(aka, the title of my never-ending series of stories)Title:
In Spite of All the DangerRating:
At a party, Jude has a bad reaction to some drugs he tries.
These are short stories that could all stand alone, and are all part of the same universe, and (for now) are in chronological order:
1. Here Comes the Sun
2. In My Life
3. Baby It's You
“Convenient, isn’t it?”
“Huh?” Jude turns to see where the unfamiliar voice is coming from.
“You fucking Limey… you can come here, live in our country, hit on our women, take our drugs, but you don’t need to fight in our war?” The man has red eyes. Jude’s never seen anyone with red eyes before.
“Umm… I don’t know,” says Jude.
The man pushes Jude’s shoulder into the wall. Jude realizes distantly that this shouldn’t be happening, but bugs are crawling out of the man’s shirt and it’s distracting – and upsetting. He bends his knees and starts sliding down towards the ground.
“I didn’t fight for you,” says the man. “My best friend didn’t die for you. So why the fuck are you here?”
Jude grabs his hair, hiding behind his arms. He crouches down on the ground, shaking. The bugs are everywhere – they’re all over him, and this is dangerous, this is fucking dangerous
, where’s Max?, does he realize how dangerous this is?
He’s shaking like a leaf, huddled in on himself, and the sounds around him are too loud, and he doesn’t know what to do
And then he feels warm hands on his shoulders, steadying him. He opens up his eyes and sees Max’s face, looking concerned. “Jude,” Max says. “You okay?”
Jude’s never been so relieved to see anyone in his life, and he pitches forward into Max’s arms. He rests his head against Max’s chest, but then he sees that Max’s shirt is changing colors, and that’s just not right, and he pulls away abruptly. He stands up, moving away. Max grabs his arm.
“Jude… talk to me.”
Jude just shakes his head because he doesn’t know what’s going on. “Take off your shirt,” he whispers. He realizes that he wants Max here, but that shirt is scaring him.
Max takes off the shirt and throws it across the room to Sadie – it was her shirt, anyway. He puts his hand on Jude’s shoulder gently. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t know,” Jude responds, softly. “But it’s freaking me out.”
Suddenly Max nods, he gets it. “Did you take anything weird tonight?”
“Some girl offered me some of what she was smoking – hurt my lungs. And I had a drink of some punch, I think.”
Max puts his arm around Jude’s shoulder protectively. “You’re having a bad trip, Judey. C’mon… let’s get out of here.” He begins to guide Jude out the door.
Lucy approaches them. “Is he okay?”
Max nods as Jude says, “He’s my knight in shining armor.”
Lucy giggles awkwardly.
“Oh my god,” Jude mutters. “Bugs inside your mouth
? What the--?” He clutches Max tightly.
“He’s hallucinating,” Max explains. “Bad trip. I’m putting him to bed.”
“You want me to do it?” asks Lucy. “I mean, it’s my job to take care of him, isn’t it?”
Something about that comment annoys Max deeply – he wants
to take care of Jude – but before he can speak, Jude says, “No!” and kisses Max firmly on the mouth and says, “You’ll stay with me, right? Didn’t we say we’d stick together?”
Max nods, mutely, while Lucy gapes at them. “I’ll explain later,” Max whispers, trying to steer Jude out of the room.
“I think I get it,” Lucy replies.
Max mutters, “Fuck,” but right now Jude is his first priority. They walk up the stairs together, and when they make it into the apartment, Jude sighs with relief. “No bugs,” he says. “Thank goodness.”
Max nods. “Lucy knows about us now.”
Jude contemplates that for a moment and nods. “Are you sure you want to do this, then?”
“Be with you?”
“Yeah… I mean… one of my reasons for not telling anyone about us was that you could call it off if you want to.”
Max looks at him incredulously. “Why would I ever do that?”
Jude shrugs, looking away.
Max pulls him close. “Hey. Hey, look at me.” In his head he’s making a grand romantic speech, sweeping Jude up into his arms and carrying him into the sunset. In his real life, he’s standing in their apartment, and Jude’s eyes haven’t completely refocused and the drugs haven’t even begun to leave his system. So he just says, “Of course I love you. I’m crazy about you. So let’s go to bed, okay?”
Jude nods, and they climb into bed, Max’s chest pressed to Jude’s back. “You’ll stay, right?” asks Jude softly.
Max grabs his hand and squeezes it. He's bothered that Jude doubts his commitment. There have been so many times when Jude's been there for him, soothing his nightmares or just being his friend - and Jude doesn't think it goes both ways? Max sighs. He's been so fucked up lately, he knows, and he's trying to accept that it's not his fault. He can't control it. But there are some things he can control, he knows.
He'll do anything for Jude - anything Jude asks, because he knows Jude would do the same for him. He'll show Jude that he loves him, and more importantly, he'll stop with all the drugs. He's fucked up, yeah, but he doesn't need to be even more fucked up. Max nuzzles his nose into the back of Jude's hair, and breathes deeply. In spite of all the danger, he'll keep Jude safe.