They drove home after Booth had called to tell them that they had found the girl. Usually Jack had the music tuned on the highest possible volume and Zack made a face but closed his eyes and tried to sleep.
Today the music was as loud as always but Zack hadn't even batted an eyelid and leaned with his eyes open against the side window. It irritated Jack more than he wanted to admit but he kept on throwing short looks at Zack who simply ignored him in favour of the landscape.
The made half the way between the Jeffersonian and home when Jack stopped the car. He turned to Zack.
'Okay. What's wrong?'
'Nothing's wrong.' Zack said without looking at him.
'Something is obviously wrong or else you would complain about my music while trying to sleep.'
'Why do care?' Zack snapped: 'As long as everything looks fine to the outside, you're happy, aren't you? You're never really interested in anything or anyone, are you?' Go and find yourself a pretty girl. It's not like you care for me, either.' Before Jack could say or do anything, Zack gave him a short, blank look, opened the door and climbed out of the car. Jack was shocked. Those words had been harder as if Zack had actually slapped him.
'Zack! Zack!' Jack cried and followed Zack out of the car. He caught up with him fast and grabbed his arm.
'What do you mean with 'It's not like you care for me either'? What the hell put that idea in your head? And if you're trying to break up with me because of what Goodman said, then I'm gong to punch you for being so unbelievably stupid.'
'I…it's just…Dr. Goodman said…we it would be…'
'Dr. Goodman won't fire you. He just wants the best for you and he's right you can't stay Dr. Brennan's assistant forever.'
'And why not?' Zack asked testily. Jack gave him a soft, amused look.
'Because you're brilliant. Give it a few years and you'll have your own assistant.'
'But not here.' He could as well have said it, because it was so clearly written on his face:
Not with you.
Jack smiled: 'We're going home, I will cook us pasta and then we'll figure out what we're going to do when you finished your dissertation and Dr. Goodman hasn't given you a job in the institute, okay?' He looked around and then leaned in to give Zack a short kiss on the mouth. Zack still didn't look at him but nodded with blushed cheeks.
A few hours later, after they've eaten the pasta and Zack was fast asleep next to him, Jack realised that he didn't want Zack to go. He leaned on one elbow and began to trace small circles on Zack's chest with his fingertips. Zack wouldn't wake up from this, he was a heavy sleeper. Either he woke up on his own or you had to empty a bucket of ice water over his head. Jack also managed to kiss him awake one time, but that had ended with them being late for work and Zack being ill-humoured( about the being-late-thing not the being-kissed-awake-thing) so Jack saved that for the weekends.
They had this going on since shortly after Christmas and only now Jack realised that he really, really cared for Zack, cared much more for him than for Angela or everyone else that came into his mind.
'Seems like I love you.' Jack whispered and then decided not to tell Zack in the near future because it would probably freak him out and the situation was bad enough. And plus, Dr. Goodman was right but he still would rather have Assistant Zack next to him then Dr. Addy somewhere far away.
Jack slid his arm around Zack's sleeping figure and whispered again: 'I really, really love you, Zack' before he closed his eyes.
The next morning, Jack was woken by kisses, small light kisses that Zack dropped all over his face and his neck.
Well, Jack thought, this was unusual but then he decided to keep his eyes closed and cherish these rare, affectionate gestures from Zack for as long as possible. But to his disappointment the kisses stopped.
'I know you're awake.'
Jack opened an eye and was surprised to see one of Zack's completely happy smiles. That was such a difference to moody, depressed Zack from yesterday that Jack had to ask:
'Okay, who are you and what did you do with Zack Addy?'
'I dreamed something very nice and if you dreamed something really wonderful then you feel just happy.' Zack explained or rather quoted with his teacher-voice but he had a chipper smile on his lips. Jack tilted his head:
'You've seen French Kiss far to often to be healthy but still, care to elaborate?'
Zack didn't answer, only took jack's wrist and dragged him out of the bed and into the bathroom.
'We'll be late if you don't get up.' He complained. This again, was usual. Jack would shower and Zack would shave before switching positions but Zack would be finished far earlier. Then he would tell Jack to hurry before leaving the room to switch on the coffee machine and make the toast. Jack would come down and they would eat breakfast together and by the time they were in the car Zack would've begin to chatter about numerous things with a steady stream of words (to which jack only listened with a half ear butt needed to drive properly in the morning because there had been this one week where Zack had laid in bed with a bad cold and Jack had tried every radio show until he realised that he needed Zack's voice specifically.)
But this morning Zack stepped into the shower shortly after Jack. He slid his arms around Jack and pressed them tightly together with his lips on Jack's neck. They just stood under the warm spray of water until Zack loosened his grip a bit and said:
'I love you, too.'
Surprised, Jack turned around and faced Zack.
'I wasn't sure whether it was a dream or not.' Zack admitted with a shy grin.
'Well, you didn't' Jack said and kissed him. He was pretty sure that Zack wouldn't complain about being late, today but he should probably call them in sick anyway.