Lessons In Dealing With Ones Enemies

This is the follw-up to Lessons In Pool and Lessons In Morning After Conversations. Originally, this was supposed to be the last part, but my JaSpin plot bunnies are still prodding the inside of my brain with hot irons demanding I continue writing. I was determined to get this part wrapped up today though. A Happy Birthday to myself, if you will. Enjoy!

"Not so fast, Freak Boy." A dreadfully familiar voice growls, just as Spinelli is about to leave the pier. He'd just stopped to make a phone call, let his guard down for a moment while he killed time before he had to go meet Jason, and now Sonny is breathing down his neck and the ice cold metal of a gun is pressed against his back.

"Mr. Sir… The Jackal must most vehemently inquire as to what exactly you're doing." Spinelli squeaks, trying to sound like he's not scared out his mind, even as the pressure on his back increases. He doesn't move, doesn't try to resist, because he knows Sonny can fire that gun a lot faster than he can get out of its range. No, he just lets Sonny lead him a few feet away from the water.

Sonny turns him around, holding him firmly against a hard stone wall that digs into his back. "I wouldn't talk, if I were you." He warns, waving the gun most unnervingly in front of the boy's face. "I'm not Jason. You mean nothing to me. I'll kill you in a heartbeat if you try to get away."

Spinelli nods, eyes on the floor as he prays his Stone Cold will arrive soon. They'd been planning to meet at Kelly's since early this morning, and the dock isn't that far from there. Wow, had that really only been this morning?

"The Jackal finds himself madly, passionately, and most ardently in love with him! And he is at a loss for how to express such… profound emotions to one so magnificent as Stone Cold. Especially on a day in need of such a celebration as his birthday." Spinelli sits in the same chair as the day he'd come to Maxie for advice on how to handle his and Jason's morning after talk. He's nervous again, now, three months, two weeks, and four days later, playing absently with the strap of the messenger bag across his chest.

Maxie can't help but smile, Spinelli's idolization of Jason is simply astounding sometimes. "Why don't you do something nice for him? Convince him to go out of town, go to dinner, see a movie. Things you can't do here without bodyguards." She suggests, knowing that the few times they've been out in public have been with Max and Milo not far away from them.

Spinelli nods, his brain obviously working a mile a minute on the details. "Maximista's recommendation is a most superb one, indeed. Perhaps Stone Cold and I could retreat to the confines of a charming bed and breakfast afterwards, as well…" The Jackal was already pulling out his laptop, making arrangements in his head, asking for Maxie's advice periodically as he made dinner reservations and booked a room.

Jason's eyes were on the door. Spinelli had been so excited when he'd asked to meet here. He was still relatively in the dark as to what the other man was planning, but figured it in some way revolved around the fact that today was his birthday.

However, when the clock ticks past 5, and there's still no sign of his lover, Jason grows concerned. It's unlike Spinelli to be late for anything; much less something he'd been so excited about. He heads out the door hoping that Spinelli just somehow lost track of time.

No trace of him outside Kelly's. He knows Spinelli has practically banned himself from the park, so Jason knows he's not there. He calls Maxie, who hasn't heard from Spinelli this morning, and by then his paranoia is practically tangible.

About to call Max and Milo to form a search party – scaling the entire city, if he must – he stops when he hears a familiar voice coming from the Elm Street Pier.

"—doesn't care about you. How could he? You're no better than gum stuck to the bottom of his shoe. He doesn't need you." He can hear Sonny's voice coming in loud and clear, tinged with anger and hate and all the emotions that do not add up to good. Jason knows without a doubt that it's Spinelli he's talking to.

He rounds the corner, intent on simply dragging Spinelli away and dealing with his ex-employer/best friend later.

Until he sees the gun. That's a whole new set of problems.

He draws his own weapon, resigning himself to what he may have to do, and steps out into the open. "Drop it." He growls, eyes already glaring their patented stone cold look.

Sonny startles, but his gun is still aimed squarely at Spinelli's head. He pulls Spinelli off the wall and towards him, angling him like a human shield. "Jason. It's about time."

"Stone Cold, I--" That's as far as Spinelli gets before Sonny smacks him with butt of the gun.

"Shut up, Freak Boy."

Seething now, Jason takes a step closer. "I said 'drop it'. Let him go now."

This time, Sonny doesn't even look bothered by his demand. "Or what?" He takes one giant step back, towards the water, and Jason can already see where this is going.

"Take one more step and I swear I'll shoot." Jason threatens, his gun trained on the form of the man he once respected. Now, though… Now he stands between Jason and Spinelli. Which is a bad thing, the worst thing that could happen as far as Jason is concerned.

Sonny only laughs, though. He chambers a round in the weapon he has aimed at Spinelli, pressed right against his temple. Spinelli's flinches with every move Sonny makes, his eyes begging, pleading with Jason to save him.

No, Jason thinks, this can't be happening. No...

His plan to force Sonny into line by keeping him away has most definitely backfired. It seems Sonny has used that time to allow his hatred for Spinelli to grow and fester, until it's come to this.

"Damn it; get away from him, now!" The ice blue eyed man shouts, as he watches the panic in his lover's eyes flare yet again.

"No." Sonny retorts. "No, I've got your precious freak boy, which means I'm in charge here. You don't give me orders." The other man's realization that he does indeed hold the power right now seems to surprise even him.

"Stone Cold…" He hears Spinelli call out again, his voice sounding just as terrified as he looks. While Spinelli has had guns on him before, and has even been shot before, this is a situation that is so immeasurably different.

This is what Spinelli had predicted during the quarantine. That the conflict between he and Sonny would reach a point even Jason couldn't bring it back from. One of them wouldn't make it out of this. But, Spinelli hadn't predicted his place in this chaos.

"Didn't I tell you shut the hell up?" Sonny growls, his arm curling tighter and tighter around Spinelli's neck.

"It'll be okay." He says, trying desperately to reassure his lover. "I won't let you get hurt."

Sonny practically doubles over with laughter upon hearing that. "You won't let him get hurt?" Sonny pistol whips the younger man again, and a trail of blood is now beginning to flow down from a gash just over Spinelli's left eye. "You see that, Jason? You can't protect him. You can't protect anybody!" He snorts. "No one. This life… you don't get to have people close to you in this life. I've lost everyone! My family! Michael, Morgan, Kristina. Even you've walked away. All because of this geek. So, I'm gonna take him from you."

"Last chance, Sonny." He thunders, blocking out the other man's desperate rationalizations. Focusing solely on the man trapped in Sonny's arms.

"You're not going to shoot me, Jason. You can't. You won't." The gun that's been fixed on Spinelli the whole time moves away, now aimed at Jason. "I'll kill him, and you still won't shoot me." Another step backwards towards the water. One more and they'll step right off the edge of the pier.

Jason matches the step. He fires off a shot that goes whizzing by Sonny's head. A warning. Then he gets it.

Sonny wants him to shoot. This is all just baiting as far as Sonny's concerned. If he didn't want that, Spinelli would already be dead. "Still think I won't?" He says, despite his realization.

"Pretty bold decision there." Sonny comments. "Your boy could've been dead because of that shot. You hesitate that way in shooting all your enemies and you'll lose everyone."

"Is that what you are, Sonny? My enemy?" Jason has about had it with this conversation, with seeing that look of pure terror in Spinelli's eyes.

Sonny grins. "Maybe."

That's it. Sonny's finger twitches on the trigger.

Jason fires first. Hits him in the shoulder.

Spinelli shoves his way out of the unstable man's grip and falls into the water. Sonny's bullet didn't hit him.

"You actually did it." The elder man sounds more amused than shocked, as he clutches the shoulder wound. The gun is still in his hand and he lifts it to fire into the water. Jason can't see over the edge from where he stands, so his heart immediately takes up residence somewhere in his throat. "A shame you can't bring yourself to kill me, though."

"Spinelli!" He shouts, and he fires off another shot. This one doesn't hit its target, though. Sonny is aiming at him now. Fires off a shot that hits him square in the chest. He's down. Sonny's still standing. All Jason can think of is Spinelli.

He hears another shot, and water splashing. Sirens. Then nothing.

"Stone Cold!" Spinelli shouts, bounding happily into Jason's office in the coffee shop. His messenger bag is swinging from his shoulder as always.

Jason looks up from the files he's been sifting through, an amused smirk on his face as he takes in his lover's more excited than usual demeanor. "You have a little too much orange soda this morning?" He teases, which earns him a big grin from Spinelli.

"The Jackal would like to inform you that he has made plans for tonight that entail significant preparation. He asks that you meet him at seventeen hundred hours at Kelly's. Is Stone Cold amenable to such an immediate time frame?"

"Sure, why not?" He answers. "I need to bring anything?"

"Just yourself. The Jackal will handle the rest." With that, Spinelli exits the room as quickly and as cheerfully as he entered it.

Jason picks up his phone, dialing a familiar number. "Max? Yeah. Cancel that meeting for tonight." A standard get together with one of the business' importers. Nothing that can't wait until tomorrow. "I've just been informed that I have somewhere to be."

Jason groans, eyes blearily trying to adjust to the harsh white light of a room that is not his own. This is the first time in over three months he's woken up without Spinelli's dead weight half on his chest. It feels surprisingly vacant.

His mind catches him up to speed then, and that vacant feeling grows even larger when he realizes that Spinelli could be dead. Probably is, since he's not here. Sonny… God, Sonny shot into the water at him! He tries to sit up, abruptly. But finds himself linked to several monitors and IV's and tubes he can't even name. Another second, and he's ripping cords out, alarms are going off, and nurses are rushing in.

They try to stop him, but he's not exactly thinking clearly right now. "Spinelli." He says, repeating it again and again. "Spinelli, where's Spinelli?" He demands. "I need to see him."

Robin is there, then, and they're pumping a sedative into his veins. "Jason, calm down." She says.

I can't calm down! Spinelli! He wants to say, but suddenly he's overwhelmed with the need to just sleep and his mouth won't work to form the words. His eyes stare up at her for another few seconds.

"The police will want to talk to him when he's awake again." He hears another nurse tells Robin.

"I'm pretty sure the police won't be the first thing on Jason's priority list when he wakes up again."

"He's the only one who knows what happened. I mean…"

Jason feels his heart break right before the medication takes over.

The next time he wakes up, he doesn't even try to move. What's the point? If that nurse said he was the only one who could tell the police what happened, then surely that must mean Sonny's bullet hit its mark. Sonny killed the last light in Jason's life.

He works himself up thinking like that, though, and one of the machines around him starts beeping. The noise becomes exponentially more annoying with every second that passes and Jason really wishes he could just shoot the damn thing by the time Robin appears in front of him.

"You going to stay calm this time?" She asks, prepared to call for assistance if he starts acting crazy again.

Jason doesn't say anything.

"I'll take that as a 'yes', then." She sighs. "The police want to hear what you have to say."

Still nothing.

She sighs. "Come on, Jase. I know you hate talking to them, but the sooner you get it over with, the sooner Spinelli can stop pestering the nurses and come see you."

The words register after a moment, and Jason stares up at her. "He's alive?" That has his attention, and now he's trying to escape the bed again.

Robin's hands land on his shoulders to stop him. "If you calm down, and only if you calm down, I'll let you see him."

He stops moving. "Alright."

"Spinelli is alive, perfectly fine except for the bump to the head and being a little shaken up. He's already talked to the police. The head wound messed with what he remembered from the shootout, so the police aren't sure of much of his statement. That's why they want to talk to you." Robin explains. "They said no visitors are allowed to see you until they're finished with you."

"I need to see him." Jason says, his tone practically pleading with her.

She doesn't relent, though. "I'll tell Mac to go easy on you. Be quick. Then you can see him."

Jason heaves a resigned sigh, which turns out to hurt a lot more than he expected. "Okay, send them in."

Robin leaves, and a moment later Mac and Lucky step in the door.

"Morgan." Mac greets, hostile as always. "Robin wants us to make this quick, so let's get to it."

Jason nods. "What did Spinelli tell you?"

"We're here to talk about you, not Spinelli." Mac reminds him pointedly. "What happened?"

Today is not a day for lying. "Sonny grabbed Spinelli, held him at gunpoint to mess with me. When he was about to shoot, I shot him in the shoulder, Spinelli fell off the pier. Sonny shot into the water, and then he shot me. I heard another gunshot once I was down, and that was it." He summarizes, though it feels quite odd not stonewalling the police.

"That last shot, know whose gun it came from?"

"Sonny, I guess. Is he alive?" Mac shakes his head, and Jason can't but feel just a little relieved that Spinelli will be that much safer. "Then I guess he shot himself. Or shot at Spinelli again. I was down. I really don't know."

Mac sighs. They'd been hoping Jason would have known who'd shot whom. "Fine. If you remember anything else, give us a call. We're not charging Spinelli, since this was clearly a case of self-defense…"

"Charging Spinelli? Spinelli was the only one not holding a gun." Jason, understandably confused, replies. "Why would you charge him?"

"According to his story, he's the one who killed Sonny." Lucky informs him. "Says he climbed back up and shot Sonny with your gun when he saw you were out."

Jason closes his eyes. Spinelli killed for me. His brain is swimming in thoughts now, and it's too much for his still heavily medicated body to take. He's out again before Mac and Lucky can even react.

"Spinelli." Jason heaves a huge sigh of relief the second he sees the other man walk through the door. "You're okay." He pulls his lover into his arms, holding on as if his very life depends on the contact. He breathes in the familiar and comforting scent of Spinelli, holds tighter, glad he finally knows Spinelli is okay.

A soft sigh escapes from the other's lips. "Affirmative, Stone Cold." He leans into Jason's touch as the elder brushes his hair away from the bandage over his eyes, where Sonny hit him. "Alas, the Deranged Mr. Sir was not so fortunate."

"I heard." Jason replies. "Want to tell me what happened?"

Spinelli shifts, leaning against Jason's side, careful of the bullet wound in his mentor's chest. "After I fell, I swam away, towards you. Then you went down… and the Jackal climbed back up onto the docks, commandeered your weapon and took aim at our now deceased tormentor." A pause, and then, "…Stone Cold, there was so much blood. Your blood. The Jackal fired in an attempt to avenge the life he'd believed Sonny had stolen from you…" He's finally done then, exhausted.

Robin told him that's Spinelli hasn't left the hospital since they'd been brought in. Hasn't slept, or eaten, he's just been sitting out in the waiting room waiting for the okay to go in. It's beginning to show. Jason manages to curl an arm around the other's frame, pulls him even closer. "Shh…" He whispers, pressing a soft kiss to the top of Spinelli's head. "It'll be okay."

WrathWings -- See? I didn't hurt Spinelli. Much.