The day Rhys comes to work with a faint red mark ringing his left wrist is the day it all goes to hell.
Oh, Rhys acts like there’s nothing wrong. He breezes in to Jack’s office like he doesn’t practically have a brand on his forearm, sorting through emails and ECHO-net reports with his shirt-sleeve rolled up to the elbow and that mark staring at Jack. Taunting him.
“What the hell is that,” Jack says, interrupting Rhys’ overnight stock update.
Rhys looks confused and vaguely alarmed – good – as if he genuinely has no idea what Jack is talking about.
“On your arm,” Jack grits out.
Rhys looks down, and seems to see the mark for the first time. Jack can’t quite look away from it - not that he needs to look away, Jack can look at whatever he damn well pleases, and he can most definitely look at his own PA who should really be a lot more embarrassed, who should not be laughing faintly and shrugging this off, what the hell.
“I - uh. I guess things got a little more intense last night than I thought,” Rhys says, unrolling his sleeve. “Don’t worry, I’ll wear this down today, no one will notice.”
Jack is not worried. Jack is – “Whatever makes you happy, cupcake,” Jack says, turning away from his PA and angling his monitor toward himself. He won’t hear the end of the report, but hell, he didn’t hear the beginning. He’ll catch it later. Jack is a very busy man who has more important things to do than hear about Rhys’ love life. It’s a dismissal, and Rhys takes it as one, turning back to his own work with a faint hum.
So Rhys had a good time last night. Good. Great. The kid needed to loosen up. There’s no reason at all for Jack to be visualizing the mark around Rhys’ wrist, or how if Jack curved his fingers just so his hand would cover it completely –
Jack needs to get laid. That’ll solve everything.
Jack gets laid. It doesn’t solve anything.
Jack strolls into his office, later than usual, but who the hell cares, he runs this station. He is in a great mood. And why wouldn’t he be, after spending the night with an extremely enthusiastic – and flexible, Jack reminds himself with a grin – artist from Eden-6?
Rhys is at his desk already, head bent as he reads through a report on his ECHO-tablet. His sleeve is up today, and the flesh arm looks unmarked.
Not that Jack is looking.
“Hope you’re ready for the day, sugar, because I had a great night. Let me tell you, they are not kidding, what they say about Eden-6 –“ Jack cuts off as Rhys looks up, revealing the shadow of a –
Is that a goddamn hickey on Rhys’ neck?
“That’s great, Jack,” says Rhys, smiling as if he isn’t flaunting his neck at his boss.
Jack is fine. Jack can ignore this.
It’s impossible to ignore, once Jack starts seeing it.
It’s the way people turn their heads to watch Rhys in the halls. People have always turned their heads to watch Handsome Jack, that’s only natural, but now they are looking at his PA with speculative, predatory intent. Jack can see it: in meetings, at product demos, at the coffee bar. Rhys, because he is an idiot, doesn’t do anything about it. He just listens attentively to Townsend and his bullshit stories, ducks his head and laughs with Fisher when she tells one of her miserable jokes, and completely ignores the way their hands linger entirely too long on his elbow or the way their eyes follow him around the room.
It’s like the entire space station has collectively lost its goddamn mind.
Because this is Rhys, with his stupidly long legs and his terrible taste in ties. Rhys, who remembers how Jack takes his coffee and doesn’t blink when Jack puts the fear of him into his employees.
Rhys, whose stylus is absently propped on his lower lip as he listens to Valdez’ quarterly budget report, Rhys whose mouth is parting ever so slightly –
Jack slams his hands on the conference table, making everyone jump and Valdez stutter to a halt.
“Get out,” Jack growls to the room at large.
There’s a scramble for the door, and out of the corner of his eye Jack sees Rhys start to rise.
“Not you, kitten.” Rhys starts to sit back down before Jack hauls him up by the tie just as the conference room door slides shut.
“Jack, what –“ but Jack doesn’t let him finish.
“I am tired,” Jack says, punctuating it with a jerk on the tie, “of everyone on this goddamn station looking at you like you don’t fucking belong to me.”
“Jack, they don’t –“
“They do.” Jack hisses. “And they are wrong, pumpkin, they are so wrong.” Jack pulls Rhys in closer, close enough that he can see the way Rhys’ pupils are blown.
“You’ve got five seconds to tell me no, kiddo.” Rhys looks at Jack – Rhys always looks back at Jack – and from only a few inches away Jack can see the dawning realization in Rhys’ eyes.
Rhys licks his lips and says, “Yes.”
Jack jerks their mouths together. It’s not great at first, because Rhys is still off balance, but then Rhys finds his footing, finds his nerve, finds something, because then it is great, Rhys’ hands on Jack’s shoulders and Jack’s free hand squeezing Rhys’ hip.
When they finally break apart, Rhys is breathing hard and Jack is hardly any better. Jack crowds Rhys back against the wall and abandons Rhys’ mouth – temporarily – in favor of his neck.
“Jack! That’s, hah – that’s gonna leave a mark,” Rhys gasps out as Jack bites down.
Jack grins against Rhys’ skin.