Chapter One

Lock was putting stars on the walls of Jack's (their) room, humming, and heard the phone ring downstairs. She knew Bobby would get it, continuing on with her decorating, and wondered where Jack was. He'd told her that he wouldn't be more than half an hour to forty-five minutes, here it was an hour and a half later, but she didn't worry about it--she knew how Jack could be.

Wonder what my little demon boy has up his sleeves. . .she grinned, hoping it was another date.

"Baby girl," it was Bobby and he sounded strange.

She turned around, saw the oldest Mercer leaning on the door frame, and he had tears running down his face.

"Bobby?" she started to worry. "What's wrong?"

"The. . .the hospital just called," he wiped his face. "Jackie's been in a car accident, sweetie. . ."

"What?!" she yelled, dropping the stars in her hand. "No, you're lying!"

"No, Stray, I'm not," he cried. "He's at the hospital--."

She sobbed, sinking to the floor, and it felt like someone had reached into her chest and was squeezing her heart and lungs. Her parents had been killed in a car accident, now her boyfriend had been in one too!? Bobby scooped her up, she screamed in pain, not from his touching her but from deep inside, and clung to his strong frame.

"B-Bobby," she whimpered, "please t-tell m-me he's all right. . ."

"He's unconscious, Lock. . .Pretty fucked up, but he's alive. . ." Bobby murmured, holding her tightly. "I called us a cab, sweetheart. . .He'll be ok, but they have to keep him there a few days. . .Why not grab him some pajamas so he can be comfy?"

"O-ok," she sniffled, slowly making herself calm down. "Did you c-call the rest of-?"

"I'm gonna call them from the hospital," he said, setting her down. "I wanna see Apple Jacks first. . ."

She nodded, sort of going numb, and rifled through Jack's clothes. The smell of him wafted up to her, making her start crying again, and she grabbed a pair of pajama pants, handing them to Bobby, then pulled on one of Jack's dirty button downs. Bobby took her hand, leading her downstairs, and she hung onto him for dear life. The cab was already waiting for them, she climbed in first, then Bobby, and he told the cabbie where to go. Lock closed her eyes, leaning on Bobby, and tried to keep her breath even.

Jack's alive, Lock, she told herself. He's fucked up, but he's alive. . .

She was really glad that Bobby was taking charge of the whole situation, she couldn't focus enough to do it, and let him be in charge. He paid the cabbie, took her hand, and she followed him into the hospital. They went to the front desk and talked to the woman there.

"Excuse me, ma'am," he muttered. "I'm Robert Mercer. . .My little brother Jack's been in a car accident and is in this hospital, I just got the call a few minutes ago. . ."

"Oh, yes. . .Jack Mercer is in. . ." she checked her computer, "room 303. . .His doctor will meet you up there to explain his condition."

"Thank you," he mumbled, heading for the elevators. "Baby girl, how you doin'? You're awful quiet, kiddo. . ."

"I'm scared," she whispered.

"Me too," he sighed pressing the call button. "We'll go in and see Jackie together, ok?"

"Mmm hmm," she nodded, still numb feeling.

They went up to the third floor, the doctor was waiting for them outside Jack's room, and she stood behind Bobby.

"Mr. Mercer, I'm sorry about your brother," he murmured, shaking Bobby's hand.

"What's wrong with Jackie?" Lock squeaked.

"Oh, you are. . .?" he looked at her.

"Lock," she mumbled. "Jack's girlfriend. . ."

"Oh," he gave her a sorrowful look. "He lost a lot of blood from the gear stick going into his right thigh, it just missed the femoral artery. . .he's really lucky there. . .He has several cracked ribs from the seat belt locking up and lacerations on his face and neck from his head going through the side window. He looks a lot worse than he really is, but we want him here a few days to keep an eye on his leg wound. . ."

"May we see him?" Bobby asked, squeezing her hand in his.

"Yes. He's not awake right now, I had to sedate him heavily and the pain killers are pretty heavy too, for his leg and ribs. . ." the doctor said.

"Thanks. Umm, there will be more family coming, I have to call them still."

"That's fine, but don't try to wake him. Either of you," he glanced to Lock. "He needs his rest."

Lock skittered to the door, opening it, and stopped, unable to make herself go on. Bobby gently pushed her forward, urging her on, and she slowly walked into the hospital room containing the man she loved to death. Jack's bare chest was wrapped up tightly in gauze, his right leg wasn't covered up by the sheet, she saw the bandaging there too, and fought a fleet of fresh tears. His face had small cuts on it, mainly by his left temple, as well as his neck, and his skin seemed washed out, making him look thirty times more fragile that he really was. Bobby nudged her forward, then walked to Jack, and touched his baby brother's face.

"Apple Jacks," he murmured, tears spilling from his blue eyes. "We're here, baby brother. . ."

Lock tentatively touched Jack's hand, brushing over his fingers, then pulled back, and collapsed into a chair. She couldn't touch him, not like this; it hurt too much for her. Bobby knelt in front of her, holding her face in his hands, and stared into her eyes.

"Sweetheart, he's all right," he soothed. "Just sleeping. He's not gonna break if you touch him. Do you think you'll be all right in here alone while I go make some calls?"

She nodded, he kissed her forehead, gave her a strong hug, and slipped off to do his task. Slowly, she got up, and touched Jack's face. She traced his jaw, his soft lips, his cheek bones, and brushed hair back from his closed eyes, expecting him to wake up and everything to be fine. Hazel eyes stayed shut though, making her miserable, and she sat in the chair, bringing her knees up and sobbing into them.

The rest of the Mercer clan showed up soon, all visiting Jackie, and consoling Lock--or at least trying to. The only people who really made her feel better were Bobby and Evelyn, but the one who'd make it all ok stayed sleeping in the bed. She refused to leave Jackie, even getting into a yelling match with one of the nurses, until Bobby intervened and explained what was going on.

"Oh, Miss, I didn't know," the nurse said gently. "Of course the two of you can stay with him, but no more than you two. . .I'll get you some blankets. . ."

"Stray, you need to chill, baby girl," Bobby smirked a little, hugging her to him. "We're not leaving Jackie here alone. . .That fairy would kill me if he wakes up and you weren't here."

"I just don't want him waking up alone," she whimpered.

"And he won't now," he soothed, kissing her head.

The nurse gave them each a blanket and pillow, even rolled in an extra bed for one of them to sleep on, and then left them alone. Lock let Bobby take the bed, she pulled the chair up close to Jack's bed, and let her head rest on the mattress right beside his hand. Fingers in her hair woke her up later, she shifted, thinking it was Bobby, and tried to get more sleep.


Her head shot up, she looked at Jack, and saw brilliant hazel eyes staring back at her. She let out a sob of relief, kissing his fingers, and then his lips.

"Oh, God, Jackie boy," she cried, running her hands in his hair. "I was so fucking scared. . ."

"Hey," he whispered, still doped up a little. "Shh shh shh. I'm all right, gorgeous. Just a little banged up is all. . ."

"Fucker who hit you just left you there," she sniffed, touching his face. "They just left you."

"Babe, hush," he murmured, wiping tears from her face. "Come here," he slid over, wincing from the shift. "I need my cuddle buddy. . ."

She gladly kicked off her shoes, carefully crawled up with him, and buried her face in his neck, kissing over and over. He stroked her back, kissed her head, and she moved to listen to his heart, letting the steady rhythm soothe her.

"Lock," he said softly, "look at me."

She looked up at him, saw his gentle eyes, and he smiled softly at her. She touched his lips, then his hair, and stared at him. Jack was all right, he was alive, and awake.

"Can I have a kiss?" he smirked. "Before we go back to sleep."

She kissed him gently, he moved up into it eagerly, and she deepened it slowly, making him hum. He nibbled her lip when she pulled back, making her snicker, and she nuzzled into his neck afterwards. Jack's hand slipped under her shirt, fingers gently stroking her side, and he lulled her to sleep.


When Jack woke up all he knew was pain. His leg throbbed with every beat of his heart, his ribs burned when he breathed, and he focused on shallow breaths. The pain faded somewhat, he opened his eyes, and saw Lock snuggled up to him. Her one arm was draped delicately over his stomach, the other was by his head, and she was breathing peacefully. He heard light snoring to his left, glanced over, and saw Bobby sleeping in another hospital bed. The door opened, he looked that way, and saw a nurse come in.

"Good morning, Jack," she whispered. "Glad to see you're awake."

"Mm," he nodded slowly.

"She sure put up a fight about staying with you," she gestured Lock. "Yelled at me about it. . ."

"I'm sorry," he smirked. "She's a bit overprotective sometimes."

"Well, she needs to move," she gave him a look. "I need to check your leg and she's right in the way."

"All right," he grinned. "I'll wake her up."

She nodded, setting fresh dressings on a stand, and watched him closely.

"Lock," he murmured, nudging her with his nose. "C'mon, babs. . .Wake up."

"No," she whimpered, cowering into him. "Please."

"Beautiful, you gotta move so the nurse can change the bandages on my leg."

"Please, don't make me leave, Jackie," she pleaded. "I wanna stay with you."

"Lock," the nurse spoke up. "You don't have to leave him. Just move to the left side of the bed so I can check his leg."

Lock looked at the nurse untrustingly, as if she expected her to try and rip her away from him, and stayed put. Jack made her look at him, he smiled gently, and kissed her nose. She shook her head stubbornly, tears in her eyes, and he brushed them away.

"Look, you need to move," the nurse growled.

"Fuck you!" Lock snapped, waking Bobby up.

"Aw, Jesus, Stray," his brother grumbled, getting off the bed. "C'mere, baby girl. Let the nurse do her job."

Lock growled, crying, but didn't fight Bobby when he untangled her from Jack and scooped her up. The nurse glared at his girlfriend, she flipped her off, and Bobby took Lock out of the room before a fight started.

"You don't have to be like that to her," Jack mumbled to his nurse. "She's just worried about me."

"She's making my job difficult," she said evenly, cutting the bandage off his leg. "Acting like a child."

"She lost her parents in a car accident when she was five-fucking-years-old," he growled, wincing when she moved his leg. "So back the hell off how she acts about this."

His nurse went silent, doing her work, and gave him some pain killers. He glowered at her a little bit, but asked her a question he needed answered anyway.

"My personal belongings," he muttered, "where are they?"

"Your clothes are gone," she gave him a look. "But all the other stuff is in a paper bag in there," she pointed to a closet. "Would you like me to get it for you?"

"No," he said quickly. "I'll get it."

"You shouldn't put any pressure on this leg," she said firmly. "Unless you want to blow the stitching out. . .I'll just get it for you."

"Fine," he sighed, making the note to request a new nurse.

She gave him the paper bag, helped him sit up, and explained how he could order his meals. He listened, nodding every once in a while, and went through the bag. He put on his rings, the necklace from Lock, and saw the velvet box. He opened it, saw the charm bracelet still sparkling inside, and smiled. The nurse gave him an odd look, he ignored her, and hid the box under the right side of his back. His nurse left, Bobby and Lock strolled back in, and his girlfriend had a black stuffed teddy bear.

She crawled on the left side of bed, he put an arm around her shoulders, and kissed her cheek. Bobby sat near his feet, giving Jack a smirk, and patted his left leg.

"I requested you get a new nurse," his brother murmured. "That one's a bitch."

"Yeah," he chuckled, wincing due to his ribs.

"I got you this," Lock whispered, setting the bear on his lap. "His name's Midnight and he's a Get Well Bear. . .If you don't get better soon, he'll come to life and maul you."

"Aw, thanks," he grinned, kissing her. "Now I have some motivation."

Lock giggled, sinking against him, and he felt lots better. He thought about giving her the bracelet, but decided to wait until he had some alone time with her, and got something else out of the way.

"Bobby, I'm sorry about the car," he mumbled, blushing. "She's completely wrecked. . .No fixing it this time."

"Hey," Bobby laughed. "Don't worry about it! That car was on it's way out anyhow. The insurance will cover us. I'm hoping to get us two cars with it."

"Oh. . ." he whispered. "I'm still sorry."

"I was more worried about you than that piece of shit car, Apple Jacks," Bobby grinned, patting his knee. "Car's replaceable."

The pain killers were kicking in, Jack was having trouble staying awake, and he finally allowed himself to sleep. He woke up much later, alone, and slowly sat himself up. He had to piss so fucking bad it wasn't funny, so he carefully swung his legs over the edge, and stood up, keeping most of the weight off his right leg. Jack limped to the bathroom, shut the door, and relieved himself, sighing. He washed up, caught sight of himself in the mirror, and shook his head, windows always win against human heads. Limping, he went to the stand beside the bed, grabbed a cigarette, and went out to his balcony. He sat down in one of the chairs, to let his leg rest, and lit up.

"Fuck," he moaned when he inhaled. "I needed this. . ."

He hated hospitals, they brought up too much shit, but as long as he had cigarettes and wasn't alone for too long, he'd be ok. He took a long drag, ignoring the ache in his chest, and held it for a minute.

"You aren't supposed to put weight on your leg," Lock murmured, scaring him.

"Holy fucking shit, babs!" he jumped. "Jesus, think you can walk any quieter?"

"Sorry," she blushed, fidgeting.

"That's all right," he snickered, touching her hand. "Baby, what's buggin' you?"

She shook her head, starting to cry for another time, and he pitched his smoke, getting to his feet shakily. He hugged her to him, she sobbed loudly into his neck, arms around his shoulders, and he bit back his own tears.

"I thought I'd lo-lost you," she cried in the most heart wrenching way. "I was s-so terrified!"

"I'm right here, Lock," he soothed, kissing her jaw. "Right here."

She cried, clutching him, and he held her in his arms. He played with her hair, stroking it, and kissed her neck and face. Thunder cracked suddenly, then icy rain fell, as if Mother Nature was suffering the same emotions as Lock, and they stayed on the balcony, holding onto each other. Finally, the worst of Lock's storm had passed, she stopped crying, and his leg was aching horribly, but he dealt with it.

"C'mon, you really shouldn't have been standing up so long like this," she said quietly, leading his dripping body inside.

He got settled in bed, being sure to hide the box under his pillow, and Lock got him a towel, taking it upon herself to dry his chest. She dried his hair for him, even his shoulders, then went and showered quickly, changing as well.

"Where's Bobby?" he called, thinking about the bracelet.

"Umm, getting us food," she said, emerging in his clothes. "Actual food, not hospital stuff. . .he said he may be a while."

Good. . .he smiled.

"Come here, my gorgeous angel," he grinned, patting the bed on his left side.

She sat next to him, he looked at her, and touched her face. Her lip was being abused by her teeth, he put a finger to her mouth, making her stop, and turned her face to his. The fear was still evident in her silver eyes, he brushed wet hair from them, and scrunched his nose at her, earning a giggle.

"Reach under the pillow," he murmured.

Lock slowly reached under the pillow, finding the box, and pulled it out, looking at him curiously.

"Open it."

She opened the box, then dropped it like it was poison, and turned her back to it.

"I don't want it," she mumbled, sounding upset again.

"What?" he didn't understand. "Babs, I got it for you."

"I don't want it!" she growled, pushing it away.

"Lock, why?" he asked, entirely lost. She'd never turned down a gift, especially one from him.

"It's the reason you're hurt!" she cried, spinning to look at him.

"What do you mean?"

"If you hadn't gone to get that stupid fucking thing, you wouldn't be in the hospital!" she snapped.

Oh shit. . .

"Honey, no," he said firmly, touching her knee. "That bracelet isn't why I'm hurt. Some fuckin' idiot who never learned that red means stop is why I'm hurt. I got this just for you, Lock. . ."

She stared at the box on the bed, thinking, and he picked it up, opening it again.

"It. . .is pretty," she mumbled, touching it with one finger.

"Well, it's for someone very pretty," he said softly, taking it out. "And very important to me."

He gently took her hand, flipping it over, and put the charm bracelet on her wrist, clasping it. She shyly looked at it more closely, touching each charm, and smiled a little.

"Ok, I guess I want it after all," she whispered, wiping her face. "Thank you, demon boy."

"You're very welcome, gorgeous," he laughed, pulling her into a deep and lengthy kiss.

Bobby got back with Taco Bell for everyone, Jack drooled at the smell of food, and ate his fill, talking and laughing. Afterward, a nurse came in (a different one from the last one), and gave Jack some pain killers. She offered to bring in yet another bed, so Lock could sleep comfortably, but Jack declined.

"She'll sleep better right here with me," he smiled. "Thanks for offering though."

"All right," she snickered. "Tomorrow, we're working on getting that leg less stiff, mister. Lock, you can even help. He'll need to do it at home too."

"Ok," she whispered.

Great, I'll have a drill sergeant at the house, he thought with a laugh.

He let his eyes close, he was exhausted, and Lock carefully got curled up with him. He wormed his left leg between hers, arm under her neck, and she giggled, kissing his shoulder. Bobby ruffled his hair, kissed Lock's cheek, wished them goodnight, and shut the light off, crawling into the other bed.


Bobby woke up early the next morning, glanced to the sleeping teens, and sighed, getting up. He snuck one of Jack's smokes, stepped out on the balcony, and lit up. They still had no idea who had been the idiot that crashed into Jackie and just left him there, but if Bobby ever found them, they'd be six feet under the dirt quickly.

He's gonna limp for a while, he thought, looking back through the glass door to Jack. But at least he's alive to walk. . .

His little brother would need help doing simple stuff, like getting in and out of bed or standing up, and Bobby knew that Jack would hate being babied like that. Somehow, he knew that Stray would most likely be the one taking care of Jack, and he smiled at the thought, taking a long drag from the smoke. He understood why she was so scared about this whole situation; she'd lost her only true family in a car accident that she survived, and then her boyfriend had gotten into a bad one as well--he could only imagine the shit it brought up for the young woman. He finished his cigarette, flicking the butt, and went inside to grab a brief shower.

When he got out, he heard that new nurse talking, and then Jack yelped softly. He tugged on jeans, not even bothering with a shirt, and opened the door, wondering what was making his brother hurt this time.

"Fuck! That hurts!" Jack ground out as the nurse slowly bent his leg at the knee.

"It will, Jack," she said gently, catching a deadly glare from Stray. "Lock, he needs to work his leg before he tries to stand on it. . .It'll help loosen the muscles and he won't have as much of a chance of tearing out his stitching or of falling."

"How long does he have to do this?" Stray muttered, dropping her attitude towards the woman.

"Until it stops hurting him so much," she snickered, slowly straightening Jack's leg out. "About ten or fifteen minutes a day."

"What about steps?" Bobby asked. "How long 'fore he can use those?"

"Well, he can use them as soon as he gets home, with help," she faltered a little when she saw Bobby's bare torso. "Umm. . .They'll actually be very good exercise for him."

"Damn," Jack growled. "Bobby, we're installing a fuckin' elevator."

Bobby laughed, pulling on a shirt, and watched Jack endure his torture. After a few minutes, his leg seemed to move easier, and his nurse listed off some rules to Lock.

"He should avoid tight jeans," she shot a stern look at Jack. "At least until the stitches are out. . .If you notice him limping worse than usual, make him rest. . .Help him when he needs it, even if he says he doesn't. . .Did you happen to bring him fresh clothes?"

"Some pajama pants," Stray murmured, watching what the nurse was doing.

"Good," she smiled, finishing her task. "Jack, sit up. . .Mind those ribs."

"Yeah yeah," he grumbled, sitting up.

"Lock, you should help him stand," the nurse smiled at her. "And you watched me work his leg, right?"

"Yes," she said, standing in front of her boyfriend.

"Do that every morning when he wakes up," she grinned, seeing Jack take Lock's hands. "C'mon, Jack, up."

"Quit fuckin' rushing me," he growled, standing up. "Shit!"

Jack's right leg gave out, Stray caught him around the waist, and Bobby moved to help her move him. Jack's face was flushed in embarrassment as he sat back down, he stared at the floor, and his nurse covered a laugh.

"I should have told you to not put so much weight on that leg. . .I'm sorry."

"Gee, thanks," Jack muttered.

"C'mon, fairy," Bobby extended a hand. "Quit bein' such a puss."

"Blow me," he said darkly, ignoring the hand, and carefully standing up. "Can I just go take my piss now? Alone."

"Fine," his nurse said. "Change while you're at it, big shot. I'll leave your meds out here. I have rounds."

Jack went into the bathroom, Bobby worried a little about his sudden attitude shift, and felt the nurse staring at him.

"His meds were changed. . .These shouldn't cause him to be so tired or so bitchy when they wear off."

"Oh, thanks, Miss--?"

"Kellan," she smiled. "Nurse Kellan."

"Thanks, Nurse Kellan," he smiled a little. "We'll be sure the brat changes and takes his medication."

"Thank you," she said, briefly (and surely, she thought it was unnoticeable) checking him out, then left.

"Maybe you should give her a picture to remember you by," Stray grumbled.

"Baby girl!" he scolded, laughing.

"What?" she smirked. "Did you see her when she noticed you didn't have a shirt on? Her eyes damn near came outta her skull."

"I can't help that she's attracted to me," he growled playfully. He was sort of flattered that his brother's nurse had a crush on him.

"Ewwww," Stray teased, making a face of disgust. "Who'd find you attractive?"

"Brat," he smirked, messing up her hair. "Apple Jacks," he knocked on the bathroom door, "you all right?"

"Yeah," his brother mumbled. "Just changing. . .Give me a few minutes."

"A'ight," he smiled a little.

Stray was watching TV, laying on Jack's bed, and snuggled Midnight. Jack slowly emerged from the bathroom, limped over, and took his meds, sitting next to Lock. His little brother winced, rubbing his neck, and soon, it was Lock doing the massaging of Jack's sore muscles. Bobby ran to the local bakery, picking up a box of doughnuts, and when he came back, Apple Jacks was having a smoke.

"Hey, fairy," he said gently, sitting next to him.

"Hey. Sorry I was bitchy earlier," he blushed, passing the smoke. "It's just frustrating, ya know? Needing help to do the simple shit."

"At least you can piss on your own," he chuckled, taking a hit off the cigarette. "And it was mainly the lack of those other pain meds this morning."

"Yeah," his brother murmured. "The stuff they put me on now is better. . .I'm not a zombie."

"That's good. . .How's Stray doin' today?" he asked, passing the smoke back.

"She's still kinda freaked out by this shit and about me doin' stuff. . .Like walking around," he snickered. "But I think she's feeling better. I know this is hard on her."

"It's hard on all of us, Cracker Jack," he ruffled the sandy hair. "Be patient with her if she coddles you a little bit. . ."

"I will, Bobby," he smiled. "Her coddling me may not be so bad after all. . .Got a massage already."

"If you play this thing up, I'll kick your ass, Jack," he warned. "She was so fucking scared when we first saw you. . .Wouldn't even touch you."


"Honest to God," he mumbled. "And then that bitch nurse. . .I thought she was gonna end up in jail for murder."

"Hey, I got a better nurse now. One who gets that Lock's scared for me and wants to stay glued to my hip."

"I'm surprised she ain't out here now," he laughed, glancing back at Stray, who was still watching TV.

"Scooby-Doo is on," he snickered. "She apparently has loved him ever since she was little. . ."

"Cute," he grinned. "You two should prolly stay in your room when we get you home. . .So you don't have to go up and down the steps a million times a day."

"Mmm hmm," he nodded, finishing his smoke. "Did you pick up something for breakfast?"

"Yup," he shook his head, laughing. A car accident couldn't ruin Jack's appetite. "Doughnuts are on the stand by your bed."

"Cool," he smiled, slowly standing up, then falling back in the chair. "God fucking dammit!"

"Here, fairy," he said, extending a hand. "Pull yourself up. . .use your left leg the most. There you go."

"Thanks," Jack said, pulling himself to his feet.

He opened the door for his brother, who tried not to limp real bad, and made him sit his ass down next to baby girl and eat some breakfast. He watched as Stray set her head on Jack's left thigh, absently petting his leg, and felt his heart hurt a little bit for her. Jack tickled her side, making her squeak and squirm, and then pulled her up to his shoulder, nuzzling her.

At least they have one another. . .he smiled. Even if their cuddly shit is absolutely disgusting most of the time. . .

HERE IT IS!! The awaited first chapter of the latest installment!!
Tell me what you guys think! I really hope I keep all my readers and gain new ones!! Thanks for being so patient!!