Hey everyone! Glad you liked the last chapter. Here's a new one. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own YuGiOh GX or Jess, she still belongs to ladydream-chan.
Claimer: YAY! This ENTIRE STORY IS MINE! And the one or two or three OCs that show up that aren't Jess are also mine. :)
Six Months Later…
Little giggles filled the halls as the now eleven-month-old Maria wobbled down the halls. She was running, at least trying to. Her cheeks were bright red as she continued to giggle.
"I'm gonna get cha!" I teased, chasing after her. She looked back at me, giggled loudly, and tried to speed up. She couldn't go very far because she was still learning how to walk. So, to make sure she didn't trip and fall, I sped up and scooped her up. "I got you!"
She giggled loudly as I tossed her lightly in the air, catching her and tickling her some.
"Hey, now, don't make her laugh too much." Julie walked over to me, smiling. "She'll get sick again. Besides, I just fed her."
"Aw, come on, Julie. Everything's fine!" I assured her. Maria looked up at me, giggling as she reached up and started pulling my hair. "Ah, not nice!" I started to pull her hand out of my hair.
"See what you get?" Julie sighed and took her daughter from me, bouncing her on her hip. Maria giggled again and reached up, tugging on some of Julie's hair. "No, don't pull Mommy's hair."
"Mommy!" Maria cheered, clapping her hands. I smiled while Julie kissed the top of her baby's head. Maria was turning out to be a fast learner. She wasn't even a year old and she already knew how to walk (kind of) and talk (sort of). Well, she knew how to say 'mommy' and 'daddy'. That's about it.
"Geez," Julie sighed and shook her head, turning around and heading into the living room. I just continued to smile as I watched her go. I sighed and looked around the walkway I was standing in. Our lives had changed a lot since the death of the Skulls leader, Tony. My friends and I had graduated from Duel Academy, all of them moving onto to lives in the Pro League or continuing their education. Jim, Jesse, and I even joined the Pro League and we're all taking it by storm.
I chuckled and walked into the living room, seeing Julie sitting on the couch with Maria, Jesse, and Alexis. All of us were living together in a small townhouse in Ochi City. Surprisingly, after I told Julie about her apparent grandfather, she just shrugged it off.
"Don't you care about it at all?" I asked her. She shrugged and continued to tuck Maria in, putting her down for the night.
"I guess, but Nathan and I are still trying to come to terms with each other. The last thing I need is some rich grandfather trying to tell me what I should do." She looked at me, smiling. "Besides, why would we want his power to change our lives when we can change it ourselves?"
And, in a way, that's exactly what we did. Still, her grandfather was now trying to contact her, to be a part of her life. I honestly couldn't tell who was more annoyed by it: Julie or Nathan.
Looking at Julie I remembered something we talked about a few months back, about what happened when Tony shot her and Camula.
"You know, just before Tony shot me, I heard someone calling out to me," she said, looking at me over the table.
I looked at her confused, drinking some water. "Who would it have been? You guys were all alone."
She blushed. "Actually, I think it was Jesse."
I paused a moment before smiling. "That's sweet."
She tossed a wadded up napkin at my head, causing me to laugh.
I sighed and looked away from the trio (and a half if you counted Maria) to look at the mantel of the fireplace. There were some pictures up there; one was of me and my friends at graduation a few months back. Another was the one of Chris and Emmy, the one Julie saved before Zane blew their apartment sky high.
Oh! Speaking of Zane, here's a little side note, he's better…sort of. His dark days with the Skulls messed him up pretty bad, both physically and mentally. But he's coming back, turning into the Zane we all knew back at my first year at Duel Academy. Last I knew, Atticus and him were living together.
I chuckled and shook my head, picking a different picture up from the mantel; it was one of Syrus. I learned that it was Tony who killed Syrus, and that he died only because he was trying to help me. Sy was a true pal and I'll always regret that I wasn't able to save him. But I avenged him when I killed Tony.
I sighed and set the picture down.
"Hey, Jaden," Jesse called. I looked back at him.
He waved his hand, beckoning me over. I sighed and walked over, sitting down on the edge of the coffee table.
"Whoa, easy there, Killer. Show that table some mercy," Jim teased as he walked into the room. I shoved him as he walked past, causing him to laugh.
"Hey, Jim." Jesse slapped Jim's hand in welcome before looking back at me. "Anyway, are we going to Aster's big duel next week? You know he invited everyone."
I shrugged and folded my hands behind my head. "Sure, unless you have someplace better to be." I looked at Julie, raising an eyebrow.
He shoved me off of the table. "Funny."
I snickered and sat back up. I folded my arms across Alexis' lap, resting my chin on them. She smiled down at me and ran her hands over my head, almost like I was cat. I smiled back at her and looked back at Jesse, who was talking to Jim and Julie.
Jesse was better, much better. I never noticed how different he really acted when Giese was alive; now that the hunter was really dead, Jesse was almost a completely different person. I never noticed before how cautious Jesse was about forming permanent attachments to people, which is weird to think about because of how attached he was to Julie and Maria.
I chuckled as I remembered when I figured this out.
"You need to relax or you're going to have a heart attack," I said, gripping Jesse's shoulders and spinning him around. He was previously hunched over a sink breathing deeply, trying to keep from throwing up.
"How can I relax? I'm so nervous, Jay!"
He glared at me, turning back to the sink. I dug my fingers into his shoulder and spun him back around. "You turn back toward that sink and I'm going to drown you in it."
"Then you go ahead and have fun explaining to Julie why I'm not there!" He turned back, totally ignoring my threat.
I just sighed and wrapped my arm through his, tugging him back toward the couch in the room we were waiting in. "What are you so nervous about?" I asked as I shoved him onto the couch. He began wringing his hands, looking around as if someone was going to jump out of the shadows. "Jesse!" I snapped my fingers in front of his face.
"It's just so…permanent. After today, it's nothing but forever."
I looked at him in surprise, well, more like he was a complete idiot. "Um, Jess?"
He looked up at me, confused. "What?"
"You do know that forever is kind of what a wedding implies, right?"
Yep, Jesse and Julie officially tied the knot. Mozeltoff! Yeah, not really a big surprise.
Before I could muse anymore about what happened in the last six months, the front door slammed open. "I'm home!" Jess called, slamming the door shut behind her.
"Slam it harder, Jess! I think it's still on its hinges!" I yelled back. She walked into the room, dressed in a middle school uniform. That's right, Jess is a student at Ochi City Middle School. Our lives have changed a lot.
Something buzzed in my pocket and I pulled out my cell phone, seeing who was texting me: it was Atem. I looked up and saw Jesse looking at his phone; we looked at each other.
And then it hasn't changed at all.
"We've got to go," Jesse said, kissing both Maria and Julie before standing up. I got up and kissed the top of Jess' head, sending her upstairs to do her homework before I walked back into the walkway; Alexis followed me.
"Atem text you?" she asked, cocking her head lightly to the side.
I nodded and knelt down, shoving my feet into my shoes. "Yeah. He'll be here in a few minutes." I stood up and turned toward Alexis; she had a worried look in her eyes. I smiled and took her left hand, saying, "Relax, Lex. I think I know what I'm doing."
She made a face at me. "I know that. I just wonder what I'm doing sometimes."
I squeezed her fingers, raising her hand and kissing the ring that lay on her ring finger. It wasn't a wedding band or even an engagement ring. It was a simple promise ring but not the normal kind. It wasn't a promise that we'd get married someday, it was a promise for something much closer to present time; it was a promise that I would always come home at night, that'd I'd always be there when she needed me, no matter what.
And that was good enough for Alexis, at least for now.
"You know what you're doing. You always have."
She smiled at me and pulled her hand free, pressing it against my cheek as she kissed me lightly on the lips. I returned the slightest amount of pressure before pulling back, grabbing my jacket off of the hook behind me.
"I'll see you tonight."
She smiled at me. "I better."
I smiled back before stepping out into the bright sunlight. I looked up, shielding my eyes with my hand, contemplating everything that occurred during the war with the Skulls, even the war with the Cribs the year before. Sure, things could have ended much better than they did but at least they ended. At least for most of us.
Someone honked their car horn, pulling me out of my thoughts. I looked to see Atem idling in front of me. He leaned across the center of the seats and opened the passenger side door, asking, "Are you coming along or are you going to burn your retinas out staring at the sun all day?"
I rolled my eyes and got in the car, closing the door. "So what's going on?"
Atem eased his foot of the brake pedal and started driving away, saying, "Seto believes he has a lead on Dartz is."
I stared at Atem as he began to explain what Seto learned, smirking at all the little hand motions he did. He probably knew I wasn't really listening but he kept talking. With a sigh I turned away from him and looked out the window. After a moment he stopped talking and we drove in silence.
"Yusei told me he believes he's discovered where Goodwin is hiding out," he said after a minute. I nodded, still staring out the window.
"Yeah, Jesse told me last night." I looked at Atem. "I didn't realize that you and Yusei were such good buddies."
He just shrugged, flicking his turn signal. "When you shed blood with a person, Jaden, you can't really just leave them."
Wasn't that the truth?
As Atem drove, I silently pondered the strange turn my life had taken; well, maybe not that strange. After the Skulls were eliminated, I ended up joining the Pyramids. As if that wasn't a big surprise, Jesse ended up joining the Signers. The funny part is that we both still carry a lot of weight; I guess you could call us honorary leaders. Still, the Skulls did win in a way. The Bloods are dead and never coming back. But I guess once you're a Blood, you're always one.
I sighed and rubbed my eyes, mumbling, "Let me guess, Dartz and Goodwin have been spotted together."
Atem looked at me, smiling. "Yeah. We're working with the Signers. That shouldn't be too much of a problem, should it?"
I shook my head and got out of the car. I noticed Jesse's car parked off to one side. "Not with me. I'm more worried about Kaiba and Jack."
Atem clapped his hand on my shoulder, saying, "Don't worry, Yusei and I have that all covered." He squeezed my shoulder. "Let's go inside and figure out what to do." He released my shoulder and walked into the building. But I stood there, looking back up at the sky, the sun now behind me. I shoved my hands in my jean pockets, thinking about everything that's happened to me, mainly in the last two years. As I wondered why I was still doing this crazy gang thing, I came to this conclusion:
I have survived my fair share of fights and wars; my life for as long as I can remember has been fraught with violence and people trying to kill me. You'd think I'd be done with it by now but that isn't the case. The ability to protect, that's why I'm now a Pyramid. As a Blood I lost great friends and there's no sure thing that by being a Pyramid that any of that will change, but I've got to do what I do best: duel and fight.
Yay, Revenge of the Skulls is now complete! I hope you guys enjoyed the complete story and the final chapter; it didn't turn out exactly as I pictured it but I do like it. (sigh) Final chapters are the worst to write, too many loose ends to tie.
I hope you guys enjoyed this wild and crazy ride! I'll be back in a few months with Springtime Love! Hopefully I'll see you guys then!
Okay, you guys know the drill: