…"

"Stop!" Jaden yelled to himself. "I'll remember his name later! I need to find Alexis, or-" His stomach abruptly gurgled. He clutched it as he slunk to the ground. "I'm hungry!!" he cried out. "No! I've got to keep moving!" His stomach growled even louder this time. "Oh, alright! Food, there's got to be some food here!" However, he could not find any. So he told his belly to hush as he walked forward.

Later on, Jaden saw a pond. "Fish!" he shrieked. "If I could catch a fish…what use would that be? I can't eat a fish without it being cooked! And even if I knew how to make a fire, how would I kill the fish? I could use a stick…no! Stop wasting time on this pointless idea!"

He was about to leave the pond behind when something caught his eye. There was some sort of indentation in the mud next to the water. In fact, there were several of them. As he leaned down, he realized they were paw-prints! He examined it more closely and found some blonde fur! It wasn't exactly evidence, but it was some sort of lead. And when Jaden looked at the path ahead, he saw that whatever left the paw-prints had headed up that path. He called Syrus to inform him.

"Hello?" Syrus asked.

"Syrus, I found something!" Jaden blurted out.

"What is it?!"

"I'm by a pond, and I found some small paw-prints, cat-size. There are some short, blonde strands of fur in them. I can't prove it's her fur, but it could be. The paw-prints lead up a path in front of me. I think I'm on her trail."

"Okay, call back if you find anything else. Bye."

"Bye."

So Jaden followed after the paw-prints.