THE KING OF
WISHFUL THINKING BY
|Jack and Daniel involved
in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
||Season 7. No
||The morning after
||You have to suffer
writer's block to know how hard it is to get out even one word.
Two pages, however poor, is a Christmas miracle.
I promised myself I'd act natural when I saw him again and I guess, for
me, being ass-up and chowing down in my fridge at 0400 is about as
natural as it comes. I give up my quest for the bite-size Mexican
selection I know is in here and straighten up, wishing there wasn't a
world of worry in Daniel's soft voice and that I wasn't going to be
shit at taking care of this. I don't ever mean to be, it's just
the way I am.
"Coffee?" It's the most humane diversionary tactic I know for
Daniel. He doesn't seem aware of much of anything, least of all
me when I slide past him in my underwear, a big man in a small
kitchen. He's pale, he's so pale, and he didn't dress, didn't
wait for that, he came right to me. I guess I love that about
him, that he won't run from what scares him.
"Did we?" he asks me anxiously. "Did, did I?"
"Yes," I assure him gently, turning with two steaming mugs in my
hands. "We did."
The vertical crease in his brow deepens as he automatically clutches
the coffee I hold out to him. Despite his shock, he's trying hard
to process and then he loses it, going brick-red and letting out all
that breath he's holding in a soft, sexy little gasp as my fingers
stroke over his t-shirt and settle at his waist.
"We definitely did," I promise, taking a sip of my coffee. I'm
very close now, close enough he can feel the heat from my body and I
can feel the blush from his. It isn't easy to act like this is
okay, that we're very okay, but it's the best I can do until I know how
he actually feels about what happened. I'm aching and
unsatisfied, and he's all eyes, huge turquoise eyes, sleep-rumpled hair
and pouting bewilderment. I don't know what he needs from me, not
yet. It may not be what I hope, but not for a second will I let
him know that.
"How drunk was I?" Daniel asks in acute pain, more an observation than
"Drunk enough to dance."
After everyone else had gone, his eyes closed, arms raised, swaying
ecstatically in front of the fire. Drunk enough to have found
some rhythm to go with his grace, to open his eyes, to hold out an
inviting hand and smile at me.
"To dance with you," Daniel says with slow incredulity.
"With me," I agree easily. "I wasn't drunk enough." It's
too early for New Year's resolutions, but some time around 0300, I
promised myself I'd be honest with us both. "I just." I'm
not sure how to explain this so it makes sense. I don't
even know that it does. "I wanted to." It wasn't the whisky
that made me dance with him, it wasn't the drink talking, it was
me. I was drunk enough nothing stopped me. Maybe a small
difference, maybe splitting hairs, but it matters. "I wanted to,"
I say again.
Lame as this is, some of the awkward angularity goes out of Daniel and
he reaches up, his fingers spreading on my bare shoulder. I
wonder if he remembers, or if this is just natural for him, to not be
afraid of touching me. "This is how it started," I prompt.
His confusion, when my arms went around him, then this blaze of love
and he was warm against me, dreamy and smiling, barely aware of what we
were doing, only caring we were close and he was happy.
There's no excuse, nothing at all I can offer by way of explanation,
not for dancing with him, not for holding him that way. At least,
there is an explanation, if he cares to hear it, one that doesn't let
me off the hook. I feed him his cue. "This is the part
where you freak." Because he's sober and thinking.
"This is the part," Daniel corrects me hesitantly, his eyes fixed
searchingly on mine, "where you kissed me, Jack."
"For the longest time." Not your Bogart and Bacall, your Scarlett
and Rhett, no flames, except in the fire. Just closeness, our
mouths warm and gentle together, Daniel opening himself to me, kissing
me back for all of that time, with no walls between us, no doubts or
questions. We…love each other. We were in that place,
together. It was enough.
"You're not sorry," Daniel recognises, a little, just a little of his
tension melting away.
Not so long as he'll stand with me, let me close like this.
"You could've slept with me." It's an admission, not a question,
and he's ashamed. "You could have done," he pauses on another
difficult recognition, "anything. I would've let you." He
shakes his head blearily, eyes shadowed and blank, looking
inward. "I would have."
"I know." I clear my throat. "You know that I…That."
I had to walk away precisely because I could have done anything with
him, I could've fucked him there and then, with the fight gone out of
him, nothing left in him but all the time he'd been alone, the weight
and the hurt of that. "That I. Er." I value him too
much, I value what he felt. I wish I could tell him how much.
"Mmm-hmm," he mumbles gruffly, not quite looking at me.
"Good." I nod, distantly, not quite looking at him.
Oddly, this strips away his defensiveness and leaves him, not smiling
exactly, but shy. Full of questions.
God, I want to kiss him.
He's been looking at me in just this way for months now.
Sometimes, I'd think he knew what I wanted with him, that he was
weighing up what I felt, what I needed, what it would cost. Other
times, I'd be just as sure I could see the same knowing, the same
wanting in his eyes.
The king of wishful thinking, that's me.
He wasn't quite there. I knew it, when I kissed him.
I know it now, I see him pretty clear. He's not quick to think of
sex, not Daniel, slow to see he's wanted that way, slower still to
accept. He knows that I love him, that I kissed him because I
know he loves me. I'm luckier than I deserve, because we're still
good, we're still us, still friends. Because all his questions
are about what this means, for him, for us. Sex? He's not
drunk, he's not desperate and out of it like he was last night when I
finally could let go of him, of maybe my only chance to be that close,
and put him to bed, and he's still not quite there.
I'm holding him and he won't run, not from anything that scares him,
not my Daniel. I love him for it.
I love him. And now I know he loves me back, he's open to me, and
that's not wishful thinking.
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