Elijah was laying in his bed, staring up at his ceiling in silence.
Earlier that evening, he had to seriously talk to James about what he thought. And James barely responded to the accusation. It was like watching someone see destruction before them. Was James in shock? Or maybe he wasn’t.
Elijah didn’t know.
All this was confusing.
Why would James want to help someone so manipulative anyway? Elijah just had this feeling he might get thrown under the bus for helping. Sorrel seemed like the type of person who doesn’t like loose ends. He could probably get rid of James in one fell swoop.
Then there was the big question to think about.
What if Elijah was wrong? What if he’s making a false accusation? His gut said he wasn’t but what if he was?
His arm moved over his face and he tried to sleep but it didn’t work. He doesn’t do well with taking breaks. He knows he should take them but he doesn’t like them. A few days was going to kill him. He couldn’t not work for a few days.
That’s why he couldn’t sleep.
He barely ate, too.
It was weird not having anything to do.
His phone rang on his dresser, buzzing towards the edge. Elijah picked it up before it fell over. There was only one reason why he would get a call at two in the morning. Though, he was sure May told everyone not to call him if something happened. This time it was Natasha calling. It was just a favor to keep him updated on who gets killed while he takes a few days off.
“Elijah.” she said when he picked up. She sounded grim. Elijah was expecting bad news but he wasn’t prepared for what she had to tell him. “It’s one of our own.” she said.
One of their officers were killed.
Elijah was out of bed quickly and grabbing clothes to wear. He was in severe denial because he hoped that what he thought happened wasn’t what truly happened. He yanked his pants on and grabbed a jacket, taking his badge off his nightstand, and running out of his room and apartment.
Fear pumped through his veins, making him stiff and frightened. He couldn’t control the shaking and trembling of his body. Elijah told himself that it wasn’t that bad, but he will end up seeing how bad it really was soon. In the meanwhile, his mind ran wild.
When he got there, he saw all the police cars, all the officials, everyone was at the scene. Elijah got out of his car, barely being able to hear all the talking and shouting as a crowd of people began to form. Everything was a blur. Everything was in slow motion. He hadn’t even seen what happened yet, but he felt sick.
Elijah ducked under the tape at the scene.
An officer was hanging from a metal railing at the top of an apartment building north of the city. There was no reason for the officer to be over here but this is where he was killed. His arms and legs were cut off and chopped to pieces on the ground a few feet below the body. All that was hanging was a head and torso.
“Shit...” Elijah was not expecting this.
It was Hank, the officer Elijah talked to earlier asking for a favor.
His body continued to bleed. His blood looked black under the moonlight. The street lights were flickering not too far away from where the entire team was standing. The police car lights didn’t shine over the body that was hanging, but the blood around the scene was lit up. The walls were red. The metal rails were red.
This was probable cause.
There were people scattered outside, wondering what was going on, seeing the gruesome sight. People that lived here were now frightened. A murder in their neighborhood. That hadn’t happened yet. So now what?
Elijah looked at Natasha. He couldn’t begin to explain what could’ve happened. She had a few things to say because she knew he was wondering about it.
“His throat was cut open. Bled to death.” Natasha said, the photographers beside her taking pictures of the hanging body.
“The rest of him?”
Elijah shook his head. This was not supposed to happen. This was not supposed to happen. How was Elijah going to explain this to anyone?
His hands balled up in his pockets and he did his best to keep in his frustration but he was about to lose it. He didn’t prepare to lose an officer. He was seconds away from thinking that this may have been his fault. And when he realized that it really was his fault, he had nothing to say.
He had blood on his hands now.
He’s the reason someone was killed.
“Dammit.” Elijah turned away. “Dammit!” he yelled.
He had no way to justify this.
He had no way to say that this was going to happen no matter what. If Elijah wasn’t so desperate for answer, this wouldn’t have happened.
This was a wake up call.
It was a warning.
“Elijah!” May’s voice could be heard as she walked on the scene.
She was not happy to see him here especially after she gave him an order to go home and stay home. Seeing him here was on a level of disrespect and she was going to point that out to him.
“Do you have a problem?” she asked.
“Then why are you here after I’ve told you that you are not allowed to come in for any reason whatsoever?” she asked loudly as she stood in front of him.
“He’s one of ours, May-”
“I understand that, but what I said still goes.” She was taller than he was and she showed it. She was looking down at him. “Go home, Elijah. If I see you again before Thursday, I will put you on probation.” she threatened him.
Elijah was already feeling terrible but being kicked out of a scene was worse. He had to be here. He was the one that put Hank in danger. How was he going to be able to fix this if he wasn’t here to do it?
He won’t be able to live with himself for the next few days.
Elijah had no choice but to go home. He ended up in bed again like before, with his arm over his face to cover his eyes. He thought hard. Hank definitely saw the murderer, that has to be a big reason why he was killed.
The murderer doesn’t like being spotted.
Elijah didn’t sleep. He just stared up in the darkness until the sun came up. It gave him anxiety to not be working. And he could’ve done work at home, but it’s hard to when his database access was revoked too.
He has to take a break.
He has to think about something else.
It was unfair.
Elijah spent the day in his apartment alone and watching every news channel he could find. There were quite a few bodies found the previous night. Elijah wasn’t going to know a lot based on what the news says. He knew about Hanks’ death though. He saw what it really looked like. The reporters can’t tell the gruesome truth so they mask it with something the public can handle.
Yet they refer to the killers as wild psychotic beasts that should never be engaged if someone suspects that they know or have seen them.
Elijah knew they shouldn’t be glorified for their killings. Just calling them crazy and moraless and ruthless will make it worse. He knew that.
There was nothing for Elijah to do and it was going to be like this for the next few days.
Later in the evening, Elijah heard someone at his door. He didn’t expect anyone to come over.
Elijah opened his door after hearing a quiet knock. He wasn’t expecting a visitor. None of the medical examiners would dare come talk to him, neither would the other officers. He was surprised to see James standing at his door.
He had a bottle of Whiskey in one hand and two shot glasses in the other.
They didn’t get to actually talk about what happened earlier. Now Elijah had more to deal with. He stepped aside to let James inside his apartment. He hoped that James was here on a good gesture.
He didn’t...look upset. In fact, James looked eager.
“We have a lot to talk about, don’t we?” James walked over to his couch and sat down, placing the bottle and the shot glasses on the coffee table.
Elijah was cautious as he watched James pour drinks. Did Sorrel send him? Was that it? Elijah wasn’t sure what to feel. He closed his door and walked slowly over to the couch. Were they really going to talk about earlier? They needed to. They needed to clear up what happened. But Elijah didn’t think that James would want to talk considering how quiet he was earlier.
James hadn’t said anything when Elijah told him what he thought earlier. And Elijah hasn’t changed his opinion. He was just being nice when he said that he thinks Sorrel was one of the killers, Elijah absolutely knows. He didn’t want to hurt James, but from the looks of it, either James is in denial and needs to know more or he just doesn’t believe Elijah.
Either way, James wanted someone to talk to. And he wanted someone to drink with.
“I didn’t think you would be interested in talking about it.”
“I had to get over my surprise.” James said. “That didn’t take long, though.” It seemed rather blunt but he was serious. It did not take him long to get over it.
“James, I know you see where I’m coming from.” Elijah said. He knew James was smart. None of what Elijah said was a misunderstanding.
James knew that. It’s not like he was mistaking Elijah’s words for something else.
James took the first shot, and to him that was nothing. The fire he felt as the drink made it down his esophagus was dim and weak. He wouldn’t get warm off of one shot. He set the glass down as he clenched his jaw, letting the after taste sink in. That will never get old for him.
“He can be...hostile, sharp tongued, and disrespectful of other people’s space.” James listed about Sorrel. “He doesn’t easily show empathy and he mostly cares about himself.” he said easily without shame or regret. “He’s manipulative, rude, obnoxious, and downright disgusting.” he could keep going.
“How can you want to be with someone like that?” Elijah asked as a legitimate question before taking the shot and letting his shot glass hit the coffee table as he set it down abruptly. Elijah could barely handle the heat of the alcohol let alone the warmth. He could never really handle strong drinks. James was just pouring the second round of shots as if he didn’t see Elijah trying to shake off the first one.
It was to avoid answering the question. James wanted to stall. He didn’t want to talk about why he was with Sorrel despite know everything that’s wrong with him.
Sorrel was the only person James had, and to say that out loud might make him sympathetic. James knew what he was dealing with, he would rather keep it to himself.
Elijah knew James didn’t answer questions he didn’t like. He would go quiet till there was another question Elijah asked.
But Elijah didn’t want to break away from the subject.
“What did he do to you, James?” Elijah asked.
“It’s...” James wanted to correct him but he bit his tongue. He was slightly uncomfortable and to fix that he took another shot.
Again, he didn’t answer the question.
He didn’t feel like going over every single detail of the past few years that led him to today. It wasn’t worth it. And he wanted to keep Elijah as a friend so he wasn’t going to ruin it.
“You know I’m not taking it back.” Elijah continued, looking at James to see his expression. “I still think he’s one of the killers.”
“I’m not here to stop you from thinking that.” James said, lifting his glass before again, downing another shot effortlessly. “I need to...I need time to think about myself for once.” he took a breath, finally feeling the wave of heat from the alcohol.
His eyes closed slowly and he sat peacefully, finally being able to hear his own thoughts, not the thoughts of others but his own. He’s had it rough for weeks, and it was to the point that he couldn’t think for himself.
Was this the freedom he was looking for?
Elijah didn’t know what to say. Seeing James finally at peace gave him a different perspective on things. However, what he saw was sad. What he saw was a man that was desperately trying to get away from what was hurting him only to find himself back over and over again. What he saw was a man who knew what was right but couldn’t do anything. What he saw was a broken man that deserved better.
James opened his eyes again. His cheeks were flushed red from the alcohol. As his blush formed, he began to smile, a genuine smile where his eyes light up. It wasn’t the alcohol that was making him happy.
He had someone to talk to.
“You really think he’s doing it?” James asked.
Was it because he didn’t think Sorrel was? Or maybe because he did know and wanted to know if Elijah was as sure as he said he was.
Elijah laughed. “Yeah,” was all he said. “The problem is actually getting evidence against him.”
It’s not like Sorrel was an idiot. He’s done this too many times to get caught easily. That is, if he is one of the murderers.
James didn’t say anything as he held his shot glass in his hand. He thought about drinking again but he waited a second. He needed a second to think about what to do. He should make his cry for help, or maybe he was going to continue protecting Sorrel like he has been.
“You don’t have to defend him if you’re scared of him.” Elijah said, thinking that James was maybe contemplating what to do next.
Scared wasn’t the right word. James was scared, but not of Sorrel. He knew that Sorrel had much more power over him but that didn’t make him scared of him.
There were other things.
James closed his eyes again. He thought about pulling the trigger to the gun he always kept on him. He knew where he wanted the bullet to end up. When he opened his eyes again, he didn’t think he’d be able to get away with it. He could be tempted but it wouldn’t work.
He’d never do it.
He took the shot in his glass and poured himself much more. “What’s your wife like?” James asked, wanting to change the subject so it wasn’t about him.
“Oh God,” Elijah reached for the bottle and poured himself another shot. He was tempted to just drink from the bottle. “That woman is a control freak, but I knew that when I married her.” He drank. “I mean, its my fault we’re getting a divorce, but with her control freak nature she just wanted to keep us together.”
To Elijah, it seemed like it wasn’t going to work. That’s why they were separated now.
“She’s very tough, too, physically and mentally. There was a lot I learned in life because of her.” He said, thinking back to everything.
It was funny how life didn’t want to work out.
Elijah was about to be divorced and he was close to being on probation at his job. He could definitely drink to that. Life sucked. That wasn’t going to change anything. And as much as he knew his life was rough, he couldn’t imagine what James went through.
Elijah knew James was already heart broken. He shouldn’t go opening healed wounds.
“She was...” James was far away in his mind, “...everything.” It hurt to think about what happened.
But it didn’t hurt the same way as it did months before. Was it because his fiance’s killer was dead? Did that make it easier for James to sleep at night?
James didn’t say anything. He took another shot, but then he held the bottle in his hand. It was already more than a quarter of the way finished. His fingers were tightening around the glass as he told himself there would be no reason to finish the entire bottle in one go. He didn’t want to ruin himself.
He was done grieving.
He told himself that he found peace.
Was that the reason for the smile on his face? It was weaker, sadder, like James realized what his life was like now. He was a complete mess and there was no one to save him. He couldn’t even save himself. Elijah watched James have his silent mental break down. He didn’t know what to say because James didn’t know what to say.
So the two of them sat in silence.
It was better this way.
Elijah woke up with a severe headache in the morning. He was looking up at the white ceiling before finally the light hit his eyes and it made him cringe. He shrugged away from the shine and closed his eyes, wanting to make the room stop spinning. He was sure he didn’t drink too much last night, but then he remembered after having a long while of sitting in self pity, the drinking became more drastic.
“Shit...” he groaned and pressed his palm into his forehead, rubbing where he felt the throbbing. His blond hair was a mess, and his face was unshaven. He had to take a second before he opened his eyes again.
James was passed out on the couch, holding on to the empty whisky bottle. His curls covered over his forehead and eyes, his face pressing into the couch, his cheek mushed by the cushion. His clothes were partially undone; he got hot after drinking so much but wasn’t very efficient with taking his clothes off. His tie was knotted over his collar, a few buttons were undone from his shirt, and his suit jacket was barely off at the sleeves. Half of his body was practically off the couch but apparently he was still comfortable.
He was dead asleep. There was nothing that would wake him up.
Elijah forgot that he couldn’t go to work today. So it didn’t matter if he got up or not. He would prefer to stay down on the couch chair since the room was still spinning furiously. He wasn’t much for drinking so the hangover was definitely an experience.
With how much he saw James drink last night, he would’ve thought he was dead.
There was a lot that was masked last night. The drinking helped in covering up wounds, new and old.
Elijah glanced over at James again. He had to work today, didn’t he? He definitely wasn’t going like that. He was a mess, more than Elijah was.
“James.” Elijah whispered. James barely stirred at the sound of his name. “James.” he said louder this time.
James mumbled something under his breath but he didn’t wake up. He didn’t even stir. Elijah didn’t catch what he may have said. It was too hard to hear over the raging pounding of his head.
He might have to take something for that.
Elijah lifted himself up off the couch so he could go clean himself up. He reeked of alcohol. The smell was about to make him sick if he didn’t take off his clothes and wash up.
He didn’t forget about James on the couch.
He knew he had to bring him home.
When Elijah was done and feeling slightly better, he went back into the living room. James hadn’t moved a single inch and that’s how he was the entire night.
“James, wake up.” he shook him slightly but not even that got James to open his eyes.
Elijah got down in the space between the coffee table and the couch. He stared at James’ face while he slept. The good news was that James’ was still breathing.
There was a faint blush on James’ skin. Elijah was hesitant to lift his hand, but he touched James’ cheek, feeling the warmth over the stubble. James was hot. He had a fever.
Was he sick again?
The tip of Elijah’s fingers could feel James’ hair. Elijah could see where his hair wasn’t dyed black near the roots. James’ hair has gotten longer and he hasn’t cut it yet. That was the least of his problems. Elijah moved James’ hair back from his forehead to press the palm of his hand to his skin. He really might’ve had a fever.
Elijah definitely had to get him home.
“James.” Elijah shook him again.
He mumbled the same words again. It was a name. Elijah thought he was having a dream about his dead fiance. Was her name Morgan?
“Come on, James. I have to get you home.” Elijah wanted to at least wake him up. As terrible as it was, dreaming wasn’t going to fix James’ life.
His eyes finally opened slowly. James could barely focus enough to stay awake. His vision was blurry and the light didn’t make it any better. He knew he wasn’t where he was supposed to be, and he didn’t want to be where that was. His brown eyes looked around before seeing Elijah’s face in front of him.
“Mm.” James groaned quietly, not even trying to lift himself up. He just closed his eyes again.
“You’re not an alcoholic, are you?” Elijah suspected that James might’ve been.
James looked at him lazily. He hated that question so much because people always asked him. “I’m not an alcoholic.” he would swear he wasn’t.
“Well, you sure drink like one.” Elijah couldn’t lie about that.
James just barely smiled. The edges of his lips curved upwards and he gave a quiet laugh.
“Let’s go. You don’t want Sorrel to worry about you, do you?” Elijah asked.
As much as Elijah thought James being with Sorrel wasn’t a good idea, he knew James would object to being anywhere else. James could say whatever he wanted about Sorrel but he knew exactly who he was going back to. Elijah wasn’t going to push it.
If James was actually scared, he would say something.
“No.” James mumbled as he tried to pick himself up. He genuinely didn’t want Sorrel to worry about him.
He didn’t forget about Sorrel, and of course Sorrel was going to care that James was missing. James knew he had to go home and be in sight.
Elijah was kind enough to bring James back where he had to be. Today was going to be a quiet day considering that James wasn’t going to work with the hangover he’s experiencing. Apparently he had a fever, too.
He didn’t think he was sick again.
Maybe it was his anxiety.
James walked right into his room, seeing Sorrel about to leave to go to work. Sorrel would’ve said something but he was already late and he actually liked his job. James, however, wasn’t going to let him leave yet.
He took Sorrel by his arm and tossed him on his bed while yanked his own tie off and took off his jacket. Sorrel was not going to say a damn thing, especially when James wanted to be moody. He should let him ride it out. Maybe James might even ride him. James pulled his gun out from where it was at his back, held at his belt; he would never pull the trigger even if he told himself he could.
He could never cross that threshold that made him ruthless.
He straddled over Sorrel on the bed, his hand pushing down on Sorrel’s shoulder to keep him down. His other hand kept the gun pointed at Sorrel’s forehead, his index finger at the trigger he couldn’t pull.
The thought was nice though.
The thought got him excited and Sorrel could definitely see that in James’ eyes. It was a wild look of hunger.
Sorrel smiled even in the face of death.
“What’s wrong?” Sorrel asked, sensing James’ anxiety. “Need me to take you out today?”
That’s right. James was only fearless when he was with Sorrel. There were no limits when they were together.
James could never leave him.