Characters/pairings: Jack/Greg Bishop (Twilight Streets)
Warnings (including spoilers): None
Wordcount: 1,140 words
Author’s note: Yes I know Greg Bishop canonically wasn’t there at this time. Call it AU, because I’m not changing this fill yet again. Some parts- not the dates, those are correct, but the details- are possibly not historically accurate, but I’m honestly too lazy to check. Written for the hc_bingo prompt 'Insomnia'.
Summary: During the first week of June, Jack was acting strange.
During the first week of June, Jack was acting strange. He’d always had moody periods, and grumpy periods, and periods when it was best to just stay away from him, but Greg was used to those. Anyone who was friends- or more- with Jack Harkness had to get used to his darker side.
But that week, he looked- gosh, he looked hopeless. Greg had seen him depressed and wistful. He’d heard a few vague stories about a doctor friend of Jack’s who he clearly missed. He’d wondered if Jack loved that doctor, and if that was why he never seemed to pick up on Greg’s hints that he wouldn’t mind spending more time with Jack outside Torchwood- maybe even during the daytime.
That week, Jack was nothing like the energetic flirt who so often earned Tilda’s wrath. He was quiet. He stayed in the Hub far more than he usually did, and when Greg tried to cheer him up his smiles were all sad and distant. He and Llinos asked Jack out to lunch, hoping to call back some sort of life into the man, but to no avail. He waved them off with a quick thanks, an even quicker smile, and a reference to some young lady who was waiting for him nearby.
All that was why Greg was surprised when he found Jack leaning against the outside of the warehouse on the night of the fourth. He was even more shocked to see the desperate look in Jack’s eyes. He’d never seen the older man look at him so intensely, hadn’t really believed he ever would, or maybe even could. Jack pressed his back to the cold metal and kissed him heavily, trying to hold him there as Greg struggled. Finally, Greg managed to shove Jack away.
“Are you insane?” he hissed, eyes darting around the street. Luckily, there was no one present. “Anyone could be watching!”
“Stay with me tonight,” Jack said quietly.
Greg slumped back against the warehouse. “What?”
“I won’t sleep, Greg,” Jack whispered. He looked up at the dark sky, the few stars peeking through. “Not tonight.”
“What’s tonight?” Greg asked, stepping away from the warehouse to follow Jack’s gaze into the night sky, south-easterly if he was judging right. Then Jack looked back at him, and Greg met his gaze, feeling just as wrong-footed as he ever did when Jack acted strange. “What’s wrong?”
Jack didn’t say anything, just stared. Greg recognized the set to his jaw and the strength in his gaze; he’d be getting nothing out of Jack tonight. “Okay then,” he decided. “You get a ride?”
Jack smiled, but it was more teeth than humor. “Wait til we get there, Tiger.” Greg blushed.
Later that night, when Greg was drifting off, Jack’s fingers stroking through his hair and occasionally down his cheekbones, he blinked his eyes open. In the dim light of the moon through the windowpane, Greg could see Jack’s desolate expression, the heavy pout to his cheeks that indicated he was holding back tears.
“What’s wrong?” he whispered, voice thickly brushed with sleep.
Jack didn’t answer. He just kept touching Greg’s hair and kissed him on the forehead just as Greg was drifting off.
The next morning, Jack was gone. Greg waited for him, guiltily stealing a scant breakfast from Jack’s pantry and promising himself he’d pay it back. He eventually had to leave so he wouldn’t be late to work, but the memory of Jack’s face haunted him all through the day.
After work, he returned to Jack’s flat, still concerned for his friend and sometimes-lover. He found him sitting by the window, staring out at the bustling twilight street beyond. Greg approached him slowly, wary of Jack’s occasional mood swing.
“Looking at them, you might not know there was a war on,” Jack commented dryly. Greg gave up trying to sneak up on him; it never worked.
“We have to keep going like normal, don’t we?” he suggested. “Otherwise we’re letting them win.”
“It shouldn’t be so easy to forget,” Jack retorted. He sounded angry, but there was a deep sadness in his voice, and confusion. No- Greg looked closer at Jack’s all-seeing gaze, inspecting the city like it was holding back some secret- not confusion. Bewilderment.
“What do you know?” The words slipped out without Greg’s permission and he almost stepped back when Jack turned those intense eyes on him.
“I know more than anyone would ever want to know,” he rasped, hands clenching beside his trousers. “I know the shape of this war, Greg. No one will ever forget it, so I don’t understand how anyone can just sit by and pretend it isn’t happening!”
“I’m sorry, Jack, I don’t understand.” Greg stood by as Jack turned back to the window and recommenced his watch over Cardiff. Through long minutes, the early nighttime breeze off the bay chilly even in June, the passion that had tensed up Jack’s frame slipped away. Greg stepped closer and put a hand on his shoulder. “You think you’ll sleep tonight?”
“No,” Jack said, unthinking. “I won’t.”
“Then I’ll stay up with you.” Jack looked at him curiously, even suspiciously, but Greg met his gaze and didn't flinch.
Jack closed the window and they went out, sharing their coupons to shop and cooking a hearty supper. Throughout it Greg felt the strange tenseness emanating from Jack and the older man was constantly looking at the south-eastern skies. That night Jack brought out a bottle of wine and opened it by the window.
“I was going to drink the whole bottle tonight,” he told Greg, grimacing as the cork gave him some trouble. “Maybe you saved me from alcohol poisoning.”
Greg didn’t think he was joking, and couldn’t quite manage to return Jack’s smile.
He started nodding off a few hours past midnight and Jack suggested he go to bed. “No,” he insisted, blinking rapidly. “I said I would stay up and I am.”
Jack shook his head, but he took Greg’s hand and refilled his glass with wine. He looked straight into Greg’s eyes, a move that always took the younger man’s breath away. “Thank you,” he said sincerely. “You don’t know what it means to me to have someone here tonight.” He squeezed Greg’s hand and his brow creased as he looked out the window again.
“I don’t suppose you’ll tell me?” Greg murmured.
Jack looked at him, eyes bright. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
Jack walked him to work the next morning, sticking so close Greg would have protested on a normal day. But that morning, he didn’t think anyone would notice. The streets were full of people crying out the news and discussing it in excited, fearful voices.
The Allies had invaded Normandy. Greg held Jack’s hand tight as they made their way through the crowds.
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