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This Time (Jack/James AU, NC-17)

Title: This Time
Pairing: Jack/James
Summary: Jack and James are on the same flight back from Australia
Note: Set after foxxcub's Let Go but an AU (to the AU) futurefic. The boys wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote this one next. Claiming for fanfic100 prompt "Years"
Rating: NC-17
ETA: If you're unfamiliar with the Jack/James series that this a sequel to, please go here to catch up! Thanks!




He stretches out his legs, or tries to. Never enough legroom. He should have sprung for first class.

The screwdriver he had in the airport bar is already fading and the drink service won't start for half an hour, at least. And they're still boarding.

He pinches the bridge of his nose, trying to clear his head. Twenty hours or more to go. He wishes he could just take a sleeping pill now, except that they don't work on him.

He drops his hand and stares at the back of the head of the woman in front of him. She's talking nonstop to her seatmate, nattering on about all the trouble she had with security, and Jack wants to smother that shrill voice. And the plane hasn't even taken off yet. Twenty more hours of this.

"Excuse you, buddy!" a man mutters and Jack looks up to see a scowling face coming towards him. Shaggy blonde hair, dark brows drawn together in a frown, angry blue eyes that don't acknowledge anyone else on board.

James. Jack's heart leaps, like it always does when he sees someone who reminds him of James. And then there's always the sinking realization that it can't be him. The eyes are always the wrong color or the chin is off or the shoulders aren't right. As the man sweeps past, Jack turns to watch him go. The sinking feeling never comes.

He watches the man stop a few rows back and impatiently shove his bag into an overhead compartment before roughly pushing past the other passengers to find his seat.

Not "the man." James. It is him, Jack tells himself, and he almost starts to laugh. His father's body lays underneath them somewhere and suddenly, James appears. He can't decide if the timing is perfect or just fate's latest joke.

Heart thudding erratically, Jack tries to believe he's just imagining him, the way he's done so many times. A door opens in a restaurant, a man gets out of a cab, a blonde head turns his way and just for a split-second, he sees James again. And now he's on the same fucking plane.

Jack runs through his options. He can simply get up and walk over to him, and in front of a plane full of strangers, just say hello. Like he's some long-lost frat brother, a random schoolmate from med school. "Good to see you," he'd say, in that case. And "Small world." And "How've you been?"

He looks out the window, glad for the window seat now. Because he's not going to get up. He's not going to do anything. He's going to sit there for 20 hours and if he has to use the bathroom, he's going to talk his way into using the ones in first class. And he's going to need to do that because he's going to order as many drinks as he can when that drink cart comes by.

He's on his third screwdriver when the turbulence starts. It's not bad at first, and the alcohol is muting his sense of alarm. When the plane takes a sharp dip, he's most concerned that his drink doesn't spill, even while there are gasps and screams all around him. The shaking gets worse and panic starts to chip through the haze of vodka.

The oxygen masks pop out and the screaming starts in earnest. He cranes his head back to see if he can see James. He glimpses a sliver of stubbled chin, of tightly clenched jaw line, and parted lips sucking in a breath and then the plane jolts violently and he loses sight of him.

He gets to his feet because he's not going to die with James just a few feet behind him, he's not going to die without telling him ... something.

A harried stewardess runs to his side and orders him to sit down. People are turning to look at him, shocked stares over the edge of the yellow cup of their oxygen masks. The world goes silent when James turns to meet his gaze. There's the shock of recognition there. James holds his stare for what seems like forever and then he looks away abruptly.

"Will you sit down, sir?" The voice of the stewardess finally breaks through to him and he sits, like a good boy, and puts on his mask.

And then, just like that, the turbulence is over. The plane rights itself. The oxygen masks dangle and sway, unneeded. Jack tries to shove his back into its little compartment, but he can't get it to go back to the way it was, and gives up.

He drums his fingers against his glass as the jolt from those blue eyes replays over and over in his brain. He stares out the window, but there's nothing out there but night.

---

He doesn't know how it happens. He never falls asleep on planes but suddenly he's starting awake from a dream in which he's falling. His heart is racing and it takes a minute to register that the plane is landed and the passengers are slowly and impatiently filing out.

He jumps to his feet and looks behind him. The seat where James was sitting is empty. Jack grabs his bag from the overhead bin. He contemplates shoving ahead of everyone in line, but the aisle is packed and there really is no use. Just as well.

He still has no idea what he'd say to James, after all this time. Not here, not now. Because it wouldn't make the least bit of difference.

He shuffles along with everyone else, practically running when he's finally off the plane and can break free from the slow-moving, jet-lagged herd.

LAX is impossibly white and bright and loud after the plane. He stares up at the high ceilings as he boards the escalator to baggage claim. He has the most powerful sense of disorientation, of his mind and body not being in the same place.

He walks on autopilot to baggage claim, straining to see if his checked suitcase is there yet, but it's still displaying the wrong flight number, so it couldn't possibly be. He scans the crowd, but James isn't among them. Just a bunch of people who look as travel-weary as he feels. Of course James wouldn't check a bag. He can't picture James as someone who'd ever shopped for a matched set of luggage.

The casket will be driven around to the back of the baggage claim area, they said. He'll meet it there with a hearse. Except when he flips open his phone and checks his messages, he learns there's been a mixup. It won't be here for another two hours. He stops himself from hurling the phone in frustration. He just wants to go home, to his own bed, but that's not going to happen.

He looks past the baggage carousel, out to the steady stream of cabs and hotel shuttles. It's not worth it to take a cab home and then come back, but he has no idea what he's going to do for the next two hours. Except hit the bar and he doesn't relish arriving at his mother's house dead drunk, which is what he'll be if he goes in for just one drink now.

His vision narrows on a dirty blonde head of hair nearly obscuring a familiar profile. James is facing down, lighting a cigarette. James lets his head drop back as he exhales, eyes closed in savoring that first drag in almost a day.

Jack is moving out the door without even thinking. James is second in line for the next taxi and by the time Jack reaches him, he's got one leg in the back seat and is scowling at the cabbie. "No," he says sharply. "I'm not gonna put my bag in the trunk."

"Okay, okay," says the driver in a thick Eastern European accent. "No problem. Is fine."

James swings his bag into the backseat and then takes a seat, still frowning.

He doesn't see Jack until he's sitting next to him. Jack is breathless from running so all he can do is shrug and offer an apologetic smile as pulls in his own shoulder bag and closes the door after himself.

James' mouth falls open and then he lets out a startled laugh. He takes another drag, staring at his hand rather than at Jack.

James pulls a cigarette out of his pack and wordlessly hands it to Jack. He can't find his lighter immediately, so he just leans forward, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. His hand shakes a little as he raises it to steady his cigarette. Jack puts the tip of his unlit cigarette to the glowing end of James's. He inhales and his catches fire. He leans back, letting the nicotine spread through him, letting it calm him.

"Okay, where you going?" the cabbie asks as he pulls out.

"The nearest hotel?" Jack finds himself saying. He darts a glance at James and James just crooks an eyebrow but doesn't contradict him.

He looks out the window. Already he can see a hotel, looming past the letters of the LAX sign.

"There, the Radisson," Jack says, pointing. There are nicer hotels around the corner -- the Hilton, the Marriott -- but he can't wait that long. He jiggles his leg, hand drumming on his knee, until he realizes it, and stops.

The taxi pulls up to the loading zone. Jack opens his door and sets one foot outside, but hesitates to get up. He glances at James, worried now that he's not going to follow him.

But James is peeling off some ones from a wad of bills. The fare is only $5, and most of that is just the airport tax. He shoves $10 at the cabbie and -- Jack holds his breath -- gets out of the cab.

James tosses his cigarette onto the pavement and grinds it under his foot, and Jack follows suit.

They walk into the lobby side by side, not even glancing at each other. They might as well be two strangers who just shared a cab. Jack heads to the front desk and James is still keeping pace with him.

Maybe it's the nicotine, but he's ridiculously calm now. Or he's still asleep on the plane, and just dreaming this. Maybe it's all been a dream. His father's not dead. He never went to Australia. He is not standing here right now, with James.

The desk clerk, a middle-aged man with frizzy, graying hair, looks up at him expectantly. "Can I help you."

"I need a room for ..." he's about to say for a few hours, but that feels incredibly sleazy. Even though half the people staying here are probably just killing a few hours while their flights are delayed. "For the night."

"Very good. Smoking or nonsmoking?"

"Smoking." James speaks up. He leans close to Jack, lips brushing his ear as he says, "Be right back," and then strolls off in the direction of the gift shop. Just that brief touch is enough to get Jack hard and he steps closer to the desk to cover that fact.

"Queen or king size?"

"Huh?" Jack starts until he realizes that the clerk is asking about mattress preference. "Doesn't matter. Okay, king. Why not?" He produces a credit card and fills out the registration form. For a second, he blanks out on his own address. He's about to write down his parents' house number, and then he remembers to put down his own.

James returns with a brown paper bag. He leans against the desk, impossibly gorgeous and long-limbed, while Jack finishes the paperwork.

"Checkout is at 11," the clerk says as he hands Jack two keycards wrapped in a paper folder. Jack nods to James and they head to the elevator. Neither of them speak on the ride up to the seventh floor. He doesn't even dare look at James until he swipes the keycard through the lock and opens the door.

The second he's inside, James pushes him up against the wall. Jack fingers uncurl and his bag drops to the floor as James presses the length of his body against him. He shudders, once, closing his eyes as he takes in James's scent, the feel of him.

James nuzzles his neck and the tickling of lips and tongue on skin has his cock straining against his zipper. "James." Jack breathes his name like the word itself is magic.

He opens his eyes and James is staring at him, those clear blue eyes filled with a thousand questions. But questions can wait. James's eyes squeeze shut as he takes Jack's head in his hands, thumbs rubbing over the line of Jack's jaw.

"Are you real?" James says in the quietest voice, eyes still tight shut, as if opening them would make Jack disappear.

Jack puts his hands over James's, fingers threading through his. He barely makes a sound when he answers, "Yes." And then James leans forward, into his waiting mouth and time stands still again. James moans as their tongues touch, a familiar little moan in the back of his throat that vibrates through Jack like a shock.

Jack's sure he's going to stop breathing when James cups him through his slacks. Instead, he gasps; his head falls back, knocking against the wall, and he doesn't even feel it.

James tugs at his belt and then it's a race as they fumble to get each other's clothes off. They take far more time than they should, since they can't stop touching long enough to get a single piece of clothing off in one go.

At last, naked enough, they fall onto the bed. Jack lands underneath James and shivers as James sits back, running his fingertips over his chest, down his thighs, and then, finally, taking his cock in hand. Jack's whole body jerks at his touch and he thinks that when James makes him come, he's going to come right out of his body. He arches up into James's fist and he wants to close his eyes, but he can't take them off of the curve of his lip or the way his nostrils flare each time Jack moans.

But then the sensation proves too much and he has to just give into it, just surrender to James's touch. It's all over too fast, and he's coming hard, hips jerking up, the room spinning as his body loses control. James plays his hand over his spent cock and all he can think is how right it feels to be lying in his arms. Like they've never been apart.

James bends down, ghosting kisses over his lips and cheeks. "Hang on," he says, swinging his legs off the bed and Jack sits up to watch James cross the room. He catches sight of his own feet and has to laugh. He's still wearing his socks. They both are. He pulls his off and throws them at James as he fumbles in the paper bag. "Here we go," James says, producing a box of condoms and a tiny tube of what must be lubricant.

Jack wants to say that he doesn't need a condom with him, but then again, maybe James has his reasons. His heart skips a beat in trying to think about that and then James is settling back onto the mattress. He tosses the condom in front of Jack as he starts to stroke himself. Little shivers of pleasure run through him and Jack reaches out, replacing his hand with James's.

"Mmm, Christ," James murmurs, leaning down to brush his lips over Jack's. He tears open the packet containing the condom and Jack helps him slide it on. There's that little bit of hesitancy, a fleeting reminder of the first time he touched James and how he was so awkward and yet he couldn't not touch him.

He's not drunk now, not on alcohol, anyway. But that same rush is singing in his veins. James always got him higher than anything else.

He's afraid he's going to say that, out loud, so he takes James's head in his hands and kisses him, slow and aching until James gets impatient. "Not as young as I used to be, Jack," he whispers, and gently turns Jack onto his stomach. Jack braces himself against the mattress, hands winding into the sheets as James hovers behind him. James says his name and then he's inside him.

His eyes start to prickle, so Jack buries his head in the pillow, biting down as James moves within him. He wants to suffocate, he is suffocating, with pleasure, with pain, with regret, with grief. The feeling is too intense. It's shaking loose every feeling he's ever had, bringing everything to the surface until he thinks he's going to scream. He mouths the pillow instead.

James slows, then stops. His hand is on Jack's shoulder, and he coaxes his head back. "I'm here," he says. He rolls Jack onto his side, inching closer, so that the curves of their bodies align perfectly. Jack sighs, letting James take the weight of his body and letting his head fall onto his shoulder. James kisses and claims him, slowly coaxing Jack's cock into stiffness.

They move together, slowly at first, like they're learning each other's bodies all over again. And then, he thinks, James just can't hold back anymore. He feels so deep, deeper than Jack remembers being possible and he knows neither of one them can hold out much longer. Both their breath comes faster. He tenses, knowing how it will feel to James. He's met with a muffled moan and then James is biting down on his shoulder, his hand bringing Jack along with him as he comes.

He'd be perfectly content to just lie here forever, bathed in sweat and wrapped in James's arms. Neither speaks for several minutes.

Then James brushes his fingers over Jack's bicep. "Got some more ink."

"Yeah." Years ago.

He shifts, turns so that he can look at James. "I didn't really think it was you at first. On the plane."

"Small world," James sighs, fingers still tracing over the designs that are new to him.

Jack expects James to ask him what he was doing in Australia, but he doesn't. "My father died," he states flatly. It still sounds unreal. Odd. Odder even than being here with James.

He can feel James stiffen at the news and he's almost glad when he doesn't offer his condolences.

"I was bringing his body back on the plane." Jack doesn't look at James. It's easier that way. "It's still at the airport. The hearse wasn't there yet and ... " His voice starts to crack as he talks, so he stops.

"That's rough," James says, squeezing his arm. "I didn't know."

"How could you?" Jack laughs. He sits up, drawing his knees into his chest.

"That why you decided to ... seize the moment?"

"It's not like I'd ever see you again if I didn't," Jack sighs, tired of not saying what he's thinking.

James leaves the bed and produces a bottle of whiskey from the gift store bag. "Thought we might need this. Guess after's just as good as before."

"I shouldn't," Jack says. "Five years sober."

"So how come you taste like vodka?" James raises one eyebrow and hands him the bottle.

"Momentary lapse," Jack sighs, taking a swig. He winces and hands it back to James.

"Like this?" James says softly before he takes a drink.

"No." Jack looks James right in the eye and says it again. "No. James, if you knew..." But he can't bear the intensity of those brilliant blue eyes, and he's the first to look away. He pulls the sheet around him.

James settles back onto the bed, holding the bottle steady so it doesn't spill. He runs his thumb up and down the glass neck. "Someone expectin' you right now?"

"Just my mother. Oh." Jack rubs his forehead. "You mean, am I married? No. I was."

James doesn't say anything, just waits for him to continue, so he does.

"She left me," he shrugs. "I was never home. Can't really blame her."

"So you drink too much and you work too much," James notes, taking another swig. "Haven't changed much. You a doctor, just like your daddy was?"

"Yeah, spinal surgeon. You?"

James raises that eyebrow again, head tilting just so that his hair falls into his eyes. "Me what?"

"You married?"

James holds up his bare hand. "Nah."

"And what were you doing in Australia?"

"Business." James' tone and the downturned curve of his mouth don't invite further questions.

An uneasy silence fills the room. Jack's not sure he wants to ask any more questions. He's starting to worry about the answers he'll get. He just wants to be touching James again, but it doesn't seem like that's an option anymore.

He sighs and looks at his watch. It's been about an hour since he left the airport. He doesn't want to leave, and yet if he sits here any longer with James, not saying anything, he's going to feel even more ripped-apart than he does now. He starts to think of getting dressed, of walking out the door, and never seeing James again and he almost chokes.

And then James is putting his arm around him and pulling him close. "You always had the weight of the world on you, didn't you?"

Jack just nods, sinking into the bed and into James. He won't let himself cry, because if he starts now, he might never stop.

"C'mere," James whispers, pulling Jack off the bed with him. He sets the bottle down on the dresser. "Think we both could use a shower. Don't wanna send you back to your mama smellin' like every sin under the sun."

He leads Jack into the bathroom. It's all marble and granite, far too fancy for the matching suite, but it doesn't matter. The shower is a standalone and big enough for two. James steps in first, drawing Jack after him with that wolfish grin Jack hasn't seen in years. He tosses his watch on the counter and steps into the steam.

They take turns soaping each other's bodies, not able to stop touching each other.

"Your hair is so long," Jack laughs, running his hands through it. "I like it, though."

"Yours is so short!" James rubs his scalp roughly until Jack cries out. "Suits you," he says, with that same cocky grin.

James turns him around and presses him up against the sleek surface of the shower wall. He runs his hand down Jack's back, stopping over the curve of his ass, and Jack nods. "Yeah." He braces himself as James thrusts into him. The sensation is different this time, more intense, with no condom and both their bodies slick with soap, their skin heated from the hot water. The water washes over his face and he lets the tears come, grief and passion too mixed up to separate.

The breathless way James says "Jack" when he comes just about breaks him. With both their hands on his cock, Jack comes hard for the third time today, like they were both still 17 and there were no such things as bad backs and wrenched knees and broken hearts.

He turns to face James, his cheek resting against his shoulder. They stand there for what seems like ages, arms wrapped tight around each other as the water continues to rain down on them. Finally, James gives him a little squeeze and turns the water off.

Jack knows that guarded look on James's face too well, the one he wore whenever Jack had to leave.

He towels off, but he's really watching James. He watches as he pulls on his jeans, then two T-shirts -- one short-sleeved, one long -- and a battered pair of tennis shoes. "You still dress like a teenager," he observes with a fond smile.

James shakes the hair out of his eyes and shrugs. Jack's glad to see there are smile lines there, like a record of all the times he's been happy. But the lines around James's eyes and the fine creases on his forehead are etched a little deeper.

Jack unwillingly puts his suit back on, reknots his tie. All he's changed is his underwear and his socks.

He sits on the chair across from the bed, knotting his fingers together. "I have to go," he sighs. "You can keep the room ..." He wants to say he'll be back, if James will just stay here. He hasn't even found out where James lives, where he's headed.

"Don't need to stay on your dime." James sits opposite him, on the bed.

"I ... I have to get back," Jack says, but James isn't arguing the point.

"Even dead, your old man's calling the shots," James says with a wistful smile. The words sting even though they're true.

"Here's my cell number, just if ..." Jack scribbles it down on one of the free notepads on the desk and hands it to James, who folds his hand around it. Please. He can't bring himself to say it.

He has to go now, just walk out the door because if he stops to touch James again, he won't go.

"See you," he says, burning the image of James sitting on the edge of the bed into his brain, and then he closes the door.

----

He calls his mother on the way back to the airport, tells her about everything but James. He picks up his suitcase and still beats the hearse. It's his lucky day.

It takes forever before he gets to the funeral home, hours before he can make the arrangements and before he finally arrives at his mother's. It's even longer before he can retreat to his old bedroom to make the call to the Radisson.

"I'm sorry, sir. Mr. Shephard has already checked out."

He flops back on the bed, the same bed since high school, and tells himself he's not surprised.

---

Jet lag means he's still awake at 3 a.m. when his cell phone comes to life. He picks up immediately, thinking it's ringing, but it's just his message notification. Damn thing takes hours to let him know he missed a call. He sighs in disappointment and checks his messages, expecting to hear his mother's voice, chiding him for not calling right when he landed.

"Hey."

Jack sits up. It's James's voice. "Hey," James continues, clearing his throat. "Think I still owe you a drink or something. Or, y'know, coffee or tea or whatever you drink when you're not drinking."

There isn't much more. Just the name of a hotel and the phone and room number and then a little pause before the hang-up.

Jack puts the phone on the pillow and lets the message play over and over.


Comments

( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
foxxcub
Oct. 1st, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
I know you know I didn't have this in mind at any point, but like always, you know where to take them better than I do. ♥
halfdutch
Oct. 1st, 2006 09:18 pm (UTC)
Aww, I'm so glad you approved, hon!

*LOVES*
isis2015
Oct. 1st, 2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
Oh goodness. I adored it. I especially love the image that the end gives me, of Jack just laying there in bed listening to James's voice over and over again.
halfdutch
Oct. 1st, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oops, you caught me fixing this ... I accidentally have two endings in here yet! *blushes* So glad you liked it, though. *rushes to fix*
vixerunt
Oct. 1st, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
I caught the two endings! They were both great, by the way.

Anyway, I was a little surprised to see this pairing on my list again. I'm very impressed with how you tied in Jack's father with all this since he played such a dominate role in their youthful relationship. I think I was on the edge of my seat while I was reading, wondering if James would go sit with Jack on the plane or if this was going to be a short one and they'd part ways without saying a word to each other. Nothing like a "Will they" or "Won't they" storyline to get your heart racing ;-)

Thank God for the Radisson! It was bittersweet and hot and a little awkward - and perfect given how things ended between them before Jack went to Harvard. I like that you've hinted they will be seeing each other again...in both endings! Even if this is an AU of an AU, it was nice for me to see somewhat of a happy ending for the boys. Hopefully the same goes for the other fans of the series.

Wonderful writing as always!
halfdutch
Oct. 1st, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ;) *blushes*

foxxcub and I have talked about various ways to continue this series, either bring it back to the island or have them meet at another point in their life, and then this idea occurred to me and I wanted to see if I could make it work. They were both just so raw when they got on that plane, the idea of them meeting again, with their history, really seemed worth exploring.

I was going to leave this on a less optimistic note, but it seemed too cruel to revisit them without leaving them with some hope and some promise. But the detachment of a voice message seemed to fit more than the immediacy of a phone conversation so I ended up going with that.

And yes, the Radisson! It really *is* the closest hotel to the airport, as it advertises on its website, although I haven't stayed there myself.
siluria
Oct. 1st, 2006 09:46 pm (UTC)
You know, I can finally re-read foxxcub's ending to this series without sobbing, because now I know they get back together again and I can take the hope in this fic to make it a happy ending! :) I was almost positive that plane was going to crash during the turbulence... that was just ev0l!! ;) Thank you for this!!!
halfdutch
Oct. 1st, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
Awww! Yay! And sorry for being ev0l. This isn't the official end for them (for one thing, we just can't let them be!), but just one possible scenario I wanted to explore. I couldn't bear to end this one without a ray of hope, though.
astra2104
Oct. 1st, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
Oh man. *draws shaky breath*

You know, I hadn't realized how much I missed those two until I started reading that fic...and dammit, you nearly made me cry.
He has to go now, just walk out the door because if he stops to touch James again, he won't go.
Okay, so maybe I did cry. A bit. It's nostalgia. And because it's so good.

*loves*


halfdutch
Oct. 1st, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
I've missed them too! So I'm glad you don't mind me taking them off the shelf and playing with them some more. ;)
ellel
Oct. 1st, 2006 11:51 pm (UTC)
I am speechless...GUH and more GUH,b/c that was hot!
But there are not enough words to describe how much I loved this!OMG-they meet on a plane,after what?20 years?!Amazing AU start!:D

"Your hair is so long,"Jack laughs,running his hands through it."I like it,though."
PERFECT.

more,more,more!
*is greedy*
halfdutch
Oct. 2nd, 2006 02:13 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much, hon! ;) I don't know that I'm going to write more after this but I did want to end it on an optimistic note so we could imagine them going on from here.

*hugs*
(no subject) - ellel - Oct. 2nd, 2006 01:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
inthekeyofd
Oct. 2nd, 2006 12:06 am (UTC)
You had them meet up again!!! *sigh* I love it.

You know there are so many things, the chance meeting, the hotel, that way that Sawyer says his name with his eyes closed because he's afraid he'll disappear if he opens them..Sawyer running his hands over that BUZZCUT.

Just all of it is just glorious.

Thank you for this and but most of all sharing with all of us your EXTREME talents.
halfdutch
Oct. 2nd, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)
Exteme fanfic! Yay! ;) LOL.

I'm so glad you liked all the details here. I'd had this one in the back of my mind and then it kind of blossomed into a full fic bunny that wanted to be written now. I think because I was in the middle of a really dark fic and I wanted something a little lighter. (And since when is Jack/James light? LOL.)

Thank you for the kind words!
cmonkatiekatie
Oct. 2nd, 2006 12:29 am (UTC)
I saw this and then was gonna save it because I didn't think my heart could take it. Yeah, that lasted all of 20 minutes and I've read it twice now and only cried the teensiest bit. The thing I love most though is how easily they fall back into being comfortable with eachother. Like it's still weighty and angsty, but even if everything else is hard that isn't. And the part with his dad, tying it to both the show and their history, genius. I think maybe I can go back and read the whole thing again now!
halfdutch
Oct. 2nd, 2006 02:19 am (UTC)
Ohh, I'm glad your heart could take it after all. :-) I just couldn't bring them back and end it without a ray of hope. And I kept thinking of how they'd fit into canon ... I'd already written one on the island, but that was after just the first J/J fic so of course everything was completely different.

And with both of them so battered and raw at the beginning of Lost, I'd love to think of them, as Jack and James, being able to find each other again at maybe their lowest points.
eponine119
Oct. 2nd, 2006 03:08 am (UTC)
Oh, this is nice. It's like closure, almost. I really like the look at them as men, the men they've become, and yet the boys they were rises to the surface so quickly. And it's fitting, somehow, that their reunion is under the shadow of Christian's death, since he always loomed such a large figure over their relationship.
halfdutch
Oct. 2nd, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
Thank you! ;) It seemed like a good way to dovetail Jack/James with Lost canon. (Although this isn't J/J canon, just one other place to go with them.) I'm so glad it worked for you.

(And I would still like to see where Sawyer was sitting on the plane. We haven't ever seen that, have we?)
alliecat8
Oct. 2nd, 2006 05:03 am (UTC)
I feel like I need to leave better feedback than this! Can I just say I loved it, and you'll know I mean it? ♥
halfdutch
Oct. 2nd, 2006 05:56 am (UTC)
Aww, any feedback is still love! Thanks for reading! ;)

♥♥
zelda_zee
Oct. 2nd, 2006 07:16 am (UTC)
You know how excited I have been at the prospect of this! I've read it twice now, and I can't tell you how happy it makes me. I just love that verse so much, and I know this is an AU to that AU, but still, it fits. I adore the idea of them encountering each other again as the men they become, altho it breaks my heart too, b/c the men they become (in that verse) has so much to do w/how they turned away from each other, how they needed to be together but couldn't.

I liked the terse dialogue, how they agree to go to the hotel w/out discussing it. Even after all those years they still understand each other better when they don't talk. And just like before, there's too much there to be able to put it into words anyway.

It's interesting to contemplate that to this Jack, James is not Sawyer, he wouldn't even know who Sawyer was.

This was so sad, esp knowing what they had both just experienced, and they were so sweet and gentle w/each other, I just loved how tender they were.

And thank god for that ending! I mean, thank you for it. Really, I can't tell you how grateful I am for that bit of hope.

*loves*
halfdutch
Oct. 2nd, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! I'm so glad it lived up to your expectations!

The men they become (in that verse) has so much to do w/how they turned away from each other, how they needed to be together but couldn't.

So true. *sniffles* They'd be so much better off together, and yet they couldn't ever be, at least not before. Them meeting up again now, at this point in their lives, just seemed to make sense.

This was so sad, esp knowing what they had both just experienced, and they were so sweet and gentle w/each other, I just loved how tender they were.

I'm glad that wasn't too horribly schmoopy. I guess I thought they were both vulnerable enough at that moment to just let each other back in. Under different circumstances (say, if the plane *had* crashed), I don't see them being able to just drop their guards and 20 years of distance and resentment.

And I was going to end this with Jack calling the hotel and hearing James had checked out, but I couldn't do that to myself either! Because I'm such a sucker for a hint of a happy ending at least.

(And I just had to write this one now, I think because the captivity fic is just so dark and I needed something much more loving and hopeful.)

Your fb totally made my day! ;) ♥♥



(no subject) - zelda_zee - Oct. 2nd, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
hkath
Oct. 2nd, 2006 07:19 am (UTC)
I was practically falling asleep when I got to this post, but reading it woke me... and broke me. Repeatedly. Especially this: "Are you real?" James says in the quietest voice, eyes still tight shut, as if opening them would make Jack disappear.

But also, all of it. I forgot how much this version of them had the ability to move me.

I love this direction for them. It makes me wonder how Jack will find a way to blame Sawyer's less-than-stellar living situation on himself. ;)
halfdutch
Oct. 2nd, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you, hon! *sniffles and puts my head on your shoulder* I missed them!

Jack would feel wretched indeed, knowing that his turning away from James helped put him on the path to becoming Sawyer. I don't know how Jack, in this version, would react to that realization, or how much James would let him know about his life as Sawyer. In a way, it's the same dilemma as post-island fics: What would Sawyer do now? Would being with Jack make him change his life? And could they even stay together? Since I'm a sucker for the happy ending, even, in some way, for Jack and James, I'd like to think they could make it work, at least for a little while.



(no subject) - foxxcub - Oct. 2nd, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
gottalovev
Oct. 2nd, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
after all the heartbreak of how they parted as teens, this was so soothing... thank you so much! oh, they still have issues, things could never be simple, but the way you handled this whole chapter was great.

I love them. so much. and you are so good. I love you like whoa. *smooches*
halfdutch
Oct. 5th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! *loves*

I think they still have their share of heartbreak but I couldn't bear to leave it on a down note. I always love to think they end up bringing out the best in each other.

*kisses*
fosfomifira
Oct. 2nd, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
I didn't know my little heart could break of happiness. I loved the little details, the hints at realism, like the socks and the condom. I loved Sawyer reversing into James, asking Jack if he was real.

Jack falling asleep as he listened to the message, like the boy he once was, like falling asleep holding James's t-shirt, except that now James won't go away. The way they lit the cigarette, a prelude to kissing.

They acted like kids at the shower (happier sex than the last time they were together in a shower) and then they're adults, grown up all of the sudden with all of their adult pain.

I loved it.
halfdutch
Oct. 5th, 2006 02:06 am (UTC)
I didn't know my little heart could break of happiness.

*wibbles*

Thank you, hon. They've been through so much, I just wanted to give them a moment where they had that possibility of a future together.

Thank you for singling out all those moments in the fic, the ones that echo all the earlier things they've been through and been for each other.

*wraps in a big bear hug*
elise_509
Oct. 2nd, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
I'm so thrilled to see this wonderful addition to this 'verse. Jack and James meeting up again after so many years apart is so heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time.

Jack getting up to try and get to James when the plane starts having trouble was amazing. That look - the electricity of it just jumped off the page, really. You could feel it, the spark of recognition and that "oh holy shit" moment when it's undeniably obvious that they're really both there, in that moment.

I loved Jack just getting in the cab like that and neither of them really saying anything, just looking at one another and lighting the cigarettes...heading for the hotel like they have absolutely no other option. And can I tell you how much I love sex scenes that start off with someone just opening the door, going into the room and BAM, throwing someone against the wall like that? My god. The sex was hot and so damn the conversation afterward...not much said but still so much spoken.

After the shower, god, broke my heart. Jack needs to go and James knows he needs to go and neither of them seem to know what to do. The idea of being back in one another's lives all of a sudden - it's like, it can't be just this one-time random thing but how can it be more? I'm glad you added on the happy ending after the sad one, I thought when James checked out that was going to be it but then you rescued me from having to make a sad face and instead now I can make a happy one. :)

*loves*
halfdutch
Oct. 5th, 2006 02:04 am (UTC)
You make me so happy with this feedback. :-) And mmm, throwing someone against a wall is a total kink of mine, LOL. Just that whole 'can't even wait to get ot the bed' thing.

it can't be just this one-time random thing but how can it be more?

That's the dilemma. They've never been able to stay away from each other and yet never able to make it work. With their biggest obstacle removed, I'd like to think they could, finally. Even though, given their histories as Jack and Sawyer, it would be very rough going.

I couldn't bear to end it with no hope. I'm such a wimp, LOL. I wrote this in the middle of a very, very dark fic and I just had to have that ray of light there.

*hugs*
crystalkirk
Oct. 3rd, 2006 04:48 am (UTC)
Wow, honey. This was totally what I needed to see. I just got back from another part of my S2 marathon with my friend - and being able to read the boys like this is just needed, you know? Add that, to the fact that I'm slightly obsessed with the idea of grown up Jack and James (as Sawyer) meeting back up on this island, but this was a great idea here!

I always love "what if" fics for some reason (which, I guess does explain part of my love for the the J/J 'verse too) and seeing what would happen if 815 stayed in the air, for the boys, is just fucking brilliant. James is Sawyer here. But he's James too, because of Jack.

*loves*

So I adore grown up Jack and James meeting up again - especially like this, on an 815 that isn't doomed. Another great way to take the AU angle for them. Just so damn perfect.

Loved it, hon. :)
halfdutch
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC)
Oh thank you so much, hon. I'm so glad that this worked for you. I love to play "what if." What if the plane didn't crash? What if Jack and Sawyer already had a history? What would meeting again at that precise point be like when they're at absolute rock bottom?

James is Sawyer here. But he's James too, because of Jack.

He is. Jack doesn't even meet Sawyer here. I always love the idea that they can be each other's redemption, even if that can't possibly be true for either of them.

Add that, to the fact that I'm slightly obsessed with the idea of grown up Jack and James (as Sawyer) meeting back up on this island, but this was a great idea here!

Oh thank you! foxxcub and I have talked about bringing them to the island and what that would be like. It could still definitely happen! And differently enough from this that it would still be worth examining, I think.

*loves*

(And I love the Jack/James wall so much you made for me!)
arabella_hope
Oct. 4th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
This is so FULL and aching, but hopeful and OH! Brings such a smile to my face (after many wibbles, of course!)

I'm just going to quote back to you the parts that made me:

He gets to his feet because he's not going to die with James just a few feet behind him...

...he just leans forward, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth.

"Are you real?" James says in the quietest voice, eyes still tight shut, as if opening them would make Jack disappear.

"You always had the weight of the world on you, didn't you?"

...like they were both still 17 and there were no such things as bad backs and wrenched knees and broken hearts.

Jack's glad to see there are smile lines there, like a record of all the times he's been happy.


Okay...gonna stop now. There were more, but really, just a big thank you for this. These boys (men) are just so special to so many of us, and that's all you & foxxcub (well, and a ton of other people I adore!). Having this group experience throughfic is just the most amazing thing!
halfdutch
Oct. 5th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
Oh thank you so much, hon! It warms my heart so to hear that this still feels true to the rest of the J/J universe.

I love that you loved it. And this group experience has been one of the best of my life. Thank you for being part of it.

*loves and snuggles*

(Deleted comment)
halfdutch
Oct. 13th, 2006 05:41 am (UTC)
Thank you! ;) I just couldn't bear to revisit them without having a ray of hope in there. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I've missed them too!

just_jawyer
Oct. 13th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)
*something went wrong with posting?*

I liked how you made me wonder where they knew each other from, and how they didn't really talk much, and I really got this 'so what's James gonna be like' question mark in my head.

-loved this sentence-
He can't decide if the timing is perfect or just fate's latest joke.

The sex was.. hott...
the hair-comments-exchange was cute_squared

and the ending... will there be a sequel??

halfdutch
Oct. 13th, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! So glad you liked it. From your comments, I gather that you're unfamiliar with the alternate universe this is set in (although this fic is an AU to that, if that makes sense): It's where Jack and James are teenagers at the same high school in Los Angeles who have a very, very angsty relationship. (In other words, not much different from their island counterparts!) You can catch up at the comm here: jackjames_verse.

Here's a post that lists all the fics in order!
http://community.livejournal.com/jackjames_verse/8856.html

Enjoy!
(no subject) - halfdutch - Oct. 13th, 2006 05:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - just_jawyer - Oct. 13th, 2006 12:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
zenana7
Oct. 15th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
Finally, finally, getting a chance to read this. Can I tell you how happy I am you wrote it? You do know I'm at least one of J/J's #1 fans (can there be more than one #1fan? Just seems presumptuous to make such a claim, given the number of J/J fans). The point is, I so love this 'verse, thought it was all done with foxxcub's last installment, and I so wanted more. Very clever to take the boys -- men -- in this AU direction. Enjoyed your take on the adult version of their dynamic, with the time and lifetimes that have passed since they were last together.

Course, now I'd like to see you do a remake of the island reunion... just sayin'... I do love how you write J/J so very much. Thank you so for writing this.
halfdutch
Oct. 15th, 2006 06:49 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! First, it's great to see you back on LJ!! *glomps*

And I'm so glad you approve. I had intended it to end without that hopeful note but I'd been writing a really dark fic and I couldn't do that to myself or them or everyone who loves them, even though we are all suckers for the angst that will always be part of who they are.

It's so different to write them meeting up again with all this history behind them, than when it was just a one-time fling! I have thought of a way to revisit them on the island that would be quite different than either of those fics so .. we'll see! None of us can completely let them go, can we?

Thanks for reading! ;) Don't be a stranger!
infalinxmoo
Oct. 21st, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you for coming back to this verse for a little while, this was awesome. I read this right before I went to bed and after I had been to the pub so I ended up dreaming about it (I sleep wierdly after drinking). I read the end of Let Go again first, the bit about Jack wearing James' t-shirt so in my dream there was like an extra bit at the end of your fic where James found the shirt in Jack's bag or something. Anyways, my crazyness aside, this was a really good way to continue their story and I loved it. What are the chances that there will be more?
halfdutch
Oct. 25th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you so much! Aww, I did try to circle back to some of the earlier fics here and I love that you're doing the same thing! *hugs*

I don't know if I will write more set in this verse but it's always a possibility. I'm flattered you want to see more! ;)
haldoor
Mar. 8th, 2007 07:37 am (UTC)
I don't know the AU you're AU'ing, but I love how you have these guys - the angst, oh, the angst! Superb! Thanks for letting me in on the angst! ;-)
halfdutch
Mar. 8th, 2007 08:17 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much!

And oh my, you're in for a treat if you've never read any of the Jack/James fics. (I can say that because I was only a co-writer!) It's a very angsty AU series where Jack and Sawyer knew each other in high school.

There's a comm for it here: jackjames_verse and a chronological list of fics here: http://community.livejournal.com/jackjames_verse/8856.html. The second fic in the series (which I wrote) brings them back to the island, but then we disregarded that. This fic you've just read is an alternate (and still possible) ending to the whole series, but it's set 20 years in the future, if that makes sense. I hope so! :)
(no subject) - haldoor - Mar. 10th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
vivilit
Sep. 16th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow... long time no see huh?

I've just finish reading this fic even tough I read the original verse back when it was being posted. I'm so glad that I felt nostalgic and decided first re-read the whole thing this week and then look at livejournal to see if there was any revisiting fic or something.

This AU is sooooo good, and heartbreaking considering how much they went through in those 20 years apart (considering what Sawyer has done in Australia, and they both being so broken and lost). I confess that I was very afraid during the first half of this, 'cause how could they deal with each other after all that? Could Sawyer acknowledge James again to at least try to be with Jack for a little while without more heartbreak?

And you did it! It is a little angsty but so full of hope. And I'm still smiling after finishing it for the second time. I loved all of it, from the awkward to the meaningful silences. From the doubt to the hope. The sadness and the love. All of it.

And I can totally imagine they meeting again, figuring stuff out and maybe, who knows, finally being able to BE together. I know that there would be a lot of storms before the calm (just like in the island universe), but I'm a sucker for HEA. Even tough I enjoy angst, the hope and the love and the understanding fixing at least most of the evils is what makes my day, is what makes fiction so compelling (with some exceptions), for me at least. (you see, even after foxxcub's sad sad end, I still try to imagine some light in a possible future).

For me, there are fics like this as true or as "canon" as the original series (much like a multiple realities universe). And even tough we eventually move on to other things as the years pass, those never gets old or less exciting.

Alongside with elise509's "A Pain that I'm Used To", Jack and James verse figure in my all time favorite (in my more than 10 years reading fanfic, from lots of fandoms), so thank you and foxxcub (and the others) for writing such great and memorable tale.
halfdutch
Sep. 19th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
Wow, how wonderful to get such a lovely comment on an old fic. (As I haven't written anything in ages, I guess they're all "old fics" at this point.)

I'm so pleased this still resonates for you. It's one of my favorites and I was so happy to be able to write one last Jack/James fic, one with a ray of hope to it. (And that it turned out believable, that is wonderful to hear.)

It was a really great thing, to be part of writing this series. I'll always remember it and my co-writers fondly and of course, all the amazing feedback I got. It brings a huge smile to my face to know that people are still enjoying it (and consider it canon!) and that it's kind of got a life of its own. That's all any writer can ever hope for! ♥

Thanks again for your comment. It's very much appreciated!


Edited at 2010-09-19 04:54 am (UTC)
julis_dh
Dec. 19th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
oh! come on! I know my comment is a little bit late! but this story is soooo great. Someone please has to continue it!!! please I have to have at least a final reunion. does anyone feel nostalgic?? and wants to write a little more??? please!
either way thanks to everyone who wrote a piece of it because it was awesome!
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