Disclaimer: Characters ain't mine…
Rating: PG-13, just to be sure.
Genre: General, Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: English isn't my native language! Sorry if there are mistakes.
Note: This is my very first "Jake and the Fatman" fanfic. There are way too little fanfic stories about this fandom, so I decided to contribute. I hope someone likes it a bit.
Summary: Derek has had it with McCabe. Or not?
"DEREK! Come back here!"
"Hell not," the young man in question whispered through his teeth as he angrily slammed the door of JL McCabe's office shut. He rushed by Jake who shot him an amused look, however, Derek was far from amused.
"I hate him!" he said furiously as he sat down at his desk.
"No you don't," Jake said softly, his grin never fading.
"Yes, I do!" Derek continued his rant. "He always yells at me. He's always telling me how incompetent I am… What a waste my college money has been…"
"He does that to everyone," Jake answered as he watched Derek's face that had turned into a bright shade of red. Jake had to laugh inwardly. When was this young assistant district attorney going to learn that JL never meant these things personally? Yelling and shouting was simply in the older man's nature. He probably couldn't help it even if he tried.
"Just ignore it, Derek," Jake said, "that's what I do all the time…"
Derek sighed and leaned back in his chair.
"I can't," Derek said, his voice suddenly very soft. "I've had it up to here, Jake. I've had enough of it. Maybe…"
Jake's smile faded.
"Maybe what?" the detective asked, not liking the tone in which Derek spoke.
"Maybe…" Derek hesitated before finishing. "Maybe this isn't the job for me. Maybe I'm not cut out for it…"
"Are you kidding me?" Jake said incredulously. "Derek, you're one of the smartest people I've ever met in my life! If not the smartest… And you're eager; eager to learn. You've always been so passionate about it. Don't let a grumpy old man get in your way."
"Yes, you are," Jake answered sternly. "I'm not buying this for a second!"
"Okay, so what if you're right, does that mean I have to take this crap for the rest of my career?" Derek asked.
"No," Jake answered and a soft smile appeared on his face again. "You only have to take this crap for the rest of his career. Trust me, it's a lot shorter."
Derek couldn't help letting out a chuckle. He appreciated Jake's sense of humor, however, it didn't change the fact that he was really fed up with his boss' behavior. His smile faded again.
"It's all so easy for you to say," Derek said softly. "You don't have to deal with this every single day."
"He yells at me too, you know," Jake answered.
"No," Derek insisted. "With you, it's different. He likes you. He loves you. You're like a son to him and for that he will never treat you like he treats us. He'll yell, sure… But he'll also tell you that you did a good job. That he's proud of you…"
Jake remained silent. He didn't really know what to say to that. Derek was right. Jake was dear to JL. Jake was like a son to him and JL was like a father to Jake. They cared for each other, which was obvious to pretty much everyone, despite their attempts to hide it.
"He cares about all of us, you know," Jake said eventually.
"Then why doesn't he show that from time to time?" Derek asked, raising his voice a little. Anger was building up inside him again.
Jake shrugged. "It's just the way he is, I suppose…"
"He doesn't have a problem showing it to you…"
Jake sighed, suddenly becoming annoyed. "Stop acting like a child, Derek!" he snapped. "If I didn't know better I'd say you were jealous."
Derek bit his lip, his eyes suddenly very sad. Was he fighting tears?
"Maybe I am…" he whispered and stood up from his chair. He looked at Jake one more time and then left the room.
"Whoa! Whoa! Wait a minute!" Jake called after him. He jumped up and ran after his young colleague and friend. He grabbed Derek by the shoulder forcing him to look at him.
"What's wrong?" he demanded.
"Nothing…" Derek answered, his voice barely a whisper. He looked uncomfortable, which was a logic reaction, since he was visibly distraught about something and Jake was confronting him about it in front of other colleagues.
"Come here," Jake said and beckoned the young man to follow him into an empty office. He closed the door behind them. At least they had some privacy now.
"Tell me," he said gently as he sat down on top of an empty desk, the only piece of furniture in the room.
Derek remained quiet for a while, obviously struggling to find the right words. Then he looked straight into Jake's eyes with the saddest look Jake had ever seen from the young assistant district attorney.
"I envy you," he said softly. "Both of you. Everyone thinks my life has been so great. Son of governor Mitchell, one of the most powerful and not to mention one of the richest people of the country. I must have gotten everything I ever wanted, right? My life should have been perfect. Well, it's not…"
Derek was quiet for a moment, his eyes never leaving Jake's face. He searched the older man's face for a reaction, especially negative ones, but there weren't any. He looked genuinely interested which made Derek decide to continue his story.
"My dad was never there for me. Yes, he made sure I got everything I needed. Material stuff. But that wasn't really what I needed, was it? I needed someone who loved me unconditionally. I needed someone who would be there for me whenever I needed him. I needed someone who would give up everything for me in a heartbeat. I needed a father… a dad… someone to call 'dad'… I've been craving for that all my life and I know I'll never have that. And when I see some of my friends with their fathers, or when I see you with Mr. McCabe… Then it hurts the most… Because it confronts me with my deepest desire, my greatest wish ever and I know it won't come true…"
A tear escaped Derek's eye, which didn't go unnoticed by Jake. He expected the younger man to wipe it away instantly, not wanting to be seen so vulnerable, yet, to Jake's surprise he let the tear fall, and another one after that, his desperate gaze never leaving Jake's face.
"I'm sorry, kid," Jake whispered. "I… I didn't know…"
A bitter smile appeared on Derek's face.
"No one does, Jake," he said. "I have to keep up appearances for the sake of sweet daddy's career."
Jake was surprised to hear the cynical tone in Derek's voice. He had never heard it before. But then again, he had been one of those people who thought that Derek was just a spoiled, rich kid who had everything his heart desired and was oblivious to all the evils in the world. Naïve, unknowing…
How wrong he had been. There obviously was a lot more to the kid than everyone thought. A whole lot more apparently and he had the feeling this was just the tip of the iceberg.
"I'm sorry, Derek," Jake said again and he truly meant it.
"Don't be," Derek smiled, finally wiping his tears away. "I got used to it eventually… It's just… I don't know… "
Jake stood up and wrapped an arm around the younger man.
"Derek," he said, "I know he doesn't show it much, but he does care, you know…"
"What?" Derek asked confused. "My father?"
"No kid, McCabe. He's proud of you. You made him prouder than his own son ever did."
"You're just saying this to make me feel better," Derek said, convinced that Jake was lying.
"No, I'm not," the older man insisted. "He told me once, but he made me swear to keep my mouth shut, or he'd have my head. And truth be told, I'm kinda attached to it…"
Derek laughed softly at the last comment, but still he wasn't convinced.
"Honestly Jake… really?"
Jake nodded and eyed him sincerely.
"Really… And I'm sure that one day he'll tell you himself."
"When I'm gray and old," Derek joked.
"Probably," Jake agreed and they both laughed.
A knock on the door startled them both.
"Come in," Jake called. A young woman stepped into the room and smiled nervously at both men.
"Hi," she said and then looked at Derek. "Uhm, I was sent by Mr. McCabe. He really needs you back in his office. Like now. I think he's going to explode if you don't."
Derek sighed and then smiled. "Okay, I'll be right there," he said.
The woman nodded and left.
"And there we go again," Derek said and rolled his eyes.
Jake patted his back. "C'mon, you can do it!" he said encouraging.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever…" Derek muttered.
Jake opened the door and the both stepped out of the room. They walked down the hallway and Derek's heartbeat sped up as he already heard McCabe's voice calling his name. He shook his head and then smiled.
"Jake?" he said when they reached the older man's desk. "Thanks for listening…"
Jake smiled at him and patted his shoulder. "You're welcome, kid. Anytime…"
"Good luck," Jake said and Derek laughed.
A smile appeared on Derek's face. He suddenly realized he wouldn't have McCabe any other way. Without the older man shouting and yelling at him, he simply wasn't home. And that's where he was: home…