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Home Again

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Daniel sighed loudly as he closed the door behind him. “France was great but...”

“It's nice to be home?” Jack finished his sentence as he opened the refrigerator, glad to see Natasha had stocked up for them. He grabbed two beers and handed one to Daniel. “I'll take those bags up later,” he said.

“My back is fine,” Daniel frowned.

“Even in first class, you've been jammed in a plane seat for way too many hours.”

“And so have you.” Daniel countered, trying to ignore the twinges from his body.

“We'll get them later. I'm gonna go see if I can drag BJ away from Mrs. Jacobs.” He headed for the front door. “Don't move those bags!” He shouted.

Daniel contemplated the bags but decided it wasn't worth the fight. He walked slowly through their house, deliberately not turning on any lights, leaving the house drowsy in the twilight. He lit the fire in the living room and flopped on 'his end' of the sofa. Since Jack wasn't there to hear him, he allowed himself a satisfying moan at how good it felt to be seated comfortably.

He had loved France but the cottage he and Jack had rented had been very bare bones, rustic was the estate agent's enthusiastic description. The bathroom had been tiny but adequate, the kitchen small, the ceilings too low. But every day they watched the sun rise and set over acres of grapes growing fat and round. They took out the tiny car that came with the rental, leaving the top down and exploring crumbling castles and churches and gorging themselves in cafes and patisseries, ordering cases of wine shipped home.

The alleged purpose of the trip had been for Daniel to hone his conversational French before the summer session started but it had also gotten both of them out of the disclosure fall-out.

Daniel sighed again as he blinked slowly at the fire.

*

Daniel was fast asleep when Jack stopped in the doorway. “No, BJ,” Jack ordered. “Do not wake Daddy up. He only has a couple of days to rest up before he has to catch the school bus. You can help me take the bags upstairs.” He watched the dog wiggle his way up the stairs. “Have you gained weight since we've been gone?” Grabbing the beer that Daniel had left on the side table, Jack finished it. “It is nice to be home again, isn't it?”