Title: What Was the Name (3/3)
Word Count: 1,370
Disclaimer: The movie doesn't belong to me. I'm not that awesome.
Summary: Max watches as Jude returns. That's all he does: watch.
A/N: The final part! Yay! ...Or not. But, here's to it ending!
Part One Part Two
Max didn't know what he was doing. He was parked outside the gate of the shipping yard, sitting on top of his cab. An uneasy feeling settled inside his stomach. He shouldn't have come. Why did he let Prudence convince him to come here?
Drawing a cigarette from his pocket, Max sighed. After lighting it, he looked around. People were looking hopefully toward the dock, awaiting a loved one's return. Max felt his chest clench. He really didn't want to be here. He had no place with these people.
“Now, Max,” Prudence had said, “You better get going, or you'll be late.” She smiled as she handed Max his cap. Max looked at her, his eyes narrowing. He shook his head. She sighed. “You're still not talking?”
Prudence pushed Max toward the door. “He'll be expecting you. And I know you want to see him, even if you stubbornly think otherwise.” Max looked back at her uncertainly as he clutched the directions. Prudence offered a smile. “And don't forget to bring him to the rooftop after you pick him up.” She waved as Max left the apartment.
What now? He was there, waiting for the frigging passengers to come out. His fingers began tapping themselves against his knees. Why was he so Goddamn nervous? He took a long drag, slowly releasing the smoke. It burned a bit; he wasn't used to smoking. He hasn't picked up a cigarette since his return from Vietnam. Max shivered.
The other people waiting suddenly started to yell and cheer. Max looked up and saw that the passengers were finally coming toward them. Flicking his smoke to the ground, Max searched the upcoming crowd for a certain face. His heartbeat quickened. Then, he came into view.
Max froze. There he was. Jude. Jude was coming toward him. It was Jude. Max laughed, surprising himself. He rose, flinging his arms out. “Judey, Judey, Judey, Judey, Judey, Judey, Judey!” He didn't know he was yelling until he felt his throat burn. He had never said so much so loud since the war. He'd never been happier, either.
Then he saw Jude smile, heard him call out “Max” as they rushed to each other, Max jumping into Jude's arms before he could stop himself. To his surprise and great relief, Jude caught him and returned the embrace, hugging Max tight to his being.
For the first time in a very, very long time, Max was finally fucking home. He clung to Jude, never wanting to let go. Jude smiled, carrying the blonde to the cab. They pulled apart, Max already missing the warmth of Jude's body. They smiled at each other like fools as they got in the cab.
“You don't look too messed up.” Jude teased, though a hint of worry laced his eyes. Max snorted.
“Yeah, well, everything below the neck works fine.” Max found it surprisingly easy to admit that. That and he was getting used to talking again. They drove in silence, the air becoming a bit uncomfortable. Jude looked out the window, seeming to ponder over something.
“She know?” He asked after some time. Max felt his chest tighten. That's right, he told himself. Not you.
“Nah uh.” He answered quietly. Not for a damaged fuck like you. Max's fingers tightened on the steering wheel.
“You didn't tell her?” It was meant to be a question, but it came out as an amused statement. Max mentally laughed at that. How could he have told her?
“Nope.” According to Prudence, he hasn't spoken a word since he got back into the country. Of course he didn't tell her. Not that Jude needed to know all about his little break down...
Jude chuckled. “Alright, good.” Max rose an eyebrow. “Good.” Jude said again, more quietly than the first. Why is that good? Max squashed the uneasy feeling away before it had a chance to eat at him. He wanted to enjoy the private time he had with Jude before they got to the roof.
x X x
Max watched as Jude sung into the mic. He actually sings pretty good. Max chuckled, but it died away when he saw his sister on the roof of the building across the street. His heart raced. Jude would see her. They'd live happily ever after.
But Jude didn't see her. In fact, he turned to leave, probably thinking he blew his chance. Max could let him walk away. He could pretend he didn't see a thing. Then what? What would that accomplish? Just his best friend getting pissed at him and his sister hating him for life. Did that matter? The defeated look on Jude's face answered everything.
Before he passed, Max got Jude's attention. The blonde nodded to his sister. Jude turned around. There was no mistaking it; this time, he saw her. Max could tell by the smile Lucy gave. He knew Jude was smiling too. Happily ever fucking after.
“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.” Max's chest snapped. He felt so empty and defeated. Behind him, Prudence looked at the scene with concern. At the same time, Lucy and Jude turned and ran to the door that would lead them to the street, to each other. “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah...” Oh God.
Max didn't realize everyone was leaving until Prudence hugged him. He didn't hug back. He didn't have the strength. “Shh, Max, it's okay.” It was then that Max was aware of the tears leaking from his eyes. God, he felt so worn out. Lonely. Detached. Broken. All he could do was replay the scene of them running to each other. He wanted to forget it. He wanted to detach again.
But he couldn't. After wiping away the tears, Prudence led him down the stairs and out to the street. The gang surrounded Jude and Lucy, who were in a tight embrace. A dull ache filled Max's stomach. “Max...” Prudence started, but Max shook his head. He didn't want to talk. He never did. He just wanted to go rot somewhere under a rock.
The gang was all laughs, welcoming Jude back to the country. Max just stood there, Prudence at his side. It felt like watching a movie to Max. He was completely disconnected with the scene. It broke Prudence's heart.
Lucy turned to them then. She smiled as she skipped toward the pair. Prudence walked to her, and they hugged, sharing carefree words. Prudence whispered something into Lucy's ear, something that made Lucy wild with joy. She turned to Max, a bright smile on her face. Max stiffened. Then, suddenly, she was on him.
“Oh, Max!” She cried as she hugged her brother tight. “You're okay?” She pulled out of the embrace to see his face. Max inwardly groaned. So much for detaching. He forced a smile. It worked; Lucy was ecstatic as she hugged him again.
Max could see Jude watching them, a confused look on his face. Max adverted his gaze; he did not want to deal with that. Deal with everyone coming to him, making a fuss. “Shh, Lucy, I'm okay.” He heard himself say. His mouth just doesn't want to quit, does it? “Everything's gonna be all right.” Yeah, right.
Lucy smiled brightly as she hugged him again. Everyone smiled, assuming everything really was going to be all right. Jude grinned, his eyes one the Carrigan siblings. Max noticed how Jude's eyes were aglow with emotion, all for his sister. Never again for him. Never. Max choked.
The gang started to move, everyone talking all at once about Jude's return, his song, the fact that he and Lucy were together again, reunited at last. Max straggled behind, not having the heart to talk with them.
Max looked on as the gang walked in front of him. He saw how Jude wrapped an arm around Lucy's waist. He watched as Lucy rested her head on Jude's shoulder. He watched as they molded together to form a perfect picture of a relationship. What was the name, the name that called Jude back to America? It was never his. It was always, always Lucy's, his perfect little sister's name. Oh God.
And then Max closed his eyes.