Jacques is a closet romantic.
Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that everything about him is in the closet, his time in America drilling into him to keep any interest in men a secret only to be revealed after a series of complicated doublespeak and hope that you are not misinterpreting the other guy’s intentions.
But the point is…. Jacques likes being bigger, stronger than his partners. Likes being able to easily pick them up and hold them in his arms. Likes being tall enough to tuck their head beneath his chin.
It wasn’t a power trip, or some macho fantasy, though he wouldn’t deny feeling a certain thrill at the thought of lifting a lover into the air as they gave a surprised yet elated cry. It’s just that… even when he was little, he enjoyed the slow dance scenes in the movies where the male lead would have his love interest tucked closely against them. He liked feeling like he had the ability to be strong enough to protect them yet gentle enough to tenderly care for them.
It killed him that Julian the Janitor just… he just seemed so tiny, and vulnerable and god that soft voice made him melt. It just wasn’t fair that Julian was so goddamn sweet and that he’s seemed to catch on that his threats were all hot air with little substance.
The incident with the hypnotist left Jacques wanting to punch somebody…. mainly the hypnotist, but also John Cameron for making Julian so obviously upset and betrayed.
That protective instinct, however, got waylaid by Julian streaking past him to go onstage and fetch the hypnotist for some reason. His train of thought was further sidetracked by the fact that Julian was now buck-naked on the stage and wow the light glistening off his damp form really drew his eyes to…. he should really stop staring but oh god now Julian is singing and moving his arm about. He focused on that instead of… certain other features, and then found he couldn’t focus on anything else… at all.
After the fire department drenched everyone (and thank Christ the water was cold) he tried to keep a worried eye on Julian while simultaneously avoiding him at the same time because holy shit he saw the guy naked and he couldn’t stop focusing on that moment where he was damp on stage with the light glistening off him and Jesus he needed so many cold showers after that.
Then Julian stepped between John Cameron and a polar bear. A fricken polar bear. First off, what the hell station management? Second, holy shit that was actually kind of hot seeing him stand confidently in front of the polar bear and keeping the much larger beast (seriously, its paw was bigger than Julian’s head) in control with just his gaze.
But then Julian was on the floor.
He was on the floor and there was blood all around him
Oh god, why was there so much blood and why was he just standing there watching him bleed out in front of him?
Leticia had carried Julian to the hospital. He himself had tried visiting once, but the sight of that small body practically drowning in bandages and the hospital gown twisted his gut in such a way that he didn’t stay for long. That and his allergies made it unbearable to stay there, making his eyes tear up. That’s all they were… allergies. His “allergies” continued to act up as they prepared for their final show ever that night.
Nobody really believed him, he could tell, but they didn’t say anything about it either.
But then things got strange.
As in… Great Recitating Platypus of the North being led to them by Julian strange, his hand swallowed by a giant flipper.
Seriously he was happy, overjoyed even, that Julian was now suddenly awake and out of the hospital (though now that he thought of it, was Julian even supposed to be out of bed?) but still… what the fuck?
Then shit really got weird as Julian and the Platypus stood on the stage and the air sorta….. flickered around them for a minute and before he knew it, everyone was suddenly beside Julian, himself included. And the show was saved! And John coaxed Julian into singing and…..
And beneath the light, his face beaming, Julian just looked so happy. Jacques was transfixed by how lit up and soft and most of all how alive the small janitor looked.
Pretty was not a word that Jacques would use to ascribe to a man but in that moment, in that singular moment where Julian sung his heart out with that blindingly bright smile on his face, even with the bandages, Julian was……
Jacques was, at heart, a romantic. In that moment, he saw Julian and realized he wanted to hold that man close to him like the leading men in those movies he watched. Wanted to caress him gently and kiss those lips. Wanted to protect this man from the cruelties of the world and the wayward claws of polar bears for as long as he would let him.
And he may not have been able to protect him from hypnotists and polar bears, but he sure as hell could at least protect his dignity, so he subtly moved himself next to the janitor as they made to exit the stage and reached out to hold the back of the hospital gown closed.
Julian made a surprised noise and looked questioningly at Jacques.
"Look, it's a nice full moon out, but not one I think you’ll want the audience gawking at."
"Huh? I thought there was no moon tonight. Do I have my days mixed up?"
"…No, I suspect you don’t. What I’m trying to say is that your bare ass is hanging out the back of your gown and, while I like the view, I don’t think you want it on display for everyone. Look, just keep walking by my side and I'll keep your gown closed, 'kay?"
Julian's face lit up (red this time) and nodded in agreement, ducking his head down. Jacques chuckled to himself and walked closer to Julian, hopefully a comforting presence.
The audience watched the group file off, among them the janitor, escorted by Stagehand Jacques. They looked more like a couple taking a stroll than one preserving the dignity of the other.