His boss wants a segment of his experience or something so Jack takes a vid camera, sleeping bag, notebooks and some necessities
One of the statues is a guy called Gabriel Reyes. The story was that he murdered people around the city.
The statue yelps out an "Ow, what the hell!?"
And it's so /real/ that Jack just abruptly stops. He's still a little sleepy headed but his rational mind is quickly catching up.
The Gabe statue thing is still holding Jack's notebook and quirks a brow "I'm uh... Sorry. What??"
"You're one of the museum actors." Jack says "the ones they hire in the day for more interactive exhibits."
"You don't scare me!" Jack snaps. "I'm a trained journalist and you'll have to do better than that!"
Gabe just stared for a minute before he says, "Uh... Right. Look, blondie. I have no idea what you're doing but I need to do stuff so I'll be going..."
Gabe looks... Shock might be an understatement. The man shakes his head. "Look kid-"
"Blondie." Gabe ignores the interruption. "I have important stuff to do so how about you not-"
"Name?" Jack continues as if Gabe hadn't spoken.
In-character, Jack thinks, he can work with that. "Age?"
Jack glares at Gabe. "Don't call me corncheeks. I'm putting you down as 60."
Gabe grumbles something but more loudly, says "I'm 30 if you must know..."
Gabe flashes a look that could be disbelief and uncertainty rolled into one but, after awhile, gives in. "Well... I worked as a local tailor in my neighborhood. Usually suits and dresses...dad passed away early and mom well...murdered."
Jack wasn't ready for the way Gabe's face suddenly darkened, how the guy lurched to his feet and a thundercloud gathered in his eyes. He was shaking all over, fists clenched at his sides.
Jack pauses. "The reports..." He starts.
The other part wasn't so certain. It was too real. The honesty, the trembling grip, voice...eyes.
"Stay here," Jack says "I'm going to get us both water..." But when tries to leave, the expression in Gabe's eyes make him hesitate. It's almost defeat, heartbreak.
...But when Jack returns, Gabe is back on his stand. A solid wax statue with no light in his eyes
Jack can't help but be unnerved by the well of emotions in Gabe, the realness of it all.
So against his better judgement, Jack draws up everything regarding the Reyes case.
The entire thing was sloppy. Quickly done. Too rushed to be anything but framed.
Jack throws up half the files on his desk to cover up the reports he had opened. "Research!" He yelps as an excuse.
"On?" The voice belongs to his colleague. Some weirdo with the pen name Talon. Jack never got along with the guy.
"Oh right! You lost the bet!" Talon guy thing (Jack never bothered with his real name) snickers, grin turning downright devilish. "Good luck with that farm boy!"
Jack has to resist throwing his stapler at the guy
Still, Jack wasn't ready for Gabe leaning over him as if to poke him awake.
"/Will you stop doing that!!/" Jack hisses
"I should be saying that to you! Do you just throw things at anyone that makes you jump?"
"I thought you wouldn't come back."
Jack shrugs, pulling his notes out. "I pinky promised. I doubt go back on pinky promises."
Most of it is accurate but something begins to feel wrong the longer they dwell on the articles.
As they stop for a break, Gabe reaches a hand out to tug on Jack's hair.
"Yeah. If you keep frowning like that, you're going to get whites in your hair earlier than everybody else."
Jack waves a hand in the air. "Don't care."
"I like your gold hair," Gabe admits. When Jack turns to stare, Gabe coughs. "Prefer, I mean.
It hits Jack then. He doesn't know what happened to Gabe to make him a statue. He'll ask later, when it's ok to go to more sensitive stuff. But for now he realises that Gabe's probably never seen the sun since being set up as a wax statue.
"I figure you must be pretty bored here," Jack begins hesitantly.
"Well I uh...have some things on my tablet," Jack says "it's not
"Close enough." Gabe finishes for him. "Let me see."
They end up settling for a Disney film (after Gabe has lectured Jack on his selection of movies and given him a list of to-buys).
Gabe is back on his stand but Jack swears he can see a smile on the usually unemotional wax face.
At night, he brings these to Gabe and they try to work out who the actual murderer is.
Jack will admit, the first time he watches Gabe turn back, it's /really/ unnerving.
Like watching the life drain away.
It's unreal and he'll never tell anyone that he gets nightmares.
There's still something glaringly wrong about the reports. They're really not wrong, in fact, most of the info is right.
It bothers him to no end.
When he returns to the office, he dumps his notes down and contemplates a nap but is interrupted by a knock.
"F off." Jack growls. He's running on barely any sleep, what with returning to the museum everynight.
"What's this shit on your desk?"
Before Jack can stop him, talon pulls out one of the murder reports.
Jack fumbles for an excuse. "Um. One of the statues that is in the section I slept in is of Gabe! I thought I'd find out more about him!"
/Shit/Jack thinks. "Reyes. Sorry. it's just faster to say, y'know?"
Jack can't help the shiver that snakes up his spine as the other guy leaves.
And when Gabe turns to see Jack, his whole face just /smiles/. It's not just in his mouth. It's in his cheeks, his eyes.
Jack sticks his tongue out at Gabe and the other man laughs, coming to join him on the sleeping bag.
"So, you got more stuff for me to look at?" Gabe pokes Jack in the side.
Still, he pulls out his things and spreads them out across the floor
"I just wanted to say, thanks."
Jack swallows. He doesn't look at Gabe. He can't. He hasn't done anything worth Gabe's thanks yet. He feels like a fool.
"Gabe, when was your mom attacked?"
"September 15th. Why?"
"So?" Gabe asks "most news reports are made soon after an event."
Jack stuffs the article in Gabe's face. "This one contains the full autopsy report. Official PR wasn't made until the 19th in a conference."
"I'll need to check," Jack sighs "but usually, no."
Gabe points to another article, wriggling his hand. "Pass me that one."
Jack does. Their fingers brush.
Gabe hums as he reads, popping his lips once he's done. "This one was a week after my mom's death. It mentions me in detail."
"You were arrested a day later weren't you?" Jack says.
"I'll talk to the police department tomorrow." Jack declares. "And check the other cases as well."
Gabe nods, but he's still got a frown etched into his brow.
"What's wrong?" Jack asks
Ah right, the whole statue thing. Well, they knew each other better by now so Jack decided to go for it. "Um, about the whole statue thing. How did that happen?"
"Nono, it's fine." Gabe rubs his head. "It's just, I don't remember much of it either. One moment I'm sitting strapped to a chair, a needle being stuck into my arm. And the next...
"Scary way to wake up." Jack says.
"You're telling me." Gabe sighs. "I thought I was in hell. I couldn't leave the premises, and every sunrise I'd go back
Jack pulls him into a hug, arms wrapped tight around the other's shoulder. Gabe turned to press his nose into Jack's neck, hiding his face in the folds of the high collared coat.
"We'll set it right," Jack promises
When they finally break apart, Jack coaxes Gabe into watching one of the funnier movies he has.
Jack unconsciously runs his fingers through the dark curls while his mind drifts.
Jack would never admit he thought of what if Gabe stayed, with him, after this was all over.
A police friend, Gerard helps him confirm that the articles were published before an official statement
"Because your reporter's done this for all the other murder cases." Gerard says. "I've tried talking to our forensics and sure, Moira's a little weird but she doesn't sell her reports out before PR needs them."
"Jack do you have that article for me yet?"
Jack yelps, fumbling for an excuse.
"No!" Jack squeaks. When his boss continues to glare, Jack slumps like a child caught doing something bad. "...yes."
His boss sighs. "Jack, I know you care but the Reyes case is over.
Jack snorts, if only Boss knew that Gabe was trapped in a wax statue because his spirit couldn't rest.
Jack sits up. "All of them?"
"All. Now finish your work so you can go talk to Talon."
"You're early today."
Ana shrugs but let's him in and shows him back to the Murderer section of the museum. "Need anything?"
Jack hums, tapping his foot impatiently. He checks his watch. It's only 6pm, Gabe won't be awake for another 6 hours or so.
"You haven't had dinner yet, right?" Ana snickers.
Ana shrugs. "Vending machine works 24/7 and break lounge is in the back near the workshop." Ana tosses a scarf around her neck "try not to break anything!" She leaves with a wave.
"I'm in the break room, come find me when you're awake." he says to Gabe's unmoving statue, before turning and heading towards the back.
If he was honest, this is much scarier than the murder section.
Jack crunches particularly loudly on a Doritos chip if only to dispel the darkish atmosphere.
So all the related murders were reported by Talon. That dick. Jack knew that guy had no clearance with the police department, not like Jack did.
Holding cigarette between his fingers, Jack brings up the article that was published one day before Gabe's arrest on his phone.
Now that Jack was looking more closely, he could see the roundabout language used. It's a technique taught to writers to help direct attention without stating the obvious.
Jack semi-screams and throws his phone at the person. Who happens to be Gabe.
Gabe catches the phone before it can hit him, not even batting an eye.
"I forget I quit when I'm stressed," Jack admits sheepishly.
Gabe darts a glance over to the table where Jack's wrappers sit.
"Yes. Stressed." Jack takes back his cig, puffing deeply. To his surprise, Gabe leans back on the table where Jack was sitting on, and presses their sides together. "What's up?"
"Nothing." Gabe pauses, sighs. "Not nothing. Sorry."
"For the stress," Gabe says. "The case. You didn't have to-"
Jack jumps off the table, whirling on the statue. He's not as tall as Gabe but his shoulders give him the image of being larger.
Gabe looks at him dejectedly. "You don't even have evidence to prove my innocence."
Jack slaps him over the knee.
"Ow! What was that for?"
Gabe's smile is a hesitant, reluctant thing.
It's worth it to see the surprise and then happiness that spreads over Gabe's face. "Show me." He nearly begs.
Jack scrolls up to point at the author. "Talon is a guy at the news office. He wrote all the articles regarding the murders, including your mom's.
"Yup! And not only that-"
"I looked through his report on you-"
Gabe rubbed a hand over his face. "Jack, you can't accuse someone without hard evidence. This will never pass."
"Trust me Jack. I've been through it, they just won't."
"We need evidence?" He starts. "I'll get it. There's gotta be something he missed. I have his name, it shouldn't be too hard!"
Laughter was a good look on Gabe, Jack thinks. He'd give anything to see it more. "Nope! My dad doesn't raise quitters!"
"Hey!" Jack elbows him, bringing the cig back to his lips. "That's on me and my shitty teenage phase. 'Sides, it's not...all...bad?"
With one hand, he took Jack's hand (the one with the cig) and guided it back to his own lips.
His hair tickled Jack's cheek, fingers still curled firmly about the blond's.
Jack couldn't help swallowing and staring as Gabe finally lifted his head away.
However when the smoke cleared somewhat, Jack's eyes widened and he coughed.
"Your lips." Jack made a vague gesture at Gabe's mouth.
"What about them?"
Gabe brought his free hand up to touch his lip. And yelped.
The heat from the cig had melted the wax of his lips, making a small dent. Gabe broke away, cursing.
"It's not funny!" Gabe whined a finger going to his lip as if he could push it back into shape.
"Nono, come here. I think there was some, ah-" Jack leaned over the counter, finding a small pot of putty and paint.
Gabe reluctantly came to stand beside Jack as the blond turned with his bounty.
That done, he added a thin layer of paint to the lips, bringing them to life.
"How do I look?" Gabe asked.
When it finally hit Jack what he had just done, his face bloomed with red, flooding from his cheeks up to his hair and down to his chest.
Gabe's face is conflicted, nervous. His brows are furrowed but his nose is scrunched. His face tips in but halts..
Unable to decide, Gabe reaches up a hand to settle on Jack's cheek, fingers skittering across the skin.
Jack remains still in his arms, waiting. Ever so slightly he leans into the hand at his cheek.
Gabe finally gathers himself. "How...how did I taste?"
Jack sweeps aside Gabe's worries by closing the gap and pressing another kiss to Gabe's lips.
"Like wax," he says, smiling.
Gabe rocks them gently in place, keeping his lips pressed to Jack's hair. They don't speak of the kiss. It's too new, too fragile.
Gabe takes his hand, laces their fingers together. "Jack, you..." He sighs. "Don't rush."
Jack knows what Gabe means. If Gabe is free, he'll leave; he won't be stuck in a statue anymore.
"You'll visit though. Right?" Jack asks. "After you're free?"
He shouldn't ask. But he has to know. He can feel Gabe swallow, the arms tightening around him.
Jack can only give a small smile. Together, they part and head back into the museum. Jack doesn't want to let go when it's time for Gabe to leave.
When Ana comes to open the museum doors, she finds Jack in front of Reyes' statue - as if he had stood there the whole night.
Jack hopes it's legible enough, sleep deprived as he is and sends it off.
"Burning the midnight oil?" Talon asks, lounging in the guest chair.
"What the f-!!" Jack jumps, his hands fly out over the mess of notes on his desk.
"F*ck off Tal," Jack hisses "I just sent the first draft off so gimme a break."
"Actually, I didn't come to talk about that." Only now does Jack notice the way talon sit
"I told you-" Jack began.
"That there was that Reyes statue in the museum." Talon finishes. Abruptly the man leans forward, planting his arms on the table.
"Didn't wanna bother you." Jack's half-ass excuse wasn't going to work. They both knew it.
The word 'nothing' was on the tip of Jack's tongue but at that moment, his mind jumped back. Gabe holding him, Gabe's kiss, the fingers turning still, the sightless wax eyes.
Under the table, his hand flipped open his phone, thumb sliding quietly to the recording app.
"Are you sure you have time?"Jack asks
"Loads of time."
"Okay..." Jack hesitate, gathering his thoughts. Better to ease into things, he decides. "You were there on all the murder cases, not just the Reyes one, how did you get there so quick?"
"For all eight murders across the city?"
"I got connections too farm boy, they let me know where the cases were and saved me a VIP spot."
"Does one of your connections happen to be a doctor?" Jack prods
"You happen to know what every victim suffered from before the police can release their autopsy reports to the public." Jack says "isn't that a little strange?"
"Pssht, come on Jack." Talon chuckles "the public deserves to know the truth-"
It's subtle, but Jack can see Talon shift uncomfortably in his seat. Apparently it was not something the man had thought of.
"I didn't have a doctor on call," Talon admits at last. "I took photos and
"Doesn't explain how you knew /specifically/ that Reyes' mother was attacked from the back, suffered blunt force trauma and /then/ knifed."
"I don't get where this is going Morrison. Besides, her own son was convicted."
"Because the murder happened to be in his own house!" Jack snaps, undeterred he went on "don't you find it strange that Gabriel was convicted only
"I'm not following, Morrison."
"Someone /framed/ Gabriel. And they did it through your article Tal. So mind telling me what /your/ angle is?"
"Truthfully, I'm sorry my article led you to believe I framed Gabriel Reyes," Talon went on "That was not my intention.
"By saying he had no alibi," Jack growls.
"It's not my fault the boy got himself drunk with his friends and then proceeded to pass out on the road side!" Talon roars, at the end of his patience.
"Who the hell knows, his friends didn't look reliable anyhow. Like who wears a cowboy suit-" Talon cut himself off.
"Privacy." Talon splutters
"You didn't care about privacy when you spilled Gabe's situation all over the papers." Jack hums "Say,
Talon's grip on his chair had tightened, white knuckles lining the armrests. "I suggest you think about what you're about to say, very carefully, Morrison."
"Morrison..." Talon warns
"...you then volunteered to help Gabe back but left him by the roadside.
Cold breath caught in Jack's chest. The manic haze that consumed Talon's eyes made Jack shiver; fear for his life.
Jack gulps "You didn't deny-"
By the time Boss pushes the door open, Talon is standing straight with a pristine smile on his face. Jack has sunk back into his chair, trying to hide the deep gulps of air, fueled with fear.
Jack lurches to his feet. " We can talk /now/ boss!"
His phone is tucked firmly in his pocket, recording saved.
He spends his next hour in the safety of his Boss's office clarifying his article and reworking it.
"Jack, what the hell is this?" Gerard asks over the phone.
"What does it look like? It's proof of Gabriel's innocence!" Jack snaps
"Just add that to the list of dumbshit I've done." Jack hisses "Can you get a statement from this cowboy guy?"
"Yeah, he's been trying to talk to us for ages but no one's believed him,"
Jack nods. Talon's article had that effect on people: making people believe a certain truth until it was too late.
"We can change that now," Jack says "Get his statement, prove Gabe's innocence."
"I-" Jack stops. He's standing at a crossroads, the traffic light flickering red. He feels a presence at his back he cannot name but makes him shiver none the less. The feeling of something after him grows. He needs to run.
"What!?" Gerard exclaims "Jack if you're not safe-"
"Talon probably thinks I still have to pass the info to you, he'll be after me. Make sure you secure Gabe's friend, ok? I'm going now."
"What? Jack, wait-"
As soon as the traffic light turns green, Jack is moving again, faster, just short of running to the only place he needs to get to before Talon finds him
"Are you ok Jack?"
Ana narrows her eyes. "Jack-" she begins.
"So...I take it this'll be the last time you sleep over at the museum?"
Hells, this could be the last few hours Jack spends among the living! But he doesn't say that, just nods.
Jack can only wave after her and wonder what she might say if she found a body in the museum the next morning.
Shaking his head from the dark thoughts, Jack turns and heads inside.
Still, the feeling of being followed doesn't stop even when he's inside the safety of the museum.
It was like they were ready to leap and tear him to pieces.
Carefully, he steps up on the pedastal of Gabe's statue and hugs the unmoving wax man. As he does so, he stealthily slips his phone into Gabe's hoodie pocket.
A bang echoes through the otherwise silent museum. Jack flinches. It could've been a pipe...
He lets go, steps back. Footsteps thrum in the silent halls. Jack runs.
There were many statues here, some in states of horror, others in determination.
The shady lighting lengthened shadows, painted background and tree props swaying under the aircon
Jack held his breath, sinking down deeper against the props and among wax statue legs. Beads of sweat gathered on his head.
The footsteps began again.
They sounded far away.
Another few steps, as if they were crossing a hallway. And then nothing.
The silence went on for minutes, maybe hours.
The steps sounded abruptly.
Closer than he had thought possible.
The steps halted.
Quietness flooded the room.
And then, the sound of sliding metal against the floor. Grating, like rust rubbed raw against sandpaper.
Jack couldn't even scream as the rebar slammed over his head, knocking him out cold.
His legs were ziptied together at the ankles and thighs, hands tied behind him from the elbows down.
He twisted, trying his best to wriggle, only to stop as fingers fisted in his hair.
Jack flopper feebly, unable to move with the hand in his hair. At his silence, the rebar came up, whacking him across the middle. The air left Jack's lung in a puff before he was unceremoniously dropped to the floor.
"Don't expect me to thank you." Jack panted, trying to loosen the ties.
The way Talon turned back to him could only be predatory. The rebar came back, this time to tap on Jack's knee.
"I'm going to ask a few questions Jack,
"Or what?" Jack snarled. As soon as he said that, he knew he had made a mistake.
Talon brought the rebar down, /hard/. The crunch of broken bone was overshadowed by Jack's scream.
"So, as I was saying..." Talon circled around front, fingers tangling in Jack's hair to lift his head up.
Jack tossed his head, trying to dislodge the fingers. The rebar at his neck made him still. "Why d'you need it?" Jack rasped.
"We both know that you're not as dumb as you look, unfortunately...
"Answer the question Morrison. And maybe, I'll make your death painless."
"As painless as you made Maria Reyes'?" Jack spat
"Fuck you." It was over. Jack knew he was dead, he dredged up the last of his stubborn confidence and glared into Talon's eyes. "Kill me if you want, but the police know.And they /will/ find me!"
Talon dropped him, his face hardened.
"Shut up!!" The rebar came down again,
"I'll kill you, just as I killed all those other people." Talon snarled. One of his hands curled into Jack's now blood soaked shirt, dragging him back to a wax filled tub.
The fingers in his shirt tightened. Jack closed his eyes, desperate not to see the moment Talon tossed him into the heat. He felt the murderer prepare.
He tried to focus through the waves of nausea and mind blearing aches. His ears honed in on a voice.
/Gabe/ Jack thought.
"You! How-!?" Talon sputtered. He was caught off as another thump echoed through the room. A solid punch from what Jack could tell. Then the sound of a collapsing body.
"Right here Jack." Gabe assured, a hand stroking down his cheek. "You're going to be...ok. Fuck, you're going to be ok." He seemed to be flapping his hands uselessly over Jack
"Hands," Jack gasped, trying to show Gabe the zipties. The other man caught on, quickly locating a knife to cut him loose.
"We need to get you out of here," Gabe pressed
From his new vantage point, he could see Talon lying on the floor, out cold.
"Shut up, save your strength."
"I said, shut up!" Something in Gabe's voice caught. Jack twisted his head. Even through the haze, he could see the sheen over Gabe's eyes.
He was dimly aware of planting a kiss on Gabe's lips. And more aware when Gabe pulled him in, sobbing.
"Do you have /any/ idea how scared I was when you said to 'be at peace?" Gabe asked
"Well you two are just rays of sunshines aren't you?" Talon's snarl made them both jerk.
There was a blur of colour and then Gabe was rushing to cover Jack. His scream thrummed in Jack's ears.
Talon stood over him, rebar raised. The guy had a black eye but that was doing little to stop him as he brought the rebar down on the wax statue again.
Gabe curled in on himself under the onslaught, trying to protect himself against the blows. Despite not being made of blood and bone, the rebar left dents in Gabe's metal and wax body, misshaping it, breaking it.
But he couldn't just watch Gabe get hurt by the very man who got him killed...there had to be something he could do. Something...
This was more extreme. But Jack was out of options.
Leaning in, he got his one good arm onto the lip of the tub and began tugging. The metal porcelain giant refused to move. Jack railed his fist on the metal fixings.
Despite the pain, he hit it again and again. It /had/ to come loose!
Finally the tubes tying the tub down groaned. The metal fixings were slicked with Jack's blood, torn loose and unable to hold the weight contained within the tub.
Talon and Gabe both jerked their heads up at the unworldly groan that roared again
He wouldn't let Talon hurt Gabe anymore. With a final heave, he pulled the tub over. Tonnes of melted wax spilt from within, hot and steaming.
Gabe, unable to move, stared as the wax coated his hands and feet.
They were a bit thicker with excess wax, but it was working, it was repairing Gabe.
The blond didn't even have time to yell as the murderer's hand clamped around his neck hoisting him high enough to be pressed against the flipped tub
His cheek pressed into the tub's surface, Jack scrunched his eyes tight, bracing for the blow.
It never came.
A wet gurgle escaped the man holding him down.
"This. Is for my mother." Gabe growled.
It would be what Talon deserved, impaled by the very vengeful spirit he helped to create. But even if Gabe's appearance was that of a monster now, that wasn't who he /was/.
"Gabe, wait!" Jack yelled.
"What!?" Gabe snarled. The wax statue was so close to his revenge. So close, he could almost /feel/ the blood pouring out of Talon's hated body. Revelled, in that anticipation. And now Jack wanted to stop him.
But it wasn't as strong as his desire to make sure everyone hurt got something back from Talon's inevitable trial.
Jack had to hold back his giggles as Gabe finally settled beside him, pulling him close, mindful of the wounds.
"Both?" Jack chuckled. "You look like a snail with a slime body."
Jack laughed harder as Gabe slapped him gently on the head with a slime hand.
Gabe was a warm weight against his back and warmer still when the slimey wax shifted to form a tight cast and tourniquet over his knee.
"Jack?" Gabe asked.
"You're doing that puppy pout." Gabe pointed gently.
"No!!" Jack yelped. He didn't want to leave, didn't want to think of what would happen after he had left the museum and the sun rose. "I-I'm just..."
"Jack?" Gabe tried again "what's wrong?"
But that's not going to happen. Time's ticking and Jack wants to at least say a proper goodbye.
Gabe stiffens at that but returns the embrace, folding Jack deeper into hardening warm wax.
His life had been taken away from him with a suddenness he did not deserve and now it would end again with the completion of his 'quest'.
Myth speaks of spirits resting peacefully after that. But that wasn't what Gabe wanted.
Gabe smiles to himself at the memory. The flying notebook that started everything.
"I promised, didn't I?" Gabe whispered "To visit again after this is all over?"
"Don't make promises you can't keep," Jack whispered. He was teetering on an edge; didn't want to hope. But he really wanted /to/.
"Sealed with a kiss." Gabe chuckled.
They drift off like that, the pain and exhaustion finally overtaking Jack until all he could do was sink against Gabe.
Gabe held on for as long as he could, counting Jack's breath,
He planted one last kiss to Jack's sleeping form
They just held, as if it was a job they were left.
She next finds blood, and Jack, unconscious and bleeding, his wounds held together by a cast of wax.
When Gerard finally arrives with paramedics in tow, he is followed by a cowboy Ana has never seen before.
Gerard mumbles to himself throughout and halfway through leaves them to make sure Talon -who is in the process of being removed from his wax prison- is arrested and securely brought away.
Ana squints, and sure enough, the figure is an exact replica of the wax statue that still holds Jack.
Still, it makes her lift her head and narrow her eyes at the wax statue. A statue that paramedics were taking saws to to pull Jack out.
"Jack needs medical care." Ana replied
"Their cutting Gabe apart! He moved! He saved your friend's life! You can't just-"
"I'm well aware of that Mr.," Ana snapped.
Beside her, the cowboy had begun to shed tears. "I watched Gabe die y'know, friend honour, and all that.
"Jesse," the cowboy supplied
"Jesse," Ana nodded. "This-" she gestured at the mass of wax "-was never right. Your friend was innocent and placed in the wrong section of my museum. A wrong I hope to rectify.
"Gabe doesn't need to be made a statement," Jesse snarled "he doesn't need to be a reminder that the police couldn't do their jobs!"
Jesse followed her gaze. His shoulders sagged when he realised her meaning and nodded. It would be nice to have a place to leave flowers for Gabe...
But it doesn't lessen the blow of his departure.
The doctor came in soon after to tick off his injuries; shattered knee, broken shoulder,
When a cowboy comes in soon after, Jack perks up a little. The man introduces himself as Gabe's friend; Jesse McCree. They talk at length about what happened and he brings Jack up to speee.
"Ana's giving him a special section within the museum as a kind of grave." Jesse says
Jack nods at that, a lump in his throat.
When he finally goes to visit Gabe, Jesse pushes his wheelchair into the
Jack hadn't brought anything. Except perhaps for the pen in his shirt pocket.
One hour. Two.
The shadows lengthened and the darkness under the statue's eyes deepened.
When Gabe still did not move, Jack took the pen out from his shirt pocket, took aim, and threw. The pen bounced off the wax statue's nose before falling to the floor and joining the rest of the offerings.
He offered Jack a stick and together they watched the sun climb higher in the sky.
With Talon's arrest and murders brought to light, the office became busier as they dealt with their own PR. Jack worked overtime to help untangle the mess that had resulted from the chaos.
Leftover residues. Trauma from that night. Jack took it all and buried it.
And he had done it again. Jack looked down onto the paper he had been editting and found it soaked with tears, the ink splotched and unreadable in the face of his heartbreak.
"It's morning Jack." Boss said in greeting
Jack only nodded.
That, caught Jack's attention. He looked to the clock, and then back to his boss. Against the stern eyes, Jack shook his head guiltily.
Boss sighed, fingers rubbing between his brows.
Jack only snorted.
As Boss turned to leave the office, he paused.
"I should also mention you have a guest wanting to see you in the foyer" Boss turned to leave "try to sleep, ok?"
One wore the trademark hat Jack had come to associate with Jesse.
The light bounced off the sturdy shoulders bobbing with each step closer, glanced off deep chocolate skin peeking from under grey cloth.
The wheelchair buckled from under him. Wheels skidding with the tilt in weight and Jack's unbalanced form.
But what Jack hit, was not hard, nor was it cold. Warm hands circled around him - steadying him, holding him tight.
"You...ass..." Jack whispered. The words were lost as he pressed them into the folds of Gabe's hoodie.
It was real. So real. Fingers eased under his chin and lifted him up.
"Jack?" Gabe asked.
"Are you staying?"
"Pinky promise," Gabe replied, before leaning down to kiss Jack.