Here is a little one shot to my Cheesy Puffs story. I remember one reviewer mentioning that it would have been nice to see a little of Jamie and Frank (I'm sure it was said, unless I was making it up ha ha) - so here it is. Hope its ok. I supposed you should read Cheesy Puffs to understand what's going on in this story but hopefully I've put enough in it for it to stand alone.
As before I don't own anyone you recognise - just like to make them cry! Ha ha.
I'm Stronger Than That
"Are we done yet?" Jamie pleaded, "Did we just have an army come to dinner?"
His elder sister, Erin, smiled as she watched her youngest brother dry yet even more dishes, "What are you? 12?" She chuckled, "Even Nicki doesn't moan about them as much as you do!"
Jamie pulled a face, as he pulled another plate out of the drainer. As Erin looked closer at him, she could see that the younger man's face looked a little pained. He'd been home from the hospital for 2 weeks following his heroics, then subsequent stabbing at their friends store while saving a little boys life. He'd made a good recovery so far but sometimes the pain returned, and by the look on his face, today was one of those days, "You ok Jamie?"
Jamie's head shot up, "Don't lie to me little brother," Erin warned. Jamie smiled slightly as he placed the towel on the side and sat himself on one of the stools, grimacing as it pulled on his wound, "It's a bit uncomfortable," was all he would admit to, but Erin knew her brother - for him to admit to it meant that it must really be hurting! She dried her hands, then placed a hand on his shoulder, "Go sit with the others, I'll finish off," she told him gently. He looked at her through newly tired eyes, "Thanks sis - I owe you…" He slowly stood up. "Don't think for one minute that I'll forget!" Erin smiled as she turned back to the sink. Jamie chuckled as he made his way to join the others.
Approaching the living room, Jamie could hear the TV - it sounded like they were listening to the news even though Jamie had expected them to have the game on. However, what really caught him by surprise was when he opened the door and came basically face to face with the man who had stabbed him!
Jamie gasped as a flashback to the white hot, searing pain assaulted him, causing him to stagger. Strong hands caught him, supporting him as he descended to the nearest chair. He glanced up into his brother's anxious eyes, "Thanks Danny, I'm ok - just a bit of a shock…" he explained as he got his breathing under control. Danny patted his shoulder before re-taking his seat on the couch.
"They got them son," Frank told him while studying his youngest. Jamie looked tired, with thin lines creasing his forehead - leading Frank to wonder if he'd been getting the rest that he needed to heal properly.
"The punks held up another store…" Henry spoke up, "Luckily no-one was hurt this time…"
Jamie managed a smile as everyone looked at him again, varying degrees of concern on their faces. He was grateful for their concern and comfort but sometimes he just wished they'd let him get on with it his own way.
He started to get up, "I'm going to bed, if that's ok," he said as he steadied himself on the chair. Danny was already on his feet when Jamie threw him 'a look' "I can manage…" he almost growled. Danny glanced at his father in confusion, but Frank merely nodded his understanding, "Sure son, sleep well."
"Thanks dad," came the grateful reply.
After the door closed Danny was not happy, "Dad?" he questioned.
"Your brother needs some space. He's still in some pain and coupled with seeing the man that stabbed him staring back at him from the news report, well I think it's knocked him back a bit. I know he appreciates everyone's concern…"
"But he wants to handle it himself - stubborn kid!" Danny finished for him.
"Hmm wonder where he gets that from?" Henry commented, causing laughter to break out.
"Let the boy go…"
"Who's gonna make me huh? You?"
"Look you don't want to get in more trouble…you're in enough!"
"Please…just let my boy go…he's only a child…"
"Shut up! Just shut up!"
A flash of steel, "NO!"
Jamie shot up, gasping for breath. He turned so that his legs were out of the bed - he was on fire. Sweat was pouring off him. His heart was pounding loudly…no wait…footsteps were pounding, "Jamie?" a voice penetrated the rushing in his ears.
Jamie glanced quickly at the owner of the voice who was about to turn on the light, "No Dad - not the light…please," he finished weakly as he lowered his head into his hands.
He felt the bed dip as his father took a seat next to him, "Sorry if I woke you…"
Frank put his hand on his son's back, dismayed to feel tremors under his hand, "It's ok son, don't worry…you ok?"
"I'm not sure," Jamie whispered.
"You feel a little warm," Frank remarked, seeing the sweat on his forehead gleaming in the moonlight.
Jamie started to stand, his legs feeling extremely weak, as if they wouldn't support him. He stood for a few seconds to get his bearings, feeling frustration rising as Frank stood ready to steady him. Frank noticed the change in the younger man's demeanour, "Look, I know you don't like us fussing but I'm not having you collapsing in a heap because you're to proud to ask for help!" Frank insisted.
Jamie smiled as he nodded his understanding.
Frank led the was to the bathroom, only to be met by Henry, who had heard the commotion and couldn't settle until he knew what was happening, "Jamie?" he questioned.
"I'm ok grandpa…just a nightmare…just going to freshen up. I can take it from here dad, thanks," he insisted as he pulled away from his father and closed the bathroom door behind him.
"Francis?" Henry queried.
"I'm going to talk to him pop."
"He didn't look well, does he need to see the doctor?"
Frank sighed, "We'll play it by ear. I'll talk to him, see if I can work out how he is. You go back to bed. I'll see you in the morning."
Henry could see that Frank had a handle on things, "Ok, good night son."
Ten minutes later, a much fresher looking Jamie was sat back on his bed. He'd washed and changed which made him feel a lot better, but to his father's watchful eyes he still didn't look that well.
Frank, who had sat himself down on Jamie's bed also, leaned forward and gently placed a hand on his son's forehead, "You still feel warm…you may need to see the doc in the morning…" he trailed, bracing himself for a fight.
"Hmmm maybe…" Jamie couldn't bring himself to look at his father.
"You wanna talk about it?" Frank asked, unable to mask the concern in his voice.
"What's there to talk about?" Jamie countered, knowing that he didn't want to open that wound yet.
"I saw your face Jamie, when you walked in on that news report. I saw the moment when he stabbed you play across your face…it's ok you know…" he trailed off as Jamie shuffled in his place, his eyes downcast. He suddenly felt agitated. He felt like tiny pins and needles were running up and down his body. He felt sick, "It's not ok…" he mumbled softly. Frank sat there in silence, his heart breaking for his son, "It's not ok dad," Jamie repeated, his voice rising, "I feel it every night - I relive it every night!" Angrily he scrubbed at his face, wiping tears that were fall of their own free will. Frank gently took hold of his hands to stop him, "I thought I was getting a handle on it, you know? Then I saw his face…it all flooded back…I can still feel the blade…"
He swallowed hard as the nausea assaulted him again. He began to take deep, steadying breaths, desperately trying to stop himself from completely breaking down in front of his father. But it wasn't going to happen - a sob broke free from his throat.
Frank understood what his son was trying to do - but he also knew exactly what his son needed to do. He got closer to Jamie and wrapped his arms around the hurting young man, "Shh, It's ok son…"
Jamie melted into his father's embrace, the wall that he had built up since the stabbing crumbling into dust.
"It'll be alright Jamie…I promise. We've all been there in some shape or form. But what you have to remember is that you save that boy's life that day - you kept your nephews safe - hold on to that. We are all so proud of you! Those idiots are history, they will get what they deserve. You're here, alive - you saved those lives…don't let those punks beat you…"
"I'm stronger than that…" Jamie mumbled form his father's embrace.
Frank smiled as he gently kissed the top of his son's head, "Damn right you are!"
Jamie pulled away, wiping his face, "Thanks dad…and…I'm sorry for all this…"
"You've nothing to be sorry for son," he reassured the younger man as Jamie got back under the covers. Frank pulled the cover up, leaving his hand on his son's chest until he had fallen into a much needed and hopefully untroubled sleep.
Frank paused in the doorway. The lines of pain had smoothed out, his breathing was slow and restful so Frank knew that he'd get the rest that his body craved to help the healing. Frank smiled as he gently closed the door behind him.