Summary: Lazarus might have been a little confused, too.
Warnings: Rated PG-13, m/m, spoilers for Mommy's Bosses
The line between dreams and waking is too fragile, Jordan thinks, or maybe this is what death looks like, the bleached bones of a landscape, desiccated ground, blue blare of the sky that makes his vision go white. Maybe this is hell, if hell is an accumulation of petty torments. It certainly is hot, the sun glowering down on him like a personal punishment.
It's funny. All he knows is himself, his name, his nature. Everything else, the facts of his life, the details...it's all a useless blur. He takes a lurching step. The ground is a hard, rocky sear, but he ignores how it feels to tender, bare feet. He keeps going. Not that he has any sense where he's heading, or even why, but what else is there to do?
The ground dips sharply, and he stumbles, falls. Picks himself up, inches down the slope more carefully. The wind gusts, slinging white dust everywhere, into his nose, his eyes. Definitely hell, he thinks, until he gets to the bottom of the hill and sees the sign: Randless Sand and Gravel Co.
Then he's not so sure, unless there's more dark humor in the dispensation of souls than he would have guessed.
A path winds away from the sign, little more than a worn place in the grass. For once, Jordan finds it reassuring to trail along in other people's footsteps. At first, he can just make out a distant buzz, but soon it starts to sound more familiar. The path takes him into a clump of trees, and then the trees give way to open space. He stops and stares. Trucks rattle by on what looks suspiciously like Highway 90.
He takes a step toward the traffic, not quite able to believe. The air rushes at him, there's a screech of horns, and he jumps back. The car that almost hit him pulls over, backs up, and the driver gets out.
"Are you trying to get killed?" the man says loudly, although he sounds more shaken than angry.
Jordan says nothing.
The man looks him up and down and sighs. "Where you headed?"
"Seattle?" It just comes to him. He's not even sure it's right.
The man lets out his breath. "Yeah, you're in Seattle. So maybe you could be more specific?"
Another answer comes tumbling out, "100 Elm Street?"
The man squints at him. "Hey, you one of those 4400s?" Jordan doesn't answer, because he doesn't know, and the man makes his own interpretation of the silence. "I just thought you were homeless or crazy or something." His gaze flickers over Jordan, taking in his state. "I guess you guys have been through some stuff lately, huh? Okay." He nods toward the car. "Get in. I'll give you a ride."
Jordan doesn't quite trust in the solidity of the passenger seat, even as he's sitting in it, even as he's rubbing his fingers over the upholstery that feels just the way cars do. Maybe this isn't hell, but it could still be a dream. They're so real sometimes.
The guy drives, shooting the occasional worried glance over at him. Finally he says, "You know, you're lucky I didn't hit you. Gotta watch yourself better. Not be wandering into the road like that."
Jordan nods absently. He stares out the window. There's something mesmerizing about the blur of the passing world. As he watches it, pictures flash in his head, disconnected and fuzzy, like something playing on a broken TV. There's a room that reminds him strangely of an old-fashioned surgical theater, people in long robes that trail the floor, a boy's face, his dark eyes full of concern.
They get off the highway and take a left. Names of streets start to come back to him: Larson, Sequoia, Maitland. The boy with the dark eyes crowds out the other images in his head. Details slowly start to fill in: the curve of his neck, sound of his voice, his slender, powerful hands.
"Shawn," Jordan says out loud, in a fit of revelation.
The guy frowns at him. "My name's Joe."
A block from the Center, Jordan abruptly shouts out, "Here. Let me out here!"
Joe raises an eyebrow. "But I thought you were going to--"
"This is close enough."
Joe pulls over with a sigh. "I hope you know what you're doing."
Jordan doesn't, not really, but he offers a sure smile as he climbs out of the car. Bluffing comes so naturally. He waits for Joe to pull away, and then his feet carry him past a hedge, through some trees, to a stone path so choked with weeds it's barely distinguishable. He follows it, and at the end there's a shed with a keypad on the door. That seems odd when he thinks about it, but his fingers seem to know what to do, and the door springs open. Inside, there are no gardening supplies, just a long corridor, with the dull, orange glow of emergency lights.
He holds onto the wall and feels his way forward in the dim illumination. Shawn! thrums mercilessly through his head.
At the end of the passage, he comes to another door, and once again his fingers go to work. On the other side, he finds himself in an empty hallway, maybe an office building, some place modern and impersonal. Sunlight streams in through a window, reflecting off the high polish of the floor, and Jordan hears voices coming his way. The beacon that's been guiding him carries him around a corner, down another hall, past another keypad on another door.
He finds a stairwell this time, silent and dusty, no sense that it's ever used. Details begin to stream back to him, and he knows where he is at last. An emergency exit, his secret, because it's always wise to plan for contingencies, to have a way out. He starts up the stairs, quickly, no need for caution now. No one will find him here.
Shawn's room is on the third floor--he knows this, it's not just a matter of instinct anymore--and he takes the steps two at a time. There's an exit from the emergency stairwell that leads directly there, carefully camouflaged. If Jordan ever had to flee, he would of course need Shawn with him. He finds the door, punches in one last code. The panel slides open, and there he is, standing in Shawn's hall closet.
He turns the knob, cracks the door open, listening for voices. There's nothing, and he ventures out. For a moment, all he can do is stand there, his heart beating crazily as he takes a good look around. Whenever he spots something that belongs to Shawn--a carelessly flung jacket, a book, a note in his large, messy scrawl--a muscle he didn't even know he had clenches in his chest.
He drifts idly over to an antique telescope, a gift he himself gave Shawn, reaches out to touch it like he doesn't really expect it to be there. He turns, heads for the living room. Every movement feels like he's underwater, slow and deliberate. In the doorway, he freezes altogether.
There must have been a doubting part of him that never truly believed any of this, because it's so hard to accept that Shawn could really be there, innocently asleep on the sofa.
Jordan teeters unsteadily on his feet as he approaches. Shawn murmurs in his sleep, one hand tucked under his chin, disturbingly child-like. Jordan sinks to his knees and just stares for what feels like forever. When he finally reaches out with shaking fingers, he can barely breathe.
It's funny, Shawn thinks, that curing everyone in quarantine didn't kick his ass nearly as bad as helping out one screwed up cousin. Whatever that thing was in Kyle, it sure put up a hell of a fight. It's left him with the same drifting sense he used to get as a kid whenever he had a fever. He falls in and out of sleep, dreams lurching through his fuzzy brain, the disturbing kind that seem too real.
In one, Liv is sliding down from the top of a precarious hill, barely hanging on, her hands dirty with effort. Shawn keeps trying to grab on, pull her back up, but every time he does, he loses his own delicate balance and nearly falls himself. In another, he has something important to say, but no matter who he tries to tell, his mother, Uncle Tommy, Danny, even Matthew, no one will listen, no one even seems to realize he's there.
He shifts restlessly, and his eyes flutter open. These dreams are too damned real, and now there's a strange, bedraggled man kneeling by the couch, staring at him like he's the one who's a vision. He's about to ask the mirage what he wants when the man says in a voice choked with disbelief, "Shawn?"
Shawn's eyes snap wide open, and then he's not sure if this is a dream or maybe he's carried the savior routine too far this time. Maybe that thing in Kyle was too strong, and the afterlife is oddly enough just like they show it in movies. Somebody you love does come to meet you, and it's not Grandpa Max or his dog Skippy, but Jordan.
Jordan. Not exactly like he was in life, manicured and controlled, but a more primordial version, wild-haired, fire in his eyes. Jordan in the guise of Moses, ready to part the waters and lead Shawn wherever it is he needs to go.
Jordan's hand settles on Shawn's head like a benediction, and Shawn murmurs his name, leans into the touch. Jordan brushes his fingers tenderly over his face, and then moves on, anointing Shawn everywhere, his arms, his chest, his legs, his cock. It's only a light caress, and Jordan doesn't linger, but Shawn responds with a moan, his legs falling open, hard at just that one touch.
"Shawn," Jordan says, like it hurts him, his eyes all pupil, endlessly dark.
His hand returns, the touch different now, more like it was in life.
"Please," Shawn begs.
Jordan licks his lips and stares. "Shawn." He says the name with greater conviction. And then his hands are on Shawn again, retracing the path he's just covered, but with much different intent.
By the time Jordan pushes up his shirt to lay kisses on his chest, Shawn is shuddering so hard his teeth hurt. "Please. Jordan." They're the only two words he has left.
Jordan yanks Shawn's pants and underwear down to his knees in his frenzy to get at skin. Bends his head, and it's not like it ever was before, messy and desperate and no sense that Jordan wants anything else, just Shawn.
Shawn digs his fingers into Jordan's wild mane and fucks his mouth, almost viciously. Because he's missed him, and he's missed this, and how dare Jordan fucking die and leave him so utterly alone?
Even the brutality of Shawn's need doesn't seem to satisfy Jordan, though. His fingers dig into Shawn's hip, pull at him, leaving bruises. And Shawn knows this has to be a dream. Or maybe it's heaven, if heaven is where you get what you've wanted so bad and never could have. Because he's always been the desperate one, he's the one who can't get enough. Never Jordan. Not him.
When it's over at last, they're both wrecked, Shawn weak and gasping, Jordan with come on his face, come in his hair, a wet spot spreading over the front of the couch. Shawn scoots over to make room, and Jordan lumbers up from the floor, sinks down beside him with a heavy sigh. He slips an arm around Shawn's shoulder, and Shawn rests his head against his chest. He can feel grit from Jordan's shirt on his cheek. Dust tickles his nose. Jordan strokes his hair, and Shawn closes his eyes.
Dreams can be so real sometimes. He just wishes this one would last.