"Yo, John B, I was thinking -" JJ began as he entered the living room, before breaking off as he saw the other boy jolt and snap his laptop shut. A sly grin slid over his features. "Sorry, dude, didn't know you were busy. Should I, ah, go get our groceries now and leave you and the computer alone for a while?"
He saw as John B blinked in confusion, before seemingly realizing what JJ meant and flushing darkly.
"What? No! Dude, what the hell?" he spluttered, causing JJ to crack up at his embarrassment.
"I call it like I see it, bro," he chuckled, moving to flop down on the other end of the couch and prop his feet up on the coffee table. "There's a short list of reasons why a guy doesn't want to share what's on the screen of his computer, and you get one guess about what the first one is."
"Stop being gross," John B huffed, leaning over to shove JJ in the shoulder. "It wasn't like that."
"Then what were you doing? You know I'm going to assume the worst if you don't tell me."
At the lack of response, JJ's eyebrows slowly rose as the suddenly awkward silence continued. Beside him, John B was looking shifty, refusing to meet his eyes. Studying his brother in all but blood, JJ realized that the slightly older boy was genuinely nervous.
"Hey," he said more seriously now, "if you don't want to tell me, you don't have to. You know that, right? Just tell me to butt out of your business and I will."
"It's not that," John B immediately said, snapping his head around to look at him. He bit his lip for a moment with a frown, before sighing and opening up the laptop again. He signed in again quickly, before hesitating a moment longer then passing the laptop over to JJ. "It's just… well, you'll see."
JJ studied his expression for a second, before glancing down to the laptop in his hands. Onscreen was a website page, and it had several paragraphs of information as well as several links in the heading to follow. He worked his way through the information slowly, confused about why he was looking at the short biography about a woman's career and specialties and looking at her contact information.
Then it clicked.
"You… want to see a therapist?" JJ asked, looking up at the other boy in surprise. John B refused to look at him, and from his angle, JJ could see him scratching at the couch cushion with a fingernail, a sign of how nervous he was. He'd worked hard to get rid of it after wearing a hole in almost every pair of pants he'd owned, and JJ hadn't seen the nervous habit in years now.
"I -" John B started, before stopping. He tried again. "I know we'd always make jokes about going to see the 'shrinks' or whatever, but… Sarah went to go see one after we got back, and I can tell it's really been helping her. I just realized that there's a lot of stuff that's kind of built up over the years that I thought was getting better and it's not. My dad constantly being gone, his disappearance, his death, the issues with CPS, our escalating fights with the Kooks, all of it."
"And you think this will help?" JJ tried, but a note of skepticism slipped into his voice despite his best efforts. He could tell John B was serious about this and wanted to understand why, but he didn't see how whining to a stranger about all your problems would really help much.
"I'm just… so angry," John B said, voice cracking as he covered his face with his hands and leaned to rest his elbows on his knees. "All the time. And a whole bunch of other things I'm not even sure I have a name for. It's exhausting. I thought it would go away when I got answers about Dad, but it didn't. And I have no idea if this will do a damn thing, but if it's working for Sarah then there has to be something to it that I'm missing, and I just want to stop feeling angry."
JJ was silent at the confession. He was doing his best to hide how ragged his breath had gotten at the rant, his friend's words hitting a little too close to home. JJ felt the exact same way, even if for different reasons, and hearing them echoed by the person he trusted the most in the world was a little overwhelming - especially when he usually did his best to push away or ignore those feelings. He glanced back down at the website.
"Why her in particular?" he finally asked, once he thought he could speak normally again.
Something in his tone must have been a little off anyway, though, because John B's hands dropped from his face as he looked at JJ in concern. After a moment the concern cleared in his understanding, leaving behind a little bit of sympathy.
"She specializes in trauma and family dynamics," he said quietly, bumping his foot against JJ's since they were too far apart to do much else. "She's also willing to work remotely, through video calls, which not everyone will do. I figure between me wanting to stay here, and everything with Dad and the treasure hunt, that about checks all the boxes, huh?"
JJ nodded his agreement, a little distracted as he slowly read through the paragraphs on the screen again in a new light. He chewed on his cheek, feeling his stomach tighten uncomfortably at his nerves as he clicked on another tab of the website, beginning to read more information.
He kept his shoulders forcibly loose as he read, his jaw a little slack, brow unwrinkled. There was a reason he was the best liar out of the Pogues, and it was partially because he had learned early on how to control his physical tells. Not that he was planning to lie to John B, of course, but he'd rather not let on how anxious looking at the screen was making him before he had a chance to speak.
"Well, if everyone is doing it, I may have to join you then," he said trying to force levity, not looking up from the screen and doing his best to ignore how tense his voice sounded despite his best efforts and the way John B was suddenly looking at him. Making things a joke was safer than being serious after all. "Gotta follow the trends, or you get left behind right? Can't let you guys join the crowd without me. It's like dabbing, you've got to commit or you end up looking stupid."
"I - this is not remotely like dabbing, and even if it was you've never dabbed a day in your life," John B snarked, but he was smiling warmly at him anyway and seemed on the verge of laughter, his foot resting solidly against JJ's. After a moment he sobered a little, though the smile remained. "I was planning on emailing her tonight to see if I could set up an appointment sometime soon. If… if you want, we could do it together?"
"Sure," JJ said as nonchalantly as he could, ignoring the slight relaxation those words caused. "Sounds fun, let's do it. One shrink coming right up for us both, huh?"
"Yeah," John B said, shifting a little in his seat so that more of their legs were pressed together, almost in solidarity. "Though we probably shouldn't call her a shrink to her face. I think shrinks probably get offended by that."
JJ snorted, unable to help his amusement at the mental image. He still wasn't sure about the idea, but if John B thought it would work, then he wouldn't let his brother do it alone. Brothers forever would stick together, after all. His fight was JJ's fight, and JJ's fight was his. Plus, if there really was something to all that psychology crap, then that was an extra bonus. Since they had the cash, there really was no real downside to at least giving it a shot, and if it would help John B, JJ would sit and try to talk to a total stranger for days, much less for an hour at a time.
"Here's hoping it works, dude, really," JJ finally said, leaning over to clap his hand to John B's shoulder briefly. "You'd deserve it if it does."
"So would you," John B said immediately, eyes as earnest as ever, and this time JJ couldn't stop the slight smile from curling at his lips.
"Yeah, I guess so," he said quietly, a little uncertain about how much that statement was true, but unable to deny that a part of him wanted this to work out for them both. "Either way, I'm down to do this if you are, so why wait? Let's email her now and get it over with."
"Alright, then I guess we're doing this," John B said, before taking the laptop back and beginning to type, sliding over so that JJ could see what he was writing too and offer input. Carefully, JJ hooked his chin over John B's shoulder and listened as his brother read out the start of an email.
AN: This was inspired in part as a wish for these characters, because wow could all these kids (and actually the adults too) benefit from good therapy. After all that happened in-show for the treasure and before that with their family lives? Oh yeah, therapy is definitely needed, and this is me fulfilling that wish to have them heal from everything in a healthy way, more than anything, haha! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it! :)