a/n: Hey Horsemen! This is a fic to fulfill a Tumblr prompt for a 5+1 of 5 times Jack tried to catch Daniel's attention and one he did. I got lazy & made it a 3+1 instead, I hope you'll forgive me. Anyway, enjoy!
The Four Horsemen were scattered around their apartment. In the week they had been working together, it had only become marginally less barren than when they had arrived. The empty rooms were slowly filled with not only papers and blueprints, but also with the vibrant personalities of the four new inhabitants. Jack was continuously impressed at how often Henley, Merritt, and Daniel could get into arguments.
The team was currently in the fall out from one such spat. Henley could be heard kicking the furniture and swearing in her bedroom, Merritt was poking through the contents of the fridge, and Daniel and Jack sat in the study. Daniel had accepted Jack as the person least likely to irritate him, and Jack was the only one who could coax Daniel out of his deep sulk even after Henley and Merritt had apologized.
Jack studied Daniel's scowl from the folding chair in which he sat. Light filtered in from a nearby window, illuminating Daniel's tense brow. Daniel himself sat against the wall, rereading the blueprints for some sort of trap door trick. Jack caught himself admiring Daniel's figure, from the way his lips pouted to the curve of his hunched shoulders. He chewed the inside of his cheek, scolding himself sternly for staring. The others saw him as a kid, and he couldn't afford to be having any puppy crushes if he wanted to escape their assumptions.
Jack decided to break the silence blanketing the room. He cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak.
"So, Daniel. Ah, you want to go out for a food run or something?"
"Mm," came his reply.
Jack sighed, settling back into the stiff chair. He should have known better than try to tear Daniel's attention from his reading. Despite his best sensibilities, Jack began daydreaming of ways to win Daniel's attention. He smiled slightly into the silent room.
Jack leaned against the window, his face pressed to the glass. After having lived in the apartment with only minimal furnishings for the past three weeks, the Horsemen were thrilled that their furniture was finally due to arrive. Jack was determined to be the first to spot the delivery, though it was not merely his competitive spirit motivating him to do so. He glanced once more over to Daniel, who sat on the other side of the room playing with his deck of cards. Catching his eye, Daniel waved slightly and Jack flushed, turning back to the window.
Just then, he saw a large truck moving slowly up the street. Jack nearly ran out the door to meet it. He skidded to a stop on the sidewalk just as a burly man climbed out of the driver's seat.
After Jack signed for the delivery, the man opened up the truck. "You want any help bringing this up?" he offered.
"Nah," Jack replied. "I got this."
The man shrugged and helped Jack unload the many boxes onto the sidewalk before driving off. The majority of the furniture required assembly, so none of the boxes were ridiculously large. Still, it would be a daunting challenge to bring all of them to the apartment. Jack picked up the first box and made his way inside. If Daniel notices me, he thought, it'll be worth it.
Nearly an hour later, Jack dragged the final box up the stairs. Merritt and Henley had offered to help, but Jack had politely refused. Now, with his shoulders, legs, and back screaming out in protest, he regretted everything. Throughout the whole ordeal, Daniel had made no note of his efforts. He had gone from toying with cards, to playing with poker chips, to sleeping. As he dropped the last box on the floor, Jack bit back a scream of frustration. He gritted his teeth and stared at the sleeping figure of Daniel Atlas. It's on, he thought. You will notice me, whether you want to or not.
The grey t-shirt lay crumpled on the counter as Jack studied his figure in the mirror. He kept himself in pretty good shape; his abs were well-defined and he was free of excess fat. Jack turned and exited the bathroom, leaving his shirt behind. He strode confidently into the main room and threw himself down onto their new sofa. When they had begun putting the furniture together three days ago, it had been far too confusing, but now that they had finished, the apartment actually felt like a home.
Henley and Merritt both looked up from their work at his entrance. Turning to Henley, Merritt raised an eyebrow with an unspoken question. Henley simply shrugged her reply. She may not have understood it, but she wasn't complaining.
Much to Jack's dismay, Daniel remained oblivious. Jack kicked his feet up onto the coffee table with a loud clunk. When Daniel failed to react, Jack stood with a huff and went into the kitchen for a drink, making as much noise as possible. He returned to stand in the doorway of the living room, drink in hand. Daniel's nose remained stubbornly in his book. Jack bit down hard on his lip; he had to fight back tears of frustration. How the hell could this illusionist be so unconscious of his surroundings? Magic was all about hyperawareness; every audience member, entrance, exit, prop, every bug on the wall was part of the magician's mental catalogue. Yet Jack still managed to be exempt from Daniel's all-encompassing viewpoint. Jack spun on his heel and stomped back to the kitchen. He leaned against the counter and took a sip from his water glass.
A moment later, Henley entered. She walked over to Jack, and the two stood side by side in silence.
"Listen, Jack, I know you're frustrated," she began, before Jack cut in.
"Frustrated? That's one hell of an understatement. Is he blind?"
Henley couldn't help but smile to herself. "He's not very good at, well, all this. He does like you though, you know."
"He does a damn good job of showing it," Jack muttered.
"Daniel won't be like any other guy you've ensnared," Henley said as Jack blushed. "Please, I know a guy like you has seen plenty of action. But the thing is, Daniel doesn't care about all this," she continued, waving a hand at Jack's still-shirtless body. "You can strut about like a peacock all you like, and that won't change a thing. You can't use anything remotely resembling subtlety with him, okay?"
Jack nodded, his neck to his ears burning red.
Henley looked down at her watch. "Merritt and I will go out for dinner - that'll give you until about 8, so two and a half hours." She looked at Jack seriously. "Merritt's just as sick of all this pining as I am, so you better make your move. Otherwise, I'm not afraid to handcuff you two together, and I'm certain you don't want Merritt messing with your minds." She grinned. "Did you know he doesn't need to give you a love potion for you to experience the effects of one?"
Jack swallowed hard as Henley walked back toward the living room. She turned around.
"Oh, and put your damn shirt back on, for heaven's sake."
"Henley and I will be back around eight," Merritt called from the front hall. "You two have fun now!" The door clicked softly shut behind the pair as they left. Jack reemerged from his bedroom, his grey shirt back on. Daniel was in the exact same place as before; he was curled in an armchair, still focused intensely on his book. Jack sighed quietly. He decided to begin by putting together dinner for the both of them.
He padded into the kitchen and poked through the fridge. The majority of the food was Henley's health crap; all kale and soy. Jack made a face. He wouldn't even know what to make with the ingredients on hand, much less want to eat whatever he could come up with. Walking to the other side of the kitchen, he pulled open the drawer in which they kept their take-out menus. Figuring that Daniel wouldn't reply if Jack asked for his preference, Jack picked a Chinese place at random. As he dialed their number, Jack tried to remember Daniel's preferred foods. Shrimp fried rice? It was probably something like that.
After placing his order, Jack returned to the living room. The friendly woman on the other end of the line had promised to deliver the food in half an hour, so Jack had some time to kill. Daniel remained engrossed in his book, but Jack spotted a spare deck of cards on the coffee table. He pulled them out of the box and began playing with them as he walked back into the kitchen to grab some paper cups. Returning to the living room, he lined the cups up on the windowsill and walked to the other side of the room. Jack took a deep breath and released the tension he had been unconsciously holding in his shoulders. He grasped one card between two fingers and flicked it toward the first cup. It fell smoothly and bounced to the ground. He grinned, but his joy faded as he saw Daniel from the corner of his eye. The older man was still oblivious. Jack frowned and grabbed two cards. He aimed carefully and the cards whistled through the air, hitting the second and third cups with ease.
Just then, a knock on the door broke Jack's concentration. He grabbed his wallet from the coffee table and made his way to the front door. After paying for the food, he returned to the living room.
"Hey, Daniel? I got us some dinner."
At the word "dinner," Daniel's head shot up from the book. Snapping it shut, he walked over to Jack and joined him on the sofa. Jack handed him a container of food.
"Shrimp fried rice?" Daniel asked. "Nice, I'm impressed that you remembered."
Jack's inner monologue was singing as he shrugged in response. The two ate in silence until Daniel spoke up.
"You want to watch a movie or something? It's only six, Henley and Merritt won't be back for a while." He got up and grabbed his laptop. "Annoying as it is, I can kind of see why a TV isn't in the budget. Luckily, I have Netflix. You have any favorite films?"
Jack shook his head. "Nah, I haven't really seen that many movies, actually."
Daniel looked surprised. "Huh. Well, how about Harry Potter, have you seen any of those?"
"Nope," Jack replied. "I've heard about them, though. They're about magical kids, right?"
"Yeah," Daniel agreed. "Something like that. Let's watch the first one, we'll see what you think." He located the movie and hit play before settling back into the sofa.
Jack was absolutely enthralled by the film. He fell madly in love with both Harry and the magical world as a whole. He was so engrossed that he hardly noticed when Daniel put his head on his shoulder, or when he curled into Jack's side. By the time the movie finally ended, Jack turned to Daniel only to find that the older man was deep asleep, his breathing even and his expression relaxed. Jack smiled and watched as Daniel's chest rose and fell.
At the absence of sound, Daniel slowly awoke. He blinked sleepily at Jack's cheerful face, but made no effort to untangle himself from Jack. "Hey," he mumbled. "Is the movie over?"
"Yeah," Jack replied. "You looked pretty happy though, I didn't want to wake you."
"Mm, thanks," Daniel said as he stretched. "What time is it?"
"Eight fifty five. Henley and Merritt are late."
"Ah. Sorry for falling asleep on you there. I expect you had other plans for this evening."
Jack blushed and grinned sheepishly. "Well, I, ah…"
Daniel sat up straight, his face mere inches apart from Jack's. "I have noticed, you know. The conversations, the boxes." He glanced away and ran his fingers through his hair. "I guess I just… wanted to be sure. Of what you wanted." He looked back at Jack, a smile hinting at the corners of his lips. "Then you spent this afternoon shirtless, and, well." Their foreheads nearly touched as Jack searched Daniel's face for a sign, for anything. Daniel's expression was impossible to read, but a thought drifted through Jack's mind.
Screw the signs, he thought. You've done enough waiting.
Without warning, Jack abruptly closed the gap between them, enveloping Daniel's lips in a kiss. Daniel responded with enthusiasm, and fireworks erupted through Jack's mind. As he fumbled with the buttons on Daniel's shirt, Jack wondered why he'd ever hesitated at all.