So the current seasons of BrBa is really killing me emotionally, so I decided to write something a little lighter... Feedback is immensely appreciated!
Walt wasn't sure what to expect when he drove over to Jesse's house. The text message had been vague. "need ur help. can u come over?" it read. After staring at it for a minute, Walt had hesitantly responded, "With what?" and realized how quickly he called into question whether Jesse truly needed help. After all, there had been far from urgent moments that had elicited panicked phone calls and cries from Jesse. Being a text message in itself made the claim of needing help suspicious.
"Please," was Jesse's immediate response, which caused Walt to reconsider. Please was not a word he commonly heard from his young friend.
With a sigh he responded, "OK."
After all, he couldn't admit to having much more going on that day. It was a staggeringly hot New Mexico day, and with the lab closed for three days on account of the laundromat undergoing its annual pesticide fumigation, there was no cooking. Having also been a particular agitated week with Skyler, Walt had resigned himself to the air conditioning of his condo with a solo marathon of James Bond movies on cable TV. He could certainly momentarily break from that to see what Jesse needed.
Help with what though? he wondered as he drove to the young man's house. Helping Jesse could mean a variety of things, and the consideration of some possibilities made Walt wonder if he should have pressed further or even simply said no rather than agreeing to go see him. The kid was sometimes a magnet for trouble, and handling trouble was usually not one of his strong suits.
When he arrived, he parked in the street and walked up to the house to knock on the door. The heat of the day felt like a heavy weight on his shoulder, and he could feel a trickle of sweat start to form on his brow. He wiped it away and knocked again on the door after a moment passed.
When the knock went unanswered again, Walt grew frustrated. He put his hand on the knob and turned it, finding it unlocked. He slowly opened the door.
"Jesse?" he called out as he let himself in. The TV was on and he looked across the room. The couch was empty, the room still. There was an empty open pizza box sitting on the coffee table and a few beer bottles. He shut the door behind him.
Where the hell was Jesse?
"Jesse?" He walked across the room and briefly went to look in the kitchen, also empty. On his way back to the living room, he suddenly eyed a small child coming down the stairs. He looked to be around six years old and was wearing nothing but an oversized blue t-shirt that hung down to his knees. His legs were bare.
"Mr. White," the child spoke in a small, tentative voice. His hand gripped the banister of the stairs and he looked frightened.
Walt looked the child over with a frown and his eyes drifted up the stairs. He started to approach him. "Where's Jesse? Who are you?" The child stayed in place, hand still gripping to the banister. Walt began to walk up the stairs, but the boy grabbed the edge of his shirt.
"Mr. White," he said again. "It's me."
Walt turned, staring at the small hand clutching at his shirt. He looked at the child once again and suddenly felt a sinking feeling. The blue eyes, the hair, face… Though cherubic and innocent, the features were intensely familiar, and he suddenly started to understand.
"What do you mean, it's you," he began, tone flat. This was impossible. This was some kind of practical joke. Or was this some weird kind of dream? He resisted the urge to pinch himself. It had to be a joke. Jesse had found some child, maybe it was a family-member, who looked like him, and he was playing some kind of joke.
"I don't know what happened," the child began, his voice shaking slightly. Walt realized that despite the higher, childish pitch, it was Jesse's voice. The tone, the way he spoke. It was definitely Jesse's.
If this was a joke, he was going to kill him. This wasn't funny. This was weird. Like a scene out of Twilight Zone. Not to mention it was chemically impossible, so it had to be a trick.
"This is a joke," Walt began. "I don't know what you-"
"It's not a joke," the child pleaded, with a edge that sounded too much like Jesse. "Fuck, Mr. White. I don't know what happened. It's not a joke."
Walt was frozen for a moment. Then he reached down and took the child under the arms, effortlessly lifting him up to be face to face. He studied his babyish features, trying to understand. "This is impossible..." he said slowly.
"Yeah, apparently not." The boy squirmed in his hold, wrinkling his face in discomfort. He pushed his hands out against Walt's chest. "Yo, put me down, Mr. White. Don't pick me up."
Walt planted him back on the floor and shook his head, dumbfounded. He walked back over to the couch and sank into it slowly. "I don't understand… This is…"
"You gotta help, Mr. White," little Jesse followed him to the couch, climbing up on the cushion next to him. His legs dangled above the floor. "I knew you wouldn't believe me if I told you on the phone. What do I do?"
Walt stared at the television for a moment, and then reached for the remote on the coffee table to turn it off. He turned to the kid, feeling a bit dazed. His chest felt tight. "Start from the beginning."
"I don't know what the beginning is," Jesse insisted. He looked like he was going to cry. He rubbed his hands over his face distractedly and then sighed. "Last night I smoked a bowl. I-" He cut himself off when he saw Walt's disapproving frown. "Look, no lectures, man. I'm just putting it out there. I smoked, and it was… I don't know… I did feel kind of weird after… But then I just went to bed."
"And?" Walt persisted. Having a six year discussing 'smoking a bowl' was disturbing but tried to remind himself it was really Jesse in there.
"And I woke up like this!" Jesse exclaimed, voice high and strained. "I woke up and literally fell out of my fucking bed because I didn't know I was only only three feet tall!" He took a deep breath and continued. "And at first I thought maybe I was still high and maybe it was just like a bad trip or something but now it's… it's like in the afternoon and…" His voice wavered. "But, you see me like I see me, right, Mr. White?"
"Yes…" Walt responded slowly. "You're… Well, it's impossible, really. Biologically and chemically impossible, but… Yes."
"So how do I get back?" Jesse insisted. "I don't want to stay like this."
Walter swallowed, trying to get his thoughts straight. With big, imploring blue eyes, Jesse was staring at him in that way he always did when he was actually looking for guidance. When he thought Walt would know the right answer or a solution to a situation. But this was not a typical situation with an evident answer...
"What do we do, Mr. White?" Jesse asked. "Talk to me. Please."
"I…. I don't know…" Walt responded. "Honestly, Jesse… It's… It's just not physically possible."
"But I can get back, right? Like it'll reverse?" Jesse's voice started to waver.
Walt hesitated. How would he know the answer to that? He'd never heard of anything like this. "Of course," he said anyway. That gut instinct to pacify Jesse outweighed his scientific refusal to accept what was in front of him. "Of course it will."
Jesse looked relieved by Walt's response and exhaled. "How long will it take?"
"That I don't know," Walt admitted. For once he felt somewhat helpless and ignorant. "All we can do is wait and see…" He tried to make his tone sound more sure than he felt.
Jesse leaned back against the couch cushion and squeezed his eyes closed. "Wait and see…" he echoed.
Walt studied him. He was so little. So… innocent? He had to admit that Jesse was a pretty cute kid. He tried to determine his age. Jesse was always a bit on on the small side. "How old are you?"
Jesse opened his eyes and glared at Walt with the face of a disgruntled child. "I'm twenty-"
"No," Walt interrupted. "Not your real age. How old do you think you are right now?"
"Mr. White, I don't know. I'm still the same age," Jesse argued.
"Maybe six or so. This is… unbelievable." Walt paused. Despite the appearance, there was no denying that it was somehow really Jesse. Behind the blue eyes, he could see that. So what did they do now? He had to make some kind of plan. He tried to push all the disbelief out of his head. Focus on the current moment.
He reached over and tugged on Jesse's oversized t-shirt. "So considering all of your clothing was already too big for you, I assume you want some new clothes."
Jesse continued to frown, brow furrowed. "Yeah."
"Okay. So that's step one."
"And Mike called me three times today. I haven't answered."
"Then don't answer," Walt responded.
"He's going to get mad. What do we do?"
"Well, hopefully you're back to normal before the lab reopens…" Walt started. "Let me try to get some clothes for you. All of Walt Jr.'s clothes are in the attic. I'm sure I can find something to fit you."
"What if I don't go back to normal?" Jesse asked quietly, voice shaky. "What if I'm stuck like this?"
"I already told you that it will reverse," Walt answered firmly. "We just have to wait for that to happen." He watched child Jesse's lower lip start to tremble. "Jesse, don't get upset."
Jesse sniffled. "I don't know what to do."
"You're fine." Walt reached over to squeeze the small leg of his friend. "You'll see. You'll be back to normal soon." He stood up from the couch and took a deep breath. He didn't know why the lies came so easily. He had no idea what was going to happen. But he knew Jesse would lose it if he showed any indication of his own worry. "I'll be back soon. I…" He hesitated for a moment. Jesse was still sniffling. "Can I leave you alone? I wouldn't leave a six year old alone."
"I'm an adult, Mr. White," Jesse snapped, voice rising in irritation. He wiped at his eyes.
Walt eyed the child on the couch with a sigh. "Fine. Just… Don't do anything. Don't go anywhere. If something changes in the meantime, call me."
Jesse crossed his arms over his chest. He sniffed again. "How long will you be gone?"
"Not long," Walt assured. With that he headed towards the door, cursing silently in his head.