Title: Somewhere In Virginia In The Rain
Author: Jaxson K.
Pairing(s): Don/Jackson, Danny/Mac
Summary: Sometimes it's too late to say 'I'm sorry'.....
Warning(s): death of OC, angst, etc...
***"...damnit, Jackson, every time I turn around you're running off to another record show!"
"Don, this is the biggest show of the year. I'll have a chance to get some prime stock for the shop....."
"You have enough stock already! Can't you just take some time to spend with me for a change?"
"I do spend time with you, Don...."
"We see each other in the morning, sometimes we eat dinner together, and even then you're on the phone with Lisa yakking about this show or that one and DON'T get me started on how long it's been since we've made love..... sometimes I think you care more about that goddamn shop that you care about me!"
With that parting shot, Don grabbed his jacket and slammed his way out of the apartment. Jackson sat there stunned, tears running down his face. He had no idea Don felt that way. Hell, he had no idea about anything anymore. He did have to admit that Don was right on the mark about his being busy with the shop all the time. Groovy Gold was Jackson's pride and joy, and he vowed to do whatever it took to make it the best record shop in Greenwich Village. He worked his ass off to make sure of that! If Don couldn't understand that, oh well!
Don walked along the sidewalk thinking about what he'd said to his baby. God knows he loved Jackson deeply, but sometimes he drove him nuts. Don had been biting his tongue lately about all the time Jackson spent away from home, but tonight had been the breaking point.
Don thought maybe he was being selfish, but quickly dismissed that thought. Although he knew Jackson took pride in the shop and wanted it to be the best, he also knew that he was beginning to feel neglected.
When Don got home he slipped into bed quietly so as not to disturb Jackson. As he lay there waiting for sleep, he firmed his resolve to talk to Jackson after they got home the next evening. The next morning found Jackson in bed alone. He'd heard Don when he came in the night before and he knew Don had come to bed yet he was alone.
He went to the kitchen for a cup of tea and saw a note on the counter. Curious, he opened the note and saw Don's familiar scrawl.....
I'm sorry for walking out like I did last night. I love you.....
Jackson thought about the events from the night before. He knew Don probably felt like he had been pushed aside, and in reality, he had been just a bit. Jackson knew he had to make this right somehow, and thought that after this last record show he could do just that.
The rest of the day was a whirlwind of activity. Jackson went to his shop and he and Lisa (his shop manager) spent most of the morning making a list of LPs and 45s he wanted for the shop. He had a lunch date with Danny to catch up on what each of them had been doing. It was during lunch that Danny asked if everything was okay between him and Don, and Jackson admitted that thing were a bit rocky because he had been gone so much lately.
After lunch, Jackson went back to the shop and called to reserve his place at the record show in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He planned to drive down, go to the show, and come back to New York all in one weekend. Don would just have to understand......
That evening after dinner, Don decided it was time to talk to Jackson about how he felt. He didn't want to argue, yet he felt he needed to get things off his chest......
Jackson looked up from the record catalog he was perusing.....
"What is it, Donnie?"
"Can we talk for a minute?"
"Sure..... what's on your mind?"
"Well, it's about last night. I was trying and failing miserably to let you know that I've been feeling a bit neglected, and resentful....."
"Resentful of what, Donnie?"
"The fact that you seem to be spending all your time with work..... Baby, I don't want to fight about this, but it's important for me to speak up....."
"Don, I'm sorry I made you feel that way, but you know how important the shop is to me. You are just as important, if not more so. Once I get this last record show out of the way....."
"Here we go again!"
"No, Don, I'm not going to argue..... I've already reserved my spot and I'm going. I'll be leaving early Friday morning and should be back late Sunday afternoon....."
"So there's no changing your mind?"
Jackson got up and headed for the hallway.....
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to set the clock and get ready for bed....."
"Set it for when you need to get up.....I'm off tomorrow."
Jackson went to the bedroom and started getting ready for bed. There was something in the back of his mind trying to get his attention, but he couldn't quite think of what it was. He heard the television and knew that it would be a while before Don came to bed.
As he lay there waiting for sleep, the thing that had been trying to get his attention hit him! Don had the day off tomorrow and Jackson knew what he had to do. It really was very simple. He would spend the entire day with Donnie, no interruptions, give him his complete and undivided attention, and hopefully repair some of the damage that had been done. That way he wouldn't feel so guilty about going out of town and it would show Don that he wanted to make an effort to get them back on better footing.
Don finally gave up trying to find something on TV and decided to go to bed. Not much had been solved, and he knew it was no use to dwell on it. Besides, he knew how stubborn his baby could be when he made up his mind about something. As he slipped into bed, Jackson rolled over and snuggled up against his back. Don placed his arm over Jackson's and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning found Don in a state of confusion. He smelled fresh coffee and the unmistakable aroma of bacon cooking. He looked at the clock and saw that it was nearly 9 A.M. Jackson was usually up and gone before now. Don got up, took a piss, and made his way to the kitchen to see what the hell was going on.....
"Good morning, sleepy head!"
Jackson walked over and kissed Don. He led him over to the kitchen table and told him to sit down. He brought Don a cup of coffee and told him that breakfast would be ready shortly.
As soon as they finished eating, Don asked Jackson what was going on.....
"I figured that since you were off today, we could spend some time together....."
"What about the shop?"
"What about it? Lisa is taking care of it. I called her earlier and told her that I wasn't coming in and that I would call her tomorrow....."
"You mean we have the..."
"Yes, big man..... you have me for the whole day. I thought we could go to the zoo in Central Park, or maybe go to the Natural History exhibit at the museum..... whatever you want to do....."
Don was pleasantly surprised. His baby had put everything on hold just for him! He thanked his lucky stars and pulled Jackson into a warm embrace, smothering him with kisses. Jackson told him get his fine ass in the shower so they could start enjoying the day.
While Don was getting showered and dressed, Jackson was thinking about what he'd promised Don. He knew it was a temporary fix and that they would probably argue about the trip again, but showing Don that he mattered was the most important thing right then.
When Don was ready, Jackson let him decide where they would go and Don said he wanted to go to the zoo. As they headed to Central Park, they did some window shopping and Don made Jackson laugh with witty observations about some of the people they encountered along the way. Don seemed to be enjoying himself and that pleased Jackson. He smiled when Don reached and took his hand as they walked into the entrance to the zoo. They covered nearly every part of the place, taking time to look at all the animals and they tried to top each other with their knowledge of each species.
After the zoo, Don said he was getting hungry so the two men stopped at one of the vendor carts and got hot dogs with all the trimmings. When they finished eating, Jackson asked Don what he wanted to do next.....
"I really just want to sit here and enjoy being with you....."
Jackson looked deep into Don's blue eyes and could not mistake the hint of sadness he saw there. It hurt to think that it was his fault, but he chose to ignore it so the day wouldn't be ruined.....
"Well, sir, after you finish enjoying being with me, what say we go see that new Carmine Giovinazzo movie Danny and Mac told us about?"
"You mean 'Dinner at 7'?"
"Yeah....Danny said it was hilarious....."
"That might be fun..... we could stop at Rosie's Diner after and get dessert, yeah?"
Don laughed and leaned over to kiss Jackson. The kiss deepened and when Don pulled away, Jackson felt the loss. When they got up from the table, Jackson took Don's hand and they headed home for a quick shower before the movie.
After the movie, Don and Jackson left the theater and headed over to Rosie's Diner. They laughed and talked about the movie over dessert, and Jackson could tell that Don had enjoyed himself. Jackson had one more surprise up his sleeve for Don and he put his plan in motion with a simple wink and a brief kiss.
Don got the hint and the two men headed home. Once there, Jackson turned to Don and kissed him hungrily. Don looked at him as if to say "Yeah??"
Jackson simply nodded and led Don down the hall to the bedroom......
Their lovemaking was slow and gentle, almost like the first time almost fifteen years before. The touches were tentative, the kisses sweet. When it was over, the two lay together with their arms around each other basking in the afterglow. Jackson was drifting off to sleep when he heard Don softly say "I wish every day could be like today....."
The next morning was business as usual. Jackson left early, leaving a note telling Don he loved him and to have a good day. Don sighed and headed for the bathroom to start his day feeling sad and a bit empty. He'd hoped that the day before had been the start of something different for himself and Jackson, but it looked like it was back to business as usual.
The next few days proved that Don was right. Jackson came home late, left early, begged off lunch dates and stayed busy with preparations for his trip. The final straw came the night before Jackson was to leave.
Don had made reservations for the two of them at Vinetti's for what he'd hoped would be a nice dinner and maybe a bit of romance. Jackson was nearly an hour late getting to the restaurant, and just expected Don to understand. Don hid his anger and barely made it through dinner.
By the time they got home, Don decided put his anger aside and finish the evening as planned. He put on some soft music and lit some candles in the bedroom. Jackson was on the phone with Lisa going over some last minute details while Don was getting everything ready. After Jackson finished his phone call, he went to find Don and found him lying on the bed wearing nothing but a smile!
Jackson walked over and sat down on the bed. He reached over and stroked Don's cheek. Don tried to pull him into a kiss but Jackson pulled away and told Don that he needed to get to sleep because he was leaving early the next morning. That was the final blow for Don.
He reached and got his boxers from the floor, pulled them on and stomped from the room. Jackson let out a sigh and sat looking down at the floor. After a few minutes he went to find Don sitting at the kitchen table having a beer.....
Still no response.....
"Fine! If you're going to pout like a little kid and not talk to me about this, I'm going to bed....."
"That's right..... ignore the situation..... that's what you do best anyway....."
"Yeah, really! You've been so damn worried about this fucking trip that....."
"Not one more word about 'this fucking trip' as you put it....."
"That's what all this boils down to. You're so driven and worried about the shop that you've shoved everything aside, including me....."
"That's not true! We spent a whole day together just last week......"
"ONE FUCKING DAY OUT OF THREE WEEKS!!!!! THREE WEEKS!!!!!"
"I guess that wasn't good enough for you....."
"Not when I'm used to having my partner's attention, affection and a bit of his time like I did when I mattered to him!"
Don knew it was a low blow as soon as the words left his mouth, but he didn't care at the moment. All he wanted to do right then was lash out and make Jackson feel some of the hurt he was feeling.....
"Don, you do matter to me..... I thought that went without saying....."
"It usually does, but it's nice to hear it from time to time. All I ever hear about now is that damn shop!"
"Don, you know the shop means a lot to me....."
"Apparently more than I do at the moment..... you know what, just forget it. It's clear to me that you aren't going to budge, and I can't get through to you so you go ahead and make your precious trip....."
Don got up from the table, went down the hall to the guest room and slammed the door. Jackson heard the lock click into place and knew that Don was beyond pissed this time. Jackson knew better than to try and reason with him when he was this angry so he went to get ready for bed. He set the alarm, got into bed, and cried himself to sleep.
In the guest room, Don lay staring at the ceiling. He was still very hurt and angry with Jackson, and was trying to calm down so he could sleep. He knew he needed to find some way to try and see Jackson's side of this, but try as he might, he couldn't. The simple truth was that he couldn't see past his own hurt and bull-headedness. All he knew for sure was that when Jackson got back, they were going to have to fix this somehow.
Two A.M. came all too early for Jackson. He shut the alarm off and realized that he was still alone in the bed. He got up, showered, and finished gathering his things. He went down the hall and tried the door to the guest room. It was still locked so he left a note telling Don that he loved him and asked if he would call him later. As the door to the elevator closed, Jackson felt a chill run down his spine and shivered just a bit.
A few hours later, Don emerged from the guest room and headed to the kitchen for some coffee. He found Jackson's note and felt sad after he read it. He didn't know what good calling him would do, but knew he would as soon as he caught a break at work. Meanwhile, Jackson checked his cell for what seemed like the hundredth time. The phone was on but he wasn't getting a signal. He put the phone down and concentrated on the road in front of him.
Don was having a hell of a time at work. He'd managed to lose a suspect during a foot chase, and after that he'd had to endure a dressing-down from his captain. He knew he should have been paying better attention, but the thing with Jackson was still weighing heavy in his mind. He tried to call when he took his lunch break, but couldn't get through. He left Jackson a voice-mail and hoped he would hear from him soon. Later in the day Danny stopped by and asked if Don wanted to have a beer after work. He accepted the invitation and told Danny he would meet him at Sullivan's.
Mac and Danny were talking when Don showed up at Sullivan's. Mac could see that something was on the detective's mind and asked him what was going on.....
"You mean in general, or specifics?"
"Whatever you chose to disclose, bud....."
"As you know, I got my ass handed to me by Captain Phillips for losing that suspect this morning....."
"I heard about that..... it surprised me, but I know that it happens sometimes."
"Don, this is about Jackson, isn't is?"
"It is, Danny..... We've hit a bit of a rough patch lately, and we had an argument last night about this damn trip. I slept in the guest room and when he left this morning he left a note for me to call him. I've been trying off and on most of the day, but I haven't been able to reach him....."
"Did he drive?"
"Well, there you go! He's probably getting shitty cell reception....."
"Maybe..... all I know is that when he gets back, we really need to take some time to get things back in order....."
"It'll work itself out, Don...."
"I hope you're right, Mac, I really do....."
The three men had a few more beers and decided to call it a night. Don called for a cab and told Mac and Danny he would see them in the morning.
When Don got home he tried calling Jackson one more time. Instead of reaching him, he got the recording telling him that the cell customer he was trying to reach was unavailable. He closed his phone and got ready for bed, his mind troubled.
While Don was trying to find sleep, Jackson was on the highway. He'd been driving all day, and had only stopped for a quick bit and bathroom breaks. During the drive he'd been thinking about Don and everything that had happened. Don was right about Jackson's behavior and the more he thought about it, he knew he needed to try and make things right for real. No half-ass attempts would do. He had the funny feeling that if he didn't then he might lose Don. No record shop, record show, or anything else was worth the risk. He made up his mind to turn around and go back to New York and try to repair the damage he'd done. He reached for his cell and saw two bars on the signal display. He dialed the familiar number from memory and hoped Don would answer.
When Don's phone chirped, he rolled over and reached for it on the night stand. He glanced at the display and saw that it was Jackson.....
There was a burst of static and he could didn't hear anything else so he ended the call. The phone chirped again and he answered. More static greeted him, then Jackson's voice came through faintly.....
"Donnie? Donnie, can you hear me?"
"Baby, I can hardly hear you.... Let me call you right back....."
Don dialed Jackson's number and when he answered, the connection was nearly as bad as before.....
"Jackson, can you hear me? Hello? Hello???"
The call had been dropped. He tried Jackson's phone again, but couldn't get through. He lay back down, hoping Jackson would try to call back. Shortly after that, he got a text from Jackson stating that he couldn't get a good signal, and was trying to find a land line to call from.
Don was going nuts waiting when his cell finally chirped about 45 minutes later. He saw an unfamiliar number on the display and knew it must be Jackson.....
"Baby, are you okay? Where are you?"
"I'm alright, Donnie..... I think I'm about ten miles outside of Lenox, Virginia. I think that's what the sign said.... these little country towns all look the same.....I found a rest area with a phone booth....."
"What is that noise in the background?"
"It's raining like hell here..... that's probably what you hear....."
Just then, Don heard a loud thump.....
"What the hell was that???"
"It was a limb falling out of the pine tree this phone booth is under....Donnie, I can't talk long 'cause I didn't have much change for the phone..... I wanted to let you know that I've been thinking about us, and I'm coming home. What I've got with you ain't worth losing ....."
Don was stunned at Jackson's revelation. He was quiet for a moment and was brought back by Jackson's voice.....
"Donnie?? Are you there??"
"I'm here, baby..... "
"Donnie, we're about to get cut off because my time's almost up..... I hope it's not too late to say....."
Don heard the phone click in his ear and knew Jackson's change had been used up. He tried to call the number of the pay phone, but got a recording. He closed his phone and lay down across the bed thinking about the call, and was glad that Jackson was coming home. He drifted off to sleep with thoughts of him and Jackson getting things back on track.
Jackson slammed the phone down in frustration. He ran back to the car to see if he had more change but didn't find any. He got back on the highway and headed for home wishing he could have told Don he loved him and that he was sorry for everything. The rain kept pouring and it was getting harder to see. He knew he probably should pull over until it slacked up, but he really wanted to get home to Donnie. The sound of the windshield wipers seemed to be whispering Don's name and for a moment, Jackson was lost in his thoughts. The blare of a truck horn jolted him back to reality and he realized that he had drifted into the other lane. He overcorrected and ran off the road, plunging into a ravine. As Jackson lay there dying in the wreckage, his final thoughts were of Don.....
Don started his day happier than he'd been in a long time because Jackson was on his way home, and had said he wanted to work this out. He went to the precinct and was getting started on some paperwork when his cell chirped in his pocket. Little did he know that he was about to answer a call that would change his life forever.....
"Is this Det. Don Flack?"
"Yes, it is.... who is this?"
"This is Sgt. Robert Phillips with the Virginia Highway Patrol.....are you related to a Jackson Flack?"
Don felt a cold chill run down his spine at the mention of Jackson's name.....
"He is my husband..... is there something wrong?"
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but there's been an accident....."
"What do you mean???"
"Mr. Flack was involved in a one-car accident this morning on Highway 84. We've determined that the weather must have had something to do with the accident. I'm sorry to say that Mr. Flack did not survive....."
Don didn't hear the rest of what Sgt. Phillips had to say. When the man finally stopped talking, Don didn't say a word. He just closed his phone, got his coat, and walked out of the precinct. He headed to the Crime Lab looking for Danny, and found him in Mac's office where the two men were discussing a case. Mac saw Don and motioned him into the office.....
Don didn't say a word. He sat down in one of the chairs by Mac's desk and Danny immediately knew something was bad wrong.....
"I just got a call from the Virginia Highway Patrol telling me that Jackson was killed in a car accident sometime early this morning....."
"Oh my God....."
"I talked to Jackson on the phone briefly last night, and he told me he was coming home, that he wanted to try and fix things between us......"
Don didn't get any farther than that when he began to tremble and his voice began to shake. He took a few deep breaths to calm himself, and once he was somewhat composed, he asked Mac if he would call Sgt. Phillips back and get the rest of the details for him. Mac picked up the phone and started dialing. Danny got Don a bottle of water and sat there with his friend while Mac was on the phone.
When Mac was finished with the phone call, he told Don that they were sending Jackson's body and personal effects back to New York, and that they would be faxing some papers for him to sign regarding these matters. Mac told Don that he and Danny would do whatever they could to help. He thanked them and got up to leave the office. Danny didn't think it was a good idea for Don to be alone so he followed his friend. The two men ended up back at Don and Jackson's place, and as soon as Don walked into the apartment, he broke down. He collapsed on the sofa and Danny held his best friend as he cried it out.
About an hour later, Mac called Danny to see how Don was. He told him that he was taking it all very hard. Mac told him to stay with him and that he would be there as soon as he could. Danny ended the call and went to check on Don. He was still sleeping so Danny made himself comfortable on the sofa to wait for Mac.
When Mac arrived, Don and Danny were sitting in the kitchen talking. When Danny opened the door Mac tried to kiss him in greeting, but Danny tilted his head toward where Don was sitting and shook his head as if to say "not now". Mac gave Don the papers that needed signing. The hour grew late and Mac suggested that he and Danny head home. Danny said he wanted to stay with Don just in case he needed something during the night. Don told him he would be fine and that he would call if he needed anything. He went on to explain that he needed some time alone.
The next two days were a blur to Don. If it hadn't been for Mac, Danny, and Lisa MacLeod, he didn't know what he would have done. With their help a beautiful memorial service was put together, and for that Don was very grateful. He was doing his best to keep his emotions in check but it was very hard. Very hard indeed.....
After it was all over, Don took some time to try and process the whole ordeal. Mac and Danny gave him his space, but checked in from time to time to make sure he was alright. He appreciated their concern very much. Every time he thought of Jackson, tears would fall. Don remembered the good times, but their last night together stayed on his mind. He regretted the fact that he never got another chance to tell Jackson that he loved him, and that haunted him for a long time. He'd always heard people talking about little luxuries that they'd pampered themselves with, but he couldn't relate to that notion anymore because he's lost his somewhere in Virginia in the rain.....
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