“C'mon, I know a place,” the guy – Rhys was too drunk to remember his name – slurred in his ear, voice giddy.
Rhys grinned at him, pressing sloppy kisses to his neck. “Mmm? Where's that?” he asked, before nibbling on his collar bone.
They'd been debating on where to hook up. Both of their apartments were a long walk from the bar they'd met in, and Rhys only felt like committing to a quick, easy fling. They stumbled through the halls together, his arm thrown over Rhys' shoulder.
“In here,” the guy said, moving to lean against a door. “I still got'my keycard! S'been empty for years now, don' worry.”
He fumbled around with the door for a few minutes, dropping his keycard twice in the process. Rhys giggled at him, cheeks flushed red from the alcohol. Once the door slid open, they both practically fell in, Rhys managing to catch the other guy and push him up against a wall inside the room. The door closed behind them, dousing them in darkness. For a few seconds it's just breathy, desperate noises and the sound of lips smashing together before the lights flickered on.
“Get these off,” Rhys purred into his ear, tugging at his hook-up's jeans. He obliged immediately, hands fumbling to make quick work of his belt. Rhys felt himself growing hard as grinded against his leg, tongue lapping at the crook of his neck.
The jeans came off and their eyes met for a brief moment. Rhys let out a drunk growl, biting his lips as grabbed the guy's shoulder, then span him round.
He wasn't Rhys' usual type. Actually, he hadn't gotten laid in months, thus he didn't really care. He was a cute little thing, shorter than him, blonde hair, blue eyes – but Rhys didn't care for the details.
He was really, really drunk.
“Mm gon' fuck you, 'kay?” he slurred, voice low and steady. His hookup pushed himself against the wall, nodding his head, practically begging for it.
Rhys stuck a finger in his mouth, then sucked it. He let his saliva pool around, then drew it out, soaking wet. He pushed his finger against the blonde's entrance, teasing the tip of it in and out slowly. He bit down on his neck, a little harder than he'd meant to. Didn't matter – the guy let out a string of slutty noises, whispering quiet little pleases and ah f-fucks.
This got Rhys worked up pretty quick. He ran the fingers of his metal hand against his waist, before settling on his hip. His other hand pushed a finger inside of him, before working up a slow but steady rhythm.
This went on for a minute, before Rhys undid his belt and began stroking his aching cock. Nope, he couldn't wait any longer. “Ready?” he drawled out.
“Yes, yes p-please fuck me!”
Rhys lined his length up, before pushing himself in slowly. He let out a low groan, tipping his head back as the first wave of pleasure flushed through him. The pace went from slow and gentle to hard and fast in a drunken fashion. It didn't take long for either of them to finish.
His orgasm was... okay. Drunk orgasms always felt kinda numb – especially when the sex only lasted a whole four and half minutes. Once he'd finished, he let a dissatisfied grunt fall from his lips before buckling his belt up.
The other guy sorted his clothes out, then fell against Rhys' chest and began kissing the side of his face. But Rhys had stopped paying attention as the post orgasm clarity had him suddenly curious in his surroundings.
The lab was covered in a thick layer of dust. And by the door, a small splatter of white on the floor. Rhys saw it, then giggled, thinking about the little robot that would slurp his mess up. He shook his head, dismissing the silly thought before stumbling over to the railing, next to a small set of steps.
“So'what is this place?” he asked.
“Uhh, it'was a lab. I thin' the guy died r'somethin'. Used to work here like uhh... five years ago? I'm pretty drunk, I can' remember, ha ha...”
“Wonder what they did in here,” Rhys mumbled, more to himself than his hookup. “Mm' gonna go be nosy then head home. Whaddabout you?” he turned to ask.
“Yeaah, 'm gonna get some sleep. Work in the morning,” he giggled, then hiccuped.
Rhys gave him a worried look. “You gonna be okay gettin' back to your place?”
“Yeah, I can call my roomie if I need help, dont'ya worry.”
“M'kay,” Rhys hummed in response, heading up the steps.
“Wait no, you'll get locked in!” the guy suddenly blurted out. “The door'll lock behin' me so you better come now unless you wanna live here.”
“Aww, damn,” Rhys whined, giving him a playful pout. “Okay, gon' just... hmm...”
He glanced around the room, looking for something to steal and take home with him. He wasn't sure why – but it seemed right. His drunk brain really wanted a souvenir for some reason.
“Mm fuck, m'gonna throw up.”
“Fuck, jus' a sec.” Rhys snatched the closest thing on the desk beside him. A data drive or something. Then, he darted back to his hookup before helping him out of the lab. “You okay?”
“Yaa. Is okay, don't worry. Gonna call my roomie. You get yourself home, cutie pie,” he said, before booping Rhys' nose with a finger.
“I'll wait with you 'till he's here, 'kay?”
* * *
His vision swayed but his spirit was cheerful when he burst through his apartment door. “Home!” he shouted, before flopping onto the sofa. Vaughn scooted up, managing to just avoid having a drunk Rhys fall into his lap. His eyes remained focused on the screen, fingers smashing against the buttons of the controller he was holding.
“Hi,” Rhys said with a sloppy smile.
“Hey. Did you have fun?”
“Mhm.” Rhys nodded.
“Did you get laid?”
“Mhm,” Rhys repeated, smile growing. “He was this adorable blonde with pretty blue eyes. We -” he hiccuped. “We screwed in that abandoned lab. Oh, man – you shoulda been there. It was super hot.”
Vaughn lifted an eyebrow, but kept his attention on his video game. “Okay then, you horny gay,” he laughed. “You working tomorrow?”
“I'm not gay, Vaughn,” said Rhys with an eye roll. “And naw, thank God, too. I have a feelin' I might be a 'lil hung over tomorrow. Oh!” He sprang up, then looked at Vaughn with excited eyes. He then smirked. “I did a steal.”
Vaughn snorted. “You 'did a steal' huh? What was it?”
“No idea,” Rhys giggled. He fumbled in his pocket, then pulled out the small metal object. He frowned at it. “Data drive, I think.”
Vaughn gave him a look. A dangerous look. “Go on, plug it in. There might be secrets in there, bro.”
“I like secrets.”
Rhys stood up, then stumbled over to his desktop. After a few failed attempts, he plugged in the drive and then waited.
“Looks encrypted,” he said, narrowing his eyes.
“Can't get in.”
“Well, there must be secrets in it, then. Can't you hack it?”
Rhys stared at the file. “Nope. Too drunk.”
Vaughn let out a sigh, paused his game, then came over and sat at the desk. Rhys hovered by his side, leaning on the desk with a threatening sway.
“Ah. It's a weird file. I think it can only be accessed through a head port.”
“Ooh, I have one of those!”
Vaughn gave him a sneaky grin. “Do it, then. I dare you.”
“Wait, wait – what if it's filled with weird porn or something?”
“Weird porn never stopped you before.”
Rhys felt his cheeks flush red. “F-Fine! I'll do it!”
In a quick, ill-informed movement, Rhys snatched the drive from the computer and held it to his head. He gave Vaughn a cheeky grin before pushing it into his port like an absolute idiot.
Electricity shot through his body. He jolted upright, eyes pointing inward in a stupid fashion as he made a series of weird, embarrassing noises, before promptly dropping to the floor and drooling all over the carpet.
* * *
He came around with a groan. His head pounded, throbbing in time with his heart beats. “Gross,” he mumbled to himself. “I feel so gross. Why do I do this to myself?” He palmed at his face, groaning again. His mouth felt dry – ugh, he didn't drink any water before going to bed last night. Stupid Rhys.
He's not in his bed. Huh. He must have fallen asleep on the couch after he -
Wait again -
The last thing he remembered, albeit barely, was shoving a data drive into his head. A mysterious, mystery data drive that he'd plucked from a desk in some abandoned lab. “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” he muttered to himself, rubbing at his sore temple. His thumb brushed against the metal sticking out of his head. Cringing at his poor decision making skills, he pulled it out, then threw it on the couch beside him. “Dammit, Vaughn,” he then mumbled. His roommate had only encouraged him – what an asshole.
Nah, he would have done the same to Vaughn if their roles had been switched. They're both stupid. At least Vaughn had been good enough to drag his hungover ass onto the couch instead of leaving him on the floor.
Rhys activated his echo, then began searching through his files for whatever mysteries he'd jammed inside his head. Nothing seemed to jump out at him. No weird porn. No pop up ads. Weird.
With yet another unhappy groan, he pulled himself to his feet before heading to the kitchen and then guzzling a ridiculous amount of water. Better, slightly. His tongue no longer felt like sandpaper. Then, he forced himself to go take a shower. Once he was undressed and the hot stream was hitting his body, his muscles began to thank him. His head still throbbed, but his body relaxed under the water. For a few minutes, he let his mind wander, jumping from random thought to the next.
Jack seemed to be in a lot of those thoughts. Handsome Jack – the one guy that Rhys had reluctantly been hyperfixating on for the last few months. It was always when he was taking a shower, or drifting off in bed, or doing monotonous work in the office, that Jack seemed to push himself to the forefront of his mind. Stupid sexy smirk and great hair. Rhys couldn't tell the difference between jealousy and admiration these days – for some reason, the guy seemed to play with a lot of Rhys' emotions. Stupid little crush.
But that's all it was, right? Sure, Vaughn would tease him – but he was just as bad for fawning over cute anime girls. Rhys just happened to jerk off over his boss instead. Well, technically he wasn't his boss. He was his boss's boss's boss. Or something. But Rhys liked to think he was his boss, because that made him feel important.
He didn't realise that he was touching himself. Probably because it had become such a habit whenever he got in the shower, that he ran on autopilot. For a few minutes, he wasn't hungover. He felt great. Little noises of satisfaction fell from his lips as he closed his eyes, hand stroking over his cock in a quick, jerky fashion. He should have slowed down, but he'd worked himself up into a mess that just needed to get off, as quickly as possible.
It didn't take long. The climax hit him as he arched his back, making him stumble backwards. For a brief second, he felt the bar of soap touch his foot before he slipped and crashed down to the bottom of the shower, flat on his ass, hitting his head on the wall in the process. He groaned in pain, then rubbed at his temple as the hangover came back – even worse than before.
“You have got three seconds to explain why you're in my shower, covered in your own cum,” a deep, angry voice growled.
Rhys actually wet himself from the shock of someone speaking to him when he didn't expect it. Maybe his body was partly convinced by the stream of warm water hitting him and the fact he didn't pee before getting in – but yeah. He pissed himself.
When he looked up, he nearly screamed.
Handsome Jack stood just outside the shower, arms crossed and an expression on his face that could kill. Rhys blinked, then rubbed his eyes, trying to clear his vision, but Jack still stood there, blue and -
He was blue and translucent?
“Wh-haa?” Rhys made a stupid noise. He scooted backwards in the shower, drawing his knees to his chest. “H-How did you? What? What?”
“Words. Use them. Why are you in my bathroom? Why were you jerking off in my shower?”
“Th-this is my shower? I...?” Rhys' face flushed the deepest shade of red that had ever graced his features.
“Nah, nah – kiddo. You're naked. In my shower. The hell do you think you're doing? Suicide by creepy stalker jerk off session? That what you get off on? You're a sick little fuck – wait.” Jack glanced around at the surroundings, before his eyes settled back down on Rhys, who nearly whimpered under his menacing gaze. “This 'aint my bathroom.”
“I just told you that!” Rhys yelled, voice breaking. “W-Why are you here?”
“Turn the damn water off, I can't hear you.”
Without hesitation, Rhys jumped to his feet before switching the water off with trembling hands. He turned around and God – he had never felt so small and vulnerable in his life.
“Well?” Jack insisted. “Explain yourself. Right now. Why am I suddenly intruding on some kid's jerk off session? Explain or I'm gonna have to kill you. Do you want that? Want me to kill you?” His voice still held the same anger, but turned sickly sweet with mockery toward the end.
Rhys stared. He tried to speak – he really did – but only an awkward little whine managed to come out.
Jack tapped his foot, growing impatient. “The last guy I threw out of an airlock didn't seem to enjoy it. Pretty sure I saw shit floating out of his boxers into space. Want that to be you? Explain. Now.”
“No, no – sir! I...” Rhys could barely hear his pathetic attempts at speaking over the sound of his own heart beating in his chest.
“You've got two seconds, pumpkin.”
“I... ahh... I...?”
Jack breathed out a frustrated huff. “Okay, ya boring me. Can't use your words? You get turned into a dead person. C'mere.” Jack crept forward, hands reaching forward for Rhys' throat. He didn't seem to notice that he phased straight through the glass separating them.
Rhys screamed, backing up into the corner of the shower, lifting his hands to protect himself. But nothing happened. Rhys dared to look up, to see Jack trying to swat at his throat without success. “The hell?” Jack mumbled, a deep frown settling onto his face. Rhys lowered his arms, peering at Jack in a newfound curiosity. “Hold tight, lemme try again, m'kay?” Jack said, voice uncertain.
He snatched for Rhys' throat again, making him flinch, but his hand clipped right through him.
“Y-You're like a... a... hologram? Y-You're blue.”
“What? Pfft, no – that doesn't make sense. Are you stupid? You sure look stupid, cowering in your shower with cum splattered all over your legs. Let me just-”
“J-Just hold on!” Rhys yelled, surprising himself. “Look, this is really weird. Like, super mega weird. B-But I can help, okay? J-Just let me get some clothes on, please?” He felt his cheeks grow rosy as he looked down.
Jack wasn't listening. He was staring down at his blue hands, confusion and anger in his eyes. “This ain't making sense and it's starting to really piss me off.”
Rhys, in an awkward fashion, sidestepped around Jack before slipping out of the shower. While Jack flexed his hands and then pushed them through the wall, Rhys pulled his clothes on, then let out a sigh of relief. “U-Um, c'mon, lets go figure this out, okay? Just like... not here – we can go in my uh, living room?”
Jack turned to face him, then walked through the glass partition once again. “I'm gonna try and kill you one more time, pumpkin, just ho-”
“No!” Rhys shouted, jumping backwards again. “No killing! Please! I don't think it'll work anyway. Y-You're not... real?”
“Okay, yeah sure - you're hallucinating or something. Cool, I've done some pretty crazy drugs myself, seen some pretty weird shit – I must be a figment of your imagination or something and you're having a bad trip and really, really love me so of course your brain conjured me up to make you feel better,” Jack laughed.
“No, like I said – you're a hologram. You're blue and I can see through you.” Rhys lifted a hand, then pushed it right through Jack's shoulder. “See?”
Blushing, Rhys then turned darted into the living room and sat down. His head was swimming.
Then, he felt a rush of excitement bubble up inside of him. It dawned on him that yes – Handsome Jack was stood right in front of him. Kinda. “Wow, h-holy crap... this is... this is... so cool!” He rushed out, eyes wide with wonder. “That drive must have had some kind of AI on it. Of you. Actually, that makes sense – wasn't that Nakayama guy weirdly obsessed with you? D-Did you really not know about any of this?”
“Am I dead?”
“Don't mess me around, kiddo. Get it over with. Am I dead? Did those bandit sons of bitches get me?”
Rhys blinked, dumbfounded. “Um, no? Y-You're... Whoa... the uh, real you is probably in your office? You're alive. I think I'd um, know if you were dead.” Rhys blushed, struggling to maintain eye contact.
Jack nodded at him. “Good. Right – I need to speak with him. Me.”
“Huh? You want me to...?”
“Yes, sweetcheeks. C'mon – take me to my office. Now.”
Rhys sat upright, then nodded at him. “Okay! Sure, okay – wow. Let's go!”
They left the apartment. Rhys expected everyone to stare at the hologram – but nobody paid any attention.
“Aw, man. I'm gonna lose my shit when I found out about this. It's gonna be hilarious,” Jack laughed. “What's your name, cupcake?”
“Uhh, Rhys?” Rhys offered, suddenly unsure of his own name.
“Good. Okay, Rhys – where'd you find me?”
“Some old lab. Nakayama's?”
“Nakawhatnow?” Jack asked. “Naka... yama... wait – I know that name.”
“Like I said, apparently he was real obsessed with you.”
“Of course! Damn, he did a pretty good job, huh? You shoulda seen the prototype. Real sad little thing. Really funny.” This made Rhys laugh, heart racing as he grinned at Jack, practically skipping down the hallway. Now that Jack wasn't trying to kill him anymore, Rhys found himself growing giddy with excitement. “Sup, kiddo? Bit starstruck?”
His eyes widened as his cheeks flushed even redder. “Ah, uh – you are Handsome Jack, sir – I...” Rhys bit his lip when a random by-passer shot him a dirty, weird look. It dawned on him that he was essentially talking to himself.
“Words, pumpkin. C'mon, you can use them – seen ya do it already. I know you can talk.”
“Um, y-yeah, ah, starstruck, sure,” Rhys mumbled, trying to keep his voice down.
“What's that? Can't hear you.”
“I said yes!” Rhys hissed, tone still lowered.
“That had some bite to it, kiddo. Wouldn't talk to me like that once we get to my office. I might airlock you.”
It took a moment for Rhys to realise that he was referring to real Jack, not... him - Hologram Jack. Then, panic crashed down onto him. He was going to meet real Jack.
He fought the urge to hyperventilate and continued walking. “Hmm...” Jack hummed. “Wonder what I'm gonna think about all this. What do you think, eh, cupcake?”
“Me? I... um... I'm not sure.” Rhys frowned. “You're right – he'll... probably think it's uh, pretty funny? I mean, um – you're him. What would you think if you were in his shoes?”
Rhys hadn't been paying attention to his surroundings, because he suddenly realised that they were inside the elevator that leads to Jack's office.
“I'd laugh. Then I'd...” Jack trailed off. They reach the top floor in silence, before walking closer to the security gate. Rhys' hands grew clammy as the guards noticed him, then began approaching.
“Holy crap. I'm not gonna take me seriously at all,” Jack breathed.
Rhys narrowed his eyes at him, then hissed, “What? What are you saying?”
Jack didn't respond. He appeared to be lost in thought, a deep frown settling onto his face.
“State your business,” the guard ordered.
Rhys panicked, eyes wide as he began to stumble on his words. He looked to Jack for help, but he was busy muttering to himself. Rhys blurted out an awkward laugh, before running a hand through his hair. “Hi, ah, um – just give me a second.”
“Haven't got all day. What are you doing here?”
He shot Jack another desperate glance.
“Nah, nope – this is a bad idea, kiddo. I've got a better plan,” Jack announced, a glint in his eyes.
Rhys was about to mutter out some pathetic excuse to the guard, and then run away as fast as possible, but a booming voice made him freeze. “Aw shit,” the hologram cussed.
“You!” the familiar voice shouted. Rhys gulped, then looked down the corridor to see Jack – real, in the flesh Jack – storming toward him. “Don't move! Stay right there.”
“Move, kitten. I look really pissed off. If you get airlocked – I'm dead,” the hologram urged, leaning in to his ear.
But Rhys' entire body turned numb. The guard moved out of the way, then all of a sudden, Rhys' heart was pounding in his chest and his cheeks were flushed red once again. Handsome Jack was right in front of him. Something about him being solid and real made Rhys terrified.
A firm hand slapped down onto his shoulder. Rhys had to fight to remain composed and keep his balance. “I'm taking a real gamble here, kiddo,” real Jack said. Rhys stared up in confusion, but did his best to keep his posture right and his face calm. “But you know what? I've had a shit of a day. Just had to push some bumbling idiot out of an airlock. Are you a bumbling idiot?”
Rhys, for a moment, was about to stammer all over his words like a moron. But he breathed in, then swallowed.
“Good, I like that. Know how to keep paperwork organized?”
“Occasionally say something amusing to keep me from going insane around all of these boring idiots?”
Rhys had to think for a moment. He couldn't come up of a single damn funny thing to say. “I... people usually laugh at me because I'm awkward?” he offered. Fuck, he was a bumbling idiot.
Jack tilted his head. Rhys' stomach lurched. “Self aware, okay – that's good. We'll work on you being funny. Last question – are you gonna be an incompetent pain in the ass that I have to throw out into space?”
Rhys shook his head. Somehow, somehow, he managed to keep his cool. “No, sir. I'm good at following orders and doing what I'm told. I won't disappoint you.”
As those words came from him, his breath hitched in his throat as he realised a little too late that Jack was offering him a job. Hiring him. Handsome Jack.
It took every ounce of willpower not to shoot a glance at the hologram to his right. He was sure that blue Jack was either staring intently at himself or the real Jack. He remained silent.
“Surprisingly confident, and understandably nervous. Last guy was way too confident. Didn't seem to understand what I was giving him, y'know? It's good that you're nervous, kiddo. Congratulations, you start tomorrow. Be in my office at nine, m'kay, pumpkin?” Jack lifted a hand, then slapped it gently against Rhys' cheek, who froze at the contact, heat rushing to his face. Holy shit.
It was over as quick as it started, leaving Rhys in shock. He stared at Jack's back as he strode back down the corridor to his office. “Good luck with that,” the security guard mumbled to Rhys, eyebrow raised, before returning to his post.
The hologram took a few steps forward, facing the office with his hands on his hips. Then, he turned to face Rhys – a huge grin on his face. “Oh, this is very interesting. Well done, kiddo. He hasn't seen you screaming in the bathroom covered in your own cum, naked and terrified, but apparently, I like you.”
“Wow...” Rhys breathed, letting his guard down. “This is – wow, I...”
“Good lord, you are a bumbling idiot. Don't let me, him – know that, or we're both dead. Understand, kitten? You're gonna go in there, and do the best damn job of your life. You're gonna do exactly as you're told and do it perfectly, right?” Jack's tone was insistent. Rhys gave him a feverish nod. Jack's grin grew wider as he took a step toward Rhys.
“Good,” he continued. “Because I have a plan. You're going to kill me.”