Warning: though not explicit or gratuitous, this fic does cover adult themes. Do not read if you think such things are likely to offend/upset you. Otherwise – Enjoy!
Jack looked around, puzzled by the carnage surrounding him, half expecting to find his nemesis glaring at him as if this was somehow all his fault when in actual fact he'd done nothing at all to cause this mess. Well, he could have yelled 'look out', but saving lives wasn't his job, especially when that person was supposed to die.
This one should have been an easy win for Tru. The accident happened right outside her building, and all she would have had to do was stop the guy from running into the road at the wrong time. Short of tackling her to the ground (which worked so well last time) there would have been little Jack could do to stop her. But Tru was nowhere to be seen, and the unfortunate Mr Ashworth was street pizza.
He briefly wondered if perhaps she was ill, but dismissed the notion almost immediately. Even if it were true, she would have sent Davis or Harrison in her place. It was probably wishful thinking on his part, but Jack much preferred the idea that just this once, Tru might have put her holier-than-thou attitude aside and come around to his way of thinking. After all, under these circumstances it wasn't entirely implausible.
Jack didn't like to think of himself as a bad person, and he genuinely believed he was doing the right thing by preserving fate – even when doing so cost him dearly. Despite this however, he was well aware that his numerous vices were unlikely to win him any points with the big guy, and that it was a rare occurrence when he was able to take the moral high ground, but he could honestly say that today's victim was one of those people who had done nothing deserve a second chance. He had seen what Ashworth had been doing the day he had died, knew what he'd done to the poor girl who had trustingly accepted his help in carrying her grocery bags, knew that he'd been too busy fleeing the scene of the crime to look both ways before running into the road.
Granted Tru wasn't privy to his inside information, but she and Davis seemed quite adept at digging into people's backgrounds, surely they would have found the same thing Jack had found. They'd have seen what kind of man Ashworth was. Jack smiled at the thought that Tru might have more of a moral flexibility than he had given her credit for – it would certainly make his job easier if she decided to take a back seat when those of questionable humanity happened to ask for help.
Of course, all this was purely hypothesis. The only way for Jack to know exactly what Tru's motivation had been would be to ask her…and if she wouldn't tell him he would just have to revert to lurking in the shadows of the morgue and wait for her to discuss the issue with her sidekick. It was unfortunate that Carrie had met an untimely demise at the hands of her former sister-in-law a few months back, she would have come in useful around now.
With a faux put upon sigh and a bounce in his step, Jack entered the foyer of Tru's building and began to leisurely climb the stairs to the correct floor. He was whistling as he reached her apartment and raised his hand to knock, but the tune abruptly broke off to be replaced by a confused frown upon noticing the door was ajar.
"Tru?" he called, pushing the door further open and putting his head around the frame to peek inside. When no response came he took a cautious step inside. "Tru, you here?"
A quick scan of the living room revealed nothing and a sinking feeling began to settle in his stomach when not a sound could be heard. Rather than analysing why he was worried that something may have happened to the thorn in his side, he moved towards the bedroom, knowing full well that if anything was likely to get a reaction out of Tru, it would be finding him amongst her private belongings. He had scarcely taken a step when he heard it.
It was so soft that Jack wasn't sure he hadn't just imagined it, but after what felt like an eternity of silence but was likely only a second, he heard it again – a quiet, kitten-like whimpering. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as he inched his way towards the kitchen where the sound was coming from, each step closer increasing his anxiety.
The sounds got only marginally louder as he approached the small kitchen counter, and he had still seen nothing. Placing his inexplicably clammy palms on it's surface, he leaned over the island, biting back a sigh of relief when he spotted the top of a very familiar head leaning against the other side.
"Dammit Tru," he grumbled, walking around to where she was sitting "just because I won this round, that doesn't mean you have to…"
His words trailed off, and whatever biting remark he might have come out with was lost when he felt the world drop from under his feet upon seeing his irrepressible nemesis hugging her legs to her chest, shaking like a leaf and whimpering pitifully. He took in her seemingly tiny form, her skirt bunched around her waist and her wide, terrified eyes staring at nothing. Scrapes and bruises marred the creamy skin of her wrists and thighs and the turquoise sweater she'd worn at Christmas, the one he'd thought brought out the colour in her eyes, was bloody and torn. Bile rose in his throat as his gaze swept over her and realisation sank in.
"Oh God Tru," he muttered, dropping down to his knees in front of her as shock reduced his legs to jelly, "I'm so sorry." It was likely worthless coming from him, but he wanted to offer whatever comfort he could.
She didn't seem to acknowledge his words or even notice that he was there, and Jack began to feel his panic from earlier creeping back. He was a smart, capable guy, but he had to admit that he was completely lost. He couldn't possibly begin conceive what she had gone through. Surely he was the last person she would want help or solace from anyway. To her, he was likely little better than the creep who had done this to her.
He and Tru hated each other, they fought constantly and their bitter rivalry had been the source of much pain and heartbreak for each of them, yet he would never have wished this upon his worst enemy…unfortunately it had happened anyway, and he had no clue what to do about it. So caught up was he in his self-deprecating thoughts that he almost missed her quietly spoken question.
"Is he dead?"
Though unsteady, her voice was cold and lacking any discernable emotion and Jack instantly understood with perfect clarity what had happened this afternoon. At that moment he decided that if it were possible, he would relive this day all over again. Not only to spare Tru her ordeal, but so he could push that bastard Ashworth under the wheels of the truck with his own hands. She'd tried to save his life, as was her wont, and this was how he had repaid her.
"Yeah," he nodded, actually feeling better about his place in the world than he had in a long time. The usually cruel fate at least seemed to have served some form of justice this time "he's dead."
"Good." Tru breathed, though Jack could sense no real relief in her tone. Silence descended over them as he watched her, not wanting to leave her alone in this state yet uncertain how his presence could be in anyway helpful.
"Do you need to go to a doctor or something?" he asked, both to break the unbearable silence and because he wanted to do something, anything to ease his sense of uselessness. When she just shook her head, not taking her gaze from the wooden panelling of the floor, he sighed. "Tru, you're pretty banged up…don't you at least want me to call someone? Harrison or Davis maybe?"
"No!" she cried, he eyes shooting up to his, her panic evident. "They can't know about this. I don't want them to have to see me like this."
Jack's throat tightened when her lower lip began to tremble, and as the first of her tears began to fall he had to force himself not to run screaming. It was instinct however to shift position and to gently gather her in his arms when she started sobbing in earnest. He sat there with her, rocking her slowly and murmuring quiet words of comfort he vaguely remembered from long ago, and they stayed in that position for some time. She curled against his chest, her tears soaking his shirt as he stroked her hair soothingly. Neither bothered to question whether it might be somewhat odd that he was the one to hold her as she cried; right now it didn't matter.
Eventually, her cries tapered off into whimpers and Jack drew back, scanning her tear stained face for any indication of what he should do next. "Tru," he spoke softly, seeing that for now she had cried her fill "if you don't want to go to a doctor I'm not gonna force you, but I really think someone should take a look at you."
Tru looked up at him through damp eyelashes and bit her lip. "Can't you do it?" she continued when she saw him blanche in reaction, afraid he would bolt. "You were an EMT for years, you know what you're doing."
He just had to agree, she thought, silently begging him to grant her this one small favour. He already hated her, and he had already seen her at her weakest, having had her sob in his arms only moments ago. There was no way his opinion of her could sink any lower, so what did it matter if he were the one to patch her up if it saved Harry or Davis the pain of seeing her in this state? She knew they would find some way to blame themselves and she was determined to keep them from feeling guilt over her actions.
"Please Jack," she whispered plaintively "help me."