Chapter 17

October 20th, 2012

With less than four weeks until the trial, Jack was starting to really worry. They had a meeting with Peter today but he honestly couldn't see what good it might do. He and Ennis knew what they had to do if they were going to win this fight, so he figured there was nothing else to say now, unless he had something to tell them.

Lying in bed that morning, Jack was staring at the ceiling and listening to Ennis's breathing; he could dimly hear sounds outside, such as cars and birds, but the sounds next to him were far preferable to him.

I can't lose this, he thought desperately to himself as Ennis slept on. It'll destroy everything we've worked for. I don't wanna be without him.

Jack sighed and slid out of bed, needing to stretch his legs; it was about time to get up anyway. Normally, whoever woke up first would wait for the other until they woke up, but he didn't want to disturb Ennis right now.

He silently pulled his jeans on and left the bedroom, crossing the dark apartment to the kitchen and getting himself some water. He sat at the table, thinking about the trial and what it would mean for them if he was found guilty. Ennis had already promised to wait for him, but Jack thought of his nightmare; he had been sentenced for eight years, which sounded about right for such an offence. Would Ennis honestly wait that long? He would like to believe so, but it wasn't fair; Ennis would need someone even if it wasn't him.

Tears sprung to his eyes at the thought of Ennis with someone else; even just the notion caused him pain. He could be in prison, probably being abused on a regular basis, and he wouldn't be able to think of Ennis without imagining him with someone else. He hated this whole situation and he wished it could all be just a dream.

Ennis woke up soon after and found himself alone in the bed. He sat up, feeling worried; Jack didn't normally leave the bed without him unless something was wrong. "Jack?" he called out, but heard no reply. Maybe Jack was in the main room.

He pulled his jeans on and stepped out of the bedroom. "Jack?" he tried again, peering into the darkness.

"I'm at the table," Jack replied, and Ennis switched the kitchen lights on. Jack was there, hands wrapped around a glass of water and just wearing his jeans.

"What are you doing in the dark?" he asked, walking over. "What's wrong?" He sat down next to him, looking at him with such concern that it made Jack's heart ache. He remembered what Ennis had said; that it was okay to wake him up if he needed him.

"I just...woke up and got to thinking. Less than four weeks until the trial."

Ennis sighed and moved his chair next to Jack's, putting an arm around him. "I know, darlin'. I know how it gets to you and I wish it didn't."

" know that nightmare I had? Well, when they found me guilty, I was sentenced for eight years. That sounds normal for something like this, right?"

"I guess, but why...?"

"I got to thinking...what you said before about waiting for me. Are you really gonna be celibate for eight years?" Jack trusted Ennis completely, but he couldn't believe that someone could do that, even Ennis.

Ennis sighed. "Jack, not this again..."

"I have to ask," Jack told him, looking directly at him. "I need to know. It wouldn't be fair to you if I asked you to go without it for so long. So I'm not asking. But could you do it even if I didn't?"

"Yes, I could," Ennis told him. He knew it wouldn't be easy if he was faced with this choice, but he would remain faithful. "Jack, I made vows to you the day we got married. I promised to stay faithful and that's what I'm gonna do. I've never cheated on you and I'm not gonna start just because you'd be in prison."

Jack smiled slightly but still looked sad. "It's not fair to you. What if I said it's okay for you to get what you need, even just while I'm locked up?"

"Don't say it, Jack," Ennis warned. "I'm not hearing it. Don't you go telling me it's okay, because I know it's not. I know the idea of me with someone else hurts you, like it does for me. You're trying to be selfless and...I don't want that in this kind of decision. So just don't, okay? I'm not gonna be getting any as long as you're in prison and I'm okay with that. I'll survive. And there's still no guarantee that you're even gonna be locked up, remember?"

"We have to plan for the worst," Jack said in a low voice.

"Okay, fair enough. But not like this. Jack, please don't do this. You know as well as I do that your heart isn't in this. You don't want me with anyone else and I know that. Christ, when I think about what might happen to you in the hell could I even consider it when you're suffering like that?" He took hold of Jack's cheeks with both hands, forcing him to meet his eyes. "Just cut it out," he said softly. "I appreciate what you're trying to do; that you're doing this for me. But I don't need that from you. I need you to understand that it's only ever gonna be you. I'm not gonna be doing anything that'll hurt you, okay?"

Jack nodded, trying with all his heart to believe this; it would take time before he did but he understood that Ennis was being genuine. He nodded and shuffled closer, allowing Ennis to embrace him as the tears came. His emotions bubbled close to the surface these days and there was nothing he could do about it.

After lunch, Ennis and Jack ventured out to the appointment with their lawyer. Although Jack didn't see what Peter could say to them that would make this any easier, he did appreciate how he was trying to help them.

Ennis kept glancing at him as they took the subway up to Manhattan; neither of them had spoken about that morning. After calming Jack down, Ennis had made them both breakfast and they had gotten dressed. Afterwards, Ennis had led Jack to the sofa and they had laid down for a while, not speaking but just relaxing together.

"You okay?" he asked Jack gently as they left the station. Jack nodded.

"Yeah, I'm fine," he replied, nodding. "Just...I'm sorry about this morning. I know that it must annoy you to keep reassuring me that you're not going anywhere, and I don't mean to do that to you."

Ennis squeezed his hand. "It's really okay, Jack. I'll be does get tiring for me to keep telling you that I'm staying with you, but I understand why you keep needing that." He stopped walking and Jack looked at him. "What you've gotta remember is that I love you, Jack."

Jack smiled at him. "I know, Ennis. I really do. I'm sorry about how this whole thing is messing me up...can't help it." Ennis kissed his cheek.

"Don't worry about it. Come on." They carried on down the street, heading for Peter's office. If there was anybody who could help them, it was him. When Ennis had first met him, during his and Jack's trip here two years ago, it had soon become clear to him that Peter wasn't just Jack's family lawyer; he was a good friend to them as well and was going out of his way to help them. He appreciated that now.

They sat in the waiting room until they were called in, both of them wondering what he might have to tell them. Ennis hoped it was good news.

"Good to see you two. How have you been?" Peter asked when they sat down.

" as can be," Ennis told him, not wanting to go into detail of how badly Jack was being affected. Although he trusted Peter, Ennis thought that it was something best kept between him and Jack; his partner might not want anyone else to know, not even Karen.

"Good. Well, I've been talking to some experts regarding the trial. I've got some news for you, something which may help your defence."

"Really? What's that?" Ennis asked, and Jack raised his head hopefully.

"Ennis, you remember saying that your father had stolen the medical records?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Well, those records are highly confidential. The theft of them, if proven, will look very interesting to a judge and a jury. It would certainly put them in a bad light. I'm thinking it could certainly cast some doubt on the validity of their claims. For them to do something illegal like that, it shows how keen they are on getting Jack locked up. That proves that they don't have much faith in their accusations and their chances without it. So..."

"It proves that they know the infection was an accident," Ennis finished, seeing where this was heading. "Which proves it was an accident."

"Exactly," Peter replied, nodding. "So there is a chance for you."

"How do we prove it?" Jack asked. He did like the idea of something going their way for once, but he had to wonder if they could pull this off. He didn't see how it would work.

"There has to be a way. Ennis, do you know of any way to prove that the records were stolen?"

Ennis wracked his brains, thinking. There had to be a way...

"Oh...hang on..." He remembered something. There was a way, and he was starting to remember the house where he used to live with his parents. "There's a security camera outside the house," he told them. "CCTV...right outside and facing the street."

Peter nodded. "Could it have a view of the car when you parked it?"

"I think so...we parked on the street because my dad's car was in the driveway," Ennis remembered, and Jack was starting to feel hopeful. " you think...?"

"It's entirely possible. I'll have a word with the police and see if they can get in touch with the force over in Mill Valley. They could send over the footage from that day and we can print out photos to use as evidence in your favour."

"Great...can you do that in time for the trial?" Ennis asked. Peter stood up.

"I can if we move fast enough. I'll call the police station and speak to an Inspector or something. They can do the rest and they'll let me know when they have something. Wait right here." He left the office and Ennis took Jack's hand.

"What d'you think?"

"I think it's a miracle," Jack replied, looking as if he couldn't quite believe it. "To think that we might have proof that they stole the records. And it's like you said...we can prove it was an accident." He managed to smile. "Can't believe it..."

"I know." Ennis put an arm around Jack and squeezed him. "See? Things are looking up." He pressed his head to Jack's, holding onto him and sighing.

Peter came back a short while later, looking pleased. "Okay, I've set the ball rolling. They'll get in touch with San Francisco police and obtain footage from that day. When they've got it, we need to go to the station and find the footage from the time you were there. Hopefully, we'll find something. So, I'll let you know when they've got it."

Ennis nodded. "Thank you so much, Peter. We really appreciate this." They shook his hand as they stood up, smiling at him.

"You're welcome. Best of luck to you both and let me know if you need anything." They bid goodbye to him and left the office, feeling more hopeful than before.

October 22nd, 2012

By Monday, Ennis and Jack had heard nothing from Peter. They were aware that it could take a while for the footage to be obtained, but they also knew that if they wanted to use it as evidence then they had to have it by the end of the month. Jack was pinning all of his hopes on this and Ennis knew that it was their only chance. They just had to prove that the records had been stolen, for his parents would never admit to it in front of a judge.

Ennis sometimes thought back to how things were when he was growing up with them. He did have some good memories, and he couldn't believe how things had turned out between them. Why couldn't they just accept what had happened?

"You reckon Peter has anything yet?" Jack asked as they lay on the sofa; they had another joint day off today and were making the most of it. Ennis was holding him from behind and rubbing his stomach. He shrugged.

"I don't know...but it could take some time. He only called the police a couple of days ago, and they have to get on to the police over there...could be a while yet."

Jack sighed. "I know, but I'm thinking this is our only chance...if this doesn't work we've got no proof that they stole the records. No proof that it was an accident..."

Ennis kissed the back of his neck. "I know, Jack. But try not to worry too much. I definitely remember that security camera now; it does face onto the street outside the house."

Just as they were thinking over this, Ennis's phone rang in his pocket; it was Peter.

"Ennis, can you and Jack make it to the station? We've got the footage from that day and we need you to take a look at it."

"Yeah, sure. We'll be right there," he replied, sitting up. Jack looked at him.

"What's going on?"

"That was Peter; they've got the footage," he replied, grinning. "Come on." Jack sprung up and they headed out of the door.

It was only a short walk to the station, and Peter was there waiting for them. There was an Inspector there, but thankfully not the same one who had interrogated Jack before. "Hey, you two. I think we've got what we were looking for."

He led them into a side room where there was a laptop set up on the table, and they noticed an empty DVD case next to it. On the screen was a paused video of the footage they had asked for. "Alright, take a seat," the Inspector instructed. "We got this from the San Francisco Police Department this morning, and I think we might have something."

He started playing the footage; they could see from the corner of the screen that it was the correct date and time of their visit to the house, which now felt like so long ago. They all watched as Ennis and Jack got out of the car and headed inside, and waited; it wouldn't be long.

Sure enough, about ten minutes later they saw Ennis's father leaving the house. He looked around and spotted the car. Ennis could feel his blood boil as his father opened the car door and snooped around, finding the envelope which they knew contained the medical records.

"That bastard," Ennis breathed, and Jack took his hand. He squeezed it in an attempt to calm him. "I knew it."

"So that is definitely your father, and you would be willing to state this in court?" the Inspector asked, and Ennis nodded.

"Yep, that's him." They watched as his father put the envelope into his own car and head back inside. Despite having taken the cigarettes with him, he never lit one while outside. He had planned this as soon as Ennis had told them about being positive. "So what do we do now?"

"We'll print out images from this to prove what happened, and they will be used as evidence against your parents."

"Would they be locked up for it?" Jack asked, feeling curious.

"For theft? Maybe a few months or more. But only if you decide to press charges, so it would only happen if you're found not guilty. Let's just concentrate on one thing at a time. Right now, it's more important to help you. We can deal with them when this is over."

Jack nodded and felt more hopeful than he had in weeks. "You're right. there anything we can do right now?"

"I don't think so. But do get in touch if you need anything. And I'll let you know if anything else comes up. One more thing...Ennis, if you do speak to your parents again before the trial, don't tell them about this. It might be tempting, but as your lawyer I would advise you not to. They strike me as people who can be quite vindictive and I don't want this to backfire, given how it's your only chance to keep Jack free."

Ennis nodded, holding on tightly to Jack's hand. "I know. I don't think I'll talk to them again now but I don't know. I'll let them know that I'll do whatever it takes to fight them, but I won't say anything about this."

"Alright. You should go back home and get some rest, or maybe something to eat. And best of luck for your adoption application too," he added with a smile. "I hope the visit goes well."

They thanked him and headed outside, both of them feeling lighter. "Well, that was interesting," Ennis commented, looking at Jack; he was smiling widely at him.

"This is gonna work, isn't it?" he asked, looking as if he believed it. "They can't deny what the footage shows...and maybe..." He trailed off hopefully.

Ennis pulled him close. "And just maybe...this will work out for us," he replied, leaning in to kiss those lips he loved so much.

They decided that since they were already outside, they would go for lunch down the street. Both of them were hungry after that morning's events, and rightly so.

"Still can't believe it," Jack said as they looked over the menus. "To think that I've been freaking out all this time, and through all of it there was that footage out there to prove our defence. And it's just like Peter said; it's a question of why they stole the records."

"Yep," Ennis agreed. "They knew their accusations would be weak without proof, and that's still the case because the records don't even prove anything. The only reason it's going to court is because of how serious the accusation is; the police are only doing their job."

"Right. You know...I feel so much better now. I really do. We have something concrete to prove that they're just being malicious. The camera never lies, remember? You can't alter CCTV footage, I don't think." He exhaled, looking happy. "God..."

Ennis smiled at him; he was starting to resemble the old Jack again. "Darlin'...I'm glad this is making you feel better."

Jack took his hand across the table. "Thank you, for remembering about that camera. If you hadn't then we wouldn't have anything. This is all down to you." He smiled widely as he gazed into Ennis's eyes, love bursting in his heart. He knew how extremely lucky he was to have someone like Ennis by his side; he could appreciate that even more now.

"Um...hi," greeted the waitress, hating to interrupt them during their moment. "Sorry, guys. What can I get you?"

They placed their orders and went back to looking at each other, Jack playing with Ennis's fingers. Ennis was happy to see that Jack's smile met his eyes; it meant that he was truly in good spirits. "You know, um..." he started, finally turning his eyes away from Jack's. That intense shade of blue had often rendered him incapable of speech. "You oughta call your mom; let her know the good news."

"Yeah, you're right," Jack agreed. "And about the application too; she'll wanna know about that." Ennis nodded and Jack reluctantly withdrew his hand, reaching for his phone. He knew that his mother would only worry if he didn't call her at least once a week.

Ennis watched and listened as Jack spoke to his mother, a smile still firmly on his face. He often liked to just watch Jack, especially how those dimples formed when he smiled and how his eyes lit up. Ennis knew there and then that Jack's face was the last sight he wanted to lay his eyes on when he died. He had to believe that there was something more after death because he couldn't stand the thought of never seeing Jack again; they were supposed to be together forever and he wanted that.

But he just couldn't think like that right now; they were still young and relatively healthy, despite certain things. They took care of each other when they got ill and always kept an eye on each other to make sure there were no signs of nasty side effects from the meds. Jack had taught him how to recognise them soon after getting out of hospital two years ago, and had taught him how to recognise signs within himself if he should fall sick.

"So it looks like we might just win this," Jack said to his mother, grinning. "I know you've been worried about me, but Ennis is taking good care of me." Their food had arrived and Ennis was watching him as he ate.

"I'm glad to hear that, Jack," she replied, sounding happy. "When you were infected I never dared to hope that you would find someone who could be there for you like he is. But you have and I'm very grateful to him for that. I'm glad that you two are such a good match; I couldn't bear it if you broke up."

"Me neither, but I don't think we have to worry about that," he assured her. "We can barely spend a few hours apart while at work; there's no way we'll ever get tired of each other. And we never fight, at least not to the level that causes problems." It was true; they got a bit short with each other sometimes but that was usually caused by other factors and not each other. They always apologised soon after and made up; life was just too short to hold grudges.

"I'm glad to hear it. Well, I have to go. But make sure that you and Ennis take care of each other, okay? And let me know how everything goes. I might make it for dinner soon."

"That sounds great. Okay, we'll see you soon. Bye, mom." He hung up and smiled at Ennis. "I reckon she's pleased about everything."

Ennis nodded, chewing thoughtfully. "You know...I've been thinking. When all of this is over and you're free to go wherever you want, what d'you think about us taking a little trip somewhere?" He felt as if they would need it when this was over, just to take some time alone together.

Jack tilted his head. "That sounds great. But what if the adoption application goes through and we end up with a kid soon after? We can't just take off; not exactly responsible." Ennis smiled at him.

"I didn't say right away. If we have a baby by then...maybe we could go somewhere around Christmas. And if there's no sign of anything happening then we'll go sooner. Wherever you wanna go."

Jack smiled back, understanding. "Fair enough." He was starting to have faith now, and he felt okay about making plans for the future now that there was the possibility of one. "Have I told you today how much I love you?"

Ennis rubbed his foot against Jack's. "I think you did this morning, but...we can never say it too many times." Jack leaned forward to kiss him across the table, smiling against his lips.

October 24th, 2012

On Wednesday morning, Ennis and Jack had woken up early and were now kissing deeply, hands wandering underneath the sheets. It had been some time since they had been like this, but neither of them was complaining.

Ennis knew that Jack's current mood had a lot to do with the strong possibility of them winning the case, and he was very grateful to Peter for bringing it up; Jack was like his normal self now.

"Oh God," he breathed when Jack nipped his neck, half-lying on top of him. Jack grinned.

"My name's Jack, but I'm glad you think so highly of me," he replied, making Ennis laugh. He dipped his head to set about giving Ennis a hickey, hand wandering south. "You're so gorgeous," he whispered in Ennis's ear, eliciting a shiver from him.

"Jack..." he groaned, feeling himself grow even harder. He knew what he wanted and needed, but would Jack be up for it? "Jack, I..."

"What is it?" Jack asked him, pausing. Surely he was enjoying this? Ennis seemed nervous about what he wanted to say. "What's wrong?" He brushed his hair from his face as he looked down at Ennis; they were both hard by now and he was looking forward to where that might lead.

Ennis shook his head, taking Jack's hands. "Nothing's wrong. I just...I wanna..." He bit his lip.

"Tell me...what d'you want?" Jack asked, squeezing his fingers. He was feeling good this morning and was up for anything.

"I want you...inside me," Ennis murmured, and then looked away as if he expected Jack to refuse his request. Jack cupped his cheek.

"Hey...if that's what you want we can do that. Why are you...?"

Ennis shook his head and met Jack's eyes. "I dunno if you're up for it. I know you've been okay these past few days might be too much."

Jack smiled at him affectionately. "'ve got nothing to worry about. I know things haven't been easy, but you're right; I'm feeling good right now and...I wanna do it. You know I love doing that with you. It's not too much."

He leaned down to kiss his husband, touched by how Ennis was thinking of him first despite his own needs. "Aw,'s okay. You wanna do it that way?"

"Yeah," Ennis breathed, arousal filling him once more. Jack reached over for the lube, and applied to himself as he nuzzled Ennis's neck. He hadn't really thought about being on top this morning, but now that Ennis had asked him he realised he wanted to. He just loved how Ennis trusted him so much.

When he was ready, he spread Ennis's legs apart and manoeuvred himself between them, getting into position. "Tell me when you're ready," he instructed softly, stroking Ennis's lower stomach in a way that was bound to get him riled up; he could get very sensitive there when he was hard.

"Oh..." Ennis groaned, tilting his head back. "God, you drive me crazy."

With Jack kissing his neck and touching him like that, Ennis was soon yearning for him and lifted his hips. Jack smirked at him.

"What d'you want?" he asked lightly, the tips of his fingers brushing against Ennis's erection. Ennis bucked underneath him, breathing heavily.

"Fuck me," he moaned, and Jack pushed in without preamble. One smooth stroke and he was fully inside his lover, drawing a groan from him.

"This what you want?" Jack asked, moving around until he was comfortable. Ennis nodded.

"Yeah...move..." He wrapped his legs around Jack's waist and held onto him by the neck; Jack braced his arms on either side of Ennis and started moving, keeping it slow at first. He knew it would drive Ennis crazy if he just barely touched the prostate, and he was right. When he brushed against it Ennis almost growled in frustration, lifting his hips. "Jack..."

Jack leaned down and bit his ear, moving steadily into him. "I'm fucking you, like you asked. If you want something, you'll have to beg," he breathed, and Ennis thought his head would split in two from the longing he felt.

"Touch there..." he moaned. "You know what I'm talking about..."

Jack grinned and pushed in deeper, finally touching that particular place and loving the sounds now coming from Ennis's mouth. He lightly touched the tip of Ennis's erection, teasing little beads of pre-come from it and hearing a whimper.


"Say it," Jack hissed in his ear, continuing to tease him. "Say it out loud."

"Jerk me off," Ennis groaned, wondering if he would completely lose it if Jack didn't touch him properly. Jack took hold of him and started doing as he was asked while still pushing deeper and quicker. It didn't take long for Ennis to lose control and shoot at Jack's stomach, yelling out as Jack found himself following suit.

Jack collapsed onto him, trying to catch his breath. "Oh, Ennis...sweetheart..." Ennis smiled at the endearment and winced slightly as Jack pulled out of him before sinking down again. "Oh, I love you..."

"I love you too," he replied, wrapping his arms around Jack. He knew he would be sore for a while but he couldn't care less. He had missed the feeling of Jack being inside him and felt much more complete now. "That was good..."

"Yeah," Jack agreed, pressing a soft kiss to his neck. "I love being with you, matter who's on top or whatever we're doing, even if it's not full sex. Like when we do that sixty-nine thing...I just love doing stuff with you."

Ennis squeezed him, love blazing in his heart. "Me too, Jack. We're just...a damn good match, I reckon. They say that sex gets worse as a couple gets older...but I reckon it's gonna be the opposite with us. We just get better every time."

Jack grinned, inhaling the musky smells that always lingered after sex. "You're right...we really do." He sighed and felt himself falling asleep. Ennis said nothing but just let him drop off; there was a while yet before they had to get up.