It hurt. It caused him serious mental and physical pain to get out of bed and start packing. He straight up despised packing. Besides, it was way too early for that as well. Having been up until sucked, especially when he had to get up at as early as 7 in the morning. Jack groaned but get out of the bed non-the-less. This day sucked already, and it's just going to keep getting worse. He glanced at the half-packed boxes around his room, and the two – still empty – suitcases. Fuck it all. As much as he wanted to go back to sleep, he knew he can't. He needed to pack everything, and he needed to do it fast. So, he carried himself to the bathroom is hopes of a quick shower to wake him up.
Jack casually put a towel around his waist and walked out of the bathroom, letting all the steam out. Searched for some casual clothes, because there is no way he is going to pack in tight jeans, just no fucking way. He opened his wardrobe and methodically started to load all his wearable clothes into one of the suitcases. There were surprisingly not much to pack since he no longer wore those gothic clothes he used to, but his wardrobe still consisted of mostly black. Habits die hard, but Jack tried harder. And deciding to go to college was a proof of that. He studied his ass off in this past year to meet the requirements of John Hopkins, it was mental fucking hell, but he did it, he is in, and he is going to give is all, and have a good time, and try not being a weirdo. Just a normal nerd, with an IQ of 180. A piece of cake.
After emptying his wardrobe, throwing away any clothes that he deemed inappropriate or just embarrassing – way too much then he cared to admit – Jack moved on to pack everything else. Moving sucked doesn't matter what others say. It was a major pain in his butt. He could have used one or two or maybe ten of his Jack-bots to help him, but he wanted to do this alone. It helped him think and rethink over and over again until his head hurt and his eyes wanted to pop out of its sockets. But it still worth it though. He was almost done anyway, only one small wardrobe left. And well, after hours of packing, he started to get hungry, it was almost night, and the sun was setting, panting his room pink and orange…and he only had a coffee around 8. In the fucking morning.
Having a quick lunch can't hurt, never mind that there was absolutely nothing in the kitchen that was edible. Take out as it is. Preferably something profoundly unhealthy and a lot of it, thank you very much. So, Jack dialed and ordered enough food for a small family, not forgetting to order dessert, maybe going a little bit overboard, but honestly, Jack doesn't give a fuck, not even the slightest. He frowned, hearing that it will take around 40 minutes to deliver, he hoped he's not going to starve. Not being occupied with packing hunger hit him like a tsunami, right in his face. Until he got his food, he might as well finish off the rest of the packing. Not much left anyway, and what he left for last, can't be done with an empty stomach.
Jack closed the suitcase, only using one at the end, and started closing the boxes when he heard the bell. Finally. He stood up and went to open the door. He did not run…nope, maybe a little, but he was hungry, so nobody can blame him for it. Opening the doors of the mansion, the first thing he saw was the delivery guy, slightly smaller that Jack, and obviously uncomfortable. Probably a newbie, Jack guessed as he took the boxes and give the guy his card. Jack mentally noted that other's hands were shaking a little. That made him smile a little, he was cute, with big blue eyes. He wasn't Jack type, but a little teasing can't hurt, can it?
"Do you want me to help with that?" – Jack asked as he watched the boy when he saw he had problems inserting the card in the reader, because of his shaky hands. He looked up to Jack and blushed a really adorable pink, and Jack couldn't help the corner of his mouth to curve into a smirk.
"N-no. I g-got this" – the delivery guy stuttered and finally succeeded in putting the card in its place. When it was paid, he gave Jack back his card, quietly thanked him for the choosing them, then basically fled the scene. Jack just shook his head and moved back into the mansion. Settled onto his bed and opened the massive number of boxes, and probably ate more than during the whole week.
After finishing, he felt okay enough to finish everything off. He closed the remaining of the boxes and proceeded to shut off his lab. The cool air of the basement felt good against his heated skin. Jack opened the door of his lab, took a deep breath and walked in. It felt oddly wrong and satisfyingly right to be here. Even though this is going to be the last time for him to come here, at least for a while, but he wasn't planning on returning to China after college. He walked up to the main computer and brushed his fingers over the keyboard ever so lightly, like telling goodbye. Just as he was about to shut it off, the Shen-gong-wu alarm went off. Jack have never actually noticed before, how annoying this sound was, so he ignored it.
He glanced back from the door one last time, before switching off the main electricity source of his lab, and with a sigh, he closed the door behind himself. He felt just a tad bit sad but not as bad as he thought he would feel. He wasn't depressed, not even close. He would even dare to say, he felt relieved. He did it, closed a part of his life, and left it behind. It felt kind of good, to be honest.
His phone rang at an ungodly hour; 5 in the morning. Well, he had a plane to catch, and he still wanted to take care of a few things. He sent everything forward with the moving company yesterday, so his packages should arrive around the same time as he will. But first, he wanted to write a mail to Kimiko. They have gotten closer during this past year and she was the only one who knew that Jack was bisexual – besides his parents of course –, but he preferred mostly guys. He told her about the moving and going to college and all that shit, but made her promise not to tell anyone. Especially not to a certain thousand-year-old warlord. After all, Jack is running away, and even he knew that, but getting beaten up weekly wasn't on his bucket list.
Around a year ago, more precisely 10 months ago, Jack stopped showing up at showdowns. Surprising himself when he realized, he felt totally okay with it. About a month later Kimiko showed up at his front door, being ever so friendly. Honestly, it creeped Jack out big time, at first, but the girl proved herself to be good company and a horrendous cook. The only admirable "cooking skill" she had, was making the best hot chocolate in the entire solar system. Those roasted marshmallows, oh my god.
So, Jack poured his heart out in front of her, all his worries, insecurities and his anger. Every fucking thing. On the floor in front of her feet. Shit. Not so surprisingly, she was understanding, comforted him, and just listened. Jack didn't need advice or reassuring words, telling everything is going to be alright. Because nothing was alright, and he was balancing on the thin line of depression. He needed someone to just fucking listen.
He quickly snapped out of his daze, and started to get ready. Quick shower, getting dressed, eating the remaining of yesterday's delivery, calling a taxi. He then packed his laptop, grabbed his phone and headphones and left the house, making sure to close the everything, and shut off everything electronic. The mansion he lived his entire life was about to become something close to a haunted house. His parent moved out around two month ago, to get everything ready in their new home. Jack didn't necessary liked the idea of living with his parents, but he didn't really have much of a choice. Besides, as soon as he can manage to get a decent part-time job, and can afford a small apartment close to uni, he's going to move out anyway.
He looked out of the windows of the taxi, observing the quickly passing view with boredom. He felt sick, just thinking about the 18-hour flight, that was waiting for him, one change in Tokyo. He is going to hate everything on the planet. Well, having wealthy parents meant traveling on first class. It still sucked though.
With a sigh, Jack payed for the taxi, and went inside one of the terminals of the Hon Kong International Airport. Passport in hand, he checked in, and felt the ball in his stomach forming. As always, when he was flying. Gosh, he hated planes. Hated, that he can't feel the wind on his face, that he was locked in a tin bird. It just felt wrong. He couldn't explain it, but it made him sick to his stomach. 18 hours was nothing…he is going to die…
Chase Young was furious to say the least. He himself couldn't tell what was the real reason behind…duh bullshit. He knew what made him so mad, just didn't want to admit it. On top of being angry for month, Wuya lost three of their Wus. Stupid witch. Just how much more pathetic she can get? His warriors were pooling around his legs, trying to calm him, with very little success. He was boiling over. He got up from his throne, startling some of his warriors, and went back to his personal wing in his lair.
He got out of his armor, and just stared into the night, trying to calm his nerves. He opened the door that led to the cliff in front of his room and just sit there thinking, letting his thought roam free in his mind, for once. His thoughts were about one annoying flee, the bane of his existence, Jake Spicer, self-proclaimed evil genius. Chase felt – what was probably the first time since he became immortal – uncertain. He didn't know what was going on with Spicer. He wasn't showing up on showdowns, and he haven't seen him around his lair either. Wuya knew nothing as usual. When the Heylin with asked the monks about it, they seemed to be just as clueless as her. Maybe not all of them, but there was no way he was going to ask the dragon of fire about Jack Spicer. Just the mere thought sound impossible and awfully humiliating.
So, he left it at first, thinking that the teen was just planning something, probably something stupid. He's never really understood why Spicer was so hell bent on getting shen-gong-wus, but he was enthusiastic, if nothing else. But after not showing up for months, he suspected that there was something more, or actually, there was nothing at all and he's just overthinking things. Then a year passed and there was no sign of the evil genius. He had enough. He quickly realized – even after what happened – not knowing something, made him angry.
Since nobody seemed to know anything, he had to go after it himself. Chase put back his armor, and left his lair.
Once at the Spicer mansion, he felt that something was obviously out of place. Chase casually walked up to the front door, and found it closed, as expected, since it was already past midnight. He teleported inside the mansion, noticing the lack of, well, everything. There was no furniture, the whole mansion was empty. His first destination was Jack's basement lab. For his surprise the teen wasn't there, the only thing he found was darkness. He couldn't hear the electricity running through everywhere like he did before, when he visited the lab a few times, just to threaten or mock the teen.
The last room he checked was Jack's bedroom, and the fact that it was empty wasn't news to him anymore.
Left without saying anything. But why is he bothered by it? Why is it bothering him, that Spicer didn't say goodbye? No, he probably said something. What was bothering him was that Jack Spicer didn't say anything to him. He ran away without a word. Did he really? Chase somewhere deep down could understand why did Spicer left the way he did. It was bound to happen sooner or later, Chase just wasn't expecting it to happen this soon. Hell, he knew he was the reason on multiple levels.
With a sigh, he teleported back to his lair, to just process the newfound information. He wasn't actually angry anymore. He didn't want to admit it, but he felt relieved. Relieved that the teen won't come and hurt himself aimlessly, in a fight he has no chance to win. And that angered him to no end.
18 deadly hours later, ha was finally in Washington. He is going to meet his parents at the hotel, so he called a taxi, not even considering public transportation. As soon as his phone was alive again, the first thing he saw was an e-mail from Kimiko wishing him good luck, and scolding him for not saying goodbye properly.
The hotel was only around an hour drive, but Jack was sick of travelling. He wanted a bed, and wanted to sleep for days, if not weeks, hell he is going to sleep until the semester starts. Once at the hotel, he paid for the ride, and for a moment just stared at the enormous building in front of him. That was one big, fancy ass hotel. At the reception, he was given a key card. At his room he called his parent, and decided to meet at the cafeteria. Of course, his parent wanted to talk about everything. They happy and excited to see their soon, but Jack was hungry and just slightly hysteric. Even though, he was trying his best to answer everything, doing poorly anyway.
"How was the flight? Did you like Tokyo? Did you eat on the plane? Did you say goodbye to your friends?" – Asked his mother with a smile on her face.
"Long. I only had an hour mom, but what I saw through the windows looked nice. No. Uhm…yes." – He did not say proper goodbye to anyone, but they do not need to know that.
So, they just ate in silence, and Jack excused himself to his room. Only after putting a deadly amount of sugar in his system of course. He needed sleep, because tomorrow was more flying awaiting him, to Baltimore. He wasn't necessarily enthusiastic about it, but he couldn't deny that he was itching to be at their new home.
When he exited his room the next day, Wuya shoot him a knowing look.
"So…how is Jack doing?" – asked the witch with a smirk. Honestly, she looked uglier than before, if it's even possible.
"Why would I know anything about that insect?"
"Oh, I just thought you went to the Spicer manor yesterday. Maybe I was just imagining things." – There was no point in denying it. It was faster to just tell her, because if he decided to keep things to himself the Heylin witch, would keep whining and nagging him, and that had the possibility of him snapping and strangling her…accidentally. Killing Wuya would have been nice, but the witch was useful sometimes, so he decided not to.
"He was gone" – he said simply, careful not to show any emotion.
"Well, of course. It was inevitable." – As Wuya shook her head, Chase frowned and looked at the with expectantly, waiting for an explanation. Wuya clearly knew something, and Chase is going to find out. He hated when that obnoxious woman knew something he did not.
"What I meant is that Jack was not suitable to be Heylin, and it was just a matter of time until he realized that himself. And when it happened, he decided to stop fighting a battle he can't possibly win, and moved on. Like the adult, he is…he became. Well, I personally think he did the right thing. If it means he won't get hurt any more unnecessarily." – Chase hated it, and would never admit it to anyone, not even himself, but Wuya was right. Jack was weak. Weak to the point it was almost painful. He cried way too easily, got manipulated just as often, despite his high intellect. He desperately wanted to fit in a world, where he didn't belong, and probably never will.
"So, do you want to know where he is?" – asked Wuya with a calculating smile on her lips. He wanted to strangle her…so much. His hands were itching to curl around her neck, and just snap it, but he controlled himself. He growled at Wuya, just for good measures. Just to let her know where is her place exactly.
"How would you, out of all people know where is Spicer right now?" – asked Chase warily.
"Unlike other people, I have absolutely no problem throwing away my pride for information" – stated Wuya, with sarcastic smile. "So, I asked the monks" –, she shrugged – "they didn't know about Jack moving away, surprisingly. But the fire dragon was kind enough, to tell everything. I've never would have thought that Jack could become friends with one of the Xiaolin monks. Anyway, she told us, that Jack went back to America to study. College or whatever it is called. Oh, and that he has absolutely no intentions of coming back to China or going to showdowns." – that surprised the warlord a little, but show nothing on his face. He remembered Wuya's words: It was inevitable. So why the hell is he feeling so goddamn miserable? Who is he kidding, he knew exactly why. His mind supplied him: Guilty.
He was out of it, after another 6 hours of flying, and he was half dead. It sucked, but they were finally here, and the house looked surprisingly like a normal family house. Only throwback, it was god damn far away from college, so he had to use public transport, and this made him cringe. Just for the fact that it was called "public", and Jack wasn't really a huge fan of crowds. Other option being: drive. Problem, he had no car, but he was a good driver so maybe he can persuade his father to let him use his car – or buy him a relatively cheap car, that he can use for his heart content…would be nice. Little did he know.
"So, since it's your birthday next month, and giving this to you then would be late, considering that school starts within two weeks" – his father started talking the next day, during breakfast – "we thought, it would be wiser to give it to you know. And I sincerely hope that I don't have to give you a lesson on responsible driving. – There was a smile on his father's face, and holy shit, he loved this man.
"You are kidding" – Jack gaped, and jump off from the dining table sprinting to the garage, where he saw it. It was small but totally fine with him, perfect for driving to school. He gave a hug for both his parents, as the appeared behind him in the door. – "Can I take it for a test drive?" – he asked, and his father gave him the keys, he caught them mid-air, itching to drive his car already.
On the first day of school he was late. He slept through his alarm, but if he got ready in 15 minutes, and drove like crazy he can make it in time. So, he did just that. For his luck Jack made it, and holy flying cows the school was big. He looked at the paper in his hand, that was sent to him with the acceptance letter, telling him the location where he should go on the first day. There will only be short lectures about the school, and a tour on campus.
At that very moment Jack felt, that he made the right decision to come here. Giving up being Heylin. It didn't suit him anyway, being normal was just fine, and more than enough for him. At least his life is not going to be in danger all the time, fighting a battle he can't possibly win…ever. So, he is going to do what he is good at, and use his most valuable asset: his brain, his intellect. In the meantime, he is going to try and forget…
Jack jolted awake, panting and his body was covered in a sheen of sweat. Nightmare. He was having them since…then. He shook his head, not even wanting to think about it. Jack looked at the clock on his nightstand, the only light source being its green-glowing numbers. 5:32. It was too damn early to get up for, well anything to be honest, but he was up already. So, might as well.
Taking a shower did make him feel better, but not much. He stared at the mirror and frowned at his blurry image through the steam. He still looked like shit. Jack wiped off the mirror to take a proper look at himself. He had dark circles under his eyes and he was pale…paler than usual. And that is an accomplishment.
You look like you haven't slept in ages – he said to his reflection. – Well, you did just that, actually. Congratulations Jack, you are losing it. Again. Get a grip – muttered to himself and with a deep sigh exited the steamy room.
It was pathetic, even he knew that. But couldn't help it. He didn't get proper training like the monks, or Chace and didn't have magic like Wuya. He only had robots and his brain. On good days, he had some luck.
Today was not one of those days.
Today sucked. He was bruised and battered. Everything hurt and he was pretty sure that he had at least two broken ribs, if not more.
Jack slumped down on his chair in his lab and tried to take as small breaths as possible, while trying to patch himself together. With little success but the intent what matters, right?
When he was about to give up, he felt a lingering presence behind him. Without even needing to turn around he knew who it was. Maybe he wasn't trained but Chase Young had a firm presence wherever he went. Jack hated that he was actually happy to see the Warlord. He knew he should hate him for how he treated him, but Jack just couldn't bring himself to.
Pathetic – Jack flinched more from the tone Chase used, not from the word. He was used to it after all. – You just can't be useful, not even once, can you? – asked the Warlord with mocked interest. Jack couldn't answer. Didn't really have an answer.
Chase slowly took a step in his direction. Jack slowly turned to face the Warlord, but he wasn't really prepared to see the clear disgust on the other's face. It made his stomach clench uncomfortably and he needed to squeeze his eyes shut not to let any stray tear fall off. When he opened them back again, Chase was right in front of him. His expression more careful this time. He was looking at Jack like he was some wild animal that can run away at any minute.
Not that he hasn't considered it. But still. It was a little – a lot – alarming and it made him alarmingly wary of Chase. He realized that if he wanted, he could easily kill Jack without as much as batting an eyelash. And Jack had absolutely no chance of survival.
He took a deep breath and kept the eye contact with the Warlord.
I was honestly considering what you could do that would make you even a little useful. – Chase said with an undertone Jack didn't really want to decipher. And then a smirk found its way on his face and Jack wanted to run. Run, run, run, run.
Chase leaned down and put one of his hand on the back of Jack's neck, the other on the desk next to him, cutting off any possible way of escape.
After that things happened way too fast for Jack to really grasp it.
Chase grabbed the hair at the back of his neck and pulled. Hard. For a moment Jack thought that this is the end, he will die this time, for sure. But Chase just roughly let go of his hair, and looked at him, the disgust in his eyes back yet again.
"I was wrong, you don't even worth to be an entertainment for one night. Pest."
And with that the Heylin Lord was gone and Jack's world was in broken pieces and he doubted that the shards can be glued together ever again.
He was in school only for two months and he was already bored. It's not that the classes weren't interesting, they just weren't…challenging. He made friends, he went out, got drunk a couple of times, but he was bored. Jack didn't want to admit it, but he kind of, a little missed the Showdowns.
And damn, if it hurt to admit that.
So, he did the next best thing he could think of: call Kimiko for an update.
The Xiaolin Monk picked up the phone after the third ring, and with her usual cheery tone, started giving Jack a very thorough update on the monks, Wuya, even Chase. Jack should really stop being surprised over how well informed the fire dragon usually is. But oh well.
The monks were fine, they won they lost, but that's just how life is. Ups and downs. Wuya was annoying as usual but came by the temple to get an update on Jack. That surprised the teen quite a bit but nevertheless told Kimiko to tell the witch, that she should call him sometime. And Chase, he didn't care about… Oh hell, who was he kidding? He still cared. He still cared a lot. A shit ton to be precise.
After the call he told Kimiko that he doesn't want to talk to Chase.
Having all the time in the world, is not always the best of things. And Chase was going mad. He would never ever admit it to anyone of course.
He was looking at the entrance, waiting for a hyperactive redhead to walk through, flailing inelegantly and babbling about robots and his latest experiment. Just wanting to be around Chase.
And let's be real here, no one really wanted to be around Chase Young just for his company. His powers? Sure. But not because of his amazing conversational skills, or pleasant demeanor.
After two months of waiting for something that he knew wouldn't happen, he made up his mind.
He is going to put an end to his guilt and misery. And there is only one way to do that.
He is going to visit Jack Spicer.
Finding the genius wasn't too difficult. With the eye spy orb and all. What was difficult is to find a time when the teen is alone. That was surprisingly hard. Spicer was either at class, or at the lab. Out with his friends, or even more surprisingly, on a date.
A lot of dates.
The three weeks Chase spent spying on the genius (not stalking, it doesn't count when he is this far. Right?), Spicer went on more than a handful of dates. With girls and guys all the same. Sometimes it ended in a polite wave and both parties went ton their separate ways. Other times it ended in the bedroom. And that's where Chase draw the line that he wouldn't cross.
He crossed it. But just once, and totally by accident. The fact that he couldn't look away the whole time, is solely his to know.
Anyhow, he found a time when Jack is usually alone. The youth worked in a small coffee shop after school, and he usually spent his breaks alone.
That seemed like a prefect time for a surprise visit.
Jack was tired. Fuck that. He was dead on his feet. His prof cancelled his Friday classes and instead put them early today. That meant he got up earlier than thou and fuck this, he almost convinced himself to go back to bed. But he liked the prof, and his classes were his favorite. So, went to school at 6am and get out a 2pm. He was tired and grumpy.
And today seemed like the perfect day for assholes in the coffee shop where he worked. A bunch of teenagers decided to fuck with the staff. Ordering something and then deciding that it wasn't what they wanted after all. Of course, after they got their order.
And Jack's patience was started to wear thin. Really thin. Oh hell, he was going to suffocate those little-
"I believe that after you received what you wanted, you ought to say thank you and then leave" – said a very pleasant, deep voice behind Jack, just as he was about to tell these idiots to go fuck themselves. And shit. Jack knew that voice. The kids looked sufficiently spooked though, so that's a plus. They crammed as fast as they could, and left the small shop is a hurry.
"Don't let the door hit you on the way out…" Jack murmured un front of himself, still refusing to turn around.
He was doing so well. Almost managed to forget about the Warlord. His very first heartbreak. And he was standing right here, and Jack wasn't sure if he will come out on the other end of this is one piece. Damn, he just started to put himself back together.
He took a step forward and slowly turned around.
He looked good, and his knees felt like jelly all of a sudden. Nope, he can't do this, not now, not ever.
"We should talk" – that's it? Okay, better than he expected. Better then something along the lines of 'It highly disappoint me that you are not dead yet'. So yeah, good start.
"I have a break in 5 minutes" – Chase just nodded and sat down to the closest table, signaling Jack that he shall wait for him.
Jesus, he is going to die.
"So, what did you want to talk about?" – Jack sat down in front of the Heylin Lord.
Chase looked at him with an unreadable expression and it freaked Jack out big time. He thought that he knew Chase's expressions fairly well, and he could read the Warlord relatively okay, compared to other humans.
It looked like Chase was looking at him for the first time, and maybe this time actually seeing him. It was scary and at the same time gave Jack a boost of confidence. It was liberating.
With a sigh Chase closed his eyes, mentally preparing himself for this conversation.
"I was angry when you left" – and wasn't that just surprising? His jaw kind of hit the floor. "But later I realized I wasn't angry at you, I was angry at myself, because I knew it was my fault. For the first time in my life I felt guilty. But at the same time, I was relieved. And that just made me angrier, because I wasn't supposed to care. Wasn't supposed to care that now at least you are safe and won't get injured."
Jack was speechless.
And then he was angry.
"What are you expecting from me? To say that it's okay? That you don't have to fell guilty? That is wasn't your fault? Well screw you Chase Young, because it was your fault. And you should feel guilty. I just want you to feel even half as miserable as I felt." – he took a deep breath, before he started to yell. Making a scene wasn't his favorite past time.
"I want to hate you, despise you. And it makes me angry that I can't."- he paused "Because I still love you" – he finished in a muffled voice.
And wasn't that just fucked up? He wasn't supposed to love someone like Chase Young. Yeah, the man has the body of a Greek god, but he was also a certified asshole.
"Jack, look at me" – at that he slowly raised his head, he didn't even realize he was staring at the table very intently. "I'm not asking for forgiveness here. I just wanted you to know that…I don't even know what I wanted to accomplish with coming here and telling you all this. But you deserved to know. You deserved to know that you worth so much more than I made you feel in the past."
"I won't forgive you" – maybe it was mean and unfair, but he can't just let it go. "But I think I'd like to start over. I'm not going back to being a Heylin and I'm most definitely not going to participate in Showdowns again. But I still want to be with you Chase. And I hate how weak that makes me feel."
"I'm not asking you to come back. I know that you are happy here, better. But It would be my please to start over."
And that was that. It's not going to be easy, but the best things in life are usually not easy.