A/N – Its been a while since I've written a WAT story. Nice to be using the characters again. This story is set after final episode. Slightly A/U or maybe not…we'll never know? Thanks to my fab BETA, Diane, for all her hard work.
Disclaimer: Tragically, I do not own the rights to any of the characters of WAT. I just like to borrow them once in a while :-)
Jack couldn't help but smile as Finn chuckled heartily each time he blew raspberries to him. Finn was over one year old now, more active and getting stronger and sturdier every passing day. Jack loved spending time with Sam's little boy, especially because it usually involved spending quality time with his mom. In the months since Samantha's split from Brian, Finn's father, he and Samantha were growing increasingly closer. The lovely thing about where they stood in their lives and their relationship, at that moment in time, was that there were no expectations weighing them down. They had been around the block a few times before. Now they were just going with the flow and enjoying each other's company. For Jack, it meant a break from the monotony of spending his free time alone in his apartment, fretting about the whereabouts of his teenage daughter and wondering what she was up to. For Samantha, still hurting from her breakup, it meant she had the support of another as she tried to raise her young son. It had been a trying few months for her. The split with Brian, when it eventually came, was acrimonious but Jack was there for her when she needed a friend most. And as things currently stood, that's all they were: friends.
That particular afternoon, Jack was babysitting Finn in Samantha's apartment while she met an old friend, from her training academy days, for lunch. Jack had just finished changing Finn's diaper and was struggling to re-dress the kicking infant when the doorbell rang. He was sorely tempted to ignore it but then thought the better of it.
"Who could that be?" he said to the little guy as he picked him up in his arms. "Maybe Mommy's home early?"
Holding Finn securely in one arm, Jack peered through the peephole in the door. He recognised the man on the other side of the door as Brian Donovan, Samantha's ex. Great, he thought with sarcasm, as he undid the security chain and opened the door.
"Brian," Jack said in bland greeting, forcing a smile.
"Jack," Brian said coldly. He was trying in vain not to let his dislike for Jack to surface. It didn't help that Jack was holding his son and apparently now filling the role that he once occupied. "Is Samantha in?" he asked.
"No, sorry, Brian. She's at lunch with a friend," Jack said, hoping that would be enough for him to turn around and leave.
"That's okay, I'll wait," Brian said, brushing past him and crossing the threshold uninvited.
Holding the baby in his arms, there wasn't much Jack could do to stop him and he didn't want to make a big issue of Brian's presence for Samantha's sake. Put up and shut up, he thought to himself as he closed the door behind him.
"Hey, Buddy," Brian said playfully, reaching out and taking Finn out of Jack's grasp. "You've got so big."
Jack relinquished the child, stood back awkwardly and watched with a twinge of jealousy as the father bonded with his son once more. What else could he do?
"Eh, Sam shouldn't be much longer," Jack said, trying to fill the noticeable silence. "She said to expect her back by three or three thirty."
"Cool," Brian replied, returning his attention to his son.
Tolerantly, Jack sat back in an armchair while Brian made himself comfortable on the sofa with Finn on his knee. Jack carefully observed the younger man as he innocently played with his son. Sam had confided in him about some of the problems they had experienced before they separated, including the main reason why she had broken off contact with Brian. Jack wanted to thump the little twerp there and then for putting Samantha through what she'd been through the last few months. But the baby was present and he'd made a promise to Samantha not to lay a finger on him. He intended to keep his promise to her. Jack suspected that there may be more to the breakup than Sam had let on, though. He was convinced that Brian was into something that maybe Samantha didn't approve of or was embarrassed by; otherwise she would have told him. Brian looked more gaunt than usual, Jack noticed, and his appearance was noticeably more unkempt. The first thing to enter Jack's mind was drugs; whether he was an addict or not, he was into something sinister. Jack had no doubt about it. As he sized Brian up, his discomfort grew.
Unknown to Jack, Brian's mind was slowly saturating with envy and hate for the federal agent that sat across from him. He saw Jack as the reason Sam had dumped him. She was working all sorts of hours, night and day. He was her boss. It was convenient that all the late nights were spent with him. Brian had grown suspicious and challenged Samantha about her commitment to their family. She was defensive and hurt by his allegations. She told him to stop being paranoid and that was when he lost it. He hit her. It had happened before he realised what he was doing and he regretted it every day since. But with that singular slip up, he had lost her. She kicked him out and told him if he came near her again that she would press charges. So he stayed away, until today. He had actually come to beg forgiveness and plead for another chance.
But now, seeing Jack Malone so comfortable in her apartment, he began to believe that he had been right all along and that she was the liar and cheat he suspected she was. She swore to him that there was no one else, yet there he was, sitting in his favourite chair, looking after his son, sleeping with the woman he loved. How could she do this to him? He practically had to beg to see his son these days and she never let him take him out alone. It wasn't right. He was Finn's father and he was entitled to play a role in his life. But now she and Jack were apparently together from what he could see and they were conspiring to squeeze him out of the picture. He knew he had to stop that from happening. If she wanted Jack Malone so badly, if they wanted to play happy families together, that was fine but their happy family would not include his son. Irrational thoughts coursed through his addled brain. He raised his eyes and glared at Jack. Jack noticed the cutting glare and tried to deflect it with hospitality.
"Can I get you some coffee or something?" Jack asked, almost aching from forcing himself to be nice to the jerk.
"Eh, sure, coffee would be good," Brian replied, as he leaned forward and placed Finn sitting on the floor among his toys.
His eyes followed Jack as he made his way into the kitchen area. He turned and looked around the apartment, remembering the good times he had spent there. He stood and walked aimlessly around the living area. Then he saw a photograph that Samantha had framed on the sideboard. It was one of the three of them taken a few months after Finn was born. They looked so happy. They were a family back then. Now it was all gone and that made him angry. His rage was reaching boiling point. Beside the picture stood a decorative pewter sculpture, an obelisk that Sam used as a bookend. He picked it up and felt its significant weight in his hands. He turned his head and glanced towards the kitchen where Jack, the source of his anger, was busy inside preparing their beverages.
"Do you take it black?" Jack shouted from within.
"Yeah – one sugar though," Brian replied as he walked towards the kitchen, the sculpture hidden from sight down by his side.
When Brian reached the kitchen area, Jack was standing with his back to him, obliviously pouring the coffee. Jack shifted slightly, sensing Brian's presence but he had no inkling of the peril he was in. He was about to speak when Brian struck. Jack felt a sudden impact to the side of his head, the shock of which caused him to drop the coffee pot, shattering the glass and spilling its scalding contents onto his legs and the kitchen floor. He staggered, grabbing at the counter top to stop him falling, only to be struck again. This time the blow brought the curtains down on his senses and he crumpled to the ground in an unconscious heap. Brian stood over Jack's inert form, feeling a rush of adrenalin. Watching as he bled onto the floor, he realised that he may have actually killed him. It wasn't his initial intention but it wouldn't be a disaster as far as he was concerned. So indifferent was he that he didn't even bother to check. Jack Malone was not high on Brian Donovan's list of priorities.
He dropped the obelisk on the floor beside Jack and walked out of the kitchen, leaving Jack sprawled face down on the floor. With purpose, he hurried into Finn's bedroom and packed his diaper bag with supplies. He grabbed some cartons of formula, a bottle, as well as spare clothes and one or two play things. With the bag on his shoulder, he returned to Finn, who was sitting happily on the floor, chewing on one of his toys, oblivious to the violence that had just transpired. Brian picked him up, wrapped him in a blanket and headed for the door. There was no one in the corridor outside, so he closed the apartment door behind him and continued toward the elevator, making good his escape. He had his son. now he had everything he wanted.
A/N - well, no surprises for those of you who are regular readers of my fics. Whumping is part of the course! Reviews, comments always appreciated!