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30 May 2005 @ 07:18 pm
shortcuts #6 - The Office  


The Office

Vaughn's cell phone rang as he was sitting down at his computer first thing that morning after an early work-out in the agency gym. It wasn't even seven a.m. yet, too early for calls, except from other time zones, and he wasn't expecting any of those.

"Hello?"

"Wheat or plain?" Jack asked in a businesslike way.

Very often you had to figure out the context of Jack's remarks with minimal clues, but this one wasn't hard, even though they hadn't spoken since yesterday afternoon at a meeting. Vaughn leaned back in his chair as his computer booted up.

"Wheat. Where are you, Fry's?"

"Wheat," he heard Jack say to the counter person before speaking to him again. "Yes."

"Is it still raining?"

"More or less."

"I hate when it rains." He tapped a pen against his thigh and yawned. "I just want to stay in bed." A whisper in the back of his mind questioned this choice of small talk, but he didn't listen to it. He sensed that he was drifting along the edge of a new sea of knowledge, but wasn't ready to commit to the deep or retreat to safe land, wasn't even sure yet what the deep held. His feelings were like a handful of loose change that he hadn't added up.

"I know the feeling."

"You? I imagine your eyes snapping open at the crack of dawn, like clockwork." He slid the pen through his fingers in a lazy twirl, and rocked a little in his chair.

"I'm not an automaton." Vaughn could hear the sound of espresso machines grinding and chuffing in the background.

"You wake up at five fifty-nine every day, don't you," Vaughn guessed.

There was a brief, possibly irritable silence. "That proves nothing. I simply have regular habits."

"You're predictable."

"Predictability is what gets people killed."

"That's true," Vaughn pondered. "You're not that predictable."

"I should hope not."

"You're even kind of erratic."

"I'm hanging up now."

Vaughn closed his phone just as Sydney came up. "Good morning," she said, with a toothy grin and a face too awake for this time of morning. She stood by his desk, a model-tall figure with coffee in hand.

"Hey."

"That sounded interesting. Are you finally seeing someone?" She was happy for him, her voice lilting, brows raised to an inquisitive height.

His heart tripped double-time and his face went blank. "What?"

"You were smiling and fondling your pencil--also, leaning back." She recited these facts as unequivocal proof of her observation, an earnest contrast to her teasing. "Classic signs of a morning-after conversation."

He couldn't quite take in what she was saying, and his face felt hot. "That's--no--it was just--someone. A friend."

Weiss wandered over. "What's up? Other than my dragging ass."

"Vaughn's seeing someone," Sydney confided over the rim of her coffee cup, then smiled before taking a sip.

"I am not! Really, I'm not." He appealed to Weiss for support.

"Oh yeah? Who is she? Is it Kim in Analytics? You know she has a thing for you."

"Okay, you both need to go away now," he said to them, starting to log on to the system. They exchanged knowing looks over his head and strolled off together.

Jesus Christ, he thought. His entire body was flushed with embarrassment, and the knowledge he'd been resisting was pushing against his consciousness for attention. He pushed back, hard, and told himself that his friends were crazy. And that maybe he needed to be a bit more professional when speaking to Jack in the office. Or not. Because really, they were just insane.

Nonetheless, he geared himself up to be polite but crisp when Jack came by with the bagels. Except that Jack also brought him a coffee. Vaughn knew he was smiling like an idiot at Jack again, just for the gift of an Americano. Did he smile too much? How could he know? Jack didn't seem to mind, but Jack could be hard to decipher.

He brought me coffee, Vaughn thought. He doesn't care if I smile at him. Secure in this reasoning, he went back to work. It was a boring as hell day, a paperwork day, a day in which not a single bombing came over the global wires. By six, Vaughn was entertaining thoughts of a white-water rafting trip sometime in the near future, even some fishing. When was the last time he'd gotten away? He rose and stretched and grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair. His exit brought him by Jack's office, and he paused at the open door. Only the desk lamp was on, casting a low light on Jack, who was absorbed in his computer. Vaughn thought he looked incredibly bored.

"Hey," he said, drawing Jack's gaze up. "Want to come over for dinner?"

Jack looked at him a moment, unreadable. "Dinner at your place?" He put a slight, questioning emphasis on 'your'.

"Yeah." They'd never done that before, but so what. "I was thinking of making stir-fry."

"I should really finish this." Jack was hesitant, groping for an excuse that he didn't even want to make. Vaughn always knew when Jack wanted to be persuaded.

"Finish it tomorrow," he said easily, leaning against the door frame, aware of his own body's low, steady burn, like a pilot light he'd only recently discovered. He didn't take his eyes off Jack. This was just friendship, but it could be a deep one, nearly as good as more. He was used to bearing certain aches quietly, accepting whatever was offered without asking for what he couldn't have. Besides, what did he want that he couldn't have? Nothing. He was happy.

"All right." Jack took a breath and nodded. "Shall I follow you?"

"Yeah. I don't need to stop."

His apartment felt unused, as it always did--the office was where he lived, when he lived at all. But having Jack there made it almost comfortable, breathed life into the empty quiet. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had someone over. Probably Weiss, for beers and a game. And before that, Alice.

He turned on the radio, which brought up a public radio station playing jazz. He thought about changing it, but didn't.

"You want a drink?"

Jack seemed restive, like a cat ready to bolt. He hadn't taken his jacket off, and his tie was still neatly knotted at the neck.

"Yes. That would be--" He finished the thought with a nod.

"I have beer, and--" He looked inside the refrigerator. "Beer."

"Beer is fine."

"Sorry. I haven't been to the liquor store in a while."

He gave Jack a bottle and a glass, and started chopping vegetables. Jack watched him. After an awkward minute or two, as Jack was looking around his apartment but not moving from where he was planted, Vaughn said, "You can take off your jacket and get comfortable, you know."

"Of course." Jack didn't move right away, but after a few moments, removed his jacket and loosened his tie. "Can I help with anything?"

"You can marinate the chicken."

For that, Jack went to the unprecedented length of rolling up his sleeves. It was pretty funny for some reason, and Vaughn's lips quirked. He ducked his head to keep from giving himself away, and they moved around the kitchen together in increasing comfort, neither of them getting out of sorts when they had to brush by each other. Brush passes, Vaughn thought, as he turned to grab a towel just as Jack turned to put a bowl in the sink. They were facing each other maybe a foot apart and it took Vaughn's breath away for a second. Hoping his face hadn't shown anything, he took the bowl from Jack and put it in the dishwasher.

"I like to clean as I go," he explained.

"A good rule to live by."

Vaughn tried to find subtext to that, but couldn't. Over dinner they started off talking about cold cases, cases in progress, and what might come up next on their slate, but at some point talk turned to politics, then to political history, then to school, authors they liked, places they'd traveled, people they'd worked with, strange dishes eaten in strange circumstances, things they'd seen that had changed them, the ways they looked at the world. Done with the meal, they lingered with their beers.

Clean as you go, Vaughn thought, but he was afraid that if he cleared the table, Jack would leave. When the talk inevitably dwindled, he felt stirred by melancholy.

"It's late," Jack finally said. "I should go."

"Yeah." Vaughn gave the requisite smile, because showing regret would have been far over the line. He stacked dishes.

"I'll help with that."

Vaughn didn't turn the offer down and they cleaned up side by side, rinsing dishes, putting them in the washer. He could feel his heartbeat rabbiting in his chest, fueled by unspoken words, even as he remained outwardly calm.

Finishing up meant nothing else to do, an end to the evening. He dried his hands and gave the towel to Jack, who took it and folded it and laid it neatly on the counter and then turned and took Vaughn's face in one hand and kissed him.

Shocked, Vaughn froze for a moment, and then gripped Jack's shoulder and kissed him back with desperate need. The kiss grew fiercer, hard and deep. Vaughn pressed against the other man's body and tried to work shirt buttons open with shaking fingers. Jack batted his hand away and began undoing Vaughn's belt.

"Oh god," Vaughn said on a ragged breath, clumsily returning the favor. The kisses came in an unstopping rush and then Jack's hand closed over his dick, drawing him out. Vaughn gave a muffled cry and shoved into Jack's grip as it slid up and down, squeezing the head on each pass. Feeling as if he might fall to the floor, Vaughn grabbed Jack's shirt to stay upright and fumbled with his free hand at Jack's pants, grateful when Jack guided it inside. He closed his fingers around another man's dick for the first time in his life. It was hard, heavy, big.

"Oh Jesus," he whispered into Jack's mouth, hips picking up frantic speed as he slid closer to the shocking, perfect end he could see rushing toward him. "Please--"

Everything felt familiar, as if they'd done this before, even as the bright sharp newness was overwhelming him. He lifted his hips and rocked with a wild longing into Jack's fist. The world was losing shape at the edges and his dick was growing slick and painful, the best kind of painful. He could feel every muscle in his body trembling to hold it together, and then need sharpened and broke and he came in wet jerks on Jack's hand and shirt.

Jack gasped into his mouth, heavy, incredible gasps--his tongue, his hands, the hot pressure of his body--Vaughn arched and kept coming, crying out again and forcing himself harder into Jack's hand, the skin of the other man's palm pulling a clenched kiss over the head. He couldn't stop fucking into the tight heat of him, he was going out of his mind, he had to bring Jack off too, and jerked his hand, hoping he was doing it right and that Jack wanted this just as badly, which he seemed to, and then he felt Jack's soft cry break in his mouth and a wetness hit his hand and the skin of his lower belly and he gave a happy laugh with almost no breath behind it.

"Oh god, yeah." He caught Jack's mouth back after it had been torn away, and Jack stabbed his tongue inside again at a sweet angle, still coming with heavy thrusts into Vaughn's caress.

They slowly caught their breath, leaning against each other. Vaughn rested his head on Jack's shoulder, rubbed upward against his neck, then drew a cheek across Jack's cheek to kiss him again. Jack didn't pull away. He didn't pull away at all.
 
 
 
WesleysGirlwesleysgirl on May 31st, 2005 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm such a whore, I'm reading these now even though I've never seen the show, have no interest in the show, and don't know who the characters are. I don't even know who the actors are. La la la. If you write it, they will come.

Heh.

*Hugs*
viverra_libroviverra_libro on May 31st, 2005 04:03 am (UTC)
Yes! Me, too, except I actually think the show is boring! And yet, strangely, these are interesting.

And, btw, eliade? Grown men getting off standing up in the kitchen after cleaning the kitchen? Very, very nice.
(no subject) - eliade on May 31st, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on May 31st, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
gianna24gianna24 on May 31st, 2005 02:51 am (UTC)
Mmmm. Hmmm. Hotness for sure. But more than that. I love it when porn is preceded by emotion. Me likey.
Anna S.eliade on May 31st, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
a little specificity: jacksinensiss on May 31st, 2005 02:59 am (UTC)
I love Alias, and especially Jack, although I'd never have predicted that I'd enjoy Jack/Vaughn stories as much as I am enjoying yours. I love how carefully Vaughn observes Jack, how you describe all of the tiny moments when Jack gives clues to his inner life, which are some of my favorite moments on the show, too. Great sexual tension and build-up, too--sweet moments of oblivion in what is, objectively speaking, a pretty fucking scary life.
Anna S.: jack-bristoweliade on May 31st, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
I love how carefully Vaughn observes Jack, how you describe all of the tiny moments when Jack gives clues to his inner life, which are some of my favorite moments on the show, too.

If you were to describe Jack in a nutshell, you could say "expressionless and monotone" but it's so not true. He's just a collection of a million tiny nuances. Love him.
(Deleted comment)
Anna S.eliade on May 31st, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
Whee! Pretty and oddly sweet and funny and sexy and OMG the hot.

*g* I am glad! *fans you*
Moral Whiplashbkwyrm on May 31st, 2005 03:17 am (UTC)
Whew, that was hot. And sweet. I'm so glad to see porn instead of pre-slash!
Anna S.eliade on May 31st, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
droneish on May 31st, 2005 03:18 am (UTC)
heart beating so hard it hurts
He could feel his heartbeat rabbiting in his chest, fueled by unspoken words, even as he remained outwardly calm.

This is me, as I was reading this. The tension between them had been building for so long (yet really, through only a few short scenes) that I couldn't believe there would be consummation. Yet I hoped.

He sensed that he was drifting along the edge of a new sea of knowledge
Beautiful.
Anna S.eliade on May 31st, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
Jack Pridejack_pride on May 31st, 2005 03:35 am (UTC)
OMFG - you need to write more of my ideas, because clearly you are brilliant (and this makes me feel smarter by association *g*). First I laughed my ass off, then I melted, then I... well. That's not fit for polite company, now is it?

Do we get an overheard actual morning after conversation, next? Because I'm betting Michael could get really, really red in certain circumstances.

Also, I love you for having them lead into sex from dishes. Oh, yes. We definitely have a few kinks in common.
Anna S.eliade on May 31st, 2005 08:47 pm (UTC)
OMFG - you need to write more of my ideas, because clearly you are brilliant (and this makes me feel smarter by association *g*). First I laughed my ass off, then I melted, then I... well. That's not fit for polite company, now is it?

You are generous with praise. Can I have your wallet? :D

Do we get an overheard actual morning after conversation, next?

I'm not sure what's next, but I've written a tiny conversation...
(no subject) - jack_pride on May 31st, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
tskterata: tsktskterata on May 31st, 2005 03:41 am (UTC)
I held off reading your J/V (hoping for more S/X) because I've seen only fragments of the show and didn't think I could get into it without already knowing the characters. Then Witling rec'd it so I had to try.

Now I'm hooked. I tore through all your J/V this weekend.

Please write more. You have magic in you.


Anna S.: kitteneliade on May 31st, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
Now I'm hooked. I tore through all your J/V this weekend.

Please write more. You have magic in you.


Thank you so much! Can I do wandless magic? That'd be cool.

Your baby icon continues to slay me.
wyoluvrwyoluvr on May 31st, 2005 03:42 am (UTC)
i had a very happy feeling that you were headed here...and it payed off! oh, i adore you.

would you like Milk or Dark Chocolate sauce on your ice cream sundae of Glory?
Anna S.eliade on May 31st, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
would you like Milk or Dark Chocolate sauce on your ice cream sundae of Glory?

Both of course. ;)
(no subject) - wyoluvr on May 31st, 2005 08:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Alizarin_NYCalizarin_nyc on May 31st, 2005 04:19 am (UTC)
reading eliade is like sex with lots of foreplay

*dies*
Anna S.: seattleeliade on May 31st, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
I'm going to get that on a bumpersticker. Or maybe a tattoo. *g*
(no subject) - alizarin_nyc on June 1st, 2005 01:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
julia_herejulia_here on May 31st, 2005 04:33 am (UTC)
Some day I'm going to figure out why three day weekends come with sufficient obligations to need six days to meet them.

FINALLY caught up on all of these and let me say: Wow. Also:Cool.

I do watch "Alias" although not with any intense fannishness, and love how you've got the voices and persons of Jack and Vaughn down- Jack's spooky flat affect and lack of humor, Vaughn's- openess? vulnerability?- don't quite have the right word for it. Softness... maleability? Will have to think on it.

And the stories- this is a dandy place to have gotten to, but for some reason it's the cabin one that sticks with me, with Jack meticulously taking care of things, as he does.

Cool, again.

Julia, such a tidy, economical and logical piece of writing.
Anna S.: vaughneliade on May 31st, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
I do watch "Alias" although not with any intense fannishness, and love how you've got the voices and persons of Jack and Vaughn down- Jack's spooky flat affect and lack of humor, Vaughn's- openess? vulnerability?- don't quite have the right word for it. Softness... maleability? Will have to think on it.

Yes! Yes to both! I see those same things. :D In my head, Vaughn is so soft and puppy-eyed and deliriously happy to be with Jack (but not soft in a bad sad way). I haven't quite written him to that extent, but hope to, and hope to sell people on it.
vi, miss vylit if you're nasty: alias jack shades of greyvylit on May 31st, 2005 05:25 am (UTC)
*flails*

I love how comfortable the scene feels. It's not just the domesticity, but how they like each other and connect together so well that they can even get over Jack's lack of real social skills, or maybe the fact that Vaughn doesn't see Jack's abrupt behavior as something to get over.

Also, the sex was so damn hot. *bites lip*
Anna S.: agent-coopereliade on May 31st, 2005 05:41 am (UTC)
but how they like each other and connect together so well that they can even get over Jack's lack of real social skills, or maybe the fact that Vaughn doesn't see Jack's abrupt behavior as something to get over.

That's so insightful--I mean, you *get* what it is I like about writing the relationship (and also about the SGA McKay/Sheppard relationship, by the way, if you read in that fandom at all--and Spike/Xander & so many other pairings, come to think of it). Just this idea that someone will like another person for who they are, even if they're a freak. Because that's what makes them special. :) I love that.
(no subject) - vylit on May 31st, 2005 05:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
auroramamaauroramama on May 31st, 2005 05:35 am (UTC)
"You're even kind of erratic."

Your Vaughn reminds me of the first episodes, when I was wondering just who he was, and how he could combine that sincere and intense focus on Sydney with a certain ability to play with her foibles and his own.

I'm enjoying this wildly.
Anna S.: luminous_dancerseliade on May 31st, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
Your Vaughn reminds me of the first episodes, when I was wondering just who he was, and how he could combine that sincere and intense focus on Sydney with a certain ability to play with her foibles and his own.

He was so respectful to Sydney despite the desperate arrogance she had (which was totally driven by her crushing, furious desire to bring down SD-6).

I'm enjoying this wildly.

*dance*
darluludarlulu on May 31st, 2005 08:13 am (UTC)
Now that's the good stuff.

I am absolutely *hooked* on these shortcuts and this pairing that I never would've even conceived of on my own; I mean, I'm not even that big of an Alias fan...

You are clearly a devious, ebil seductress. ;)
Anna S.: scary_girleliade on May 31st, 2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
You are clearly a devious, ebil seductress. ;)

Does that come with some kind of plaque? That'd be cool. I'd hang it--well, not on my cubicle wall at work, but definitely over my desk at home. *g*
(Deleted comment)
Anna S.: kandinskyeliade on May 31st, 2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
Your feedback is so awesome and so detailed. I heart you mightily. Fangirl away, baby.

Also, you're not afraid of simply telling and not showing--balance. Economy. Beauty in sparseness.

It's funny you said this--I think I have this whole post in me that wants to come out, about my old writing style versus my current writing style, and how it has simplified. Or become simplistic--I go back and forth on whether it's good or bad. But if you adore me, I'll swing over and hang egohappily on the "good" side for the moment. :D

This is to die for.

*blush*

Again, delicious humour aside, I like how Vaughn can *get* Jack by that point, can unconsciously tease him--affectionately if with an undercurrent of tension there; you're never 100% certain with Jack, but Vaughn's 100% certain he can trust Jack. I adore he's oddly at ease now with Jack.

I love that you love this!

It's just...I didn't...expect this...at this point...titling this "The Office" and not "The Stir-Fry"?

Hee.