Chapter One

"You've got to be fucking kidding me," Jesse complained as he raised his fist to his mouth and coughed again. "I don't think anything should be down here. By which I mean, first of all, especially me."

"Quit complaining," Walt barked back at him. They were standing in the car wash's basement, which had been locked off, apparently, the entire time Walt had worked there. Jesse could see why. Most of what was down there appeared to consist of mold and what looked like seaweed.

"I'm not complaining, I'm stating, bitch," Jesse retorted. "And you expect me to sort through all this shit? There's probably dead possums galore down here."

"Then throw them out," Walt responded disinterestedly. "I've got things to do. Do you think you could manage to sort through here and throw all this out so we can put a lab here, or do I have to babysit you?"

Jesse curled up his nose. Walt had been decent to him, respectful even, for about three weeks after they had destroyed Gus, wiped him off the face of the Earth – well, pretty much – but, as Jesse had suspected, it had gone as quickly as it had come, and Walt was back to treating Jesse like a disobedient student who hadn't done well on his exams.

"You don't need to be a dick," Jesse replied. "You can say 'please', or something, at least. Jeez." Walt rolled his eyes, as if Jesse's mouth had opened yet no sounds had actually come out.

"Try and have it done by tonight," he instructed.

"Tonight?" Jesse cried out. "I've got things to do!"

"Like what?"

"Like, I had a date with Andrea…"

"Reschedule. You can see your little girlfriend some other time. She isn't going anywhere."

Jesse opened his mouth to reply that he wasn't trying to dictate Walt's love life, but he thought better of it. Maybe he'd start on it and be able to skip away long enough to get a shower, spend some time with Andrea, and then get back to this. Not as if anything he did was going to be right, of course, so he'd have to get a long enough nap to be able to handle the dressing-down he was going to end up with the next day.

Jesse threw up his hand.

"Fine," he replied. "Go, go."

When he'd heard Walt's footsteps go up the stairs and disappear, Jesse slammed his fist against the nearest thing – which turned out to be part of an old tire. He briefly wondered whether he was going to end up with tetanus by having touched the thing.

"What… a fucking… dick!" he exclaimed. "I can't even believe it. Jesse do this, Jesse do that – yeah well, bitch, it ain't the 1800's and slavery is illegal…" He kicked a tire. "Why is half this shit even under here? It's a car wash, not a mechanic shop! And what was his bright idea, setting up a lab here anyway? We'll all get diseases before we even finish our batch. How the hell do we disinfect this?"

He picked up a small trashcan, which was filled with some kind of green and black sludge, and tossed it over to the side.

"I guess this'll be the 'shit that needs to go' pile," he said to himself, putting his hands on his hips. "I feel like I'm on fucking Hoarders. For real."

He considered that this basement had probably been developed to fit some kind of giant sewer monster at some point, until even that hadn't wanted to stick around.

A smirk curled across his face as he imagined Jane complaining, "Jesse, you relate everything to comic books. Really? What are you, ten?" But she would have said it in that way of hers that showed she really found it cute and endearing, yet didn't want to admit it.

Jesse sighed. It was unfair to still be hung up on Jane the way he was when he was dating Andrea. It wasn't as if Andrea was lacking in any way – she was sweet, funny, and definitely hot. She had stuck by him even when he wasn't sure he would have stuck by himself. She had made him become a better person.

But he couldn't help closing his eyes sometimes and getting lost in memories, and wondering about what could have been, if only he hadn't screwed it all up.

Not to mention that horrific plane crash – as much as he wanted to believe he hadn't been responsible for that, that it'd just been an accident, he couldn't chase the idea that he'd destroyed Donald Margolis' whole life.

He sighed.

It was all fucked up. There wasn't really any way it could be any worse. And yet, for the first time in this whole screwed-up year, things actually seemed relatively stable. Maybe that was even worse – when he wasn't hitting the ground running for his life, Jesse was stuck thinking about all that had happened.

Trying to figure out exactly what he'd change if he could. What he'd take back if he could.

Jesse picked up a stack of old Playboys – how the hell had they gotten down there? – and, after a quick perusal, realized that none of them were worth saving. It wasn't as if most of the girls in those centerfolds particularly looked like the girls he tended to date anyway. Sleep with, potentially, but date, no.

He threw them into the junk pile as well.

After that, a pile of molded cardboard joined the pile, along with an old stack of rather off-smelling air fresheners.

And it still looked as if the job was only about a fifth of the way done.

Jesse stepped off to the side and looked down, finding himself gazing at an old, rusted lamp that looked as if it hadn't been made any time after the 40's. Grumbling, he leaned down and grabbed a hold of the handle, yanking.

"Goddamnit!" he cursed, finding it stuck. "I wish I had never partnered up with that dickhead."

The next feeling Jesse had was the sensation of flying through the air and hitting the ground, hard.