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An Exercise in Control

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The last time, the absolute last time, Jenko bullied Schmidt in high school was during graduation. He'd tripped him in his gown in the hallway and when Schmidt fell and the gown rode up Jenko kicked it up over his head. They were alone in the hall together and all Schmidt had wanted was to take a fucking piss - he was nervous - before he had to go on stage.

"Not-so-slim, they say black's supposed to make fatties look good." Jenko gave Schmidt's middle a hard smack and it fucking hurt. Schmidt knew there'd be tears of humiliation in his eyes even as he felt his belly jiggle where his shirt had rode up. "But I think we both know better."

Schmidt remembered the thought so clearly, that he should have known better. He knew Jenko wouldn't have just let him walk past, but he went anyway.

His mother had clucked her tongue happily when she finally got the prints, "Oh honey, this is so touching." He let her think the tears were because of friends or nostalgia or whatever people who didn't absolutely fucking hate high school felt.

 

 

***

 

 

"Hey," Jenko says, and he's splayed out in his office chair with his hands behind his head, his eyes slitted, "you're coming over tonight, right?"

"Yeah, we said we were going to marathon Evil Dead?" They'd agreed on it ages ago, but ever since the MC State mess Schmidt had been trying to be less clingy even if he had been looking forward to it all week.

"Right. Well, I kind of forgot." Jenko gives a sheepish shrug, "I got a date, but I can come back afterward if you wanna hang out at my place?"

"Okay, first - that would be rude to your date."

"She is hot." Jenko interjects. Which is unnecessary because every woman Schmidt had ever seen Jenko date was hot.

"Second - if you're going to make this up to me that means next Friday when we do the marathon you're buying the pizza."

"I guess that's fair." Jenko bites his lip, "Sorry Schmidt - a man has needs you know."

Schmidt did know. Lately, Schmidt couldn't seem to keep himself in line. His body just seemed to react. Butterflies in his stomach whenever Jenko leaned over him to correct his typing or add a comment in the paperwork. His mind was fuzzy and slow whenever Jenko bit his lip like he'd just done. Heat pooled behind his spine every time he turned to Jenko and found him already watching. And he quivered whenever Jenko whispered in his ear. Which, they were often undercover so it happened more than one might think.

Schmidt knows better than to ask for a Saturday night rescheduling. Jenko always seemed to keep his dates for the weekend.

Jenko suddenly straightens and clears his throat which could only mean Captain Dickinson was behind him.

"Captain," Jenko greets.

"Captain," Schmidt turns and finds a new, what he assumes, officer in tow. He tries to appear friendly.

The man has sandy blond hair that curled behind his ears. He was good looking in an All American way and baby faced, he stood a little taller than the Captain. He was lean in a way that made Schmidt think of Zook, and he could admit to himself it soured his mood.

"This is Caleb Brady, one of you will be joining him on his first assignment. Dogwood Collegiate High School," at that Jenko throws his hands up - Schmidt can hear it, "to investigate a teacher who's been accused of sexually harassing his male students. Shouldn't take more than a day if you motherfuckers do it right. He moves fast, we just need hard evidence."

"I guess that means you're up Jenko." Schmidt says, before anyone else can.

"I don't give a shit who goes," the Captain responds, which seems pretty shortsighted on his part, "just don't fuck it up."

He walks away, leaving Caleb behind. Jenko looks at Schmidt with puppy dog eyes.

"Fine." Schmidt says, "but you're buying pizza the next time after too."

Caleb, who seems like a perfectly normal kind of guy, probably an okay partner, nods at Schmidt, "See you Monday."

 

 

***

 

 

Their plan, as the Captain laid out, was to more or less entrap Mr. Stuart without legally entrapping him. 'Be provocative, but not explicit' were what the instructions boiled down to. Obviously it was going to be Caleb who took the collar. Schmidt's just along for the ride.

Caleb picks him up in a normal looking sedan.

"Hey thanks for giving me a ride, I wonder why I never get to be the driver."

Caleb just eyes him. A moment, then two, of silence ticks by. If anything it only makes Schmidt talk faster, suddenly nervous.

"Like woah - don't talk so fast dude, I might miss some of the words coming out of your mouth." And Schmidt immediately berates himself for being confrontational.

"I didn't ask for this assignment."

"Neither did I," Schmidt shoots back, then asks, "why are you in Jumpstreet anyway?"

Caleb steels his jaw, "Discipline, some pussy got upset and reported me to HR."

Schmidt just raises his eyebrows, Caleb continues.

"Look, I'm not being provocative or whatever the shit they want me to do."

"Don't tell me you're too macho to catch a pedophile."

"Fuck you, what's your name - Schmidt? You do it."

"Well I'll try but somehow I doubt the teacher is going to respond to me."

Caleb does't say anything after that. Schmidt hates that the case relies on him. He doesn't trust himself to get 'lucky' in any sense of the word.

 

 

***

 

 

He gets lucky.

Mr. Stuart moves fast, and part of Schmidt thinks it's probably because Mr. Stuart knows he's going to get caught soon and is trying desperately to squeeze in as many victim's as he can - which makes Schmidt more than a little nauseous. The Principal, who knows why they're there, gives Schmidt and Caleb detention. Schmidt is furious when Caleb doesn't show up.

It doesn't matter though because Schmidt can handle the arrest himself without back up. Mr. Stuart isn't violent, he's careful, he doesn't want to leave any marks. So it's not like Schmidt is forced into anything per se. He can't arrest Mr. Stuart though until he's sure it's enough. He has to let him trail his fingers across his shoulders, has to listen to the dirt bag threaten what will happen if he tells, has to let him kiss him. Once the sleazebag is grabbing at Schmidt's belt, undoing it, and trying to reach his hand in is when Schmidt firmly pushes him back and reads him his rights.

For such a predator Mr. Stuart only crumples to the ground in tears, insisting Schmidt didn't really know what it was like - to work with that much temptation.

Caleb is looking at them through the door.

"I didn't want to interfere with the arrest." Is what he says, and Schmidt knows that's reasonable but he's still insanely pissed.

 

 

***

 

 

At the office Caleb mentions it once. In infuriating detail - as if Schmidt's report hadn't been enough. It catches like wildfire until other officers are making smoochy faces at him and making aborted gropes for his crotch.

Jenko actually laughs in a really cute way that makes his eyes crinkle. So Schmidt can't be too mad about it. He pushes the unnerving feelings down, it isn't like he's a victim.

 

 

***

 

 

Schmidt and Jenko work a few short term cases after that, some of it's beat work and they're at the office more than usual. Caleb and Jenko hit it off, because of course they would. Evil Dead night comes and goes - it's short and sweet and Schmidt wishes it lasted longer and wonders with horror if that's how Jenko's weekend girls feel.

"Hey Schmidt," Jenko leans against his desk - a long hard line, "Some of the guys are going for drinks after work, you wanna join?"

"Yeah sure, sounds like a blast." Schmidt hasn't turned down an invitation from Jenko yet.

"Awesome." is what Jenko says and Schmidt wished he could feel as carefree and so at one with the universe as Jenko looks.

The bar is crowded when they arrive. There's, like, six of them altogether. Schmidt doesn't really fit in. It becomes more obvious he's the odd man out the drunker everyone gets. He gets pretty drunk himself. Mostly in an effort to keep up and to keep his mouth busy so he doesn't have to talk. Jenko is sitting kind of across from him but not really, not close enough to talk to anyway.

Jack - is his name Jack? - the Bieber looking reject brings Mr. Stuart up again.

"Hey Schmidt - who's that guy you fucked again?"

"What?" Schmidt asks, over the music, because he didn't really catch it the first time. Caleb, beside him, jabs him hard with his elbow.

"Mr. Stuart that guy you fucked." he reiterates.

"Yeah, Mr. Stuart, that's it." Jack's face lights up.

Schmidt feels his face heat with something else entirely.

"Fuck you guys" is what he says, trying to brush it off - play it low key. Jack giggles, high pitched, it's apparent he's as least as drunk as Schmidt himself.

"Bet you liked it."

And that makes Schmidt angry, he leans over because Jack is sitting directly in front of him, right next to Jenko, and smacks him across the face.

Jenko, and Harris who he'd been talking to, look over at him then. Jenko has a strongly disapproving expression like storm clouds. Schmidt can't find a fuck to give about the way Harris is looking outraged. Jenko says something, but again, the music.

Schmidt doesn't care, he gets up and pushes his way out of the booth. He's in the bathroom for a minute, maybe a little more, staring drunkenly at the lone urinal and swaying when Caleb comes in.

"Asshole." Caleb says as he slams Schmidt into it. Schmidt only has time to stick his hand out, and it twists a little weird as it finds its way smashed into the bottom of the bowl. The urinal cake is wet.

"Fuck" he hisses in pain. But Caleb isn't done.

He hauls Schmidt up and pushes him into the wall, "You're such a little prick huh? Did it hit a nerve? You must've really liked it. I saw it you know."

Schmidt's poised to deny it, and why the fuck should he care what Caleb thinks? They aren't even friends. He's pulled out of his thoughts when Caleb grabs his crotch hard and it's like it knocks the breath out of him. It hurts.

"Bitch" is what Caleb calls him and with that final parting word he's gone.

It takes Schmidt a few moments to collect himself, breathe through the pain. He knows he has to go back out there and face the table, if only because Jenko is there. He doesn't really want Jenko to think he's an asshole.

It gives him the perfect excuse to leave then, when Jenko comes to find Schmidt himself. He's not happy though.

"What the fuck Schmidt?"

"Dude, trust me Jack deserved it."

"His name is Jake! Why is it so hard for you to get along?"

"Okay fine. It was stupid, okay? Completely my fault, I shouldn't have got worked up - are you happy?"

Jenko's expression tells Schmidt he is not. But then he shakes his head, rolls his eyes up to the sky as if looking for divine intervention and blows his breathe out. He looks fond of Schmidt almost.

"Bars aren't your speed, I get it." Jenko relents, then generously, "I could stand to watch the Die Hard movies again."

Schmidt puffs out a breathe.

"This Friday?"

Jenko nods, his eyes are crinkling in that way Schmidt likes. Schmidt realizes Jenko is maybe a little drunk himself so Schmidt adds,

"You won't forget, will you?"

"Dude," Jenko says, puts his hand seriously on Schmidt's shoulder, "you're being clingy."

"Right. Okay, no, you're right. Look, I'm just gonna go..."

"You need money for a cab?"

 

 

***

 

 

The next morning at work, even though most of the office is hungover, is surprisingly normal. Caleb acknowledges Schmidt with a gravelly, 'good morning' and gives Jenko a high five on his way past. Schmidt is hoping, even though obviously it's impossible, that Caleb was to drunk to remember anything.

Jenko is staring at him again. Schmidt waits for his eyes to travel up to his face. Jenko startles when he's caught and pretends to cough.

"I seem to remember we made a date?"

"What?" Schmidt's caught off guard, his entire face flushes. He winces as he drops the pen he'd been holding carefully in his injured hand.

"For a movie marathon?" Jenko offers in response to Schmidt's scandalized voice. It's awkward.

"Oh, I totally forgot about that." Schmidt lies. Jenko studies him, openly, for a minute.

"Aren't you a cutie when you blush." he says, and Schmidt doesn't know how to take that, except that Jenko must be mocking him. It suddenly feels like there's a cold ball in the pit of his stomach. He clears his throat and turns back to his work.

 

 

***

 

 

Schmidt falls asleep halfway through Live Free or Die Hard. He could swear he made sure to aim himself towards the outside of the couch when he was listing but when he wakes briefly in the night he's leaning against Jenko. In the morning he expects it was a dream but no, his face is smushed into Jenko's arm. There's wet from where he drooled in his sleep a little.

Horrified, he wipes at it. When he looks up though Jenko is already awake and watching him. Watching him wipe his spit off Jenko's arm. He feels like an idiot. There's this weird moment where they just look at each other. Schmidt realizes he's covered with a blanket.

"Want to get some breakfast?" Jenko asks.

 

 

***

 

 

The thing with Caleb doesn't resolve itself like Schmidt hoped it would.

The more it goes on the harder it becomes to just fucking say something. Caleb doesn't quit. He doesn't get worse either but the bruises are racking up on Schmidt's body. The stupid part is that he totally does it in front of the others. He'll grab Schmidt's arm too tight, and if Schmidt says, 'you're hurting me' the other officers just laugh at how much of a pussy he is. Mostly Caleb 'wrestles' him - the other officers cheering them on, like it's supposed to be fun, as if Caleb doesn't painfully wrench Schmidt's arm up behind his back every single time.

If Caleb catches Schmidt alone it becomes a little more dicey. Like Jenko in high school. Anything is up for grabs. He doesn't know if Caleb will yank his shirt above his head and pinch wherever he feels there's a lack of bruises or if he'll be forced to the floor and kicked.

Schmidt takes solace in the fact Caleb doesn't rough house him in front of Jenko because Jenko doesn't like it. He gets this awful cranky face and he's short with Caleb for a day or half a day until Caleb warms him up again. It makes Schmidt feel treasured.

There is an incident in particular that happens, and its then that Schmidt knows he has to say something. Anything.

And it's that same feeling that he's always had, like deep down he knows it's his own fault, that he should know better.

It starts at Jenko's, as a party. The other officers are all there. It's a little crowded, Jenko's place isn't that big. As the night goes on it becomes less so. He gets drunk, that's his own fault. It's hard not to, with the way Jenko keeps pressing drinks into his hands. Jenko is being silly, Schmidt can't even remember what it is that makes him laugh and spill clamato on himself. He remembers Jenko's big, warm hands pressing into his sides and trying to pull his shirt up in the kitchen. Schmidt pulls it down, self conscious.

"I got a shirt you can wear." Jenko says. Schmidt almost calls bullshit on it until he remembers how big Jenko's muscles are. Jenko tugs him in the direction of his bedroom.

There's a moment or something though where Jenko gets distracted by someone. Judy, Schmidt thinks. All he knows is Jenko pushes him the last few steps to his room and tells him he'll be right there.

Schmidt drunkenly paws through Jenko's dresser, rating his shirts in order of which Jenko looks best in. When he smells them they even smell like Jenko.

"Fucking pervert."

Schmidt's too drunk to duck, Caleb knocks his breath out of him, arm like a steel band around Schmidt's middle. At the very least he lands on the bed. Caleb follows him down.

"You want fucking dick, I'll give it to you." is what Caleb says. Which is surprising, to say the least. Schmidt tries to bat him away but his arms are pushed above his head. He can't really believe it'll happen though. It's probably just Caleb trying to scare him.

But it does scare him and Schmidt realizes it's gone too far. It has left the realm of Bully Jenko because even in his drunken state Schmidt knows Bully Jenko would not have tried scaring him like this. Ergo, he has to say something. He'll tell the Captain, maybe, or anonymously inform HR - but he doesn't want Jenko to know. Jenko would think he was such a tool.

They're struggling on the bed when Jenko finds them. And Schmidt has been struggling for a while, Caleb's been letting him, so he knows it looks kind of weak. Jenko looks fucking furious. Caleb has enough good sense to run off first thing.

"Get the fuck out of my bed."

"What?" Schmidt says belatedly, he didn't really think Jenko would be mad at him.

"You heard me." There's a ticking in Jenko's clenched jaw. Schmidt wonders if it's because he got clamato on Jenko's sheets. He didn't mean to.

"Okay." He gets off the bed.

"You're so fucking weak, you know that?" Jenko asks, Schmidt doesn't know what to say to that. His heart is stuck in his throat. "You fucking deserve that guy."

"I didn't start it. It's not the first time..." Schmidt says weakly, words dying in his throat, struck by how angry Jenko is. He doesn't want Jenko to be angry with him. Jenko doesn't care who started the fight though - he, apparently, only cares about how fucking weak Schmidt is. Schmidt, who had been going to tattle on Caleb like a four year old.

Schmidt hangs his head. Jenko won't look at him.

It's probably a good thing, Schmidt thinks to himself, that he never got to wear one of Jenko's shirts because even if he got to wrap himself in its scent Jenko might have happened to glance and seen evidence of Schmidt's weakness all over his body.

 

 

***

 

 

A good thing does happen though, a few days later. Schmidt would swear the in between was the worst few days of his life. It doesn't matter that Caleb's been leaving him alone because he wasn't sure Jenko would ever speak to him again. He'd only been getting nods.

It happens on a Friday. Jenko looks up at him coolly from his desk.

"You wanna come over this weekend?" is what Jenko says, which is phrased kind of weird but Schmidt is too relieved that Jenko is talking to him again.

"Sure." Schmidt can't say no to Jenko. He doesn't even ask what they'll be doing. Schmidt's so relieved, in fact, that it doesn't matter that Jenko doesn't talk to him for the rest of the day either.

After work Jenko drives them in his car.

"Should we stop for supper?" Schmidt asks hesitantly.

Jenko leans over and reaches into the glove box. He throws down a protein bar in Schmidt's lap. It's not Schmidt's favourite flavour - he doesn't even like protein bars - but he eats it without complaint anyway.

When they get inside Jenko is a flurry of motion, he's eventually stripped down to just his boxers and a t shirt.

"Get comfortable." is what he says.

"I am. Totally comfortable." Schmidt says, awkwardly, trying not to stare.

Jenko pops a movie in but Schmidt can't even tell which one because the moment he picks a spot Jenko sits down directly next to him. It's distracting. The title doesn't even appear before Jenko's arm finds its way around his shoulders. Suddenly they're kissing and Schmidt would be hard pressed to describe how it happened.

There's three kisses, exactly three, before Jenko groans at him to turn over. Schmidt tries to kiss him again but Jenko's pretty insistent so Schmidt turns over. Jenko's hands are at his hips, smooth across his back, and Schmidt can feel his own heartbeat hammering in his chest.

"Wait," Jenko says, and then he's up and around the room, turning lights low and grabbing something from a cupboard. It's dark, the movie in the background isn't doing much to illuminate their surroundings. Schmidt thinks he should probably be grateful for that. His body isn't great to look at.

Schmidt should have known what to expect. Of course he's a grown-ass adult. It's stupid of him to think Jenko was going to give him a backrub or undress him or pull him up and kiss him from behind like they do in movies. Jenko's slick fingers come as a shock. It's fast - the few seconds it takes for Jenko to pull Schmidt's pants down and put his fingers in. Schmidt gasps.

"Jenko wait." he says because it's too much, too fast.

"You're not gonna let me?" is what Jenko says, "then why the fuck are you here?"

The words tumble low into Schmidt's ear, a shiver crawls down his spine. He tries to turn back around but Jenko stops him with a hand on his back, holds him in place.

"Can we - can we go to the bed at least?" Schmidt hadn't envisioned his first time being on a couch. Certainly not a first time with Jenko. Which was something he tried not to think about at all but in hindsight was foolish because here they were.

"No." Jenko says, and his voice brooks no argument, "Here and now or not at all."

"I want you." is what Schmidt says and he hopes that will be answer enough. He'll always want Jenko.

Jenko doesn't put his fingers in him again, but Schmidt can hear it when he slicks the lube on himself. It's shocking, and it hurts a lot if Schmidt's being truthful, when Jenko pushes in. Schmidt wants to cry and he realizes dazedly that he already is. Jenko is still behind him as he gasps.

It's too soon that Jenko moves, and his pace is punishing. It's probably just normal, Schmidt is probably just having a perception problem. He's glad Jenko doesn't try to get him off because he wouldn't have been able to. It feels good though when Jenko tiredly slumps over him. It's over too soon. Jenko pulls away. Schmidt turns and reaches for his hand, Jenko lets him for a moment and then disengages and scrubs the hand over his darkly lit face.

"I'll shower first" is what he says.

Schmidt falls asleep on the couch.

In the morning Jenko has bagels and coffee from the place down the street.

"I want to fuck you on the kitchen floor." Jenko says, first thing.

"Alright." Schmidt agrees, because he can't find a reason to protest even though he feels a little uneasy.

They eat in silence, Jenko goes to pull the blinds down and it blocks out most of the sunlight. He doesn't undress even a little this time, instead he pulls his dick out through his fly. He manhandles Schmidt into place on all fours, Schmidt knows his face is red but Jenko isn't looking at his face. All his clothes that aren't necessary to be off, stay.

"You didn't shower?" Jenko asks, incredulous, grossed out, poking at Schmidt's intimate place.

Schmidt feels humiliation roll through him, hot and unpleasant.

"Sorry, I'll just - " he tries to pull away but Jenko's hands on his hips keep him in place.

"Nevermind." he says and pushes in. Schmidt will deny that he hisses in pain, and he knows he couldn't have because Jenko never heard it.

They do it twice more that day. In the shower and over the dining room table. Somewhere in the middle Schmidt finds a kind of pleasure to it. He says Jenko's name a lot and he reaches for him but Jenko just pushes his hands away.

It's on Sunday, after they do it in the morning, that Schmidt asks.

"Can we turn on the lights?" He feels like he needs to see Jenko's face.

"Why?" Jenko asks, even his voice is raw.

"I want to see you"

"Why do you think we did this in the dark?"

Schmidt honestly couldn't say he knew, only that he was glad of it. He didn't want Jenko to see all his stupid bruises from titty twisters and vicious kicks. They'd mostly faded to ugly yellows and purples. Jenko doesn't give a concrete answer.

"I think you should go." He huffs out instead. Schmidt's confused as to why he should be leaving. Like, did they not just have the most intense love affair? Shouldn't they be moving in together?

"I don't understand."

"It was nice Schmidt, you were an okay fuck. It's not like it'll affect our working relationship."

"What?" Schmidt says dumbly and he can hear a tremble in his voice.

"Do you need money for a cab?" Jenko asks, but not like usual, his voice is flat, even. It makes Schmidt feel cold.

Schmidt gets it. He gathers his clothes and his hands shake but he makes it outside without Jenko seeing him cry.

 

 

***

 

 

Schmidt's not going to let it affect their working relationship. The last few days at work had been fucking awful. Jenko wasn't talking to him again, not really, and Schmidt was going to fix it - eventually. He just couldn't find it in himself to try yet.

He feels betrayed, and it really really hurts. But, there's that same feeling that he should have known. It's his own fault. There was a reason he deliberately never fantasized about Jenko and that reason was that Jenko could never want him. Most people would think he'd been lucky to get Jenko's attention in the first place, even if it was only for a weekend.

He wishes it never happened. It feels like his chest has been ripped open. Schmidt feels like he's oozing hurt everywhere. All he can seem to focus on though is his memory of Jenko's eyes crinkling in amusement when he's happy. It was so good to be Jenko's friend - why couldn't Schmidt have been happy with that? Why did he always want more?

Caleb seems to scent the blood in the water. He corners Schmidt alone in the locker room on Wednesday.

"Your lover boy isn't just mad at you anymore, he fucking hates you now."

Schmidt presses his lips together to keep from responding. If he hadn't been weak in the first place, things wouldn't have gotten so out of control.

"Listen when I talk to you!" Caleb pushes Schmidt face first into his locker. He feels his nose crunch.

There isn't time for anything else because someone else comes in. Caleb goes out the back entrance. The Captain finds Schmidt sitting on the bench, looking like he's about to throw up.

"What the fuck happened to you?"

Schmidt doesn't tell him in the end. He gets to take the rest of the day off to go to the hospital. They reset his nose and it isn't a total loss because one of Doctors takes pity on him and gives him the good drugs. He rests there for a few hours until he gets the go ahead to go home. Jenko's noticeably absent.

Schmidt looks in the mirror. He has two black eyes. Like a raccoon. He starts laughing and then he starts crying. Once his pity party begins he can't seem to stop it. It takes three carton's of Cherry Garcia and a bottle of vodka to make him feel better. Once he's liquored up he gets himself off to thoughts of Jenko kissing him that time. To his utter shame, he uses his fingers.

 

 

***

 

 

"You look like shit." Jenko sounds downright shell shocked.

"Thanks." Schmidt says, trying to downplay it. His weakness is written right across his face and he hates it. He thinks he's still a little drunk, and he knows he definitely didn't shower.

"What happened?" and it has to be some kind of trick that makes Jenko sound so concerned.

Schmidt waves him off. And oh - his shirt's super untucked. He fixes it, slowly. As long as he's fixing his shirt he doesn't need to know why Jenko's still standing in front of him.

Then Jenko's gone. A few minutes later Schmidt picks up his voice from across the room, talking to the Captain.

"Talking about me, like I give a shit." Schmidt mumbles, only he's pretty loud and everyone else stops talking when he says it.

Jenko reappears a few feet away.

"Schmidt, get your stuff, I'm taking you home."

"No." Schmidt says, just for the purpose of being contrary. He's well aware he's acting out but he can't seem to stop himself.

"I could take him." Caleb offers. Schmidt's blood freezes.

Jenko doesn't seem happy about it but he asks Schmidt anyway,

"Do you want Caleb to take you?"

"No. Why in fucking hell would I want that?" Schmidt's voice is scathing. Jenko's even clenching his jaw.

"Okay, I'll take you then."

"Wait a minute - " Caleb says but Schmidt cuts him off.

"Don't. I fucking hate you Caleb."

(And did Schmidt just have a high school flashback?

"I hate you Greg." he'd said with angry tears streaming down his face, through his teeth.

"Aww...is baby gonna cry?")

Schmidt isn't crying this time at least.

 

 

***

 

 

Schmidt's glad for the silence of the car ride. Inside he's alternating between exhaustion and rage.

He doesn't expect Jenko to follow him into his apartment, but he does. He leans against the kitchen counter like he belongs there and something in Schmidt's chest hurts. Jenko looks serious.

"Your face Schmidt." is all he says.

"What about it?"

"What happened?"

And ah - there was that rage again.

"What the fuck do you think happened?"

"I don't know, that's why I'm asking."

"You're a fucking asshole." The most infuriating thing is that Jenko just nods like he agrees that yes, he is.

"I need to know Schmidt." Jenko says it as if he doesn't know already.

"Fine, you want to hear me say it? I'm weak, we both know it. Oh, you know it. You said it just the other week - told me I deserved it. And you must remember high school, for however much we don't talk about it. I remember it. I remember every time you ever held me down, every name you ever called me. I'm fucking weak and I fucking disgust you. I'm not sure why you decided to become friends with me, maybe you thought I wasn't weak anymore? But I am, we both know it and Caleb knows it too."

Jenko looks like he's going into shock. He goes completely white for a moment but he quickly gains his color back. Because he isn't weak, like Schmidt.

Jenko's taking too long to dissect Schmidt's words. Schmidt starts to lose his edge of anger.

"Caleb did this?"

"Right, say it like that, as if we both don't know he's been doing this for months." The exhaustion bleeds into Schmidt's tone. At first, he'd thought Jenko didn't know about it, but that probably wasn't possible.

"What?" Jenko chokes out.

Schmidt doesn't say anything more. He slides down into the couch, too tired to get to the bed. Then, embarrassingly, he dissolves into a puddle of tears. Soon Jenko's soothing him with little shush noises and pulling him against his chest. It seems to go on forever and ever like that.

 

 

***

 

 

Schmidt wakes up in his bed. He can smell Jenko making breakfast. Jenko looks worse than he did, and he freezes on Schmidt's approach.

"Thanks for breakfast." Schmidt says because he doesn't know what else to say. Nothing makes sense anymore.

"Sure." Jenko seems to be having the same problem.

"We better go in today or the Captain's gonna be pissed."

"I called, he's not expecting us."

Jenko sets the plates down before them. It's eggs and bacon, toast and hashbrowns. It looks like they've been arranged with care. Jenko's girls probably got breakfasts like these, Schmidt never did. Better late then never, Schmidt guesses, it's apparent Jenko just thought he was a cheap fuck anyway.

Schmidt bitterly upends a bottle of whiskey into his orange juice.

"Schmidt-" Jenko protests but Schmidt just cuts him off.

"If you don't like it go home."

For a second Schmidt is sorry, is actually scared Jenko will go. God, Schmidt's pathetic. Jenko just grabs the bottle and mixes a minuscule amount into his oj.

So Schmidt gets smashed for a second day in a row. Then he has an idea. It's a bad idea but Jenko isn't leaving, looks like he's gonna spend the night, so Schmidt goes for it. He rips his clothes off because there's no reason to hide his weaknesses now. He comes out of the bedroom and pushes his naked self into Jenko's lap where he's sitting on the couch.

Jenko's whole body tenses. He doesn't push Schmidt off though, it's more controlled than that. He grasps him firmly and moves him off. Then he stares at Schmidt's chest where most of the bruises are. There isn't a lot there anymore. Mostly just faded ugly yellow and a small smattering of brown and purple. Jenko's fingers trace the yellow edges of a particularly nasty bruise. He traces all of Schmidt's bruises across his chest, his arms, and it's weird. He starts on Schmidt's back.

Schmidt begins to think maybe it was a bad idea but it's too late, he's committed.

"Fuck me Jenko." he begs, didn't mean to, but he can hear it in his own voice.

Jenko startles. He snatches his hand away.

"I think we should get you to bed." he says. And Schmidt has failed because Jenko doesn't have sex in beds, not with him anyway.

"I don't need alot. You could just kiss me. That was my favourite part. Anything else will be for you" Schmidt tries again, miserably, because of course this was just like Pretty Woman and he's Richard Gere. How does that even make sense?

Jenko doesn't say anything else, he just manhandles Schmidt back into his room and into his bed. When Schmidt goes to puke Jenko is there with the waste basket.

Schmidt cries himself to sleep.

 

 

***

 

 

Jenko makes them breakfast again. French Toast and coffee. Schmidt hates himself. He's surprised Jenko is there at all.

"Sorry about yesterday. Guess I drank too much" he squints against the bright sunlight streaming through the window. "I don't remember anything."

He knows Jenko doesn't believe him from his look, but Jenko lets him have it. He's also straightened the house up and dumped Schmidt's alcohol collection down the sink if the bottles are any indication. Jenko straightens him up too. He picks out clothes for Schmidt and steers him towards the bathroom.

"Take a shower."

Schmidt gets out just as his parents arrive.

"Mom? Dad? What are you doing here?" but there's a smile on his face because he won't ever be not happy to see them.

"Honey!" His mom pulls him into a hug and kisses his temple. "My poor Schmidtty, you look like a little raccoon."

"Mom, stop it!"

He pulls away and notices Jenko is already at the door getting his shoes on. Jenko catches him watching, he must have disappointment written across his face because Jenko clears his throat and looks away. Schmidt's clinging again.

"The Captain's expecting you tomorrow. I'll see you then." is what Jenko says.

Jenko doesn't escape from his mother's kisses as he leaves.

 

 

***

 

 

His parents leave that night and it was nice having them over, so he didn't have to actually think about anything. The night eats at him. He doesn't get much rest.

Schmidt's a little embarrassed to go back to work the next morning. Everyone is nice to him though, normal. He doesn't see Caleb anywhere. Jenko is talking to an intern but straightens up when he sees him. His cheer looks fake.

"Schmidt, I need to talk to you." Jenko shoos the intern away, "the Captain wants to see you in his office later. Uh, he...has the security tape from the locker room, and statements from other officers but he still needs something from you."

"I don't get it." Schmidt says, because what? Jenko rubs a hand nervously across the back of his neck.

"It's not alright you know, what he did."

"Oh," Schmidt says, and it's kind of nice but it doesn't make sense, "he just lost his temper. I was ignoring him so..."

"What are you trying to say Schmidt?"

"I mean it's kind of my fault, but - how much trouble am I going to be in? Was it you who told the Captain? Because you know this is just going to make it worse."

Jenko is stone faced, upset.

"Schmidt, you're in the opposite of trouble. None of this is your fault, you're never going to have to work with Caleb again. The paperwork is just going to go through and then he's fired. He's on leave right now."

"What?" Schmidt's surprised, but he's a little pleased too. There's a little smile at the corner of his mouth.

Jenko smiles back, soft.

"Fuck that guy." Jenko says but there's something behind his words that sound like pain. It puts a damper on things.

 

 

***

 

 

Jenko isn't the same. Or rather, even though Schmidt tries things aren't the same. They aren't like they were - easy camaraderie and smiles and jokes. They're not on the same wave length anymore. Schmidt tries pathetically hard, he doesn't care if he's clingy this time - Jenko doesn't call him on it, but Jenko doesn't respond to him either.

Schmidt hears a rumor Jenko's transferring out. He's so angry he can't even see straight.

"My place or yours?" he asks Jenko aggressively.

"I have a date tonight." Jenko says and Schmidt doesn't care if he does.

"Cancel it."

"Okay," Jenko relents, "Your place."

"You better not have picked it because you think you can leave anytime you want." Schmidt bites out.

"That's not why I picked it." Jenko says miserably.

 

 

***

 

 

Schmidt is at least thoughtful enough to have dinner ready when Jenko arrives, even if it is take out. Jenko eats with him in silence.

"I take it you heard I'm transferring out?"

"So it's true," Schmidt knew it but to have it confirmed still blows, "you..you..." he can't find the words.

"I'm sorry Schmidt, I don't want to cause you any pain."

"Liar. You fucking liar. You stupid fucktard idiot bastard - " Schmidt trails off into a bunch of profanities.

Jenko just takes it.

"say something!" Schmidt finally yells.

"I thought about it, and there's no way I can make it up to you. I can't make it better. High school was bad enough, following you around and pulling your pigtails. I could make it up though, if I tried, I knew that. What I did to you this time...is so much different than that."

"Jenko, what the fuck are you talking about?"

"Wanna come over this weekend?" Jenko mimics himself, voice dead and even. Schmidt feels a little cold. He'd assumed they weren't talking about that.

"What - you can't make it up to me so you're leaving? You're not the first person to regret having sex with a coworker, get over it." Schmidt's a little lost. He doesn't know what angle to take on this to make Jenko stay. The issue completely blindsides him.

"I don't want to hurt you anymore. I'm bad for you." and Jenko looks so fucking earnest.

"That's stupid Greg, you're the one who said it wouldn't affect us. And I mean of course I would do it, I'm in love with you! Don't try and hide behind the fact that you hurt my feelings. Be a man and tell me it's me then. It's not like I was trying to guilt you into anything or trying to make it awkward for you."

"You're in love with me?" Jenko asks and his expression hurts something inside Schmidt.

"Don't. Don't do that, don't pretend." Schmidt says because at this point Jenko must know. He reminds himself though, that he thought Jenko knew about the bullying too - and there are things that don't add up there but Schmidt has firmly told himself he's too tired to think about those things.

"I guess I knew... it was probably that you loved me. You trusted me and I turned around and hurt you deliberately, as much as I possibly could."

"Deliberately?" Schmidt asks weakly. He'd been telling himself it hadn't been deliberate, that Jenko just didn't know he was doing it. He'd been telling himself that it wasn't Jenko's fault that Schmidt was in love with him when all Jenko had wanted was some fun. Jenko's words blow Schmidt's perceptions out of the water.

"I was angry. That night, when Caleb had you on the bed. I didn't think he was bullying you Schmidt." Jenko says blankly, "It looked a lot like you two were going to have sex. And then you told me it wasn't the first time...and that doesn't excuse what I did or what I said. Even if you had been together. It just...it's so fucking horrible that it was happening right in front of my face and I couldn't recognize it. I mean I just didn't know. You thought I did and I deserve that lack of faith you have in me but that doesn't mean I don't hate it. You must have been so confused when I... I fucking kicked you out of my apartment. I wouldn't even let you on the bed. I ignored you except when we had sex. I didn't even try to make it good for you."

"Yeah well telling me you fucked me just because you knew it would hurt me because I love you is even worse. You never wanted me. I thought that maybe I was just convenient, just a body, but I never would have dreamed you did it just to fuck with me." Schmidt's voice keeps getting louder, he just knows there's tears and snot all over his face, "Guess it's true what they say, High school never ends." he snarls.

He isn't like himself at all.

Jenko looks outraged.

"I wasn't fucking with you," he hisses, "what the fuck do you think I've been doing these last few months? Fuck, this last year?"

But Schmidt isn't listening to any of it. He gets up and tries to leave but it's his apartment. It strikes him as funny after what he'd said about Jenko running away and he tries to laugh but no sound comes out.

"Schmidt," Jenko grabs at him but he evades, "fucking listen for one fucking second."

"No," Schmidt pushes but then Jenko has him against the wall.

"I did do it to hurt you and that's what you should take away from this, because what I'm going to say doesn't change anything. You have to know it wasn't your fault. I've wanted you since before I even knew I wanted you. I was trying to go slow, I kind of thought we were on the same page. Then this Caleb dick shows up and I think, why am I even bothering with romance? You obviously don't like me as much as I like you. So I took what I told myself I wanted. I knew it was wrong. And after I did it I knew I just wanted you, I didn't care about Caleb anymore. How could you forgive me after that though? And then I find out...and I know, I just know there's no way I can redeem myself. I love you, but I'm bad for you. I've always been bad for you."

Schmidt feels a little sick. He wants to believe Jenko loves him so fucking badly.

"You were romancing me? But...the girls...and, the clingy thing..."

"I'm not a good guy Schmidt. I was hinting that you should fulfill my 'needs'." Jenko looks like he hates himself when he says it, "And the clingy thing - I just, I was embarrassed. It seems so stupid now, all I want is for you to cling to me."

"Stay." Schmidt tries.

"No. I can't do that to you." Jenko's voice leaves Schmidt no room for hope.

"You thought Caleb and I were together?" Of course, it's the missing x in the equation. He doesn't know why he focuses on that. It's just that everything is ruined now. Jenko can say he's leaving because it's the right things to do, but he's still leaving.

"That's what it looked like to me. It's easy to see it for what it was now but at the time, I thought he was flirting with you. Because that's how I - piece of shit that I am - flirted with you in high school. And then, on the bed, which I still don't really understand-"

"You're not a piece of shit. And that is not flirting, for the record. It's really juvenile."

"And the bed thing?" Jenko asks, like he's compelled to.

"I don't know what that was." Schmidt answers, and he may as well tell the truth because Jenko is leaving no matter what he says, "I-I was, well, he called me a pervert because I - you smell good, okay? - and your shirts were just there. And then, I don't even know, things got really fucked up and he said he was gonna rape me or some shit. And I mean, I'm sure he wasn't going to. I tried to get him off of me anyway and he just kept pushing me down. And I was gonna tell the Captain, because it was worse than high school, than just boys being boys or whatever, but you called me weak and said I deserved it..."

"I thought - when I said you were weak and that you deserved him it's because I thought you couldn't wait for me and so you fooled around with him instead..."

It hardly matters now that Jenko was planning to fool around with him. Schmidt's heart pounds anyway. Jenko's barely audible when he asks,

"...did he...?"

"No," Schmidt assures Jenko, "like I said he was just trying to scare me. I mean the first time he grabbed my crotch. It really hurt but other than that."

Jenko's glance down at Schmidt's crotch makes him feel self conscious.

"He was making fun of the pedophile, Mr. Stuart. He wasn't trying to..." Jenko swallows and nods.

"The first time - when was that and why didn't you say anything?"

"Like what? Remember in high school, in gym class, when you smacked me hard between the legs?"

"That's different. It was an accident that time and - "

"Everyone just laughed. Plus you all were pissed I smacked Jack." Jenko didn't bother correcting the name.

"That's why you were weird in the bathroom." Jenko steels himself for another question, "Is that why you didn't say anything? Boys will be boys?"

"And I...I didn't want you to laugh at me, or think I was weak. It wasn't that bad. "

"Maybe compared to what I did to you."

"As soon as he got worse than what you were like in high school I was going to tell." At that Jenko eyes Schmidt's chest, like he's remembering the bruises under Schmidt's thin shirt.

"Right, the bed thing." Jenko looks really sad, Schmidt hates it, "Schmidt I would never laugh at you and I don't think you're weak. I wasn't talking about what I did in high school -and I wish I could take that back, what I meant was that Caleb was probably nothing compared to how I hurt you that weekend."

There isn't much Schmidt can say to that, he just blows his breath out tiredly.

"Please don't leave Jenko. I need you."

"Okay." Jenko says, like he's breaking down.

 

 

***

 

 

It gets a little easier after that. Jenko and Schmidt are once again, on the same wave length. They're friends again, but just that - friends.

Schmidt probably shouldn't push. He gets that, but Jenko certainly isn't going to make a move. And Schmidt is maybe a little giddy with the fact that Jenko is into him. Had been romancing him.

"Let's go for dinner tonight."

"Okay, sure. You want to try that new Mexican place down the street?"

"How about that Italian place near your house?"

That makes Jenko hesitate. Jenko has been really reluctant to let Schmidt back into his inner sanctum. Schmidt thinks it's the fact that he's ashamed of what happened last time Schmidt was there. Schmidt doesn't dwell on it because he's good at letting go of the past. It was his choice to make, and maybe it was a bad choice but Schmidt can live with that. He likes to think they have a better future waiting for them, if Jenko will just get his head out of his ass.

"I don't know." Jenko frowns, "how about that place near your place?"

Schmidt knows Jenko has no idea what he's talking about, he's panicked.

"What place?" Schmidt asks.

Jenko sputters a little, doesn't have the presence of mind when he's put on the spot.

"Okay." Jenko relents, "I guess Italian is fine."

Jenko doesn't bat an eyelash when Schmidt 'forgets' his wallet. Just says, 'I got it.' even though Schmidt ordered wine and a fancy dessert. The waitress smiles at them like she can't even believe how cute they are. Schmidt revels in it. When they get outside Schmidt remembers he 'forgot' his coat at the station.

"Maybe I could borrow a sweatshirt?" he asks Jenko. Even though it's a cheap ply to get inside.

It doesn't work, Jenko shrugs off his jacket and drapes it over Schmidt. It's a fitted jacket though so it honestly just looks ridiculous. Jenko rubs the back of his neck.

"You want to come in for some coffee?"

"Yes" Schmidt says, because he has no chill at all.

"Movie?" Jenko asks after he gets the coffee brewing.

"I'd like to see your bed." And Schmidt is always saying shocking things like 'Let's make a baby!' that he means to the very depth of his soul. But they are always things he doesn't strictly mean to say. He'd meant to be a lot smoother than that. Consequently he turns red.

"Schmidt..." Jenko starts reluctantly, but he stops. He looks at Schmidt, really looks at him. "Fuck, you're pretty." he whispers.

"C-Can I kiss you?" Schmidt asks.

"This isn't a good idea."

"Well, you're not gonna hurt me again, right?"

"Never gonna fucking hurt you again." Jenko says.

Schmidt reaches for him.

Jenko takes him to his room and Schmidt climbs on the bed. He begins to take his clothes off but Jenko stops his hands at his collar.

"I could just kiss you and that'd be enough right?"

Schmidt groans. They make out for what feels like hours. They forget about the coffee.

Schmidt tries again, in the morning, after Jenko's made them breakfast.

"Um, I know this is totally not really cool of me, and really not romantic but, uh, I just wanted to say, that I wanted to take care of your needs. And I do mean emotionally but also sexually?"

Schmidt's sure his face is bright red.

"Schmidt," begins Jenko and Schmidt can already hear that it's a no and his face falls, "it's not a no. But I just - I'd like to take it slow with you."

"Why? I mean we already..."

"When we...you'd never done that before right?" Jenko asks.

Schmidt hadn't been going to tell him.

"I thought so." Jenko continues, "I didn't at the time. Looking back on it I realized you had to have been... Schmidt, I really love you and I really care about you. I screwed up. And I swear I'm never gonna screw up again, not with you. You're too fucking important to me."

Jenko takes Schmidt's face in his hands and kisses him slowly.

Schmidt can't complain.