2007-04-05: Bourbon Heals All Wounds


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Summary: Cass comes searching for Jack and finds him in a drunken stupor. The two talk about their relationship troubles and a little by about Sylar. But mostly about their relationship trouble.

April 5th, 2007:

Bourbon Heals All Wounds

Den of Iniquity, Back Room

Two days after parting company with Eliana, Jack is still hiding out in his office and drinking everything in sight. A half-dozen empty liquor bottles are in an untidy pile next to his desk. He's unshowered and unshaven. A fresh pair of beat-up jeans and a faded Led Zepplin t-shirt are his only concessions to keeping himself arranged. There isn't a single customer in the main area of the pub, and the bartender looks dreadfully bored.

The man himself is slumped across the poker table in his office. Several decks of playing cards have been arrayed into piles of various sizes, but forgotten, the arrangement serves as little more than a pillow for Jack's slumped body.

Unaware of the stupor that Jack has drank himself into, Cass pushes through the door into the empty room of the Den. She blinks at the the strange sight to her. Any time she's stopped by it's been either full of people or at least somewhat crowded. Walking up to the bored looking bartender, she smiles a little sheepishly and studies him. "Hey. Um…is Jack here?" She sounds a little hesitant about trying to find him if he's not immediately available. "I mean, I can see he's not /here/ here but is he in the back somewhere?"

The bartender received specific instructions from Jack before the Irishman started steeping himself in bourbon. Open on time, close on time, don't let /anyone/ in the back. Especially women. She opens her mouth to reply, but is cut off by a crackling, muffled voice emerging from the antiquated intercom at one end of the bar. Though creaky and rough, it's recognizable as Jack's.

"C'mon back, Cass."

On the other side of the one-way windows that form the wall between office and pub, Jack has hauled himself up out of his seat, crossed to his desk, and thumbed the toggle-switch on the 'comm.

The sound of Jack's voice kills Cass' smile. That definitely does not sound good. She gives the bartender a raised eyebrow, as if asking him what she should expect when she makes her way into the backroom, but then she decides to head back before receiving and answer. She gives the man an absent smile before turning away from the bar and making her way to the back. Once inside, she takes in the state of the back room and then the state of Jack, but reserves any vocal judgement as of yet. "Wow. Jack." Okay, nevermind, she can't keep it back. "You look horrible."

"'Lookin' California, feelin' Minnesota,'" Jack quotes by way of reply. Despite the rate of his consumption, he carries his drunkenness well. Though not slurred, his voice is hoarse and his words are carefully enunciated. His posture and movements are stiffly precise as he pulls out his desk chair and plops down into it. "You hear what happened?" he queries. Never one to waste breath on tact, he still seems extra to-the-point today.

Well, wasting time on small talk isn't really lost on Cass. She's fine with getting straight to the point. Frowning, she looks around to see if there's a bottle that's /not/ empty. This is a conversation that deserves a drink. "Depends on what something you mean. Sylar getting his powers back? Yeah. Heard that. The whole clustermess of infidelity between you, Eliana and Lachlan? Yeah. Heard that one, too." Sighing, she looks around for a clean glass, too, so that she can drink whatever it is she can find. "Really, I guess I could have just said yes to make that whole thing easier."

A sudden tightening of the muscles in Jack's jaw is his only outward display of emotion. The search for liquor is something that he's familiar with. Snapping the fingers of both hands simultaneously, he relocates a pair of glasses and a bottle of ridiculously old and expensive bourbon onto his desk. "Not worried about Sylar," he murmurs. And as crazy as it sounds, he isn't. "If the bugger would hold still for an hour, I could put a rifle bullet into his brain from a football field away, and Bob's your uncle." Also true, if a trifle pompous and overzealous. As he speaks, he works the cork loose from the bottle and pours a generous measure into both glasses. "I'm talking about my Jew and your Scotsman."

"You must be the only one," Cass says, not missing the irony. "Yeah, well, I'm sure that'll work really great. Here. Please hold still Sylar, I'd like to kill you." She's being sarcastic, it's true, but it's not really /because/ of Jack. As soon as she's the bourbon is summoned and glasses poured, the store owner snags one for herself. She's not actually much of a bourbon drinker, but any port in a storm. "He's not /my/ Scotsman. I don't own him. He does what he wants. And it's not really like you're one to talk. Don't see why you're so upset about the situation if you've already got yourself another girl."

Without breaking his carefully neutral expression, Jack backhands his freshly filled glass from the desk. It shatters against the wall in a small spray of liquid and sharp shards, which are blessedly too far away to be of harm. "I did no such thing." Despite the sudden display, his voice is still low and even. Then the tension sags from his shoulders and he lets out a long, frustrated sigh. In an instant, he's himself again. "I'm sorry," he apologizes sincerely. "But I didn't, and I hate to have my loyalty questioned."

The glass crashing against the wall makes Cass jump and take a quick step backwards from Jack. This man is her friend, but when shown such violence, she's not sure what she should do in the situation. "Yeah, well, I wasn't there; I just heard from Lachlan." Her hand grips her glass with white knuckles for a moment before taking a generous swig from it to help calm her down. She makes a face from the taste and then shakes her head at Jack. "It's not like I hadn't seen you flirt with out girls before." She feels the need to say that to show why she was quick to judge other men. Not to mention the fact that she's not had the best track record with faithful men lately.

Jack just shakes his head and holds both hands palm-out in a familiar warding gesture. "Garbage in, garbage out. You only knew what you were told." Giving up on the concept of glassware, Jack wipes the dust from the mouth of the bourbon bottle with one thumb, then drinks deeply. After he sets the bottle down he continues. "Flirting isn't fucking," he states blandly. "And I wasn't even flirting. I was play-acting so as to dodge some blond barfly's unwanted attentions. I wouldn't fuck Cohen with a stolen dick. She's too good a friend, and I'm no cheater. Not that I'd have to worry about that now. When I found out, I told Eli to take it on the arches."

"Well, I certainly don't know things I'm not told." Shrugging, Cass moves back until she's right against the wall, using that as a support of sorts. She's not sure she wants to sit down for this conversation, but she's also not sure she wants to just stay standing. "Yeah, I think I heard about the different bases in high school. Look, I'm sorry. I believe you didn't do it. I've just got a low opinion of men and their ability to fend off other women at the moment." She frowns, looking down into her glass for that talk. Then, at the last part, she looks up and focuses on Jack. "So you and Eliana are over?"

"Over like stonewashed jeans," Jack replies with a nod. "I can tolerate a great deal. The Lord knows that Eli tested that theory, and well. But I don't do sleeping around, contrary to popular opinion, and I don't tolerate my bedmates taking on new partners." He rubs briefly at his eyes with one hand, then takes another pull from the bottle. After wiping his mouth on the back of his hand he adds, "I don't care about her piss-poor 'I'd been drinking' defense, either. If that bucket held water, my life would be easy beans."

Cass frowns. Now she feels like she's kind of a sucker for not kicking Lachlan out on sight. "I don't know." She doesn't really have any explanation for Lachlan's behavior. Or for Eliana's. It's not something she can imagine doing. "Lachlan…" well, she can't say that it's because he was on X because he just told her how he doesn't believe in that defense. "I don't know. I can't explain anything of what's been happening lately." Sighing, she takes another big gulp of her drink. It seems like the thing to do in the situation.

Jack quirks one eyebrow and smiles mirthlessly. "I can." He takes one more swig from the bottle, then gestures with it dramatically. "I was caught in an innocent cock-up. Without even bothering to ask me about it, Eli changes the locks on me. Then, the same night, she goes to Lachlan for comfort." As he sums up his conversation with Eli, the sheer quantity of alcohol that he's consumed is beginning to catch up with him. "Rather than talk like decent folk, they decided a game of hot beef injection would be more suitable." Drunkenly imperious, Jack leans back in his chair and steeples his fingers into a triangle. He's got an overly grave look on his face, and the combination can only be described as comical.

Cass looks up to see Jack's steepled fingers and snorts. She's not really in a laughing mood, but it certainly looks ridiculous enough to earn something more than a frown. "People think really stupid things when they care about someone. They get vulnerable and crazy. I yelled at Lach at a club because I thought he was sleeping with some detective." She pauses. This isn't really a good example because Lachlan /did/ turn out to be sleeping with other people. "Well, I don't know. Lachlan was /really/ upset when he talked to me about it. I was going to end everything with him right there. But…I don't know. I still care about him. And he's really freaking good at looking like a lost and sad little puppy."

"If you want to keep him, tell him to stay the bloody hell outta my pub," Jack warns. "I've been dodging the bastard primarily for your benefit." He looks down at himself; his posture, his bearing. With a self-depricating smirk, he slumps into a less akward position. Then he pulls open a desk drawer, produces a pack of cigarettes, and plugs one between his lips before shaking one halfway out and offering it to Cass. "You want?"

Before she can even realize what she's doing, Cass is defending Lachlan. "Hey, this is not all Lachlan. He thought you were messing around on Eliana. Doesn't make what he did right, but…" she stops herself when she pauses to try and think of what that but is. "God, what am I saying. Give me a cigarette." Grabbing one, she sticks it between her lips and then in her holds out her free hand for a lighter. "Thanks. For not beating him up, by the way. I'm not sure if I'm keeping him. He's…I don't now. Whenever I try to tell him to never talk to me again, something sticks in the back of my throat." She sighs. "I don't know how you can just be so final about it. I kind of envy it."

"I carry the strength of my convictions, that's how. I know if she can do it once, she can do it again." Jack pulls a silver lighter from his pocket, sparks it, and lights up before offering the flame to Cass. He doesn't touch on Lachlan, who still may end up on the receiving end of an Irish bootheel. "Not saying that she /will/, but now I know what she's capable of. Not to mention that it all started with her wildly emotional overreation."

"I've got convictions, I just can't separate them from my emotions," Cass replies, leaning forward to stick her cigarette into the open flame of his lighter, inhaling gratefully. With alcohol and nicotine, the night might be looking up. "You're talking like love is something that's logical. Everyone's capable of anything, Jack. Doesn't mean they do it all the time." Sighing, she plucks the cigarette from between her mouth to take another swig, mostly finishing that lovely bourbon. Finally, deciding to sit down she makes for a chair and sinks down onto it. "God. What a mess."

Jack considers this for a moment, then bobs a nod. "You've got a point. Just because I like things to be logical and quantifiable doesn't mean they always are." He pours another dose of liquor for Cass, then takes a drink for himself. "And this /is/ a bloody mess. I decided I'd crawl into a bottle of booze for three days, then see what the world looked like when I crawled out. Two-thirds through, I'm not impressed. At least I'm not listening to country music, though." A hint of his usual crooked grin crawls across his face.

Holding out her glass to make it easier for Jack to pour, Cass takes the opportunity to take a long drag of her cigarette. "I started smoking again." She smiles wryly as she pulls it out of her mouth and just holds it between her fingers. "Last time I bought a pack a cigarettes, I was too young to buy a pack a cigarettes. Nah, country music is crap to listen to when you're heart's broken. Aretha Franklin, honey. Queen of Soul soothes the soul just right."

After two days cloistered away in his office, it seems a bit of conversation is just what the doctor ordered for Mr. Jack. Grinning wider, he nods by way of agreement. "It's true, it's true. A decent Irish pub sonnent never hurt nobody, either. You've not heard croonin' 'til you've heard it from an Irishman singing for pints. Beautiful stuff, wot."

Laughing, Cass knocks back more of her bourbon. Her cheeks are already starting to flush with the alcohol, though she's not quite feeling it yet. "You're right. You'll have to start one up for me next time I'm here. Just so I can make a comparison. Though, really, how that can beat Chain of Fools is beyond me." Knowing that shutting yourself away is really not the best way to fight off the blues, this is really just what both of them need. "So what do we do now, Jack? Become embittered and vow to never trust another man/woman/dog again?"

Jack cocks his head to the side curiously, considering the question. Then, with a chuckle, he shakes his head. "Hardly seems sensible, though it sounds good at the moment. I /do/ plan to be choosier next time, though." Absently, he flicks a cylinder of ash from his cigarette, then takes a deep draw. After puffing a few smoke rings, he grinds the butt out in an ashtray, which he then shoves over to Cass.

With a frown, Cass puffs on her cigarette before tapping the ash off. "Hm. Yeah. I've never been good at that. The whole never trusting anyone again thing. I keep telling myself I will. And then some Scot comes by with accents and dogs and I can't help myself. I swear, those accents get me all the time." Sighing, she looks back down into her glass again. "Why can't I just kick Lachlan out the door? Does that make me a a sap?"

"Uh." That's another question that bears careful consideration. "A little, yeah. He's cheated on you at least twice now. In what? A month? Two? Hardly seems like an auspicious beginning to a relationship." Shrugging helplessly, Jack leans back in his chair a bit. "It's not that we shouldn't trust, we just need to be more careful about it, I think."

"I know that," Cass frowns. "I mean, I do. I know I sound like a space case a lot, but I'm not stupid." Sighing, she rests her head against the back of the chair, letting her cigarette smoke on it's own. "He's never really been used to relationships. Not that that's really an excuse. But he…he was so shaken up when I tried to end it the other night. I felt like I as a bad person or something just for suggestion that I didn't know if I could take him back. I need to learn that look. That I'm so hurt and helpless one. Really, I should be the one wearing it, right? Why am /I/ the one feeling guilty?"

"That's an extremely good question," Jack replies. "You're the one who's been wronged, here. I can't say I was thrilled by the look on Eli's face when I broke things off with her, but if she didn't want it to happen, she shouldn't have slept around. She was more than ready to toss me on suspicion alone, after all." He runs one long-fingered hand through his short, untidy hair, then lets out a groan. "Damn all Scotsmans and Jews. Infidels, all of 'em. Except Cohen and Sean Connery."

"What was that saying from school? Assumptions make an ass out of you and me?" Cass closes her eyes for a moment and picks her head back up. "Yeah. Well, I think he thought he was doing the right thing, coming and being all honest about it. And now he's even letting me borrow his dog since I was all worried about safety after the break in. He's…I don't know. I can't explain it." She snickers. "Sean Connery was born in Ireland, sorry to say. Lesser known fact. Though, really, you should be pretty pleased about that." Finishing off her cigarette, she stubs it out and goes immediately for her drink. "And it really isn't fair to judge them all based on two people."

Jack shrugs again. "Whatever." Man. If the news about ol' James Bond isn't enough to perk him up, he must be in a slump. "You know better than I if the third time will be the charm with Lachlan. Eliana and I have issues that run deeper than her lack of sexual discretion. Things are gonna work out better for me, this way."

Cass frowns. Neither of them are really in a good mood this evening. Hence the drinking and the smoking. "Yeah. I know. Sorry, I'll talk to Nima about it. Girl talk and whatever." Though, she knows that Nima will probably have much the same reaction as Jack. Except for more with the wanting to castrate Lachlan and less with the 'whatevering'. "If you say so. I never actually saw you two together. Just separately. Anyway, I'm not exactly the I know what's good in a relationship person. Obviously. But we certainly don't seem happier without them right now."

Jack quirks his mouth and lifts his broad, sloping shoulder briefly. "It takes time to get over someone." He hoists the bottle of bourbon up to the light and peers through the amber liquid. Then he chucks back a gulp and winces at the burn in his throat. "I think I'm after bein' single for a while, anyway. Get things sorted out. Maybe try my hand at this whole Sylar business with the Petrelli boys."

"Yeah. I guess." Cass frowns. "I've never really had this problem before. All my old boyfriends were really great upstanding young men who were reliable and boring. Who knows they may have been cheating on me, but I don't know. I'm assuming you haven't, either." Or, who knows, his reaction may come from having dealt with this before. "The Petrelli boys, huh? So they're actually a team? I didn't know the Congressman one had anything to do with this."

Immediately, Jack looks regretful. "Uhh. Not so much. It's complicated," he deferrs. "More'n anything, they seem like a pair who could use help stayin' outta trouble. I figure I've gotten myself into enough cock-ups that I should be able to give them a hand with whatever they've got on the table." There. That qualifies as an explanation, yet is suitably vauge. Still, it makes him a little uncomfortable to hold out on Cass, who has proven herself trustworthy. "Nate's worried about his little brother. He's asked me to keep things quiet, for the sake of everyone safety, and I agreed to honor his request. You understand, yes?"

In her state, Cass doesn't pick up on Jack's regretful look. After all, he's looked regretful and the like during this whole conversation. "I don't know. I met Peter," she'll use his first name here since there's no way to tell which Petrelli she's talking about if she just uses the last name. "And he seems like he definitely has a good head on his shoulders. A little nervous, but I don't know." As for being worried, she tilts her head to that. "Worried about him? Why? Other than just the Sylar stuff?" She waves a free hand to let him know she knows this is supposed to be secret.

Jack shakes his head. "Like I said, it's complicated. I think Nate's just trying to be a good big brother, and I can respect that." He shakes another cigarette loose and lights it. "When we raided Kirby Plaza to free Pete, we learned that supernatural abilities and an audacious attitude aren't enough to save the day. Nate's worried, and I don't blame him."

"What isn't complicated nowadays?" Cass rests her glass on her leg while she listens to Jack speak. As for Peter, well, she knows something about him, too. But she's not sure if he wants to keep their training sessions quiet or not. So, she errs on the side of caution and says nothing about them. Though she does pause while she thinks this over. It's a little while before she says anything. "Yeah. I've been thinking about that too. We need plans and to all work together." She sighs and finishes off the rest of her bourbon. "I should get going. I left Bonnie outside and now I feel bad about leaving her out there so long."

As she leaves, Jack graces Cass with a smile that'd been doing a fair job of hiding the last couple of days. "I'm glad you came by, lady-o. It was good talking with you. Have a safe cab ride home, and I hope you work through your relationship confusion." As he has been for weeks now, Jack is most likely to pass out across his desk. Comfy, yes?

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