anightingalesang: ([Jack] Almost kiss)
[personal profile] anightingalesang
Jack knows duty. It's a word that has pulled him through more than he can say, through moments when nothing else could. It's a mistress, a taskmaster, a rock, a mask, an excuse. As music swirls around, it feeds the words that form the escape. His men need him tonight. He needs to stay with them, though she and he both know not a one of them would begrudge him leaving to spend some time with Nancy, but he says the words anyway and she lets him, though he can see the hurt in her eyes, the wondering if she's doing something wrong. Well enough to say she's a lady and there are rules, ways of treating ladies, even in wartime, when others don't follow them. There's nothing else he can say, though, no other reassurance he can give her. She's a wonderful girl, a girl any man would be proud to call his, a girl he knows he's lucky to have care for him. He tries to feel something, anything. When she goes, he feels relief.

It's different the first time he shakes Captain James Harper's hand. The flicker of sensation that crawls through him may not be new. He's fought the inappropriate feelings most of his life, knowing what they would condemn him to--a life of shame and hiding or open ridicule and revilement for himself and those he loves, or a lonely one where duty compels him to abjure satisfaction. He chose the latter, and it hurts when he looks in the other man's eyes and for an instant believes he sees a kinship there. There's something, at least, a flicker in those eyes that are too old for such a young face, and the man is there every time he turns around. His words are intense, burning, telling him to go to Nancy, to make tonight the best night of his life, to lose himself in her, and they set off a different yearning all together and Jack wonders if James has any idea the thoughts he's placing in his head. It isn't Nancy he wants to lose himself in. It never has been. There's a desperation in James' tone, as if he knows something, and it feeds a fire in Jack's core, pushing him to action, to instinct.

They're all staring, he knows, when his fingers close around James' hand, but the other man follows him, and then they're dancing, and it's awkward for him for a moment. He's never dared; he doesn't know what to do, but James does, and he follows, and he knows he wasn't wrong with what he saw in his eyes. It's a moment out of time, when the rest of the world, the shocked gasps, the staring eyes, can fade into the distance, and for once, perhaps his last chance, he can have a sliver of what might have been. The girl's shouts barely register until James pulls back. She's shouting his name, though, and that makes no sense, but all he can see is the look in his eyes. He's leaving. Because of duty.

Jack knows duty. He lets him go, releases his hold, watches him turn, the absence already growing like a hole in his stomach, but then he turns, and there's a moment where hope flares. For once, maybe, they can tell duty to go to Hell. He at least consigns propriety to it, meeting the other man's kiss without reservation, letting it fill all the empty corners he's neglected for too many years. His fingers clutch at James' shirt, feeling the strength underneath, letting the craving fill him for everything that isn't, but in that moment could be, and then it's over. There's a chill where his body was, and he's walking away, into the light that's so blinding despite having no recognizable source. Duty tears and demands, and Jack straightens, raising his chin and saluting, even as James fades away, before he can hear him toss duty's call aside and ask him for the one thing he can't have.

"Stay."
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anightingalesang: (Default)
Jack Harkness

September 2012

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