“You need to stop.”
The visor hit the floor with a muddled, careless thunk, followed by separately discarded gloves. The beat-up jacket came soon after, sliding off the squeaky old chair it was supposed to go on with a sad rustle. But Jack just couldn’t be bothered. Didn’t even turn his head at Gabriel’s piercing stare.
“What do you mean?”
Reaper didn’t answer right away, but the musty air swirled uncomfortably in his annoyance.
“That was sloppy. Two of them got away-”
“We shot them down anyway.”
“You got shot!”
“Grazed. Biotic pack fixed it.”
“Talon was on their fucking way!”
“We got away before they arrived, didn’t we?”
“The fucking information we almost lost our heads for was almost fucking forgotten!!!”
“Got it here now.”
Gabriel’s roar was deafening. Jack didn’t even flinch when a clawed hand closed around his throat. Glowering crimson eyes were seething with black smog, the same substance that was billowing furiously out of the corner of Gabriel’s mouth.
And Jack had the audacity to look bored.
This had happened many times before. Gabriel would get angry and throw what Ana used to call a temper tantrum. Jack would either shout back or wait it out like the exasperated “adult” he was. But never like this.
Never like this.
As pissed off as Gabriel was, he still searched Jack’s face. Delving into those eyes that only grew brighter with age. Only to find his heart, charred and blackened as it was after all the shit Ziegler did, ceased beating.
“Why are you giving up?”
That riled up a reaction out of Jack, but he seemed more annoyed than anything. He tried once to shove Gabriel away, but shrugged as his attempt failed, “I’m not. I’m still doing all this shit, aren’t I?”
“Fuck off with that.” Gabriel hissed, his ire returning in waves, “You are not stupid, Morrison, and neither am I. So stop bullshitting and answer the goddamn question.”
This time, Jack glared back and, amidst the rage, Gabriel was glad to see that spark again, instead of alarming nonchalance. The old soldier punched Gabriel at the wrist, knocking his hand away and heedless of the scratches left on his pale throat. Turning his back, Jack started to pace. He was like a trapped animal, Gabriel observed, but lack the fire to fight. And that, above all, worried Gabriel the most. So he waited, counting heavy steps against rotting wooden planks, and watching fine silver hair fluttered as the gears turned in Jack’s head.
“What’s the point?” Jack finally said, stopping for just a scant moment before picking up once more, faster and more frustrated, “What’s the point anymore, Gabe? I know what happened now. I know why shit went south. We have the truth uncovered and for what?! The war goes on. The world is still set in its motion! Nothing changed! Nothing! And I- I!!”
Unable to convey it to words, he violently kicked his visor away. Old or not, Jack was still a super soldier, and the unfortunate piece of metal was left embedded on the wall, crackling with statics.
“Winston isn’t going to be happy about that.”
Jack didn’t seem to have taken Gabriel’s comment lightly either, evident in his string of profanities. Though, Gabriel had to admit he was smug, because Jack startled when the dark man’s arms came to wrap around him. The soldier went rigid, but Gabriel simply nuzzled against his temple, feeling a tiny spike of nostalgia.
“Your heart is weary.” He rumbled, then waited for Jack’s tension to shoot up, before giving in and slumped into his embrace. Predictable, as always. “It’s nothing to kill yourself over, and certainly not something you shouldn’t feel.”
Jack was quiet, but his squeeze on Gabriel’s bicep had the latter smirking, affectionately so, “If you wanted a break, you should have said so.”
He could feel Jack’s nerves prickling, and wheezed out a laughter when he was elbowed in the ribs. They stayed like that for a while. Gabriel was patient tonight, something rarely happened, and he was content to feel Jack’s breathing evened out against his shoulder.
“We should go somewhere.”
Gabriel’s grin was ear-splitting and he felt like they were kids again, “Quoting myself, Winston isn’t going to be happy about this, but he can go fuck himself with a banana if he thinks we’re gonna spend our vacation in a sardine tin like this.”
Jack was exasperated once more, and Gabriel didn’t mind one bit. It was due time they got some rest, and he would set the world on fire if they tried to get in the way.