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Self-Preservation

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Noticing the office door was shut, Briggs lifted an eyebrow. Jack never closed the door on them unless he needed to be alone, which was rare and meant only trouble when it did happen. “What’s up with Jack?” Briggs asked by way of greeting as he dropped his gym bag in front of the makeshift laundry room and walked into the kitchen.

Top looked up at him from the book he was poring over. “Hmm?” Dusty tomes and yellowed maps littered the surface of the table. He considered Briggs for a moment and then went back to his reading, scribbling something on the map next to him. “He didn’t get that big job he was hoping for.”

Well, damn. Outwardly, Jack had kept his expectations low so none of the team would get their hopes up, but he and Top knew the situation was stressing Jack, who believed it was his responsibility to provide for his dysfunctional family. They were already strapped for cash and Briggs had no doubt that a setback like this made Jack feel like a failure.

“So you’re letting him sulk?”

“It’s called self-preservation. You should try it sometime.”

Briggs waved Top off and went to the fridge. Self-preservation was overrated. Besides, a moody Jack made for a spectacular fuck he wasn’t about to miss out on. He grabbed three bottles of beer from the fridge and wandered back to the table. Setting the bottles on the only empty space on the table, he threw his arms around the other man’s neck. “Why don’t you take a break and come help me distract him for awhile?”

Top patted his arm. “Can’t. Need to finish this.” He tipped his head back. “Later?”

Briggs kissed the corner of his mouth and pulled away, leaving one of the bottles behind. “Of course." He never thought he’d see the day that he loved both men equally but here he was. Even better, though, was knowing both loved him in return.

Without bothering to knock, Briggs opened the door to the office and let himself in. Jack lifted his head from the couch and frowned. "Did you not notice the closed door?”

“Do you honestly think that stops me?” He swatted Jack’s legs off the couch and dropped down next to him, handing Jack a bottle. “Top said the job fell through?”

Nodding, Jack took a swig of his beer. “Nothing we did wrong, though, so that’s something at least. They just said their funding didn’t get approved. Expedition’s off for now, but they’d get back to us if something changes.”

“There’s other jobs.” Briggs gave his shoulder a nudge. “And we’ve still got that job in Belize coming up, right?” It wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting as exploring the Andes mountains--something he’d been looking forward to--but it would pay the bills. This was business after all, not vacation.

“Yeah, but you know how much I hate working with him.”

Briggs snorted. The client had more money than any of them would know what to do with–a trust fund baby whose only notable skill seemed to be buying whatever he wanted–and once he’d gotten wind of Jack’s preference for men, he hired them every chance he got. It was good money but the cost was having to play nice while the guy flirted relentlessly with Jack. Charlie thought the whole mess was hilarious and had created a long-standing wager with Strode and Tyler for which of them would snap first. Current money was on him after nearly throttling the guy on the last trip.

He set his half empty bottle on the floor and swung a leg over Jack, sitting on his lap. “You could always let me and Top take care of him.”

“Like last time? Convincing him that people have been eaten by mythical creatures that roam the jungles at night wasn’t what I’d consider taking care of anything.”

Briggs suppressed a laugh at the memory. That had been a fun trip. And the look on that guy’s face why Tyler and Charlie helped them sell the story? Priceless. Too bad it hadn’t run him off, though. They’d just need to try harder next time. “Hey, I didn’t hear you stopping us. Not our fault city boy’s that gullible.” Briggs ducked his head and nipped at Jack’s jaw. “Besides, your brother started it.”

“Because you’re all a bunch of assholes.”

“You love us.”

Jack hummed and pulled Briggs to his mouth, lips curving into a smile. “Yeah, I do.”