Daniel walked as normally as he could as he strolled into Jack’s office, knowing he was in with Hammond. Withdrawing a white coffee mug out of his backpack, he left the mug on the man’s desk. With a hard swallow, knowing he was in it now, he turned and left. Jack might know who gave it to him, given it was a coffee mug, but sometimes the man was purposely obtuse.
Still, Daniel had waited seven years, wondering in all that time when the time would be right. Since he was given a second chance at life, he felt it was stupid to play games with yourself. Just grab the tiger by the tail and hold on. He’d go home and force himself to forget all about the mug. Otherwise, he’d blow it by calling Jack to ask him about it.
On the other hand, if Jack was having a clueless day …
Daniel turned away from the elevator as it opened and headed back to Jack’s office. He’d have to find another way to let Jack know how he felt. In a déjà vu repeat of five minutes’ ago, he entered to get the mug and … came to an abrupt halt, bootheels squeaking over the concrete floor.
Jack was holding the mug. He looked up at him.
Daniel’s mouth dropped open, which happened whenever he was startled, and he snapped it shut. “Hi.” He felt lame.
“What’s up?” Jack asked.
“You seen this?” Jack asked, holding the mug out.
Daniel took it. “Uh…”
Jack took it back. “Someone’s gotta weird idea about how to let me know they’re interested,” he said, and stuck it in the large drawer in his desk.
Daniel felt irrational pique.
“I mean, just come out and say it, you know?”
Daniel blinked. “You intimidate people.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yeah, you do,” Daniel sighed, kicking himself. “And you know you do. And you like it.”
Jack gave him a grin. “Well, I don’t mean …” He saw Daniel narrow his eyes and waved a hand. “Oh, alright, yes. But c’mon. A coffee mug? How lame can you get?”
“Uh, yeah.” Daniel’s cheeks began to resemble a red fire hydrant. “Uh. Have a good night.” He turned on his heels and walked out, face getting redder with humiliation and embarrassment. What on Earth had he been think…
He came to a halt. Since returning from the dead-ascension, his spooky insight had increased. Intuition wasn’t just on point, it was psychic.
His mouth dropped open. He turned to go back to Jack’s office and was caught off-balance because Jack was right behind him. The man reached out to steady him, catching his elbow.
Jack was grinning that lopsided grin. The I know something grin. So it wasn’t a clueless day.
Daniel narrowed his eyes yet again. Then remembered the quote on the mug. He took in a slow, deep breath. “Dinner?”
“Love to. I’m starving. But you’re buying.”
Daniel snorted as they headed for the elevator together. “No money yet, Jack.”
“Damn. Okay, I’m buying.”
“Just don’t send me the bill.”
“I wouldn’t dream. Besides, if we’re gonna be what I think that mug insinuated, we should start sharing.”
Daniel grinned to himself. The impulse buy of the mug was apparently not as big a risk as he thought it would be. “I’ll remember you said that.”