hey peeps, welcome to my new multichapter jelsa story - this one will be about 4-5 chapters tops, meaning itll be about half the length of mhbfy and rftr! hope you enjoy it
When Jack woke up this morning, he did not expect his day to go this way. To be quite honest, he never knew what to expect nowadays, with every day being either the most mundane or, as they say, absolutely batshit crazy. Jack found it ironic that the former applied to the time he was on active duty, or rather, in the army still. It was his life as a civilian that got him into various kinds of messes, either dragged into it by Aster or just by his own stupid luck.
And as his own stupid luck would have it, today it managed to shine through in what was perhaps the worst and best way imaginable.
Opening his fridge, Jack grimaced at the lack of food except for half a kelp for some reason. He did not even like kelp, he had no idea how it got there. Sighing, Jack checked the time, figuring he could do a quick grocery run, perhaps buy some more food and invite Aster or his sister over for dinner.
Luckily for him, there was a 7-11 near his apartment complex, not even a twenty minute walk. Jack figured he could stretch his legs, and figuring it was his day off, he left his apartment a few minutes later, dressed in jeans and t-shirt, the bird's nest on top of his head making him look even younger than his twenty-five years.
The grocery store was not part of a chain, and from what Jack figured, it was family-owned, and flashing a quick smile at the obviously part-time cashier, Jack found himself in-between aisles, wondering what exactly he would get. He himself was in a mood for Italian, but he knew Aster was not really a fan of the cuisine, the whore. Well, if he wanted free dinner, he'd have to push through. Besides, everyone loved pizza. Pulling out his phone, Jack sent him a quick DM, finding it more useful than normal texting.
yaboy_frost: wanna come over for dinner?
yaboy_frost: frozen pizza only tho
His phone buzzed, but Jack decided not to give it any thought. While Aster was one of his best friends, and while they had indeed go through thick and thin together, Jack knew, deep in his heart, that Aster was a little bitch.
Jack quickly grabbed three frozen pizzas and a few cans of coke. Putting them in his basket, Jack left the aisle, avoiding crashing into a pretty blonde girl at the last second.
„Sorry," he muttered.
„No, it was my fault, I apologize," she said, smiling. Jack vaguely smelled the scent of vanilla.
Before he knew what he was doing, he found himself saying out loud, „You probably don't know where the gummy bears are, do you?"
The blonde did not seem the least bit perplexed at his question, „At the front, I think? I'm not really sure."
„Thank you," Jack said, and smiled at her. She was rather cute.
Standing in front of what he guessed were about fifty thousand flavors of gummy bears, Jack groaned. While he kept himself fit at least somewhat, his diet had truly gone to shit ever since he'd left the army, especially since he had started living by himself, not willing to bother his sister or mother any more than he already had. The fact that his cooking was fairly good did not change the fact that his cravings compared to those of a five-year old.
He closed his eyes and grabbed five packs at random, figuring they wold last him at least a week.
Yeah, fat chance. They'd be gone by the morning.
„Shit," Jack whispered to himself. „Water."
Sighing, Jack went deeper into the store, unknowingly saving his own life in the process. Before he had the chance to pick any of the off-brand water bottles, he heard commotion at the front of the store.
„Give me all ya money or I'mma blow ya fuckin' face off!"
Quietly putting his basket down, he pulled out his phone. His battery was dead.
Jack crouched down and peeked at the robber, trying his best not to be noticed and assess the situation to the best of his abilities.
Fact: The robber was a man, approximately six feet tall, medium build.
Fact: The robber had a gun, but he had no idea how to hold it properly.
Fact: The robber seemed unstable, shaking and slurring his words.
Fact: He would rather fight a stable one.
Fact: The cashier was shaking more than the robber, but still pushed the alarm button. They were locked in. Stupid.
Fact: The pretty blonde had no idea what was going on.
Fact: The pretty blonde had a gun pointed at her forehead.
She froze, her eyes widened, breathing quickened. Jack quickly averted his attention from her to the robber, who was sweating, visible even from this distance. Either very, very nervous, or drunk.
„YOU!" the robber bellowed, „EMPTY YOUR PURSE! NOW!"
The blonde's hands were shaking, but she did just as he was told. She was trying not to hyperventilate, but Jack could see it was a futile attempt. A panic attack was inevitable, and who knew what the robber would do if she had one.
Deciding he needed to move, Jack, in his inevitable dumbass clumsiness, his his basket, the sound echoing across the nearly-empty convenience store. The robber immediately took notice and aimed his gun at where he presumed Jack was. He missed his location by about three feet.
„SHOW YOURSELF!" he yelled. Jack did nothing, only watched. The robber was getting more desperate by the second. He grabbed the shaking blonde by the neck and pulled her to him, shielding himself with her, the tip of the gun against her temple. She was crying, now, and Jack tried very hard to compartmentalize – to conceal, not feel. Jack cursed.
„COME OUT OR I'M BLOWIN' HER FUCKIN' FACE OFF," he yelled. Not even thinking about it, Jack raised himself from his hiding spot, raising his arms in surrender. He prayed the police would arrive soon, but judging by the robber's body language, they most likely did not have that kind of time.
„Hey, hey, just breathe," Jack said, the words going to the robber, but his eyes meeting with the blonde, now the hostage. Jack took a few steps forward, trying to close the distance between him and the robber. Logically, he knew he should never go empty-handed into a gunfight, for the gun nearly always won. Desperate times, desperate measures, however, applied in this scenario, and Jack really, really hoped he would be able to get the blonde away from the line of fire, should it be longer than a take down.
The only good thing about this was the fact that the cashier was behind bulletproof glass.
„GIVE ME ALL YA MONEY," the robber yelled. Jack did not flinch in the least. He averted the blonde's gaze, prioritizing observation of the robber above the girl's state. If it all worked out, he'd check on her later.
„Sorry, brother. I'm kinda broke right now," Jack said, taking a step closer. He only took a step when he was talking, knowing his words would distract the robber at least somewhat. „You probably are, too, aren't you?"
A tiny step closer.
The robber tensed at his words, and Jack groaned internally. Still, he continued, „Why else would you rob a goddamn convenience store?"
„I mean, what else could it be other than desperation?"
He was getting closer and closer. „You don't wanna kill anyone, do you?"
Jack looked at the girl, who seemed to be hyperventilating more and more by the second. He nodded at her, hoping she'd catch his drift. Her eyes narrowed in determination, and Jack grinned internally. Good.
„I—I.. I don't know," the robber said, his voice quieter now. Perhaps he unconsciously noticed Jack standing but a few feet away from him.
„You won't," Jack said, his voice steely. Shooting a look at the blonde, he whispered, „Now."
The robber, who was only holding her with one arm, yelped in pain when she elbowed him in the ribs, breaking free from his hold and throwing herself as far away from him as possible. Jack reacted immediately, sprinting the last few feet and knocking the gun out of the other man's hand, a gunshot echoing around the store, dazzling everyone inside but him. Guns were loud – very, very loud, but it was nothing Jack wasn't used to. Using the robber's distraction to his advantage, Jack caught him and flipped him over his shoulder, slamming him on the ground and knocking the wind out of him. Turning him around so that he lay on his stomach, Jack buried his knee in the man's back. Grabbing his hands, Jack twisted them, making the would-be-robber groan in pain.
„Sorry, dude. Can't let you do that," Jack said. He could hear sirens getting louder and louder. Jack sighed in relief.
Glancing at the blonde, he could see her trying to calm herself.
„Breathe," Jack said. „Find five green objects in the room."
She looked at him in surprise, but did as she was told. „Um, the.. gummy bears. The wall."
Tightening his hold on the would-be-robber, he said, „Go on. Focus."
„Um, th—the cashier's eyes," she was stuttering, but her breaths were calmer and more even, now. „The bottle of alcohol I can see in the far back. And.. I don't know. That's about it, I guess."
Jack had no chance to reply, for just then, the police came barging in, grabbing Jack at first. „Put your hands in the air!"
Jack did as he was told, not expecting any differently. He looked a threat. He was a threat. To his surprise, however, the blonde stood up and said, „He's not the robber. He was the one who took him down."
The officers look at her, then at the cashier, still hiding behind the bulletproof glass. „Is this true?"
The cashier nodded, as did Jack, snapping at attention. „Sergeant Jackson Overland, United States Army, 29th Infantry Division."
The blonde gaped and Jack quickly corrected himself, „Sorry. Old habits die hard. Former Sergeant."
„Can I see some credentials, soldier?"
Jack nodded, pulling out his wallet and showing the officer his ID. The officer looked at it and handed it back after a few seconds. „What you did what reckless."
„I am aware, officer. But he was unstable and unpredictable, even more so than usual criminals. He had a hostage."
„I was the hostage," the girl raised her hand, and Jack smiled at her. She seemed to be taking this oddly well.
„Very well, then. I will need to take you all in for questioning," he said. Jack vaguely noticed other officers taking the would-be-robber outside in handcuffs and reciting him his Miranda rights.
„Wouldn't taking statements be enough?" the blonde asked.
„I suppose it would, for the two of you," he pointed at the blonde and the cashier. „I will need to question Sgt. Overland further, though."
Jack nodded in understanding. „Alright."
All of them gave their statements, with Jack agreeing to go to the police station to be questioned further. Before he left with the officer, however, the blonde approached him and hugged him. Jack wrapped his arms around her after a few seconds, shocked.
„Thank you," she whispered.
„You're.. uh, you're welcome, ma'am."
„Elsa," she said, letting go of him. „My name is Elsa."
„Jack," he smiled, offering her his hand.
„We just hugged, Jack. I believe handshakes are not necessary."
„True," Jack grinned.
knockye_bunsout: jackson motherfucking overland
knockye_bundout: what the fuck did you do
knockye_bunsout: i saw the news
knockye_bunsout: answer me dipshit
Jack was finally released two hours later, after going over his statement with the officer more than once. Luckily, everything he had done could be contributed to either self-defense or the Good Samaritan law. Still, Jack was very exhausted, and he wanted nothing more than to go back to his apartment and fall asleep for the next two days. The emotional toll wasn't the easiest thing to handle, and after compartmentalizing for hours, he finally let go the moment he arrived home.
He was shaking badly, damn near hyperventilating. His chest felt tight.
„Come on, Frost," he whispered to himself, „Come on. Five objects. Five objects."
It wasn't working.
A flash of blue eyes.
A glint of platinum blonde.
A grateful smile.
His breathing evened out gradually, leaving Jack to wonder why it was Elsa who managed to calm him down – he had only met her once, after all. Perhaps because she had gone through the same shit as he had today, perhaps because of the hug she had given him, the first one he had gotten in weeks.
Pulling out his phone, he responded to the few text messages he had, mainly from his sister and Aster. He told them he was fine, and that if Aster wanted to come in, they'd have to order take out.
Aster arrived an hour later with a shitload of Chinese food in his arms.
„Are you sure you're okay?" Anna asked for the millionth time.
Elsa, while appreciating the gesture, only sighed. „I am fine, Anna, you needn't worry about me. I've already had one panic attack today, thank you very much."
„Elsa, you had a gun pointed at your head not even four hours ago, stop telling me you're fine!"
Elsa groaned. „Maybe I am still in shock, I don't know, Anna. I just know that right now, I feel calm. And curious."
„Curious about what?" Anna asked.
The soldier, she wanted to say. Instead, she went with, „If I can take Sven to the park tomorrow? I could use the exercise."
Anna's eyes softened. „Of course, Elsa."
Feeling the wind on his face, the burning in his lungs, the pure exertion in his muscles, Jack found himself happier than he had been in a long time. He had been running for nearly forty minutes without stopping, suddenly very glad it was the weekend. He did not know many people who went out running on a Sunday, but he guessed that there were't that many of them in the first place. The park seemed rather empty, an occasional jogger here and there to exchange nods with Jack. His hair was plastered to his forehead, the silver strands in his eyes annoying the ever loving shit out of him. Still, he refused to cut it.
His lungs gave out an hour and fourteen minutes into the run, and Jack collapsed on the ground, panting heavily.
„Do you need help?" an angelic voice asked.
„God?" Jack wheezed out.
The voice giggled. „No. Elsa, actually."
Jack's eyes snapped open. Indeed, there was Elsa, the girl from yesterday. She was smiling at him from above, clearly not nearly as exerted as he was. Something licked his face.
„This is Sven, my sister's dog," she introduced.
„Hi, Sven," Jack groaned. Wincing, he pulled himself up, clutching at his ribs.
„Are you okay?" asked Elsa in concern, eyeing him.
Jack shrugged. „Just.. went too far."
The atmosphere grew rather serious. „How are you doing, Elsa?" asked Jack, his voice oddly subdued.
„I.. I'm doing okay. Really. My sister's been bugging me about this all yesterday, actually," she smiled. „How are you doing, Jack?"
„Nothing I'm unused to," Jack said. „Okay, maybe not, that was some wild stuff yesterday."
They started walking together, neither of them really noticing it. Sven, who was quite possibly the biggest dog Jack had ever seen, running around the two of them, hyper out of his mind. Jack smiled.
„He's a bubbly one, isn't he?" Jack asked. Elsa smiled, stopping in her tracks and kneeling down to pat the dog.
„He is indeed. Thank God he's my sister's and her boyfriend's and not mine, I certainly would not have the energy to take care of him," she joked.
Jack laughed, „One of the reasons I prefer cats, actually."
They fell into an easy conversation after that, neither of them mentioning the events of the day prior. Jack joked around, finally letting go of the tough soldier persona for the first time in forever, grinning happily, his eyes bright.
Elsa was very much intrigued by this person, a powerful force of nature one day, yet a child at heart, at least from what she had been able to observe. She trusted him instinctively, whether because he had saved her life, or because he just managed to put her at ease in a way only but very few people had ever managed to do, one of them being her dear sister.
The fact that he could be a model also helped.
„Do you go running every day?" Elsa prompted, curious.
Jack grimaced. „Yeah. It's a pain," he laughed, „but I'm used to it. Too ingrained, maybe?"
„Because of the army?"
Jack nodded, „But also because of track."
He smiled sheepishly, his hand scratching the back of his head. If Elsa's eyes lingered on his biceps for a few seconds, neither of them said anything. „I used to run track in high school, it was lots of fun, actually! Met my best friend, there. We joined the army together, left it together, too."
„What made you decide to leave the army?"
Jack did not answer. „I..I feel like that's a topic for another day, Elsa. I'm sorry."
Elsa looked down, „No, I am sorry. I should not have pried."
He smiled. „It's alright, you can always ask. Doesn't mean you'll always get the answer."
Elsa grinned. „Oh, is that how it is?"
„Is it," his grin was cheeky.
Elsa, with a sudden surge of confidence, decided to go for it. „Does that mean I can ask you out for coffee?"
Jack froze, his jaw on the floor. Elsa grinned.
„As a date or as a thank you?"
„As a both."
„In that case, I'd love to."