Title:: Somewhere In-Between

Author:: Lokaia

Summary:: To make up for American Pie, a cuteness/angst/sweet fic. Slash, T/J, with a lot of T/R. Tobias POV.

Rating:: G

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Cemetaries have a way of looking creepy, not only at night but during the day, too. There's always that lone tree on top of that lone hill where that lone person stands with his head bowed, studying the grave stone.

Except that I wasn't alone.

Jake stood beside me, not touching. He knew the ritual by now. We could drive together, stand together, speak about her together, but.. it seemed like she was watching me. Judging. Hating.

[Why didn't you wait for me?]

Okay, so I couldn't really imagine her saying that. I could imagine her being disgusted, though, or pissed off. That was her way of dealing with everything--angry first, comprehension later.

It was one of the things I loved about her.

I could make myself feel a little better by reminding myself that I hadn't specifically gone out looking for a relationship with Jake. It happened the way a lot of stupid things do.

And if you're like Marco, I can go ahead and refute the "you both got drunk" comments. We were *not* drunk.

By all accounts, Jake should have been a rebound person. That's what she used to call the situation anyway--a person who you bounced old emotions off of when the person you really wanted was gone.

Except, I'm told, rebounds don't last several years.

Unless Marco's wrong, which is entirely possible.

I guess it's obvious why we're together, though, huh? Cousins and all.

Maybe that's why it's okay.

Brown eyes in place of blue. Brown hair in place of blonde. Male in place of.. ya know.. female.

But they're still alike. They have that same vulnerability that they never want to show--ever. Maybe I'm just lucky, because I've always been able to see it. In both of them.

And then there's more than the physical difference. Because as alike as they might be physically, that's nothing compared to their personalities.

I swear, that's got to be the most stubborn family.. on this planet or any other.

A chill breeze swept across the little hill and I pulled my coat closer around me. I could almost feel the gesture Jake made to put an arm around me, before he pulled away.

He didn't speak, didn't look at me. But the question was still there.

"I'm not ready to go yet."

He nodded, pulling the collar of his jacket up to shield against the wind.

I focused on the slab of marble in front of my feet. The words on it were meaningless--even her name. We'd been hiding so much over the years, most of the time we didn't even use our real names.

Cold, blank marble. That's all I had left of her.

...

Maybe not.

I glanced at him, unmoving, standing and staring at the headstone.

A tear coursing down his cheek.

Jake's never cried. I've never seen him cry.

With me and Jake.. it's not a question of who's the "man" and who's the "woman". It's about who wants to do what, when we want to do it.

As I've told Marco, you will never see either of us barefoot and pregnant.

He always blamed himself.

Okay, yeah, I blamed him, too. For a while.

...All right, fine, over a year.

I guess I needed time to sort things out. To realize that we all had to make dirty decisions in the war. But Jake.. he had to make *all* the dirty decisions.

I don't think I'll ever be able to understand the hell he must have gone through.

But I think I'm learning how to fix it.

I leaned into him, just touching his side lightly. I felt him deflate as if he was a balloon with a hole in his side. He leaned back against me for a moment before tentatively reaching around to set an arm around my shoulders. When I didn't pull away, his fingers threaded through my hair and he pressed his head against mine.

We stood that way for a while, in the chill air atop the hill. But I broke the silence first.

"Do you think she hates me?"

"Never," he said quietly. "I don't think she'd know how."

I gazed in silence at the marble carving. "I don't know. I'm always.. always afraid she'd be disappointed in me."

"No." That one word, spoken with such conviction. Sappy, yes, but not as sappy as what he did next, turning and pressing his lips into my hair. "Not disappointed. Not a chance." He paused, resting his chain atop my head. I felt him smile. "She's probably laughing like hell, though."

My eyes widened and I turned to Jake in surprise. He stared back, as if he couldn't believe what he had said.

I snorted.

We ended up hanging all over each other, trying to stay upright while laughing hard enough to pop our lungs.

So, we left the lone grave, on the lone hill, in the lone cemetary.

Me and Jake.

I still love her. I hope she doesn't mind that I won't be... alone? Waiting for her? Pining for her?

Jake can't replace her. Never.

But there's something about him that draws me back.

And it's not Rachel.