Jake stood in the hall and stared at Chance's door sadly. His teary eyes studied the very grain of the wood and his thoughts were silent. He had nothing to feel. He wanted to feel nothing. He reached out slowly for the doorknob but as his fingertips touched the cool metal he pulled back as though it were on fire. He stared in surprise at his own reaction. He lowered his hand and head. He turned his eyes away and went about his day.
As the sun began to set he returned to the hall and put a hand to his chest. He gripped his shirt and felt his mind empty once again. He didn't want to think. He just wanted to stare. He would think tomorrow. He would feel tomorrow. He turned from Chance's door and made his way towards his own with drooped shoulders. He would feel tomorrow. He knew he would as he fell onto his bed and curled into himself.
In the morning he did not let himself stare at Chance's door. It would be the first time in weeks that he didn't. Today he would not feel. He went to work and he went to bed. He would not let himself dwell at the entrance to Chance's room. He would not let himself dwell on the reason it remained closed to him. He would never let himself feel again. He would never open that door. Never again.
As his lonely days turned into months Jake felt himself grow hollow within. He felt it and yet he would not acknowledge it. Callie would visit from time to time but the cold expression on his face discouraged her. He simply sat in the garage and worked on gadgets he knew he would never use. He would start with the thought that this new invention would be a great addition to the TurboKat. He would finish with a defeated sigh. Callie stopped coming.
He no longer watched the news. He knew he would not answer the calls of a city in need. He knew he would not feel the guilt he should for abandoning them. If Chance were here... Jake turned his eyes from the blank screen of a television he never watched. He stood from his slouched position on the couch and dragged himself down the hall. He would go to sleep early tonight. He stopped at his door and turned.
His eyes landed on Chance's door and he felt himself overcome with emotion. He did not want to feel but today he would. He took slow, heavy steps towards the room he had been avoiding for nearly a year. He placed his hand on the knob but did not pull away. He turned it slowly and as the door swung to his eyes filled with tears he had fought so hard to hold back.
Chance's room was just as he had left it. There were clothes strewn about the floor and a few empty milk cans on his bedside table. His bed was a mess of blankets and pillows. Jake walked over slowly and sat on the disheveled bed gently. Chance was the most restless sleeper he had ever known. He couldn't stay still for five minutes. Jake's hands gripped the sheets. His claws ripped through the soft blankets and pierced the mattress. Tears spilled over his cheeks and there was a choking sensation in his throat. He squeezed his eyes shut but try as he might the tears pushed their way through.
Chance was dead and he would never return. He had been fooling himself this entire time. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had been trying to believe that Chance was locked away in this room. Now that the room was revealed to be empty Chance was truly gone. He released his grip on the sheets and fell into the pile of pillows in the center of Chance's bed. His acute sense of smell could pick up all the aromas that made up Chance's unique scent. He pulled a pillow close to his face and let his tears soak into the cushion to wash it away.
His stomach felt empty and a wave of nausea washed over him. He could only bury his face further into the soft fortress of Chance's scent as he tried not to relive the tragic moment when Chance ceased to be. He had stared in horror as Chance's hand slammed down on the eject button. It had not been the one for his own seat. He had chosen to eject Jake first. Jake wondered if there hadn't been enough time for him to eject. Or had he wanted to save his precious jet? He would never know. He could only remember staring down from above as he watched the TurboKat hit Enforcer Headquarters.
When they recovered Chance's body they had discovered his true identity. But they had not discovered Razor's. Jake knew that Feral would have guessed who he was after finding Chance but he never came after him. This would have surprised him if he had not been so devoured by grief. He was glad for this unexpected kindness, however. He had sat in the garage and waited for them to arrest him for some time before realizing they wouldn't. That was when he decided to carry on with his life. His lonely, pained existence.
He sighed and felt his breath hitch in his throat. He could almost feel a hand on his shoulder. He turned to look but the room was empty. The sun was setting outside the window and Jake knew he should go to bed. However, he could not find it in himself to leave the room that had once belonged to his partner. He buried himself in the bedding and inhaled Chance's scent. If he closed his eyes he could pretend he was there. As he drifted off to sleep he heard a voice whisper in his ear.
"See ya, Sure Shot."