A/N: What if scenarios…I've got a couple of different story plans in my head involving them and this is the first one of those. Takes place back in the summer of 2003 and everything you think you know is about to get turned on its head, so buckle on up. This ride is sure as hell going to get bumpy.
"Lawson! Would you hurry your ass up already? We don't have all night!"
"Hold your horses Marky!" James yelled back as he adjusted his costume. "I'll be ready soon!" He hated how impatient Mark always was. Like really, couldn't he just be patient for once in his life. Would it really kill him? James didn't think so but Mark obviously disagreed, which was frustrating. "Mother fucker," he muttered under his breath, adjusting his costume and examining himself in the full length mirror that was in the room. It was Halloween and they were going out with Annabelle and Glenn to roam the town and get into trouble, just like they always did. Only difference was though was that he hadn't been able to talk Mark into dressing up this year. He had tried and tried his hardest but Mark had been stubborn until the end.
"Well I'll show him," James said under his breath as he made the final preparations on himself. Since Mark wasn't dressing up he was going balls to the walls, as Dr. Frank-N-Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. He loved the movie (he had been obsessively going to the midnight showings whenever he could) and he knew that it would get to Mark in some way to see him like that, which was his main goal. Whether that getting was annoyance or being turned on didn't matter to him. As long as Mark was got to, he would be a happy camper.
Once he determined that he looked good, he joined the others downstairs. "Okay bitches, let's go!" he said cheerfully as he found them all in the kitchen. Glenn had on his usual monster mask (that was as far as his dressing up ever went), Annabelle was Batgirl and Mark was Mark, only he turned into a shocked Mark when he looked up and saw what James was wearing. He tried to say something but he ended up choking on the drink of Coke he had taken instead and Glenn had to whack him on the back in order to get him to breathe again.
"Um…James?" Annabelle said slowly, her voice cracking because she was in shock too. He had told her about his costume but she obviously hadn't expected him to really go through with it.
"What?" James said innocently. "Why are you all looking at me like that for?"
"You look like a fruitcake," Glenn replied bluntly.
"Well you look like a burned up freak," James countered. Actually Glenn didn't look all that bad because of his extensive post-fire surgery but he wasn't about to tell him that.
"James be nice," Annabelle scolded gently.
"Why? That's no fun." He ignored the exasperated sigh she let out and grinned at Mark. "Like what you see Marky?"
Mark just stared at him, unable to really do anything, not even blink. "Lawson…what the fuck? You're not really going out like that are you?"
James pouted his lips. "Well yeah, that was the point. Why wouldn't I?"
"Because you can't go out like that."
"Again I ask why not," James repeated. "Come on Marky, it took me ages to find heels that would fit my big ass feet. I gotta take advantage of that."
Mark looked down at those heels and shook his head. "You know those are going to start hurting your feet and you'll start bitching and whining for me to carry you."
"No I won't."
"Yes you will."
"DADDY WAKE UP!"
James was violently jerked out of his sleep by the sound of Connor yelling right in his ear. "Jesus fucking Christ," he cursed under his breath, his ear now ringing like hell because of Connor's scream. "What?" he said, sticking his finger inside of his ear and moving it around in order to try to regain his hearing. "What's the matter?"
"The movie is over," Connor informed him. He pointed towards the TV and made a loud whining noise. They had been watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show together and James had fallen asleep in the middle of it out of pure exhaustion (Connor had kept him up all night by literally bouncing off the walls). "Start it over I want to watch it again."
James winced and rubbed the back of his neck. He had laid on it wrong and now it was stiff as hell. "Again? Really?"
"Yes!" Connor insisted. He grabbed James by the shirt and began shaking him to the best of his ability. His hair was getting crazy long and he really did need a haircut. Unfortunately, the odds of him getting one any time soon weren't that great. Connor and haircuts didn't mix because they required him to sit perfectly still and he couldn't have that. Unless he was asleep or really really REALLY entertained by a movie, he had to be moving at least somewhat. It was like he had a rocket up his ass on a constant basis and it really wore on a lot of people's nerves. Not James though…well, not so much anyway. Maybe it did get a little tiring on occasions but Connor was his baby. He wasn't the typical sixteen year old at all. He wasn't looking to assert his independence and grow up. He was still a baby and relied on James in way Cooper and Mark insisted were not normal. But what was normal? James sure as fuck didn't know. It was too subjective of a phrase to him anyway. What was normal for one person was not normal to another. Besides, James had been somewhat like Connor when he had been his age and he had grown out of it and settled down for the most part. Connor just needed more time to do the same thing.
"DADDY!" Connor yelled again, getting visibly angry when James made no move to get off the couch. "Movie! I want to watch it again!"
"How about we go get dinner first and then we'll watch it again?" James suggested. He wasn't really hungry but he knew that Connor had to be and not realize it yet.
Connor tilted his head to the side and thought about that offer long and hard before slowly nodding. "I want to go to Burger King," he declared. "I want a Kids Meal with a GOOD toy in it. They don't always give me good toys and I hate that. I really do Daddy."
"I know you do," James said as he ruffled Connor's hair. "I'll make sure you get a good toy. Now go get your brother and tell him he's coming with us." Cooper had been up in his room all day and that didn't set that well with James. Sleeping off a hangover was one thing but he was sure Cooper was doing that and was now just brooding, like usual. Since turning twenty one just a few weeks ago, the only time Cooper really ever went out was to go party. Otherwise he locked himself away, only socializing with James and Connor whenever the mood struck him (and that mood had yet to come today).
"What if he says no?" Connor asked innocently.
"Well you tell him he don't have a choice," James replied. "And if he still gives you shit, come to me. I'll make him listen."
"Okay Daddy." Connor got up and ran out of the room so fast that he nearly tripped over Spencer, the English bulldog they had adopted after they had killed his original family. He was older dog than what James originally intended on getting (he had to be at least ten or eleven years old) but Connor had fallen in love with him on sight so James hadn't fought him on it.
"I get any messages while I was napping Spencer?" he asked as he checked his voicemail on his cell phone and then checked the answering machine for the regular phone. Mark was supposed to call him sometime today and let him know when he was coming home. "Huh? Did my Marky call me?"
Spencer yawned lazily before laying down and staring at him apathetically. That got translated to being a big no because there were absolutely no messages from Mark. That wasn't really all that unusual but it still pissed James off. "I bet he called Sara," he muttered under his breath, talking to absolutely nobody in particular. "You watch Spencer, I bet you he did. And I bet I'll get a call at the end of the week saying that he has to spend his days off with her instead of me." He kicked the wall out to let out some of his frustration but it really didn't do anything to make him feel better. As much as he liked Sara better than Jodi, he couldn't help but hate her for taking Mark away from him. Mark was supposed to be with him, not married to her and having babies with her and being away in Texas. It wasn't fucking fair but he couldn't really do much about it. If he and Mark started fighting all the time again then Mark would just go back on the bottle and turn into a giant asshole again, which was the last thing he wanted. That was shit he never ever wanted to deal with again if he could help it.
He heard two sets of thundering footsteps and turned just in time to see an overly hyper Connor return with a disgruntled Cooper. "Jesus, you look like death warmed over," he said as he took a good look at his oldest son. Maybe that was too blunt but it was the truth.
Cooper grunted and took his sunglasses out of his pocket and put them on. "Why the fuck did you send him up there?" he asked, jerking his head towards Connor. "Do you hate me or something?"
"No silly, Daddy loves you!" Connor declared, jumping on to Cooper and wrapping his arms and legs around him like he was a monkey or something. The attachment Connor had for Cooper had grown even more intense since the two of them had started sleeping together. At least James was sure that that was what they were doing. Connor's hormones had hit him like a truck and of course he had gone to Cooper and Cooper had told James he would take care of the matter. Of course it would horrify most parents to know that their sons were fucking but not James. He himself had had an incestuous relationship with his own sister so he already had quite a different opinion about the whole thing. And as long as nobody was getting hurt or anything, he figured he could just let it be. "And I love you too Coopy."
"I-oh ew!" Cooper groaned as Connor licked the side of his face. "That's disgusting, don't do that!"
Connor threw his head back and cackled loudly before getting off of Cooper and running off towards the front door. Cooper wiped his cheek off with the back of his hand and gave James an irritated look. "You really are going to make me go out to eat with him? He can't behave to save his life!"
"Sure he can," James said, automatically coming to Connor's defense. "I know he's a little high strung-"
"High strung? He's beyond high strung Dad."
"Cooper…please don't." James didn't want to fight with Cooper, especially when he was seriously hungover. It was almost like fighting with Mark, only Cooper twisted the shit he said and used it against him in a way that drove him absolutely mad. "I'll keep him under control, okay?"
"You better," Cooper grumbled. "Because I'm in NO mood to deal with his shit."
That did not sound like a good thing and as it turned out, he was right about that. Connor got rowdy like he usually did, bouncing up and down from his spot on the booth and throwing food all over the place no matter how much James tried to get him to stop. Cooper watched this all go on, obviously getting more and more frustrated by the second. Finally he just reached right across the table and smacked Connor right across the face as hard as he could, making the young teen burst into tears immediately.
"Cooper Benjamin!" James said angrily as he pressed Connor's face up against his chest in order to try and muffle the fit he was having. "Was that necessary?"
"He wouldn't stop!" Cooper said defensively.
"So you hit him? He's a baby-"
"He's sixteen! He's not a fucking baby! He just acts like that because he knows you'll let him get away with murder otherwise."
Cooper shook his head, remembering that James let him get away with murder too. "I didn't even hit him that hard. Why are you freaking out so much?"
"You left a mark," James said, pointing to the part of Connor's face that was red.
"It'll fade in a few minutes," Cooper said with a shrug. "And-whoa!"
Connor suddenly stopped crying and lunged across the table, screaming like a banshee and gnashing his teeth, scaring the fuck out of all the small children that were in the establishment. James wrapped his arm around Connor's waist to hold him back while Cooper grabbed his wrists to keep him from hitting. When he realized that wasn't getting anywhere with his plan of attack, Connor changed his game up and spat right in Cooper's food. Cooper's eyes narrowed dangerously and Connor shrieked and yanked himself away from James and Cooper, running for his life out the door with Cooper hot on his heels.
"BOYS!" James yelled, hopping up to his feet and tearing after them as fast as he could. By the time he got outside they were already a block and a half down and he did not feel like running that distance. "God fucking damn it…" He stormed over to his car and got in, cursing loudly when he realized his keys were in his pocket and he was going to have to get back out of the car because he was too big to do it from inside of it.
"Rough day Mr. Lawson?"
"JESUS FUCK!" James jumped so high that he hit his head on the ceiling of the car. Wincing in pain, he looked back and saw a well dressed, middle aged black man (British judging from his accent) calmly sitting in the backseat of his car like nothing was wrong with that at all. "Who the fuck are you?"
The man blinked and then shook his head slowly. "Mr. Lawson-"
"WHO are YOU and WHY the FUCK are you in MY car?" James wanted the answers to those questions and he wanted them now.
The man didn't even flinch when most would have been running the fuck away at that point. "My name is Mr. D," he said calmly "And-"
"Oh how the fuck do you know my name?" James threw in there for good measure. "And why the fuck-"
"Am I in your car?" Mr. D smiled softly when James stopped because the question had been taken right out of his mouth. "Well I had an offer I wanted to make you and I needed to get your attention."
"Well it worked," James said nastily, his heart still not beating normally because he had really been startled by this asshole. "But I'm not interested in your offer."
"Well no, I don't suppose you are right now," Mr. D said calmly. "But you will be eventually."
James blinked, still really thrown for a complete loop by this guy's sudden appearance. It wasn't like he had ever had some random stranger pop into the back of his car, knowing his name and trying to make him offers. That shit just was not right. "Oh yeah? And how do you know that?"
Mr. D didn't answer. He just looked around the car, smiling softly as he touched any part of the interior he could reach. "This is a lovely vehicle you have here Mr. Lawson. I-Mr. Lawson, you're not planning on slaughtering me, are you?"
James froze in his tracks. He had actually been reaching for his knife just as he said that. "I-"
"Mr. Lawson, that is not very nice," Mr. D scolded gently. "To try to kill a man for simply wanting to make you a very generous offer? Where are your manners my dear boy?"
"First of all, I don't do manners," James snapped, gripping the handle of his knife tightly to make himself feel better. "Second of all, I'm not your boy, let alone your dear one. And third of all, I think it's time for you to leave before I do fucking gut you because you are just fucking weird."
That stupid little grin refused to leave Mr. D's face, which was just way unnerving. "Of course. I'm sorry Mr. Lawson, I'll talk to you when the time is better."
"How about you don't-" James's voice died when Mr. D disappeared from the backseat of his car completely instead of going out the door like a normal person. "What the-" There was a knock on his window and he turned around to see Mr. D waving at him before disappearing into thin air again, leaving James by himself to be very freaked out and confused.