Title: How Much More Can He Stand?
Author: Jaxson K.
Pairing: Don/Jackson (OMC)
Rating: PG for language
Summary: Don's job starts to cause problems...
A/N: mentions of mpreg
***When Jackson heard the phone ring, he reached over on the bedside table to answer it. In doing so, he made note of the time: 2:35 AM. As he picked up the phone, he reached over and shook Don's arm to wake him up. After handing Don the phone, Jackson lay back down, waiting for what was coming next. He wasn't disappointed when Don leaned over him to hang the phone up and lean down to kiss him......
"I gotta go, babe.....Sorry..."
Jackson didn't trust himself to say anything. He knew the drill by now. This was the fourth time Don had been called out during the past week. Luckily, he hadn't been gone very long each time, but there was always the chance that it could be something big, and Jackson knew that if it were, Don could be gone for more than just a few hours at a time.
To be honest, Jackson was used to the crazy hours that Don kept sometimes. It was all part and parcel of being married to a cop. What was starting to actually get to Jackson was the fact that Don's schedule was getting crazier, and it was getting hard to keep up. For example, just last month, Jackson didn't actually lay eyes on Don for nearly three weeks! A huge case broke, and it was all hands on deck. The case dragged on longer than anyone could have anticipated, and all Jackson heard from Don was voicemail, and the occasional phone call.
Once that case had been put to bed, Don caught two smaller cases. He finished those up with ease, and finally had some time to devote to his home life. Jackson was thrilled when he arrived home from work that evening to see Don's car in the driveway. As he made his way up to the front door, Jackson heard Don yelling. He opened the door with trepidation to discover Don yelling into the telephone.
When Don finished his tirade, he slammed the phone down and looked up at Jackson.....
"Hey, babe! How's my favorite guy?"
"I'm okay...what was the phone call all about?"
"Just some shit to do with work.....no big deal....did you have a rough day?"
"Not really.....just more of the same..."
"You know, I've been thinking, and since my birthday and our anniversary is coming up (Don and Jackson married two days after Don's birthday), maybe we ought to do something special. After all, you only celebrate your tenth anniversary once. What do you think?"
"That sounds like a fine idea, if you can get away from work long enough....."
Jackson could see the change come over Don immediately. Don immediately went on the defensive and Jackson knew what was coming next. To deflect an argument, Jackson asked if Don had eaten dinner yet. When Don said he hadn't, Jackson suggested that they go out for dinner. Don agreed and they went to the deli down the street from their apartment building. They got their food to go, and went back to the apartment. After dinner, Don started making advances. The two ended up in bed early, but sleeping was far from their minds. Jackson was thrilled that Don was in the mood because he missed his man in more ways than one.
Sadly, the good mood didn't last. Three days before Don's birthday, a major case broke, and it happened that Don's precinct was the one that caught it. Don called to say that he was going to be late that night because they had this case going on, but that he would try to get in as soon as he could. Jackson felt dread creeping in as he put the phone down because this was exactly how things started before. Jackson spent the evening alone and went to bed early. His sleep was troubled by thoughts of Don being gone for a long period of time once again.
The next morning found Jackson alone with no sign of Don. Jackson got ready for work and headed out the door after leaving Don a note to call him. As he went about his work, Jackson would jump every time the phone rang. He kept hoping be called to the phone, but it never happened. When it was time to leave for the day, Jackson was surprised to find Danny Messer waiting for him at his apartment.....
"Danny! To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Don sent me to give you a message....."
"What was the message, Dan?"
"He asked me to tell you to bring him more clothes to the precinct on your way to work in the morning......"
"He's not going to be home tonight?"
"It doesn't look that way...This case he's working on is taking up every spare moment for everybody involved. We're working overtime at the lab trying to keep up....."
"Danny, I absolutely fucking hate this shit! I haven't seen Don for more than five or ten minutes at a time in nearly two months.....Two fucking months!!!!! It's starting to make me nuts!"
"I know exactly how you feel, Jax. Mac and I went through almost the same situation in the early days, and I was ready to scream before things calmed down. The best advice I can give you is to try and be patient with Don, and do your best to try and stay positive. It doesn't seem like it now, but it will get better....."
"Danny, have you had dinner yet? I've got some leftovers in the fridge. You're welcomed to stat if you want....."
"I've got to get back to the lab, but thanks just the same....."
As Danny turned to leave, he couldn't help but notice the hurt look on Jackson's face. Danny made up his mind then and there to try and talk to Don about the situation. Don may tell him to mind his own damn business, but Danny felt that he at least had to try. After all, he had gone through the same thing with Mac, and he knew exactly how Jackson felt.....
The next morning found Jackson running around trying to get out the door on time. He hated to be late, and was doing everything he could to keep from doing so. He gathered his things for work and grabbed the garment bag with Don's extra clothes and ran out the door. He stopped at the precinct and left the clothes with the desk sergeant, and was given a note in return. He stuck the note in his work back and took off, headed to work. He was only a few minutes late, but no one said anything. He concentrated on work, and stopped only when it was time for a break. Jackson reached into his work bag for some change when he found the note. He smoothed the paper out and began to read.....Jackson,
I know that all of this has taken longer than I thought it would, but there's not a whole lot I can do about it right now. Please try to hold a little longer. Maybe I will catch a break soon and we can talk.....
Jackson sat staring at the note with tears in his eyes. He wadded the note up and pitched it into the trash mumbling: "I'll believe that shit when it comes to pass!"
Later that same afternoon, Danny went to the precinct looking for Don. He found him at his desk, and asked if he would step outside with him for a smoke. Don followed Danny outside, and asked what was going on. Danny proceeded to tell him what he observed the night before when he talked to Jackson.....
"Don, you and I have been friends for a lot of years, and you can tell me it's none of my business if you want to, but you really need to see about tending to your business at home....."
"Messer, what are you talking about?"
"When I went by to give him your message last night, I was shocked at how he looked. Dark circles under his eyes, he's too skinny, and he's depressed. We talked a bit, and he's going through the very same thing I went through with Mac a few years ago. Don, if you don't find a way to fix this shit, I'm thinking that you're gonna end up losing him....."
"Danny, I know this is rough, and I do feel bad that I can't be with him right now, but I have a job to do....."
"Those are the very words Mac said to me, and that shit don't fly! You're gonna fuck around and lose him. He's a good guy, Don. You need to figure this out......"
Danny turned and walked away, leaving Don sitting on the bench confused. The more he thought about it, he realized that Danny might be right. He had been gone from home a long time with just phone calls and the occasional ten minute visit here and there. When they would meet, Don never paid much attention. He was just glad to get to see his man. Deep down Don knew Danny was right, and he couldn't fault his best friend for being concerned about Jackson. He went back inside to start on his paperwork again.
Across town, Jackson was sitting in his car crying his eyes out. He'd just come from an appointment with his doctor, and had received some news that had shocked him to his core. Dr. Chapman had just confirmed the fact that Jackson was about three months pregnant. With everything going on right now, this was something he hadn't seen coming. Don't misunderstand; Jackson wanted the baby. He just wasn't sure what Don would say. Of course that didn't matter much at this point because all Don did was work. Jackson had no idea how or when he was going to get to tell him.....
***As fate would have it, Jackson didn't have to wait very long at all to tell Don about the baby. When he got home that night, Jackson was surprised to find Don was home. Don greeted Jackson with a kiss and hug while trying to hide his shock at Jackson's appearance. The guy looked pretty bad. He was thinner than usual, the dark circles under his eyes, the haunted look in his eyes. All of this brought home what Danny had told him. The whole situation of Don playing "Supercop" really was taking its' toll on his beloved.
Don had brought a large pizza home for their dinner, but the minute Jackson smelled the aroma, he ran for the bathroom. Don grew concerned and went to check on Jackson. When Jackson came out of the bathroom, he asked Don to meet him in the living room.....
"Baby, are you okay? What made you so sick?"
"It was the aroma of the pizza. Just about everything makes me sick these days....."
"Well, Don, it might have something to do with the fact that I'm three months pregnant. Dr. Chapman assures me that I'm just about over getting sick all the time, and that I'll start to gain a bit of weight again. I know you noticed that I look like hell these days....."
"I did, but I thought it was because of me......"
"It is because of you any way you look at it, dumbass! I stay upset about that all the goddamn time. On top of that, this IS your baby, so, yeah, this is on you!"
Don was ashamed to admit that this was his fault. He knew deep down that Jackson was right, but he didn't have to like it. He also knew deep down that he needed to do something to fix the situation, but wasn't quite sure what to do.
The next morning found Jackson alone again. Don left a note explaining that he would be in meetings most of the day, but didn't write anything about being home early, or being home at all. Jackson called in to work and took the day off. He decided to get some things done around the house. He was surprised when the doorbell rang and he found Danny Messer standing on his porch.....
"Danny!!! This is a nice surprise.....come on in....."
"I was concerned, so I thought I'd stop by....."
"I'm glad you did! You want some coffee?"
"That would be great.....so, what's been happening?"
"Don was here when I got home last night, and it didn't go so good."
"Well, I told him about the baby....."
"Yes, Dan. I found out just yesterday that I'm three months pregnant....."
"What did Flack say?"
"Not much really.....we were too busy arguing."
"Let me guess....."
"Yeah....same shit, different day. Danny, I'm telling you, something's got to give. I don't want to put Don in a position where he has to choose, but I can't keep living this way....."
"Have you come to a decision?"
"Yep! If things don't change soon, I've decided that I'm leaving. I still love Don very much, and God knows it would hurt like hell to go, but that's exactly what I would do......"
"What about the baby, Jackson?"
"I'd keep the baby and raise it by myself. I might let Don see the baby from time to time......after all, he is the father, but a growing child need stability, and Don can't do that while being "SuperCop".
Danny thought about what Jackson said, and it bothered him. Mostly because he didn't like the idea of Don and Jackson separating. They'd been together a long time, and Danny knew they still loved each other very much. Danny finished his coffee and told Jackson that he needed to get going. He promised to call Jackson soon, and quickly left. Danny hadn't fooled Jackson one damn bit. He knew Danny was on his way to tell Don everything he'd just told him.
Time went on, and things between Don and Jackson stayed strained. Don stayed gone working most of the time, and Jackson did his best to try and decide if he was staying or going. Don didn't make things any easier by coming home for a day or two and then staying gone a week or two at a time. One morning toward the end of Jackson's fourth month, things went to hell in a hand basket. Jackson was changing a light bulb in the bathroom and fell off the stool he had been standing on. As luck would have it, Danny had stopped by for a visit, and found Jackson in the bathroom.
Danny called an ambulance to the house and got Jackson on the way to the hospital. After doing so, he started calling Don. He left messages with the precinct, he left voicemail on his cell, just everything he could think of to reach Don. He followed the ambulance to the hospital and did his best to keep track of Jackson. He had to lie a few times and say he was Jackson's partner so he could stay informed, but did so without giving things a second thought.
Don finally showed up at the hospital nearly 3 hours later. He found Danny in the waiting room, and proceeded to chew Danny out about not calling him sooner. Danny told Don to check with the precinct, and to check his voicemail. This was to prove to him that they had been trying to reach him. Don calmed down and apologized to Danny when he found that Danny was telling the truth.
The nurse came out asking for the Flack party. Danny and Don stood up at the same time and were told to follow the nurse. Once they were outside Jackson's room, the nurse asked they keep the visits brief. The two men went in together, and were shocked at Jackson's appearance. He was really pale and had machines hooked up to him. It was that moment that Jackson chose to wake up......
"How are you feeling?"
"Like I got hit by a bus.....what happened?"
"You had an accident....."
"Don, what about the baby?"
"Jackson, the baby didn't make it......"
Jackson turned away from Don as the tears began to flow. Danny walked into the room about that time, and Don took him back outside.....
"Did you tell him, Don?"
"I did just as you came in. He's not taking it well....."
'Do you blame him, Don? The only good thing to come out of the shitty situation his life has become, and now it's gone. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if your sorry ass doesn't get hit with divorce papers. You've really done a bang-up job trying to hang on here."
As Danny made his way down the hall, Don stared at his back, thinking about what his friend had said. He wondered if Jackson would really go that far.....
***After going back to Jackson's room and finding him asleep, Don left the hospital and went home. He tossed and turned most of the night, thinking about what Danny had said. The next morning, Don went by the hospital to see Jackson. They talked briefly and Don went on to the precinct. That afternoon Don stopped at the hospital for a while. During their conversation, Jackson said the very words Don did not want to hear. He told Don he was filing for a divorce. Needless to say, Don didn't take it very well. There was an argument and Don was asked to leave.
Don returned the next day to pick Jackson up from the hospital. When they got home, Don asked Jackson if they could talk about what they were going to do…..
"So you really are serious about a divorce, Jackson?"
"Yes I am, Don. I think it's time I did something for myself. I want you to know that I still love you, it's just that I can't live with you anymore….."
"It's because of my job, right?
"Yes, it is. I can't take the wondering and worrying and the all the things that go with it anymore. You're never home, we hardly see each other, and your ambition has ruined what we once had."
"I never meant for that to happen, Jackson. I thought I could keep them separate, but I guess I was wrong….."
"It doesn't matter now, Don. What's done is done. Now we just need to concentrate on picking up the pieces and moving on."
"I know you're probably right, it's just that I don't want to have to do that."
"I know what you mean, Don. I really do, but I can't keep going on like this….."
The two men talked some more, and Don had to get back to work. After Don left, Jackson got on the phone to his lawyer.
The details were worked out rather quickly, and the paperwork was signed and taken care of in short order. The only thing left was for Don and Jackson to appear before the judge when the final decree was issued. Both men stood before the judge and answered the questions they were asked. After a few more words and a few strokes of a pen, the marriage between Don and Jackson was over.
Jackson was leaving the courthouse when he heard Don call his name. He stopped on the steps outside and waited for Don to catch up…..
"Hey! Do you happen to remember what today is, Jackson?"
"Yes, Don. Today would have been our tenth wedding anniversary….."
"It's weird how that worked out, huh?"
"I guess so….."
"Jackson, I want to say this and then I'll let you go. If you ever need anything, just pick up the phone….."
"I appreciate that, Don. I really do. Please take care of yourself, and let me hear from you once in a while….."
"I will. You take care of yourself, too….."
Jackson turned away and headed down the courthouse steps. Don stood and watched him go with tears in his eyes, thinking all the while that he was watching the best thing that ever happened to him walk out of his life for good.
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