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Chasing Ghosts

Title: Chasing Ghosts 7/?

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
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6



X

The man sitting behind the front desk seemed less than impressed by Jack’s urgency and even less than concerned with the idea of lifting the phone and contacting Max as Jack had pleaded with him to do several times. He scratched at his chin, rubbing the sparse hair under his bottom lip and squinted up at Jack, clearly bored.

Jack was fast on his way to losing his patience.

“Look, I swear on all that is holy, this is an emergency!” Jack said again, resisting the all too tempting urge to slam his fist down on the desk. “If you can just call down, I need to speak to him now.”

“I’m real sorry Son, but unfortunately there’s a strict rule for contacting people in different departments without identification from the people who’re looking to contact them,” the man replied with a slightly sarcastic fake smile.

“That is such bullshit!” Jack hissed. “If I had his number, I’d call myself!”

“And what did you say your name was?”

“John Smith!” he snapped.

The man tapped a pen on his desk blotter. “Well then, Mr. Smith,” he smiled again and Jack wanted to punch his teeth right down his throat. “I think I need to see some i.d. before I contact Detective Payne.”

“I don’t have time for this. There’s some dead woman in the alley beside his building! I saw her being attacked before she died. For Christ’s sake, why won’t you listen to me?!”

Jack saw the man begin to shake his head again and shoved off the desk. “Fuck this!” he spat and hurried out of the precinct, all but running down the steps of the building. Fighting with a brain dead cop was a massive waste of time and time was a precious commodity.

He paused halfway down the sidewalk and let out a short breath. Alex! He could call Alex. Jack bolted for the nearest phone booth and dug the scrap of paper back out of his pocket. He unfolded it hurriedly and took the last bit of change out of his coat. He punched in the phone number, listening to the line ring and ring.

Jack tapped his boot impatiently on the floor of the phone booth, biting his lip as he did so. The line continued to ring for another minute, then clicked into the answering machine. Jack listened to the sound of Alex Balder reciting the usual ‘I’m not here, leave me a message, I’ll get back to you’, his fingers gripping the receiver until his knuckles whitened.

He hung up, his heart pounding fiercely. “Oh Jesus,” he whispered, feeling sick to his stomach.

He couldn’t call Max, couldn’t get a hold of Alex, couldn’t find anyone to talk to…Jack leaned against the phone booth wall, swallowing again and again, his throat aching. One thought kept circling and Jack hated it, God, how he hated knowing that this was more than he could handle. This was Bobby’s territory.

Jack laughed bitterly. He sure as fuck couldn’t call him.

He ran a hand over his hair, feeling the still tender lump on the back of his head. He sucked in a breath at the flare of pain when his thumb brushed over the bump. “Fucking junkies,” he muttered.

A sudden bang made him flinch and Jack stumbled to the side at the sight of an irritated woman yelling at him to hurry up and get the hell out if he wasn’t making a call. He mumbled something resembling an apology and fled the phone booth, his shoulders hunched as he walked away.

Jack stuffed his hands in his pockets and tried to keep all his thoughts in line. He felt like he was losing his grip on reality, like he was running in circles. There was one too many strange things going on for his taste and all he really wanted was to escape from this insanity and hide under the blankets on Max’s bed.

Max…

Jack clenched his jaw and sped up, his boots kicking up small drifts of snow. Max had told him to stay put, a thought that still rankled him. His stomach let out a sharp growl, reminding him that it’d been more than twelve hours since he’d last eaten any solid food.

‘Never mind food, you fool,’ he scolded his stomach. Worry about food after he got a hold of Max.

With that in mind, Jack hurried back to Max’s apartment, his movements slowing when he saw all the cruisers and cops that were still crawling all over the place. Jack licked his lips and edged closer to the building, attempting to look as casual as possible. One somewhat old up car pulled up along the far side of the building, two men stepping out of it.

Max…and Alex…

Jack stared. That explained why Alex hadn’t picked up at his office. He gestured to Max, his face pinched and tight. With anger, Jack guessed, or irritation. He stepped to the side, dodging Max’s line of vision. Max followed Alex, every line in his face screaming his deep annoyance.

Jack slipped closer to the caution tape that surrounded the alley way. One of the detectives walked past him, making snide comments under his breath as he passed.

“Guess that means they kissed and made up,” one remarked to the other, pointing back at Alex.

Jack narrowed his eyes. Huh…interesting. He turned his head, praying his luck would hold. To his surprise, it did. The men continued on, one laughing at the other’s crude joke. He moved under the caution tape and stepped behind the coroner’s van. His heart began to pound again as he saw the blood that stained the snowy ground, the once white sheets that had stains streaking across them.

His stomach twisted in protest but he forced down the wave of nausea. He could just hear Max and Alex’s conversation floating back to him on the wind. He strained his ears, his hunger forgotten as he listened.

“…you showin’ me this?”

“Found this here,” Alex held up something wrapped in a protective evidence bag. “Did you know her, Max?”

Jack felt his heart clench. Her…?

Max stared at Alex, his face pale. He looked at the ground, to one of the bloody sheets, then back at Alex. He knelt down and lifted a corner of the sheet. He studied whatever was under the sheet and then let it fall. Jack tried as best he could, but he couldn’t quite see what Max was seeing.

“Natasha,” Max muttered.

Alex shifted on his boot heels, his jaw clenched tightly enough to be obvious to Jack. “Let’s take a ride,” he said and turned away, stalking away from the corpse on the ground.

Max followed, somewhat reluctantly. He looked back at the sheet, his face eerily blank.

Jack let out a breath he hadn’t been aware he was holding. Ok, this was even worse. He moved back carefully, dodging another cop as he slid under the caution tape once more. He hurried inside the building for a moment, trying to figure out just what the fuck was happening.

X

Even after a fortifying drink from one of the few bottles of alcohol Max had stashed in the cupboards, Jack’s hands were still trembling. This was far too much for him. He hadn’t enjoyed Bobby’s revenge on Victor Sweet. He’d gone along with it because, well shit, you didn’t say no to Bobby when he was in that kind of mindset. He’d always wanted Bobby to respect him the way he respected Jerry or Angel and yet…

Jack sighed. He took a long gulp of the whiskey, his throat burning. Bobby didn’t respect him, he knew that. Jack fighting alongside his brothers was a joke. He couldn’t shoot worth a shit, wasn’t trusted to carry a gun when they went ‘information hunting’, and after…after when Bobby was exhilarated, pumped from the success of threatening people, Jack’s job was to be there for Bobby, to be dragged upstairs or into the bathroom as he was needed.

He gripped the glass, watching the amber liquid swirl around. Well, not completely dragged. He’d gone willingly, always had. Bobby had hat kind of effect on him. Even when he was furious at him, Bobby could give him a look that made his knees weak and before he’d know it, he’d be down on the bed, ready to go.

Jack emptied the rest of the whiskey, enjoying the way his head swam. It was easier to think about Bobby when he was drunk, hunger be damned. He pushed the bottle away and swayed off the chair, making his way from room to room. Everything was easier to deal with when he was drunk, he laughed, hiccupping as he crawled onto Max’s bed.

Memories, the worst of them, they didn’t hurt when he was drunk. They were there, hollow memories floating at the back of his mind. Jack closed his eyes, breathing in Max’s scent on the sheets. The smell calmed him, even if he didn’t quite smell like Bobby.

When he next opened his eyes, it was to an unsettling silence. He blinked, rubbing at his face with one hand. There was this sound…this whisper quiet sound that made his skin crawl. He peered at the alarm clock on the bedside table. The red numbers on the digital face claimed it was well after five.

Jack strained his ears, harder than in the alley way. The footsteps were so quiet, he was certain that this was not Max, home early for once. Instinctively, he untangled his legs from the bed sheets and crept off the bed as silently as he could manage. His heart raced as he slid under the bottom of the bed, grateful that there was just enough space for him there. Jack held still, hardly daring to breathe. He gradually became aware of a headache pounding between his temples.

The footsteps, still near silent, seemed to be moving through the apartment, picking room after room. He held his breath when the footsteps stopped in Max’s bedroom. Jack felt a cold sweat break out all over as two dark combat boots entered his field of vision. He clamped his lips shut, willing his body to comply with the desperate need for silence.

This was not Max, this wasn’t someone friendly.

To his growing horror, the boots moved closer to the bed. Jack held as still as he could manage, praying inwardly that Evelyn’s spirit was looking out for him. He thought fleetingly of the rosary tucked into his duffel bag and wished he had it to clasp in his hands.

The boots stopped directly beside the bed. Jack forgot to breathe; his body tensed for the moment that this intruder would flip the bed and see him hiding there like a trapped animal.

‘Please, please,’ Jack begged mentally.

Several agonizingly long minutes passed, the boots still standing inches from Jack’s face. The person shifted, the boots moving away. They stopped again by the still open bedroom window. A bead of sweat ran down Jack’s forehead, slipping down his nose and falling to the dusty floorboards.

The boots moved once more, pacing a slow line across the room. Jack trembled from the effort of holding still, his heart beating far too fast. Just when he thought he couldn’t last another second, the boots left the room.

Before Jack could let out a sigh of relief, he heard a rapid pounding on the front door.

“Max!” a voice shouted through the heavy wood. “Max, you home?”

Alex Balder…Jack closed his eyes, shaking harder. Oh fuck…

The pounding was suddenly cut off, the sound of the hinges screeching as the door was ripped open. Jack held a hand over his mouth, his eyes watering. He wanted to cry out but fear kept him silent. The shout of surprise that followed the door opening made Jack want to be vomit.

“Who-…” was as far as Alex got out before there was a sickening thud and a cry of pain.

Jack gasped. He couldn’t block out the sounds, couldn’t not hear the sound of murder happening far too close to him. Splatters of blood dropped and arched, spraying over the walls and hardwood. Glass smashed, wood splintered and the coppery smell of blood assaulted Jack’s nose. He retched silently, trying not to cry.

Finally, finally, the sounds ended. The lack of noise was worse, far worse.

The boots moved once more, heading back towards the bedroom. Jack went rigid, unable to believe it when a hand clamped down on his ankle and yanked him out from under the bed. In a blur, he was pulled from his hiding spot and into the darkened room, in front of the hideous face of the shadow he’d seen the night before.

X

Noise assaulted his ears, too many people shouting at once, heavy boots clomping back and forth, foreign hands grabbing at him, barking questions he couldn’t understand. A light was shone in his face and he tried to lift his arms to push it away. His head pounded and he couldn’t see anything but the ungodly bright light before his eyes.

“…your name…”

He tried to speak but his tongue wouldn’t co-operate.

“…the ambulance, this one’s losin’ blood…”

He was lifted, wrapped tightly, buried alive as he was carried out of the apartment. He turned his head to the side and moaned lowly, a shape forming in the hallway, one that he knew, one that wasn’t moving, wasn’t speaking, wasn’t watching him like always.

A tear ran down his cheek, sliding through the smears of blood on his skin.

Max…Jack tried to call out before he slipped under, letting unconsciousness win out.

X

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
aliceinked
Dec. 16th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
Omg omg omg omg! Gah!!!!! Amazing as always! XD can't wait for more!
veiledndarkness
Dec. 19th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
Lol, good news then. New chapter is up :)
(Anonymous)
Dec. 16th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
Aww poor Jackie. The downside of his big brothers trying to always protect him. He never fully learned to do it himself, never fully felt one of them. He tries though. But he needs Bobby.
veiledndarkness
Dec. 19th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
Exactly right. They try, but it only comes back to bite him in the ass. In trying to protect him, they made him more vulnerable.

I think Bobby and Jack truly do need each other.
littlewitch34
Dec. 19th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)
NO. JACK!
veiledndarkness
Dec. 19th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
Poor Jackie...But the good news is you read in time as I have the next chapter done, lol.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )