I am back! It's been far too long guys, and even now I'm note one hundred percent satisfied with this first chapter. It'll take me a little while to get into the swing of things, but I am very excited to be back and writing. I left the old version of "Golden Eyes" up for comparison, and for all of you that loved it. But know that document is discontinued. The new "Golden Eyes" is right here, with no OCs at all, and is much better for it. Expect a much faster paced story to tell, way less filler, and continued romanticism and danger!
Thank you for sticking with me.
Prologue: Candlelit Confession
Black was a great color for eavesdropping. We were small in our mourning. The sky was dark, but it held Jaden's gaze like a meteor shower. Jesse was otherwise entranced, staring into our friend's face with hunched shoulders. Neither of them had duel disks, but every so often one of them would nod to an unseen friend.
They were the only two on the roof tonight. Everyone else was down at the Obelisk dorms, sending paper boats and candles into the lake for their passing graduate. I could almost make out the orange glow from the top step, and felt my fists tremble for it. Syrus brushed against my leg as he sat down, holding himself tight. His courage to confront Jaden was gone.
"Jay," Jesse began, touching his arm. "I didn't know this Zane guy, but I thought you two used to be close."
I expected Jaden to shrug him off, look away, and behave like he had to us since the start of this year. Instead he turned towards the transfer, lowered his head, and tucked his chin into his knees. He muttered into his pants, and Jesse looked up towards the sky.
My black dress was too tight. I hadn't worn it since Atticus' disappearance, and I had grown too fast. The fabric constricted my chest. The straps cut my shoulders. I couldn't breathe in this confinement. Zane's funeral was draped over our shoulders, embodied in our clothing.
I took a step, and Syrus' hand caught my hem. I could see the electric scars running down his wrists, just under the Bio-Band. My own reflected in his glasses, light and faded. They were nothing compared to the seared flesh on Jaden's wrists, the look on his face when he saw Zane's empty bed after waking. Those were permanent.
Jesse was still, staring up into the clouds. "What's Neo Space like?"
Jaden uncurled and blinked at him. "What?"
"Kuriboh says you met the Neospacians in a different world, right?" Jesse expanded. "It made me think that maybe Rainbow Dragon's out there somewhere, too."
"The Neo Spacians are different," Jaden explained. "I drew them for Kaiba Corp when I was a kid. They got designed and sent into space as a contest."
"Really?" Jesse gasped. "That's amazing, Jay! How old were you?"
The Slifer shrugged. "Dunno. Five or six? I've got a bad memory—I can't really remember being a little kid."
I could tell by the slant of his shoulders that Jesse was grinning. The European had roundabout methods, but those few sentences were the most I'd heard Jaden say since the questioning. Even then, he had only muttered out that Zane challenged him to duel because the Pro was looking for the last "Ultimate Opponent" before his heart gave out. According to him, Zane had taken Syrus and I as bait to make sure Jaden gave his all. The older duelist had wanted to see Jaden at his best and worst in the last fight. The game had been short and brutal. Syrus and I passed out three turns before Jaden finished it—we had been sparred the sight of Zane's defeat. I bet there was something of it in Jaden right now.
"Me either," Jesse said. "It's kinda blurry before I met the Gem Beasts, you know? It's hard to remember life without them. What did that for you? Winged Kuriboh?"
Jaden was quiet. His head bent upwards, towards the flickering orange lights over the water, the black night reflected in its depths. "I'm not sure. I think I forgot that, too."
I never knew he could sound so bitter. Jesse hummed in disappointment, and the two returned to their shared silence. Jaden turned to look at him, his eyes caught in the spotlights dotting the roofs.
"Well, you'd do well to remember this." Jesse sucked in his cheeks, dimpling his thoughts. He kept his gaze skyward, relaxed his shoulders, and leaned into the sturdy roofing with soft lips. "Ruby sensed something a lot worse than a heart attack in that arena, and it was coming from you, Jaden. I know you didn't mean whatever happened, and it's eating at you. You can always talk to me about it, I've got your back."
The first stars cropped into the sky. Tiny flickers of light embodied the two, searing the image in my retinas. This was beyond important, a memory I would never forget, a stolen moment between two people I would never understand, would always remember.
Jaden stared at Jesse. His spine snapped straight and back, curving away from the transfer. The Obelisk didn't flinch or acknowledge Jaden, only added, "Just between us."
"I'm not ready to talk about it," Jaden cautioned. He looked ready to bolt. I pressed Syrus into the wall, horribly aware that his escape route was our hiding place. Jesse would press him; Jaden would flare up, make an excuse, or flat out run. We'd be in sight the moment he turned to face us, and we'd all be caught red handed. I tensed.
Jesse looked at him, smile soft. "Okay."
Jaden was in a half-crouch when he heard. Caught, he froze on his hands and knees, mouth slightly open. A cattish grin flashed on Jesse's face and he chuckled, slugging Jaden on the shoulder so our friend toppled down. "What, leaving so soon? Come on, we're friends. I trust you."
It was the first time I'd see Jaden smile in days. It flashed across his face like a comet, sparking color in his brown eyes and hair, his sunny skin and spirit. Then it fizzled out, and his relief turned into a question, bit back by his teeth and tongue.
"Jesse?" The transfer nodded, and Jaden steeled himself. He closed his face and voice, delivering shaky breaths with shaking shoulders. Syrus and I leaned forward, heads dangerously visible over the lip of the stairs.
"I… I can't remember what happened right," Jaden said. He tipped forward, grasping at thoughts with his hands. "I keep misremembering things, and half the time I'm not even sure I was the one dueling. When I think about it, sometimes the monsters aren't even mine, but I still… I know them. I think I'm going crazy."
Jesse opened his mouth, but Jaden was quick to snap it shut, "Don't tell me I'm not. Don't say it's normal because I got electrocuted, or I'm in shock or something. I'm completely serious, something's wrong with me."
"I couldn't go to the funeral, and I can't go now," Jaden turned away, voice burning, "because I killed Zane."
So how did you like it? Right off the bat I'm changing a lot from the old story. I've realized that all of the OCs are unnecessary. I can tell the same story much more efficiently without them! And for those of you who liked the love triangle, no need to worry. It still exists.