Actions

Work Header

Ugly Tim

Chapter Text

“We keep left one, but need implant for right,” a woman with a heavy Russian accent spoke. It sounded like they were in some sort of echo chamber. “We haff blue lens, or we replace whole thing?”

“There’s less healing time if we just insert a lens for now. We can spend time and money correcting his impairment if he survives the rest of the surgeries. Prep him for me, nurse. Looks like we need more anaesthetic.”

Tim could see fuzzy, shadowy figures looming over him. One of them leaned down and forced his right eye open a bit further.

“He’s starting to come around, so hurry. No need to cause any more pain than necessary,” the second voice spoke, his breath wafting over Tim’s face.

The warmth felt sort of nice; the room and his body felt so damn cold. He wanted to ask for a blanket, or for them to turn up the heat, but before his lips even started to form words something even colder than the room was shot with merciless force into the vein of his right hand. The icy liquid quickly tore its way up his arm and he felt like the air was forced out of his lungs as the horrible sting continued to spread. A squeak escaped from his throat as he tried to scream, the coldness of whatever had invaded his veins quickly being replaced by a feeling that he was being burned alive from the inside.

“Mistake! Wrong vial. Sorry doctor,” the woman called Nurse apologized, taking Tim’s wrist in her giant hand and slapping at one of the larger veins on his forearm. “He no die. Nina will care for heem.”

“You fool! You can’t give him the anaesthetic now that he’s got that running through his system! We’ll just have to wait it out,” the man that had been called doctor by Nina sighed. “Terribly sorry Mr. Lawrence. I can’t do anything for you until tomorrow.”

------------------

“We, uh, apologize for the racket. Our patient is having a bit of a rough day,” Dr. Autohn explained sheepishly, bowing his head to the handsome, young programmer in front of him.

“A rough day? Sounds like someone’s murdering a fucking cat with a rusted spoon in there. We’ve been hearing screams all goddamn day long coming outta here.”

“We’re terribly sorry, John. Trust me, though. Everything is under control. The program is really coming along!”

Jack cocked an eyebrow and put a hand on his hip, shifting his weight to one side in his usual, sure-of-himself pose. The guy was hot and he knew it. There was no point in pretending to be a run of the mill dork when he wasn’t - he was absolutely certain that he was going to do great things. Good lookin’ dudes like him didn’t come along every day, but when they did, they had an obligation to become great. At least, that’s what Jack always told himself.

“Haven’t you already killed, like, ten guys? Let me see him,” he demanded, not even a slight hint of it being a request rather than a command.

“I-if . . .if you insist. But John . . .” the doctor said, nervously fidgeting.

“Uh-huh?”

“Just uh - just don’t expect him to . . . you know, look the part just yet. Wh-what I mean to say is -”

Jack groaned and shoved the man in the lab coat out of his way.

“BORED!”

He just didn’t have the time for anyone stumbling over words when he could get the information he wanted on his own. With way more force than necessary, the tall, dark and handsome young man thrust his fist into the door panel and it slid open with the usual hiss.

“Alright, alright, we hear ya buddy! Can’t you shut him up?”

Nina was pinning the shoulders of the patient to the table as he writhed around, terrible shrieks escaping his throat. To be honest, Jack was surprised the guy still had the ability to scream for so long with such gusto.

At least we know he’s got a great pair of lungs. We’ll make sure he gets another great pair, too! The brunette laughed to himself. Goddamn, if he wasn’t the most hilarious person he knew!

“Nina made mistake! Patient get Nuvidium, not anaesthetic. Must wait it out. He strong boy. Make tough man!”

“Nuvidium?! Why the hell would you give him that in any case?!” Jack wanted to know as he started tearing through the drawers, looking for the vials of what he wanted. Besides being a brilliant programmer, he was a bit of a genius when it came to hundreds of other topics, one of which was chemistry. His studies included chemicals and various combinations of them for use in the fields of weapons and warfare, but he also dedicated a decent amount of time to studying it for medicinal uses.

Nuvidium was a fairly safe substance when used outside of the body, but upon interaction with red blood cells, it caused a violent reaction and released a substance that caused immense amounts of pain. Depending on the dosage, the pain could last for hours, or even days. It’s use in the medical field was generally as a topical ointment for painful skin maladies. Why nurse Nina would have had a vial of it near his (hopeful) future body double, Jack didn’t know, but he DID know that he was fucking pissed off about it. It wouldn’t be the first time she “accidentally” experimented on a patient. That didn’t really bother the strong jawed man, but the fact that she did it to someone in HIS charge was unacceptable.

Jack dropped a fist full of various substances on the medical tray nearby and picked up a syringe, pulling various quantities of each bottle into it.

“Keep him still, or so help me, you’re gonna be getting Nuvidium soup for a month,” he hissed through his perfect teeth.

Nina kept quiet and put as much of her weight onto the patient as possible. She didn’t dare mess with Jack. He was the kind of crazy that would definitely poison her food for a month if she didn’t comply. She’d  wanted to snap that muscular back of his over her knee so many times, but knew the backlash wouldn’t be survivable. So long as his diabolical brain was left intact, Jack would be relentless in his hunt for revenge.

Tim tried to figure out what was going on around him, but he was delirious. All of his insides had been on fire for what felt like years. Someone was restraining him, but their touch only made the pain more intense, so he fought against it; the harder he fought, the more they forced his searing flesh against the bed, and the more awful he felt.

Jack cleared the air out of the needle, then jammed it into the patient. Within a few seconds the screaming stopped and was replaced with heavy, laboured breathing and pathetic, shivering whimpers.

“There! Was that so fucking hard?” the good looking desk jockey wondered, rhetorically. “Get outta my sight,” he growled, and nurse Nina complied.

Looking over the patient, Jack felt guilty. It was an emotion he didn’t even think he had anymore, but when he saw the colour of the other man’s hair and the freckles that speckled the bits of his flesh that weren’t wrapped in bloody bandages, he knew exactly who it was.

“Hey there, pumpkin,” he spoke in an unusually sweet voice. “So this is where you went . . .”

Jack stroked the ginger coloured hair gently and his breath hissed through his teeth.

“Pumpkin?" Is . . . is that him? Why is he here? Where is here? What’s going on? Tim wondered, recognizing the smooth, velvety voice of his boss and the annoying nickname he’d given him.


“Carrot-top? Ginger? Four-eyes? They’re all so unoriginal,” Jack had said the first time they’d met.

As usual, Tim was being bullied by his co-workers. He had been busy scrubbing at his computer screen with a tissue, trying to clean off the insults before anyone else saw them when a strong arm wrapped around his shoulders and leaned over his hunched body. The owner of the arm and weighty torso had been Jack and he spoke those words loudly, making sure everyone had heard him. In a quieter voice he offered Tim a tip on a proper solvent to remove the marker, then he dropped his voice even lower, his breath brushing over the ginger’s ear as he whispered, “Pumpkin’s cuter anyway. Welcome to my team.”

With that, Jack pulled away and winked at the furiously blushing Tim. He dropped his pocket square onto the green-eyed man’s desk and offered him a flirty grin.

“The name’s Jack. I won’t be needing that back,” the cocky man spoke, finishing their conversation. As he headed off the red head could hear his new boss joking about the rhyme he’d accidentally made, then complimenting himself for his own wit and laughing to himself.


“Si . . . s-sir?” Tim barely choked out, but no matter how hard he squinted, he couldn’t see the figure next to him.

That voice, though - it was unmistakable. It had to be him. The man he’d had the hugest crush on for a long time and whom he’d recently had the pleasure of getting to know.

“Don’t waste your breath, pumpkin. I’m so sorry about this. They weren’t supposed to take anyone from my department,” Jack complained, gritting his teeth. “Don’t go dyin’ on me, now. I actually like you, ‘kay?”

Chapter Text

Tim had been working at Hyperion for a few years as he fought his way through a university education. He knew it would mean absolutely everything to his mother if her son obtained a completed degree as nobody else in their family had ever done so. They couldn't afford it, but the freckled young man had signed off on several predatory loans, aware that they were dangerous, and simply neglected to tell his mother about that part; he didn't want to disappoint her and there was no reason to expose her to the dark underbelly of higher education. Tim was all that the frail woman had left, so he couldn't fail her.

By any means necessary he was going to get his degree. In the end, if the loans ended up being too much of a burden, he'd decided he would just kill himself. Of course, he'd only do that if his mom had already passed away. Once she was gone, he really wasn't going to have much to live for, anyway.

The green eyed man laughed at his reflection in the mirror as he pushed his glasses up his speckled nose.

Not like I'm going to find a wife and give mom grandkids! No woman in her right mind would settle down with a dweeb like me. Nobody wants ugly kids . . .

He'd landed less than a handful of pity fucks (which he was eternally grateful for) but felt demoralized after every single one of them.

"Oh, sweet Timmy," he was always told. He could have sworn all of the girls who'd had sex with him had somehow worked together to formulate the exact same response. "It was great, sweetie. But it was just a one time thing. You're like, a nice guy and all, but . . . I think things just got carried away last night."

The last person (a good looking, but rather stupid man) had been crass enough to explode into laughter and joke about how drunk they must have been. What crushed Timothy was that he'd only had one beer. It hadn't seemed like his bed mate had been drunk when he'd come onto him, but Tim had never been a really great judge of things like that. He got quickly lost in the drunkenness of the affection that he'd been shown; he'd actually fallen pretty hard for the guy, so for it to all have ended up as some sick joke by the universe had nearly broken him. Tim had sworn off relationships after that and he dedicated everything to school and work.

After he'd only been with Hyperion for two years, Tim finished his education and the company gave him an unbelievable offer - they'd pay off his insane debt, so long as he fulfilled a few contracts. One of those was to spend at least the next two decades working for them, which Tim happily signed off on; his life wasn't going to go anywhere, so he might as well sign up for steady work! Another of those was that he was required to sign up for at least one drug, or technological implant experiment.

Tim was fairly excited about the latter; it was possible that they could fix his horrible vision with some sort of surgery, drug, or implant, so it seemed like there was nothing to really worry about. It's not like they were going to break his bones and try to make him taller, or completely restructure his face. Hell, he wouldn't mind it if they did! Being a better looking guy would be worth the suffering - or so he thought.

When he'd been with them for another year after that, he was contacted by the higher-ups, and he was rather stunned that the drug/surgery scenario wasn't what they were interested in signing him up for. Instead, he was ordered to transfer to Helios; a partially built, experimental space station.

"You've been hand selected by the head of our best experimental technology team to work on AI programming as well as the hardware and integration software that will be required for various services and weapons" was what they'd written to him. He didn't really have a choice, but he thought it would be an interesting opportunity. As long as he was drugged out of his mind on the shuttle, everything would be fine!

The first day he'd showed up to work, he'd had his doubts that this job would be any better than his previous one. It was nice that the boss stood up for him, but it was embarrassing that Jack even had to.

"Handsome" Jack and "Ugly" Tim. Great. I've already got a nickname here.

His boss's well-intentioned interference only lead to a ton of whispers under everyone's breath outside of Jack's hearing range. The red head sighed loudly and pulled his glasses off of his face again.

"Fuckin' Hyperion. Trying to create goddamn space cannons to shoot robots to planets completely intact and ready for mother fucking combat, but can't design a health care plan where I can afford non-fogging fucking glasses," he hissed, starting to wipe his lenses on the towel around his waist.

"Oh? Disgruntled alr -"

"UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Timothy threw his body across the tiled surface of the bathroom as he reacted to the unfamiliar feeling of someone's warm, naked flesh against his own. In his trip across the room, the green eyed programmer lost his glasses and his towel, leaving him completely vulnerable; he couldn't see who had so rudely assaulted him and his most valuable assets were on display. It was annoying that the plumbing in most of the apartments was not fully in order in their sector, so most of his team had toilets and kitchenette sinks, but no showers, or bathtub hookups yet. They all HAD to use a communal shower, but when Tim had gone super late the night before, he'd managed to have it to himself.

"D-d-don't touch me! I kn-know how to fight!" he assured the other person, putting up a fairly pathetic looking defense with his fists.

"I, uh . . . don't think you'll be knockin' 'em dead like that, pumpkin. Relax. I was just trying to lighten the mood in here. Feels oppressive, whew!" Jack said with a whistle. He stepped closer to the naked man on the floor, but made sure his steps were intentionally loud. "Gonna hold out my hand. Don't bite, please. Turns me on," Tim's boss joked, though, honestly, it didn't really sound like he was kidding.

"Sir? I-I'm sorry, I didn't realize -"

"Nah, nah, guess I shouldn't a surprised you like that. Thought it'd be funny. I mean, to you, too. Not just me . . ." the brunette admitted. He'd had no idea just how jumpy his new underling was, so it had been his fault for treating him like just another one of the guys. Obviously, being nude made some people feel nervous, especially when touching was involved - Jack wasn't one of those people, but he filed that notion away in his brain as he took Tim's hand and helped him up off of the floor.

"I, uh, can't see, sir," the slightly shorter man announced squeezing his bosses hand as Jack tried to pull it away. "My glasses - I'm basically blind without 'em. Do . . . um, I mean, can you see them? I'm really sorry!"

Tim could hear Jack snort out a laugh and wondered what was so amusing.

"Glasses versus towel - victory goes to glasses! Not too shy, then, are we?"

Pulling away, the pale man covered himself with his hands. He'd forgotten for a few seconds that he was entirely nude!

"Curtains match the drapes at least," Jack almost purred. "You'll have to wait to find out about mine," the handsome man offered, scooping up the glasses off the floor. "I'm kidding!" he said with a laugh as he pressed the glass and plastic into Tim's shaking hand. "You're welcome to look all you want!"

The ginger was terrified that he was going to start getting aroused. His boss was incredibly sexy and his voice was like velvet and chocolate - gorgeous and irrestistable. Tim clamped his hand around his glasses and quickly headed in the general direction of the exit.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Jack apologized, snatching his new employee by the shoulder. "I was just messin' with you. You're so sensitive. Not, uh, used to that. I won't do anything weird to you, I swear. I just . . . I thought I might make you laugh. I'm wearing a towel, so put your glasses on."

The man with heterochromia shifted his weight uncomfortably from one leg to the other.

"You, uh - got an unusual sense of humour I guess," Jack continued. He was always extremely uncomfortable when nobody was talking, so it was a habit of his to fill empty space with his own voice.

"I do?! I have an unusual sense of humour?!" Tim practically screeched, cramming his glasses onto his face and turning away from his obviously out-of-touch boss. "Because my sense of humour doesn't include sexually harassing my co-workers?! Because I don't think it's hilarious to humiliate someone in the shower?! Because I would never get my kicks cornering someone who's already -" the ginger man shouted, huffing and forcing an uncomfortable pause between his last complaint, "already terrified . . . and all alone . . . and, and . . ."

For the first time in years, Jack literally had nothing to say. Nothing clever came to mind. Well - correction: dozens of stupidly clever things came to mind, but none of them would resolve the situation without making Tim absolutely hate his guts.

Timothy felt the tears burning the edges of his eyes and became just as uncomfortable as the other man in the shower was with the awkward silence.

"Here. My towel. It's . . . ya know, clean and all. I'll grab another and get yours to the laundry."

Jack placed the towel gently over Tim's shoulders, doing the best he could to apologize without actually saying that he was sorry. He'd never really learned how to do that right; not with his shitty upbringing. He knew that now was the absolute perfect time to actually use the words, "I'm sorry," but bringing himself to say those words was impossible. It made him feel powerless and weak and he would NEVER feel like that again.

Without words, the freckled man lowered the towel to his waist and scampered away.

"Ffffffffffffffffuck," the brunette moaned to himself. "FUCK."

Chapter Text

Timothy yawned as he made his way down the hall after work on Friday. He'd slept like shit for the rest of the week, thanks to Jack's stupid bathroom antics and it made him stressed out every time they were anywhere near each other.

"Can't just apologize, can he? Noooooooo - that would mean he admitted fault. HRMPH!" The red head snarled under his breath as he waited for the elevator.

He'd ended up staying in the office later than everyone else to finish up what he was working on. Also, it didn't really hurt to keep his mind off of how completely weird his first weekend on Helios was going to be. He hadn't really made any friends, so he didn't dare ask someone to show him around. Tammy seemed nice, but she talked way too much and constantly bragged about her boyfriend, so she'd probably spend the weekend with him. From the sounds of it, they'd be screwing like rabbits the whole time.

The elevator made a screeching noise as it lowered itself to the floor he waited on, the door opening a bit before it actually stopped. That was a bit disconcerting. He hadn't seen that happen before. Like hell was he going to die in a goddamn elevator shaft, though, so he let the car leave without him and called another one. The next car acted like the rest of them had during the week, so Tim felt a bit more comfortable boarding it. That sense of comfort immediately faded as he heard shoes clicking towards it.

Damn it! Come on, close, close, close! Tim willed the door, but he didn't dare press the button to do so. If someone busted him trying to leave them stuck waiting for the next one, he wouldn't live it down.

The door closed to barely a sliver, but fingers slipped in between and they burst open again. It was the worst possible outcome - it was Jack.

The green eyed programmer bit his lip and felt his shoulders tighten up. GREAT. Now they were going to be together, awkwardly not speaking, in close quarters.

"PHEW! Made it!" the brunette exclaimed, looking extremely relieved that he got in on this ride. "Oh, hey Tim. Timothy? Timmy? What, uh . . . guess I shoulda asked before, whaddya like to be called? Mr. Lawrence sounds stuffy. Unless you like that?"

AWKWARD AWKWARD AWKWARD AWKWARD AWKWARD! SAY SOMETHING.

"Ju - ahem! Just . . . Tim . . . is fine. Whatever you like saying," came the uncomfortable response. Here they were, talking for the first time since Jack brought up his pubic hair as a topic of conversation, acting like it hadn't happened.

"That's no good."

The slightly taller man took Tim by the shoulders and urged him to stand up straight, and not to slouch.

"You're the only man left in your family, aren't you?"

Tim cocked an eyebrow in confusion. Where the hell was this coming from? His heart had been racing furiously in his chest since he saw that damned gorgeous face climb into the elevator, but now that Jack was touching, it kicked up the rpms even more.

"As such, you have to BE a man. YOU tell people what to call you. Never give them a choice. Confidence is important," Jack told him, matter of a factly. "You think I've gotten this far with Hyperion in such a short amount of time acting like a mouse?"

"Wh-what - what is wrong with you?!" Tim wanted to know, giving his boss a forceful shove and dropping his files on the floor. "Why are you tormenting me? Is this still funny to you?"

"No. What? I'm just giving you some advice. You've got potential, that's all."

The freckled man blushed as he received a compliment; that wasn't what he'd expected.

"People treat you like garbage because you let them. If it's unwanted advice, I won't keep bothering you about it, but I don't wanna hear you whinin' about it the next time someone says something shitty."

Almost like he was in a huff, Jack crossed his arms over his chest and looked away indignantly.

"I . . . I'm sorry," Tim apologized, drooping to the floor to collect his papers. "I didn't . . . I thought you were just picking on me. You're really . . . cool. And good looking. And smart. I wouldn't have figured that someone like you would stick his neck out for someone like me. Tim. Call me Tim."

Jack sighed and registered a cocky grin on his lips. Of course the guy was sorry. And yes, he WAS cool, and good looking, and smart, and fit and sexy, and great in the sack . . . he never minded hearing any of it.

"Alright then, Tim. I'm Jack. Only the old assholes call me John. Don't ever call me that. Who is 'someone like you', anyway? Who is Tim? If my memory serves me correctly, he's a brilliant programmer who was hand-chosen - by moi - to serve as a member of an elite team. Is that wrong?"

At this point, Tim's boss was annoyingly starting to tap the toe of his shoe on the elevator floor as he expectantly waited for a response.

"Yes sir, I mean . . . no sir! I mean, yes first, then no; I am a programmer. And you did choose me. And you're not wrong. So, 'yes,' 'yes,' 'no.' Um, sir. Jack." It felt super weird calling his boss of only one week by his first name. Nobody even seemed to know what the guy's last name was. He was like Madonna, or Jesus - Jack didn't need a last name. People knew who you were talking about. It didn't help that Tim's secret programming idol just so happened to be Jack.

Running his hand through his chocolatey locks, Jack grinned ever wider and nodded, though Tim wouldn't look up from shuffling his papers back into their various folders. It was weird that the guy avoided looking at his face, but he already knew why; Tim found him attractive. The way he always blushed and got flustered around him made it pretty obvious. Most people were like that when they met him, so Jack was used to (and rather fond of) it.

"You make me really nervous," the freckled man admitted with a sigh, followed by a deep breath. "Tim's not a really popular guy. Never has been, probably never will be, ya know? He's a run of the mill geek - good with computers and technology, programming, wiring, that sort of stuff. Dorky face, even dorkier voice, this stupid red hair, freckles - he's, uh . . . never really hung out with the 'cool' guys. Give him a break . . . if you wouldn't mind too much. There's more to him than that, but . . . those are the basics."

Jack chuckled and squatted down beside his employee.

"Tim's an honest guy. I like that. I think I can cut him some slack with the generic 'guy humour.' For now," he replied, nudging Tim with his elbow. "But after that, it's all dick jokes!"

For the first time since he'd arrived on Helios, Tim laughed. God, it felt really good to laugh! Maybe there was common ground somewhere between them. He'd love to write to his mom and tell her about making friends with someone like Jack. Besides that, it would be pretty cool to be friends with a guy like him. He could probably learn a lot from the charismatic and charming man, and hoped that maybe Jack would find some value in hanging around with him as well.

"Not until I get to see yours," Tim quietly joked.

"Eh?! That's my guy! I knew you had it in you! I mean, not my dick - yet," Jack continued, quickly wondering if he'd pushed that last joke a little over the edge.

"Buy a guy a drink first, will ya?"

The two of them laughed without the awkward tension from that uncomfortable week and Tim was eternally grateful. He did wish, however, that they'd managed to have this conversation earlier. It would have saved him at least 4 days of fried nerves, hiding behind pillars and trying not to throw up on every break.

"Well then. Tomorrow night. See ya at eight? Nine?" Jack said, standing back up as the car doors slid open; they'd arrived at their floor.

"W-wait, what?"

"Drinks? On me. I won't try to fuck you," he laughed. "Just a lil' . . . welcome to the team. Except just with me."

" . . . uh, I uh . . . eight?"

"Right-o. Sleep tight, pumpkin!"

Chapter Text

"I won't try to fuck you," Tim could hear in his ears all the way back to his apartment. Had that seriously just happened? Did Jack really say that?! God, he was so incredibly crass! Still, it made him laugh. It was kind of cool being seen as worth hanging out with and drinking with and joking with by someone as amazing as Jack was.

The door slid closed behind him and automatically locked. The cool air inside his room felt pretty nice. His body temperature had shot up the second Jack entered the elevator and had remained uncomfortably raised throughout their interaction. Tim could feel the chill of his cooling sweat sliding down his back and cringed. Had he been visibly sweating?! Had Jack seen it?

The pale man kicked off his shoes and dashed to the full-length mirror on his bathroom door. He lifted his arms and checked for pit stains.

"Phew! Oh man, that would have been embarrassing . . . not that the whole thing wasn't pretty embarrassing," he muttered.

For good measure, he turned around and made sure he hadn't soaked the back of his shirt. Luckily his shirt was in good shape. The shorter hairs on the back of his neck had gotten all curly, though, which meant it was possible that it had been noticed.

"Ugh. Not that your bright pink fuckin' face wasn't noticeable. Idiot. No! Not idiot!"

Tim struck a confident pose in front of his mirror and puffed out his chest.

"I'm Tim. Call me Tim. My name is Tim. Don't you dare call me Timmy, or I'll rip your balls off!" he practiced saying with varying expressions. Maybe there really was something to this confidence thing. At the very least, he felt a little manlier. "Lookin' good, Tim. Lookin' gooooooooood," he told himself, using finger guns like Jack seemed to do so often. "Okay. Now you look like an asshole. Too much, too much. Keep it cooooool, man."


 

At six in the evening the next night, Tim started to lose the cool he'd told himself to keep the night before. He hadn't really thought much about the meeting with Jack throughout the day; he'd been busy unpacking his belongings, then he ended up spending too much time reconstructing his Gundam models and unboxing his sexy anime girl figurines. After that, he went to work doing his laundry, cleaning his small kitchenette area and customizing the colours and patterns on the furniture that came with his new apartment via a high-tech app that had also come with it.

He quickly hit the showers and returned to his apartment in pajamas. He honestly had no idea what he was supposed to wear. Was it a date? Jack certainly had made enough sexual jokes that it left Tim uncertain as to whether or not the attraction was one-sided. Where were they going? Was there a dress-code? Should he wear his contact lenses, or glasses? How should he style his hair? Should he style his hair?

As if his thoughts were being read, Tim's phone vibrated in his hand and he dropped it to the floor. When he retrieved it he opened the text message from Jack:

"Swanky casual. Wear whatever makes you feel sexy and comfortable. A little hair gel wouldn't kill you."

Whatever makes me . . . feel sexy? Sexy?! I don't even own anything sexy. God, what a total weirdo. IS he hitting on me? This shouldn't be so complicated. Just . . . two guys, having drinks. No big deal, Tim. Relax.

Tim rifled through his clothing for something that, at the very least, he felt attractive in. He often felt like he was absolutely hideous, but there were some days where his reflection didn't really seem all that bad. If nothing else, he was just sort of . . . average. His masses of freckles, however, according to others, seemed to tip him towards the less attractive end of the scale.

"Fuck that," he said to himself. "I'm not a bad looking guy. Confidence. Confidence . . ."

With mere seconds to spare before Jack was ringing his doorbell, the red head finished getting ready. He'd found a pair of form-fitting black slacks with thin white pinstripes, and paired a dressy looking, forest green v-neck with a plain black suit jacket with ¾ length sleeves. He used a bit of hair gel to tame some of his more unruly locks into a decent looking style, trying to mimic Jack's hair without looking too obvious; he didn't really know much about doing hair. Tim was a simple guy with a simple routine - shower, towel dry hair, comb hair, end; by nature, it was wavy and unruly, with more and more messy curls breaking free from distress to keep it organized as the day went on. He hoped he wouldn't get teased for his inexperienced effort. Before sliding into his black and white wing-tip shoes, he finished up by straightening out his glasses and dabbing on a bit of cologne.

Might as well smell sexy, I guess? God, what am I doing?! I should have turned him down. This is going to be so weird!

Tim opened the door and found Jack looking even more gorgeous than he usually did. His muscular torso was clothed in a silky looking button up of a chocolatey colour topped with a cream overcoat and matching slacks. His hair was styled even more meticulously than it was during the work week and he smelled . . . sooooo good! Tim wanted to lean in and melt into him.

"Hey there, kitten. Not lookin' too shabby!" the brunette complimented his employee. "Likin' the hair. It's got that, 'I tried, but not too hard,' look."

Tim scratched at the back of his head and smiled nervously. Was it stupid to tell Jack that he looked great? The guy always seemed to know it. For the first time, he actually looked into his leader's eyes and noticed that they were mismatched. The left one was the exact same, emerald green as his own, but the right was a deep pool of cobalt blue.

"Hey, you noticed my face! Now ya know what it really looks like, not just how you see it in your dreams," Jack teased with a wink. He was glad that Tim was comfortable enough to quit avoiding eye contact. "I know, I know - I look smokin' hot. Save your praise for someone who looks like they need it."

Oh my god . . . if he'd just stop talking, he'd be the perfect guy. Ugh . . .

"Oh! A little somethin' for my cute date."

Jack held out a rectangular box to Tim and leaned against the door frame.

The red head took this opportunity to display his own sense of humor, popping his head out the door and looking from side to side.

"So, uh . . . where is she?"

With a strong slap on the back, Jack laughed and congratulated Tim on a well played joke.

"For you, though. Go ahead and open it. Nothin' special, or anything."

The freckled man gingerly took the black leather case and opened it.

"Try 'em on! I hooked you up with some fogless, water-beading lenses. I don't wanna hear about you bitching in the shower about your insurance from now on. If you need something, come to me."

"Oh, I . . . wow! Thank you, sir. Thanks, Jack, I mean. They're so . . . stylish. Do they look okay on me?" Tim wondered, taking off his usual pair of wire-frame glasses and replacing the ones that he'd been offered. They had thick frames that looked like hardwood, but they were so much lighter! "The lenses . . . they're so thin. My prescription is pretty strong, I'm not sure they're gonna -"

"It's your prescription. It's not like it was hard for me to get into your records. They're Hyperion tech. Ultra lightweight," Jack said, as if he were bragging about designing the product all by himself.

Tim was a little uncomfortable that his info wasn't private, or secure, but grateful for his boss's lack of ethics when he put the glasses on. To be honest, he'd never seen so clearly in his life! And it didn't feel like the world was filtered through thick glass - it was like seeing the world with his own two eyes, save for the fact that nothing was blurry.

"God, these are incredible. Thank you! I, uh . . . can't probably afford them, though."

Jack snapped the lid of the box closed over Tim's old glasses, pulled the box out of his hands and tossed it down the hall.

"Are you really that dense? They're a gift. I don't give 'em often, so don't make me regret it. Think of them as an apology - for your first week being a little messy. Now can we get going? 'Cuz it's after seven on a Saturday and I'm not drunk, naked, or both yet."

With all of his usual swagger, Jack made his way, with Tim in tow, to the hottest of hot spots on the unfinished space station. When they arrived, it looked very obvious that there was no way that they were getting in. The line was ridiculously long and the club looked full. For Tim, that was actually ideal; this wasn't a place he'd ever go to on his own. Gorgeous people everywhere, loud music, socializing - no way! He'd rather be cuddled up in his blankets watching sci-fi flicks on his computer. As they walked past the line, Tim felt relieved. He'd been really worried that Jack was going to try to drag him into a hive of sex, alcohol and whatever popular drugs were on the market.

Hearing the very audible sigh of relief escape the red head's lungs and seeing Tim clench his fist over his heart, the well-built brunette scoffed.

"Don't get me wrong. I can get in there with a snap of my fingers. I just figured it wasn't quite your scene."

Tim nodded to indicate his understanding and gently adjusted his new glasses on his face.

"I've got most of the waitresses on the long, long waiting list for entry to my bedroom, so . . . you know how it is. She scratches my back, I scratch her itch for the best ride she's had in her life," Jack elaborated, not wanting his newest employee to underestimate his power of influence.

"Y-yes sir . . ."

Talking about sex made Timothy uncomfortable. Hell, talking at all made him uncomfortable. It really was going to be a sharp learning curve to go from talking only when required to holding an actual conversation with Jack; their areas of expertise as far as work went were very similar, but aside from that, they were night and day.

"My bad, my bad. Come on Tim. Let's get some liquor in our bellies!"

The good looking team leader led his green eyed companion to a quiet bar that was barely noticeable; the windows were tinted so dark that one could barely look inside, but the sound of soothing, jazzy piano floated around in the vicinity. They were seated in a comfortable booth with crushed red velvet seats and backing and the dim lighting of the room made for an atmosphere that was relaxing, but also not threatening; it wasn't so dark that it seemed like someone would come out of the shadows to stab someone, but it wasn't so brightly lit that one worried about tiny imperfections with their skin, or mistakes with makeup.

The waiters and waitresses were dressed classily, but without fuss. Fitted black slacks with black vests and bowties for the gentlemen, the same for the ladies (save the slacks were traded for knee-length pencil skirts) and both were outfitted with white button up blouses. A cute, blonde waitress - her hair slicked back and pulled into a tight bun - gently smiled as she took their drink orders. She didn't seem too quick to escape from them, but didn't linger either.

"Well? Did I get your number, then, Mr. Lawrence?" Jack wondered, yet another obtrusive grin painting his lips as he rested his head on one hand, his elbow on the table to support his gesture. He knew that he didn't really need to ask; as usual, he was very sure of himself and was aware that the place he had selected would suit his "date."

"You did well, Sir John. Consider my digits yours to keep," Timothy replied, doing his best to aim for a cocksure smile and waving his hand about with gentle flicks of his wrist. Trying to look suave just wasn't in his wheelhouse, but he was at least going to try to play along.

Jack picked up a steak knife from his set of silverware, threw it in the air so it flipped a few times then caught it.

"Don't offer them if you don't mean it," he faux threatened the pale man's fingers with a quiet chuckle. "Pretty nimble digits, aren't they? Awfully small, though," he continued, placing the knife back in its place and taking Tim's left wrist in his right hand. He cast his eyes to the appendages in question, turning the other man's hand from side to side to inspect them.

"They're not small! Your hands are just gigantic, so your fingers are . . . thick. Geez," the freckled programmer argued, twisting his wrist to free it, then gripping Jack's. He pressed their palms together to make his point. "See? I happen to have an extremely average hand size and shoe size, so you're the one -"

"Well, you know what they say about men with big hands," Jack said with a wink; the look on Tim's face said it was OBVIOUS that he knew where that joke ended.

"Jack!" The ginger exclaimed. Had that been some sort of insinuation that his own sex organ was just 'average?'

"What? It means they'll take your daughter on a very romantic date and bring her home at a respectable hour. Isn't that what you'd heard? I certainly hope you weren't going somewhere dirty with that."

Pulling his palm quickly away from Jack's, Timothy tucked both of his hands away quickly and grasped onto his knees. His blush turned his cheeks beet red and hot pink splotches cropped up all over his body. He knew that his hands got ultra sweaty when he was embarrassed, so he wanted to hide as much of it as possible.

Jack laughed and went back to resting his elbow on the table, then his face in his hand. His lips curled upwards devilishly as he soaked up the sheer pleasure he got from toying with others. Tim's undiluted innocence made the brunette want to drink it all up, but . . . not just yet. It was too much fun getting him to react, so to make things a bit more comfortable, he knew he'd have to backtrack a bit. God, breaking this guy down then making him feel safe again, knowing he'd get another opportunity to see Timothy completely flustered was a fucking turn-on. He wanted to take things nice and slow for this conquest.

"Then again, I wasn't finished. They bring her home at a respectable time because her panties dropped the second daddy wasn't watching and the guy was fucking her into the hand-stitched leather of his car's backseat waaaaaay before curfew was over. At least, that was always my experience," the team lead purred.

Not wanting to come off like a total virgin (because he wasn't! He really, really wasn't! Just . . . maybe he'd never been on top with a guy, OR a girl. Did it matter if he was always the one who was getting fucked into the hand-stitched leather?!) Tim nervously laughed and nodded.

"Totally! Th-that's how it goes, right? Just . . . bangin' chicks and taking their phone numbers. I mean, to burn, of course. Who would keep those?"

Oh my GOD, this guy is . . . god, he's just the best! Jack's inner demon said with a cackle. Still, the Hyperion higher-up did have a decent side and Tim made it a real struggle for him to view the red head as nothing more than a plaything. Timothy was intelligent, talented, a hard worker, sincere, honest, kind-hearted, forgiving - he was everything that Jack strived so fucking hard to be. Of course, the heterochromic man was intelligent, talented and an extremely hard worker, but the rest of it . . . he had such a hard time figuring it out. He didn't like always hurting people that he thought he might care about, but something inside of him always lashed out with cruel jokes, snide comments and reprehensible actions.

"Relax, relax, Tim. I know you're not that kinda guy. Sometimes I wish that I wasn't," Jack muttered with a scowl, but he quickly sprang back by giving the freckled man a hearty pat on the back as the waitress returned.

The blonde woman set their drinks in front of them and wondered if they'd like anything else, but both were satisfied with libations for now.

Tim quickly started sucking down his drink. He really wanted to be able to relax with Jack. He wanted to joke around and have a good time. Why was he so awkward? It would be nice to be one of the guys, but when he did things like squeal, "Awwww! Mr. Kitty toes! I wanna take him home," when the girl in the workstation diagonal from his hung up a cat poster, he made it really difficult for others to see him as anything but a complete dork. Maybe if he got a little tipsy, he'd be able to speak more freely.

Oh god, but what if it just increases the amount of stupid things I say?! Come on, Tim. For the hundredth time, just fucking relax! He's doing all the work, trying to keep things light.

"What, uh . . . whatcha thinkin' about there, buddy?"

Jack noticed the freckled man start to space out a bit after he downed half of his drink in one go, and was legitimately curious what was going on in that curious brain of Tim's.

"Just, like, what it might be like if drinking turns me into an even huger dweeb. I always get so weird when you're around me. Probably because you're pretty much what I wanna be like. 'Cept maybe less sex jokes. And more kittens and puppies. Did I tell you that before? The first part, I mean. I'm sorry, I'm repeating myself."

"Don't be sorry. We didn't really have time to talk much about it, or anything. You just showered me with your adoration and then insulted yourself a bunch. It, uh . . . still really buggin' you that much?"

The brunette scratched his chiseled chin and tried to wrap his mind around it. How was it possible for anyone to get up in the morning and not realize their complete potential at their age?

"It isn't like I was always this charming, gorgeous hunk of pure sex wrapped in human flesh, ya know. Little John was a total loser."

Tim raised his eyes to look in Jack's mismatched irises; he wasn't lying.

"Jack . . ."

The slightly taller man waved his hand in front of his face like it was no big deal that he'd suffered so much in his younger life.

"Nah, don't look at me like that. I mean, look at me now!"

"Who . . . um, who was the regular John? I mean, Jack. I'm sorry!"

Jack raised a muscular hand to Tim's supple face and stroked his cheek with his thumb. Seeing the more mousy man maintain eye contact because he was more interested in his story than his attraction to Jack honestly stunned the brunette. Most people gave up their interest in anything he had to say the second they were offered his attention, or affection.

"It's alright. You, really want to know?"

Timothy didn't shy away as his boss drew his face uncomfortably close. His bottom lip started to quiver as he felt Jack's breath on his face and he tried not to gasp too loudly as some of the chocolatey locks of the slightly taller, more tan man fell forward and swept across his freckled cheek.

"Do you really want to know me . . . Timothy?"

A strange, gulping sound made it clear that Tim was trying to swallow without choking on his own spit as Jack's sharply chiseled nose closed in on the bridge of his glasses.

"I . . . I d-do . . . please. Don-don't . . . try intimidating me," the ginger begged, doing his very best to keep his spine from turning into jelly as his boss, placed his other hand on the booth seat between his thighs; obviously Jack was treading deep into dangerous waters to try and scare him off of the topic, but Tim knew better than to back down at this point. "Y-you've already said so much. S-s-so don't," he said with a gulp, "think I'll let you off so easy!"

Getting frustrated that he'd already said far too much, but that he was now seemingly unable to scare the more meek man off of his trail made Jack feel cornered. He'd never meant to say so goddamn much!

Turning his eyebrows down into an even more sinister arch than usual, the genius programmer licked his own lips, millimeters away from Tim's and grasped the inside of his newest employee's thigh. He could feel the other man tense up immediately and heard him sharply inhale. As Jack pressed forward, Tim started to tangibly shake. Honestly, the brunette felt like shit for doing this to his newest and obviously most sensitive employee, but he'd gotten too careless and opened up. If he could fuck his way out of the situation, it would be a lot easier. His insides were screaming at him to pull away and apologize for once in his life, but that wasn't how someone who was going to be the CEO of Hyperion one day would behave. If he had to get a little pushy, he'd do it, no matter what the cost; protecting himself was the most important thing he could do at this point.

Tim regretted his decision to even come out of his room to join his boss. He'd made a huge mistake! He wasn't "one of the guys," and he was nowhere near the league of the type of guy who could hang out with Jack. He was too sensitive and he'd apparently misread Jack's offer to open up.

God, you stupid fucking idiot! Why didn't you just tell him "no" from the start?! You're not cut out for this shit! He's a man's man, and you're just . . . a pathetic loser. Fucking top notch work, Tim. You led him on, too, apparently! Why did you tell him he was so good looking so many times?!

Please don't touch me . . . stop touching me . . . don't put your hand there! Stop touching me, stop touching me, god, please stop!

The freckled man bit his lip hard and closed his eyes tightly as Jack's thumb rubbed dangerously close to his manhood.

Please stop! Stop! Don't touch me, Jack, I'm sorry!

"I'm sorry, please don't touch me like that, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Timothy was barely whispering, one clenched fist on the table shaking so badly that Jack could hear the ice in their glasses clinking around, the other trying desperately to grasp the tight velvet that covered the seat of their booth. "Please don't touch me, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," the freckled man continued, as if it were a mantra that would keep him safe.

Jack pulled away, not really knowing what to say. Nobody had ever reacted to him like this before. He knew that the redhead wanted him, but for some reason, he resisted his advances. Taking his drink in the hand that had been caressing Tim's face, he drank about as much as the green eyed man had, but now, for the first time in ages, he felt super fucking awkward. He felt like he'd raped the guy, but all he'd really done was try to use his sexual prowess to intimidate him.

That's still pretty rapey, Jack. Like, SUPER rapey.

"I'm sor -"

"You son of a bitch . . ." Tim said quietly with a shaky, terrified sounding voice. "You - you son of a BITCH!" he exclaimed much louder as tears defied him and streaked down his scarlet cheeks.

Tim slapped Jack across the face, the sharp noise shocking him with how loud it was and how it resonated through the entire bar.

All of the waiters and waitresses stopped and looked to see what was happening. They witnessed Jack slowly placing his own hand to his cheek in utter shock. People just . . . they didn't retaliate! Nobody slapped Jack! What the actual fuck had just happened?!

You just got shut down, man, the more macho of Jack's inner voices laughed at him. That fucking ginger twink just slapped the shit out of you! Oh my God, you're such a little bitch! Awwww, poor little Johnny . . .

SHUT UP! Shut up, shut up, shut up! This is YOUR fault! Why did I do that to him?! I didn't . . . that's not how I wanted to -

OOOOOH. Of course. You didn't WANT to make a total ass out of that ugly little dweeb. You just weeeely wanted to be fwends wiff him, wight?

STOP! JUST SHUT UP! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

"Th . . . thanks for the drink. I don't . . . just return these. I don't need charity from people like you. I get by just fine on my own."

Tim took off the glasses he'd been gifted and shoved them into Jack's hand between his legs and quickly made an escape.

Jack was far too stunned to chase after him, plus he didn't want to make more of a scene than he already had. Still . . . fuck. He hadn't been rejected since sophomore year; it was an uncomfortable, awful feeling. Knowing that despite everything he'd gone through to completely change himself into a stud with a rockin' body, the veneer of confidence he feigned, and the phony personality he'd so carefully constructed, was so easily seen through and shattered by someone who reminded him of who he could have ended up being made him feel sick. How the hell was this possible?! And why had he gotten so comfortable that he almost gave away his past life as a total skinny little dork to this . . . LOSER and GEEK?!

Chapter Text

Tim fondled the walls as he tried to make his way back to his quarters. He'd drank too much too quickly to remember exactly how Jack had led him to the jazzy, dark bar, but he'd be goddamned if he was going to return there and beg his sleazy boss to escort him home. Besides, he really couldn't trust him, now. Getting molested had completely soured him on the idea of trying to be friendly with Jack.

Didn't you want him to fuck you? Half of him wanted to ask, but he knew better than to take such insipid inner thoughts to heart. Attraction didn't mean he deserved to be treated like a back alley whore. Hell, even a back alley whore didn't deserve to get manipulated and fondled. All human beings had thoughts and feelings that weren't meant to be abused and tampered with once exposed. Nobody had the right to just touch him like that.

I'm such an idiot. A stupid, stupid idio - !

The freckled man tripped over a pile of trash that had been gathered by cleaning robots and he was unable to stop himself from falling fully into it.

"God - GOD DAMNIT!" Timothy cursed, as he struggled to find the strength to pull himself out of the garbage. Maybe he really did just belong there. He felt something room temperature and wet seep into his clothes, and wanted to just start sobbing until he ran out of tears and snot.

A large hand took him by the elbow, though not forcefully, and helped him get to his feet.

"I'm sorry."

The green eyed man snorted and rubbed some of whatever had splashed onto his face off and onto his sleeve, mostly just smearing trash juice across his chin.

"You're not sorry. You've probably never felt sorry in your fucking life, Jack. Does it feel good?" Tim wondered, casting the nastiest glare he could muster in the other man's general direction. "Tell me. How fucking GREAT does it feel to make people who already know that they're lower than sewage feel like shit? You wanna enlighten me? 'Cuz I'd be REAL interested to -"

"I'm sorry! I'M SORRY! I'm . . . I'm really, really sorry, Tim. I didn't mean to . . . I don't . . . can we talk somewhere? Private?" Jack wondered, gently placing the glasses he'd given to his newest employee over his freckled nose. "Please?"

"Why? So you can try to grope me again? Or worse?"

Tim did exactly what the brunette had instructed him not to do, cowering a bit as he slouched his shoulders and tried to make himself look smaller and less intimidating; it was a beta* male's natural state and Jack wanted to vomit for causing the man he'd taken under his wing to revert to it.

"I'd never - and . . . I never should have. I dunno what happened to me. I swear, Timothy, I really," Jack sincerely swore, also slouching over, praying that he would be considered less threatening. God, he felt disgusting inside. Tim may have been covered in filth from the trash, but Jack felt like his insides were coated in even filthier slime. "Can we talk? Please? I feel like scum . . ."

Timothy adjusted the glasses with a huff and turned on his heel.

"Fine. Five minutes. Then you leave me alone. And I don't ever want you to touch me again. EVER."

"Five minutes," Jack repeated with a sigh of relief. "Alright. I'll take it."

Somehow, Jack convinced the slightly shorter man to come back to his apartment because they'd just finished hooking up his shower; there, Tim could clean up without having to use the public shower, and then they could chat. The red head felt nervous about trusting the man who had just assaulted him, but he felt in his gut that Jack was being sincere in his apology. Hell, he'd offered to wait outside of his own locked apartment until Timothy was done washing up in case he felt uncomfortable with Jack being just a room away - that willingness to go out of his way to make Tim feel secure left the pale-skinned programmer feeling slightly less leery, so he agreed. He definitely, however, made sure the bathroom door was locked before he started peeling off his trash stained clothing. His boss had provided him with a yellow t-shirt that had "HYPERION" printed across the chest and a pair of black pajama bottoms with a whiskey company's logo printed in white all over them. The bespectacled man got his shower over quickly and pulled on the loaner clothing; he couldn't help taking a second to admire the scent imprinted on the shirt. Jack really, REALLY smelled nice . . .

"Hey there. Feeling a little better? At least from your tangle with the garbage. Probably not from my . . . indiscretion," Jack wondered, guilt obviously tainting his last few words. God, he felt lower than scum.

The brunette had changed into his own comfortable home wear - a slightly different yellow Hyperion t-shirt and a pair of plain black shorts. He was sipping from a bottle of beer, two empty ones already on the table beside his comfortable looking leather chair. He looked, to the freshly showered newcomer, to be worse for the wear; maybe Jack really did have a conscience.

Tim took a seat in the matching, cushy, black chair and crossed his arms over his chest, both hands gripping the opposite appendage just above the elbow. Despite Jack's damned lookong expression, he still wasn't someone that the ginger was going to take lightly. He absolutely wouldn't be conned twice.

"Is it cold in here? I can get you a sweater, or -" the heterochromatic wondered, noticing the way Tim situated himself in a curled up bundle.

"No. No, I'm fine. Thanks," the freckled man meekly responded. "It's not cold. I'm - this is just . . ."

"Uncomfortable. Yeah . . . I . . . kiiiiiiinda get it," the brunette said quietly as Timothy looked away from him and rubbed his arms. "I mean it, though. I'm sorry. It's hard for me to say that."

The freckled programmer sighed loudly as he moved his hands. Though he still kept his arms tightly tucked towards his core, he rubbed at his aching temples. He said nothing for a few incredibly stressful minutes as he thought about how to respond.

On the table beside him was a bottle of beer with the cap removed. It seemed like it was there more as a peace offering than something trying to pressure him to get drunk and loosen up; Jack's most recent behaviour and the softer tone to his voice made it pretty obvious that he was trying to apologize with more than just empty words. Tim took the bottle in his hands, took a sip, then fiddled with the metallic foil label, slipping his thumbnail just beneath one corner, then rubbing it back and forth, loosening it little by little.

"It shouldn't be. Everyone makes mistakes," he spoke, faintly. "Saying you're sorry is just part of being . . . human."

"Not me! JACK doesn't make mistakes!" the other man reacted rather quickly, with the same temper that had caused Tim to recoil so many times before. With something between a quiet whimper and a growl, Jack tried to quickly correct himself. "John, however . . . well . . ."

Jack ran his hand through his well coiffed locks and shook his head; at least if it was in private, he didn't have to worry about anyone overhearing him. His blue and green eyes dimmed as his eyelids shuttered them a bit more than usual. He hated the fact that every time he raised his voice, Timothy noticeably cringed. Had he become like his grandparents? Abusive and frightening to the point that even his words sharply cut through others? That was never what he wanted.

"Like I said - he was a fucking loser from day one. Just another scrawny, ugly dork with buck teeth, pasty skin, a lazy eye, an acne problem and dorky hobbies. Johnny was a grade A loser," the brunette admitted, adding a bit more to his original confession with a pained sigh. He shook his head with a weak smile. "Nobody ever wanted him for anything besides meticulously taken notes, or a weak body that was just begging to get busted up over some dumb jock's rage."

"I'm sorry," Tim offered softly. It wasn't like he was unfamiliar with that sort of thing; he'd been a punching bag made of meat for all kinds of cliques. Sometimes it was the aforementioned jocks, but he also got the shit kicked out of him by angry punk kids, pissed off preppy boys, fat kids who go bullied, gothic girls who wanted the cheerleaders to notice, or fear them, etc. "But that doesn't make it okay. My life hasn't been a cake walk either. You're not the only one who knows suffering, Jack. Johnny . . . he's not the first, nor will he be that last kid th-"

"I KNOW!"

The freckled man cringed, almost dropping his beer. He wanted to curl up into a ball, but he had a feeling that, more than anything, his boss was just unpredictably vocal - he wasn't going to hit him. Jack needed to get his aggression out; he was at his best with words and intimidation, though his muscular upper body could definitely do some serious damage if things ended up getting violent.

"Plea-please . . . I do want to listen to you, Jack. But it freaks me out when people yell. Just," Tim begged, uncoiling his muscles slowly, "Just talk to me. Don't shout. I'll stay . . . as long as you like. I," the bespectacled man said with a nervous smile and a quiet laugh, "I rescind my time limit of five minutes."

Jack returned the sad smile and shook his head. He knew that he shouldn't have yelled, but he'd learned from the day that he was born that he needed to react quickly and aggressively to protect himself; nobody else was ever going to do it.

"I know it's not a valid excuse. And I -" the brunette ran his fingers through his perfectly coiffed hair again. This just wasn't something within his comfort zone, but . . . if he never opened up to anyone, would he be able to actually get over the things that burdened his mind so heavily? He was fighting hard to claw his way to the top, but pretending that everything was fine all of the time made him feel exhausted. "I won't yell at you. Honestly, I don't mean to. God," Jack sighed as he shook his head, "you're ridiculously forgiving, Timothy. Why do you even give a fuck? It's not like you owe me anything."

Tim uncomfortably shifted his weight in the chair and was embarrassed by the way the leather made fart noises.

"Th-that was the chair! I swear!"

The heterochromatic programmer busted up and took a swig out of his beer.

"Sure, suuuuure. No need to be ashamed, pumpkin. Everyone does it," he teased, coyly raising an eyebrow with his usual cocky smile.

The red head chugged down the rest of his beer and shot Jack an indignant look. Alcohol really had started to loosen him up.

"I sure hope you love the smell of cabbage, then, since I'm free to just do whatever. Gonna need more fuel, though."

Jack honest to god cracked up at someone else's joke for the first time in weeks. It was really entertaining to watch his newest employee start to drop his guard a bit. Tim really was an okay guy - not that Jack had ever doubted that. He'd done his research and was well aware that the freckled man had stellar records as far as grades went, but he also had been voted as incredibly trustworthy; when Jack's hiring staff questioned the man's friends and family about more personal aspects of his life, they'd all responded with one word when asked to describe him as a friend; eight out of ten had responded with "loyal." That was part of the reason Jack had picked him. He'd started feeling like he was going to lose his mind if he had nobody to trust - no one to talk to. Jack had definitely had an ulterior motive when it came to hiring Timothy, but if it didn't work out, he still gained a trustworthy co-worker. He supposed that now was as good a time as any to test out whether or not he had a true confidant in the green eyed man.

The handsome boss pressed a button on what appeared to be an old-style radio that separated their two seats and end tables. A hissing noise was followed by the face of the radio coming forward, revealing quite the minibar; the bottom level had bottles of beer. The top level held various expensive liquors and mixers.

"Help yourself. I assume all guys like beer, so that's what I set out for you, but if you've got a hankering for something else, have at it."

Tim was flabbergasted. He LOOOOOVED whiskey! But some of the bottles in Jack's hidden bar were worth over $5,000 per shot. There was NO way he could possibly pour that sort of money down his throat. He'd much rather have that cash to put towards his student loans.

"Jack . . . holy shit . . . I couldn't!"

A chuckle escaped Jack's throat as he watched Tim's eyes widen; he wasn't going to lie to himself - it felt fucking amazing to impress other people, especially if it was because of the things he was able to afford due to his hard work. He'd clawed his way through blood, piss and vomit to get where he was - showing it off was what made it all worth it.

"I see you eye-ballin' that Teering. Go ahead. It's free, I promise. It's uh - and don't tell anyone - my second lame ass apology to you. And no, I'm not trying to get you drunk. I'll escort you back to your place if you get drunk, like any decent gentleman. At least taste it. I'll do a shot, too," Jack offered.

Timothy shook his head with a genuine smile. He snagged a beer and twisted the cap off.

"Let's save it. Next time?"

"Don't lie, pumpkin. It's not cute," the Hyperion IT genius spoke with a tinge of gloom to his voice. He was still 50/50 about whether or not he'd permanently damaged the link he'd tried to form with Tim. It was possible that the other man was just humouring him out of fear.

"It's not a lie, Jack. I'd never lie to you. Don't really have a reason to," the ginger admitted, sipping a bit from his beer. "Honestly . . . you asked me why I 'give a fuck.' The truth is . . . I . . . well - I've always been really inspired by your work."

The ginger felt his cheeks stain with a blush. He knew he shouldn't be saying such things, but the drinks had really started to clog up with his usual filter.

"I've gotten as far as I have because I've studied your coding. Well, what pieces of it that have been released to the public." Tim faked a cough and added, "And maybe a few that I obtained hacking into various systems just to read. You created so many original ways to bypass redundant code, and honestly . . . you've had so many creative takes on more efficient loops and replacing inconvenient, but commonly used blocks of coding with your own - you're a genius Jack. Obviously you already know that, but -"

"Really?"

Tim looked up from picking at the label on his bottle to see the look of absolute astonishment on the other man's perfectly chiseled face.

"You're serious?"

Tim sighed and continued to drink. He was going to get seriously pissed off if Jack said something asinine like, "You just admitted all of that? What an IDIOT!" The fear of that was legitimate, as it seemed very within the man's nature to be cruel just for entertainment.

"Of course I am. What kind of response is that?"

Jack shook his head and started pouring two shots of the whiskey the freckled nerd was obviously interested in.

"I haven't heard anyone talk about that sort of thing for a few years is all. So you're actually interested in the ol' brain, then, huh? It just sends me for a whirl. I get told, 'Oh Jack, I'm so interested in you!' but when I ask why, I get shallow answers from women like, 'I didn't think men who were gorgeous and intelligent existed,' or from men I get the whole, 'You're a nerd like me, and so goddamn popular with chicks. What's not to admire?' It's, uh - refreshing, honestly.

Please - a toast, yeah? To smart guys like us, making it big and looking pretty good doing it."

A sigh escaped Timothy's throat. God, he really wanted to try it!

"You realize that only one of the two guys in this room is 'looking good,' while doing literally anything, right?"

"I told you before, pumpkin. I mean . . . I thought I did. I think your freckles are cute. And you're a good looking guy - good bone structure, glossy hair, good skin. Ya just gotta quit slouching and looking like someone's pinned a 'kick me' sign on your back all the time. And style that goddamn rat's nest, my man."

My . . . my freckles . . . are cute. To Jack. TO JACK - CUTE.

He was quote, unquote "a GOOD LOOKING GUY?!"

Don't freak out, Tim! Don't lose your cool! He'll notice, oh my god, my face is so hot!

Tim snagged the shot glass and held it out for a toast.

The other man stifled his laughter as he noted the look of absolutely fierce determination on his newest employee's face; he didn't want to ruin the moment.

It was incredibly adorable that Tim's crush on him always set his pale skin ablaze. It must have been brutal growing up with emotions laid bare by the tint of one's cheeks; his purity, all at once, impressed, surprised and aroused Jack. He really did struggle with a strong desire to strip Timothy's innocence away from him. It was difficult make himself stop thinking about shredding the borrowed t-shirt to reveal that snow white flesh that was so beautifully dappled with reddish-orange speckles, shoving down the oh-so-easy to get into sweatpants and pressing his palm into the well trimmed, fiery coloured pubic hair just to find out the kinds of noises his admirer would make.

Was he a lip-biting, quiet fuck, a raunchy, nasty, foul-mouthed slut in disguise, or was he the moaning, whimpering like a virgin type? Jack liked them all - but discovering that sort of thing could always wait for another time; afterall, he had promised to be a gentleman.

"Cheers! To us good-lookin', sexy geeks. May we eventually rule everyone," Jack toasted, finally clinking their glasses.

"To . . . yeah . . . us guys!"

The two swallowed their one point five ounces of the amber liquid and Tim absolutely melted inside; it was like swallowing a small bit of sunlight, with a hint of the way wheat smelled in the late summer and a touch of honey.

"Fuck, this shit is so good, I swear to god I get a chub every time," the more vocal of the two voiced without thinking too much of it. "I mean - uh . . . I said I was gonna lay off the dick jokes. That probably oughta include all stages of arou-"

"Nope," Tim interrupted. "I gotcha. This is . . . if I could cream my pants from just drinking something, this would probably be the drink to do it. I forgive your transgression."

Tim nodded, touched his hand to his chest, then swirled it in Jack's direction like a king pardoning one of his subjects.

"Oh? Well, well, well! My little Tim Tim isn't too sweet to make cum references. I'm appalled! And intrigued."

Jack stroked his strong chin and gave "Tim Tim" a come-hither grin with the addition of a few eyebrow raises.

The redhead laughed, the noise sounding almost more like a giggle. He finally felt comfortable and he didn't know if it was the liquor, or because the man he admired so much seemed like he actually enjoyed his company. Trying to gather his thoughts and remember why they were hanging out in the first place left him feeling a bit less giddy. He used two fingers from each hand on the stems of his new glasses, pushing them gently up his sloping nose. They seemed to fit the crook that he found so unattractive like a glove and he was really grateful to Jack for giving them to him.

"Ja . . . Jack?"

"Yeah?"

"You're not . . . you're really not such a bad guy. I mean, not that anyone said you were! You kind of just - you push things too far sometimes. I'm, um - I feel bad about hitting you. I'm sorry. I don't like violence all that much, but you really - I thought you were gonna - and then I -"

"Don't apologize to me for that. I deserved it. Not like it's the first time I got clocked for being too handsy," the heterochromatic admitted, turning his neck to both sides, the joints in his spine cracking several times. "Guess this comes back to why I did that, huh?"

The freckled programmer nodded sheepishly, wanting an explanation for the severely inappropriate conduct of his boss. While he really did want to feel those large, strong hands touching him intimately, gripping his thighs, exploring his entire body, he didn't want them forced on him. He didn't know whether or not Jack had noticed his body react to his ministrations, or not; that thumb was millimeters away from his sex and Tim was a man, afterall; someone he was attracted to teasing his flesh, whether he wanted it or not, affected him. Remembering the awful feeling in his stomach and the way his skin started to crawl the more Jack touched him threw his mind into discourse.

On one hand, he was absolutely terrified of this man. He barely knew him and he'd already made him so uncomfortable, and crossed the line of acceptable behaviour several times. On the other, Jack seemed like damaged goods. Like him, Jack had been a victim of bullying, however, rather than such suffering making him a more kind, understanding and gentle person, the brunette had gone the opposite direction; he'd become a bully himself. It was an easy way to protect one's self, but it didn't mean Tim was going to tolerate it. Still, he felt sympathy for Jack and he wanted to give him a chance to be his real self.

"I thought I could shut you up. I said more than I meant to and figured you'd be just as shallow as everyone else. I'd fuck your brains out, then you'd forget all about what I said. Always worked in the past."

The brunette poured himself another shot and downed it quickly. Fuck. Was he really going to reveal weakness to this guy? Still, Tim was a doe-eyed sweetheart with the history to prove it. It was a such an internal struggle for Jack; he was desperate for a true friend, but revealing wounds that still felt fresh and raw was never easy.

"I'm not shallow and I'm not 'easy.' I'd never forget someone entrusting me with their secrets. . . . what an awful thing for anyone to do. If," Timothy spoke, shakily pouring himself another shot as well, (though he was going to sip at his this time) he sat back in his chair and looked Jack in the eyes. "If you wanna talk to me, still, I'm listening, ya know? No pressure or anything, though. You just seem so . . . lonely. I'm pretty familiar with that," he added with a sheepish laugh.

Jack started to run his fingers through his coffee coloured hair, but he stopped halfway then filled his fists with the crunchy locks and hissed through his teeth. He didn't like this feeling! He didn't like it at all! It would be easy to wrap his fingers around Timothy's throat and start slowly extinguishing his life. He also had access to any number of guns hidden in the room - a single bullet would quiet the redhead's mind once and for all and Jack would be free from worrying about someone spilling his guts.

"I'm not a victim. Don't . . . don't treat me like that. I don't want your pity," he half growled, half whispered.

"I don't pity you, Jack. You don't need it," the bespectacled man calmly offered. He could tell that the other man was teetering on the edge of losing his cool again; if Tim stayed neutral, he hoped there would be no need for another incident. "You beat them all in the end, ya know? You're the hero. How many of those assholes can say the same? How many have a ton of Timothy's looking up to them and wanting to be just like them?"

A shaky exhale had the idolized computer tech loosening his grip on his hair and dropping his hands to his lap. Jack slumped in his chair and laid his head back, rolling it to the right, then to the left.

"Never really thought about it like that. Hero, huh? Got a nice ring to it. Tim?" he wondered softly.

"Hm?"

"I think you're a genius."

Tim smiled gently and shook his head. He understood the relief that came with the realization that, in the end, the people who created such pain and grief in the lives of others rarely amounted to much importance in the long run.

"Nah. I jus' sorta realized it now. Guess I didn' end up all that successful," he laughed, rubbing underneath his eyes as his vision started to blur more and more; his bottom lashes got itchy when he started getting too tired, but he was forcing himself to stay awake. His words were starting to slur together, but Timothy didn't notice. "Still . . . Mom's proud 'a me and that's all I ever really wanted, y'know? Sold my soul to Hyperion, but I know 's'gon - gonna be worth it. Things - are - they're really gonna turn 'round for me here, so they HAAAVE to for you . . . too."

The two sat in silence for a few minutes, both considering how far they'd come from their pasts. The red head broke the silence as he started to leaned more and more forward, the chair leather creaking as his weight shifted. He squinted one emerald eye, then the other, trying to focus on something - anything!

Jack recognized the signs pretty easily - Tim was intoxicated.

"Jack . . . hey, Ja - Jack. I . . . I don't feel . . . I - I . . . stop movin'. Gonna . . . makin' me . . . sea sick - sick . . . Jaaaaack . . . what's . . . can't see straight . . ."

Timothy tried to sit forward, but his torso started to wobble like his spine was made of putty. The room had started to slowly spin, and as he moved more and more, it started spiraling faster and faster.

"Dizz - dizzy. Jack? Jack . . . Ja . . . . . ."

Chapter Text

"Tim? Hey. Timothy. Timmy cracked corn and no one ever gave a fuck? TimTim," a baritone voice called out quietly. "Hey there, Pumpkin. You alive?"

The green eyed man groaned. The noise, even though it was obvious that the man was trying not to be loud, felt like it was splitting his skull wide open with a dull hatchet. He opened his mouth to say something, but it felt sealed shut with dried paste and his throat hurt like hell.

"Shh, shhh, shh. Think you can make it to the bed, yet?"

"Hnnnn?"

Peeling his heavy eyelids open, the freckled programmer tried to make sense of where he was and what was going on. His brain felt like it was filled with mud and his vision was hazy.

Okay. Not wearin' glasses. Butt feels cold. Side feels hot. Someone's stroking my hair.

"Just uh - nod or somethin'. Please don't puke on me again. This floor is killin' my back and my ass is asleep, pumpkin. Can we maybe get you off the floor this time?"

Puke? Again? "Pumpkin?!" Timothy came to the slow realization that he was sitting on a bathroom floor, leaning against Jack. Their flesh was pressed together without any material censoring the contact. He tried to move away, but felt his impossibly weighty body reject his brain's signals. Focusing on just his fingers, the green eyed drunk was at least able to wiggle them, then clench and unclench his fists.

H-hair?! Leg hair?! Jack's legs . . . are also bare? Am I naked? Is he naked?! Did we?!

"Relax there pumpkin. We didn't even get to first base. You're still as pure as an Edelweiss. Focus, kid. Come on. I'll help you out. Just, uh . . . squeeze my arm or somethin' if you're gonna blow chunks."

Jack carefully peeled his arm off of Timothy's sticky back and rested the other man against the wall. Joints cracked noisily as he groaned and stretched after getting to his feet.

"Ah, GOD, that feels good! Been on the goddamn floor for hours, TimTams. You're killin' me, here."

The confused programmer was still out of sorts, but he was starting to piece things together. That's right - he and Jack were hanging out. After Jack tried to seduce him at the bar to shut him up, they'd ended up back at his boss's place to speak in private. And then he drank too much. WAY too much . . . Jack had confided in him, just a little, though. Tim remembered saying something that the brunette found inspiring, but after that things were a bit of a poorly patched together quilt.

He remembered starting to feel strange and everything after that came in short clips with massive time lapses in between. All he knew was that threw up. Like . . . a LOT.

Oh my god, I barfed all over myself. OH MY GOD, I BARFED ON JACK!

Timothy wished he was dead. He brought his shaky hands up to his face in an attempt to cover his embarrassment.

For chrissake, I'm literally sitting on his bathroom floor in my underwe - where? Where's my underwear?!

Jack couldn't help chuckling as he heard a squeak and watched a selection of muscles in the green eyed man's body spark to life in an attempt to save his dignity - Timothy, in all of his uncoordinated, nude glory was scrambling to cover up his manhood and, hilariously enough, cross one arm over his chest. Since when did a guy need to worry about anyone seeing his nips? Jesus, this guy . . . he was something else.

"Calm down. I've seen you naked before, anyway. Gotta tell ya, though, you're missing out on your second chance to check me out," he joked, caringly bending down again and pulling his friend's arm over his neck. "Let's try this again. Ya gotta be empty by now."

"-ck . . ." Timothy choked out, trying to say his boss's name. Fucking shit. This was humiliating. "Dizzy."

The tanner man sighed and slowed his movement. Goddamn, he was fucking tired! He wanted to get to his bed as fast as possible and finally pass out. His newest recruit wasn't the only one having a stressful, awful week. Tassiter, the cocky motherfucker, had Jack by the balls and had been piling the workload up, all the while insulting Jack's intelligence at every step and threatening him with all sorts of sabotage.

Jack only liked having his balls tortured by a woman with huge tits whipping him while he was strapped to her bedposts, telling him he'd better not come unless he wanted her to shove some sort of foreign object up his ass; he usually ended up begging to be sodomized, so long as she lowered her dripping pussy onto his cock. He definitely was into kink and wasn't too shy about admitting it. He did NOT, however, enjoy an aging, pasty skinned, white-haired douchebag digging his creepily long fingernails into his taint while raping him with a splintering piece of lumber. THAT was how it felt to be manipulated by a scum sack like Tassiter. Jack would never forget his absolute loathing for that man.

"Come on, now. Easy does it."

Tim reluctantly accepted the fact that he and the man he dreamed of impressing were buck naked due to the fact that he had vomited all over the both of them and conceded to the situation. He allowed a well toned arm to reach behind his back and slither around his waist as his own, much weaker arm was used to hoist his limp frame off of the floor. Feeling Jack's neck and back muscles tense and shift as they moved beneath his appendage was difficult to ignore, but at least he had something to focus on besides the complete agony shredding his head. It seemed like someone slowly shaving his skin off with a dull cheese grater would hurt far less than the fresh fucking hell he was currently in.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get drunk. I've never BEEN drunk! I might throw up again, Timothy tried to voice, but again, he only produced pitiful whimpers and squeaks.

"You're doin' great. Let's get ya tucked in so you can sleep it off, kiddo."

The brunette was obviously taking care to speak quietly and gently. An unusual sweetness dulled the usual sting to his words and the honey seeped into the anxious newcomer's being and helped him relax; he was sure that few people ever got to see such a caring side of the cocky Jack. Timothy appreciated the unadulterated glimpse of the man that the heterochromatic could really be, were he not so caught up in keeping up appearances.

-------

"Tim? Hey there. You made it without puking. Passed out a little, but you did it. Attaboy."

"Uuuuuh . . . uh?"

"Goddamn. Shoulda told me ya didn't drink, pumpkin. I wasn't trying to get you fucked up," Jack continued, brushing an ice cube over the freckled man's dried up lips. "Relax, relax. Just some ice. Keeps ya from chugging down too much water and puking it up. Just suck on it a little. You'll be alright, Tim Tim."

Blanched lips parted, feeling like the skin covering them was cracking off as they stretched to accept the deliciously replenishing substance as it slowly transformed from its frigid, solid state to its life-giving liquid form. As the ice melted, Tim did his best to swallow its refreshing essence, but he was still feeling sluggish and he was embarrassed by the vaguely sexual connotations of the actions and sounds of his mouth, tongue and throat.

Timothy grabbed the strong wrist that was so close to his face as the final milligrams of ice dissipated, their contents escaping down the back of his tongue.

Jack felt himself actually blush for the first time in ages as his admirer lapped up the last remnants of water on his skin.

"I'll get you anoth - errrrr . . . Ti-Tim?"

Cinnamon coloured eyelashes trembled as they restricted the view of shamelessly honest, emerald coloured irises. At the same time, the freckled man closed his mouth around the tips of Jack's index and forefinger - the final frontiers of the soothing fluid. He gently sucked at them, wanting to alleviate the painful, scratchy feeling in his throat, but honestly, to Jack, it was like Timothy was screaming for his cock; it was hard for him to see most physical interactions as anything other than implied sexual actions, or some sort of foreplay that would lead to aforementioned sexual actions. He wanted to slick his fingers on that needy tongue, rubbing its bumpy, slimy surface with his calloused fingers until they were coated in drool. He had a desire to force them down Tim's throat until he was gagging on them, but still hungrily trying to swallow them. God, if he pried those pale pink lips even farther apart and used his thumb from one hand to keep Timothy's sharp, white teeth from closing, he really could just mercilessly finger fuck that hot, wet canal with the digits of his other hand.

Stop fucking tempting me, you little minx, or I really will pound your ass until your freckles rub off onto my sheets. Jesus! Imagine the goddamn detergent it would take to get those stains off.

As if on cue, the paler of the two released Jack's digits with a moan.

"Thirsty," he groaned, disappointed that his source of relief had run dry.

For FUCK'S sake! This fuckin' guy! He really hasn't had his V-card punched, has he? The nastiest of Jack's internal devils huffed. Get a little more creative with your fantasy scenario. Why end it with just simulated oral? Ya tried to imagine thrusting your cock into his innocent little mouth? He'd be definitely be choking on it like a teenager, you just KNOW he would! It'd be pretty be fuckin' hot.

Jack hated that his mind ran on so many different tracks at the same time. While, on one hand, it was convenient for work, (he could focus on several different things at once, study various subjects within seconds of one another without losing his place in any of them, or mixing up any of the information) on the other, it literally felt like there were several versions of himself struggling for dominance when he wasn't wrapped up in studying, coding, reading, or between the sheets with someone else's body offering him comfort and a distraction. Still, at this point in his life, Jack really did think that he had a fairly firm grip on who he really was - he could combat the fractured pieces of himself (for the most part) and maintain some sort of normalcy. It did frustrate him, however, that sometimes such vile thoughts crept forward in his mind.

Sure, it would be incredibly easy to take advantage of someone who was barely conscious and lying in his bed, completely nude, but he'd never force himself on someone. Despite his abusive, shitty upbringing, Jack valued honour, loyalty, trust and morality above all else. His guts were often wrenched in knots as he suffered through incredibly immoral, violent, obsessive and cruel thoughts.

"I-I know, kiddo," the heterochromatic man said with an unlike himself stutter. "I'll get you an actual glass of water. WITH a straw, but only if you promise not to drink it too fast. If you soak my mattress with puke like you soaked our clothes, I really will strangle you."

Tim nodded, but quickly regretted it. Holy fuck! His head! It hurt so fucking much! Even if his glasses had been on, he was positive that he wouldn't have been able to see clearly. He felt his boss pat the top of his hand twice and he moved to at least brush his fingertips over the warm and reassuring flesh, but it was quickly withdrawn and he was left alone in his miserable state.

Chapter Text

“You alright?” Jack wondered, cracking his jaw on both sides. He swore quietly at the uncomfortable pressure he couldn't quite work out; it always built up from grinding his teeth in his sleep.

The freckled man blushed as he saw the face that had begun inhabiting his dreams more and more frequently. He averted his gaze with a shaky smile and shook his head, realized that he’d given the wrong signal, then nodded enthusiastically.

“Y-yes sir. Fine. You?” Timothy responded, nervously tracing, then repeatedly retracing the elevator button that represented the floor both of them resided on with his finger

“Seem a little uptight. Calling me ‘sir’ outside of work again, avoiding me, eating lunch alone. You probably permanently damaged your spine from all the cowering you’ve been doing. I thought we’d worked on that.”

Jack tried to cover up the sound of sheer irritation in his voice, but he was super fucking annoyed. Things between his newest co-worker had seemed to be going well, or so he thought, so Tim's remission back into the cowardly, mousy, nervous wreck he'd first met was kind of pissing him off.

Timothy didn’t know what to say, or do. Ending up in the state that he had a few weeks before made him realize just how naive he really was; it made him question the choices he’d made. He’d been lucky that his completely unfounded trust in Jack had worked out, but it terrified him that, had it been someone else, or if he had misjudged his strapping employer, he could have easily been taken advantage of. Someone could have beaten, molested, raped, or even killed him - it was an eye-opener for him, to say the least. Tim was young at only twenty two years of age, and unworldly, and it dawned on him just how dangerous it was to be so jejune. As much as he liked his boss and was grateful for the bonding experiences, he felt like he was being too careless.

It didn’t help that he was also intensely embarrassed. He’d made a complete fool of himself in front of someone he’d revered for a long time AND a man who stirred up romantic feelings inside of him; the more they talked, the more and more Tim’s head started to spin from the whirl of conflicting emotions Jack caused him to have. The red head knew it was completely futile for him to hold a candle for the shamelessly amorous brunette, but his heart struggled to override his brain. He really had a massive crush on the guy! That made it so much more difficult to swallow that he’d looked like a total rube several weekends ago, vomiting all over himself like a child.

“Yo, Helios to Tim?”

“Si-sir?”

“For chrissake! Mr. Timothy Goddamn Lawrence, what the fuck is wrong with you?!”

“EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING is wrong with me!” the bespectacled man snapped back. Startled by his own, rapid response, the pale man lifted up his glasses and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. “I’m ashamed,” he finally, honestly answered, pulling his left arm across his chest, gripping his right bicep tightly. His fingernails were short, but he could feel them starting to leave crescent shaped indents in his skin. “I’m not a kid, but . . . I always give you a reason to view me as one. I feel so stupid for what happened the other day. I mean, I guess it was weeks ago, now, but . . . it feels like it was yesterday.”

Jack exhaled noisily and put his arms behind his head as he stretched out his back. Honest to god, this guy really fucking pushed his buttons, but still . . . he felt oddly protective of Timothy; like the other man’s well-being was in some way his responsibility. Despite his occasional dark thoughts, or filthy sexual daydreams, he had an unfamiliar desire to keep the guy happy and comfortable. Was this what friendship felt like, or was he experiencing something as laughable as sentimentality?

“Why?” the brunette wondering, mostly as a blanket question to all of the things Tim had just spewed out. “So you got drunk. Not like I’ve never evicted my stomach contents somewhere I didn’t intend to,” he laughed.

Goddamn, if Tim wasn’t hypersensitive about things that Jack found to be completely unworthy of being concerned about. Fuck, he’d christened dozens of alleyways with puke after a night of indulging a little bit too much. He’d managed to twist a few of those situations into chances to crawl into the unfamiliar beds of especially nurturing partners. He’d never been embarrassed, or ashamed to lose a liquid lunch, or two over a drinking buddy.

Yeah, but he doesn’t see you as a drinking buddy. He blew chunks in front of (and, goddamnit, all over) the guy he wants to be under. I get the distinctly ‘under’ type of vibe off of him, but who knows? Maybe he’s looking for a power bottom - we’re off track, Jack. Focus. You’re not a ‘pal’ to him.

Timothy gnawed on his bottom lip and shook his head, messy reddish orange locks wobbling about, one particularly unruly lock bouncing in front of his face and swinging from side to side.

Without warning, the elevator lurched, ending the uncomfortable silence as Jack's “pumpkin” released a high pitched shriek. The freckled man stumbled backwards as he saw his life flash before his eyes. He'd always SWORN that his greatest fear was going to end up killing him! A hard chest caught his back and he felt Jack’s arms wrap around his torso. The two stayed like that for a few moments - muscles tensed - just in case they needed to quickly react to another shock, but when no new scares occurred they sighed in unison.

“You’re shaking. Did you get hur -” the programming genius started to ask, but he cut off his words as the steel and glass box groaned. The noise was the precursor to another violent jolt as it wracked the small world inside of the magnetic elevator shaft, metal crying against like material as it listed to one side.

Well that’s just FUCKIN’ great! I’m gonna die in a goddamn elevator as a no-name computer geek with a generic fucking name like, “John.” FANTASTIC! THANKS SOOOOO MUCH, UNIVERSE! Ya fucked me REEAAAL good in the end, and didn’t even let me come!

Much as he’d done earlier, Tim screamed, cursing (without any intelligible words) the universe for ending his life in a way that confirmed that his greatest fear had been completely legitimate. He clutched the arms still clinging to him protectively and wished he hadn’t been a total ass to Jack right before their lives were extinguished at the same time.

I love you, Mom! I love you, Coco! Please don’t forget about me!  He offered in prayer to his mother and pet cat.

“Jack! P-please . . . don’t die thinking I’m mad at you,” Tim whimpered, as the elevator groaned again, tilting again, but in the opposite direction, essentially evening itself out. “I like you,” he confessed, sounding like he was starting to choke on the lump that had risen up in his throat.  “I really, really like you. Even though -”

The more bulky of the two tightened his arms around the similarly framed young man, praying that he’d stop talking. At this rate, he knew that the redhead would say something he’d regret if they lived.

For some infuriating reason, the chocolate haired man just couldn’t fucking stand it when Timothy avoided him, or acted uncomfortable near him. It was rare, but it was becoming more and more obvious to Jack that he really did have feelings for the nervous, freckled programmer. While he couldn’t pinpoint exactly what those feelings were, he knew that they were (at the very least) affectionate. If Timothy bought the farm thanks to this malfunctioning system and Jack somehow managed to survive, he knew that he was actually going to mourn the loss.

“We’re gonna be alright. I promise,” he swore, bringing his left arm up, passing over Tim’s chest and shoulder so he could gently stroke at a pale cheek.

God, why the hell did he feel the need to comfort him like this?! Honestly, Tim was a nobody; he could easily be replaced by any of the thousands of candidates with similar backgrounds. Still, something about the ginger’s mannerisms, his personality, the way that he was so careful not to create waves, his complete and utter devotion to Jack - something really did feel special about him.

Feeling the sweat that was pouring from the redhead’s skin seeping all the way through the chest of his own shirt, as well as the way that every muscle in his pumpkin’s body started losing strength as he trembled made Jack feel just that much more concerned about the nervous programmer’s well-being. “Nothing’s gonna happen to you while I’m around, alright? You’re okay, I promise. We’re gonna be okay,” he reiterated calmly, continuing to hold tight to his admirer.

Timothy felt like a complete waste of Oxygen as Jack did his best to consider both of them in this situation; there was Tim, panicking and shaking like a pathetic, decaying leaf that was barely clinging to its branch in a strong autumn breeze, too petrified to move under his own power. His voice was failing, his lungs weren’t grabbing as much air as he felt like they needed, all the while, his heart was pounding at an exhausting rate, draining the life force from his body while his muscles started giving out. Then there was Jack; stoic, protective, strong, masculine. It seemed like nothing could phase the guy. Tim wondered if Jack had any actual fears, or if he just grabbed every situation straight up by the balls and took charge.

“. . . scared . . . hei . . .” a squeaky, quiet voice cracked as the bespectacled protege tried to share his one true fear with his boss. Using the fewest syllables as he could manage, he tried to confess that he was utterly, completely terrorized by heights.

Jack felt his underling press himself further into his own body as the lights flickered and went out, shutting down the holograms that created the walls, floor and top of the elevator car. Now it was like they were standing in the middle of an endless looking shaft with countless doors above and below them, none of which were available to actually free them.

“H-Help me,” the freckled man begged, as tears started to bubble over his bottom lids. “Heights . . . Jack . . .”

Quickly putting the pieces together and understanding the point that the clearly paralyzed new hire was trying to get across, Jack slowly lowered himself to his knees with his co-worker, then allowed Tim’s frame to collapse all the way to the floor, the descent slowed by his arms. He led the younger man into a seated position between his thighs and gave Tim's shivering arms a few rubs up and down to comfort him. “Does it help if you don’t look down? Go ahead and rest your eyes. I’ll try to climb out the top hatch and get hel -”

“No, don’t! Please!” the ginger yelped, twisting to face the brunette, firmly grabbing the bottom of his handsome boss’s jacket as the heterochromatic tried to stand up. Tim ended up yanking hard as he lost equilibrium and fell to onto his back, throwing off Jack’s balance, too. The heavier man, however, was as agile as a cat, and ended up getting each of his four limbs in a favorable position, hovering over the teary eyed nerd’s body without actually landing on him.

“We’re gonna fall! To our deaths! From all the way up here, we’re gonna hurtle towards the gravity generator and get squashed! I can’t stop thinking about it. The backup can only last so long, then the magnets will fail and! I can’t stop, I keep thinking about it. Being a puddle at the bottom . . .”

“We’re gonna be fine. This shit happens all of the time up here. It just gives us at least two hours to kill . . . or, y’know -  get to know one another a bit more. Someone’ll notice we’re in here eventually.”

Jack lowered his face over the babbling young man’s until he stopped carrying on.

Hot breath was blowing across Timothy’s cheeks, much more softly than the younger man had expected - Jack didn’t seem frightened at all. Wasn’t he afraid of dying?

“Just . . . don’t think about it anymore, pumpkin,” the brunette suggested, resting all of his weight on his left arm so he could make use of his right hand. He let his fingers tease Tim’s jawline as he leaned even closer, leaving their faces hair-breadths from one another. “Focus, on me. My voice,” Jack advised the terrified redhead, brushing a rough thumb just underneath the ginger’s trembling bottom lip, “my scent . . . my touch . . . my taste.”

Tim was shaking even more now! Not only was he horrified of a gruesome death thanks to a faulty elevator, but his crush was now innocently rubbing their mismatched noses together. Jack’s lips trespassed over his jawbone, ever so subtly brushing them over the salty residue left behind by sweat and tears; the freckled programmer inhaled sharply as he tried to focus on what he was told to.

Jack’s voice - it was calm and low. His breathing was controlled. He sounded confident - comforting.

Jack’s scent - like always, he smelled like a nice cologne; something masculine with hints of pine. Something more expensive than Tim’s body wash and aftershave, but similar. For the first time, they were so damn close after the end of a long work day and he could pick up the traces of the other man’s sweat - slightly musky and salty. God, Tim was so completely obsessed with the smell of his could-be love that he thought he might actually faint.

Jack’s touch - it was warm and he was being so gentle. His fingers, his nose, his lips. . . they all delicately ghosted over his own skin.

His lips . . .

His lips?!

B-but . . . k-ki-kiss; is he . . . kissing me? Does it count as a kiss?! His lips are so warm on my face . . . so soft . . . oh, Jack . . . please . . .

Jack had mentioned his taste. Wait. Was that something Tim was going to experience, or was the brunette just making sure he was paying attention?!

A warm tongue gingerly crept out from between Jack’s lips and he tried not to grin like a total lecher; he lapped up the tears that had started to settle into the crevices of Tim’s neck and noted that the sniffles started to fade, replaced by soft whimpers, then he gently left an innocent kiss on the other man's mouth.

Timothy tried to switch his focus to his own breathing but the second he felt those velvet lips brush over his own, quivering labium, the freckle infested programmer was positive that he’d already died. There was just NO way in hell that Jack was really coming on to him right now - or EVER - except when he was trying to gain his silence. Is that what was happening again? Jack just wanted to shut him up. That was a painful sting, but Tim felt like it was probably the truth.

The redhead sent a signal from his brain to say something - to do something - but he couldn’t. His brain was completely overclocked and all of his nerves were frayed. He just kept staring up into Jack’s face, clutching that single corner of his jacket that had brought them into this position.

“Are you okay with this? I’m not the best with comforting words,” the tan project manager admitted, stroking a freckled cheek with his thumb, withdrawing his extremely forward advances. He noted that Tim really had stunningly soft skin. It felt nice to touch and, honestly, he wouldn’t mind getting the chance to feel more of it.

Most of the green eyed man’s body and brain were screaming “Oh my god, YES, I’m more than ‘okay’ with this!” so loudly that those signals were drowning out his attempt to remind himself that he’d literally JUST thought to himself that he was getting too close to Jack without really knowing him.

At the very least, though, the thought of plummeting to their doom had been pushed far out of Tim’s brain. His body finally found the ability to move his appendages so he gingerly placed one of his hands on a strong shoulder blade and brought the other up to Jack’s face. He could feel the stubble that had barely formed scratch lightly at his fingers. Their lips were still so close that the freckled man could almost inhale the flavour of the other.

“Y-you don’t have . . . I’ll be quiet. D-don’t ki-kiss me,” Tim said with a gulp, “unless . . . you . . . i-if you w-w-want to. You don’t have to sh-shut me - mmmf!”

Jack took the needlessly lengthy invitation into the tongueless kiss wholeheartedly. For the first time since he was sixteen, someone actually kind of had him going, too. The whole butterflies in the stomach, light-headed, confusing, heart-racing, something more than just pure lust sort of thing started to wash over him. This bespectacled newbie was stirring things up inside that made him uncomfortable, but he was never particularly shy about doing things just because they felt a little weird at first. Besides, if his body craved someone and if he had their consent, the soul patch wearing man rarely let the opportunity slip away.

With a sweetness that the freckled programmer honestly didn’t think existed in his often crass, loud and pushy colleague, Jack pressed their lips together and led the sweet and affectionate display. While he initiated the first few gentle pecks, Jack waited for the less trained Timothy to react, then he pushed them a bit more forward from there. It was obvious to Tim that his partner was really trying not to be too pushy, or intimidating. Jack seemed to have taken to heart his concerns from their previous, distressing encounters.

Despite how confident the Hyperion project leader may have been coming off, this was honestly a tricky dance for him; he was used to people wanting to get straight down to business, so his usual speed and aggressiveness had to be pushed aside. This was pretty refreshing, though, Jack had to admit. He knew that the other man had been absolutely dying for a kiss from him, so it only seemed fair to give it to him how he wanted it. It was a nice change of pace, and (despite the fact that nobody else ever really seemed to care) he actually enjoyed taking his time. It had been years since he’d actually savoured an amorous encounter.

Both men had strong noses and Jack quickly grew frustrated with Tim’s glasses getting smashed into his cheeks (and it couldn’t have been any more comfortable for the man actually wearing them, either) so he broke off the kiss to get them out of the way. He liked that instead of waiting for him to start things up again, the pale redhead pulled their faces back together and pressed his mouth to Jack’s chin, missing his mouth.

“You really are pretty blind without those, aren’t you?” Jack chuckled softly, running his fingers through disastrous, cinnamon coloured locks. “Not sure why you don’t realize just how cute you are,” he added adoringly, hoping he could get that squeaky voice to whimper his name; it wasn’t like he didn’t hear people saying it to him all goddamn day long, but it was especially endearing in Tim’s voice.

“Jack, pl-please,” Timothy pleaded, sliding the fingers of the hand that he’d had on the brunette’s cheek down to those plump lips to feel out his target. Pulling Jack’s bottom lip away from the top with his thumb, the younger man leaned up and pressed a soft kiss to the former, then gently suckled at the latter; he was going to discover what Jack tasted like. Afterall, it had practically been an order, hadn’t it?

With a smile, Tim’s supervisor obliged, a huff blowing from his nose as he laughed a bit.

Ugh, what IS this? Romance? You’re not trying to marry him, here, John. How are you still dressed? You know he wants your dick. Roll him onto his belly and give it to him already. Someone needs to teach this little pencil neck how it’s done. You're dying to fuck him, anyway, so why not just get down to business?

I’m enjoying this, for your information. Don’t be such a pain in the ass. Besides, it’s not like I’ll only get the chance to screw him this one time. He’s gonna be around here for years! No need to rush into breaking him.

It never ceased to annoy the shit out of Jack that he had to reason with his internal demons ALL of the time; couldn’t he just make out with the new guy without getting questioned, and endlessly pressured to tear him to shreds?

You don’t just “make out with” ANYONE. Stop lying to yourself. You’re just buttering him up so you can lay him to waste!

UGH, just leave me be! Let me . . . let US just have this. It’s kinda nice.

Timothy inhaled sharply as his teeth crashed into the brunette’s; god, he felt like such a fucking novice! Nobody had even attempted to kiss him in the past two years, so he’d become extremely rusty. To be completely honest, it wasn’t as if he was ever really that impressive in that department, anyway.

“So-sorry. Please . . . d-don’t stop,” he begged as the other man’s head jerked back instinctively.

Jack found such amateur mistakes charming. It was getting boring having sex with women (and the occasional good looking guy) who seemed almost too experienced; there was no surprise - no mystery. A nice sprint on the way to orgasm was great and all, but sometimes it was nice to take the scenic route and smell some goddamn flowers.

“Don’t try so hard. Just relax,” he advised his partner, giving him a peck on corner of his mouth. The fact that such a simple gesture made Tim visibly shudder encouraged the brunette to keep it up. “Practice makes perfect.”

Finding the way he’d originally landed when he was yanked to the floor not quite as comfortable as it could be, the slightly taller man readjusted their positioning a bit and fed Tim more precious kisses. He knew once the other man got brave enough, he’d try his hand at the reins again, and it didn’t take too long. Fingers carefully found their way from Jack’s stubbly jawline, two of them trespassing over the lobe of his left ear, while two slipped underneath it and into soft, chocolaty locks.

Timothy nervously parted his lips again, finding his courage even as his shaky breaths were obviously escaping his mouth and alerting his partner. As his fingers worked their way a little further towards the back of Jack’s head, he deepened the kiss, still not sure what to really do with his tongue - his body was stuck on repeat at sucking a bit at the other man’s bottom lip, then top lip and allowing the same to be done to him.

He’s waiting for you to do it, though. You pushed him away before, so you have to be the one. It’s all on you, now. God, I can’t handle this kind of pressure!

“Jack . . .” he heard himself whisper between intensifying, but still rather virginal kisses, not even realizing that he’d signaled his vocal chords to perform any action. They reacted again with something between a squeak and a moan as his idol read his signals and dove into action, shocking Timothy with a thorough sweep of his mouth with an unfamiliar tongue.

Where the ginger’s fingers had been so cautiously trying to find their way into his hair without causing too much disturbance, Jack felt fingernails press into his scalp. The hand on his shoulder that had scarcely moved was now grabbing a handful of material as if it needed something to hold onto.

Goddamn. I was wrong, this is fucking hot! Just imagine how he’s gonna be squirming when you start fingering that tight little asshole. He’s probably already getting hard just over your tongue in his mouth! God, I can’t imagine how much he’d be screaming if you ate him out. Bet his panties already got a nice, big, wet spot with your name smeared all over it!

Do you always have to be so filthy? God, he’s so sweet . . . he even smells sort of sweet. Not like a woman, but . . . something familiar, something that reminds me of being more innocent. He tastes sweet, his touch is sweet, he makes me feel . . . needed, not just wanted. This . . . it’s comfortable and uncomfortable, but . . . I like this! I like feeling like this - content.

Content.

That was the word he’d been searching for this whole goddamn time. It annoyed Jack that, despite being a genius in so many subjects, he just couldn’t figure out how to describe the way it felt when Tim was around him. The way it felt that night when they finally just . . . talked. When he was allowed to be himself without any pretense, or judgment. And it was such a simple fucking word! Gods be damned if it wasn’t one of the hardest feelings to achieve, though. He’d ached for someone to make him feel like this for such a long fucking time without even realizing it.

“Tim,” he murmured as the inexperienced tongue grew more adept at tangling with his own. It startled Jack that his voice was tinged with the same sort of need that Tim’s was.

SHIT. This is bad. This is bad, Jack, this is BAD.

SHUT UP. Just shut up for once! If I can feel like this just ONCE and fucking die in this godforsaken elevator shaft, then so be it!

Jack’s kisses trailed down to the freckled man’s chin as his inner demons started to fight him once again. He spread numerous, thoughtless pecks along Timothy’s jaw and neck. God, he really liked the way things were going. Why couldn’t he just have things his way, his TRUE self’s way, just once?! Was there really something wrong with that?

You’re getting fucking soft. This isn’t how we’re going to get ahead, JOHNNY. This isn’t it at -

“Ah! Ja-ack! Haaah . . . ah!”

Timothy’s whole body tightened up as Jack viciously clamped his teeth down on the left side of his throat.

The older man felt like a wolf who had lured a young lamb to his slaughter. The high pitched whimpers that followed the initial outcry made him feel like a monster. He could feel his admirer’s muscles twitching beneath him as they tried to decide whether or not he was just an aggressive lover, or a true threat and it made Jack feel ill that he honestly had no more insight than Timothy did - why had he done such a thing?

Gently, fingertips that had been anxiously scratching at Jack’s scalp pulled back and swirled in the short, burnt sienna hairs.

Washing his tongue over the clenched skin held in his bite, the heterochromatic tasted the coppery familiarity of blood and his jaws loosened instantly; he hated himself for what he’d done, but his “pumpkin” didn’t honestly seem too concerned; his thinner limbs didn’t seem to be any shakier than they already were, and Tim hadn’t hit him, cursed at him, or tried to escape.

“Ja . . . Jack?” Timothy quietly called out, noticing that the other man’s enthusiasm seemed to have died out.

Oh god, I did something wrong! What was it? Was I supposed to do something that I didn’t? Am I being too submissive? I bored him . . . that must be it! He’s already tired of me. I’m so pathetic . . .

Not wanting it to seem like he’d been caught losing his focus, Jack grabbed a handful of forest green, argyle sweater vest along with the crisp white button up underneath it, and gave the material a jerk, untucking his coding coworker’s shirt. If it appeared that he was simply hunting for more skin to caress, then there wouldn’t be any need for Timothy to question his sudden flux in enthusiasm.

With his belly exposed, Tim nervously chewed on his bottom lip. He already missed the way his boss tasted - he wanted more experience with those lips and that learned tongue.

“Mo-more . . . p-please, Jack. Ki-kiss me more before we . . .”

Hearing his own breathless voice, begging for Jack to keep making out with him turned the freckled man’s cheeks so hot that he was sure they were on fire. Still, it wasn’t fair to receive so much attention without giving back any kind of reward; his own kissing (Timothy felt) was pathetic - a lame consolation prize. The least he could offer was his encouragement.

“Oh? Before we . . ?” the brunette wondered out loud, the spurring on re-sparking his fire. He was just dying to know what words the innocent seeming keyboard jockey would use to describe what he saw as the ending to this scenario. His calloused fingertips pressed themselves to a pale belly, the abdominal muscles instantly tightening beneath the flesh with a sharp inhale from Tim’s lungs.

“B-before we . . . do it . . .”

Jack felt a pulse of electricity shoot down his spine as the green eyed man earnestly replied. Honest to god, he thought he’d get no answer at all, or another breathy, “Jack!” To receive a legitimate response, despite the fact that it was barely audible, destroyed the mystery of whether or not Tim would say fuck, screw, bang, bone, make love, do it, or any of the thousands of other ways to refer to coitus - and Jack really didn’t hate his companion's choice.

Again, it was a juvenile response from his nervous partner, (“doing it” was how fourteen year olds alluded to sex because they were too embarrassed to actually say the three letter word) but knowing that the other man had no qualms about the way that this situation was likely going to the end, AND was willing to say so, really revved his engine.

Not wanting to be too much of a tease, the heterochromatic let out a huff and rubbed his nose against Tim’s. He found it ironic that, now that Timothy wanted to go all the way, all Jack really wanted to do was hold him in his arms, tell him that he found him sickeningly adorable, and say that he prayed they’d fix the elevator quickly so that their first time wasn’t an uncomfortable, desperate, “I thought we were gonna die in that elevator,” fuck. He wanted to get out of this alive and lead the redhead to his bed and do what he’d imagined doing to him a few weekends before.

He wanted to see those pale fists balled up in his silky sheets, clinging hopelessly to something tactile to keep his mind from abandoning sanity as he had the orgasm of his life. He really, really wanted to see tears of absolute pleasure streaking down that freckled face as he slammed into his prostate so accurately that Timothy’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and he was coming like a goddamn freight train with no brakes. Fuck, the idea of feeling that neglected sphincter tightening around his cock as the green eyed man completely lost his mind had Jack’s toes curling up inside of his sneakers already. He didn’t want to go to bed until the redhead had no voice left from screaming his name.

“Damn it,” he cursed the younger programmer. “You just keep getting sexier,” he groaned, pressing a saccharine kiss to the throat he’d injured.

The freckled man noticeably shuddered, his hips bucking ever so subtly against Jack’s thigh as he let out a moan; the older programmer hadn’t been wrong in his prediction - Tim was already fairly aroused.

HA! I told you so! The quiet ones are always the fucking freakiest in the sheets. Nasty little slut. I bet he plays innocent to draw ‘em in. His asshole’s probably destroyed - you lost the bet, Johnny. Your little sweetheart is a two-bit whore.

Shut up! You’re an idiot AND an asshole. I wouldn’t give a shit if he ended up being more experienced than he lets on. He makes me feel like . . . he . . . well, if nothing else, he fucking makes me FEEL!

“Ah! I-I-I’m sorry, I - I’m sorry,” Timothy apologized, trying to flatten himself against the bottom of the elevator, wishing that his hips could sink through the floor, hiding his embarrassment.

Great. Now he thinks you’re a nasty pervert who gets off on pain. SUPER slick, Tim. Real cool, man.

Timothy pulled both of his hands away from Jack and tried to cover his face, but he was expertly routed; both wrists ended up pinned beneath the stronger man’s clutches as the tall, dark and handsome type loomed over him.

“Sorry for what?”

Even though he couldn’t see his crush in sharp detail, Tim turned his head to the side to avoid the unnerving gaze he knew was being directed at him; the icy blue eye on Jack’s right would be drilling through his soul while the emerald green one filled his mind with poison that gave his head that weird, floaty feeling. He could feel chocolate locks tickle his nose and cheek as the man he’d thought so much about recently leaned in.

“You’re so cute, my little pumpkin. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I might react a little slower, but I’ll tell you right now,” the brunette said, dropping his voice for the next bit as he leaned in even more closely, “you’re turning me on, Timothy . . .” Jack admitted, suckling at the earlobe that had been presented to him. He hummed quietly, reveling in the fact that the other man gasped at his admission, that same breath getting caught in Tim’s throat as he treated him to a bit of intimacy. “Your body is just honest about what it likes - what it wants . . .”

The brunette relaxed a weighty thigh against the burgeoning arousal in Tim’s pants, rolling his leg ever so slightly from one side to the other, making sure that there was absolutely no mistaking the fact that the freckled man’s groin was aching for his attention.

“Hah! Jaa~aack! J-Jack! W-w-wai . . . Ja . . . ah . . . aack, hnnng . . .”

“It doesn’t lie, or hold back. I’ll tell you, Tim . . . I want to hear it tell me more,” the Hyperion department head spoke. Without his usual filter catching it, though, his tongue continued to speak honestly, not being forced through a filter that made him sound like a sex crazed maniac, “Not . . . not like this, though. Not because we’re stuck in here. Not because you’re afraid we’re gonna die. God . . . damn it. What am I doing?”

Jack’s muscular body collapsed beneath him, most of his weight shifting to one side so he didn’t crush his newest hire, but he still covered most of Tim’s body with his warmth.

“What’re you doing to me?” Jack honestly wanted to know.

This didn’t make any fucking sense at ALL. He was horny as hell (because, goddammit, he was ALWAYS horny as hell) and there lied Timothy, his foolishly trusting new underling, sporting a hard-on just for him, practically begging for a fuck, and something inside of Jack just . . . it felt weird. Something seemed wrong.

“I! D-did I . . . did I knee you. . . in the balls or something? I’m sorry, Jack,” a very confused Timothy apologized. He wrapped his arms around the weighty body that was lying with his own and tried to comfort the other man. “I didn’t mean to . . .”

Something in his boss’s voice told him that his testicles weren’t the problem, but the freckled programmer wasn’t really sure what else he could have done to cause such a reaction. They were SO close to crossing a line that couldn’t be uncrossed, then something made Jack do a 180; this was Tim’s usual curse. Surely, he’d done something wrong - something stupid, or clumsy, or embarrassing; he must have said something unforgivably preposterous.

In a day, or two Tim would know exactly what he'd done wrong - he’d be laughed at, or ridiculed about it by people who had no business knowing about the things he said, or did in the dark with the people that he thought he could trust with his rather sensitive heart. If it wasn’t something he’d done, then Jack must have finally realized just how disgusting the idea of having sex with him really was.

A gorgeous guy with a reputation and cult-following like this Adonis of Hyperion would never live it down if it got out that he pity fucked someone as pathetic as “ugly Tim,” in a moment of desperation in an elevator shaft.

“N-nevermind . . . just . . . I won’t tell anyone. I mean, about . . . any of this. I’m sorry. Please don’t stop talking to me,” the glass-hearted Timothy whimpered, clinging tightly to the jacket of the man that he finally realized he’d hopelessly fallen for.

Of course he’d never be stupid enough to say to Jack anything as ridiculous as, “I think I’m in love with you,” but the idea of being ignored, or fired, or moved to another department for this moment of indiscretion had now become even more terrifying to him than a fatal fall.

“I won’t tell anyone! I promise, I won’t! I’m sorry. I’m so sorry! I’m sorry, Jack,” he continued like a mantra, “I’m sorry, I promise, please . . . I swear I won’t tell. No one has to know,” Tim swore, inhaling through an obvious backlog of snot, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, don’t get rid of me!

“Please . . . don’t fire me. I . . . I like being around you. I promise,” the redhead gasped through the mucous starting to reclog his nostrils and throat, “I won’t tell anyone, I won’t tell anyone!”

Hearing his Pumpkin suddenly become a complete, sopping mess of fearful tears, apologizing endlessly through waves of shuddering sobs made Jack feel like a complete asshole. He’d finally coaxed the timid man out of his bud - had him blossoming like rose in May, right in the palm of his hand, nervously spreading open and displaying his delicate petals in front of him - then he’d destroyed it all like an unseasonable frost; he’d spoiled the edges of such a brilliantly bright and fresh flower with a harsh reminder that life was brutal and cruel. He’d most certainly stained the petals with the painful, ugly, brown scars around the edges, punishing it for being naive in trusting the sun. Getting Timothy to open up to him in such an unabashed display of his heart’s true desires, thanks to the life and death situation, wouldn’t happen again.

“Tim . . . no. No, no, no, it’s not like that at all,” Jack tried to explain, ruffling up the sweaty mess that the younger man’s hair had become. “You’re not goin’ anywhere. I just . . . I’d feel bad.”

Hearing those words only made the ginger cling tighter, a loud sob alerting Jack to the fact that he’d obviously fucked up the wording of that; it had come out sounding like he was saying he’d feel bad about having sex with Tim, rather than meaning that he didn’t want the ginger to think he was only banging him because they thought they were going to die.

“No, no, I mean that I’d feel bad BECAUSE you . . . ya know, sorta obviously have a, um . . . well, a thing - for me. Yeah?”

All of Tim’s body tightened up - he knew where this was going.

“I know you’re into me, and in a moment of weakness/drunkenness/stupidity, I felt bad for you, we got a little farther than I thought we would . . .”

or

“I felt so bad for you. You were always so good to me, so I figured I owed you some sympathy.”

God, he seriously thought that he’d gotten to the point in his life where he wouldn’t have to hear things like that anymore, and that the people he ended up being around would have stopped acting like it was high school. Was he still trapped in some sort of hell where the way he dressed, his hobbies and his uncommon features (pasty skin, loads of freckles, red hair) still meant that someone that he was in love with was required to come up with an excuse for being seen with him? Was it still required for someone to have some way to explain away the reason that they’d shown an interest him?

“I understand,” Tim responded, his body falling limp. He withdrew his touch and did his best to not think about all of the embarrassing things he’d said and done in the past forty minutes; at least he’d gotten to experience a small glimpse of the absolute bliss it probably was to make love to “handsome” Jack.

“No, I don’t think you do,” Jack said with a deep sigh. He gripped Tim by the back of the head and pulled the blush-stained face as close to his as he could, “I just don’t want your first time with me to be, ya know . . . me fucking you into a cold, glass floor just because you think we’re gonna die and all. Believe me, Timmy - I still wanna plow that ass.”

Timothy’s cheeks caught fire for the illionth time as his partner failed to censor his shamelessly unromantic language.

Fuck me into the floor? PLOW ME?! Jack wants to . . . I mean, to ME? He really wants . . . he actually wants me? Does that mean when he saw me in the shower . . . is he seeing me like that other times?! Oh god, he took my clothes off the night I got drunk! He’s seen me, like, IN DETAIL, more than once! AND HE STILL WANTS TO HAVE SEX WITH ME?!

SEX! WITH ME?

SEX.

WITH. ME.

The two stayed like that, entangled on the floor of the broken box of glass for quite some time, neither saying anything, but the silence wasn’t uncomfortable. The sound of Jack’s Echo watch going off startled them back into an awareness that they weren’t the only two people in the universe at the moment.

Chapter Text

With the failing elevator discovered, a crew of crude robot helpers and maintenance staff finally got things working again and the two men ended up in the brunette’s apartment. The smell of the place had started to become familiar to Tim; they were there together often, working on projects after hours, chatting a bit, or just drinking together in a comfortable silence. Timothy had been awkward after the throwing up thing, but still tried not to make it blatantly obvious that he was super uncomfortable about being near Jack, and accepted several invitations to work after hours in the brunette's home.

Jack cracked a few jokes, pouring them both drinks, (at least HE sure as hell wanted a drink after that nerve-frazzling incident) but Tim never lost the rather serious look he’d had on his face since they were rescued. He hadn’t needed to follow the older man all the way home, but he’d done it because he wanted to know whether or not his boss was serious about what he’d said. Had Jack really been honest about his intentions with him?

When the program director started bringing his glass of amber liquid, up towards his face the freckled man’s frustration finally built up enough for him to react; Tim blocked Jack’s wrist, causing the drink to slosh over the edge of the glass, down both of their arms and onto the carpet.

“P - please! . . . I just . . . i-i-if we - I don’t want you to have to be drunk just to . . . with me . . .”

The brunette calmly traded his drink to his other hand and sipped at it a bit, considering Tim's plea. He reveled in the way that twin, beryl irises nervously wobbled, their owner’s grip loosening on his wet wrist; god DAMN it felt fucking incredible to have so much influence over someone (without even trying!), but at the same time (and for the second time that evening) it felt . . . wrong to take pleasure in someone else’s weakness; goddamn Timothy was so sincere and it made something in Jack’s chest feel tight - almost painful.

“Jack . . . J-Jack, I . . . I’m sor -”

The tan man dropped his glass into the plush pile of threads on the floor, not concerned with the rug, the liquid, or the vessel, pulling the sweating bundle of nerves into his arms and planting a sanguine kiss to the mouth he needed to quiet - all he cared about right now was making this doe-eyed computer geek feel like he’d felt in that elevator; he wanted Tim to feel bold enough to return to his true and honest self. Not just for the sake of the redhead’s self-esteem, but because Jack also wanted to relive the situation they’d just been in. Would he again start to lose the “Jack” he’d so carefully constructed and become just some guy named John who was starting to have feelings for Timothy Lawrence?

Feeling a knot form in his stomach just at the thought that this experience was an experiment to learn more about himself shocked the heterochromatic man - now he knew that he had an uncommon affection for the ginger. The plain featured, average height, slightly below average weight, pale-skinned, freckle splattered, goddamn close to blind man, just a few years younger than Jack, had actually managed to strike some sort of chord inside of him.

The green eyed newbie moaned softly as Jack’s arms enveloped him, those dreamy, pillowy lips again shutting him down; at this point, Tim didn’t give a shit that he was being hushed up - he was addicted. His idol’s mouth offered him an undeniable high that no drug could ever even attempt to duplicate.

Feeling his partner starting to melt again, Jack pulled away from the kiss and led the nervous nerd to his bedroom. He fell back onto his comfortable, obscenely over-sized bed and grinned, looking a bit surprised as Timothy pulled back, obviously struggling to keep himself balanced on his own two feet, rejecting the easy invitation to just “go with the flow.”

“Jack . . . I . . . please don’t judge me,” Timothy begged pulling the sweater vest over his head, his lithe fingers fumbling with the buttons of his shirt as Jack started removing his own clothing.

“Huh? Why would I?”

Wondering what he was being asked to ignore, the much more experienced man had to bite his tongue and quell his initial urge to burst into laughter as his nervous partner finally peeled open the closures of his usually crisp button-up. Beneath the all-business clothing, there lived a stark white body, so pale it could easily have been mistaken as a corpse, save for the steady rise and fall of the lungs inside of it giving proof of life. Several bright pink scars interrupted the supple looking flesh, but that was normal in the time and age they lived in; Jack, himself, was riddled with scars. (Little did he know that he’d gain some so gruesome in the future that he’d don a mask until the day that he died.) A skittish hand slid the sweat-laden cotton over the right shoulder first, then, with a bit of hesitancy, Tim unveiled his left side, his shirt dropping to the floor. Two completely plain looking, stainless steel balls gave away Timothy’s shameful secret - his left nipple was pierced.

Oh, GOD, did Jack want to mock his soon to be lover! A PIERCING. A SINGLE PIERCING was his sweet little pumpkin’s hidden scandal. And he'd seen it before! Had Timothy really thought that when he'd seen him naked before that he hadn't seen it?

“I’m not . . . I’m not a pervert. And I . . . I don’t sleep around . . . Jack, I really . . . ” Tim wanted to assure the brunette. He wanted to tell Jack that he had developed strong feelings for him, but he was terrified of scaring him away.

Despite the fact that it was common knowledge that his boss would have sex with just about anyone, so long as he found them attractive, Tim wanted desperately to assure the man that what was happening was something special for him. The bespectacled young programmer had a very limited number of partners and he wanted the guy that he had suddenly become so enamoured with to know that he was on a very exclusive list.

“Is that it? Oh, cupcake, you’re killin’ me,” Jack said with a smile, his companion’s bashfulness never ceasing to amuse him, “C’mere. Jesus, thought you were gonna reveal that you had two dicks or something - not that that’d be a problem - or something I wouldn't have noticed before. This?” he revealed, snatching the other man by the waist, pulling him forward and placing a kiss over the indicated hardware, “It's fucking tame. You’re so cute.”

Jack flicked the tip of his tongue over the piercing and the hardened, pink nub trapped between the steel balls, and grinned when he felt Tim’s body lean into him.

“Jerk,” Timothy grumbled in his own defense; Jack really did treat him like a kid.

The redhead finally allowed himself to be pulled forward, two strong hands guiding his body as Jack fell back into the mattress, taking him with him. Tim straddling him was a pretty sexy scenario, Jack noted; he’d definitely encourage the shy nerd to ride his dick at some point. For now, he pulled away his pumpkin’s glasses so they could get back to what had been requested earlier - more kisses.

Tim did his best to lead this time, initiating the intimate contact, his rose coloured lips grazing Jack’s. A few sweet, pure kisses quickly devolved into more animalistic urging, open mouth seeking out open mouth, tongues tangling, both men starting to breathe more heavily as things got more serious.

Slightly rough hands busied themselves with sweat dampened skin, thick fingers delicately touching each individual vertebrae along Timothy’s spine, the digits of the opposite hand sneaking around the front of a heaving ribcage to tease an undefiled nipple; Jack never did like going for the easiest, or most obvious target. The flesh reacted to his touch, goosebumps forming around the areola and the nipple hardening with only a few teases. Timothy responded, interrupting the kiss to gasp for air. He was already starting to feel like his muscles would give out at any moment.

“You like that, hm? You want some more?”

“J-Jack, don’t tease me,” Tim begged.

“You knew who you were crawlin’ into bed with,” Jack said with a warm laugh. He used the break in their activity as an opportunity to get them into a more comfortable position, getting the other man to lie down with his head on the pillows then crawling over the top of him. “Glasses?” He inquired, handing them back over to their owner, who pushed them back over his nose.

The freckled man’s cheeks were flushed as he fidgeted with the stems of the aforementioned item. His eyes darted from side to side nervously as he tried to figure out how to word what he wanted to say without it sounding creepy. One side of his mouth screwed up while he struggled through several configurations of words, but none of them came out.

“Hm?”

Jack knew what Tim wanted to say, but despite being asked not to, it was difficult for the brunette not to tease his partner; the guy made it so fuckin’ easy! It was also ever so satisfying to watch hot pink stains crop up over the blank canvas when he got embarrassed.

“I w-wanna . . . see you,” came the staggered words, barely audible.

That’s what Jack wanted hear. Whether or not he was showing his more sweet personality, all of the Jack’s that inhabited his head had an ego. And not just kind of - he had a very high opinion of himself. It didn’t help that nobody ever really discouraged him by disagreeing. Anything that anyone said that helped pad his pride definitely pleased him.

“Oh ho ho! You like what you see?”

The older man sat up, straightening his back and showing off his bare chest. He was pretty proud of the shape he kept himself in, so he was more than happy to allow someone to admire it. All jokes aside, he put a lot of effort into working out and keeping himself looking sexy.

“Take it all in, pumpkin. You can even touch. It’s all free, baby,” the usual cocky attitude not taking a whole lot of prodding to appear. A bit to his surprise, the encouragement was successful.

Pale fingers hesitantly treaded over tan abdominal muscles, leading themselves ever upwards, finally tangling in coarse, dark chest hair. Jack wasn’t a super hairy guy, but the body hair he did have stood out pretty strongly against his skin. He was pretty happy with the amount of body hair he had; it wasn't so much that it would turn someone off, but not so little that he looked like a prepubescent kid. It seemed like a perfectly manly amount to him and his partner’s searching fingers seemed to agree, a palm pressing against the rugged chest. Tim visibly shuddered and swallowed hard. Jack really was an ideal specimen of what a man ought to look like.

“Gotta thing for brawny guys, Tim Tim?”

“N-no. Not really. I just . . . have a thing for YOU, Jack. Please . . .”

Hot damn, Jack. I take back everything I said to discourage getting close to this guy. This is about as fuckin’ “worth it,” as it gets! Can’t wait to pummel him into oblivion. Jesus, he’s seriously beggin’ for it! Wish I was recording this. Save it for spank material later and all . . .

OH MY god, quit it with that shit, already. Can you not even spare me the macho bullshit when I’m LITERALLY on top of him?

Jack obliged, sparing the other man further torment (for now), showering him with more of the romantic kisses that he seemed to covet so much. For the time being, he pushed Tim’s glasses up over his forehead - a decent compromise, he figured, and his employee didn’t fight it. Instead, the freckled man swallowed down each individual act of physical affection, saving each one in a separate file of his heart. Even when he became breathless, Tim’s lips were still searching for contact, glistening with saliva from his untrained technique. One of his hands was around Jack’s muscular back, the other again hanging on to locks of dampened, coffee coloured locks.

“You’re getting better at this,” the heterochromatic wanted to compliment his underling, but his mouth was too busy looking for more salty flesh to savour. He was starting to feel it again - that sense of being comfortable and happy. He felt wanted. He felt . . . loved - and it scared the shit out of him.

Jack had never experienced love and he was doubtful about his ability to ever return such a sentiment and, to be honest, he wasn’t sure he ever really wanted to open himself up to it. The concept of love was such a vulnerability and it wasn’t something he needed getting in the way as he fought his way to success.

Still, he could see the appeal, or so he supposed. This sense of being at home in the arms of another was an attractive prospect. Not being constantly alone with his conflicting thoughts, having someone to share his concerns with . . . at the current point in time, he surrendered to the possibility, but pushed the complicated notion to the back of his head. If nothing else, he was going to enjoy the simple things here; the hungry way he was being held onto, the fingers digging into his skin, begging for his attention and his ears being rewarded with the little noises of pleasure he was coaxing out of Tim.

“Jack, mmm . . . ah! Hmmmmm!”

Apparently Tim’s throat and collarbone were an erogenous zone, so the more experienced man treated them to lots of attention from his warm, moist mouth. Jack traced two calloused fingers down a throbbing carotid artery, reveling in the fact that he could literally feel someone’s life pulsing through their body just beneath his hand. Something about being allowed access to someone’s most vulnerable points turned him on more than anything else. The fact that it would be so easy to snuff out that life, but having the ability to choose whether or not to act on it made him feel like a god - powerful - and power was something John craved more than anything else.

He’d had no power when his parents abandoned him. He’d had no power to decide who would raise him after that. He’d had absolutely no power to protect himself when his grandmother ruthlessly beat, berated, cursed and abused him. None when stronger kids decided that he would be their punching bag for the day;

But Jack wasn’t that little boy anymore. He had the ability to control his own destiny. Twisting people around his finger with words was a skill he’d picked up from his grandmother, but he had long since surpassed her and perfected it. Manipulation was one of his strongest crafts and he used it to his advantage as often as possible.

Learning that looking the part of a powerful man was half of the battle, he’d saved up his money and had his face altered. Skinny, little, dweeby, ugly Johnny became Jack - a handsome, confident, intelligent man with righteous convictions and, goddammit, he was going to change the world.

Naw, to hell with that! He was going to change the universe - handsome Jack was going to go down in history as an important, strong, enviable man.

“Mmm,” Jack hummed against Timothy’s throat. “Told you. Your body is so honest.”

Tim’s back arched as the fingers from his throat brushed over his pierced nipple and the vibration against his neck startled him. For the second time that day, his arousal was revealed by Jack’s thigh. This time, however, the pale man didn’t try to hide it. While he initially flinched and considered withdrawing, the redhead made up his mind to allow his partner to enjoy the “honesty,” that he kept bringing up.

“Gonna want your glasses on for this part,” the brunette purred, cupping the bulge in one of his hands and giving it a squeeze. “In case you wanna study my technique,” he teased.

Jack pulled away so he could bring Tim’s glasses back over his nose, then started working at the other man’s fly.

The freckled man had so many signals from his brain heading to his various limbs, trying to trigger some sort of reaction, but nothing translated to any sort of movement other than his fists gripping handfuls of silky, navy blue sheets. It was a relief to be freed from the confines of his pants, but he was incredibly nervous for Jack to see him turned on, up close and personal - it wasn’t like when he'd seen him innocently in the shower.

“Nothin’ to be ashamed of here,” was the brunette’s response as Tim’s hardening member sprang forward. He swept the pants off of his legs and skillfully pulled away his socks with them. “You’ve got a pretty nice bod, Timmy,” he continued, unfastening his own pants to get them out of the way.

Timothy wanted to look as he heard Jack’s zipper and the rustle of fabric as he slipped out of his own clothing, but he was too embarrassed. Instead he clenched his eyes closed and waited for the other man to start touching him again. Listening to him speak about his body made him flustered; nobody he’d had sex with before ever had much to say, especially positive things, about his looks. He was usually the one with the compliments, or he was with someone who was overly hot to trot and they were in and out without a whole lot of speaking done between them, period.

“Aw come on, you’re not even gonna look? Killin’ my pride here, pumpkin. And here I thought you were just dyin’ to finally check me out,” Jack complained, crawling back over the top of his partner, kissing just above his belly button. “I’m not gonna stick it in until you look,” he continued to tease since he was getting no response; it was no fun to play if nobody else knew the game.

“Jack!” came the reaction he was waiting for, the redhead finally speaking up; it didn’t much matter to him that the response only happened because he’d been crude and was being scolded.

“That’s better. And here I thought that ever since that day in the shower, you’d be daydreaming about what I looked like naked,” the Hyperion department head purred, teasing the flame coloured pubic hair that he had, honestly, been thinking about since that day. It wasn’t that he was really into pubes, or anything, but he’d never seen an actual redhead in the buff before and something about it turned him on. “Come on, what’d you think I’d look like? How do I compare?”

“I . . . I do. I did . . . think about it. Y- you’re embarrassing me. Jack, please! Why do you have to pick on me? I’m not . . . I’m not good at any of this stuff. I’m really nervous!”

The brunette sighed and climbed to the head of his bed, then he kissed his sweet Tim on the nose. He was blushing so violently, Jack could hardly stand it! It was fucking adorable - words he never thought he’d use to describe another man, and definitely not something he ever thought he’d find attractive on another man.

“Alright, alright. Thanks, though. I’m glad you thought about it,” he laughed softly, giving his bed partner’s lips a peck. “I knew you did,” Jack teased, “I’ve seen those sexy green eyes undressing me every time they glance up from your computer screen.”

“Yes, Jack, all I ever think about at work is you and your huge cock,” Tim replied, rolling his eyes and running his fingers through his own hair with a frustrated huff. He would play along a little bit, at least.

“HUGE, huh? Well then! I hope I don’t disappoint. At the very least, it’s bigger than average. I’d say yours is, too.”

The tan programmer matched up their sex organs and gave them a stroke. His newest employee had been dribbling precum since he’d unclothed him, and (from the looks of the inside of his underwear) for quite some time before then, but Jack wasn’t fully aroused yet.

“Ah . . . Jack . . .”

Tim released the sheets and put his arms around Jack’s back again; he really liked being able to hold onto the man he had fallen for. Feeling that his lover (at least for the night) was also damp with sweat, and knowing that he wasn’t the only one who felt the attraction made his heart soar. He’d been so full of doubt that someone attractive (and as EXTREMELY attractive as Jack!) would ever be interested in him in the same way, so it was the best kind of surprise he could imagine, having their unclothed bodies pressed together while he was showered with sweet flattery.

“It’s big . . . bigger,” he whispered, pushing his forehead against Jack’s as the other man used one strong hand to pleasure them both. “You’re bigger than I thought,” he offered, truthfully.

“Mmmmm . . . s’what I like to hear,” came the hairier man’s reply as he squeezed them both a bit harder.

Goddamn, Tim was fucking with his head. How could he be so frustratingly unsexy when Jack tried to tease him into playing along, then a few seconds later say something that straight up made him want to bust a nut without even being prompted?

This was the kind of partner he'd always wanted; someone unpredictable. Someone who wasn’t faking every moan and who was legitimately stuttering because his mind was scrambled up by even the most innocuous touches to his pale flesh. It was obvious that the freckled man was actually inexperienced; his innocent responses weren’t him just pretending to be virginal to get Jack to fuck him.

This was gonna be an incredible conquest and he was going to savour every second of it. Oddly enough for him, he didn’t want it to be a one-time thing, either; he wanted to watch his new pet develop as they spent time together. Would he get more brave? How long would it take for Tim to make the first move? Would he ever take charge and turn the tables? Jack wanted to find out.

Tim could hardly wrap his brain around what was going on. It was like a sensory overload having Jack’s smooth voice pouring into his ears, his masculine scent filling his nostrils, his rough hand touching both of them in such a personal way; hearing his own gasps as the more experienced man jerked them off together, for some reason, only fueled Tim’s arousal. Knowing that Jack was listening to the desperate noises he made as he pleasured them had his cock twitching, beads of precum sliding over both of their heads at an increasing pace.

“Uhn, goddamn, you gonna come already, pumpkin?”

The redhead nodded, his grip on the stronger man’s back tightening as he got closer to completion and his hips starting to move on their own to get into a rhythm that would give him release.

“God, Jack, please! Don’t stop! I’m gonna . . .”

Unable not to grin like a lecherous Cheshire cat to hear that he had Tim ready to lose it with so little work, Jack loosened his grip and pulled his hand away to lick at the mess on his palm.

“Not yet. We’ve barely even started, TimTam. My god, you’ve really been neglected haven’t you? We’ll have to work to fix that. Think I should fuck you every day from here on out, or maybe just once a week? Not gonna lie,” the brunette said, his voice turning to smooth silk as he broke off his sentence to suckle at the sensitive neck of his partner, “I’ve thought about bending you over my desk a couple of times at work. Those grey slacks make your ass look amazing.”

“Jack, please . . . I want you,” Tim begged, spreading his legs to make room for the other man to get between them.

“Fuckin’ ay,” Jack responded with a low growl; he couldn’t believe it! Suddenly his little redhead was very forthcoming with what he wanted and he definitely liked it. “Then you’d better give me a good once over. I said I wasn’t putting it in until you looked. I’m a man of my word, no matter how fuckin’ horny I am.”

Oh my GOD, the things that come out of his mouth, I can’t . . .

Tim gave his partner a frustrated shove, rolling Jack onto his back while the brunette laughed the whole time; it was obvious that he hadn’t seen that reaction coming and was incredibly amused by it. Bright green eyes glared up into Jack’s face from over the top of his now wonky glasses before Tim corrected them and gave his boss a nip on his pec.

“Then may . . . maybe I won’t let you - y’know - at all, then!”

Even though his body was already aching for release, the freckled man knew that so long as it got some relief from Jack’s touch, he could hold out. Now it was his turn to make his boss feel under his thumb for a bit. He took hold of the other man’s arousal and gave it a few strokes before finally psyching himself up enough to sit back and take in the sight - and what a sight it was.

Jack’s body was goddamn perfect. As he’d observed earlier, the other man had a decent amount of chest hair, but what he hadn’t noticed was how well trimmed it was as it traveled down to his belly button and then to his genitals. He hadn’t noticed just how well defined all of muscles were, taut and toned beneath his olive-toned flesh. He had felt Jack’s engorged member being confined to the same hand as they were pleasured in unison, but he was honestly a bit stunned just to see how big it really was.

“Jesus,” Tim marveled out loud without realizing it.

“Yeah? Like what you see? That wasn’t so bad, now was it?”

“Damn . . . yep. I . . . just. You’re . . . you’re really gorgeous, Jack” Timothy responded, losing a bit of his nerve towards the end. He’d started to wonder for the hundredth time just why someone as perfect as his boss wanted to sleep with him.

Jack was the kind of guy he dreamed about. The kind of guy he’d probably have considered himself lucky to suck off in high school and college as they went through “experimental” stages. He might not have had sex with too many people, but he’d given his fair share of handjobs and blowies to curious guys who wanted to test out their questioning sexualities with someone who would be discreet. Tim wasn’t particularly proud of the fact that he’d been desperate and horny enough as a slightly younger man to perform such tasks, but at least he had obtained a bit of skill that he hoped would impress Jack.

People always seemed to like it if they got some eye contact when he went down on them, so Tim kept that in mind and situated himself to get to work. The freckled man looked up over the top of his glasses and tucked a longer strand of his cinnamon coloured hair behind his ear. He dropped his mouth over the tip of Jack’s cock and knew the second he tasted him that he had hit the point of no return; his innocent side, while genuine, had no place at this point in the game. It was time for his X-rated component (no matter how small it was) to come into play.

Grinning like an idiot, Jack took great pleasure in seeing his pumpkin get a bit raunchy. It became obvious pretty quickly that Timothy’s mouth and tongue knew their way around a dick; it made him wonder how someone with decent blowjob skills was such an amateur kisser, but that was a question for another time. Right now, the redhead was humming over his head and drooling line after line of saliva down over him.

“Fuck yeah, that’s it,” he encouraged his bed partner. As skittish as Tim was, Jack was really worried that saying the wrong thing would put an end to this little treat, and goddammit, he really wanted his dick to get sucked! He’d spent a little too much time imagining the pale man gobbling down his cock, so if he was getting the chance to actually experience it, he wasn’t gonna fuck it up.

Tim was grateful that he wasn’t being teased, so he moved on from just playing with his boss’s tip to teasing the shaft with his tongue. He was positive that all Jack wanted was for him to swallow him in one gulp to check out whether or not he had a gag reflex, but that was too predictable. A promiscuous guy like him probably needed a bit more work. Slowly, he worked a hand around his partner just to give him a mix of different sensations.

“Mmmm . . . you’re good at this, pumpkin.”

The bespectacled man smiled and rewarded Jack for biting his tongue (it seemed like it wasn’t easy for him to not be cracking jokes, or teasing him) and decided he’d take him deeper. To be honest, he wasn’t sure if he could get all of the brunette into his mouth without scraping him with his teeth, but he sure as hell was gonna try!

“Ah, fffffuck!” Jack hissed, not really expecting his naive coworker to take as much of his shaft into his mouth as he did. He put his right hand into a nest of messy red hair and scratched at the scalp beneath it.

The green eyed man pulled back with a loud suck then plunged Jack into his mouth again. He repeated a few times, feeling the way the muscles on the inside of the Hyperion hunk’s hips started to tense up; he knew if he waited too long, Jack would lose it and they’d end up having to wait awhile before he could get it up again, so he decided there was no time like the present and swallowed the other man’s girthy member.

“Oh shit, kitten, FUCK yes!”

Tim couldn’t help it; he was pretty damn proud of himself, making Jack feel so good that he could only swear short sentences at him. He could feel his crush shudder as he gagged a bit, his throat tightening around the intruder, but that didn’t stop him. With a fist starting to pull on his hair, Timothy continued to simulate sex with his mouth and throat, despite some of the less attractive sounds that came from it and the fact that he was coating the other man's dick, and his own face with bubbly slobber mixed with Jack’s essence.

“God - goddamn, I wanna come on those glasses so bad, but - hnnnnn! God, I wanna fuck you even more. Jesus, Tim . . . fuck, fuck, fuck!” Jack exclaimed, sounding more and more like he was really struggling to call his partner off before he shot his load down his throat. “Ah, fuck, that’s all I can take!” Yanking on the handful of red locks he’d acquired, he finally had to pull Tim off of him. It amused him a great deal to see the cocky grin on the other man’s messy face. “Fucking shit, Tim,” he gasped. “You’ve been holdin’ out on me. Phew!”

Timothy wiped his mouth and chin off with the back of his hands and flopped back onto the pillows, breathing heavily after his hard work.

“I think you deserve a reward for that performance,” Jack spoke, pulling open his nightstand drawer and rattling around some of the objects inside. He retrieved a stimulating lube and squirted a healthy amount onto his fingers. “You've done it before? I mean, y’know, with someone inside you?” he wondered. He was 99.9% sure that the answer was ‘yes,’ but just in case it wasn’t, he figured he’d be polite and offer the guided tour.

“Yes,” the redhead responded with a chuckle. “Have you met me?” Tim joked, feeling a lot more relaxed now that he knew Jack wasn’t going to bully him about how well he did in the sack; he was a gentleman, sometimes. “Thanks, though . . . it’s sweet of you, y’know . . . to ask and all.”

“I’m not an asshole all the time. Now, speaking of sweet,” the bulkier man said, the purr back in his voice now that Tim was the mouse and he was the cat again, “let’s find that sweet spot of yours and get you screaming.”

Tim bit his thumb as his lover for the night invited himself between his legs and teased his hole with shockingly cold lube. The cold didn’t last long, though, as one of Jack’s digits invaded him and started hunting for its target.

“Breathe, cupcake. I promise I’m not just saying it to be cocky, but I’m pretty damn good at this. I’ll have you flying high real soon, just relax."

“Ki-kiss me . . . please?”

“You really are the romantic type, aren’t you?” Jack wondered rhetorically, positioning himself over Tim so he could give it to him just how he was so politely asking for it.

Ghost white arms wrapped around strong, tan shoulders, the attached hands responding to the prodding of the brunette’s finger. Tim’s short nails dug in to Jack's back a bit when a second digit joined in the search; goddamn, Jack had such big fucking fingers! Luckily, he really hadn’t been lying, and he struck prostate pay-dirt fairly quickly. Tim let out a sound almost like a whimper and curled up his toes, relieved and excited to feel that sort of pleasure.

God, he hadn’t had sex in so long and he’d never had it with a man who was very good at it, so this was an exciting prospect; Jack was well aware of the fact that he needed to stimulate his partner’s body before cramming his dick inside and humping him without any aim. To add to it, Tim was genuinely falling for the other man, so to have the person he actually thought was out of reach, fingering him was an absolute dream come true.

“Ah, Jack . . . I want you,” he moaned, breaking their chain of passionate kisses when he finally felt ready; his best orgasms were the ones that came from massaging his insides (when he could manage to hit the right spot) while jerking off, and he wanted it to happen with Jack getting to come, too.

“You got me, babe. I’m right here.”

“I mean . . . inside . . . I want it - please Jack,” Tim begged, praying he wasn’t going to have to actually describe what he was asking for.

“Hmmm?”

Jack was honestly just curious if his partner would just keep whining, or actually beg for his cock.

“Jesus, fuck me already, Jack! You’re so mean!”

“Don’t usually have to ask me for that twice, but” the brunette said, shaking a bit of hair from his face, “you sure you’re ready? You’re pretty tight . . .”

Tim pulled off his glasses, giving them a bit of a toss so they’d land safely on the nightstand and rubbed at the bridge of his nose.

“D-don’t pick on me, please.”

“I just want you to enjoy it. We’ve got all night, pumpkin. Let me take care of you. Don’t have a curfew do you?” Jack wondered, his fingers not giving up on their mission as the two argued. “Besides, I like the little noises you’re making. Let me savour that, at least.”

The freckled man huffed and tried to relax; maybe he really was trying to rush it. He’d really thought about it a lot, though, and it was so close! Those fingers were doing an incredible job, though, and maybe Jack needed a bit to regain some composure after the oral. It wouldn’t be any good if he blew his load right away.

“F-feels . . . so good, Jack,” he murmured, “I’m sorry.”

Part of Tim honestly was afraid that the gorgeous man would suddenly come to the realization that he was fooling around with someone as pathetic as him and then he’d stop. Either that, or he was going to wake up just before getting to the good part of this dream.

Jack knew that if he set off an orgasm inside of Tim by fingering his prostate, he could help him ride that high for a long time. It was easier to do it before he introduced his penis to the equation and nothing felt better than someone’s whole body shivering around him when he finally set to work achieving his own climax. As long as he didn’t stroke Tim off, he could keep milking him until he got off.

The moans from the paler man grew louder as the pleasure in his belly intensified and he held tightly to Jack’s back, digging his nails in deeper and deeper.

“Gon-gonna . . . Jack! Come . . . coming, Jack, ah, AH, AHHH!”

Timothy’s back arched up as Jack finally achieved his goal, his whole body reacting to his partner’s relentless attention. His cock spurted several times, despite Jack never touching it leaving Tim a little bit mystified - he hadn't ever come just from something teasing his insides; he'd always had to give his penis at least some attention. This time, that tingly feeling he got when he got off wasn’t going away.

“F-fuck . . fuck me, now, please Jack, oh my god,” he gasped, shocked to hear such things coming out of his own mouth, but he really, REALLY needed it.

“Abso-fuckin’-lutely,” was the response in an almost growl.

Jack carelessly squirted lube with his left hand onto his arousal, not wanting to neglect Tim; they were going to ride that wave together, so he had to make sure and nurture it, continuing to finger his pumpkin until he was ready for the final act.

The two gasped in unison when the tan man’s cock finally joined the party.

“Goddamn,” Jack hissed, shocked that his partner still felt so tight. Maybe he really had been sleeping with too many loose chicks.

“I-I . . . I’m still . . . ah, oh my god, Jack, aaaa~aaaahn!”

Obviously the freckled man had never figured out that he could milk a prostate orgasm for a good bit of time; he sounded so shocked that he was still feeling it as Jack started thrusting into him, and Jack was very glad that he got to be the one to teach him.

God, he’s fucking cute. Feels like I could fuck him every night and it wouldn’t ever be the same. Listen to him squeal for me! God, it feels good to be . . . whatever I am to him . . . adored? Liked? Lov-nope. Not that one. Ex-nay on the ove-lay shit, buddy.

Tim couldn’t stand it! He wasn’t sure how he was still coming, but it didn’t really matter - it felt fucking incredible. He could hear himself crying out loudly with every movement Jack made inside of him, but he couldn’t control it - and he didn’t care. Fuck it, if the whole space station heard him having the best fuck of his entire life, so be it - it was worth it.

“God, I’m gonna fuckin’ destroy you, TimTam,” Jack snarled into the pale man’s ear, sliding his tongue down his throat and biting the wound he’d already made on that snowy neck, pounding into him even harder. “Gonna make you into my little slut. Gonna be beggin’ for my cock - EVERY - DAY,” he assured Tim, giving extra violent thrusts with his last two words. “Scream for me, pumpkin.”

“AH! AH! AH, FUCK, JACK! FUCK ME, JACK! It's so good!”

Tim whimpered after doing what he was commanded to do; he didn’t really need Jack begging for him to scream. He thought he’d been plenty vocal, but he could definitely get louder if that’s what made Jack's clock really tick. The dirty way the brunette talked to him surprisingly only aided in making the freckled programmer lose his mind; he’d be anything for the boss he’d been melting inside for. He'd shout anything, he'd do anything!

Jesus, God, it really was so fucking good, though!  

“Caaa~aa-can’t stop . . . feels like I - I keep coming! Ooo~oooh . . . aaa~aaah! God, Jaaaack!” Tim couldn't help but moan his way through what he was trying to say. Jack was fucking him so goddamn right, hitting the spot every time. The motion, the rhythm, the depth of each thrust - everything was perfect!

“Oh, fuck,” Jack panted, sitting back and grabbing the other man by the hips so he could finally get it all the way inside. He wanted to stuff Tim to the hilt and make sure that he remembered that his was the biggest and best cock that he’d ever had, and ever would have.

“That’s right, baby. I’m all you need. Jesus, you’re like a fuckin’ glove, ungh! So fuckin’ tight,” he complimented his partner with a grunt. God bless Tim’s innocent, sweet heart and his foolish notion that feelings had to be involved for sex - it really was a treat getting to bone someone that wasn’t worn out.

Tim’s back arched again as he was entirely filled up with the other man. Jack was so damn girthy that every movement had his dick rubbing his prostate even harder and it was incredible. He really was starting to lose his mind as it filled up with static. He was so overloaded with signals from his body, alerting him as to where Jack's hands were touching him, what he smelled like, what made each manly grunt sound unique. His own screaming grew louder in his ears, and more desperate as he felt like it was becoming too much pleasure - like he was getting hyper-sensitive and it was almost painful that he was still being treated to such expert stimulation. His eyes were watering, tears slipping out the sides of them and racing down over his ear. He knew his mouth was wide open and making incoherent responses to the ever increasing pace, his tongue sticking out a bit as it tried to make room for more air to come into his lungs. He’d heard the term “fucked silly,” but never actually thought it was based in reality.

"UH, HUH, AH, AH, UUUUH, AH, HAAAA~AAH," Tim babbled, it starting to almost sound like he was screaming and sobbing at the same time, a new noise coming forth with each thrust.

Seeing his pumpkin devolve into a writhing mess as he used his body to finish himself off had Jack on the edge. Tim’s smaller hands were groping around, trying to grab onto just about everything; the wall, the sheets, the pillows - anything within reach. Jack took the time to appreciate the squeak a sweaty palm made against the wall as it slipped from a momentary position of leverage. His legs were violently shaking, his chest was heaving, every muscle in his body seemed to be quivering in harmony as his cock squirted more and more onto his belly, sticking to his wiry red hair.

Not able to take much more himself, Jack gripped his employee’s hips tightly enough to bruise them and hammered into Tim, slamming their bodies together with a series of wet slap sounds. He bucked into him as fast as he could and finally felt his own release and god was it fucking sweet. Definitely, it was the best orgasm he'd had all year.

“Ah, god! Goddamn, Timmy . . .” he huffed as he unloaded every ounce into his squealing partner.

Tim whimpered out another, “Jack,” as he felt heat fill up his insides; it was all he could manage outside of his lingering moans and gasps for Oxygen.

HOLY SHIT, was all any of Jack’s inner voices could come up with for the time being. It was a nice, but rather rare occurrence for them to actually agree on something AND have nothing snarky to say.

The smaller man’s body was still reacting when Jack finally caught his breath enough to pull out and move from between those shaking legs. He was pretty proud of himself, noting that the redhead’s hands were back to clutching at his sheets, the wave of intense pleasure finally mellowing out.

He fucks like a girl. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Jack observed, sweeping his fingers through the sticky mess on his partner’s abs and tasting his essence. It always interested him that everyone tasted a little bit different. Tim’s semen was shockingly salty and thick - he probably wasn’t drinking enough water. He’d scold him about it later. He needed healthy employees, so they could show up and work every day. Fuck. I . . . really like him.

“You alright there, pumpkin?”

Timothy swallowed hard and managed a nod and, “Mm-hm,” to indicate he hadn’t actually been broken - he just couldn’t move for the time being. His brain and body were still processing the backlog of sensations, emotions and feelings that had built up during their for-adults-only session. He felt a bit like a computer running too low on RAM.

“I’m gonna step out and have a smoke. You’re free to join,” the brunette offered, giving his bed-mate a pair of pats on the knee as he stood up and cracked his back. “Goddamn. Need a cigarette after that one. You do fine work, Mr. Lawrence,” he joked, speaking to Tim as if they were at the office.

“Nn . . .y . . . yessir. An . . . anything for you, sir,” Tim responded with a shaky smile, happy that things didn’t seem too weird between them. Jack was treating him like he always did, and that was comforting.

As he said he’d do, the Hyperion hottie pulled on his underwear and stepped out onto his balcony to smoke. It wasn’t like there was actually fresh air out there, but he fucking hated his apartment smelling like cigarettes. He only smoked once in a blue moon, so he wanted to make sure his things didn’t smell like he did otherwise. After a very satisfying smoke break, he returned to his bed and was surprised to see Tim curled up and passed out on top of the blankets; he hadn’t moved from where Jack had left him, other than to roll onto his side.

With a sigh and a sweet smile, Jack pulled the blanket from the foot of the bed up over his ginger boy’s shoulders and gently stroked his hair. He really, really did like Tim and it was an uncomfortable, unfamiliar and unsettling feeling.

Well, I’ve never been huge on pets, but I’m pretty sure I just adopted a stray cat . . .

Chapter Text

Tim was always so groggy when he first woke up. It tended to feel like he didn’t know where he was, or how he’d gotten there, mostly due to the fact that the only times he ever got decent sleep were when he’d been awake for so long that he literally passed out. His insomnia was absolutely terrible and it had only gotten worse with his move to Helios; floating around in space in a metal box that could at any moment kill him in so many gruesome ways wasn’t very comforting. It wasn’t a surprise to him that his surroundings seemed unfamiliar. Soon he’d take in the familiar scent of his bed, the colours of his walls, the texture of his sheets, and the general shapes of things around him..

As his cinnamon coloured eyelashes moved apart to allow him to begin his usual process, he was immediately unnerved - the colours were wrong. Come to think of it, as consciousness started to flip on the switches in his brain, a LOT of things were wrong. This didn’t smell like his room. The sheets didn’t feel right. He could hear someone else breathing.

Someone else?!

That’s when the memories from the night before finally hit him like a ton of bricks - he’d given in to his desire for Jack and they had . . . had they really?!

Timothy groped around for his glasses and found them on top of the unfamiliar nightstand. Moving carefully, he rolled over and peered through the lenses. There, right next to him, lied his handsome, beautiful, well-endowed Jack, quietly breathing in a peaceful looking slumber.

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! We really . . . REALLY did . . .

He felt his cheeks burn as he remembered just how completely and utterly he’d devolved into a creature of pure lust, exposing even the most base of his instincts, and the way he’d lost his damn mind towards the end, unable to form words, or do anything besides cry out in ecstasy.

Oh god, he’s going to remember that! He’s going to remember all of that! How embarrassing! God, I’m such a fucking disaster! Who DOES that?! People don’t make noises like that. Ugh, I sounded disgusting . . . he’s going to hate me. Who wants to hang around someone who acts so stupid in the sack? I hate my life! At least . . . at least we got to be together. Even if it was just this once. He really is gorgeous.

I love him so mu - WHAT? No. No, no, no, no, no. Not love. You barely know each other. It’s impossible to be in love at this point. I’m just a creepy stalker. An obsessive fanboy. Still, he really did it with me.

Calm down, Tim, come on. Calm down, calm down.

The redhead studied Jack’s sleeping face. The usual, almost sinister arch of his eyebrows was severely reduced as the muscles in his face rested in their natural state. There were no airs to put on to impress anyone, no need to intimidate, or hide behind a strong looking facade; for once, the brunette could completely relax. He looked even more handsome without the sharp lines that were formed by his usual, cocky grin.

Tim reached out and brushed his fingers over Jack’s cheek. His skin was warm and comforting - he was no illusion and really, honestly was there, lying next to him. The other man murmured something and nestled into his pillow with a sigh and Tim thought his heart might just stop beating; this was the first time the word “cute,” had ever crossed his mind when he thought of Jack. Truly, though, in this innocent moment, his sweetheart was adorable. While the green eyed man knew that this was but a fleeting moment in the timeline of his life, he’d let nothing disturb this peace.

----------------

The unlikely duo of Handsome Jack and Ugly Tim grew ever closer together in the months following their intense romp after the elevator incident.

Jack quashed rumours about fucking the new guy by openly admitting it to all of his staff and told them that if there were any issues with it, people were more than free to leave. Of course, it wouldn’t be without him completely destroying their reputations so they’d never work for Hyperion (or any other company with a decent name, for that matter) again, and that, depending on how they left, they may, or may not end up going in a wheelchair, or casket. This was all done out of earshot of his precious new kitten, so Tim remained blissfully unaware that there were some rather sinister reasons behind why nobody ever brought up how much time he and Jack spent together.

Discovering just how intelligent Tim really was and how adept he was at deciphering Jack’s very unique way of designing and programming things made them an excellent working pair; with Jack being a genius-level programmer and Tim being a brilliant one himself, they were a force to be reckoned with. Honestly, they spent more time on work when they were together than they did socializing, but they still enjoyed one another socially.

Jack learned just how kind-hearted and loveable his pumpkin was as they talked about their pasts a bit and got to know eachother better. His sweet Timmy was an animal lover, a shockingly accurate and well-trained shot, especially with his favourite guns, an insomniac, a guy who was a complete sucker for a great pair of tits, and a total goofball. He’d suffered the cruelty of bullying, which made him fearful of others; it explained his current, mousy nature. Still, he managed to come out of his younger days with a rather innocent and fragile heart; something Jack was a bit jealous of. Under the mass of nerves, messy hair and thick glasses, the freckled man was someone Jack actually found himself sharing a lot of similarities with, and he admired Tim’s resolve to make something of himself despite his fear of being hurt by others.

Tim discovered that his hunky stud was actually, quite often, a completely unsexy slob when nobody was looking. He’d go days without showering if he was busy with a complicated problem, or dedicated to a specific project. He’d pass out on the floor in just his underwear with his reading glasses smashed into his face, drooling into his notebook, surrounded by complex diagrams he’d drawn, open books, hand-made models, open computer screens and so many fucking dead pens and broken pencils that it honestly blew Tim’s mind. Jack was a workaholic to the -nth degree, but nobody besides his pumpkin actually got to see him like that. His mind was almost always completely scattered as it fought to divide its attention to several complicated issues at once. He also suffered from horrific night terrors when he wasn’t self-medicating his anxiety with too much alcohol and fistfuls of sleeping pills. While it was absolutely true that Jack was a narcissist, he was also sweet lover. It was in his own, strange, unique way, but he did show Tim that he cared.

The two found a lot of comfort in one another and neither could lie - the sex was fucking incredible . Neither slept better than they did after a good round of horizontal tango; Jack had fewer nightmares when Tim warmed his bed, and fact that he allowed someone like the redhead into his room at night kept Tim’s feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem at bay.

He was still utterly and hopelessly in love with Jack, so as long as his needs were met and he felt at least some amount of affection in return, the younger man would stay by his side.

When he was offered a promotion to be Jack’s second in command, Tim initially refused to accept. His earnestness proved to the brunette that there really wasn’t anyone better for the job.

“I can’t, sir. There’s no way!”

“Because?”

“Because there are people who have been here for a lot longer than I have. People who’ve worked really, really hard, Jack,” Tim explained, that look in his emerald eyes that begged Jack to truly listen to what he was saying. “I won’t move up the ladder like that. I’m not fucking my way to the top. I’m sorry . . . but I can’t accept. Please understand.”

“It doesn’t matter how long someone’s been here; the reason they haven’t moved from their role is because they don’t fucking have what it takes!” the well toned department head argued, but his bed mate wouldn’t hear of it.

“I want to earn my place because of my work and my dedication. I wanna be recognized for my achievements, not because I slept with the boss. I’ve always had to fight for everything I’ve gotten - I won’t have it handed to me out of favouritism.”

The two argued for weeks until Timothy finally caved, and he only did so because several of his co-workers urged him to. Word travelled quickly in a small group of Hyperion hyenas, so it wasn’t exactly a secret that the position was on the table.

“Nobody works as hard you do,” Cindy had truthfully assured him. Sometimes they ate lunch together because they discovered their mutual adoration of cats. “You should just accept it. Besides, it’ll look great on your resume.

Roger had told him the same thing. They’d run into one another in a hobby shop, both looking to buy different mech models to build from the same anime series; even the mismatched pair of the two of them, one rather thin and average height and one severely overweight and ridiculously tall, looked like a far more likely couple than Jack and Tim - they were both obviously nerds and sported their love of various things with pins, key rings, tie clips, etc. that looked professional, but were secretly symbols of their geeky fandoms.

“Dude, everyone sees you’re the first one here in the morning and the last one to leave at night. Even the boss doesn’t spend as much time in the office as you do. You should take it, Tim.”

Even Franklin, the first person to dub him “ugly Tim,” wasn’t against the promotion.

“He’s always busy, that one. Takes home fat stacks of paperwork e’ery night. I even seen him workin’ on projects on weekends in the cafe’. I don’t like the dude, but at least he fuckin’ puts in some effort around here.”

“Fine! I’ll take it. But . . . promise we’ll keep work stuff separate from . . . other stuff . . . I don’t wanna hear about something personal when we’re working, and I don’t wanna get in arguments over work stuff when we’re in be - uh . . . hanging out, or whatever.”

Jack agreed, and that was the end of it. Honestly, he found it laughable that Tim would even feel the need to say something like that; the last thing he wanted to think about when Tim went down on him was a spreadsheet he’d made a mistake on, and he was far too dedicated to his job and his future to be distracted from his goals just because there was someone in his life who kept his bedroom active.

As usual, typical human emotions didn’t apply to Jack in the same way. His priorities were probably the opposite of most people's, but it didn’t mean that he didn’t at least understand some of them. While he adored Tim, he’d never compromise his rise to the top for him. On the same hand, he’d also never betray Tim for any sort of personal gain; so long as he was under his wing, Jack would keep him safe and make him feel wanted and secure. Their arrangement was comfortable and he liked that he never had to say anything as dishonest as, “I love you.” It seemed like the ginger understood that he just wasn’t capable of feeling love the same way that others did and was okay with that. For the time being, things just . . . worked.

Chapter Text

“You wanted to see me, Mr. Tassiter, sir?” Tim called out, knocking politely on Jack’s office door. Harold didn’t often show up on Helios, so he had no office there; he wouldn’t until Helios was nearly complete. He used the offices of someone lower on the ladder, or conference rooms when he needed to meet with business associates. On this particular day, he took over Jack’s office when the brunette went on his lunch hour. Timothy had heard his boyfriend complain about his distaste for the much older man, but never delved into any details. 

“Ah, yes. Mr. Lawrence, I presume,” the man who was much higher on the corporate ladder spoke, lacing his fingers together on the desk. Of course, he already knew it was Timothy - he’d called him there, afterall. He’d been watching him very carefully, now that Jack seem to have a vested interest in him. “Please, have a seat.”

The ginger swallowed hard and stepped forward, doing as he was told and occupying the chair opposite of Tassiter. He gripped his knees as tightly as he could, but tried to give the lean, sour expressioned man a convincing smile.

Oh fuck, what did I do? Oh my god, he’s gonna fire me! My life is so over! Does he know I’m sleeping with my boss? Did he just now notice I sorta lied about my high school GPA?! Fucking 8th grade mono made me miss too many classes so I failed. Oh god, oh god, oh god . . .

“No need to look so nervous, Mr Lawrence. You’re in no trouble. Not that I can say the same about that idiot, playboy boss of yours . . . but that’s beside the point.”

Harold held in his smile of delight from Tim noticeably bristling at the insult hurled in the direction of Jack; the redhead taking offense meant that there was some sort of emotional connection between the two. This was a perfect opportunity to get revenge on the heterochromatic man who had wronged him in the past. Tassiter had, afterall, told Jack that he’d regret betraying him in lieu of another board member who offered Jack a much more lucrative career path - and he meant it. He hadn’t ever particularly liked the cocky younger man, anyway, but having spent as much time and effort grooming him like he had, hoping that the programmer would become his right-hand man, only to be rejected enraged him. Now that something important to Jack seemed to exist, he was going to snatch it away, or destroy it, no matter what it took.

“Th-thank goodness, sir. I was really worried!” Tim admitted with a sheepish smile and a sigh of relief.

Tassiter wanted to vomit. God, he fucking hated all of the people who associated with John; why did they always have such undistinguished backgrounds, much like the man he hated with such a fiery passion? It seemed like the clever fox of the programming department was surrounding himself with more of his “kind.” None came from families with names that mattered. Not a single one went to a finishing school. Absolutely none of them were ever going to be proper board member types.

“The board has been very impressed with your dedication to your work and we have decided to offer you a deal - John’s position - in exchange for some simple data collection; there have been rumours about some rather unsavory deals being made, money being allocated inappropriately, bribes, improper conduct with subordinates," he said, looking Tim up and down, placing an obvious emphasis on the last bullet point, "it is a rather long list. After that, I would be willing to personally take you under my wing, if you will. I would offer tutelage on how to properly hold such a position and how to move on from there. This would allow you to rise in the ranks fairly quickly. You’d surpass even John’s rather swift ladder climb.”

“N-no,” the freckled man flat-out responded. “I-I mean, n-no thank you . . . sir! I’m . . . I’m really, really flattered that you guys have noticed my hard work, but I . . . I can’t.”

Tassiter furrowed his brow and scowled.

Ridiculous! Who in their right mind turns down such an easy path to the top?! He’s the only one in years who has seemed like he might actually be able to compete with that goddamned mongrel! I need him on my side! Think, think . . .

Seeing the flash of anger on the older man’s face scared Tim, despite the fact that it quickly faded into Tassiter’s usual, prim and condescending expression.

“Might I inquire as to why? You do realize how huge an opportunity this is, do you not?”

“I do! Of course . . . of course I do, sir,” Timothy responded, exclaiming the first bit of his answer before nipping his lip and quieting his voice. “I’m really, super grateful sir. Really, I am. I hope you don’t think I’m trying to insult you or anything. It’s just . . .”

GET TO THE POINT, YOU PATHETIC MOUSE. I don’t have all day! WHY am I always surrounded by such imbeciles?! And why are these computer geeks always so wordy?

“I want to make my way up the ladder with my own hard work. I told Ja - um, John, the same thing before my last promotion. I don’t want to get ahead by riding someone else’s coat tails. I won’t use someone else’s name to build my future. I . . . I want to write my own story, ya know? Also, I just couldn’t do that to Ja - John. I’d never stab him in the back like that after everything he’s done for me. I’m sorry. I hope you understand.”

Tassiter absolutely did NOT understand. What kind of fresh hell was he living in? Where the hell did these people get their ideas about how things worked?! Very few men and women became powerful without using the names and offers of others to their advantage. This was sheer lunacy!

“I certainly do not, Mr. Lawrence. This is a golden opportunity to become a rising star amongst the ranks of the Hyperion hierarchy, and to cut out a cancerous cluster of cells.”

“I know it probably sounds really stupid to someone as powerful as you. I really hope you aren’t insulted. I just . . . I don’t want things handed to me, and I don’t want to hurt someone to get them, either. Jack really is a good boss, too. Maybe you don’t like him, but I’ve never seen anything that would lead me to believe he was doing anything he shouldn’t be. I couldn’t live with myself if I just . . . if I just . . .”

God, trying to word this while he was so fucking tense made Timothy feel like a blathering idot. He nervously twisted a stray lock of hair between his thumb and forefinger, wishing he could just disappear. Even Jack had never made him this nervous; the power dynamic was so much greater between him and Tassiter.

“I’m sorry, sir. I can’t accept your offer. I really do hope that someday I can actually earn the right to work beside you. It would be an honour, really,” the green eyed man apologized, getting to his feet and offering the other man a shallow bow. He wasn’t really sure what to do in situations like this.

“Earn?” Harold questioned the freckled man, rising from Jack’s squeaky chair and stepping around the cheap, fiber-board desk. He circled the ginger coloured guppy like a shark that wasn’t actually hungry, but was incredibly bored. “Earn . . . yes. Of course. Earn . . .”

Despite looking thin and frail, the man with black and white hair was agile and shockingly strong. It wasn’t common knowledge, but he had practiced martial arts since his boyhood, and was extremely skilled in them. With a series of fast, graceful movements, Tassiter had his prey pinned to the furniture, both pale wrists snatched in one powerful hand, slammed into the wood over Timothy’s head. The aforementioned cranium bounced hard off of the hard surface, stunning the dorky programmer as his unpredictably lithe overlord stepped between his legs, trapping him as he tore open his shirt with his other hand.

“Earn your place. You want to earn your place. I’ll allow that.”

Timothy’s vision went black for a few seconds before stars started to speckle the dark canvas. He hadn’t hit his hard enough to get knocked out in years! Hearing his shirt buttons clatter across the desk and floor had him terribly confused, the other man’s words not yet seeping into his clouded mind.

Tim groaned as he was rolled over, his chest getting pressed into a surface that was cold against his bare skin. He was familiar with the slightly bumpy, painted texture, since Jack had gotten a little frisky with him on top of it before.*

“This is how you earned your place as John’s assistant, isn’t it?”

How I . . . how I . . . earned . . . my place . . . by Jack?

“That’s just fine. At least this time, you’ll be treated more like a skilled entertainer in a high class brothel,” the Hyperion higher-up assured the stunned man he had pinned to the desk. “I am a gentleman, so rest assured that I won’t slobber all over you like a mangy dog in some alleyway. This is a business transaction - I won’t pretend feelings are involved.”

“Nnngh . . . wh . . . whu . . .”

Tassiter grunted in the redhead’s ear as he thrusted sharply against the clothed buttocks pressed to his groin.

“I’m sure you’re tighter than the rest of his whores,” the older man hissed through his teeth, making sure he kept a firm hold on the wrists that were trapped in his hands and he felt Timothy stirring back to life. “Isn’t that right, Mr. Lawrence? Shall I strip off your clothing for you, or would you rather do it yourself?”

Tim froze in fear when he realized what was going on. Several more rocks of a bony set of hips had him coming to the frightening realization of what was exactly meant by “earn.” This wasn’t the first time that someone violating his personal space without permission had him completely paralyzed in a screamless horror, but the first time it had happened, he’d been a frightened, naked child. At only ten, he hadn’t known what the other person was doing to him; he’d just known that it was painful, shameful and absolutely terrifying. As an adult with a happy, consensual, sex life, he couldn’t believe that, even fully clothed, he felt just as raped, and he was ashamed that his body was reacting in the same, cowardly manner.

“Better than some dark elevator. With that filthy , foul-mouthed . . . animal!”

Tassiter humped the low-level programmer into the centerpiece of the office, making sure he was making his point with both his words and his actions. He wanted to slam into the younger man hard enough to make the desk leave deep bruises on his hip bones; Tim should wear a constant reminder (for at least a week, or two) of what his insubordination could cost. Harold wasn't using this as a display of sexual prowess, but a demonstration of power.

“You dirty little incubus, we already did it this morn - what the fuck is going on here?”

The lanky higher up felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle as he heard the voice of the “animal,” he’d been complaining about. He certainly hadn’t expected John to return so quickly. He withdrew from Tim, tucking his hands behind his back.

Timothy’s legs gave out and he slid down the desk, limply propped up by the furniture.

“Business . . . negotiations,” Tassiter assured Jack as he raised his brows and dared the lowly programmer to challenge him. “This is how you go about it, isn’t that right? How your employees earn promotions?”

Timothy heard Jack’s voice and he wanted to call out to him, but none of his muscles were functioning. This was the way he awakened from some very rare nightmares - still hallucinating, seeing, hearing and feeling awful things - being completely unable to do anything about all of it. He hadn’t had one like this in such a long time! God, he wished he would wake up. What a truly awful scenario.

“Get out of my office,” the brunette spoke with a shocking calmness to his voice.

“I do believe our discussion is over, Mr. Lawrence. Do, get back to me about my offer. Now that you’ve earned my attention, at the very least.”

Knowing that Jack wouldn’t dare lay his hands on him, Tassiter passed by him uncomfortably closely as he took his leave.

The only noise in the room after the door clicked behind him was Timothy’s shaking breaths and Jack grinding his teeth and cracking the knuckles in his fingers just by balling them into individual fists.

“I said get out,” the brunette finally growled, stepping past the shivering man lying up against his desk with his clothing disheveled, “so get the hell out.”

Tim didn’t understand. Hadn’t Tassiter left?

“J . . . Ja -”

“GET OUT! GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT! Are you deaf?! GET. OUT!!!”

The pale man felt his muscles trying to spring to action, reacting to his lover’s shocking outburst. He found the strength to pull his shirt closed and he got himself up on his feet so he could see the man he so adored. He didn’t understand why he was reacting this way.

“Jack, he just . . . I didn’t - I’d never -”

“Sure didn’t look like you were fighting him off!”

Tears streaked out of completely shocked emerald eyes and Jack knew that he should feel something besides rage . . . but he didn’t. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone used phony tears to manipulate him, and he was sure it wouldn’t be the last. Tim was just desperate because he’d been caught. He laughed and pulled his hand through his hair before crossing his arms over his chest; he wouldn’t be fooled. Not like this.

Timothy squeaked, cowering like he’d done before Jack had built him up, wrapping his arms around himself.

Pathetic attempt at sympathy, check! Come the fuck on, Timmy. Disgusting . . . and you thought he was different, John. You fucking tool. He had you wrapped so tightly around his goddamn finger you couldn’t breathe. I’ll forgive your stupidity this time. Don’t make this mistake again. You know we can’t trust anyone . . .

He was different. I thought . . . I thought he was different. God, I AM a fucking tool! How could I be such a fucking idiot?! I’d do the same shit if I was a pathetic, pansy ass, little loser like him. How the hell else would I make my way up? I’m so stupid. Explains why he's so good at sucking dick.

We MADE him. We can destroy him. Do it, Jack. Take away what little he has left. STRIKE THE FINAL BLOW.

“I get it. You got me good!” Jack said with a cackle. “Got me real good. Used me as a stepping stone. Really, I get -”

“When I got raped,” Timothy choked out through the thick phlegm in his throat, cutting off his admission with the ‘r’ word; it was so fucking hard for him to say. He sloppily breathed out and felt a snot bubble pop under his nose. Jesus christ, he felt fucking disgusting for so many reasons right now. Wiping his nose on his sleeve, he forced himself to continue. “Th . . . the first time . . . it happened, too. I couldn’t - my body wouldn’t - I couldn’t . . . I wanted to fight, but I was . . . I was scared. I WAS SO SCARED, Jack! I was so scared!” The redhead sobbed, utterly destroyed inside. “How . . . how could you . . . think that *I* . . . he wanted me to spy on you and take your job. I said I’d never . . . I’d never betray you, and you - why is everyone I meet so awful?!”

Clutching his shirt as closed as he could, Timothy made a mad dash out of the office. He’d escape to his room and lock everyone else out, then wait for this nightmare to end. His alarm would go off at some point and he’d wake up next to a gentle faced, sleeping Jack softly breathing on his skin. This definitely wasn't real. There was no way any of this was real.

Raped? Wait, what? Someone -

When the anger inside of Jack hit a new level of fire, like an absolutely out of control inferno, it was no longer directed at the pale-skinned man who had been keeping him company at night.

You total piece of shit. Why would you just assume that he would be like that?! After everything he’s gone through to show you that he’s completely devoted to you - like a fucking brain-damaged puppy . . . you would STILL treat him like that?! What the fuck is wrong with you, Jack? You’re a fucking monster . . . you aren’t human.

Animals like us are better off without lovers, anyway. You know it’s true - they’re a liability. A weakness. Did you hear yourself just now? Losing your temper like that just because someone else put their hands on him? Not good, dude. . . that is noooooo bueno, my man. Stick to sowing those wild oats wherever you like, but you gotta stop with this emotional crap.

What. The. Fuck. This isn’t happening. None of this ever happened. I’m dreaming! Hahaha, what a fucking stupid ass dream! Are you hearing this shit? What a fuckin’ load of - whooooooo! What a soap opera. Wow. What pills did I take? ‘Cuz I don’t wanna do them again. This fucking sucks. I feel like shit. Man. What a roller coaster!

As the night wore on and minutes turned into hours, both men came to the sickening understanding that they weren’t dreaming - reality truly was a nightmare.

Chapter Text

Jack had been trying to get a hold of Tim all day long, but he wouldn’t answer his calls. He even ignored the fake emergency pages.

Resolute little fucker, at the very least.

He didn’t even call in! He just didn’t show up. Unacceptable. Nobody on my team no-call, no-shows me. If he thinks he can get away with that shit just because we’re screwing -

Aw, that’s cute! Lookit you, pretendin’ you’re headin’ down the hall in a big ol’ huff because your employee didn’t call in. You’re so full of it, oh my god. I’d laugh if I wasn’t so fuckin’ lazy. Goddamn, we haven’t eaten yet today. I’m starving.

I’ll eat later. Can live for days without it. Just shut up.

Mid argument with himself, Jack realized he’d reached Tim’s door and tried to quiet his tumultuous inner voices. He rang the bell at least a dozen times before yelling that he was going to hack the door to undo the lock - then Timothy answered.

“What do you want, Jack? Just leave me alo - Oh my god, get in here! Someone’s gonna see you!”

The redhead grabbed his boss’s arm and pulled him into his room. He checked the hallway to ensure nobody was watching before letting the door close.

“Jesus, Jack! You can’t do things like this. People are gonna talk,” he scolded the brunette. “Or am I misreading the situation and you’re here to yell at me some more before you go on a date?”

“No. No, they’re . . . they’re for you. I dunno. It’s a thing people do when they fuck up, so I figured . . . well, here,” Jack explained, thrusting a bouquet of assorted flowers at the freckled man, the cellophane holding them in their pretty formation crinkling noisily. He fucking hated that; what a goddamn waste of materials. It just gets thrown out anyway, so why bother with it?

Tim blushed and accepted the gift; nobody had ever gotten him flowers before. Not when he was sick, or in the hospital, not from a date, not on his birthday - not ever. The sentiment was nice and Jack looking and sounding flustered about it was a gift all on its own; it was pretty cute.

“That’s . . . really sweet, Jack. Thanks . . .”

Refusing to look the other man in the eyes, Jack nodded.

“Hmf. Anyway - uh . . . you can’t just not show up to work. I’ll have to write you up; it’s unprofessional.”

Fuck. Why did I just you say that?

Tim set the flowers on his nightstand and crawled back across his bed into his comfy spot; a place at the head of his bed that was tucked up against the corner of the room. He’d spent all night and most of the day huddled up there, going between being absolutely furious and hopelessly betrayed by both Jack and Tassiter, sobbing his face off regardless of the emotion he was feeling.

“I understand,” he told his supervisor, pulling his navy blue comforter back up over his shoulders, and drawing his knees up to his chest. “I just . . . didn’t care. I know it’s inconvenient for everyone else, but . . . why should I keep considering what’s convenient for others? Nobody does it for me. Everyone just does whatever they want, says whatever they want, treats me however they want. I’m sick of all of it.”

Jack was taken aback - that’s not the way his TimTam would have reacted. He would have begged for forgiveness, apologized sheepishly a hundred times and then felt guilty about it for the rest of the day. Tim always considered the feelings of others and, almost to a frustrating degree, forgave or at least let slide the trespasses others did unto him. Who was this?

“You can just e-mail me the copy. Or do I have to sign the original?”

“Huh?”

Timothy huffed, annoyed by the other man’s short attention span. Seeing his face right now was painful. Hearing Jack’s usual voice didn’t erase how frightening it had been to have him shouting at him the day before. It didn’t make him forget the frigid tone, accusing him of allowing Tassiter’s advances. That wicked laugh echoed in his ears; he’d never heard anything quite as chilling.

“You got me good!” he said, like everything has been some long con. Some sick, twisted joke for me to get one over on him. How could you, Jack? I love you and you still -

I LOVE you . . . what’s wrong with you?!

Freckled cheeks were once again streaked with runaway tears.

Oh, goddammit, don’t cry right now! Stop crying! Tim tried to will his eyes, but they had always been terrible at taking commands. God, I’m such a fucking crybaby. Pathetic.

“Th-the write up. You need me to sign it . . . or something? Just leave it on the table. I’ll put it on your desk in the morn-”

“I don’t care about the goddamn write-up. God, I don’t know why I even said that. That was . . . stupid. That’s not why I’m - it’s not . . . it isn’t why I’m here.”

UGH, this suuuuuucks. AWKWARD much? Say something charming, Casanova. Come on - one of those clever one-liners. Think, Jack. THINK! Goddamn . . .

“Why are you here, Jack?”

“Uh, it’s pretty obvious isn’t it?”

The bespectacled man let out an annoyed grumble and rubbed the places on his nose where his glasses always left indents. He really, really didn’t need this right now. Dealing with the other man’s inability to properly understand how most humans functioned on an emotional level wasn’t something he had the energy to endure right now.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m just used to always saying the first thing -”

“You’re used to being an asshole and getting away with it,” Tim snarled without intending to.

Oops . . .that was supposed to be on the inside. Slick move, Tim. Now he’s gonna fucking yell at me, or act like a big baby and storm out. He should just leave, anyway. Go home, Jack. Leave me alone, please!

The brunette visibly winced and wiped a hand down his face.

Well I’ll be damned! Timmy boy has some fangs. I deserved that.

“Well . . . you’re not wrong. I lost my temper. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that. And I didn’t mean to say what I did. Especially the way that I did. I know you wouldn’t - I dunno why it crossed my mind that you would.”

Timothy sighed and patted his mattress. Jack really was socially fucking inept and he had trouble holding the stupid things he often said, or did against him; there were some screws loose in that gorgeous head, but in the end, Jack’s heart was usually in the right place. For putting up with the sometimes heartless seeming man, Tim knew he also was missing some marbles.

“You can sit down. If you want to. Don’t have to stand there looking like a kicked dog.”

“. . .  dog . . .”

“ . . . mangy dog . . .”

I won’t slobber all over you like a mangy dog in some alleyway.”

“. . . that filthy, foul-mouthed . . . animal!”

Tim clapped his hands over his ears to shut out Tassiter’s voice, but it didn’t work; he could hear him just as clearly as he had when the other man’s mouth was right behind his ear.

“You okay?” Jack wondered as he took a seat. He touched the back of the other man’s hand and was stunned with how quickly it swatted him away.

“Don’t! Do . . . don’t . . . please. I can’t stand it . . . being touched right now. I’m sorry.”

Shit. Didn’t see that comin’.

Of course he doesn’t want anyone touching him after creepy ass Tassiter molested him. Molested . . . wait, didn’t he say that before, someone had ra - done something similar?

Jack knew a whole slew of four letter words, but there was one that made even him uncomfortable: rape. He could probably shoot a hundred guys right in the face and feel little to no remorse, but that . . . he could never imagine doing that to someone, no matter how much he loathed them. The concept was gross and it was a slimy way to make someone feel worthless. It was a cheap way for cowards to gain power over targets that were physically weaker than they were. There were soooo many other ways to display strength, superiority and dominance that didn’t involve - THAT. There had to draw a moral line in the sand somewhere, and Jack drew his there.

“Sorry. You, um . . . gonna be alright, pumpkin? Even if I lost my temper, you know I wouldn’t - y’know, hit you or anything . . . right?” he tried to offer, not really knowing how to say what he wanted to say; being at a loss for words drove him nuts, considering he was always in verbal exchangs with the demons inside of himself. “I’d strangle fuckin’ Tassiter’s skinny little goddamn turkey neck until I felt every vertebrae snap in my hands, but - I wouldn’t put my hands on you. I mean, not like that - by that I mean, you know, like, in a bad way.”

This is going well . . . keep it up, buddy! Stammering like a five year old really builds someone’s confidence in what you’re saying.

”I know that one time I kinda groped ya, but I wouldn’t have done any - if you didn’t want to, I wouldn’t have forced . . .”

Cool. Cool, cool, cool, cool. Gonna take the, “I sexually assaulted you, but it was SUPER different from the other guy who did it!” route, I see. You, uh . . . got a plan for how to wrap this bit up, pretty boy?

You’re not helping, definitely not helping! I didn’t assault him! I mean . . . right? Did I? I thought I was just flirting. REALLY aggressively flirting?

HAHAHA! OOOOOh boy, gonna jot that one down for later. Let’s see if we can’t “aggressively flirt,” our way into some panties tonight. The police’ll LOVE that! GREAT defense!

Is it the same? God, it kinda is the same . . . I feel sick.

Good thing you didn’t eat when we were hungry earlier, then. WRAP. IT. UP, lover boy! Ain’t got all fuckin’ night. I mean, obviously we DO, but - not if you wanna get your dick wet.

I’m a monster. I’m a disgusting fucking monster.

“I might yell, but I wouldn’t hit you,” he assured the man curled up like a ball in the corner. “I don’t think I could hit you . . .” tagged along at the end without Jack’s permission; something inside him told him that it was true, though - he’d actually struggle if he were somehow required to cause TImothy harm.

“I know . . . I think,” the pale man answered, wiping his snotty nose on his pajama sleeve and instantly regretting it. He hated it when he did gross things in front of Jack. “The, uh, trust thing . . . sorta runs both ways, huh? Guess I owe you an apology, too, now.”

Not having realized it until just then, Timothy discovered that he wasn’t acting much different than Jack had; events in the past had caused both of them to be leery of others in different ways. Now it felt hypocritical to be mad at his counterpart for not blindly believing that he wouldn’t betray him when he, himself, had trust issues with Jack - there had been times in the past when he was legitimately afraid of him and, now that he’d experienced such a nasty vocal outburst, he found himself finding it almost impossible to 100% believe that Jack would never physically injure him.

“No you don’t. I wouldn’t trust me, either. Not after I yelled like that. Probably scared you, huh?” Jack honestly answered; he knew that his usual self wouldn’t harm the guy he had (so many time in his head) almost admitted to actually loving, but he didn’t know what might happen if one of his darker sides actually overrode his basic coding. Physically, he was extremely strong. He was also skilled with various weapons and aware of the weaknesses of a human body - he could quickly become a very dangerous man to be on the wrong side of. It often distressed him that it might not take too much prodding to instigate a more sinister version of himself to take over. “You haven’t done anything wrong, TimTam,” he wanted the ginger to know. He didn’t often use that specific pet name for his bed mate, so he hoped it would be noticed that he was trying to come off as docile and non-threatening.

The two sat in silence for a bit, Jack eventually asking for permission to at least scoot back and sit next to the person he really did hold some nameless emotion for. The request was affirmed, so he kicked off his boots and moved closer; at least he could relax with his back against the wall. It felt sort of weird not being close to Tim when they conversed. Most of the time they within arm’s reach of one another, so the space that used to comfort both of them had started to become unstable when it wasn’t filled, much like an orbital missing one of its components.

“You said that,” Jack cleared his throat and tugged at the collar of his shirt, “Before Tassiter did what he did, someone . . . someone else, uh . . . . did . . . something . . . something really awful to you. Wh-who . . .”

“Why, Jack?” Tim wanted to know, well aware of the incident being referred to so incredibly vaguely. It was okay if Jack didn’t want to say it - Tim didn’t like the word much, either. Just being touched only a few minutes before by the man he adored had set off a reaction in his body, leaving his muscles shivering, despite the fact that he wasn’t cold. “You wanna play Prince Charming? Be my hero? Avenge my . . . stolen innocence?

“Too bad. I killed him,” he admitted, point blank.

What. The. Fuck. This isn’t happening. None of this ever happened. I’m dreaming! What a fucking stupid ass, mega long, dream! Are you hearing this shit, Johnny? What a fuckin’ load of -

To Tim . . . someone . . . someone did that to my little kitten. Someone as harmless as him . . . how could anyone?

JOHN. Hey-o! Over here! Wake the fuck up. It’s another sympathy play! Oh, “boohoo, my hot, big tittied, trapped-in-a-failing-marriage high school teacher seduced me when I was 16! It was SOOOOOO awful!”

ANYONE gonna recognize that our little lamb fuckin’ KILLED A GUY?! NOBODY? Oh, come on!

“My mom’s friend. Used to take me camping. Taught me fishing, marksmanship, trapping, hunting . . . honestly, he was . . . I didn’t have a dad, but he was there and - god, it makes me fucking sick to admit it - when I was young, he was really fun to be around. It was still fun for me to have someone like him around even after he started . . . hurting me.

Uncle Rick ,” Timothy confessed, still fighting through his snot and the lumps in his throat. “Not really my uncle. Just was . . .  just always around when I was growing up.”

Jack didn’t know what to say. Hell, he didn’t know if he should say anything, or if he just needed to be quiet and listen. The voices that had been arguing in his head had quieted, all of them paying careful attention.

“My tenth birthday. It was the first time we went camping without mom. I was ‘old enough to not need mommy holding his hand,’ according to her.”

Wait, how old? TEN? He was TEN? Like, not fifteen and almost legal, but . . . TEN?! ONE-OH? A child . . . just . . . a little kid.

“We got up before dawn and spent the whole morning fishing. Later in the day I got to shoot at bottles and cans with my favourite gun. He had to help me hold it and cushioned the recoil, but the aim? That was all me. I was really proud of myself. He always praised me for my skill and it felt good. I fell asleep really early that night. I was exhausted. That’s a long day for a kid, ya know?”

I don’t like where this is going. I really . . . I don’t feel well. What’s this . . . this feeling? It’s more than just - fucking UTTER disgust. It’s more visceral. Because HE was the one that someone . . . to HIM, someone did . . . to my Timmy . . .

“I woke up so confused,” Tim continued, his voice not raising with anger, or quieting and disappearing into the hum of the recycled air system. “It hurt. I thought someone snuck into our campsite and was cutting me open from the back. I wondered why someone would stab someone there. Cutting my throat would have been easier; a stab to the heart, but . . . there weren’t any errant bandits. I heard him . . . telling me I was such a good boy for not screaming.

“It happened once a month, or so. I always,” the redhead continued, plowing bravely through his story with a stoicism that Jack would never have guessed lived inside of Tim, “froze up. I was screaming in my head. Kicking, hitting, biting - but none of it ever happened. Managed to squeal once; he held me over the edge of a cliff and said if I ever told anyone, he’d throw me off.

“Thirteen came. He liked my pub . . . my . . . hair growing in. Took me camping more and more . . . and I wanted to die more and more each time.

Gonna . . . I’m gonna puke . . . I really can’t - I can’t listen to this!

Suck it up, buttercup - he lived this fuckin’ nightmare. The least you can do is listen. Pay attention. Jesus christ . . . and I thought my childhood sucked ass. At least I just got my ass kicked. Nobody ever put anything IN it . . . fuck. Gran at least drew a fuckin’ line at pedophilia. What kind of sick fuck does that shit to a little kid?

I really . . . my stomach . . . I think I’m gonna -

“A girl kissed me for the first time that year. I told him, thinking he'd be happy for me. He told me that if I let anyone else do that again he’d throw mom off the cliff instead of me. He’d make me watch. It made me feel so awful. He got really violent with me after that. Hurting me on purpose. Being extra rough.”

At this point, Tim had pulled his glasses off of his face. The tears were flowing down his cheeks like a dam had broken, but he was determined to get his whole story out to the man he was in love with; he needed to make Jack understand that, even though he’d given into his advances when they hardly knew one another, letting someone put their hands on his body in an intimate way was something that he didn’t take lightly. His past had caused his sex life to be something like a hidden garden that was heavily guarded and its existence was classified. He’d trusted Jack with a rare key to openly explore it and granted him access badges to deeper and deeper, more delicate levels as they grew closer.

Jack now realized just how hurtful it must have been for Tim when he repaid all of his love and loyalty by treating him with contempt over something that wasn’t even his fault. It made his stomach churn even more.

“I turned fourteen and it was just . . . it was enough. I couldn’t take it anymore . . . it was always so painful - like someone was trying to cut me in half with dull scissors. It wasn’t happening to anyone else, so now I knew it wasn’t normal. It wasn’t fair that I didn’t get to pick the person that took that away from me. So . . . I took mom’s handgun. We went fishing and hunting just like always. Then . . . I just waited. I waited for him to crawl into my sleeping bag. I knew at point blank range it would only take one shot, but I emptied the whole goddamn clip into his head. Even when the trigger just clicked over and over and over again I was terrified that he was still alive.”

Jesus christ. For FOUR years? A guy did that to Tim. MY pumpkin . . . for FOUR fucking years?! If his mother’s still alive I’m gonna track her down and make her death slow and painful. This is all her fault! Where was she when all of that shit was goin’ down?  

“But it still hurts. That every time he did it - I couldn’t do anything,” came the quiet and shocking admission as Timothy pulled his legs tightly up into his core. “Paralyzed,” Tim whimpered, at this point having devolved into a quivering ball of bone and muscle, knees pulled up to his snot and tear stained, ashamed face, arms wrapped tightly around his thin legs. “I could never . . . not even with words - I didn’t want it,” the freckled programmer promised, another inhale choking him on even more saliva and mucous, “I didn’t want it. I never wanted it, not any of it, but I couldn’t move - I wanted to fight, I really did!” the younger man sobbed, repeatedly rubbing his now slimy and drenched sleeves across his raw, red face. “I didn’t ask for any of it! I didn’t want him to - and I didn’t want Tassiter to . . . I’d NEVER betray you, Jack! I’d NEVER! After I trusted you . . . to touch me . . . to make love to me! And you . . . how could you?” Timothy wanted to know, his beautiful green irises standing out starkly in contrast to his bloodshot, pink sclera.

He glared so earnestly and deeply into Jack’s mismatched eyes that the brunette felt actual daggers piercing his chest, over and over again; how else could he be experiencing such intense pain at this moment? Each of the redheaded man’s sobs, every whimpering inhale thrust another sharp blade through his body. He knew that several of those vicious instruments bore his name - he was the one that caused all of this deeply buried pain to bubble to the surface; Jack had been careless with someone’s heart and - for the first time - he was actually paying the consequences; it felt fucking awful. He didn’t know what to say in response; there was never going to be a good enough excuse to make up for what he’d done.

“How could you?! I’d never . . .  never, ever, EVER! And you - you blamed ME! I wanted to fight back! I didn’t want him touching me! I don’t want anyone but you to touch me,” he continued, unleashing a maelstrom of loud wails. “You jerk!”

“I don’t . . . I‘m sorry,” was all Jack could manage. He’d strung together hundreds of sentences to respond with, but none of the words in any of the combinations made up for the way he’d treated Timothy. Hearing about his past only made him feel like an even bigger ass. He had absolutely no idea what he was supposed to do, now. He always would just cut and run when things in relationships got complicated. Hurting Tim’s feelings . . . it actually hurt him, too. This . . . it was messing with his head. It was confusing to care about someone else, and it was fucking painful. “What . . . what do I do to fix this. I don’t know what I’m supposed to . . . “

Tim gingerly reached out put his hand on top of Jack’s and waited until his sniffling died down before he spoke again.

“You said you were sorry.”

“I mean, yeah . . . but I still feel like shit.”

“Well . . . good,” the redhead said, trying to lighten things up a bit with a soft laugh. “Big jerk.” He eased his fingers into the spaces between Jack’s and gave his hand a squeeze. “You can trust me, Jack.”

It was hard for the chocolate haired man to let someone get close enough to him to trust them, but Timothy was genuine; Jack knew that he really could believe in him, but allowing the guard to come down was intensely difficult.

“You can trust me, too, pumpkin. And I’ll keep you safe from here on out. I won’t let anyone else hurt you.”

Timothy relaxed and leaned up against Jack. It was comforting to hear that he felt protective of him; feeling the other man’s body near him helped. He rested his head on the brunette’s shoulder.

“Thank you, Jack. It means a lot . . . that you came here and apologized . . . and listened to me. I’ve never told anyone about that stuff. Feels kind of good to get it off my chest. And . . . sorry. I know it’s pretty heavy. I just needed you to know that . . . what I do with you . . . it’s special. It’s not something I'd do with just anyone.”

“I get ya. I believe you. Should . . . would you like it if I stayed with you tonight? Not to do anything. Just . . . feel bad leavin’ ya all by yourself when your face is oozing from every hole. Someone oughta make sure you don’t dehydrate to death and all,” Jack joked. Humour often broke the ice of awkward situations and Tim was always especially fond of his brand of humour.

As the brunette had hoped, Timothy chuckled and gave his hand another squeeze.

“I’d like that.”

Chapter Text

“So what? It’s not unusual to want kids. Or do you think I’d be a shitty dad?” Jack wondered, swirling his drink in his glass, the ice clinking against the sides. He and Timothy were discussing their goals for their futures. He didn’t remember how the topic came up, but they’d ended up at a bit of an uncomfortable junction when Jack coolly explained that he planned to end up with a wife and children some day.

“No, of course not. God, you just . . . you really are stupid, Jack!” The redhead exclaimed, slamming his own drink on the table. Jesus, his companion was completely inept when it came to understanding the feelings of others. Did he really not get that the implication of what he’d said was that he had never intended to make Tim a permanent staple in his life? “You really don’t understand why I’m upset?! How are you so . . . completely oblivious?! So I was never - to you, I was never . . . not even a possibility?”

The brunette swept his hand through his hair and sighed. Honestly, he really didn’t get it. He didn’t go into ANY relationship expecting it to last forever. He’d had a number of girlfriends, but none of them were the “take home to meet mom,” type of woman (not that he imagined that his mother, were she still in the picture, would be a decent judge of his future bride); they were just women whose company he happened to enjoy.

Tim was the only boyfriend he’d ever had and he honestly felt a little weird having to qualify it with a title. He hated labelling relationships, period. He certainly was fond of Tim and his company, but he’d never even remotely considered it becoming a long-term thing. Had the other man honestly thought otherwise?

Was it so peculiar to have regular friends and friends that he also happened to occasionally fornicate with? Why did it have to be a big deal? It was just a little release between sexually mature adults, wasn’t it? It seemed natural.

Jack was a gentleman; he never fucked more than one person at a time, or anything like that. He was the monogamous type and appreciated loyalty in return, but having to declare someone his girlfriend, or boyfriend was annoying. It meant that people outside of the relationship were judging them by some preset standard and he couldn’t stand it. His private life was just that - private. Personal. Nobody’s goddamn business . . . unless he decided to brag about it.   

The people he had dated up to the current point in his life were mostly just filling up time until he found a suitable person to settle down with; sweet Timothy, no matter how much he cared for him, was no different. To keep his (hopefully soon to be famous) name and bloodline going, he needed a wife - a female. He intended to breed.

That’s gotta sting . . . I know he’s totally into me and all, but - he really thought that we might end up mates for life? I didn’t realize . . . I didn’t mean to give that impression. He looks so hurt . . .

“It’s just a convenient, comfortable arrangement. I enjoy your company and I really care about you, pumpkin, but seriously . . .”

“Asshole,” the freckled man growled rising out of his chair. “YOU’RE SUCH AN ASSHOLE!” he shouted.

“I didn’t realize that you -”

“Whaddid you think it meant when I spilled my guts to you?! Why was I sleeping with you all this time?! You’re really . . . you’re such a jerk, Jack.” Timothy had continued shouting, but as the tears started to come his voice quieted down. He hated how his already squeaky voice started to crack when he was under duress. “You aren’t human at all, are you?”

The ginger was shaking, his body reacting to his suddenly elevated blood pressure and heart rate. It was so incredibly painful to be told that he was just a placeholder until something better came along; his body was just a warm object for someone else to fondle and use up until they grew tired of it.

“So I really . . . I mean nothing to you?”

“Of course you mean something to me, cupca-”

“DON’T call me that right now. It’s not something you call your business associate, is it, SIR?”

“Timmy, come on. Don’t be lik -”

“Goodbye, Jack.”

With that, the freckled programmer abandoned the other man’s apartment along with what was left of his shattered heart.

Chapter Text

“Sorry I’m so late. I was debugging and got stuck redoing a bunch of code that Bryce fucked up,” Tim apologized sliding his satchel off of his shoulder and dropping it to the floor. “Jesus, it’s nine?! I’m so sorry. We can do this tomorrow if -”

“No! No, no . . . it’s fine. Beer?”

Jack offered an already open bottle to the freckled programmer.

“I shouldn’t but . . . fucking Bryce. My god, how the hell did he even get hired?”

The older man laughed softly and led Tim to the chairs they usually sat in when they chatted and shared drinks. It was a relief that the other man was acting a little more natural towards him than he had in the past two weeks.

“He’s the son of one of Tassiter’s asshole pals. I can’t fire him,” Jack replied with a huff. He definitely understood Tim’s frustration. Bryce wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box and anyone who ended up working on code after him was stuck doing extensive cleanup work.

“That explains it. Sorry. You’ve been stuck dealing with his shit for longer than I have.”

Jack shook his head.

“Could be worse. And I get to punish anyone who pisses me off by assigning them to work with him,” he joked.

“So I pissed you off . . . coulda sworn it was the opposite,” Tim muttered without meaning to, taking a deep swig out of his bottle. After a day like that, he really needed a drink. “I . . . I didn’t mean to say that.”

The tan computer engineer waved a hand, indicating that it was fine; he wasn’t really bothered by the fact that Tim lashed out. He had a right to be upset. Most any normal human would be snarling at him.

“It’s fine. I deserved it.”

“So . . . what was it you wanted to discuss? My plate’s pretty full already, but I can pass some lower level stuff on if you really need my help with something.”

Well? What did you decide to say? How are you gonna woo him? Beg for forgiveness? Seduce him? Finish crushing what’s left of his resolve so he’ll transfer and you never have to look at him again?

“I dunno. Just . . . I don’t know, Timmy. I just - I don’t like this .”

“Jack, please don’t. Don’t do this . . . I really can’t. I can’t handle it right now,” Timothy begged, picking at the label on his bottle; this awkwardness between them - the feeling of frayed, apprehensive nerves - was so reminiscent of the first time he’d joined Jack in this room.

“I don’t know what to do. Or what I’m supposed to say. I didn’t mean to hurt you! I like you a lot.”

“Jack, don’t! I’m serious! Just . . . let it be, alright? Please?”

“I can’t! I don’t understand any of this . . .  feelings bullshit, but . . . I know that I want you around and that I’m happy when you’re near me and it hur -” the older man cut himself off. Admitting that he had any sort of weakness was incredibly dangerous. Did he care at this point? He’d already been very open with Tim about a lot of things. “It hurts . . . it’s . . . painful to be alone all the time. I . . . I . . . miss you.”

Tim’s eyes welled up with tears as he set his beer on the table. He let out an exasperated groan as he buried his face in his hands. He really, REALLY didn’t want to do this! He had a weakness for Jack and he didn’t think straight when those mismatched eyes were staring him down. His scent messed with his head. His silky voice cut deep into his defenses.

“Please . . . goddammit Jack,” he begged. He wanted to get up and run, but his legs felt weak. The usually emotionless robot that had been his boyfriend admitting that he wanted him back was too much. He’d so easily give in to him, but he knew that he shouldn’t.

“Is it really so wrong to enjoy ourselves without worrying about the future? In this fucked up world, either of us could be dead tomorrow. If that happens, I’d rather die knowing that I did my best to live like it meant something. I did what made me happy. You make me happy. I really like you, TimTam.”

The redhead squealed, rubbing the tears off of his face, but they just kept falling, fresh clear droplets instantly replacing the ones he brushed aside.

“You don’t get it, Jack. And you’re NEVER going to get it,” he whimpered as his glasses fell to the floor.

“Then help me! What don’t I get, Ti-”

“I LOVE YOU, Jack! That’s what . . . that’s what you won’t ever understand. I really . . . hopelessly, stupidly . . . desperately . . . fell in love with you. Being near you hurts so much,” the pale man confessed, unable to choke back the pained squeak as he exhaled through a sob. “I love you. And you’re never . . . ever . . . not me,” he cried quietly, his chest feeling so tight he thought the muscles might actually start ripping. Part of him sort of wished that they would; if it exposed his weak, hemorrhaging heart, maybe he’d finally just die. He just wanted all of this misery to end. It had been the worst two weeks of his adult life, and that was saying a lot; he’d been through some serious shit.

Jack was floored. He was well aware of Timothy’s feelings for him, but he never really considered what to do, or what to say if he actually threw the ‘L’ word out there. The ginger was never supposed to develop such strong feelings for him; his calculations had forecasted nothing even close to this serious.

Fuck. Shit. Fuck! SHIT! I can’t . . . I can’t tell him I love him. I don’t even fucking know what that means. What am I supposed to do?! I’m losing, here. Oh, goddammit . . . son of a skag whore!

“I know . . . I know you can’t say it back. That you’ll never say it . . . not to me. That’s why I can’t . . . I can’t be around you. Please don’t make this hurt more than it already does,” the freckled man begged. “Please stop. Why are you torturing me?” he struggled to say, his words barely able to come out between more pained squeaks and his efforts to breathe through clenched teeth. He wrapped his arms around his torso in an attempt to comfort himself somehow. “It hurts . . . it hurts so much! Please stop. Stop it. Just stop . . .”

Goddammit, I can’t do this. I love him so much! Please, don’t, Jack. I can’t. I can’t!

“I don’t know what love even is, pum - Timothy. I really don’t,” Jack admitted, for the first time in his life being brutally open and honest about his emotions. Again, he dragged his fingers through his chocolatey locks with a sigh. This was complicated. “You’re right. I might not ever say it back. Nobody’s ever loved me, so I don’t really - well, do you, uh . . . got time for a sorta long story?”

“Goddammit Jack. Damn you . . . how am I supposed to ever say ‘no’ to you?”

Chapter Text

“Alright . . . well . . . you told me about your childhood, so I guess it’s only fair to, y’know . . .

“I never had real ‘parents.’ My mom was 16 when she had me. Dad died when I was really little. I can kinda remember his face, though. Only because mine ended up looking so similar when I hit puberty - not so much after surgery. . Had the same ‘mongrel dog’ eyes as I do, as my grandma always said,” the brunette began.

Fuck. This was really uncomfortable. He’d never told anyone about how he’d grown up, other than admitting that he had been a total nerd and gotten his ass kicked at school for it. He didn’t talk about his ‘family;’ not to anyone.

Timothy did his best to quiet his sniffles as he retrieved his glasses from the floor; Jack had given him his undivided attention when he’d divulged all of his darkest secrets, so it only seemed fair to do the same.

“I think I was six or seven when mom was finally sick of me. She wasn’t the best parent - hit me all the time for the stupidest shit. I didn’t finish breakfast, she slapped me. Only got a B in math, she gave me a black eye. I shattered my wrist when I couldn’t defend myself against a bigger kid, so she threw me to the ground and kicked me in the ribs until I couldn’t breathe.

“She was so pissed when I finally hit her back. Alcoholic bitch. Punched her square in the face once,” Jack went on, shockingly calmly, throwing back a few swigs of his beer as he laughed a little about the last bit. “That showed her. Six years old and pretty sure I broke her fuckin’ nose. She had this crazy, angry look in her eyes! So stunned,” he laughed. “Oh man, it was priceless!”

Jesus . . . you’re joking, right? Did . . . did he really grow up like that? No wonder he is the way that he is.

“She dumped me off with her own alcoholic, abusive mother. Basically left me for dead. She’d barely survived the old bag’s discipline, but she still . . . just left me there with her.”

Jack’s face took on a look that Tim had never seen before. It was an expression of sheer sadness, but it carried heavy notes of bitterness and anger. For once, the brunette revealed a face that showed so many of the feelings inside of him.

“I thought my mother was bad, but . . . that crazy old bat . . . I had a really cute kitten once. Soft and orange with stripes of even darker orange. I was running late for school one morning, so I skipped out on making my bed. When I came home, she drug me to the bathroom. She drowned it in front of me.

“Used to beat the living shit out of me just for shits and giggles, I swear to god. If I did manage to piss her off on purpose, she’d take me to the basement and use the buzz axe.

“She’d say, ‘Nobody gonna hear you screamin’ down here,’ and she was right. Nobody ever did. You’ve seen the scars from that tool, I just never told you what caused ‘em.

“The point is . . . nobody’s EVER loved me, pumpkin. Not a goddamn one,” he explained, scratching nervously at the back of his neck. This was really, really awkward. He didn’t want any pity, but he knew that stories like his tended to make people feel bad. Getting attention because of things that he wished had never happened was unacceptable to him.

“So I . . . I honest to god can’t tell you if I love you. I really don’t know what it means. I just know that I feel comfy when you’re around. I’m attracted to you, of course. I know that I don’t want anyone else touching you. I know that I want you to come to me at the end of the day. I know that I like it when I can wake up with you in my bed. I know how much it makes my chest hurt when you're crying. I know that I want to protect you, but . . . I can’t choose a word to describe what all of that stuff put together really means.

“For that, I can only say that I’m really, really sorry. I can’t - I can’t change that about me. I know it isn’t enough. I just . . . I felt so . . . being with you - how things were going with us - I never felt that kind of comfortable before. I’m sorry that I can’t give what we have when we’re together a title, but it doesn’t . . . that doesn’t mean I don’t feel anything.”

Tim was absolutely flabbergasted; this wasn’t Jack. Jack was closed off. He was quiet about his emotions. Hell, even saying the word ‘feeling’ made the tan Romeo squirm. Divulging so much must have made him want to be sick.

“Jack . . . I . . . I didn’t know. And you never . . . why haven’t you ever told me how - how you feel? That’s all - it’s the only thing I’ve wanted,” the pale programmer explained to the man who had, yet again, drawn him into his orbit, pulling him ever inward towards sharp, poisonous barbs that would eventually pierce his heart and leave him devastated.

Jack reached his arms up and stretched his back. God, he hated things like this! This was exactly why he didn’t want to label Timothy as ‘boyfriend.’ He didn’t want to feel pressured into honesty about his utter confusion about emotions, how each one felt, and how each one was meant to be referred to.

“Because this sucks , cupcake. All of this feelings junk. It makes my skin crawl talking about it. I just . . . if that’s what it takes to not lose you, though, it’s worth it. But . . . I mean, is it enough? Will you stick around, at least for a little bit longer? I’m happy when you’re near me.”

UGH! This isn’t fair! I’d be a monster if I said ‘no.’ I know he’s going to break my heart . . . I don’t want to let him go, though. Timothy Lawrence, you fucking sucker! I’m so worthless.

Timothy got to his feet and walked over to Jack’s chair. He knew that in the end he would regret this decision, but he felt hopelessly powerless. He, too, was lonely. He, too, was happy when they were together. He, too, liked waking up next to Jack. Dropping to his knees at Jack’s feet, he reached his arms up to pull the man he adored into a tight hug.

“It’s enough. It’s enough for me, Jack. I’d do anything for you,” he confessed. “I love you. I love you so much . . .”

The more muscular man wrapped his arms around the person that he, too, really had strong feelings for. It didn’t feel good not being able to return them with the same intensity, or to feel “love” in the same capacity as others did, but if describing what he felt was good enough for Timothy, then he was okay with that.

“I’m sorry, Timmy. I’m sorry you fell in love with such a hopeless guy. I’ll do my best to make you feel loved, though,” he assured his returning bed mate. “Okay? I don’t like making you cry.”

Jack gently pushed Tim’s shoulders back to look at his face. God, he really hated seeing it splotched with ugly red patches, tears soaking his precious, freckled cheeks. He used his sleeve to dab the moisture away and gave his darling a genuine smile. He really was glad that he’d managed to salvage whatever their relationship was; he adored his TimTam.

Timothy nodded, sniffling, trying to see Jack’s face through the haze of tears. His eyes were stinging from crying so much, but he soon forgot about the discomfort as his darling descended upon his lips and started washing away the pain; he really couldn’t say ‘no’ to Jack.

As it was the only way he really knew how to make someone feel loved, wanted and needed, Jack poured his feelings into a array of kisses. Some were confident and strong, others a bit more apprehensive, and many fell in between the extremes; all of them, he wanted Tim to know, he’d been desperate to feel again. Kissing his pumpkin, touching his warm body with his calloused hands, intimately exploring him, giving him unimaginable pleasure, making him moan, climaxing together - these were all things he really didn’t want to lose - and he didn’t understand it at all. He could easily get sex from others, but it wasn’t the same. Something about them having feelings (whatever those feelings were) for one another made it so much better. It didn’t feel like just sex. It didn’t just seem like two people were using one another to get off. It was as if, when they were coupled, their connection sparked a rare fire inside of him and when they gained release together, it felt like they’d attained something special.

Before the redhead knew it, he was lying on the rug, his handsome lover looming over him, pressing his body between his legs again. Timothy was irredeemably weak to this sort of attack and felt pathetic for it. At the very least, though, for the moment, he was unbelievably happy. He moaned quietly as the other man’s mouth sucked at his neck and claimed him as his own again; he needed this - to feel wanted. He felt incomplete without Jack by his side and it frightened him that they’d gotten to this point so quickly. Tim had never fallen this hard for anyone. Jack consumed his thoughts constantly and he was utterly devoted to the man. Knowing that eventually he’d be replaced by someone else was absolutely crushing, but he was willing to be used as a placeholder if it meant that Jack would continue to give him his attention for a little bit longer.

“Oh, Jack . . . my Jack,” he sighed, knowing that he was a complete fool for sinking back into the comfort of this. “I missed you so much.”

“I missed you, too, kitten. Please don’t cry anymore. I never meant to hurt you,” the older man promised. Hearing Tim still struggling to breathe through his clogged up nose, he pulled away and helped the other man sit up. He didn’t want to give the impression that the only thing he wanted to keep the freckled man around for was sex. He honestly and truly enjoyed his company all of the time. “Why don’t you grab a shower? I don’t wanna keep you up. We’ll get some sleep after -”

Tim dove into another kiss, wrapping his arms around the strong neck of the man he loved. He wasn’t finished at all! He didn’t want a shower, and he didn’t want to go to bed; not now, anyway. Jack’s touch was his drug of choice and he’d barely had a taste after weeks of going cold turkey. For the first time, he was the one who ended up surprising the brunette, tongue forcefully breaking into the space between startled lips. He had never been the one to initiate contact, or to insist on more if Jack ended their interaction.

The odd eyed man hadn’t expected to be pounced on and he fell backwards, his chair stopping him from falling entirely over as his back crashed into it. He let out a huff of air into his boyfriend’s mouth and they both ended up laughing.

“I didn’t - I didn’t say I was done. Feeling . . . loved and all,” Tim complained with a big sniff, wiping his sleeve under his nose and pouting.

“You’re such a cute little kitten. But you’re all snotty! Come on, get off,” Jack said with a laugh, pushing at the hips that were now straddling his lap, but his pumpkin clung to him.

“No way! You deserve this. I’m gonna get snot all over your stupid, expensive shirt and that ugly vest, then you’re gonna have to dry clean it. You deserve a massive bill for being such an insufferable asshole.”

“Insufferable is a little much,” the tan programmer argued, cocking an eyebrow. “Asshole, I can agree with. I get that one a lot.” He gave Tim’s rump a squeeze and a lascivious grin. “But you try having an ass that looks as great as mine and not have people constantly associating you with it.”

Jack was always quick with the clever remarks and it was part of the reason that Tim liked him so much. Even if they weren’t romantically involved, the muscular man always had him laughing and smiling.

“Seriously, though. You sound miserable. I know you can’t breathe.”

“Then you’d better stay awake. I’m not finished with you.”

“You’re obnoxiously adorable when you’re pouting, pumpkin. Maybe I should just let you take me now.”

“Hmph!” Tim huffed defiantly, getting to his socked feet and heading towards the shower. “No. Now you want to, so I’m taking my shower.”

“I’m never against a good, old fashioned, shower fuck!” Jack shouted after him. He laughed hard when his embarrassed sweetheart spun on his heel and shot him a disgusted look. The fact that he could still make such a stunned face just because he’d made a crass remark infinitely amused the Hyperion poster boy.

“What? I’m really not. I’ll work you up in a real good lather, baby,” he continued, licking his lips in an exaggerated manner, egging Tim on. The way his darling’s face turned endlessly darker shades of red cracked him up.

“Jack! I swear, you’re such a pig. You’re the reason women think all men are stupid, horny animals.”

“I mean . . . aren’t we?”

“I hate you so much.”

“That’s not what you’re gonna be screaming later!”

Timothy growled and resumed his march to the bathroom. He couldn’t lie, this banter was one of the best parts of his days with Jack. They had a lot of fun together, as his beloved was extremely playful.

“Oh, Jack! Ah! Ah! I looo~ooove it! Oh, yeah! Yeah!” the brunette shouted after him, mimicking the noises Timothy made mid-coitus, forcing his boyfriend to slam the bathroom door with another,

“I HATE YOU!”

Chapter Text

Once the shower was pouring hot water over his flesh and he was again alone with his frantic thoughts, the fear of being abandoned struck Timothy again.

Idiot! Idiot, idiot, idiot, idot! Why am I so stupid? Why do I let him do this to me? Why do I  . . . why do I love him so much? And why . . . why the fuck does it hurt so bad? Why can’t I just have this one thing, universe? After everything you’ve put me through, why can’t I . . .

My childhood was stolen. My innocence was stolen. My dreams were stolen. Please don’t steal the only good thing you’ve ever given me! I love him . . . I love him!

“I just want to be with him,” Tim whimpered to himself, hugging his thin frame tightly as the tears started to flow again. Being in love like this was excruciating and he couldn’t imagine any physical pain ever matching the amount of suffering he was going through, being so completely devoted while his feelings were unreturned. “It’s not - it’s not so much to ask. Please . . . don’t take this from me . . .”

Just let me be by his side until . . . until one of us dies. If that means I die tomorrow, I don’t even care! I love him . . . I’m so in love with him! Damn you, Jack. You stupid, stupid jerk. How are you so oblivious?

At least, even if it’s just for a little while . . . I can play at being happy. He makes me so happy!

“I love you,” he whispered to the steamy environment. “Godammit, I love you.”

UGH, stop CRYING! Please! There’s always a possibility that he ends up figuring it out. It’s worth making an effort, still. He can change . . .

Tim let out a blood curdling shriek when a strong hand clamped down on his shoulder.

“Whoa, whoa, it’s just me! Shh, shh, shh,” Jack comforted his companion. “You’ve been in here forever. I got worried . . .”

“J-j-just . . . bein’ thorough! N-nothing! No-nothing’s wrong,” the freckled man assured the man who had just scared the living shit out of him.

Jack scowled, knowing that Timothy couldn’t see his facial expression. He’d heard Timothy’s quiet pleas and it was painful. Again, causing the redhead that he adored such hardship was hurting him, too. He didn’t understand it at all. Was this what people referred to as empathy?

What a crock of shit, you sociopath. You have no empathy. You barely have sympathy! Think about all the deaths you’ve been responsible for. All the torture you’ve inflicted and witnessed. Ya feel anything for those sad sacks, Johnny boy?

Of course I didn’t! But they all deserved it. They were terrible people. Killers! Rapists! Nobody is gonna miss a damn one of them. Besides, you got a better way to test out weapons? Didn’t think so.

“I’ll be out soon. Just . . . a few more minutes. I swear.”

The older man respected Tim’s wish to be left on his own for a bit longer and slid into bed. Knowing the ginger, a few more minutes was going to be a really long time - he loved his showers. Often, he complained that there was no way to take a bath on Helios, yet. Baths were the way Tim used to clear his mind, back before he worked for Hyperion. For now it was impossible to take one. Water was scarce on the space station, especially since it wasn’t completed; only a handful of the hundreds of H2O generators were online.

Jack was drifting into sleep, his reading glasses starting to slip off of his nose, the scientific journal he’d been re-reading for the third time having slipped to the floor quite some time earlier. A warm body was sidling up to him, first just getting close to his side and reaching over his chest in a gentle hug. Then he felt a weight settle over his groin and soft hands pushing up over his pectoral muscles towards his shoulders, paying no specific attention to the nipples, but hardening the peachy tan nubs anyway; apparently Tim wasn’t the only one with a responsive body.

“Hmmm? Hey . . . hey there pumpkin,” Jack groggily greeted his lover, those hands, smaller than his own, pulling back over his chest, moving more towards the center and scraping fingernails over his flesh as they dragged through his chest hair. The weight over his groin increased, his freckle-faced boyfriend realizing that he didn’t need to support his body with his legs any longer; Jack could handle the weight easily.

“Jack,” Tim whispered, leaning over him and giving him a sweet, platonic kiss. “I want you . . . if you’re tired, though . . .”

The brunette pulled the reading glasses off of his face and looked up at his still bespectacled companion; his pale friend really was a beautiful specimen, or so he thought, at the very least. Cheeks lightly powdered with a soft blush beneath chestnut freckles gave Tim a bit of a glow. His usually messy hair was still a disaster, but the red locks were organized in damp clumps, droplets of water occasionally forming at the ends and dripping down.

“I’m fine. Just resting my eyes.”

Timothy shivered when slightly rough fingertips touched his knee caps and trekked up his thighs.

“Your skin’s so soft, Timtam.”

The pale man’s bottom lip started to wobble; he desperately wanted to keep telling Jack that he loved him. He wanted to repeat, “I love you!” until the other man finally understood just what it meant and how much his heart ached. Instead, he inhaled sharply and offered up his mouth and tongue to their matching pair. At the very least, he could make his point with actions.

“Mmm,” Jack moaned into him, his hands reaching up the outside of his thighs, enjoying every inch of supple flesh; few things felt as incredible as the other man’s skin and the brunette couldn’t figure out why. It was liked his whole body reacted to something special about Timothy; it had to be due to his feelings for him, regardless of what word he was supposed to use to describe them. Nothing else made any sense at all.

“I love you,” Timothy whispered between two hopeless kisses; he left no room for Jack to respond - he just needed it to be heard again. He wanted his boss and partner to remember just how much he needed him - just how much he meant to him. He had to remind Jack that he held his hastily glued together, once shattered heart, precariously in his hands; Tim had yet again entrusted him with the one thing that kept his soul from being crushed under the weight of just how miserable his whole life had been. It was important that Jack not forget just how fragile he really was.

Calloused hands seemed to balk at finding no underwear in between their touch and a pair of milky white buttocks.

“Well, well, well, what have we here?”

“I told you I wasn’t done with you.”

“I see. Well, be my guest. I approved that vacation request,” Jack informed him with a sly grin.

“What vaca -”

“For tomorrow. Just so happens I plan to catch a cold tomorrow. What are the chances?”

“People are going to talk, Jack . . .”

“So let ‘em! Who cares?”

At the current point in time, Timothy agreed - there were more pressing matters at hand and now he had all night to explore them.

“Probably Eileen. I see how she looks at you. Too bad, though . . . you’re all mine, right?”

The brunette nodded and slid his hands over the other man’s hips. He shifted his own a bit to get a little more comfortable as Tim leaned back in for more kisses.

“Absolutely.”

The redhead gathered up affectionate smooches, groaning in annoyance when Jack separated from him to get rid of Tim’s glasses.

“They’re always smashin’ into my -” the heterochromatic explained, but he was silenced by greedy lips, still seeking his attention. He’d never had a lover that so enjoyed the more innocent physical acts, but he didn’t mind Timothy’s hunger for them. Something about it was nice; it made him feel good to know that their bond was over more than lust. Even though he didn’t know how to return the sentiment, being loved by someone really felt . . . good.

Oh my GOD, how long are you gonna torment this kid? He was out the goddamn door and then you snatched him by the heartstrings and dragged him back in. Gotta say, even for us, that’s pretty cruel. You’re slowly gonna torture the poor thing to death.

If I have the capacity to feel love, then he’s the - I think I might . . . actually . . . love . . .

Nope. Not happening. This is sick. You’re being manipulated. If you don’t destroy him first, he’s going to gut you like an animal - leave you for fucking dead. He’s not going to stick around forever, Jack. Nobody in your life ever has, and they aren’t gonna start doing it now.

Shut up! Shut up, shut up! I just want to enjoy this one thing. Just let me have him . . . let me, at the very least, make HIM happy. Even if I’m never happy . . . I can’t stomach denying him this. I can’t handle making him cry.

“Jack?”

“Hm?”

“Are you okay?” Tim wondered, ending his stream of kisses as well as Jack’s inner monologue.

“Wha - whaddya mean? Yeah, of course!”

The freckled man rested his forehead on Jack’s with a wince.

“You’re . . . sort of hurting me. You’re holding - too tight,” he admitted.

Jack suddenly realized that his powerful hands were clinging to his lover’s body, fingers pressing painfully hard into his flesh. If he’d had any fingernails to speak of, he’d probably be drawing blood out of that snowy skin.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t notice . . . sorry, pumpkin. You okay?”

Tim, nuzzling his boyfriend’s nose with his own, responded with an, “Mm hmm. I just got worried about you.”

“I’ve just been really stressed out lately, that’s all. Guess I’m still on edge. Feels a lot better having you around, though.”

“You’re sweet, Jack. Let me alleviate some of that stress, hmmm?”

The redhead nipped at his darling’s earlobe before returning a mark (that Jack often left multiples of) on his neck. He could hear the other man quietly moan for him, enjoying the attention. It was nice to know that despite all of his experience, the brunette was still sensitive to his less honed skill; Jack had given him a good number of lessons, though, so Tim supposed he’d upped his game since the first time they'd fooled around. He could feel his love’s body reacting to him, a recently neglected organ swelling beneath him as his own sex grew; it was flattering to know that he was turning him on.

“Nnn, let’s get rid of these,” Timothy insisted, sliding his fingers just barely under the waistband of Jack’s boxer briefs. It was no fair being the only one in the buff.

Jack complied, lifting his hips as the other man pushed undergarments out of the way. He hadn’t thought about it until now, but he hadn’t even jerked off since their argument and his body was yearning for release. It appeared that his partner was feeling just as needy, adjusting their positioning so he could match them up in a more favorable way for both of them. As always, Tim was vocal about his pleasure, letting out a series of satisfied noises with each of his initial movements; Jack found it fairly arousing that, for once, it wasn’t just his lover’s body reacting and divulging his secret pleasure; Tim was being honest about what he wanted and was working to get it. His green eyed darling started rutting against him at his own pace without him having to lead; Tim was satisfying his own urges, small, pleasured moans growing more and more noisy as his sex reached full arousal.

“Unh . . . oh Jack . . . god . . .”

“Mmm . . . that’s nice,” Jack encouraged his usually demure lover.

Timothy had slipped his fingers between Jack’s, squeezing his left hand tight; the brunette put his free hand on his lover’s waist and rolled his own hips up to match his movements. As usual, though, the freckled man had an erratic rhythm, so it was difficult to predict him. God, when their tips slipped against one another, though, Jack wanted to start hammering him. Both of their heads were slick with precum.

“Your . . . your cock’s so b-big . . . and hard. You wanna put it inside, nnnn . . . d-don’t you?”

Oh my god . . . okay, so that’s . . .fuckin’ adorable. He’s tryin’ to talk dirty to me! See? This is why I lo . . . like him so much. He makes an effort to go outside of his own comfort zone just to please me. He really wants to keep me around. I wanna keep him around, too . . .

“Oh, hell yes I do,” he responded, wrapping the fingers of one hand up in wavy red locks. The other was still occupied by Timothy’s shaking hand, fingers sweating and squeezing between his own.

“Yeah? I want it, too. Driving deep . . . deep inside. Stirring me up. Mmm . . . making me c-come . . . over and over. Y-you wanna make me come?”

“Goddamn, little kitten. Gonna make me come just talkin’ like that,” Jack continued, building up his novice sweetheart’s confidence. Tim was rocking against him more desperately as he gained the courage to say more and more naughty things; it was obvious that saying things that he never would in front of anyone else was getting the ginger hornier.

“Uh-huh. ‘S’what I thought. Dirty old man. I’m go-gonna f-fuck myself stupid on your huge dick. You . . . you better fill me up . . . when you b-blow your load inside me. Every . . . every drop. Oh fuck, Jack,” the redhead continued, dropping his head on Jack’s muscular shoulder. “So embarrassing! How do you -”

“Well it’s got me rock hard, babe. You’re doin’ a damn fine job. Why don’t you show me what you’d want me to do if I was sucking you off?”

Seeing his usually docile Timtam’s sudden courage starting to wilt, the older man changed gears. He let the fingers that had been tied up in messy, red locks slip loose and brought them up to the ginger’s soft lips; he knew that his boyfriend was a blowjob champ, so asking him to demonstrate his skill was an easy way to help him regain morale. As he’d hoped, Tim was quick to put on a display, his tongue wrapping its way around two, thick fingers as if, combined, they were his lover’s arousal. He licked from Jack’s palm to the tips of his fingers as if he were tasting his lover from sack to tip.

He must like it when I . . . thank god I’m good at SOMETHING in the bedroom! How does he talk to me like that all the time?! It’s so embarrassing! It’s . . . scary. I was so afraid he was going to start laughing. It all sounded so fucking ridiculous!

“Mmm . . . you sure have a slutty little mouth, Timmy. I definitely like it.”

Timothy performed his finest work on his boyfriend’s digits, trying his best not to lose focus on rocking his hips to keep their most sensitive areas from feeling left out.

“What should I do with these fingers, now?”

“I-inside . . . I want them . . . fu-fucking me.”

“Yes sir. Though we should probably use a little something more than spit,” Jack admitted. He reached underneath the pillow and retrieved the bottle of lube he’d conveniently hidden while Tim was in the shower. “Your arms are shaking. Give ‘em a break,” he insisted, rolling over into their usual position. He laughed when the redhead groaned and started to argue.”

“N-no, I wanna lead -”

“Fret not, pumpkin. I’ll let you ride my cock to your heart’s content. Just giving you a chance to rest a little,” Jack assured his bed mate, unceremoniously sliding a finger inside. “Besides, I know you like it best when I get you all fucked up before we really get into it, don’t you?”

Tim bit his lip and nodded enthusiastically.

“Nh! God yes! Fuh . . . fuck me up, Jack,” he begged. “Mmmmm . . . mess me up inside.”

Jack grinned, extremely pleased by his darling’s performance. Was he doing all of this to please him, or was he really so goddamn pent up that his mind’s only sexual setting left was nasty? Either way, he fucking loved it!

“You know I will. Maybe I’ll drag it out all night. Could make you come with my fingers right now so you have to come crawling back for another round before I really let you have it.”

He inserted a second finger without warning and started brushing both of them against Tim’s most sensitive spot; to be honest, that sounded pretty great and all, but they were both fairly exhausted already. He’d save that torment for another time, but he liked making the other man beg him for mercy.

“Ah! Nn . . . no, pl-please don’t. I want you . . . d-don’t make me -”

“I’m just teasing. Maybe tomorrow, though,” Jack teased, sucking at his boyfriend’s sensitive throat. “You always seem extra horny on Fridays.”

Tim couldn’t respond with a clever retort, those damned fingers knowing just how to get his brain and body to start melting. God, he had missed Jack, just in general, when they’d been arguing, but he really, really missed the mind-blowing things the other man did to him. He couldn’t get the same reaction with his own fingers, and he believed that no adult toy could replace the way it felt to have the man he adored thrusting between his thighs. Honestly, he could easily have just let him push him over the edge, but Tim wanted to follow through with his filthy promises.

“Aaaaaaah - haaaaaaa . . . Jaaa-Jack, gotta stop, or . . . I’m!”

“Ultra sensitive today, hmm? Missing my cock the past few weeks?” the brunette wondered, withdrawing his agile digits and leaning down to whisper in Tim’s reddened ear. “I’ve missed your ass, tightening around me as you come all over our stomachs. These rough hands just don’t do the trick.”

While he hadn’t masturbated while Tim was no longer warming his bed, (he’d buried himself deep into his work) he still alluded to it so they could keep the dirty conversation rolling.

“If you weren’t,” Tim started with a huge huff breaking up his sentences in the middle as he caught his breath and shoved his lover off of him, “such an insensitive asshat - you’d have gotten all kinds of - wh . . . whatever. And stuff.”

“Guess I need to be punished. I’m a very bad boy, kitten,” Jack purred as the pale man reclaimed his position straddling his hips. “You can use your claws if you like.”

“Pffffft! You’d fuckin’ - like that too much. Pervert.”

“Says the freaky guy who’s about to stick my dick in his a -”

“JACK!!!” Tim clamped both of his hands over the slimy grin Jack was wearing; he sure knew exactly what to say to get under his skin. “Honestly . . . should claw your - big, dumb throat open - then you can’t say more - stupid - haaaah . . . mmmm!” he tried to scold his boyfriend, but his cock was encircled by warm hand and he was happily rescued from having to continue. “Dirty . . . nnn! Old man . . . bet-better not co . . . come before me.”

The freckled man fumbled around and tried to guide his boyfriend into his entrance, but when it just wasn’t working, he pouted and had to ask for assistance.

“Ja~ack . . . I can’t . . .”

“Having some trouble, cupcake? Never ridden a wild stallion before?”

“Ugh, Jack,” Tim whined, but the other man quickly complied, holding his arousal steady and pushing his hips barely forward, just enough to guide the head of his penis inside. “Unnnn . . . th-thanks.”

“Hm . . . my pleasure,” Jack exhaled through his teeth, the other man’s ridiculously taut body swallowing his tip.

“Jesus . . . horse cock, son of a . . . AH!”

The older man didn’t wait for Tim to complete his insult, instead thrusting up into his boyfriend as hard as he could. God it felt SO good, that heat surrounding his aching sex, gripping him tightly.

“Fff-fuckin’ finger trap . . . son of a . . . nnnn! Fffffuck, TimTam,” he tried to add while his partner was unable to answer, but a swirl of Timothy’s hips had him suffering the same, shocking, undeniable pleasure.

They broke down into a writhing mass of sweating, flushed flesh, two masculine bodies struggling for dominance, each trying to one-up the other, but then Jack remembered that he’d made up his mind to allow the usually docile ginger to assert himself and his needs. He allowed his pumpkin to hold his shoulders down, pinning him to the mattress.This encouraged the first almost wicked smile to creep across Timothy’s face and he looked down at his partner; he couldn’t see him clearly, but Tim knew that Jack was still smiling.

“Good . . . good boy, Jack. I-I’ll . . . I’ll take good - care of you. Nnnngh!”

Starting to feel his mind starting to scatter again, the freckled programmer stopped trying to come up with clever remarks and focused on the movement of his body. Controlling the whole thing started to become more and more difficult as his lover’s engorged organ rubbed against his sweet spot over and over again; as thick as he was, Jack was always putting pressure on Tim’s prostate when they had sex.

“Oh god . . . oh my god . . . Ja - Jack, oh . . . oooooooh!”

The brunette programmer put one strong hand on a milky thigh, the other grabbing the back of Tim’s neck and holding on tightly. The man with the emerald eyes was starting to figure out how to work his hips while he was on top to his maximum advantage. Unfortunately, this also meant that he was unconsciously responding to the incredible sensations setting his body ablaze and he started to increase the speed of his movement.

“Ungh . . . holy fuck . . . Tim . . . nnnn . . .”

“Ah, ah! D-don’t - dont you dare - come without me,” Tim was warned his partner. He placed one hand behind himself on the mattress and one on Jack’s rock hard abs as he swallowed up every millimeter of the throbbing, engorged cock he loved so much. Both of them spread their legs open further as the younger man started getting more and more serious about his rocking hips. “Oooooh . . . aaaaah . . . hitting it so right,” he gasped.

“Goddamn . . . doin’ it for me . . . me too, babe . . . uh! Fuck! Too fast, I’m- I’m gonna . . !”

But Tim couldn’t stop his bucking hips. His body was reacting to the heat pooling in his belly that made him completely stupid

“Nnnnnn! HA! Aaaa~aaahn! Jack, come, come, come! Fucking come, I’m coming! Oh fuck! JACK!”

“Gnnnngh! Fu-fuck, fuck, oh, fuck! I’m comin’, shit, I’m coming, coming, coming babe! Oh fuck, FUCK! UNH!” Jack exclaimed as Tim impaled himself on his rod and started to orgasm. That tight ass twitching around his cock made Jack wish he could blow more than one load at a time. Instead, the redhead was still fucking his softening dick after he’d expired, his shouts growing louder and sharper until his own semen finally exploded forward, squirting up Jack’s stomach and chest.

“Haaa . . . ha . . . ah . . . oh, fucking shit . . . y-you’re still . . . squeezing me. Oh, Timmy, oh my god . . .”

“Ah . . . oh Jack . . . mmmm . . . oh my . . . oh . . . ha . . .  damn . . .”

Tim collapsed to the side of his lover, leaving a messy trail as Jack’s essence escaped his body; he couldn’t really hold it in as completely brain dead as he felt.

“God . . . Jack . . . you . . . you’re incredible.”

The programmer chuckled and patted his partner’s ass cheek. While he was happy for the compliment, he knew that this session was all Tim’s doing; his stray, orange kitten was growing up into quite the incubus.

“All you, babe . . . goddamn . . . I didn’t do a thing.”

“Fuck . . . unh . . . ca . . . can’t move anymore. Just . . . let me die here. ‘Kay?”

“Can’t have - a prostitute dyin’ in - my bed, babe,” Jack joked between heavy breaths.

“Prosti - you . . . son of a . . . gonna punch you - right in the dick. Just . . . move my hand for me,” Timothy weakly argued. He nuzzled Jack’s muscular shoulder with a heavy sigh. God, he’d needed this. He knew that later on he’d be punishing himself for being so stupid and giving in to such base, animal instinct, but for now, he was insanely happy. He was really sexually satisfied and he really, really loved Jack.

Chapter Text

Tim was bored. Insanely bored. He’d already watched the new episode of his favourite show three times. He hadn’t realized just how dependent he’d become on Jack for entertainment. With his boss and lover on a business trip, Timothy didn’t know what to really do with himself. They spent most of their time together and never went too far from their apartments and a handful of shops and restaurants.

“Hee~eey babe! What’s up?” Jack inquired as the redhead answered his echo device.

“Nothing much. I miss you. That sounds pathetic, huh?”

“Awwww! Not pathetic. It’s cute. I’ll be back in a few days, though. Enjoy the break. Ya got nobody trying to steal all the blankets when you’re trying to sleep, or trying to get you to do it with him in the shower,” the older man said with a laugh.

“Seriously. But Jim keeps taking his showers super late at night when I do and it’s weirding me out a little. He always gets uncomfortably close,” the green eyed programmer complained.

Jack’s brows furrowed and his smile faded; like hell was he going to put up with someone trying to horn in on his mate.

“I told you you can use my shower. I don’t mind you hanging out at my place when I’m not there.”

Tim shook his head, messy red locks swooping left and right with his movement.

“It would feel weird to just hang out over there when you aren’t home. Besides, everyone’s still asking me about things . . . that stupid video is still going around. I’m sorry . . . I know you’re going to get in trouble because of me when your bosses find out. Are they going to fire me? Do I have to go to another department? I’m really worried . . . I like working together,” Tim worried, chewing on his bottom lip.

The odd eyed man sighed loudly; he still hadn’t told Tim about his admission of sleeping with Tim and threats to the rest his staff. If he revealed it now, the freckled mouse would be furious with him for several reasons. Firstly, for revealing something that he tried to hide - the pale man was very private and he didn’t like others knowing about his personal life. He also feared everyone would start complaining that he was favoured by Jack. Timothy would be mortified if he found out that everyone actually KNEW he was fucking his boss.

Secondly, he’d be absolutely furious that his boyfriend had kept such a from him. Tim was always trying to be sneaky about going to and from Jack’s place, and scolded his partner when he showed displays of his affection for him in public. They’d go out to dinner, or lunch on occasion, but the bespectacled man always kept his demeanor professional. He’d earned his spot on Jack’s team and as his assistant, so he was never going to give anyone an excuse to accuse him of using his body to get ahead.

The video in question was the surveillance footage from the elevator incident. The clips being passed around via e-mail were, of course, the ones where he and Jack were making out. Tim had tried to brush it all under the rug, explaining that the only reason they were kissing was because his boss was trying to keep him from panicking - and it was the truth. However, most people weren’t convinced that it was a simple distraction; oddly, the only people who ever brought it up with him were people on other teams. Nobody who worked under Jack ever mentioned it.

“I’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. Tassiter already knows and he hasn’t done anything, so I’m not too worried. Besides, Helios is a pretty unique project. The higher ups are more concerned with having the right people working on the right jobs, regardless of who is fucking.”

“Jack! D-don’t . . . don’t . . . say it like that. Jeez. You’re awful sometimes.”

“Ugh, I gotta go, pumpkin. Sorry. I’ll see you soon, though, alright?” Jack assured his frustrated companion.

“Okay. I lo - have a good night. Goodbye, Jack.”

“Bye, cupcake!”

-----------

A nurse signed a few things off on his clipboard and sent him back to the waiting room after Tim’s physical check up. The red head wasn’t really sure why all of this was necessary; he was in fine health and this was just for an experimental eye surgery. Why did they need to know the length of his inner thigh, or angle of his nose? They seemed to be incredibly thorough for such a small procedure. Then again, this was for half of the price of his student loans.

Hyperion had finally contacted him about the required “be a guinea pig for us,” part of his contract. He felt a little bit like a prostitute, whoring his body out for money like he was. Still, it would only be a benefit to see better and he trusted the company not to do anything too dangerous with him.

Luckily, they’d called for him while Jack was still on his trip to test out weapons in the field. He’d gone to Pandora for a little bit of hunting with a small group of other project managers with an arsenal of new guns; he might have looked like a harmless playboy, but Jack was a deadly shot. He’d won almost every marksmanship contest he’d entered while working for Hyperion, so he was a must-have for the Pandoran testing. Hundreds of employees had applied to get selected for it, but only ten people were chosen. Tim hadn’t made the cut, but that was fine with him when his fear of heights reminded him that going would require a shuttle to the planet’s surface and then back to Helios.

“Mr . . . Lawrence?” a white-bearded man called out into the waiting room.

The nervous redhead bounced to his feet, startled to hear his name called so quickly. Lots of other people were also waiting for their mental health evaluations, so it seemed peculiar that he had jumped to the head of the list after the physical portion of the exam.

“Uh, yeah, that’s me!” he nervously replied.

“Timothy, please go through the door to your right. Your interviewer will be waiting for you,” the apparent doctor spoke, indicating a door with a sign on it that read, “NO ADMITTANCE WITHOUT PROPER CLEARANCE.”

“Do I, uh, need to sign some papers, or . . ."

“Through the door please.”

“No. Wait. How do I know this isn’t some scam to get my kidneys?” the freckled man wanted to know, pushing his glasses up his nose again. Something in the pit of his stomach was screaming at him to run; something felt very, very wrong.

Don’t be stupid. It’s not a big deal! Look at all of the other candidates. None of them are sweating bullets over a little same day surgery. Stop freaking out. Besides, if anything unsavory seems to be going on, I’ll report it to Jack. He can help me out. Ugh . . . I should have told him before he left that they were planning on this. He’s going to be so surprised when he comes back and I kiss him without my stupid glasses in the way! Finally, we’re going to be able to do it without me being blind as a damn bat.

I really hope he’s surprised . . .

“You applied for this position because you needed money!” The older man curtly reminded him, causing Tim to wince. He dropped his head down and pulled his shoulders up, making himself look smaller. “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

“But . . . I . . . okay. Alright, I’m ready.”

“Very good, Timothy.”

The freckled man stepped through the door that fateful day, not knowing that the entire course of his life was about to take a sudden and horrifying turn for the worse.

------

Fluttering open, Tim was a bit stunned that his eyes still refused to see anything clearly. Besides that, his face fucking ACHED! There was an uncomfortable pressure on his nose, bandaging and tape tightly holding it down. The skin over the surface of his entire face felt tight, like it had been absolutely roasted under sunlight. There was a pain that was starting to come through, trying to jostle his brain out of its stupor.

“How are you feeling?” a familiar-ish voice was asking.

Who is . . . where am . . . what’s . . . what’s going . . .

“Ugh . . . I . . . what happened?”

The ginger heard a pen click and finally started to take in the sounds around him. There was the beeping of medical machines, the constant hiss of pneumatic lines being kept under pressure, the familiar sounds of other people breathing as they stood near him.

Is he . . . is Jack here? Where’s Jack. . . . it . . . it hurts. I’m . . . confused . . . I’m scared . . .

“What is the last thing you remember?”

That doctor . . . that’s the doctor. The one who yelled at me in the waiting room. Doctor . . . the eye surgery. I can’t . . . I still can’t see.

Timothy’s eyes tried to take in his surroundings, but instead lolled around inside of his head, refusing to focus on anything. God, he really hoped that this experiment was going to correct his vision! He really wanted to look up into Jack’s mismatched eyes with his own without a screen of glass in the way as he leaned in to kiss him. He wanted to be able to make love without having to push his spectacles back onto his face when the kissing was out of the way, just so he could see the expressions his boyfriend made when they were intimate.

It probably takes a few days. Healing and everything. You’ll be looking at his gorgeous face in detail soon! He’s going to be so surprised! I hope . . . I hope he likes what I look like without my glasses on.

“I was . . . there was a door,” the redhead recalled, “and you were there. You asked me some questions and then I woke up here.”

“Hmmmm. Seems the anesthesia we’re using is still causing substantial memory loss. Nurse,” the male voice rang out in his ears. Tim heard the shuffle of papers and the material of different clothing rubbing together as people moved around him. “Collect all my notes on experimental post-traumatic stress therapy. I’ve got some ideas.”

Post . . . what? I don’t have PTSD . . . not from this stupid surgery, anyway. From my childhood - well, that’s a different . . . my head’s spinning . . . where . . . who am . . . what’s . . .

The clarity Timothy had started to regain began to fade away quickly as waves of pain washed over him. His mind started to get distracted by it and he still felt groggy from the drugs he’d been given.

“Da, doctor. I hook this one up to drip?” a woman with a heavy Russian accent asked. Her query was responded to with a sharp reply.

“No! Not until he feels it. We need to make sure the nerves weren’t damaged during the surgery.”

Nerve . . . nerve damage? But . . . no. This was supposed to be a laser surgery. There shouldn’t be any pain. There shouldn’t . . . nerve damage?! What are they . . . what are they talking about?! Did they accidentally switch my chart with someone else’s?! Oh my god! They gave me a nose job, didn’t they! That’s what it feels like.

“Surgery? What surgery?!” he exclaimed, but it came out sounding more like he’d had no clue he was getting surgery of any kind and not like, “what KIND of surgery?!” as he’d intended. God, whatever drugs they had used to put him under had him feeling so scrambled.

“Shhhhh . . . relax,” the man’s voice directed him, trying to feign some sort of softness. It sounded so fake to Tim, even in his condition. “I’ll fill you in on everything.”

Oh, fuck! They DID do the wrong surgery! Now I’m going to STILL be blind AND they fucked up my nose. Jack . . . he liked my nose. Jack . . . come home, Jack. I’m starting to get scared. Jack!

Chapter Text

Timothy was writhing in agony, screeching at the top of his lungs as pain continued to rip through him, wave after merciless wave. He wanted to say something. He wanted to make intelligible words. He wanted someone to save him!

“Mistake! Wrong vial. Sorry doctor,” the woman called ‘Nina’ apologized, taking Tim’s wrist in her giant hand and slapping at one of the larger veins on his forearm. “He no die. Nina will care for heem.”

“You fool! You can’t give him the anesthetic now that he’s got that running through his system! We’ll just have to wait it out,” the man that had been called doctor by Nina sighed. “Terribly sorry, Mr. Lawrence. I can’t do anything for you until tomorrow.”

Wait? Wait what out? This . . . this pain?! TOMORROW?! This isn’t going to end until tomorrow?! HELP! SOMEONE HELP! OH MY GOD! HELP! HELP! ANYONE! Any . . . one . . . my . . . where’s my boss? I feel . . . where . . . why am . . . wha . . . wait . . . help me . . .

“Nina made mistake! Patient get Nuvidium, not anesthetic. Must wait it out. He strong boy. Make tough man!” Timothy heard the woman saying to someone. Hadn’t she already said all of this? Why was she saying it again? Was he so fucked up he was actually hearing the same events repeat? He didn’t understand any of this! He just understood that he wanted to die. Anything would be better than another second of the chemical fire raging inside of his body.

“Nuvidium?! Why the hell would you give him that in any case?!” A familiar, masculine voice was shouting. He sounded so upset - so angry. Like he was personally offended by whatever was going on; like he had a personal stake in this situation. As if . . . as if he cared about Timothy.

Bottles were clinking around, glass on glass almost sounding musical to the redhead. Could he focus on that instead of his agony? He sure as hell tried. Metal was added to the mix, glass ampoules dropping on a tray obviously made of a steel, or aluminum substance. Sterile plastic packaging was being torn open as someone was desperately scrambling to accomplish something.

“Keep him still, or so help me, you’re gonna be getting Nuvidium soup for a month,” the comfortingly velvet voice said with a terrifying hiss.

He . . . he sounds familiar . . . who is . . . he . . .  he sounds scared, too . . . why? Does he care . . . about me? Who . . . why can’t I . . . I can’t remember . . .

A heavy pressure was pinning Timothy to the bed, but the touch only made the pain more intense, and he fought against it, screeching out noises he never could have imagined coming out of any human throat; the harder he fought, the more they forced his searing flesh against the bed, and the more awful he felt.

Something sharp pierced his body, but the freckled man was in such agony, he couldn’t identify exactly where he’d been stabbed. Something shocking and cold spread beneath his skin, quickly covering up his suffering. He broke down into desperate whimpers and gasps for air. Just what the hell was going on?!

“There! Was that so fucking hard? Get outta my sight,” the familiar sounding man snarled and it only took a few seconds before the familiar hiss, then click of a door opening, then closing entered Tim’s ears.

Looking over the patient, Jack felt guilty. It was an emotion he didn’t even think he had anymore, but when he saw the colour of the other man’s hair and the freckles that speckled the bits of his flesh that weren’t wrapped in bloody bandages, he knew exactly who it was. The body lying on the table; the screams he’d been hearing all day long - they belonged to his dear, sweet Timothy.

“Hey there, pumpkin,” he spoke in a voice that was unusually sweet, given his most well-known personality. “So this is where you went . . .”

Jack stroked the ginger coloured hair gently and his breath hissed through his teeth. He’d had no clue where Timothy had gone when he returned from his weapons testing trip. He had so many interesting things to tell his boyfriend. So many hilarious jokes, so many tales of insane danger. Also, the serious review of several faulty guns and grenades. But Tim, he’d been told, had taken vacation; he was gone. Nobody knew exactly where he’d gone. At least, that’s what Jack had been told.

No . . . no, no, no! It can’t be him! TimTam? Why the fuck is he HERE?! How did I not recognize him screaming?! He’s been suffering . . . all day, he’s been suffering! Probably waiting for me to save him. And I . . .

The brunette felt vomit rising in the back of his throat. This couldn’t be happening. Tim’s life had already been so difficult; he was finally in a place that made him happy and Jack had tried so hard to help him along the way. Timothy was finally becoming himself; finally confident. He was turning into a fun, clever young man. Jack was so close to finally using the ‘L’ word with him, too. While his inner demons were trying to convince him that it was impossible for him to love, the odd eyed man really was feeling something for his pumpkin that he couldn’t really describe with any other words. The separation while he was away made Jack realize just how much he really needed Tim. He really did love him; the ginger was the first person he’d ever loved in his entire life.

And there he was - wrapped up tightly in blood stained gauze, his body shape no longer the familiar landscape that Jack was used to exploring. His legs seemed longer, chest more pumped up, arm looking swollen. Even his hands, though they were wrapped up, seemed off. These proportions were all too familiar; they didn’t suit his kind and precious kitten. His face was obviously puffy, despite the tight wrappings.

They’d ruined him. They’d killed his darling and his uniquely special form and started molding it into a copy of himself. He felt so, so very sick. He’d give anything to see those freckled cheeks again. To put his hands on that snow white flesh. To lose himself in the comfort of the masculine, but slim frame to which he’d become accustomed.

“Pumpkin?” Pump . . . kin. I’m his . . . is . . . is it him? My boss . . .  why is he here? Where is here? What’s going on? Tim wondered, finally recognizing the smooth, silky voice of his boss and the annoying nickname he’d given him. Jack . . . his name . . . it’s Jack . . . that name feels so familiar . . . soothing . . . please don’t leave my side, sir - Jack . . . I’m scared. I’m so . . . so . . . terribly frightened . . .

“Si . . . s-sir?” Tim barely choked out, but no matter how hard he squinted, he couldn’t see the figure next to him.

That voice, though - it was unmistakable. It had to be him. The man he’d had the hugest crush on for a long time and whom he’d recently had the pleasure of getting to know.

Jack . . . Jack . . . I feel . . . something isn’t right . . . my head . . . Jack and I . . . his voice makes . . . is he only . . . my boss? He makes . . . I feel . . . I . . . I . . .

“Don’t waste your breath, pumpkin. I’m so sorry about this. They weren’t supposed to take anyone from my department,” Jack complained, gritting his teeth. “Don’t go dyin’ on me, now. I actually like you, ‘kay?”

“Like?” But I love . . . I love? I love him . . . Jack. He and I . . . we’re . . . lovers . . . no. That’s not . . . I remember telling . . . I told him that I . . . but he . . . we’re not . . . he has a wife . . . or . . . wait. No? He . . . he wants a wife? I’m . . . I’m not his . . . his husband. Am I? But we . . . I love him.

Jack, am I . . . what am I . . .

Children. Can’t give you . . . I can’t have them. But I . . . I love you.

Save me, Jack! I’m so lost . . . my head . . . my mind . . . feels like it’s splitting up . . . I don’t . . . my memories . . . did we ever? Elevator . . . we . . . but no, we didn’t. No. Wait . . . we did. But . . . was it then? I can feel . . . I know what it . . . when he’s inside me . . . I feel . . . he doesn’t . . . but I . . . but he doesn’t . . . and I . . . but I . . .

I love him . . .

“Luh . . . ooh,” Timothy whimpered.

“What was that,” Jack wondered, leaning closer to his sweetheart’s trembling lips as he tried to say something.

“Love . . . you . . . I . . . I love . . .”

Even in this state, Tim’s love for Jack was overpowering him. His feelings were so strong that even when his flesh had been sliced into shreds and stitched back together - his bones had been broken, filler added, and then they were reattached - his nose had been shattered and rebuilt, teeth all removed and replaced with implants. Even as he was being pumped full of testosterone, steroids, pain killers, muscle relaxers and quick healing aids, his heart wouldn’t let go of his feelings for Jack.

“Please, TimTim. Shhhhhh . . . don’t,” he whispered, leaning close to the other man’s ear. If Timothy revealed just how dedicated he was to the man he loved, surely things would only get worse. “Shhhhh, shh, shh,” he urged his darling.

“I love you,” the green eyed man gasped, tears flowing from the edges of his eyes, streaking down his face, soaking the bandages over his temples. “Sa . . . save me . . . sc-scare . . . scared. Help . . . Jack . . .”

It took everything inside of himself not to scoop his kitten up into his arms and rescue him from this hell, but Jack knew that he couldn’t. If he showed that his emotions could be triggered by someone hurting his loved ones, it would only cause more suffering for himself and the people near him in the future. He needed to bury his feelings and act unaffected. It used to be natural to him, but now . . . he was struggling to maintain his temper and sanity. It was a fucking massive fight not to burst into tears as Tim begged for his help.

“I . . . I lied. I can’t protect you, cupcake. I’m so sorry. Please . . . forgive me,” he admitted to the bloodied, tortured man on the hospital bed. He leaned as close as he possibly could to Tim’s ear to make his most important confession. “I love you. Forgive me, pumpkin.”

-------

“I ASKED WHO FUCKING AUTHORIZED IT!” Jack snarled, grabbing Dr. Autohn by the collar and slamming him into the wall. He’d had to hold in his reaction to seeing Timothy completely dissected and reassembled while in the clinic because he had a gut feeling that whomever had tricked his sweet kitten into that room was keeping a watchful eye on things.

The brunette programmer had called his prey out to an area that others rarely ventured to and that he knew was devoid of surveillance. He was coiled so goddamn tightly while he waited for the rat of a surgeon to come into view, but being worried that he’d scare the guy to death, he had asked nicely the first time. He really, REALLY needed a fucking answer. Someone was going to pay for this series of events; all he needed was a confirmation. Jack was 99.9% certain that he already knew who was to blame for Tim’s suffering.

“I-I can’t tell you, John, I-I-I . . . I don’t know!”

“YOU LIAR! I can tell when you’re lying,” Jack hissed, putting his mouth uncomfortably close to the doctor’s ear, wrapping one of his huge hands around the older man’s throat. Oh, fuck, did he want to squeeze and squeeze until there was no life left. “Wanna know how?” As he’d predicted, his victim was too terrified to answer, but he paused anyway - for effect and all. “BECAUSE SOUND IS COMING OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!”

“Please don’t kill me! He willingly signed the papers! John, I really can’t -”

“You CAN’T, meaning you KNOW who it was and WON’T tell me! You know I’ve got ways of making you talk, Doc,” the man with two different coloured eyes said, the beginning of his statement in a growl and the end almost sounding like he was getting turned on. Jack had a way with words, and he knew damn well that he didn’t need to resort to violence to scar someone for life, or to put the fear of God into them. Hell, NO god had anything on Jack. The things he could do to another human being without any remorse almost - almost - scared himself.

Dr. Autohn whimpered, shivering so badly it almost made Jack laugh. Jesus, this guy was a coward. He’d be squealing in seconds if he really decided to get serious about killing him. He unconsciously squeezed his fist, cutting off the precious air supply to the doctor’s brain.

YES. Fucking kill him! Feels good, doesn’t it? UNGH! I’m getting fuckin’ hard. Take him out, take him out, Johnny!

“If you don’t want me to cut off your testicles, pop out your eyeballs, then replace them with one another while your wife and daughter watch, I’d suggest you fucking tell me WHO. AUTHORIZED. IT.”

“Ta-Tassiter! Harold did! Told him he’d pay off half of his debt INSTANTLY if he signed the papers! Pl-please! Leave my family out of -”

As quickly as he’d bared his venomous fangs, the muscular programmer withdrew them and turned on his heel, leaving the surgeon, who had already pissed himself, fearful and terrified in an alley.

I’m sure he didn’t know what he was signing up for! That son of a bitch. MOTHER FUCKER! I KNEW it! I’m coming for you, Tassiter. Fuck! This isn’t my fault, this isn’t my fault! He wasn’t targeted just because we . . . just because I . . .

Just when the doctor thought he was safe, Jack turned around again and flashed the most horrifyingly convincing, white-toothed smile.

“If you so much as breathe on Timothy from now on and I’m not in the room, just remember how much you used to love the fact that your little girl had all of her fingers and toes. You’re gonna transfer him, too. When he’s outta the woods, he’s going to recover at my apartment. I’ll make the arrangements.”

---------------

Drugged out of his mind, but healing, Timothy was officially released into Jack’s care. He had one more major surgery once he was finally healed from his physical alterations - one to attach a device to his vocal cords so he would sound just like Jack.

With Jack gone, Tassiter had retaliated against Tim’s rejection; he’d assigned the freckled, redheaded sweetheart for the body double program. The program was merely an experiment to see if they could use their level of technology to create doubles for people who might need protection; presidents, CEOs, drug lords - anyone who could afford it, honestly. Jack ended up heading the program after he had jokingly offered up his body as a “model,” thanks to his overly arrogant attitude about his good looks, and had been enthusiastically accepted. Every inch of his skin had been examined and documented. Everything from the depth of his eye sockets and the angle of his cheekbones down to the amount of skin that made up his ballsack and the length of his biggest toe, was measured and recorded.

Unfortunately for both of them, Timothy had actually suited the minimum requirements for the program; he was similar enough, structurally, to his beloved Jack to be “edited.” He needed a few adjustments, such as muscle tissue grafts and steroid injections to his upper body, and minor facial edits like reconstruction of his nose, but he had a highly predicted survival rate. Tim’s age, being about six years younger than Jack, was added to the calculations and allowed for the more drastic changes; the lengthening of the bones in his legs and fingers, the shaving down of his cheekbones, and the replacement of all of his teeth. Once the stress of healing had completed, the prediction was that they’d end up looking about the same age.

Jack was suffering a great deal knowing that something he’d entered into as a cocky antic was now being used to harm the only person in the universe he’d ever come to love. And it wasn’t any regular sort of harm. He prayed every night that when he woke up the next morning he’d just be returning from the weapon tests to find out Timothy had been stabbed, or shot. But nothing so tame was ever going to be what he awakened to; the cold, hard truth was that his sweetheart had been brutally disassembled and reassembled in his own image. He’d never be able to forget about it and he’d never forgive those at fault, including his own foolish ego.

-----------------

“Tim? Hey . . . pumpkin? You there?”

“Ja . . . Jack . . .”

For the first time in a month Jack actually got a response with words when Timothy opened his eyes. It made his chest hurt that one of them was now blue, just like his own. Still, the gentleness of his lover’s eyes was very much the same as it always had been; he gave off the same, innocent aura and his brows didn’t arc in manner as menacing as Jack’s own did.

Tears welled up quickly in the mismatched orbs and the younger man whimpered. Everything hurt! And it hurt in so many different ways! Stinging, aching, burning, the pain of pressure due to swelling, indescribable other sorts of agony; he felt like he’d been hit by a truck, then burned in a fire, then sawed into pieces, finally being put back together with staples and stitched up with rusty needles. He had no recollection of what had actually happened to him. He just remembered the room he’d gone into. The one with mint green walls and too bright lights. He had a vague recollection of Jack being there with him.

This, though. This wasn’t the same room. It smelled so familiar . . . comforting. The walls were a soft cream colour. The atmosphere wasn’t cold. It didn’t have a frighteningly sterile feel to it.

How had he gotten there? Why was he there? Why was Jack with him, now? Why did this seem like a dream he’d awakened from a hundred times before?

“Hey there. Are you in pain?” Jack asked him quietly, softly stroking his head.

Timothy’s eyes clenched shut, his response being an ear shattering scream, followed by more and more pained howls as the intensity of the suffering he was still in reached his brain.

Gods, he wanted to know what had happened to him! How was it possible to be in so much pain and still be alive?! He wanted to ask what was going on, but his mind went black the second the pain started to hit him.

Jack quickly pressed the button that injected his once docile stray cat with painkillers and sedatives and shook his head. He had been so sure that he didn’t have a heart, but if that had been true, it wouldn’t be so completely shattered. He felt tears streaking down his own cheeks, wishing there was something he could do to reverse what Tassiter had done and he grew even more bitter knowing that there wasn’t.

“Ki . . . kill me . . . please . . . Jack . . .” Tim begged before falling back into a deep sleep.

The brunette buried his face in his hands and let out a howl of his own. This wasn’t fair! It wasn’t right at all. It wasn’t supposed to be Tim. And the only reason he was involved in this insane experiment was because of him.

It was all Jack’s fault.

Chapter Text

“What . . . what happened to me? I feel like . . . I got hit by a truck.”

Jack tried to remain calm as Timothy was finally conscious and lucid enough to ask about what the hell had been going on for the past month and a half. He petted his love’s head, the hair still Tim’s signature red, and was relieved that today he hadn’t broken down into screams and sobs.

“I . . . I don’t really know how to tell you, pumpkin.”

“Why? Did you . . . run me over?”

It was encouraging that the other man’s sense of humour was still there.

“My . . . my nose. They . . . I think they . . . did the wrong . . . the wrong surgery. It was . . . was supposed to be . . . a surprise. My eyes . . . they were going to . . . so I could see.”

Jack’s heart shattered all over again.

Goddammit. He really DIDN’T know what they were going to do to him.

“I wanted to . . . see you. Without the glasses. Then . . . when you kiss me . . . they won’t . . .”

“I’m sorry, pumpkin. I’m so sorry,” the brunette apologized. He rubbed at his eyes just in case tears were threatening to fall. This crying business tended to take him by surprise; Jack didn’t cry. But he had done so several times in the last 45 days and he definitely was not a fan.

“Jack?”

“I can’t . . . I don’t know how. How do I tell you?”

“Ja . . . Jack. You’re scaring me.”

“Tassiter . . . he conned you. I’m sorry. The forms you signed - they weren’t for anything that simple. You signed up for the body double program.”

Tim’s eyes squinted as he attempted to process the information. Conned by Tassiter; that made sense. The guy had been pretty displeased, to say the very least, that he hadn’t been interested in fucking over Jack to get him fired. Body double, though - that was nothing he’d ever heard before.

“Body . . . what? They . . . made a copy of me? Why . . . does it hurt so much?”

“A copy . . . of . . . me. They made you . . . my double.”

“Wh . . . . . . what? I don’t . . . but you . . . why would . . . why would you need . . .”

“I accepted it as a joke, like, two years ago. A project to see if it was possible to make believable body doubles for people with waaaay too much money in case they felt like their lives were in danger. I just . . . thought it would be funny to see a bunch of Jack’s runnin’ around. You weren’t . . . nobody from my team was ever supposed to be selected as a candidate. It’s all my fault! If you’d just done what he’d asked and gotten me fired, this never would have . . . I’m sorry, Timmy. I’m so sorry!”

The redhead’s eyes squinted even harder. This made no sense - no fucking sense at all! Who the hell needed a body double, for starters? And why was Hyperion interested in providing them? They manufactured weapons for god’s sake! And Jack . . . it was his project? He was part of the reason that it was even something that existed?

But . . . a double for Jack? Wouldn’t that mean . . . that now he was supposed to look . . .

Timothy lifted his left arm up and tried to look at it, but it hurt so goddamn much to move. He saw that it was wrapped up, entirely covered in bandages. So his whole body . . . it hurt because they’d cut into him - everywhere?! His breathing started to become erratic as it hit him; Tassiter’s revenge. He’d had him sliced up and altered to look just like the man that he loved. The man that Tassiter insisted Tim had only slept with to get ahead in his career.

Thoughts about whether or not he’d been a complete idiot for sleeping with his boss started to bubble up. If he’d never foolishly fallen for the egotistical programmer, this wouldn’t have happened to him. Jack was his lover, though, and he’d shared his darkest secrets with him. Still, the brunette had never even subtly mentioned being mixed up in a project as messed up as a body double program; some sick experiment to turn already living people with their own lives and identities into copies of people who had the money to buy them off.

Being that he was loan poor, and that that was the only reason he even worked for Hyperion hit him like a sack of bricks. Were there other guys like him? Tricked into the same shady deal, thinking they were getting some minor surgery, or going into a prescription drug research project and coming out completely fucked up.

Money . . . money really did equal power. Money and people like Jack and Tassiter were the only reason something so insane as the body double program even existed; people willing to use others to get ahead. People who accepted money for horrible deeds because they could easily think of it as “just a job,” and never thinking about the poor schmuck who was going to get hurt.

“Calm down, please. Breathe, pumpkin. It’s gonna be alright. You’re still alive. I’m going to make sure he pays for this,” Jack tried to reassure him, but Tim’s mind was already going down a complicated track system.

“You . . . YOU! You’re . . . this is . . . because of you? How could . . . how could you? I love you . . . this . . . THIS!” Timothy howled, reaching his shaking, bandaged hands to his face to tear at the gauze. He wanted Jack to have to look at what his “joke” had resulted in; what his absolute ignorance and lack of morality had caused. “You did this . . . to me? Why . . .”

Jack bit his lip and grabbed at Tim’s wrists, but when he screamed out, the touch obviously causing him pain, he had to let go. The outburst made his chest hurt. Part of this was his fault. If he’d never signed up for the goddamn program - if he’d never pulled Timothy into his orbit - none of this would be happening.

“I’m so sorry . . . I’m sorry . . .” was all that he could offer in return and he knew that it meant jack shit; it fixed nothing. It didn’t relieve his lover’s pain. It didn’t quiet his mind. It didn’t do much of anything but make himself feel better.

“I never . . . we never should have . . . if I didn’t love you . . . and you don’t . . . you don’t even love me back! YOU DON’T EVEN LOVE ME! But this . . . this still -”

“I DO love you!” the odd eyed man exclaimed, shocking himself. He’d only ever whispered it once to his darling. “Tim, I do . . . I just . . . it was hard to . . .”

Tears practically exploded from Tim’s shocked eyes. He couldn’t hear that right now. It was the only thing he had wanted to hear for SO long, but to hear it now . . . to hear it just because he was being pitied . . . he wanted to vomit.

“Monster . . .” the redhead sobbed, “That isn’t fair! How can you . . . how can you say that now?! Because you feel guilty? Because I’m not ‘Ugly Tim,’ anymore?! MONSTER! I HATE YOU! GET AWAY FROM ME!” he shrieked at the top of his lungs, completely and utterly devastated.

“Alright. I’m sorry, Tim. I really . . . I really, really am . . . and I do . . . I love you. Please forgive me. I swear . . . even if you never speak to me again, Tassiter will pay for this. I’ll never forgive him for hurting you.”

“GET. OUUUUUT!” Timothy screamed flailing his body around, trying to strike out at the tannish blob that made up the body of the man he was absolutely desperately in love with. He just couldn’t listen to his voice anymore. It was so incredibly painful! “GET AWAY FROM ME! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU, JACK! I HATE YOU!” he continued to screech until the click of the door let him know that his beloved had finally left. “Damn you . . . god . . . damn you, Jack!” he sobbed, his tears uncontrollably spilling out of his eyes.

Of course he hadn’t meant what he’d said. He loved Jack. He loved him so much that it made him fucking ache straight to his core. And he’d loved him for such a long goddamn time . . . he’d long since confessed his feelings and had his raw, bleeding heart brutally slapped aside. His dreams for an entire year all ended with three simple words from the man whom he’d dedicated his life to; “I love you,” Jack would finally confess. “I love you, pumpkin,” was usually the form his admission took as he pulled Tim close and kissed him.

“You don’t . . . you don’t love anyone. And I love you so fucking much! I’ve always loved you! Damn it . . . it hurts . . . it hurts so bad! All you . . . ever do . . . is hurt me . . . I love you! DAMN YOU, JACK! I LOVE YOU! I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU, GOD DAMMIT! I lo . . . I love you . . . so fuckin’ . . . so much . . . . . . I . . . . . Jack . . . . don’t leave . . . . . me . . .  . . I . . . . . . . . .”

Jack held the button that administered pain medication and sedative to his sweetheart in his shaking hand. He’d heard every bitter word and felt all of them tear straight through him like Torgue’s explosive rounds. He’d never experienced pain of this nature, nor had he experienced suffering on this scale before. He slid down the wall he’d rested his back on and broke down into awkward sobs. His mind was absolutely writhing in agony and the only way to relieve it was to accept the pain in his chest and let it out.

“I’m sorry! Timmy . . . I love you . . . dammit! I’m not . . . I shouldn’t, but I . . . I really love you,” he whimpered, pulling his knees towards his chest and burying his face in them. “Goddammit . . . this is all my fault . . . I’ll get your for this, Tassiter! I’LL KILL YOU! You’ll never . . . ever hurt him again. Not so long as I’m still breathing! YOU MOTHERFUCKER!”

While Jack’s sentiments and threats were honest, and heartfelt, little did he know that his wish to keep his love safe from the salt and pepper haired snake would fall upon the ears of a deaf and uncaring god.

Chapter Text

“TIM! Timothy! TIMMY! HEY! Hey!” Jack shouted, trying to yell louder than the shrieks coming out of his boyfriend’s throat. He took the other man by the shoulders and jostled him, trying to wake him up. “PUMPKIN! HEY! Hey! Oh god . . . hey. Hey, hey, hey . . . you alright there, cupcake?”

The redhead slowly became conscious and he awakened terribly confused.

“Wh-whu . . . what? What’s . . . what’s wrong?”

“God, you had me scared!” Jack exclaimed, pulling his lover into a tight hug; the post op man had been yelling and thrashing for a good fifteen minutes and Jack had been unable to wake him. “Are you alright?!”

“I’m . . . I’m fine . . . I think. Did I have had a bad dream? I must . . . must have . . . I feel funny,” Timothy uttered, patting the brunette on the head. “I’m pretty sure I’m fine, though. Really.”

“Timmy . . . I’m so sorry! I’m sorry!” Jack exclaimed, clutching the younger man’s waist. He continued to apologize incessantly and Timothy didn’t understand it at all. Why was he sorry?

“Just a . . . just a nightmare. It’s alright. I’m oh . . . k . . . kay?”

The usually freckled man looked down to see his unfreckled arms holding the man he recognized as his lover. He started to get confused. Damn, his hands looked so much bigger than he remembered! His skin looked so . . . tan. Shit, he almost looked like Jack! Looked like Jack . . . 

Looked . . . like Jack.

Like Jack.

Jack.

“My . . . my name is Jack. I’m a . . .  I’m an . . . I’m an engineer,” Timothy repeated the words that seemed almost ingrained in his brain at this point, “an . . . engineer for Hyperion. My name . . . is Jack. I’m an engineer for Hyperion. My name is Jack. I’m an engineer . . . for Hyperion. My name . . . My name is . . . my name . . . Jack? What . . . what is my name?”

Jack took his lover’s face in his hands and looked deeply into the mismatched eyes before him; it made him feel physically ill that they were only heterochromatic, now, like his own, because a blue coloured lens had been implanted over his right iris. 

“Timothy. Your name is Timothy. Timmy . . . Timtam . . . pumpkin . . . Tim.”

“N . . . no . . . that can’t . . . that can’t be . . . my . . . my name is Jack. But . . . you’re Jack. I . . . I love . . . I love Jack. I’m . . . I’m in love . . . with . . . I’m in love with . . . with Jack. Jack? Wh-what’s . . . my head hurts! Wh . . . who am I?! Who . . . who is . . . Timothy?”

The natural brunette wanted to curl up into a fetal position on the floor and cry himself to death. He never thought he’d have to witness something as heartbreaking, or cruel as someone he loved having his sanity dissolve. He certainly would not have imagined that he’d be seeing it happen slowly and cruelly over time; but here he was, watching Timothy struggle to separate reality from the practice sessions where he demonstrated his ability to “be Jack.” 

“YOU are Timothy! Please, Tim,” Jack begged of his darling, holding his head in his hands. “You are Timothy Lawrence. Computer geek, anime enthusiast, fan of figurines with big titties, bad taste in music, sleeps with his boss, Jack . . . Timtam? Timmy . . . pumpkin?”

“Ti . . . Timoth . . . Timothy . . . Tim . . . Tim . . . my . . . I’m Tim. Call me . . . Tim. Not Timmy. My name’s Tim. ‘Mr. Lawrence’ would be my father. Dad . . . daddy? Jack is . . . Jack is my . . . dad?”

“Look at me, Tim. YOU are TIMOTHY LAWRENCE. Your dad died when you were a kid. You . . . sorta call Jack ‘daddy’ in the bedroom sometimes. It’s a . . . weird sex thing. I’M Jack. Your boss. Your . . . lover. Your boyf-friend. You’re my pumpkin. Timmy, please! Wake up!”

The confused man had to keep squinting at the man claiming that his name was Jack. His body wasn’t arguing about it - he looked like a Jack. His face was . . . it was familiar. Those lips . . . they were looking so plump. He wanted them . . . should he kiss him? Were they really dating? The brunette calling himself Jack had told him that they were lovers and something about him made him feel at ease; he felt comfortable. It felt like he knew that. Why was everything so mixed up in his head?

“I’m . . . my head . . . my head hurts. What’s happening to me? Jack? Stay . . . stay with me tonight? I’m scared. I . . . don’t understand. I’m so confused!” Timothy confessed, gripping his head with the hands he no longer recognized as his own. An errant chunk of cinnamon coloured hair fell in front of his eyes and he only got more confused. His hair was red, but his body . . . it wasn’t his anymore. “Help me,” he whimpered. “I don’t . . . what’s happening to me? Am I losing it?”

Jack sat up and let his sweetheart nestle his head underneath his chin. He’d been waking up like that since his last session with Dr. Autohn. Jack had been unable to get out of work, but Tim insisted he could go by himself; now that he was healed up, he could take care of himself. The surgery to correct his vision had worked and he'd healed eventually quickly from it, like all of the surgeries, thanks to quick healing aids. They’d both been told that the sessions with Autohn from here on out were only skin treatments to make the freckles he adored so much disappear, and to inject melanin to give him that tanned "Jack" body, however,  Timothy came back to him completely scrambled up; Jack was concerned that they were testing some kind of drug, or brainwashing technique on his darling.

He’d been getting awful migraines. He kept forgetting who he was. He had vicious night terrors and always ended up even more flustered when he awakened from them, and stayed that way for up to an hour sometimes.

“You sure you want me to? You got pissed this morning when you woke up to me in bed with you. I know you’re still angry. You have every right to be. I’m sorry about all of this, pumpkin.”

“I was . . . angry with you?”

“Well don’t think about it too hard,” the brunette sighed; he didn’t really need Timothy to remember that he was absolutely livid with him for keeping the program a secret and he knew that he was, at least in part, to blame for what had happened. “I don’t wanna get literally kicked out of bed again, though, so . . . promise not to get too violent in the a.m?”

Timothy nodded and focused on the sound of Jack’s heartbeat. 

“I’m sorry. I promise. I feel so fucked up.”

Jack comforted his kitten, holding him tightly in his arms, softly nuzzling the top of his head with his nose.

“I know. It’s alright. We’ll get ya through this. I promise.”

Chapter Text

    In the wee hours of the morning, Jack awakened to a weight on his chest and fingers caressing his neck. 

    “Uhn . . . too early, kitten. Tired . . .” he groaned, thinking his boyfriend had awakened frisky. To be fair, they hadn’t had any kind of intimacy since the whole surgery disaster began months before, so it made sense that Tim felt the urge for release. 

Timothy was mentally screwed up and he was incredibly bitter, still. It only made things worse when he was told that he couldn’t return to work, or to his own apartment since Timothy Lawrence no longer existed; his entire identity had been erased and his mother was told that he’d died. It was reported that she laughed hysterically, but he understood - she’d probably lost the plot when she was told that her son was dead. She always had been a little shaky mentally and a crushing blow like that . . . well, it likely dealt the coup de grâce to her sanity. His living situation was arranged to hide his existence - he was forced to stay with Jack, though the other man’s home office was converted into a bedroom for him, at the very least, so he didn’t have to share a bed if he didn’t want to. 

Little by little, he was stripped of absolutely everything that made him an individual. The idea of making him live with Jack was so he would be able to easily and seamlessly be Jack; talk like him, walk like him, share his mannerisms and habits. Timothy was being chipped away from himself on a daily basis and his own sanity was starting to suffer a great deal.

Lovingly, the redhead placed a kiss on Jack’s forehead.

“Forgive me, my love,” he whispered, slowly wrapping his hands around the brunette’s throat and starting to squeeze. “Don’t worry. I’ll join you soon. I can’t . . . I can’t go through any more of this. I know I’m going crazy. I don’t want the throat surgery. I can’t . . . I can’t! I won’t!”

“Ti -” 

Jack was cut off, Timothy strangling his as hard as he could, cutting off his air supply.

“Shhhhh . . . don’t struggle. I don’t want you to suffer. You wanna go with me, though, right? We’ll be together . . . forever. Like Romeo and Juliet,” the body double spoke calmly, trying not to get distracted by his lover’s hands trying to pry his fingers away.

This was it - he’d decided; Timothy wanted to at least go out on his own terms, not die on some godforsaken planet hunting for a vault. He didn’t want to live a life where bullets were always flying around him. He didn’t want anymore goddamn surgeries, and he sure as hell didn’t want Hyperion to control him anymore. He had to end it himself. He’d kill Jack, then take himself out of his misery; they could die as lovers. He didn’t want the other man to suffer the pain and guilt of finding Tim, all alone in his room, dead.

Shit! Get him off! He’s really fuckin’ gonna kill me! Shit, shit, shit!  

Jack quickly came to full consciousness; his adrenaline kicked in and a million things started running through his mind. How was he going to get out of this?! His little Timmy was now almost as strong as he was; fighting him off was going to be a struggle.

Shit indeed. Though, it’s almost like you could have totally avoided all of this if you’d left him heartbroken months ago. Like maybe you shoulda listened to me . . .

REALLY?! This is REALLY the time you’re gonna throw that in my face?!

I mean . . . we’re gonna be dead pretty soon, so no time like the present, am I right?

FUCK!

Well don’t be such a limp dick, then! Gouge his eyes!

I can’t do that! Not after everything -

Well I guess we’re gonna leave this room in a body bag. Not very stylish at all, Jackie.

Gotta get him offa me!

Warm droplets started dripping onto Jack’s face and he stopped clawing at Tim’s hands; his tortured beloved was crying. The man trying to kill him was crying. Maybe . . . maybe it really would be better this way. The brunette wasn’t holding up particularly well in the sanity department, either. He had a burning desire to kill everyone involved in transforming his darling into the mental health disaster that he’d become and had several rather sickening plans about each individual; how he would end them with maximum suffering. He didn’t know if he could handle watching him go through another surgery, either. Certainly, there were worse ways to die.

“I don’t want to do this anymore. Please don’t make me . . . I can’t . . . I’d rather be dead than have more surgery. Help me, Jack . . . please . . . please!”

Tim’s hands started shaking and he loosened his grip. There was no way he could kill Jack. He loved him too much. 

The older man gasped for air and went into a coughing fit. At least now he knew how unpleasant it was to actually get strangled by someone intending to kill him, not just trying to get him aroused.

“What am I . . . what am I doing?! This isn’t me. I’m not me!”

The odd eyed project manager put his hands to the duplicate face and felt the other man flinch; he was afraid that Jack would retaliate. He’d briefly considered beating the shit out of Tim for doing something so stupid, but he knew that he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Besides, it was hard to hold it against the guy when he was literally losing his mind because of something he’d caused. It was difficult to hurt a man who was sobbing over his face, begging for help.

“Timmy . . . it’s okay. I’m here for you. I’m gonna do everything I can for you, babe. You gotta trust me, though,” Jack responded, brushing tears off of his boyfriend’s cheeks; they were the one part of him still spotted lightly with freckles. “I . . . love you, pumpkin.”

Timothy squeaked and cracked the saddest smile Jack had ever seen. 

“I love you, too. I love you so much,” the (now free of glasses) younger programmer replied, leaning down to kiss his lover. 

He missed his touch. He missed his kisses. He missed the pats on the head. He missed waking up to Jack’s peaceful expression on his face as he slept next to him. He missed the intensity of the feelings in his heart, burning for the other man. He missed the passionate love making.

It would have been cruel to push Tim away right now and Jack had been longing for intimacy, too. Having someone who loved him being close to him every day was something he’d grown used to. Now that he knew what that felt like, he didn’t want to lose it. Now that he finally understood what it meant to love someone, letting it go wasn’t on his agenda. His body yearned to feel warm flesh pressed into his own, to see his pumpkin’s eyes half-lidded with lust, to climax due to the touch of another, to hear Tim’s cries while he was in utter ecstasy. It was two in the morning, but that didn’t really matter right now. If he could offer some security to the person he adored, then it didn’t matter if he was exhausted when he headed into work later on.

“Make love to me,” the redhead requested in a hushed tone after feeling satisfied with the kisses he received. “Do you still . . . does looking at me, now make you . . . do I still turn you on?”

Jesus, Timmy . . . of course you do! Why would he even ask me that? Didn’t I say that I loved him? He’s even more insecure, now. 

It’s kinda extra hot, really. Who gets to fuck themself, literally? Just this guy!

It’s not myself - he’s still . . . him. He’s still my Timmy. It will be interesting, though, looking at a face that’s just like mine when we’re doin’ it.

“You’ll always turn me on, cupcake,” Jack insisted, rolling the two over so he was on top. “You sure you want to?”

Tim nodded and slid his hands beneath his boyfriend’s shirt. His body was so warm; it was comforting to once again feel the muscles moving beneath the scarred, but beautiful flesh. He needed this - to know that his hands could excite his lover, his fingertips could still make Jack moan; hell, to find out if his fingertips could actually function the same way. Was the sensation of touching his darling the same, or somehow different?

“I need you. I can’t stand . . . not being with you, anymore. Please don’t leave me,” the man whose self-esteem was, once again, shredded and tattered begged. “I miss you. Did . . . because I haven’t been able . . . did you . . . with . . . someone else? I wouldn’t blame you.”

“Of course not, pumpkin. I’ve told you a hundred times, I’d never do that to anyone! I’d never hurt you like that,” Jack assured his lover, though it frustrated him to have to go over this again; he wasn’t a cheater. The idea of having sex with someone else when he was devoted to Tim made his stomach churn. He’d always been that way, though. Cheating was cruel and unnecessary; if he wanted to have sex with someone outside of the relationship he was in, he just broke it off. It wasn’t like he was ever emotionally invested in them enough to care and he never took their feelings of heartbreak into consideration. Timothy was the first person that ever actually made him think about how his actions could be harmful to others - he never wanted to hurt his sweet Timmy. Loyalty meant everything to Jack. “I’m all yours. Only yours.”

“Then make me yours again. I want to feel you again.”

The older man sat up and pulled his shirt over his head; he wasn’t going to deny such a request. He was dying to feel his lover's insides once more and to get spoiled by affectionate kisses. Hearing the voice that still belonged to his sweetheart encouraged him, though it was a little peculiar basically looking at a mirror that had only subtle differences.

Jack pressed his lips to each freckled cheek and went to work fulfilling Tim's wish to become one again. Sucking at an earlobe, he brushed a finger over a sensitive pink nub through his kitten’s sleep shirt; the shiver that he felt go through Timothy’s body told him that he still found it stimulating.

“I want you, too. I wanna make you shudder when I touch you just right,” he finally responded. Talking about what he was going to do always made his boyfriend aroused more quickly; he wanted to assure him that their relationship hadn’t changed.

“Mmmm . . . I love you, Jack. I’ll always love you. You mean . . . everything to me,” the younger man whimpered. “Sorry . . . I’m such a wreck.”

“Tim,” Jack said rather seriously looking his sweetheart in the eyes. It was so bizarre to only recognize one of them, “I haven’t, um . . . really gotten to say it without being . . . well, without feeling pressured. I love you, too. I’ve never . . . loved anyone. I told you that ages ago, but it’s true. But I get it, now. The . . . weird feeling in my gut when you aren’t around. The way it’s hard to sleep when you’re not next to me. How it . . . how it feels like I’m sort of . . . I dunno . . . . more myself with you than I am with anyone else. How when you’re hurt my chest . . . my stomach . . . it all hurts so much. Because I . . . love you. I love you, okay? I don’t care if you’re a mess. You’re my mess. I wish I could take care of you. I’m sorry . . . I couldn’t protect you.”

“I know. I know you’re sorry. It’s not your fault, though,” Timothy sniffled and rubbed his nose against Jack’s. He was so happy to hear that his feelings really were being returned; Jack wasn’t just saying that he loved him out of pity, or guilt - the feelings he described were legitimate. At the same time, he felt terrible about blaming him for what had happened to him. It was his own fault for selling his soul to Hyperion. It wasn’t as if Jack had known that Tim was going to be tricked into the body double program. “I don’t wanna think about it anymore. Make me forget - even just for a little while.”

“Better not cry the whole time,” the brunette teased his still teary eyed lover. “Gonna weird me out.” If he couldn’t make a situation light-hearted, Jack didn’t really feel comfortable; all of the tension that had been between the two of them was fading, but he still felt uneasy.

The freckled man rubbed his eyes and nodded.

“You aren’t turned on by a man crying? Seems like some weird, sick thing you’d be into,” he responded with a taunt of his own. It felt good to smile. 

Jack brushed a thumb over his boyfriend’s sticky cheek and kissed his lips again; he had missed this so much! Joking around, even when they were getting serious was something he’d never shared with a mate and he enjoyed it. Afterall, it was basically just playing for adults, so why couldn’t it be fun?

“Can we . . . take it slow? I’m a little rusty . . . everything still sorta hurts.”

“Of course, babe. Anything for you. I just wanna be with you again. I missed you. I don’t like it when you’re mad at me,” the brunette admitted, “and I felt lonely for the first time in my life. I’m going to make you feel like you never want to sleep in your own bed again,” he added, returning his attention to the other man’s sensitive neck; he really hoped that he still felt the same sensations and had the same quirks. He’d spent a lot of time dedicating every inch of Tim’s body to memory and it would be a shame if it went to waste. Besides, tonight, more than ever, his darling needed to be touched just right - to feel overwhelming pleasure - to feel absolutely loved and adored.

Timothy’s legs squeezed Jack’s sides as he sucked at his neck and he moaned softly; at the very least, this trick still worked. The other man was wearing only a long t-shirt and briefs to sleep in (he hadn’t been expecting company) so it was easy to access his bare flesh. Jack continued to kiss, lick, suck and nibble at his pumpkin’s sensitive neck, peppering every inch of it with attention as he held himself up with one arm while the other reached down to allow his hand to explore a tense thigh. It was more plump and a bit hairier than it used to be, but that didn’t bother him; he still loved Tim for who he was on the inside. 

No matter what he looked like, the Hyperion higher-up was sure that his sweet Timtam would always stay the gentle creature that he knew and adored; he couldn’t imagine his personality and nature changing. Even though his love had literally just tried to kill him, he hadn’t done it out of malice, or hatred, or anger - he’d done it because he didn’t want Jack to suffer after he committed suicide. His precious pumpkin was always putting other people in front of himself.

“Your touch . . . you’re so warm. I missed your hands. Missed you . . . inside of me. I’m sorry . . . feel like a pervert,” Timothy admitted, covering his face with his “improved” hands; they covered so much more of his face than they had before, and those larger hands felt cheek bones that weren’t familiar to them.

“You are a little bit of a perv. Remember fucking in my office? You dirty dawg,” Jack said with a soft chuckle, “you were so turned on by that. I’m glad. I’m a HUGE pervert, so it isn’t much fun for me to be dating someone who isn’t at least a little bit naughty. Also,” he offered, biting his boyfriend’s right pec softly, “your level of perv is nothing to be worried about. When you start wanting like, three dudes plowin’ you at once, THEN you might make me raise an eyebrow. But nothin’ is gonna scare me off.”

“Jack!”

The brunette threw his head back and laughed loudly; that was exactly the reaction he had expected. Timmy easily visualized things that were suggested to him, so his face started burning with embarrassment, imagining three different guys trying to have sex with him at the same time. 

“You know I . . . I only want you . . . in . . . inside . . . ”

 Jack almost salivated upon hearing such a delicious confession, nipping a soft earlobe and receiving a desperate cry in response. He pushed Tim’s right leg up and to the side, settling his body so their arousals matched up.

“And you’re the only one I wanna feel around me.”

“Ah! Unnn . . . been too long,” the freckled man moaned. 

The brunette peeled away the rest of their clothing, never neglecting his unstable lover’s need for kisses, caresses and frot.

“I’ll try to make up for my absence. I love you, Timtam,” the brunette promised, finally getting all clothing out of the way and relaxing between his sweetheart’s legs. “Mmm . . . it still - never mind. I’m sorry,” he apologized quickly, not wanting to bring up the subject of the forced surgery.

“Haaah  . . . n-no. It’s . . . it’s alright,” the redhead responded, arching his back up so he could slide the underside of his penis against Jack’s matching body part. He had the desperate need to do it a few times, all the while moaning like he always did when he was being pleasured. “They didn’t . . . enough like yours. Just . . . nnnnnnh! Ah . . . ah . . . not as . . . thick,” he explained. “They didn’t . . . mmmm . . .  did . . . didn’t . . . change me . . . there,” he finally spat out.

“Hnnn . . . you’re so turned on already. Always my - mmmm . . . fuck, Timmy! Been a while for me, too, so don’t get carried away just yet,” the brunette reminded his undersexed boyfriend who was grinding against him wantonly, gripping his buttocks and trying to keep Jack’s hips close to his own so they were forced to be in constant contact.

“Uh, uuuuh! Uhn! Haaa . . . I want it . . .” Timothy said breathily, bucking his hips more intensely, his body crying out for a climax already - it had been too long since he’d even touched his own body; he was pent up and needed release.

“Calm down, babe. Damn, you’re horny as hell, aren’t you?”

“I just need you; need to  . . . I want . . . wanna be one . . . with you . . . again. I’ve really missed you, Jack. I . . . I don’t really blame you. I’m just . . . I’m so angry. So confused. So hurt. It’s . . . I -”

Jack cut off his lover’s train of thought with a deep and passionate kiss when he saw the tears start to slip down Tim’s cheeks again. It was unbearable to see him cry. It caused him pain to know how much his darling was suffering. He wiped the tears from one side of the freckled man’s face and showed him as much affection as he could through kisses; Timothy really did enjoy them - he was always begging to lock lips - he was unabashedly romantic. Jack absolutely found it adorable. Sweet. Innocent.

“I love you, Timmy,” he once again assured his honey. 

God, it felt weird to say it, but something about it made him feel good. There was a strange, almost warm sensation that filled him in a way that he didn’t know how to describe. Jack only knew that those feelings made him feel whole - like he was finally a real human, not some bizarre, emotionless shell like he had been for so many, many years.

“I’ll always love you, too, ya know? Didn’t say it before, but . . . it really is true. You, uh . . .” Jack cleared his throat, looking towards Tim’s night table. It had no drawers, it just held his lamp, the three books TIm must have been reading at the same time, a journal that he wrote in incessantly and the glasses that were now useless to him, “Lube?”

Freckled cheeks, despite their sprayed on tan, burned a scarlet blush. Tim honestly hadn’t thought of that. He didn’t masturbate in the room he still recognized as “Jack’s home office.” It seemed weird. He was uncomfortable there. He’d also been extremely depressed and fucked up and had only tugged a few out in the shower, overall. Something about it made him feel disgusting, and it was uncomfortable doing something private in someone else’s home, especially when they weren’t intimate with one another anymore. Despite their situation, Tim still only thought of Jack when he felt the urge to actually get some release; he recalled their passionate nights together when he stroked himself, and imagined that it was really the chocolate haired man preparing his body for further invasion when he bothered to explore his insides with his new fingers. Though they were longer and thicker, he still couldn’t give himself the same, intense sensation he got from Jack’s touch.

“I . . . I don’t . . . I don’t have anything. Haven’t . . . just . . . conditioner. In the shower,” the younger programmer confessed, extremely embarrassed. “Since the surgeries, I . . . maybe, like three times . . . I don’t like . . . I just want you!” the redhead finally spat out. “I’m so pathetic! I can’t live without you, Jack! I can’t . . . can’t do anything . . . not when you’re not by my side,” he continued, once again covering his face; he hated how quickly he came to tears in recent days, as his consciousness started to re-emerge from its drugged up state. More than that, though, crying in front of Jack made him so terribly ashamed of himself.

Jack was the man that he'd wanted to become when they first started getting to know one another; clever, calculating, witty, incredibly handsome, charming, confident to the point of seeming almost cocky, stylish, sexy, strong, mentally tough, a man with a will of iron - now that he had the aesthetic parts of that dream realized against his will, he was utterly confused. Who was he supposed to be, now? Crying with Jack’s face made him even more disgusted with his own tender, easily wounded heart than he usually was - and now he had to take into consideration how weird it probably was for his boyfriend to see what his own face looked like, streaked with tears, irritated, bloodshot eyes, reddened, puffy eyelids - what Jack would look like if he had been born a coward like him.

“No, no, no. Stop it, Tim. I mean it,” the head of the body double program sternly, but caringly commanded, sliding out off of the bed and getting to his feet. “STOP. I’m sick of it. You’re NOT pathetic. If you were pathetic, you wouldn’t have caught my eye at all. So you stop that, right now. I won’t listen to you degrade yourself anymore. I love you, Timmy. Do you believe I’d say that to someone ‘pathetic?’ You really think I’d be wasting time on someone so easily defeated?”

Timothy’s hands were pulled away from his new face and Jack’s intense eyes burrowed into his soul.

“N . . . no. Of course you wouldn-”

“Then that’s the end of it. Enough. I do believe we were in the middle of something,” the older man purred. He gave his sweetheart a peck on a salty cheek and gathered him up in his arms, with a grin. Tim squeaked in surprise as he was hoisted up in just the same manner as his lover did when he was lighter, thinner and shorter. He wrapped his arms around the thick neck of the man he adored and smiled.

“Yes sir. I’ll do my best,” Timothy promised, snuffling up his snot and putting a hand to Jack’s chest; he’d never been a guy who liked body hair on other men, but Jack’s coarse chest curls he found irresistible. Was it because he loved every single inch of him? “I feel like your prince, my handsome knight. Do with my body what you will. I just want to feel your touch. Anywhere. Everywhere.”

Tim made sure his last declarations sounded needy; he wanted to entice the man he loved so much and to distract from all of the horrible things that had happened recently. The redhead also wanted to distract himself. Just a few minutes beneath the Hyperion hunk always had him praying to any and every god for more. More of Jack’s touch, more of his taste, more of his scent, more of the words he spoke only to him, more of that look in his eyes as he got off on knowing just how much pleasure he was giving his partner - more. MORE.

“I’ve got you covered, pumpkin,” Jack related, unnecessarily kicking his own partially open bedroom door all the way open with extra gusto; sometimes it was fun to get a little over the top with the acting. If he was going to sweep his prince away to a land of fantasy and rescue him from his suffering, he was going to be damn sure to put on a show worth watching, “Any decent knight will do anything for his liege,” he explained to Tim, lying him on his much larger bed, atop the silken sheets that always made the younger programmer feel like he shouldn’t even be touching something so luxurious. “I won’t leave an inch of you untouched.”

“You sure know how to make a lonely prince feel adored,” the freckled man said softly as Jack skilfully whipped out his lubricant and warmed a decently sized dollop in his hand. “Remember . . . be . . . be gentle, plea - hmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . oh god . . . Ja-Jack . . .”

    His thoughts were interrupted when a well slicked hand started stroking him back to life. 

    “Yes, my lord? Tell me what you’d like, sweet prince.”

    “Hnnn!” Timothy practically squealed, allowing his body to move freely of its own will and desires; his right leg drew itself up towards his chest, then drooped to the side, leaving all of his sex exposed and available to receive the promised attention. “Just . . . don’t stop . . . hnn!” The younger man’s breath hissed through his teeth as he bit his bottom lip, Jack starting to draw small circles with his finger around his sweetheart’s rectum. “Hah . . . fffffuuuuhhhh . . . ha . . . ah . . . wait . . . Ja . . . mmmm . . . my lo . . .”

“You can’t spread out a buffet like that and ask a guy not to chow down,” Jack reluctantly huffed, withdrawing his touch; obviously Tim couldn’t concentrate enough to finish a thought while he was being touched right now. It made him a little bit jealous - how sweet it would be to go back to such innocent days; days when even the slightest brush of fingers made him shiver and took away his ability to speak.

“I just . . . if we get too close, c-could . . . I don’t wanna . . . sleep tonight. The nightmares . . . ca-can you . . . can you . . . I’m sorry, it’s . . . it’s too much to -”

“You want me to keep you on edge for the rest of the night? I might just make you come more than once. There are lots of ways to keep you from sleeping,” the older man said with a smile. “I mean, pillow fights, roasting marshmallows, seeing how many marshmallows I can stuff in your assho-”

“JACK! NO!” the redhead squealed, smacking the back of his boyfriend’s head.

Jack laughed like he hadn’t in ages. God . . . he really, really was in love with Timothy. This dorky little programmer made his chest feel warm. The way that he could make the most ridiculous jokes and get away with it, and how Timothy really did get flustered was fun. It was even more satisfying, however, when the younger man regained some composure, then played back with him, shooting off his mouth in a clever response.

“So . . . no marshmallows, then? I just wanted to melt ‘em, then lick ‘em outta your -”

“Oh my GOD! Jack, no, that’s so gross!” the befuddled young man argued, dropping his heel into his lover’s back and shoving at Jack’s sinisterly grinning face - he knew exactly what sorts of things to say to snap Tim out of his euphoria and have him riled up, ready to fight in an instant - what he’d forgotten about was that the redhead was now much stronger than he’d been the last time they’d made love, so his hitting and kicking hurt a whole lot more. 

Still, the brunette was fairly thick-skinned and he sucked it up. If he brought it up right now, it would most certainly end up with Tim streaming back to his own room, slamming the door and huddling up all alone, sobbing until his consciousness abandoned his tired body. Jack had heard him whimpering every night as he cried himself to sleep and he couldn’t stomach it anymore - he would send his beloved into slumber after he exhausted him and drained him of every last drop of sweat for certain this time.

“Touch me, Jack . . . if you’re gonna . . . ya know . . . make me . . . more than once, then get to . . . or did you want me to . . . I - I don’t mind . . .”

“Oh hush, sweet, prince. You know I’m only teasin’ ya. Desperate, huh?”

The senior programmer set his tongue to work on an already erect, pierced nipple as he returned his fingers to their earlier job. Snatching both metal balls between his teeth he gave a bit of an aggressive tug - he’d discovered (during one of the last times before everything went horribly awry) that his little Timmy was a bigger masochist than he’d suspected. He’d accidentally caught the knotted up strands of an older bath towel on the piercing and when he went to pull the towel away, it ripped violently at Tim’s piercing, causing (rather than screams of pain) the younger man to squeal, collapsing to his knees, covering up his pride with his hands - he’d gotten aroused. 

“AAAAAH!” 

“You naughty, naughty boy. Ah, but I did promise to be tame, didn’t I, my darling prince?”

Tim nodded and swallowed hard; the older man kissed his nipple in apology and covered his lover’s body with adoring pecks. At the same time, he started to tease him open, broad fingers pushing past a tight ring of muscle to get it used to the sensation of being stretched open. The freckled double mewled at the gentle ministrations, playing with the chocolate locks on his boyfriend’s head. 

“My sweet knight . . . nnnn . . . thank you.”

Jack swept his tongue over Timothy’s implanted teeth and dove into another frenzy of fervent kisses. He liked making his partner winded and moaning as he pampered him; the redhead never disappointed, noisily approving or disapproving of Jack’s actions. So far, as he was fingering his darling, he seemed to be pacing things well. He really didn’t want to hurt his sweetheart. 

Freshly remodeled fingers gripped at Jack’s shoulders and back, the pressure on his flesh increasing in turn with Tim’s pleasure. When he had to break the kiss to moan, the brunette moved on to his neck, suckling at it and licking the spots that got his boyfriend’s cock twitching.

“Unnn . . . ah, Jack . . . I’m ready.”

“Don’t rush it, pumpkin. No need to be hasty,” Jack responded to the plea, continuing his painfully slow massage.

Timothy bit his lip as the heat pooling in his belly increased. He loved the way it felt when his lover touched him in this manner, but he wanted to united with him again. His legs started to shake as his already engorged penis stiffened, his cries getting louder. Jack’s own arousal was raring to go and he finally gave in.

“Tell me to stop if it hurts too much,” he requested, but he knew that Tim would endure any amount of pain for him - he wasn’t going to complain about finally getting what he’d been begging for. “Haah . . . mmmmm, your body’s always so good to me.”

“Oh god . . . I need you, Jack. F-feels . . . fine,” the body double assured him, wrapping his arms around tan shoulders and moaning as Jack filled him, “Oh god . . . ah . . . it’s good . . . make love to me,” he asked again.

“That's the task at hand, babe,” Jack said with a chuckle, sinking all the way into his lover. “Mmmmmm. So warm inside you. Could live here,” he joked as he started moving his hips.

“Nn! Yes . . . ah . . . Jack. My Jack.”

With an uncommon docility the brunette paced their interaction, wondering what about this felt so different. They’d fucked so many times, but this . . . this wasn’t a fuck. They weren’t relieving stress, or fulfilling carnal desires. It felt more like a way to really say “I love you. I want you with every bone in my body. I want to make you happy. I want to be that special person in your life.” It was unnerving for so much emotion to be involved in something Jack only ever really viewed as sex - something for pleasure. Precious moans were breathed into his ear as Timothy responded to his slowly rocking hips. 

This was nice.

“Hmmm . . . your Jack. Only yours, Tim. Feels so good. Oh yeah,” he murmured as he grew closer to climax.

“Nnn . . . fa . . . you can move faster.”

Jack accepted the invite and increased the pace, slowly but surely. He liked the burn of dragging this out, maximizing the amount of time he got to spend surrounded by the inner walls of his lover; Tim always felt incredible inside. 

“I love you,” he said again, unsure of why he felt the need to reiterate, starting to thrust with more need.

“Ah! Yes . . . I love you,” Timothy affirmed, fingers digging into his flesh even deeper, “Aaaah . . . oh, oh!”

The Hyperion poster boy felt his partner tightening up around him as his pumpkin got close.

“Nnnn-not yet, almost.”

“I’ll make you . . . make you come . . . oh, Jack! Th-that’s - that’s it!” the redhead whimpered, Jack’s fully erect sex always rubbing against his most sensitive spot, “I can’t!”

“Ah, hell yes! Fuck . . . go ahead I’m gonna come,” Jack grunted with a few far more aggressive jabs to his boyfriend’s prostate, but it was still the most gentle he’d ever been with anyone. He did exactly what he said he was going to as Tim shot his seed all over their bellies with a loud cry. The shuddering walls of muscle around his cock milked Jack of every last drop and he collapsed beside the man who looked like a redheaded, freckled twin. “Damn . . .”

Timothy cuddled up against his man, whole body shaking and covered with blush. He really, REALLY had needed that. Neither of them had gotten to experience one another’s intimate company in a long time, and this time, it felt really special. Jack could make sweet love to him without it ending with their bodies crashing together violently. It had been affectionate this time. 

“Y-you . . . passed the test. Dear knight.”

“Test?”

The freckled man sighed and played with his lover’s chest hair, Jack holding him close with one arm around him.

“I feel it. I feel . . . loved. I love you, too.”

Chapter Text

Timothy lied in the cold water, unflinching, expressionless, skin deathly pale, eyes completely devoid of life. Jack was positive that his lover was gone. His pumpkin had finally gone and done it - he’d killed himself. His suffering had been too great and the mental anguish had taken its toll. The closest thing to success in the body double program now sat in his bathtub - dead.

    “Tim?! Tim! Oh my god! TIM! HELP!,” Jack shouted out of instinct, though he quickly realized that nobody was going to hear. He’d been positive about making sure his apartment was soundproofed. He didn’t need anyone calling security when screams were heard through the walls. He had known that he’d have at least a few sexual visitors that were noisy, so it was wise to avoid drawing unwanted attention to his home 

    “TIM! Oh god, no . . . oh pumpkin . . .”

    Jack, giving no thought to his clothing, reached into the tub and pulled his lover out of the water; it was frigid. Tim’s flesh was logged with excess water, but a ragged exhale escaping his lungs when he was jostled about let the brunette knew that his sweetheart wasn’t dead just yet.

    “TImmy! Tim, come on, hey!”

    The freckled man’s teeth clacked together as he started to shiver and he made a noise like he was trying to say something, but no words came out at all.

    “Shh, shh, shh, it’s okay. It’s alright, don’t say anything. You’re gonna be just fine. I’m here, babe. Oh god, what have you done, Tim? Oh my god!”

    The Hyperion salaryman quickly carried his limp boyfriend in his arms to his bedroom, where he lovingly laid his frigid body on their bed. He hurriedly covered him with the sheet and comforter, then went on the hunt for the rest of the blankets he owned. He ripped all of them off of the bed in Tim’s room, grabbed the two in the living room and everything from his linen closet then dashed back to his darling and smothered him in material. He knew he had to warm him up; the only bodies he’d ever had the experience of touching that felt so cold were corpses - he wasn’t going to let his lover turn into one.

    “You’re alright, pumpkin. I’ve got you. God, why . . . why did you . . . did you take any drugs? Chemicals? Whaddid you take?!” 

    Though Jack’s mind almost always ran a mile a minute, it was in overdrive and he was thinking of all of the medications and household products that Timothy might have swallowed in a suicide attempt, then what he could get a hold of to counteract the effects - charcoal was the most simple solution. There were only a handful of things that couldn’t be counteracted by that.

    “Tim! TIM! Stay awake, goddammit!” he snapped, slapping at his lover’s cheeks.

    “Nnh . . . n . . . nnn . . . no. I . . . ch . . . ch-ch,” the former redhead tried to get out. What he had to say to Jack tore his heart into a million pieces, but he had to tell him; had to confess.

    “What did you take?! Did you overdose?”

    “Nnn . . . nnn . . . nno. Ta-Tass . . . Ta . . .”

    “Tassiter?!” Jack guessed, trying to predict what it was that Timothy was trying to tell him. So he wasn’t OD’ing? What the hell was going on, then?! “What did he do to you?!”

    Liquid spilled from Timothy’s heterochromic eyes as his lips wobbled; confessing it to Jack was going to be difficult. It wasn’t that he’d wanted to do what he’d done . . . he had a choice, just barely, but . . . but he had . . . 

    “D-d-d . . . didn’t . . . didn’t . . . s-say ‘nn . . . no,’ t-to him,” the freckled man admitted, “C-cou-couldn’t . . . would - wouldn’t . . . wouldn’t have . . . re-regard . . . less. Ch-ch . . . I ch . . . cheated . . . on you,” he finally managed to get out, pained to see the look on Jack’s face go from concern to one of absolute rage. “He . . . s-s-said . . . co-could . . . my f-f-fre . . . freckles . . . k-keep . . . could . . . k-k-keep them . . . if I did-didn’t . . . I’m sorry!” Timothy whimpered, followed by a series of sobs.

    The expression on Jack’s face was unlike any Tim had ever seen before. He looked confused and murderously furious, all at the same time. 

    “I . . . I d-d-didn’t . . .  didn’t . . . r-really w-w-want . . . can’t . . . m-make . . . make it right . . . disgusting . . . I’m s-s . . . so-sorry . . .”

    “If you didn’t want it, it isn’t cheating! It’s rape !” Jack spat, pulling his lover into his arms. “It wasn’t cheating, pumpkin. I’m so sorry! I never should have let you go alone! I’m gonna kill him! He’s a fucking DEAD man!”

    “B-b-but . . . but I let him . . . he promised . . . n-n-no more tr-treat . . ments. So I . . . I . . . I’m . . . garbage. Pathetic,” the man who had salvaged what was left of his faint freckles whispered; he’d filled the tub with hot water and climbed in, swearing that he’d slit his wrists and end it all - but he’d lost his nerve. Instead, his mind replayed what had happened to him over and over again and he screamed in shame and sobbed until he finally lost his strength, then his consciousness. He really did want to die. At least if he died right then, he’d leave a corpse with some part of his original self left intact.

-------------------------

    “Wh . . . what?”

    “I said, I’ve always wondered what that mongrel’s face would look like while he paid for every foul word out of his mouth with said orifice. Don’t you have an . . . affinity for those freckles of yours?”

    Timothy tried to force his eyes to focus, but he was still heavily drugged. He’d ended up with a nasty infection in his left arm and Dr. Autohn had needed to put him under for a small surgery to open his arm and clean things up. It definitely sounded like Tassiter. God, that guy made his skin fucking crawl. Especially after he’d dry humped him into Jack’s desk against his will.

    “G . . . get away . . . monster,” the redhead growled, almost drunk looking, his eyes blinking at slightly different times as he swatted at Tassiter.

    “I don’t think you understand, young man.”

    Harold filled his hand with the still ginger coloured hair and yanked Timothy out of the hospital bed. He wasn’t going to put up with this bullshit from someone as pathetic as Timothy Lawrence. He was SUCH a loser! Just another idiotic child who had started college striving for a degree in the fine arts - English; more specifically, Creative Writing. What a joke! What an absolute disgrace! He’d only switched to something more intelligent once he figured out there was no money in his dream. At least in tech, he was likely to earn a decent paycheck. That was the only reason Timothy even worked for Hyperion. He’d gone into computer programming because he’d figured out that there was no way to support himself writing his ridiculously sappy romance novels, and that nobody would ever buy his autobiography; no band wanted his corny lyric writing - Timothy Lawrence was a LOSER. A feckless sack of flesh. An absolute waste of Oxygen.

    But that flesh might be useful for something. He’d had a fairly attractive body before all of the surgeries, but afterwards . . . Tassiter licked his lips. Few things turned him on more than putting someone in their place and making them realize that they were absolute trash below his feet.

    “I know all about you. You failed at being a writer, didn’t you? What a sad little novelist. ‘Timothy Lawrence,’ and his GREAT triumph! What was it called? Ah . . . that’s right; ‘Ruby Romance,’ isn’t that right? Your big homoe-erotic little fairytale?”

    Timothy whimpered, reaching up to the hand mercilessly holding his entire weight up only by a fistful of hair. It hurt! No matter how groggy he was from the pain medication and leftover effects from the anesthesia, it really did feel absolutely awful to have one’s scalp lifted from their skull and used to support their entire body weight.

    “S-st . . . stop!”

    The redhead used the fingers on his right hand to claw at Tassiter’s wrist, sinking his nails into his flesh and trying to cut into him. He squealed when he was kicked in the ribs, but his hair wasn’t released and he was left gasping for air at the mercy of the salt and pepper board member. He coughed and gagged, still struggling to breathe properly after waking from the anesthesia. Where the hell was the Dr?! His eyes were lolling about in his head as he tried desperately to shoot a look of sheer hatred at Tassiter. He felt the slobber running down his chin, but didn’t care too much - the more that his body did to make him look disgusting and unappealing, the better. Honestly, even if he’d wanted to stop it, he couldn’t. Nothing was working right!

    Tassiter was a blur of light peach and grey - he swiped at the blob several times, even after being kicked, but he couldn’t make contact again. Distance wasn’t making any sense; the man’s scent made him want to vomit and his voice only made him even more sick. All of it it reminded him of their previous encounter - when Tim had gone limp and lost to ability to defend himself. He wasn’t going to let it happen again.

    “DON’T - don’t make me cause you more harm, Mr. Lawrence. I didn’t come to check up on you to hurt you.”

    “B-bu . . . bull . . . shit . . . f-faggot,” Timothy hissed; he may have been taking Jack’s cock willingly into his body for over a year, but Tassiter was the only person he would ever direct such a nasty insult towards - he wanted to see that man burned at the stake, so the epithet was more than accurate.

    Harold lifted the younger man by his hair even higher, until his knees were no longer on the ground, the freckled boy grasping desperately at his wrist and crying out in pain. God this shit got Tassiter off! Watching a piece of trash like this no-name failure barely scrape at him as he put in minimal effort to cause them suffering - truly, nothing beat that feeling. Power. Control. Absolute assertiveness. He watched the younger man’s legs make a pathetic attempt to hoist all of his dead weight off of the floor, but they were still numb - he’d made sure of that. Autohn had given the doppelganger a heavier than necessary dose of anaesthetic, leaving him unable to control his body properly as he came out of his deep slumber.

    “St . . . pl . . . please,” the freckled man whimpered, both arms drooping to his sides after only about half a minute of fighting for his life. Goddammit, he felt so weak - so fucking tired. The will to fight off Tassiter faded; he just wanted the pain to end.

    “Good little failure,” the older man offered, lowering the body double to the floor and allowing him to enjoy a bit of relief. “I can end all of this. No more treatments, other than the voice modulator surgery. You keep those precious freckles, so long as you cover them with makeup. You keep your genitals intact. I know they already told you that they wouldn’t change your pride, but . . . I can make all of that change, Timothy. You might never get an erection again, depending on what I tell them to do,” Tassiter said with a foul grin.

    “Pl . . . please . . . wh . . . why are you . . . I’ve never . . . never hurt . . . not anyone,” the originally pale skinned man whimpered, obviously not understanding how a battle amongst the most vicious of individuals worked. Jack and Harold were both beasts of pride and they fought without mercy. They both waged war on the loved ones of their rivals - to Tassiter, he was a pawn. None of this had anything to do with Tim at all. This was about Tassiter hurting Jack by going after the only thing that he seemed to care about. 

It was almost too easy! And this poor, pathetic boy . . . god, it was almost sad. He was so innocent. He honestly didn’t understand any of it at all. Harold almost felt bad about what he was going to do to him. Almost.

    “There, there, little Johnny clone. If you do as I say, everything will turn out just fine. You’ll even benefit. Fewer surgeries. No more painful skin treatments. Now that’s worth it, right? What a good boy,” Tassiter encouraged Timothy, releasing his harsh grip to softly stroke his hair. “You want that, don’t you? So just behave. I won’t harm you.”

    Tears streaked the faintly freckled cheeks as he whimpered and nodded, sniffling and trying to keep snot from running out of his nose. His head was spinning and he couldn’t focus, but he did know that not having more surgeries was, at least for him, ideal.

    “Good boy. Open up. I hear you suck cock better than anyone on Helios.”

    “I don - gggggh! Nnngggghhhh,” Timothy tried to argue with the idea that he gave the best head on the space station, but Tassiter used the opportunity to cram his already aroused penis into the freckled man’s mouth.

    “Oh, hmmmm . . . it is warm, isn’t it,” Harold marvelled.

    “Nggh . . . ngh! Ungh!”

    “Don’t struggle. Remember? This is for your benefit,” the board member reminded the drugged up Jack look-alike, slowly moving his hips as he occupied the moist hole that belonged to his enemy. 

    Oh god! It’s so hot . . . he keeps moaning. The vibration . . . oh, John, you’ve always been one lucky son of a bitch.

    Timothy didn’t want to resign himself to this fate, but he felt so goddamn tired - barely conscious. If fighting back was going to earn him more kicks to his aching ribs, he’d rather just comply, as disgusting as it made him feel. Was this really all he meant to Jack and Harold? Was he just a toy to be used in their struggles against one another?

    “Hmmmmmm . . . ahhh . . . you . . . you really are top notch,” Tassiter moaned, gripping both sides of the younger man’s head tightly as he thrust himself deeper into his throat. “Uh! Oh God . . . you little slut  . . . unnnngh . . . how many - nnnnf! - cocks have been in here, hm?”

    The redhead gagged, his stomach trying to vomit as his reflex was touched off while he wasn’t conscious enough to control it, but there was nothing in his stomach; he simply ended up choking on Tassiter’s cock, making a gurgling noise and hurking up some sort of slimey, frothy liquid. Timothy heard the fluid make a splattering noise on the sterile floor as his throat made disgusting, sloppy wet noises while Tassiter fucked his mouth; was this really happening?! Surely this was another of his fucking henious nightmares. He’d had a lot of them since he was finally told about the series of surgeries he’d been subjected to against his will.

    This is a nightmare. This isn’t real. This is a nightmare. This isn’t real. This is a nightmare. This isn’t real! This isn’t really happening to me! JACK! Help me! God, Jack, where are you? I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have told you I would come here by myself! HELP ME! JACK, PLEASE HELP ME!!!

    Tears were slipping down Tim’s face as Harold carelessly brought himself to completion using his body and finished by spattering his semen on the freckled cheeks he’d promised to salvage.

    “Nnnn . . . always wanted . . . to see that face covered in my seed. What a good little fuck toy,” the salt and pepper man complimented the redhead, releasing him and letting his whole body fall to the floor. “Very well. You shall keep your hideous freckles. But don’t forget - I can change my mind at any time. Good day Mr. Lawrence, or should I say, 'John?'”

Chapter Text

Jack stayed furious for the rest of that week. He didn’t like having to constantly remind Timothy that what had happened wasn’t something that he considered cheating; it wasn’t something he’d consented to in a proper state of mind. What Tassiter had done . . . it was cruel in it’s own right, but to use Tim against him, yet again - it was downright evil. It seemed like it really was time to cut his boyfriend loose. Things were only going to get worse if he stayed by Jack’s side.

    You’re really gonna do it? I don’t believe you. You’ve thought about it before, but you always whimp out and fuck him. I mean, he IS a great lay and all, but goddamn.

    He isn’t just some . . . “lay.” I really love him. I don’t know how to do this without it killing him. His mind is already pretty fragile - it isn’t going to take much to completely break it. I don’t have the backing to kill Harold without getting arrested for it. It’s way too early in the game to take him out.

    Game? So little Timmy is a piece on your chessboard, huh? So you admit it - you used him. He’s nothing to you. Just a dumb kid who fucks like a teenager and keeps you entertained. He’s a pet. Your "orange stray kitten" - not your beloved boyfriend.

    That isn’t true! I . . . I love him. I really do. That’s why I have to . . . but do I really have to do it right now? He’ll be destroyed . . .

    “Jack? Jack. There you are,” Timothy interrupted the older man, coming upon him on the balcony.

    Jack looked bedraggled. His hair was a disaster - greasy and unkempt, clearly only staying in the “style” it was in from him continuously running his fingers back through it. That was one of the habits that Tim had noted from observing his lover under immense stress. He had several strange, obsessive practices, several involving him fidgeting with his hair. Sometimes he did what he was currently doing - “the drag,” Tim called it. Other times, he would grit his teeth and squeeze his eyes closed tightly while he growled and ruffled his hair into a total mess; this, Tim had dubbed “the bird’s nest.” There was also, “the combo breaker,” where the Hyperion hunk combined both of these actions, correcting the nest with several drags of his fingers, only to do it all over again. On rare occasions, he would twirl one of the locks surrounding his face around a finger, over and over again until it remained in a peculiar ringlet for the rest of the day. 

    “Hm?”

    The freckled man wrapped his arms around his shirtless boyfriend and hugged him from behind. He always felt safe when Jack was home and he was desperate for his affection. Afterall, his mate was the only person besides Dr. Autohn that he was allowed to see. With the process still incomplete, Timothy was a prisoner. When he had appointments, it was done under the utmost secrecy. He was forced to sneak through maintenance passageways or to wear bandages around his entirely healed face just so nobody would recognize him and he wasn’t allowed to speak. Out of respect, though, Jack never invited anyone over to his apartment; he wanted it to be the one place where his sweetheart didn’t need to hide, or be quiet. He could be himself and roam freely. 

    “I got worried about you. Are you okay? You’re smoking a lot.”

    Timothy nuzzled the back of his partner’s head and kissed the nape of his neck. 

    “Of course I’m not okay,” Jack snarled, slamming a fist on the railing. “I want him dead. He can’t just do whatever the fuck he wants!”

    The freckled man sighed and rested his head on a strong shoulder. He didn’t want to go over this again. All he wanted was for the abuse he’d suffered to go away; he’d learned a long time ago how to bury his sexual trauma. It wasn’t easy, per say, but he was probably as close to a pro at it as anyone could get.

    “Please, Jack. Just . . . stop thinking about it. I don’t want to keep talking about it. I don’t want to think about it ever again. Please . . . I miss you. I can’t take this anymore.”

    “Then GO -” Jack cleared his throat; he hadn’t meant to shout at Tim. “ Go . . . back inside. Let me clear my head.”

    Timothy didn’t like the hiss in the response he got and he definitely didn’t like being yelled at.

    “Stop it, Jack, I’m serious. It’s not even your probl-”

    “NOT MY PROBLEM?! Not my - do you HEAR yourself?!”

    The brunette spun around and snatched his boyfriend by both arms, then he slammed him against the sliding glass door.

    “Not my problem . . . what is WRONG with you?! Shouldn’t YOU be this angry?! Why am *I* the one who’s upset here?! Don’t you fucking CARE about what people do to you?! Are you just gonna play the victim for the rest of your life?! Are you a goddamn doormat?!”

    The freckled man whimpered as he was so aggressively handled by the man he loved. He was well aware that Jack had a violent side - an angry, aggressive, sadistic streak, but he had never laid his hands on Tim like this. When his skull bounced off of the glass and his darling kept yelling at him, he didn’t know what to do with himself. He could feel his knees going weak - he felt the same absolute terror he had when Tassiter assaulted him the first time. His lips parted to say something in response but all that came out was a shaky breath.

    “Fight BACK!” Jack commanded him, but the redhead couldn’t will his limbs to respond. He couldn’t even demand that his tongue write up some sort of answer to this situation; he was frightened. “FIGHT, TIM! Goddammit! Don’t let me do this to you. Please . . . why won’t you fight?”

    Angry tears fell from mismatched eyes as Jack’s strong hands - gripping all too tightly to freckled, but tanner than they used to be - arms started shaking.

    “Fight me, Timmy . . . please . . . what have you done to me? What is this? Why am I so fucking . . . fucking . . . furious? I don’t understand . . . fight,” the older man said, the last word coming out as his voice cracked. “Fight me . . .”

    Jack really didn’t understand this. This rage - it was so different from anything he’d felt before. He’d been furious when Tassiter harrassed Tim the first time, but this - taking advantage of him while he was doped up and actually performing a forced sex act on him - he couldn’t handle it. Then Harold had the gall to make the redhead convinced that somehow, he had allowed it, like he’d had the ability at all to make a decision about consent. Something about all of this set something inside of him off and he didn’t understand it at all. And now he was crying. What the serious fuck was going on?! What had Timothy done to him? He’d never had emotions like this - nothing even close to this complex! 

    Rage he understood; it was simple and uncomplicated - an animal instinct. He’d felt genuinely happy before, too. Sadness was something he’d given up on; his understanding of that feeling had died long ago along with his childhood. Bitterness was simple and almost a constant, running in the background of his mind. The satisfaction provided by revenge was familiar, too. He’d felt pleasure of all sorts, some of it provided by the man who was staring at him with wide, shocked eyes and mouth agape with nothing but short gasps coming out. Love . . . he really, honest to god thought that he felt it for Tim. If nothing else he at least adored him - cared deeply for him. But . . . Jack’s sharp mind was running through his entire memory bank of emotional memories, hoping to find something that could explain what exactly it was that was fucking him up in the head so much.

    “I love you . . . I don’t . . . I can’t . . . can’t tell you . . . goddammit, pumpkin. Why does this hurt so much? I don’t . . . why can’t I protect you?”

    AH, GOD, YOU FUCKED THIS UP SO BAD! I set you up on a PERFECT course for escape with minimal damage to this poor fuckin’ kid and you BLEW it AGAIN! What the fuck, Johnny?!

    Enough! I can’t take this! It hurts . . . I fucking love him. I can’t do it. I don’t know if I could ever . . . if I don’t, he’s only going to get hurt more, but I can’t . . . I can’t stomach the thought of him not being here. I can’t . . . I can’t imagine . . . him off on some other planet without me nearby. 

    You’ve pretty much proven that you can’t protect him, so . . . 

    SHUT UP! SHUT UP, SHUT UP! I can! I CAN protect him! If I can just keep him here. No more surgeries. No more suffering. Just keep him safe. I could lock him up . . .

    He’s not a princess you can just lock in a tower. And you can’t take away more of his freedom and think you’ll be viewed as some kind of saviour. He’s called you a monster before - because it’s true. You are - WE ARE - a monster. 

    “Tim . . .”

    Jack’s still shaking hands withdrew their touch and his darling - the person he wanted so desperately to take care of - stood there and gave him a look that tore his heart to shreds; he was frightened of him. Confused. Cornered like a wounded animal. Timothy stayed on his feet, surprisingly enough considering how his legs were quaking, but he simply gave him that deer in the headlights look, bottom lip quaking.

    “Tim? I -” the natural brunette put his hands to a freckled cheek and was stunned when the redhead violently jerked away from him; he started back to life like he’d been given an electrical shock.

    “DON’T!” Timothy’s voice finally rang out, shoving Jack away from him with more force than he thought he actually had. “H - how . . . how dare you! You c-c-can’t . . . just say . . . get away! D-don’t . . . don’t ever . . . EVER touch me again!”

    Jack was completely confounded. Hadn’t he fixed things? He said he loved him, hadn’t he? He’d revealed pure emotions - he’d showed his lover his raw heart. Why was he pushing him away?

Before he knew it, his orange kitten had scampered back inside of the apartment and locked himself into what used to be Jack’s office. Timothy hadn’t slept in there since they’d reconciled after the shock of the surgeries had worn off.

Back to square one, Jackie. Nice fuckin’ work. 

He . . . but I . . . I don’t understand. I don’t understand . . . I don’t understand!

-------------------

For the next six nights and five days, the freckled man wouldn’t come out of his room while Jack was home. He would come out once he was positive that his flatmate had gone to work, then Tim could relieve himself and gather food supplies for the rest of the day, then he locked himself into his room again. He spent most of the day either fuming that everyone around him always ended up using him, or hurting him, sobbing over the same fact, and wishing that he’d never survived the first surgery. Why was life tormenting him like this? Why did he have to suffer so much? What had he done in a past life to deserve it?

When Jack came home from work, he would shower, then he would sit with his back against the door to his old office and chatter at Timothy. He would tell him about the day he’d had and ask about his sweetheart, though he never received a response. He would apologize for laying his hands on the man he adored and promised over and over again that he loved him; he assured Tim that he’d never meant to harm him - he hadn’t meant to grip him so tightly and he’d not intended to scare him. At the end of the night, he would press his lips to the door and tell his kitten good night, then he would give him space.

The cries and sobs and occasional thrown object clattering off of the wall, or door alerted Jack to the relieving fact that Timothy was still alive. Though he could have, he never attempted to unlock the door. Jack really didn’t know what he would do with the emotional man if they were finally face to face again.

Jack did check in on Tim in the middle of the night, too. He wasn’t sure if the freckled double ever heard him creeping up to the door and holding his breath to make sure he could hear him - whether or not there was some proof of life; unfortunately, he could usually hear his precious, beloved TimTam whimpering as he cried to himself, or the sad, scared little squeaks that came out when Timothy was having a bad dream. God, he wanted so badly to hold him!

“Good night, pumpkin. I love you. I’m so sorry,” Jack repeated his nightly ritual. He pressed his lips to the door to leave his lover a kiss and this time, he could have sworn he felt his lover kissing the door on the opposite side at the same time; his instincts were strong. “I really do love you. I’d never say it . . . never, if I didn’t mean it. Please come out. Ya know . . . when you’re ready. You can punch me in the balls for a week if it’ll make you feel better.”

Nope. He really is there. I’m not imagining it. He just made that little huff sound he does when he’s finally sick of listening to me talk at him. Tim . . . 

“Let’s, uh . . . finish this intense conversation tomorrow. Good night again, my pumpkin.”

Chapter Text

Timothy stood next to the bed and looked down at his sleeping boyfriend’s face. He always did look so much more gentle when he was unconscious. He brushed the piece of hair that was long enough for Jack to be chewing on out of his face and out from between his gnashing teeth. 

“Nnn-no . . . do . . . dun’ hurt 'im . . . punkin' . . . kill 'em . . .” came the disturbing murmurs of his boyfriend. 

He's so beautiful. I love him. I love him so much. He's hurting me, though . . . and I'm hurting him, too. I don't know what to do! I can't stay . . . I should have listened to you from the start, Jack. We were never meant to be . . .

Timothy swept the tears from his cheeks and tried to steel his resolve. He couldn't keep crying, locked up like an animal.  He couldn't be Jack's kitten anymore; it wasn't safe for either of them, anymore. 

"Goodbye, Jack. I love you."

 

--------------

 

"Timmy . . . Tim . . . GET AWAY FROM HIM!" Jack screamed, shooting up in bed as sweat streamed from almost every pore. He panted heavily, trying to fill his lungs with air as consciousness slowly filtered into his mind. Goddamn, he was sick of these nightmares. At least he'd finally awakened from this one,  though it took a bit for him to shake the cobwebs out of his head. "Tim . . . jeezus, what a fucking awful dream."

The brunette threw his legs over the side of his bed, disappointed that his sweetheart wasn't lying beside him, softly breathing and making cute little noises in his sleep, his curly, red locks framing his - no. Framing Jack's face. 

Fucking Tassiter! What have you done to him?!

"FUCK!" He hissed, swiping his arm arm over his nightstand and sending everything on top of it crashing to the floor. "Fuck! Fuck . . . Timmy . . . I'm sorry!"

The older man cried quietly to himself for a few minutes, wavering between furious and devastated until he could pull himself together and put on the emotional mask that he wore every day.

Before showering, Jack stepped out into the hallway, rubbing his eyes and fiddling with his hair just in case his boyfriend was actually out of his room. Glancing towards what used to be his home office he was startled to see that the door was open. 

"Tim?" he called out as he approached the room.

Something was wrong. He didn't know how he knew it, but something in his gut told him that his lover hadn't just forgiven him; he wasn't going to find his adopted kitten curled up on the couch, or eating breakfast in the kitchen. 

"Tim?" he spoke more quietly as he poked his head inside the open door; what he found disturbed him further.

The bed had been stripped down, the sheets carefully placed into the laundry basket. Tim's paper journals were no longer lined up on the desk; they were his most precious items, despite the fact that him insisting upon using them frustrated Jack to no end.

"Just use a digital journal. These things take up so much space. They're a waste of materials. Why do you insist on throwing your money away on this trash?" He'd once asked his sweetheart. 

The look of absolute shock and what almost looked like disgust on Tim's freckled face had surprised him. Pale fingers pressed tightly into the covers of the secret author's most recent journal as he scowled at Jack.

"There's no HEART in a digital journal! These pages . . . each one came from something that was birthed by nature, nourished by artisan's hands through a process that's thousands of years old - you wouldn't . . . you just . . . you wouldn't understand. They're special. It's important to me to feel connected to . . . nevermind."

"Tim! Timothy?!" Jack yelled, growing panicked as he spun on his heels and dashed towards the door. 

Tim was gone and he knew it, but he had to be sure. What was he going to do?!

"TIM!"

God, he wished that when he'd turned the corner to view the front door he'd see his darling standing there, apprehensive to leave, just waiting for Jack to pull him close and assure him that things would be okay - but that was not the case. A piece of paper taped to the door confirmed his fears. Jack dashed to it and tore it off, his mismatched eyes desperate to read the handwritten words left behind by the man he cared so much about.

My dearest Jack,

Thank you so much for everything. I've lived my happiest days by your side and I'm so grateful that you ever even looked my way when I got here. 

I know things moved quickly. Honestly, I fell in love with you that very first day, when you told everyone that the immature names they had given me were unoriginal and dubbed me, "pumpkin." At first I hated that you did that; mad that you thought I needed to be protected,  but as time went on, it felt like you were trying so hard to make a point of being kind to me. You had no reason to at all, but it really seemed like you were reaching out to me. 

I've always secretly hoped that maybe you fell for me right away, too, but I know that it's not the case. In my dreams, though . . . I like to think that we were meant to be together, even if it was just for this precious, short period of time.

At this point Jack took note of the way the ink on several words had been feathered, the paper wrinkled in small oval spatters - Tim had started crying at that point in his letter. The brunette felt his own eyes start to sting and he hissed at himself, dragging a forearm over his face to clear away any moisture.

Jack. I love you. I know that I say it all the time and that you're never going to truly understand just what it means, but I need you to know this. My heart, even though you've shattered it so many times, still belongs to you. My body will always be yours. My soul will always be searching for yours. Once we're both gone, I hope it finally reaches yours and then we can finally be happy together. 

For now, though . . . I can't handle being hurt anymore. I've suffered so much these past few months! I'm being tortured and the thing I'm being punished for is falling for you. What hurts worse than all of the torment, though, is that I'm just a weapon to be used against you. The fact that you've been hurt just for caring for me breaks my heart. 

And then you. . . after you swore to me, Jack! You promised you'd never lay your hands on me. You hurt me! The bruises you made on my arms were a reminder to me - every night when I went to sleep and every morning that I awakened in my jail cell - that I don't belong amongst people like you and Tassiter. I'm out of my league. I'm a pawn.

I can't do it anymore. Between the two of you, I'll end up shredded to pieces. I think I've done more than my fair share of suffering for your sake. Because I really do love you so madly, and I've been so desperate to be able to prove to you that I am . . . that I was worth your consideration; for life. I never gave up hope that maybe you would change your mind one day - that I'd show you enough love and affection and adoration and dedication that you would choose me. Forever. The word 'forever' had been smudged over by a wet finger so many times that it almost rubbed straight through the page.

The next line, though Tim had tried to quickly scribble through, was easy to read.

I sort of had this stupid, foolish hope that maybe, you know, in 10 years, after I could prove to you that I was really worth it, you would ask me to marry y 

Jack choked and it startled him to hear the unique "plip" and "plop" sounds of his own tears falling onto the paper. 

His darling! His pumpkin. His little orange kitten who had taken to him, despite his tendencies to lash out and hurt him . . . Tim had held out hope that the brunette would come to see him as a permanent life mate, despite the argument gets had over it. The truth - the fact that it was always still so goddamn obvious, but he'd been too damn blind to see it - broke what heart Jack had finally started to recognize he had. 

Gritting his teeth, again, the CEO wannabe wiped away his tears and forced himself to continue reading.

I know - I know that your whole life is here with Hyperion, so I would never ask you to abandon it. You've worked so hard to get where you are,  and because I love you so, I couldn't ask you to give it up. I thought that I could hang in there and stay with Hyperion, too - to stay by your side. To be your partner in business and in life, but things have gotten so out of hand . . . I honestly pray each morning when I open my eyes that it will become clear that the past year was just some insane dream and I'm finally walking up.

I know that you do mean it when you say that you love me. I really, truly do and it means everything to me that you were finally able to say it to someone. But . . . at the same time, I know it doesn't mean the same thing to you, my darling Jack. 

You're the very first thing on my list of priorities. Making you feel loved, keeping you happy, putting your needs before mine, forgiving all of the awful things you've said and done . . . that's what love really is, Jack. You're my everything. The only reason I'm not escaping all of this via suicide is because I can't bear the thought of you blaming yourself and feeling guilty about it. I couldn't bear to hurt you. I'd rather suffer through the rest of my miserable existence than to cause that sort of pain.

Instead, I'm just going to disappear. Please don't look for me, Jack. Let me go. I've already lost almost all of myself. I can't take any more of this! I don't want to lose my voice! I may hate it, but at least it's mine! Proof that Timothy Lawrence existed . . . proof that I . . . that I'm not "Jack." I'm the awkward, hopeless nerd that fell in love with Jack.

I don't think I'll ever love anyone else the way that I love you. To be honest, I can't imagine loving anyone else at all. I really, truly, love you with everything I have. It hurts so badly to say it, but . . .

Goodbye, Jack. My one and only love,

Timothy Lawrence"

Jack stood clutching the overly wordy letter in his shaking hands for a few minutes, trying to process everything that was written. 

He wanted to shred it to pieces - throw it in the fireplace - flush it down the toilet! But he noticed even more droplets starting to make soft noises as they splashed over Tim's sincere words. 

"No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!" The brunette exclaimed, wiping his hand over the page. The ink smeared even further and he made the most pathetic whimper he'd ever produced. "NO! Timmy! TIMMY!" he howled in his building agony. "TimTam . . . my pumpkin . . ." Jack sobbed, dropping to his knees and clutching the paper to his chest.

He just couldn't fathom it. Timothy had left him! His sweetheart was gone!  In his heart, though, the brunette knew what he had to do; it was only right, after everything that his freckled darling had given him and done for him - for all of the things that Timothy had lost, or had forcibly stripped away from him - 

Jack had to let him go.

Chapter Text

Timothy was certainly no master of disguise, nor was he particularly stealthy, but he didn't need a master's degree in the art of the ninja to go unnoticed. Hell, he was basically invisible to the female sex for most of his life, so at least half of the population already acted like he didn't exist. It was trickier with Jack's face, however.

For one, it was a fucking gorgeous facade to admire and members of both genders often did double takes just to catch another glimpse of him.

Secondly, Jack was a popular guy on Helios; the guy knew how to network and was recognized by people no matter which area of the station he was wandering around in.

To combat the trouble of having such a fine face, Tim put on the glasses his boyfriend had given him on their first (extremely unofficial) date. He'd had to pop out the lenses, but it was fashionable to wear empty frames. Over the bottom half of his face, he donned a medical mask; some nasty viruses had been making the rounds (ah, the joys of sharing recycled air with thousands of other germ carrying citizens) so it wasn't an unusual look, and he covered most of his ginger coloured hair with a knit cap. It was close to mercenary day, so a lot of people longing for their snowy, comfortable, home planet holiday season had been donning winter gear, though Helios had no weather.

Clothing wise, Tim went simple. Nothing flashy (as if he intended anything flashy anyway!) but nothing that would turn heads while people asked, "who is that bum?" Just a plain blue button up with a forest green cardigan over the top and black slacks; thank goodness Jack had given him a ton of hand-me-downs to suit his more muscular, taller frame.

As far as his diaries went, the freckled man boxed them all up and dropped them off in a post office bin to be shipped to his mother's house; it would have looked terribly suspicious to be carrying that much stuff where he was headed. 

On his person he had his wallet, though it was almost empty, save for a credit card (Jack had given it to him to make purchases over the echonet if he so wished, since he was trapped in the apartment and unable to shop) and the fake ID that had been prepared for him. He also carried a small satchel containing his most recent journal, his echo, enough drugs to keep him calm for the flight off of Helios, a hand gun he'd stolen from sitting room, and a box of ammo. He prayed he wouldn't need it, or the hunting knife hidden in one of his calf high boots, but he wanted to be prepared.

Despite his attempt to play it cool as he walked down the hallways, Timothy could feel his heart thundering in his chest. He was absolutely terrified! He didn't know when Jack would awaken and get his note, nor if he would report him missing to authorities. He had no clue if he'd be stopped by someone in security for looking out of place as he headed into the cargo port area. If someone attempted to talk to him, he wasn't sure what to say. Would his ID really work since his hair was still red and he hadn't worn any makeup? Was it even validated yet, since he wasn't supposed to be out of his lover's apartment? Were the access codes he'd recovered via hacking the day before still good?

Oh, god, this is terrifying! I'm gonna get caught, I just know it! His mind assured him, but he couldn't give up. He definitely couldn't go back now that he'd confessed his everything to Jack. No. I've gotta do this. I don't wanna die here in this hell! I wanna go home! I'm going to hug mom and nuzzle my face into Coco's fluffy, white tummy and she'll purr so loud, then I'll eat mom's home cooked meal and fall asleep in my childhood bedroom - I'll be free again. I have to! I wanna go home . . .

Tim froze, hearing a chilling voice so close by. 

FUCK! This can’t be possible. Of all of the days, of ALL of the places - it isn’t Tass -

"THEN WHERE ARE THE REST OF THEM, MR. BENTLEY?!" Tassiter hissed as he snapped his ink-pen in half, blue ink filling his shaking, bony fist.

At the very least, he was shouting at someone else and was looking for missing shipping crates, not missing body doubles.

"Th-th-they've g-gotta -"

"I don't have all day! Spit it out, you insufferable moron!"

"They must have been sent to the wrong hub," another dock worker answered for her terrified looking boss. "Sometimes things get mixed up with shipments this huge. I'll personally make the calls and find out where they are, Mr. Tassiter, sir! I guarantee they'll be shipped out by 1400 today!" 

"I expect they will, Miss. Eldon. If they are not, I will remember your ‘personal’ guarantee," Harold snarled, wiping the ink from his hand on her overalls with disgust. "Now onto the next migraine inducing, blue collar pit of filth on this god forsaken station."

The redhead breathed a sigh of relief to hear that Tassiter would be moving along and gathered the courage to peer around the corner. To his dismay, the salt and pepper haired sex offender turned on his heel and started walking towards his location, rather than further away.

Damn it all! I'll have to go back and sneak in a different way. Good thing I got the access codes for several shipping bays.

The freckled body double whipped around to start his backtrack, heading towards the exit with haste. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one in a hurry; a cart that was overloaded with boxes and packages rounded a corner into the corridor, ramming right into him sending the runaway and a pile of freight crashing to the floor.

"Oh, duuude, I'm so sorry, man!" The inattentive worker apologized, stepping through the mess to help Timothy off of the floor. "It's just like, sooo hectic in here today. You, uh . . . lost, man?" He wondered, stroking his unkempt black beard,  noticing that the person who accepted his helping hand wasn't wearing the same blue coveralls everyone else in the area wore.

"Ah, n-no, no. Just uh, just dropping off something from programming! So sorry," Timothy apologized; honestly, he should've been acting more cautious. "In a bit of a hurry, I’m really, really sorry!" he apologized, attempting to escape before Tassiter found the corner. God, he really hated not helping the worker clean up the mess, but he had to get the hell out of there!

Fuck, fuck, fuck! My luck is the worst!

"Wait Your wallet, dude!"

Timothy winced, having to turn around after he'd only made it a few steps. He knew that, despite being able to escape Helios easily enough with no money, or ID, without his wallet, he had no chance of legally entering another planet’s population.

Shit, shit, shit!

"Th- thanks. Again, I'm really sorry!" The ever polite programmer gasped out, returning to the stoned looking loading dock worker, snagging his belonging from an outstretched hand as an all too familiar face came around the corner.

Running would be all too suspicious, so Timothy bit hit lip and tried not to act nervous. Staying where he was would also be dangerous - his freckles and red hair easily drew attention, especially from someone who had already found great pleasure in torturing him His body wanted so badly to be darting down the hallway, increasing the distance between himself and the man who had already assaulted home twice. Gods, what was he supposed to do?!

Run, or hide in plain sight? Run, or hide in plain sight, run or - RUN!

The freckled man turned on his heel and dashed around the corridor. He didn’t know where he was going, but he could figure it out later; right now, he needed to escape the man who struck absolute distress into his heart. It was still possible that the older man hadn’t recognized him, but Tim knew that he’d definitely risked attracting attention by running away.

As his boots hit the floor, every step echoed in his ears. Were they really so loud, or was the noise just obvious to him because that’s what he was focusing on?

Oh god, oh god! Hide, hide, hide! If he . . . if Tassiter gets me . . . I don’t even wanna think of what he’d do to me. Hide, Timothy, come on, think, think, think, think!

Skidding around another corner, the escapee saw a group of well-dressed office workers exiting a room. On Helios, office “brats” didn’t just bail out of a room, all together, without locking the door; they didn’t trust the blue collar workers. Before the door slid closed, Tim slid inside by the hair of his chin, collapsing to the floor on all fours as he tried to catch his breath. Every gasp pained his lungs. Honestly, he hadn’t had any opportunities to work out (other than Jack fucking him) and he was terribly out of shape. Besides that, he was panicking. 

Timothy Lawrence wasn’t this sort of guy! He wasn’t the sneaking around, running down corridors, sliding inside of room she wasn’t supposed to be in so he could stow away on a cargo shipment person! He was just . . . TIM! A failed writer and a computer programmer. How the hell had things ever turned out like this.

The click of all too familiar shoes and the beeping of the keypad on the door told Tim he wasn’t out of the woods, yet. He got to his feet and scrambled towards the back of the room, ducking behind a water cooler. If someone only peered inside, he’d be safe. It wasn’t necessarily Tassiter, right? Maybe someone had forgotten their coffee money, or phone and had returned to retrieve it.

Don’t come in, don’t come in, don’t come in!

The expensive sounding shoes stepped inside the door and it hissed shut behind them. The footfalls came closer and closer to Tim at a painfully slow pace, feeding his panic. He tried so hard to control his breathing - to not make a noise - but his whole body was shaking uncontrollably.

It’s not over! It can’t be over already! I’m getting out of here! I can take Tassiter, right? I have Jack’s body, now! I’m not weak anymore!

When the stranger in the room was so close to the water cooler Timothy could see their shadow, he pulled the knife from his boot and shot out from his hiding place.

“I’m getting out of here and you can’t stop me!” he shrieked, brandishing the weapon, slashing an “x” in the air in front of him.

A startled cry came from the chubby, blonde company man in front of him, who fell to the floor, landing hard on a khaki covered hip.

“OH GOD, DON’T KILL ME, PLEASE! I was just gonna get back what Charlie owed me! I wasn’t gonna take anything extra, oh my god!”

The freckled man’s eyes darted around the room. Wait . . . this - this guy was it?! It wasn’t Tassiter! He could have laughed at himself for overreacting so much over such a regular person! He probably looked like some sort of crazy person, wielding a knife in such a stupid disguise!

Of course it isn’t, god, he probably didn’t even see you! Calm down! Now you have to handle this guy, though. Shit. How do you calm a guy down when you tried to slash his body open?

“I-I-I’m so . . . so sorry! I . . . I th-thought you were someone el-”

“Did you think it was me, Mr. Lawrence?”

Tim’s heart dropped to the floor. Absolute dread flooded his entire body. That voice - it came from behind him. But how?! The knife slipped from his hand as his muscles all lost the ability to function how he wanted them to. The loud metallic clank as the weapon hit the tiled floor resonated in the room as bony fingers dug into his shoulder.

The office worker in front of Timothy scooted backwards, away from the pair that already had bad blood between them.

“Please, sir, don-” he started, but right before a pair of mismatched eyes, his head exploded, a sharp, but shockingly quiet sound ringing in Tim’s left ear.

Everything seemed like slow motion to the redhead from this point - the blood spraying across the room, splattering over his own face, his clothing, the walls and desks, the headless body falling to the floor, still twitching and convulsing, his own shocked scream bouncing off of every surface and returning to his ears, the red hot barrel of the already discharged weapon searing into the back of his neck as his brain struggled to register what the fuck had just occurred.

“You are really far more troublesome than you’re worth, Mr. Lawrence. Do you have any idea how expensive it’s going to be to let everyone in this office have the day off? To pay for their three days of bereavement after the tragic loss of their co-worker after this . . . unexpected gas leak? The clean-up crew, the funeral, the payment to his family for their ooooh, so tragic loss - obscene sums of money.”

Tim whimpered as the gun slid from the nape of his neck to his temple. The salt and pepper board member drew his fingers over a rapidly pulsing carotid artery, very pleased that it drummed so quickly under such beautifully smooth flesh. He wanted to sink his teeth in, to mar the one who belonged to the impudent John with bright red marks matching his dental records - but that sort of torment could wait. For now, Harold needed to be patient and figure out how to get the two of them and to his apartment without drawing further attention; they'd need to go through the dark, dank maintenance tunnels. 

As much as possible, Jack’s body double held his body rigid. His brain was completely scrambled as he tried to quickly process what had happened.

Hiding! I was . . . I was hiding. To escape. Escaping Jack, escaping Tassiter, escaping Hyperion! Tassiter . . . he was there, and I ran. I hid, but I thought he came for me and - KNIFE! My knife! He recalled, his right hand squeezing, but then noticing that he no longer it. I dropped . . . I dropped it after . . . shot. Tassiter, he . . . he shot the man - he’s dead. Someone’s . . . dead. He’s DEAD! HE KILLED HIM! Blood, there’s blood! So much blood!

The freckled man’s knees gave out and he vomited. Apparently, much to Harold’s amusement - he was laughing. Tim couldn’t stop retching, even after what little food and liquid he had in his stomach had been expelled. 

It looks like him. Like uncle . . . when I shot him. When I killed . . . someone’s dead. He’s dead! Because of me! 

“Oh, you’re too much, really. I haven’t laughed in ages, honestly. How utterly precious you are. John wasn’t just exaggerating when he called you his ‘most virgin conquest,’ now, was he?”

Tassiter knelt down beside Tim’s shaking frame and rubbed his back to comfort him. The redhead wanted to puke even more, but nothing was left inside of him as he gagged and coughed. The soothing way he was being touched by a man who had molested him and raped his mouth was so disconcerting. And what did he mean? Jack had . . . he’d called him a . . . a conquest? To Tassiter of all people?! There was no way! His lover absolutely loathed the older man, he’d never . . . would he?

“You’re not an uncouth mongrel like John, so I do feel a bit for you. You’ve just become far too expensive to release, though. Helios is now under my control - as are you, Mr. Lawrence. Your body belongs to Hyperion - it belongs to me , now.”

“N-no . . . NEVER!” Tim cried out, forcing his limbs to pull away from Tassiter’s grasp. He fell back to the side of the water cooler the second he got to his feet, but he didn’t need to go further than that; he just needed to pull the gun out of his bag. “Y-you don’t! You don’t own me! NEITHER of you own me!” he spoke quietly, but firmly, pulling the weapon free and pointing it at his enemy. “Nobody owns me!”

Tassiter’s lips curled up into an all too familiar, sinister grin - it was just like Jack’s; the terrifyingly cocksure smile that said he feared nothing and no one, and that he was positive he was calling out “checkmate.”

“Well, well, well. Did they insert a set of testicles with your last surgery?” Harold wondered, crossing his arms over his chest, not even bothering to point his gun back at Timothy - he knew that he wouldn’t shoot. “Hmm . . . how many years was it the last time?” he inquired of the mouse he’d cornered. It mattered not that it bared its sharp teeth, or claws if it didn’t have the resolve to use them. The man in front of him was aptly named - he was the Tim in timid. A gentle, nervous creature full of fears and anxieties. 

“Wh . . . what are you talking about?! Just . . . just get away! I’ll shoot! I’ll kill you!”

“How many years? You murdered that pedophile who was raping you, but . . . how many years did it take before you had the gall? Then how many years of therapy after that?"

Cinnamon coloured eyebrows knitted themselves upwards in absolute horror. There was no WAY Tassiter knew about any of that! He had gone into therapy as a kid after he’d killed the man who had stolen his innocence, but as far as anyone besides his therapist knew, it was to deal with him lashing out as he hit puberty; a normal part of growing up. His mother had always assumed it was him acting out due to becoming a young man without a father figure. Even she didn’t know the things he had divulged to his counselor - the years of being abused, the threats dealt out by the monster who dared to put his hands on Tim even though he was only a child, the way the freckled, scared boy finally dispatched of the pedophile - those things were confidential! Only his therapist knew! He and . . . and Jack.

The body double’s jaw dropped open as he tried to come up with some sort of response, but nothing came out. How did he know about any of that?! 

Jack. Jack is the only one . . . the only one I ever told!

“Yes, yes, I see the wheels spinning, you poor young man. And you had so much promise before that flea-bitten scoundrel got his paws on you. I do apologize - you really are rather innocent. Trust and romance have no place in business, though, Mr. Lawrence. I know everything . I certainly hope you didn’t honestly believe that you had any secrets that were just between you and John,” the skeletal older man said in a sickeningly kind voice. “If I were to toss you over the top of my desk and have a go, however, I wouldn’t stifle your cries with your own shirt. I’d want everyone to hear you calling out my name - to know that you belonged to me. Certainly, you wouldn't be left to clean yourself with tissues and sent on your way immediately afterwards."

Already wide blue and green eyes grew wider as Tassiter spoke. Terribly unsteady hands began to shake even more, the gun bobbing up and down, side to side as Timothy continued to listen. How did Tassiter know . . . it was no secret at all that he and Jack had fucked in the office, but how did anyone know details like that? They were the only two in the room! Surely, Jack didn't kiss and tell, especially sordid details!

Jack . . . has Jack been . . . he’s been . . . he’s lied to me? This whole time, I . . . I trusted him, but . . . there’s no way anyone else could ever know these things!

“That darling little piercing of yours will have to go, though. After All, a body double for John needs to look just like him. And I know he doesn’t have one of those.”

Tassiter’s coils tightened around Timothy’s body, venomous words seeping into his veins and infecting his mind. He felt so betrayed! But at the same time, it just couldn’t be! Jack loved him! He’d never hurt him! Right? It felt like he couldn’t breath. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t speak. He just stared at Tassiter, who was tucking his gun back into the hidden holster inside of his suit jacket. This was too unreal. It wasn’t . . . this couldn’t be . . . none of it . . . Jack loved him, right? He certainly loved Jack . . . with every fiber of his being, he loved him! But what if his initial, gut instinct had been right all of that time ago? The one that screamed that the beautiful, intelligent man he worked for was not to be trusted - that he was dangerous.

“Don’t look so surprised. Surely he told you, didn’t he? Like anyone who wishes to be the god of their own empire, he needs a legacy. You’ll never be able to give that to him. To John, you were just another toy. He goes through them so quickly, though, so I must give you a great deal of credit. You lasted the longest of all of his little pets. Come, now. Pull yourself together. We don’t need anyone else seeing your face today. I’d rather not kill anyone besides these two.”

These two. These . . . two. Two? But . . . 

“T-two?” Timothy choked out, fighting back his urge to burst into tears. He didn’t understand.

“Oh, yes. The mail boy. He saw your face, too, didn’t he? Don’t worry, I took care of him out of sight. Now if you’d like to avoid further casualties -”

“You KILLED him?! But he didn’t -”

“Let us get one thing VERY clear, Mr. Lawrence,” Tassiter hissed, shooting a dangerous look from his almost black eyes to the shaken up and blood stained young man on the floor. “ You killed both of these men. The body double program is top secret and you exposed them to the results. So . . . if you wouldn’t mind, I would like to move on without any further threat to my dry cleaning bill.”

Tim dropped his gun and slumped back against the wall, the older man quickly kicking the weapon out of the way. He felt dizzy. He felt sick. He felt . . . so much, yet so numb all at once. 

It's not my . . . it isn't my fault! I . . . I . . .

The freckled man sucked in air through his teeth creating a hissing sound as he glared up at Tassiter. It wasn't true! Jack was his most trusted friend - his lover! And it wasn't his fault that two people were dead.  He hadn't signed up for this! It was more than he could take! His body lunged forward towards the knife - he had to get out of there! There was still time to escape.

Tassiter saw the younger man prepare for his last ditch effort and launched his own body to the weapon, skillfully retrieving it, then tossing it towards Timothy. The redhead cried out, another scream resonating in the small office as the blade pierced his right hand and pinned it to the wall behind him. 

"AAAAAAAAH!"

Harold sighed and shook his head, straightening his slightly askew glasses. He slowly made his way towards the panicking double, annoyed that he'd been forced to shed more blood.

"Honestly, Mr. Lawrence? Are you just about done threatening me? I grow tired of this game."

Gripping a strong chin in his hand, Tassiter let out a huff.

"It isn't that I don't admire your tenacity. On the contrary, it's the most fight I've ever seen you put up. We just don't have time for this right now," he complimented his prey, taking the knife handle in his other hand and giving it a bit of a twist.

Timothy shrieked in pain, grasping the wrist of his injured paw, no longer able to fight back his tears.

"It hurts," he whimpered. "Please!"

"Are you quite finished, then?"

The freckled man shamefully nodded. He was too afraid of death to continue fighting against a man that clearly outmatched him.

"Wonderful," Tassiter responded with a wicked smile, proud of himself for holding back the urge to laugh at the pathetic boy before him; without further ado, he yanked the knife free and watched the redhead slide down the wall.

Tim's lungs just stopped working as his quivering lips pressed themselves tightly together. His vision started to blur as his body lost what few ounces of strength he had left.

“Send a separate cleanup crew to F-244. And a discreet medical transport for the subject.”

"Su . . . subject . . . th-that . . . that's all . . . all I am?" Tim wondered out loud to no one in particular. He scoffed quietly as the shock of everything that had just occurred caught up with him and forced his eyelids to shutter his vision entirely, consciousness fading away. "Sub . . . ject . . ."