Fade

Disclaimer- Not mine, song belongs to Staind

Author Notes- Sequel to All Eyes on Me, not necessary to read it first, but could be helpful. Thanks to Jess for Beta reading for me!

I try to breathe
Memories overtaking me
I try to face them but
The thought is too much to conceive
***********************************************

Jaime Waite hadn't slept well since his mother had died. He hadn't been in school for nearly three weeks, not that anyone could blame him. So imagine Alex's surprise when the dark haired young man tapped lightly on the doorframe of his office one day.

"Jamie! How are you doing?" Jamie smiled faintly, a ghost of his former self. He was pale and drawn, and his appearance alone was enough of a concern for Alex.

"I just wanted to come by." There was an underlying tone in his voice and Alex picked up on it.

"Would you like to talk?" Jamie hesitated for a moment.

"I don't know if I will be able to come back." He said at length.

"Do you want to leave the squad?" Alex asked, thinking back to when he had a conversation very much like this with Val Lanier.

"No, but I'm barely able to go back to school..."

"No one expects you to jump right back into these things Jamie." Alex began "Why don't we see how you do once you are back in school, and until then, we'll put you on a leave of absence."

"Thank you." Jamie went to stand up when Alex halted him.

"And Jamie, if you ever need to talk, my doors open okay?"

"Thank you." Jamie repeated, as he retreated out the door. He paused momentarily glancing out by the common room where Hank Beecham, Tyler Connell,and Val Lanier sat. Without a word, he left.

***************************************************
I only know that I can change
Everything else just stays the same
So now I step out of the darkness
that my life became 'cause
****************************************************

Jamie had gotten several offers to live with uncles and aunts, but he couldn't bring himself to accept any of them. His mother had loved this house, and part of him knew he could never let this house go. So Peter had agreed to come down from school, and stay with Jamie. The house had meaning for Peter too after all. Peter would often wake up to hear Jamie's muffled cries or his reoccurring nightmares. The door shut almost silently and Peter stood up to meet Jamie in the hall.

"Jamie?"

"Hey Peter." Jamie called hoarsely.

"Are you sure your ready for school on Monday?"

"I've already missed to much, I should go back."

"Jamie," Peter began, putting a hand on his brothers shoulder. "They will understand if you need more time." Jamie shrugged off his hand.

"I'll be fine." He turned and walked into his room.

"Yeah, right." Peter sighed and let him go.

*************************************************
I just needed someone to talk to
You were just to busy with yourself
You were never there for me
To express how I felt
I just stuffed it down
Now I'm older and I feel like
I could let some of this anger fade
But it seems the surface I am scratching
Is the bed that I have made
***************************************************

Jamie had finally returned to school, and he was for once early. He sat in Monsieur LeBon's class, waiting for the beginning of class, so when Hank walked in, he was suitably shocked.

"Jamie, we didn't know you where coming back today!" Jamie just sorta shrugged. Hank slid into his seat directly behind Jamie. "So, Alex told us you came by the station the other day, I wish we had been there."

"You were there." Jamie replied.

"Why didn't you come see us?" Hank asked, a slight tinge of hurt in his voice.

"I had to get home." Jamie replied evenly.

"When will you be coming back to the squad?"

"Who told you I was coming back?"

"No one, I just assumed."

"You really shouldn't assume things Hank." Class began before Hank could reply. The class went on as usual, and Hank mulled over what Jamie had said. When the bell final rang, Hank waited for Jamie.

"Well, I think you should come back. I mean Val came back."

"Val never left." Jamie replied as he ventured off into the hallway, Hank matching his step.

"I know, but we miss talking to you."

"If you wanted to talk to me, you could have called me." Hank blanched at the hurt in Jamie's voice. Before he could ask him about it, however, Jamie stepped around him and disappeared into a room. Hank stood dumbfounded for a moment, before going off in search of his other friends.

**************************************************
So where were you?
When all this I was going through
You never took the time
To ask me just what you could do
***************************************************

Val Lanier, Tyler Connell, and Caitie Roth stood in the hallway during lunch period.

"Hank said Jamie's back today." Tyler mentioned.

"I saw him earlier." Val said. "He's lost so much weight."

"Yeah, he just sorta, picks at his food now." Caitie explained.
"Losing his Mom was really hard on him, he's not sleeping or eating like he should be."

"I can imagine." Val said. It was obvious she was thinking about when her dad had almost died.

"Hank also said Jamie doesn't sound like he'll be coming back to the squad." Tyler said.

"Why?" Val gasped, as if the concept escaped her.

"Don't know." Tyler replied. "Also, Hank said when he mentioned something about missing talking to him, Jamie said we could just call, said he sounded all hurt."

"Why would he be hurt?" Val asked.

"Oh please!" Caitie snorted. "Have any of you three during the entire time he's been gone bother to call him or visit him, just to see if you could do anything for him?!"

"I just assumed he'd rather be left alone." Tyler began

"He could have called us." Val defended.

"Val," Caitie began with stretched patience "he'd been making phone calls all week, the last thing he needed to do was call up someone and go, 'I'm sorry, but I've lost my mother, could you come talk to me?' Its our job as his friends to do that for him. It shouldn't be up to him to make the first call in a situation like this. I mean he lost his mother for God sakes!" Caitie's voice had been steadily rising until she was nearly shouting. With that she turned on her heels and stormed away.

"Well, its not like she's so perfect." Tyler sniped. "She was making him feel like totally crap over some fight right before his Mom died." Val sighed and turned to him.

"We should probably go find Hank." Tyler nodded and the two headed off.

**********************************************
I only know that I can change
Everything else just stays the same
So now I step out of the darkness
that my life became 'cause
***********************************************

Jamie sat alone under a big oak tree. He would have remained alone too if Caitie hadn't set her lunch down beside him. "You up for some company?"

"Your company? Always." She grinned.

"Good to see your getting some of your humor back."

"Yeah." He offered her a weak smile.

"So how's it been so far?"

"Luckily I don't have anymore classes with the Super Squad." Caitie blinked in surprise, she hadn't heard Jamie refer to them as the super squad since, well, he'd been on it.

"Don't get mad, but I sorta hollered at Val and Tyler earlier."

"Why would I get mad?"

"Cause I sorta told them you needed support and they weren't providing it."

"Oh." She looked at him and nearly flinched, his eyes, which had once been so full of spark and life, were dull and glazed over.

"I know this is hard on you." He smiled and put his head down on her shoulder.

"Thank you." She smiled and brushed her hand across his forehead.

"Anytime."

***********************************************
I just needed someone to talk to
You were just to busy with yourself
You were never there for me
To express how I felt
I just stuffed it down
Now I'm older and I feel like
I could let some of this anger fade
But it seems the surface I am scratching
Is the bed that I have made
************************************************

"How was school?" Peter asked as Jamie sat down at the table.

"Everyone stared at me."

"Weren't you sorta expecting that?"

"Yeah....Hank sorta badgered me about coming back to the squad."

"I thought you agreed not to do that?" Peter asked, watching as Jamie traced little circles with his finger on the table cloth.

"Well, I had planned on it, but then Alex suggested I take a leave of absence instead of quitting..."

"I still think it would be good for you, if after school lets out, you went and spent some time with Aunt Emma. You use to love the farm and country air will do you good."

"Do you understand why I can't go live with a relative?" Jamie asked suddenly, changing the topic.

"Explain it to me?" Peter asked, though he had a pretty good idea already.

"Mom died in this house. I can't just leave....its like, I don't know how to explain, its like she's still here."

"And you don't want anyone else living in this house?"

"Not for a long time...can you understand that Peter?"

"I sorta can." Peter replied. "Are you hungry?"

"Not really."

"Jamie, you have to eat something, its not healthy the way you've been going."

"I'm all right."

"Your obviously not all right! Look at you, your wasting away! I almost think your trying to stave yourself to death so you'll die too-" Peter tried to cut himself off, but the words spilled from his mouth before he could stop them. Jamie's eyes filled with hurt and he fled the room. "Jamie!" Peter called, mentally kicking himself before he went after him. Pushing open Jamie's door, he sighed. Jamie was laying on his stomach, his head turned towards the wall facing away from the door, his face buried in pillows.

"Go away." Jamie's muffled voice came from beneath the pillows.

"I'm sorry Jamie, I didn't mean it like that." He sat down on the edge of Jamie's bed. "You've been the one to take care of Mom when she was sick, you were with her at the end. I'm sorry I said anything." He patted Jamie's back awkwardly. "I'm making Chicken soup, I'll save you a bowl." With that Peter left Jamie alone in his room.

***********************************************
I never meant to fade...Away
I NEVER MEANT TO FADE
***********************************************

School had been displeasurable before, now it was hell. He passed by Tyler, who gave him a strange look. Jamie shrugged it off and kept walking. Caitie who had been standing at her locker, next to Val's suddenly slammed the door and veered towards him.

"You might wanna make yourself scarce I overheard Hank talking to Val and they plan on cornering you and trying to talk to you."

"Thanks for the heads up." She grabbed his arm and lead him away. She glanced over her shoulder and watched as Val sighed in exasperation. Once a good distance away, Caitie stopped and took a good look at Jamie.

"You been sleeping?"

"Yes."

"Eating?"

"Yes."

"Have you been doing enough of either?"

"Probably not, but I'm doing what I can." Caitie nodded.

"Okay, that's all we can ask you to do." She looped her arm around his waist. "We just worry about you."

"Who exactly is we?" Jamie asked, raising his eyebrow.

"Peter, me, even the super squad in their own way..."

"Yeah." Jamie looked uncomfortable for a moment.

"But think of it this way, school will be out soon....then you'll have the entire summer." Caitie said, trying to change the subject.

"Yeah, Peter wants me to go to my aunts."

"For the entire summer?"

"Yeah."

"It might do you some good to get out of Kingsport for a while." Caitie watched as he kicked at a pebble.

"Yeah, I probably will end up going. I just don't have the energy to fight with him anymore." Caitie tightened her grip around his waist. It was then Val's voice came into hearing range.

"Come on, the last thing you need right now is dealing with them." Her arm slid away from his waist and she took hold of his jacket sleeve. "Follow me." He nodded and the two of them darted down the hall, disappearing around the corner just as Val, Tyler, and Hank came around the next.

"I could have sworn I heard him back here." Tyler said looking around.

"I think its pretty clear he's avoiding us, and I think Caitie is helping him do so." Hank replied.

"Lets keep going, we'll find them eventually, because if Jamie is avoiding us, I want to know why." Val said picking up her pace.

************************************************
I just needed someone to talk to
You were just to busy with yourself
You were never there for me
To express how I felt
I just stuffed it down
Now I'm older and I feel like
I could let some of this anger fade
But it seems the surface I am scratching
Is the bed that I have made
************************************************

Jamie had made it through the day without running into the super squad. He walked down the street, pulling his jacket tighter around him. He started to pass by the station, ducking his head slightly.

"I see that limp went away." The voice startled Jamie so badly he nearly fell over.

"Brooke, you scared the life out of me."

"Sorry Jamie." Val's younger sister watched him for a moment. "Hank said you weren't coming back."

"I might not be able to."

"Do you just not want to come back?"

"Its not that."

"What is it then?" Val asked coming up behind Brooke.

"Look, I can barely get through school, so being on the squad would probably just result in me killing someone."

"Jamie, I know its hard on you that your Mom died, but that shouldn't stop you from coming back to the squad. Just cause you couldn't keep her alive, doesn't mean you can't save someone else." As soon as the words had left Val's mouth, she realized they were the wrong things to say. Jamie truly looked like Val has reached in and ripped his heart right out of his chest. Without a word, Jamie turned and bolted down the sidewalk, forcefully pushing Tyler, and Hank out of his way as he went.

"What was all that about?!" Hank asked steadying himself.

"I think I may have just ensured Jamie's dismissal of the squad." Val said with a groan.

"What do you mean?" Tyler asked warily.

"Of all the things to say, I said the thing that looked like I removed his heart and did a tap dance on it." Hank sighed and turned to watch Jamie's fleeting form.

"Maybe you should go talk to him." Brooke spoke up.

"I think we're the last people he wants to talk to." Tyler replied, as Jamie disappeared from view.

"True, but we still need to do it." Hank replied. "We owe him at least that much."
***********************************************
I try to breathe....

Well, that's it for this story, but ya know what I decided to turn this story line into a trilogy, so expect a third one....if anyone wants one that is. Hoped you liked it.