Rated T for language.
Author's Note: In the episode, Duel Monsters Spirit Day, Chazz mentioned that he had a dog. I've taken the liberty of making that dog into a small character in this story. I made up the breed and the name. Neither things have been confirmed by the series or anything. Please read and review, thanks.
It was spring break for the students of Duel Academy, and most of them were looking forward to going home. Chazz Princeton however, was depressed beyond reason. Usually, even when he was pissed off about something, he expressed himself rather freely. Lately, he'd been quiet and relenting. Even the Ojamas couldn't get a reaction out of him. He had just finished packing when Jaden came into his dorm to say goodbye.
"Well, Chazz, the boat's here. Us lower-class students have got to get on. Too bad we don't have a private jet like you! Ha ha!" Then he noticed that Chazz was hanging his head, his dark hair shadowing his eyes. "Hey, Chazz? What's wrong?"
"Nothing," muttered Chazz.
"Nothing my foot," said Jaden, slapping his arm around his somber friend. Chazz grunted at the sudden contact, and then glared at Jaden. "Come on, you get to go back to your kick-ass estate, with your servants and--"
"And my brothers!" growled Chazz.
"Oh. Oh yeah…I forgot," said Jaden, backing off. "What're their names…? Blade and Dagger? No wait…Slain and Jag-off?" Chazz chuckled. Why hadn't he thought of those nicknames for his brothers? "Um, so, like, I mean, didn't they disown you?"
"Well, they can't just kick me out, since I'm a minor and have nowhere to go. They kind-of disowned me in spirit, but not legally," Chazz explained.
"So technically, they're still your family?" asked Jaden. Chazz squinted his eyes shut, holding back tears. Jaden hadn't even realized how rude his question had been.
"Well, I've got to go. I'll see you in two weeks!" said Jaden, giving Chazz a rather affectionate hug. Chazz didn't bother to protest. He didn't have the energy.
"See ya, slacker," he said, quietly enough for Jaden not to hear him, and therefore, not to get offended by the insult. Jaden picked up his bag and walked out of Chazz's private dorm. Chazz sighed, and zipped up his suitcase.
The jet ride home went too quickly for Chazz. When you're dreading something, it always happens too soon, and vice-versa when you're anxious for something. After landing at the airport, one of the Princeton family's limos arrived to take Chazz the rest of the way home. Chazz wasn't surprised that Slade and Jagger hadn't come by to pick him up, since it was obvious they hated him.
"So, Master Chazz," the chauffeur began. "Are you happy to be home from school?" He asked merely out of the need to break the silence-- he already knew the answer. He also knew that Chazz would probably lie.
"Yeah, I'm stoked," he said with much sarcasm. "I've really missed the ol' homestead."
"Well, I'm sure your family will be happy to see you, Master Chazz." Chazz rolled his eyes.
"Yeah. Real happy."
After arriving at the Princeton estate, Chazz was greeted by his dog, Winston. The prize-winning sheepdog jumped up and slobbered all over his master's gray trench coat, wagging his huge, fluffy tail.
"Down, boy! Down!" Chazz ordered. He waved the dog aside and retreated to his room. He knew that at six o'clock sharp he would be summoned down to dinner. No need to see his brothers any sooner than required.
His room was just the way he'd left it. It had probably never even been entered to be cleaned in the time he'd been away at the academy. The huge room was of a mostly blue theme; light blue walls, dark blue carpet, and silver-blue curtains. Chazz dropped his suitcase on the floor, took off his jacket and flopped down onto his king-sized bed. Kicking off his shoes, he curled up and shut his eyes, hoping to escape his feelings of dread by catching a quick nap.
He must have been really tired, because he was awakened from the sleep he'd apparently fallen into by Winston licking his face, at about quarter to six. He grimaced and sat up, pushing the dog off the bed. "Ew…" Chazz muttered, wiping off the drool his face. "Who let you in here…?" He looked up to see that his door had been opened by one of the maids, who was still standing there.
"Your presence is required in the dining hall, Master Chazz," she said. "In fifteen minutes, to be precise."
"Give me a minute," Chazz ordered, shooing Winston out and shutting the door. He looked in the mirror to see a weak, pathetic little boy in a dusty purple turtleneck, and dark gray trousers. He decided to change into something more suitable for dinner, and so he put on a white collared-shirt and a light-gray blazer. His pants remained unchanged, though. He checked his eyes for the slightest trace of tears, and after confirming that there were none, he took a deep breath and went downstairs.
Slade and Jagger were already at the table, Slade at the very end, and Jagger at his right. Chazz was to take the left side, across from the middle-brother.
"Hi," he said weakly, not looking either brother in the eye.
"Welcome home, Chazz," said Slade, grumpily. Jagger nodded in agreement, but of course, his action went unnoticed by Chazz, who was looking at his own lap.
"How's school?" asked Jagger, as the brothers proceeded to eat.
"Passing all your classes?"
"Yeah," muttered Chazz.
"Excuse me?" said Slade. Chazz suddenly straightened up and looked his brother in the eye.
"Yes." Slade nodded in approval. Chazz was not to speak in anything less than perfect grammar when around his brothers. "Yeah" was not acceptable. Jagger smirked at Slade and glared at Chazz, scaring the younger boy into averting his gaze back down to his plate.
Slade and Jagger went on to talk amongst themselves, virtually ignoring Chazz as the youngest Princeton picked at his dinner, avoided his carrots and filled up on milk. He was happy, in a way, that his brothers were ignoring him. It meant that he didn't have to answer to or be scolded by them. After the butlers came and took their plates and dishes away, Chazz decided to escape to his room yet again.
"May I be excused?" he asked meekly.
"Sure," said Slade, and went back to discussing politics and money with Jagger. Chazz scurried away to brush his teeth and change into his pajamas.
Hours later, Chazz was still awake in his room, going through his deck and petting Winston, who had found his way into his master's room again. The dog was on Chazz's bed next to him, quietly snoozing, until his ears perked up and he got down all of a sudden. Almost as if out of fear.
"Hey, Winston, where're you going?" asked Chazz as his dog trotted out of the room. Then Chazz saw the reason why-- Slade and Jagger were coming down the hall toward his room. Chazz gulped and put his deck on his nightstand, and reached for the lamp to turn it off, in hopes of pretending to be asleep before his brothers could confront him. Unfortunately, they entered before his fingers found the switch.
"Hey, little brother," said Slade. He and Jagger were both still in their suits-- it didn't look like they were going to go to bed any time soon. They both sat down on the bed.
"Hi," said Chazz. "Um, is there…something you want?"
"We just wanted to say goodnight," said Jagger. "And…welcome home."
"Yeah, we missed you, kid," added Slade. Chazz raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah right!" he scoffed, peeling the covers off of himself and getting up out of bed. "What is this, an act to keep up appearances? You hate me!"
Slade and Jagger were silent for a moment. They looked at each other, and then down, silently admitting to themselves that they had indeed deserved that.
"Chazz, we…" Slade began. Chazz turned his head a bit, not quite falling for whatever lie might come spewing out of his oldest brother's mouth. "We're sorry," he said.
"We are," said Jagger. "We've been doing a lot of thinking since your duel with Slade, and…" Chazz turned his head back to where it had been-- facing away from his brothers. "We've realized that…we treat you like crap…way too much."
"Got that right," Chazz commented under his breath.
"But we could never hate you," said Slade. "We just…" he stopped again, but this time Chazz refused to turn round. "We just want what's best for you, Chazz."
"Is that so?"
"We want you to succeed, you know," said Jagger. Chazz felt tears welling up in his dark eyes, and had to take a rather deep breath before speaking again.
"I can succeed, you know. On my own. I don't need you guys putting a butt-load of pressure on me!" he said shakily.
"We know. We know," said Jagger, quietly.
"We're sorry, Chazz," said Slade. "But we really do care about you." Chazz didn't respond. "Chazz…" Slade began again. It was then that the two elder Princetons noticed that Chazz was shaking.
"Oh, Chazz, we--" Slade was cut off by Chazz hugging him around the neck. Jagger rubbed Chazz's back as the youngest brother buried his face in Slade's shoulder.
"It's OK, little brother," whispered Slade. "It's OK now."
"I missed you, too,"Chazz admitted. Only he meant he'd missed them all the years they'd shunned and scorned him.
"Well, it's alright now, Chazz," said Slade, releasing the smaller boy from his arms. Chazz got back under the covers as Jagger started to tuck him in.
"We could never hate you, Chazz," said Jagger, ruffling his hair. "You're our baby brother." Chazz frowned playfully.
"I'm not a baby!" he said. Slade and Jagger just laughed. "You always did treat me like one!"
"Well you are the baby," said Slade, tapping Chazz's nose with his finger.
"Hrrmmmnng…" grumbled Chazz, turning over on his side.
"Goodnight, Chazz," said Jagger.
"Goodnight," said Chazz, unsuccessfully trying to suppress a smile.
"Love you, kid,"said Slade, turning out the light. He and Jagger left Chazz's room, and for the first time in years, the youngest Princeton fell into a calm, peaceful sleep.
(The whole Slade-tapping-Chazz's-nose-with-his-finger thing was actually taken from an old story that's not even on the website anymore, La Roue de Fortune. It was one of my favorite stories, by an author named Kiki Jones. It's been gone for a few years now, which is really too bad because it was a great fic. Anyway, just thought I should give credit to the source.)