A Night To Remember

Okay. Bear with me on this. I use a lot of dead characters(Georgie, Logan, Diego and Jessie to name a few) they're not major characters, just offshot references. I'll probably end up doing a sequel to this eventually. Thanks as always to Cynical_Sweater! Characters aren't mine. Enjoy!


"You don't look like you're having a very good time, Spinelli." Maxie observes, offering her date a glass of possibly spiked punch.

Spinelli is leaning idly against the wall of the elaborately decorated dance hall. "The Jackal in quite contented in letting the fair Maximista enjoy herself. I'll just remain here on the sidelines and take in the view." While this is not his class, per se – he's two years older than everyone here, except maybe a few various people there for the same reason he is, it's just as awkward as his own prom a couple years previous had been.

Maxie pouts. "Come on. Just one dance? Don't even try to tell me you can't dance, I know better than to fall for that." She's been dancing all night with various other guys from her own class, but she returns to try to wrangle Spinelli into agreeing every so often.

He is her date, though. If only in the friend sense. Still, he should at least dance with her, so finally, he offers a hand. "May I have this dance?" He asks, quite dramatically, adding in a bow for effect. She accepts and the two proceed onto the large and crowded dance floor.

The music is fast, some hip-hoppy melody that everyone knows, so naturally everyone is dancing, too.

"See anyone you like?" Maxie inquires as they move.

Spinelli sighs. He's been trying not to draw attention to the fact that he'd even been looking. "Not so much." He says rather pitifully.

***

Meanwhile, on the other side of the dance floor, Jason Morgan, a teacher's assistant at the school – currently acting as something between an attendee of the party and a chaperone - finally convinces fellow assistant and old friend Robin Scorpio to share a dance as well. Her boyfriend Patrick is currently off fetching drinks for their small group.

"Just one." Robin reiterates, as Jason leads her onto the obnoxiously busy dance floor. "Then you're on your own."

Jason nods and they dance to the same beat as everyone else. "Guess I won't be dancing after this, then." He sighs. 17 and 18 year olds students who may or may not be drinking spiked punch – it's hard to tell at this point, though they tried to keep track – does not sound like the brightest career move of all time.

***

For Spinelli and Maxie one dance turns into several, and by the time they take a break, it seems they're somehow trapped in the middle of the maze of people.

"Maxie!" Someone calls, drawing the blonde's attention.

"Hey, Kyle!" Maxie greets, and turns to Spinelli.

Kyle, a guy with dyed blonde hair, approaches and smiles. "Do you mind if I borrow your date?" He asks Spinelli, quite politely, and Maxie nods at him to indicate that she's fine with that.

"Ugh, yeah, sure." He looks to Maxie as he hands her off to Kyle. "I'll be at the bar." He tells her, as he begins his escape from the crowd, muttering a multitude of 'excuse me's and 'pardon's as he goes.

The bar is just as crowded as everything else is, but Spinelli finds a single seat left in the middle. It doesn't seem to be being saved, so he approaches. "Anyone sitting here?" He asks the girl sitting to his left. She shakes her head so he claims the empty barstool. He orders an orange soda when the bartender asks and sips at it slowly as he watches the various people milling around him.

"Your date bail on you or something?" Comes a voice from his right. He hadn't even noticed anyone sitting there.

"No, she's-" He cuts himself off when he turns toward the stealthy speaker. Some sort of living, breathing Adonis is sitting next to him. How did he not notice that? His train of thought sufficiently derailed, he falters. "Um. Sorry, what?"

Clad in the atypical attire of nice black jeans and an expensive looking black dress shirt, he doesn't quite fit in with the usual prom goers and their rented tuxedoes. The Adonis laughs, and shakes his head. "I asked if your date took off on you. You look kind of… miserable."

Spinelli stutters. "Ugh, no. She's… she wasn't really my date…" And he is utterly incapable of forming a complete sentence in front of the unidentified man. "I just… agreed to come to this as a friend." He finally gets out.

The Adonis grants him a stunning smile that makes his ice blue eyes sparkle. "You can relax, you know." He says, offering a hand. "My names Jason. Jason Morgan." A raised eyebrow indicates he has a question as well. "You're not a student are you? I'm a TA and I know most everyone…"

"I, no. Not exactly. I… that is, I used to be. I graduated two years ago." Spinelli explains, very much not relaxing. He downs the rest of his drink as if it is another form of liquid courage. "I'm Damian. Everyone calls me Spinelli, though." He says, pulling his hand away quickly when he realizes they've been shaking for a good long time. "Ugh, sorry."

"Okay, then. Spinelli, can I get you another drink?" Jason asks.

Spinelli nods rather shyly and the older man waves the bartender over once more. "Thanks." He whispers when another orange soda appears in front of him. "Who do you TA for?" Spinelli inquires, gaining a little bit of his nerve back.

Jason shrugs. "Most of the History teachers, actually. Just for this year, before I start Grad school."

"Most impressive." Spinelli notes.

A gaggle of loud teenagers, led by a dark haired guy and another blonde girl – popular, Spinelli guesses – approach the bar. Chatter increases ten-fold and Jason rolls his eyes. "You wanna go somewhere quieter?"

"Is there somewhere quieter?" Spinelli asks somewhat incredulously. If it's not the music blasting, it's gossiping hordes of nearly graduated teens.

Jason laughs, and picks up his own drink. "Yeah. Follow me."

Spinelli finds himself led toward the back of the dance hall, down an obstacle course of a hallway lined with tables and kids sipping definitely spiked punch. One of the various offset rooms – this one not filled with teenagers - calls their attention and Jason and Spinelli slip inside. "Where Johnny and Lulu go, noise always follows."

Assuming the couple that arrived at the bar was the above mentioned Johnny and Lulu, Spinelli would have to agree. They sit on opposites ends of the couch in the room, angled toward each other, but with a good distance between them. "Are you going to Grad school for History, too?" Spinelli inquires, rekindling their previous conversation.

"Yeah. For my Master's." Jason affirms. "Are you in college?"

"I'm a computer science major at PCU." Spinelli says. "The Ace of Cyberspace."

Jason laughs. "I like that. It's catchy." Their small-talk continues to various topics, ranging from teachers and college classes to movies and music. And while they don't necessarily have a lot in common, Spinelli's tastes being a bit more esoteric than Jason's pretty standard interests, they do find themselves getting along quite spectacularly. And before they know it, a good while has passed.

"Spinelli!" Comes a rather frantic voice from the doorway which gives the younger man cause to cease his explanation of Mac versus PC pros and cons. "I've been looking all over for you." Maxie walks in, visibly relieved to have found him.

"My apologies, Maximista." Spinelli stammers, as Jason's arm falls away from the back of the couch. "We lost track of time."

"Miss Jones." Jason greets, recognizing the student easily. "I'm sorry. I stole your date."

Maxie's eyes move between them, giving Jason several hints into whether or not the cues he'd been picking up throughout his and Spinelli's lengthy conversation were not all in his imagination. "N-no, it's fine." She says. "I was just going to ask Spinelli for another dance, is all."

Spinelli stands, feeling bad for ditching Maxie for so long. "Of course, Maximista." He smiles, and excuses himself from the room with a final smile and awkward wave to the Adonis he leaves behind.

***

"What can you tell me about the guy Maxie's dancing with?" Jason inquires, once again standing beside Robin and Patrick. They've both been with the school longer than he has so he imagines that they might recognize Spinelli as alumni.

"Who? Spinelli?" Patrick asks, eyes landing on the twenty year old. "He was a good student. Straight A's. Always glued to a laptop. Not many friends, though." He prods his girlfriend. "You remember him, right? The kid that got sent to the hospital after the guys from the football team jumped him?"

Jason freezes. "What?"

Robin nods. "Yeah. A couple of players put him in the hospital for a day or two in his senior year because it got out that he was, ugh, otherwise inclined." Robin answers. "He's been hanging out with Maxie for a while, though, I think." Maxie is her cousin, after all, so it's no surprise that she knows that. "Why do you ask?"

"Just curious."

***

"Jason Morgan?" Maxie hisses at him, clinging tightly to his arm as they once again step onto the dance floor. "You were actually having a conversation with Jason Morgan?"

Spinelli is confused. "Is that… bad?"

"No!" Maxie says sharply. "Not at all. It's just that… he doesn't really talk much when anyone sees him during classes. Just does what he has to and moves on. Rumors have been going around that he's involved in the mob and stuff, too." She explains, as they dance to another fast paced song.

"Well, then you have clearly been misinformed." Spinelli defends. "He's just a TA getting ready for Grad School."

A sigh. "Just be careful, Spinelli, okay? I can't see you get hurt again. And I definitely don't want to see you fitted for any cement keyboards because you tried to hit on some mob enforcer guy or something." Maxie warns. "Were you trying to hit on him?"

"No." A disbelieving glare. "Maybe." A raised eyebrow. "A little. " Spinelli's pouts. "Okay, yes. But he started it."

Maxie laughs. "Tell me about it, then."

***

A slow song replaces the hypersonic beat of the club-style dance music. A lot of people leave the floor, and those remaining go about forming couples who join up and spread out in the newly available space.

Jason has been watching Spinelli like a hawk since they separated. Discovering that the young man had been attacked two years prior had set his defenses on edge and made him hyperaware of other people in relation to the goofy kid. Now that a slower song is playing – and it seems plenty of guys are interested in Maxie - Jason makes his move, crossing through the crowds to reach the younger man before he can be brushed aside. "Mind if I borrow your date again?" Jason asks from somewhere just behind Spinelli.

"Oh, ugh, yeah. Go ahead." Spinelli answers, obviously assuming that the voice in inquiring after a dance with Maxie. He turns to see Jason standing behind him and a faint blush colors his features. "Oh."

Jason grins, and looks to Maxie for her answer.

"He's all yours." She answers, and gracefully slides away to join some guy – Jessie, Spinelli thinks his name is - on the sidelines for a moment. They proceed onto the dance floor themselves, but neither Jason nor Spinelli pays them much more attention.

"So, you, ugh, wanna dance?" Spinelli asks nervously, his eyes on the ground and not on his potential dance partner.

He nudges the younger man's chin up. "I would." Jason offers a hand and another stunning, eye sparkling smile.

Spinelli easily accepts and finds himself standing closer to Jason than any of their previous interactions required. They're nearly chest to chest. One of Jason's larger hands tangles with Spinelli's smaller ones. Jason's remaining hand settles on the younger man's hip while Spinelli's fee hand lands on Jason's shoulder.

"We're being watched." Spinelli whispers nervously, no doubt fearing another attack like the one he'd received in his own high school years. His eyes scan from side to side taking in the various staring students.

Jason gives his hand a squeeze and begins to lead them in a slow rhythmic circle, ignoring all outside observers. "Don't worry." He says, which sounds almost like a promise.

He finds himself put at ease by Jason's simple words and tries to tune out as well. He focuses on Jason. Just Jason.

The tense dance ends just minutes later, and the fast music erupts from the speakers again, sending the barrier around them down in flames. Both somewhat self-conscious, they escape again to the safety of the roomed hallway. And Maxie meets them there a moment later.

"Do you mind if plans change a bit for the After Party?" She asks, and smiles at someone hanging back a little. "Jessie invited us to some big party at his house."

Spinelli shrugs. "I don't mind." He agrees, it sounds better than the prospect of four hours at a loud, crazy bowling alley. "Are we still going with Dillon and Georgie." Dillon in the same graduating class as Maxie, is dating her younger sister, so they all just carpooled together in Dillon's family's limo.

"I think they're heading home after this, actually." Maxie informs him. "We can catch a ride with Jessie, I'm sure it would be fine."

Jason steps in. "I, ugh, I'll drive Spinelli wherever it is you're going." He offers, but then recalls that there's kind of a caveat to that. "But I only have room for one."

Maxie nods. Everyone at school knows Jason drives a motorcycle. Her dad would kill her if he found out she'd been on one, anyway. She looks to Spinelli to see if he's okay with the idea, though, and he's giving a subtle, pleading look that is begging her to agree. "Alright, yeah. "

Some kids are already trickling out of the massive dance hall toward limos and cars that will take them to various after prom parties. Jason and Spinelli, however, stick around for a while longer – now armed with the address to Jessie Beaudry's house.

"Why exactly do you only have room for one?" Spinelli asks, curious as they wander into the parking garage a while later. Maxie and Jessie have already gone, as have most of the people Spinelli can pick out of a crowd, but lots of kids are still lingering about in groups. None of them, however, are in the parking garage.

Jason motions ahead of them to where his black motorcycle is parked. "That would be why."

Spinelli laughs. "That would indeed explain it." Somewhat awed and partially afraid to ride on the two-wheeled contraption, he walks a little closer to Jason as they approach, but then Jason derails to another car as he goes.

"I just need to grab something, first. Go on ahead." He explains. The car he stops at belongs to Robin and his spare helmet resides in its trunk. He has a key for times such as these, so he takes the liberty of retrieving it. "Got you." He grins, finding the helmet under several pounds of camping equipment.

More voices in the parking garage draw his attention. Sound echoes in the concrete structure, so while he can't see whose speaking, he can hear what they are saying.

"My brother apparently didn't drill this into you before." Comes a biting growl from a voice Jason recognizes.

Diego Alcazar, one of the school's football players. And Jason quickly makes the connection.

"Hey!" He shouts, and emerges from behind the SUV. Sure enough, Diego and two other guys – also from the football team – are just feet away from Spinelli. Diego is armed with a tire iron – probably retrieved from his own trunk.

Spinelli is pale and frozen where he stands. His mouth is opening and closing like he's trying to say something, to call out for help, but no sound is coming out.

Jason strides closer, with long quick steps that draw him even with the three tormentors in a matter of seconds. "There a problem here?" He asks venom in his voice as his ice blue eyes lock onto the leader of this charade.

"Yeah, there is." Diego answers, stepping forward as he flips the metal tire iron absently. His second in command, Logan Hayes, steps up as well, along with surprising attendee Cooper Barrett. "You're in the way."

"In the way of what, exactly?" He prompts, moving to stand directly in front of Spinelli. "Your own expulsions for attempted assault?"

That falters Cooper's involvement quite nicely. "Guys, come on, we can't do this." He protests, backing off slightly.

"You mean you can't do this." Logan retorts, his hands balling into fists as Cooper chickens out and runs off. "Told you we should have gotten someone with more balls in on this."

"Shut up." Diego hisses, threateningly raising the tire iron now that their numbers have evened out. He swings around Jason and the tire iron connects with the frame of Jason's bike, denting it.

The older man's eye narrow and his hand darts out to catch Diego's wrist. The kid swings at him with his fist, lading a blow over Jason's eye. Jason punches Diego square in the stomach, sending the student to the ground, he tosses the tire iron away and turns around in time to see Spinelli hit the ground as well, Logan looming over him with a boot poised to kick.

"Enough!" Patrick's voice reaches them. A trio of other TA's: Robin Patrick, and Matt, followed by Cooper, emerge from the garage's entrance. Matt jogs over to the downed Diego, keeping him pinned while Patrick goes after Logan.

Jason runs to Spinelli, pulling the younger man to his feet. "You okay?" He asks but Spinelli is shaken and unresponsive to his question. The younger man mutely nods after a long moment, and Jason sits him down on the bumper of Robin's car.

"Somebody wanna let us in on what's going on here?" Matt demands, hauling Diego to his feet as well, while Robin chatters away – presumably to the police – on her cell phone.

"They were gonna go after Spinelli like Diego's brother did before." Cooper supplies, and he very much does not look like he ever wanted any part of that ridiculous plan.

"And the canary sings." Logan snarls, fighting the hold Patrick has on him.

"Enough." Jason snaps. "If you two don't get arrested for this stunt, we'll make sure you're expelled." He threatens, quite intent to make good on it. He kind of wishes those rumors going around about him having ties to the mob were true right about now.

As a couple officers were on patrol around the dance hall for tonight's extravaganza, it doesn't take them long to hear approaching sirens.

"Don't say anything." Logan warns. As the DA's son, he does know some tricks.

Jason doesn't care what happens to Logan and Diego so long as they don't mess with Spinelli again. Sure he's known the kid for what? Four hours? He doesn't care. He'll join the mob if it means keeping Spinelli away from creeps like Alcazar and Hayes.

The two attackers are led away to a squad car moments later. Logan's clammed up but Diego seems to lack that ability. Much to Logan's dismay, a minute does not go by without Diego saying something incriminating against them.

The cops take his and Spinelli's statements quickly – or Jason's at least, Spinelli hasn't mastered anything beyond one-word replies yet.

And finally, the squad car pulls away, leaving Spinelli and Cooper amongst the menagerie of teaching assistants. Jason has the beginnings of a black eye forming where Diego got his punch in, and Spinelli's got a small cut on his face and his palms and knees are scratched but is otherwise unscathed.

"Cooper, come on." Matt says. "I'll drive you home."

The teen look's gratefully at the older man and follows him off toward his car on the other side of the garage.

"You guys gonna be okay?" Robin asks after Jason and Spinelli.

"Yeah. I'll… I'll get him to wherever he needs to go." Jason promises, which unfortunately means taking the bike. "If you're up to it, Spinelli?"

The younger man nods, and stands beside the ruffled looking knight in shining armor that saved him from another trip to the hospital or potentially worse.

"Alright." Robin reluctantly agrees, as she and Patrick go to their sides of her car. "Be careful, okay?"

Jason assures her they will and offers Spinelli the helmet he'd left him alone to fetch. "I'll call Maxie if you want, tell her you won't be going to the party."

Spinelli wordlessly offers him the cell phone from his pocket. "Thanks." He whispers sounding several kinds of broken even as he sits behind Jason on the dented motorcycle.

The phone rings for a few seconds after Jason finds the number in the 'Recent Call' section.

"Spinelli? Where are you? It's been like an hour." Comes Maxie's concerned voice.

"This is Jason. Ugh, Spinelli isn't feeling well, so I'm taking him back to…" He pauses, turning to partially face Spinelli. "Where am I taking you?"

"Dorms." Is his one-word answer, as he plays absently with the ripped fabric at the blown out knees of his tuxedo pants.

Jason nods. "Back to the dorms. He says he's sorry he had to bail…" Or at least he would if he were up to talking, Jason's sure.

"Oh, ugh. Okay. Are you sure? Does he want me to come over or anything?"

Spinelli, who can hear the conversation through the phone, shakes his head. And then just takes the phone himself. "Maximista, I'll be fine. I just need some rest. I'll talk to you in the morning, okay?" And he sounds exhausted and drained and he knows she won't question him further.

"Alright, Spinelli. Feel better, okay? Love you."

"You, too." He replies before the call is ended. He tucks the phone back into his pocket just as Jason starts the motorcycle.

"Hold on, okay?" He says, putting his own helmet on after ensuring Spinelli has done the same.

Arms curl awkwardly around his chest and hold tightly. And Jason is speeding off into the night, the chilly May weather whipping by them as they go. He doesn't stop the bike until they're just off the PCU campus, and that's only because Spinelli is doing as much as he can to get his attention without removing his arms.

"Yeah?" Jason asks, after having made out Morse code tapped rhythmically against his chest. 'SOS' Spinelli had signaled, quite cleverly.

"Can… can we just go somewhere and talk for a while?" Spinelli asks nervously.

"Of course." The elder agrees, and Spinelli wraps around him once again.

Jason drives to an oceanic overlook where he sometimes goes when he wants to be alone. It's hard to get to and not a lot of people know about, it but he figures Spinelli could probably use the relaxation it offers.

"Thanks for that, by the way. Saving me." Spinelli says, following Jason closer to the edge of the cliff. They're still a safe distance from it, and there's an old log sitting around what once might have been a campfire, so they sit there. "I take it you heard about… before."

"About what happened in your senior year? Yeah. Robin told me." Jason answers, his elbows brushing against Spinelli's with their proximity. "She only told me the basics. Can I ask what really happened?"

Spinelli gives a deep, shuddering breath that makes Jason think that he probably shouldn't have brought up anything more about the past incident.

"You… you don't have to tell me anything if you don't want to."

"I, ugh, I tried to ask out this guy I kinda liked." Spinelli says, slinking down against the log and looking much smaller than he should. "He wasn't exactly… receptive to my advance, and his cousin happened to be the captain of the football team." Spinelli draws his knees up to his chest, even though doing so makes the skin on his knees burn. "So a few of them jumped me one day after school. I'd had to stay late; I was doing a favor for one of the teachers – fixing a computer malfunction." He explains, playing absently with his hands as he speaks.

He jumps when Jason's hand lands on his shoulder. "How bad was it?"

"I was in the hospital for a while. They, ugh," A sniffle, and Spinelli rubs at his face with an arm. "Kicked me when I was down and managed to collapse a lung. And my arm was broken, along with a few fingers." He stands, breaking away from Jason's touch, and then he's off. "They destroyed my laptop, which shouldn't sound worse than what they did to me, but it was something else to focus on. It took me weeks to get a new one into working order and retrieve all the information I lost."

Jason lets him rant about computers and whatever else he wants to rant about because he certainly deserves to. When deflective ramblings turn into quiet sobs, Jason is spurred into action, standing to approach the younger man pacing in front of him. "Hey," He says softly. "You're okay, alright? No one's coming after you as long as I have anything to do with it, okay?" And he really doesn't know how this kid can feel so important to him already, but he does, so he makes that a promise.

Spinelli more or less falls into Jason's arms the second he's close enough, and fists ball into the expensive black dress shirt, but Jason does not care. Spinelli mutters a stream of apologies and words the elder can't quite make out, and Jason carefully draws them to the ground once more, patting his back reassuringly as he lets Spinelli get this out. He feels the wetness of tears soaking through his shirt and he just holds on that much tighter.

"…Sorry." Spinelli sniffles out a few long moments later. "That was… sorry." He pulls away, eyes red and swollen.

"It's fine." Jason tells him, an arm still curled around the younger man's slighter form. "I'm helping, right?" Spinelli nods. "Then it's fine."

"It's just that… I've never really explained it… thought about it so much since it happened." He swallows nervously. And with all the events that took place tonight, well…" Spinelli breaks off, looking thoughtfully up at Jason. "Are you in the mob?" Spinelli asks, at random, which succeeds in throwing Jason off balance.

Ice blue eyes dance somewhere between amused and confused as they search Spinelli's for any explanation for that question. "What?"

"Maxie told me about some rumor that you were involved with the mob and I was just wondering…"

"It's just a rumor." Jason says dismissively. "If I were in the mob do you think those guys would have seriously tried anything once I showed up?"

Spinelli has to agree with the likelihood of the nights incident occurring if that were indeed the case. "True." He acquiesces, his hand settles between his folded up knees.

Jason's finger's play absently with Spinelli's hair, and after a long moment of silence, the elder's other hand comes up to tilt Spinelli's chin just so. Lips connect softly, and Spinelli moans into the kiss just before Jason pulls away again.

"I, ugh…" Jason starts but Spinelli cuts him off by kissing him. Spinelli's hands move quickly, one to wrap around Jason's neck and the other once again fisting in his shirt. "Mm." His own hands move of their own accord as well. The one previously playing with Spinelli's hair tangles into it instead and the other settles on the younger man's hip.

Several minutes of heated making out pass before the two finally separate.

"Your hands are cold." Jason observes quietly, his forehead pressed against Spinelli's.

"Sorry." The younger apologizes, slipping the hand that wormed its way under the black dress shirt away from Jason's warm skin. Jason catches it in easily between his own hands and brings it to his lips. Spinelli blushes slightly at the gesture and offers a shy smile. "It's ugh… getting kind of late, though." Nearly four a.m. really, the various after parties will be ending soon.

Jason nods. It is getting late. "I'll take you back to the dorms, then." He agrees, and he hopes they can do this again sometime soon. It's nice. He stands and offers Spinelli a hand and they stand there for a moment just doing nothing. "We should probably get going." Jason says even though he would like nothing more than to do no such thing.

Spinelli nods in reluctant agreement, as well, though. Spinelli's fingers interlace with Jason's as he's led back to the waiting bike. Both don their helmets again and climb back on the bike, and Jason begins the journey back to the PCU campus.

"You, ugh, sure you'll be okay tonight?" Jason asks when they're parked outside of Spinelli's dorm.

With a resigned sigh, Spinelli agrees, but makes no move to relinquish his hold on Jason. "I think so. My roommate's not home this weekend, so I'll have the room to myself until Maxie shows up in the morning." After a long moment, Spinelli does climb off the bike, but still doesn't leave. He bends to kiss Jason soundly once more, and an arm wraps around him as he does, keeping him in place for several more.

"Can I… you know, call you sometime?" Spinelli asks awkwardly, having never really asked such a thing before.

Jason grins and nods, and digs a pen from his pocket. "I'd like that."He answers, and scribbles a ten-digit number across Spinelli's forearm – not his hand, as that is still suffering the effects of its unaccounted for meeting with parking garage concrete. "Call anytime."

"Thanks." Spinelli grins wider than Jason has seen all night and the younger man leans in for one last kiss before he hurries off into the building.

Jason watches him go; only leaving once the younger man is safely inside the building.

***

"You got his phone number?" Maxie demands, eyes wide. Now that they've talked through the whole near attack thing from last night, she zeroed in on that part of his story. "Are you sure he's not in the mob?"

"Jason is not in the mob." Spinelli tells her for the seventh time.

She rolls her eyes but doesn't ask again. "So, are you gonna call him?" She asks, rifling through his collection of DVD's and CD's.

***

Jason wakes from a deep sleep closer to noon than he would like. The bruise over his eye is considerably sorer than it had been last night but he's not really worried about that. He's had worse.

Rubbing the last traces of sleep from his good eye he wanders into the kitchen of his apartment in nothing but his boxers and a t-shirt, heading straight for the coffee machine.

He's just pressed the start button on the pre-programmed machine when his phone rings. The number is unknown but he has a feeling he knows who it is. "Hello?"

"Is this too soon to call?" Spinelli's nervously awkward voice reaches his ears.

Jason smiles.