He should have known that today would suck ass.
He slept through his alarm clock, forgot his homework, got in a fight with Jaeger (/again/), and earned detention.
All before noon.
Thanks to the detention for disturbing the peace, aka smack talking Eren and causing the resulting food fight in the cafeteria, Jean missed his bus and now trudged through the icy slosh on the way home. Hoping to make one good decision for today and maybe find a little peace, he decided to take a short cut through the friendly neighborhood forest.
A short cut that ultimately turned into a humiliating episode of Man versus Wild.
Covered in bird poop and hopelessly lost, Jean counted the score.
"Fuck." The air chilled around him as the sun sank down and he tried to remember the old saying to remember which way the sun set. "Was it the east or west? I'm pretty sure it was west, with the cowboys always riding west into the falling sun. Cause Japan's the land of the rising sun, and Japan's east." He paused in his thinking. "Right?"
He stumbled over a few roots and the dirt was definitely not soft. He let out a huff and pushed himself up and came face to face with the reason why his day definitely got worst.
Later, Jean would say that he did not scream like a girl. Simply yelled so loudly that his voice cracked.
A body lay before him, sitting neatly against a tree. Jean stumbled over the same roots from before and scurried back into a puddle, his heart thudding wildly in his chest. Dead bodies in themselves were not scary. Jean had viewed many an open casket of dead old relatives and wasn't bothered. But this dead boy was different.
He had to have been a guy around his age, sixteen or seventeen. He probably would have been able to give a better estimate had half of his fucking face and torso been there.
Jean scrambled for his phone and dialed 911.
"What's your name, location, and emergency?" A woman's voice asked.
"Jean, Rolling Hills Park, and I've found a body."
"Thanks kid. We'll call you if we need anything else." The police officer snapped his book together and Jean drew the foil blanket around his body tighter, watching with grim interest as the body was finally removed and packed into a black bag. "You need a ride home?" The officer asked and Jean almost didn't hear him.
"N-nah, I'll be fine." He put on a brave face. The officer shrugged but nodded, leaving with the rest of the crew. Jean watched him disappear before looking back at the disturbed dirt.
They said that the body was still fresh, maybe less than a week old. Jean gulped. No doubt their town would be rocked by the death. Jean could still see the haunted look in the eye of the unidentifiable male. The cold reminded him that he was still very much alive and he turned, making sure to follow the footsteps of the cleanup crew.
When Jean got home, the report of the body was all over the news. He groaned when he saw his disheveled self plastered all over the television and he hastily turned it off so he could concentrate on washing up for dinner. His parents didn't talk much about the subject, but his little sister pestered the shit out of him, asking him all sorts of inappropriate questions.
No, he did not touch the body. No, he didn't look to see if there were maggots in it. And he definitely did not take a selfie with the body (a move that his sister called an amateur mistake and he questioned his parents on the validity of their kinship).
Jean put the body as far away from his mind as he possibly could as he went upstairs and got ready for bed. He turned on his favorite jams and crawled under the warm covers, silently saying a prayer of thanks that he was still alive.
And a prayer for the soul of that poor bastard.
"Amen." Jean muttered with his eyes close.
Jean opened his eyes. Where had that second "amen" come from? Shit, maybe he was hearing things. He turned on his side, letting the music soothe him. A song switched midway and Jean's eyebrows furrowed.
"Sorry. I was just looking for something better." That was for sure another voice. Trying to be sneaky, Jean slowly reached under his pillow to grab the small Swiss army knife he kept there as protection. Once his his fist was around it, he sat up and pointed out the knife. Cold washed over him as his hand stuck through a wavy white form and his entire body froze as he stared at what was surely, impossibly, not the ghost of the dead body he found. A (whole) freckled face stared back at him, eyes wide and lips parted.
"Um," The ghost started, looking down at the hand sticking in his chest. "Sorry, but I don't think that's going to do much." The ghost gave a smile. "I bet if I had been human though, you would have killed me for sure."
For the second time that day, Jean would vehemently deny that he screamed like a girl.