Staining Boss's Silk Sheets
rating: +16+x

"Yo, thanks for helping me unpack."

Even after three and a half(?) years, telling Jack's troubles from his resting troubled face was pretty tricky. The fact that their (admittedly overlong) tour had been cut short by an impromptu bar brawl probably wasn't helping things. Either way, Sara couldn't help feeling for the guy.

Jack looked up from the tangle of wires he really should have left to Sara. "It's, uh, no problem. I don't have anything better to do."

"Seriously? Man, I need to get you some hobbies." Like Sara was one to talk about hobbies. All that shit was monetized. Jack, who apparently lived just fine without food or sleep, deserved something that didn't have to be swallowed up by capitalism. Maybe Izzy or V could help? Eh, it'd been like three and a half years, maybe he just wasn't the hobby type.

The irony wasn't lost on Sara as she settled onto her bed. Was it actually irony? Trip took a lot out of her.

Through it all, Jack kept picking at the wires. It was kinda cute, watching him parse which electronic doohickey went where, which cable had to be threaded out of what. Sara hadn't even asked him to do that! Just that kinda guy, she supposed.

Sara hummed, stretching her arms behind her back before lying onto her side. "Nice to have a lil' companionship post-tour. Like… man, have I told you about Penny?"

"A bit?" Jack looked up. "The, uh, name comes up, sometimes. Roommate?"

"Probably still my roommate, yeah. Not like my landlord's said anything." Though it wasn't as if Sara liked talking to him. "Girl barely drops in. Like shit, you're paying rent on NYC housing, you gonna make the most of that? Must be some bomb-ass dick you're getting." A pause. "…that or she doesn't like me."

Jack shrugged, still picking at the wires. "I'd be nicer." He bit his lip. "To you, I mean."

"Too nice, bubelah." Sara whistled. "Too nice."

Sara rolled onto her back, lost herself in the plaster patterns of her ceiling.

G-d, she was cutting it close. It was, not surprisingly, a lot harder to keep up with bills when you spent half your time playing shows that rarely went beyond shitty dive bars. Harder still, rooming with others. Hell, the Self-Titled Interview was fucking gold, and that was still barely enough to keep her housed and medicated. She'd need to be back in the groove by Monday, latest.

At least House of Spades had her back.

"…why didn't you go with V?"

"Hm?"

Sara rolled back onto her side. "I mean, ain't you rooming with her and Brad? Just sorta assumed y'all would, like, go home together." She hummed. "Not that I mind."

Jack paused, looked up at Sara like… like something, some feeling he had to have had but never quite nailed the expression of. "Longing" made sense, maybe, if you didn't know Jack like Sara did. Who knows. He only needed a moment to snap out of it, to lick his lips and respond: "Didn't… feel like it, I guess. Besides, you know, she has Ash."

Sara hummed again. She'd been doing that a lot, lately. Maybe Izzy rubbed off on her. "Yeah, point, I was… 'sit okay if I ramble?"

Jack shrugged. "Your house, your rules."

"Man, but I don't wanna be like, bad convo or anything." She sat up, feeling for one of her hair ties. Prolly should've taken it out last night, but at least she hadn't fallen asleep. "But yeah, like… I dunno, man. Kinda expect you and her to get together, y'know?"

"Hm?"

"Well, y'know… just kinda made sense." G-d, that was too much hair still in the tie. "You're this college friend, same as Ash, but you kept in contact and all that. Hell, you two live together. That's an accelerant."

"I mean…" Jack trailed off. Blinked a couple times. "…is it?"

"Last time I fucked a roommate, we had to block each other." Sara went for another hair tie, which she probably shouldn't have multitasked. "Dunno. Point is, y'all don't fight, and statistically one of y'all's got to have caught feelings by now. I'm not saying it's weird you're not dating, but you're not— fuck!" The next hair tie came away hairy.

As if on cue, Jack stood up. "I can help with that. If, uh, if you want."

Be nice to have someone play with her hair after nearly getting her skull cracked by an ent. Sara nodded, and Jack kicked his shoes off and climbed onto the bed behind her.

As usual, Jack was good with his hands. Gentle, careful, with just enough tug to send a shiver down Sara's spine. It almost took her by surprise when he finally spoke. "It… never really came up. I mean, uh, why would it? We have a good thing going on, you know? Me and her. Me and…" Jack's hands briefly wavered; as far as Sara was concerned, he could take as long as he wanted. "…and, you know, you mentioned feelings."

"Feeeeeelings."

"Feelings, yeah. Why would I have feelings?" Jack pulled a little too hard, but it was—

"I don't get feelings."


Sara blinked.

"So yeah, me and Nicky are friends. Not much closer we can, uh, get."

It took a while to process that. The… the 'I don't get feelings' part. That part. Did it need that much time to process? Maybe not. It certainly shouldn't have lingered within Sara, settling into her gut like a cold drink of bad brew. Not fumigate her mind with memories that didn't need resurfacing.

And against all odds, Sara couldn't keep her mouth shut. "…you don't have… you don't get feelings?"

"No." By now, Sara's hair was free of its ties, which left Jack combing through with his fingers. She wasn't sure how to feel about that. "Feelings are a, you know, a human thing. I'm not, I'm not human. I don't feel anything." Jack paused. "Or, nothing you'd understand."

He was right about that, at least.

Whatever you called that one gesture, that shuddering groan like you want an unseen ghost to mistake you for one of its own, like the verbal equivalent of lamb's blood? Sara did that. Who the hell knew why.

Jack pulled away, and Sara wasn't drunk enough to lean back into his hands. "Did I… s-sorry, Sara. Hair is, you know, weird for me."

Sara shook her head. "It's fine, it's…" an outgrowth of my ridiculous brain disease., she didn't add. "I'd be cool with more fingers. Like, but only if that's okay."

"Oh." Jack paused. "Fingers… how?"

"Running through my hair. Some tender", no-feelings1 "shit like that."

1Perfect, perfect. Sara's brain was already chomping at the bit to fall face-first over the tiniest rock on the track. Wasn't like her worst impulses had torpedoed her past relationships or anything! Ill-content with flings, now they had to squirm into Sara's long-term friendships. Christ, was it too much to ask for a clear head? Could she just not death spiral? Why—

"Is this alright?"

Sara blinked back to reality, where Jack was presently running his fingers through her hair. It was… yeah, you could call it alright. At the very least, she could hum in contentment.

"Good, good." Jack sighed. "Tell me if it starts to feel bad, okay? I… you know how it is."

Hardly.

The lights behind the cheap curtains were beginning to dim. If Sara opened them, maybe they'd do that sunbeam thing Izzy liked. She smiled more in the dim light, at least. She had a nice smile.

Sara sighed. "I'm kinda jealous."

"Of me?"

"Yeah, dork." Sara chuckled. "It's like, you're this powerful squid monster. No one can hurt you. You don't have to sleep. And shit, dude, you could fuck half the city and not catch a single feeling." Sara chuckled again, or scoffed. Hard to tell. "I'd kill for any of that."

Jack was silent, for a while; even his fingers slowed their stroking. Then, a question: "…what's it like?"

"What, being human?"

"Yeah, yeah. But… human feelings, I suppose." Jack's fingers gently fell from Sara's hair. "What's it like?"

"Mm. Mean, shit dude, my human feelings are probs not Izzy or Brad or V's, but like…" Sara sighed, maneuvering herself to lie back down on the bed. The plaster ceiling above her held no easy answers. "… it's fucking torture, man. Feels like I'm being pulled apart from every angle. Like, I wasn't kidding when I wrote Silk Sheets or Prion Disease."

"Prion Disease?"

"Must've forgotten to send it to group chat. It's…" Sara's gaze fell back to Jack, still sitting like he was waiting for permission to resume playing with Sara's hair. "…it's a song about, like, getting too attached to people. Or… fuckbuddies, specifically. It's a big-ass problem I got." She laughed like it was supposed to be funny. Maybe it was, from a certain point of view.

Jack wasn't laughing. "Must be… must be rough."

"Eh, it's totes first world. I am drowning in debt. Way bigger than…" When did Sara's throat get so dry? "… than falling in love on the reg."

"Love is… well, uh, it's supposed to be nice, right?" Jack tilted his head. "It's rosy, or warm, or, you know, something along that line." He paused. "Or that's how I, uh, hear it."

"Liiiiiiiiies. Love's just, like, another form of debt. Someone gives you the best moments of your life, so now you're stuck with the burden." Sara glanced over at a scrape in the wall. Landlord never did fix it, did he? "Like damn, least with money debt I know how to pay. Least I get to hate my 'creditors'." She licked her lips. "Bank won't cry when I burn out. Wish it would."

Sara turned back to look at Jack. "I keep thinking it's gonna peter out. No dog, I still dream of Bijhan. That roommate I fucked? She's there, too. V? Izzy?" Sara threw her arms out. "It's like, gimme a fucking break. And…"

…maybe my heart simmers a little for you, too.

Right. Time to drown this in something else.

Sara hummed, as enticingly as she could make it without busting the façade. "How you feeling?"

Jack blinked, and that ever-present twitching of his lessened, slightly. G-d bless him. "Guess I should've… known, what with the hair stuff. Do you want to finish unpacking, first? Or—"

"Man, my life's too short to worry about that." Grinning, Sara leaned back onto the bed and beckoned Jack closer. The wordless crawl to her side was enough to bury Sara's last vestige of self-reflection — but by g-d, Sara wasn't leave that gravedirt unpaved.

Sara sighed, running a hand over Jack's arm. "G-d, look at me. Bouncing from one mood to another. I'm sorry I keep putting you through the wringer like that, Jack."

"It… it doesn't bother me." The skin of Jack's arm was prickled with goosebumps. It always was, at least whenever Sara ran her fingers over it like this. It had to have been intentional, right? "Um, don't feel obligated to sleep with me just, just because you think you're putting me through something, I kind've—"

"You're a boring goody two-shoes like this." Sara's hand fell to Jack's wrist, taking it and gently placing it against her neck. "What about that game you got? What about that ~special charm~ that took me in, way back?" She chuckled, pressing his fingers gently into her throat. "Seduce me. Lemme get burned, again."

Jack was silent, for a while.

But then his twitching stopped completely, and as if someone entirely new had taken over his body, he smirked. "I could do that."


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