Emma was very quiet… well, quieter than usual when she returned and took her seat next to Adam. He was predictably concerned.
“Emma is something the matter?”
Emma turned on the couple.
“You both knew Jesse’s history in this city didn’t you? You know how much pain is associated with Washington D.C in his mind. Then why did you make him stay? Why didn’t we leave yesterday? Why can’t you just keep us damn freaks quarantined from the rest of the world like you’re supposed to??”
She caught Shalimar and Adam’s appropriately shocked expressions just before the lights went out.
At the Remington, Jesse had had enough. He was drunk but not enough to allow himself to be sexually molested by a complete stranger. He breathed in deep and was about to phase through Jack when the intrusion happened.
“He wants you to stop.”
A strange hardened voice that Jack couldn’t ignore. Specially when he felt Jesse ferociously freeze at the sound of it. Jack looked up to see who it was, Jesse didn’t need to.
Brennan stood not six feet apart, stance rigid, eyes burning… fists inside his duster pockets and yet visibly clenched quite tight. Jack could see he was showing amazing restraint staying at that distance.
“This your demon?”
Ryan asked Jesse, who suddenly unfroze at the question, started to push himself up and away from Ryan… changed his mind… and fell back on the couch listless.
~Brennan is here!~
Wasn’t this what he wanted? For Brennan to come for him? Or Brennan to see him with someone else? Fuck his head hurt.
Jack paused to lovingly caress Jesse’s face. Jesse’s first instinct was to shrug it off, then he remembered Bren was still watching… leaned into the touch.
“He said: Stop.”
Jack spoke to Jesse instead. As far as he was concerned, it’d all been completely consensual.
“You want me to take care of this?”
Brennan snorted. Oh so chivalrous. He was glad he’d decided to come back to this floor and have another look. If he hadn’t, someone would have gotten seriously hurt in here. And he was sure it wouldn’t have been Jesse. But there was no concealing his anger at what he’d just seen happen. What Jesse probably *allowed* to happen.
Jesse straightened up this time, shook his head at Ryan.
“No need. Let’s go… you got a ride?”
Jesse stood up and picked his jacket, Jack got up slowly… noticing the boy’s rushed movements that also galvanized Brennan to close in.
“You got a place too I presume?”
“Stop this Jess, you’re not going with him.”
“I got a place.”
“And he’s got a boyfriend.”
Brennan had had enough. He closed the distance and pushed Jesse behind himself, facing off with Ryan.
“Look man Jess is upset. He’s doing this only to get to me, it’s got nothing to do with you.”
Ryan scowled, Jesse shoved at Brennan. The torrent of emotions in his mind immediately replaced by sudden and pure rage.
“Back off man! Go back to your *blood-brothers*, I don’t need your bullshit anymore!”
“Jess please, you don’t need to do this.”
“You don’t know me. You don’t know what I need.”
“I know you don’t want this Jesse, I heard you say No.”
“People say things they don’t always mean Mulwray, who knows this better than you?”
That hurt. But he knew Jesse hurt more and his eyes watered.
“Jesse. I am. So sorry. I acted like a jerk. Please let me make up to you, please don’t do this.”
“Make up to me?” Jesse laughed, a sound uttered in complete misery.
“What for Brennan? You did *nothing* wrong. It’s my fault I keep trusting and fallin’ for the same damn gig over and over. It’s my fault I’m still not used to it by now. And I should be, God knows I’ve had *enough* practice.”
Brennan didn’t understand. “Jesse what are you…?”
“Nothing! You don’t have to make up to me for anything. I just wanna forget it alright? Everything.”
Brennan couldn’t respond to that. And the couple just stood and stared each other down. Ryan who’d been standing beside Jesse all this while, seized his chance to speak.
“Umm Kilmartin maybe… we should do this some other time?”
Both squabbling men were surprised. A ray of hope shone for Brennan. Jesse squashed it.
“No, I’m done here. For good. If… you’re still…?”
Hesitation. But Jack nodded affirmative. Brennan was outright ignored. His heart broke as he reached out trying to touch Jesse who stepped away… just out of reach.
There was pain but there was determination in Jesse’s eyes. Brennan did not stop him as Jesse held out a hand towards Jack and the latter took it. If Jesse had made up his mind to end it, there was nothing he could do to change that. He got the feeling he was giving up something extremely precious without so much as a fight. But there was only so far he could go without Jesse wanting to meet half way. And Jesse would not budge.
Besides Brennan was hurting too. Seeing Jesse with another man was tearing him apart.
The departing figure had the grace to pause. But not turn. Brennan choked on the next words he uttered. Barely whispered.
“If… if you leave now… after tonight… it just might be too late. For us.”
Jesse didn’t turn, didn’t flinch.
“It already is.”
Brennan stood still as stone as he watched the man he now knew he deeply loved, leave a second time that night. With someone else. The Sinatra wannabes played on.
What now my love, now that you’ve left me
How can I live through another day
Watching my dreams turn to ashes,
and my hopes turn to bits of clay…
Jesse clenched and unclenched his fists as he led the way out of Remington’s toward the underground parking lot. Jack was the bigger man and still had to run in order to keep up with Jesse’s hurried strides.
“Jess… Jesse wait up, I want to talk about this.”
Irritation marred the sharp features as Jesse abruptly stopped and turned to face Ryan.
“There is nothing to talk about! Look do you want me or not?”
Ryan response was to close the distance and kiss Jesse fervently.
“I want you so bad it hurts man…” then sighing deeply, he separated.
“But I am not sure you’re in this for the right reasons.”
“Fuck my reasons, forget about that guy Jack. He doesn’t matter. Not any more.”
Pitch feverish and trembling… desperate… tentative.
Outward, Jesse was losing patience. Inside, he was grateful that Jack was still providing him with an exit… and very much expected him to take it. Of course Jesse didn’t really want Jack. All he wanted was to… to crawl into his bed back at the Sanctuary and go to sleep for a hundred years. He was so tired, of running and of pretending… of hurting. He just wanted it to stop. But instead here he was, trapped in his own game of deception and revenge… had he seduced Jack? Au contraire… but he *did* let things get out of control… deliberately… in the hope of the minutest eventuality that Brennan might actually come looking for him.
And he did. Brennan did.
Before he could dwell any longer on that little fact and why it made him feel marginally better… he realised Jack’s lips were moving.
“… just know you will leave in the middle of the night and I hate waking up alone.”
Jack sighed, and launched into another tirade about how much he liked Jesse and didn’t want this to be a one night thing. How could he? When he barely knew him?
~Exactly. He likes you because he doesn’t know you.~
~Okay that’s not fair. And probably true.~
Jesse tuned him out… his sanity approaching crumbling point and he did the only thing that struck him as easier than talking. He kissed Jack.
~You don’t need to do this, get out. Get away!~
Kissed him with all his might. Stood on his toes to get maximum leverage, clung to the bigger man’s shoulders as if his life depended on it.
~Finish this. Get it over with… and your revenge will be complete.~
The kiss deepened, alternating between passion and coercion… attraction and repulsion, victory and defeat. Jesse gripped at Jack’s crotch and shoved him back against the wall. Jack responded to the stimulation as he pulled Jesse as close to him as possible.
~This is not revenge. I like him. I really like him.~
Jack found his voice amid the breathlessness and suggested they head for his place before going any further. But Jesse wouldn’t let him. He was intent on getting it on right here against the cold steel wall.
Because if he went some place far away Brennan might not be able to track him down again. ~Hey he found me once, he could do it again.~
~If he wanted to, that is.~
~No. Sure he would. He’s gonna come down here any minute now… any minute…~
Once I could see, once I could feel
Now I am numb, I’ve become unreal
I walk the night, without a goal
Stripped of my heart and my soul…
Jack knew that he’d lost, the moment Jesse broke off the kiss… tensing up in his arms. But he couldn’t bring himself to let go just yet. He rested his forehead against Jesse’s, each catching their respective breaths.
“I… I’m sorry.”
Ryan gently pushed back the sweaty fringes and kissed them.
“You love him…”
Jesse nodded surly. “I’m a sucker for pain.”
Jack knew he should let go of him now and move on with his life soon as possible. This had gone way too far. He should’ve walked away the moment that dark guy had shown up. He never should’ve hit on Jesse at all. He never should’ve come to the Remington’s tonight period.
What now my love, now that it’s over
I feel the world falling all around me
Here come the stars, tumbling around me
There’s the sky, where that sea should be…
And yet Jack couldn’t will himself to let go. A brief encounter with this boy and already his emotions were all over the place. Jack knew if he let go of Jesse now he would never have him again. And yet he knew it wouldn’t be right. The memory he *knew* he’d cherish forever, Jesse would regret… forever.
The boy shifted in his arms uncomfortably. He still didn’t let go.
What now my love, now there is nothing
Only my last, my last good-bye…
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