Long Road To Ruin

He kills them all without remorse, but very much with reason.

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14. Finale

Nick stared at the dead man at his feet, the pocketknife abandoned on the floor, then at the very much alive, very much psychotic man several feet from him, now holding the gun limply in his hands. Slowly, Nick bent down and picked up the knife, his eyes hesitant.

Sam cocked his head and grinned eerily. “What are you going to do with that, boy? I’m much faster than you.” He raised the gun a little higher, aiming the muzzle between Nick’s eyes.

“Yeah?” Nick muttered, his own gun in hand. “Why don’t you tell me where Detective Skeeter and the rest are and I’ll let you go. I understand why you’re doing this, Mr. Hale, I do.”

“Do you think I’m stupid, boy?” Sam muttered, flicking a strand of hair out his eyes.

“My fucking name is Nick,” he said angrily.

“Can I call you Nicholas? Good. Now, shut the hell up and toss your weapons to me. I don’t need any sudden shots going off.” Sam looked eager as he moved his injured hand and winced, to unwrap it from the gun, and hold it out. “This doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it did when I first shot myself.”

“Shouldn’t you be in shock?” Nick prompted.

“I’m a cop, Nicholas,” he said. “I know how to treat shock.”

Nick smirked slowly and said, “Yeah, but do you know how to treat a shot to the shoulder?”

A loud bang interrupted them and Sam screamed, falling to his knees, the bullet ripping into his back and shoulder blade. His injured arm was limp and he was on the ground. His mouth opened and he cried out again, gasping for air and spitting up blood. His head was pounding.

“Oh, fuck,” he groaned. “Shit, that hurts.”

“Burns doesn’t it?” said Jasper from behind him. His voice was so different from how Sam knew it; it was hard, untrusting and betrayed. And, if Sam could say so, slightly psychotic. “You didn’t think we’d let you get away after everything you did, did you?” He chuckled softly. “You’re done, Hale.”

All Sam could hear before he passed out was Justine’s frantic voice.

* * *

Jasper’s eyes fluttered open and he looked around groggily. He reached up to brush a hand through his brown hair and sat up. The room smelled familiar. He shuddered, knowing where he was immediately. He tried to stand up and suddenly felt so tired that he slid back onto the bed.

“Good, you’re up!” said a cheerful voice. Skeet entered the room with a tray of food and put it on Jasper’s lap. “You have to eat,” he ordered. “Bailey tells me you haven’t been doing that much these passed few weeks with things as chaotic as they were. Well, if you won’t do it for the doctors or him, then do it for Justine. She wants to see you healthy.”

“Justine?” he muttered. “Is she okay?”

“Jasper, relax, she’s fine. A bit bruised up and skittish, but otherwise she’s okay.”

“And Sam?”

“Dead.”

Jasper felt no guilt for that.

A knock on the hospital room door prompted both men to turn their heads. When it opened, Jasper’s breath caught. She was standing rather awkwardly, looking very small, her red hair tied back with gauze wrapped around her head. She had several bruises and was very pale, her hazel eyes dim.

“How are you?” she asked timidly as she stepped closer. She slowly bent down and brushed her lips against his cheek.

“What’s wrong?” Jasper asked.

“She doesn’t want to hurt you,” Skeet said quietly. “You went through a lot to save her again and she doesn’t feel like she deserves someone like you.”

“Skeet!” Justine hissed.

“I’m not that fragile,” Jasper said as he reached for her. He trapped her body in his arms, his hands locked around her wrists as he pulled her down. His kiss was rough and intoxicating as he now held her hips. He deepened the kiss gradually, not caring that Skeet was standing right there.

Someone cleared their throat.

“I was about to lose my lunch,” Nick said, grinning at Skeet. “You guys all right?” He asked.

Justine straightened up, her cheeks very pink, and said, “Yes. How are you doing?”

“I’m good,” Nick said, stretching. “Fuck, Skeet, why didn’t you let me out of the car?”

“Why did Hatchet give you a gun?” Skeet demanded.

Silence filled the room at the mention of the name and Nick cleared his throat, determined to change the subject. “Jasper, you never told us how you figured everything out.”

“It was easy,” he said, shifting into a sitting position. “All of the three girls had been killed outside Steve’s bar, a bar which Sam visited often, so he could have easily picked out his prey. He had known Emma would be there, like she usually was to meet Steve. Plus, he was at all of the crime scenes.”

“That’s right!” Justine exclaimed. “Oh, why didn’t I notice it?”

“Those weren’t his cases I’m guessing?” Nick said.

Jasper nodded. “He picked the wrong town and the wrong cops to fuck with.”

“But what about…” Skeet trailed off, staring at Justine, frowning.

“People make mistakes,” Jasper said confidentially. “Besides, I can’t arrest her. Then who would I get the best mind blowing sex from?” He grinned widely.

Nick groaned. “Okay, I’m going now.”

They chuckled when the door slammed shut and Justine sat down on the bed opposite Jasper’s.

“I feel terrible for Emma and the baby,” she said softly.

“Sam had to dispose of the evidence quickly since Steve and Emma had only been dating for a few months and they hadn’t slept together yet. How would it have looked when she turned up pregnant?”

Someone made a gagging noise out the room.

Skeet tossed a glare behind him. “Go get some coffee, Nicky.”

“I think we all deserve a long vacation,” Justine piped up. She seemed to be regaining her spirit. “How about the Bahamas?” She raised an eyebrow at Jasper.

“I was thinking more along the lines of Italy,” he said. “I hear it’s nice there.”

“Skeet, can we go on vacation?” Nick said from outside.

“What about my car?” Skeet growled. “You little shit, you broke a window!”

“You wouldn’t let me out!” Nick said. They heard him kick the door. “How else was I supposed to save you?”

Skeet sighed dramatically and excused himself as he stepped outside.

“I hope we have a kid like that one day,” Justine said grinning. “We could always try on vacation.”

Skeet opened the door a crack and said, “Nick’s stolen my keys. I have to go before he hits someone with the car. Don’t you guys get shot or anything while I’m gone. And you’re welcome, Jasper.” He said.

“I didn’t even say thank you,” Jasper muttered as Justine slid onto his bed.

“So, that baby thing?” she murmured.

“I think I’m free for the next few months,” Jasper said. “At least that’s what the doctor says.”

“You didn’t get hurt though," Justine pointed out.

Jasper smiled grimly and lifted the blanket that covered his body. There was a hole bullet hole in his thigh.

“Nick shot me.”

Her eyes widened and she nodded. “Okay, I definitely want one of him. He’ll shoot you if you get out of line.”

“Not funny,” he growled, pulling her toward him.

“I thought it was.”

“Well, you’ve never been too funny.” He grinned.

“Prick.”

“I love you, too.”

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