It's more serious than the summary makes it out to be, I promise. Had it finished yesterday but went down. Yet another fic crossed off the list for use of upping my NaNo count.
Sequel to 'Intoxicated' and 'Stone Cold Fever' and part of what I am dubbing the 'Altered States' Verse. Um, original characters are mine, GH characters are not. Enjoy!
It's half past three a.m. when Jason finally opts to pick up the phone and dial the familiar number. If it weren't for the fact that the he knows Spinelli has no reason to be out this late – no Jackal PI cases, no rendezvous with Maxie, no work for Jason - he wouldn't have been concerned. But, he is concerned and Spinelli should be home by now.
But, he's not.
"Spinelli," Jason says, slightly more concerned when his call goes to voicemail. "Call me back when you get this." He says simply, mostly because he doesn't have any other reason.
It's quarter of four when he calls again. It goes to voicemail again and this time he doesn't leave a message. He hangs up and tries a text message. 'Whereareyou?' It reads, because Jason hasn't quite mastered the spacing thing yet.
And then he waits.
At four seventeen, his cell phone rings. It doesn't wake him up or even interrupt him. He's been up, pacing the living room waiting for some sign of his roommate's return, and he answers the phone before the first ring is half done. Finally. "Spinelli?"
"Ugh, hi. Sorry." Comes an unfamiliar voice and for a second, Jason fears that his paranoia was more than well founded in reality. "You know the guy whose phone this is?"
"Yeah. Who is this? Where's Spinelli?" He demands, anxiety likely more than obvious in his voice.
The speaker on the other end of the line laughs a little nervously. "Relax. I work at DeMilo's." The voice says, and Jason recognizes the name of a rather sleazy club in a bad part of town. That's just perfect. "Your, ugh, Spinelli, is here. Quite drunk and quite in need of a ride home. I was gonna call him a cab, but I thought I'd check his phone first, see if there was anyone who'd come and get him?"
Jason's already tugging on his jacket by the time the man is done speaking. "I'll be there in twenty minutes. Keep him there, if you can." He assures the stranger and heads out. He wants Spinelli out of there and back at home as soon as possible.
The bar isn't very busy when Jason arrives. There's a couple huddled up in a corner booth doing things that aren't exactly socially accepted in public. There's a guy at the other end of the bar nursing a Corona looking like he's had a really bad day. Three girls who are apparently choosing to overlook the three better bars just a few blocks away. And Spinelli. Sprawled across his section of the bar with a bartender – presumably the guy who called him – hovering nearby.
"Spinelli?" He calls out, not even sure if his friend is conscious.
"Stone Cold!" Spinelli excitedly exclaims upon spotting him, sitting up as straight as he can manage in his inebriated state and spinning around on the barstool before he stands. The outburst is followed by a rather loud hiccup, which makes Spinelli giggle.
Jason is decidedly confused. Normally Spinelli drinks when he's upset and drinking usually only succeeds in making him more depressed. He's never seen him giddy like this. It's kind of scary. "You okay?" He asks, a hand landing on the younger's shoulder as he sways on his inebriated feet.
"Most excellent, Master." He answers, and suddenly he's falling forward, laughing hysterically as Jason catches him on reflex, arms flailing this way and that until Jason catches those, too.
"How much did he have to drink?" Jason asks the bartender – Tyler, his nametag reads – as he wrangles Spinelli back onto the barstool.
Tyler shrugs. "Only one or two beers. Must have a pretty low alcohol tolerance."
Jason slaps an appropriate number of bills down on the bar with a muttered "Thanks," and pulls Spinelli to his unsteady feet once more, aiming him toward the door.
The cold air of the outside world, Jason expects, should have a sobering effect on Spinelli, but instead, the younger man just falls into him again, eyes heavy and looking kind of glazed. "I… I don't feel so well, Stone Cold." He mumbles.
He's seen Spinelli drunk before. This isn't right. This isn't Spinelli drunk.
"Hey, hey. Look at me." He prompts, shaking him slightly to try to regain a bit of his attention. "Spinelli, this is important, okay? Did you ever leave your drink alone or anything?"
"I… Your humble Jackal… that is, I… may have made an ill-fated attempt to dance, but, alas, he was not gone but a moment." Spinelli answers, voice slurring and his movements choppy where he stands.
He was right. Spinelli isn't drunk. He's drugged.
He's just coming to this realization, deciding whether driving Spinelli to the hospital or calling an ambulance is the safer bet, when another side effect of whatever drug he was dosed with kicks in. The inhibition related part. Spinelli surges forward and the next thing he knows, his back is pressed to the brick wall of the building and Spinelli's trying to kiss him. His hands are fisted into the material of Jason's shirt, holding on for dear life as Jason's mind catches up to what the hell is going on. It's a sloppy and uncoordinated attempt– just as Spinelli himself is at the moment – and it doesn't take all that much to stop him, even if Jason is fighting himself, too.
And it's not like Jason doesn't know that Spinelli's in love with him. Spinelli had confessed that right after his break up with Maxie while he was astoundingly drunk and Jason had even considered giving in to his own less than brotherly feelings when Spinelli had come down with a bad case of pneumonia. They'd still be in some sort of odd limbo between friends and more than friends, even now.
"What… what are you doing?" He demands, holding Spinelli away from him by the arms.
But, the attack ends as quickly as it started, and Spinelli is looking a bit green and swaying even with Jason's tight hold on him. "I… I really, really don't feel well."
He passes out, then, slumped into Jason's arms.
Right. He needs to get Spinelli to the hospital now.
Its quarter of three when he gets to Jake's and realizes his mistake. It's closed, for repairs or renovations or remodeling or re-something or the other, Spinelli thinks, so he wanders about until he happens upon another bar. As he hasn't resided in Port Charles long enough to know which bar's to avoid, he doesn't seem terribly put off when he locates one dubbed 'DeMilo's'. It's not a very fancy place and it could definitely do with a renovation of its own, of serious proportions, but it'll do.
"Greetings," He says to the bartender, a decent looking guy whose nametag reads 'Tyler'. Spinelli orders his drink and makes polite small talk with the bartender for a few moments before he sits back and opts for some nice, quiet people watching.
"Hey there," A voice right beside him startles him out of his quiet observations. "You wanna dance?" The girl is maybe a little older than him, pretty, with dyed black hair and brown eyes. Her two friends, who he'd seen when he'd first come in, wave them over and he allows himself to be dragged along toward the dance floor. Even though it can't really be called that at all, especially since the sound system consists of a jukebox in the corner.
All in all, he lasts for one song. The last chords of Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit' – a testament as to when the last time the jukebox was updated was - come through the speaker system and he excuses himself. He came here to relax, not to dance to drugged-out 60's tunes or hook up. Just to get his mind off of some things.
"Havin' fun?" The bartender inquires, as Spinelli downs the last of his beer.
"Indeed, I am." Spinelli answers, and requests a second drink. He checks his watch, three thirty. He's been out longer than he thought. He should probably get back to Casa De Stone Cold soon.
"What's a 'Casa De Stone Cold'?" Tyler asks. And, oops, Spinelli supposes, guess he'd been thinking out loud.
"Home." He answers, simply enough. "My roommate's probably worried."
"Ah." Tyler hums, and has to pause in their conversation to go serve the three girls another round. "So, you're not hooking up with one of them? I think the blonde one liked you."
Spinelli shrugs. "Nope. She's… not really my type." Anymore, he mentally amends. Jason is his type. He spins around to people watch again.
The guy who'd been lurking on the edge of the bar – he looks pretty average, really, boring – has moved, and appears to be just getting back from a trip outside. Maybe smoking, Spinelli figures, as the man reclaims his seat.
Time passes slowly, it feels like, as he finishes off his second beer, declining a third.
After that things get kind of fuzzy... He remembers Jason and giggling like a little kid and then kissing and oh, god, what was he thinking?
He settles for driving, and he breaks several traffic laws on the way there, but he really doesn't care. Paying for a ticket seems a small concession to make for the unconscious Spinelli lying in the backseat.
He double parks in the ER lot and just barely remembers to shift the car into park before he's out of it and running around to the back door to grab Spinelli. Jason hefts the younger man into his arms, just like he did the last time Spinelli passed out on him, and makes for the doors.
"Hey, need some help here!" He calls, and it's Epiphany who ultimately spots him, sending a troop of student nurses along with Dr. Hunter over to them. Reluctantly, he lays Spinelli down on the hospital bed. "I think he was drugged or something. He was at a bar and left his drink…"
"I'll call the police," one of the student nurses says, and it's Matt who ends up taking over Spinelli's care.
It's only once they've refused to let him go any further that Jason realizes something.
Whoever drugged Spinelli had probably still been at the bar when he'd arrived to collect the hacker. With Spinelli now safely in Matt's capable hands, he remembers that he should be mad, angry, furious. Jason sighs and tries to get comfortable in one of the hospital waiting room chairs, thinking over his short suspect list. There's the guy at the end of the bar, the three girls, the couple, and the bartender. He's pretty sure he can rule out the couple, they were a little too self-involved to be worrying about everyone else, and it's doubtful that the bartender would call him if he had planned to do something, but the other's are all fair game.
Lucky shows up a few moments later, and Jason tells him what little he knows – Spinelli was drugged at DeMilo's. And, no, he doesn't know who could have done it. It's close enough to the truth. And it's not like the place has security cameras that he can check, either.
The detective heads out, since there's no word on Spinelli yet, with a promise to check out the bar and come back once Spinelli is ready to talk.
"Jason?" Comes Robin's familiar voice from behind him. He spins, facing her. "What are you doing here? You alright?"
He sighs, nods. "Yeah. Fine. I'm here with Spinelli." He answers, and tries to explain as best he can. "You wouldn't go and check on him for me, would you?" Jason requests, and isn't surprised when she agrees.
It only takes her a few minutes to reappear from the hallway that denies him access. "Well?"
"He's stable. Still unconscious. They have a blood test running to determine what his drink was laced with."
Jason nods, glad for the small piece of good news.
"He'll be okay."
He shrugs. He hates this. He hates that he always ends up sitting here and watching the people he cares about get wheeled into the hospital, that he can't do anything. He's powerless in here. No amount of Stone Coldness or any of the other things Spinelli always goes on about will help him in here. It's nothing but time and luck and patience.
"I hope so."
He has no idea where he is or how he got there. His eyes won't cooperate with him so he's left in darkness. Jason. And Jason wouldn't let anything bad happen to him. He knows he was with Jason, wasn't he?
Maybe… maybe he hadn't been. It's all so fuzzy and unclear.
What's happened to him?
Spinelli's mind reels as he tries to sort out what he last remembers. A bar. He was at a bar and he was drinking and… and that's it. There's nothing. His logical mind supplies that mayhaps he simply drank too much, but that alone would not account for this lapse in memory. Discounting the 'drinking too much' theory, for which he would not have had a reason for anyway, his mind files over to drugged.
That's… this is bad.
His mind, still unsure of his current locale, conjures up some unhelpfully terrifying scenarios for what could potentially have come of him subsequent to the blackout from whatever he'd unintentionally ingested. For all he knows, he could be lying in a gutter somewhere with some sort of fatal injury he doesn't know about. He could be at some stranger's house, kidnapped for reasons he isn't aware of.
The chatter around him fades in and out as he struggles to make out words to clue him in to what's going on, but none of it is clear.
Scared. He's really getting panicked by not knowing what is going on, where he is. He hears this obnoxious beeping sound that he feels like he should recognize, but it's just panic and terror and why can't he open his eyes? The beeping gets louder and more frequent and the voices multiply and increase in volume, too. Spinelli still can't make out anything they're saying. More panic, more terror, more beeping.
Jason is no less worried at six seventeen a.m. than he was at half past three when this all began. Spinelli's still out of his reach, hidden within the depths of the hospital and he still has not been allowed access to the Jackal's room. He's been closer to the Jackal than normal as of late, and this hospital-imposed barrier is doing nothing to ease the protective anxiety building in his chest.
Suddenly, Robin appears, reading over something on a chart as she passes and he jumps up to stop her.
"Any news on Spinelli?" He inquires, more so demands politely, really.
She closes her file. "The blood test came back. He was dosed with rohypnol. Judging from the amount in his system, probably not long before you found him. He's… still unconscious. But he's having panic attacks in his sleep."
That unsettles Jason. "Is that normal for something like this?"
"The drug effects everyone differently and varies by dosage. Some people get sick, others have neurological symptoms, or muscular… it's all just waiting until the effects wear off." She explains to him. "Until then, we can't do much more than we are already."
"Can I see him?"
She nods, and leads him down the hall.
There's still that residual feeling of panic overtaking his senses. He still doesn't know anything about his current situation. Is he missing? Does Jason know if that is indeed the case? What's happening to him?
Every so often, when the thoughts in his mind send him reeling with terror, the monotonous beeping increases and eventually flutters back down to a lesser intensity.
He's in the midst of one of the moments of sheer panic when the chattering voices he can't make out come back. One of them is new, he thinks. He strains to hear what they're saying but gets nothing more than garbled sounds, suggestions of words.
One of the voices stops and the other follows soon after, but he feels like the new one is still preset, just silent.
What if he has been kidnapped or something and this is whoever took him? What if this is who drugged him? Spinelli hears the beeping increase again, even more so than before and suddenly there's soft chatter again, from the new voice.
Then there's a hand on his chest and that's it. That's familiar. He knows this. He's safe. He knows he's safe now. Always safe with Jason. Warm, and safe, and home.
"You'll be okay." He hears from the familiar voice attached to the equally familiar hand.
The beeping slows.
He doesn't stay long, as much as he wants to be there when Spinelli wakes up. He needs to figure out which of the bar-goers did this to Spinelli and why. So, once his roommate is sleeping soundly, this time without the random fluctuations in heart rate caused by panic attacks, he heads out.
DeMilo's is still open when he gets there, as it's an all-day sort of establishment, where patrons can come in and get drunk at ten in the morning should they be so inclined, but the bartender from last night is just getting off shift.
"Tyler, right?" Jason demands, appearing out of nowhere as the man heads toward his car in the parking lot.
The guy, looking slightly surprised to see Jason again, manages a nod. "Yeah. You were the one who got the drunk kid?"
Jason nods back. "Wasn't drunk. He was drugged. You know anything about that?" He figures Lucky must have not gotten around to his visit just yet. All the better for him. "Did you see anyone near his drink?"
"He got up to dance with some girls for a little while. Just for one song. I didn't see anything." Tyler answers, clearly catching on that avoiding such a question would undoubtedly make him a suspect and he doesn't really want to be on any sort of list belonging to the rather intimidating man in front of him. "I really didn't."
"Alright." He sighs. "Did you know the guy who was at the other end of the bar? Or the girls?"
"The girls were new. I'd never seen them before. The older guy is a regular. He's there practically every day. He's probably still there." He checks his watch. Seven twenty. "Yeah, he should still be there. If he was the one who dosed your friend, he might have high-tailed it, but he was there when I clocked out. His names, ugh… Devlin, I think. Yeah, Devlin."
That freezes him. Devlin… as in Ian Devlin? No. No way, that just cannot be true. Ian Devlin is dead. That is one thing Jason is sure of. Another Devlin perhaps?
"Can… can I go?"
Jason nods and the guy jogs the last few feet to his car and disappears.
Now armed with a name, Jason heads back into the bar in hopes that Spinelli's attacker is still there.
It's pretty vacant inside, more so than it had been earlier. Just the bartender, this time an older man with graying hair. Off in the corner is the man – Devlin – that Tyler had told him of. Without a word to the bartender, he approaches the man from last night and hauls him to his feet.
"Hey, what the hell ya doing?" The man demands, speaking with an odd clarity for someone supposedly having been drinking all night. "Put me down, jackass."
But, Jason has no such intention. While the man is most definitely not the assuredly deceased Ian Devlin, he does bear something of a resemblance. "You did it, didn't you?" He growls, hands fisted in the material of the stranger's shirt.
"Did what?" He demands, and his eyes look over Jason's shoulder to the bartender. "Man, help me out here, will you?"
That's not something Jason needs. "I wouldn't do that." He warns the bartender, even as he spins the guy around, catching his wrists behind his back and marching him toward the door. They can continue this somewhere else.
Somewhere else ends up being the alley just down the street from the bar. "Who are you?" Jason demands.
"Oh, you'd like to know that, wouldn't you?"
Jason takes a certain amount of pleasure out of shoving the guy into the brick wall. He comes out of it with a broken nose and Jason's okay with that. "I know you dosed my friend with rohypnol. What were you gonna do to him, huh? Take advantage of him? Use him to send a message to me?"
The stranger, Devlin, whoever the hell he is, recoils in pain at his injuries. "Damn." He growls, spitting blood. "Yeah, so what if I drugged him? You a little overprotective of your boyfriend or something? Can't say I blame you since your shit at keeping anyone safe. Even little kids."
Well, he knows something then.
"Man, it was just too perfect when that kid walked in. Damian Spinelli, Jason Morgan's biggest weak-spot, right there in DeMilo's. No one around to run to for help." Devlin smirks, shifting his head to wipe the dripping blood from his nose on the shoulder of his shirt. "I was gonna rough him up a little then drop him off with that Irish guy who's been easing in on your territory as a gift. Woulda given a hell of a blow to you and gotten me into an organization. Better than my screw-up of a brother ever did, that's for sure."
"So you're Ian's brother?" Jason presses, opting, for the moment to look past the path Spinelli's future would have taken had it not been for Tyler's call.
"Name's Owen." He answers. "Owen Devlin. And you," Devlin laughs. "You killed my younger brother. So I was gonna kill yours. Only I guess I was apparently a little off on the classification of that kid as your brother since I saw you two kissing out front after you rescued him last night. Woulda worked even better, I think."
There are sirens in the distance now, and Jason can feel his phone vibrating in his pocket. It's either the police or the hospital, he's betting on Lucky. This is done.
"Your brother nearly killed an innocent kid. You're no better than he is." Jason tells his hostage. "You're so lucky nothing happened to Spinelli. If your plan had worked we definitely wouldn't be talking and it wouldn't matter one bit to me that the police would know exactly who to arrest for your murder, I'd even turn myself in."
Devlin doesn't look entirely pleased by the apparent reprieve. "I'd be careful who you admit that to, Morgan. Never know who I might let that slip to when I'm in jail."
He's beginning to think the guy wants to die, but there's no way he's giving him the satisfaction. "That's nothing new. You said yourself that you went after him because he's a way to get to me. You're right, but you know what's different?" He asks, just as the sirens seem to pull up outside the alley. "I'm not going to let anything happen to him."
"Jason!" Lucky shouts at him, running towards him in the alley. "Don't make this any worse than it already is!" He warns, but all Jason does is hand his prisoner over.
"He told me everything." Jason tells the confused officer. "He's Ian Devlin's brother and he went after Spinelli because I was the one to kill him. He was out for revenge."
"Uh… huh." Lucky's not quite sure what's going on here. Jason Morgan just doesn't hand over people who attack those close to him. Typically, in situations like this, they find a body and Jason with a way to get away with it.
But that isn't the case tonight. "I have to get back to Spinelli." Jason informs the officer. "If you need a statement from me, you can find me at the hospital."
His eye s feel like they weigh a thousand pounds when he finally convinces them to open. He's in a hospital, he realized that once the voices started making sense, so he's not all that surprised when he sees the plethora of monitors and the dull paint of the room he's being housed in. The clock on the wall tells him it's close to three in the afternoon.
One thing he does find surprising is the vacant chair beside his bed. While he's pretty sure Jason hasn't been around for very long since he started being aware of things again, he'd been hoping that his mentor might have made a silent return.
"Alas, perhaps a delay is for the best," Spinelli says aloud, though it sounds hoarse from his prolonged sleep. His throat is dry and what he would not give for an orange soda about now.
The door opens – perhaps a nurse or doctor alerted by his conscious state, Spinelli figures.
But it's Jason who slips into the room, stealthily, as if Spinelli is still asleep and he doesn't want to disturb.
"You're awake." Jason says, sounding relieved and surprised all at once. "You feel okay?"
Spinelli nods. "I… I don't recall most of the events of last night, and a rather persistent nuisance of a headache has taken up residence in my skull." He summarizes, even though he leaves out the one part he thinks he remembers. Mostly because he's not sure if it was real or some sort of drug induced haze. "What happened?"
"You were at DeMilo's, and someone drugged you." He answers, offering a water bottle. "Orange soda won't help your headache." The elder pauses to explain before returning to his recollection of Spinelli's nearly fatal night. "It was Ian Devlin's brother. Trying to get back at me by hurting you." Jason decides it best not to tell Spinelli of what might have occurred had a certain bartender not intervened – though said bartender has received a rather large and mysterious deposit into his bank account.
Spinelli seems to take a moment to sort that information out. "It wasn't the bartender who was responsible, was it?"
Jason shakes his head. "No, he called me before Devlin could touch you and helped me figure it out. The police have Devlin in custody, you don't have to worry about anything." For now, Jason silently amends, because if Devlin makes good on his threat to tell of Jason's apparent kryptonite, he and Spinelli will have something to worry about.
"Was… Did I… do anything that might have offended whilst I was, shall we say, intoxicated?" He questions, trying to figure out if what he thinks occurred actually did.
"Like what?" Jason prompts, playing as if he doesn't know what Spinelli could possibly be talking about.
Spinelli drops his head, staring intently at the bedcovers. "Ugh, the Jackal seems to recall – whether it occurred in reality or some sort of drug induced visual hallucinations – some sort of unplanned osculatory assault carried out against you, Stone Cold."
The elder isn't surprised by the Spinelli-fied vocabulary. "You mean when you kissed me."
"A… Affirmative." Comes Spinelli's stuttering answer. "And that Jackal should find himself most humbly apologizing for his actions in such an uninhibited state."
"No apology necessary." The elder cuts him off before the rambling speech can continue on out of control.
Spinelli's still staring at the sheets, looking as if he hopes they'll swallow him whole so he can simply disappear from this conversation. "Spinelli." He says, and the younger looks up. He's sick of holding his own feelings back when he knows Spinelli wants this. So he's not going to resist anymore.
With all of the people he's been charged with protecting over the years, he'd always tried to keep them at a distance. This time, he's trying a different approach. He swore to Devlin that Spinelli would be different, that he would not fail – as he had with Michael – at protecting him.
He leans closer, making it clear of his intention and let's Spinelli make the final move.
The difference this time is that he's keeping Spinelli as close as he possibly can.