Title: After the Fight

Fandom: Jericho

Characters: Jake, Stanley with a guest appearance of Mimi

Genre: H/C ; Jake/Stanley friendship/pre-slash

Word Count: 1900

Rating: PG

Warnings/Spoilers: Set after episode 1x09

Summary: Johnston Green didn't react as well as he did in the series about the bridge thing

After the Fight

The night had fallen on the little town of Jericho a while ago when Stanley finally decided to head to bed. The day had been eventful to say the least and he was tired. All those problems with the mercenaries that had threatened to destroy the bridge, which was the only access to the town for a few people, including him, had stressed him. He had feared what would happen but there was no way he could have abandoned the house, not his house.

He had been pissed off that so many people, including Jack himself, had wanted to do something so drastic, but at the same time, thinking back, he could see where they were coming from; if the mercenaries had entered the town, it would probably have been the end of Jericho. Nonetheless, he was glad they had been able to solve the problem with a different solution.

Stanley yawned loudly and, after looking around him another time to see if he hadn't forgotten to do anything, he turned off the light in the living room and began to climb the stairs. Both his sister and Mimi were already upstairs, in their bedroom, and had probably been asleep for a while. He was almost at the end of the flight when he heard someone knocking at the door.

He groaned out loud, before sighing and heading for the door. He had no idea who the hell would come at that time of the night but they sure were preventing him from getting his much needed rest. He just hoped there wasn't another crisis to take care of in Jericho because he wasn't sure he would be able to do anything useful in the state he was in.

He briefly glanced out of the window and blinked rapidly before opening the door, knowing there was no risk.

"Jake?" he asked tiredly, surprised to see his friend there.

Jake was looking at the doormat and not lifting his head up, refusing to meet his gaze, which Stanley thought was very strange. Jake wasn't usually shying away from anything and had never been embarrassed to look directly at him, no matter the circumstances.

"I know you probably don't want me here after what I was going to do today but I didn't know where to go," Jake explained, looking up but still not at his face.

Stanley eyebrows furrowed. He must have been more exhausted that he had even thought because that most certainly hadn't made any sense.

"Right," Jake went on after a silence, thinking that the lack of answer from his friend confirmed what he had just said. "I should go. I'm sorry I've bothered you."

He was already beginning to turn back when Stanley shook himself of his trance and reacted, placing a hand on Jake's arm to stop him.

"No, no, come in. I was just surprised. Come in," he insisted when he saw that his friend was still hesitating a little.

A few moments later, they were both sitting on the couch, Stanley looking at Jake with growing worry, not used to the man's subdued attitude. It just wasn't like him at all and that, combined with his earlier word, assured him that something had happened; something that had apparently had a very great impact on his friend and not in a good way either.

"You want something to drink?" Stanley asked after a while, when it became clear that Jake wasn't going to talk.

Jake shook his head, answering negatively at the question.

"Can I stay here tonight?" he asked, finally making eyes contact with his friend.

"Of course," Stanley answered, as if it was something that hadn't even needed to be asked. "But Jake, what happened? Aren't you supposed to be staying with your family?"

As soon as the words escaped his mouth, Stanley knew that he had hit the spot. He watched Jake's face close up and his friend put on a mask that didn't let any of his feelings show, which was never a good thing when it came to that man; he had absolutely no problem letting others see his happiness, but when he felt sad… that was another matter.

Stanley sighed and threw an arm around Jake's shoulder, feeling the other man tense for a second before completely relaxing.

"Drop the act, Jake. You don't need it with me, you know that," Stanley said, gentle as he let his hand run up and down his friend's arm.

He felt Jake nod as the man leant against his side, seeming to take comfort in the friendly embrace that he so obviously needed at the time.

"Dad threw me out," Jake admitted, starling the other man.

"He what?!" he exclaimed, turning to look at Jake whose face was now the very picture of misery. "What the hell for?"

He knew that Jake and his father often didn't see eyes to eyes, on a lot of subject, but he would never have though that Mister Green would go as far as throwing his own son out of his house. That was simply unimaginable.

"The bridge thing," Jake shrugged.

And suddenly it made sense to Stanley why Jake wasn't sure he wanted him there. After all, if his father was angry enough not to allow him to stay, how could Stanley, who would have been one of the ones that had to pay the price, not be?

"God, Jake, I like your father very much but I'm going to kill him," he sighed before forcing the man to look at him. "You wanted to save the town and you did what you had to. Yes, we managed to find another solution but it could have very well not worked and we would have had to destroy that fucking bridge anyway. We still may have to one day. You're one the people who's helping the most around and, yes, you may make mistakes but you're only human. If your father is too blind to see it, it's not your fault."

"My plan would have totally isolated you, you would have been cut out from everything," Jake whispered, seeming remorseful.

"Quite frankly, this isn't what scared me the most at the time," Stanley admitted. "Because, you see, at the time, my best friend was threatening to kill himself with explosives," he added, when he saw the inquiring look of said best friend.

Jake smiled slightly at that. It was nice to see that someone cared that much about him and not just because he was family, even though one could argue that Stanley had been family to him for a very long time, in any way but blood.

"So try to avoid doing it again. I thought I was going to have a heart attack," he said seriously.

"I'll try not to," Jake promised, knowing that there was no way he could keep that particular promise, even though he would try his hardest to.

Stanley shook his head, knowing that it wasn't the truth but letting it go anyway.

"Why don't you take the spare room?" he said. "You need to sleep and I'm knackered. And, Jake, you know you're always welcome to stay here, alright?" he insisted, wanting his friend to realize that.

"Thanks, Stan'," Jake thanked before following his friend out of the living room and upstairs, remembering where the room he had been giving was, since he had spent a lot of his time there when they had both been younger.

"No problem. It's gonna do me good not to be the only man around the ladies for a while," Stanley joked, releasing the seriousness of the atmosphere. "And if you need anything, you know where to find me."

Jake nodded before saying his good night and disappearing into the spare room. The man was totally exhausted and he felt in a deep sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Unfortunately, the dreams were not going to let him alone that night.

Stanley was startled awake in the middle of the night. Taking all of three seconds to remember where he was and who was home with him, he realized that the noise he was hearing was coming from the room adjacent to his, which mean that it was Jake that was trashing around.

As soon as that realization hit him, he was out of his bed and in the corridor. He came face to face with Mimi that had apparently been forced out of her sleep too. Smiling reassuringly at her, he sent her back to bed.

"Is he okay?" she still asked, having guessed who the other guest was.

"He will be," he answered before she nodded and went back to sleep.

Once that was done, he entered the room and, closing the door behind him, went to the bed where Jake was trashing widely. He seemed totally trapped into his nightmare and Stanley wasted no time in waking him.

Jake sat down, like he had been shocked, and tried to catch his breath, his respiration labored and uneven. He numbly noticed the mattress dipping under a weight, an arm coming around him, pulling him against a solid chest. Resting his head in the crook of Stanley's neck, he breathed deeply, trying to get his heart to beat to a more normal pace. Stanley enclosed his friend into the circle of his arms and began to murmur sweet nonsense, giving to his embrace calming quality.

After a little while, once his heartbeat was back to normal and his respiration slowed down, Jake detached himself from his friend and looked at him.

"Thanks. And sorry for waking you up," he apologized, embarrassed by the display of what he viewed as a weakness.

"No worry. Want to talk about it?" Stanley suggested, knowing Jake well enough to be sure he wouldn't.

As Stanley had thought, Jake just shook his head.

"Nothing, the mercenaries brought back not so pleasant memories. I was expecting the nightmares," he admitted with a grimace. "I should have warned you."

"Yes, you should have," Stanley said, nodding sagely, before climbing fully on the bed under the bewildered of his best friend.

"What the hell are you doing?" he exclaimed.

Stanley arched an eyebrow and, as if it was the most obvious thing, answered: "I'm sleeping with you; didn't we used to do this?"

"Yeah…. When we were ten?" Jake laughed, a note of disbelief coloring his voice. "We're not kids anymore."

"So, what? Are you worried about your virtue?" Stanley joked.

"About my virt- About my virtue?" he repeated, his mouth falling open.

He took a pillow and hit him with it.

"I'm not afraid for my virtue. If anything, you should be the one doing the worrying," he stated cockily.

And even though he ought to be peeved by that, Stanley couldn't help smiling because that was more like his friend that he had been since he had crossed the threshold of the house. It was reassuring and he settled down.

"Well, if you try anything, I'm screaming and Mimi will kick your ass," he said. "Now, go back to sleep."

Stanley lied down, turning so he was facing away from Jake and closed his eyes. He felt his friend lie back on his back and listened as Jake's breathing slowed down and was finally asleep. It was only then that he allowed himself to drift into the land of the dreams.