Characters: JJ, Max Fork, Ryo, Dee, Drake.
Setting: Vol. 5, Act 15.
Summary: JJ’s reunion with an old friend turns out not to be a happy one.
Word Count: 643
Written Using: The dw100 prompt ‘Reunited’.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
JJ was overjoyed to learn that his old friend Max had recently transferred to the Bronx station; they hadn’t seen each other since their academy days and he couldn’t wait to catch up on all of Max’s news. After dragging the other man out to lunch, JJ gave him the not so grand tour of the Bronx Precinct, where he and his friends from the 27th were temporarily based until their new station house was ready.
But something was off about Max. He seemed jaded, depressed, cynical, even bitter, character traits JJ would never have ascribed to the man he thought he knew so well. Max used to be so idealistic, so full of hope and enthusiasm, not just for life but for the job as well. What had happened to him?
Turned out his old friend had changed a whole lot more that JJ would have imagined possible. Yes, what had happened to the woman Max loved had been terrible, but it didn’t excuse what he’d become, a dirty cop, a thief and a liar, injuring and even killing fellow cops in order to steal confiscated drugs and put them back out on the street.
JJ was furious; Max had hurt Drake, and now he expected JJ to feel sorry for him? As if! JJ was pretty sure Max would have shot Dee and Ryo when they came down to the evidence room, alerted to the fact that something was wrong, but thankfully they’d fired first. Or maybe that’s what Max had really wanted all along, someone to end the pain for him because he couldn’t bring himself to take his own life. If so, it was a cowardly thing to do because now Dee and Ryo had to live with killing a fellow cop, someone JJ had once considered a close friend. They shouldn’t have had to do that.
It sucked. Max had told JJ that he shouldn’t trust anyone, that trusting people only gave them the opportunity to hurt you, but JJ was never going to believe that. Friendship was nothing without trust, and life wouldn’t be worth living without friendship. He trusted the guys he worked with, Ryo, Dee, Ted, Marty, and most especially Drake, who always had his back no matter what. They all knew they could trust JJ too, that was the way it should be.
Max’s partner had betrayed his trust, and now Max himself had betrayed the trust JJ had always had in him. In a way he did feel sorry for Max. Watching someone you love die for no reason, that’s bound to tear a man apart, and yet other people lost their loved ones all the time without turning their backs on all that was good and decent. Instead of turning to his friends for support, Max had allowed his pain and misery to consume him, turning him into someone JJ didn’t recognise.
As much as JJ wished he could hate his former friend, he didn’t, couldn’t, he just felt horribly sad. Max had been such a great guy back when they were younger, and now he was dead, killed trying to steal drugs. Loss and grief had transformed him into someone no better than the criminals he’d once vowed to protect others from. It was a tragedy, and a waste.
His former friend’s death was going to take a while to get over, things like that couldn’t just be shrugged off and forgotten about, but JJ knew in the end he’d be okay. Life would go on, for him if not for Max, and unlike Max, he’d willingly accept the support and comfort of his friends; he knew they’d always be there for him whenever he needed them, that was the true test of friendship. He just wished he could’ve been there when Max needed someone. Then maybe none of this would’ve happened.