Tru Calling: Understand
Echoes of laughter could be heard from the streets outside and flashy colorful Christmas lights reflected off the windows of the now vacant apartment of Tru Davies. Gone was the celebration of the joyous season and the smiles and excitement shared between friends and family. Now only the physical evidence of the holiday spirit remained as plastic red cups and plates littered Tru's kitchen along with the Christmas cookies that Avery had baked and the questionable looking store-bought fruit cake that Harrison brought over, which went untouched. Gone was the happiness from Tru's soul, although she tried to put on a happy face for her guests, but with all that had happened in the past year since last Christmas Eve, how could she?
Now, she found sanctuary in her bedroom, looking forward to a restful night's sleep to herald in a beautiful Christmas Day.
But just as she was about to extinguish the beautiful glowing candlelight at her bedside, a voice stopped her.
"Are you sure you want to do that?"
Tru's breath caught in her throat. The voice filled her with a sudden reassurance and warmth and she didn't have to turn around to know who it was. But she did anyway, gazing at a beautiful spirit bathed in white light standing before her.
"Are those tears for me? I'm touched, Tru. Really I am, but I don't have much time."
Until he spoke, she didn't realize her tears had come streaming down her cheeks almost instantly upon seeing him. She couldn't even stifle a laugh. So typical of Jack to be teasing her, even after he was already dead.
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to make you merry, though by the look of those tears, I seem to be having the opposite effect on you."
Tru hastily wiped her tears away. "No, it's… really, I'm fine. Just tell me what's going on."
"I came because I want to help you remember something. Remember us."
"But I do remember!" Tru objected. "I remember The Powers That Be took you away from me because we fell in love. They said it was up to Fate. They took you away from me because that's all they ever do… take away the people I love most…"
"Tru, the bullet that killed you on Day 1 wasn't meant for you on Day 2. It was meant for me. You know that. That's why you asked me for help. That's why I had to save you."
Tru shook her head in silent protest.
"Besides," he continued, smiling gently. "I'm 'Death,' remember?
Tru stepped back, half-sitting, half-falling onto her bed. She didn't look at him when she spoke again.
"Still doesn't make it fair."
"Nothing in the battle of Life and Death is fair. You know that. There always has to be sacrifices to keep the balance whether we're together or not."
"Don't give me another one of your speeches or else you'll make me wonder why I ever fell in love with you at all."
"Tru, look at me."
She met his gaze reluctantly as a tear trickled down her cheek and she felt an overwhelming sense of warmth engulf her as his hand reached out and brushed the fallen teardrop gently away.
"There's something I want you to remember…"
"I guess I just don't understand," Tru said, swallowing thickly. "How do you do it? How do you do this and how do you live with yourself?"
Tru and Jack were sitting next to one another on a couch at Jack's apartment. Tru was clearly upset and agitated, leaning heavily against the couch with her head back and her eyes half closed.
"It's my job," Jack told her. "Just like yours is to save lives. My job is to preserve fate, restore the balance."
"But it's not right," Tru said, shaking her head in frustration and sitting up a little. "His blood stains my hands! Jensen's blood… it's not right…"
"You did what you had to do to restore the balance. You did everything you should have done. You did everything right."
"Then why doesn't it feel--…"
Jack interrupted her. "You want to know what doesn't feel right, Tru? Watching this monster that you once called a boyfriend hurt you. Watching him hurt others and then focus all of his sadistic pleasure on hurting you. That's what doesn't feel right. We may have different viewpoints, but I'm not heartless, Tru. Your life was in danger and you still wanted to save that soulless bastard?!"
"He's not--…" she began. "And I was fine. I can take care of myself, Jack."
The two sat suspended in silence for a moment. Finally, Tru spoke up again.
"I think I'm just trying to understand death. I'm trying to understand how you do what you do and not feel guilty or ashamed about it afterward."
"And that's just it, Tru. Sometimes I do feel guilty. I do feel ashamed. But I know I have a job. A calling. Just like you."
He paused for a moment and then…
"But there is something I'm still trying to understand."
Tru looked at Jack curiously. "What's that?"
"Life," Jack said softly, leaning forward slightly to brush a strand of hair behind her ear. "You."
And suddenly, time seemed to stop for a moment. The air seemed to still between them as Tru felt some slight pressure on her lips as his collided with hers.
He kissed her without warning. He kissed her without waiting for her response. He just kissed her. His lips were warm and tender against hers, not cold and unforgiving as she had thought they might be. His hand now rested against her neck. And in that moment with his lips on hers, she thought she could let herself go. Float away. Escape.
Tru was the first to pull away, gazing deeply into the eyes of her opposite. The man she was supposed to hate, to fight against. Yet, she couldn't help but feel…
"Jack…" she murmured softly, left nearly breathless by his kiss and shivered at the subtle gentleness of his hand resting on her neck. "No. You can't… I…"
"Shhh," he told her, removing his hand from her neck and pressing his index finger against her lips. "I'm still trying to understand life because I know that I love. And once I understand even a part of life, then I know I can truly, completely and fully love. Because I love you, Tru Davies."
Tru blinked as Jack's spirit came into focus in front of her.
"Now do you remember?"
"That was our first kiss… when you admitted you loved me and I started to have feelings for you, too. But why did you show me that moment? I still don't understand…"
"Because you were meant to live then and you're supposed to keep on living now. I know times will be hard and there may be moments where your heart will still ache and you'll still cry. But you have so much to live for and life itself depends on you."
His hand gently touched her stomach and rested there for a moment.
"This life especially," he told her.
There was a fluttering inside her stomach when he spoke.
"The baby's kicking," Tru beamed, smiling. "She knows it's you."
"Of course she does, Tru. This was Fate. This was the sacrifice. I had to die, so you and the baby could live. You were meant to be a mother to this child, to give birth to life and carry on your calling as Life. I'd like to think I was meant for greater things also. Even in death, I'll always watch over both of you. I'll always be a father to our daughter."
"That still doesn't help me understand death. It doesn't help me understand you or why you were taken from me. Why you didn't ask for my help. Why I couldn't have saved you, too."
"Sometimes we're not meant to understand things, Tru. We're not meant to understand the ways of the universe and its karmic repercussions. Even with callings as powerful as ours, there are some things which we will never understand."
Tru took a moment to consider this.
"Maybe you're right," she replied. "As much as I hate to admit it."
Jack flashed Tru one of his trademark smirks.
"You know," she continued, yawning a little. "I felt like an alien today. Even in the midst of friends and family and the spirit of the holidays, I felt out of place."
She got into bed as he pulled the covers over her and tucked her in.
"There's always tomorrow," he told her reassuringly. "And it's Christmas and next week is the beginning of a new year, a fresh start…"
"Yeah…" Tru sighed dreamily as her eyes began to flutter and drift closed. "I wonder what that will bring."
"Go to sleep. Remember me in your dreams and when you wake, do not cry that you've lost me, but cherish the memories we have together. The good and the bad and everything in-between. Seeing you tonight was my gift to you to let you know I'll always be watching over you and our daughter. I'll watch her grow into a beautiful, strong, capable young woman just like her mother. Though I know you cannot comprehend the meaning of death, I know you understand your responsibility and your calling as Life. Savor and embrace it. And know that I'll always be with you. I love you."
Jack watched as Tru now slept on, the sleeping beauty not to be awakened from her peaceful slumber. He leaned over and kissed her forehead gently.
Moments later, the glowing candlelight at her bedside table extinguished.
"Merry Christmas, Tru."
Author's Note: I came up with an idea to do a Christmas fic challenge with my friend Sonya (AsrarSonya) in which we both agreed to write some kind of Christmas-themed fic using one of Eliza Dushku's tweets from her Twitter site. The tweet from Eliza that I used was: "Felt like an alien today. There's always tomorrow." This is also a kind of response to Sonya's fic with my own personal touches.
In many of my other fics, Tru dies, but I wanted Jack to die, so his spirit could come and visit Tru on Christmas Eve. I wanted to put this story a year after the Christmas episode of the show to explain a bit about how Tru and Jack have evolved as characters over the course of the year. I wanted to focus specifically on both of them trying to grasp the concept of Life and Death and I thought what better way than to have literal embodiments of Life and Death evolve, hence why Tru is pregnant with a new life and Jack has moved on in death. It's something I've been asking myself a lot lately. Having just lost someone close to me, I've questioned the enormity that is life and death respectively and how the concepts seem too big to understand, yet both Tru and Jack carry this responsibility with themselves daily. I hope that came across clearly.
Please review! I've been known to give out cherry Christmas cookies if you do! Haha.