He's going to kill the bloody moron who gave her alcohol.

The rage pulsing through his veins is bordering on homicidal; enough that he's fully prepared to throttle anyone and everyone else who offers her another drink. He knew letting her go to a bar with Taylor was a bad idea, regardless of the fact that it was Taylor's bachlorette party. Despite being with a group of girls, Melissa left to her own devices with a bar full of liquor at her disposal is dangerous. Not only does tequila turn her into every red-blooded male's school-girl stripper fantasy, but he remembers with remarkable clarity the last time she'd been allowed to drink to the point of inebriation. It hadn't been pretty. At all.

There had been a tray of tequila shots, knee-high leather boots and a rickety table in a seedy bar involved. Her hips had gyrated so hard as she moved on that table, she could barely walk the next day and a video of her belting out her own warbly version of every Nickelback song and then some had gone viral within twenty-four hours. While Melissa's drunken warble of Burn It To The Ground beat anything either he or Chad Kroeger could have done while as inebriated as she had been, he was quite sure she wouldn't be repeating said performance anytime in the near future.

Until now, that is.

"...Burn it to the ground tonight..." He's disturbed to find the entire bar singing along. Lighters, cell-phones and hands thrown in the air, fingers splayed in that typical devil's horn symbol of rock and roll. And Lord help him, there she is. Right in the middle of it all. On the table in that black leather mini-skirt and shiny fuschia stripper heels she had flounced out of their apartment in earlier that night. The collar of her white button-down shirt is popped - is she trying to do a drunken female impersonation of Elvis? - there are buttons missing and he can just see the flash of lime green lace as her body flails under the dim strobe lights in the bar.

"Taylor," He catches up to the small blonde at the bar, swirling the melted Pepto Bismol pink remnants of her fruity drink around in her glass as she swirls a cherry around her mouth with her tongue. "What the hell happened? I thought you'd watch her?"

"I watched her, alright." Taylor nodded, tugging at the material of her body-hugging dress down so that she's properly covered. No need for the patrons of the bar to see anymore of the bachelorette than necessary - her best friend has that fully covered. "I watched her take two shots of tequila and then proceed to down margaritas. Last count was three. Not to mention the fact that she's covered in a gross mixture of saliva, lime and salt from the body shots."

"Body shots?" Jackson's body nearly convulses at the thought of his best friend letting other guys near her body with salt and lime, willing to let them lick and suck the tequila from her body. He's not sure if it's jealousy and homicidal rage or just the latter that pulses through his veins but it's one of them. He's so red with fury, Taylor thinks he might actually explode all over the bar. She reverts her eyes over Jackson's shoulder, back to the gyrating blur of leather and white cotton that is her best friend, watching as she topples over nearly falls off the bar before fifty pairs of hands shoot out to catch her.

"You better go get her." She nods toward the table that Melissa is currently using for a stage. "Those guys are looking at her like she's a raw steak and they're hungry Rottweilers."

He spins on his heel and takes one look at Melissa, grinding and dancing erratically and the group of about fifty red-blooded males with wide-eyes and drool dribbling down their chins as they watch her move. She looks like a raw, bloody steak to the group of women-hungry men and they all look ready to devour her if she'll have them. She doesn't seem to care as she flails her body, barely managing to drunkenly slur the words into the microphone in her hand and nearly tripping over her two feet in those ridiculously high heels.

"Melissa!" Jackson shuffles through the crowd, yelling her name over the rowdy men so as to be heard over the pounding blare of Nickelback's sex and alcohol anthem. "Melissa!"

"Jackson! Hi!" Melissa slurs into the microphone. "Hey everybody! Look, it's my boyfriend, Jackson."

With a carefully aimed sweep of his arm, Jackson easily sends Melissa toppling over in his general direction. He wraps an arm around her, tugs the microphone from her and tosses it into the crowd for the rowdy group of drunken patrons to finish off the song.

"Hey!" Melissa cries indignantly. "Jackson! I wasn't done!"

"Yes, you were." Jackson corrects her firmly, holding her in place to keep her from clawing her way back onto the table. "Tell your rowdy group of friends, goodbye. We're going home so you can sleep off the tequila and wash off those body shots!"

She barely has time to scream her petulant goodbye before Jackson sweeps her up in his arms and carries her to the door. She's pouting like a juvenile and his nether regions are certainly going to be bruised by morning thanks to the shiny fuschia death traps she has strapped to her feet, by the time he reaches the door with her. When he sets her down outside the bar and she can breath in large gulps of the refreshingly cool air - it had been hot and stuffy in that damn bar - she takes in a large gulp of air before promptly puking her guts up on the concrete. Jackson finds himself nearly gagging at the slosh of her stomach contents hitting the concrete.

"Come on, drunken one. Let's go home." He manages to maneuver her around the pile of tequila and stomach acid laying on the concrete and through the maze of cars to his own car. He presses her into the car, holding one hand against her stomach to keep her from moving as he unlocks the car and opens the passenger door. "Get in and buckle up. Let's make this as quick and as painless as possible!"

When he pulls into the apartment parking lot, she's not-so successfully drunkenly warbled her way through the entire Titanic soundtrack but is slurring her way through My Heart Will Go On for a second time. While he hadn't appreciated the true beauty of Celine Dion's version in the past, he most certainly does now. He winces when her voice reaches a particularly screechy decibel on the second chorus, which she has screwed-up and slurred to the point it sounds like a high-pitched hiss.

"Jesus, you're never drinking again." He grumbles as he shoves the car in park and gets out before making his way around to help his drunken friend out of the car. "I swear, one night, I let her drink alone and she ends up with the possibility of another viral video."

She's clumsy and sleepy when he hauls her limp, overly-gyrated body out of the car and up two flights of stairs to the apartment they share. Her limbs are flailing about like over-cooked noodles and her tongue has loosened considerably; "'Ackson...dids you know that I loves you?"

"Yes, Mel. I know." Jackson murmurs calmly to appease the drunk woman in his arms.

"No I mean I 'eally loves you." Her drunken slurs are barely comprehensible. "Like lo-ove you the way Taylor lo-oves Eric."

"You're drunk, baby girl." He murmurs carrying her into his bedroom and gently dropping her onto his bed - she's already puked once tonight, no need to repeat that on his bed. He raids his closet for one of those plaid flannel shirts she favors because he's just too tired to dig through her room for her pajamas.

He tosses one onto the bed and sets about changing her into it. He unbuckles her high heels and slides them off of her feet, tossing them into the far corner of his bedroom before moving up to her skirt. He gently unhooks the small metal fastener and slides the skirt down her long legs. He audibly gulps when he gets a nice little peek of lime green lace underneath the black tights she had paired with her skirt. He hurries up the process by unbuttoning her shirt and managing to slide it off of her body before sliding her arms through the sleeves of his shirt. He gently tugs the material up over her shoulders and buttons it, eager to hide the delicious view of her lacy undergarments before he does something decidedly politically incorrect.

With what's left of his dignity in tact, he tucks her into bed, grabs a pillow and a spare blanket and prepares himself for a night on the couch.

God help him in the morning.


She's hungover.

As if the shooting pain everytime she moves a muscle wasn't proof enough, the fiery throb currently pounding away in her head was all the evidence she needs of a night spent with tequila. She briefly wonders what she's done this time around but chooses to push that thought to the darkest crevice of her mind for the moment. The hangover is bad enough. She'd rather not have memories of the events leading up to the hangover from hell.

What had she done last night?

Her eyes widen when the heavy guitar riff of her favorite karaoke tune - at least while heavily intoxicated - pulses through the apartment and the sound of her cringe-worthy singing follows soon after. Holding her head like a woman deranged, she slowly shuffles into the living room where Jackson is sitting on the couch, laptop resting on his knees and a cup of coffee in his hand. His laughter clashes horribly with the screechy slurs coming from the speakers.

"Jackson?" She mumbles because she's not quite sure what to make of the situation presented before her.

"Good Morning, Sunshine!" Jackson greets over enthusiastically, shutting the laptop and setting his coffee down on the table in front of him. He slides the laptop over to the cushion next to him and stands up, clasping his hands together in front of him like a happy little boy who was the recipient of a brand new toy. "You'll be delighted to know that you've gone viral yet again! Your heavily intoxicated version of Nickelback's Burn It To The Ground is a smash hit on YouTube."


"Oh yes," Jackson can barely contain his amusement, "Taylor sent me an interesting email. According to YouTube statistics, your video has gone viral with over two hundred thousand hits in less than twelve hours. Oh and let's not forget the pictures!"

"Pictures? There are pictures?" Melissa sputters, her face flushing a brilliant shade of red as what was left of her crumbling dignity is destroyed by the very idea that there are photos of last night pasted on the internet."

"Enough to fill up five pages of Google Images." Jackson grins wickedly, his amusement bubbling up to the surface and threatening to leave him in a fit of high-pitched giggles. "Fifty men all with cell phones snapping pictures and videos, there's about three hundred or so pictures of you plastered all over the internet."

"Oh God." Melissa groans, falling back against the wall behind her. "Anything else I should know?"

"Well your white blouse is ruined. What with half the buttons missing and, erm - " Jackson blushes and takes a moment to gather himself before continuing. "You kicked me in the groin several times and told me that you loved me."

"Oh." Melissa sighs, closing her eyes. "I love you? You know that!"

"Uh no. You said you lo-oved me like Taylor lo-oves Eric." Jackson explains gently, watching as she blushes further, her cheeks turning a rather impressive shade of burgundy. "And you puked outside the bar but that's not worth mentioning."

"God, I'm such an idiot."

"Well I wouldn't go that far. You just shouldn't drink." Jackson shrugs, reaching out to squeeze her. "Ever."

"Thanks," Melissa drawls dryly, "I'll take that to heart."

Jackson can't help but laugh at that. When she opens her eyes, she finds him bent over in a fit of hysterical giggles. His shoulders shudder and the high-pitched giggles are more fitting for a little boy being tickled rather than a twenty-something man. She wants desperately to join him but it currently feels like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have made themselves at home in her head and are currently pounding away at her skull.

"So, uh," He fumbles for the words when he finally manages to control his laughter. "Did you mean it?"


"The, ah, the love thing." Jackson mumbles, suddenly feeling very shy. "Did you mean it?"

Had she meant it? Hell, yes. Every single word. She did love him. She had loved him since she was sixteen years old, boarding a slightly run-down old World War Two aircraft bound for the middle of nowhere with him climbing the steps in front of her. She had been in love with him since the first time she saw him on the bridge. She just hadn't bothered to tell him; at least not sober, now while heavily intoxicated apparently she had not only told him but also elaborated.

Well, gee, that was embarrassing.

"I do mean it." Melissa finds her stocking clad feet infinitely more interesting.

"I love you too." Jackson smiles gently, raising her head with his hands, forcing her to meet his dark blue eyes. "Just don't drink."

With a playful insulted look, Melissa whacks Jackson on the shoulder and pushes him out of the way, reaching for his cup of coffee. Once she has a fair amount of his coffee in her system, she looks between him and the laptop. "Do I even want to look?"

Jackson just plops down on the couch, grabs his laptop and motions to the empty space next to him. Melissa curls into his side, gathers her courage and tells him to press play. The rest of their morning is spent with the video on replay while Melissa cringes and Jackson laughs his ass off. When he finally gets his fill of his listening to her cringe worthy screeching, he relays to her all the details of how she had danced on a table with fifty drooling men looking at her like she was piece of meat and how he had almost killed them all.

Bloody overprotective, he was.

She wouldn't have him any other way.

Even when she was dancing drunk on a table, it was nice to know he would be there to save her from sex-deprived perverts.

After, of course, he laughed his ass off.