Chapters : 3
Warning: Slash! Turn around now if you don't like it. Your choice.
Summary: Post-season 3 Tony has had too much Tequila. Jack comes to the rescue - or is it the other way around?
Disclaimer: I don't own Jack and Tony. Although I think that no one truly does, but that's a different discussion.
Author's note: Seems an eternity ago that I began to write this little story. I was close to abandoning it, but I apparently have that Baueresque streak in me that needs to follow things through. So here's the whole story, now including the brand new chapter three. I've decided to post it all in one chunk again since it's been so long.
I'm still incredibly nervous about posting slash, so be kind and give some love.
I gave my beta, 24writer, a really hard time and I most definitely owe her. Although she's going to kill me for letting it snow in LA.
The sound of breaking glass in the background startled Jack fully awake.
“What was that?!“
“The porch light. He smashed it.“ Michelle's voice was trembling underneath the hard front she was putting up. “Please, Jack, can you come and get him? I don't want to call the police.“
“Don't. I'll be right there.”
Heaving himself out of bed, Jack grabbed a pair of pants and pulled them on. The t-shirt he had been wearing wouldn't be warm enough – it was freezing outside – so he slipped into the only winter jacket he owned. Socks and tennis shoes completed the hastily assembled outfit. He kept his cell phone pressed to his ear as he retrieved the car keys from his jacket and jogged out the door. Michelle's frightened words halted him in mid step.
“Be careful, Jack. He's got a gun.”
“Don't do anything, Michelle. Just...just hang on, okay?”
Jack got lucky. At 3a.m. there simply weren't enough patrol cars around to watch him break every damn traffic rule that had ever existed in Los Angeles.
“Mich... Michelle! Michelle!”
Tony's drunken shouts were audible all the way down the road. There was no way the neighbors hadn't noticed. Even if Michelle hadn't called the police, someone else would have. Jack had to hurry.
His truck skidded to a halt and he jumped out of the car, ran up the driveway. Dimly lit by the light drifting out from the house, a swaying figure was pounding against the front door, fist cradling a gun.
“Open up! This is my fucking house! My house! Open the fucking door!”
Jack approached him carefully but quickly, the way he would sneak up on any unpredictable target. Prepared to meet resistance, Jack's fingers closed around Tony's wrist to prevent another uncoordinated thump against the wood. Gently and quickly he pried the weapon from Tony's hand.
“Hey... what the..” Confused and dazed brown eyes settled on Jack as Tony turned his head to see who was interrupting him. The distinctive smell of Tequila tainted his breath, forming a steamy cloud in the unusual LA cold. A bruise was forming high on one of his cheekbones. Blood trickled lazily from a cut in his brow. Had he been in a fight? Or in an accident? Tony's beat-up truck was 'parked' half-way across the front lawn, a mangled trash can peaking out from underneath the bumper, one head light broken. That was one possible explanation for his injuries.
“Jack...?” He squinted.
“You weren't intending to use this, were you?” Jack held the gun up into Tony's line of vision. The drunken man frowned at the Glock, honestly puzzled.
“That's...” He swayed into Jack and had to steady himself against the blond man's shoulder. “That's my gun...”
“Yeah. And you scared the shit out of Michelle with it.”
The name seemed to remind Tony why he was here. Surprisingly deftly, he pulled his hand out of Jack's grip and swivelled back to the door, immediately resuming his pounding.
Stuffing Tony's gun into his waistband, Jack stepped between his friend and the much-suffering door.
“Hey! Stop, Tony! She's not going to let you inside, and she has every reason not to.”
From the corner of his eye, Jack perceived movement through the glass window set in the door. Michelle was inside, in the hallway, most likely anxious and listening to every word they spoke.
Tony took a step away from Jack, almost slipping down from the porch. He blinked.
“Oh yeah? She has?” he said, much too loud. “It's my fucking house, Jack. She changed the locks to my house! Who the fuck does she think she is, huh?!”
He sniffed angrily and wiped his nose with his sleeve. Blood flecked the fabric of his much too thin corduroy jacket.
“She's your ex-wife, Tony.” Jack spoke softly but sternly. “Ex-wife. It's three a.m. And you're yelling on her porch, trying to break into her house. You're lucky if you don't get arrested.”
As if on cue, blue-and-red lights flashed in the street and a patrol car stopped at the curb. A blind rattled in a house to the right, and a face appeared in the faint glow of of the lit window. Just as predicted, the neighborhood had been paying attention.
Tony ignored the two cops stepping out of the car and, instead, shoved Jack into the chest, almost knocking himself off-balance.
“What do you care, huh?! This is none of your business! Fuck off!”
“It is my business when a friend of mine is about to get arrested for trespassing and disturbance....and who knows what else,” Jack growled, pointing at Tony's face. “Particularly if that friend's only recently been released from prison. Would you please shut up now and let me handle this?”
Tony blinked, unsure how to react to that verbal low punch. He seemed to sober a little and stooped protectively when the two officers reached them, avoiding direct eye contact. Jack wondered if it was an automatic response that he had learned in prison.
“Good evening, officers,” Jack pre-empted them, already pulling out and holding up his CTU badge. Luckily, nobody had bothered to take it off him when he'd been suspended in the Saunders aftermath. With Chappelle dead and Tony in prison, Hammond had had his hands full. He'd kicked Jack out and transferred him to a drug rehabilitation program without caring if he still had his CTU id or not. They'd had other things to deal with – quarantine zones, dozens of bodies and a confused and scared public. Months later, no one yet seemed to care about Jack's missing badge, so he'd kept it, more out of spite than anything else.
“I'm sorry if my friend has caused anyone to worry,” he said submissively. “He's a little drunk, but I'll take him home now. He won't cause any more trouble.”
One of the officer's - hisname tag identified him as Sgt. Mackey - frowned and eyed Tony suspiciously. Then he turned to Jack, deciding that he was apparently the coherent one.
“Whose house is this? Yours?”
Tony opened his mouth to say something but thought twice when Jack squeezed his arm hard and gave him a warning look. Prison had taught him to shut up when he was told to, particularly when someone in uniform with a baton and a stun gun was present.
“No,” Jack answered truthfully. “It's his ex-wife's house. But don't worry – she's fine.”
“Is that so?” Sgt. Mackey raised his eyebrows while his colleague, officer Lemoine, made a face. They had apparently heard that line way too often. “If you don't mind, I'll check for myself Mr....” he checked Jack's ID “...agent Bauer.”
He pushed past Jack, stepped onto the porch and rang the bell, Lemoine staying behind to watch Tony. Jack held on to Tony's arm, pulling him to the side so that the two cops and him were shielding Michelle from any possible harm. Tony was silent and sagging against Jack a little, but he couldn't be underestimated. As submissive as he appeared now, fury still flickered in his eyes and Jack felt hard, tense muscles bulge in his arm.
“Don't blow this,” he whispered to Tony, leaning in as if to steady his friend. “Let me do the talking.”
Michelle opened the door after the first ring. Dressed in a silk night robe, her untamed curls flowing onto her shoulders, Tony gaped at her in drunken awe. He even stopped swaying for a moment.
“Sorry to disturb you so late, ma'am.” Sgt. Mackey flashed a smile along with his badge at her. “But we got a call from one of your neighbors complaining about noise and what sounded like fighting.”
“Yes. I'm sorry.” She cast a stealthy glance at Tony. Her cheeks were flushed, the anger in her voice subduing the underlying worry. “My husband and I had an argument.”
“Your husband? Agent Bauer here said you were divorced.”
Michelle shook her head and rubbed her forehead with two fingers. “Yes...of course. We are. I'm sorry, I... The divorce was finalized only yesterday.”
Mackey pursed his lips. “I see.”
There was a moment of awkward silence. Tony looked at the floor. Jack felt him shiver in his thin jacket.
“So. Is that your car, Mr....?” Mackey pointed at the truck.
“Almeida.” Jack answered for Tony who seemed to sluggish to react. “Yes, it's his.”
“Well, I suggest you have someone park it in a more correct position and then have Mr. Bauer here drive you home. Or to an ER.” He eyed Tony's bleeding face. “That cut looks nasty. Do you want to tell us how you got it?”
Fidgeting, Tony appeared to grope for an answer. His voice didn't sound like his own when he finally opened his mouth. He sounded small. Forlorn.
“I wasn't wearing a seat belt. I... I bumped my head against the dash when... when I hit the trash can. And the fence...I think.”
One of the metal fence posts, indeed, stood at an odd angle and the fence next to it was dented. If Tony was lying, he did it well.
“No seat belt? And you drove in this state?” Mackey shook his head, Lemoine echoed the movement in almost farcical pantomime. The sergeant scribbled something onto an official looking piece of paper and handed it to Jack. “Here. Have him come to the station tomorrow and bring this. I'm letting him off with a fine. Looks like he has enough to deal with for now.”
He threw Michelle a sympathetic look. She looked startled and pretty in the soft glow of the porch lights, and Mackey probably wondered how such a beautiful woman could ever have been married to such a miserable piece of crap.
“You'll be alright, Miss?”
“Yes, of course. Thank you, officer.”
“Good night, then.”
Mackey tipped his head. Lemoine nodded. With a last grateful look at Jack, Michelle closed the door.
The sergeant turned to Jack again, gesturing at Tony with his notepad. “You'll make sure he stays out of trouble for the rest of the night?”
“Of course. I'll stay with him.”
Tony drew a breath and straightened as if about to protest, but Jack cut him off with a glare and another arm squeeze.
“Alright then.” The uniformed duo nodded in unison. “Get his car out of the way and get him home.”
The cops left without a handshake and returned to their patrol car, leaving without a light show or sirens. The quiet of night had been disturbed enough.
“That was close,” Jack sighed. He shook his head and turned to Tony, still trembling silently at his side. “What the fuck did you think you were doing?”
He wasn't expecting the deep, drunken sadness that had replaced the anger in Tony's voice as he answered: “She changed the locks, Jack. She … she divorced me, and now she's changed the fucking locks.”
He made a half-hearted effort at staggering back to the door but gave up quickly when he felt Jack holding him back.
“I'm sorry, Tony,” Jack said, meaning it. “I'm really sorry, but you've got to leave her alone now.”
He placed one hand on Tony's shoulder, both to calm him and to push him away from the house and from Michelle. His other hand patted Tony's chest and then reached into Tony's pocket.
“Come on, give me your keys. Let's get you outta here.”
Jack didn't take Tony to an ER. Tony refused to, and Jack didn't push it, thinking it wasn't really necessary. Tony would survive a black eye and a few bruises. The cut on his brow would probably need stitches to heal without scarring, but that was Tony's choice.
Prodding carefully but tenaciously, Jack had found out that Tony had been the looser of a bar brawl that had, luckily enough, ended without police interference. Jack was relieved – and surprised. If Tony had wanted to, he could have killed any civilian in a fight, even when drunk. Especially when drunk. The fact that he'd been the one tumbling out of the bar with a shiner and a nosebleed worried Jack. Tony, in these last few months, had developed a penchant for self-flagellation, but so far he had at least managed not to get himself hurt.
They fell silent while Jack drove on, Tony huddled into his jacket in the passenger seat, shivering for real now. The heat was on full blast, but Jack feared that the combination of alcohol and having been out in the cold for God knows how long had led to a case of hypothermia. The smell of booze was thickly filling the car's interior. Tony must have either drunk an impossible amount or spilled a lot of it on himself. With the adrenaline waning, his demeanor had changed from aggressiveness to glazed-over misery.
“I'll take you to my place,” Jack broke the silence as he exited the highway.
“What?” Confused, Tony sat up a little. “Why? I don't want to...”
“Because I want to make sure you don't do anything stupid tonight. And because you're more pissed than I've ever seen you. You shouldn't be on your own.”
A fine layer of contempt coated the worry in Jack's words.
Mutiny instantly darkened Tony's roughed up features.
“What...no! Take me home. I don't need a fucking babysitter. I'm fine...”
“Like hell you are.” Shaking his head, Jack focused on the road ahead. Having Tony in his car, looking and smelling like this was making him almost nauseous.
“Jack? Take me to my place, or I'll-”
“You'll what? Take it up with me, in my car, while we're driving? Get us both killed?” He redirected his angry glare onto his friend. “Or do you want me to pull over and fight it out? Prove that you won't even land a single punch until I've got you knocked out and cuffed on my back seat? Do you want that, huh?”
Taken aback by Jack's vehemence, Tony reverted back into his silent stewing, turning his head away. They both knew Jack was right. In his condition, Tony didn't stand a chance against Jack. Even trying would be stupid. And would only get him hurt.
“Didn't think so.”
Surprised at his own rising aggression, Jack tried to control his emotions. The last few months had been difficult, not only for Tony. The heroin had left a bigger mark on Jack than he would have expected. An agonizing week in detox, then the mandatory outpatient program had left him clean and physically recovered but with a residual emptiness and craving that constantly nagged at him. Caught up in the aftermath of his addiction, Jack had barely been able to deal with Tony's own turmoil. Thanks to Jack's connection to David Palmer Tony's prison stint had been reduced to a few months, but he'd come home frayed and raw, and it had gone downhill from there. Whenever Michelle had asked for Jack's help, Tony had adamantly refused it and, instead, searched for the solution at the bottom of a liquor bottle.
For each of them, it had been a shit time, and while Jack felt guilty that he hadn't been able to help Tony and Michelle, he also couldn't deny a certain bitterness. Tony had never asked how he'd been doing in all that time.
Jack finally steered the car into the driveway of the small house he had bought years ago, after Kim had moved out. It wasn't much, and both the little garden and the interior were clearly lacking the decorative touch of either a woman or someone who had a life beside his job. Functionally furnished and uncluttered, the house would have lacked warmth had it not been for the many pictures on walls, shelves, tables and sideboards. Teri had been an avid photographer and once Jack had overcome those first two years of sharp-edged grief he had found comfort in surrounding himself with pictures of her and Kim. They had been something to anchor him while he had drifted through the surreal haze of withdrawal.
“We're there,” Jack announced to the silent form to his right. “Get out.”
Reluctantly, Tony uncurled and mumbled something under his breath. His hand shook badly as he groped for the door handle.
Jack hopped out and quickly rounded the car to stand by in case Tony needed a hand. He didn't offer one, knowing it would be rejected, but he was prepared when Tony all but tumbled out of the passenger door. Just as he had expected Tony's large hands to push him away as soon as he was half way steady.
“Leave me the fuck alone...I can walk on my own...”
Jack let him be, watching his friend stumble up the porch, shivering violently in the crisp cold of the night. The sky had clouded, and when Jack looked up he felt something soft and cold touch down on his face.
“What the fuck...” Shaking his head, he retrieved his keys and hurried to unlock the door. Snow in Los Angeles, three days before Christmas. What a joke.
Even Tony had noticed. Frowning, he squinted at the flakes beginning to dance in the halo of the porch light.
“Is that...?” he slurred incredulously.
“Snow. Yes.” Jack unlocked and gave Tony a gentle push. His skin felt cold even through the jacket. “Get inside. Now.”
Once inside, Tony stood clueless, scanning the hallway without really taking anything in. Chills rocked him and he looked pale underneath the stubble and the caked blood.
“Bathroom.” Jack grabbed him and ushered him forward. “You need a hot shower.”
Too frozen to protest, Tony let himself be steered upstairs and into the comparatively big master bathroom. White tiles. Steel grey towels. One single toothbrush in a glass on the sink. On a sideboard, a lone picture of Teri kissing a white-blond toddler. Décor à la Jack.
Tony startled at the sudden sound of running water.
“Take off your clothes. Get inside.”
Behind his back, Jack had turned on the shower and was adjusting the temperature. Lukewarm for starters. Hypothermic as he was, Tony would have to build up to hot.
With a grumble, Tony began to peel off his jacket. The fabric was stiff from the cold, his fingers numb. In combination with too much alcohol still coursing through his bloodstream, unbuttoning turned into a challenge. The result was hapless fumbling.
Jack eyed him dubiously.
“You need help?”
Tony’s confused look almost made Jack bolt. Something about his friend, stranded at his house like a piece of human flotsam, knotted his guts and made his cheeks burn.
Tony had stood his ground through every major CTU crisis. He had matured during the Senator Palmer attempts and made the right choices throughout Jack's maverick mission to save Teri and Kim. He'd proven his leadership qualities when CTU had been bombed and Mason had died, and he'd stood tall when LA had been on the verge of getting nuked.
Michelle had changed all that. Michelle had made Tony vulnerable.
And now Tony stood here, a shadow of his former self, weak, defeated, falling apart right in front of Jack. He'd made all the wrong decisions and thrown everything away for a woman who, in the end, had had no choice but to abandon him. Jack couldn't understand how it could have come this far. How Tony had gone so wrong. It was scary. It was disgusting.
But as repelling as this wrecked version of his friend was, Jack also couldn't help but being fascinated. Jack, too hardened by his experience, looked in confusion and wonder at Tony's capacity to feel. And at his incapacity to overrule what he felt. While Jack plodded on through emotional turmoil eventually steered by common sense and the logical thing to do, he was stunned by Tony's passionate failure. Casting everything else aside but his emotions, Tony had let all reason go and driven himself right into the pain.
“Your hands are shaking,” Jack said again and pointed at Tony's all but useless fingers. “ Do you need help taking your clothes off?”
“What....?” The offer still took a minute to process, but finally Tony's eyes lit up in anger. “Wha- NO! Get the fuck out of here. I...I can handle it.”
The way Tony swayed against the sink and had to steady himself against the edge wasn't exactly reassuring. But Tony's broad shouldered posture and his hostile stare were convincing. With a curt nod, Jack retreated, pretending to pull the door all the way shut but leaving a tiny crack open. He'd have to listen for the unmistakable sound of a body thudding down onto tiles.
While he heard the shower run and the occasional suspicious noise that had him wonder if he should go and check on Tony, he kept himself busy and fetched sheets, a cushion and a blanket for the couch. He pondered leaving the bed to Tony but decided against it. Drunk as Tony was, he wouldn't even notice how worn out and uncomfortable the sofa was to sleep on. He'd find out in the morning, but then he'd be hung over and sore from his fight anyway. Tony wouldn't care.
From his closet, Jack collected a wide pair of sweat pants, a t-shirt and a hoodie that he hoped would fit Tony's bulkier frame. Prison and self-neglect seemed to have cost his friend a few pounds, but Jack, always the leaner one, had shed even more weight due to his drug habit. He exercised regularly now and was in reasonably good shape, but his appetite still hadn't returned and calling him anything but thin would have been a euphemism.
The shower was still running when Jack quietly entered the bathroom to exchange the dirty and damp heap of clothes on the floor for the clean and warm ones he'd picked. He doubted Tony's own jacket was salvageable, but his washing machine would try.
Casting a glance at the shower stall, he saw through the partially steam covered glass that Tony stood motionless under the warming stream, his back turned to Jack. His hands were placed against the tiled wall for support, his head bowed to let the water pound his neck and back. He may not have eaten much recently – his silhouette looked slimmer than Jack remembered him – but he must have worked out in prison, and even his drinking hadn't managed to ruin the result. The water ran down his muscular shoulders, arms and back, detouring around a long and thick scar just above his right hip.
A blade caused that mark. He remembered Michelle telling him of an incident that had sent Tony to the prison infirmary for a while. Busy exorcising his own demons, Jack had only asked if Tony would be okay and never cared about the details. Now he wondered what had happened.
Yes. What the hell had happened to Tony? And why did his presence bother him so much? Part of him wished Tony would simply refuse to stay and leave after all, go home, fall asleep on a doorstep somewhere, get picked up by a patrol car, end up anywhere but here. Close to Jack. Too close for comfort.
Another part of him, the part that was going to wash Tony's clothes and talk him into taking aspirin and patch up his brow – that part was the disconcerting one, the one that made Jack strangely agitated and confused. Tony was his friend. He used to be his friend before everything Tony cared about was Michelle and his own misery, his own failure, his own fucked-up life. Why did Jack bother? What the fuck was it that caused him to gravitate towards this wreck of a man and his comet tail of emotional fallout?
Unnoticed, Jack left the room and went to search for some pain killers in the kitchen cupboard.
When he returned to the living room with a glass of water and two tablets, Tony was there. A towel wrapped around his waist, his shoulders still dappled with drops of water and his hair dripping, he stood in the middle of the room, one lower leg inconspicuously pressed against the side of the couch for balance. Again, Jack's gaze was drawn to the scar that was visible just above the towel, running all the way from the back to Tony's belly button in a glaring half circle. Jesus.
It wasn't a question, and Tony's voice was pure menace. He sounded more sober and much more dangerous now. The shaking had stopped too. Colour had returned to Tony's skin, giving him back his natural dark look. He was still drunk, but now he seemed threatening and somehow unpredictable.
“They were wet and dirty. I laid out some new ones for you. They should fit.”
Jack slowly set the glass and the tablets down on the couch table without taking his eyes off Tony.
“Here's water and two aspirins. I advise you to take them.”
Their stare-off held for a while, but finally Tony relented. Disdainful, he popped the tablets into his mouth and swallowed them dry. So there.
Something inside Jack almost snapped. Tony was such a stubborn bastard. Even down in his self-created pit he still refused to let go of his pride. Worse – he advertised his hurt like a fucking medal. Jack was furious. Jack was mesmerized. Whatever Jack was, this was becoming ridiculous.
“You're wound's still bleeding.” Jack reached out to touch Tony's forehead. A bright red trail was trickling down the side of his face and neck, mingling with the residual water drops. “The cut's deeper than I thought. I need to look at it.”
Tony quickly turned his head away.
Insisting, Jack followed his movement and grabbed Tony's jaw, turning his face so he could see.
“Don't be an idiot”, he said, frowning at the small but nasty wound. “If you don't want stitches – fine. But you're sleeping on my couch and I don't want your blood-”
Tony's hands shot up and swiped Jack's away from his face, catching his wrists in a tight grip and holding on, hard. It hurt, but not as much as the fierceness that flared in Tony's eyes.
“I'm not a fucking baby,” he growled, undisguised rage smoking his voice. “I didn't ask you to take care of me. You, of all people. You're just as much a piece of shit as I am. Forget about me. I'm not looking for a rescue mission. I'm not your goddamn objective.”
They stood like that, Tony's hands reddening his wrists, staring each other down until, with a derogative huff, Tony dismissed Jack's wrists, pushing his arms down.
“Go save your own ass,” he added darkly. “If you still can.”
Sudden silence welled between the two men. They stood motionless now, Jack in stunned surprise and Tony in expectation of a vicious rebuttal. You didn't mess with Jack and simply walk away unharmed.
But the final shoe dropped for Jack as he stood trembling in Tony's aura of unfiltered pain. All the emptiness that Jack had been feeling these recent months, the numbness, the impression of fading – Tony's emotional shock wave was perversely offering to fill the void.
Jack looked at his friend's bleeding face, his provocative stare daring fate to come on and try harder, at his shoulders defiantly squared against the next blow and knew that this was what he needed. This – raw, excessive emotion. A detonation of grief. Permission to let go and fall.
Jack's mind didn't linger on the realization. His body acted on it, driven by pure need.
Tony froze, too shocked to react, when Jack's lips caught his mouth. This wasn't a kiss. Jack's hands clasped Tony's head, pushing into him, mindless of the blood, the stubble, Tony's wet skin. He fed on Tony, sucking him in - his darkness, his wrath, the depth of his despair.
They stumbled backwards, crashing into a shelf as Tony came to his senses and tried to escape the violent embrace while Jack tried to hold on.
“What the fuck...?”
Books and paraphernalia tumbling from the shelve, Tony managed to push Jack away. They stared at each other. Open mouthed, Tony gaped, his own blood smeared all over his cheek where Jack had held him.
Jack's head was swimming. Everything flickered. Breathing hard, he waited for sanity to return. It didn't.
Tony's large hands against his chest, the rekindled heat emanating from his body and – oh God – this dizzying halo of sorrow, of loss, of deep impact that surrounded him – Jack dismissed logic and followed his instincts.
He pinned the heavier man against the half collapsed shelf, one arm across his chest, his other hand automatically grabbing Tony's hair to lock his head still. He silenced Tony's gasp with his mouth, claiming him even harder than before, bruising Tony. Their bodies collided. Jack's hips pressed into the thin layer of terry cloth that covered Tony's groin, and Jack barely thought about the instantaneous hard-on that tightened his jeans.
He didn't want to think. He refused to think.
Ready for Tony's response, for his hands to push him away again and his fists to beat the crap out of him, Jack leaned into Tony to bask in whatever the hell his nearness was doing with him. A reaction came, but it wasn't the one Jack had expected.
Tony's straining head went still. His shoulders relaxed. A moan shook his warm, damp body. And then his lips parted and his tongue was deep in Jack's mouth. Jack tasted alcohol. Bitter sadness. And something entirely gut wrenching that had to be Tony.
He forgot to breathe. Stubble burnt on his skin. Teeth bit his lower lip, almost drawing blood. Strong hands wrapped around the back of his neck and pulled him close. Unmistakably, the bulge of Tony's erection was pushing against his own beneath the denim of his jeans.
After what seemed like minutes of greedily reclaiming what Jack had taken from him, Tony suddenly pulled back and shut his eyes.
Heavy silence filled the few inches of space that Tony had opened between them. His back still pressed against the shelf, he seemed incapable of moving or saying anything else than the breathless curse he had just uttered.
Jack, his mind reeling, tried to read his friend's face. If there was shame in Tony's eyes, he couldn't see it. Bewilderment, yes. Fear, maybe. And anger which seemed to be a given with Tony these days. But there was something else that he could not quite identify – relief?
“I...” Jack began and broke off.
He was the one who had started this. What the fuck was he supposed to say?
“I don't know what-”
The rest of his sentence was muted by Tony's large hand clamping over his mouth. His other one closed around the back of Jack's neck. Surprisingly quickly, Tony had pushed away from the shelf. The piece of furniture swayed precariously, a few books toppling from the boards.
“Shut up, Jack,” Tony hissed, the sudden softness in his eyes belying the dangerous edge to his voice. “I'm too fucking drunk to think. Please, just-”
Jack did not resist as Tony's lips replaced his hand and crashed against Jack's mouth. Teeth almost stubbing, Tony grabbed Jack by the shirt and swung him round, switching places. Now it was Jack's turn to be pinned against the shelves. Tony almost lifted him off his feet. Arms spread-eagle against the boards for balance, Jack could do nothing but let the other man's hunger sweep over him. Tony's kisses were so hard they hurt.
What in God's name had he set off?
Tony's urgency was frightening. Where Jack was dead and hollow, Tony seemed to overflow and implode. Maybe it was as simple as that – they both promised what the other one needed. Jack, desperate to feel, feel anything but void. And Tony, sandblasting everyone with his fury, lacking proper release. In a perverse way, they complemented each other. Mutual salvation. Could it be that easy?
Tony's three day growth chafed his chin. His hand, holding a fistful of Jack's shirt, pushed against Jack's breastbone, his heart hammering underneath. Through the thin layer of terry cloth, Jack felt Tony's rock hard cock. His own erection painfully blossoming in his jeans, he desperately tried not to think.
Had Tony done this before?
Tony's hands slid across Jack's back to deftly clutch his buttocks. His body easily molded against Jack's, without hesitation, giving the impression that this was familiar territory. Eyes closed, savoring Jack's closeness, Tony's every movement felt fluid and natural.
But why should this be a surprise? Tony had spent as much time undercover as Jack had. He, too, had been embedded in filth for months. Like Jack, he must have been trapped, cornered, challenged. And sometimes, he must have been as lonely and drunk and as close to losing his mind as Jack had been.
Had Tony been forced? Had it been a voluntary act? Had the edges blurred the way they had for Jack when Ramon Salazar had claimed his soul and his body? Maybe Tony needed to make this right as much as Jack did – give himself to someone he trusted, someone who would not hurt him.
Whatever it was that caused Tony to respond so vehemently to the craziness Jack had initiated – neither of them seemed capable of control.
And Jack didn't want control. He wanted to touch and feel the loss that covered Tony's body like a second layer of skin. He needed to inhale his scent of despair, that blend of soap and grit and alcohol that had been driving him crazy ever since Tony had sat next to him in the car. He needed to drown himself in Tony's grief.
Jack yielded to the urge. With a moan, his tongue captured Tony's. His hands simultaneously lifted to hook under the towel around Tony's waist. The tucked ends came loose, and it fell. Eyes shut, Jack felt warm skin and trim hips press against his palms. Tony's cock brushed the front of his pants. He released Jack's neck and reluctantly broke the kiss to tug at Jack's shirt and pull it over his head. Jack's jeans had to go next. Tony helped with the fly. Both their hands were trembling.
Goose flesh dotted Jack's legs as the denim slid down his thighs. The cotton of his boxers followed. Jack wasn't even aware whose hands were undressing him – Tony's or his own. It didn't seem to matter.
Naked. Facing his friend. Track marked. Thin. Horny as hell.
It should have felt bizarre, but it didn't. For a long, long time, nothing had felt so right.
He raised his hands and ran his fingers over cheeks as unshaven and almost as gaunt as his own. His fingertips traced the bruise under Tony's right eye and gently touched the wound above it until his probing fingers naturally wound up at the back of Tony's neck. Grabbing a fistful of thick hair, he pulled Tony's head down to his shoulder. Hungrily, he pressed his body against one as firm as his own, slipped his leg between Tony's and pushed his thigh up against his cock.
Jack felt Tony grab his hips and pull him even closer, increasing the pressure. Simultaneously, Tony's teeth bit into the muscle between Jack's neck and shoulder. The pain was honest and comforting. Lips brushed the side of Jack's neck, nipped at his ear. Jack shuddered. For once, not out of fear.
Unexpectedly, Tony moved away, a self-satisfied expression plastered on his face. For a moment, the light was back in his eyes as he smirked lopsidedly at Jack. He took a step backwards, moving almost languidly, an aura of muted aggression still clinging to his features.
“Come on,” he teased, pointing upstairs, past the picture gallery of Teri on the wall. “There's got to be a bed somewhere in this damn shrine.”
Through the haze of arousal, Jack could neither grasp nor hold on to the surge of anger that rose at Tony's harsh words. But maybe he had to admit that Tony had a point – this place was haunted. Time to chase away its ghosts.
They made it upstairs in a frantic tangle of arms and legs, never letting more than an inch come between them. Every bit of exposed skin vied to be touched and bitten and explored. Still a little drunk, Tony slipped on a step and almost fell. Jack caught him, surprised at the rumbling laugh that escaped his own throat. Tony silenced him with a new set of deep, demanding kisses.
In the bedroom, Jack slammed the door shut behind them with too much force. It bounded back, remaining ajar. As always, the bed was neatly made. For a moment, he let go of Tony to hastily flip the sheets out of the way. Cushions were tossed aside. Magazines rustled to the floor as one careless leg crashed against the night stand. The mattress dipped under the weight of two colliding bodies.
Catching his breath, Tony dark and solid underneath him, Jack looked up to see snow tap the bedroom window from outside. He wiped at the sweat collecting in the hollow of his collarbone, feeling Tony's cock pulse hot against his belly.
They were out of their fucking minds.
Tony suddenly halted, arching away from Jack so he would look at him.
“We're gonna need lube.”
Jack was too enthralled to feel his face redden.
“I don't have any.”
Tony huffed, brows narrowing.
“Then this is gonna hurt.”
They ended up not caring. After a frenzied effort at finding a detour, after fumbling and mouthing each other without satisfaction, they were both hard and frantic enough to not give a damn. Jack, in fact, reveled in the painfulness of his erection, his dick purple and glistening, his balls aching for release. Tony seemed equally desperate, sweat pearling down his chest, his large nipples hard, his cock dripping precum into Jack's hands.
“Turn around, Jack.”
He readily complied and offered Tony his backside, thinking that he should be afraid, feeling that he wasn't.
Slowly, patiently, Tony buried his cock deep inside Jack. His large hands clasped around Jack's hips from behind, nails digging into his skin. Breathing faster, Tony's thrusts eventually accelerated and became desperate. Jack heard him bite back a sob. It hurt. A scream built inside Jack. Dizzily suspended between ecstasy and pain, he had not felt so full, so alive in God knew how long.
Tony came, long and hard. Guttural, hoarse groans slipped from his throat. The furious sounds of cleansing.
Still gathering his bearings, he sluggishly moved to switch places.
Jack took Tony from behind in turn, afraid that looking into his eyes would rush him into release too soon. Tony's touch was cathartic. From every pore, his body spilled grief. By connecting to him, Jack felt able to acknowledge his own.
He was as careful as he could, but pain, for Tony also, was inevitable. Physical pain, evident in the strain of Tony's neck and shoulders, as Jack eased into him and found it impossible to hold back. Tight and hot, Tony clenched around his cock, and Jack instinctively rode him, harder than intended. Soft, stricken moans from Tony's open mouth urged him on, coaxed him to go deeper and replace erosive, annihilating hurt with a new kind – welcome and wanted.
Jack clung to the edge and let himself be pushed over. He reveled in the sensation of falling and then being caught, rescued. Rocking against Tony's hard and angular body, pain and relief culminated in a sweeping, delicious explosion of release that was over too soon.
Sore and spent, he ended up on his side, Tony's arm resting tiredly across his flank, his breath cool at the back of his neck. Strength evaporated into sated contentment. None of them talked, both too dazed, too lost in what had just happened.
Jack did not fight the leaden exhaustion that settled upon him, its weight brushing away every conscious thought. All that lingered was a feeling of comfort, the safety of a warm body next to his own. Sleep descended quickly, like a curtain. Jack let himself be carried away.
- the end-
(For more of my stories, go to www.24nmore.com)