Disclaimer: The Tomorrow People is the property of the CW. No copyright infringement is intended.
~ X ~
The two men dashed between the falling beams, dust and debris raining down on their heads. A grunt and quickly suppressed cry of pain rang out from one, but they kept moving; stopping, starting, backing up, dodging, in a deadly dance with the collapsing building.
They stumbled into a reinforced area, where the crashing above them stopped. One crumpled exhausted to the ground while the other tripped, landing in an undignified heap on his butt.
They anxiously listened as the groans, creaks, and stress sounds gradually died down.
A disgruntled Jedikiah slowly stood up, dusting himself off. He twisted at the waist, turning to look at the seat of his pants, fingering a tear in the material. "Thousand dollar suit ruined."
John rolled over with difficulty, awkwardly inching himself up the wall into a sitting position. "Yeah, ruined my clothes too."
Jedikiah, picking up the sarcasm, shot him a sharp look. "You dress like a slob, John. I taught you better. The Henley you're wearing is okay, but that sweatshirt is worn and frayed."
"Yeah, well I had to unlearn a lot of what you taught me."
"Damn breakout. This is why you people are dangerous. He brought the whole building down." Jedikiah rounded on John pointing an accusing finger as if he were personally responsible for their predicament. "And I lost three of my best agents in this mess."
"Well, if you hadn't started shooting at him maybe he wouldn't have panicked, and I could have calmed him down." John was quick to shoot back a rebuttal.
"No way would I lose that kid to you. We've been tracking him across the country. He was way too powerful to allow him to escape or join up with you rebels." Jedikiah was adamant.
"Was wondering why the hotshot second in command at Ultra would be involved in the capture of a breakout. Guess that explains it."
Jedikiah tried to pace, but caught his foot on something and tripped. The battery powered emergency lights had kicked in, but they only made small pools of bright light in the otherwise dark room. The incident did not improve Jedikiah's temper.
"So why were you here by yourself?" When Jedikiah didn't get a response from John he just grunted and took off his suit jacket revealing a holstered gun. He picked up his feet looking at his Italian leather shoes, noticing a deep slash in one of them. "These are trashed," he muttered.
Jedikiah pulled out his cell phone hoping for but not really expecting a signal. Therefore the sight of no bars on the screen only produced one mild swear word and he quickly pocketed the phone, letting go of his hopes. He turned again to John.
"So are you going to teleport us out, or are you gonna leave me here to rot?" he asked his unwilling companion.
"You rotting sounds good to me, but I'm afraid I'll have to rot with you." John's strained voice made Jedikiah suspect he was injured.
"Right you need full strength to teleport. Didn't go too far when you had that bullet in your gut did you?" He waited a moment, dropping the mocking tone before he asked, "You hurt bad?"
"Not so much."
"So contact your sewer friends and get us out of here," Jedikiah demanded.
"I tried to reach Stephen, but I can't."
"Yeah, he's out of town. Not hanging around Ultra this week so it's got to be your group," Jedikiah insisted.
"Don't have a group anymore." John kept his voice steady.
A loud creaking moaning sound like the building was in pain made Jedikiah start and look up uneasily at the ceiling.
"Come on, John." Jedikiah, quickly losing patience, put his hands on his hips, assuming John was just busting him. "I say let's have a temporary truce. Call out to your girlfriend to get us out of here."
"Don't have a girlfriend anymore."
Jedikiah glanced sharply at his former protégée. His face was averted, but he could see the slight trembling of the young man's lips.
"So that explains why you were here by yourself," Jedikiah said thoughtfully, adding sympathetically, "Sorry. It'll work out."
"Yeah, right." John didn't sound very positive.
Jedikiah walked around aimlessly kicking pieces of debris out of his way. He stopped; shaking his head, looking over at the young man slouched against the wall.
"You're trying to form a new group. That's really why you were here. You're all alone." Jedikiah's voice held sincere pity. "You know for a kid who's just always been looking for a family you haven't had much luck have you? You should have stayed with me." John was surprised by the sincerity in Jedikiah's voice.
"So I could kill for you?" John started to shake his head and then stopped. He breathed in harshly several times and then as if he could no longer contain it within himself burst out with accusations. "Why did you make me kill Roger? I might have been able to handle someone who deserved to die. You made me betray a friend. You broke something in me."
Jedikiah looked away, squinting as his eyes caught the emergency beam, before finally confessing. "It didn't have to be you. The Founder didn't care who did it. I chose you." He turned, holding John's eye as he continued. "I needed to know you would choose me over my brother. I needed to know I came first with you."
John was dumbfounded. "How could you even ask that? How could you doubt? I went into that experiment for you. Not for me, for you." John broke eye contact muttering, "I've always chosen you. Even when I shouldn't have. Even when it cost me."
Jedikiah crossed his arms. "I know that now, but at the time I still – I was jealous of my brother's influence on you. You turned to him as you got older."
"As a friend. I wanted – needed friends as I grew up. He helped me, but you were my fa . . . you were most important to me." John lips twisted. "I idolized you until you made me kill." A quick chuff of bitter laughter. "You were my role model."
They were both quiet, uncomfortable with what they had revealed to each other.
Jedikiah finally stirred. "Well, it's a tossup who gets to us first – Ultra tracking my brain waves or the city rescue workers."
John moved restlessly as if he couldn't get comfortable. Jedikiah noticed a wet red stain on the front of his shirt.
"You're hurt bad."
Jedikiah stooped down next to him. "Let me see."
"Forget it." John put a hand out to ward him off.
"Are you crazy? What are you doing? Bleeding to death?" Jedikiah was angry with his former agent.
"Dead's dead. It's easier to go this way than with the Founder mind raping me."
The look on Jedikiah's face fired John up.
"How's dying in agony trying to hold back the location of the hideout better than slowly bleeding to death?" John raged. " I'll lose consciousness soon, and it won't hurt."
Jedikiah knelt next to him on the cold floor and probed John's side. John attempted to push the man's hand away, but Jedikiah easily brushed him off.
Jedikiah swore when he felt the wet spot. He brought his hand up to where he could see it and the bright red made him berate the young man. "Crap, John. Why didn't you speak up?"
"Your team's gonna be waiting outside." A harsh laugh followed by a raspy cough made him groan. "Are you gonna save me so Ultra can kill me? The outcome's the same, but this way I just slide out with giving anybody up. Without being tortured. Hell, what's the problem? You've tried to shoot me enough times. Use your gun on me now." John swallowed and then pleaded with him. "I didn't kill you when I had the chance. You owe me a painless death."
"John." That word held so much regret.
Jedikiah jumped up, pushing his way through a semi blocked door into another room. He carefully moved through the rubble strewn hallways until he discovered what looked like a storage room. Pawing through the debris he found something that made him exclaim out loud. "Oh yeah!"
He came back holding a roll of duct tape. "Look what I found!"
He carefully moved John, stretching him out on the floor. John grumbled, but was too weak to put up any real resistance. Jedikiah pulled up both of John's jerseys exposing his stomach and the deep cut that was still bubbling blood.
Faced with the open wound, Jedikiah was momentarily at a loss. He quickly gathered his wits, asking John, "You wouldn't happen to have a knife, would you?"
"Jean pocket." John pointed with his chin.
Jedikiah reached in and drew out a pocket knife. "Alright."
Jedikiah hefted it in his hand and something about the feel made him pause. He held it close to his eyes and really looked at it. So after all they had been through, John still kept it on him. It still meant something to the kid. Jedikiah briefly closed his eyes at that thought, but a low moan from John jerked him out of his reverie.
He quickly yanked a length of duct tape off the roll and cut it into thin strips, sticking them to his shirt. He repeated this a couple of times and then pulled off several really long lengths. When he finished, he looked John over. The outer sweatshirt was covered with dust, but it had protected the jersey underneath. Jedikiah quickly cut a big piece of the Henley and used it to swab the blood off John's stomach.
John's hands shook slightly as Jedikiah pressed on his stomach. Jedikiah glanced up at John's face noting he was biting his lip. He reached over to free the lip from John's teeth. "This is gonna be tough. I'm gonna have to apply some pressure. You don't want to bite through your lip. Hang on to your sleeve."
John gingerly lifted an arm to his mouth and bit into the loose material of the sweat shirt.
Jedikiah carefully took the thin strips of duct tape and pressed the edges of the wound together, making multiple butterfly bandages. John bit down hard, but didn't make a sound. Once Jedikiah had the bandages in place, he covered the area with long strips of duct tape.
When he was done Jedikiah wiped his brow and sat back satisfied. He looked closely to see if any blood was leaking out, but it looked dry. "Not a bad field dressing!" He congratulated himself.
John's lack of response made Jedikiah peer closely at his face. He noticed the glazed eyes and shook him gently. "John. John."
Jedikiah was relieved when John slowly came around. He stood up to relieve his cramped legs and walked over to retrieve his discarded suit jacket. He spread it over John tucking the ends gently under him.
He didn't like leaving John's head on the floor, so he sat next to him and maneuvered around until he could prop John's head up against his leg. He wrapped a comforting hand around the young man's neck. They sat that way for awhile before Jedikiah starting talking to keep John conscious.
"What's with that scruff on your face?"
"It's cool," John said. "You're just an old fart company man."
Jedikiah smirked, pointing a finger at John. "Who do you think you're kidding? You're trying to look older, more experienced."
John's sheepish expression confirmed Jedikiah's guess. "I read you like a book, boy. No one knows you better than I do. Not even that pain in the arse former girlfriend of yours."
They sat quietly for awhile John resting, eyes closed, breathing heavy. Jedikiah looked him over. He brushed some of the dust out of John's hair.
"Your hair looks good at least," Jedikiah finally admitted.
John started, opening his eyes at the sound of Jedikiah's voice. He smiled shyly. "Morgan cut it."
"She did a good job." A broad smile lit Jedikiah's face up.
"She's a good person," John said. "Don't understand what she sees in you."
Jedikiah, pressed his lips into a thin line, looking off in the distance reminiscing. Seeing something John didn't. "I guess I don't understand it either."
They sat for awhile in the ghostly light of the emergency beacons. A faint sound, at first not noticed by either man, gradually increased in intensity. They strained their ears until Jedikiah finally heard it.
"Anyone down there?"
"Yes! I'm here! I'm alive," Jedikiah yelled.
"We're coming for you. Hang on."
John put an imploring hand on Jedikiah's arm. "Please don't . . . "
Jedikiah placed a hand over John's mouth, putting his finger up to his lips in a warning gesture.
He whispered, "Hang in there, John. Don't give up. If there's anything I taught you it's to fight. Fight to live, Son. I'll contact Stephen as soon as I get out of here. I'll send him for you."
Jedikiah supported John's head while he removed his leg out from underneath him. He gently lowered him to the ground and turned to leave. He hesitated and then turned back, pressing a kiss to John's forehead. "You will not give up, Son. You will live."
Jedikiah called out, "Don't come in here. It's not safe." He slipped through the door careful not to push it open any further.
John heard him explain to the unseen rescuers that the room was a dead end, and no one else was in there.
Their sounds gradually faded away leaving him with only the sound of his heart beating.
As the light in John's eyes slowly faded, and he slid into unconsciousness he clung to one final thought.
~ FIN ~