Chapter 1
A Day in Boston

Notes/Disclaimer: Dawson's Creek does not belong to me. It belongs to... the WB, I think. Anyway. This is un-beta'd, so expect that there might be a few mistakes. Please ask before archiving. Enjoy.

It wasn't really a club, per se. More like a bar, really. Jack had promised himself that he wouldn't go into another club after what had happened to his sister at that rave so long ago. But bars were another matter. So what if the atmosphere was vaguely club-ish? Even though there was music, there wasn't any dancing, and that made it not a club in Jack's book.

This bar had been one of his favorites in Boston for a while now. He was too busy with his new job to come up much anymore, but every once in a while it was nice to get away, to go somewhere where he could be himself.

He sat at the polished, almost diner-like chrome bar counter and looked semi-curiously around the room at the patrons sitting at the various tables and booths.

It was a really low-key kind of place, which was what Jack liked about it so much. The lighting was dim, and the ambient music occasionally strayed towards techno, but it was comfortable. Jack sipped his beer. His eyes fell on two men at a table near the wall, their heads bent close in conversation. One man said something that made the other break into laughter. Jack couldn't help the faint whisper of jealousy that snaked its way through him.

It wasn't really his fault that he had been celibate for nearly a year now. Moving back to Capeside had put a bit of a damper on his love life, to say the least. He hadn't expected much when he moved back, had hoped for nothing more than no longer being the only gay person in Capeside. Fat chance, of course. Some things never changed.

There had been a few opportunities for a sexual encounter when he periodically returned to Boston. Not taking those was his fault, he supposed. It was just... well... something was different now. He felt somehow less inclined to take a path that would lead to another one-night stand. He had had enough of those for a while and something inside him made him turn down the flirtatious glances, holding out for something with at least the semblance of permanence. Or not even permanence. Just a little endurance would be nice. Just someone he could actually date, rather than just sleep with. It wasn't the sex he missed so much as the romance.

Jack turned his attention back to the two men as they began to stand up, pulling on the jackets that they had draped over the backs of their chairs. They began to walk away, moving close together. Out of a mild sort of curiosity, Jack checked to see if they were holding hands, but the angle was wrong and he couldn't tell.

As they moved out of his field of vision, Jack's eyes fell on the booth behind them, which they had been blocking, and to his surprise, saw a familiar face.


What was Doug doing in Boston? More importantly, what was he doing in a gay bar in Boston?

But then Jack's eyes managed to pick out the dim figure sitting across from Doug in the booth, and he realized that Doug was here for the same reason as everyone else.

But that's impossible, he thought. Doug's not gay.

Well, maybe there was another explanation. Jack strained to get a closer look at Doug's companion. The young man was young indeed; he couldn't possibly be older than college age. Jack wouldn't have been surprised if he was a highschool kid, except that Doug would never ever be with someone who was underaged.

Except that he hadn't ever expected Doug to be here in the first place.

But, okay, so maybe they weren't dating. Maybe Doug had met this kid, and the kid had some kind of problem or something. Doug wanted to help him out, and said they should talk, and the kid took him somewhere that he knew well, somewhere where he was comfortable.

That theory held together for all of thirty seconds, until Doug leaned forward over the table and kissed the young man. Jack's eyebrows rose. Impossible. The unflappable Sheriff Doug Witter was gay? Now that was a revelation.

Doug and the young man rose, Doug helping the kid with his jacket in a very gallant, Prince Charming sort of way. Then, with Jack's eyes widening at every turn, he put his arm around the kid and led him out of the bar.

Wow. Jack turned back to the bar. Incredible. What the hell? How hadn't he noticed this before? Surely he wasn't so out of touch with the gay world that he'd gotten to the point where this sort of thing would slip past him? Or maybe years of Pacey making jokes about it, pretending that Doug was gay, had blinded him to the truth.

It was definitely something to think about. Jack motioned to get the bartender's attention and ordered another drink.

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