Seasons of PD: Season 3: Jay’s Missing (A Halstead Brothers + Halstead Sister! Imagine)
As always, I don't own any quotes from the episode that happen to be in here!
Your age: 14
Jay's age: 28
Will's age: 30
"C'mon Jay," you muttered as you called him for the third time in an hour.
It was the one night a month where you and your brother would go out to dinner together and if there was a hockey game on, you'd finish watching it at his apartment. Then, he'd take you home. He was skeptical about doing it tonight since you had end-of-the-year exams next week, but you reassured him that you'd be fine; taking a break for a few hours never hurt anybody. And, you had all Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night after school to study since exams didn't start until Tuesday.
"You've reached Jay Halstead--" You quickly ended the call and began texting Ruzek. Hopefully, he'd cave and tell you what was going on.
But, when the read sign popped up seven minutes later, you knew something was up. If Jay was going to be late, he would've called you, or at least texted.
Since it was late May, the sun was out later than in the winter, which meant that it wouldn't be dark for another couple of hours. So, you grabbed a light sweatshirt and pulled it on, grabbed your phone and a few dollars and put them in your pocket, shouting a "bye Dad" on the way out...not that he cared what you did anyway.
You walked a few blocks to the El train stop, put your dollar in for your ticket, and hopped on. While you were on there, you were sure to have Ruzek's number pulled up on your phone and were ready to hit the call button in case something happened to you.
You looked at the map. The 21st District was just a few stops away. Soon, you'd know why Jay wasn't answering you. Hopefully, he was just out on a raid, handcuffing the bad guys.
"Kim," you said as you rushed into the district and saw the officer. "Do you know where my--"
You were cut off by the faint sound of a scream.
"Do I know where who is, Y/N?" she asked, completely ignoring what she had just heard.
"Jay, but that sounded like him screaming!"
You ran up the stairs to Intelligence, tugging on the gate even though you knew it wouldn't open without a member scanning their palm or Platt buzzing you up.
"Was that Jay? Is he there?" you yelled.
"Y/N, we can't let you up there right now," Kim explained.
"Why not? Jay told me we'd go out for dinner tonight and he always calls if he's gonna be late."
You looked up to see Ruzek coming towards the door.
"Would it kill you to answer a text?" you asked.
"Sorry, been busy."
"At least let me upstairs and then you can tell me where Jay is and I'll be out of your hair."
Ruzek sighed and allowed you to go up, Kim following you as well.
"Or Detective Halstead winds up as fertilizer in some cornfield in Indiana. We understand each other, Sergeant?"
"What'd he want?" Antonio asked, everyone totally unaware that you were now in the room.
"Halstead's life for all our CI files."
"H- His life?" you asked, frozen on the top step to the bullpen.
"Shit," Kevin muttered.
"Is he in trouble? Is he dead? Is that why he didn't answer my calls?" Your bottom lip started to tremble.
Antonio took a deep breath. He knew that if Gabby was in trouble that he'd want as much detail about what was happening as possible. "Something uh, something went wrong earlier," he supplied. "And then, because of that, some dealers took your brother."
"They took him? Took him where?"
"We don't know yet, kid," Al said. "But, that's what we're trying to find out."
When you heard that they didn't know where he was, you ran off towards the locker room. Ruzek tried to put his foot between the wall and the door to stop you from closing it and locking yourself in, but you were too fast for him.
You pulled out your phone and dialed a number you knew you probably should've called earlier when you first thought that Jay was in trouble.
"Erin? Jay's missing. You gotta find him. You're his partner."
Erin blearily reached for the phone, still trying to get over her hangover from last night--which lasted well into this morning--to go out for another night of non-stop partying, drinking, and drugs. She furrowed her eyebrows when she saw your name pop up.
"Erin? Jay's missing. You gotta find him. You're his partner."
"He's--" She cleared her throat. "He's missing? What happened? Are you hurt?"
"I'm fine. I- I called him because we had a dinner and he didn't pick up, so eventually I just- I came down to the district and I heard someone on the phone say they're going to turn him into fertilizer, Erin."
"Do you know who it was?" she asked as she grabbed her service weapon and slid it into the waistband of her jeans...the same clothes she had been wearing since last night. A call that her boyfriend was missing was definitely curing her hangover fast.
"I don't know. It was- It was some dealer. But, you gotta come here and help them find him. You're his partner. Please." Your voice cracked on the last word.
"Okay, okay, I'll call Will to come pick you up and explain the situation. I'm leaving my apartment right now. I'll be there soon."
"Please don't call Will," you urged. "He's gonna be mad at me."
"Why's he gonna be mad at you?"
"Because I took the El and I'm not supposed to take the El by myself."
"Y/N, you taking the El by yourself is the least of his problems at the moment. Just sit tight and I should be there in about ten minutes."
"Y/N, c'mon open this door. Please?" you heard your oldest brother's voice on the other side of the door. "I know you're worried about Jay, but it's not gonna help at all if you just lock yourself in here all night."
You sniffled and then walked over to the door and unlocked it. "Will!" you cried, rushing into his arms. "He's gone, he's gone, he's gone."
"Hey, hey it's okay. You're okay. They're gonna find him and then you can have two dinners with him next month because you missed yours this month."
The number of times Jay had been shot or hurt on the job had caused Will to basically be immune to hearing bad news about his little brother. But, if Jay didn't come back or flatlined, then he'd be freaking out. And, despite Will wanting to scream at all of Intelligence to go find him, he knew he couldn't do that. He couldn't lash out right now because it'd only make it worse for you.
Your stomach growled, making Will go into even more protective brother mode. "When's the last time you ate?"
"Lunch," you answered.
"Y/N, it's 7:30. We gotta get some food in you."
"But, but what if he comes back? I wanna see him when he comes back."
"I'm gonna be honest with you. When he comes back, he's probably gonna need to go to the hospital just as a precaution. And, I know you have exams soon and your algebra one is stressing you out. I don't think Jay would want you to fail an exam just because you were worried about him."
"I hate math," you grumbled.
"I know. That's why you need to make sure you study."
"Doesn't mean I'm gonna end up liking it because I have to work on it."
Will didn't know what to say to that because he knew that you were right. So, he reiterated his previous point. "Let's go get you some food."
"Can-Can we just eat at home?" you asked. "I don't wanna not be home and hear bad news about Jay."
Will knew what you were getting at: you didn't want to break down in public.
"Yeah, we can do that. Still got a bunch of mac n cheese at home?"
"A few boxes," you answered, remembering how bare the cupboards were at your and your dad's house.
"We'll just grab something on the way home. C'mon."
"Can Erin come, too?" you asked.
"Go ask her. And, don't take the El by yourself. That's dangerous."
You rolled your eyes and followed him out of the locker room and into the bullpen.
"Erin," you started as you walked up to her desk. She had her head in her hands.
"Hmmm?" she asked looking up.
"Do you wanna come back to my house and eat dinner with me and Will?"
"I don't know if--"
"She'll come," Voight answered before she could finish.
"Erin, we'll still be here working when you're done with dinner. Lord knows you could use some food in you."
"Fine." She stood up and grabbed her coat. "Not like you're letting me help with the case anyway," she muttered. But, no one heard that part.
Since she had quit Intelligence in Bunny's bar a few weeks ago, Voight was right in having her not work the case...not that she'd admit that. But this was her boyfriend, her partner, that was in trouble and she'd be damned if she didn't help get him out of this mess.
"Dad's not home?" Will asked as he let them into the house using the spare key that was hidden under a layer of dirt in the flower pot.
"He never is," you mumbled.
"What? What do you mean he's never home?"
"I mean, he's never home on Friday nights because he always goes out to the bar with some old friends," you told him. That was at least true. He did go out to the bar with some old friends...but it wasn't just Friday nights anymore, it was Friday, Saturday, and sometimes Thursday and Sunday, too. Because of this, he ate out a lot and didn't cook. Therefore, he had no reason to buy a lot of groceries, which was why there wasn't a lot of dinner food left in the cupboard...not that there was a lot of breakfast or lunch food here either, though. There was just enough for you to play it off that your dad just needed to go to the store. There was just enough for your brothers not to worry.
"Okay." Will started to grab the Olive Garden you had ordered out of the bag. You said you weren't hungry--you didn't want to eat when you were this nervous-- and had only wanted to get some minestrone soup. But, Will insisted that you needed more than that so you compromised: minestrone soup and half an order of fettuccine alfredo...plus the breadsticks and the salad that came with the meal obviously.
A while later, Will was almost done with his food and was grabbing another breadstick and Erin was putting more salad onto her plate. You, on the other hand, had barely managed to finish your minestrone.
"Y/N, can you please eat a bit more? How about a breadstick? I know you love those," Will said.
"I'm not that hungry," you said quietly.
Will was about to say something when Erin stepped in. "How about you work on some of your homework? Maybe that'll make your appetite come back since you're using a lot of energy to focus. And, Jay mentioned that you have exams next week."
"He did?" you asked. You didn't think that Jay would mention stuff that you had going on in your life, like exams, to Erin.
"He always says how proud of you he is for working so hard in school...because he says that he was never as good in school as you."
"He really says he's proud of me?"
"He sure does."
"You guys mind if I do it out here? It's a lot easier to write stuff down when I'm writing in my notebook on the table instead of balancing it in my lap on my bed."
"Sure, kiddo," Will said.
You went to your room and grabbed your backpack and then started to work on your homework.
As you were working on it, your brain wandered back to the first time Jay had helped you with your math homework, all the way back in kindergarten, at this very kitchen table, when both of your parents had been working and Will was all the way in New York for his first year of med school.
You were sitting at the kitchen table, trying not to crumple up your math homework sheet and throw it across the room. It was only five subtraction problems, but subtraction was hard! You had only just started understanding addition!
You threw your pencil across the kitchen, where it narrowly missed the wall. It clattered to the floor, causing Jay to look up from where he was reading a book in the living room, the chair he had been sitting in was facing the kitchen, so he could keep an eye on you.
"Did you throw that?" he asked as he walked towards you.
"No," you lied.
He picked up the pencil. "If you lie, you get nine minutes in time out instead of six."
You didn't want to go in time out that long!
"I throwed it," you admitted, looking down at your math homework.
"It's threw, but thank you for being honest. Can you tell me why you threw the pencil?"
That was something his mom always did with him when he was younger: asked him why he did something and then, possibly put him in time out. Sometimes, he just needed to talk it out, and if that was the case, he didn't have to go into time out.
"I don't get sub-trac-shun!" you complained. "It's stupid!"
"Hey, we don't use that word."
"But it's hard."
"I know, but what if I help you? Would that help you to get it?"
"But Will said you not good at math," you pointed out, remembering something your oldest brother had said.
Jay chuckled. "I'm not good at big kid math. This stuff is easy for me."
"Oh, yeah. And, I think I might have something that can help you."
He walked over to the cupboard and reached up to the top shelf where he grabbed a bag of chocolate chips. He poured some into a small bowl and then walked back to the table and sat down next to you.
"We gonna eat chocolate?" you asked. "Even though I throwed-- I threw my pencil?"
"This is gonna help you learn subtraction."
"Just watch." He paused and looked at the paper in front of you. "So, this one says five minus two."
"I know that," you told him proudly. "I know it says five minus two. I dunno what the an- the answer is though."
"Okay, well, take five chocolate chips out of here."
He held the bag out to you while you took five out, counting each one out loud. "What do I do now?"
"Now, if I eat two--" he popped two in his mouth. "--how many do you have now?"
You looked down at the chocolate chips. "One...Two...Three. I have three choc-chips!"
"That's right! So, five minus two is...?"
You scrunched up your face, trying to piece together what he had done. "I dunno."
"We had five chocolate chips. I ate two. How many did you say we have left?"
"Yeah. Five minus two is the same thing...just without me adding chocolate chips to the end."
"Here." He took your paper from you and on the first three problems, he wrote chocolate chips after each number. "Five chocolate chips minus two chocolate chips is...?"
"Yeah! Good job! Now, write three down as your answer."
The next problem was three chocolate chips minus one chocolate chip and you did the same thing this time. Except, you got to eat the chocolate instead of Jay. You had two chocolate chips left this time.
Then, when you got to the last two problems that didn't say chocolate chips after the numbers, Jay showed you on your fingers how to figure out the answer.
Then, since you did such a good job, he let you watch Dora and eat some more chocolate chips.
"Y/N? Y/N? You good?" You were snapped out of your thoughts by Will saying your name.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm fine." You reached over the table to grab your pencil that had rolled towards Will. But, as you were reaching for it, your elbow knocked the two-liter of pop. "No!" you cried out as it spilled. It didn't just spill anywhere though...it spilled right on top of your algebra notebook. "Fuck this! I can't do this!"
You threw your pop-covered and sticky notebook on the ground and sprinted to the bathroom, ignoring Will and Erin's calls for you to come back.
You locked the door and slumped down against it. God, you needed that notebook. That had your entire exam review in it. And, if you didn't finish the exam review, you couldn't take the exam.
You only had 25 more problems left out of the 220 you had to do, hence why the review was given to you a month before you actually had to take the exam, so you had time to do it. And, some kids would wait until the last minute, but you figured you'd start early and do a certain number of problems a day so you didn't have to stress out and had time to ask your teacher questions if you had any.
But now, now you had a matter of days to do all 220 problems...and you had other exams to study for...and your big brother was missing...and...
Shit, here comes the Olive Garden.
You jumped up and lifted the lid of the toilet, quickly emptying the minestrone soup from your stomach.
"Y/N? Y/N! Open this door!" Will yelled as he banged on the door.
You leaned back against the bathtub and took a few deep breaths, willing yourself not to throw up again. You groaned as you felt the liquid rise in your throat and were back above the toilet in a matter of seconds.
You were panting at this point and trying to take a few breaths before more came out. Because you were so focused on making sure you didn't inhale your own vomit (ew) you didn't hear Will pick the lock and enter the bathroom.
When all that was left for you to throw up was bile and you were finished, you closed your eyes and leaned back against the bathtub once more, and took deep breaths.
"So that's why you didn't want to eat any more than you did," Will said.
"Will? How'd you get in here?"
"I picked the lock, Jay's not the only person in this family who knows how to do that, you know."
"I hate this," you mumbled, eyes still closed. "It happened last semester with exams too, but it wasn't this bad."
"Kid, you're stressing yourself out too much. You have to take a chill pill."
"Okay," Will started as he crouched down next to you. "Why can't you relax?"
"I spilled pop all over my notebook!"
"So? You already practiced those problems. You know you don't need to practice them again, so just do the ones you need to practice."
"You don't get it!" You frantically rubbed the heels of your hands over your eyes as tears started to stream from them. "I needed that notebook! If I don't turn in the entire exam review I c-can't take the exam." You sighed and just put your head in your hands. This night seriously could not get any worse at this point. "And, Jay's miss- Jay's missing!"
"Y/N, I need you to take a deep breath for me, okay? Just take one."
"O-Okay." You took a deep, yet shaky breath.
You took another deep, yet shaky breath. And, you continued this cycle until Will deemed your breathing to be back to normal.
"How about you brush your teeth and then we'll figure out what to do for the homework once you do that. Sound good?" You nodded and stood up to go to the sink. "I'll be in the kitchen with Erin."
Then, Will exited the bathroom to go back into the kitchen like he told you.
"How is she?" Erin asked when she saw him come in. She had started cleaning up their take-out containers while Will had been busy trying to calm you down. "Sounded like she was puking."
"Because she was."
"Is she sick?"
"Not in the technical sense. But, she is what I like to call stress sick."
"Exams are stressing her out, so add on top of the fact that Jay's missing, and she got so stressed out that she threw up."
"Poor kid," Erin sympathized. Then, her phone buzzed. "I gotta get back to the district. Tell her to feel better from me."
"Will do." He started to walk Erin towards the door, but stopped when they were almost to it. "And Erin? Bring my little brother back. Even though he's a pain in my ass half the time, I can't lose him. And, I know Y/N would take it really hard."
"Will, he's got the best unit in all of Chicago looking for him. We'll bring him back."
A few minutes after Erin had left, you walked into the kitchen, with clean teeth and the gross taste of vomit now out of your mouth, to see Will sitting at the table, staring at your notebook with a roll of paper towel next to him. "What are you doing?" you asked as you sat down.
"Trying to get the stain out," he replied.
"How? It's like the entire notebook, not just one page."
"You're talking to the king of spilled coffee on homework. And, lucky for you, pop and coffee are both water-based. So, I think I know how to get this out. You're gonna need to rewrite it in a new notebook, though."
"Okay. Need any help?"
"Can you just get me a bowl filled with water?"
"The paper's already wet. Why do you want to make it wetter?"
"Just trust me on this one." You yawned. "After you grab that for me, maybe you should go to bed. It's been a long day."
"Will you stay here?"
"Of course. I can just sleep in my old bedroom...unless Dad did something to it. Speaking of Dad, is he usually out this late? Does he usually leave you home alone this late at night?"
You were filling up a bowl with water and turned to look at Will. You shrugged. "Sometimes. It's okay, though." That was a lie. Most nights he didn't get home until two or three in the morning...but, Will didn't need to know that.
"I'm going to have a chat with Dad about that. He shouldn't be leaving you home alone this late at night."
"Will, it's not even that late. I'm fine." You placed the bowl of water on the table.
"Fine. But if it hits midnight and he's not home yet, then I will be talking with him about this."
You nodded. "Well, I'm gonna go to bed. 'Night Will. Sorry about getting sick."
"You don't have to apologize for that." He stood up and pulled you into a hug. "Goodnight."
You started to walk towards your bedroom when you remembered something and turned back to Will. "Will?"
"Do you think Jay's okay? He's gotta be okay, right?"
"Y/N, he's got the best unit in the city looking for him."
"And Erin," he confirmed. "He'll be okay." But, in that moment he didn't know who he was trying to reassure more: you or himself.
"You wanna go somewhere today?" Will asked as you were both sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal the next morning.
"I have homework to do...a lot more than I thought I'd have, too. Did Erin give you any updates on Jay?" you asked.
He shook his head. "But, he's gonna be okay. And, you don't have a ton of homework to do. You have a ton of homework to copy."
"What do you mean?"
At this, he placed the notebook on the table. "I told you I knew what I was doing."
You flipped open the notebook to see that Will was right: he did in fact know what he was doing. Even though the pages were all still tinted a light brown from the pop, the writing from you doing all the practice problems was still legible. "How did you...?" you trailed off as you continued to flip through your algebra notebook.
"Like I told you, I spilled coffee on one too many notebooks in college. Now all you need to do is copy the problems down into a clean notebook. Save you some brainpower."
"Now, I suggest we got to CCU's library so you can get a change of scenery while doing that."
"CCU? Why? And, you're not a student there anymore. How are we gonna get in?"
Will scoffed. "They don't check student IDs when you go in. And, a change in my workspace always helped me to focus when I was studying, so maybe it'll help you."
"Workspace," you mocked. "So professional. But, yeah, let's do that. Can we keep our phones on though in case Erin calls?"
Will nodded. "Of course."
Getting into CCU wasn't actually that hard. All Will had to do was pay $10 for a day pass to park and then you walked into the library, no student ID necessary.
"Okay kiddo, where are we sitting?" he asked.
"I don't know. I've never been here before. Where did you normally sit?"
"Second floor. It's generally quieter up there and the tables are big, so I could throw my books all over it. But, I'd come back down here for coffee a lot, too."
"There's a coffee shop?" you asked as you widened your eyes. "In the library?"
"Well, tuition is out of this world. So, at least we get something out of it."
"Can we go? I think I have $5 somewhere in my backpack."
"If prices haven't gone up since I was here when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, then I can get a muffin and a large coffee for $5. I'll have the coffee and you can have the muffin. I'll pay," Will told you.
"Okay, thank you! And, you're not that old, Will."
You got your triple chocolate muffin and Will got his large coffee. Then, you found one of the big tables that he had mentioned and started copying your algebra review into another notebook.
"What are you going to do? Sit here and stare off into space?" you asked your brother. "Wait," you began as you started to rummage around in your backpack for an eraser, "What's this?"
You set a big book on the table. And it's definitely not something you'd read because it was called "How We Learn", which you assumed meant that the book was nonfiction and went into the science of learning.
"I found it in my room. Must've left it there from Christmas last year and I haven't had a chance to read it, so I figured I'd bring it to read now."
"Did Jay ever want to go to college?" you asked a few hours later. "Or, did he know it just wasn't right for him?"
"I think he always knew he wanted to do something involving being on the front lines and being in all the action," Will answered, dog-earing the page in his book and setting it down. "Why? You don't want to go to college either?"
"No, I do," you said quickly. "It's just- I just want to know things that I've never asked him if we...you know..."
Will nodded. "I know you're worried about him, but if Hank Voight's anything like Jay's told me, he won't let anything happen to one of his own."
"But he let it happen to Jules," you said. What if Jay was the next Jules?
"Jules? Who's Jules?"
"She was Antonio's partner. Antonio's the reason Jay got into Intelligence. And one day, he said we were going to go see a movie. Like, he just randomly picked me up from school and everything. I could tell he was sad after the movie, and it wasn't a sad movie, and he told me that someone he worked with died. A little later, we were walking by the memorial wall by the district and he showed me her name."
"I see," Will said, drawing on his talking-to-patient skills because what else was he going to say?
Luckily, he was saved by his phone ringing.
"Hello? Erin?" Pause. "He's at Med?" Pause. "Okay, yeah, we'll be there in ten minutes."
"He's okay?" you asked as soon as Will ended the call. "Jay's okay? They found him?"
Will nodded. "He's at Med. Erin said he's a little bruised, but he was conscious, so that's good."
You took Will's book and shoved it in your backpack along with your schoolwork. "Let's go."
"Nat, really, my ribs don't need to be wrapped. I'm fine," Jay protested as he sat in a treatment room at Chicago Med, Erin standing next to him in some clean clothes that Natalie had let her borrow.
"Jay, your ribs are badly bruised. They need to be wrapped. If you're more comfortable with a guy wrapping them, I can easily call in a male nurse for help," Natalie suggested.
"No, it's not that. I don't care who does it."
"My little brother just doesn't want to bruise his big ego, that's what's going on, Nat," Will said as he entered the treatment room with you by his side.
You jumped when Jay turned and you saw his face and his chest: a black eye that went from the inside corner of his right eye to his right temple, a gash on the top right of his forehead, another gash on the left side of his forehead which was diagonal and above the outside portion of his left eyebrow, a jagged cut that went down his left temple starting at eye level, a split lip, and purple, blue, and red bruises along with some cuts and welts that littered his ribs and chest.
"You're okay?" you asked as your lips pulled into a frown and tears stung your eyes.
"I'm okay. Just a little beat up right now. Nothing to worry about."
Without thinking, you ran to his bed and gave him a hug. He let out a groan as you squeezed a bit too tight, irritating his ribs.
You pulled away. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you."
"It's okay, my ribs are just gonna be a little sore for a few days."
"I thought you were going to be turned into fertilizer."
"Fertilizer?" Jay furrowed his eyebrows. "Who told you that?"
"When you didn't call me back about dinner, I tried calling Adam, but he didn't pick up either, so I went to the district. I heard some guy on the phone saying he was going to turn you into- into fertilizer. I was so scar- so scared."
Tears rolled down your cheeks faster than you could wipe them away.
Jay stood up with a grimace and walked the few paces over to you, wrapping you in a hug. "Hey, I'm okay now. That's all that matters. And, you did a really good job calling Erin."
"You sure did. She told me all about how you told her that I was gone and that she'd be able to get me out because we're partners." He paused. "She also told me that you took the El by yourself."
"Erin," you whined. "You weren't supposed to tell him that."
"It's okay," Jay said. "I won't tell Dad as long as you don't do it again."
"I won't," you replied. Not like Dad would do anything anyway, you thought to yourself.
"Jay," Will started, "You need to get back into bed."
"It's just bruised ribs, Will. I'm fine," Jay argued.
"It's just bruised ribs, Will. I'm fine," Will mocked. "Yeah, tell me that tomorrow when you can barely walk because of how sore they are. Bed. Now."
"Fine." Jay sat down with a huff and crossed his arms over his chest.
"I swear, you're such a child, Halstead," Erin said.
You walked out of school a few days later feeling free. Summer was here and you were no longer a middle-schooler. You were now a high schooler.
You started to walk out of campus, the way you took to walk home every day, when you heard the thundering of footsteps behind you, causing you to jump and turn around.
"Jay." You breathed a sigh of relief when you saw it was your brother.
"Hey, figured I'd pick you up. My text must not have gone through."
"Oh, I turned my phone off because of exams. Sorry."
"No problem. C'mon, we're going out to lunch and then we'll stop home to grab your swimsuit."
"Mom would always take us to Navy Pier on the first day of summer to go swimming. And, since Will's shift ends at 1:00 and I'm on leave because of injury, it's the first year we can actually do this all together."
You nodded, trying to hold back tears at the mention of your mom.
"Hey, let me take your backpack. That thing looks like it's gonna make you topple over." You took it off and handed it to him. "Whoa! What's in here? Rocks?"
You laughed. "Nope, end of the year locker cleanout. Everything that was shoved in my locker is now in there."
"No rotten food I hope," Jay joked.
"No," you laughed. "Why? Did you or Will leave food in your locker?"
"No, we knew better than that. But the kid next to me left a milk carton in there over spring break and that smelled funky when we got back. I started bringing my backpack around with me just so I didn't have to go back to my locker because it smelled so bad."
"We can't do that. Teachers say it's for our safety because of bombs."
Jay opened the door to the backseat and put your backpack in there while you got into the passenger seat. Then, he got in the driver's seat all the while thinking how you knew that that was the reasoning behind that rule. He knew the reasoning because he was a detective. But he thought that most of the time, kids just thought it was some stupid rule.
"How do you know about that?" he asked once he started his truck.
"One of my teachers told us. She was mad at a kid who kept bringing his backpack to class even though she told him not to, so he went off on her and called it a stupid rule and asked why we even had the rule. She told him it was because if there's a bomb threat then she has to check every single backpack. That's why."
"Oh," was all Jay said. He really didn't want to be having this conversation with you, but here he was.
"Is it different?" you asked.
"Is what different?"
"Like, is high school different now than when you were in high school? And how different is middle school from high school?"
"Are you nervous for high school already, kiddo? You just finished eighth grade like fifteen minutes ago!"
You shrugged. "I'm just curious is all." Jay quirked an eyebrow at you while he took his eyes off the road for a split second and then returned them back to the road. "Okay, fine. I'm a little nervous."
"Let's talk about this over brunch, okay?"
Of course, Jay knew that you wanted to go to iHOP because breakfast was good at any time of the day. Jay thought differently though and ordered a sandwich instead of breakfast food like you. You had gotten their cinnamon roll pancakes with bacon, sausage, and hashbrowns on the side.
You were waiting for the comment about it being a lot of food, but that never came...which you were thankful for. You didn't know how you were supposed to explain to your very perceptive brother that the reason that you were eating a lot here was that you only had about 3/4 cups of dry cereal this morning before school because you were out of milk. You were out of milk and your dad didn't go grocery shopping. And, it's not like you had enough money to buy groceries or that you knew where your dad kept the money so you could take $20 just to buy food and hide it in your room so that you had something to eat.
"So, what do you want to know about high school?" Jay asked. "Did you get your schedule yet?"
If you were going to Central Chicago High School after going to their middle school, you had the option to schedule your classes the month prior and then you'd see if you'd get those classes. Of course, it might not be possible to get every class with every teacher you want, but it was cool that you got to know right when you finished eighth grade. And, in high school, it was the same thing: on the last day of ninth grade, if you were staying for tenth grade, then you'd get your schedule on the last day of ninth grade. It was sort of weird to you, but you got used to it.
"Is Eva going to be at the beach, too?" you asked. You knew it was her's and Diego's last day of school along with Jordan's and Vanessa's, so you wanted Jordan and Eva to be there when you told everyone your schedule so they could tell you everything they knew about the teachers you had next year.
"I can text Antonio. Why?" Jay asked.
"I just wanted to see if Eva and maybe Jordan would be there because they could tell me everything about the teachers I have."
"I can text Antonio and Kevin. You know what, I'll text Ruz and Burgess too."
"And Mouse. Can't forget about him now, can we?"
"What about Erin? Is she coming, too?"
"Uh, I don't know about that. She's had a rough couple of days."
You furrowed your eyebrows. "Why?"
"You know how Voight took her in?" You nodded. "Well, after Nadia died, she was backsliding. Badly. And now, she's detoxing and it's kinda hard on a person's body."
"Okay, but seeing you would make her feel better. She's always happy when she's around you. And you always have this big, dopey grin on your face whenever you're around her."
"I do not," Jay protested. You raised your eyebrows at him. "Okay fine, maybe I do that occasionally. I'll text some people and then we can talk about high school."
Jay sent the texts while you continued to eat. He took a few bites of his sandwich and then broached the topic of high school once more by saying, "So, what do you want to know about high school?"
"I dunno. How's it different from when you went to school like twenty years ago."
"Hey! It was not twenty years ago. I'll have you know it was ten years ago!"
Jay rolled his eyes. "Well, shootings happened, but not as much as they do now." You opened your mouth to ask if Jay had ever responded to one, when he stopped you. "And I know what you're going to ask. No, I didn't respond to one and I wouldn't tell you if I did. What do I always tell you?"
"I'm trying to keep you innocent and sheltered from all the bad stuff in the world," you said verbatim of what he had told you dozens of times when you asked for details of what he was doing at work.
"Word for word. So, we got to carry our backpacks around and it was an open campus."
"It used to be an open campus?" you asked, shocked.
"Yup, we rarely even had to sign out."
"Lucky! I wanna leave school and go to Mcdonald's for lunch!"
"Too bad you weren't born like fifteen years earlier and that could've happened."
"Oh, and we could eat lunch on the roof. There was a way to climb through the ceiling above the indoor track. It's closed now, though."
"Why'd they close it?"
"Yeah, you might want to wait until we're at the beach for me to tell that story since I'm sure everybody else would find it funny."
"Okay..." you trailed off, drawing out the "y". You didn't know why everyone would find a story of a hole in the ceiling being closed funny, but you figured it was best to let Jay have his way...with this one at least. "What's the difference between middle school and high school?"
"Now, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: nobody cares in high school."
"What do you mean?"
"Just ask Eva when we get to the beach."
"Her, Diego, Antonio, Kev, Adam, Kim, Jordan, Vanessa, Mouse, Erin, and of course Will are all coming."
Luckily, Jay decided to stay in the car while you ran inside your house and changed into a swimsuit, slipping your clothes over top of it so it would be easier when you got to the pier.
"Dawson!" Jay yelled as he walked up the beach, bag in hand filled with his swim trunks, water bottles, and a few bags of chips. Typically, he would've brought beer to the beach, but he had to drive home, with you in the car no less, so no drinking for him.
"Halstead!" Antonio yelled back.
Once you got up close enough, you saw that Gabby was there, too.
"Bring Gabby to be your DD, Antonio?" Jay jokingly asked.
"I mean, I'm sure Ruzek's bringing beer, so I might be able to get away with one."
"Uh uh," Gabby said. "If Kim brings some fruity drinks, you're driving home."
"So, if she brings regular drinks I can have a few beers?"
"Your cap is two, Antonio. You've got these two to take care of." She gestured to Eva and Diego. Diego was already jumping the waves and Eva was laying down on a beach towel starting to get a tan.
"Eva!" Antonio yelled. "Y/N's here!"
"Oh thank God," she said and walked up to you. "Girl, come sit your towel down next to mine and then we can look at your schedule."
"Yeah, I wanna see that, too!" Jay exclaimed.
"Should we wait for Will? And Jordan? Maybe Jordan has some input about the teachers. And, Jay said he has a story to tell about a hole in the ceiling of the high school and he wants to be sure everyone is around to hear it."
Ten minutes later, everyone had arrived and was in their swimming gear. "Okay, what's this story about the ceiling, Jay?" you asked.
"Oh, that story," Will joked.
"Yeah, that one. What other one would there be?"
Will rolled his eyes.
"Okay, before I start, I am going to preface this by saying that I was young and I was very stupid."
"He's stupid every day," Will dramatically leaned over Jay and whispered to Erin.
"Man, would you shut up and let me tell the story?" Will sat in silence for a few seconds. "Thank you.
"We all know about senior pranks. Well, it was my senior year and a few of us from the soccer team decided to pool our money together and buy some live chickens--"
"Did you say chickens? As in chickens with feathers? That squawk?" Kevin asked.
"Yes, real chickens. What other ones would there be?"
"Maybe they were chicken nuggets," Adam suggested.
Jay dramatically sighed. "Antonio, did you miss having me in the unit this week? You and Erin had to put up with these two bozos all by yourself."
"Hey!" Adam and Kevin yelled in unison.
"Anyway, as I was saying, some of us from the soccer team pooled our money together to buy chickens. Real live chickens, not chicken nuggets, Ruz. Then, we chose a Sunday night to get into the school--they always left this one back door unlocked--and we climbed onto the roof from the stairs/hole thingy in the ceiling right above the indoor track.
"Once we got to the roof, we dropped the chickens off of it. But, our stupid lookout got caught and then the cops came."
"You got arrested?" Adam laughed. "This is priceless."
"Didn't get arrested. Just had to do community service to be able to walk at graduation. But, nowadays, yeah, I'd have probably gotten arrested."
"So, that's why they closed it? Because you and your friends decided to drop chickens from the roof?" you asked.
"Were Mom and Dad mad?" you asked. "I was little. I don't remember."
"They weren't thrilled, I'll tell you that much. I think if I would've gotten arrested it would've been a lot worse."
"He's downplaying it," Will said. "Mom grounded him from everything. Car keys, those crappy Motorola phones we had back then, GameBoy, dates with Allie. He couldn't do anything."
"Does not sound fun. I won't be trying that." You pulled your schedule out of the bag Jay had brought and passed it to your brother first.
"Aw, man, you got Cunningham for history," Jay groaned. "Or should I say Cuntingham."
"Jay!" you yelled.
"That old hag is still teaching? Damn," Will added.
"Okay, what's the issue with her? Eva? Jordan? Anything about this Cunningham lady?"
"She just hates freshman," Eva supplied. "When you become a sophomore it gets better."
"And she hates when you tip back in your chair," Jordan added. "She'll make you pay her 25 cents if she sees you do it in her class."
"Okay, no tipping in chairs, and I have to deal with her for a year, noted." You turned to your brothers. "How do you know of her?"
"I didn't have a problem with her other than the fact that she's a crappy teacher," Will said. "But Jay, on the other hand, he's a different story."
"What'd you do?"
"So, I was a freshman when you were born and Mom went into labor the night before I had a test. And, because everyone hates tests, I went to the hospital with Will that morning and we waited for Mom to you know, be done giving birth to you.
"And, I went to school the next day and this old hag said that because there wasn't a doctor's note that I couldn't take the test--"
"He was this close--" Will pinched his pointer finger and thumb together so that they were almost touching. "--to taking you to school one day just to show you to Cunningham and saying is this a good enough doctor's note for you?"
"But Mom wouldn't let me do that...for obvious reasons. And then, because I couldn't take that one stupid test, I did not do well in that class."
"Just say you're related to me," Will said. "Don't mention Jay's name at all and you'll be fine."
"Got it. I'm gonna go in the water now."
You started to go in the water when you heard Erin and Will trying to convince Jay to go in.
"Dude, I can't roughhouse because of my ribs, you know this!" Jay told Will. "And, I am not going in the water with you again, not after what happened last time."
"Jay, that was twelve years ago, give it rest."
At this, your ears perked up. "What'd Will do?" you asked, walking back up to your brothers and Erin.
"He tried to drown me."
"Did not! I just wanted to see how long you could hold your breath."
"Yeah, see how long it would take me to drown!"
"He tried to drown you?" Erin asked.
"Yeah," Jay answered. "Me and Will were playing in the water. I was like 16 and Will was like 18. Y/N was a little toddler and was playing with her shovel on the beach. Then, Mom had to go to the bathroom, so she left me and Will in charge."
"Bad idea number one," Will said.
"There's more bad ideas. So, Y/N's playing in the sand, me and Will are playing in the water, and then next thing I know, Will's practically on top of me and holding my head underwater."
"And the minute I let you up was the minute Mom came back."
"Yup, perfect timing."
"And then you have Y/N who's sitting on the beach and decided to watch us and was just clapping her hands and chanting again, again!"
"Really?" you asked, as you tried to hold back your laughter. "I did that?" Will nodded and you shrugged. "Sounds pretty accurate to me."
"And then I didn't get ice cream after."
"Yeah, you didn't get ice cream after." Jay took a deep breath. "You almost killed me!"
You rolled your eyes. "I'm going in the water to cool off. Maybe it is best that you guys stay here. But, I mean, Gabby's here and I hope to God Will knows CPR because he's a doctor and that you cops do, too."
Once Will saw that you weren't focused on him and Jay anymore, he turned to his little brother. "Hey, how old was dad when he kinda, you know, clocked out on parenting us?"
"Early high school," Jay answered. "Why are you...oh shit, Y/N."
"Yeah, Y/N," Will reiterated. "And, we had Mom, so it wasn't that bad. But, she doesn't have that."
"She's got us," Jay said. "That's gotta count for something."
A/N: I was going to post this last night, but I almost fell asleep while editing, so it's coming out now. Anyway, not sure how I feel about this one, but I got it done, so that's all that matters. Thank you for reading! Please vlike/reblog and comment and tell me what you think! As always, if you want to be added to the taglist, just comment that you want to be added down below. PS: That story about chickens being dropped into the courtyard at school, yeah my older cousin did that for his senior prank and the lookout got caught and they had to do community service to walk at graduation.
taglist: @theambracer88 @virtualreader @kelelas-life @celyndavies @brookerz122493 @musicismyescape27 @anotherfan07 @thexplosivegirl @dreamingwithlens @xoxmariaxox @onechicago18 @iamasimpingh0e
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Something in the Air
Summary: Hera has her own ways of knowing how Kanan is feeling. Or, five times Kanan's pheromones were a problem and one time they weren't.
Notes: Okay. So this one actually seems like I should explain myself.Victory's Price casually mentioned Hera detecting human pheromones in the middle of a Zoom meeting. This has certain implications. And then Rogue Podron screamed "Fanfic prompt! Yubsie!" in the middle of an episode.Never underestimate my willingness to write fanfiction on a dare.
AO3 Link: Should you prefer
Hera knew that Kanan was attracted to her when she invited him on board. She thought she knew what she was getting herself into.
She wasn’t quite ready for him being attracted to her when all the air circulated within the ship. Maybe she could improve the filters in the life support system. She hadn’t really thought about human pheromones when she was setting the standard parameters.
The flirting was one thing. It was entertaining enough some days, even if she had far too much work to do
It was the realization that he was still attracted to her when he wasn’t flirting that was going to drive her up the wall. They were just supposed to be eating breakfast. The basic porridge accompanied by their vastly different mugs of caf might just be the least sensual meal imaginable.
And yet, every pheromone screamed that he was thinking about her.
She wanted to say something. But what could he do? It wasn’t like he had conscious control over any of this. She could send him to take a shower, but that wouldn’t help for long.
The fact that he wasn’t flirting meant he was trying to avoid turning mealtime into an awkward situation. He couldn’t help that every pore betrayed where his true attention lay right now.
“We’ve got a job today.” Hera took another bite of the porridge. Maybe if she just focused on how incredibly beige the cooked grain was it would get both of them back down to a sensible level.
“What are we looking at?”
“Imperial fuel delivery. Should be enough to keep us flying for a few standard months and still pass on plenty to my contact.” And, of course, the further advantage of making life just a little bit more complicated for the Empire. A delivery that made this much of a difference for them was barely a rounding error to the Empire as a whole, but they were particular about these sorts of things. The local despot would still have some accounting to do for this. It might slow him down a bit.
“We hitting them in orbit?”
Hera shook her head. “We’ll be taking the Phantom down. They’ll be vulnerable in transit.”
In open air. She hadn’t planned it for this reason, but she was going to take advantage. Set the scrubbers to run an extra cycle
There weren’t many good places for a clandestine meeting on this planet—none of their usual seedy cantinas or crowded marketplaces. The spaceport wasn’t the bustling sort of place where they could do a drop in passing.
But the Empire did so like building its museums. They had a vested interest in spreading around their particular version of history. The local populace was encouraged to visit to learn the splendor of their overlords. And conveniently enough for people who were barely scraping by as a very small rebel cell, admission was free of charge for all to come learn.
She didn’t need to pick up the pheromones to know that Kanan was uncomfortable. She’d done her best to arrange the meeting as far from any Empire Day-related exhibits as she could but... it wasn’t that big a museum. He hadn’t said much when the date crept by last month, but it troubled him enough to know this was a bad idea. Who in the galaxy didn’t have their share of scars if they were old enough to remember that time?
“If you’re not feeling well, I can do this one on my own.” Having a crewmate had definitely made a lot of things go smoother, but she’d done missions on her own before. She could get out of this situation if she had to.
“No, I want to have your back. I’ll be okay.”
Every subtle signal in the atmosphere said otherwise. She was getting used to ignoring every indication that he was attracted to her. That managed to fade into generic background radiation for their lives. This feeling wasn’t just new, it was more intense. “Look, I can read you too.” She didn’t know how often he actually used the Force for that. Certainly it had been months since she’d seen him do anything flashy, but pheromones only told her so much.
Kanan sighed. “I’m not saying I like it here. But I’m not going to leave you hanging.”
“Then I’m going to need you to actually focus.” It wasn’t the first time she wished she could just send him to take a long shower. That was an even less practical solution than usual
“Let’s just get in and out.”
Hera scanned the room again, looking for the most boring exhibit possible. There had to be something full of dull economic numbers instead of numbers that turned painful events into dry figures.
The glorious cabbage industry of this planet was just what she needed. She rested a hand on his elbow and pointed him over. As an added bonus, it wasn’t very popular.
“Don’t look at any of this. Just look at me.” Maybe she could get him back to being attracted to her. That seemed to be more or less his default state. Change the balance of the feelings. “Talk to me. About anything.”
The seedy cantinas had problems of their own, but she was used to them. She wouldn’t have needed pheromones to be on guard against the men in these places. She knew what they saw her as. She could handle them, she’d handled them plenty of times.
It was nice to have someone else along with her though. Sitting at a table and discussing podracing while waiting for the contact to approach was a definite improvement over sitting at the bar and fending off advances.
“It’s all about having the engines perfectly in tune.” It wasn’t Kanan’s preferred form of entertainment, but he was managing to say something that sounded like he actually paid attention and wasn’t just choosing a topic of conversation that sounded innocuous to prying ears.
He was wrong, but that was perfectly acceptable in a cover story. She wasn’t going to let him just keep being wrong, though. It wouldn’t look good, for one thing. “It’s about the pilot. Give a novice too much machine and they won’t be able to handle it.”
The two humans who approached weren’t interested in subtlety. “I like a girl who knows her racing.”
Hera suppressed a sigh. This might be the usual setting for meeting their contacts, but these situations were always going to be annoying. “Not interested.” She’d been dealing with this her entire adult life and for a few years before that. Every Twi’lek girl was warned about it from a young age.
She didn’t need the stink in the air to tell her what brought them over to this table. Just eyes to see the way they both leered. “Come on sweetheart, you can do better than him.”
“Not interested.” Telling them he wasn’t along like that would only make them more persistent.
“Ah, come on. We all know you girls are just looking for the right man. Place like this, you’re looking at him.”
She was ready for most of what she faced in a cantina like this. But she suddenly realized this hadn’t happened since Kanan had joined the crew. She suddenly detected a set of pheromones behind her that she’d never felt from Kanan before.
She’d experienced Kanan irritated plenty of times. But never angry.
“I’m just here for a drink. Which I have.” She rested a hand on Kanan’s arm. She didn’t think he’d do anything rash but.... this was new. Very new.
“I’ll get you a drink.”
Like she was ever going to take a drink from a strange man in a seedy cantina. Twi’lek girls were taught about that one from the time they could speak. They had to be.
She was used to it. Kanan wasn’t. “The lady has her drink.” She could see his hand twitch into a fist from the corner of her eye.
She should have prepared him better for this. Made a plan. Because right now, what she was sensing in the air was enough to make her want to punch someone. That would just mean leaving without the information. She kept her hand on her drink (just good sense) and pulled closer to Kanan. “I’ve got this,” she whispered.
They were particularly irritating, but she just needed to fend them off until their contact showed. That meant making sure she and Kanan weren’t the ones the bartender wanted gone. She’d need to get another drink eventually just to make it worth the owner’s while, but she’d navigated this situation countless times.
“You’re really picking him? There’s better quality humans all over this place.”
It shouldn’t matter if she was picking Kanan or picking to sit and drink in peace. But she needed them gone.
The sense of anger wasn’t going down. Maybe she could solve two problems at once. She slipped into Kanan’s lap, draping herself over him in an altogether familiar way. She felt the ripple of surprise through his entire body at the move. “I really am.”
Kanan pulled her drink closer to them. Very thoughtful. And she could be pretty sure he wasn’t about to start any barfights with her sitting on top of him.
“If you don’t mind, we’re busy.”
There were other pheromones in play now, but maybe she didn’t mind those ones so much after all.
They spent so much time getting into fights in dark alleys. It was one of the true constants of their relationship, from the very beginning. It should almost start to feel routine.
All they could do was duck. Fire. Duck again. Get another shot off.
Hera would have preferred the handoff go smooth, but a lot of things happened that didn’t necessarily align with her preferences. She could still keep the situation under something resembling control. Or at least she could keep her head.
The actual job was already done; that should count as a win. They didn’t have any suspicious packages on them. By all rights, they shouldn’t even be the interesting targets right now.
And yet. They were the ones getting shot at.
“I don’t think these guys like us, Spectre One.” They didn’t look like they were Empire. Not directly, anyway. So maybe they’d personally annoyed them somehow.
“Getting that impression, Spectre Two.” Kanan rolled behind a large trash bin and kept firing back.
They needed to find a way out of here. Hera backed as far behind cover as she could manage and pulled out her commlink. “Chop, we need a pickup five minutes ago!”
Chopper warbled some rude comments about the nature of linear time, but she trusted him to get over there as fast as actually possible.
Meanwhile, their opponents kept closing in. Did they just want them dead, was that what this was about?
Bounty hunters would want them alive. There weren’t any specific bounties on them last any of their seedier contacts had heard, but the Empire would always pay to get their hands on rebels. People who couldn’t cut it up against the big name targets might want to go to this much trouble.
Or they could have just stolen the cargo and gotten a much easier payday. Their plan didn’t make a lot of sense, and yet it was still making things incredibly difficult. “Persistent.”
They could analyze the motivations once they survived this.
A blaster bolt flew way too close to of her lekku and she had to dive on top of Kanan to avoid it. For all the flirting she never had to worry about him taking anything the wrong way in a fire fight. They both knew where they stood when they were in mortal peril. Everything got simpler then.
So she wasn’t expecting any pheromone spikes, no matter how cozy they’d just gotten. He did have some sense of the right moment and this was about as far as it could get from that.
They’d had plenty of time to get used to being around each other since Kanan first came on board. Kanan attracted was just a reality now.
Kanan afraid was brand new. “I’m okay. We’re both okay.”
She moved quickly, shooting back at their charming pursuers. She tried to push everything else out of her mind.
Chopper needed to hurry up.
5. Attraction, Again
The seedy cantinas were never a particularly pleasant experience, but at least they were familiar. Hera knew what they were getting into, knew the dangers and how to blend in.
These fancier events were foreign territory for both of them. The people who attended them were just as dangerous as the ones at the seedy cantinas, but they sparkled. They would still kill you if you were in their way, but they were never quite so honest as just a blaster in a back alley.
At least in the seedy cantinas, she got to wear comfortable clothes. She belonged in a flightsuit. Too bad that would make it look like she was some sort of rebel interloper here to cause trouble at the party.
Which was ridiculous; she was just a rebel interloper here to collect an intelligence drop at the party.
Fancy people at fancy parties wore slinky dresses. And if they were rebel interlopers, they tried to make sure the length could tear free to get her knees available to run in an emergency.
She could tell that Kanan was uncomfortable before he even made it out of his cabin. At least that made two of them. They’d had to borrow the formalwear from their contact. It was the right look, even if they were going to feel ridiculous the entire time.
And then he actually saw her and the pheromones became overwhelming.
“You look...” The way that men looked at her at the fancy parties would be the same as at the seedy cantinas. But coming from Kanan, she knew it was all genuine.
It was still going to be incredibly distracting. More so than from anyone else. “Like I wandered off from somewhere else.”
“I’m just saying. I’d never ask you to wear this getup, but you pull it off .” The look in his eyes finished that sentence just fine.
“You don’t look half bad yourself, you know.” Was that as distracting in the Force as the scent of human pheromones in the air were for her?
Could she even really blame it on the pheromones when she would have been interested anyway? There was more than one reason to want out of these ridiculous outfits right now.
“Trust me, no one is going to be looking at me.” Which was, of course, part of the plan. Keep every nefarious eye on her while Kanan actually took care of the handoff. She wasn’t above exploiting those exasperating tendencies wherever she went. It was a good plan. She just wanted it to be over with.
“And that is why I need you to focus .” If only so she could focus.
She was fully prepared to ditch these ridiculous shoes if she had to. Boots weren’t going to fit this look at all. Until this actually went south, she had Kanan playing the gallant escort, helping her up the step while she wrangled the skirt.
She assumed the way that he flexed his fingers after letting go was meant to be some part of the act. Kriff, that man could make it hard to focus on a job. How was he going to get anything done if he was projecting such an overwhelming feeling into the atmosphere?
The Force probably could do that. You certainly didn’t hear stories about the great Jedi getting distracted from their mission by a pretty face or a set of legs. They must train for it.
She, on the other hand, hadn’t. Especially not for tuning out attraction from someone she actually did feel the same toward.
“Focusing. Thinking about nothing but boring things. TPS Reports. The colour beige. That terrible holoseries Zeb loves. X-Wing fuel consumption rates.”
Not exactly sweet nothings, but having him whisper irritation in her ear was the most thoughtful thing he could have done in the moment. Endearing, but she could work with that.
And One Time They Weren't
The job had not gone well. By any stretch of the imagination. It was going to be one hell of a debriefing to work out all the specific ways it had gone wrong because she couldn’t just write “everything” in her report and call it a day. It was accurate, but it wasn’t useful.
The intel was bad. The Empire was ready for them. Their contact wasn’t where they were supposed to be. Even the weather had suddenly turned against them. Someone not her was going to have to figure out the particulars of how all of that had managed to happen at once.
For now, she just needed the kids to stop fighting. Bad enough that they were crawling through the mud trying to get back to the Ghost, it didn’t need to happen with a soundtrack. It probably wasn’t anything any of them had done that was behind all this. The mission had been doomed going in.
“You didn’t have to tackle me into the mud puddle!” Zeb did look quite the fright with his fur standing on end. She was going to have to give him first dibs on the shower, he was worse off than the rest of them.
“I could tell Sabine’s bomb was going off too soon, you’re welcome for keeping you from getting blown up!” Ezra said.
“I told you to get clear!” Sabine yelled.
Hera pinched the bridge of her nose. “All of you stop. We got through it. That’s what matters.” Not asking the kids to help with the report, that was for sure. She didn’t need their theories on who’s specific fault it was. “Go get cleaned up.”
It was going to be a pain to get the seats clean again, but she needed to get them in the air and out of here before any more company showed up. If the kids didn’t stop squabbling soon, she would set them to scrubbing it down. Or possibly the entire ship. With toothbrushes.
At least their unexpected company didn’t seem to have friends in the air to continue their ridiculous day. A few clever moves later and they were safely off the planet. Zeb was going to be in the shower for a while. Ezra and Sabine were going to be fighting for a while and Chopper would probably wade into the fray. She was just going to stay right here until they worked it out and it was her turn for the shower. No sense tromping mud anywhere else on the ship.
She felt the flicker of air as the cockpit door slid open. She didn’t need any other senses to realize who it was. For one thing, there was no accompanying argument.
Kanan slid into the co-pilot’s seat. “Well, that was a day.”
That about covered it.
There was always that standard background radiation of her life. It had been a long time since she’d actually needed pheromones to pick up on Kanan’s moods. But she still noticed them every now and then. And right now, she couldn’t help laughing. “Really? Even now?”
They were exhausted. They were covered in mud. They had bruises in places they were both going to question in the morning. The kids were at each other’s throats.
And yet, he was still actively attracted to her in this specific moment.
Apparently that was a challenge, because he decided he didn’t need to be collapsed in the seat after all. Not when kissing was an option. “Every moment you’re around.”
Hayami was awakened in the dead of night, feeling a bit uneasy. Hayami poked his head out of the room, hearing faint jingling. He headed towards it, hearing it coming from the living room.
His bell jingled, his head rising to look at him. Did he wake Hayami? Hayami sat beside him, wondering why he was sitting in the dark.
“Is there something wrong?” Hayami asked softly, petting him.
“It's… It's nothing. I didn't mean to wake you up.” Malleus apologized, softly smiling. “I’ll head back to bed.”
Hayami had grabbed his wrist, sitting him down.
“Malleus, I’m your owner and it's my duty to care for you and the others. So, what's bothering you? You can tell me…”
Malleus held his bell, looking at it somberly.
“I was just thinking about the past… where I’d be if I never met you.” Malleus muttered, the gold bell briefly catching the moonlight.
“I’m sure you would've been okay… Just okay…” Hayami said, knowing it was harsh out there.
Malleus hid from sight, knowing it was over if authorities caught him. He was barely surviving on food scraps in the part of the city he was living in. Dusk was starting to settle in the city, soon to give him more room to scurry around.
Malleus started to move around, seeing less people were about. He felt himself bump into something. He quickly recovered, scurrying towards a darker place.
“Hey… are you a stray?”
Malleus quietly glared at the person standing across the street, looking at where he hid. His tail fluffed up while he readied to attack as the person approached.
“It's okay. I w-”
Malleus hissed, lashing out at them before running.
Malleus hid in a box, the sun high in the sky. He was starving, but it was impossible to move around now. His stomach growled in need. He hadn't eaten for an entire day, quickly crawling towards two whole days. His nose picked up on a delicious scent.
He carefully moved around, getting closer to the smell. He could see it. And he couldn't have it. It wasn't discarded food. Malleus curled into himself, desperately wanting food.
A person looked, noticing authorities were patrolling around.
“We got word there's some stray hanging around these parts. It's rather big, so it won't be hard to miss.”
“Yeah. They said it was black haired. One of those big cats.”
A big, dark haired cat? The description sounded familiar.
Malleus managed to crawl away, despite having low energy. Malleus made it back to his box, seeing he'd have to wait until night came. Hopefully he could feast then. He briefly opened his eyes, not expecting to see food sitting right in front of him. He touched it. It was real. Malleus ate without question, a person watching from afar.
Malleus started to move around at night, wanting to find food for tomorrow so he wouldn't starve for hours. Not that he was a stranger to it. Suddenly a light was being shone on him.
“There he is!”
Malleus ran. He had to escape, setting off for another place to hide out at. The authorities were gaining on him.
Malleus meowed, feeling helpless. They started to carry him away.
“Wait! Wait, don't go!”
The authorities looked, seeing a person clearly out of breath.
“That's my catboy. His name is Malleus and I lost track of him while we were out on a nightly stroll.” they said, looking at the catboy. “I just recently got him.”
The authorities were a little suspicious. Malleus looked, seeing a big scar on their arm. It was that person from the other night. The one he attacked. And despite that, they were trying to help him.
“Is he really? What is he able to do then?”
“I… I speak…” Malleus choked out, reaching out to the person. “And… clean…”
The authorities let Malleus go, seeing that he could speak meant he belonged to someone. Malleus’ tail fluffed up, still apprehensive towards his savior.
“Come with me. If you stay for a while, the authorities won't give you trouble. And after that, you can continue living like you always have.” they said, offering him their hand.
Malleus hesitantly took it, letting them lead him.
Malleus had fought really hard, still ending up getting plopped into the bathtub. He sat in it pitifully, letting them wash him. He glanced at them, looking at all the scratches and wounds he gave them. They didn't show any signs of being in pain.
“My name’s Hayami. What about you? I’m sure you named yourself since you can speak a bit.” Hayami said, rinsing his back and watching his dirt caked back show his pretty skin hiding underneath.
“I… like… Malleus…”
“You like the name I gave you? Then that’ll be how I refer to you from now on until you go!” Hayami said cheerfully, giving Malleus a warm smile.
Malleus silently looked at him, a warm feeling enveloping his body.
Hayami was glad to see Malleus was looking better. It was a shame he'd be going back out into the world to fend for himself. He had wanted a catboy for himself, wanting a companion to fulfill his boring, routine life.
His speech was also getting better, considering in the beginning it sounded like he was really straining to even say a word.
“So, when are you leaving? Maybe I could make you a goodbye package.” Hayami asked.
“Leave? Why I leave…?”
“I’m not your owner. I'm sure you have one.”
Malleus shook his head.
“Well, I told you then I was going to help you before you went back out into the world. You seem ready.”
Now he understood. Hayami wanted to get rid of him. He hung his head low, looking at the fencing. He ran towards it.
“Wait, you're really leaving!? I… I don't actually want you to go but, you b-”
Hayami found himself being knocked out of his chair and being cuddled by the chausie cat. Malleus lovingly licked him, cuddling him in his arms.
“I want stay… Love, Hayami.”
“Aw, I really like you too, Malleus.”
[Flashback - End]
“If you hadn't lied then, I probably wouldn't be here right now…” Malleus said, looking at Hayami with fond, loving eyes. “I’m really glad I reached out to you… I have a roof over my head, food to eat, warm clothes, friends and education…”
“That really was a crazy week.” Hayami giggled.
Malleus lifted Hayami’s arms, remembering all of the scratches and little wounds he had given him that night. Even now he still regretted doing it.
“It's okay, Malleus. Stop worrying so much.” Hayami said with a giggle.
“My apologies. I’m also sorry again for waking you up…”
Hayami helped Malleus to his feet, simply taking him upstairs.
“Go get some sleep, okay? And if you ever want to talk again, I’m always here to listen.”
Malleus felt his heart stop. Hayami was truly just an amazing person. He really loved Hayami.
Hayami placed groceries on the kitchen counter, not expecting to see Idia sitting at the dining table. It looked like he was studying for his exam, so it made sense why he was sitting there. Hayami started to put groceries away until a pale hand came into sight.
“Idia. Are you tired of studying? I could make you a little snack.” Hayami said, putting the rest of the food away. “I know the exam is still half a year away. Are you trying to get a head start?”
“Yeah… I have to…” Idia mumbled, putting the cans away.
“Do you want help? I’m free right now.” Hayami offered.
Idia shook his head. He couldn't rely on Hayami anymore. He swore that he wouldn't ever since Hayami took him in.
“Hayami, it's nice to see you again.”
“It's nice to see you too.”
Two little ears poked out from behind the woman’s legs.
“Oh, I almost forgot. We got ourselves a catboy. Come say hi.”
A little blue haired norwegian catboy stepped out from behind, looking up at the stranger. He immediately hid, feeling fearful.
“He's very shy.”
“Hey, don't be afraid. My name's Hayami. Who are you little guy?”
His ears poked out again before he shuffled over. Hayami smiled softly, his hand extended in friendship.
“Idia…” he mumbled, hiding his face.
“Nice to meet you, Idia. I’m your neighbor, Hayami. Hopefully we get to see each other again.” said Hayami cheerfully. “I’ve got to run to school now. Bye Mrs. Li!”
Idia waved, watching Hayami bike off to school.
Hayami stopped by after school as he usually did. Idia hid, sensing a stranger in his safe place.
“I don't know where he's run off to… Usually he's playing around here.” Mrs. Li said with a sigh.
“It's okay. We shouldn't bother him if he doesn't want to be. They are more like cats than humans.” said Hayami. “Is Mr. Li coming home late?”
“My, how’d you know?” Mrs. Li chuckled, walking away with Hayami.
Idia crawled out, his ears and tail showing his curiosity. He followed after them, watching from a distance. Hayami turned around, seeing they had a follower.
“Do you need Mrs. Li? I don't mind giving her up.”
Idia stared in silence, watching Hayami closely.
“No? Do you want me to leave then?”
Idia shook his head. Not that. Hayami followed his line of sight before seeing it.
“Oh, you're interested in my little doll. My grandfather gave it to me as a birthday present. I always keep it with me.” Hayami explained, taking it off his bag and showing it to Idia. “You can hold it.”
Idia took it, looking at the worn out squirrel doll. He wanted one.
“W… wan…” Idia strained, still learning to speak.
“Wan? Like a dog barking? Wan wan!” Hayami giggled, imitating a dog.
Idia stared at Hayami with big eyes. Hayami smiled, hoping to get Idia to smile. Idia smiled widely, giggling at Hayami’s silliness. It wasn't what he meant, but he got to see something funny.
“Wow, do you have a way with catboys? We could never get him to smile like this.” Mrs. Li said, concern and worry in her tone.
“I don't think so. I've never really gotten to interact with one until now.” Hayami explained, seeing Idia wanted to be held. He was rather big, so Hayami opted for a hug. “I feel sometimes people forget that catboys are, well, more cat than human. So things that entertain human children may not necessarily work for catboys.”
Mrs. Li watched as Idia gave the squirrel a voice and a name, playing with Hayami. Hayami really was an amazing child.
“Is Hayami coming over?”
“Idia, settle down. It's still a bit early.” Mrs. Li chuckled, rubbing Idia’s head.
She knew Idia was a Norwegian, but she didn't think he'd be this tall at this age. His hair was getting longer too. Idia sat by the window, waiting for Hayami’s family to arrive. There were so many things he wanted to ask and know now that he was more fluent in speaking.
“Mama, they're coming! I can see them!” Idia exclaimed, his ears pointed forward as his tail stuck up.
Mrs. Li giggled, finding it adorable when Idia got like this. Hayami was his favorite person after all. The doorbell was rung. Idia ran to answer it.
Mrs Li set the food on the table as Hayami came in with his grandparents. Idia soon appeared, taking a seat next to Hayami.
“I have questions! Um… um… what were they…”
“It's okay if you don't remember. Maybe later.”
How could he forget? This was a crucial moment! He couldn't remember.
“Hayami, after dinner, can you help me with my learning?” Idia asked, looking at him with big eyes.
“Sure! I’m sure my grandparents wouldn't mind… right?”
“You can stay, but I’ve got to get your grandfather home.”
“I can take Hayami home if you're worried.” Mrs. Li said.
Hayami’s grandparents approved. Idia cheered, stuffing his face with food. Hayami giggled at the sight, Idia’s cheeks growing warm.
Hayami explained words to Idia, helping him sound them out and use them in sentences. Learning was difficult, but it seemed fun when Hayami was teaching him.
“Hayami, stay here with me forever!” Idia exclaimed, his cat features displaying his happiness.
“I can't. I have my own family too you know.” Hayami said before starting another subject.
Hayami couldn't stay with him forever. Maybe he made a selfish wish. Idia looked at Hayami, his ears bending. He just wanted to spend more time with him.
“Mom, how come Hayami isn't coming over anymore?” Idia asked, almost fully grown.
“Oh honey… you didn't know? Hayami went off to college.” Mrs. Li said, looking up from her book. “I figured you would've asked him considering you have a phone now.”
Idia did just that. It was true. Hayami had gone off to college. Idia sat by the window, remembering all the times he waited in this spot for Hayami to come down the block. Idia dragged himself upstairs, not really feeling it today.
“Don't mope Idia. It's not like he won't be back for the holidays.”
“He’ll forget me by then.”
“Now you're saying the dumbest things. As if Hayami would ever forget you.”
Idia curled up more on his bed. This was the worst. Hayami was going to forget his existence. He didn't want that. Hayami was his best friend. Hayami… he was more than that to him.
Hayami ran down the block, hoping he'd get there in time. It couldn't be true. He panted heavily, seeing the corner. He rounded it before seeing the fire. He sprinted.
Hayami saw firetrucks and firefighters putting out the fire. He looked around more before spotting him.
“Idia! Where's Mr. and Mrs. Li?” Hayami asked, squatting near him.
“She saved me… He saved me… yet I couldn't save them…”
Hayami held Idia close, allowing him to cry into his chest. They learned later on that the Lis had unfortunately passed on, leaving everything they had to Idia. Hayami had taken Idia in, already housing Malleus at the time.
Idia blamed himself, seeing none of it would've happened if he wasn't so fixated on finding Hayami. He could've done something if he wasn't waiting for help as usual. All of it was his fault. He was a useless cat boy.
“Idia? Would you like to share a pudding?”
Idia didn't move from his corner. Hayami sighed, placing the pudding off to the side.
“You can't change the past, Idia. It's natural to feel regret and believe things could've been done differently. And it's true. But the Lis wouldn't want you to keep beating yourself up about what happened. They saved you because they wanted you to live on. You were their precious child. Live on, if not for yourself, then for them.” Hayami said, holding Idia’s hands. “Don't waste the second chance they gave you.”
Hayami placed the pudding beside him before leaving. Malleus worriedly looked into the room before following Hayami.
[Flashback - END]
It was because of his dependence that he couldn't do anything. He was going to do everything he could on his own unless he desperately needed help.
“Well, then I wish you luck. I’ll still make you a little something just in case you do get hungry.” said Hayami, thanking him for helping put the groceries away.
“I know I haven't been the easiest to deal with but… thank you for taking me in… I’ll live for us.”
Hayami simply smiled, giving him head pats. Idia quietly watched Hayami start cooking, his heart swelling in his chest. He once more thanked his loving parents for giving him another chance at life.
Hayami noticed Jamil curled up on the couch reading a book. Hayami peered from behind him, curious as to what he was reading. Jamil looked back, jumping in the air as Hayami startled him. Hayami laughed softly, apologizing to him.
“I didn't mean to disturb you. I just wanted to see what captured your interest.” said Hayami, watching him come back over. “So you like manga?”
“I love it. It's really fun to read.” Jamil replied, his ears moving forward.
“Then I’d be more than happy to buy you more.”
Jamil smiled widely, giving Hayami a hug. He was never spoiled like this before. Not until he came to live with Hayami.
Jamil meowed, being put in a cage. It was promptly locked before his owners left him alone in the room. Jamil continued to meow until one of them had shouted for him to shut up. Jamil’s tail wrapped around him as he lied down. He couldn't move his arms. He closed his eyes, seeing sleeping would make time go faster.
He was forcefully awakened as he was roughly pulled out of his cage. He was forced to do all sorts of things while naked, having no buffer between the hits and slaps he'd get from his owners. They constantly criticized him despite doing exactly what they asked of him. He found himself being put outside, his arms bound once more. It was chilly out and barely had anything covering him. He wanted to run away, but he couldn't. They could track his bell and bring him back. If he chose to leave without his bell, the authorities would take him away.
Jamil softly cried, wishing he had a better life. Wishing for any kind of sign that he could possibly have a better one than this.
Hayami yawned, carrying bags. Malleus continued to offer to take them but Hayami always refused. They passed by a home before backtracking. A young cat boy sat outside shivering.
“Hey, is everything okay? You look cold…” Hayami said, noticing he was curling into himself more. “Ah, I must be frightening you.”
“Do you live here?” Malleus asked.
Jamil nodded. He knew he couldn't talk to others, but moving his body didn't count, right?
“Can't believe they'd just leave you out here…” Hayami muttered before ringing the doorbell.
The door opened, revealing one of his owners. He was forcefully brought inside, his owner feigning innocence. Jamil watched with fearful eyes as the door closed, Hayami’s and Malleus’ faces disappearing behind it.
“Well, glad that's solved.” said Hayami, the two of them heading home.
Jamil meowed in pain, his owners pulling and tugging on his ears and tail as they had intercourse. They knew what he didn't like and consistently did it just to make him uncomfortable.
“Shut up you dumb cat. You’re ours so we treat you how we like.” one said, pulling on Jamil’s tail as he pounded into his ass.
“Yeah. Stop that howling and moan. You're enjoying it right?” the other said, fucking Jamil’s mouth.
How could he enjoy something he didn't want to do? As usual, his arms were bound, rendering him lame. Jamil wept, wanting it all to be over. They finally finished with him, his entire body covered in cum and sweat with a bit of his fur stuck to him. He was thrown back in his cage and left alone. He couldn't stand this. He had to get away. He waited until he knew they were asleep before starting to work the lock. He tried everything at his disposal that he had collected over time. One finally worked.
Jamil grabbed clothing and put it on, unaware of his bell in the jacket pocket. He ran out of the house. He kept running, wanting to get far away.
Jamil fell back, landing on his tush.
“Oh, aren't you that cat we met the other day?”
Jamil looked up, seeing Hayami and Malleus. It was them again. Jamil grabbed Hayami’s shirt, tears leaving his eyes.
“Please, help me…”
“Help you? With what?” Hayami asked, feeling concern.
“Take me somewhere, anywhere! I beg of you!” Jamil pleaded.
“Jamil!? Jamil- There you are!”
Hayami looked, seeing it was the owner of Jamil.
“You silly kitty, running from home like that.” he said, opening his arms wide.
“We apologize if he caused any trouble. He likes to escape sometimes.” the other said.
They took Jamil from Hayami, keeping up the front until they had disappeared from sight. Hayami looked at Malleus who shrugged. They went on their way, hoping things worked out for them.
Jamil was thrown in his cage yet again, sitting alone in the bedroom. He started meowing, venting his distress. He continued to meow despite being told to stay quiet.
Jamil stopped, looking back.
“Big brother chausie…” Jamil whispered.
“Name’s Malleus. My owner gave it to me.” said Malleus, taking note of his cage and nakedness. “Did your owners do this?”
“They're no owners. They treat me like an object, a toy…”
“Then, would you like some help?”
Jamil shook his head. He unlocked his cage before struggling to open the window. Malleus slipped inside, helping free his bound wrists. Jamil looked around.
“Now that you're free, what are you going to do? Run?”
“I want to go with you. Your owner looks kind…” Jamil muttered.
“Hm? You aren't taking your hard earned bell?”
“They'll track me with it.”
They slipped out the window before closing it. Jamil followed Malleus, seeing he was finally going to be free. Malleus hurried him along, knowing authorities patrolled around at this time.
They arrived at Hayami’s home. Malleus unlocked the door, calling out his return. Hayami came out, not expecting to see the young cat boy. Jamil instantly flew into Hayami’s arms.
“Malleus, what did you do…?” Hayami asked, narrowing his eyes.
Jamil explained everything, clinging to Hayami like his life depended on it.
“So, can we keep him…?” Malleus asked.
“What's going on here…?”
“Idia, Silver.” Hayami said, watching them emerge. “It seems Malleus stole another family’s cat boy.”
“I didn't…” Malleus mumbled, his tail hanging between his legs.
“I'm only teasing.” Hayami chuckled before explaining to his other two cat boys.
“Can we keep him? We’ll help him adjust!” Silver said, looking into Jamil’s watery eyes. “How old are you…?”
“Can we, can we!? I've always wanted a younger sibling!” Silver exclaimed, rubbing his cheek against Jamil’s.
“Well, since you all feel so strongly about it… he can stay.” Hayami said, hearing his cat boys cheering in delight. “However! You three are to properly raise him when I’m not around and teach him the ropes around here. And since he doesn't have a bell, he can't go out. Which works in our favor so he can lie low.”
“Hayami, Jamil did have a bell, but he left it behind.” Malleus said.
“Then we can work together and see about getting you a replacement.” said Hayami, gently rubbing Jamil’s head. “Welcome to the family.”
Jamil found himself being smooshed in a group hug. This was what he's wanted, a kind, loving owner. The other cat boys are a positive bonus.
[Flashback - END]
Hayami gave Jamil gentle pats before walking off. Jamil watched him until he could no longer see Hayami. He didn't regret anything he did. His bell shook, the sun catching it and making it shine in all its silver glory.
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