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Chasing Ghosts

Title: Chasing Ghosts 14/?

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
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13



X

Nothing could have prepared Jack for the vast array of weapons that Mona had at the ready. With the death of Evelyn’s murderers, Bobby had stripped the apartment of its weapons cache and that had seemed like quite a lot, but this…Jack shook his head slowly. This was unreal.

Mona studied a row of guns, seemingly having a silent debate over what would be best for Jack. She bit her lip and passed that shelf, moving on to the next one. “Have you handled guns before?”

“Yeah actually,” Jack put his hands into his pockets, feeling very much like an overgrown kid in a store full of pricey toys. “My brothers had me learn awhile back.”

“What about target practice?”

“Um,” Jack shrugged sheepishly. “I’m uh, not the best shot.”

Mona sighed. “Well, time’s not on our side right about now. I can give you some pointers but you’re going to have to do this on your own mainly.”

“I’ve never seen anyone with such a death wish before,” Jack murmured.

He eyed one particularly nasty looking gun and tried not to shudder. It looked awfully mean.

Mona picked up one gun thoughtfully. She held it out to Jack. “Some people can’t get over losing their family,” she said, watching him take the gun. “They just can’t. Jack…Have you really thought this through?”

“There’s no other option,” Jack weighed the gun with his hand, fitting his fingers comfortably on it.

“Sure there is,” she turned away and packed a black duffel bag with several weapons and more bullets than Jack could count. “This isn’t your fight and Max won’t be happy to see you there.”

Jack scoffed at that. “That’s too fucking bad then, isn’t it?” He wouldn’t admit to how nervous he was, only to how sure he was that this was necessary in every way. Bobby wouldn’t have left Angel or Jerry to fight his way through someone like Lupino. And leaving Max to suffer this alone wasn’t right.

“Stay with me, Jack. No heroics, got it?”

Jack grabbed a handful of bullets. “Yeah…”

X

Jack’s knee bobbed and jittered the whole way over to Ragnarok. His stomach tightened as they neared the rundown building and he clenched his teeth together to keep them from clacking. This was not the kind of thing he excelled at.

Mona stopped a hundred feet back from the building, staring out the windshield for a long moment. She said nothing, a muscle jumping in her cheek. Jack shifted forward in his seat and followed her gaze, straining to see anything in the dim light, the sun having set on their way over. Snow pelted down from the clouds, obscuring his vision all the more.

“What?” he whispered. “What is it?”

“There’s a body by the stairs,” Mona undid her seatbelt and slid out of the car smoothly, a gun in hand. “Stay back.”

Like hell he would, Jack bristled. It was one thing for Max to treat him like that, or even Bobby, but no way was some tiny little woman with a gun fetish going to force him to be her back up. He was out of the car in a second, keeping a few feet behind her.

Mona approached the body with great caution, the wind whipping her hair back from her face. She nudged the leg closest to her, her gun at the ready. When nothing happened, she nudged the leg harder and flipped the body over, blood marring what was left of the security man’s chest.

Jack swallowed at the sight, fighting the urge to vomit. There was so much blood and the look of pain on the man’s face was all too real. He let out a breath that he hadn’t been aware of holding in. “Christ…”

“Max,” was all Mona said. She moved up the stairs to the side door that was ajar. Boot prints on the snow covered cement led inside. She nodded to Jack and pushed the door open further with her elbow, following the melted snow on the ground as to where Max had gone.

The inside of the warehouse was dark, metal shelving and stairs every which way. Jack held his shotgun, his palms greasy with sweat. Dirt and dust flooded his nose and his nostrils twitched, fighting the urge to sneeze. Under the smell of grease and dirt and oil was another scent, one more cloying and metallic.

Blood…

Jack came to an abrupt stop at the sight of two more men crumpled against the wall, blood spreading in a slick pool around them. Bullet wounds dripped on them and Jack’s nausea surged again. He tried to look away from the men, knowing damn well that they would have shot him, had he wandered in here innocently.

“Come on, Jack,” Mona said to him quietly. She looked down, seeing several casing shells. “He went over there.”

Jack forced himself forward, following her through the door and down a set of metal stairs. He could feel his heart pounding harder and the urge to shout for Max was very strong. Light flickered in the distance, far across the building floor.

Mona moved so lightly, Jack could hardly hear her. She moved past the cartons and stacks of metal crates, her gun steady in her grasp. She looked completely in her element. She pointed to the side tables, crates upon crates of medicinal tubes stacked off to the side.

Most of the tubes were filled with a light blue liquid. Jack tried to swallow but his throat was too dry. Valkyr doses, he managed to think, his nerves jangling harder. The drug people were willing to kill innocents over.

There were pots boiling on a makeshift stove, steam pouring out of them. Jack picked up a vial, studying it. The name Valkyr was printed on everything from the pots, to the vials, to the crates. Jack took several of the vials and slipped them into his inner coat pocket.

“Jack!” Mona hissed. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

He shrugged, feigning nonchalance. “You never know. Proof an’ all that shit.”

“Jack, I swear if you…” she trailed off and looked down, noticing the vast amount of bullets that scarred the cement floor. “Jack, look,” she nodded.

Further past them was a mess of bottles, pots and bits of wood. Underneath that was a spray of blood that coated the floor. Jack bit his lip, two more bodies visible then. Each held a gun; each had more than one bullet wound. He shivered uncontrollably.

The floor was covered with sticky blood, trickles of the blue liquid and shards of glass. Mona turned around abruptly and let out a sound, whether it was sad or not, Jack couldn’t tell. A steady drip of blood was falling from the stairway off to the side. Another body, he supposed.

They followed the trails of blood and liquid through the nearest door. Water fell in rivulets by the doorway, more metal crates ahead of them. Jack lifted his gun up a bit higher, spying a yellow light a few feet ahead of them. The door hung open, as if it’d been kicked in.

Jack sprinted forward, ignoring Mona’s warning. He skidded to a stop; a choked breath escaping at the sight of Lupino sprawled on the floor, his shaved head gleaming in the candlelight. He hitched in a breath, nearly falling backwards in the process.

The room was aglow with candles and row upon row of Valkyr doses lined the shelves. Much of the room had been trashed. Mona swore in Russian under her breath. A reclined medical chair lay on the floor next to Lupino, more glass and blood coating it.

“He’s dead,” Jack mumbled, hardly able to believe it.

With trembling hands, he knelt down a little, studying the bullet hole in the middle of Lupino’s chest. The look of surprise on Lupino’s face was eerily unsettling. He looked almost as if he couldn’t believe it, even in death. Jack moved away from him, away from the beginning scents of death.

“Max isn’t here,” he said, afraid to admit it. “He’s not here, Mona.”

She crossed the room, looking at the plastic bins overhead that were stuffed full of folders, some labelled with Aesir tags. “They were doing tests here. Lupino did them.” She looked at Jack. “C’mon, I think I know where he is.”

X

Mona drove like a woman possessed, the car screeching along the snow covered ground. She leaned the car around a corner and Jack felt a prayer come to his lips. He gripped the side of the car door, his panic nearly overwhelming him. Bobby had driven this way, the night they’d chased the shooters, skidding and screaming along the snow and ice, running blindly into a snowstorm.

Jack didn’t bother to ask any questions as they pulled into the marina. He was out of the car and running beside Mona, unwilling to question her as to how she suddenly knew where to go. Jack shielded his face from the pelting snowflakes and watched, to his horror, as B.B. Hensley and a tall black man chased Max down the dock, their pistols firing at him.

His knees went weak and he wobbled, his mouth falling open. “Max…”

Mona yanked a fistful of Jack’s coat and dragged him behind a pile of snow covered wooden shipping crates. “Get down,” she whisper-shouted. “They see you or me and we’re both dead, got it?”

Jack watched in mute horror as the bullets flew through the air, Max dodging them as he ran pell-mell towards the end of the dock, the icy water waiting for him. “No…Jesus, Mona, do somethin’,” he pleaded helplessly.

B.B. shouted in vain, his words lost in the wind that howled around them. Max ran straight off the edge of the dock and jumped into the water, his would be killers emptying their guns into the water.

“Screw him!” B.B. spat blood onto the dock. “He’ll freeze to death.”

He nudged his assistant, the tall man still staring into the ice filled harbour water. “Let’s get out of here.”

With that, the two of them left, bypassing the stacks of crates, Jack and Mona unnoticed by either man. Mona clamped her gloved hand down over the gun that Jack had trained on B.B.’s back, her grip surprisingly strong.

“No.”

Jack blinked away his tears of rage. “Max…He’s in the water…He’ll die!”

“If he sees you now, you’re dead.”

“You don’t understand…B.B. was his friend. That fat fuck,” he wanted to scream, but his words came out in strangled gasps.

As soon as B.B. was out of sight, Mona released her grip on the gun. Jack dropped the gun and ran blindly to the edge of the dock. “Max!” he shouted over the wind. “God, Max, please…”

There were huge chunks of ice in the water, scattered and blocking much of the surface. Jack knelt down, gripping the slippery wood of the dock and shouting desperately, searching for any sign of Max.

The water began to ripple, the ice chunks moving erratically. Jack tightened his knuckles on the wood, his chest hitching at the sight of Max’s head breaking the surface. He bobbed in the water, gasping and sputtering. The water had to be well below freezing, Jack knew.

“Max!” he called, ignoring the tear that ran down his cheek.

Max bobbed again and again, going under only to surface once more, his movements slowing down. He jerked and thrashed, unhearing of Jack’s hoarse cries for him. He slipped under the surface with a choked gasp, his movements coming to a stop.

Jack searched the water, the cold wind slapping at him. He let out a harsh breath and yanked at his coat, pulling the worn leather sleeves back. “Max…” he stripped it off mindlessly, preparing to dive in after him.

“Jack, no!” Mona lunged after him, just managing to get a hold of his sweater. “Stop!”

“I’m not letting him drown!” Jack yelled, swinging his legs forward and down into the water. He sucked in a breath, pain ricocheting up his legs when the cold water soaked through his jeans. Oh holy God, it was cold.

Mona clung to the edge of the dock, narrowly avoiding getting pulled in after him. “You’re insane, you know that!” she shouted after him furiously.

Jack tried to tread water but it was almost too much for him. He’d always been a strong swimmer but not in water this cold. He struggled to move his legs, weighed down by his clothes and his boots. Sputtering and flailing in the water, he dove under and swam as best he could, a spot of blackness not far off.

Max…

He moved almost painfully slow, his skin so cold he could barely force his arms to keep going. His chest ached with the need to breathe and his side was screaming bloody murder from his efforts. Jack kicked his legs and pushed harder, dizzy and disoriented as he reached for the familiar black jacket in front of him.

Jack wrapped an arm around Max’s chest, stunned when Max opened his eyes, staring back at him. A bubble came out of Max’s mouth and Jack thought he could almost hear the question in that second. He gave him a crooked smile and pushed up, heaving Max up with him as best he could.

Together they pushed upwards until they burst up through the surface. Jack sucked in a frantic breath, his throat working to take in air. It was even colder above the water. Max gasped, winding his arm around Jack’s chest as well.

Somehow, they made it to the edge of the dock. Jack reached up and yanked on the wood, forcing himself up and onto the dock. He yanked on Max’s chest, heaving him up as well. They fell back onto the snow covered dock, panting.

Max coughed, forcing water up and out of his throat. As he wheezed, he fisted his hands, the frozen air settling on them in an instant. Jack shuddered and rolled onto his side, unable to catch his breath. He shook violently, unable to recall ever being so cold in his life.

“J-Jack,” Max managed between gasps. “You…you’re…”

“No w-way am I…I s-stayin’ behi-behind on t-this o-one,” Jack said, his teeth clacking painfully together.

“G-Gonna freeze,” Max’s hand scrambled over his coat, digging inside it. He pulled two vials out, shaking harder than before. They didn’t have long before the cold would be too much for them.

“Max…” Jack shuddered, watching in disbelief as he gulped down a vial. “No…”

Max thrust one of the vials at him between helpless pants of air. “T-Take it…”

Jack shook his head and dug his own vials out, downing both before he could stop to think about it. The liquid burned down his throat, searing the tissue along the way. He cried out, his head tilting back, tears trickling out his eyes.

Max took the remaining vial, letting the tube fall to the dock. He fell back against the wood, shaking roughly. Jack rolled over, his shaking fading away as he got to his hands and knees. He let out an uneven whimper as his body tensed up. “Oh God…” he choked.

“Jack…J-Jack,” Max got out before he knelt as well.

Jack looked up, his eyes wide as sparks of flames floated down between the snowflakes. A sob slipped out unheard as he heard the unholy flapping high above them. He stood, his spine arching back as he screamed, unaware of Max standing beside him, their screams caught in the roaring of flame and flapping and fiery skies, caught in the thunder that rolled down towards them.

Max grabbed Jack’s arm, limping forward. Jack watched in dread as Valkryies flew in dizzying circles over their heads, swooping down, claw fingers reaching for them. Jack shrieked and crouched down, beyond terror, beyond fear and sanity. He screamed again, both his hands fisted in his hair.

“No! Oh God,” he begged, closing his eyes.

Max firmed his grip on Jack’s arm, pulling him in tight. “Jack, Jack, look at me,” he demanded hoarsely.

Jack opened his eyes, struggling to stay in the moment. “Bobby,” he whispered tearfully. “God, help me, Bobby…I can’t do this…”

“Jack…” Max moved his hands, cupping Jack’s face. “It’s me. It’s…Max.”

“I can’t…Please,” Jack choked out. “I’m sorry…”

Max stared at Jack worriedly. “It…” he sighed a little. “Shh, it’s ok,” he said, rubbing his thumb over Jack’s cheek. “I’m not mad. And I need your help.”

“Y-yeah?” Jack flinched, scared shitless by the sight of another Valkryie dodging them.

“Yeah…” he nodded. “We gotta go now.”

Jack managed a nod and stumbled along with him, limping as fast as he could. If Bobby told him to jump back in the water, he’d have done it gladly, if only to escape the living hell surrounding him. He ran along with the man at his side, his heart slamming against his ribcage, not sparing a thought as to where Mona had gone.

X


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jan. 11th, 2012 04:12 am (UTC)
Somehow I totally didn't see it coming that Jack would end up trying the drug until he grabbed the vials. I wonder what will come of him taking it.
veiledndarkness
Jan. 12th, 2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
In this case, it was necessary, lol. They would have died from exposure or hypothermia otherwise.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )