Peggy/Daniel. Jack watching and realizing that they are now a thing after he begins his road to recovery.
(Note: I had a couple of leftover prompts from the prompt call back in March, and other sources; I’m trying to get caught up!)
Jack kicks himself later for not figuring it out sooner than he does. In his defense, he’s busy with things like, oh, breathing, and sitting up, and all those little details of life that he took for granted before his entire slate of secrets and lies was nearly wiped clean by an assassin’s bullet.
So life is pretty miserable and he’s drugged to the gills half the time. Still, he sees quite a lot of both of them – more than he would have expected, if he’s going to be perfectly honest with himself. Waking up to find Carter curled up, asleep, on the chair by his bedside, did a real number on some part of him that still hasn’t quite recovered. He will never, ever, even hint at this to Peggy, but sometimes when he’s trying to fight his way through a particularly unpleasant piece of his recovery, he’ll think back to his first sight of her – cheap hospital blanket tucked over her, feet curled up under her, head tipped against the back of the chair, snoring in a completely unladylike fashion, with a gun in her lap in case the unknown assassin comes back to finish the job. It’s such a very Peggy picture, but he also can’t quite deal with the fact that she was there, she’d stayed; and he later finds out that she and Daniel had been taking turns.
And they keep coming back, coming to see him, bringing food from outside the hospital, bringing books or decks of cards, and always-welcome news from beyond the four walls that are the current boundaries of his world. With Peggy, it’s friendship, something he still can’t quite believe she’s freely offering him; with Daniel, it’s … he doesn’t even know, a sort of camaraderie under fire, maybe. Daniel’s been where he is. And probably because of that, he doesn’t really get a feeling of pity off Daniel, not even on the level of Carter’s warm sympathy (which he can’t take at all, on his worst days), but instead a casual “been there, done that” understanding that’s precious beyond diamonds.
(Another thing he’s never, ever letting them find out.)
But the point is, he doesn’t actually see them together much at all. Passing in the doorway, sometimes talking in the hall. And there are little things, casual brushes as they pass each other … a new warmth in the way they look at each other, maybe …
And finally, while he and Daniel are playing cards (lackadaisically and often interrupted, due to Jack’s continued tendency to fall asleep at random times), he puts a voice to the slowly growing suspicion that he’s been turning over and over in his brain during long, drugged, half-awake nights. “So, you and Carter an item now, or what?”
Daniel gives him one of those quick little smiles, half sarcastic and half something else. “Took you long enough. Some secret agent, huh?”
“I’m injured,” Jack shoots back, annoyed … and, if he’s going to admit it, maybe a little hurt they didn’t say anything. Not that they owed him that, or anything else. But still. “When’s the wedding?”
Sousa turns pink. “No wedding. Not yet. This is new. Brand new.”
“Not making an honest woman of her? Sousa. You dog.”
Pinker now. “Christ, Jack.” He tosses down another round of cards with a little more force than necessary – they’re playing stud poker, badly.
Jack can’t tell if it’s genuine irritation, but … that’s really not where he wanted to go with this. “You and Carter. I’m glad,” he says, and means it. Morphine has a really annoying way of dragging sincerity out of him. “Seriously. Congratulations. Nice to see my two favorite SSR agents getting along.” Nice to see them happy, he means – because they are, and he’d never quite realized it, but now he can see: that’s why there’s a new light in Peggy’s eyes, that’s why Sousa’s more relaxed than Jack’s ever seen him. And he wants them to be happy. Can’t quite say it, though.
“Your favorites? I’m flattered.”
God damn morphine. He rallies enough to beat Sousa at the next two hands, just on general principles.