Title: I Remember...
Author: Niko
Rating: R, maybe PG-13
Pairing: Jack/David
Feedback: feedfront too please (what?)
Archive: STN hopefully
Summary: To be vague, a well-known stranger comes back
to change Jack's life forever.
Disclaimer: Don't own, wish I did, I want David's body..
Notes: I think it's OOC...

I remember being pulled along by my sleeve, torn between two opposites. He was shouting my name, trying to find me in the deserted winter streets as I walked half willingly beside the man who tugged me along. We're going west, he said. Had he come just a year earlier, I may have raced him to the train yards. But it's not like that anymore. Like I've said, I have a family, here in New York. Two now.

I remember seeing him running past the alley we'd turned onto. I would have said something but a strange sort of feeling kept me quiet. He saw me anyway, slipping to a stop on the slush-covered sidewalk with a half panicked expression. His dark curly hair was matted to his skin as he righted himself and started slower after us. His light blue shirt and dark brown coat and slacks were damp and in some places soaked from splashing and slipping. He was messy and quite possibly the most beautiful sight I'd ever seen. His eyes were wide and staring strait into mine, dangerously bright and pinning me to the spot. The arm on my sleeve pulled harder. I guess I stopped.

I remember standing there, forgotten in the cold white world with only those crystal blue eyes calling me back into existence. He started walking towards us, our eyes never leaving each other.

I remember the harsh metal shining in the corner of my eye, the man's index finger curving around the steel trigger. The blue eyes widened in a look of fright, the body tensing and moving to duck away. But the blast came to quickly.

I remember blood blossoming from his firm chest, his body flying backwards into the snow. Pure white was stained in red sin.

I remember running to him, falling half way and crawling frantically to his side. His eyes were unfocused, his breath ragged and blood seeping from the corner of his perfect mouth. He was still alive when I pulled him to me, raising him up till his face was mere inches from mine, forcing him to see me. I wanted the last thing he saw to be me, for him to know that I was holding him in the end.

I remember the warmth of his blood as it soaked into me like the snow. I'd felt blood before, but this was different. This was lifeblood, hours, days and years of his life pouring over me and the street like tears.

I remember the quiver in his once strong voice as he tried to speak. The 'walking mouth' with ideas and ideals was never short of words. His hands fumbled with clumsy grace as they grasped my shirt and pulled me down to him.

"Don't go, Jack. Don't let him ruin you."

I remember his words as they echoed in the dead silence. I watched his eyes fall from mine, a slight slackness growing in his limbs as I held him tight to me.

"Don't you go either, David. 'Cause I ain't nothing without you."

I remember the despair in those words, the disguised prayer to heaven that my angel would remain. His breath still warmed my bare neck as strong arms pulled me away. But I held onto him, first his body, then his arm, than his hand. His eyes watched mine, never minding the man who was tearing us apart again. I fought to stand, ready to run, ready to kill him as he pulled me further away.

I remember tears and screaming, both mine as I reached desperation. I pulled hard against the man's arms, yanking free at last and tripping him to the ground as I crawled back to David's side. The sparkle in his eyes was fading away with his life, drop by drop in every river of blood.

I remember tasting the sharp metallic flavor of blood as I kissed him, along with the sweetness that I had learned was David since our very first kiss. He responded with vigor, kissing and tasting my mouth with the last of his strength. The tang of blood only added to the experience. It was like kissing Death itself.

I remember breaking for breath, kissing the top his head fiercely as I held him to me again.

"I love you."

I don't remember which of us said it first but I know it was the last thing David had said. His eyes no longer sought mine. They gazed, half lidded, to heaven.

I remember the great sob that wrenched its way from my soul, my heart, my being. I felt like a lunatic, mumbling and rocking his dead body as I sat in the puddle of snow and blood in an empty alley in New York.

I remember the bastard saying, "We're going to miss our train," blind to my suffering. The gun still gleamed, now tucked away in his chest holster. I wondered how many bullets still waited inside it and whom each bullet was meant for. Did he know when he put the ammunition in that one of those bullets was meant for David? Probably. I don't think he would have shot him if he hadn't been planning it from the start.

I remember laying David's body in the red snow, kissing my fingertips before I let them rest on his eyelids and close the beautiful blue crystals forever. I stood, slightly wavering on my feet but determined to stand no matter how sickened I felt.

"I'm not going with you, Dad."

I remember the look on his face, the same mirror of betrayal I felt falling grimly across his aged features. His dark brown eyes glared at me as his hands balled into fists.

"You'll do what I tell you to do. Now get!"

I remember standing still.

"You think standing around here will make your friend come back? Ain't nothing going to bring him back, boy! All you've got in this world is me now so get walking! We can still catch the train!"

I remember silent anger welling like power inside of me till it had no place left to go. I launched myself at him, screaming and swinging my fists. I hit him good and hard in the jaw, sending his mind in a whirl and coming back at him with a left to the gut and a knee to the groin. I kicked him when he was leaning over and punched him when it seemed he could stand. I was going to kill him.

I remember the one punch he got in, hitting me just hard enough to get me off of him for a second. His hand went for the chest holster, pulling the gun back out like a black warrant for death.

I remember the second shot to ring out that night and the piercing pain that stung me, ripped through me and wretched a howl from my constricting throat.

I remember the coward's face as he looked down on me, frightened but smug as he put the gun back and walked away, back down the alley and back out of my life as he had all those years ago. Nothing good ever came from my father. Too bad David had been the only one to see that.

I remember when he first found me, sitting in a booth with Dave who had just gotten out of class. We weren't eating anything, just talking. Him not being a Newsie anymore made talk different, almost exciting. I'd never been to school and he'd make sure to explain even the little things about it, not leaving a detail out. He was telling me about the smell of the teacher when my old man walked in. It may have been a long time ago, but I still knew it was him. He had dark eyes like mine and strait hair that looked more like Les'.

I remember him standing beside our booth, looking at me and David as I watched him. Dave leaned forward and asked if he was a friend of mine. How do you answer a question like that? My father smiled a cheesy fake smile at David and pulled up a chair.

"Francis and I are very close." 

I remember David's eyes. I always seemed to be drawn to them anyway, but it was different this time. It was like he knew, without asking, that it was my father sitting there. Of course, no one calls me Francis. No one but Snyder but he's a special case since ever other bull in the city calls me Kelly. Jack Kelly.

I remember my dad asking David if we could be alone, and the fleeting look he gave me. I told Dave to go, saying I'd be over later.

I wasn't. Not till so early in the morning I had to crawl into his house through a window and wake him up myself, dragging him to the fire escape to talk, him dressed only in his underwear.

I remember telling him about my dad, every detail I could think of. About how he got put in jail for murdering a storekeeper, the one who got me sent to the refuge for stealing food. Family penitence, dad had called it. I told him about dad's escape from jail, as it was obvious that they hadn't let him out. I even told him about my dad's plan. Head out west where the law wouldn't find him. Sounded very similar to a plan I'd had not so long ago.

I remember David telling me to stay away from him, that with my record, I'd look bad to be seen with him. That they might send me off to the refuge again. He said he had a bad feeling about him. David's a man of logic so when he says he's got a bad feeling, it's a big deal. Funny how I feel fit to listen to his words now, but how easily I let them slide there on the fire escape.

I remember selling papes on the corner the next day and being pulled down an alley by a pair of strong arms. My father told me about the train, told me that he wanted to take me there with him. That we'd be a real family again. I tried to explain to him that Dave was a part of my family here. I couldn't leave him. Not again.

I remember the words of the serpent filling my ears with mixed talk and jumbled phrases. David was going to make something of himself, he'd abandon me and leave when the time came. I wasn't thinking about what I needed, what I could be doing with myself as well. Time and things changed.

I remember agreeing with him, the stupidest thing I've ever done.

I remember going to the fire escape that night, one last visit with David before I left forever. He was mad at me, screaming at me, begging me not to go at the same time as telling me to do whatever I wanted to do. I left without a kiss, without a hug, without even a spit-shake in farewell. David went back into his home and closed the window.

I remember all this now, clutching my bleeding chest as the last of my father vanishes. I wonder if this is how David felt. It hurts but not as much as my heart does. I feel empty of more than just my blood.

I crawl back to David, laying down in the snow beside him, entwining our fingers and looking only at his angelic face, smeared with his own blood from my hands. The snow is cold but not as cold as it should be, I think.

Is this how David felt? I feel so incomplete, like a puzzle missing pieces. I could have done more in my life, maybe. No. I did better than most people in my position. I lead an army against the greatest power known to man, the Press. I fell in love with the most wonderful person in the world and he loved me too. I've got friends, I've had fun, and I'm gonna be buried a very fine looking young man. But best of all, I get to die looking and holding onto my best friend and lover. He may have gone before me but he's still with me. I bet he's stroking my face right now with his invisible fingers, trying to soothe away the pain. He's probably telling me that everything will be okay, and that he loves me. His lips are probably kissing my face, soft and gentle like in a memory. I can almost feel his lips on mine again, this time innocently brushing over them like a feather. He's probably kissing me fully now, and I can taste no blood on his breath. Maybe he's wishing I'd hurry up and join him so it could all be real.

I'll close my eyes and wish the same.