Rating: NC-17, but PG for this part
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters contained here, but everything else is mine. This quite obviously never happened. Oh, and a part of the epilogue was stolen from Leon Uris.
Notes: It's finally done. Yay. If this part seems detatched and passive, it's because I really lost interest in this story. Anyway...
It never failed. No matter how many times he heard gunfire in the middle of the night, it never failed to wake Tim up. This time it was close, could have been right outside on the street. He took a moment to get his bearings back and remember where he was before sitting up and looking over towards Dana and Hollywood. They had woken up with the second, closer round of fire and were halfway clinging to each other until Hollywood noticed Tim watching them and sat up as well.
"That's close," Hollywood pointed out needlessly.
Tim nodded thoughtfully, glancing around as other people started to wake and whisper at each other as well. He noticed Jade slipping downstairs, but doubted anyone else did. A few moments later the sound of glass breaking downstairs met his ears and the groggy people around him started to look more alert.
Reverting into action mode, Tim pushed the blanket off of his legs and looked back over at Hollywood.
"Your friendly little weapons smuggler wouldn't have happened to show you another way out of here, did he?," he asked urgently.
Nodding in response to the question, Hollywood stood up and waited for Tim and Dana to join him. They snuck along the wall of the upper level to the railing, glancing over it to the lower level. A gang of four cops in riot gear were stalking through the area that used to be a foodcourt, looking for any stray deviants. Hollywood fidgeted nervously.
"It's down there...," he started, and Dana groaned disappointedly and muttered 'fucking genius'.
Ignoring the pessamistic comment, Tim queried. "Where down there?"
"Almost directly below us," Hollywood answered. "Opposite the freezer where they've been keeping the guns."
He pointed the door to said freezer out and Tim nodded then glanced around quickly. Spotting a misplaced spoon on the ground not to far away, he plucked it up and then ducked against a nearby wall, motioning for Dana and Hollywood to follow and lowering his voice. Matt and the skinhead he remembered as Rob ambled cautiously out of the other room as Dana and Hollywood joined Tim, guessing they were up to something.
"All right," Tim whispered once they were all in hearing range. "You guys stay here. When I give the signal, we're gunna hop that railing and book it for this fucking alternate exit. Got it?"
They all nodded, deciding not to point out that it was nearly a fifteen foot drop since it seemed like the best course of action. Tim crouched down and slinked back to the railing, watching the cops in the lower level. Two of them had broken off and started towards the circular ramp to the upper level, and Tim knew he had to act quickly before they made their way up it. Waiting for the most opportune moment he could get, he paused until the remaining two cops on the ground floor were looking away before hurtling the spoon at the door concealing the weapons.
It had the desired effect. Both of the cops spun around instantly as the spoon hit and made a clanking noise, rushing to the door. The first pushed it open and leapt inside, glancing around as much as the dark would allow for any sign of life before finding a lightswitch. The large crates of stolen weapons were revealed and the second cop called out for the two who had headed upstairs before heading in after the first.
"Now," Tim hissed urgently back at his cohorts, not waiting for a response before throwing himself over the railing and dropping as noiselessly as possible to the first story.
Either the cops hadn't heard him or were too distracted to care, and he darted behind a pillar until Hollywood fell from the sky and directed him to the opposite exit. He followed, waiting to make sure Dana had seen where they'd gone before continuing. Though the cops may have not noticed the first pair of boots to hit the floor, they noticed after four more did the same, especially the heavier set pairs of Matt and Rob. Luckily they were once again diverted from following as the first cop to enter the room found Jade and a hail of gunfire to go with him, but Tim heard the static of a radio crackling and guessed they'd been reported regardless.
The alternate exit lead into a narrow alleyway, blocked at the end by a chainlink fence. Following Hollywood's lead, Tim climbed up it and leapt off the top, wondering as he hit the ground how many more long falls he could take before his legs gave out. He heard Dana drop to the ground behind him as he continued down the alley, and the sound of Matt and Rob behind her.
The light in the alleyway grew less sparse as the group reached the end of it, more gunfire becoming audible as they did. Hollywood reached the end of the alley first, leaning against the outer wall of a building and peering around it. He quickly withdrew his head and pressed himself flat against the wall, catching his breath as he waited for Tim to join him.
Following his lead and leaning heavily against the wall, Tim raised his eyebrows at Hollywood in question. Taking a deep breath, Hollywood related what he had seen in a whisper although he was unlikely to be overheard.
"I saw about five cops, but I bet there's more," he began. "They're outnumbered by civilians, though. Jade and whoever he's working with must have taken to heart not to put all their eggs in one basket, 'cause some of them have guns. I think someone knew the cops were coming, too, this seems too well organized."
Dana, Matt and Rob had joined them to hear most of the explanation. Tim was about to respond but was cut off by a nearby explosion, most likely from one of the moltov cocktails some were carrying around. After the debris finished settling, they all straightened back up.
"Did you see anywhere nearby that we could head for cover without being noticed too much?," Tim asked Hollywood.
Hollywood responded by looking quite lost and then halfway peering around the corner of the building again.
"The park," Matt started. "There's a park not too far from here, used to be part of one of the colleges. If we dart from building to building it wouldn't be too hard to get there, as long as we haul ass across the main streets."
Tim glanced around at the others; it seemed to be unanimous. Matt knew his way around these streets better than any of them, barring maybe Rob, so he would know the best route to semi-safety. Shuffling their positions, Matt headed up the group.
Matt had been blessed with the same cool logic under pressure as Tim himself. Waiting a moment, he took the opportunity of another bottle-bomb being thrown before leading the way out of the small alcove and into the street. The cops nearby had been to distracted with avoiding the explosion and tracking down the one who'd thrown it that they hardly paid any notice to the entourage crossing the street.
There was a wide, concrete median with an underground station on the opposite side of the street, and it didn't offer much cover. As they crossed over it and through the sunken in area, a small group of insurrectionists intersected them, aiming a hail of gunfire at a nearby cop who had his back turned. While Matt, Rob and Dana continued across the street, Hollywood and Tim were forced to wait for the group to pass and then run to the left when the cop and a few others started to return fire.
Making it across a side street, Tim led Hollywood to duck behind the corner of a building in a relatively deserted part of the street. They paused then, watching the gunfire and catching their breath until there was an opening to run towards the park and meet back up with the others.
The pair darted through the open street, dodging groups of militia and revolutionaries alike. Tim's lungs were burning inside his chest, begging for oxygen, but he ignored their demands as he continued to follow Hollywood. They made their way out of the fracas unharmed but didn't slow down, both pairs of eyes set only on their destination.
Without warning, Tim stumbled, flying through the air a few feet before heading back towards the ground. He put out his hands to catch him and hit the concrete, ducking his shoulder into the fall and rolling. Hollywood had not noticed this and kept up his own pace as Tim slowly brought himself to his feet and assessed the damage. Glancing behind him to find the cause of his fall, his eyes came to rest on a small, furry, black and white form.
"Buddy...?," he started, confusion taking over his weary mind.
The dog gave a loud yip as if to agree, overcoming his surprise at being tripped over in favor of galloping towards Tim and leaping up at him, trying to lick at his face.
Tim watched the dog, his brows drawn together in bewilderment. If Buddy was here...then that meant...
His vision was obscured once again as a much larger form hurtled itself towards him, knocking him onto the ground and knocking the sparse air from his lungs. At the same instant, gunshots ripped through the air. He didn't have an excess time to figure out what exactly was happening as the figure who'd knocked him down took the momentum of their fall and rolled him and itself into a nearby hedge for cover.
And then all was still, starkly contrasting with the overload of action a moment before. The figure sat up on top of him and Tim's eyes narrowed.
"Jesse?!," he asked, though it was needless because Jesse was indeed the person who had knocked him over and forced him to dive into the brush. His brain was swimming and he couldn't decide whether to be angry, relieved, or just plain lost.
Jesse silenced him with a look, ducking down again to peer around from under the cover of the leaves. Then he squirmed back and settled against a thick tree trunk, and it was then that Tim saw the blood. Concern took over for any other emotion he may have been feeling.
"You're bleeding," Tim stated, keeping his voice low. He crawled across the ground to Jesse.
Jesse lifted his shirt sleeve to inspect the wound, letting out a small sigh of relief. "It only clipped me. We're both lucky."
"Lucky?," Tim asked incredulously.
"She was aiming straight for you, and you didn't even notice," Jesse pointed out. "If I hadn't been here you'd be in much worse shape than I am right now."
The tell-tale sounds of a struggle nearby prevented Tim from responding. They both peered over the top of the shrubbery to inspect. Rob, the large skinhead, was locked in hand-to-hand combat with the cop who had shot Jesse, trying to fight the gun from her hands. A shot went off, wasted by sailing skyward as they continued to battle. A moment later, Rob succeeded in overpowering the cop and took the gun, setting a bullet between her eyes without another thought.
He glanced around the area briefly then strode over to where Tim and Jesse were concealed. Keeping the gun to his side, he extended a hand towards Tim.
"C'mon," he demanded gruffly. "Let's get outta here before that bitches' buddies figure out what's going on."
They didn't have to be told twice. Tim pulled himself out of the hedge and then helped Jesse out as well. They followed behind Rob, who kept the stolen gun drawn and a watchful eye around the area. Buddy followed closely behind, quiet and cautious as them all as if he could sense the danger.
Making it a little further into the park, they caught up with Matt, Dana and Hollywood, who were all resting under the cover of a thick grove of trees. Hollywood stood as they approached, trotting towards Tim.
"Thank fuck," he muttered. "I heard the gunshots and thought we'd lost you for good." Then he caught sight of Jesse and his eyes darkened minutely. "Where'd you come from?"
Jesse gave him a terse half-smile in response, apparently in no mood for arguing or discussing his reasoning for showing up. Hollywood then looked to Tim for explanation. There was a brief stand-still, a collective holding of breath as their eyes met. Tim could have told him what he know, what had happened in the last fifteen minutes, how Jesse had risked his life for him. But he didn't, he just stared the younger man down until Hollywood backed away. Dana threw a faint smile in Tim's direction and Matt, convinced that Jesse was a friend, asked if he could tend to the wound.
It had been a hard fight getting out of Boston, the whole city seemed to be in an riotous uproar. After a few days' struggle, the six of them had made it out mostly unscatched into the surrounding area, finding it much more peaceful and quiet. They were headed north to Canada, where, with any luck, they would be able to find passage to somewhere in Europe. The debate of whether America had that land within it's grips or not was never solved, but they had decided unanimously that it was worth persuing.
They had stopped for the night at a deserted motel near the border of the country, finding it sufficient for a night's rest and recollection. As the others grouped together for making of plans and general comradery, Jesse had slunk off for a piece of often neglected solitude. He hadn't said whether he would go to Europe with them, in fact, he hadn't said much at all since he mysteriously reappeared. Tim waited for a bit to let Jesse relect on whatever was weighing so heavily on his mind before following.
He found him outside, on a bank that overlooked a dirty little tributary that ran to the sea. He was sitting casually, legs crossed, fingers steepled and resting against his lips, left shoulder heavily bandaged. Noiselessly, Tim settled onto the ground next to him. They sat in silence for a few moments before Tim plunged ahead.
"Will you go back to Berkeley?"
Jesse paused considerably, leaving Tim to start questioning whether he'd heard him at all. As he was about to repeat himself, Jesse spoke. "I don't believe so. I can't, after seeing what's going on out here."
Tim shifted somewhat uncomfortably before lowerng his voice. "If you wanted to...go back, I mean. I'd go with you."
Shaking his head, Jesse smiled. "You couldn't, either. You need to do something about this, or die trying. I can tell by looking at you. It matters to you, the state of the world. I know you have to try."
"No," Tim countered. "I know what matters more now. Two people matter and the rest of it is nothing. What would I have won in the end if I didn't have love? It's the only thing that can keep the pain and the misery of the rest of the world at bay - two people with the ability to create a sanctuary in each other."
If Jesse was stunned by his blunt admittal, he didn't show it. He remained placid and calm, staring out at the darkening horizon. After another long moment, he reached out and laid his own hand over Tim's, their fingers entertwining as if of their own accord. Then he turned to look at him.
"We can't live our life in a sanctuary, cut off from everything. What must be done, must be done. Only when you've earned the right to have that sanctuary in one another to get through all the dark hours can you have it. Because, my love, when the time comes around you've got to go out and face it, the pain and the misery, sanctuary or none."
[crossposted in music_fic and dki_bitchez]