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14 October 2007 @ 09:40 am
A sequel? Already??  
Title: In My Life
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Jude/Max. Jax!
Summary: Sequel to Here Comes the Sun. From Max's point of view
Author's Note: I can't think of any fandom that has inspired me to write like this for a looong time. Or maybe it's the academic paper I have to write today? Anyway, I freaking love this fandom, and I like to think that I am in my own small way helping it grow.
Dedication: To my Uncle Bob, who served in Vietnam and was killed. Much love <3



It just so happens that in the course of Max’s life, he runs into a boy with a really amazing accent and hair that Max wants to just run his hands through. A guy who helps Max pick up his books and hide from police. A guy who has just been abandoned by his father, who’s alone in a foreign country with a few dollars in his pocket.

Max finds that he is very dedicated to the idea of Ivy League hospitality when the situation calls for it.

--

There had to have been a time when Max actually went to his classes, but once Jude comes along, that time is clearly over. Why go to class when he can learn about everything worth knowing in his bed, with Jude by his side and a hazy cloud of smoke above them? Why do anything else?

Max is the only one who understands how much Jude’s father’s absence bothers him. Jude doesn’t talk about it, but there’s this certain look he gets on his face when Max talks about his family that is rather telling. Max smiles and puts his arm around Jude’s shoulders and says something like, “Pack up your stuff, because we’re going to my house for a nice family holiday,” and Jude’s face lights up.

Max knows he’ll do anything to keep that boy smiling.

--

There are no words for how embarrassed Max is at Thanksgiving dinner, when his family berates him. He wants to find some way to let Jude know that he’s free to leave, free to just find someone else who’s a bit more normal to spend all his time with.

He goes outside and Jude and Lucy are already out there, and he breathes a little easier. The three of them walk to Max’s car to go bowling, and on the way there Jude throws an arm around Max’s shoulder and kisses him on the cheek. Lucy turns around and grins at both of them, and Max thinks he understands the concept of family.

--

Max and Jude live in New York City together, and it is by far the most amazing thing Max has ever experienced. They walk around the entire city, and through Central Park, and they lie in the grass and share a joint. Jude picks a berry from the ground and eats it, and then kisses Max so he can taste it too, and they name the field they’re in “Strawberry Fields.”

Max is very, very happy.

--
And then Lucy comes, which is fine, except that her boyfriend is dead and Jude definitely likes her. Jude is the kind of fucker who seems to have just this unlimited amount of love in his heart for everyone, so Max doesn’t get as jealous as he could.

And besides, he reasons later, they can take care of each other. Because he gets drafted. He has to go to Vietnam and fight in a war he doesn’t believe in for a country that makes him feel like an outsider.

His friends try to help him find a way around it, a way to avoid the draft, and for a shining moment Max has hope – but he knows, Max knows that it’s hopeless. He knows that he’ll be going to Vietnam, and that he’s going to die. He knows this, just like he knows that the hardest part of going will be leaving Jude.

He sits in bed with a bottle of whiskey, because he’s so fucking scared, and the whiskey tastes almost like courage.

Jude comes in and sits next to him, and they are shoulder to shoulder. Jude rubs Max’s back, and then he lies down on the bed and says, “I want to tell you not to be scared, but I’m fucking terrified, and I’m not even going, mate.”

Max puts down his bottle of whiskey, and he climbs onto the bed, holding his body above Jude’s so that he looks down into his friend’s face. He stares at Jude’s face, trying to memorize every line of it so that he can have it for the weeks—months—years to come. He knows that on his own face, Jude can see each and every one of his emotions, and he’s okay with that. It’s Jude, and he would give everything he has to Jude. If this war were for Jude, instead of some faceless people, he’d be fighting eagerly in a second.

Jude reaches a hand up to cup Max’s cheek and they just stare at each other and don’t say anything. And then Max’s arms get tired of holding him up—he just doesn’t want to hold himself up anymore, and he sort of collapses on top of Jude. He worries that he’s crushing his friend, but Jude just wraps his arms around him and holds him tight, and Max buries his face in Jude’s warm neck.

--

When Max and Lucy were young, they’d tell each other ghost stories, until one of them got too scared and begged for the story to stop.

When Max is in Vietnam, he’s scared, and during the night he begs for it to stop, and it doesn’t.

One night, he opens up one of his books, because he needs something other than war and sweat and blood to fill up the spaces inside him, and out of the book falls a sheet of paper. It’s a sketch. Jude must’ve tucked it in the book before Max left. Max looks at the picture. He and Jude have their arms around each other’s shoulders, and Lucy is leaning against Jude and they’re all grinning. Max traces the lines of Jude’s face with his finger.

--

The only thing Max can think of to do to cope is just go along with everything, and maybe time will go by more quickly. He doesn’t make any friends, because he can’t stand to look in the eyes of a dying man and recognize him.

Eventually, Max is released to the hospital, and he takes all the drugs he can get. Lucy comes to visit him in the hospital and tells him that Jude has been deported, and Max is pretty sure that there is nothing, nothing left.

--

Lucy and Max miss Jude in their own ways, and they sit by the dock staring across the gray Atlantic, as if Jude is somewhere on a beach staring right back. Max wonders if maybe he is. Max is fucking furious that Jude left, because Max needs him so goddamned much. His life is full of nightmares, when he’s sleeping and when he’s awake, and he needs Jude here so fucking much. Because he knows if he had Jude by his side, the nightmares would still be there, but maybe he could handle them.

He also knows that Jude loves Lucy.

Max imagines reaching across time and space and endless gray oceans to where Jude is, and fucking begs him to come home. He’s never hid anything from Jude, and isn’t going to try now. He wonders if somehow Jude can hear him.

He gets a letter saying that Jude is coming home, and he goes down to the port to ask when his boat should arrive. He goes there five hours early and waits.

And first he can see the ship approaching and then it docks and then Max is afraid that maybe Jude isn’t on it at all. And then Jude comes off, and his hair is a little longer and JudeyJudeyJudeyJudey and they run to each other, Jude and Max, and Max holds on for dear life, and Jude lifts Max up. Max runs his hand through Jude’s hair and they just cling to each other, the two of them, because they can’t bring themselves to let go. Eventually they do, but Max refuses to let Jude out of his sight, and Jude does the same.

--

Max doesn’t care that Jude is here to be with Lucy, because he’s here and that’s what matters. He watches them fight but he doesn’t say anything, because he’s not going to question love.

--

Max still has nightmares, still wakes up screaming and screaming. Jude comes in from the room he shares with Lucy and sits with him, holds his hand, sings him soothing little lullabies. Max wants to just hug him, just pull the blankets up over both of them like when they were at Princeton, but when he looks at Jude’s eyes he can see that his friend is holding something back, so he doesn’t.

--

Lucy is out of the apartment, and Max loves his sister but it’s still a relief. He’s lying in Jude’s bed and they’re sharing a joint, and Max does not think about his own drug and alcohol consumption, because he knows it’s too much. He stares at the ceiling and just focuses on the swirling smoke and having Jude by his side, when Jude buries his face in Max’s shoulder.

Max wonders if his friend is falling apart, if something happened in Liverpool or maybe the fights with Lucy are too much for him. He stubs out the joint and then rolls over and wraps his arm around Jude and they look at each other’s faces, and it feels good to comfort Jude for once, to hold him together. “I’m happy you came home, Judey.” But that’s not the problem here, is it? “Lucy is too.”

“I didn’t come back for her,” Jude replies. “I came back for you.”

Max’s heart stops dead in its tracks, and then starts beating madly. “Me?”

Jude looks at Max earnestly. “Because you needed me… didn’t you?”

Max isn’t sure how Jude knows that, or if he’s aware of how completely true it is. He feels exposed, laid bare. He nods. “Nothing makes sense anymore,” he whispers, giving Jude the words to hold and keep safe.

And Jude presses his hand to Max’s heart, and Max imagines that Jude is holding all of him in his hand. “But you’re here,” Jude says. “You’re here. You don’t—you don’t understand. I thought I’d never see you again.”

The words replay in Max’s head over and over again as he tries to process it. This is so much more than he ever allowed himself to expect. “I know. I was scared all the time,” he says.

“This makes sense to me. This, right here. This is all there is in the entire world. Just us, the two of us, right here.”

“You’re so high,” Max says, and he can hear the affection in his own voice. He runs his hand through Jude’s hair over and over again, and thinks of how much he loves Jude, how much he wants to wrap Jude up in his arms and keep him safe.

Jude smiles and leans into Max’s hand. “Well, you’re petting me.”

Max smiles and leans in closer to Jude and he’s terrified, they’re both terrified, and they kiss. Max feels Jude’s hand on his face, and he wants to cry, he’s so happy and for once it feels like the world has finally righted itself and he wants Jude to know it. “That made sense,” he whispers. “That made lots of sense.”

“I think we need to stick together,” Jude tells him. Max thinks, Please. “No more going to war or getting deported for either of us.”

“I think I agree with that,” Max replies, trying to stop himself from sounding so fucking desperate. “I also think…” but he stops himself. He can’t say it. He can’t. Can’t get those words out.

Jude brushes the hair out of Max’s eyes and Max feels like he can see again. “Thinking is good. You know—you know I love you, right?”

They’re both scared boys, or maybe they’re men, and Max has this moment when he understands how scary it was for Jude to say that. Max smiles, and he leans in and kisses Jude, because he wants Jude to understand that it’s okay, it’s all okay. Well. Except. Except for him, Max. Max isn’t okay. Max is so fucking happy now, to be here with Jude, but he can’t guarantee he won’t wake up screaming. “I’m not like I used to be. I’m different now,” he warns, and then he decides to just say it. “But I love you.”

And Jude doesn’t move away, he just moves closer, and he whispers, “It’s alright, it’s alright,” and Max lets those words echo inside him, because it is alright, and even if he breaks apart into millions of little pieces, Jude will hold him together. Because this is his life now, this, and he’s never loved anyone more.



(cross-posted to backbenttulips, where there is MORE ACROSS THE UNIVERSE SLASH!!!)
 
 
 
A Shade of Reality: Hurt/Mathildamistress_britt on October 14th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous, simply gorgeous.
abbeyroad_nw8abbeyroad_nw8 on October 14th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
that was perfect and just how I'd imagine it would be.

max/jude = LUV
chibigirl626: afterglowchibigirl626 on October 15th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
Amazing. That's all I can say. <3
oni_ishtaroni_ishtar on October 15th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
oh god, just like the first, so terribly tragic, beautiful, i was shivering the entire time, you are a phenominal writer and i cant wait to see more from you in this fandom

~Oni
Carostarryskies on October 15th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your comments. No fandom has ever inspired me like this - I mean, I saw the movie for a second time, came home, wrote a fanfic, posted it, and then a couple of hours later wrote a sequel. That's ridiculously quick for me. And I keep getting ideas of more things I want to write. And it's good to know that someone will want to read it :)
oni_ishtaroni_ishtar on October 16th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
definitly, and if you are ever in the need of plots, i've got loads ;)

~Oni
Kay: riverladybugkay on November 12th, 2007 03:49 am (UTC)
I like this even more than the original story!

>>Jude picks a berry from the ground and eats it, and then kisses Max so he can taste it too, and they name the field they’re in “Strawberry Fields.”

That image, and the use of that song with it, is so beautiful, and it feels really RIGHT for Jude and Max.

>>And then Max’s arms get tired of holding him up—he just doesn’t want to hold himself up anymore, and he sort of collapses on top of Jude.

Oh! The layers in this line--I love every single one of them. This is a beautiful story. (I should hate you for getting me hooked on yet another fandom. But I don't.)
My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.somekindofcross on November 20th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
A.m.a.z.i.n.g.

My favorite bits:

"Jude is the kind of fucker who seems to have just this unlimited amount of love in his heart for everyone..."

"He sits in bed with a bottle of whiskey, because he’s so fucking scared, and the whiskey tastes almost like courage." Perfect kinda film-noir desperation there. Awesome.

Your writing is so vivid whilst not trying too hard, and I like that. It's easy to feel the real, very dark 'dark' and the boisterous happy-go-lucky 'light' as each bit happens; the feelings are overwhelming and pop out of the story so easily into the reader's senses. I love this!