The acrid smell of bleach was sharp in the air of the hospital. There was the beeping of the heart monitor drifting into his room from next door and he could hear what sounded like an electric floor polisher, but that is not what woke him.
Max had been asleep in his hospital bed, the knee that Sternwood had shot through, sewn up, bandaged and resting on a pillow, when he somehow felt a shift in the air in the room and slowly opened his eyes.
His eyes searched the dimly lit room for the disturbance, but he saw nothing. Figuring it was just his pain and drug addled mind, Max closed his eyes to go back to sleep when suddenly they shot open, he quickly eased himself up on his elbows, his blue eyes zoning in on the corner of the room where the door was, that specific corner was seemingly darker than any other area in the room.
Max stared hard into the darkness over there, holding his breath and there! There was a slight movement over and he knew exactly who it was masking them self in the darkness over there.
"You really have a death wish coming here." He said to the darkness, not the least bit surprised to see the Jacob Sternwood, the bane of his existence step from out of the darkness.
Jake's stern green eyes met Max's fiery blue.
"Here to finish the job?" Max questioned, subtly reaching for the nurses' call button. "Never thought you'd be one to kick a man when he is already down Sternwood." He could not feel the button and he knew he had left it by his pillow before drifting off a few hours ago.
"It's on your bedside table." Jacob's deep voice sounded in the room.
"What?" Max turned his head only to see the call button resting innocently on the far side of the table out of his reach. "You fucker." He growled turning back to face Jacob who was now standing at the foot of the hospital bed, staring down at him impassively.
Max fell back on the bed, a bitter smile aimed at Jacob, "how long have you been here?"
His question was met with silence.
"So, you are not only a thief but a creep as well."
"Actually, I just came to warn you."
Max heard the sound of metal on metal and looked down to the end of his bed to see that Jacob had pulled out a gun, and the barrel of it was resting on the metal bed-foot. Having just been shot three nights ago, by the same person who is now in his hospital room, standing at the end of his bed brandishing a gun, Max could not help tensing immediately and knew that if his heart rate was being monitored, it would have had the nurses running to check on him.
Too bad he was not currently hooked up to a heart monitor, the thought.
Max lifted his head to look at Jacob, "I get your warning loud and clear. Now, get the fuck out of here."
Something like a smirk crossed Jacob's lips before he schooled his features back into his threatening look. When he began moving, dropping his gun down to the toes of Max's injured leg, the man could not help but flinch at the sudden contact.
"What the fuck do you think you are doing?" Max asked from between gritted teeth. Body beyond tense as Jacob trailed his gun up his leg, to where his knee was heavily bandaged from surgery. The barrel of the gun stopped beneath the bandages.
The air in the room was heavy between the two men, as one held his breath waiting for pain; the other toying with his prey, watching him squirm when he was trying so hard to put on a brave face.
"How long were you in surgery for?"
Max looked up, confused. "What?"
"How long were you in surgery for? How long did it take the good doctors and nurses to fix the damage I had caused?" Jacob's eyes remained on his bandaged knee.
Jacob moved the gun so that the barrel was now resting right atop the gunshot and Max flinched violently, hissing in pain as he jerked his knee. Jake's green eyes met his and he looked highly amused that he caused him some more pain.
"Eight hours." He repeated, looking thoughtful. "That is a really long time." There was something threatening in his voice that made the hair on the back of Max's neck stand up.
"It would be such a shame if all that hard work became undone." The malice in his eyes froze Max and the sound of a gun being cocked was like thunder in the hospital room. "Or," he aimed the gun at Max's left knee, "I can even it out for you."
"Sternwood," Max's voice had a hysterical edge to it. "You won, you got away and you crippled me in the process. It's over, so just walk away and we will pretend that you did not show up in my hospital room to threaten me."
"And that," Jacob moved faster than Max could process and his head was wrenched back violently by Jacob's grip in his hair, his own hands flying up on instinct, trying to pry his fingers loose, "Detective Inspector is what you do not seem to understand. We both know that you will not pretend that I did not turn up tonight, that I did not threaten you. May it be a month, a year, ten years from now, once you are better, you are going to come for me."
Max felt the barrel of the gun as it was shoved brutally under his jaw and his police training kicked in and he removed his hands from Jacob's, holding them up so that he looked non-threatening.
"Careful Sternwood, you're no cop killer."
The gun was pushed harder into his skin and Max knew that he would be sporting a fresh new bruise come morning light.
Jacob smirked, and using Max's hair, turned his head so that he could lean down and whisper into his ear.
"I may not be a cop killer but for you I'd make an exception." His warm breath on Max's skin caused him to shiver.
He trailed the gun in a mockery of a lover's caress from Max's jaw to his temple. Max attempted to move his head, forgetting that his foe had a pretty good grip on his hair and winced in pain when the movement pulled on his hair roots.
“If I ever see you again I will put a bullet in your head.” Jacob growled as he harshly pressed the gun into Max’s temple. "That's a promise, not a threat." With that said he relinquished his hold on Max's hair and tucked his gun in the back in his pants waist, his hard eyes never leaving Max's, until he turned around and walked to the hospital room door.
Max watched as his most hated foe walked out of his hospital room, his heart rate still through the roof and those cold green eyes haunting his dreams and thoughts for three years straight.
However, little did they know that three years later they would become allies in a war against corrupt cops. And that a mere two weeks later Jacob would kidnap Max from the back of a prisoner transport bus and then three months after that would find Max with his tongue shoved down Jacob’s throat as he rode him for the third time that night.