Jhondie & Justin (7) - Wild One

Rated: PG-13

Disclaimer: I OWN THEM ALL!! IT'S ALL MINE AND I WANT TO PROFIT BIG OFF OF THEM!! HEY! WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT'S WITH THE WHITE COA......OHhh...gooood sharp shiny object. Much better now. Yes. You know who owns what. And I didn't ask Faith Hill if I could borrow her song, so just buy the darn CD. Actually you should. It's a rather good one. Though, if pressed, I know something that I wouldn't mind giving to Tim as payment for usage of lyrics. J & J are still mine. The Corolla is long since gone now, but there is an '86 minivan that might need a new engine that can be the lawsuit settlement if you want. The betta fish, as always, is mine and I will go into hiding to protect him, so don't even think about it.

A/N: Wow. #7. And to think I originally envisioned J & J to be about 8 stories, all kind of cute and fluffy and just fun to combat how dark Gen X- 6 had gotten at the time that I started the first J & J. It has certainly evolved since then, and I think it's been to the better. To answer a question that I have gotten a lot, the two series will come together in the next J & J. But that's not for a while yet, so please sit back and relax and enjoy the latest installment. And PLEASE review. You have no idea how much it helps me when you do. It lets me know that I have more than two people reading, and seeing that gives me the courage to keep on writing, despite the fact it's 2 AM and I got to get up for work at 6:15. Big thanks to everyone who has stuck with me and waited for new chapters for weeks at a time and still kept faithfully reviewing. Also, thank you to Katrina for all the creative input on this story and Jaci, Karen and Jasmine for always being a plot b!tch when I needed one. Love you all! - Cat

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* --Wild One

----sung by Faith Hill They said change your clothes

She said no I won't

They said comb your hair

She said some kids don't

And her parents dreams went up in smoke They said you can't leave

She said yes I will

They said don't see him

She said his name is Bill

She's on a roll and it's all uphill She's a wild one

With an angel's face

She's a woman-child

In a state of grace

When she was 3 years old on her daddy's knee

He said you can be anything you want to be

She's a wild one

Runnin' free She loves Rock and Roll

They said it's Satan's tongue

She thinks they're too old

They think she's too young

And the battle lines are clearly drawn She's a wild one

With an angel's face

She's a woman-child

In a state of grace

When she was 3 years old on her daddy's knee

He said you can be anything you want to be

She's a wild one

Runnin' free She has future plans and dreams at night

When they tell her life is hard she says that's alright She's a wild one

With an angel's face

She's a woman-child

In a state of grace

When she was 3 years old on her daddy's knee

He said you can be anything you want to be

She's a wild one

Runnin' free *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Justin

"I just don't get it!" Jhondie practically wailed. "I was never this bad at fourteen. And she's getting worse!"

It was everything I could do to not laugh at her right then. We had gone up against some serious bad guys before. Jhondie had maneuvered around things that boggled the mind. But her younger sister had her in a complete state of exasperation and she still had a few more years to go before it got any better. This situation in particular was getting more and more typical.

Jhondie had just gotten off of the phone with her mother. She and Kayla had a big fight and her mom was upset. It had something to do with a party that the kid wanted to go to, but Mrs. Harris had refused to let her go. Mrs. Harris had a function at school that she was supposed to go to, and asked Jhondie if she could come home and make sure Kayla didn't take off while she was home alone. I really felt sorry for Jhondie. It was getting to the point that she was coming over to my apartment just to have a quiet place to study.

My place wasn't even all that quiet anymore. I was tearing around, finishing up my final semester in college and getting ready to graduate. I had an offer with the LA Times for a job as soon as I graduated, and a news magazine in New York was looking at me as a good entry-level journalist. I was thinking I would stay freelance though. I published a story in the Times about a month ago on homeless among children. Not cutting edge like I would like, but that would never get through the censors. I did ask some burning questions on where the money was that had been allocated to help these kids, and questions were being asked of the mayor and city council. Nothing was going to come of it, but it was pretty awesome to be interviewing people and asking questions and getting doors slammed in my face. The slammed doors didn't bother me. I was finding the windows they had left open. One of which was Nikki. She had taken a job with the Times and moved here. The girl was the sneakiest, most devious person I had ever met when it came to getting information out of people and I could have no better ally or worse enemy outside of the lady in the passenger seat of my car.

"Honey, this is what a typical teen is like," I said, try to hide how amused I was. I could afford to be. I was lucky to have moved out before I had to live with a couple of teenagers. "You, cariƱa, weren't like this because this is the time that most people start to mature. You had that a long time ago."

"Were you that bad?" she asked.

I thought about my teen years, and the way Kayla had been acting. "I wasn't like her," I finally decided. "I was much worse."

She sighed. "She really wasn't that bad until she got that stupid boyfriend." She then promptly punched me when I burst into laughter.

"No resemblance between you and Zack at all," I laughed. She glared at me. Wasn't my fault she sounded like her brother. "Come on Jhon, Kayla is growing up. She's going to date and have boyfriends. You did, and you didn't turn out so bad."

"I never went out with hoodlums four years older than me," she replied sharply.

"Just crazy blackmailing journalists two years older?" I asked pointedly.

"When you break the law, it's for the greater good, not because there's pretty shiny things inside that you want."

She had me on that point. Kayla had started high school and was enjoying being a freshman and getting attention from older boys. Her new boyfriend was taking his second trip through his senior year. She was flattered that an older boy was interested in her, and there was no explaining to her that he saw her as an easy piece of tail.

"I never had to worry about being alone with a guy," Jhondie added. "I knew that I could take care of myself. Kayla doesn't want to listen to anyone or anything but what she wants to hear. And she doesn't want to hear about how he beat up his last girlfriend because she refused to have an abortion."

He was seventeen when he did that and ended up in juvenile detention. The girl wasn't hurt too badly, but left LA soon after. When he turned eighteen, all of this was sealed, but we had our ways of finding out information. Jhondie didn't want to tell her mother because of the inevitable questions on how she got the information, and Jhondie wasn't ready to explain Eye's Only to her just yet.

"Then Kayla is very lucky to have a big sister like you to keep an eye out for her," I said. It would be nice if she didn't need a big sister like Jhondie though. Both of us wanted her to move in with me, but Jhondie knew that she was needed at home right now. Kayla didn't know what big trouble looked like just yet and Jhondie wanted to be there when Kayla did find out what it was.

"I just wish she knew how lucky she was," Jhondie replied glumly. Kayla was at the age where helping was called interfering, the accusation usually made at deafening volumes.

Jhondie didn't talk much more as I drove her back home. She did not want to be heading into this. I was willing to bet she was would rather deal with the boss's moodiness than her sisters at this point. And over the last several months, since we got back from Seattle as a matter of fact, Eye's Only had been acting different. Maybe most people wouldn't notice, but I had worked with him for long enough to notice a difference. When he first came back after being gone for about a month or so, a lot of the fire was just gone. He had been getting better, more like he used to be, but there were times that he seemed to go back and seem more placid, less fired up about what we were doing. Jhondie swore that it must be about that person we saw get shot. She was thinking it was his brother or someone like that who was very close to him. That might be right, but I was wondering if there wasn't a Mrs. Eye's Only in there somewhere. Only a woman could make a stable man go nuts. It was something I had learned all too well over the last two years. Not that I would trade it for anything, but I could empathize with the man.

We made it back to her house and she stared at it like she was heading to a death march. "You have no idea how much I want you to refuse to let me out and take me back to your place," she said somewhat pitifully.

"What if I picked you up when your mother gets home?" I suggested. "We could have a late dinner, and if you wanted you could come home with me."

She smiled at me tiredly. "Can I soak in the tub for like an hour without being screamed at that someone else needs it more than me?"

"I might even throw in a foot rub for free," I replied.

She leaned over and kissed me. "Have I told you how much I love you?"

I grinned. "I'll let you show me later."

Jhondie

Mom was on her way out when I came in. She immediately looked relieved that I had made it before she had to leave. "I am so sorry that I had to call you," she said quickly, trying to get her earrings in. "But there is no way I can leave her alone right now." She shot an irritated look up the stairs. "She is grounded to the house and from the phone especially if Frankie calls." Frankie was Kayla's loser boyfriend.

"I can handle her friends," I replied confidently. Mom smiled weakly.

"I have no doubt that you can, just don't get blood on the carpet please," she said. I grinned. A couple of weeks ago this little punk that Kayla called a friend was smoking in the house. I came in with Mom and she told the punk to get out. Punk told Mom to f**k herself. Punk ended up bleeding all over the couch after her face somehow made contact with my fist. It was sheer luck that I had been within striking range or else Kayla would have seen how fast I could really move. Kayla told me she was going to hate me forever for that, but that lasted until she needed to borrow my favorite black dress for a party.

I wandered upstairs and knocked on Kayla's closed bedroom door. "What do you want now?" came the snotty demand. I took a deep breath and resisted the urge to kick down the door.

"Kay, it's me," I called back. "Mom left." The door opened to reveal my red-eyed sister. She was obviously still in the grip of a world-class pout. Lovely.

"Is it your turn to tell me what a spoiled brat I am?" she asked bitterly. I would have, but I just wasn't in the mood for a screaming match.

"I just wanted to let you know I was here if you needed me," I replied evenly.

Her eyes darkened with malice. "You better tell Justin that he has to leave. Mom said no boys in the house unless she's here."

"You know," I said, the anger building, "I came up here to see if you wanted to talk. When you're done being b***h, let me know." I turned and went back downstairs while she sputtered behind me.

I made myself a sandwich and plopped down at the dining room table. Who the hell did she think she was? I knew this party she wanted to go to. It was a rave at this abandoned building they used for parties when I was in high school. Drugs? You know how some clubs have a two-drink minimum? This place had a three hit minimum. Most people were stoned when they walked in. Cops would break up the parties there once they got real bad, and the stoners wouldn't be able to get out before getting arrested. Did she not see that or did she just like being selectively blind?

I finished eating and watched TV for a while before going back upstairs. Loud music was blaring from Kayla's room. I had asked her a million times to please keep the volume down to something less than the volume of a jet engine over the breakfast table, but she was in the mood to be as annoying as possible. I was starting to understand why some species ate their young.

I think I knew then how Zack felt about us. He knew that he was doing everything possible to protect and take care of us. We were a pack of ungrateful brats, always angry with him for meddling and being controlling. I would say that we were right to feel that way and the situation was different, but that would just prove the point more.

Speak of the devil. It was more than just a little ironic that the person so much on my mind just then should happen to be the person climbing through my window as I walked in my room.

"Hey," I said brightly. It had been months since I had last seen Zack. He looked up at me, and immediately my previous good humor fled. He looked like someone had really gotten the best of him. His face was bruised and scratched up and he looked like his breathing was painful. "You look like hell," I commented.

Zack shrugged stoically. "It looks worse," he replied, sitting down on my bed. I knew he was lying when he flinched slightly. It took a lot more than a few bruises to make my brother flinch. I sighed. He was here because he wanted me to make sure he was really all right, but he would never admit to that.

"I'm going to get the med kit," I said. "Take off your shirt and let me check those ribs when I get back." The fact that he didn't tell me 'no' right then said that he was in a lot of pain.

I checked the hall before I went into the bathroom. I did not want to explain to Kayla why there was a guy in my room that wasn't Justin. Her door was still tightly shut and I could have sworn that the music was even louder now. By the time Mom got home it was going to be deafening. Nobody had mentioned that having super-sensitive hearing could be a bad thing, but I guess Manticore never intended us to have bratty little sisters.

I couldn't help a gasp of shock when I went back into my room. Who the hell was capable of doing that to my brother? The bruises and scratches on his face continued down and were far worse on his torso, including a nasty looking gouge going from his shoulder down his back. That should have been stitched, but knowing Zack he hadn't acknowledged that it was serious.

"What happened to you?" I managed to get out, ignoring the no-questions rule that we had about his activities. For just a second his expression lost its usual guard and I instinctively knew that something bad had happened and these injuries were from him protecting one of the others. That was the only thing that would make Zack have a flash of guilt, even for a second.

"Don't worry about it," he replied gruffly. And then a little kinder, "She's really okay, baby sister. I took the worst of it."

I let out a breath I didn't know that I was holding. Zack knew me well enough to know that I would stress over what was wrong but I would believe him that things were better now. "If anyone else needs medical attention then let me know," I said quietly. "I'll do what needs to be done and leave without letting them know anything."

"I know you would," he replied. "But it's not needed."

I accepted his words and went to fixing him as best I could. I had spent the last several months taking a side class in paramedic training. It was offered at my school for people that were on the pre-med track and highly encouraged. That way you could be sure if you could handle all of the blood and gore that goes along with being a doctor. You also had to go out with the paramedics on runs. Almost half of the class had dropped out. One girl fainted three times when the paramedics were delivering a baby in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She later decided to change her major to communications. I, on the other hand, loved every minute of it. I was starting to think that if I did get the chance to go to medical school, that I was going to specialize in trauma surgery. I had an opportunity the previous fall to spend a week shadowing different doctors and it was surgery that caught my fascination the most. After the time with the paramedics, I knew for sure what I wanted to do. In any case, the classes had really taught me a lot more about first aid and taking care of injuries.

He had a couple of broken ribs and despite our natural resistance to disease, I was sure that the gouge on his shoulder was infected. He flinched a couple of times as I pressed the ribs back into their correct alignment, but didn't say anything. Dr. Lee had turned me on to colloidal silver about a year ago and I poured some of it onto Zack's wounds and bandaged them up. The silver was a natural antibiotic and Zack was going to drink some every day for the next few days whether he wanted to or not. We were strong, but I didn't know about fighting gangrene.

"Okay," I said, snipping the last bit of gauze. "I think you'll live. Now how did Lydecker find her?" I had been thinking while taking care of him, and only a threat from Lydecker would have gotten Zack in this much trouble.

"Same way he always does," Zack replied. "Carelessness on our part and luck on his." His comment was rather pointed and I couldn't help rolling my eyes. Of course I was still behind him when I did that so he couldn't see.

"Zack..." I said, my tone letting him know that I wasn't in the mood for a lecture. I just wanted to know if Lydecker was getting smarter or if he had found a new way to track us or what.

"She trusted the wrong person," Zack admitted.

I came around to the front of him. "Who decided to rat her out to Lydecker," I said, finishing the story. Anger rose in me hotly. "B*****d. 'Deck do him in or did you teach him why it's not smart to mess with one of us?"

"I took care of things."

"As usual," I said with a sigh. My voice hardened. "Maybe you should have left him to Manticore. A few minutes in psy ops and he would have learned his lesson."

Zack's scowl almost became a smirk. I think he liked hearing that I had no problems with extreme measures when protecting our own was concerned. "It wouldn't have happened if she hadn't let people know about her," he said.

"You know, Justin and I have been together for almost two years now," I said, getting his point. I hadn't told him about Dr. Lee knowing as well. I already knew what his reaction would be and I didn't care to hear it. "If he was one of Lydecker's whores, then I would have been dead two years ago."

"Not if he was trying to get you to look for the others."

I smiled. "Then I can trust him. Because that's the one thing he's encouraged me to not do." I shrugged. "Besides, he might not be scared of me, but I think he is of you a little." Zack seemed pleased at that.

Zack went to say something, but a low rumble cut off his words. I streaked across my room as fast as I could and grabbed a porcelain doll off of a shelf. Its stand was bent and it would fall and shatter once the earth caught up to the noise. Then the vibrations came, rattling the house and knocking over a picture on my desk. A thud in my closet and a slight cry. Cody. He liked to sleep on my top shelf. Dumb cat had learned how to open and close the door. I heard a glass fall off of the counter in the kitchen and shatter on the tile and then the earthquake was over. I put the doll back up on its shelf. That couldn't have been more than a 2, maybe 2.3 on the Richter.

"I don't see how you get used to those," Zack commented.

I shrugged, going over to my closet. Cody would never forgive me if Zack was here and he didn't get to see him. "I'm a genetically engineered super- soldier and I live in LA. Aliens could land and I would be like 'whatever...seen better'."

Two things happened simultaneously. I opened the closet door as Cody meowed from my bedroom window. He wasn't in my closet.

Kayla's terrified face looked up at me from the closet floor. She was pale, shaking and holding an imitation snakeskin skirt that I had worn once as a Halloween costume.

The front door slammed downstairs. "Girls, I'm home!" Mom called. Kay shot a desperate glance to my bedroom door and then back at me.

"MOM!" she shrieked, darting under my arms and racing out of my bedroom.

I didn't bother to look back at Zack. "You'd have to go through me first," I said flatly. All he needed to know was right there in that sentence. And then we both ran out the door, heading towards where Kay was still screaming like a siren.