"Mornin, Sunshine." Mitchell sits across from Daniel, his smile still sated and silly from last night's frantic fuck. "You've got a healthy breakfast there."
A cup of coffee, four packets of sugar, and a jelly donut sit in front of Daniel. Daniel grins, eyes squinting, clearly telegraphing, shut up.
It isn't that Daniel begrudges Mitchell's company, but he had been pleasantly alone, staring absently at the early morning breakfast queue, lost in the memory of saying goodbye to Jack again.
"You still come to help me," Daniel says. "Even though." He waggles his finger between them, indicating their whole complicated past in a single small gesture.
"You thought that was going to change?" There's more to Jack's statement, spoken in the softness in his eyes and the fullness of his lips.
Daniel smiles softly, his insides slowly filling with water until he feels like he's drowning in his past, in Jack. "Just relieved that it didn't." His heart pumps against the water filling him, making a wave that threatens to pull him under, back into Jack's current.
Jack winks, ruffles Daniel's hair, the carefree, casual touch hot against Daniel's head. "See you the next time you get in trouble." Daniel nods agreement. "Say, hi to Mitchell for me."
The words had stung then and they still sting now. Just a casual, off-hand comment that means so much more. That's his Jack, far more perceptive than he lets on.
"Jackson?" Mitchell snaps his fingers, drawing in Daniel's wandering mind. "Huh." Mitchell suddenly stands, crossing the commissary, and grabs a box of cereal. He waves to the woman working the register, flashing her a charming smile, much like another Air Force officer Daniel knows.
Mitchell drops the box in front of Daniel: Fruit Loops. Daniel's heart actually twists.
Mitchell pulls his mouth to one side and quietly says, "You're allowed to miss him." He hides behind his fist, but Daniel knows he's worrying his lip.
"You don't have to say anything," Mitchell says. He pats Daniel's arm when he stands, his fingers lingering. "It's not like I'm special." He coughs. "I mean . . . just . . . it's okay."
Daniel apologizes, not wanting to explain because Jack is—he and Jack were, are—beyond explanation.
"Hey." Mitchell leans over, entering Daniel's personal space, but no one in the commissary seems to take notice. "I know, all right? And it's okay with me."
Okay that I still . . . ? Daniel can't even complete the thought. "Thanks," he says instead. "Exes, yeah?" He shakes his head, like he's trying to get rid of the memories, but Jack is the one thing that always stays lodged in his brain.
"Yeah," Mitchell laughs. "I'll catch up with you later." He rubs a friendly hand on Daniel's shoulder, reminiscent of but not the same as a hair ruffle. Though, the smile Mitchell casts over his shoulder sends a thrill down Daniel's spine.
No, his life isn't complicated.
Daniel fingers the box of Fruit Loops for a moment. There's so much history there, so much aggravation and abuse. The break they made was meant to break that and finally allow them both to start something new, something healthy.
Daniel sighs, his eyes casting between the donut and the Fruit Loops, neither choice particularly healthy.
He picks up his coffee and forgets about breakfast, trying to ignore the fact that it's not that he can't make a decision, he just doesn't want to.