Second Hand

Sep. 25th, 2008 10:58 am

Fandom: Traders

Characters: Donald, Grant, Adam, Jack (pre-Donald/Grant)

Rating: PG

Warnings: Spoilers for the first and second seasons?, slight language

Disclaimer: Not mine!

Beta: sherriaisling who got me into this show in the first place.

Summary: "You know, the thing that surprises me the most, of course, was that Larkin was actually telling the truth. But... the Jansky kid? Not what I'd been expecting at all, Donald."

Author's Note: I can't help my fascination with this show, okay? It's far too good. Additionally, this is actually cake!fic. Not fic about cake. Fic that is cake.


Donald is sitting in Jack's office, putting together the file for the oil drilling tycoon Jack's determined to scoop right out from under Canadian Corporate Bank. It shouldn't be feasible, but Donald barely factors that into his thoughts anymore. Jack's plans have a way of working out, never mind the destruction and damage they leave in their wake.

When the door opens, Donald doesn't even bother looking up. He waves the pen in his right hand, rattling off before Jack can start demanding status reports and statistics, "Susannah is working on the long term projections for the cleaning plant, but the initial reports look good."

There's a pause, long enough to make Donald curse under his breath and look up. He's unsurprised to find Adam standing in the doorway, the man holding a folder in one hand, looking down the line of his nose at Donald. Adam smiles, brief and thin, when he says, "Why, that's excellent. I'm sure our friends over at Canadian Corporate haven't already thought of it."

Donald feels color rise in his cheeks, trying to bite back his words and not succeeding at all, "Yes, well, they hardly have Susannah on their side. And I think I've really found something with the—"

Adam waves a hand, rolling his eyes behind his glasses and walking over to Jack's desk. The older man leans his hip against the side of the desk, spinning Jack's rolodex while staring at Donald. Donald swallows hard, shifting around in his seat, and after a moment Adam smirks, crossing his heels and bracing his hands on the desk.

For a long beat they just stare at each other, and then Donald drops his gaze, clearing his throat and turning back to the folders in his lap. He doesn't bother hoping Adam will just go away. That would be a waste of time and energy.

And sure enough, Adam is clearing his throat, saying, "So, I understand you've got a new roommate?"

Donald blinks, then slowly looks up, blinking again. Adam looks a mix between curious and uncomfortable, which is not particularly what Donald had been expecting. Donald shifts in his seat again, forcing his mouth up into an awkward smile before replying, "Um. Yes? I mean," he shrugs, "I don't know for how long."

"Oh, don't be so negative, Donald," Adam shifts away from the desk, patting the folder against his thigh, and Donald doesn't say that since Grant is only staying with him because he's sick, it's kind of a cruel thing to say. This is Adam. Donald doubts he needs to point out the cruelty.

Instead, Donald just shrugs again, not sure where to go with this conversation. Small talk is not something he's ever had much occasion to partake in with Adam Cunningham, aside from a few awkward trips in the elevator.

Adam sighs, walking towards the door, and hesitating there, holding it half open. The man says, "You know, the thing that surprises me the most, of course, was that Larkin was actually telling the truth. But... the Jansky kid? Not what I'd been expecting at all, Donald."

Donald feels his mouth fall open, twisting his head over his shoulder to stare at Adam. There are, obviously, a lot of questions that he should be asking right here, but Donald can't quite get any of them past his teeth. Adam doesn't show any sign of noticing, leaning a shoulder against the doorframe and musing, "Though, he does seem to be somewhat more focused. And God knows you're more relaxed."

Adam pauses there, his expression going somewhere far away and sad, just for a heartbeat, before he jerks his back up ramrod straight, and smiles his stiff, formal smile once more. Adam says, "Well. Congratulations. I'm sure your father is very proud," and then he's gone, Jack's door swinging silently closed behind him.

Donald stares at the door, his mouth hanging open.


Waiting for Jack to come back, after that, is just not feasible. Donald can't sit still, and he can't focus. Eventually he just slams the folders down onto Jack's desk, shoving out of the door and side-stepping around two of the floor traders in the hall, who shoot him dirty looks.

Donald calls an apology over his shoulder, realizing belatedly that it had been Benny and Jack's sister, and though the chances of her knowing where Jack was were fairly low, he still probably should have asked. Donald shakes his head, and hurries towards Ayn's office.

And runs into Jack stepping out, his short hair ruffled and out of place, his tie hanging crookedly out in front of his jacket. Right now, Donald doesn't feel like pointing out that maybe it would be better if Jack made a tiny effort towards professionalism. Instead, he grabs Jack's arm, pulling him down the hall for a few steps before Jack digs his heels in, saying, "Woah, woah, woah, what is it? What's going on?"

Donald frowns, looking up and down the hall and then leaning closer to Jack, hissing in as low a voice as he can manage, "What did you tell Adam about me, Jack?" He sounds angrier than he expected, and grimaces, hating feeling guilty when God alone knows what Jack's done this time.

For a half-second, Jack just stares up at him, expression satisfyingly pole-axed for once. And then Jack's crossing his arms, mouth going thin when he counters with, "What did he say I said?" like this is perhaps the schoolyard playground.

Donald squeezes his eyes shut, reaching up to pinch at the bridge of his nose, trying to ease the headache he can already feel building up behind his eyes. He takes a deep breath, and says on the exhale, "He didn't say, exactly, Jack. But he was asking about Grant moving in with me, and implied that you'd said something about it, and I—"

When Jack starts laughing, loud and gleeful, Donald cuts himself off. He watches the other man reach out to brace one hand on the wall, Jack's shoulders shaking while his eyes shine and he grins like a madman. Donald frowns, and feels his headache double.

Anything that amuses Jack this much is bound to be trouble.

After a long moment, Jack holds up one hand, his knuckles against his mouth, snorting softly and shaking his head. Jack says, "That's," and then starts laughing again, rubbing the heel of his hand up over his eyes and sucking in a long breath after a moment. Jack manages to mostly school his expression down towards serious. His mouth keeps twitching up in one corner, though.

Donald sighs, "Jack, what did you tell him?" and Jack grins, huge and impish, clapping Donald's shoulders with both hands and then waving one finger before turning and walking away. Donald makes a frustrated sound, yelling, "Jack!" and when the other man just keeps on walking, "Jack! Goddamnit! What did you say?" He catches up to Jack within steps, grabbing the other man's arm and holding on.

Jack finally says, still grinning, "I didn't think he'd believe me."

That's a bad sign. Donald resists the urge to pound his head against the wall, "You didn't think he'd believe what?" Wanting to shake Jack until he spits the information out is another urge Donald has to work to fight down. He wishes the other man would just spit it out and—

"I told him you were gay," Jack shrugs, completely unapologetic, smiling again, in fact. Donald feels his mouth fall open, Jack offering with another shrug, "It worked, didn't it? How was I to know he'd actually take me seriously?" like that's some kind of explanation.

Jack flashes Donald a big smile, slapping him on the arm, and then walks away. Donald leans against the wall, trying to remember how to close his mouth. Adam thought he was gay. Adam thought he was sleeping with Grant. Adam—

Might be trying to talk to Grant about it. That would be, Donald thinks, a very Adam thing to do. Donald, feeling the blood rush out of his face, spins on his heel and races towards Grant's little broom closet.


Donald slams the door open, sliding halfway past the room and then managing to pull himself back in. Grant swivels around in his chair, legs tucked up under him, arms wrapped around his keyboard. He's wearing a bike helmet, the chin strap undone and hanging down against his neck. Donald slams the door closed while Grant beams up at him, saying, "Donald! You're all woobly. You should sit down," Grant nods meaningfully at a stack of cardboard boxes.

Donald blinks, shaking his head, "Um, no, no, not right now."

And Grant shrugs, sighing, "Your loss," and looking fondly at the boxes. He looks absently down at his keyboard, fingers moving in a sudden flurry before going still again, sliding down to the arms of the chair and bouncing there, fast and off-rhythm.

Donald shakes his head, checking again to make sure the door is closed before asking, "Has Adam been down here today?"

"Adam?" Grant frowns, spinning a little in the chair, cocking his head to the side. Then he smiles again, huge and bright, "Oh, Adam. No. No, he hasn't. Should he have been? You know, last time he was here, he let me lose money. That was interesting." Grant makes a noise Donald associates with crashing airplanes, sketching a wobbly downward line with his finger.

Donald exhales heavily, and ends up sitting on Grant's boxes after all. He asks, just to be clear, "You haven't talked to Adam?" and Grant shakes his head, looking at his computer and sticking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth, typing rapidly again. "Okay. Okay, that's good."

Grant pauses in his typing, tilting his head against his shoulder to look at Donald, the helmet holding his neck at an awkward angle. He looks curious, "Do you not want me to talk to Adam? Oh! Is it a game? Are we keeping a secret?" he bounces in his chair, pushing the keyboard away and wrapping his hands around his ankles.

For a moment Donald just stares, and then he nods, smiling back. Grant looks positively gleeful, raising a hand to mime zipping his mouth shut, and then, apparently, shoving the fake key into his pocket. Grant starts, "I'm good at this game," and then goes wide-eyed, slapping a hand over his mouth.

Donald shakes his head, smiling, feeling something in his stomach relax. He says, "Right, well. I'll see you later, okay?" And he doesn't really expect Grant to answer.

But Grant drops his hand down to his lap, calling when Donald opens the door, "Are you still woobly?"

Donald pats the doorframe, still smiling, not really able to stop all of a sudden. He says, "No, Grant. I'm better now," and Grant beams at him, reaching up to pull on one of the helmet straps, shifting it crookedly on his head. Donald pulls the door closed, rests his forehead against it for just a second, and then lets out a slow breath.

There are some things Donald just isn't ready for Grant to know. Not from him, and certainly not from anyone else. Donald shakes his head, and goes back to work.


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