fandom. Breaking Bad
characters. Walt and Jesse. Walt POV.
summary. Future fic set sometime after the Denny's teaser. Finding himself cornered by the DEA, Walt tries to find another perfect moment to die and some way for Jesse to live free.
warnings. Heavy angst, hints of violence.
disclaimer. BrBa is not mine and I shouldn't really be touching it.
authors note. First off, huge thanks to my beta readers lenina20 and hanfastolfe for reading this fic through and offering me some sage advice. Writing BrBa fic is the most daunting fan project I've ever attempted so I needed the hand holding. This fic is a dark depressing gift that I promised to waltzmatildah after we gave each other the same challenge to write a 'Jesse finds out everything' fic. This is my nervous attempt at fulfilling that challenge.
The Sins of the Father
The plan was simple. At least that’s what Walt kept insisting.
It was certainly simple when considered alongside the complex predicaments he and Jesse had survived through in the past. Yes, they had escaped from far worse perils than this one. They had been trapped in situations where they were far more defenceless.
To Walt’s mind, an M60 machine gun made everything a good deal simpler.
Ten months of target practice in the forests of New Hampshire and Walt had liberated Jesse from Declan’s lab in a little over ten minutes. Walt hadn’t expected the Phoenix crew to let their distribution network run dry after he had gone into hiding, but Walt wouldn’t tolerate them taking his formula, taking his money and not even for a moment would he stand for them taking Jesse. The blue meth would die with him and Jesse would live free and it was as simple as that. The difficult part came in the aftermath. The noise of a machine gun and the mess it leaves behind don’t allow for the quietest getaway.
Walt had been prepared for the DEA taking chase. It had been part of his plan to fall back to old Joe’s junkyard if the cops were on their tail. He had called the workers that morning and (for a price) they had cleared the site, leaving it deserted for Walt to make his last stand. He and Jesse had hidden themselves in Joe’s office, huddling beneath its windows. It was here that Walt was trying to explain to Jesse that the rest of his plan was simple too. Yes, the DEA were at the junkyard gates, but Walt was the one they wanted. Walt could create a diversion and cover Jesse’s escape. They didn’t know Jesse was with him. Jesse could flee the scene, scrambling under the heaps of rusty metal and crawling through the trenches that Joe’s guys had dug along the fence. Old Joe had even left maps marked with the best routes out of his yard. He had left a used car and its keys on a lonely lane close by.
Saul had taken care of the rest of the arrangements. Once Jesse was safely on the desert road out of Albuquerque he was to head straight for New Hampshire. And when he got to New Hampshire he would no longer be Jesse Pinkman. He would be Jesse Lambert. He would be in town to inherit the house and the trust fund left to him by his father, Walter Lambert, who had recently lost his long battle with lung cancer. Saul had even forged a college degree into Jesse’s new identity so he might find himself a legitimate career once he had settled into his new life. This was the best Walt could do for a legacy now. His real family were out of his reach. Jesse was the last person left who he could provide for.
So that was the plan. And so far the only thing not going according to plan was Jesse himself. And really...Walt should have expected that much.
“You’re not doing this!” said Jesse, as if he could actually stop him. “I’m serious. You start firing that thing again, I’ll walk out of here and give myself up! How are you going to justify your crazy-ass shooting spree then, huh? I mean, you’re talking about the mass murder of a bunch of cops! Guys who are just doing their jobs, just trying to keep society safe from scumbags like us. No way, man! No fucking way! This ends here.”
“I’ll aim to wound,” said Walt, in no mood for arguments. “They have bulletproof vests and shields, Jesse. There’s only one person likely to die in this shootout. I’m making myself a target to get you out of here. You’re welcome, by the way.”
“Yeah and I’m telling you it’s not worth it!” Jesse fumed. “I’m not worth it! I don’t want it. What? You think you’re being the big hero here? Making your big sacrifice? Fuck that shit! You’re just having yourself one last birthday party with your new...toy. How can you be sure you won’t kill anyone else with that thing? Do you even care? Jesus!! Your brother in law might be out there. You gonna take pot shots at him too?”
Jesse began to rise from his crouching position, craning his neck to peer out the window. Walt grabbed his sleeve and pulled him back to the floor.
“Stay down!” Walt hissed. “Jesse, they don’t know you’re here! Don’t let them see you. If Hank spots you in the window he might just kill you on sight!”
Jesse yanked himself free of Walt’s grasp, drawing his knees into his chest. Walt didn’t like the way Jesse recoiled from his touch. They should have been united in this moment. They should have been Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at the end of their adventures. Instead Jesse looked like he was about to throw up on the floor. Tears leaked from the corners of his tired eyes. And he could barely bring himself to look at Walt.
“Why aren’t they coming for us yet?” Jesse asked faintly.
Walt shrugged. “I’m not certain of the procedure. They’re probably waiting for me to make the first move. Maybe they think I’ve got hostages in here.”
Walt glanced down at his watch, his birthday present, like it might tell him the exact number of minutes he had left to save Jesse. All the watch did was tick.
“You need to go,” Walt concluded. “There’s no time.”
Jesse squeezed his eyes shut, shaking his head. “Mr White, please.”
Walt coughed and clasped the weapon tighter to his chest.
Mr White. It was crazy that it still meant something to him - Jesse addressing him like he was still his chemistry teacher. Mr White the educator, the good citizen, the husband, the father, the cancer patient...Walt had left that man so far behind him. Yet to hear Jesse say it again, after so long, made Walt want to forget where he was, forget the danger that was inching closer with every passing second...made him want to stop and just talk to Jesse again.
“Okay,” Walt heard himself saying. “I’m putting it down.”
Walt clicked on the safety and laid down the gun. For good measure, he pushed it across the floor. It skidded to rest in the far corner of the office. Walt could still lunge for it if he needed to. But for now Walt turned back to Jesse and displayed his empty hands. He had hoped that relinquishing his gun would calm Jesse. Calm him enough so that he would agree to follow Walt’s instructions. But instead Walt noticed that Jesse’s fingers were twitching close to a bulge in the small of his back. He blinked in surprise. How long had Jesse been carrying a gun?
Walt tipped his head, pointing to the weapon poking from Jesse’s waistband.
“Is there a reason why you’re allowed to be armed and I’m not?”
Jesse flinched and pulled the gun from his jeans. For a moment it looked like Jesse might slide the gun across the floor to join Walt’s weapon in solidarity.
But no. Jesse kept hold of it, clasping it in both hands.
“I just...” he stammered, “It’s for protection.”
Walt rolled his eyes. “I was protecting us just fine!”
But now Walt noticed how Jesse winced a little each time he spoke. Jesse had made it plain that he didn’t want any of the law enforcers massing outside to be harmed. There was only one other person in the vicinity who Jesse might feel the need to use a gun against. Walt coughed and then clenched his teeth.
“So what...you think you need to protect yourself from me, Jesse? With everything I’m trying to do for you here?! We were partners for over a year. Doesn't that count for something anymore?”
“Wasn’t Mike your partner too?” Jesse blurted out.
Walt hesitated. “You...you think I killed Mike?”
“Saul’s pretty sure you did.” Jesse bit down hard on his lower lip, seeming to grow more agitated as Walt let a silence stretch between them. “So are you even going to deny it? I mean, did Mike try to shoot you or something? When you brought him his bag? Did he try to whack you because he knew you were going after his guys?”
Walt couldn’t help but smile. Even now Jesse was offering him the excuse of self-defense. It would be an easy lie to tell. Mike had threatened to murder Walt more than once and would have done so if Jesse hadn’t been there to shield him. And really, Mike should’ve killed Walt that day. Walt still felt a little insulted that he hadn’t even tried; that Mike continued to underestimate him no matter what extremes Walt went to, no matter what he achieved.
Now Jesse was underestimating him too. Walt was sick of it.
“No Jesse, Mike didn’t threaten my life. He just wanted to get out.”
Jesse blinked in confusion. “Then why did you do it? Why did you kill him?”
Walt could only shrug. “It’s hard to say really. There were some harsh words spoken between us. I had a gun in my hand and then, all of a sudden...it was done.”
Walt wasn’t sure what he was doing, telling Jesse the truth. That wasn’t part of the plan. Or was it? Walt had done what he’d done and it was over now. Did he have to keep lying? Did he still have to hide? Why shouldn’t he have a last taste of freedom too?
The colour drained from Jesse’s face. The gun in his hands was no longer clutched to his chest. He had raised it shakily before him, aiming it vaguely at Walt’s heart. Walt kept on smiling. This was almost nostalgic. Once Walt had talked Jesse out of shooting him; it was a very different kind of challenge trying to talk Jesse into pulling the trigger.
Never give up control, Walt reminded himself. Better Jesse than the DEA. There needed to be a Plan B and this would have to suffice. Walt had told Saul that if anything went wrong, then he was to handle Jesse’s defense. It was Saul’s job to get him off by any means necessary; say he was manipulated, say he was coerced, tell the jury it was Walt who shot Gale Boetticher. See that Jesse got reduced sentence at least, a chance to live again after he was gone.
Walt owed him that much. He could still provide that.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?!” Jesse hissed, cutting into Walt’s thoughts. “You better tell me that the cancer went to your brain or I swear that I’ll...”
“You’ll what?” Walt asked, almost playfully. “What else did Saul tell you, Jesse? Did he tell you about that bag of candy laced with Lily of the Valley that I had him give to Brock? You almost worked that one out for yourself didn’t you? Maybe if you’d trusted your own mind you could’ve ended this long before now. Instead you trusted me.”
With every word spilling from his lips, Walt was bracing himself for Jesse’s reaction, even if it came in the form of a bullet to his chest. Jesse was silent, acting as though he hadn’t heard him. His eyes were glazed over, though tears still slipped from them, streaming his cheeks. Walt had seen Jesse like this before; in a state of catatonia, barely able to function. Jesse in shock didn’t suit his purposes. Walt needed to jolt him into action.
“Aren’t you going to ask me why, Jesse? You asked me why last time. I don’t mind telling you. I did the only thing that I could to bring you back to my side. I knew that you’d panic and come to me...just like you came to me when Jane died.”
The word ‘Jane’ snapped Jesse back into focus. Walt had his attention now.
“I have to tell you, Jesse,” said Walt, surprised by the tenderness that had crept into his voice even as he prepared to plunge this last dagger of truth into the boy. “I have to tell you about the night Jane died. You have to know, her death...I did that too.”
Walt was speaking very slowly now, like he was explaining something to a small child. Jesse’s tears slowed too. His eyes were hard and hungering.
“You see, I was there, Jesse,” Walt continued. “I went back to your house that night. You were both lying in bed. You had that poison in your veins and I...I couldn’t wake you up. When I was shaking you I knocked Jane over onto her back. I didn’t mean to but, well...that was when she threw up. That’s when she started to choke.”
Walt wouldn’t tell Jesse he wept as he watched the convulsing girl give up her struggle to breathe. He wasn’t seeking absolution here. He was seeking the right combination of words; the right catalyst of words that would send a signal into Jesse’s brain to send a signal to Jesse’s fingers to bring about an end to this terrible experiment.
Walt said those words now. “I could have rolled her on her side. I could have saved her life. But I did nothing. I let her die. It was what was best for you.”
Jesse clicked the safety off his gun. Walt was on the verge of laughing. He was still in control of his partner. He wanted it to be Jesse who did this. If Jesse killed him, Walt knew that he would carry the scars for the rest of his life. And Walt wanted to leave scars.
The shot never came. Walt’s chest heaved and he coughed in the silence. It felt like his cancer was laughing back at him, like it could still defeat him.
Jesse drew his arm back and pressed the gun to his own temple.
“Is this what you want?” he asked.
Walt coughed and spluttered, feeling panicked for the first time that day. No, he didn’t want a bullet in the head for Jesse. He was trying to give Jesse a whole new life. In another town, in another state, he could be Jesse Lambert; a young man who never cooked meth, who never melted a body in acid, who never woke beside the corpse of a girl he loved, who never shot a frightened man in his doorway, who never saw an innocent child murdered in front of him. All those nightmares would fade in time. Jesse was still young.
“No,” said Walt. “No Jesse, listen to me. Give me the gun.”
“But isn’t this what you want?!” Jesse asked again.
Walt shook his head. “How could you possibly think that?”
“Admit it! You’re trying to fuck me up so bad I’ll blow my brains out. You just want me out of the way so you can enjoy your last little blaze of glory. So...so you just made all that shit up, right? That stuff about Jane, that stuff about Brock? I bet you never even killed Mike! You’ll say anything to finish me off. Is that the plan, you sick fuck?”
“I...I’m not lying,” Walt began.
Jesse closed his eyes, his finger whitening on the trigger, seeming ready to get Mr White out of his head once and for all. Walt moved fast. He wrenched Jesse’s arm up to the ceiling, the stray bullet blowing a hole in the roof. Walt was surprised how easily the gun slipped from Jesse’s wet palm. He was even more surprised when Jesse slumped forward onto his chest, crumpling like a puppet that had just had all its strings cut. Walt clasped Jesse’s shoulder and shook him out of his faint. Jesse could barely open his eyes; he was pale and trembling after his impulsive attempt at suicide. Walt wrapped one arm around him, allowing Jesse’s head to fall onto his lap. Walt clasped the gun in his other hand and pressed his ear to the office wall. The DEA would’ve heard that shot. They’d be moving on them at any second.
“Mr White,” Jesse murmured, “I don’t want to go to jail.”
“You won’t have to, Jesse,” Walt promised, sighing with relief. “You can still get away from here. There’s still time. Just make a run for it. I’ll cover you.”
The machine gun was out of Walt’s reach. He could still make a grab for it if he moved Jesse off his legs. But Jesse wasn’t moving. He clung to Walt’s shirt.
“No, I...I don’t want to go to New Hampshire either.”
Walt’s mind went perfectly blank for a moment.
Then he coughed. And then he nodded.
Walt held the gun behind Jesse’s head and waited.