Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! GX
Sometimes a person can wake up in the morning with the sheer instinctive knowledge that today is going to be a terrible day; the sort of day that you trudge through, wishing you had never dragged yourself from your comfortable bed in the morning. As soon as Jaden opened his eyes and looked at his alarm clock – he'd forgotten to set it last night so it hadn't gone off - he knew that it was one of those days.
It was already ten thirty. He was over an hour late for school and he could kick himself for forgetting to set the alarm – he had known that both his parents would be out this morning so neither of them could wake him up. His mother at last had a job interview, and although it was highly unlikely that she'd get the job she was adamant about attending the interview.
Back before he'd moved here, Jaden would have done exactly what he wanted to do: go back to sleep and just skip school. It wasn't like skipping school was anything new for him; he often couldn't be bothered to go in. But today was Monday and he knew that, if he put off going to school today, he'd only regret it later, when he had postponed his inevitable confrontation with Jesse Andersen. By now he had worked it into his head that he was going to either be yelled at or ignored by Jesse – which was worse he didn't know – and was eager to just get it over with in the hopes that he and Jesse could perhaps regain their friendship.
After all, if he couldn't be with him in the way that he wanted, Jaden would have to make do with a friendship; it was better than nothing.
It took him about half the time it normally did to throw on his clothes and wolf down breakfast; even when running very late, there was always time to eat. He had flown out the front door and was tearing down the road at record speed, all the while wondering if the pounding in his heart was because he was exhausted from running so fast or if it was all to do with his nervousness. Jaden didn't deal with anxiety very well – he didn't get anxious often enough to have ever really learned how to deal with it.
The roads to school seemed longer than they had before and yet he knew he had made it to school far faster than he ever had before; nonsensical, perhaps, but somehow accurate. The grand building was very quiet as he walked through the school entrance at a normal pace and signed it at the reception, grinning sheepishly as the overworked office staff handed him a pink slip of paper that designated him as having been late. He then headed to the usual hang-out place that he and Syrus lurked in; with only ten minutes of second period class left, it would be a wasted effort to try and sneak in.
Fifteen minutes later, when Syrus appeared with Alexis, Atticus and Chazz, Jaden knew he had made the right decision – all four of them were complaining about the lack of interest they'd had in the French lesson. Jaden settled for letting them rant about it and grinning at them widely when they snarled at him that he had dodged a bullet; they had no idea. Sure, he'd avoided a boring lesson, but what had he got instead? A sure-to-be-awkward reunion coming up in forth period; that was a History class, where he sat next to Jesse. There'd be no way of avoiding him.
Jaden let himself be pulled into an amiable discussion about the first period class and how Atticus had destroyed a test tube, tipped hydrochloric acid over his own hand and set the edge of his lab partner's sleeve alight. This was a safe, comfortable topic for him – though not for Atticus, who was even now holding a wet paper towel against his hand.
The break passed by quickly and it was time for the third period class: Music. This was a subject that Jaden had little interest in but it could be a laugh. He took his seat next to Atticus and began struggling through an exercise on the composition of classical music; he had no idea what he was doing but it wasn't like he was particularly bothered. Not only did he next pay too much attention in this class but he had bigger problems on his mind.
The next class he had would be History, where he'd sit beside Jesse and at last find out if the boy resented him or would ignore him – or worse, pretend Jaden's little outburst in the hospital had never happened. Now that the time was drawing ever closer, Jaden found that this was what he feared most. He didn't want Jesse to just act like it hadn't happened; it would make Jesse seem like a coward and Jaden seem like a fool. Jaden wanted a reaction – whatever that may be – to acknowledge that Jesse at least thought him worthy of that much. If he didn't, then Jaden would have to face the facts that he was in love with someone who wasn't worth it at all.
Even though his hopes weren't high, Jaden was praying that his friend would at least want to continue with their friendship. That was better than nothing and he could live with that much.
It would have been easier if he had got to the classroom and sat down first but, as ever, he arrived five minutes late, apologised to the teacher and then shakily took his seat beside Jesse Andersen. The lesson had already begun and so there was no time for him to greet his friend; he glanced over at the boy's face but Jesse was leaning on his hand with his eyes closed, half asleep, and so couldn't acknowledge him.
He looked pretty cute. That was the most annoying thing about it; even with knowing that he was going for a lasting friendship and nothing more here, Jaden couldn't help but notice that the slowly-falling-asleep look was adorable on Jesse.
Professor Stein's lesson was even more dull than usual, with ninety per cent of the class snoring; Stein must have got through a record number of fire crackers in his wasted efforts to keep the kids awake. It was a relief when an old war film – one that was narrated by a monotone voice that prevented you from even taking the horrors of war seriously as you were too busy trying to stay awake – was started and Stein began grading papers. This was when his attention was otherwise focused and the class – most of whom had been woken by each other's nudges that the movie was starting – could mess around without being caught whispering and doodling.
Jaden glanced at his friend several times, never managing to get Jesse to look back at him; the green eyed boy's attention was captured by the world of sleep or by doodling in his notebook.
The brunette's heart was pounding by now; with every second that went on he was getting more and more nervous about this. There was a knot inside his stomach that was uncomfortably tight and every so often, when he looked at Jesse and received no response, it would send a wave of nausea through him, making him feel momentarily sick. He knew that he wasn't really ill, just extremely anxious, but it was an unpleasant feeling nonetheless. He had never really had to deal with this sort of anxiety and so didn't know how to handle it.
Eventually the built up silence got to him and he turned to Jesse so abruptly, his entire body mass shifting to the side, that the other boy's eyes flashed instinctively towards the movement. Now their eyes met at last.
It wasn't the sort of scene that you find in the movies, where their eyes lock and the two realise that they were meant to be together and fall into one another's arms whilst music plays and nobody around them notices their embrace. It was in such sharp contrast to that kind of scene that anyone watching would have been embarrassed for them.
Jesse looked away, his expression almost pained and his fingers fidgeting. Jaden gulped and quietly cleared his throat, reaching forward with one hand to touch the other's arm but drawing his hand away at the last minute. There was no embrace, just an awkward silence.
Jaden couldn't take it any more. "Look, Jesse, I'm sorry about what I said in the hospital, I didn't really know what I was saying and…"
"Jaden" Jesse interrupted. He looked at his friend with nervous eyes. "Can we just … not. We can't have this sort of talk in here."
Jaden glanced around. Nobody was looking at them.
"No buts, Jaden" his friend said firmly, though he tried – failed, but at least he did try – to smile. "We can talk at lunch. Just the two of us."
Jaden nodded and smiled shakily at his friend, who partially returned the gesture. Then they turned away from one another uncomfortably, neither one knowing that they were simultaneously counting down the minutes until the class was over.
When it was, they were the last two to exit the room, moving slowly away from the school building and to the far end of the grounds, where nobody else was around and the two could finally talk.