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Chasing Ghosts

Title: Chasing Ghosts 10/?

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
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9



X

“Drop your weapon.”

There was a split second where Jack thought he might actually laugh when the horrible looking gun slid into view. It would have been a hysterical laugh, one well tinged with terror. One glance at this gun told him how much he wasn’t prepared to feel the bullets piercing his skin and he could literally hear Bobby’s commentary about guns and ammo and power running through his ears.

He tried to swallow but his throat was bone dry. No whisper of warning issued from his mouth and as Max heard the command, no change of expression occurred other than the same wary one he’d worn until that second. Max held still, his gaze sliding to the side to gauge how close the gun was to them.

“Take it easy,” Max said, and to Jack, he actually sounded calm.

“Drop your weapon,” the voice commanded again.

Jack turned his head an inch or so. More than a foot shorter than him was a woman, one clad entirely in black, a severe look to her pretty face and the gun resting securely in her hands, still pointing at them. The urge to laugh wildly gave Jack a tremor. That someone so tiny could be his murderer was almost comical.

Max lowered his gun to the ground slowly, his other hand in the air in the ultimate sign of surrender. “It’s on the ground, how ‘bout you lower yours?”

“Remove your back piece with your left hand,” she said instead.

Max let a moment pass and grudgingly, he did so, letting that one drop to the ground with a muted thud. “That’s it.”

“Kneel down.”

Max blinked and turned his head, surprise wiping away his wariness. “What?”

“Kneel the fuck down!” she snapped, pushing the gun at Jack, almost touching his side.

A bullet that close would pierce his ribcage easily, Jack’s brain screamed at him, puncture a lung, maybe his heart, oh God, please not this way…Jack knelt down as Max did, his chest hitching with shallow breaths. Where was Bobby and his merciless ways when he needed him?

Max put both hands behind his head and Jack did so as well. The snow bit into his jeans, soaking through to his already chilled skin. What a fine way to get pneumonia, he thought as their assailant walked around in front of them, her long dark hair flapping in the wind.

“We need to talk about my sister,” she all but spat and Jack saw, to his horror, recognition on Max’s face finally. She had one hand behind her back and she whipped it forward, bringing something long down, something that made a painful sound as she connected it and brought it across Max’s face.

He went with the blow, leaning down into the snow. He let out a sharp breath and knelt back up, slightly in front of Jack this time. Jack could only breathe; he felt nothing beyond self protective surges that kept him motionless. He couldn’t help Max, not without a weapon, not up against this tiny woman who seemed hellbent on revenge.

“Look,” Max panted. “My partner was killed too; we’re lookin’ for the same person.”

“Yeah,” she widened her eyes at him, fury flooding her face. “You…”

She brought the stick back again, slapping him harder and sending him down in the opposite direction. Max grunted with pain as he knelt up once more. He spat blood onto the snow, breathing harder. A bloody gash on the side of his right temple gleamed in the dim light of the alley.

“Who’s Owen Green?”

She stared at him. “How’d you get that name?”

“Natasha called him,” he started to say only to stop as she tried to slap at him. He reached up fast and caught the stick, halting her movement.

“Don’t say her name!” she hissed.

“I heard her call him, ok,” Max said. He kept one hand up, the other on her weapon. “Owen’s probably the last person who saw her alive.”

“Except for the guy who was stupid enough to leave his wallet by her body,” she pointed her gun at Max’s forehead, her finger far too close to the trigger.

“Does that sound like something a Homicide cop would do?” Max shot back. “That’s not something we’d get wrong. Look, whoever killed your sister, killed my partner too and maybe…” he paused and trailed off.

“If you wanna help, then help me find Owen Green.”

Max let go of the long black stick and pushed it back at her, daring her to strike him. She seemed to be studying him, her eyes as dark as her hair. She lifted her gun back, her gaze shifting to Jack.

“Who’s he?”

Max stood, still facing her. “He’s…he’s with me.”

“Why?”

“Does that matter?”

She glared at Max and then back at Jack. “Get up,” she gestured with her gun.

Jack rose, hating the fact that his legs were slightly trembling. Unlike Bobby, Jack hadn’t learned to stay cool in situations like this. He tried his best to channel everything he’d learned and tilted his chin up, his eyes narrowing down at her. Not afraid, no ma’am, he tried to project.

“What are you, some kind of Boy Wonder?”

“I’m just here for take your kid to work day,” he sneered at her, willing his body to stop trembling.

“Funny,” she muttered, clearly not amused. “With a mouth like that, you could end up in a lot of pain. You,” she pointed at Max. “He’s your liability. You know what I do for a living. You cross me, he’s eating this gun.”

X

Jack’s knee bounced during the endless drive to Owen Green’s apartment. He sat in the back of the car, much to his annoyance. He didn’t protest as it was hardly the first time he’d been stuck in the back seat despite the cramped space against his long legs. Bobby’s car had been a two door and more often than not, Jack had been required to sit in the back if anyone else was in the car with him and Bobby.

Almost as if he hadn’t wanted anyone to know what went on in the front seat when it was only the two of them, he mused with a faint smile. The smile faded away as the reality of what was happening started to sink in. He hadn’t been any good in these situations the year before and now here he was, stuck in a car with a Russian assassin for hire and Max.

His knee bounced faster. If Bobby were here, he thought for not the first time that evening, he would have taken this little woman down and forced her to spill what she knew. Jack had absolute faith in Bobby’s abilities, but Max, Jack shook his head silently. He seemed to have issues fighting back against a woman.

He felt another flicker of amusement, thinking of how often Bobby and Sofi, Angel’s on and off again girlfriend, had nearly come to blows, scrapping with each other in the house. Not that Bobby would have physically hurt her without damn good reason, he amended. Bobby wasn’t a woman beater, but he’d be damned if he’d let some female put a gun in his face.

Max drove as their companion gave directions, finally pulling up alongside a long, rusted fence that surrounded a decaying several stories high apartment building. Jack wrinkled his nose at the sight of it. He half expected to see a sign condemning the property. Max turned the engine off, silence in the car as all three of them looked out the windows at the building.

“Owen’s flop is on the top floor,” Mona said, breaking the heavy silence. “Don’t fuck this up for me, Max.”

Jack wanted to belt her one at that. He’d been given her name by Max when they’d initially gotten into the car. Mona Sax was Natasha’s sister, and by the sounds of it, far more dangerous than one could imagine. He disliked her merely on the principle that if not for her sister, they wouldn’t be sitting outside a junkie drug dealer’s scary ass apartment building.

“Stay in the car, Jack,” was the only thing Max said in his direction.

“Like fuck I will,” he sputtered. “I’m not a guard dog.”

Mona looked back at him over her shoulder, coldly amused. “You got a weapon?”

Well, shit. Jack paused, thinking of his meagre switch blade. “Um, not a gun exactly,” he said.

She smirked. “So, guard the car then.”

“Max, you’re not serious!”

“You don’t have a gun, I’m sure as hell not giving you one, and I need a lookout,” Max reasoned with him, meeting his eyes in the rear view mirror.

Jack bit his tongue until it hurt, fighting to keep all his angry words under control and losing badly at his attempt. “This is bullshit and you know it! How do you know she won’t turn on you when you get in there, huh? You don’t! How do you know that this isn’t some trap?”

Mona merely glared at Jack. “How do I know you don’t have a weapon to use when I turn my back on you?”

“I’m not some hired killer, that’s how!”

“Jack,” Max said quietly. “Please…I can’t take the risk of bringing you in this kind of place. I know I already involved you, but please…do this for me? Stay here where you’re safer.”

Oh goddamn them both, Jack swore mentally. “Fine,” he huffed, crossing his arms over his chest angrily.

Max looked almost relieved when Jack crossed his arms. “Stay here, don’t leave the car. If anythin’ happens, lock the doors. I’ll be right back, I promise.”

Jack rolled his eyes and said nothing. Sure, that’d be safe, only if the windshield was bulletproof. He fingered the edge of his inner jacket pocket, the small bulge where his knife rested. Some things never fucking changed, he fumed.

Max exhaled when Jack ignored him. He got out of the car and closed the door behind him. Mona exited as well, the locks shutting down as Max walked away. Jack blinked a few times, not quite sure if he believed what was happening. He fisted his hands, beyond annoyed.


‘…Here, you carry the gas can…’

‘We're gonna do that gas thing?’

‘Yeah, we're gonna do the ‘gas’ thing. The only thing that scares people more than getting burnt to death is getting eaten alive. Let's go.’

‘Wait, what do I get?’

‘You coming with us? Oh…take the crowbar. Here you go, sweetheart, poke 'em with that.’

‘Thanks.’

‘Your welcome…’


Jack let out a soft bittersweet laugh. Even Bobby hadn’t trusted him for more than being a lookout, a helper, but not to be trusted with real weapons. He’d known that Jack was a poor shot at best. He leaned down, resting his head on his knees, smiling weakly.

If he tried hard enough, he could remember what it felt like that night, assisting Bobby and his brothers in getting information from a young thug about their mother’s murder. Bobby had looked at him with that gleam in his eyes and Jack had known what to expect after that evening’s activities were said and done.

Bobby’s fingers gripping his sides, pulling him down to the bed, the burn of his facial hair scratching Jack’s skin until he felt like he was burning with him, burning and caught in his fire…Jack let out a shaky breath, his stomach coiling with fear and desire, much like it always did when it came to a force of nature like Bobby.

He tried counting to a hundred but kept forgetting his place somewhere around forty. He tried singing to himself, a trick that always helped before. It felt like forever since Max and Mona had left him behind. To be some kind of lookout, what a fucking joke, he thought, staring out the windshield. What was there to see besides snow?

Jack drummed on his knee, trying to ignore the beads of sweat gathering along his temples. Sitting here like a duck, waiting to be hunted…Jack fisted his hands with renewed anger. He closed his eyes and waited, listening to the sound of his breathing in the emptiness of the car.

There was a bolt, a shock of sound that made Jack’s spine stiffen. A sound too familiar, too terrifying to ignore, the sound of flapping echoing through the night…Jack stared out the window, too afraid to let out another breath.

“No…no fucking way,” he choked out.

Without stopping to think about what he was doing, Jack fumbled with the lock on the passenger door, shoving it up and opening the door, the flapping sound echoing once more in the still night. Snowflakes fell on Jack, coating him with icy cold drops. He stared up at the building, his heart pounding far too hard for the second time that night.

He moved without any idea he was doing so, drawn by the sound high above. Jack followed the footprints that Max had left in the snow, creeping closer to the building. He thought he could faintly hear Max shouting but above that sound was the steady flap…flap…, the ungodly flapping of a shadow high, higher than the brick structure before him.

Jack stood before the rows of windows that lined one side of the building. He shuddered to see the back of a man hanging out of the top floor, right where the window frame opened to the outside, the bricks tumbling and broken away from the mortar. The man was screaming, a screaming that made Jack want to shriek alongside with him.

He was gripping the sides, staring back into the room. His screams tapered off for a brief moment and Jack could just barely hear Max over the flapping. He couldn’t see anything but the man clinging to the bricks, his back arching out, as if he was being dragged from behind by some invisible force.

Jack let out a strangled sob as the man was pulled, screaming into the night, from the window, his body hovering in the air. He blinked and the man was falling, falling down and crashing into the husk of an abandoned car. Glass shattered, the car flattened under the weight of the man and Jack clamped both hands over his mouth, smothering his instinctive urge to scream.

The man’s broken, lifeless body lay on the car, his eyes still wide with terror, even in death. Jack lifted his head long enough to see Max leaning out the window, Mona at his shoulder, one gloved hand over her mouth.

Jack shuddered. He could still hear the wings flapping overhead.

X

“Damn it, Jack! I told you to stay in the car!” Max shouted as he came out the front door of the building.

Jack gripped his sides with chilled fingers, his eyes frozen wide with unblinking fear. “I heard them…I heard the wings,” he whispered to no one in particular. He couldn’t move, couldn’t stop staring at the remains of the man who’d died before him.

All he could see, beyond this man, was the mess of a crashed car a year before, Angel yanking one wounded shooter from the twisted metal wreck, Bobby removing the other, and the two of them ceremoniously executing the men who’d taken Evelyn’s life days before.

He shook in the cold air, his throat working uselessly. Bobby had grabbed him, dragging him back to the near wreck of Bobby’s own car, his fingers an iron grip on Jack’s arm, his excited breaths echoing near Jack’s ear. They’d killed the shooters without a second thought, had pulled the triggers with satisfaction, while Jack had stood behind them, shocked to the core.

“Jack!”

He made a sound and jumped, dragged from his memories with a start. “Max…”

“What the hell are you doing out here?” Max demanded.

“I heard the wings,” he mumbled distractedly. “That…” he pointed to the car, “Was that him?”

Max looked Jack over, his eyebrows lifting up at Jack’s words. “Yeah, Owen jumped.”

“He didn’t jump,” Jack turned away, gazing at the gaping window ledge. “He was pulled.”

Mona and Max exchanged looks of concern. “Jack, he wasn’t…Owen jumped,” Mona said with a hint of sadness. “We saw him.”

Jack shook his head and stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets, almost numb from the cold. “I know what I saw.”

“Jack…” Max reached for his arm but Jack dodged the attempt, stepping away from him easily enough.

“No.”

Mona moved between the two of them. “It doesn’t matter, ok? That’s not what’s important right now.”

Max said nothing for a long moment. He walked to the car, Mona following behind him. Jack took a step in their direction, feeling eyes on the back of his neck. A laugh gathered in his throat and died, choked down by his bitter grief.

When the three of them reached the car, Max smacked his fist off the side door, the sound swallowed by the deafening silence around them, nothing but burnt out buildings and random cars surrounding them. “He had a wing tattoo. They’ve all had wing tattoos.”

“So?” Mona frowned at Max. “What’s your point? Lots of people have tattoos.”

Jack closed his eyes. He knew exactly how many beads were inked into Bobby’s skin, a life size rosary that he’d had put on years before. He’d run his fingers over them while Bobby slept far too many times, praying for something he couldn’t have each time.

Max stole a glance at Jack, a hint of colour staining his cheeks. He’d been more than a little interested in touching Jack’s various tattoos when he’d held him in bed. He shrugged, forcing his gaze away from Jack. “Owen’s flop was covered in wing graffiti, all these deaths, they all have them, Mona, even the ones that killed my…my wife.”

“And lots of people have a thing for angels,” she insisted stubbornly. “How many girls have you seen with angel wings on their backs?”

“They take them up in their wings,” Jack murmured, unaware of the dual stares on him right then. He rubbed his face tiredly and then blinked, seeing the two sets of astonished eyes. “What?”

“Owen said that,” Max pounced first, his eyes widening. “Right before he jumped.”

Jack licked his lips. “Um…ok,” he managed. “A junkie said that to me before, remember? I told you that he put his arm in my face. He uh…he had one of those wing tattoos too.”

Mona cocked her head at Jack, considering him before turning to look at Max. “Looks like this guy is more interesting than I thought,” she said with an unfriendly smile.

X

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Dec. 31st, 2011 04:50 am (UTC)
Jack needs Bobby.
veiledndarkness
Jan. 2nd, 2012 01:05 am (UTC)
That he does.
aliceinked
Dec. 31st, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yay! I was on edge the whole time! XD can't wait for next chapter!
veiledndarkness
Jan. 2nd, 2012 01:05 am (UTC)
Lol, then I succeeded at my mission :) And the good news is there's a new chapter up now.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )