A/N: So it's been a very, very long time since I last put pen to paper so to speak. As I mentioned, just earlier today in a review reply – it's not been that I haven't wanted to write – I just haven't felt the inspiration. Until tonight. This was mostly inspired by Anna Nalick's – Breathe (2am). So I recommend a listen to that, I had it on repeat whilst writing. I have to admit that Jate are still one of my favourite couples to write – I don't what it is, whether it is just the characters, or whether it's because they're so connected to a period of my life where fanfiction seriously helped me I don't know.
This is a little AU from the time of the flashbacks – because God, there's so much to write about for that sort of time! I hope the characters aren't too OOC, and that it doesn't feel forced at all. Please leave a review.
So for those of you feeling a little dark and twisty, just remember…there's always hope.
He has his whiskey and his piano.
She has her memories and a child that isn't really hers.
When the mistakes he's made lay heavy on his shoulders, and sink his heart down to the depth of his stomach, he pours himself a glass, or two, or maybe more, and he pours his angst and worries, and heartache down through his fingers, along his fingers, and out through the tips to pound on the ivory keys his beloved instrument.
It's always the same. There hasn't been a day in months where he has not gone through this process. Pour, drink, pound. Breathe. Repeat. Sometimes the music that pours out of him ends up being so heart wrenchingly beautiful, that it twists his gut and sends him further into a spiral of depression.
The mistakes he's made in his life are too many to count. He's never been enough; he's always come up short. For his father, for Sarah – for himself. Occasionally, in the early hours of the morning, he remembers the disappointment written all over her face. And he wonders…he wonders, what if it wasn't the case for Kate. What if he only failed her by leaving – what if she viewed him differently, loved him differently, expected differently…Maybe she recognised that he was only human, that it was okay for him to not make mistakes. And maybe…maybe none of it matters.
And maybe he'll be okay without the drinking tonight…
Winter's always been difficult for her, and this one was no exception. The truth is that she's lonely, and she has been for the longest time. There was a brief time when that wasn't the case. But that time has passed, and even though she has a beautiful, blond boy in front of her, whom she loves so much that she thinks her heart might burst, it does not manage to completely fill the gaping ache within her soul.
It strikes her, not for the first time, that he's probably the only man she's been completely in love with, in an utterly grown-up, real adult love kind of way. Yes, there was Tom, but he was her childhood, and half the time, if she's honest, sometimes she thinks it was just the idea of him. But Jack. That's different. That was a whole other level of love. He made everything in her world right. It was easy, but complicated at the same time, and just…right. And now everything's all wrong.
She has no-one in this life that she can turn to. Sure, she has some friends now, just a couple. But she can't tell them their story, the beginning was so bizarre, that she wonders if they'd ever understand. So instead she'll put her pen to paper, just so that it's not building up inside of her. She knows it needs to come out of her somehow, and if she keeps it inside of her, she knows she'll end up going insane, and screaming…that won't do though, not when she has another life to think of now. So the words spill out of her, and onto that page, the blue words screaming back at her. She fills exposed with these words out there – she's never really been one to tell everyone everything. Guarded, that's what she is. What she's had to be. At least, that's what she had to be before. And then, the second she's done spilling out her heart, she places the blue, tear stained sheets into the shredder. Oh, if anyone were to see what she writes!
And then of course, there are times like this, when he stares at that picture of her, and the picture of the three of them, happy, together. And when he stares, he knows. He knows that no matter how much he drinks, how much he pounds away on that goddamn piano of his…it won't help. It won't help one goddamn bit. Because he knows that the only thing that will heal him; is her.
And she fingers that ring he gave him that she wears around her neck. Beautiful. If only she could go back to that moment. She unclasps the chain, sliding the ring off, and returning it the place it was designed for…just to remember how it looks. She takes in a deep breath, and sighs on the exhale. Her eyes dart to the phone, all these thoughts and memories running through her head, and no matter how many times she spills the thoughts out onto the pages in front of her, she knows they'll still be there. Haunting her, taunting her.
It's 2am, and Aaron's long since been fast asleep, dreaming of simple, happy things, as only a child of that young an age can. If only it was that easy for adults, she thinks. If only she could dream of rainbows and bunny rabbits and lollipops, or you know, maybe Lightning McQueen – whatever it is that little boys dream of. If only the most crucial decision of her day was whether to pair her peanut butter sandwich with fluff or jelly…
The phone rings, startling her out of her train of thoughts, and she realises she's been staring at that clock for far too long.
"Hello?" She asks after scrambling for the phone, not wanting the ringing to disturb the boy sleeping only rooms away from her.
"Kate?" The voice is low, gruffly, tired, but it doesn't stop her from recognising it. She'd always recognise that voice.
"Yeah." She breathes. "Jack? Is that you?" Another breath, "It's late…" She says no more. She knows she should probably chew him out for ringing so late, and be mad at him; not just for ringing at such a time. But she just doesn't have it in her right now, and she's not sure that she has for a while.
"Kate…I…" He pauses, and she can imagine him closing his eyes and running his hand over his face, and through his hair. She hears him breathing. "I miss you, Kate."
"Oh, Jack." She whispers, any response other than that absolutely failing her.
"God I miss you, so much…" He says again, because this is the first time he's truly been honest in a while. She can hear the honesty in the voice, and for once, for a change, he sounds sober and with it, just… So she tells him what she needs to say - what he needs to hear.
"Jack….oh God, me too. I miss you." She manages to say.
The line is quite for a while, and they listen to each other breathe as the words uttered truly sink in.
And then the silence is broken: "Come home."