Disclaimer: Characters ain't mine…
Rating:
T or maybe even R, because of adult themes. Mention of sexual assault.
Genre:
Hurt/Comfort, Drama
Warnings:
English isn't my native language! Sorry if there are mistakes.
Note:
First of all, thank you for the nice comments I received on my previous story. It motivated me to write a second one. It's a pretty dramatic story, I suppose. It eventually centers on the friendship between Jake and Derek. The song used is "Airplanes" from B.o.B. feat. Haley Williams from Paramore (love her!). I think the chorus of this song is just beautiful. I can't get it out of my head and I really felt I had to do something with it in a story. So here's the result. I hope you like it a bit… :-)
Summary:
Times in Derek's life he could have used a shooting star to make a wish…

Can we pretend that airplanes
in the night sky
are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now,
wish right now, wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes
in the night sky
are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now,
wish right now, wish right now

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Daddy? Why are we looking for shooting stars?" the young boy asked. He couldn't have been much older than about five years of age. His big blue eyes looked up questioningly at his father, who smiled lovingly back at him.

"Because if you see one, you can make a wish," the little boy's father said. The boy's eyes went even bigger at the words and he immediately looked up to search the sky.

"I saw one, daddy! Right there!" He shouted enthusiastically, as he pointed his little finger in the right direction. "It's right there!"

His father just laughed as he followed his son's gaze.

"No son, that's not a shooting star. That's an airplane."

The boys face fell, his disappointment evident on his small features.

"How can you tell?" he asked curiously.

"Because a shooting star dies out after a few seconds," his father explained. "That one up there, keeps blinking."

"Oh…" was all the boy could say. His father knew so much. He could only hope to become as smart as his father was.

"Can we pretend airplanes are like shooting stars? I really want to make a wish!"

His father laughed at him affectionately.

"Oh Derek, only you could come up with an idea like that," he answered as he shook his head in amusement. He wrapped his arm around his son's shoulders, feeling incredibly proud of the small human being in his arms.

"You can make a wish, but then it won't come true. Only the magic of a shooting star can make a wish come true."

Derek's eyes went big again. Magic? His father really did know everything!

"But there aren't any shooting stars," he said eventually.

His father rubbed his shoulder and smiled.

"Son, shooting stars are special. They are rare. You don't often get to see one. But if you do see one, make sure you wish for something really close to your heart."

Derek listened carefully to his father's words, visibly intrigued.

"Can I wish for a new bike?" he asked with excitement in his voice.

His father chuckled but then shook his head.

"No, you can't," the man answered. "No material stuff. Those are things your mother or me could buy for you. Things you could save money for yourself. If you see a shooting star you wish for things you cannot touch, like love or peace on earth. Or you could wish for the neighbor lady to find happiness again. Things like that. You understand?"

Derek nodded his head, making his blonde curls bounce up and down.

"And will it come true?" he asked his father.

"Maybe," he answered his son. "It depends on the star. It can only fulfill one wish. And since there are billions of people on this earth, you might not be the only one to see that star and make a wish."

"So the star chooses the wish?"

His father nodded.

"Pretty much. But it's worth a shot, right?"

Derek sighed, not completely satisfied. He really liked the story, but the fact that there hardly were shooting stars made him feel a bit disappointed. How would he ever be able to make a wish if there weren't any shooting stars?

"I guess so," he eventually answered his father. "But I still wish we could make a wish when we see an airplane. There are so many!"

His father laughed once more in amusement.

"You're absolutely right son… absolutely right…"

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Little Derek looked at the scene in front of him. People screaming, people shouting at one another. People crying. He couldn't hear the words. He was too much in shock to hear the words. His gaze was focused on one point and one point only: his home.

His house. His parents' house. Flames. Was it really his house that was burning down to the ground? Yes, it was…

Where were his parents? His father? His mother? He remembered his father dragging him out of the house, telling him to stay put until he got back. He remembered the fear he had heard in his father's voice.

What was going on? Where was his mother? He remembered his father running back into the house. Then the firemen arrived…

He was nailed to the ground. He couldn't move even if his life depended on it. His heart was pounding wildly in his chest. He was scared. Terrified.

It seemed to take hours before he finally saw his father walk out of the burning house again. He looked dirty, black smudges everywhere, his face glowing with sweat. But he was alive and that was what was most important.

For a moment Derek was relieved. He wanted to run towards his father, embrace him, so his father could pick him up from the ground and hold him tight. But then realization struck him. The devastated look on his father's face only confirming what he just figured out.

"Mommy? Where's mommy?"

His voice was small, barely a whisper. Tears already fell from his eyes. He wanted to run away, but his father was already there to hold him.

"I'm so sorry, son," his father told him as he tried to hold himself together. He took his son in his arms and held him tight. They both cried, heart-wrenching sobs racking through both their bodies.

No! No, no, NO! Not my mommy! Please not my mommy!

Then little Derek looked up at the sky, suddenly remembering a story, his father had told him about a year ago. A story about shooting stars.

Please give me a shooting star… I could really use a wish right now…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Where's dad? He should have been home already."

Derek looked annoyed at his stepmother, already knowing that his father had stood him up. Again.

"You know your father is an important man these days, Derek," the dark-haired woman told him. Her voice was calm, almost sweet, but it wasn't enough to ease the teenager's frustrations.

"Well, I should be important to him!" he shouted.

"You are important to him, Derek," his stepmother told him softly.

"Well, he has a weird way of showing that to me," he murmured.

The older woman moved towards him and put her hand on his shoulder. She looked up at him – even at fifteen, Derek was taller than her – and smiled at him.

"I realize it must be hard for you," she said to him. "But whether you like it or not, your father is governor now. That means he has obligations to a lot of people. He can't just walk away from that."

"Yet he can walk away from me," Derek answered bitterly. "Maybe he shouldn't come back home at all…"

The woman in front of him looked at him in shock as she heard the last sentence.

"You don't mean that!" she exclaimed.

"Yes, I do!" Derek shouted back at her. "He's never around! He's never there for me! But we all have to be there for him! And on the rare occasions that he is home, all I get to hear is how disappointed he is in me. My grades aren't high enough! I don't study hard enough! How am I ever going to follow his footsteps successfully? Like I even want that! What if I don't want to be a successful businessman or whatever? But he doesn't care about that, does he? He doesn't care about me!"

His stepmother listened to the tirade of the teenager in front of her. She felt for him, but what could she do to ease his pain? She knew she couldn't. Only his father could.

"I'm sorry, Derek," she said eventually and gave him a compassionate smile. "But you have to understand, it's not all that easy for him either…"

Derek sighed in defeat and nodded.

"I just… I just want him to spend some time with me," he said softly. "Is that really too much to ask? When I was a kid we used to look up at the sky, searching for shooting stars. We never saw one, but I loved it nevertheless. I miss that…"

His stepmother took him into her embrace and held him tight. She didn't answer, not knowing what to say to the distraught teenager. Derek let himself be held by her. And he cried…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Hands grabbed him from behind. With great force he was pressed up against the wall. Three unknown men looked at him, laughed at him, mocked him.

One man searched his pockets and grabbed his wallet, taking out the twenty-dollar bill he had just earned at his job tonight.

"Twenty bucks, pretty boy?" the man said as he tossed the wallet away. "I'm sure a handsome boy like you can make much more in one evening."

The other two men laughed, while they kept Derek pressed up against the wall. Derek was terrified and wondered why the hell he decided to go against all the warnings not to walk home through this dark alley.

"Bad stuff happens there," his boss had said to him.

Derek looked from one man to the other. They all looked tough and menacing. There was no way he could beat all three of them and make it out in one piece. Whatever they planned on doing, he'd better just go along with it, he figured.

"Come here, pretty boy," the man who terrified Derek the most, called to him. The man had a psychotic look on his face, as if he had lost track of his insanity al long, long time ago.

When the other two men released him, Derek slowly moved towards the man, who was obviously in charge. Was this guy going to kill him? Were they going to beat him up first? He didn't want to think about it.

Suddenly his survival instinct kicked in and he tried to make a run for it, but it was to no avail. They grabbed him again and pushed him on the ground. Their leader yelled at him. He grabbed Derek by his hair and yanked his head back.

"Don't you dare run off, pretty boy!" he shouted. "You're done when I say you're done!"

"I'm sorry!" Derek called out in fear. "I'm sorry, sir!"

The man laughed again and soon the other two joined his laugher. What happened next was beyond Derek's imagination.

What happened next was something he had never seen coming; something he had once thought, would never happen to him.

The men made their move on him. They tore at his clothes, tore at his flesh. Their hands touched and stroked, squeezed and probed, while their mouths spilled filthy words. Derek cried, lying naked and exposed on the concrete while each man had his way with him.

The attack seemed to take ages and eventually Derek stopped caring altogether. He stared in front of him without seeing anything; trying to block out the pain he was feeling, the words he was hearing, the strange stench he was smelling.

This was not the way it was supposed to go. He was supposed to lose his virginity like any other guy of his age: in the back seat of a car with a girl just as nervous as he would be. It would be clumsy, but sweet and gentle, not to mention fun.

Yet, this was brutal. Painful. Degrading.

He felt dirty. Ashamed. Broken. Useless. Worthless…

Suddenly things were quiet. Where did the men go? Were they done? Maybe he was dead? He wished he was dead.

Please, let me be dead…

He slowly moved and groaned as every muscle in his body ached.

No, not dead… Pain.

He looked around and realized he was still in the dark alley, but the three men were gone. He didn't know whether to be relieved or to be even more scared than he already was. Would they come back for him?

He searched for his clothes and put them back on. He needed to get home. What time was it? His watch was gone. The men had probably taken it too, along with his money.

How long had he been here? Had he been unconscious? He couldn't remember the men leaving. What time was it?

Home. I need to get home!

Dad… Dad will be livid!

But how am I…? He can't know! No one can know… He'll be so disappointed. And it will… it will damage his carreer! I…

Despite the pain he felt Derek half walked half ran back home, tears streaming down his face. And all he could think about was how on earth he was going to hide this from his father and the rest of the world, so it wouldn't shame his father's name…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Can we pretend that airplanes
in the night sky
are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now,
wish right now, wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes
in the night sky
are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now,
wish right now, wish right now

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Derek couldn't believe this was truly happening to him. These things only happened on TV, not in real life. How had they managed this in the first place? Whatever happened to security? It obviously kind of sucked.

Here he was now, together with Mr. McCabe and a few other people, taken hostage inside the courtroom. Men with guns were keeping an eye on them, making sure they didn't do anything stupid. Or heroic. Mr. McCabe had warned him especially not to do anything like that.

As if I could, Derek thought nervously. His heart was racing; beating so hard he thought it was going to break his chest. Sweat was on his back and he prayed to God he would not lose it. Or anyone else for that matter.

Derek watched Mr. McCabe who was talking to one of the hostage takers. It looked like he knew the guy. What was this all about? And was it just him or did Mr. McCabe not seem to be afraid? Or did he just pretend not to be? Derek couldn't help but being amazed. He looked up to the older man. He could only hope to become a district attorney as good as Mr. McCabe was.

Suddenly one of the men attacked Mr. McCabe. He hit him hard and to his horror, Derek saw his mentor fall on the ground. He reacted on instinct, unable to leave the older man like that. One of the hostage takers tried to stop him.

"I have to make sure he's alright!" Derek shot back and kneeled down next to Mr. McCabe anyway. One of the men mockingly called him "hero", but Derek felt anything but.

Coward is more like it, he thought when he checked on his boss. To his relief the older man wasn't unconscious, just a little bit dazed.

"I'm alright, Derek," McCabe murmured.

For now, you are, Derek thought while his nerves were raging through his body. He was scared. Very scared. He hadn't been this scared since…

Since…

Derek sighed deeply, trying to block the images that were trying to invade his mind.

Now is not the time! He yelled inwardly at himself. He briefly closed his eyes, wishing for Jake to come and save the day…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Derek lay on the couch in his boss' office. He poured himself a drink, spilling half of it on the table, since he couldn't see that clearly anymore. How many did he have? Four? Five? He couldn't remember.

He wasn't a drinker. He didn't even like alcohol, but tonight he made an exception. Today Mr. McCabe died. His mentor was murdered. Killed in an explosion together with someone's teenage kid. Derek thought it was a good reason to drink himself to oblivion.

He heard the door open, but didn't pay much attention to it. It was probably a cleaner. Who else could be here in the middle of the freaking night? Whoever it was, he couldn't care less.

"I didn't know you drank," he heard a familiar voice say.

Jake.

Of course it was Jake. He crouched down on the ground; in front of the couch Derek was lying on and eyed him sympathetically.

"Only… when good friends die," Derek said, his speech a little slurred because of the alcohol.

Jake shot him a gentle smile and patted his leg.

"Come, I'll take you home," Jake said to him.

Home?

He didn't want to go home! He wanted to protest but no words came out anymore. He was just too tired. Too drunk. Too numb with grief.

He let Jake guide him out of the room and into the elevator. Once outside, he looked up at the sky, the fresh air sobering him up just a little bit.

Was that a shooting star? Was that…? No… An airplane… A stupid airplane… Well, who cares it's an airplane?

I really need a wish right now…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

He was frozen to the ground. His eyes were big and stared in horror at what he saw in front of him. This couldn't be true. This wasn't real. Had one of his nightmares just come true?

He stood in the back of the little room, while Mr. McCabe and Jake Styles were sitting in front of a huge window, together with a young man. He was in his early twenties and had just been a victim of a gang rape. Barely twenty-four hours after the attack the man was now here to try to identify one of his attackers.

Five men were lined up in the room on the other side of the window. They had to step forward and say a certain line, apparently used by one of the attackers.

When the fourth man stepped forward and said the line, Derek's blood ran cold.

"Come here, pretty boy…"

"Come here, pretty boy!"

Derek looked wide-eyed at the tall man and shook his head softly in disbelief. The man's face had changed a little, but his voice was still the same. Derek would recognize that voice from anywhere. It had been hunting his nightmares for almost fifteen years.

He tried to regain his composure quickly, not wanting Jake or Mr. McCabe to become suspicious. That was the last thing he needed right now: having to talk about that certain traumatic event from his past. He had never talked to anyone about it.

Jake eyed him questioningly and Derek instinctively looked away. Did Jake know? Had he seen his distraught look? Derek hoped he hadn't.

The young man next to Jake, shook his head.

"I'm sorry, I don't know for sure," he said with a trembling voice. "The fourth guy seems familiar, but… I'm just not sure…"

"It's okay, son," McCabe said gently. "But if you remember anything, just anything at all, please let us know, okay? Scum like that need to get caught!"

The young man nodded and after everything was wrapped up he was guided away, Mr. McCabe following closely behind, leaving only Derek and Jake in the small, dark room.

"You recognized him, didn't you?" Jake asked bluntly. Derek's head shot up. He hadn't expected Jake to be this straightforward. Nevertheless, this was Jake and he wasn't exactly known for keeping things inside.

Derek's mind was racing. What was he going to tell Jake? Was there a way to get out of this? Jake was a persistent man. If he wanted something, he'd get it. Couldn't he just run away?

He sighed in defeat. He realized that the nervous look on his face and his hesitation to answer the question was already telling Jake what he wanted to know.

"Yes," he eventually whispered.

"Want to talk about it?" Jake asked gently.

"Not really," Derek answered and slowly shook his head.

"Let's do it anyway," Jake said. He sat down on the table and pointed at a chair for Derek to sit on. The younger man hesitantly moved towards it and eventually sat down on it. He was quiet for a moment, not knowing how to begin his tale. Hell, he didn't even want to tell anything!

But couldn't it be what he needed? What he had been craving for, for so long? A listening ear, someone who would not judge him, a friend with a shoulder to cry on.

He looked up at Jake who waited patiently for him to begin his story. An encouraging nod was all he needed.

"When I was seventeen… Some night after work, I walked through a dark alley and three men grabbed me from behind. They took my wallet, but since twenty bucks wasn't enough of a prize, they wanted more. They… They raped me. And one of the men was just here…"

Jake clenched his jaw in anger. He had suspected something like this as soon as he had seen the blood drain from Derek's face an hour earlier, but to actually hear it from the younger man himself was a whole other matter. His blood boiled, while his heart bled and all he wanted to do was to run after the son of a bitch and rip him apart with his bare hands.

However, he had to put his feelings of revenge aside. He had promised to listen to his young friend and he had the feeling Derek wasn't quite done with his tale.

"I fought them at first, but they were stronger than me," Derek continued. He didn't even look at Jake anymore. He stared in front of him as if he was reliving everything all over again. He told Jake everything; every single detail about the traumatic experience.

He didn't know how long he had been talking when he finally finished his tale. All he knew was that for some reason he had never felt this relieved in his life.

"You never told this to anyone?" Jake asked.

Derek shook his head. "No," he answered softly. "My father was governor at the time. I would have shamed his name…"

"That's ridiculous!" Jake said out loud.

"You tell him that," Derek said and then closed his eyes. He suddenly felt dead tired.

"I'm proud of you, you know that?" Jake said gently and when Derek opened his eyes again he was met by Jake's compassionate smile. Derek smiled back, but remained quiet. He was too tired to say anything.

"I'll take you home, okay?" Jake said as he squeezed his friend's shoulder.

Derek just nodded and let himself be guided away by the man he saw as a big brother.

The big brother he never had, but had desperately needed all his life.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

No! No! Please, no! Not Jake! Not Jake…

Derek froze when he heard the gunshot. His heartbeat sped up, while a big knot formed itself in his stomach. Another gunshot followed and for a moment Derek thought he was going to throw up.

An hour ago Jake had stopped by his desk telling him they had a warrant to arrest Garth Powell. Derek's attacker suddenly had a name…

The man had made another victim and this time he was identified, as the victim recognized his picture.

Derek had insisted on going with Jake. He needed to see this man be brought to justice. He needed to know it was finally over. He needed closure.

Jake had told Derek to stay outside.

"This could get ugly," Jake had said with a smirk on his face.

He had been right…

After the second gunshot Derek ran inside the building. Other agents tried to stop him, but to no avail. He was too fast. For once…

He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Jake's body on the floor. His eyes were closed and blood was pouring out of his gut. A female agent was already next to Jake, yelling for an ambulance, while she used her jacket to press on Jake's wound.

"What happened?" Derek asked in shock.

"Powell pulled out a gun," the female agent answered while she worked on Jake. "It seemed to come out of nowhere. Neither of us saw it coming…"

"And Powell?" Derek was almost afraid to ask.

The woman looked at the right corner in the back of the building.

"Over there," she replied. "Jake shot him right back, before he collapsed."

Derek looked over at the body he now saw in the corner.

"He's dead," the female agent stated and then made room for the paramedics that had just arrived.

"Jake will be okay, Derek," she said as she stepped back to let the professionals do their job. "He's tough."

Derek just nodded and looked at Jake's body again. He was lying so still. Lifeless. Jake used to be so full of life.

Derek swallowed back tears.

Please Jake… Don't leave me. I need my big brother here. I need you! I need you…

The sound of a roaring airplane engine interrupted his thoughts briefly. A soft smile appeared on his lips.

I have a wish…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"A beautiful night, isn't it?" Jake said after taking a sip from his beer. He lay back in the comfy chair Derek had pushed onto the balcony for him. Jake was still recovering from his gunshot wound and wasn't allowed to strain himself in any way just yet.

Derek looked up from his chair and took in the sight of the cloudless night sky, stars shining brightly above their heads.

"Yes, it is," he answered with a smile and then turned his attention back at Jake.

"Should you be drinking?" the younger man asked.

Jake grinned. "Definitely!"

"But aren't you still on painkillers?" Derek couldn't help being a bit worried.

"Yup," Jake answered as he took another sip. "Makes me sleep very long and very tight…"

Derek shook his head in disbelief. Jake certainly was some piece of work.

"Lets look at the stars, okay?" Jake suggested. "I love looking at the stars. It makes me feel so small and insignificant. Just imagine what could be out there. Or who…"

Derek shook his head again. The combination of painkillers and alcohol was already taking effect. Jake wasn't making much sense to him. Or was the older man just teasing him?

" I used to look at the stars with my dad," Derek told him. " We used to look for shooting stars…"

"Did you ever get to see one?" Jake asked.

"Nope," Derek replied. "I've seen a billion airplanes, but not a single shooting star. I once suggested to my dad to just pretend that airplanes were like shooting stars. At least then I could make a wish."

Jake laughed. "That's a nice idea. But I guess the wish won't come true then."

Derek chuckled. "Yeah, that's what he said too."

They were quiet for a while. It was an easy silence. Words weren't necessary. They simply enjoyed the beer, looking at the night sky and each other's company.

Suddenly Jake jumped up from his chair.

"Did you see that?" he called out and pointed at the sky. "Did you see that?"

Derek smiled and nodded. Yes, he had seen it. A bright flash of light in the sky, which eventually died out after a few seconds. A shooting star. They just saw a shooting star!

"That was awesome!" Jake said enthusiastically. "Lets make a wish!"

The older man closed his eyes and Derek couldn't help being amused at the sight. Jake reminded him of a child right now.

Jake opened his eyes again and grinned at his friend. "You're not going to make a wish?" he asked.

Derek smiled and shook his head. "Nope…"

"Why not?" Jake asked a little confused.

"Because I've got nothing to wish for," Derek answered with a satisfied look on his face.

And it was the truth. With Jake sitting next to him, alive and well, he was happy with his life just the way it was...

The End