Everything Is Always Alright For Jay


jay_icon.gif maxwell_icon.gif

Scene Title Everything Is Always Alright For Jay
Synopsis When Jay is in family hell, Maxwell comes to steal him away.
Date October 12, 2009

St. Luke's Hospital

It takes a few rings before Max picks up the phone. It's harder to catch him these days since he can't use cell phones. But whoever is calling gets lucky, "H'lo?"

Morning of the 12th, call it nine in the morning or so. Jake's voice is quiet and just a little bit slurred. "Hey," he says. In the background, there's beeping, then an announcement from above, airport-style - or hospital style, considering that the announcer is paging Dr. Coolidge.

There's a shuffling of the phone, a pause, then a murmur, "Jake?"

"'At's me," says the young man with a ghastly attempt at humor. He sounds horrible. "Hey Max…" Quick breath, moment of long pause. Then, "I gotta get outta here. Room 212. Please tell me you can get me outta here." He sounds more cognizant for a moment, not to mention just a little panicked.

Wait, what? "Room 212…where? Where are you, Jake?" The worry rises in Max's voice. What with all the kidnappings and such lately, who can blame him?

"St. Luke's. I think. Um. There's another place… but they had a cross on the wall, there's one of those, it's gotta be Catholic, right? No, wait, they're the ones with the dead guy on their crosses…" Aimless and a little disoriented. "Fuck, c'mon, my brother's coming back, please." And suddenly the phone rattles back onto the hook.

If nothing else, Max has to go and see if Jake is all right. As far as helping spring him? Well, that remains to be seen. It only takes about twenty five minutes from door to door, parking spots at all. He nearly got a ticket for reckless driving, but managed to evade the cops. He might get a ticket in the mail, but Jake made it sound quite urgent.

As luck would have it, he arrives when visiting hours are still on, and he makes his way down the hallway to room 212.

The room is open; it's actually occupied by just one person right now. That doesn't mean it's empty of visitors, however. "I'm fine," Jake says stubbornly. He's sitting on the edge of the bed in a hospital gown. Standing in front of him, arms crossed and feet spaced apart, jaw set, is a handsome, dark-haired, dark-skinned young man with a wrestler's build. "No you're not," James snaps, "You almost died. Lay down or I will get the nurse to stick a needle in you." Jake lifts his chin and glowers at his bigger, younger brother. There's no resemblance. "Back off, I said I'm fine." He looks horrible, wan and pale and drained in the morning sunlight, but at least he sounds better than he did half an hour ago.

Max was planning on sidling away and waiting for Jake's visitor to leave, but a jingle of his keys in his pockets gives him away, and the fact that he's lingering near the door. He clears his throat and scratches the side of his head. "Uh, hi. I can come back later. I don't mean to intrude." He looks like he just rolled out of bed. His too-long hair is mussed, he's got a trace of stubble on his cheeks and the collared shirt underneath an argyle sweater vest is a little wrinkled.

The bigger of the two turns, sets eyes on Maxwell, and outright scowls. "Who are you, his pusher?" James is normally not this belligerent. Today is special. Jake, though, lights up with relief. "Thank fucking god." And he kicks his brother in the back of the shin. "Shut up, dick, that's Maxwell Quinn." James spins to face him again, glowering. "Who the fuck is Maxwell Quinn?" He doesn't believe a word of this. Jake rolls his eyes. "Right, right, you thought I was lying." He slumps a little, the sway almost sleepy-looking, and the anger drops out of James's face as he puts a hand on his brother's shoulder and nudges him firmly but gently back into bed. Jake permits it, for now. Once that's done, James turns to ask, somewhat quieter, "I give up. Who are you?" The look in those startling blue eyes is guarded, with faint notes of exhaustion.

"Uh, I'm his friend. I'm guessing you're his brother?" Max motions between the two of them, though it really is a guess based on how they relate, rather than how they look. "And I the fuck am Maxwell Quinn, yeah." He quirks a grin. He's trying to be cute. Is it working? "What happened, Jake?"

Jake starts to say something. James cuts him off. "I found him passed out in our room," he says, and scowls. "And he swears to me he didn't take anything." The brawny young man snaps his attention over the tall - but narrow - actor. There's no lack of confidence in his eyes. "Would you know anything about that?" Finally Jake gets a word in edgewise. "Calm down, freakshow." James barely twitches as the name is used. He's used to it. "Yeah, Max, this is my brother James, James, this is Max. He's teaching me parkour." And Jake shoves up again, very cautiously, elbows himself up till he's mostly sitting, leaning on the head of the bed. "Look, I can't stay here, I got a meet tomorrow."

"Jake-o, you look like a sheet. I don't think you're going to any meet." Max rubs his chin, then looks back to James. One brow raises. The stuntman seems unconcerned, and unaffected by the posturing. "Look, he's not taking any drugs, okay? And if you think he is, then you don't really know your brother."

"Then what else was it?" There's a glimmer of the sheer exhaustion in James's face; he rubs a hand over his features, retreats, and drops onto the other bed. Yeah, he's making an ass of himself - and yeah, he's aware of it. "I hit my head," Jake says, with such reasonable innocence that James looks at him and snorts. "Yeah, I stopped buying that shit in gradeschool. Jake-o." Hey, he's the younger brother - forgive him for enjoying the chance to actually be the one throwing around the nicknames for once.

"I don't know, but you can pass out for all sorts of weird reasons. Jake's athletic. He could have taken a hit three days ago and only felt it now. It doesn't have to happen right after an injury." Max knows what he's talking about. He's had his fair share of scrape-ups and bumps, concussions, breaks and sprains over both his stunt and his military career.

James stares at Max for a moment, then twists to look at Jake. He's not buying it. Jake, though, just lays there, looking back, a little serious, pretty relaxed. The decision is visible in the younger, darker twin's face - fine, accept it. At least for now. Then Jake says, "So I gotta get going, all right?" and James crosses his arms and snorts. "Not likely. Dad's coming." Jake actuallyly blanches, and shoots Max a pleading look - one his brother follows with skeptical wariness. "What the hell are you two up to?" James demands, lowering his voice to a sharp murmur.

Max looks to Jake, then points at his brother. "Is he always this suspicious?" A little grin appears. "What do the doctors say? It's not serious, is it? Bed rest, some meds?" That's in part wishful thinking from Max. Just a bump on the head, right?

"Yeah," Jake says, and James overrides him, "He hemorrhaged in his brain. He nearly died." Jake protests, "I did not!" Mostly because that sounds so horrible. "I read your chart, Jake, you had a stroke." Jake quiets. The look on his face is, for a moment, sheer misery. He mutters it, "Since when did you learn medical lingo?" James snorts and doesn't bother dignifying that with an answer.

A stroke? No wonder Jake's brother is thinking that drugs were involved. Or at least stereoids. Max makes a face. Then the face takes on a more worried set. He makes the connection that it might've been power-related. Being Evolved does weird things to your body, he's learning. "Jesus. They doing a bunch of tests?"

Jake nods. The look on his face… well. James looks at him, then lowers his voice to a conciliatory tone. "Look, they're gonna find out what you took, all right? Just spit it out." And Jake flashes him an angry stare. "I didn't take anything." The level, flat tone makes James's jaw tighten. He leans back, pulls up one leg and slouches, holding his own ankle. "Then tell me what happened." It's a demand. Jake sits silent for several long, long moments… and then a nurse bustles in and the spell is broken. That little arrangement takes about a minute, gives Jake a chance to think, and when she's gone and he's downed a bucket of pills, Jake looks at his brother and lies for all he's worth. "I don't know. I was just sitting there watching TV. The next thing I knew I was looking at some guy named Fred in an ambulance." He makes a face.

Max purses his lips into a tight smile. he looks between the brothers and scruffs up his hair. "Look, I'm gonna go get a cup of coffee. Sounds like you two have some things to talk about. I'll come check on you in a little bit, okay Jake?" He rocks back a step.

"No," Jake protests, and shoves upright the rest of the way. "Look, James, I'm not a kid, neither are you. So unless you wanna fucking hit me, I'm going. Dad can damn well suck it. I'll talk to him on the phone. I'm not staying in a goddamn hospital." James shoves upright, jaw tight. "Jake…" The older one cuts him off with, "I said it, I meant it. I'm going. Get out of my way or stop me." James falls silent, indecision wavering in his face.

"James, I'll watch him. I have some basic medical training. CPR and occupational first aid. I also have a car, so I can get him back here if he shows any signs. I know what to look for. And…" Max levels a gaze at Jake. "…I sure as hell won't let him go to any meets." He wonders how deeply he should be getting involved in family matters, but registration is nothing to mess around with.

"Shit," says the younger one with a sigh, and James flashes the door a dark look. "Fine, but you can't go without clothes." And he very nearly adds 'And I'm coming.' Jake hurtles out of bed, catches the nightstand and the railing and manages to stay upright, though. "Wanna bet?" And suddenly there's a wide grin on his face. "Oh god, Jake, no," groans the younger twin, quickly moving to bar the way. "No running. Not till we're sure you won't fall down dead." Naturally this gets the protest of, "I'm fine!" And James flashes Max a hard look. "No running."

"Jake, no running, man. I think your brother would bust my skull in if anything happened to you. So do it for me, okay? Where did they put your clothes? It'd be a hell of a lot easier to walk out of here if you weren't in paper clothes."

"Jake, no running, man. I think your brother would bust my skull in if anything happened to you. So do it for me, okay? Where did they put your clothes? It'd be a hell of a lot easier to walk out of here if you weren't in paper clothes." Max stands to bar the door too. That means he'd have to run a gauntlet of two big guys to break free.

"Dunno," Jake says, and falls back, eyeing his brother assessingly. He's fine, really! The meds make him feel like a million dollars - so long as he's hanging onto the railing, at any rate. "Cabinet by the door," James says, without looking away from his sneaky brother. "Do we need to hold you down and dress you?" he asks half-seriously. Jake snorts. "Yeah, sure, fine. Just get me outta here. I hate hospitals." James gives him an odd look, but doesn't say a word.

Max goes to the cabinet and opens it up. He pulls out Jake's clothes and tosses them at the young man. "Go get dressed." He indicates the washroom. Then he looks to James. "You know if he needs to be on a dose of any drugs?" That's the one problem with sneaking out. Might not get a prescription.

Jake swipes for the clothing - and misses. That almost never happens. Quick as a whip his brother crouches and scoops it up, shoots him a harsh look, and hands him his clothes. James all but literally hovers over him all the way around the other bed to the bathroom. "Doc said no anti-coagulants, no caffeine, no stress. Don't let his heart rate get up too high. If he shows any signs of dizziness, slurring of speech…" James pauses. Jake shuts the door. "Why am I telling this to you?" And the blue-eyed twin turns to face Maxwell, jaw set and bright eyes hard and assessing again. One hand comes up to idly clamp on the door so Jake can't stick his head out and interfere.

"Cause he's gonna go stay with me for a few days. I have a feeling he'll get more rest than in a dorm room. And it'll be easier to keep an eye on him. I'm sure you've got your own classes to go to. And he's your brother. He'll fight you just for the sake of fighting you." Max leans on the door and regards James, edge of lip bitten.

That actually makes some sense. James pauses to consider it, then tips his head. "And what should I tell Dad?" He can come up with something himself, but he wants to hear what Max has to say. "He's going to want to come see him."

"You know what would calm your father better than I would. I'm sure you'll think of something." Max flashes a grin, then moves to the bedside table. He scribbles out a phone number and hands it over to James. "He can call. And if Jake wants to see him, I'll give him my address. But he is an adult. If he doesn't want to deal with his father, that's his choice." A beat, then, "You said no stress or raised heart rate." And parents are almost universally a cause of stress.

The phone number is mollifying, even if the refusal to outright surrender to all parental involvement is not. James accepts it and shoves it into his pocket - then turns as the door opens to the bathroom. That right there is exactly why he thought Jake might just be on something: the bright green shirt reads "IV:XX". Jake shuffles out. "Can I go now?" He looks pretty damn worn out, really, for all that he woke up less than an hour ago.

"Yeah, my car's just parked out front." Max motions towards the door, though he eyes James, as if expecting further protest. "Give him a couple of hours to rest before you give your father the number if you can. Else he's just gonna get me, and I don't know if I'm really the one he'll want to talk to. C'mon, Jake."

James eyes Max, intently, then turns to look at Jake. "You sure you wanna do this? You know this was serious, right?" Jake gives him a look, sets his jaw in that stubborn way their father has, and steps forward to join Max. "I'm fine," he repeats, and, "Look, I didn't take anything, I'm not in any trouble, I just wanna lay down and sleep for a while, all right? And I need there to not be fuckin' frat brothers sticking their heads in to check on me. I'm not going home, I'm not staying with Mom and Dad, I'm not staying in the dorm… this makes sense, okay?" He was listening through the door. "Quit trying to protect me and just… cover my ass, all right? I'm going. You can tell them for me." So there. James stares at him for a second, then makes a face. "I'm going to regret this," he mutters. He's not stopping Jake, though… and the young man straightens his spine and stalks towards the door, projecting every ounce of confidence he can muster. …All of which fades the instant he's out, whereupon he grabs the wall, stops, and leans.

Max doesn't intervene in the brotherly interchange. But he does follow Jake out and offers his arm when the other leans over. "Shit. Listen, I know you're worried about…" the thing which must not be named. "…but if I'm going to be responsible for you, you have to listen to what the hell I say, all right? That means taking it easy. Or I'm driving you right back here, or over to your parent's place."

"Don't you fucking dare. I'll get the grilling session." Jake leans against the wall for a moment, eyes shut. The meds are hitting. He balances himself on both feet, then catches Max's shoulder. "Let's get the hell out of here before I pass out." There's a little too much weight on Max for that to be comfortable, but it'll be all right, right? So long as he doesn't stagger in front of his own doctors, anyway. Now to just make sure no one catches them on the way out… and that proves to be stupid idea number twelve of the day. He staggers forward, hissing, one hand clamping to his forehead. "Shitfuckshitfuckowfuckshitfuckerfuckinggoddamnmotherfucker…" The litany goes on, whispered angrily. His hand is clamped painfully to Max's shoulder. Amazing how quickly he'd come to rely on that ability as the fear of being caught faded.

As they pass a nurse's checkpoint, Max's features screw up. "I hope you don't have your cell phone in your pocket," He murmurs. That's the only warning he gives before he sets off a mild EMP pulse. It's enough to bump the computers and cause a reset. Surely that will only cause a minor inconvenience and not endanger any lives, right? Uh, right?

In any case, it ensures the nurses at the station don't pay attention to the two as they pass, no matter how much Jake is holding onto him. "You better not be wishing," he murmurs to the blond as he leads him towards the parked Mustang.

"Nnngh," Jake manages, and wipes a trickle of blood surreptitiously out from under his nose. "Not anymore," he murmurs. Max can do most of the hauling; Jake can't see straight. His head's pounding. One little wish, one stupid-simple chance… he can't even manage to make people look the other direction. What the hell is wrong with him? That little pulse is very likely more than enough to completely distract the nurses on duty there; the pair make it out without much trouble. Jake's eyes snap shut the moment the full glory of daylight appears; he groans aloud and covers his face with his hand.

"Shit," says Max. He nearly turns back more than a dozen times between the room and the door. Only the fear of what might happen if Homeland figured out what Jake could do keeps him pushing the younger man on. Finally, they're at the car and he opens the door. Whether he wants it or not, he gets help lowering into the passenger side seat. "Stay with me, Jake-o."

"I'm fine, I didn't get it off, I couldn't. It fucking hurts." Jake ends up curled in the front seat of that amazing car, knees dragged up reflexively so he can hide his head in them once the belt's buckled. That part, he's probably going to forget; Max can handle it. "Ow. Fuckin' Christ. Worst goddamn hangover I ever had!" The words are very quiet, so as not to rattle the pounding in his skull. It doesn't help much. He wraps his arms around his knees and hangs on tight.

Once the car's out and into traffic, Max reaches over and rubs the back of Jake's neck. He does so gently, then ruffles up through his hair. Then his hand slides down to grasp Jake's. Somehow it helps curb pain to have a hand to squeeze. It's a challenge to try to make it home as fast as possible without driving like a maniac. Jake doesn't need the adrenaline rush of his driving right now. "It was that lottery ticket, wasn't it?"

"Shit," breathes Jake quietly. "How'd you find out?" There's a note of fear in his voice. A shiver runs through him, quick and vivid, and the young man tries to lift his head and look - blur. Bright blur. He drops down again and hangs on to that offered hand. No one's going to tell if he has this one moment of weakness, right? It's comfort, and he needs that rather badly right now.

"Close your eyes," Max murmurs. "Surveillance tape at the convenience store. Don't worry, they didn't really show your face. But I know you, and I know what you could do. And when you said you were in the hospital…" Well, he put it together. He may not be the sharpest man, but he's not particularly dim either. "Your heart was in the right place, but your approach needs a little work." He twists a little smile. "Would've been smarter to wish that someone who supported them won the lottery."

"Let's not try wishing on lotteries, okay? I had to… had to…" Focus. Jake takes a deep breath and hangs onto his knees and to Max, staring at the insides of his eyelids. "Every ball that went by… I just… made it happen. It's only one in a hundred. I've done that before. Hell, I've done one in a million. Kinda. I guess four in a row was too much." There's an audible sniff - not tears, but that stupid bloody nose. It was a lot worse yesterday.

"I'm gonna kick you out of this car and into the street if you get blood on my seats," Max deadpans. Jake knows him well enough to know he's not serious. He withdraws his hand and snags up a handful of tissues. He stuffs them down low where Jake can reach them. "We're almost there. Hold on, buddy."

"Don't think there's much left to leak," Jake mumbles, and snags a tissue blindly. "I fucking… ow." It hurts. That's all there is to it. "I'm not going to class. Not for a week." Maybe longer if this thing doesn't clear up somehow. Quietly, "I'm sorry. I thought I could do it. It seemed so simple."

"Your heart was in the right place. But you have to be careful, Jake. Make it known that you're Evolved, and you'll be in the same boat as me. You'll have no choice but to register and suddenly the government will know all sorts of shit about you. Even if they let you go, which is pretty common unless in really dangerous cases, they monitor you. They have your address. I don't think you want that. When I first manifested, these people helped me. They were going to give me a whole new identity and find me somewhere else to live. Kind of like an Evolved witness protection program. But I would have had to leave my entire life behind."

Max reaches up and hits the remote that slides open the garage door. The Mustang rolls into the familiar underground garage. He parks and turns off the engine. "C'mon. You need to rest." He slides out of the driver's side and rounds to the passenger door to help Jake out of the car.

Thank god it's dark out there. Jake uncurls, reaches a hand up and grabs Max, and stuffs the bloody tissue in his pocket. "Let's go." He's not going to open his eyes for a while - and oh god is there a temptation to wish so he doesn't trip over his own two feet. He hangs tightly onto Max's hand and just… follows. It'll be all right, though, right? Everything's always all right for Jake.

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