May 2007


It was awkward, feeling awkward around Jonathon.

At some point in the last year, he had come to depend on the other man, damaged as he was, depend on him being there with his teasing and his amusement at the younger man's expense. His visits to his father were getting rare, it was hard for him to force himself into that hospital room since he was sure his father would never leave.

If he hadn't woken up by now…

"Where's the butter?"

"On the bottom shelf."

Jon shot him a sharp look, and grabbed it, slamming the fridge door shut and dropping the container to the counter, once again shifting into what Jamie now considered his 'ignore Jamie Martin' mode. Jamie firmly believed that he could walk over and throw a pan of boiling water in his face and Jon wouldn't bat an eye at him.

That couldn't be healthy, right?

Painful, too, when you were the one being ignored… not that he minded being ignored, or anything.

He shifted on the couch, turning his attention back to the cartoons playing in front of him, wishing something would crash through the wall and break the ever-increasing sense of wrongness filling the apartment. Spongebob wasn't helping, which only left him feeling more flustered. After the shooting, after his father had slipped into the coma, he'd come to depend on the grating giggles and dorky jokes to keep his feet on the ground.

Needed humor to help keep his heart from drowning in what he wasn't prepared for.

Jonathon had helped with the feet and ground predicament as well; seeing as how he apparently no longer existed for Jonathon, he only had Spongebob to fall back on. Spongebob, to his great frustration, was failing. Getting into an argument with Anita about whether or not Spongebob was gay—and for the life of him, he didn't understand how the argument had started in the first place—also had failed to help his increasingly confused mood.

Feeling eyes on him, he glanced to the right and met a sudden 'hand in the cookie jar' look of horror on Jon's face before he dropped his head again, jumping in surprise when the butter knife went flying out of his hand and skittering off the counter. "Got butter on the damn handle," he muttered in Jamie's vague direction, and yanked open the drawer to grab another one.

Weird, and wrong, and not what Jamie had expected to deal with.

There had been none of this with Babe, nothing that even came close to this level of… something, a confusing mix of worry and excitement and outright confusion that left him blinking at the wall and waiting for the answer to come to him in a blast of pure white light and Handel in the background.

Jon was weird, and confusing, and wrong in every sense.

Somehow, it didn't help matters any for the confused Martin.

All it made him want to do was dig in his heels stubbornly and brace himself for whatever was coming, and the feeling didn't come with the sense of righteousness that his relationship with Babe had brought, a powerful feeling that everything he was doing was right, because he was doing it for Babe, and that made it right.

That wasn't here, and he was waiting for it to kick in, so he could figure out to deal with it.

Instead, he was terrified, fumbling and confused, knowing just how wrong it was, and not just in the 'I wish I knew how to quit you' kind of ever-increasingly cliché scene. Jonathon had hit Maggie, he'd hit her, he'd broken her down while Jamie was off running around with Babe and didn't that say something about him, about just how worthy he was to speak to Maggie again?

Maggie, with her root beer floats and terribly hurt little heart, forever waiting for Bianca to realize she wasn't Frankie, to take Miranda and herself far away and never return and take Maggie's heart right along with her because Bianca had it, had in the palm of her hand, and didn't realize it, even though she desperately wanted to.

Jon had killed Edmund, he'd gone all crazy and killed people, almost killed countless others.

And, he'd never felt closer to anyone in his life, outside of his family.

Jamie was waiting for the men in the white coats to come in and get him, take him away and fix whatever was off in his freaky brain because, clearly, he wasn't thinking right. He was clearly thinking wrong, very wrong, as evidenced by that thing that had happened that he had yet to tell anyone about and Jon had yet to acknowledge.

Yes, that… thing that had happened.

"You know, I'm hungry, too—"

"You have legs, and you can pull a door open," Jonathon snapped, smearing more butter than could possibly be needed across a piece of toast, and the red mark from where he had fallen asleep on the couch the night before was still across his cheek, despite the fact that he had hastily left the couch and his channel surfing when Jamie stumbled out of his room with his usual grace, smacking two doorframes before finally reaching the coffee waiting for him on the counter. "Make your own damn breakfast."

"But I don't want to die."

A few days before, Jon would have smirked, made some particularly digging comments and taken pity on him—but then, a few days before, he wouldn't have been using up all of the butter in an attempt to avoid eye contact with the younger man, and he wouldn't have been dropping knives all over the place and blaming said butter.

Now, Jon gave a short shrug and added dryly, "You have friends in hospital places, you can get your stomach pumped real quick if need be." This so stated, he once again shifted into his 'ignore Jamie Martin at all costs' mode, finally snapping the lid on the butter and dropping it quickly back into the fridge, slamming the door and snapping over his shoulder, "The butter goes in the door, James, not the bottom of the fridge."


"Yeah, I bet."

Jamie wondered what, exactly, he was actually apologizing for.