“Y/N!” Jack bellowed as he made his way across campus to meet you in front of the cafeteria. Grimm barely batted a whisker as he raced the crowd in order to get the last ham and cheese toast - the latest delicacy available - and forgot all about you. You ended up being the last person standing at the entrance of the building as you watched Jack dash across the cobble stones.
“Jack? Weren’t you meeting up with Ruggie for lunch?” You smiled at him, silently delighted because of his enthusiasm.
Jack’s ears flattened slightly and a sheepish grin crept onto his features, “Actually, no…,” he explained, “Ruggie actually snuck into the kitchens and already had his fill of lunch before our last class was even done.”
You snickered, unable to find that surprising. The two of you walked into the cafeteria together, finding a table along the windows. The white haired boy insisted on getting the two of you lunch, and before you knew it you were sharing grilled cheese sandwiches and lemonade. This had become somewhat of a ritual, the two of you spending time together during lunch and during study sessions, and the comfort that naturally came with being around Jack was slowly becoming a sensation that you looked forward to every day, though it was hard to express this to NRC’s most dense jock.
After classes ended that day, however, Jack waited for you outside of the classroom. You frowned, a little confused as you noticed he looked as if he was mulling something over.
It took Jack a second, but then he nodded, “Do you have some time before you need to head back to Ramshackle? I want to show you something. Something I’m proud of. Something I… made.”
The confusion on your face went nowhere - if anything, you were getting a little nervous as well. “Of course, whatever you need, Jack. Where are we going?”
The two of you made your way over to the greenhouse, the beautiful building feeling a little damp and hot after the sun had beamed onto the glass the entire day. Jack led you towards the back, where you took a seat. Jack stepped up to the wooden table at the far end, near the window, and placed his hands firmly on top of it.
“I never thought I would be able to take care of something so fragile, Y/N,” he murmured, seemingly more serious than you’d ever experienced him being. You let him continue, your heart pounding with the uncertainty of what was happening. “At first I assumed I could never take this type of responsibility. I mean, you know me - I would be so disappointed in myself if I took something like this on and made a fool of myself, or made a fool of them. I couldn’t bear the thought of caring for a living creature and then just… letting them down.”
By now you were really starting to panic. Exactly what - or who - was Jack taking care of?
Jack turned around and leaned back against the wooden tabletop. “But, you know what? I persevered, and I can proudly say I’m rather good at what I’ve accomplished so far. They– God, Y/N, they are really thriving.”
“Jack,” you choked out, your voice quivering with anxiety now, “Who is thriving? What’s going on? Jack, who are you taking care of?”
Jack smiled, “My pups, of course.”
You spluttered, not knowing how to react to the idea of Jack having children. “P-Pups? Jack, how long has this been going on?”
The boy frowned, not quite understanding why you weren’t joining in on his enthusiasm. “I mean– I’ve only had them for a couple of months, really. I didn’t want to say much about it in case I fucked it up and had them dying on me, you know?”
Something inside of you snapped. Dying on him? How was this guy being so nonchalant over the survival of his children? How had you been crushing on someone who had a secret life in this way? “I just– I have so many questions,” you groaned, “What about their mother?”
Jack pouted then, his eyes widening, “What do you mean? I’m their mother, of course!” He sighed, turning around and grabbing the pot with his creations. The cactus that came into view had two little cactus pups snuggled up to the main cactus. “I’m honestly a little disappointed in you, Y/N…” he murmured, “I thought you of all people would be excited to meet my pups. You were going on and on about cacti all of last year, I really assumed you’d be proud of me.”
It took you a whole minute to catch your breath after you burst into a fit of laughter, a grin so wide spreading across your face that it started aching soon after it bloomed. You stood up and beamed at Jack, joining him at the table and taking the pot into your hands. “Jack, look at what you did! You idiot, I thought you were about to confess to me about having children.”
Jack frowned, “Children? Y/N, I’m sixteen years old. I can barely take care of Ruggie, let alone an actual child!”
The two of you stood there, amused for what seemed like ages. The sun was setting as you and Jack spent some time prepping new pots for the pups, already promising to dedicate the next weekend’s free time to repotting the new cacti.
You washed your hands off the dirt, shaking the water droplets off your fingertips before you turned around, suddenly facing Jack who wore his usual adoring smile.
“Thank you, Y/N. And again, I’m so sorry for confusing you, before.”
You shook your head, “That’s alright, Jack. You can confuse me anyday.”
Jack shot you a knowing smile, and suddenly you couldn’t help but look forward to Saturday morning.