Chapter One: We're Doing This For Us
"I say we flush what we've got left, and we start tonight," Jane proclaimed, striding into the bedroom with a brown duffle bag in the crook of her arm and two stacks of money in her hand. She paused at the doorway, joined shortly by Jesse.
"Yeah, we can do that," he concurred with a hesitant tone. "Definitely."
The words hung in the air like smoke, alongside the lofty pledge of a fresh start in New Zealand with their funds newly acquired from Mr. White.
The couples' eyes were fixed on the nightstand by the bed, where a candle cast its sultry light on a needle propped over a spoon. They stared, lusting for that spoon's cargo, for an indefinite number of seconds. The tip of the needle pointed to a translucent plastic wrapper, and the gritty black contents emitted a siren call only heard by Jesse and Jane. Each seemed to be waiting for the other to act. Or to change their mind and succumb to the call.
"Did…did you want me to…get it…?" Jesse finally asked.
Jane nodded without stopping, still entranced. "Yeah…that's probably best…"
He inched forward, as if it were a rattlesnake he reached for. He picked up the tar and needle, to the sound of a thud as Jane dropped the bag in the floor by the bed. A glance over to her revealed a desperate expression.
Just one more, her glossed eyes and quivering lip pleaded. Just one more hit.
Looking back to the heroin in his hands, he heard the same seductive whisper in his own mind. Just one more hit.
He closed his fist around the stuff and looked up at Jane. He recalled her words from only a few seconds after Mr. White left them with the money. We're not going to shoot all this up our arms. We're way better than that.
"We're doing this for us," he reminded her.
"I know," she murmured. "For us."
She looked on with an almost helpless countenance as he proceeded to gather up all other remnants of drugs in the house. Both their needles and heroin, pot, crystal…whatever was lying around, he picked it all up and took it to the bathroom. Standing over the toilet, his boiling blood began to scream at him.
One more hit! Just one more!
Shutting his eyes, he dropped everything into the bowl. There were small, intermittent splashes.
For us. For her.
He flushed, and everything that had made them feel good for the past few weeks was whisked away into a sewer.
Except the empty needles. It dawned on him he didn't know the right way to dispose of them. Surely they don't just get thrown away; a kid could get a hold of them in the dumpster, or something. That would be really bad.
"What do I do with the needles?" Jesse called into the bedroom. No answer. He ventured in, only to find Jane seated on the side of the bed with the brown bag at her feet, staring off into space.
"Jane?" he tried again. "Do I just throw them away, or…?"
"Don't worry about it," she cut him off, already visibly tense. "I'll get rid of them in the morning."
He put them back on the table for now and sat down beside her. Reluctantly, he placed a hand on her arm. When she didn't object, his hand slid around her back to her other shoulder. Then he pulled her towards him comfortingly. He was reassured by her arm in turn coiling around his waist.
"This was for the best, right?" he prompted her.
She nodded meekly. "We'll be glad we did it when we get off the plane in New Zealand tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" he repeated, a little surprised.
"Yeah. The sooner the better, right?" she reasoned. "Less time for my Dad or that Walter White guy to try to stop us."
"You're right. Tomorrow, then." He reached out his hand for hers, and she offered it in return. Their fingers entwined in a pact. "Nothing is gonna stop us."
Walt's excuse to Skyler of running around town looking for diapers was wearing thin. But there was just one more thing he had to do before he could steer himself back home. For the second time that night, he knocked on Jesse's front door. As he expected, there was no answer. Either they were both already tripping, or that girl had a tight grip on his leash, preventing him from answering.
That girl. Just thinking of her made Walt grit his teeth. Today, she had forced his hand into turning over Jesse's share, though abundantly clear it would only pave his further decline into addiction. Then, when Jesse had guaranteed him that he would never see either of them again, it was apparent their partnership was dissolved.
Nothing remained to stop Walt from washing his hands of the pair. Yet, here he was again. A new resolve had been kindled in him after a chat with a stranger at the bar. The stranger had complained of a troublesome daughter, and he in turn had complained of a problematic "nephew." The consensus between them had been that no matter what, you can never give up on family.
Though not by blood, Jesse was family. After they'd seen each other through the worst of the drug trade, from a terrifying hostage experience to certain death by dehydration in the New Mexican desert, Walt was not about to let Jesse's own worst enemy be himself. Or her.
When there was no response at the door, he proceeded around to the back. Peering through the window, sure enough, he spied both of them asleep or passed out. Not surprisingly, the door had not yet been replaced from his recent, necessary break-in. The only measure that had been taken at all was a cardboard slab affixed over the hole with duct tape. This allowed him to easily reach in and unlock the door.
Inside, he proceeded to the bed. Jesse lay on his back. She lay halfway on top of him, head on his bare chest. His hand was lost in her hair. Two emptied heroin needles on the nightstand suggested to Walt his efforts here might be entirely futile. But all the same, he shook Jesse's arm.
"Jesse. Wake up," he instructed with the same austerity as if the kid had just dozed off in his chemistry class.
Jesse's eyes snapped open instantly, then narrowed. "Dude, what the—!" he started, beginning to lift his torso, until Jane stirred uneasily on his chest. He lay back down and rested her head against his beating heart to soothe her.
"Thanks a lot; she just now finally got to sleep," he barely whispered, petting Jane's hair. "What do you want?"
"We need to talk," Walt whispered back.
"Fine, but outside."
With Jane subdued, he gently slid her head off his chest to get up. She kept on sleeping undisturbed, her dark hair adorning his pillow in wisps. Silently climbing out of bed, he ushered Walt out to the back porch, promptly meeting him there after pulling on his crumpled sweatshirt off the floor.
"Seriously, Mr. White, do you come over here every night to watch me and my girlfriend sleep? 'Coz I gotta say, that's pretty messed up."
"Will you shut up and listen for once?"
The estranged business partners resumed their conversation in hushed whispers on the back porch.
"I could be back home by now with my family, but here I am again because I had to at least try to bore some sense through your thick skull," Walt continued in a sharp breath.
"Whatever, so bore away, bitch."
"She's none of your business."
"You might not see it yet, Jesse, but she'll ruin both of us," Walt insisted. "Do you think that little blackmail stunt she pulled today will be the end of it? After you two are done smoking and shooting all that money away, she'll come prying for more. Assuming you're not in body bags by then."
"Yeah well, for your information, we're already on our way to recovery," Jesse hissed back. "We just flushed the rest of the stuff a couple hours ago. So, maybe we have a little more willpower than you're giving us credit for."
"Recovery is not that simple," Walt shook his head. "She had no problem extorting from me. How long do you expect it'll be before she falls back off the wagon and does the same thing to you?"
Jesse glared venomously. "That's not gonna happen alright? Jane's not like that; you just don't know her."
"You're throwing your life away. And for what? For her?" Walt jabbed a finger at the cardboard taped over the hole in the door, pushing away a corner to reveal a glimpse of the femme fatale still asleep in the bedroom within.
Jesse balled a fist. The urge to throw a potted plant at the old cue ball's head was potent. But that would wake Jane up for sure. He didn't want her all on edge, seeing Mr. White here.
Scratch that, he didn't want Mr. White here, period.
He gave his so-called partner an abrupt shove, nearly knocking him down the steps. "How about you piss off back to your family now, huh?" he spat. "You got your own kids to boss around. You can just stay out of my personal life, you know."
Walt regained his composure from the stumble, then hesitated. It looked like no formula of words existed to get through to this deadbeat. Why had he even bothered? He turned to leave.
Love them, the stranger's words at the bar reprised in his head. Never give up on family.
At the gateway to the street, he turned back to Jesse. "You need to do what's best for both of you."
Then he left. At least he knew the message was received, judging by the obscene gesture the young man shot.