He had to leave.
There was no choice to the matter in Jack’s mind. Either he took his chance and fled, or he rotted in the slums like the others. And he wouldn’t allow that. He couldn’t. Someone with potential shouldn’t die just because of his shortcomings by birth. The only thing that could stop him now was not being good enough as a duelist. But he assure himself countless times: he was.
Jack took the secret tunnel he was told to take, looking behind himself only once to make sure he wasn’t followed. He wasn't. That would be the last time he’d look at that hellhole. He was sure of that. The past was behind him, and the future was in front, wind sweeping through his hair.
He soon enough found the clown (Jaeger? Was that it?) and a tall silver haired man. Jack took pride in his height, but he was even taller than him. Something about him was familiar, but Jack shook it off. The three went to a large building, Jack instructed to park his bike in an underground garage. They took an elevator(?) up, bright lights blinking at it ascended. The silver haired man introduced himself as Mr. Godwin, Jack figuring he could earn his first name later. He said a lot of things Jack didn’t exactly understand, but finished by saying Jack was going to do great things for the city. Jack knew he would. That was certain.
The large building (the first room was probably as big as Martha’s whole house) was referred to as a “penthouse” and it was where Jack was to live, outside of racing and press conferences and blah blah. Jack nodded at everything Godwin said, looking out one of the big windows. Vaccines, figuring a diet for him, Jack’s requested top-surgery and hormones, wardrobe. Jaeger- yes, it had to be that- joked about him fortunately not having to unpack, Godwin and Jack glaring at him together.
The two men eventually left, a woman walking in. She had on a very short white skirt. Judging by the strangely cold room, Jack figured she was cold, even if she made no indication that she was. She introduced herself as “Mikage” and said something about being Rex’s “secretary” and that she would watch over Jack. Ignoring the nagging feel that that seemed like she was to be a new mother figure for him, he nodded. ... Why was she blushing?
She ushered Jack to sit. He could tell her not to tell a King what to do later. It wasn’t himself, but Godwin had his cards and bike. He could easily send him back to the Satellite to die if he wanted without returning either. Plans weren’t his thing, but he needed one. What did Godwin want with him- besides the two dragons? And whatever his birthmark meant to him.
Mikage said something about “radio”. Jack nodded, allowing her to turn it on, clicking between stations, the type of music changing with each switch. Jack was used to some heavy metal he occasionally heard a long time ago- and nursery rhymes Martha sang that he decided to forget as soon as he heard them when he was little- so the genre shift was nice.
She putzed around, adjusting flowers, watering them, stopping only to ask Jack if he would like a drink. Only having coffee once (accidentally- well, not accidentally. He drank it on purpose, but Martha told him it wasn’t for him. Jack didn’t listen to her and quickly regretted it) he accepted that. It’d probably taste better now that he was older. He was a new man now, so he had to reinvent himself. After putting enough milk and sugar to practically turn it tan, he took a long sip of it. He’d be able to drink it darker soon enough. He just had to get used to it. He had his whole life ahead of him.
The radio man thanked the listeners, Jack drinking his coffee. He said something about what the last songs were before transitioning into the next song. Jack thought nothing the beat, but as soon as the first line was sung, it almost made him drop his cup.
“I can't get no, satisfaction~ ”
Jack shakily put his cup back to the saucer, his hand firmly pressed to his temple. Shit. That was that stupid team thing they had when they were younger. Memories he tried to repress. Not hard enough, clearly. When was it. Two year ago? Maybe three? Didn’t matter. It was long ago, and Jack didn’t want to think about it.
But he did.
Kiryuu… or was it Kyosuke? That was their leader’s name. He was the one who came up with the dumb name for their gang. Always demanding to be ‘satisfied’ by the people he antagonized. Only once did he ask Jack to ‘satisfy’ him, who promptly left the room, and soon enough the whole hangout. He practically had to be dragged by the others to stay on the team. He should have left then though.
He ended up dying before they were able visit him in jail. Sector Security wouldn’t let them see him, saying dumb shit about it not being visiting time, before eventually just laughing and saying he died. The damn Security were the ones who probably killed him anyways.
Crow… That boy had hair you could spot a million miles away. Bright reddish orange against the grey skyline, jutting out like blood-stained daggers. Never acted like the dagger type though. After Kiryuu died and everyone went their different ways, Jack only saw Crow one more time. He was running with a man with even darker red hair, laughing about something. Jack just watched and stared at how fine Crow was adapting. He was happy.
Didn’t matter. Crow was back in the Satellite. He’d probably end up like Kiryuu; dead, in jail, or both. He already had a marker over a petty crime, it was only time until he was old enough for them to incarcerate him for good.
Despite his train of thought, the song continued. Jack was tuned out a good deal of it, missing almost everything but the chorus.
“Cause I try and I try and I try and I try~ ”
God , that reminded him of someone alright. Yuusei . That was the only member he talked to in the last two or three years. They just so happened to live in the same area, that was all. Yuusei was hanging out with three guys (Jack never bothered to remember their names) and a young… kid… named Rally. He had to leave those idiots behind. Even if it involved him taking Stardust. It was Yuusei’s fault for being to sentimental. He’d take the same chance had he gotten the offer.
Course, Jack would never give up Red Dragon Archfiend, willingly or not. And Yuusei wouldn’t tie up Rally (much less would Jack go in that disgusting water to save the brat). As much as he didn’t want to think about it, there was really no way Yuusei take up Godwin’s offer. Crow probably wouldn’t either. Only Jack.
Jack was the only one who would use his friends as stepping stones to get to New Domino. The only one who wanted to be King.
The song drifted out, the singer still complaining about his unsatisfied life. Whatever it may be. How could he complain? His voice was on the radio. He probably had all the money in the world. How couldn’t he be happy too?
“Mikage?” Jack asked, which was probably the first thing he said since he got there, besides ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘stop that, clown’. He quickly wiped at a stray ghost tear. It didn’t belong on his cheek. He was fine.
She stopped fixing some flowers, turning to Jack. “Yes, Atlas-sama?”
“That song fucking sucks.”