Title: Pain & Love part 8, Complete
Rating: Hard R
Summary: Sometimes the one person you trust the most can turn out to be the worst person for you.
This is by far the most alternate universe story I've ever started. Evelyn is alive in this one but all is not well. Bobby is extremely, extremely different in this story. He is similar in many ways to his character in Four Brothers, but this is a different side of Bobby, one that isn't fully explored in the movie. This is one way Bobby might have been if they had developed his character more and made him less able to deal with problems.
It wasn't easy, Bobby considered, leading Jack from the doctor's office. Each visit brought back painful memories of his childhood, of the things he'd done over the years and worst of all, the things he'd done to Jack.
He felt as though he was viewing himself from the outside; watching himself take Jack to the car, drive him back to Evelyn's. Jack grinned at him and headed straight for the fridge, his stomach growling loudly. Bobby sat down with Evelyn in the living room, watching her knit slowly.
"Well, how was your visit?" she asked, looping her needles.
Bobby sighed. "It went ok, I guess," he said. "I...I've been doing the exercises every day like Dr. Kerman told me to. And I think they really are working."
She nodded. "Good Bobby, I'm very glad to hear that," she said, soothingly.
Bobby scratched the back of his neck nervously. "D'you think I might be able to have him back home with me?" he asked very quietly.
Evelyn placed her knitting on her lap. "It's not my decision Bobby, it's Jack's. And I'll support what he chooses because he's an adult now."
Bobby looked down at his hands, sighing softly. Evelyn touched Bobby's arm. "I want to believe that you have a better sense of why you must control your temper," she said quietly.
"I don't wanna hurt him like that again," he whispered, his voice rough. He looked up at her, his eyes wet. "I never meant to, never thought that I could hurt him. Shit, Ma, I spent years protectin' him from guys like me."
Evelyn patted his arm reassuringly. "But you're doing the right thing now," she reminded him. "It's never going to be perfect son, but you're making the effort. It's alright to be mad Bobby; it's the way you express it that matters most."
Bobby shrugged. "Lookin' back, I…I did control him," he said painfully. "It was like I was someone else, someone I never wanted to be." He rubbed his forehead tiredly. "Before I knew what was happenin' I hit him the day after we moved in together. A part of me was screamin' inside my head, and the other part felt good," he said in a horrified whisper.
Evelyn sighed, moving her thumb slowly over his skin. "When you told me how you felt about Jack, my biggest worry was that you'd let your anger control you and Jack. I never wanted any harm to come to either of you," she said sadly.
Jack came into the room, biting his lip. "Here," he said, handing Bobby a can of pop before sitting down beside him. Bobby took the can with a whispered 'thanks'.
Jack glanced over at Evelyn. "Everything ok, Mom?" he asked hesitantly.
She nodded. "We're just fine dear," she said reassuringly. "I haven't had much of a chance to speak to Bobby over the past few days, that's all."
Jack fiddled with the ring on his hand. "Most of the time, everything's fine y'know," he said a moment later. "It was just sometimes, that…well..." he trailed off, sneaking a look at Bobby's face.
Bobby looked away, his eyes stinging. "You can say it," he murmured to Jack.
"Jack, Bobby wants to know if you'd like to go home with him," Evelyn said, breaking the silence in the room. Jack stared at her, several emotions flashing over his eyes.
Bobby touched Jack's fingers slowly, so as not to startle him. "You don't hafta choose right now," he said. "Just want you to consider it, is all."
Jack tilted his head slowly, biting his lower lip harder. "I…I think I do want to," he said finally.
Bobby sucked in a nervous breath. "Saturday then?" he asked.
"Yeah," Jack said, grinning somewhat. He stood up, yawning softly. He dropped a kiss on Bobby's forehead, walking past him with a murmured goodnight to Evelyn. Bobby waited until Jack left the room. He smiled shakily at Evelyn, his hands trembling.
She moved closer to him, hugging him close. "It's alright sweetheart, it's going to be alright."
Dr. Kerman sat back in her chair, watching Bobby pace in her office. He looked at her, his eyes wild. She pointed to the chair, nodding. He sat down heavily, running one hand through his hair.
"Clearly something is upsetting you," she said softly. Bobby laughed dryly.
"Yeah, you could say that," he replied, his knee bouncing. Dr. Kerman tapped her pen slowly. "Would you mind telling me?" she asked.
Bobby slumped. "I didn't hurt him or anything," he blurted out defensively.
Dr. Kerman blinked. "Ok, that's a good start," she said. "You're upset about something, but you didn't hurt Jack. That's very good to hear Bobby."
Bobby felt a trickle of pride at her words. He sat up a bit. "I told him that I needed to see you. I can't…fuck!" he said, his voice rising again. "Ever since I started these damn sessions, my memories keep popping up, an' fuckin' with my head."
Dr. Kerman nodded, jotting down something in her folder. "Would you feel better if you discussed them?" she asked.
"I don't know," he whispered miserably. "I just wanna be able to sleep at night."
"Your dreams are of your memories?" she said. He shrugged. "Seems like it," he said.
Dr. Kerman consulted her notes. "Tell me about one then, please," she said. "You might feel better if you are able to talk about it."
Bobby swallowed dryly, nodding. "Yeah," he said roughly. "One that keeps comin' back was when I was ten…"
"Look here Charlene, your worthless kid might not be such a waste after all!" slurred Randy, one of the many drunken bastards that his mother had taken up with.
"Yeah? What'd he do? Knock over a fuckin' liquor store?" she said, lighting a cigarette, her garish pink lipstick staining the tip. Bobby bit the inside of his cheek hard, determined not to flinch as she ruffled his dirty hair.
"Ah, give 'em time for that," he laughed uproariously, his laugh fading into a hacking cough. "He got into a fight, and y'shoulda seen 'em kick the shit outta that kid," Randy crowed. "Jus' like I showed 'em!"
Bobby looked down at his grimy hands, at the blood that was caked on his knuckles. He felt his stomach tilt, the scratches and scrapes crisscrossing over his skin. Charlene stared blearily at Bobby, smiling slightly.
"Gotta stick up for yourself Bobby," she said, her voice bitter. "No one else's gonna give a shit 'bout you, so you fight for what ya need, what ya want, got it? I didn't raise you to be no pussy!"
Bobby closed his eyes briefly, ignoring the sick feeling in his stomach. He searched through her words, feeling a small flicker of warmth that she seemed proud. "Yeah Ma," he said softly.
Randy slapped him upside the head. "Go getcha ya self a beer boy, you deserve it after that!" he said roughly. Bobby smiled then. "A beer?" he said, feeling pleased, adult like.
Randy nodded, drinking deeply from his own bottle. Bobby hurried to the near empty fridge and pulled out a bottle of beer. He opened it the way he'd seen Randy do so many times, paying no attention to the burst of pain in his palm. He chugged it, grimacing at the taste, but swallowing resolutely, feeling a sense of accomplishment at only ten years of age.
Bobby shook his head slowly, frowning. Dr. Kerman handed him a bottle of ginger ale. "This will help," she said. Bobby opened it, drinking it. He finished half of it, staring at her.
"What is it with you and ginger ale?" he asked, holding back a burp.
Dr. Kerman smiled faintly. "It helps in many ways," she said briskly. "Now, you mentioned that the only time your mother showed interest in you is when you acted out, right?"
Bobby nodded; studying the bottle closely, unable to look up at her. "She didn't give a shit about me, where I was, if I was hungry, y'know, all that shit."
Dr. Kerman watched Bobby's face. "But if she knew that you'd hurt someone, she would be happy?" she pushed gently.
He sighed. "Yeah, pretty much," he said. "I still hate that bitch," he murmured.
Dr. Kerman looked over at Bobby. "I can imagine that it would be hard not to feel that way."
He drained the rest of the bottle, shrugging again. "Don't got any good memories before Evelyn, she's the only woman I can call Ma, without cringin'."
"And the control factor?" she pressed. "You felt in control when you were doing something that you knew would gain your mother's approval."
Bobby nodded slowly. "I couldn't make her love me, or pay attention to me unless I showed her that I could hurt someone else. I still don't understand what the fuck she was thinking. Was she tryin' to make me into a psycho?"
Dr. Kerman pressed her lips together in a thin line. "It's very possible that your mother was abused herself and never learned any proper way to deal with anger and dissatisfaction in her life. And she passed that on to you. The main thing to focus on is that you have the power to change and the desire to be better."
Bobby swallowed over the lump in his throat. "I just wanna make sure I never hurt him again," he whispered.
Angel lifted the awkwardly wrapped box and shifted the weight as he carried it up the apartment stairs. "Never a damn elevator when you need one," he grumbled.
Bobby snorted lightly. "Ain't that the fuckin' truth," he said, lifting his end of the box.
"What's in this, bricks?" Angel asked, sighing in relief at the sight of the door ahead.
"Well yeah, didn't Jackie tell you? He's gonna be a bricklayer next week," Bobby snarked, digging his keys out of his pocket.
"Shut up, you know what I meant asshole," Angel muttered, glaring at Bobby.
"A little welcome home gift alright?" Bobby said as he opened the door. He lifted his end of the box again and carefully backed up into the room. Angel maneuvered his way through the door and pushed the door closed behind him.
"Is this cause of what happened before?" Angel asked, placing the box on the ground.
"Sort of," Bobby murmured, looking away from Angel's eyes. "Thanks for your help man. Not sure I woulda gotten it upstairs without you."
"S'fine," Angel said, flexing his arms. "When's Jack comin' back?"
"Ma's bringing him in a couple hours. They went to pick up some stuff for him. We'll be havin' all you guys over tonight for dinner, make up for missin' Jack's dinner on his birthday," Bobby said, pushing away the nudge of guilt he felt every time he remembered what he'd done.
Angel looked at Bobby, seeing the flush of color on his cheeks, the sad memory in his eyes. "You gotta stop blamin' yourself for everything," he murmured.
Bobby whirled around, his eyes flashing. "It wasn't Jack's fault!" he shouted. He took two steps away from Angel, automatically slowing his breathing the way Dr. Kerman had taught him to.
"He's not the one who fucked everything up," Bobby said through gritted teeth. "I did."
"Jack's not perfect, "Angel said softly. Bobby laughed softly, shaking his head.
"Nah, he's not, but he never beat the shit outta me, did he?" Bobby said, guilt washing over him again. "When I came home that night, he was pissed off about somethin' but I just fuckin' exploded, didn't I? I didn't even stop or try to figure out what was wrong."
"It's never gonna be perfect Bobby, you know that," Angel said, crossing his arms loosely. Bobby sighed. "He deserves better than me," he said. "But the idea of watchin' him walk away from me hurts more. So I'll do what I gotta to make sure I never hurt him like that again."
Angel nodded, his face serious. "That boy, he loves you like nothin' else. I don't ever wanna see him hurt like that Bobby. You hearin' me?"
Bobby rubbed the side of his head. "I won't let it happen again," he said softly. "I can't."
Evelyn sang along lowly with the music, tapping her fingers to the beat. Jack grinned, shaking his head. "Have you always been a hippie Mom?" he asked, laughing.
She nodded. "Did I ever tell you I went to Woodstock?" she asked.
"No," Jack said, his eyes wide. "That's incredible. What was it like?"
"Loud, smoky, and exhilarating," she declared. "Best choice I ever made."
Jack fiddled with his lighter as the music slowed down, switching to a softer song. "Mom?" he murmured shyly. She glanced at him, nodding.
"I…I know this is the right decision," he said. She smiled faintly. "We all have to make choices in life," she said quietly. "Sometimes we make bad ones, and sometimes we find our way to the good ones. It's never an easy thing, don't let anyone tell you otherwise," she added.
Jack felt heat burn in his cheeks. He nodded. "I know Mom," he said.
"I've never regretted any choice I made," Evelyn said softly. "Not even the ones that hurt." Jack stared at her in surprise. "Even…" he trailed off.
"Yes, even when I was lying in a hospital bed," she said, her voice firm. "I learned a lot about myself that day. The will to go on has been greatly underestimated by some people, and on that day I discovered that I wasn't going to roll over and accept what was happening to me."
Jack nodded, tears pricking his eyes, stinging mercilessly. "I've made many choices," she said. "Too many people told me that taking in Bobby was a terrible choice. That he was too wild and unmanageable, and that in itself was a part of his problems, that even he thought he was an animal that needed to be tamed," she said, anger edging into her voice.
"Even with Angel and Jeremiah, I was told repeatedly what a mistake my choice was. And you," she said, glancing at him. "No one gave you boys a choice as to how your life would turn out; no one gave you a chance to show how different you could be."
Jack rubbed his necklace with the tips of his fingers, swallowing painfully over the lump in his throat. "I don't regret choosing to live with Bobby," he murmured. "What…what happened, I regret lettin' it go on so long. But I'm not turnin' my back on him."
Evelyn smiled slightly. "I didn't think you would. Bobby loves you Jack. And now, I really do think things will be better. He's doing very well, and I think it's time someone gave him a chance to show that he can change."
"I never thought he couldn't," Jack whispered. She patted his hand gently. "I know."
Jack stood in the doorway of the apartment, looking around. For the most part, the apartment seemed the same. He sighed softly, knowing his memories would continue to fill in for him. Jerry paced idly near the door, waiting for Angel and Bobby to get back.
"You sure this is what you want Jackie?" he asked, his hands deep in his pockets.
Jack nodded. He walked over to the balcony and lit a cigarette. He took a long drag before looking at Jerry. "Yeah, this is where I belong, Jerry. He loves me, he won't hurt me again."
"If he does…" Jerry trailed off quietly. "Don't stay again Jack, just promise me that ok?"
Jack blew out a small smoke ring, nodding. "I promise Jerry," he said. He hugged him then. "Thanks for everything," he whispered. Jerry hugged him tight, rubbing his back.
"You're my baby brother, I gotta look out for you y'know?" he said.
Jack smiled then, inhaling again. "You helped more than you know," he said. "Bobby told me it was you that brought him home."
Jerry leaned against the railing. "Yeah, I had a feelin' that he'd be needing some help getting home, and then I finally got his drunk ass home and saw how trashed the place was…" he sighed.
"I really wish you guys hadn't seen all this shit," Jack mused, staring down at his cigarette. "Bobby…he's a good person deep down. He'll kick the shit outta someone if he thinks they're fuckin' with him, but you should see him at night when I have a nightmare. He'll hold me and hum little songs that make me feel good, all the sappy stuff you can think of."
"I'm not sayin' he doesn't have a good side, Jackie. I'm sayin' he's got a wicked bad temper and a helluva short fuse. I don't wanna find out he's been taking it out on you again," Jerry said, looking right at Jack.
"He didn't have it easy growin' up Jerry," Jack said, flicking his cigarette expertly.
"None of us did Jackie, that don't make it ok for him to hurt you," Jerry said.
Jack looked at Jerry's face closely, seeing the distress in his eyes, and the worried set of his mouth. "He knows that now," Jack said softly. "Love's real powerful sometimes Jerry. Love's stronger than anger, that's what I like to think."
Jerry smiled a bit, shaking his head. "You sound an awful lot like Mom right now," he said, chuckling. Jack stubbed out the remains of his cigarette. "You should meet Bobby's therapist. She and Ma are like sisters. They got a lot of shit in common," he said, grinning.
"Mom has a way making you remember her phrases," Jerry said, shaking his head.
"You know she went to Woodstock?" Jack asked. Jerry grinned. "Did she?" he said, laughing softly. "Yeah, I can see that. Mom woulda made a great hippie."
Jack looked at the setting sun. "She's something else, a real force to be reckoned with."
"Well years of experience will do that," Evelyn said as she stepped out onto the balcony. "I was wondering where you two went off to."
"Just needed a smoke," Jack said, grinning sheepishly. Jerry nodded. "Bobby and Angel here yet?" he asked.
"They'll be here soon. They got delayed at the grocery store," she said.
Jack felt a flicker of nervous energy in him. He wanted everyone to leave, desperately wanted to be alone with Bobby. He looked off the balcony and spotted Bobby's car pulling into the parking lot. "They're here!" he said, dashing inside the apartment.
Jerry laughed quietly. "Think he's eager for us to go?" he asked Evelyn, one eyebrow raised. She nodded. "They do need to be alone together. It's been a long few weeks for them."
"You really think they'll be ok?" he asked her. She rubbed her elbows slowly, nodding.
"I think a lot has changed and that this time will be better," she said softly.
Once Evelyn, Jerry and Angel had left for the night, Jack fidgeted with his necklace, looking over at Bobby, who was standing by the door. "So…" he said, clearing his throat lowly.
Bobby came towards him slowly. He sat down beside Jack and touched his hand. "I've been waitin' for them to leave for hours," he said. Jack grinned. "Yeah, me too."
"There's somethin' I wanted to give you… for awhile now," Bobby murmured, leaning closer to Jack. "On your birthday, I didn't get to give you your gift," he said, color high on his cheeks for a brief moment. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a thin, flat box.
Jack took it with shaking fingers. "For me?" he asked. Bobby nodded. Jack opened it slowly, his eyes wide. "You don't hafta to wear it if you don't want," Bobby said hurriedly, nervous then.
Jack held the silver chain up, taking it carefully out of the box. He studied the engraved initials on one link and smiled, sighing happily. The simple chain necklace was perfect.
"Thanks," he whispered, leaning forward to kiss Bobby.
Bobby melted against him, the tension draining from him quickly at the feel of Jack's lips on his. "Jack," he murmured, pulling him in tight against his chest.
He fumbled with the chain and undid the clasp, looping it around Jack's neck. He closed the clasp, letting it rest against his warm skin. Jack rested against him, his fingers touching the cool metal with wonder. "It's perfect," he murmured.
"I got…" Bobby swallowed hard, his throat clenching. "I got somethin' else for you too."
Jack blinked. "Really?" he said, rubbing his fingers along Bobby's rough hands. He felt an intense need to touch him, memorize every inch of him again. He pressed a kiss to Bobby's calloused palm, feeling Bobby shiver behind him.
"Yeah," he whispered huskily. "I…I never fully apologized for what I did to your guitar."
Jack flinched, his eyes sad. "It's ok," he said in a small voice. "I…I understand."
"No," Bobby said in an anguished whisper. "It's not ok sweetheart. I'm sorry Jackie, more sorry than you'll ever know. I still can't forgive myself for breaking it."
Jack clasped Bobby's hand closer to his chest, leaning back against him. "I understand, really I do," he said sadly. Bobby swallowed again, his throat aching with suppressed tears.
He shifted them for a moment. "Stay here," he said, leaving the room. Jack nodded, waiting on the couch, his hand playing with his new necklace.
Bobby returned a moment later, carrying a long box slowly into the living room. He set it down carefully. Jack sat up straight, his heart beat echoing in his ears. "Bobby?"
"Open it," Bobby urged him. Jack smiled slightly as he lifted the top of the box, moving the ribbon out of the way. He looked down, pressing one hand to his mouth. "You…"
Bobby nodded. "I know it's not the same as your old one, but it looks a bit like it, and the guy at the store said it was a good model," he said. "The case is s'posed to be real good too, and it's damn heavy," he added, struggling not to ramble.
Jack sucked in a shaky breath. "B-bobby," he said, jumping up and grabbing him in a fierce hug. "I…thank you!" he mumbled into Bobby's neck.
He held him tightly, his body trembling faintly. The guitar looked remarkably a lot like his old one, and in truth, Jack had never owned a new guitar. Every one that he'd ever had, had been a second hand that he'd picked up.
"You like it?" Bobby asked lowly. Jack nodded, blinking back tears. "It's incredible," he whispered. He moved his head and kissed Bobby slowly, his lips sliding smoothly over Bobby's, nudging his mouth open. Bobby moaned softly, parting his lips further, his skin tingling all over. Jack cupped his face with his fingers, the kiss lingering on.
They broke apart slowly, resting their foreheads together. "I've missed you…so much," Jack whispered. Bobby stroked Jack's hair slowly, his fingers rubbing soothingly over his scalp. Jack sighed, leaning into his touch.
"Missed you too," Bobby said. Jack looked at him, his eyes searching. "I told Mom and Jerry that I made the right choice," he said. "I know this is the right choice."
Bobby felt like a weight had been lifted off his chest. "I…I hurt you Jack, too many times, and I'll spend every day makin' it up to you," he said. "I think you deserve better than me to be honest."
Jack looked at him, shaking his head. "I only want you though," he said softly. "That's all I ever wanted, was to be with you." Bobby ran his rough fingers over Jack's cheek, lost in his eyes.
They stood together for some time, comforted by each other's arms. Bobby led Jack to the bedroom eventually, whispering to him. Jack curled up in the bed, resting against Bobby. "Will you still be going to see Dr. Kerman?" he asked after several moments of silence.
Bobby nodded, his lips ghosting over the curve of Jack's neck. "Yeah," he whispered. "The visits are once or twice a week now, unless it's an emergency."
Jack shivered, his skin tingling under Bobby's lips. "Can I still come with you to some of the visits?" he said, arching his neck. "Sure," Bobby murmured before he kissed Jack's neck hard, leaving a faint red mark. "Dr. Kerman was asking me to bring you sometimes."
Jack shifted on the bed, facing Bobby. "I love you," he said softly. Bobby moved his thumb over Jack's cheek. "Love you too Jackie," he said.
"Always?" Jack murmured with a small grin. Bobby nodded, a feeling of peace filling him, chasing his hurtful memories away for that moment, his love and need for Jack stronger than the pain that lingered.
"Always," he whispered.
I'm extremely grateful to everyone who ever reviewed this story, to anyone who encouraged me to keep going. This story was very personal for me and forced me to face some of the things that has happened to me in my past.
Thank you all.