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Lounging against the pillows where Jack has left him kiss-drunk and breathless, Bittle is beautiful. The early evening sun catches in his hair where it falls at his forehead, highlights his cowlick caught against the blue of Jack's sheets. Turns the bare skin of his legs into a tantalizing gold. Jack reaches for him, tracing his fingers across Bittle's shin where his sock ends and all that skin begins.

Bittle shivers.

He's hard. Jack can see the line of him through his shorts, had felt him before he'd pulled back to kneel beside him. A break, a breather, that's what they needed. Now that they have time, now that there’s only the two of them, Jack wants to make this—whatever it is—last.

"Jack," Bittle says, fingers creeping across the comforter to brush Jack's bended knee. "Come back."

Jack shakes his head, curls his finger between sock and skin. They've done things, some, already. They've touched and kissed, used hands and words to bring the other off. Jack wants to use his mouth, though, to stretch Bittle out naked beneath him and touch him with reverent fingers. He wants to see him naked in his bed, his home, this place that is his and no one else's save—maybe, eventually, dear god—Bittle's.

Bittle's eyes are wide and round and watching the curl of Jack's finger.

Jack smiles, and follows the line of the sock, finger hooked. Bittle swallows when Jack reaches the inside of his calf.

"Jack?" he says. His voice is low and thick, catching on the ending consonants.

"Mmhmm?"

Another swallow. "Will you—I wanna—" His cheeks are pink, his eyes dark. When he blinks, the light catches his eyelashes. Jack's heart races in his chest.

"What do you want, Bitty?"

Bittle closes his eyes, lips pursing as he clenches his jaw and breathes deep. He looks like he's bracing himself, which is the last thing Jack wants, but then—

"I want you to touch me."

Something like electricity zings through him, and Jack's breath catches. He could tease, could say, I thought I was touching you? but Bittle is looking at him so earnestly, so sweetly, how can Jack do anything but say, "Yes, yes. Bits, I want to."

Bittle bites his bottom lip, and Jack's mouth suddenly feels empty. To have that lip between his own, to lave it with his tongue, to hear Bittle sigh against him; Jack wants nothing more. The lip slips free, damp and pink, and Bittle nudges him with a knee. "Well," he says. "What are you waiting for?"

Jack grins. "Good question." With a twist of his wrist, he slips his finger from beneath Bittle’s sock to cup Bittle’s knee in his palm. “Maybe I just like taking my time.”

“Maybe you just like teasing me.”

“Maybe,” Jack says, hand moving from Bittle’s knee to the top of his thigh, “I just want to be thorough.”

Oh.”

He pushes onward, following the line of Bittle’s thigh. Hair tickles his palm as it moves against the grain. Tremors shiver through Bittle, and Jack presses his hand to him more firmly, calming. Gentling. “It’s just me.”

Bittle laughs, the sound slightly choked. “Why do you think I’m shakin’?”

“I know the feeling,” Jack says. He holds up his right hand between them, and they both watch it shake, a leaf on the wind.

“Jack.”

Over the back of his hand, Jack meets Bittle’s eyes. There is a warmth there, a steadiness that centers Jack. It’s hard to pull himself away once he’s falling.

“You know how you can fix that, right?”

“I’m open to suggestions.”

Bittle reaches for him, fingers on Jack’s wrist, and tugs, presses Jack’s hand to his nearest thigh. “That’s better,” he says. “Isn’t it?”

It’s Jack’s turn to swallow hard, Bittle’s toned thighs hot beneath his palms. “Yeah.” He reminds himself to breathe. “Genius.”

Bittle preens, mouth curving in a smirk, hair rumpling against the pillow. “Why thank you,” he says, and then Jack shifts, moving until he’s kneeling between Bittle’s legs, and Bittle goes still. “Lord, I can’t believe I’m here. I can’t believe you’re here.”

Jack runs his hands up Bittle’s thighs until the tips of his fingers tease the hem of his shorts. His ridiculous, distracting shorts. How Jack made it through a year of living with Bittle, he’ll never know. (Ignoring the fact that he almost didn’t make it, a pair of blue shorts still clear in his memory.) Heat pours off of Bittle, and Jack drags his hands back down his thighs to his knees. He curls his fingers there, encouraging Bittle to bend his legs. “Bitty,” he says, savoring the nickname on his tongue. “Bits. There’s no place I’d rather be.”

Bittle stares, and for a moment Jack thinks he’s stopped breathing until he takes a deep breath and lets it out in a rush of air. “Lord, please.”

He’s beautiful. Bittle is beautiful, and Jack can’t stop looking.

He wants to see everything.

Hooking his fingers in the tops of Bittle’s socks, Jack tugs them down blindly. Pushes and pushes until they’re at Bittle’s ankles and Bittle’s lifting his legs and then they’re gone, nothing but bare skin and long legs on either side of Jack. He trails his fingers back up to Bittle’s knees, enjoying the way Bittle shivers and shifts, the way his eyes go heavy-lidded when Jack’s thumbs trace circles against his inner thighs just above the knee.

Against the comforter, Bittle’s fingers twitch.

Jack continues his upward movement, hands gliding over skin, moving up and up until he’s at Bittle’s hips and then higher, slipping beneath the hem of Bittle’s sweater to find the warm skin of his sides.

“I wanna see you, Bits. Can I?”

Instead of answering, Bittle sits up and pulls his sweater over his head. It disappears over the side of the bed, and then Bittle is lying back against Jack’s bed in nothing but those shorts. “Better?” he asks, flush diffused from cheeks to abs.

Jack nods. “Yeah,” he says. “Much.”

He’s seen Bittle shirtless before. He’s seen him naked. This is different. This is more. He takes in the curve of Bittle’s neck, the gentle line of his collarbones. Thrills at the knowledge that the next time they’re framed in the V of Bittle’s shirt, he has the permission to nuzzle there, to press his lips to the dip and taste sweat and skin and feel Bittle’s fingers in his hair. That he can kiss and touch and love on Bittle and that Bittle will not only let him, but ask. Will kiss and touch and love on him in return. They’re boyfriends, officially, and Jack may not be able to shout that to the rooftops—Yet, he tells himself, yet—but between them where it matters the words have been said, the feelings are known.

Bittle’s chest rises and falls with each breath. Jack takes in the width of his shoulders, the subtle curve of his pecs. The pink of his nipples makes Jack’s fingers itch to touch and his tongue to taste. He wants to kiss Bittle everywhere, leave no inch of skin unloved as his eyes follow the lines of Bittle’s abs to the pale hair below his navel that draws Jack’s gaze lower.

The rise of Bittle's cock is obvious, and Jack's mouth waters, his own cock hard. Hips shifting beneath Jack's hands, Bittle makes a sound, half-whimper, half-sigh, and Jack looks up to find Bittle looking back, mouth open and inviting, eyes dark. They stay like that for a moment, gazes caught, just looking. The light coming through the windows is perfect, clinging to the dips and curves of Bittle's finely muscled limbs, the lines of his face. The sun loves him, this golden boy, and Jack can't blame it; he, too, would cling to each inch of skin if he could, kisses peppered liked freckles across Bittle's face and shoulders. He almost wishes for his camera, but that would mean moving, would mean leaving Bittle here in his bed alone when Jack wants him only by his side.

Jack swallows. "Can I?"

A nod, a breathed yes, and then Bittle's hand reaching out to stop him as his fingers brush the rise of his hipbones. "Wait," Bittle says. "Can you—canyoutakeyourshirtoff?"

Jack blinks and nods, reaches for the hem of his t-shirt. "Yeah, I can—" Raising it over his head, he gets tangled momentarily with it around his elbows. "Sorry," he says. "Sorry, I—"

Bittle's grinning. "Oh, sweetheart. You're..." His eyes drop, lingering on Jack's chest. "You're..."

Shirt tossed aside, Jack leans over Bittle, enjoying the way his gaze doesn't budge. "You've seen me shirtless before, Bits."

"No," Bittle says, syllable drawn out to linger in the air between them. It's...gratifying how breathless he sounds. "Not like this."

With a huff of a laugh, Jack balances on his hands and knees, closes the distance between himself and Bittle. Kisses him lightly on his sweet mouth before moving to nuzzle at his jaw. "You'll get used to it."

"Never," Bittle says, voice hushed. His hands on Jack's shoulders distracting as they slide to his neck, his hair. Jack groans, and Bittle follows him, sound rumbling through him. "Jack," he says. "Please."

"I was trying. Someone distracted me and I had to take my shirt off."

"Darn."

There's something about the way Bittle says it that makes Jack laugh, and then Bittle's laughing delightedly and, oh, this is good. This is fun. Laughing with Bittle in his bed, Jack feels as full of light as he's always imagined Bittle to be. He gets to have this. This is his.

Bittle said yes.

"Bitty," he says, pulling away far enough to look down at him. "God, you're—"

Bittle blinks at him. "I'm?"

"'swawesome."

Bittle stares, mouth open. He stares and stares and then, yes, there it is. Jack grins and ducks, tucking his face against Bittle's neck as Bittle says, "Jack Zimmermann! I cannot believe you would take this moment of all moments to call your boyfriend—to call him—to—Lord, Jack. You think you're funny, but you're...you're..."

"I'm just me," he says, voice muffled.

Bittle's breath on his ear is warm, his lips a tease. "Yeah," he says, "you are."

In his chest, Jack's heart trips and he's falling, falling, has been falling for a while now right into Bittle's open arms and open heart and—

"I love you," he says, pulling away to look down at Bittle again. "I—I know it's soon and I know we just made it official, but. Bittle. I love you. I hope that's okay."

Bittle's face does something complicated, and Jack thinks for a moment that he's overstepped, that he's too much or not enough, but then Bittle's hands are on his cheeks and he's pulling Jack to him. The words are almost lost amongst the kisses, but they're there, folded in as effortlessly, as tenderly as Bittle folds egg whites or whipped cream. With each oh, Jack, with each I love you, too, Jack feels light as air.

They kiss and kiss and when that's no longer enough, Jack pulls away. "You keep distracting me."

"Where's that laser focus of yours, Mr. Zimmermann?" Bittle's face is flushed, smug.

Jack grins and sits back on his heels. "I'll show you focus," he says, fingers traversing the length of Bittle's sides until he's at the waistband of his shorts. "Let's get rid of these now, eh?" He hooks his fingers beneath the waistband, tugging lightly, and then Bittle's feet are planted and he's lifting his hips and it only takes a moment before he's naked. Spread out on Jack's bed, all long lines and smooth muscle, Jack’s eyes are drawn to the curve of his cock, the flushed head, the leaking tip. He’s seen Bittle before, briefly, hand jobs exchanged in breathless, mostly-clothed excitement in Georgia. Seeing him like this, Jack hardly knows where to look, where to touch first.

"Fuck, Bitty, you're—" Hot. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Everything.

"Okay?"

"Hot." The rest can wait. "You already know this. And the squats? Absolutely working." He touches the outsides of Bittle’s thighs, moving his hands until he’s palming his hips again, not pinning but holding Bittle steady as he decides where to touch next.

“What’re you doin’?”

He squeezes gently. “Focusing.”

Bittle swears quietly under his breath. When he sighs, Jack runs his hands upward, feels the way Bittle’s chest expands with each breath, the way the muscles of his abdomen move beneath his touch. He feels Bittle breathe once, twice, three times and then he continues on to swipe his thumbs over nipples. Bittle’s reaction is illuminating, and Jack swipes again, a hint of nail this time.

Bittle shivers from head to toe.

“You like that?”

He gets a nod, a breathless yes. Weight shifted, Jack leans in, fits his mouth against a nipple, kisses and licks and sucks. Bittle whines, and Jack loves it. When Bittle’s fingers find his hair again, he loves it even more. Shows his appreciation with action, the surety of touch. He kisses on Bittle, mouth trailing from one nipple to the other, linger at his sternum, moving up to nip at his collarbone. Bittle’s nails scritch and his chest hitches, and Jack changes his trajectory.

A fluttering kiss pressed just below Bittle’s ribs reveals that Bittle is ticklish.

Another pressed to the inside of Bittle’s lately flailing, newly captured wrist reveals that they are both of them far gone when Bittle melts into the sheets.

Jack smiles into Bittle’s skin before letting his wrist go.

He’s careful to avoid Bittle’s cock, kisses the cut of his hips and the crease of his thigh. He’s tempted to bypass Bittle’s cock completely, to see if Bittle squirms when he kisses the side of his knee. If the soles of his feet are ticklish, too. He wants to know these things, catalog each of them for later when he’s alone in Providence and Bittle is alone at Samwell. But the light is beginning to go, the shadows beginning to deepen, and Jack wants to see Bittle’s face the first time he puts his mouth on him.

“Bittle,” he says, close enough he knows his breath ghosts over the underside of Bittle’s cock. On either side of him, Bittle’s thighs twitch. “I want to suck you.”

“Yes, okay, that’s absolutely—fuck, Jack.”

Jack nuzzles at the base of him, breathing deep, grounding himself there between Bittle’s legs before he moves upward, nosing along the length of Bittle’s cock. He pauses when he gets to the head, eyes flickering up to make sure Bittle is watching.

He is, eyes dark and large, and when Jack presses a kiss just beneath the crown, they widen just a little bit more before they fall closed and Bittle’s mouth falls open.

“You’re gonna be the death of me,” Bittle says, eyes slits. His voice shakes.

Jack kisses again, tongue flickering. “Not yet, I hope,” he says into damp skin, and then he wraps a hand around the base and his lips around the head and Bittle is gone, gone, gone. He groans against the pillows, head shifting as though he’d like to throw it back, but gaze never leaving Jack’s, never faltering though his eyelids dip. His fingers tangle in Jack’s hair, hips push up against Jack’s free hand. Jack thinks about later, about doing this again and letting Bittle take control, push between his lips, fuck his mouth as Jack hangs on.

The thought makes Jack groan.

Bittle gasps above him.

Jack pulls off with a slick sound and swallows, strokes Bittle slowly up, then down. Watches Bittle’s chest rise and fall, watches his eyelashes flutter. They catch the light, and Jack almost wishes again for his camera to savor this moment, the points of Bittle’s face highlighted, over and over. He’d have to stop, have to leave and miss Bittle lined in light and aching for him. Who needs a picture when he can have this, for real, for as long as they both want it? He stays where he is, happy between Bittle’s sun-limned legs, and rubs a thumb over the head of Bittle’s cock where it’s slick with spit and precome, before moving back in to taste. Sucks Bittle down until Bittle is babbling, words tumbling out of him one after another. Jack and god and fuck.

When Bittle comes, it isn’t a surprise. It’s as inevitable as the sun setting over Providence, as night settling in the apartment, as Bittle’s perfect pies appearing on Jack’s kitchen counter. Jack knows it by the skip of Bittle’s breath, the tightening of his thighs and fingers. The way he says Jack’s name. He works Bittle through it, lets it roll and roll until Bittle’s grip on him loosens and Bittle is saying his name again and again, tugging Jack up and to him.

Jack goes easily, careful not to press too heavily against him, aware—very—of his still present shorts.

Bittle takes his face in hand again, kisses him without reservation. “Jack,” he says, “you’re—Lord, sweetheart, I don’t even know. You’re—”

“Okay?”

“’swawesome.”

Jack pulls back to narrow his eyes, clinging to his composure as much as he can, but it’s too much. He’s too happy, and Bittle is laughing at him and with him and, really, is there anything better than that.

“You’re right,” he says. “I am.”

Bittle laughs and kisses him again, brushes his bangs away from his forehead. “’bout time. Now c’mere,” he says, hand slipping between them to reach for the button on Jack’s shorts, “there are some things I’d like to try.”