A/N watched the movie again and was wondering how it was that Jack went from Daniel being his idol to kind of being cool around him. Then this popped into my head. Hope you like it - Gabz
Daniel smiled as he looked over the plans in his hand at Jack. The kid had fallen asleep sitting up, his head lolled to the side. Peering around the room he noticed Henley and Merritt had already taken themselves off to bed without him noticing.
Placing the plans down on the coffee table, Daniel eased himself out of the chair. Heading over to the kid as he remembered the first time he'd officially met him, almost four months ago now.
He'd been about to leave Merritt and Henley standing in the hallway, not happy with the way they were ganging up on him, when it really wasn't his fault he was so controlling. He had been quite upset when Henley had quit all those years ago, but he wasn't about to let her know that. Still that didn't mean he liked being mocked. Surely the 'great and powerful' mentalist knew he used accepting things as a compliment to minimise the hurt.
Fighting the urge to scream, Daniel has turned around, his breath catching in his throat as he found his way blocked by a body attached to a familiar mop of brown hair. His eyes were so open and honest, and Daniel couldn't help but wonder if he'd ever had that look in his eyes before he'd been thrown into the big bad world.
The kid's words tripped over each other, in his excitement and Daniel couldn't help but smile. "No way. J. Daniel Atlas? Dude, I've seen everything you've ever done. I'm mean… your like… I idolise you. Seriously."
The happiness he'd felt was unmatched by anything in recent years. But instead of showing that he'd simply said, "wow, from a true fan". And while Merritt and Henley had tossed his comment off as something from the arsenal of arrogant J. Daniel Atlas, somehow he knew that the kid understood though.
"Yeah, I'm Jack, by the way." From then Jack hadn't stopped rambling until he'd freaked out about the 'gas' and Daniel couldn't help but laugh at the miracle that Jack still had enough innocence and naivety in him that he could still see the magic in everything.
Daniel guessed that his fondness for Jack had started there, he reminded him of himself… just without the eloquence. Reaching down he gently shook Jack's shoulder, whispering his name as he tried to rouse him from his sleep.
Merritt and Henley constantly teased Jack and Daniel about Jack's puppy like behaviour as he followed Daniel all over the place, his eyes fixated on the pack of cards Daniel nearly always had in his hands. But instead of responding, Jack and Daniel just let the teasing continue, both thinking if only their other two horsemen knew how far back that shadowing behaviour went. So it was no surprise that as Jack's sleepy eyes blinked up at him, once again filled with awe, Daniel was transported back to the first time he saw Jack.
Smiling at his crowd, Daniel pulled his sleeves down wishing for nothing more than to stuff his hands in some nice, warm winter gloves and find some shelter from the snow, unfortunately he needed the money more. He'd been steadily making his way up from Tampa, Florida and despite the six months it had taken him as he stopped in each major city attempting to make a few bucks, he hadn't yet gotten used to the cold of the north east. He was just grateful that the sleazy motels he had inevitably ended up staying in in each city only took about half of what he made each day otherwise he'd be out on the streets all night.
Getting ready for his opening act, Daniel let a smirk take over his face as he shuffled the deck between his frozen fingers, pausing momentarily as he started his catchphrase. "Get ready now, because… the closer you look, the less you see."
His ears burned as he heard the whispered echo of his catchphrase. That shouldn't be possible, today was his first day in the city. His eyes bounced over the crowd, even as his hands continued his tricks and eventually he caught sight of a mop of brown hair that he was sure he'd seen before between an tiny old lady and idiotic jogger who'd decided to prove his masculinity by braving the cold in a pair of tiny shorts.
Ignoring it for now, Daniel continued with his set, his heart filling with joy as he heard the whispers and gasps of amazement. He couldn't help but think that this was exactly why he had taken up magic. He might be an arrogant son of a bitch, with control issues up the wazoo it was worth the criticism and constant solitude for the joy he could bring to others. The little bit of magic that gave them a respite from the unforgiving harshness of reality.
Finishing his set, he searched for the brown haired kid surprised to spot him lifting a wallet from the jogger. He knew he should say something or at least be annoyed that the kid was taking away a paying customer but as the jogger turned and continued on his way Daniel couldn't bring himself to rat out the kid who couldn't be more than twelve.
Daniel's not sure how he justified staying in New York for three whole years, but he figured it was something along the lines of the amount of tourists who were attracted to the magical life of the Big Apple was a lot of cash in his pocket. Still he knew now that it was more that he'd grown fond of the kid and found himself curious to see how he matured in his skills.
That's how it continued, each day Daniel found himself an unintentional partner to the kid who had some of the quickest fingers he'd seen. He palmed everything and as Daniel finally moved further up the east coast, he found his shadow came along. It took a while but eventually he caught on to the kid's pattern of only targeted people who were not going to toss even a dime Daniel's way meaning they would have no reason to check for their wallets until later.
Still, one day when the kid he'd nearly gotten caught, Daniel had almost had a heart attack before he noticed just how smart the kid was as he simply placed the wallet into the guy's other pocket before too much attention had been drawn. Following that incident the kid had started returning the wallets after he palmed a few bills, a small enough amount that no one would notice. Perhaps it was because he needed Daniel to keep getting audiences, something that wouldn't happen if Daniel got a reputation for being picking people's pockets. Still even with the small amount, Daniel had the feeling the kid was making more money from Daniel's performance that Daniel himself did. Still he refused to approach him even if the kid always stopped whatever he was doing when it came time for Daniel's catchphrase, always whispering it alongside him.
Eventually Daniel had made a big enough name for himself that he'd drawn the attention of a guy in Boston who was ready to give him a steady gig so long as he moved it to Chicago. It was that show where he'd met Henley and while he'd become smitten with her almost right away, when opening night came, Daniel found himself trying to search the growing crowd outside the theatre for the mop of brown hair he'd come to find reassuring. A spot of consistency in a ever changing world. And when he finally spotted the familiar, if slightly taller, head Daniel had breathed a sigh of relief. Easing his nerves enough that his show had gone off without a hitch.
That was the last night he'd seen the kid until four months ago and just like he had all those years ago Daniel had felt reassured by his presence. He felt like he could truly give up control and let himself continue on this unknown path that the tarot card had put him on as long as the kid was with him.
Pulling him from his thoughts, Daniel smiled down and Jack before helping the kid sit up. Even though he knew Jack's name, Daniel couldn't force himself out of his habit. "Yeah?"
Smiling as Jack leaned against him, Daniel wondered if this was what it would have been like to have a younger brother. The feeling warmed his heart a bit.
"I missed you." The confession was quiet but Daniel heard it all the same.
Ruffling Jack's hair, Daniel opened the door to the kid's room, shaking his head at all the posters lining the walls. "I missed you too, kid."
"I knew you saw me."
The smugness in Jack's voice, had Daniel laughing quietly even as he lowered Jack onto the bed. "I sure did, you sure were a clever kid." Pulling the blankets over Jack, Daniel turned to leave before pausing and asking the question that was burning in his gut, knowing Jack wouldn't remember any of this in the morning. "Why'd you leave?"
"You didn't need me anymore."
With that said, Daniel watched in amazement as Jack curled around the pillow and fell right back to sleep. Retiring to his own room, Daniel stared at the ceiling knowing it was very unlikely he'd be getting any sleep tonight.
The following morning, Jack awoke to the smell of pancakes and bacon. Following his nose to the kitchen, Jack sleepily greeted Merritt and Henley who were staring at Daniel in shock. "What's going on?"
Jack's question was answered as a plate of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup was placed in front of all three of them. With them each receiving their own smaller plate.
When Daniel sat on the stool on the opposite side of the counter and began eating the others followed suit in a subdued silence.
As breakfast came to a close, Jack opened his mouth to ask Daniel what had brought all of this but Daniel beat him to it, slapping a pack of cards down on the table.
"You probably already know how to do everything in my arsenal but can you show me how you throw them?"
Ignoring Merritt and Henley's mouth dropping open, Jack smiled as he realised the conversation that happened last night wasn't a dream. He knew Daniel better than anyone else and in Daniel speak this was him saying he still needed Jack.
The smile that stretched across his face felt like it could break him in two, yet as he picked up the cards, Jack couldn't care less about that. Or how insane he might look. Daniel was giving him a branch and Jack was going to take it. This was his chance to know more about the big brother he'd always painted Daniel as and he wasn't about to let that opportunity pass.
As he ran his fingers over the edges of the cards, Jack thought back to their first time he'd seen Daniel, he was eleven and a half and he'd been living on the streets in Tampa. Daniel's tricks had given him hope that there was magic in the world and to a scared eleven year old there was no greater gift than hope. Looking up at Daniel, Jack knew no matter how hard he'd tried he could of never imagined this moment. So he was going to help Daniel because what Jack was starting to realise was that for the hope Daniel gave him, Jack gave him back some sense of security and stability and he had time to make up for.
- THE END -
A/N So that's it. Let me know what you thought :)