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Fic: Chasing Ghosts

Title: Chasing Ghosts 3/?

Author: veiledndarkness

Rating: R

Pairing: Implied previous Bobby/Jack, Max/Jack

Summary: Not all those who wander are lost.

Disclaimer: Not mine, no harm intended, and no profit made

Crossover between Four Brothers/Max Payne

Part 1
Part 2



X

Rarely had Jack ever found solace or words of wisdom at the bottom of a bottle of whiskey. That being said, he hadn’t let that knowledge stop him from downing one while he moped over the dinner he’d prepared. The now empty bottle stood on the counter, silently mocking Jack who sat at the wooden table in the room, slumped miserably into his arms while he waited for Max to return.

He looked about the room through half lidded eyes, his alcohol soaked mind mulling over his acts of destruction. Self destruction, he added absently, his stomach sloshing from the sheer amount of whiskey burning his insides. He sighed, running his fingers along the fine grain of the table.

Max had been gone for hours. Hadn’t slammed the door as he’d run from Jack and that kind of pissed him off. Jack scowled at the table. He could handle noisy anger, he was well experienced with loud and abrasive anger, but this silent anger bugged him. Slamming a door would have been more reassuring than Max closing it lightly behind him.

“What’d you expect, you stupid shit?” he muttered. “He’s not Bobby, he’s not him.”

In the aftermath of Jack all but throwing himself at Max, and being rejected in the end, Jack had taken a moment to force his tears back. He was more ashamed than angry. How desperate, how pathetic, he sneered at himself, to practically beg a man who wasn’t sure of his own sexuality to fuck him. It was disgraceful.

When he was sure he could move again, Jack had finished preparing the turkey with jerky movements, shoving the bird into the oven. His next act had been to raid Max’s cupboards until he found a dusty bottle of booze. And as he cleaned up the kitchen, he drank steadily from the bottle, viciously berating himself the whole while.

The scent of roasted turkey slowly filled the air, the minute hand on the clock ticking away. Jack sat at the table still, a small bag of potatoes waiting by the sink to be washed and peeled. He couldn’t seem to get up, to continue on the work needed for a proper Thanksgiving meal. His stomach burned, his face felt hot and the threat of tears loomed behind his eyelids.

As he waited to hear the sound of Max’s key in the lock, Jack finally moved from the stool he’d been sitting on, sluggishly going through the motions. He turned the heat on under the pot of chopped potatoes, his gaze falling on the box of photos he’d rifled through before.

Jack hesitated a second before grabbing the box and bringing it back to the table with him. He poured over the photos again, going deeper into the box. Some of them were framed in silver frames, elegant frames that he had no doubt had been assembled by his beautiful wife. Jack ran his finger over a photo of Max holding his newborn, tracing the curve of his cheek.

For a moment, he entertained himself with trying to picture Bobby having kids. A snort escaped him. Somehow he couldn’t see it. Though Bobby was good with kids, always had been, the truth was that Jack couldn’t see him having the patience to keep his hothead temper under control. Or to have them with a woman who could handle his moods, his anger, or his…quirks.

Jack bit his lower lip, wincing a little at that thought. He couldn’t imagine a woman that would be ok with her husband or boyfriend fucking his adopted brother on the down low when the need arose. Jack dropped the frame down on the table carefully. His stomach lurched, nausea rising for a moment.

Bobby…He looked at the wall, a hateful tear escaping and running down his cheek.

“Goddamn you,” he whispered, scrubbing roughly at his cheek.

It would be easier if he could hate him.

Jack rested his head back down on his arms, listening once more for the sound of the key in the lock.

X

Hours later, the dinner ready to go, Jack looked up blearily to hear the door closing down the hall. He blinked and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Max was in the kitchen within seconds, a large brown folder in one hand. His gaze sent a shiver through Jack, though he wasn’t sure if it was arousal or fear.

Maybe both…

“Smells good,” Max nodded his head in the direction of the oven.

“Uh…” Jack sat up a little. “Yeah, turkey’s about done soon.”

Max took a big step forward suddenly, his face devoid of emotion. He grabbed the picture frame from the table, gripping it until his knuckles creaked. “What the fuck are you doing with this?!”

Jack swallowed, his throat sandpaper dry. “I…I…The box, I was lookin’…”

“Stay out of the boxes!” Max shouted suddenly, startling Jack.

“I-I’m sorry,” Jack whispered, resisting the urge to cringe.

Max slammed the picture back into the box, shoving it off to the side. As he did so, the folder in his other hand fell onto the wood table. The cover flapped open, papers spilling out across the table, pictures, mug shots, and pages of information. Jack gaped at them, his eyes big.

“You…Max, you promised.”

“I lied.”

No shit on that. Jack picked up one sheet, Bobby’s sneering face staring up at him from one of his many mug shots. His hand shook. “How could you?” he managed to choke out. “I fucking begged you not to.”

Max shifted, pushing the box of photos back to where it belonged. He avoided meeting Jack’s horrified eyes. “Turns out I had a good reason to be suspicious about the man you left Detroit over.”

“He wasn’t any of your business! My past, Bobby’s past, it’s none of your goddamned business, you bastard!” Jack slid off the stool, knocking it backwards.

“And all this right here?” Jack scooped up the papers, throwing them at Max’s chest. “These don’t tell you half the fucking story!”

“They tell me an awful lot.” Max let the papers fall to the floor. “Your Bobby, he’s got quite the reputation if you ask the right people. A real piece of work, he is. You and your brothers got up to some interesting shit last year, didn’t you?”

Jack breathed in and out, his face flushed. “Don’t you dare…You don’t know anything.”

“Did he put a gun in your hand? Did he make you kill any of them?” Max stood in front of Jack, cold anger in his eyes. “Funny how there’s little info on you from last year. Was that the trade off, Jack? Keep his piece of ass on the side while he murdered people?”

Jack’s throat worked, tears burning and blurring his eyes. He felt strangely sober despite the whiskey hours before. “Fuck you,” he whispered.

Max grabbed the mug shot from the table, holding it up to Jack. “You see this?”

Jack hadn’t lied. Max bore an uncanny resemblance to Bobby Mercer.

“You think you can fuck me and it’ll be just like him, you little shit?”

Jack wobbled as he turned away, his anger fading away at the harsh words. He clasped his arms around his chest, shaking. “No…No…”

Max slapped the paper back down furiously. “I want the truth from you, Jack. Tell me why you’re still here. Tell me if I need to start keeping an eye out for a jealous rage freak in my neighbourhood! Tell me if it’s me you saw when you were pushin’ me to kiss you!”

Jack said nothing. He kept his arms wrapped tightly around his chest, rocking a little.

“Damn it, Jack!” Max crossed the room to him, pulling the young man into his arms.

Jack leaned against him, burying his face in Max’s neck, his breath coming in strangled gasps. “I can’t help it. You look so much like him…I just wanted…”

Despite Max’s anger, the anguish on Jack’s face ate at him. He sighed heavily. “Jack…c’mon, calm down.”

“You lied to me.”

“I’m a cop. Did you really think I wouldn’t check out your history? It’d be nice to know who’s living on my couch, don’t you think?”

Jack sniffed and shook his head, uncurling his arms. He held on to Max tentatively, keeping his face buried in Max’s neck, breathing him in. “I guess…just didn’t want you knowin’ all the bad shit.”

“You can’t shock me,” Max rubbed his hand down Jack’s sweater in slow circles, trying to calm him. “I figured some real bad shit happened to you at one point.”

“Too much bad shit over too many years,” Jack rubbed his head back and forth along Max’s neck. Aside from the shorter hair, Max was clean shaven as well. Jack missed the feeling of slightly prickly facial hair rubbing against him at times.

Max could feel the tension draining out of Jack slowly. “I’m not about to kick you out.”

Jack shrugged one shoulder. “Don’t bullshit me, Max.”

“And I don’t buy that nonchalant attitude either. Hey, look at me,” he touched Jack’s chin, watching the inevitable flinch that followed. He held Jack’s gaze, rubbing his thumb along the curve of his chin. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”

“Sure looked like it when you came in.”

Max blew out a breath. “I didn’t mean to lose it. I…I don’t even go through those boxes, for a damn good reason.”

“It hurts,” Jack murmured.

“Yeah…yeah, it does.” Max rested his hand in the small of Jack’s back, feeling the heat seep through the worn fabric. “Some things never stop hurting.”

X

Through a mostly silent dinner, Jack picked at his food morosely. Max polished off two helpings of the potatoes, the mixed vegetables, the perfectly roasted turkey with the stuffing, his gaze often lingering on Jack, as it usually did. Jack toyed with his fork; it would have felt strange to have Max look elsewhere.

He kind of liked knowing that Max was seemingly fascinated by him.

Max cleared his throat when he’d finished the last bite of stuffing. “You’re too damn modest, Jack. You got a real knack for cooking.”

Jack pushed a piece of turkey around on his plate. “Thanks.”

“Look, I said I was sorry about earlier.”

“I’m not angry.” Jack stared down at his still mostly full plate. Yeah, all that whiskey had been a shitty idea.

“You’ve got a terrible poker face.”

Jack smiled listlessly. “Angel told me that once.”

“That’d be one of them, right?”

“Yeah,” Jack mumbled, gritting his teeth. “He tried to teach me to play but he gave up when I couldn’t keep from lettin’ things show.”

Max gave him a long thoughtful look. “Where’d your brothers go after the…incident?”

Jack felt a pulse of anger. Damn the cop in Max. “Jerry’s still in Detroit, him an’ his family live there. I don’t know if Angel stayed or not. And I don’t know where Bobby is.”

“Would he follow you here?”

“Worried, Max?” Jack showed a mouthful of teeth, a parody of a smile.

“Don’t be a smartass.” Max’s eyes were dark with annoyance. “Your brother leaves a path of destruction behind him a mile wide.”

Jack rolled his eyes. “Please. People exaggerate.”

“Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

“What are you really askin’, Max?” Jack set his fork down and pushed his plate to the side, tired of pretending that he had any interest in eating his carefully prepared meal. “Are you worried that he might show up an’ drag me out of here?”

“Who said I was worried?”

“No one, it’s…well why else do you keep bringing him up? It’s over, it’s…” Jack’s voice caught. “It’s over with him, not that it ever really started. Let it go.”

“You’ve been running away from him, you’re chasing yourself, Jack.”

Jack rubbed his hands over his face tiredly and up into his hair. “And your point is what? I don’t need a plan, I just…exist, from day to day, I go where I want, I make my way around, sightseeing if you wanna call it. I’m not running anywhere, I’m wandering, ok?”

Max nodded slowly. “Wandering, ok I can see that. And what would you have done if I hadn’t have found you in that diner?”

“Fucked the next stranger that wanted me,” Jack snapped.

Max blinked. “I...” Words failed him and Jack swore mentally.

Smooth move.

“Fuck…sorry,” he muttered, resting his head on one hand, his elbow on the table.

Max waited a beat. “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why do you want that from me?”

“Why’re you lying to yourself? Pretending that you don’t want it just as much as I do?”

A hint of color crept up Max’s neck. “I don’t, Jack, I was caught up…I apologized for pushing you against the table,” he mumbled quietly.

There was a moment where Jack felt anger surge, the way it had when Bobby had refused him for the last time and he couldn’t feel anything other than raw fury, anything but the all encompassing rage that he’d often seen in Bobby’s face. He stood up, knocking the table aside as he did so, his hands shaking hard.

“I don’t need you; I don’t need your bullshit. I’ve had a life time of men like you, men like him and I’m done, Max! Done! You hear me?!” he shouted, hating the tears that welled up immediately in his eyes.

Max was up and on him before he could blink, gripping his arms with bruising strength. “I’m not letting you leave like this,” he hissed.

Jack clenched his teeth, resisting the urge to smash his head into Max’s. Instead, he leaned in, kissing him hard, biting at his bottom lip, his tongue smoothing the small hurt.

Max groaned into the kiss, his thumbs digging into Jack’s arms.

“Give me a fucking reason to stay,” Jack whispered hoarsely. He pushed against Max, holding him closer. “Why should I bother?”

Max fisted his hand in Jack’s sweater, his lips demanding another kiss from him. “I want you here.”

“Why?” Jack dragged his tongue over Max’s lower lip, stealing a kiss and beaming on the inside when Max’s throat worked rapidly. “Why Max?”

“Because…” Max struggled to think straight, his body pressed to Jack’s, feeling Jack’s heart beat pounding against his ribcage, “Because…I want you with me, here with me.”

“Took you long enough,” Jack murmured, kissing him again, gentler this time.

Max snagged his hand in Jack’s messy hair, huffing a sound of annoyance into the kiss. Jack parted his lips, letting Max control the kisses. He was used to giving in. Max took a breath, looking up at him.

“I don’t want you to regret this, Jack.” He still held him tightly; ready to pull him to the bedroom.

Jack gave him a slight smile. “I won’t.” With that, he moved away from Max and walked to the bedroom he’d only glimpsed since he’d arrived. “I promise.”

Max followed behind him, watching the way Jack moved, unable to look away as Jack pulled his sweater up and over his back, over his arms, falling to the foot of the bed. He swallowed dryly, no saliva left in his mouth at the sight of Jack, naked to the waist, his smooth skin inviting Max closer.

Jack turned to face him, a small smile quirking his lips. “C’mere.”

“I…” Max tensed his jaw, his feet obeying the command before he realized it.

“I know,” Jack nodded, his fingers nimbly undoing the belt around Max’s hips. He heard the hitched breath and leaned in, distracting him with slow kisses. He tugged the belt, freeing it from the loops, one by one.

Max breathed out, nudging his head against Jack’s. He couldn’t catch his breath, his heart pounding too fast as Jack undressed them both. He reached wordlessly for him, tumbling down to the sheets and giving in to the sweet kisses and seductive hands of the strange boy he’d brought home.

X

Jack lay on his side in the bed, the sheets tangled around his legs. He listened to the sound of Max’s quiet breaths, his face still flushed. He licked his dry lips and stretched slowly, hearing the quick intake behind him when he did so. Max hadn’t been able to stop touching him, tracing his tattoos even. His skin still tingled from Max’s possessive touch.

“Are you…”

“I’m fine, Max,” Jack murmured, moving over the bed. He worked at the sheets, freeing his legs, and once clear, grabbed at his jeans where they’d landed on the floor. He dug through his pockets, pulling out his cigarettes and lighter. He lit one as fast as he could, hiding the faint tremor in his fingers.

Max shifted and Jack could feel the intense dark eyes on him. It felt weird, strange to have him sit there still. Bobby hadn’t been one for cuddling. Jack looked down at index finger, resisting the urge to gnaw on the uneven nail. Max seemed unsure and Jack smiled bitterly, letting a plume of smoke out. He’d gotten what he’d wanted, what they’d both wanted, hadn’t he?

“Doesn’t look like it.”

“Huh?” Jack glanced over his shoulder, startled. “Oh…Trust me, I’m fine.”

He held up his cigarette questioningly. “You don’t mind if I…?”

Max shook his head. “Don’t care.” He moved closer to Jack, one hand sliding along the curve of Jack’s spine.

Jack shivered a little, Max’s fingers sending a small thrill through him. “You don’t have to, y’know, treat me like a woman, ok?”

“What?” Max’s hand stilled, then withdrew.

“I mean, well shit,” Jack inhaled again, fighting to get the words out right. “You don’t have to cuddle me, treat me gently. I ain’t about to break. I’m not some dainty little girl.”

“You don’t want me touching you?”

“It’s not that.” Jack moved back to face him. He tried not to cringe at the look of disappointment in Max’s face. “It’s just…Fuck, I don’t know…”

Max ran his hand along Jack’s shoulder, lingering on the cross on his right arm, his fingers brushing over his dedication to Evelyn on his skin. “You figure I’m going to take what I want, slap you on the ass, and be on my way?”

Jack shrugged silently.

“And if I want to lay here with you, like this instead?”

A smile tugged at Jack’s lips. “I wouldn’t mind,” he admitted.

“Then get back over here,” Max’s lips twitched as well, the hints of a real smile emerging on them, the first that Jack had seen since he’d arrived.

Jack slipped off the bed and opened the bedroom window quickly, extinguishing his cigarette in the snow covered ledge. He shivered hard in the cold breeze, slamming it shut and all but diving back onto the bed and under the covers.

Max brushed a kiss over Jack’s forehead, smoothing the messy hair back. “You’re really somethin’, Jack.”

He closed his eyes. Hearing that quiet voice, one so familiar to Bobby’s, sometimes it was too much to handle. “Thanks…” he sighed. Jack pressed against him, feeling Max’s arms slid around his waist, tugging him closer, holding him securely. He felt safe.

X

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
seyyed
Sep. 22nd, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
*throws confetti*
That was wonderful! Just the right amount of tense and sweet.
Can't wait for more from these two!
veiledndarkness
Sep. 23rd, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)
(Anonymous)
Sep. 23rd, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
Jack is so messed up poor thing and so was Bobby, made their relationship ten times harder. Max, though clearly a bit stunned at being bisexual, knows how to be in a loving, healthy relationship. Hopefully he can help heal Jack. And whether it ends with them together or healing Jack makes him strong enough to go back to take on Bobby and keep him (who to me is just his soulmate and true disastrous love) I'll be good.
veiledndarkness
Sep. 23rd, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
Lol, I love your comments.

To me, Jack could see what Max didn't want to admit to. A guy like Max would have fooled around with a guy or two when he was young, in my theory. Then got married, doing what he felt was right.

Then along comes Jack, wreaking havoc in his currently miserable life, lol. I think Max does understand relationships. In canon, he was very much in love with his wife, was devastated by her death, and I didn't want to take away from that. I wanted it to be very clear that he loved her, still loves her even as his care and concern for Jack grows into something more.
littlewitch34
Sep. 24th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC)
I just really liked the part where Jack said he wasn't a dainty little girl. Something about that really stuck out to me.
veiledndarkness
Sep. 24th, 2011 12:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks :) That's something that bugs me in male/male relationships portrayed in various fandoms. Just because he bottoms, doesn't make him the 'girl', y'know?
littlewitch34
Sep. 24th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
Aw, come on. Jackie can be a little dainty sometimes ;)
veiledndarkness
Sep. 24th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Ok, sometimes :p
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )