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Jack is inside his own head, floaty, fuzzy, euphoric. He’s in pain too, shivering, aching, burning. He’s tired. There aren’t quite words, which is OK, because Bitty knows he won’t be able to speak just yet, and in any case his mouth is still gagged.

He lets his eyes open, all soft and slow, taking his time to blink and focus even though the light is dim and soft. Bitty is stroking Jack’s hair out of his face, wiping a stray tear off his cheekbone with a gentle stroke of his thumb. The gag is lifted away, gently, and the spit and come on his chin is softly wiped away too. Jack sighs a little, manages a weak smile, and now Bitty is speaking.

“You were perfect, honey, you were so good. Are you OK?”

Jack nods.

“Sweetheart, tell me you’re OK,” Bitty says, gentle and a little firmer than usual, still the version of himself that Jack needed him to be tonight -- and Jack breathes deeply again.

“I’m good,” he says. “I’m great.”

“Good,” says Bitty, rewarding him with a kiss and more petting of his damp hair. “You were amazing, actually, I’m so proud of you.” His voice is already slipping back to its usual tone, kindness and light.

Jack is on his knees, so Bitty helps him up, not pulling or shoving, just supporting him with a hand on an elbow, knowing his legs are a little numb and wobbly. Bitty gets him into bed and under the covers, propped up against the headboard. Kisses him again, on the nose this time.

Jack huffs a laugh, because it’s cute.

“Hush, you,” Bitty says, his normal teasing tone, not the firm, authoritative one he was using ten minutes ago. He hands Jack the glass of water from the nightstand, holds it while Jack drinks deeply before taking it back and sipping it himself. A few minutes ago he was standing over Jack, tall and strong and seeming to take up all the space in the room. Now he’s sitting with his legs tucked under him, compact and neat.

Jack watches him, enjoying seeing him shed the role he was playing, turning back into himself, all sunshine and sweetness and sugar.

Bitty takes another sip of the water, offers it to Jack, puts it back. “Ah, I'm so thirsty after,” he says.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Jack says, smiling weakly. “Was that too much for you? Are you tired?”

“So rude,” Bitty teases back. “Hush up or I’ll spank you again.” Then his ears go bright pink and he looks down at the glass of water in his hands.

It’s funny, Jack thinks: Bitty can go from saying these filthy things, barking orders and pushing Jack around, to blushing and being just a little self-conscious again as the act drops. They’ve come so far, but he’s still Bitty.

“So --” Bitty looks up again, all brave, because he is brave. “You know I don’t really think that stuff I said, right?”

“I know,” Jack says, still having to grasp around for words a little. “But I like it.” In his head he can still hear Bitty, in that tone of voice that only Jack hears, saying That’s right, you little slut, take my dick, you love it, don’t you? That’s good, you take my cock so well, greedy slut, whore, dirty filthy good boy that's right --

Jack closes his eyes again, a little lightheaded still, just letting the sensations wash over him.

“I liked it too,” says Bitty, and Jack opens an eye, peers over at him. “I still feel a little silly saying all that stuff, but it was OK.”

“You got it exactly right, though. It was perfect.”

“I thought that was my line,” Bitty says, half grinning, but blushing too. He gets like this, once they've both started to come back to normal -- a little embarrassed, as if the reality of what they've just done has caught him up, the haze of orgasm and the endorphin rush fading out.

“Haha. No. I mean it though. I… thanks, Bits. For, uh. Indulging me.”

He tilts his head, opens his arms, and Bitty tucks in, his head against Jack’s shoulder, face buried in his neck. Maybe it should be the other way around, but in practical terms, this works best, and Jack loves Bitty all wrapped up against him like this, small and sweet and vulnerable-seeming, if you didn’t know him. Bitty slides his hand over Jack’s lap, tangles their fingers together, strokes Jack’s thumb with his own. Jack finds himself paying attention to the sensation of it -- not disliking it, not turned on, just being in it.

Bitty yawns, stretches his toes a little, nuzzles. “Are you hungry?” he says. He can be like this too, afterwards, turning tired and soft, his turn to be a little needy.

“I could eat,” Jack says, twisting a little to meet Bitty’s gaze. “I’ll go.”

“Nope,” Bitty says, and disentangles himself, stands on tiptoe to stretch again, heads to the kitchen. He comes back a moment later, somewhat inevitably, with pie.

“Ugh, crumbs in the bed,” he says, hopping in.

“You brought it,” Jack points out. “We could have had fruit or something.”

Bitty ignores that. “Want me to feed you?” That's something else they've done before, Jack on his knees by the table, Bitty feeding him little morsels of food by hand, thumbing his lower lip -- but he doesn't need that now. Bitty has taken care of him as much as he needs tonight, and anyway, he's actually hungry.

“That’s OK,” Jack says, taking the plate.

“I just thought -- your arms --”

“It’s fine. They’re not sore now. But it’s nice of you to offer.”

“Was that OK, by the way? We didn’t really talk about that part before.”

“It’s fine, I liked it,” Jack says. “It was hot.” His shoulders and wrists might be a little stiff in the morning, but he doesn't care. It worked. “I really liked when you pulled my head back, too.”

“Me too!” Bitty says, then blushes bright red and looks down at his plate. “I mean. You made the best little noise. You went all… needy. It was lovely.”

Jack is blushing now too, and he can’t think of anything else to say, so he takes another huge bite of pie. He looks up and Bitty is looking at him, trying not to giggle through a mouthful of food. He looks back down at the plate, squashing the huge grin he wants to break into.

After they’ve demolished the pie, Jack takes the plates back through to the kitchen, glancing at the clock on his way back. He grimaces. The alarm is set way too early.

Bitty must notice his grimace, because he says, “Aren't you getting up in, like, three hours?”

“Not quite, but yeah,” Jack replies, tucking back into bed. “I was gonna go for an early skate, then there's that school thing. That's not until after lunch, though.”

“It's a shame you've gotta be up so early,” Bitty says, which he says often, because he still can't stand early mornings.

“Maybe I'll skip the morning skate this time,” Jack says. “It's optional.”

“You never skip optional skate.”

“It's optional so I can skip it,” Jack says, and this is what Bitty does to him, he realises: makes him, just occasionally, put hockey second.

They tuck in together like spoons, Bitty wrapped around Jack, all coltish limbs and warmth against his back. He drops kisses against the nape of Jack’s neck like he doesn’t want any of them to be the last.

Jack grabs his phone, and turns the alarm off.