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Burn for You

Guest emmasi

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Topic Title: Burn For You

Topic Description: Jack, Lucas. Rated T(VD)

Type of story: Oneshot

Rating: T

Main Characters: Jack, Lucas

Genre: Drama

Warnings: VD

Is Story being proof read: Yes

Summary: Jack interrogates the school arsonist.

Burn for You

Jack looked down at his hands, and the shadow they cast on the table. If only that was the darkest thing in this room. He rubbed his right thumb over his left, undecided as to whether he could really feel either movement, whether he could feel anything but fear and sorrow.

He forced his eyes upward, squinting. If he had the choice, he’d have closed them completely. He didn’t want to be seeing this. He didn’t want to be the one that had to ask him - him, for God’s sake…

“Why did you do it?”

It was more than a policeman interrogating a suspect. It was a brother, asking his brother, how he could have committed such betrayal.

Lucas – slumped back in his chair, arms folded defensively over his chest – didn’t answer.

“You could have killed someone,” said jack, anger rising through the hurt in his voice. “You could have killed Dad! Or yourself! Do you have any idea what it would have done to me if I’d lost either of you? Or both of you?”

“I didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt,” said Lucas quietly.

“Bull,” glared Jack. “You started a fire in a crowded school. Do you honestly expect me to believe that you didn’t intend for there to be casualties? A body count? Is that what you were after?” He’d raised his voice without realizing it.

Lucas waited for Jack to compose himself before he spoke. “You think I’m a murderer?” Lucas asked his brother.

“I think what you did was reckless and stupid, and yes, Lucas, if someone had died you would be a murderer.” Jack shook his head, contemplating defeat. “By the way you’re acting, I don’t even know if you’d care.”

“Of course I’d care,” mumbled Lucas.

“Then why risk it? Huh? Why put people’s lives in danger? What could possibly be worth that?”

Lucas took a moment to stare at the ground and gather his thoughts. He thought he might have cried if he wasn’t so numb.

“Lee killed her baby.”

The statement ripped through the still air and was absorbed by the interrogation room walls, like so many brutal confessions before it.

“Sorry?” Jack was genuinely confused.

Lucas huffed in disgust. “You don’t even remember her, do you?”

Jack stalled. He tried to think, and eventually put a face to the name. “Lee, that blonde girl you went out with when you split with Mattie…she had a baby?”

“She was pregnant,” said Lucas coldly. “She had an abortion. Not that you’d care.”

“What does Lee having an abortion have to do with you?” asked Jack. He didn’t understand why Lucas would care so much about a girl he barely knew. “Unless…Luke, the baby wasn’t yours, was it?”

“It doesn’t matter…”

“Yes it does! Especially if you’re using this as an excuse to torch the school!” Jack tried not to be so harsh, realizing that his little brother may have just lost his first child. “Lucas, you need to tell me. I need to understand where you’re coming from. Were you angry with Lee? Were you trying to get back at her somehow?”

“It wasn’t her fault,” said Lucas. “She wanted to keep it. He wouldn’t let her.”

“Who, Lucas?” Jack prompted him carefully. “You need to be clear, you need to tell me exactly what happened.”

Lucas stared at the ground again. “Mr. Brayburn. He made Lee get rid of her baby.”

Jack assumed from that title that this Brayburn person was in some position of authority. “Is that Lee’s dad?”

Lucas glared at Jack’s ignorance, but he was reluctant to explain himself. It would mean laying out all of his motives on the table.


Lucas sighed. He couldn’t keep it from Jack, or any other cop, he supposed. “He’s the science teacher.”

Jack went quite, and slowly nodded his understanding. “So that’s why you went for the science department. You wanted to get Brayburn.”

“He deserved it.”

“I still don’t understand. Why did he make Lee give up her baby?”

“She didn’t ‘give it up,’” snapped Lucas, “She killed it, because she was too afraid of what he’d do to her if she didn’t. He didn’t want some little bastard baby wrecking his life.”

“The baby was Brayburn’s?” Jack realised, hiding his relief.

“You’d know that if you’d been paying attention to anything that’s been happening in anyone’s life but your own.”

Jack’s professionalism faltered as he prepared to defend himself against the insult. “Well I’m sorry if I was too busy recovering from a liver transplant and thinking my wife was dead to keep track or your love life.”

“Go to Hell.”

“I’m already there.”

Jack broke the intense glare that he and Lucas were sharing, returning his gaze to his own hands instead. It was hell, seeing his once innocent little brother sitting across from him, admitting to such anger, such hatred, that he’d actually be willing to commit a criminal act to exorcise it.

“You started the fire in Brayburn’s classroom.”

Lucas nodded.

“So how come we found accelerants on the roof of the building?”

“I didn’t want anyone to find the cans – I figured you guys would get my prints off them or something.”

Jack smirked at Lucas’ logic: he had enough sense to try and dispose of the evidence. If only he had enough sense not to leave prints in the first place…

God, what was Jack thinking? Lucas’ shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

“I used the petrol to cover Brayburn’s room – the floor, the benches – everything. Especially his desk. There was a picture of his wife in the top draw…”

Lucas paused to remember the happy image of the smiling woman – blissfully unaware of her husband’s cowardice and infidelity. He remembered placing the clean picture frame on top of the desk and letting the dark liquid pool on the surface of the glass, obscuring Mrs. Brayburn’s face, just as Mr. Brayburn must have obscured it from his mind when he was having sex with Lee.

“I wanted him to know that he’d burned her, as well as Lee and the baby,” said Lucas. “I threw the cans up onto the roof when I was done. I didn’t think anyone would look for them up there.”

“Maybe we wouldn’t have if the whole place hadn’t gone up,” muttered Jack.

“I didn’t know it’d burn like that. I didn’t know how much fuel I was supposed to use.” He looked pointedly at Jack to remind him of his true character. “I’ve never done anything like that before.”

Jack glanced up at his brother, but couldn’t look at him for long. It hurt too much, remembering what a good kid he really was.

“So you doused the room in petrol,” he continued the interview, “Tried to hide the evidence… Then what?”

“Then I threw a match in from the hallway and ran for it.”

“And it never occurred to you that someone other than Mr. Brayburn might end up suffering for this?”

Someone like you, Lucas. I never wanted this for you.

Jack shook his head sadly. “Lucas, you’ve just confessed to arson and willful destruction of property. You not only endangered Mr. Brayburn’s life, but that of other staff members at Summer Bay High, as well as your classmates and the emergency crews who responded to the fire. This is serious, Luc. I don’t know if I can help you.”

“I don’t expect you to.”

Jack looked into his brother’s eyes. The innocence was gone. The faith and trust that he once saw there was no longer being offered to him. Lucas was freezing him out. Perhaps beginning to freeze everything out.

Jack leaned across the table and paused the interview tape. Lucas looked at him questioningly.

“I love you Luc,” Jack told him. “No matter what you do, nothing will ever change that. Do you understand?”

Lucas maintained his cold façade, but allowed a small nod to creep through.

“Good,” said Jack.

Jack unpaused the tape and officially ended the interview. He stood up from the table and walked around it to kneel beside Lucas’ chair. He looked up at his little brother and put a reassuring hand on his knee. “I’ll do everything I can,” he promised.

Lucas could see it in Jack’s eyes that he was sincere. He would have known it, even if he were blind.

Lucas let his arms fall away from his chest, becoming something close to relaxed for the first time since entering the room. Jack pushed himself up on his knees so that his torso was level with Lucas’ and gave him a warm, secure hug.

Lucas closed his eyes and put his arms around Jack, holding to him tightly. He wasn’t so naïve as to think that Jack would be able to fix any of this – he knew that he’d have to face the consequences for what he had done – but just knowing that Jack still cared enough to want to help him; knowing that he still loved him, even after all of this… that was all that mattered right now.



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