A/N: For Lara, because we both like a drunk Jack.
I don't own Tru Calling; this was made for fun (and my own sadomasochism), not profit.
After every funeral Jack Harper goes to a bar. That's not to say he gets drunk, but it's a way to take the edge off—to slice off the jagged pieces of his life if only for a few hours. He enjoys whiskey, the pub has an Irish charm and nobody bothers him. Occasionally there'll be a girl, but none that want to go home with him during the middle of the day—there's a reason that happens at night, in the dark when judgement is blurred and vision even worse.
When his phone rings Jack ignores it—talking to Richard Davies is never easy, always makes him feel ashamed, and the man's condescending voice wouldn't do any good after Jack's had a few. He'll take a rap on the knuckles for it later, though it isn't like Jack can really outrun his duties—he takes a break every so often, to reel in the clarity, to lose himself in the burn of alcohol.
Jack Harper lives death, soaks in it and sweats it. He wears black suits, pays his respects to strangers and it is never an act—Jack knows better than most the lasting grievances death makes sure to hang about the place, and instead of denying it, Jack embraces it. He has no other choice.
He knocks back another whiskey, chases it with a pint of Guinness and his phone buzzes in his pocket. He turns it off, wipes the froth from the corner of his mouth with his thumb and orders another shot, another pint. He's spending his allowance but it's one of those days and he just doesn't care.
Jack does his job, there's no option not to—rewinds happen whether he wants them to or not, and all he has to do is stop Tru from shuffling the pieces out of order.
Tru… He pushes her out of his mind, throws back the shot and sips the head of his beer. Drunk is where he wants to be today, it's clearer there.
The day grows and soon it's five, knock-off hour—workers ending their day swarm in, take up the tables and booths and litter the bar with their hard-earned money.
There's a bitter laugh behind him and Jack turns to face where it came from. Harrison Davies, devoted brother, duped son.
"You're pathetic Jack, you know that?"
"You're in here too, Harrison, that's got to count for something right?"
Harrison, in jeans and a leather jacket, plain black tee-shirt underneath, sits beside Jack on a stool and orders a beer. "I work for a living, Jack. You kill people."
"Careful what you say, might be considered slander. You should know all about that, working for your lawyer dad now."
"Yeah, well, slander would be me telling lies."
Jack lets out a long breath and sips his beer. "I'm not a killer, Harrison. I just do what needs to be done."
"The killer's credo," Harrison says decisively, tipping his beer towards Jack before standing and walking away.
Jack stretches his head over his shoulder to watch Harrison approach a girl and snake a possessive arm around her waist. The girl's familiar to Jack, a flighty blonde he'd been introduced to at Tru's place—Avery.
With a shake of his head Jack returns to his beer and finishes it, asking for one more round. The Davies family always seems to find a way to shame him, to force him to feel guilty—Tru with her self-righteousness, Harrison with his loyalty, Richard with his devious ways.
Jack wonders when it will all end. It ended for Richard when he had his wife murdered—it drove him to that, to violence and madness, for it all to end with death anyway. Would that be Jack? Would he allow himself to become that?
He might be treacherous, but Jack's not a monster. Not yet, at least—what could he be capable of in five years, ten years? Would this calling—gift—curse?—drive him, too, to madness?
Jack Harper goes to funerals for clarity, he goes to bars for comfort. But oddly the two don't really mix—clarity is not found at the bottom of a bottle, no matter how many times Jack had told himself otherwise, and comfort is a lie, not meant for the harsh realities of the world.
He leaves a tip of fifty dollars at the bar—it's not his money anyway, who cares? He'll await that rap on the knuckles with eager anticipation.
When he passes Harrison and Avery he nods at them, makes sure to catch both their eyes.
The night is crisp as he walks along, stumbles over the bits of raised pavement. His head is heavy with alcohol, not numb like usual and the storm brewing inside of him is like a battle-cry, a scream of angry defiance. Nothing was made clear for him today, the funeral he'd gone to was for a young boy ravished by bone cancer—death was a peace for him, but no one should have to die to be released from the world, least of all a boy young as nine.
Madness might not to be so far off for Jack, but he'd kill himself before doing anything to hurt Tru. He isn't the monster Richard wants to make, he'd never let himself be that.
Jack Harper is Death, but god he wishes he didn't have to be sometimes.