veiledndarkness: (Window Jack)
[personal profile] veiledndarkness
Title: Chasing Ghosts 17

Author: veiledndarkness

Rating: R

Pairing: Implied previous Bobby/Jack, Max/Jack

Summary: Not all those who wander are lost.

Disclaimer: Not mine, no harm intended, and no profit made

Crossover between Four Brothers/Max Payne

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16



X

The path to home seemed to be half speeding and half crawling to Jack, leaving him a mess of mixed emotions and far too much time to think. His stomach ached, both from a lack of proper food and from nerves. He rationed his cigarettes out, trying to pace them whenever the bus had a scheduled stop.

Jack rested his head on the window pane, watching the snow covered trees fly by as the bus moved from one state to the next. There wasn’t nearly enough distance between New York and Detroit, not enough to satisfy him. And he couldn’t completely make himself believe that there were no demon angels chasing after him.

He huffed out a sigh and let his eyes drift shut. It would be close to when Max would be getting home from work, he knew without needing to see the time. He could feel the eyes on him, the way Max watched him, regardless of whether Jack was aware of it or not. There was a flicker of pain in that. He missed Max, more than he’d expected to.

His throat bobbed and he forced such thoughts away. Going home was the right thing to do. It had to be.

At some point before everything had gone down, Max had tucked an envelope of money inside Jack’s duffel bag, seemingly knowing that when Jack eventually left, he’d need the money to move on. The sentiment behind such practicality made his heart twinge in just the right way.

Going home to see Bobby scared the hell out of him and Jack couldn’t quite force those thoughts away as easily, though God knows he tried. He shifted in his seat miserably, tucking his arms over his chest for comfort. He’d slipped the rosary around his neck as soon as he’d gotten on the bus and the beads rubbed against his skin, warming him from the inside out.

As he drifted closer to sleep, he mentally replayed the all too brief conversation he’d had when he’d gotten up the nerve to call home, his palms sweating the whole time. Calling home had felt like tiptoeing into a dream, the kind where a nightmare could spring on you at any second.

“Hello?”

“Bobby….i-it’s me.”

There’d been a pause and for one horrifying second, Jack thought that Bobby would simply hang up.

“Jack…” was all he said then, but Jack heard a vast amount of words and emotions in that soft exhale of his name.

“Yeah,” Jack gripped the phone with white knuckles. “I…hi…”

He cursed himself for his lack of creativity but there were no clever words coming to him, no flash of insight to tell him what to say to someone like Bobby. He waited out the long pause that followed, each second a painful wait.

“Where are you?”

“Um, New York,” he mumbled.

Bobby made a sound, close to a muted chuckle. “You do get around, don’tcha kid?”

“You could say that.”

“You ok?”

Jack smiled and laughed a little. “Not really, but I think I will be.”

Now there was real concern floating through the other line and Jack felt his stomach flop harder than before when Bobby spoke.

“What happened?” he demanded, “You’re really alright?”

“I’m fine, Bobby,” he said, wishing he could believe that.

“Listen…”

Jack rubbed a hand over his shoulder, blinking away tears. “Bobby, I’m comin’ back home,” he blurted.

“…Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Jack whispered, “Bought a ticket a few minutes ago. My bus leaves in thirty minutes.”

He could hear something, a quiet breath on Bobby’s end. His throat tightened and he fought the urge to tell Bobby everything that had happened to him since the night he’d left him the year before.

“Jack…You really comin’ home now?”

“Mhm.”

“You need a ride from the station?”

At that, Jack’s face flushed. He mumbled a yes, giving him the details as to when he’d reach Detroit. Bobby repeated them, writing them down, and Jack could picture the scribbly way he would write, the tight grip on the pen that Evelyn kept by the phone.

“I’ll be there soon,” he promised, his heart picking up speed.

There was a half second of silence before Bobby whispered, “Good.”



Jack rubbed a hand over his face, pushing at the messy hair that flopped over his forehead. Bobby had sounded…sad, tired even, but there’d been a hint of need in his voice and that was something new. Bobby held his own emotions to a high standard in not needing anyone, thank you very fucking much, Evelyn being the one exception.

He’d lied to Max, he knew. He wasn’t completely sure about going home, only that he knew he needed to. If he’d pushed harder, Max would have let him stay, Jack was absolutely certain of that. Max was lonely but he wouldn’t play second fiddle to Jack’s feelings for Bobby.

Maybe if he’d been more convincing of his affection for Max…if he’d been able to just fucking let go of how much he wanted Bobby to want him the same way…if, if, if…

He clenched his teeth and pushed harder at all his rambling, scrambled thoughts even as the bus brought him further and further away from Max, and closer to Bobby, his body tensing all the tighter with nerves.

X

When the bus pulled into the station, Jack sat in his seat, his knee bobbing furiously. He could hardly sit still, not when he was moments away from de-boarding the bus, collecting his meagre possessions and walking to the parking area where Bobby would be waiting.

He felt like he was going to pass out, hyperventilate until he was kneeling on the floor of the bus. The people around him were chatting, some already gathering their carry on belongings, eager to get off the bus and be on their way, wherever they were headed.

Jack leaned forward, resting his head on his knees and gripping them, breathing shallowly. I will not pass out, I will not pass out, he chanted silently, forcing his breathing to even out. He could do this, sure he could. Other people were already about to leave their seats and step off the bus.

“You goin’ on or leaving?” the bus driver tapped Jack on the shoulder after everyone else had gotten off, blinking in surprise when Jack flinched away from him sharply.

“S-Sorry!” Jack felt his face warm with embarrassment. “I’m goin’.”

He stood up, his legs propelling him forward, to the door of the bus and down the three steps that would bring him to the concrete sidewalk where the suitcases and bags were waiting. Jack’s heart thumped in his chest and he gathered his duffel bag, slinging it over his shoulder. He grasped his guitar case in one hand, letting his body guide him through the terminal and out into the parking lot, one slow step after the other.

I can do this…

He stopped short at the sight of Bobby’s car waiting in the pickup lane, the same car as always, and…and Bobby leaning against the door, his arms at his sides, a pensive frown marring his face until he saw Jack standing stock still on the sidewalk.

“B-Bobby,” Jack stuttered out and like a tidal wave, he felt the same rush of love, need and fear slam him at once, his knees weak.

The frown slipped off Bobby’s face and he smiled, moving away from the car door. “Jack…”

Before he knew it, he’d closed the distance between them and felt Bobby’s strong arms wrap around him, pulling him in tight and oh God, he smelled exactly like Jack remembered, smoke and spice and something just so…Bobby, that he felt his eyes water.

He burrowed his head down into Bobby’s neck, feeling the slight scrape of facial hair against his cheek, his guitar case slipping to the ground as he brought both his arms around Bobby, his chest hitching with raspy breaths. Jack closed his eyes, fighting the urge to let his tears fall.

“You miss me that much, Jackie?” Bobby rumbled, one hand tangling up into Jack’s hair the way it always did.

Jack laughed and pressed his face in closer, trying to absorb the scent he’d craved for so long. “Always,” he whispered.

X

The drive home was somewhat awkward but nothing unbearable. Jack had let go of Bobby reluctantly and as he’d sat in the passenger seat, he felt a hysterical giggle try to well up. It was like stepping into the past, nothing had changed in the car, aside from the unscented air freshener tucked under the glove compartment.

Jack settled back into the worn seat, his eyes half open as Bobby got in after putting Jack’s duffel bag and guitar case into the backseat. He pulled at his scarf, shivering a little, partly from the chilly air and partly from nerves. Bobby got in as well, the door slamming shut behind him.

He looked at Jack intently, though what he was looking for, Jack wasn’t sure. After a long moment, he blinked and started the car, the radio crackling to life. Jack smiled to hear his favourite station come on, one that Bobby couldn’t stand. His knee bobbed a little as Bobby drove and Jack felt the bittersweet memories of Max fade the tiniest bit.

Bobby said nothing on the drive back to the house, preferring to do his interrogating indoors, Jack knew. He lit a cigarette and cranked the window open, letting the smoke escape through it. He felt, rather than saw, Bobby watching him smoke out of the corner of his eye, watching his mouth.

Jack’s skin prickled and he shivered again, this one from pure nerves. Max had watched him much the same, seemingly enjoying the process he went through while smoking. He stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray, blowing a slim plume of smoke through the window.

Without saying a word, he rolled the window back up, the familiar neighbourhood fast approaching. He felt his heart skip a beat at the sight of Evelyn’s house. No remnants of the gun fight from the year before were left. They had worked together afterwards to fix up the broken windows and bullet pocked walls.

Well, Jack hadn’t done much as he’d recovered, he admitted. But he’d been allowed to work on indoors things while Bobby kept a vigilant eye out for him the whole time. Jack stared up at the house, a sad smile on his face. He could almost see Evelyn sitting in the glassed in front porch, knitting one of her blankets while enjoying the outdoors as she had often done when it was warm enough.

“You stayed here all this time?”

Bobby nodded, his gaze following Jack’s. He smiled wistfully and Jack imagined he could see the same image of Evelyn that he saw. “Yeah…someone had to. Jerry’s got his place an’ Angel’s in and out, so I decided to stay put awhile.”

Jack nodded and unbuckled his seatbelt, swallowing over the lump in his throat. He’d missed his brothers. “Guess I didn’t think about all that.”

He slipped out of the car, carrying his things inside after Bobby unlocked the door. Nothing had changed. He felt a shockwave of nostalgia hit him and his stride faltered. Even now, a year after Evelyn’s death, her presence was still there, in every inch of the house. A sense of calm spread over him and he discovered he was fast losing his battle over his tears.

“Jack…” Bobby stood at his side and Jack could hear the hesitation in his voice.

Where to start? He wondered that as he looked back at Bobby. His lips tried to smile. “Thanks for the ride,” he said, feeling stupid even as he said it.

“Yeah,” Bobby yanked at his coat, his eyes darker than Jack expected. “You really think I’d make you walk or bus it out here?”

Ah, there was the anger Jack knew so well, that simmering anger under everything else.

“N-No,” he mumbled and unwound his scarf, letting it hang loosely on his neck. “I just…I wasn’t sure…”

“You left, Jack. I didn’t.”

“This time,” Jack shot back defiantly. “How many times did you leave home? And me?”

There was a flinch that Bobby couldn’t disguise. “I left for work. You ran.”

“Gee, I wonder why?” Jack put his bag and guitar case down, his nerves jumping all over. He wanted to shove at Bobby, to pull him in close and kiss him, to feel Bobby’s strength.

“You really wanna do this ten seconds after you get home?”

“Maybe I do.” Jack crossed his arms, trying to forget how it felt to have Bobby hold him.

Bobby glared back at him and stepped forward, crowding Jack back against the staircase, backed him up until there was nowhere else to go. Jack swallowed, his stomach churning excitedly. He felt some shame in that but the feeling was lost as Bobby reached for him, one hand sliding into his hair and gripping him, forcing him to hold still.

Jack forgot to breathe when Bobby brought him down a bit, his mouth claiming Jack’s with a flash of heat, the scrape of his facial hair rubbing against Jack’s cheeks. He closed his eyes, drowning eagerly in the kiss, in the spark of heat that raced through his body and made his legs weak. Kissing Bobby had always set his nerves on fire.

He tried to breathe, tried to force Bobby back from him but he gave up trying at the feeling of Bobby pressing against him, trapping him in place against the stair railing, his lips capturing Jack’s until his head fairly spun, until he was dizzy and melting back against him.

When he felt he might faint from not breathing, Bobby’s lips passed along his jaw to his neck, where he nipped the skin under his ear. Jack nearly purred, beyond embarrassment at how well Bobby knew his body.

“Still need to yell?” he whispered tauntingly, one hand gripping Jack’s hip, his fingers digging in slightly.

“N-No…” Jack gasped out, his face whitening at the flare of pain that spread from his tender side.

“Jack…” Bobby took a half step back, frowning. “The hell…” He tugged at Jack’s coat, pulling it back and moving his sweater up, pure fury in his eyes when he saw the still healing scar tissue. “The fuck is this?!” he demanded.

“It’s nothin’,” Jack lied automatically but that wasn’t any help.

“Like fuck it’s nothing! What happened? Someone do that to you?”

Jack tried to edge away from Bobby. He tugged at his sweater, trying to cover his wound. He could only pray that Bobby wouldn’t discover what was left of his bruises and cuts from his attack. “It’s…its nothing, I uh, I cut myself, accident, that’s all.”

“You think I was born yesterday?” Bobby looked murderously angry and that was never a good sign. “Who the fuck hurt you, Jack?”

Jack bit his lip, fear snaking through him and coiling alongside his desire for Bobby to touch him. “Bobby, it’s, it’s complicated, ok? The guy that did it, he’s dead now. It was this…it’s a long story.”

Bobby placed his hand over the wound, as if he was trying to heal it somehow, worry warring with his anger and protective instincts. “Oh you better believe you’re gonna tell me everythin’, sweetheart,” he growled, “Every last detail.”

“I will,” Jack murmured. “I just…I needed to come back home, to see you.”

Bobby looked up and blinked. He studied Jack’s eyes, searching for any hint of an attempt to lie. “Why now?”

Jack moved his hands to Bobby’s sides. He could feel the heat coming off Bobby and he wanted to bury himself in his arms and pretend that nothing bad had happened and that he was nowhere safer than when Bobby held him close.

“Because I…” he trailed off and felt that small pain when he thought of Max. “Because someone helped me remember why I left in the first place, and because I needed to know if you’d ever change your mind.”

Now it was Bobby who fell silent. He moved his fingers up a bit higher, stroking over Jack’s skin. He opened his mouth to speak, changed his mind and leaned in, kissing Jack again. His kiss was gentler than before and Jack nearly sighed into it, his resistance crumbling under the sweet kiss.

“You want me to admit I was wrong?” Bobby asked when the kiss ended. “That what you want from me?”

“It’s not about bein’ right or wrong, Bobby. It’s…look, you said you couldn’t give me what I wanted, and you refused to even try. And…and that’s not good enough for me anymore.”

Bobby rested his head to Jack’s shoulder, his lips pressing a kiss to Jack’s neck. “I don’t like bein’ wrong,” he admitted, though it cost him a sliver of pride to do so. “I want you, Jack. This year was…it was fuckin’ horrible without you. I figured if I kept you away, arm’s length, you’d be better off. Have a chance to find someone…better.”

Jack simply sighed and kissed him, thinking that Evelyn had been right, even if she was only a figment of his dream. “You dumbass,” he said affectionately. “I don’t want anyone else but you, Bobby. You know that. I only wanted you, all this time, that’s all I really wanted.”

“Don’t want you regrettin’ that down the road,” Bobby murmured and Jack was struck by the similarity to Max’s words before they’d gone to bed together.

“I’m not going to, so long as you don’t keep pushin’ me away.”

Bobby pressed against him, his hands moving to grip Jack and pull him in close. “Love you,” he whispered. “Love you like nothin’ else, Jackie.”

God, but it felt heavenly to hear those words. Jack smiled and reassured Bobby that he loved him too. How could he not?

Through a blur of steps, Jack found himself in his old bedroom, Bobby holding him tightly, their clothes disappearing between kisses that only grew more heated, Bobby possessing him inside and out. He gave in to Bobby, letting him love him the best way he knew how and after they’d fallen in a tangle of limbs and twisted sheets to the bed, Jack rested his head on Bobby’s chest, listening to the sound of his heart beating steadily.

He ran his fingers over the inked beads, counting them from memory, one by one and whispering a prayer under his breath. Bobby kept his hand on Jack’s head, curling his fingers in his hair, smoothing out the messy strands with light motions. It was oddly soothing and Jack let his eyes drift shut, lost in the feeling of having returned home, in the feeling of being held by the one person he needed most and of feeling the complicated love that they had for each other.

Jack smiled sleepily. He was home.

X

The End

Thank you to everyone who read or liked or reviewed my story!

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October 2012

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