I don't own the Four Brothers, but here's how things would have gone it I did
Author: Dimitri Aidan
Rating: R to NC-17, as with most things it's all about the site.
Warnings: Slash, Sex, Violence, Language, Alternate Ending, Incest but not in a biological sense, and …other stuff. I'm a man of few plans but many whims.
Pairings: Bobby/Jackie, Angel/Sophia, Jerry/…Jerry's wife.
Summery: In which Jack doesn't die, but Bobby does let a few things slip. As they try to rebuild and understand what's growing between them, someone seeks to tear it all down
Make this Go Away, and let me Rest
"I'm worried about you Jackie."
He chuckled darkly, looking at his mother through the thick curtain of his hair. She'd already smoothed a bandage over the cut above his eyebrow, though not before tormenting him with disinfectant in her usual fashion even though he knew she had the stuff that didn't sting hidden in her first aid somewhere, and was now watching him now. She had her chin propped up in one palm and her eyes seemed to just stare through him as they always did.
"Hey, it's not anything serious. This…it's done with. Over."
"This one is over but if it's not one thing it's another and they always end up with you bleeding." She sighed and shook her head; sadness seemed to cling to the air around her. It reached out with icy fingers and clawed at his throat, making it hard for him to breath. He hated that look on her face, hated to put it there. "You can't keep going like this, you'll end up killing the both of us."
"Don't you 'Ma' me Jackie!" Her tone was sharp and he jumped, chair legs scratching over the floor. She blinked, eyes wide for a moment, and then she looked away from him. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't…I didn't mean to snap at you."
He wanted to reach out to her, to calm his pounding heartbeat. In the nine years he'd been with her he didn't think she'd ever raised her voice. Even her punishments were mild, leaving the more serious things to Bobby and Jerry because she just couldn't bring herself to lay a hand on him. He'd seen her cry once, when he'd gotten expelled in tenth grade. Bobby had come back from wherever it was he'd been that very night and hauled Jackie into the basement, heedless of his protests.
It'd been so much like…something his father would have done that it'd made his head swim. Dragging him someplace dark, where no one could here him and… But it was Bobby. He'd turned on the overhead light, sat on the ragged couch, lit a cigarette and had him explain himself. Bobby didn't just wail on him, not that Jerry did either, but he wanted answers. They'd talk for hours, until the sun was up, that night.
And then came the punishment. Bobby had been gone by noon and when Jackie finally brought himself out of the basement and slunk into his bedroom he'd heard her crying and it'd nearly made him cry as well. Because of him…she was crying because of him.
"Ever since your brother's moved away…I just don't know."
He was silent for a moment, watching her before finally letting out a breath and standing up. "Yeah…I've been thinking. The guys were talking about taking the band on the road and…I'm leaving. You won't have to worry about me anymore."
She smiled almost ruefully and shook her head. "What am I going to do with you, hmm? You've spent your whole life running away Jackie; do you really want to keep going? I'm not going to be around forever to clean up your cuts."
For a long moment Jack could only stare at Bobby, who stared back at him with an eerie kind of intensity, not blinking once. Finally Jackie looked away. He could hear Bobby's footsteps, strangely loud in the nearly silent room, and sit in the plastic chair everyone else had occupied. Jackie looked up as it whined pathetically under Bobby's weight, watched as his fingers immediately sought out the cracks in the plastic of the armrest, digging inside.
"Worried?" His voice was still very much harsh and cracked around the edges, like the chair. The words burned his throat, cutting at it as if he'd swallowed a handful of knives. He coughed which only made it that much worse.
"Worried. I was worried you'd never wake up and I wouldn't be able to tell you what a stupid fuck you've turned out to be." Bobby's fingers twitched, pulling out some of the ugly yellow stuffing from the chair. Jackie smiled wryly.
This was much better, or at least more understandable from Bobby. If there was one thing he'd never been able to really get his mind around it was the easy way the others related, talked, and touched each other. When he'd first come to live with them he'd hated to even be looked at and those who did ran the risk of being hurt. Touch wasn't even an option, except all of a sudden it was not only an option it was just the way things were.
It had been less about a slap or a punch because he'd done something wrong and more about a hand up or a hug or just a friendly gesture and…it had made them so hard to just shut out. He'd always been expecting to just be tossed out at any second, like in every other home he'd been in, and hadn't wanted to be attached or care and they had made it so hard for him.
Even now he was wary. He knew he separated himself from his brothers, stood off in corners or sat in the far away chair when they all grouped together just…because. He knew they saw it but they never said anything to him. They'd always allowed him to take the space he needed but never tried to shut him out like he shut them out. He could lose them in an instant, and that was a thought that made him wish he'd just never woken up, and anything left undone or unsaid was his fault because they…they always left the door open and would allow him in.
He just…couldn't. He sometimes thought that Bobby understood that more than the other's did, with his cold smirks and sometimes harsh words. He understood that sometimes Jackie just…just needed that edge, the distance.
Bobby was willing to push him away for his own sake, and wasn't that twisted?
"Don't fucking smile, I'm serious. Ever do some shit like that again and I'll fucking kill you with my bare hands, understand me?" Bobby did look damn serious so Jackie nodded slowly. Bobby nodded, apparently satisfied with that, and sat back in his chair. "So, how do you feel?"
"Good." Bobby's smile was borderline sadistic. "You deserve it."
Sometimes Jackie forgot that that upsetting Bobby was a dangerous dangerous thing to do, that would result in all sorts of painful things. Some of them had even been more painful, and memorable, than being shot had been. Even now the memory was fuzzy around the edges, hazy, but Jackie very clearly recalled an incident that involved being tied up naked and left in the front lawn in January until Mom had come home. He had to say that ranked pretty high. It'd been damn cold and everyone and their mother had walked past, pointed, and then scattered when they saw Bobby watching in the front window, like he was the only one allowed to delight in Jackie's pain.
"Don't think this is the worst of it." Bobby's words were more of a promise than a threat as he leaned back once again, chair creaking in protest.
"Don't even. What the hell was going on in that nearly empty head of yours?" This was all said in the same mocking tone that Bobby always used with him, holding none of the anger that Jackie would have expected from him. "Did you really think some masked jackass throwing snowballs wasn't some kind of a setup?"
It seemed really obvious in hindsight of course but at the time he'd just needed to get out the house and that masked jackass had been just the escape he needed. He couldn't say that of course. Just shrugged, uncomfortable with his own thoughts and burrowed deeper into his bed, hoping Bobby would either get bored or get angry.
This was just a little…weird. It made him feel out of sorts.
"Right. Well. Sweets de…is missing. The police suspect us but I can't imagine why that is, group of upstanding citizens that we are." Jackie's lips twitched just slightly. Upstanding citizens…right. "We gave most of the insurance away to…charity, but we kept enough for your hospital bills and to fix up the house after that shoot out you caused."
Jackie groaned. "Why you make it sound like everything's my fault?"
"Because it is, dumbshit." Bobby said simply. He sighed and Jackie barely had time to shift over before his booted feet were on his bed. They were dirty in comparison to the pressed and starched sheets he was lying under. A welcome change, all of this white sterilization was wearing on him already. "I really thought I'd taught you better."
Jackie winced slightly, the familiar feeling of ice clawing at him returning. It'd taken time but he'd finally been able to identify it for what it was: Guilt. Every time his mother had cried it'd been there and now, with Bobby…yeah.
"I…Bobby, I'm sorry. I was…stupid."
There was a pause and then Bobby nodded, tilting his head back to look at the ceiling. "I know."
"It wasn't you." Well…not completely anyway. He couldn't very well blame his own raging stupidity on other people though; he'd been stressed but that wasn't a reason to put everyone at risk like that. Any one of them could have been hurt because of him.
And not just them, but any of the dozens of kids who lived on their street. Their mother would have…she was just as adamant about protecting the neighborhood kids as she was about protecting them. She wouldn't have been pleased, to say the least, if Jackie had gotten one of them hurt.
"I know." He could picture Bobby's smirk perfectly, that 'I can do not wrong' smirk that made Jackie's stomach clench and heart beat faster. "I just wish you'd think about stuff. What do you think we would have done if we'd had to bury you too?"
Jack's hands clenched in the sheets for a moment and he let out a shaky breath. "I don't know man, I don't..."
Bobby made a noise that, as far as Jackie could tell, was just a more annoying way to 'I know'. There was a long moment of silence and finally he slumped back in his bed. His throat still hurt something awful, but he couldn't not talk to Bobby, and the place where the IV went through his skin ached a little bit. Actually everything kind of hurt, but the IV more than anything.
He didn't think that made much sense but that was the truth.
"How long?" He asked, looking up again and hoping Bobby knew what he meant. He was already trying to talk as little as possible; he wasn't up to explaining himself in full if he could help it. Bobby started at him for a moment, apparently not knowing what he meant, so Jackie held up his arm and indicated the tube.
"How long are you going to be in here?" Jackie nodded. "Well…they probably want to keep you a while. Make sure you're free of infection, healing up right, and all that good shit. You were unconscious for three weeks. Drama queen."
Jackie sighed irritably. He didn't want to be in here for some long ass time. Hell, he didn't want to be here now.
"But I guess we can find a way to get you out as soon as you want." Bobby's smirk was dark but amused. "Jerry's going to have my ass for it, but as long as you promise not to die on me we can work something out."
"Don't be impatient. Give it a few days." Bobby's feet left the bed and he stood, smoothing some of the dirt onto the floor. "I'll be back in a few hours, it's early as hell and I was only supposed to be in here ten minutes. Can't aggravate you 'delicate' condition."
"You'd like that wouldn't you?" Bobby smirked almost cruelly and Jackie just rolled his eyes, falling into the old pattern. Bobby made jokes, he denied them, and life went on. "Later fairy."
He waved absently. He heard the door click shut and shook his head, trying to force down the dizziness it brought on. Alone again, though he was sure a nurse or doctor would be along soon enough to make sure he wasn't dying or something.
Still, without Bobby distracting him it was only a matter of moments before the pain crept up on him like so many ants crawling over his skin and demanding his attention. His throat felt even dryer than before but he didn't feel like making the effort to reach the plastic cup of water sitting on the dresser.
He groaned softly and shut his eyes. If there was anything he could deal with it was pain and, the one tried and true method, sleeping through it. He doubted there was anything pressing that would demand him being conscious and if he wanted to avoid being pumped full of God only knew what he'd probably have to spend a lot of time asleep.
Hopefully he had one of those neglectful nurses who forgot how often they drugged him. (1)
After dropping Sofi off to help Camille with Danielle and Amelia for the day, Bobby headed in the general direction of the hardware store. Angel and Jerry, who was in the backseat, were both silent and the only sound in the car was the sputtering of the heater and some old blues station on the radio. He'd gotten his car back, after a fuck load of work and the most through detailing ever, and yet the damn heater still didn't work right.
It'd never worked right though, not since he'd bought the heap all those years ago. It'd been a few years after he'd first moved out and started more or less roaming the country aimlessly. He'd seen the car and bought it on the spot, one of the first things he'd obtained legally on his own. He remembered the first time he'd brought it home; the indulgently horrified look on their mother's face, the excited looks of his brothers; Jackie had been-
"Where the hell are we going?" Angel asked and Bobby looked at him from the corner of his eye, then looked back at Jerry who just looked bemused.
"The hardware store. Don't you listen at all?" Jerry asked, thumping the back of Angel's seat. "We've been talking about it all week."
"Why now? I thought Bobby liked the outdoors." Angel had been on him about staying in the house in for a while now. He seemed to think because him and his girl couldn't stand it that Bobby shouldn't be able to either. Bobby usually ignored him.
"Jackie." Jerry, being his usually annoyingly observant self, said. Bobby's eyes flickered up the rearview mirror to find the other man staring right at him. "Whenever he gets out he can't exactly live there if the place is full of holes and it snows on the inside."
"Oh." Angel frowned for a moment then nodded. "Did the doctors say how long they were keeping him?"
Jerry started to say something but Bobby cut him off, knowing whatever the doctors said wasn't what was going to happen. The faster they got this done the better. "I give it a week, tops."
"A week? He nearly died, no way are they just-" Angel started, sitting up. His eyes sparked with rage, as if he was considering having a word with the doctors in question.
"No, I give it a week before he gets fed up and walks out." Bobby muttered. "He wants to leave now; I told him I'd get him out in a few days."
"No way Bobby!" Now Jerry looked outraged. It wasn't a good look for him. "Are you insane? …No, don't answer that, of course you are. How could you tell him that? He needs to be at the hospital, where they can look after him and make sure nothing happens. I have a family to look after already, I can't take care of Jackie too."
Bobby didn't say anything, taking in the slightly anguished tone to Jerry's voice as he said it. He knew it wasn't that Jerry didn't want to, it was that he couldn't. Between Camilla, the girls, and his 'dream' he wouldn't have the time, funds, or patience to make sure Jackie was okay.
"Well…I'll be around for a while." Angel said finally. "In theory…if we don't get called out. And Sofi will be there. We're gonna do it right this time, no more fucking around."
"It's fine." Bobby said finally. His knuckles were turning why from the way he was griping the wheel but he managed to keep his frustration from his voice. There was something…infuriating about the way they dismissed his presence, like he'd get up and leave the minute Jackie got of the hospital. "I'll look after him."
"For how long?" Jerry snapped, glaring. "You can't say you're going to there and them up and leave the minute you get bored or restless. Jackie-"
"I'm going to take care of him!" He bit out. The silence that met that was deafening. Both of his brothers were unreadable, faces closed and eyes emotionless. He let out a breathe through his nose, glad for the red light they'd just rolled up to. He took his suddenly sweaty hands off the wheel and wiped them along the seat. "Look-"
"Fuck." Angel muttered. Bobby had to admit that summarized things up rather well.
"Bobby this…" Jerry leaned back, putting a hand over his eyes. "This is fucked up. That stuff you said out there, it-"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Well you have to! Before…before Jackie gets out of the hospital at least. You can't just keep it bottled up and pretend it didn't happen."
"You been watching Dr. Phil again? I told you, that shit will rot your brain."
"Jesus." Jerry rubbed a hand over his face. "Whatever. You serious? You gonna stick around this time? Make sure nothing happens?"
"Yeah, I am."
"And you aren't going to do anything weird, right?" Angel asked, looking more serious than he had any right to. Bobby looked at him then, heedless of the fact the light was now green, reached over and punched him. Jerry sighed loudly, muttering something about annoying children.
Like it was his fault Angel was an idiot.
1. No disrespect to any nurses meant, of course. My mother's an LPN so I have a healthy respect for nurses.
…yes. Well. That was…something. I swear, I never know what to say at the end of a chapter.