Change of Plans

A Jack and Dan story that got too long for twitter. 4,200-ish words.

CWs for blood, talk of dog bites (the dog dies, sorry y’all), dog fighting, injuries, wound care

Dan is late.

Dan is late and it’s *fine.*

Probably. At least, Jack tells himself that it’s fine. That Dan is fine. He’s just running late. An hour and… thirty-seven minutes late. But they’d taken this into account in the planning and it was why they’d decided to have a friend do the ceremony and paid her both extra and in advance.

It’s fine.


Jack stops pacing and looks at Lina.

“Do you want to go-” she starts hesitantly, her tone gentle. Not that the latter part of that is any different from how she normally is, but he can’t handle it right now.

“He’s coming.”

She at least *tries* to stifle her sigh before she says, “Ok, Jack.”

He goes back to pacing.

When his phone starts to vibrate in his pocket, Jack barely registers the name on the screen before he has it to his ear.

“Hey! Are you-”

“Jack, I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok, are you-” he tries again.

“I’m not coming.”

Jack doesn’t look to check because he has to squeeze his eyes shut, but he’s pretty sure his heart drops clean out of his chest.

Dan’s sigh comes through the line, followed by a stretched silence.

No. No it can’t be that. It can’t. They’ve talked about this. They’re *past* these sorts of things. So Jack forces himself to calm down. To think. And, shit. “Home or the hospital?”

It takes a moment before he says, “Home,” his voice quiet and strained.

“Ok. I’m on my way.” Jack thinks he hears a sigh before the line goes dead. Turning to Lina, he says, “I have to go. I’m so sorry. We’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

She gives him a strange little smile and says, “Sure, Jack. Call me when you get a chance.”

He nods, but he’s already headed for the door.

Jack isn’t even sure if he *breathes* on the drive back to the apartment. He certainly doesn’t remember any of it; one minute, he’s getting into the car and the next, he’s fumbling with his keys trying to open the front door.

“Dan?” he calls once he finally does. He sounds strangely distant to his ears.

“Back here,” Dan replies, voice flat and barely loud enough for him to hear it.

The bathroom, then, which probably means- Jack takes a breath and drags a hand over his face. It’s going to be fine, he reminds himself.

It’s not immediately as bad as he’d worried. Dan is sitting on the bathroom floor with the lights off. From what Jack can tell, he has one leg stretched out at an angle that’s slightly odd, but he’s conscious and not obviously covered in blood so that’s a start.

Even in the dim light from the bedroom he still looks like shit, though.

“Are you- what do you need from me?” Jack asks from the doorway, since he’s not quite sure what the problem even is.

But instead of an answer, what Dan says is, “I’m sorry.”

The opposite of reassuring.

Sighing, Jack crosses the bathroom and squats down beside Dan, knee cracking in protest. It makes Dan breathe an almost-laugh, though, which loosens the knot of anxiety that’s been forming in his chest just a little.

Up close, he can see the problem. Or at least part of it. The leg of Dan’s pants is shredded and sticky with blood.

“I can’t get them off,” Dan says, eyes focused on some point near the base of the toilet. Judging by the faint smell, he chose his resting place for a reason beyond concern for the upholstery.

“How did you even get back?”


Jack pinches the bridge of his nose.

“Sorry,” Dan says again. Another one-word answer. Not that Dan is every exactly wordy, but he’s almost always far more eloquent than *that.*

“I’m worried, not mad. You know that, right?”

The look Dan gives him is absolutely, soul-wrenchingly miserable. “Jack I just stood you up for our wedding because-”

“Stop,” Jack interrupts, trying to keep his tone gentle. He cups Dan’s jaw as lightly as he can. Immediately, Dan turns into the touch, a high-pitched, choked noise slipping out of him. “Is it just your leg?”

Dan exhales shakily and nods – he understands the meaning of the question, at least. Is that the only thing that needs medical attention? The only thing physically wrong?

“Ok,” he says, standing. “Up.” He pulls Dan off of the floor, supporting most of his weight. Still, he hears the way Dan’s breathing catches slightly. “I know. I’m sorry.”

Once he gets Dan where he can lean against the bathroom counter, Jack takes a second to look at him properly. There’s something else, he can tell. Probably more than once something else. But that can wait until after Dan’s leg has been seen to.

“I’ll be right back,” he says, leaning in to kiss Dan’s forehead. His lips stick slightly and come away tasting like salt. Jack doesn’t want to leave him alone, even for a moment, but he doesn’t have much of an option.

Dan nods once, his eyes once again focused on some meaningless fixed point across from him.

When he comes back with clean towels and a glass of water, Dan hasn’t moved. Not that Jack expected him to, but it’s still concerning.

“Gotta turn the light on for this part,” he says apologetically as he flips the switch. Dan sucks in a breath and closes his eyes, but otherwise doesn’t react. The bottles in the medicine cabinet are all organized in a way that should be concerning, but it’s for this very reason. He pulls out two, as well as the box of gauze pads, the tube of antibiotic ointment, a roll of tape, and a large pair of EMT shears.

They’re well-stocked, at least.

“Going to have to amputate?” Dan asks without opening his eyes.

“Very funny,” Jack replies dryly. He shakes two pills into his hand and says, “Here.”

Dan cracks one lid to glance at him, then holds out his hand. He pops them into his mouth without question and swallows before Jack can even pass him the water.

He sighs and sets the glass down beside Dan’s hand anyways.

Before he gets to work, Jack turns on the shower. It’ll be the easiest way to get most of the blood off and god only knows they both probably need it. His knee pops again when he kneels to begin the process of getting Dan out of his pants.

This part at least, Jack feels equipped for. He knows how to cut the fabric away so it doesn’t make things worse. How to clean wounds and minimize pain. He just hates that it’s Dan he’s having to do it for.

His leg is noticeably swollen from the knee down, Jack realizes once he can see it. Warm, but not so hot that he’s worried about infection yet. Dan’s last tetanus shot was a couple of years ago, so that’s not a concern either. “Chances it was up to date on its shots?”

Dan shrugs. “Probably. It wasn’t rabid or anything, though. Just mistreated.”

Frowning, Jack examines the bruised, shredded mess of Dan’s calf. He gently pokes at the surrounding tissue, testing the swelling. “Did you do something to your ankle too?”

That gets him a tired sigh. “I might have sprained it or something in the midst of… everything.”

“Dan.” He kisses Dan’s thigh just over his knee. “Ok, pick your foot up. No real way to make this hurt less.”

He nods and does as Jack asked, but does nothing more than clench his jaw as Jack carefully unlaces his shoe and pulls it off. The sock is easier. Then he stands and kisses Dan’s sternum through his shirt and starts to undo his belt.

“Not exactly how I imagined this happening tonight,” Dan mutters.

“Shit happens,” Jack replies simply. He pulls Dan’s belt free and sets it on the counter. The medical shears slide through the fabric of his pants like nothing, and within moments Dan is left with a weird single leg that drops to pool around his ankle.

“Here, sit down,” he says, nodding toward the lid of the toilet.

Dan goes, clearly too tired to try to argue, and lets Jack take off his other shoe and the other half of his pants.

“You want me to get your shirt too, or you got it?” he asks when he’s done.

“I can do it.”

But he doesn’t move, so Jack says, “Here, let me,” and starts on the buttons. Then, when all that’s left is Dan’s underwear, “How much faith do you have in my cutting abilities?”

When Dan huffs a quiet laugh, he smiles slightly. Jack strips and tosses his clothes toward the laundry basket; he’ll double check them for blood later.

In the end, he does end up cutting Dan’s underwear off. The ruined clothing goes in a separate pile that will eventually join the bag of things to burn the next time they go to the house.

“This part’ll be easier if I just pick you up,” Jack says.

“I’m a grown man, Jack. I can get in the shower by myself. And it isn’t like I haven’t had worse.”

“Uh huh.” Jack bends over and scoops him up.

Dan opens the door to the shower, then closes it behind them when Jack turns around.

Once he’s sure he’s blocking most of the water, Jack sets Dan down as carefully as he can; no matter how strong he is, though, he and Dan are close enough to the same size that it’s not particularly easy. Especially in the confines of the shower. Still, he manages to sort of let Dan’s legs slide down while keeping a hold of his waist so he can support most of his weight.

“Why are you so good to me all of the time?” Dan asks softly.

Jack tilts his chin to kiss him. “Because it’s what you deserve.”

With a quiet, disbelieving huff, Dan drops his forehead to rest on Jack’s shoulder. “You still think that? Even after today?”

“It’s true. Even after today. Lina thought you got cold feet. Joke’s on her, I already know your feet are always cold as shit. Ya fuckin’ reptile.”

As intended, Dan laughs and leans into him.

“Could’ve done a little better on that word choice with the ‘I’m not coming’ though. Won’t lie I got a little nervous then.”

“I’m sorry. I was…”

“In shock? Yeah probably.”

“Trying to make it to the elevator, but that might explain the difficulty.”

“And the sprained ankle. And the fact that your leg got shredded by what, a bear?” He means it jokingly, but it was a miscalculation Jack immediately realizes.

Dan pulls away – only a little because he can’t go far, but still – his expression drawn and distant again.

“You wanna tell me what happened?” he asks. He always asks. Dan doesn’t always tell him.

This time seems to be one of the ones where Dan wants to though, because he says, “I had to shoot the dog. He was a Cane Corso, not a bear.”

He sighs and tightens his arm. Presses his lips to the corner of Dan’s jaw – not a kiss, but some other small offer of comfort.

“And the guy, but he wasn’t much of a loss. Still, I wasn’t supposed to have to in the first place- and then his… wife? Girlfriend? I don’t know- came back with kids and-”

Jack can feel Dan’s shuddery exhale. It’s a toss up which one he hates more: when there’s a dog or when there’s kids. But when it wasn’t that kind of job, when he wasn’t expecting it or ready for it. He moves one hand to the back of Dan’s head, petting over the soft, short-cropped hairs there. Again, Dan pushes into the contact.

“You said this wasn’t supposed to be one of those, though?”

Dan shakes his head. “I was just supposed to strongly suggest that he stop the dog fighting part of his organization. Stick to distribution. He… didn’t like that very much.” He sighs and adds, “There probably wouldn’t have been any saving the dog either way, but-“

“I know,” Jack says gently. “You did what you had to. And I’m glad you did because it means you came home.”

“You’re supposed to be mad at me.”

“Hm? For what?” He kisses Dan’s jaw, then reaches for the bottle of body wash.

“Jack I missed our *wedding.* How is that not something to be mad about?”

Jack shrugs, staring at the bottle in his hand. After a second, he simply reaches around Dan and manages to open the cap and squeeze some into his hand without ever letting Dan go.

Getting rid of the bottle is slightly more difficult, but this time Dan seems to realize what he’s trying and takes it from him.

“Thanks,” he says, rubbing his hands together to spread it before lathering it over Dan’s back.


“Dan.” He pauses to meet the shocking blue of Dan’s eyes, then brushes their noses together.

“How are you not mad?”

“Because it’s not a big deal?”

“Ok I’m going to need you to explain that one to me.”

He shrugs again and continues his mix of washing and massaging the tension from Dan’s back. “You’re relatively ok. And we’re still good, right? It’s not like you engineered some weird plot to get out of marrying me?”

Dan frowns at him. “Obviously not.”

Jack smiles just a little. “So we can give Lina or whoever a couple hundred bucks some other time. Not a big deal.”

“But it should-“

He interrupts Dan the easiest way he knows how – by kissing him. “Why d’you want me to be mad at you so bad?”

The look on Dan’s face has softened into something better, but he still says, “I fucked up and that’s the reasonable response.”

“Something happened and plans changed. What matters is that you’re here now, and in general.”

“You make it sound like we were supposed to be having dinner instead of getting married.”

Jack kisses him again. “Either way I’d still love you. Give me that bottle? And you think you can let me go for a minute? I need to look at your leg.”

Dan sighs and shakes his head, but he hands Jack the body wash. Then, he braces an arm against the wall of the shower.

He moves slowly until he’s sure Dan isn’t going anywhere, but then he moves to clean the dried blood off the back of his leg. The rest he’ll get once they’re out.

Jack showers off quickly, Dan having taken care of himself while Jack cleaned off his leg, and turns off the water.

Once they’re both mostly dried off, he says, “Here, turn toward the wall?”

Dan raises an eyebrow but shuffles on one foot until he can brace both forearms on the tile.

“Figure I might as well finish in here where there’s a drain.”

“Please know I’m fighting the urge to make a comment.”

“Maybe when you aren’t full of holes,” Jack replies.

“God you’re not helping yourself out at all.”

He breathes a chuckle and kisses Dan’s spine. “I’m guessin’ you feel better?”

“I think the drugs are kicking in if that’s what you mean. What did you even give me?”

“Oh now you ask. ‘N here I thought you were supposed to be mister on it.” A second kiss to his shoulder, then the opposite side. “Just duraxin.”

“Mm, is that the one that makes me sleepy?”

Jack exhales another laugh and then goes back out to get the bottle of saline from the counter. “Might be. Why, you got something’ better to do today?”

“Well it’s not *late* yet and we never both have a day off at the same time,” Dan whines. He’d argue that he’s not whining, Jack knows, but he is and it just makes Jack love him more somehow.

He rinses the bite mark off, then gently spreads some of the antibiotic ointment over it. Once it’s wrapped, he helps Dan get to the bed.

“You need anything else right now?”

Dan shakes his head. “Are you leaving me?”

“No. Was just gonna go do something else so you could sleep.”


Jack kisses him, then says, “Ok.”

The rest of the weekend is a lazy stretch spent between the bed and the couch. The swelling in Dan’s ankle goes down enough that Jack finally acknowledges that it might not be broken, and the bite doesn’t look infected.

Still, he worries. Tries to make Dan rest, to let him handle things.

He’s just set more water and painkillers down on the end table beside Dan when he suddenly finds himself halfway in Dan’s lap. Jack blinks, his brain trying to catch up to what had happened.

“You don’t have to keep doing things for me.”

Jack blinks at him again. “Are you complaining that I’m being nice to you?”

“No. Sort of. I just feel bad about it – I don’t deserve all of this.” Dan rests his mouth against the back of Jack’s shoulder, arms wrapped around his waist. It means that even if Jack tries to look back over his shoulder, he can’t quite meet his eyes.

He sighs and lets his head tip back instead. “What makes you think you don’t deserve it?”

Dan’s disbelieving snort hurts, in a way. That he genuinely doesn’t think Jack should take care of him, even though if their roles were anything close to reversed he’d do all the same and more.

Rather than arguing with him, though, he says, “Take those. I’ll order food.”

It isn’t quite a lie. He does order pizza. The part he leaves out is that he also texts Lina and asks if she can come over.

Not exactly how they’d planned, but then it didn’t really matter.

He can tell the minute Dan realizes something’s up. Jack’s phone rings for the buzzer downstairs, but rather than getting up at the knock, he stays where he’s sitting – pressed up against Dan on the couch – and yells, “It’s open!”

“Hey!” Lina says, her voice the same soft, bright thing it always is.

“This is why you made me put on pants,” Dan mumbles against his ear.

He smiles and twists to kiss him briefly. “Thank you for doing this,” Jack says, standing to take the pizza box from her.

“Yeah, it’s no problem,” she replies, smiling. “I’m just glad you two are ok. Dan, Jack says you had an accident at work?”

“Oh, um. Yes?”

The look she gives him is equal parts questioning and accepting, but she doesn’t press. Instead, she says, “So, how did you want to do this?”

“Uh.” Jack opens the lid of the pizza box.

“Do what?”

Lina makes the same face again – a confused little smile.


“Eating pizza?”

He can practically hear Lina’s eyes roll, even over Dan’s sigh.

“You want to get married here. Sitting on the couch.”

Jack shrugs, then closes the lid of the pizza box and looks at him. “Why not? It’s not like either one of us is more attached to the courthouse or whatever. And I dunno, it just kind of reminded me of what you said not too long ago. About exciting not being all that. So uh, if it’s ok with you, I’d kinda like to marry you, yeah.”

The expression on Dan’s face is one Jack wants to live in, if such a thing were possible. He holds out a hand and drags Dan off of the couch when he takes it. Says, “I would’ve told you ahead of time but you would’ve said no.”

He can feel the puff of Dan’s laugh against his face. “I wouldn’t have said *no,* I would’ve said you deserve something better than me in sweatpants because I can’t-” he breaks off and shakes his head, unwilling to say much more with Lina there.

“Yeah, exactly. And maybe I like you in sweatpants. Ever stop to consider that? Maybe I want you in sweatpants for the rest of my life.”

“Guys,” Lina says, clearly fighting back a laugh, “save it for the official part. The pizza is going to get cold and then I’m going to charge you for a new one too.”

Dan sighs and relaxes into him, resting his full weight on Jack for a minute before he straightens again. “Ok, let’s do this.”

When they’d been planning the original tiny ceremony, Lina had asked if they wanted to review what she planned to say in advance. Most couples did, apparently, but they’d both immediately declined. It was the right call, Jack decides, not that his brain focuses on most of it.

It’s background music to the moment he’s caught in, where the only thing that actually exists is Dan.

“Alright,” she says, “which one of you is going first?”

Dan beats him to the mark; that’s what actually pushes Jack’s mind back to higher functioning, when Dan says his name.

“Hm? I’m going first?”

He smiles – a wry, fond little thing – and Jack thinks his heart might explode in his chest. Exhaling a slow breath, he says, “I don’t have a whole big fancy speech planned, really. Surprise, right? But none of the traditional stuff felt right because, well-” he shrugs a ‘you know,’ then continues. “You talk all the time about me deserving better, whether it’s because you got back late from work or because you forgot to do laundry or whatever else. But here’s the thing.”

Jack takes Dan’s other hand, unable to look anywhere else. And he wasn’t *unsure* before, but now he’s certain he’s never been more sure of anything in his life. “You’ve already made me the happiest man alive. Every single day with you is more than I ever dreamed of growing up, and now I get the rest of our lives?” He breathes out the *fuck,* reflexively, without meaning to, and Lina and Dan both laugh.

“I’m the one who got lucky. Who isn’t sure how he deserves this. So yeah, Dan, it’s you. It’s gonna be you every single chance that I get, sickness, health, richer and poorer, all of that- I will do everything I can just to be worth what you’ve already given me. And it’ll all be ok as long as I’ve got you.”

Dan looks away, his breath more of a sniff. He pulls one hand out of Jack’s and brushes at his eyes before threading their fingers together again. “I’m supposed to go after that?” he asks, looking over at Lina.

She just beams at him and nods unhelpfully.

“I love you. You know that, right? An impossible amount.” His voice is rough, and a part of Jack feels guilty in a strange, senseless way.

It makes him want to pull Dan closer, right up until he realizes he can and does. Jack takes the step so Dan doesn’t have to, folding him against his chest and tucking his face between Dan’s neck and shoulder.

“I will spend the rest of my life trying to be the man you think I am,” Dan says, no more than a whisper against his ear. “I might not understand how you think so much of me, but I promise you that. I will never stop trying.”

They both turn just enough to look at Lina, most of Dan’s weight still resting on Jack.

“By the powers vested in me by a random site on the internet, I now pronounce you legally stuck together. Congratulations, gentleman. Welcome to the world of socially acceptable homosexuality,” she says, smiling brightly.

Jack turns back and cups Dan’s jaw with one hand, then kisses him soundly. Dan doesn’t even seem to care that someone else is present; he releases his hold on Jack’s other hand and loops both arms around his neck to press flush up against him.

The sound of the camera on Lina’s phone drags them both forcefully back to reality. He feels Dan stiffen but refuses to let go.

Before Dan can speak, though, she says, “Don’t worry, I’m sending it to Jack and then I’m deleting them. I just thought you should have a few pictures in case you wanted them.”

“A few?” Dan echoes. Jack knows what he’s thinking – questioning how he hadn’t noticed her taking pictures until now.

“You two were a little wrapped up. It happens. And I accidentally turned the sound back on.”

He hums an acknowledgement that sounds like acceptance, but Jack can still feel the tension.

“Relax,” he whispers, lips brushing the curve of Dan’s ear. “She respects the fact that you’re a private weirdo. That’s why we picked her for this, remember?”

Dan exhales slowly and nods, turning his attention back to Jack. “See? You did it again.”

Laughing, Jack kisses him again. “Well now you’re really stuck with me, so you have a looong time to get used to it.”

“You don’t think you’re going to get tired of it?”

“What, convincing you that I love you and you deserve to be happy? Not a chance.”

The camera makes another electronic shutter sound.

“I *do* think we need to hurry up and let Lina get out of here before she gets a very different sort of pictures.”

Dan laughs, their faces still pressed together, and nods. “We have time.”

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