When Jack stopped Daniel as he was leaving the briefing room to ask if he'd be coming round that evening, Daniel tried to refuse, he made an excuse that he needed to work. He just couldn't face another uncomfortable evening with his lover. It hurt too much, even the sex left him wanting because to Daniel that connection he'd always felt to Jack was missing. Jack, however, had refused to take a simple no.
“Oh come on, Daniel, you can come round for an hour or so, or I could come to your place if that’s easier.” He'd moved into Daniel's personal space to add, “We need to talk Danny. We can't go on like this any longer.”
Daniel’s heart thudded in his chest, those words striking him like knives. Jack needing to talk ...this was it then, Jack had finally had enough, wanted to bring everything out into the open. He'd known it couldn't go on forever, his own behaviour hadn't helped; he was well aware he'd been more obstructive than usual though he felt it was Jack's fault. It was all so difficult. At that moment all he wanted to do was get away from Jack so he didn't have to hear this but then he’d never been a coward and wasn’t about to start now. The translation work was an excuse; there was nothing so urgent that it could not wait.
A little afraid of what he might see, he finally met Jack's gaze. “Okay, Jack. I’ll cut it short, be at your place about nine.” Without a backward look he beat a hasty retreat to his office.
Not wanting to think about the evening ahead, Daniel forced himself to work on a particularly difficult translation to keep his mind off Jack but still he couldn’t stop himself from pausing to day-dream occasionally. He couldn't help remembering the early days of their relationship, the way it had been when they were alone and Jack had been the perfect partner and the most wonderful lover. But that had been before he’d begun to notice the changes, the little nuances of attitude.
At first he didn't understand what was going on. Why Jack seemed to be irritated with him, why he seemed angry for no reason. Daniel, never one to be quiet in the face of what he saw as injustice, argued back. Once they started down that path they didn't seem to be able to step back from it. At the beginning it only seemed to happen off-world or on base; something had gone wrong on a mission and they argued over the who, what or why of it. That was bad enough but then it began to come home with them.
Gradually, Daniel was pretty sure what was behind it all but didn't know what he could do. He only saw two choices and wished there was another way.
Now, sitting at his desk, supposedly working on a translation, Daniel knew that Jack had decided enough was enough. A choice was going to have to be made and it looked as if Jack was going to make it for them both. Which way would Jack want to play it? Either way Daniel would lose.... Which, of course, meant so would Jack but would he care much anymore?
Damn, I can’t do this now. He had to try and concentrate on his work.
On the dot of nine Daniel stood outside Jack's front door. He had come to the only conclusion he could, Jack wanted to talk so talk he would. Whatever happened he wanted to keep Jack's friendship. He couldn't live without that.
Squaring his shoulders, he turned his key in the lock and opened the door to find Jack waiting for him. The older man turned slowly and as their eyes met Daniel realised he looked worried. Dropping his eyes Daniel walked past him into the living room and when he was standing in the middle of the room he turned.
Jack asked, "Do you want a drink, or do you wanna eat now? You hungry?"
Daniel frowned and said, "Hungry?" as if he'd never heard the word before.
"I said I would make supper, the food is ready and so I can dish it right up."
"Er, no, I'm not hungry, just wanna get on with this ...talk. Wouldn't say no to a drink though."
"Is that Jack Daniel's?" he asked, nodding towards the glass in Jack's hand. "I'll have one of those."
Jack raised his eyebrows and Daniel knew he was surprised because he never drank spirits until later, after a meal but when he didn't elaborate Jack shrugged and poured one out for him.
"You gonna sit down?" Jack asked.
Instead of answering Daniel took a swig of his whisky, not sure himself if it was to calm his nerves or strengthen his will. He said, "Okay Jack, let's not drag this out any longer than necessary. Do you want me to request a transfer?"
"Do I ....? What!" Jack downed his whisky in one before asking, "You want to leave the team? You want this ...us to ...end?"
Daniel was taken aback by Jack's obvious shock and by the hurt tone of his voice. He finally sank down into the chair behind him and stared at his partner. He looked at the glass still in his hand -- Jack Daniel’s. He stared back at the man across from him.
With a sigh, he answered, "No, I don't but I thought ... all the arguing, the sniping ...it is driving us apart and I thought you'd finally decided that we could no longer be on the same team and be together. I expected you to give me an ultimatum."
"God, Daniel, what made you think that?" he frowned, "Any of it?"
"Come on, Jack, what was I supposed to think? It's been getting worse and I ...it seems I can’t do anything right for you. It’s as if you no longer want me on the team and you can't deny it has been affecting our ...private life too. God, I used to enjoy making love with you but recently even that.... Well, I decided if it is a choice between staying with you or the team, I choose you. I'd ...miss the guys but I'd miss being with you more."
Eyes widening, Jack said, "You were ...pulling away because I changed the way I commanded you in the field?" He hesitated, opening and closing his mouth as if trying to find words. "I tried my best not to ...I ...I never even realised. I only wanted things to go on as before. I wanted you safe and I was afraid... I thought maybe..." Jack sucked in a breath and let it out slowly. Finally, he smiled. "We've got a lot of talking to do. Things are worse than I thought."
Daniel frowned at that -- worse? Oh God!
Jack stood and moved directly in front of Daniel who lifted his eyes to meet Jack's gaze.
"Daniel, I'm no longer sure what's been going on between us; don't even know if it was all my fault -- and at this point I don't care. I was afraid you wanted to transfer because you wanted to break off the relationship. I thought you didn’t want me..."
"God, no!" How could I have been so wrong? Because he was so sure he could read this man so well, this man whom he loved so much that he forgot the simple act of talking and perhaps even more important, listening.
"You were trying to protect us ...our relationship?" Daniel realised.
"I guess I overcompensated," Jack smiled wryly.
"Ya think?" Daniel grinned.
Jack laughed as he pulled Daniel to his feet, the younger man smiled and said, "Yes, Jack we have to talk."
Sitting at the breakfast table next morning, Daniel watched as Jack threw out the meal they'd never gotten around to eating because they had been too busy baring their souls to each other and then later their bodies. Yes, there were many forms of communication and they had promised each other they would never forget any of them.
Daniel also noticed that Jack threw out the empty Jack Daniel's bottle; they needed to buy another one.
|Genres:||Angst, Drama, Established Relationship, Vignette|
|Summary:||Daniel knows Jack has expectations and accepts it is time to talk but he suspects neither of them will like what they hear.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Thanks to my Beta, Gateroller!