Author: veiledndarkness

Title: Surviving Through the Hours

Rating: PG

Pairing: not really, I suppose.

Summary: One painful hour after the next.

Warnings: Wow. This is way darker than I intended. Ok, so there's character death in this. Frankly, I'm surprised at the ending, cause that's not where I was heading. The oneshot grabbed me and took off in the other direction. Sorry. Also, it's one of my 'in the...' stories. Lol, I just like the way it flows.

In the hours after Jack's death, Bobby felt his body move with exact precision. He felt detached and hollowed. A sense of renewed purpose began to fill the void that Jack had left behind. No longer was this just revenge for the only woman who had ever truly cared about him, far from it. Now this was a need to hurt, to destroy and maim, to erase the man who had decided to take out the two people that had mattered most to Bobby. He smiled every now and then, a hard, evil smile that never reached his eyes. He had a most fitting death set out for Sweet and his hands ached for the chance to fulfill it.

In the hours after Victor's death, Bobby took punch after punch, abuse and swearing from the cops that were desperate to pin the murder on someone. Bobby laughed and spat back at them, insulting the officers as best he could. All the while, behind the nasty smirk, behind the cool, calm and collected look on his face as he went to get his belongings, was a terrible ache, a burning urge to scream, to fall down and weep for the unfairness of it all. He had always been aware that life was unfair and now the proof of that was slapping him in the head. It felt like more than he could take.

In the hours after Camille had dragged Jerry home and Sofi had disappeared with Angel, Bobby went around the empty house and methodically cleaned up what he could. He moved from room to room, cleaning up the shards of glass, the splinters of wood, shell casings, and debris from the gun fight. He made the beds, cleaned the kitchen, and even started a load of laundry before admitting to himself that he was just afraid to go through Jack's old room, to see everything that reminded him of the fact that Jack was gone now. He swore violently as he stomped upstairs, determined to prove to himself that he wasn't afraid, he wasn't afraid of anything.

In the hours after Bobby had first started going through Jack's duffel bag, he hadn't been aware of cold the house really was. With most of the windows blown out, the chill November air filled the house, the sharp bite of the wind snapping at Bobby who remained oblivious to the fact. Now the cold he felt was from sifting through Jack's belongings, trying to piece together the Jack he had known and the one that had come back looking older and weary, a tired knowledge visible in his eyes. He pulled out Jack's shirts, denying out loud that he was holding them close to his face, if only to inhale the scent he remembered. He smirked and laughed over the clothing, rolling his eyes every so often at some of the bands and even the styles that he'd worn. He lovingly folded them just so on the bed before delving deeper into the bag.

In the hours after Bobby had found Jack's journal, he'd completely lost track of time and was startled to see that it was well past 1 in the morning when he'd glanced at the clock. He'd found the journal stashed at the bottom of the bag, well worn and obviously well read. Bobby had poured over it, his eyes greedily taking in every detail, wanting more, picturing Jack bent over the book, his lower lip firmly in his teeth as he wrote in that scribbly way of his, the words bent to the right as always.

He laughed at parts that were funny, the way Jack's dry sarcasm bled through. He frowned and grew angry as Jack wrote about the string of boyfriends that he'd had; each one more of a loser than the last. He winced and felt a strong need to wipe at his eyes when Jack described how alone he was, how much he missed them all, especially Ma. How he no longer felt safe, and how he wished that he could find the nerve to tell Bobby just the way he felt about him. He'd written about himself mockingly, hurling abuse for being scared, for not being honest.

In the hours after Bobby had put the journal down, he had fallen asleep, the book still griped in his fingers. He slept restlessly, his dreams dark and troubled. In them, he came close to getting to Jack in time, only to have him be one or two inches too far. The image of Jack's body turning and twisting as the bullets pierced him was engraved in Bobby's mind. Silent, slow tears trickled down his cheeks in his sleep. He awoke that morning feeling desolate and strung out. He decided to keep the journal close with him, a gesture that helped him to cover his pain; a cover that cracked within days.

Night after night, Bobby would drink in the living room, drink until he couldn't see straight, staggering up the stairs to Jack's room where he would lie in the bed, staring up at the wall, mumbling slurred apologies to the heavens where he was sure that Jack had gone. He wasn't coping; nothing Jerry or Angel said or did could pull him back from his pain. Bobby fought tooth and nail to keep his pain with him, he didn't want to 'move on' and heal. He wanted to wallow in his misery, to absorb the guilt and the anger that fueled him as punishment for failing to save Jack.

In the hours after Angel had come back to the house to find Bobby sprawled facedown on Jack's bed, a pistol nearby, he recalled a time when he'd been so sure that Bobby always had the strength to continue, that he'd never give up. Now, he felt for a pulse in vain, not wanting to believe or to accept that Bobby had, in fact, given up. He closed his eyes, blocking out the sound of Sofi screaming into the phone. He ignored the sirens that roared through the neighborhood, focusing only on the fact that his oldest brother was gone now too.

They put Bobby in the grave next to Jack, the journal that he had been clutching on the bed, tucked in beside him in the coffin. Angel and Jerry sat together that night in silence as each struggled with their own thoughts. Angel stood in Jack's old room and breathed the chilled air. They had long since fixed the windows and doors, but this room remained cold. He smiled as he pictured Jack plucking away at his guitar, Bobby sitting on the floor by the bed just as the way it had been in the hours shortly after they'd gathered together again, each struggling to ignore the fact that they had just buried their mother.

He blinked away a tear, and closed the door behind him. He hoped like hell, that Bobby had found his way to Jack.