“Wow, glad you chose friendship,” Jack laughed, trying to mask the disappointment in his voice. Though he was fully aware of the fact that Will knew him well enough to decipher his emotions at any given time. He distracted himself with his drink, stirring it with a bit more force than what was considered normal. “‘Cause that would have been a disaster,” he said.
“What about you, there must have been a moment when you-”
“No,” Jack said, shaking his head.
Will raised his eyebrows at how fast Jack had denied it. He looked to Jack’s face, cocking his head, as if he was studying Jacks expression, and Jack knew right then he had lost any kind of advantage he had in this conversation, if he even had had one in the first place. He was so obvious to Will, and Jack didn’t deal well with being vulnerable.
“Never occured to me.”
Will remembered the day in the grocery store, when Jack had been so brave and told him about his feelings, and Will had just completely shot him down. He was so grateful for Jack at the time, and he couldn't imagine ruining it with a relationship, not when they were so young. “But in college you-”
Jack looked up from his glass, catching Will’s gaze. He sighed, seeming resigned, and looked down again. He didn’t think he could finish this conversation if he had to actually see Will’s face, see his pity. “In college I told you I was in love with you,” he said, “I remember.” He felt a hand on his shoulder.
“I know you told me it was a test, but I also know that it wasn’t,” Will said, moving his thumb back and forth on Jack’s shoulder. Jack melted into the touch. He raised his eyes to look at Will and - oh, he was sat a lot closer than earlier. Jack let out a shaky breath.
“I think… I think Michael was right. I don’t think I ever got over that- you, I mean. I’ve just repressed those feelings and pretended I was over you for all these years, until I guess I didn’t even notice them anymore,” Jack said, his voice hitched and Will was taken aback by how serious he was being. Jack speaking without mock or sarcasm behind his words was rare, and right now he was dead serious. “You know, Drew broke up with me after our phone call earlier today, told me I didn’t care enough about him, which I guess I didn’t,” he mumbled, going back to stirring his drink. “I don’t know how to do relationships, and I knew that if I tried telling you again after college and you actually reciprocated, you would have certain expectations of me.”
Will nodded, he had to make sure Jack knew he was listening and taking this seriously, because if Jack thought otherwise, even for a second, the moment would be ruined. Still, he couldn't disguise the small way his lips curved upwards, a warm familiar feeling gathering in his stomach at the thought that Jack still felt something for him.
“You know what a real relationship is like because you had it with Vince, and with Michael before that.” Jack was still stirring his drink, sometimes taking a sip. Neither of them said anything for a few minutes, Will had to think about his words carefully, so he wouldn’t scare Jack away.
“Say something,” he tells Will, “‘cause right now I'm scared shitless and my first instinct is to steal the contents of your fridge and run far, far away.” Will grinned, relieved to know Jack was still Jack.
Jack knew how to be that guy, the guy everyone just assumes will answer your question with a sarcastic comment. He knew how you get through life without taking anything seriously. But by being that guy he also shut down the ability to know when something amazing was right in front of him, and he would miss the opportunity to catch it.
Will moved his hand up to Jack’s face, and a pair of lips were on his, catching Jack off guard. It was quick, over before he had a chance properly register it happening. But it did happen. And Jack’s heart was racing. Will pulled away just far enough that their noses weren’t touching.
“Jack, I don’t believe for a second that you wouldn’t be great in a serious relationship if you were willing to try.”
“I have tried.”
“Yes! Look at Drew, I-”
“Can you honestly tell me you tried to make that relationship, or any relationship, last?”
“No,” said Jack, finally admitting what they have both known to be true for a long time. He rested his hand to Will’s face, mimicking Will’s earlier motion, keeping him close.
“You’re completely right,” Jack mumbled, leaned closer, and kissed Will again. Only this time it wasn’t just a peck.
Jack’s lips were soft, and they met Will’s with precision. It was slow at first, both very aware of who they were kissing and what it meant. Will closed his eyes and rested his hands on Jack’s waist. He pulled him closer, deepening the kiss.
They’ve kissed before, but not like this, not with such passion and meaning. A cloudy day in front of Good Morning America came to Will’s mind, but this time it was different. Will wasn’t doing it to prove a point, he was doing it because he wanted to. God know how many times he had thought about doing this properly over the years. He had resigned himself to never have the opportunity, and now here it was.
When they finally parted they were both panting, physically and emotionally exhausted. Jack was shaking, and he had to take a couple deep breaths before looking back up at Will. His pupils were blown wide, his face flushed.
Jack smirked, “you're kinda regretting choosing friendship now, aren't you?”
Will chuckled, “yeah, but at the same time I’m not. It would have been a disaster back then.”
Will smiled and leaned back in, “I think we're gonna do just fine” he said before his lips found Jack’s again, his hands cupping his face. He felt Jack's hand moving to rest at his waist, and just that tiny act of domestic intimacy made his heart soar.
They lost track of time, forgetting about the outside world, until eventually the day’s events catches up to them and Will yawns mid kiss. They both laughed quietly, not realising how late it had gotten.
Through some kind of wonder they managed to separate. Will looked towards the bedroom door, and then back at Jack, catching his gaze. They came to a silent understanding that walking all the way to the bedroom would be too exhausting, and so Will pulled Jack down on to him, settling against the cushions, making room for Jack right next him. They huddled together to make sure he wouldn’t fall off the edge during the night. They fell asleep like that, legs intertwined, and Jack’s back to the room, Will’s arm keeping him close.
That's how Grace found them the next morning.
She had stayed with Karen last night, since her house was closer to the bakery, but she had been kicked out for sneaking into the kitchen before the staff had woken up that morning. She was just going to find a pre-breakfast snack, but apparently eating self made food was frowned upon in that household.
She opened the door the the apartment, imagining how great it would be to find a snack and eat it in her own bed, but stopped in her tracks at the sight that greeted her inside.
Right there, on their couch, was a sleeping Will cuddled around another sleeping form. She didn’t need to come any closer to know it was Jack.
A soft snoring came from Will, and she took in his sleeping form. He was completely at ease, no sign of the frown he had gotten too attached to lately, even in his sleep he had a way of conveying his current state, and right now, she could tell he was more relaxed than he had been in a long time. It wasn’t hard for her to guess why, considering he was clutching Jack as if he was the only thing keeping him sane.
She closed the door behind her, and went to bed. She didn’t have the heart to wake them right now, it would have to wait until later.