JeanineJam: Please, please read this chapter!
Guest: Thank you for not flaming me, for your kind words regarding my other stories and about how engaging this one was, and thank you for your honesty. :) I appreciate honesty. I have to be honest, though, and say that there is no particular rule that fanfiction has to be happy stuff, and 90% of my writing is happy stuff as you probably well know, but always being happy is hard. I have to share that this is my outlet, and I do like writing sad material as much as I like reading sad material (sometimes, not always), and in my career, I hear so many bad, horrible, shitty things that sometimes I write sad stuff because it actually helps me process it all and feel better. That might sound super weird, but it's true. I'm very sorry I didn't say in the beginning that this was going to be a sad story to prevent you reading it. HOWEVER, that all being said, I do really, truly hope you will read this chapter.
Evierose: After you read this chapter, I'm curious to see if what you thought you knew and realized was this or something else :)
To other reviewers: Thank you for being encouraging. I'm so sorry I upset you all.
Bobby had been cleared of all charges. He had also been given a leave from work. He hadn't gone with D and Myles when they rescued Candace's sister and the other victims. He was done with that case for good. Now, he was sitting in his apartment staring at his suit that he had to put on before going to attend his best friend's funeral. He couldn't do it. How could he accept that Jack was dead? He had failed to save him. He had failed everyone. And to top it off, Lindsay had to deal with the fact that she was carrying her father's heart inside of her chest, something the girl had wept over for hours after Sue had told her. Bobby still couldn't get the whole scene out of his head how Jack shoved Sue down and took those two shots from Victor, how Bobby unloaded his gun on Victor until the man stopped moving, how Sue screamed so hard and long when Jack stopped breathing after his final word he thought he could actually see her heart breaking, the phone call to Jack's phone stating Lindsay was dying, and Jack's final word, "Me," suddenly making sense to all of them. Today was the worst day of his life, and nothing was going to help him get through it.
"Bobby?" Tara's voice called. He looked up, seeing her in the doorway.
"Hey," he said. "How did you...?"
"Your door was unlocked," she said quickly. "And I called five times, but you didn't answer. I was worried."
"I'm trapped inside my own head," he said. "I didn't hear you, sorry."
"It's okay. Can I help?" she asked, sitting down beside him. He sighed heavily.
"I don't even know how you could. I couldn't save Howie, Scotty or Jack. I failed at my job by losing evidence and therefore setting back the arrest of Victor. Sue is forever traumatized now by all this, and I'm sure Lucy is too. And Lindsay..." he trailed off.
"Bobby, you were doing your job. You knew that revealing Victor to anyone would risk him running or worse, hurting everyone else. You did the best you could," she said, taking his hand then.
"Then how come it wasn't good enough?" he asked her. Tara was at a loss for words.
"I...I don't know," she admitted. She got brave, then. "Bobby, I love you. I know you, and I know you did everything you could. Please, be kind to yourself."
"You love me?" he asked, surprised.
"Yes. I...I have for a while."
"Probably not as long as I've loved you," he told her.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"I loved you the day you walked into the office starting your new job. I knew coworkers couldn't date, so I held off. I also met Darcy, and you had Stanley. Then Emily..."
"I had no idea," Tara said, awestruck.
"Well, I figured you wouldn't want to be with an addict like me anyway," Bobby shrugged. "I never brought it up." He turned to look at his suit again.
"We can do this together," she said softly. Her heart was aching too just thinking about how she would have to speak about Jack at his funeral. Bobby stood then, and he took his suit into the bathroom to change. Tara waited for him. When he was ready, they left his apartment together to face the biggest challenge they'd ever face.
Lindsay stared at her reflection in the mirror. She felt numb. She could hear her mother downstairs, and she wanted to comfort her just as much as she needed to be comforted herself. She felt her heart beating in her chest.
Her father's heart.
He'd given it to her, his final act of love. Lindsay felt the tears burn again in her eyes. She would have given anything to have him here with her, but she realized that she would probably be dead instead. She had been failing and crashing when she was taken to surgery on the fly. Poor Aunt Tara had been hysterical. Lindsay had been sure she was dying, but then she woke up.
And given the horrible news.
She was grateful her mother was alive, grateful to have her home. They had held each other and cried for hours after Uncle Bobby had told her what happened. That was when her mother told her about the heart.
"You ready?" Sue asked, knocking. Lindsay looked at her.
"I'm not ready for this," she shook her head. Sue teared up quickly.
"I know. I'm not either," she agreed. She went over to hug her daughter. She wished that Jack has been spared. She wished there had been an alternative for Lindsay. That poor girl had to live with the consequences of a monster's decision forever. Sue felt angry inside at Victor then. She wondered how Lucy was doing. They hadn't really seen much of each other since everything had been such a whirlwind. She hoped her friend wasn't embarrassed by what her husband had done. It wasn't her fault.
"I guess we have to," Lindsay signed, still crying too hard to speak. Sue nodded. Together, they went down the stairs, leaning on each other for support.
During the funeral, Lucy couldn't stop crying. She blamed herself for not knowing that Victor was so evil. She hated herself for bringing him into their lives all those years ago. She wondered if he had been successful that he'd have come back to hurt her too. She was amazed that he hadn't hurt her more than he had. She felt her heart clench thinking about Violet. Would he have sold her when she reached 13? She shuddered. She had dodged a major bullet. Then she choked. That's exactly what Jack hadn't been able to do. She felt Myles squeeze her hand tightly, and she squeezed back. They had talked a lot since the incident, and she was slowly figuring out that Myles was still in love with her. Whatever that looked like, she knew she needed some time first. Knowing Myles, he'd wait for her as long as he needed to.
"That was so hard," Tara sniffed loudly. She and Bobby were the last to leave the church. D and Donna were ahead of them. She saw Donna comforting D as best as she could. Tara didn't think any of them would ever be the same again. Bobby's eyes were very red, and he wasn't talking much. Tara thought back to when she had first seen him after everything. She had been pacing the halls when he had shown up. Sue had been already at the hospital as she'd arrived with...
Tara stopped herself. She still couldn't think of it. She forced the memory of Sue's face out of her mind. Instead, she remembered how she had thrown herself into Bobby's arms, blood and all, and had kissed him so ferociously. That was before Bobby told her Jack was dead. She felt so stupid now for doing that when he was so upset. He'd done his best to reassure her that she couldn't have known and that her kiss meant so much to him. They hadn't gotten to finish that conversation because Sue had been forced to wait in the hall with them until Lindsay's operation was finished.
"I know he's in a better place, but it's not fair that he had to go to start with," Bobby said hoarsely. Tara hugged him tightly. They needed each other, and despite everything, Tara couldn't help but feel slightly grateful that they were going to embark on this journey together.
Myles stood watching Lucy stand by the corner beside Sue. It was after the service, and they were attending the reception. By the way they were hugging, it looked as though they were going to be okay. He knew Lucy held a lot of guilt, and he tried to convince her Sue wouldn't blame her, but Lucy was afraid anyway. He'd tell her he told her so later. He also wanted to tell her that he cared about her. He wanted her to know that he would be here for her and Violet no matter what. They were living in his house, and every day he loved the two of them more and more. He'd come to the realization he still loved Lucy a long time ago when she first met Victor. Oh, how he wished he could go back in time and tell her because all of this could have been avoided if he had. He looked down at his hands in front of him. Jack was dead. How on Earth were they ever going to-
"You promised you wouldn't kill me off! That's so mean," Jack said to Sue after getting her attention. He looked over her shoulder, gesturing. She stopped typing and was looking at him.
"What? It's great," she argued. "Besides, it's not really you."
"Does it have to be so heart wrenching? People will hate it."
"It'll sell," Sue told him, smiling. "And I can't help what people will think about it. I'm enjoying writing it."
"Did you have to use all of our names?" he demanded. "I mean, that's too personal."
"It helped me write it. I'm not good at thinking about names. I will change them later," Sue dismissed. "Besides, the characters are based on all of us in a way." Jack sighed. He hated to read about his own death. He shuddered. It was so real. It could actually happen.
"It won't happen," Sue said, reading his mind. She rubbed her pregnant belly slowly.
"How do you know?" he asked.
"I just do. For starters, Lucy isn't with anyone named Victor. Will it make you feel better if I told you that I hated writing that you and Howie died? Even Scotty!"
"You said it wasn't really me," Jack pointed out.
"You know what I mean," she huffed.
"Yes. I'd love it if you had me survive and Lindsay had a transplant from someone else. Howie died for a good cause."
"Jack!" she admonished.
"Sorry," he apologized. "You can keep Howie alive too."
"I'll think about it," she winked. "I'm thinking of writing a sequel where Lindsay becomes FBI or CIA herself to avenge her father."
"But, if they're all dead..." Jack started.
"I might let Candace have a bigger part than she let on in the epilogue," Sue winked. He just laughed. At least his wife was enjoying her new hobby of writing. He had to admit, it was a thriller of a novel. He'd feel better when all the names were changed. He bent to give her a kiss. Sometimes he couldn't believe she was his wife, that he'd gotten the nerve to tell her how he felt after she almost left for a new job.
"Don't stay up too late," he warned, heading up the stairs to their bedroom. He heard her typing away, and he knew she was coming up with the perfect ending. He loved her so much. His phone beeped then.
Is baby kicking yet? Bobby asked.
Not yet, Jack wrote back.
Damn it. Now I have to take Tara to the opera.
Hahaha. Serves you right for making bets on my baby.
They're not bets. I don't gamble, remember?
Whatever you say.
It's our first wedding anniversary. We made the deal that if the baby was kicking, we do my thing, and if not, we do her thing. Not a bet, just a deal.
It's the same. What was your thing?
I'm not allowed to say. Anyway, thanks to your baby, I now have to sit through awful singing.
Oh I will. I've got Lucy coming with Myles for a double date. HaHA!
Jack smirked. He wished he could see the look on Myles's face when he finds out what Bobby got him into, but a mental image would have to do. He was glad Myles and Lucy had gotten back together since they never really did stop caring about each other. It had just happened really. Lucy had been struggling with some issues of her own, and Myles was there for her. The rest was history. As for Bobby and Tara, well, those two had eventually figured it out. Needless to say, Stanley didn't stand a chance once Bobby made up his mind he actually did love Tara. Jack turned his phone down and crawled into bed. His friends were happy and he was happy. He had a wife of two years and a baby on the way. He couldn't ask for anything more. Life was good.
That was my final twist of this story! Like I said, it wasn't a dream, just Sue writing a novel ;)