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09 February 2008 @ 11:43 pm
Higher Education Chapter 17  
Title: Higher Education
Fandom: BBM
Rating: NC-17
Summary: This is an AU!AU featuring Jack and Ennis in the higher education setting. Happy ending.
Disclaimer: Not my characters, and I make no money from them.
AN: Unbeta'd so please have mercy and let me know of errors. I know I promised smex, but I lied. I found this was a good breaking point, though it wasn't my originally-intended one. Next chapter for sure.
Word Count: 2323
View All Chapters

Chapter 17

Jack loaded up his plate but kept his head down, hoping not to be noticed. No such luck.

"You're new here." The leader-girl came up to him. She was pretty: thin, but not very, with huge-ass boobs and a rounded hips and ass. Jack was certainly not beyond appreciation. She was black, with dark skin and a large smile that extended to her voice. "My name is Sara." She extended a hand.

"Jack," he clasped hers back.

He expected her to ask more personal questions first, ask about his sex life for some reason, but instead the first thing she asked him was, "So what's your major?"

He smiled like he'd just been officially welcomed into the club. The last of his misgivings disappeared as he nodded and answered, "Astronomy."

"Oh cool!"

"Yeah," Jack nodded and even blushed a little. It was the typical response.

"Do you want to sign our roster? That way you'll get e-mails about events and stuff."

"Uh, sure," he shrugged. Seemed harmless enough.

She scurried away, giving Jack time to down a finger sandwich, and came back with a clipboard. He put his name, e-mail, phone number.

"What year are you in?" She seemed to be genuinely interested in getting to know Jack.

"Oh, hmm. Sophomore. But this is just my third semester."

"Oh, ok," she nodded. "Do you want to meet some of our other members?"

"Uh... ok." he honestly wasn't sure how he felt about it, but Sara had seemed nice. He tried on for size in his mind that she was a girl who slept with girls, but he found he didn't really care 'cause he was too nervous about being here and too interested in his cookie to think about it right now.

The first person who chanced by was the paper-white afro girl. Sara reached out and tapped her.

"Oh!" The girl jumped and whirled around, staring at Sara with large brown eyes.

"Dawn, this is Jack. Jack, Dawn."

Dawn blushed in red splotches, and there was no way to miss it against the whiteness of her skin. "Oh, hi."

"Hi," Jack said back. An awkward moment passed before Jack tried to make conversation. "So, uh, are you two, you know..."

Both Dawn and Sara laughed at this. "No no," answered Sara. "Dawn's straight."

"But it's not the first time I've been asked that question," Dawn added in her mouse-like voice.

"Oh. Well, I hope I'm not, you know, intruding too much. I'm just wondering... why would a straight person want to come here?"

Dawn's face fell, Sara sighed, and Jack wondered if he'd said something wrong. Even though these were supposedly his people just 'cause he liked to sleep with a guy, he had no idea how their little group functioned, what were the right and wrong things to say. He was probably going around offending everyone without even knowing it.

Sara recovered first with a smile. "Dawn's what we call and ally. She's a straight person who... you know, is sympathetic and wants to help."

"Oh, uh, ok," Jack nodded. "I could see you wanted to help. That was real great, that, uh, AIDS thing." He hopes the compliment would undo whatever damage he'd done.

Dawn grimaced a little bit. "Well, there's some personal history there." Jack didn't comment, but he wasn't the least bit surprised. He didn't expect her to tell a total stranger jack shit, but it seemed she thought differently, 'cause she continued after taking a deep breath.

"I was raised by my Uncle Nate. He's gay and lives with my Uncle Will, for-- I don't know, a long time, so they both raised me. But Uncle Will got AIDS a few years ago."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Jack responded, meeting her dark eyes with his own.

"He's doing ok. I mean, he doesn't really have AIDS yet, he has HIV which'll give him AIDS."

"Oh. Guess I don't know how that works."

Dawn smiled weakly and answered, "Hope you never have to learn," with a little laugh.

"If it's not too personal, I'm just curious, how'd you end up living with your uncle?"

She nodded. "My folks died when I was little, only three."

"Oh. Sorry. It's good you had someone to raise you. A friend of mine is an orphan but he had to go into foster care."

Dawn was still nodding, but Sara, who'd been listening patiently through a story she'd no doubt heard before, interrupted at this point to demonstrate her shrewdness. "Friend, Jack?"

Caught! Jack met Sara's eyes and smiled.

"You're with us now, you can call him whatever you want to," she giggled at his naivete.

"Alright," Jack shrugged. "Um, boyfriend, I guess."

"Yeah, are you serious?' Dawn asked. She was clearly coming out of her shell.

Jack froze before he spoke, remembering too well Ennis's last e-mail. He choked and looked into the middle-distance nowhere trying to answer properly. An easy lie would be the most convenient now, but after hearing Dawn spill he life's story, he couldn't do it. He liked these girls and maybe would want to hang out with them again, so he finally stumbled upon a truth he could bear. "Used to be. I mean, we were living together, but he..." Jack sighed. "He's studying abroad, and things have been stressed since then. Just now... well, he's not too happy that I got the idea to come here."

He looked up at them. Dawn's dark eyes were swimming in sympathy. Sara's head was tilted and she was biting her lower lip, looking for all the world like a woman with a plan. She cemented that impression when she nodded and responded, "Yeah. Yeah, you should talk to Chris."

"Huh?"

"Come with me." They bid their farewells to Dawn, who said she had an exam to study for, and Sara dragged him to where three guys were sitting in chairs chatting.

"Guys, this is Jack."

The nodded and said their "heys". Jack wasn't crazy about being dragged over like a student in need of a teacher, but he'd come to trust Sara already.

"This is Paul, Matty, and Chris."

Jack took them in as quickly as he could: Paul with his western shirt but wide smile, Matty with long hair dyed black and wearing black clothes, and tall dark-haired Chris with the deep voice and painted fingernails. Besides his nails, he seemed perfectly... normal.

"Chris, Jack has a home life situation you might be able to give him some advice on."

"Oh yeah?" Jack didn't like Chris's large, condescending smile from the get-go. He decided he wanted out of the situation.

"Hey, I'd love to talk, but I gotta get back and do my homework."

"Oh, oh yeah, sorry." Sara looked genuinely embarrassed.

"No problem," he answered. "I had a good time. You can expect to see me back at the next meeting."

Sara beamed him an enthusiastic smile and waved as he took to the cold streets, but at least he was no longer hungry.

~~~~~
Ennis guessed he'd only gotten around to discussing the subject with Liz 'cause he didn't have another friend here outside of the lab, and he sure as hell didn't plan on talking to his roommate Ryan. They'd only grown increasingly avoidant of each other as time dragged on. And he spilled his guts that drunken party night because he needed to, and he knew he wouldn't do it sober. They'd taken an upstairs bedroom like a couple planning an indecent romp, but Ennis sat up against the headboard, Liz sitting next to him and leaning on his shoulder. The touches felt nothing but platonic now to Ennis. They could be nothing else the way he felt himself worried sick about how things were going with Jack.

"So?" Liz asked.

Ennis inhaled and tilted his head towards the ceiling.

"What'd you do?"

Ennis jumped and scowled down at her. "What makes you think I did anything wrong?"

She shrugged. "Tell me you didn't."

He sighed again. "Just sent an e-mail I shouldn't've."

"What can be so bad about an e-mail?" Her brow furrowed.

"Well, Jack said he wanted to go to this meeting, and I don't want him ruinin' my reputation, so I told him if he goes to the meeting he better also be packing his bags."

"A meeting?"

"Like for... for gay kids." Ennis blushed and looked down, focusing on trying to pull off a bit of broken thumbnail instead of this conversation.

"You think he went?" Liz sounded genuinely curious and alarmed now, no longer playing the counselor.

"Well hell yeah he went. Best way for me to make sure he got there was to do what I done." His head still floated a bit and he wanted to go to sleep.

"So wait. Are you mad that he went?"

Ennis shrugged, but his face screwing up on itself gave away the surge of emotion he was barely containing. He choked out in a cracking voice, "'M not mad at... Just-- I just miss 'im."

"Hmm." Liz made a sad noise in her throat, rolling her head around on Ennis's shoulder. For the first time, it occurred to him that she'd been drinking as well. "If only we all had the same problem."

"Huh?"

"Love sickness. It must be the best kind of sickness there is. Or at least, the cure is very nice." She smiled up at the ceiling and Ennis wondered if she was remembering something.

"Yeah. Uh."

She waved him off like she was sensing all his fears coming to the surface. "Just call him."

"You don't understand, that e-mail--"

"It doesn't matter, you have to call him anyway. You can't have those kind of conversations over e-mail."

"What kind?"

"Those kind," she answered, as if that explained anything.

Ennis sat with his hands clasped between his bent knees, not thinking of anything in particular but feeling generally miserable.

"Anyway." Liz sat up and yawned. "I'm going home. Do you know how to get back to your dorm? Do you want to get a cab with me?"

Ennis shook his head. "Rather walk." It was about a mile and the fresh, cool air would do him good, he figured.

"Ok. See you on Monday." Liz opened and close the bedroom door behind her, and the room stilled to silence as if she had never been there in the first place. Ennis heaved a sigh and lay back on the bed to think. He was exhausted, but not sleepy; his thoughts were racing much too quickly for sleep. Finally, when he became too frustrated with the circles they were running in, he hauled himself up out of the bed, into his coat, and away from the party.

Garching was pretty any time of the day, but in the middle of the night on the verge of spring, the city felt like it was waiting for something and only by chance was Ennis being allowed to walk through it tonight. It was nearly four in the mourning, and the streets were deserted. Ennis walked through the town square, an odd mix of old building and new infrastructure, with a keen eye for the older buildings especially. He wasn't used to seeing anything like it in Wyoming. Maybe in D.C. they had things like this? He hadn't spent his time there exploring, though, so who knew? At least now his thoughts weren't running in the same self-destructive loops.

He passed down an alleyway that he suspected was a shortcut, and found that the buildings here were even older, though he was facing their backs. Some had houses behind houses, and lots of things were brick or whitewash. He saw the high arch of an old carriage house that now had modern garage doors set where horses once had gone in and out. He wondered about the people who lived there. They must've lived such different lives from him. Even the grad students in his lab-- hell, Liz was from Australia. Wasn't that like about the furthest you could get from Wyoming before you start coming back around again. Ennis laughed to himself at the thought, though he wasn't sure what was funny. Just that, there were so many people everywhere, it was kind of a wonder that anyone ever gave a damn about anyone else. It was a fucking miracle that anyone gave a damn about Ennis del Mar, and if there was something bigger than a miracle, that had to be to blame for the fact that someone more than cared a damn, someone was ready to go in with Ennis on the all-of-it. They'd never really spoken about it, but it was there between him and Jack, in the way they understood each other and talked about what made good houses and what made good cars not like they were each going to have a house, but like they were going to share one. Ennis said he's like to have horses, and Jack said he'd like to stay near mountains, and Ennis said finding a little cheap land near the mountains good for building a modest house and barn wasn't hard. Jack answered that he didn't want anything more than a modest house anyway, 'cause who has the time to clean the big mother fuckers? Ennis laughed again, with no one to hear him but the night.

He did eventually arrive back at his work, his alley-work having proven a true shortcut. The walk actually took him less than a half hour, but there was something so peaceful about the city at night that he almost wished it had taken longer. Looking at the clock that hung right in the main lobby of his hall, Ennis did the nearly-automatic calculations in his head. Seven thirty on a Friday night. Good chance Ennis was SOL. He knew he wouldn't sleep until he tried, though.
 
 
Current Location: St. Paul, MN
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: True Lies
 
 
 
judy_blue_catjudy_blue_cat on February 10th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC)
Is Ennis arriving back at his work after an alley-work or back at his dorm after an alley-walk? That's the only thing I noticed aside from capitalization and 'ti' instead of 'it' -- very trivial things that didn't interfere with understanding.

Hm. I wanted those words to be in italics, but they are showing as italic and also large.

Still reading, obviously, and still enjoying.

Edited at 2008-02-10 07:36 am (UTC)
Bloody Jack Flintrhye on February 11th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
Thank you, I fixed the "ti"'s. The others actually aren't typos. I meant alley-work in that he was weaving in and out of the alleys in the hopes that it was a shortcut, his navigation of the alleys. And as for arriving back at work or his dorm, I meant them interchangeably because he lives at the place where he works, that's where the dorm is. Maybe it's not the best choice of words, I guess, but people often say they're going back to school when they mean they're dorm, and I say work when I mean school because I mostly just do research.

Thanks for noticing, though, and for reading and taking the time to comment :)
eandjeandj on February 10th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
I love quick updates
Now- come on Ennis- call Jack
Thanks for posting
Paula
Bloody Jack Flintrhye on February 11th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
You're welcome. Thanks for reading.
acquaaltaacquaalta on February 10th, 2008 08:59 am (UTC)
Oh, such a lovely surprise on a lovely Sunday morning!!
So, Ennis is back then. Get up and call Jack. Get this s**t right. And don't freak out that he's gone to the meeting. But then you already know that anyway.

Have you been to Munich? Studied there yourself?

Thank you for the new chapter.
All the best,
B.
Bloody Jack Flintrhye on February 11th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Haha, no, I've never even been to the continent. Heck, I've only been off my own continent once. I'm not well-traveled outside of the states. But Max Plank is a well-known place and I have known a lot of people who worked and studied there. So you ask because I've captured something right? I hope? Or because I just sound like I know what I'm talking about? lol. I googles some pics while I was writing this chapter so I could get the atmosphere as best as I could.
(no subject) - acquaalta on February 15th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
cathyinazcathyinaz on February 10th, 2008 09:05 am (UTC)
This was always one of my favorite stories, Thanks for the updates!
Bloody Jack Flintrhye on February 11th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Thank you for the compliment, and you're very welcome.
gappy_uk on February 10th, 2008 10:48 am (UTC)
Looks like Liz is being a proper friend after all.....I hope!
And Ennis is coming to his senses. It was good to see him recalling conversations with Jack about what kind of life they were both aiming for. It looks like he's starting to think long-term with regard to Jack....if only he can get that conversation done...I'm looking forward to hearing that one!

Thanks - you're spoiling us with such regular updates!
Bloody Jack Flintrhye on February 11th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
Hopefully you won't have to wait long to hear the conversation! I know I'm spoiling you all, but don't get too used to it; it ends with February, sadly, I think.
thelastaeriethelastaerie on February 10th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)
hey, what a lovely surprise to see this update!

i am glad something good came out of Ennis getting drunk. I am sure even if Jack's still sore about the punch/email, he would still listen to Ennis. Liz is right - something you can't talk about on email. :P


Bloody Jack Flintrhye on February 11th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
Yea, I agree with you. Thanks for reading!
★Mella★: BBM - loveschlopki on February 10th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
i cant tell you HOW happy i am to see so many updates of this story, i love it ♥ thank you =)

i feel better than after the last chapter...ennis feeling guilty because of the email and thinking about how they planned their future without really planning it (i dont make sense here) and smiling to himself ♥

jack going to that meeting was good. even if he didnt want to talk to chris..all a bit too much for the first meeting i suppose?

ennis needs to call jack♥

thank you jess =)
Bloody Jack Flintrhye on February 13th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, Chris is a good guy, Jack is just overwhelmed and doesn't want to be told what to do. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Another update very soon, I promise.
bbmjack324 on February 10th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
This is sad: Just now... well, he's not too happy that I got the idea to come here."

He


Hmmm, Jack doesn't like Chris. Liz gave good advice. Love how they 'talk' about houses and such. I'm dying for the phone call-will it fix things or make them worse?
ellenlj on February 10th, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
duh Ennis
still clueless about how cruel he was to Jack - focuses just on his email was counterproductive

he's drunk and misses Jack

hope Jack isn't too forgiving too fast

thanks!

Ellen
ellenlj on February 10th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
and another thing
nice perception there - a relatioship really turns a corner when you realize that you are talking about long term compatibility and goals, and getting nothing but affirmation

with Liz' words about lucky to be loved, hope it drives Ennis to his knees begging

Ellen
adahleahadahleah on February 10th, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
Yay, I was not expecting an update so soon. I hope Jack and Ennis get to talk in the next chapter.
A-
landofthedragonlandofthedragon on February 10th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
Just make that call Ennis, Ennis is so frustrating right now it's obviously killing him, what he said in his email to Jack, lets just hope that if he does ring he's a little more lively than usuall? Jack at the meeting was like a fish out of water putting his foot in it at every opportunity he was obviously nervous and uncomfortable. Really made me laugh though. Loving all these updates can't wait for more L
samtyr: roadsamtyr on February 10th, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC)
I hope that Ennis decides to make that call soon! And I'm glad that Jack went to the meeting, he's going to need a support system.
camillarcamillar on February 10th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
I feel spoiled with all these updates! :) I'm so happy though, cause I LOVE this story! Poor Jack so out of place at that meeting, and at least Ennis finally realizing some things. I hope he calls Jack and fixes this! Thank you thank you!
Camilla
shieldmaid1 on February 10th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you are updating this story regularly--it's one of my favorites. I'm an English prof and have noticed lots of flirting among my grad students already this semester, a man and a woman flirting with the same man, so it does hit close to home! :) I'm glad to see that Ennis is coming to terms with his feelings and trying to make things right with Jack--and also glad that Jack is reaching out to find people who can sympathize with and help him. I sure hope Jack is there to take his call . . . Thanks for a great update!
Teritmn1966 on February 10th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
I was so glad for another update! I hope that Ennis and Jack are able to talk on the phone and not have to stretch it out again.

Well, since you promised some smex in the next chapter, things should be worked out somewhat. And we know that they are together in the end. I just wonder how much they may have to go through to get there.

Thank you for the quick update!

Teri