Title: Strays 1/?
Summary: What's it all worth when you're alone?
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit made and no harm intended.
Notes: AU, the brothers were not raised together by Evelyn.
What did he have really? On top of the world, with more money, more resources and more fucking power than a man could ask for, what did he really have? A lavish home, condos around the city, a fleet of expensive cars and a legion of workers, bodyguards and associates, each bound to him in some form or another.
He sat at his desk, watching the snowflakes fall outside, a tumbler of Jack Daniels clasped in one hand. He scowled at the window, clusters of snowflakes frozen and clinging to the panes of glass. One of the richest, most powerful men in all of Detroit...
And he was alone.
Bobby Mercer downed the rest of his whiskey, the golden liquid scorching a path down his throat.
He was always fucking alone.
"...not that he's said much of anything lately, but he's a risk, that's for damn sure," Anthony Reyner shifted in his seat and exhaled, his broad shoulders tensed. "You gotta take him out..." he trailed off, swallowing hard, "I...that is, uh..."
The chair in front of the desk creaked quietly, Bobby Mercer's fingers drummed an irregular beat, and Anthony felt a bead of sweat roll down his cheek. Bobby regarded the man before him with a slight curl of disdain to his upper lip.
"You tellin' me how I oughta be runnin' things?" he lifted his gaze, his dark brown eyes hard and unflinching.
Anthony shook his head. "No, no sir, not at all, it's only...I heard things an'...an'..."
Bobby drummed his fingers slowly. Anthony looked at him, watching his roughened fingers move with abject fear. He'd heard such stories about the most feared crime lord in Detroit, the one known for his vicious temper and itchy trigger finger.
"I can get him brought in. I, I yeah, sure I can, I'll bring him by, it won't be no trouble at all," he babbled, his knee bouncing rapidly.
"Shut up, Reyner," Bobby stilled his fingers and eyed the man.
Anthony swallowed and nodded, "Yessir."
"Bring him in." Bobby never spoke loudly, preferring a quiet, chilling murmur, one that had a great effect. "I'll deal with him, an' your advice ain't needed. Clear?"
"Yeah, yeah crystal clear," Anthony resisted the urge to wipe the sweat from his face and neck.
Bobby looked away from him, a silent dismissal. Anthony nodded to him and made a fast exit, the door closing behind him with a muted thud. He exhaled loudly in the corridor, wiping at his sweat covered skin. "Damn..." he whispered.
"I said no," Bobby reached for the bottle on his desktop, his forehead creased with irritation. He tugged the cap off and upended the bottle, pouring a generous amount into his glass. "Can I make it any clearer for you? Do I need to draw ya a diagram?"
He tucked the phone under his chin and rolled his eyes. "I don't care how much the bribe is, you have your orders."
"Yeah, uh huh," he gripped the glass and took a long swallow, grimacing when the liquid slid down his throat. "Do it an' get back here. I got other shit to worry about right now."
He hung up the phone and gulped the rest of his whiskey. He could feel a migraine building in his temples. Bobby closed his eyes, taking slow, even breaths to try and stave off the inevitable pounding flashes inside his skull.
Another leak, he clenched his jaw. Fucking perfect. He rubbed his thumbs along his temples, willing the pain to ebb. After a moment he lifted his head, sighing.
Bobby let his mind wander as he sorted through his paperwork, his attention dwindling fast. The phone rang again, prompting a vicious flurry of mumbled swearing from him.
"What?" he snapped into the phone, clutching his aching head with one hand.
"Easy," a smooth voice came over the line. "S' me, I got my driver comin' out to pick you up in twenty. We got some shit to take care of, 'member?"
Bobby clenched his teeth. "Yeah, yeah, Jer, I remember. Evan call you yet about that punk?"
"Nah man, not yet. No worries, Evan knows better than to stiff me or you."
"Always a first time, he's on thin fucking ice with me right now, him an' Anthony both. I swear I'm gonna drop kick him into the river, he keeps this shit up."
Jerry chuckled. "Yeah, I know it. Be there in twenty, we'll get this shit done. I got Camille brought in tonight, an' I'd rather be vistin' then stayin' out on business."
A ghost of a smile flitted past Bobby's lips, one that was barely there and gone again in a flash, "Buyin' pussy won't make ya happy."
"Hey, fuck you, man; she ain't in it for the money."
Bobby snorted. "Uh huh, she'd be the first then."
"Whatever," Jerry grumbled. "Be ready to go, yeah?"
"Yeah," Bobby fumbled with his desk drawer. He yanked it open, his hand blindly searching for his bottle of pills. He tugged the bottle lid off and dry swallowed the last two pills in the container. "See ya." He hung up and poured another shot of whiskey, downing that as well.
Bobby closed his eyes once more, his stomach churning. He felt a squeeze, a flicker of longing course through him. Some nights he hated facing an empty bed when he returned home. He grimaced.
"I got no one," he whispered to his silent office. "I don't need no one."
Even to him, the words rang false and hollow.
The snowflakes fell faster that night, big, thick flakes that clung to Bobby's expensive wool coat. He ducked his head and stepped into the waiting car, the wave of warmth hitting him then. He sat on the seat, peeling his gloves off slowly.
Jerry sat next to him, his jaw tensed. "Sure bled out, didn't he?"
Bobby shrugged, "Yeah." He dropped the gloves into a plastic bag and sat back, screams echoing in his ears still. "He's burnin' now."
"Still gonna meet up with the Sweets t' morrow?" Jerry glanced at him, his black hat tipped back ever so slightly over his forehead. "We can reschedule, don't hafta be tomorrow."
"S'fine," Bobby took a silver flask from the inner pocket of his coat. He took a quick pull off it, a wince visible for a second. "The little one, Victor, he's one to watch. I don't trust him, not for one fucking second."
Jerry nodded. "He's got that look in his eyes, he wants what you got, an' he ain't above takin' you out."
"Let's see him try," Bobby murmured, looking out the window as the car moved, watching the scenery pass them by.
"Bobby...Look, man, you gotta do somethin' about all this. You're wound too fucking tight."
He ignored him in favor of staring out the window. The car headed downtown, turning onto the main streets. "I don't need nothin'," he said finally.
"You need to get laid, that's what you need," Jerry grinned. "Seriously, a little somethin' to take the edge right off, that'll do ya some good, you know it will."
Bobby rolled his eyes. "No." He shifted then, needing out of the car, out of the stifling heat. "Pull over," he called to the driver.
The driver nodded silently, "Yessir." He pulled off to the side of the road and switched the engine off.
"Bobby, the hell, man? Where you goin'?" Jerry stared at him.
"Out, I...I jus' need to get some air, go see Camille or somethin'. I'll call a cab," Bobby slipped out of the car and into the frigid night air.
"It's too damn cold, man! Get your dumb white ass back in here!"
Bobby walked out onto the sidewalk, merging with the crowd of people. He dimly heard Jerry call his name. He pushed further into the blur of nameless faces, a sea of unknown people around him.
Jack plucked at the strings on his guitar, his fingers mostly numb from the cold. A never ending parade of shoes and boots passed him on the street corner, the white snow faded to an off brown slush around him. He shivered, a gust of wind ruffling his messy hair.
A clunk caught his ear, the sound of change hitting his open guitar case. He nodded in the direction of the kind stranger. If that was a quarter, he'd have enough scraped together to get a coffee and maybe...maybe a croissant. His stomach gurgled at the thought.
Jack strummed his fingers again, his teeth clenched to keep the shivers at bay. He closed his eyes and moved his fingers faster, letting the random melody fly from him and over the crowd. A moment or so passed before he opened his eyes, a man standing off to the side, his dark eyes watching Jack intently.
He blinked and looked off to the side, a touch uncomfortable from the scrutiny. He knew damn well how scruffy he looked, that he looked like what he was, a waif, scrawny and too thin and huddled over in layers of clothes, none that fit right. He swallowed and started playing again.
The man moved closer, the crowd parting around him, it seemed. He stopped in front of Jack, his long wool coat brushing the edges of Jack's guitar case. "You take requests?" he asked in a voice pitched quite low, low enough that Jack had strain his ears over the sounds of traffic and people around them.
"Yeah," Jack glanced up at him again, his lips parting as realization kicked in. 'Oh Jesus, it couldn't possibly be...' he dropped his gaze fast, his ears burning. "Uh, yeah sure," he managed to say.
The man took a clip of money out of his inner coat pocket and peeled a twenty off. He folded it and held his hand out, the money tucked between two fingers. Jack blinked. A twenty? He took the bill quickly and stuffed it into his jeans pocket, his heart beating fast. A twenty would get him several meals, he nearly crowed with delight.
"Whatcha wanna hear?"
The man shrugged. "Play somethin' you like."
Jack licked his chapped lips and nodded. He started playing, his eyes half closed. He sang quietly, his cold body forgotten, the cement under him ignored as he played for the man, a man most people knew of and heard of, he sang louder, on some level wanting to impress the Bobby Mercer.
As the song ended, Jack exhaled, his fingers shaking a little. He stared down at the ground, his throat dry.
"You're real good, kid," the man nodded.
"You know who I am?"
Jack nodded once. "Yeah sure," he mustered up some bravado. "Who doesn't know you?"
Bobby Mercer's lips twitched with a spark of amusement in his eyes. "Who indeed," he murmured. "You know who I am, so who're you, huh?"
"Jack," he whispered, his heart pounding hard against his ribs.
"Just Jack?" Bobby raised one eyebrow.
He licked his lips again. "Yessir, just Jack, so can...can I play you somethin' else, sir?"
Bobby frowned and Jack felt a wave of fear roll through him. "Anything you wanna hear...its fine."
"You a street kid?"
"Yeah, so what?"
Bobby made that odd almost-not quite smile. "So nothin'," he said. "Listen, you ever need a place to stay, 'sides the shelters, give me a call," he took a small metal case from another pocket and withdrew a thin white card from it. He held it out to him.
Jack eyed the card and then him, hesitating. "What's that?"
"It's a card, Jack," Bobby said flatly.
He took it, holding the card gingerly. "What, you run a shelter or somethin'?"
"You could say that." Bobby pocketed the metal case and withdrew the money clip again. He peeled several bills off and crouched down a little. "Keep it in mind, yeah? It's only gonna get colder."
Jack clenched his jaw. "I'm not a fucking charity case."
Bobby shrugged. "Suit yourself, but if you change your mind, then give me a call. Here, go get somethin' warm to eat." With that, he pressed the bills into Jack's hand. "You make a great soundin' racket on that guitar; it'd be a shame to waste that."
Jack clutched the money, his chest tight with fear, anger and a prickle of shame. Bobby held his gaze for a long moment and then stood up, walking away with the crowds. Jack counted the bills, his blue eyes wide with stunned surprise. "Unreal," he breathed.