Sorry it's een so long, my computer died!My beautiful laptop perished and i had to get a whole new hard drive and it was awful, i was without computers for...okay for a few days but still, it was terrible for me. Any way, this is it, the last chapter ever, im ending it cos i couldnt see what else i could do with it...well i could but it would have been a case of Quantity over Quality.
The same disclaimers, i love you all soooo much, you're amazing all my reviewers, please R+R.
"Jackie Jackie Jackie Jackie" Bobby sing songed "We want you backie backie backie backie"
Jack was slumped on the couch. He'd been home from St Patrick's for over a month and he had yet to get back to his normal state.
"Ooooh Jackie" Bobby sung "Stop being so whacky, cut us some slacky, come baaackie" he scrunched up his face like a rock star going all out on stage, even though he was slumped beside Jack, idly staring at the TV.
This was Mercer therapy. Jack was not going to be sent away or drugged, he was simply going to be around his family, be immersed, in his family until he got better.
The Mercer's knew some things for certain, and one was that if you came from a family who loved you, who cared for you no matter what, then the best thing for you, if you where in trouble, was to be with them, be around them. Even if it just meant sitting on the couch watching TV with your brother. This had been the routine since Jack got well enough to come out of his room, his family surrounded him and acted as they normally would, hoping the familiarity would fix him.
Angel wandered into the room carrying a plate piled precariously high with food, a sandwich, amongst other things.
He dropped down into the arm chair across from the couch and yawned big, groaning with satisfaction as he did.
"That's such bad manners" Bobby rolled his eyes "I'm shocked at you Angel, I'm tryna sing Jack a nice little song and you come in hear with your huge mouth and just sour the whole thing, yell at him Jack" Bobby frowned at Jack as if expecting the kid to just snap into the joke and yell at his brother.
But Jack was just sitting, staring at nothing, mumbling almost silently to himself. Bobby watched him, frowning deeply. "Come on Jack" he stated "Quit playing around and come back to us"
"He aint gonna listen" Angel said around a mouthful of food "He's gone man" he shook his head sadly.
"You talk like that, like you given up?" Bobby asked.
"I haven't given up I'm just being sensible" Angel shot back "We gotta accept the fact that Jackie boy as we know is no more…we just gotta start learning how to look after him, make the house safe so he cant get to knives or any shit like that" Angel said bluntly.
"Don't talk about him like he's not here" Bobby said.
"For all intents and purposes, he's not" Angel remarked.
"He can hear every word we say" Bobby stated.
"He can hear it but he aint processing it" Angel said sadly.
"You don't know that, you don't know a damn thing" Bobby was getting angry, but trying to restrain himself.
"I know our baby brother got all messed up and there's nothing we can do about it, and you sitting here pretending like nothing is wrong isn't going to fix him" Angel stated.
Bobby was still watching Jack, waiting for his brother to react in some way, but Jack was just being Jack, lost in his own world.
"Jack" Bobby stated.
Jack tilted his head to one side, mumbling under his breath again.
"Jack" Bobby repeated.
There was no response.
"Jack!" Bobby actually yelled "Jack look at me damn it"
Jack, who normally would flinch when one of his brothers seriously raised his voice to him, tilted his head back the other way.
"Jack!" Bobby snapped again, leaning over and swatting Jack's leg.
Jack stopped his mumblings briefly and turned his head a half inch toward Bobby.
"I will not take that kind of behaviour" he rasped.
They where the first words he had spoken in over a month.
Bobby shot Angel a glance and resisted the urge to make a very, very big deal out of the fact that Jack has spoken, lest they scare him back into silence. It was something Evelyn had taught them.
"Why not?" Bobby asked casually.
Jack made the incy wincy spider crawl with his hands, bobbing his head from side to side.
"Cos why had a long tail" Jack whispered.
"That's true" Angel had set his plate down, "But what about us Jack? What do you think about us?" he asked softly.
"Always" Jack said almost silently, raising his eyes to the room for the first time.
They where red rimmed and filled with unshed tears and there was a desperation in them, a terrible desperation. Bobby and Angel wordlessly realised that Jack was trying to come back to them, trying to break through what ever wall his mind had hidden him behind.
If they got this wrong, they could lose him again.
"Always like this week or like, for ever?" Bobby asked, not entirely sure what he should say, simply working with what Jack gave him.
He figured Jack would be aware to some degree of what he was saying, that to Jack, it would have some meaning, some coherent meaning when he thought it. So Bobby and Angel would have to interpret that meaning, use it to give Jack something else to latch onto, to guide him back.
"And beyond" Jack was taking deep breaths, seeming close to panic.
"Buzz Lightyear" Angel smiled as Bobby frowned, not getting the reference "We can watch that later, we got it on video" he said, "Damn good movie" he nodded "To infinity and beyond, you love us that much?"
"Dude that's kinda gay" Bobby smirked.
"Live and learn" Jack said a little louder.
"You saying you learned to be gay from me?" Bobby acted insulted "That's not fair…ry…." Bobby smirked.
"Tinkerbell" Jack muttered.
"Smee" Bobby remembered suddenly the night five years ago when Jack had been similarly traumatised in a hospital, and some how, insulting him had brought him out of it.
"Wendy" Jack gave a fleeting ghost of a smile. He was rocking slightly, shaking.
"Why talking about Peter Pan, just cos you both remember the names from some lame ass book, leaving me all out of it" Angel humphed.
"Not even a Pirate" Jack met Bobby's eyes for a split second, sharing the joke.
"Quit it!" Angel whined "I'm better than a pirate any how, I'm a soldier man, I could kick a pirates ass like a bitch"
"Jackie boy you need to wash your hair" Bobby changed tack, giving Jack a new lead to jump on, hoping he would take it.
"narcissistic nancy boy" Jack shook his head "always its about the image"
"I aint talking shit about looks Cracker Jack, I'm talking about how you smell" Bobby stated.
"There is a certain cheesiness to your scent bro, it's not pleasant" Angel gave a shrug.
"Don't call me that man" Jack gave a sort of weary, all encompassing sigh as if it was not the first time he had made such a request and wouldn't be the last.
"Quit bein such a cracker then" Bobby shrugged.
Jack looked up at Bobby, meeting his gaze and holding it "Dude you're paler than me" he stated.
It was not a jumbled, nonsensical phrase, an incoherent muttering. It was a flat out statement, a coherent statement.
"Jack?" Angel asked.
"Did you get discharged for being too much of a pussy or are you crying sick to get a vacation?" Jack asked his older brother.
Angel and Bobby moved as one, grabbing their kid brother and wrapping him in hugs. He yelped, shoving them away, holding up his hands as if to remind them he didn't want to be touched and they backed off, watching him carefully.
"You back Jack?" Bobby asked.
Jack scratched his head self consciously, rolling his eyes uncertainly, "I'm just talking man" he mumbled and Bobby and Angel understood that Jack's apparent recovery may not be a permanent fix. It was a step, a leap, in the right direction, but they couldn't rush him.
"You scared us" Angel muttered.
"I scared you? You all shipped me off to the nut house" Jack raised his eyebrows in surprise, but he didn't seem to be totally serious.
"Uh, Jack, you acted nutty" Bobby reminded him, smiling gently.
"I had a reason" Jack said quietly.
"Why'd you do the drugs man?" Angel said sadly "Why'd you do all of it, you could have come to us"
"No I couldn't. Jerry's starting a family. You where in prison Bobby, and Angel you where overseas. I'm not blaming you guys at all but you wheren't around, you have your own lives" Jack shrugged.
"Jack nothing comes before family, not our own shit, if you're in trouble you come to us" Bobby said firmly "And if we're not in a situation to help, if we're not around, Ma is here"
"I didn't want to talk about shit, I didn't want to bring it up, I wanted to forget it" Jack stated "That's why I was getting high" he muttered.
"Why the men?" Bobby asked quietly.
"What the fuck else have I ever done in my life that I'm good enough at to make money?" Jack asked, his voice thick with emotion.
Bobby closed his eyes angrily "Jackie you cant think like that"
"Why not?" Jack whispered "What have I ever done otherwise?" he asked.
"Jack you got your music, you got those drawings…you're talented man, in ways me and this lug here aint…you and Jerry, you're the smart ones in this family, don't sell yourself short…don't be saying you're only good for one thing because it's flat out bullshit" Angel stated.
Jack looked at him "Then why is it the only thing I seem to do?" he was crying now, tears trailing down his cheeks, "Why does it keep happening?"
"Aw kid" Angel threw an arm around Jack's shoulders, pulling him into a hug "You are meant for bigger and better things, I promise you are, it's just…you just have the worst luck of anybody I know" he stated in honestly.
Jack laughed out loud and the sound brought a crash of pots from the kitchen. The boys all jumped and Evelyn appeared in the doorway, staring at Jack.
"Sweetie?" she gasped, pressing her hand to her mouth.
"Ma…" Jack began to cry again, in earnest, heaving sobs wracking his chest "Ma I fucked up, I really fucked up, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you worry, I'm not mad at you!" he said quickly, "Nothing I did was cos of you, please please don't be mad at me!"
Evelyn walked wordlessly into the room and Bobby and Jack moved away from him. Evelyn sat down beside Jack and stared at him. She took hold of his hands, sliding the sleeves of his long sweater up, showing his scarred wrists.
He tried to pull his arms away but she gripped them. "Why?" she asked, holding his arms so that his wrists where bared to the whole world.
Jack ducked his head, chewing his lip "Ma I don't" he started to say.
"Why Jackie?" she repeated "I need to know why?"
"I…I wanted to get the badness out" he whispered, sounding all of six.
"What does that mean?" Evelyn asked gently.
"All that stuff that happened…it was in my blood like…like a sickness…and I would let it out and…I didn't mean to go so deep that night…but after what that man did, there was so much…badness…I had to go deeper to let it out" he was crying.
"Baby…Oh sweetie" Evelyn could not contain her tears any more.
She pulled Jack's arms forward so that he was wrapped around her, and his head was on her shoulder. As she hugged him, he froze, unsure of what to do. Evelyn squeezed him, holding him as close as she could, hugging him stubbornly even as he seemed to be pulling back away from her.
"There is no badness in you. There is nothing bad in you, there cant be, I have looked in your eyes and I have seen it, you're a good person, you don't need to hurt yourself to make it that way, you where born good" she whispered.
"I made it worse" He said, his voice muffled against her shoulder "Going with those men I made it worse, I made more Bad" his voice was high with emotion.
"No, no, you where confused, you suffered through horrible things and you didn't understand" Evelyn said.
Jack pulled back "I did Ma, I knew what I was doing and I did it anyway" he snapped.
Evelyn stared at him "Well you know what? I don't care. You're my son, and you're damaged but god help me, you all are!" she gave him a smile "Hell you wouldn't even really be a Mercer if you wheren't some kind of fuck up!"
Jack chewed his lip again "Aren't you mad?" he seemed genuinely confused.
"Why would I be mad? What happened to you happened to you, you're a child, a victim of horrible crimes. I cant be mad at you because you haven't done anything!" she snapped.
Jack closed his eyes, seeming suddenly very, very tired. He lay his head on Evelyn's shoulder, not crying, not making a sound, simply being close to his mother.
She hugged him again, feeling him finally relax against her.
Angel and Bobby left the room as Evelyn began rocking back and forth, humming gently to her son, the simple, actions more than enough to comfort, to heal him, more than a life time of therapy ever could.
"Jack?" a voice called up the narrow stairs and with a groan, Jack Mercer, nineteen years old, staggered to the top of the stair case.
"What?" he asked, wearing only jeans.
His hair was scruffily styled, his body was toned and decorated with tattoo's and scars.
Meredith bit her lip as she took in his physique, not bothering to hide the fact that she appreciated the view.
"You need to help us carry in some bottles from out side" Meredith muttered a little breathlessy "You don't have to worry about putting like…a shirt on or anything…I mean it's snowing outside but…" she shook her head, smiling at his sheepish grin as he turned back into his tiny apartment above the bar, 'McGarvies'
He reappeared wearing sneakers and a t-shirt and walked down the stairs, draping an arm over Meredith's shoulders as they he walked by.
"When are you gonna ask me out for dinner Jack?" she asked him as he pulled a cigarette pack from his pocket and flicked one out of the carton, digging a lighter from another pocket and lighting the cigarette.
"I don't take girls out Mer, you know that, I whore my way around, love em and leave em that's my way" he smiled.
"But you never love me" Meredith, her face a ghostly white, her hair unnaturally black, bit her lip.
"You're special" he told her as they walked through the bar and out into the back alley, "You're like…my best friend ya know? I could never do that to you" he chuckled.
"I wouldn't mind!" Meredith poked his ribs "You're fuckin hot" she stated.
"No Meredith, I respect you too much for that" Jack told her as Roy McGarvie nodded to them.
"Oh please" Meredith scoffed.
Roy, Jack and Meredith began to unload the crates of alcoholic beverages and carry them inside the bar, storing them on the floor at first.
Once they had emptied the truck, Roy disappeared into his office leaving Meredith and Jack to unload the crates and put the alcohol away.
"He's far too sneaky for a big old fat guy" Meredith joked "he always manages to get away before he has to do any real work" she sighed.
She took a few of the crates over to the other end of the bar, unloading the beers into the fridge there.
"You heard from Bobby yet?" she called back casually as she moved bottles.
"Not yet, he can be hard to track down if he's outta town ya know? He think's it makes it easier for cops to catch up with him" Jack chuckled.
"What about Angel?" she asked.
"The usual, essentially unreachable for no real reason" he grinned and flashed his tongue piercing to Meredith.
She sighed again and placed her hands on her hips, watching him as he began to lift the heavy crates, his muscles moving in his arms.
He noticed her staring "Mer" he said warningly.
"What I cant even appreciate the aesthetics?" she raised an eye brow.
"Not with that look in your eye you cant" he smirked "Hey you think Roy'll let me and the guys play a set tonight?" he asked.
"I don't see why not, people like what you guys are coming out with" Meredith was still staring at him.
She took a deep breath and walked over, standing directly in front of him " I like you and you like me, you wouldn't 'love me and leave me'…you'd stay with me, I'm sure of it" she said quietly.
He stared down at her "That's sort of egotistical" he told her.
"Cant we just try it?" she asked.
"You don't want to get involved with me Meredith. I'm not just damaged goods, I'm so beyond damaged, I'm junk heap" he shook his head.
Meredith caught his arm and lay one hand over the scars on his wrist "I paint my face white and regularly die my hair black, I spend more time on my make up than most bimbo Hollywood bitches and I flirt with bulimia on a regular basis" she gave him a quirky smile "It's not like you can mess me up even worse" she told him.
Jack pulled her into a hug "But I could" he reminded her.
"We'll never know unless we try" she smirked "look if it goes nowhere I promise I wont get all weird and stop being your friend" she squeezed him.
Jack looked down at her and kissed her fore head gently.
She smiled at him and rose up on tip toe, kissing his lips. He hesitated for a second, then relaxed into the kiss, holding her closer to him.
"Jack, phone call for you!" Roy was yelling up the stairs, sounding pissed "And tell Meredith to get back down here and open up, its past opening and theres people outside!"
Jack grinned at Meredith who blushed and hid under the covers "Whoops" she giggled.
Jack sat up, reaching for his jeans, smiling at Meredith "Maybe we could go out on that date" he said quietly.
Meredith grinned wide and she sat up in the bed and watched Jack dress "Really?" she asked.
"Yeah…I think maybe I would like it" he said, tossing her her t-shirt playfully.
"Well good…I'm gonna go open up" she nodded to herself, "So…yeah…we'll talk later" she was smiling from ear to ear.
Jack leaned down and kissed her again, leaving her to dress a he ran down the stairs to the office. He smiled again as he thought about taking Meredith out, about actually doing something normal for once. He was still smiling as he walked into the office
where Roy stood holding the phone. He gave Jack an odd look as Jack walked in.
"Something up?" Jack frowned.
"You oughta sit down" Roy said somberly, "Take the phone and sit down"
Jack felt fear coil in his stomach and tried to guess what the call could be about. He grabbed the phone from Roy's hand, pressing it to his ear.
"Yeah?" he asked breathlessly.
"Jack?" Jerry's voice was hoarse as if he's been crying.
"What's happened?" Jack all but yelled into the phone.
"Jackie….Jesus, Jack it's Ma, something happened to Ma" Jerry was close to hysteria, Jack could tell.
"What? Jerry, what is it, what the fuck happened?" Jack yelled.
"She was in a store…there was…Oh God, Jack she's dead" Jerry was sobbing "somebody killed her, Ma's dead Jackie"
Jack became aware of the blood pumping through his head as his knees gave way beneath him and he sat down heavily on the floor. "Jerry, no, Jerry that's wrong… you got it wrong" he said calmly.
"No Jackie, she was shot….they fucking shot her….Ma's dead Jack" Jerry told him.
Jack lay the phone down and stood, walking out of the office in a daze of shock.
Meredith saw him and ran over, her smile falling from her face. "Jack what's wrong, what happened?" she asked.
"My mother" Jack said, his voice thick with emotions "My brother is saying she died, but that cant be right…he said she was murdered…I have to go" he blinked and seemed to come back to himself, fixing Meredith with a look "I have to go home, my family's gonna need me, I have to go" he headed for the stair case again.
Meredith followed him, watching him roughly pack a bag "Jack I don't know what to say" she told him "I'm so sorry…is there anything I can do to help?" she asked.
Jack shook his head, close to tears "Um…tell the band for me, tell the guys I'm gonna be home for a while..." he was fighting to keep himself calm "Can you cover my shifts for me until then, um…" he stopped "Shit" he coughed, trying to disguise the fact that he was crying.
Meredith stepped forward and pulled him into a hug, tears in her eyes as he broke down in her arms.
He cried for what seemed like for ever, before seeming to catch himself and straighten up, grabbing for his bag.
"Um…rain check?" he chewed his lip as he looked over at her.
"Sure" Meredith nodded "Just…call us if you need anything you know? Be careful" she knew he was a Mercer, what it could mean that his mother had been murdered.
He stepped back to her and gave her a quick kiss on the lips, running out of the room and down the stairs.
Over two weeks passed before she got a phone call from Jerry Mercer.
"Hey Jerry" she said sweetly, "I'm so sorry for what happened…how's everyone doing, how's Jack?" she asked.
Roy walked into the office and nodded to her as she listened on the phone.
"What?" her sympathetic frown deepened into something closer to confusion and she shook her head "Jerry I don't understand" she stated.
Roy stepped closer to her, as if trying to hear through the phone.
"Oh my god" she breathed "I…I'm so sorry" she was visibly trying to reign herself in from crying as she spoke, but her voice was quavering "What happened to him?" she asked.
Roy was shaking his head as realization dawned, motioning for the phone. "Did you get the people who did it? And who hurt your mom?" she was actually biting her lip as tears stained her cheeks with dark make up.
She closed her eyes and seemed to sway, taking a deep breath "Jerry I'm so sorry…I wish there was something I could say…" she whispered "If there's anything we can do?" she nodded at what ever Jerry said "Alright, well, um…you…you all take care" she put the phone down.
"Mer what is it? Please tell me he's not dead sweetie, there's no way he can be gone" Roy asked her.
"He was shot...in the street outside their house, by the people who killed their mom, they killed Jack too" Meredith pressed her hand to her mouth as she began to sob "Roy he's dead, oh fuck! They killed him" she gasped.
Roy pulled her into a hug, shushing her as she began to cry uncontrollably.
Zack, one of the bar's other staff members leaned into the office, his face a mask of concern as he saw how upset Meredith was.
"Roy? What happened man?" he asked.
"Jack Mercer…he uh…" Roy paused and took a breath to calm himself "Jack Mercer died…he was shot to death"
Zack blew out a breath and shook his head "Fuck" he sighed.
"Go get on the stage, turn up the house lights…we're closing up early tonight" Roy said quietly "If anyone asks you what's happening you tell em…You tell em Jack Mercer died"
And that is that, that's the end of Jack Mercer…erm…thank you all, so so much for all your reviews and for everything really, you've been an unbelievable help for me, writing this, it's been difficult cos I've felt SO guilty on Jack but you all have been so sweet and supportive that its made it okay to horribly torture the poor kid, hehehe!
No but really, thank you all, I apologise if this last chapter isn't up to scratch but I wanted desperately to post and I couldn't see how I could keep on torturing Jack, time line wise, it just didn't seem feasible. So I hope you enjoy and if not, sorry.
Erm, also, because of this story I've been able to make friends with two of the most amazing people on the planet, (you both know who you are) so thanks to people for keeping me writing this story for enabling me to 'meet' these people who are just inspirations.
Thanks again all of you, love always.