So this is set a few years down the road. There has been a lot of stuff done with Erin and her spiral with Nadia or other AU ones and Jay being there, bringing her back from it and I love that dynamic so much. I love Jay being that person, because we all know that's exactly who he is. This all still applies here, he's been that person for Erin so many times. But what happens down the road when a tragedy happens and all of a sudden Jay falls apart? Will Erin be able to save him the way he has saved her so many times before? Will she be able to follow him into the darkness in order for him to see the light?
I want to try to explore Jay some more, past inner demons- new events that will haunt him after a horrific event, and see if he will be able to make it out or if it will be too much for him.
Erin sat in the darkness, her fingers gripping tightly around the steering wheel. The car had been shut off for fifteen minutes and she was no closer to taking a step out of it than she had been when she first pulled into the parking space. Her white knuckles held onto the hope that this would finally bring her what she was longing for, what she needed more than she needed air. The busy traffic and noisy streets of the Saturday nightlife in Chicago were blocked out and she took deep, calming breaths. I can do this. I have to do this. I have to.
She let her eyes drift closed, chanting her inner monologue as she rehearsed what she was about to go do in her head. As Erin's eyes lifted back open she was met with the brightness of the lights illuminating off the building. Blue, yellow, and red colors strobed around and she couldn't help the frown that appeared on her face. Out of all the places to end up, why did it have to be one like this?
The sudden blood flow to her fingers went unnoticed as Erin took one final deep breath and released her death grip on the steering wheel, quickly shoving open the car door. She avoided the long roped line and went straight ahead to meet the very tall, overly ripped, intimidating man near the entrance. Giving her a single look, he chuckled at her casual appearance before she gave him a hard stare, lifting up her shirt slightly to reveal the badge hooked onto her belt loop. His eyes widened slightly before he nodded and extended his arm, opening the door with an apologetic smile.
"Thanks." Erin muttered.
The first thing that became apparent was the music, blasting through her eardrums making it impossible to focus on anything. The second was the lighting. The place was dark and crowded with groups of drunk partiers side-by-side. The only light came from the strobes making Erin have to shove through crowds and search out her way to the bar. Finally reaching her destination, Erin waited for the bartender to walk by, watching as he helped the endless patrons of the club. She watched as he made his way up and down the bar, ignoring her every time before she lost any patience she had left. Shoving her hand out, she gripped onto his shirt, forcing him to stop.
"Hey, what they hell is your problem, lady?"
Erin narrowed her eyes, leaning further into the bar. "I'm looking for someone and you're gonna help me out."
He chuckled, pulling back. "And why the hell would I do that?"
She slammed something roughly against the bar with her other hand, making his eyes focus in on the badge she just placed there. He opened his mouth to speak, but shut it before any words came out.
"Alright, awesome. Now that we're on the same page." Erin smirked back to him.
After she got the necessary information, Erin found her way to the far side of the club, and another bouncer. Quickly making her way inside, she scanned the room. This one was far less crowded, but a lot more questionable. Small clusters of people surrounded private tables, anything from private lap dances to a group doing a line could be seen. Her eyes never stayed put in one spot more than a second as she searched for the purpose of her visit. And then off in the far corner she spotted him. Alone at a private table he sat facing the rest of the room. As she got closer she examined his surroundings and took note of the few empty bottles in the center of the table- not enough for him to be drunk yet, so she still had a chance at a decent conversation. And then she noticed it, the line of white residue that still was evident on the surface of the table. For a moment she stilled, unable to move forward. There was no way that was right.
Taking a deep breath, Erin willed her feet forward as her eyes locked with his and she tried to mask the pain she was feeling as she stared into his cold eyes.
"What'd you do, hide in my backseat, Lindsay?"
Erin scoffed, reminded of her purpose for being there. "You wish. I tailed your car, dumbass. It wasn't that hard."
Jay frowned, bringing the half empty bottle to his lips and taking a long pull before returning his gaze to her. "What part of stay the hell out of my life didn't you get?"
She stared at him for a moment, watching as his eyes lazily wandered around the dark room, never staying fixed on one location longer than a few seconds. His pupils wide and unfocused. The bright, ocean blue eyes she was used to were long gone. Replaced with a dull, lifeless gray.
"That's the funny thing, Jay. I mean, I guess we aren't together, right? Hell, we aren't even partners anymore. I don't have to listen to a damn thing you say. And I sure as hell won't be taking orders from you."
Jay glared, taking another long swig from the warm bottle clenched tightly between his hand. He let the room temperature liquid slowly trail down his throat trying to focus his gaze toward her. "Go home, Erin."
"Fine. Get up and let's go."
He let out a hollow laugh, swaying lightly in his seat. "Not gonna happen, Lindsay."
Erin rolled her eyes, "Now."
Jay smiled, a full on smile, but his eyes stayed dark and unclear as he stared at her. "Hey, I have an idea! You go home, where you've been. And I'll stay here. Sound like a plan?"
Erin let her eyes stay locked on his, as he mocked her. She focused on his bloodshot, red-rimmed eyes and dilated pupils. Willing the tears stinging her own eyes not to fall, she took a small step forward. "Jay, let me take you home."
Defiantly, Jay crossed his arms. "No."
Erin took a step closer, putting her hand on her hips. "Stand up, I'm taking you home. You're done with this. It's over. Let's go."
"I heard you the first time, and I said no. Fuck off, Erin." he said, glaring over at her.
She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself down. This wasn't Jay talking, this was alcohol, coke, and god only knows what else talking. But not Jay. It still hurt, she had never seen him like this before. She knew it would be hard to come in here and convince him of anything- she went over the lines a thousand times in her head. But nothing could have prepared her for looking at Jay in his current state. It was unlike anything she had ever seen. His skin was as pale as a sheet of paper. The bags under his eyes were almost black. He looked so unlike himself. The most caring and protective person she had ever met, hollowed out- completely lost.
She took another step closer to him, resting her hands on the table. "Jay, look at me."
He rolled his eyes before focusing his gaze on the floor, staring intently at a broken glass someone had yet to pick up at a nearby table.
"Jay. Look at me." Erin repeated firmly.
Shutting his eyes, Jay took in a deep breath, his whole body shook as he tried to clear his mind of all the memories. His eyes squinted shut as the sound of far-off sirens rang through his ears. Why weren't they getting there fast enough? Another sharp intake of breaths as he heard the all too familiar sound of blood-curdling screams fill his head.
Snapping his eyes open, Jay lifted his gaze to meet the waiting eyes of Erin. He blew out the breath slowly, shaking his head- silently begging her not to go on. He already had this conversation with her, too many times. It was too late to convince him it wasn't his fault when he knew deep down that it was.
Erin reached out her hand, noticing the first real emotion on his face since she arrived. The look of hurt and blame evident, but she thought twice and her hand fell loosely to her side as a tear falls down her cheek.
"Jay. That wasn't on you, okay? What happened that night wasn't on you and drinking yourself to death isn't going to help anyone. It won't change what happened. Please."
He stayed silent for a moment, peeling away the label of his beer bottle. Biting at his bottom lip he sighed, shaking his head once again.
"I can't. Just go."
"I'm not leaving here without you; I won't leave here without you. So either we both go, or we both stay. Your call." Erin said taking a step to sit at the stool opposite of him at the table.
The simple word was out before he had a chance to register it in his inebriated state. It left Erin with a stunned expression, taken aback with wide eyes before gaining her composure. She never thought one simple word could make her heart ache and her feel so much pain for another person while simultaneously wanting to jump across the table and strangle him. Two simple letters he had been saying for five years, and yet the six weeks she had gone without hearing them sounded like a lifetime.
Jay frowned, chugging the remainder of his beer and motioning the bartender for another before correcting himself. "Erin." he said harshly, his eyes cold "Go. Home."
Rolling her eyes, Erin stood once again. "Why aren't you getting that I'm not leaving without you? This isn't you. What you're doing right now isn't you. Please, Jay. Please, just-"
"Just what, Erin?! Huh? What do you want from me?" Jay yelled, standing to meet her in front of the table.
"I want you to listen, really listen to what I'm saying! What we've all been saying this whole time. Nothing that happened is on you. Nothing!" Erin yelled back, fully aware she was gaining the unwanted attention of the other people at the bar.
Jay laughed coldly before grabbing one of the empty beer bottles from the table. He threw it across the room, making it hit the far wall and shatter into tiny shards. Erin jumped, her eyes widening.
"That bullshit, Erin. That's bullshit, and we both fucking know it. This is all on me, every damn thing that happened that night is on me. It's my fault. Every fucking part of it! Don't try to defend me or say it wasn't on me. Cause that's a load of shit. I fucked up. It's my fucking fault!" he screamed, his voice faltering at the end.
"Hey!" a stern voice interrupted. Both of their heads turned, seeing the large bodyguard standing a few tables behind them. "You guys are gonna have to finish this up outside." He nodded pointedly to an exit, crossing his arms.
Jay crossed his arms in return. "Erin, get out. We're done here."
"That's great and all, but I didn't ask if you were done, I said to take it outside." The man repeated, standing firm.
Jay glared over at him, eyeing the guy up and down. There was no denying this dude was huge. He easily had five inches on Jay, fifty pounds of muscles. He looked like one of those people who spent every waking moment at the gym and Jay internally kicked himself before chuckling. He looked back to Erin who was staring at him with hopeful eyes before he sighed.
"Fine." Jay said through gritted teeth. And with that he walked straight past Erin, and out the back entrance of the club.
It took her a few seconds to register that he just left before Erin turned on her heels and quickly followed him out, sprinting after him.
"Jay, hey! Hey, wait up!"
Jay swung around quickly, but he was unbalanced and had to put his hands out to steady himself. He took a deep breath in before responding. "I meant what I said, Erin. We're done, stop wasting your time. Go home."
Erin stopped for a minute, watching as Jay swayed from side to side as though the wind was strong enough to pull his muscular frame in the direction it was going. She narrowed her eyes, biting her inner cheek as she thought. And then it hit her.
"Fine. We're done. You're right." She said bluntly, and she didn't miss the way his eyes widened in surprise.
"Okay, great. We're done then." Jay nodded back, turning to walk away.
"Great!" Erin emphasized. "Let me give you a ride. I have a car and it's pretty cold."
Jay opened his mouth to protest but Erin held up her hand. "It's a free ride, Jay. Wherever you want to go. I don't care. Just get in the car."
He stopped for a minute, his foggy mind trying to fully process her words. But a free ride was a free ride, and he had been staying at an old friends from the academy way across town. He knew it was late, and it the October air was cool against his skin. Waiting for a cab would take forever, and calling for a ride would lead to an argument. So he nodded.
"Fine. Drop me off at Chuck's." he said, following Erin toward her car.
The car ride was completely silent, Jay pressed his face against the cool glass of the window before the booze and drugs caught up to him and he dozed off. Erin drove, her eyes wandering every couple of seconds over to the right as tears streamed, flowing endlessly down her cheeks. She didn't care. There was no way she was going to hold in the emotions of the night in any longer. As she hit a red light Erin looked over at Jay again, watching as his chest fell quickly. She frowned, taking out her phone and dialing before pressing it against her ear. Looking over to the passenger side one more time, Erin quickly made a U-turn as the phone connected. "Hey. It's me. Meet me at my apartment, now."
Taking a left into the parking lot, she parked in the designated space before shutting off the car. Sighing, she ran a hand roughly across her face, balling up the hair at her scalp as she let out a deep breath. Stealing another glance toward Jay, she wiped the tears from her eyes before slamming her fist against the steering wheel. A hard sob escaped her lips as she finally let the full effect of the past few weeks hit her. Slamming her fist against the wheel again and again she let the tears flow until a knock against the car window made her jump.
Erin blew out a deep breath before quickly wiping her eyes and pushing the door open.
"You alright?" Will asked, the concern evident in the crease of his brow.
Erin waved off his worry. "Fine. Just help me get him inside."
Will nodded, well aware that Erin wasn't one to share emotions. They had done more than enough of that over the past few weeks. Somehow she had managed to get Jay here tonight, and he wasn't about to argue with that, he was just grateful for whatever she did to bring him this far. "Yeah, yeah. Of course. I got him."
Swinging around to the other side of the car, Will pulled the door open almost knocking a passed out Jay out of the car in the process. He sighed before reaching in and grabbing ahold of his brother. Jay stirred lightly, mumbling something incoherent as Will got him to his feet, it didn't take a genius to figure out he was wasted.
"Yeah, okay. I got you buddy. I got you." Will muttered, not sure if he was speaking to Jay or reassuring himself.
Jay opened his eyes slightly, blinking a few times as his feet dragged forward.
"Jay, hey! Focus on me for a second, okay?" Will said, snapping his fingers in front of Jay's face. "I'm gonna need you to walk a little for me, can you do that?" Will tried, swinging Jay's arm around his should to support his weight. Mumbling once again, Jay nodded once before his eyes drooped closed.
Erin quickly ran around the car, mimicking Will's actions to support some of Jay's weight so the two could carry him inside the apartment building. The walk to the elevator was long and she thanked god that it was well after two in the morning and no one else was in the lobby as they dragged Jay inside.
Once they hit the fourth floor, Erin skimmed through her keyring to find the apartment key as they dragged Jay down the dimly lit hallway. Unlocking the deadbolt and knob, Erin swung the door open as Will shuffled Jay into the dark room. The two quickly made their way past the living room and into the bedroom before Will dropped Jay onto the bed. From there he watched as Erin took over. She slid each one of his boots onto the ground before stripping his jacket off. Jay mumbled occasionally and Erin decided against fighting with the remainder of his clothing as she threw a blanket overtop of him.
Erin pulled the blanket up over his chest, resting her hand over his heart as she sat at the edge of the bed. As she watched his breathing even out she ran her hand lightly across his cheek. The scruff of his over-grown beard a hard contrast against the smoothness of her skin. Her fingers lingered against his and another tear rolled down her cheek as she stared at his sleeping form. No matter how much shit had gone down in the last few weeks, he was home.
Erin stood from the bed then, but bent down, resting her hand against Jay's hairline. A ghost of a smile appeared against her lips as she stared down at the small diamond glistening against her finger. "I love you. Always." she whispered before leaning in and placing her lips against his cheek. Giving a small nod to Will she turned and left the room, shutting the light off as she made her way into the living room.
"So what now?" Will said, sighing as he ran a hand through his hair.
Erin shrugged, taking a seat on the couch. "I guess we wait."
A/N: It's extremely late and I wrote this all in one sitting (which I can never do). I've had crazy writers block, but this idea just came to me in the middle of working out and I decided to give it a go. Leave me a review and let me know if you like it so far and if I should keep going, you can PM me any suggestions too. Like I said, I literally sat down and starting typing sooo I have no clue as of now where exactly it's heading! Hope you enjoyed the first chapter! :)