Quiet Waters
by J.B. McDonald

Chapter Two

I never thought I'd die alone
I laughed the loudest, who'd have known?
I traced the cord back to the wall,
No wonder, it was never plugged in at all.

"Adam's Song"--Blink 182

Jamie buried his head in his arms and looked out across the pond. The water was still; there was no wind to ruffle it.

William was right. What had he been thinking? He had no right to destroy Bobby's life. It wasn't even like he'd been unaware of it. He'd even known that Bobby would probably die.

Everyone died.

If they didn't die, they left.

Jamie shivered, though the sun was warm on his back.

He missed his parents. He missed how his father would blink owlishly whenever he was interupted, as if it took him a moment to come back from his thoughts. He missed how his mother would scold him for digging up her daisies in search of treasure. He wondered if they were angry at him, for being gay. He didn't know how they felt about that.

You loved your parents, a small voice whispered into his mind. They died. You loved Moira. She's dying. Alex died. Guido left. He probably saw what you were doing to your friends.

Jamie buried his head and tried to silence the voice, but it continued on, quiet and insidious.

You killed Bobby. He's as good as dead, and you know it. You murdered Mellancamp. You've even killed your dupes. You even killed youself.

"Hey. Mister. Are you okay?"

Jamie stood in a fluid motion, keeping his face turned away from the little girl. "Fine," he managed to say, his voice rough. He tucked his head into his collar and walked stiffly, joints sore. Leave me alone. You'll only die.

"Hey!" a rough male voice shouted.

Jamie flinched, keeping his head ducked as a shudder ran up his spine.

"You're that fag!"

Jamie's steps stuttered, but continued on.

"I know you! You come here with your cock-sucking boyfriend!"

Jamie brushed at his eyes with a hand and tried to ignore the voice, knowing that Bobby would have smiled and waved at the man, said something about him having a penis the size of a guppy and balls the size of nickels, just to make Jamie laugh.

"Your kind should be killed," the voice snarled, and it was nearer.

Was this what Bobby had been facing, then? His father had said he'd been having trouble. Had Bobby been harassed?

Jamie was forced to a stop when a large man stepped in front of him, arms crossed over a beefy chest. Jamie glanced around, saw three more of them, making a circle around his body. One of them looked nervous. Another one was sneering. The last one was unreadable; the most dangerous type.

Jamie looked back at the first one.

And realized that if he let them beat him to death, he wouldn't have to watch other people die anymore.

"You people should be eradicated."

He wouldn't kill anyone else by loving them if he was dead. You couldn't love someone if you were dead.

"Maybe we should do the irradiating."

It didn't sound so awful.

"You fuckers shouldn't be allowed to live."

The pain would stop. The guilt would go away. And if he didn't go to heaven ... maybe he could just float for eternity. Maybe he could sleep.

Maybe he would dissolve into nothingness.

"God damn you, react!"

It would be nice.

The man's fist flew through the air, collided with Jamie's chin.

Jamie flew back, against the man behind him, and no dupe appeared.

"You fuckers don't belong!" the man snarled, his voice hoarse.

Jamie's hands came up instinctively to protect his head, and he was grateful when the man behind him -- the unreadable one -- snatched his arms and pinned them. Jamie's heart thumped, his body screaming at him to live even as his mind reeled, knowing that in a moment he would be dead, and he wouldn't hurt anymore.

Fists hurled at him, pounding into his face and his stomach and his arms; anything that could be struck at or hurt. He tried to double over as pain lanced through his abdomen, tried then to stay straightened so that he would die. No matter how much his body screamed at him, "LIVE!" he had to fight it, because he didn't want to survive anymore.

"Someone's coming!"

The unreadable man almost lifted Jamie off his feet, hauling him, stumbling and falling, across the park and into the men's bathroom.

"I'm gonna fucking kill him," the first man snarled, excitement coloring his voice, twisting it into something inhuman.

Jamie took a deep breath, expelled it as a fist planted itself into his stomach. Pain was searing through his body, blanketing his mind in a dark haze. Soon he would be dead. If everything went right, no one would find him and there would be no chance of them saving his life. He didn't want it saved.

Pain exploded into his neck, and suddenly it was hard to breathe. Someone had struck his windpipe, he knew it instinctively, and he viciously suppressed the urge to break away. There were constraining hands on his arms, holding him though he wasn't fighting. He felt cold, like a spectator crouching in the back of his own mind, feeling and watching as a fist landed brutally on his face, tearing and bruising skin in a thudding, pounding roar of pain.

He was going to die.

There were voices, but he paid them no heed. Jamie was slammed up against the sinks, the cold stone biting into the flesh on his stomach. His eyes flickered open, and he saw a brilliant red stain itself into the white porcelain, spreading outward until it found a tiny pool of water, and turned that pink. Another red drop fell, landed in a puddle, creating tiny ripples that circled away.

Another crimson splash, and this just sat there, winking up at him cheekily.

Hands bound his arms; like bands across his biceps he was held still, near the sink. Hushed voices, hoarse and excited, then an elbow slammed into the back of his skull. Jamie yelped involuntarily, head diving forward, colliding with the sink. An arm circled his chest, pinning his hands to his sides, and the other arm disappeared, fumbling at his waist.

Jamie breathed heavily, with great effort, and felt heat on his neck. Blood? No. It came in gusts, like puffs of wind blown toward him. Air. It was warm air -- breathing. Someone was breathing literally down his neck.

"We'll show this fucker," was muttered through panting breaths, and there was a hand at his waist, at his belt--


Another hand slid down, across his hip. Jamie watched the blood spread out across the porcelain of the sink. He wanted to die. But even with that wish planted firmly in his heart, he didn't want ... Jesus Christ, he didn't want to be raped.

He shuddered, and heard a a clink as his beltbuckle came loose. Out of the corner of his eye he saw red slide down his nose, past his line of sight. A moment later it dripped down, splashed on the sink silently.

Voices were whipsering, hushed, rough, excited.


Jamie struggled, felt the arm tighten around his chest, felt the other man smash his elbow into Jamie's skull again.

For a moment his vision swam, and when it cleared there were still hands on him, holding him tighter now, and someone was fumbling at his pants.


Jamie stomped. The back of his hand fell against the sink, barely tapping it. It was enough.

There were two dupes, though from his vantage point Jamie couldn't see what was going on. He was released.

"Fucking mutant," the smaller man roared. "Kill 'im!"

Jamie stumbled, more time bought as another dupe appeared with each step he took.

He hurt, all over, but mostly inside. He wasn't going to die. Blood spattered across the floor as Jamie fell back, then he regained his feet and ran from the bathroom, stomach twisting.

He wasn't stopped as he ran from the park, stumbling, lurching, almost falling into the street. Back into the city, down the sidewalk, past buildings. And he was sobbing. Chest heaving, stride breaking, breath refusing to come in farther than his throat, because it was expelled again so swiftly. He was dizzy, and in pain, and he couldn't breathe.

Jamie collapsed against a building, falling to his hands and knees, blood mixing with tears and dropping to the ground.

He'd killed Bobby. He'd killed his parents. Alex. Dupes. Himself. Moira. Possibly those men back in the park. Driven Guido away. Murderered Mellancamp.

It was his fault. All of it.

Jamie huddled on the ground and wrapped his arms around himself, curling as small as he could on the crowded street. He was cold, still, always. His body heaved, broken sobs forcing their way through his lungs. He felt sick, and filthy, his tears mixing with blood and spattering on the hard concrete, mingling with the dirt already there.

He wished he could die.

"I should probably tell you something."

Bobby looked up, smiling fondly at Jamie. He reached out and brushed dark brown hair out of the other man's eyes, then waved his hand, beckoning Jamie closer.

Jamie scooched across the floor space between them and curled into the hollow between Bobby's side and arm.

"What did you want to tell me?" Bobby asked, kissing the head below his face.

"It's ... well, it's not really a big deal. Forge said I should tell you about it, though."

Bobby closed his magazine and looked down at Jamie, noting the that younger man wouldn't even look up at him. Jamie took Bobby's hand and played with his fingers, moving them around and watching as if fascinated.

"What is it?" Bobby prompted at last.

"It's dumb," Jamie sighed. "I wasn't going to tell you at all, but Forge ... well, he's pushy."

Bobby chuckled, felt Jamie's body pressing closely against his. It was a nice feeling.

"It's just that..." Jamie's voice dropped almost impercetibly. Almost. "Well, see, it--it was depressing to have Legacy and think I was ... think I was, um, dying." Jamie shrugged, the movement jerky under Bobby's arm. "Forge thinks everyone should know that I was upset about ... it. He said if I didn't say something, he would, and he always makes things sound bad." Jamie sighed heavily, as though his lot in life was the hardest of all.

Bobby chuckled. Bent, and kissed Jamie's hair again. It shined in the light, and was soft beneath Bobby's cheek. "I would guess that thinking you were going to die would be upsetting." He stayed quiet, wondering if there was more to this than Jamie said.

"Yeah," Jamie answered softly, sounding relieved. He crossed Bobby's fingers and then uncrossed them. "I-it was."

Bobby waited, sensing there was more, knowing that getting Jamie to talk about anything personal was like pulling teeth, and not willing to pass up this opportunity.

"It was really scary," Jamie whispered at last.

Bobby turned his face into Jamie's hair and tightened his arm around the other man, lending what support he could.

"And ... see, I was more than a little upset. I--"


Both men jumped at the sudden noise, and Bobby only just kept from cursing under his breath. "What, Mom?"

"Your father is trying to move the trash cans out back! Would you please go out there and do it for him? I tried to make him stop and he won't. He's going to throw his back out again!"

Bobby sighed. "Yeah. Just a minute." He turned back to Jamie, already feeling that the moment had passed, and Jamie wasn't going to say anything.

He tried anyway. "What happened?"

Jamie twisted, smiling brightly up at him. There were shadows lurking in his eyes, though, shadows that Bobby had hoped were gone for good. "Nothing. I was just upset about dying, that's all. Go help your dad."


"Go! You're being a worrywart, and I don't want your pop to get a hernia on my account!"

Bobby looked at him for a long minute, but realized that Jamie was done sharing. Slowly, he got up and left the room.

Slowly, light returned to his dark world. Blue eyes fluttered open to bated silence. Three faces looked down at him, none the one he wanted most to see.

"Welcome back, Bobby," his mother whispered, then turned away, sniffling.

"You had us worried there, Robert," his father said, smiling gruffly.

"Frosty," a familiar bass voice said, and a large blue paw-hand landed on his shoulder. "I thought you weren't going to wake up."

Bobby looked up at Hank, found that he couldn't talk, and started to panic.

Hank must have seen it. He smiled, reassuringly, and placed a furry blue paw on Bobby's shoulder. "Don't say anything. We've got you tubed up, doped up, and banadaged up. Later, we'll take out the tubes and off the bandages, and you'll be able to speak fine. For now," and Hank smiled, squeezing very gently, "rest."

Bobby frowned and glanced around the room, his stomach queasy with this inablitiy to speak.

"Rest," Hank repeated, smiling. "If you rest for a week or so, you should be strong enough to change into your ice form. If you do that and change back, most if not all of your injuries will be healed. But we don't want to risk you falling over from exhaustion."

Bobby shook his head slightly, felt the tubes spread about his nose and mouth, felt frustrated when he had to stop and catch his breath.

"Bobby, please rest."

Bobby looked to his parents, then let his eyes cast about the room, searching for a familiar smile graced by dimples, sparkling brown eyes, and hair that wouldn't stay out of a handsome face.

It wasn't there. Ah, hell. What was he doing there, anyway?

"Bobby, we're glad you're awake, but I'm very worried about you wearing yourself out. You've been in a coma for over a week."

Bobby looked up at Hank, trying to put his question in his eyes. Where's Jamie? And, far less important, What happened to me?

Hank looked confused, then sighed and reached for a pen and paper. "Write it," he said, carefully giving Bobby the tools before lifting the IVs and things so Bobby wouldn't pull them out.

Bobby wrote, the first question scrawled across the paper. He considered asking how he'd ended up in the hospital, but could remember enough -- a plane wreck -- for that to be less than important. And his hands were shaking. Finished, he collapsed back into bed, exhausted by that small movement and too drugged to be upset at that exhaustion.

Hank glanced at the paper, then handed it to William.

William looked from the paper to Bobby, and then shrugged slightly. "He decided not to stay. You can call him when you feel better."

His father wouldn't meet his eyes, and Bobby started to worry. He tried to sit up, felt Hank push him back down. Irritation at his father rose even through the drug haze, that the man would keep something so important from him...

"Bobby, I'm going to give you a sedative," Hank said firmly.

Bobby shook his head, irritated, even as Hank injected the fluid into the IV.

"I'll try and call Jamie," Hank said softly as Bobby's world suddenly got fuzzy. "You sleep."

continued >>

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