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03 September 2007 @ 01:03 pm
Higher Education: Chapter 13  
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: Thanks to jennydcf for the beta! This chapter is shorter, so apologies for that.
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Chapter 13

There was a sports bar right in the hotel, and that's where they ended up, even though they were both too young to drink. They split a meat pizza and both ate in voracious silence, though Ennis caught himself slippin' guilty, shy grins across the table. Jack returned them in kind. Finally, when they were both lickin' their fingers and draining the last of their sodas, Jack leaned back and sighed. "You finish your poster alright?"

Ennis grimaced and shook his head. "I finished it. Don't know how good it is, though."

"Aww, I'm sure it's fine."

"I got to stand by it all day Tuesday." Ennis meant it almost as an apology.

Jack shrugged. "You probably don't have to stand by it all day."

Ennis shrugged in return and yawned wide.

Jack smiled affectionately, blinking at Ennis under those long eyelashes of his. The expression on his face made Ennis dizzy. "It's got to be a god-awful hour in your time. Come on, cowboy, let's put you to bed."

Ennis paid with a credit card. He hadn't even had one until very recently, just for this trip, 'cause he was going to get reimbursed. He'd just tell his adviser he'd eaten the whole pizza himself. It was under his per diem, so as long as he and Jack didn't eat a lot and split their food, there was no reason Jack had to spend much of his own money.

Jack wiped his smiling lips one last time with a napkin and dropped down off the stool at their table. Ennis followed him silently out of the bar and up to the bank of elevators.

Ennis did not appreciate the elevators at this particular hotel. They were all glass and looked out on the entire lobby and all the room entrances. Anyone could have seen them riding together at any time. Ennis started to feel a little itchy. He and Jack were going to have to keep their space this week, even though it was their only week together. They couldn't be on display in front of so many people. It made Ennis sick to think on having to keep away from Jack when they had so little time. It would be nicer if they could be someplace private, away from all these people, for a week. But neither of them had the money to be doing something like that.

Jack unlocked the hotel room with the key he'd gotten. Yusef was sound asleep and snoring lightly, passed out on his bed. Without asking or telling, Ennis pulled a pillow and blanket off of his bed and dropped them onto the floor in the little sliver of open space between the bed and the window that overlooked the city. Jack didn't even seem surprised, let alone hurt. Ennis couldn't trust himself to lay near Jack and keep his hands to himself, so this was how it was going to have to be while Yusef was in the room. They undressed and redressed in utter silence. As if the time they'd been apart had not existed, they were of one mind, understanding the motions and actions of the other. Over a year now they'd been together, whether apart or not, and Ennis could feel the comfortable weight of each of those days as he made Jack's bed on the floor. I'll make it up to you, Jack. I'm sorry I have to lay you low, bud.

Ennis, for his part, contented himself with the wet spot under his body. He laid on it on purpose, though the fluids were his own, as a reminder of the time just hours ago when he and Jack had shared this bed.

But, even as he drifted into sleep, Ennis felt a hand snake up to wrap around his own. "I missed you," Jack whispered.

Ennis rolled towards the edge and gripped Jack's hand tightly under the weight of his body. That warm hand was better than any wet spot, so he clung to it, instead.

"Jesus H., just share the bed." Jack awoke to the sensation of a pillow hitting him square in the jaw.

"The fuck?" He yanked his hand out of Ennis's death-grip to wrestle free of the sheets.

"Ennis, time to get up." Yusef kicked Ennis's bed a couple times. Ennis groaned and pulled his head out from under a pillow.

Jack's attention was torn between morning-rampage Yusef, sleepy-beautiful Ennis, and his completely numb hand slowly coming back to life in an excruciatingly painful manner. "Ennis, get up." Jack poked Ennis's T-shirt-covered shoulder with his good hand, and Ennis pulled himself up to stare at Jack.


"Yeah, I'm still here. Time to get up, lazy-bones."

Ennis groaned.

"Yeah, I know."

Jack climbed out of 'bed', grabbed some clothes, and tossed a pillow grumpily back at Yusef on his way to the bathroom.

A half hour later, all three of them were fully-clothed and ready to go down for the first real day of the conference. Now, after a night of the joy of reunion, they had to face the realities of a day of going to real life work with their thinking caps on.

Jack spent all of the opening speech quietly sifting through his program while Ennis shot him evil eyes. There were free bagels near the posters. Jack and Ennis stood in line side by side, not out of place in a room of mostly men, where undergraduates seemed to stick close together. Yusef went off on his own, knowing a person here or there. Jack perused the poster aisles, feigning interest most of the time. Ennis did the same. They didn't walk next to each other, but they kept each other in sight.

Finally, the sessions started, and Jack followed Ennis into one of his choosing. That was a mistake. An hour later he was snoring his way through talk after talk on supersymmetry. How Ennis could even understand this stuff was beyond him. Ennis jabbed him hard with an elbow. When the speaker finished, Jack trickled out with a small crowd. He waited a moment, but Ennis didn't follow, so he moved on to find something more to his interests.

Jack spent most of the rest of the morning sitting through talks about comets. A lot of it was spectroscopy so not the most interesting thing in the world, but at last he could understand what was being said unlike in supersymmetry. He didn't have the guts to ask any questions of the speakers, though. When lunchtime came, he found Ennis lingering outside of the room where Jack'd left him, and together they headed back to the sports bar, along with dozens of other astronomers.

The afternoon went much the same way, only this time they discussed where to meet. Jack hadn't planned on spending his week with Ennis so... apart from Ennis, but the fact was that their academic interests couldn't be more different. He couldn't stay awake through the talks Ennis enjoyed, and Ennis wouldn't be interested in comets, gamma ray bursts, colliding galaxies, or any of the million things Jack found arrested his interest. He wondered how Ennis could be so focused on just one thing, when so many topics filled Jack with at least some sense of awe. So many topics except for supersymmetry and string theory and general relativity, that is. The only awe that filled him with was awe that anyone could stay awake.

They split a sub for dinner, once again at the sports bar, though Jack took the opportunity to suggest that they expand their horizons beyond the hotel and attempt to see the city. Ennis grunted and ate in silence. Jack didn't want to spend this week fighting at any cost, so the sports bar it was.

Jack found that by the time they got back to their hotel room, he was exhausted way earlier than he usually began to feel tired. Must be all the learning. Inside, the room was empty-- no Yusef. Ennis looked around nervously. Jack followed his eyes, wondering what he was thinking.

"C'mere," Ennis breathed in a husky voice, not meeting Jack's eyes. He pulled Jack close and, in an instant, it was as if they were breathing fire into each other's mouths. The distance they had maintained from each other all day collapsed in one calamitous roar as each brought their arms around--

Ennis pulled back abruptly and glanced at the clock. Jack saw that it read eight. Ennis was staring at it, his brows furrowed. Jack could watch needs and misgivings battling each other out on his face. Ennis thought he kept his feelings hidden, but they were wide-opened to anyone who knew just where to look.

"You think Yusef will be back here soon?," Jack asked tenderly.

"Doubt it," Ennis whispered. "He saw some friends here. Likes to go out drinking."


"Just... don't like having to worry."

"I understand." Jack watched the shadows on Ennis's face. "Maybe we have a 'Do Not Disturb' sign? In case he comes back early."

"Might as well put out a 'We're Fuckin' sign," Ennis grumbled.

"Right now, if I had one, I might," Jack grinned.

"Everyone in the goddamn hotel can see it."

"Except they're all debating something scientific or out getting drunk. No one's reading door signs. Sometimes it also means you're napping, you know."

"To Yusef it won't."

"That's the point."

Ennis sighed in frustration.

"You've only got a couple choices here, Ennis. Way I see it, we have one week. You're going to have to work with Yusef, but you're not going to have to live with him after."

That got Jack's intended effect, as a smile played at the corner of Ennis's lip. "Put the goddamn sign up if you want." Ennis was playing grumpy, but he knew he was about to get some, and that was a good mood all on its own.

Jack wasted no time high-tailing it to the door. He'd never used a 'Do Not Disturb' before, but he was happy enough to do so now.
Current Location: St. Paul, MN
eandjeandj on September 3rd, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC)
I´m thinking of this story quite often , it´s one of my favourites. So happy to read this update.

"As if the time they'd been apart had not existed, they were of one mind, understanding the motions and actions of the other. Over a year now they'd been together, whether apart or not, and Ennis could feel the comfortable weight of each of those days as he made Jack's bed on the floor."

This image is putting a biiiiig smile on my face.
Thank you for a lovely update

eandjeandj on September 3rd, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
Oh btw
if you think this chapter is to short,I wouldn´t mind another update soon. LOL
So no need to apologize.
(no subject) - rhye on September 11th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
trekfantrekfan on September 3rd, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
I have missed this story! wonderful how Jack and Ennis are working things out.

Yusef doesn't seem to have a huge problem with it. And putting up the do not disturb sign is a great idea.

I wish they had longer. How much longer does Ennis have to be abroad?

Jack wants to know too :)
Bloody Jack Flint: TWaTT Ennis Hushrhye on September 11th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
It's only January and he's going to be abroad until May :( Thank you fo readong. hey, any news on the room for D.C.?
hara123 on September 3rd, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this update!
I missed it so much..
I really hope to read more soon!:) can't wait!
Bloody Jack Flint: TWaTT Ennis Hushrhye on September 11th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
Thanks for the note! I'll do my best :/
gamma_ray00 on September 3rd, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
Yay...thanks for updating this wonderful story. I can really feel the tension between the lads..as they try to navigate through the world not being able to "be together" as they would like. I love the part where they held hands..that is a very special bond between two people that will not soon be broken. As for the last part, I hope Yusef stays out all night drinking with his buddies...!!
Bloody Jack Flint: TWaTT Ennis Hushrhye on September 11th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
lol, I think it's not so unlikely Yusef could stay out all night, but you'll just have to wait and see ;) Thanks for reading!
thelastaeriethelastaerie on September 3rd, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
haha... actually i think finding them holding hands while sleeping probably drove Yusef madder than seeing them sleeping in the same bed! Cos that surely looks like love-sick to me :)

I keep forgetting what's the legal age in US to drink... 20? or 21?

i agree... there's no time to play shy, they should work out something with Yusef about the room arrangement! LOL... a week flies like seconds when you meet under such circumstance.

you keep both of them very youthful, slightly naive and sweet... very well done. :)

gr lewisgrlewis on September 3rd, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
drinking legally
the legal age for drinking in the u.s. varies by state. some are 18, some 19, i guess some probably use 20 though i don't personally know of any states that use age 20, and many are 21. don't know what the legal age is for d.c.
(no subject) - my_lil_darlin on September 4th, 2007 04:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rhye on September 11th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
caij on September 3rd, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update.
liked it very much.
Hope to hear from you soon....

Liefs Carolien
gr lewisgrlewis on September 3rd, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
"ennis was playing grumpy, but he knew he was about to get some."

"he'd never used a 'do not disturb' before."

both of these phrases set me off howling. so cute and funny.

and so great to see this chapter of this story. i've been thinking about it. good to see jack and ennis together again if only for a week.

thanks, gr
MadBottomsmadbottoms on September 3rd, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
I was only just thinking about this story and BAM there it was this morning. Great update.

bbmbeliever on September 3rd, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the update. I love every minute that they are together even if they cant be together together. Hopefully they will take Yusef at his word and sleep together in the bed!
rosietrosiet on September 3rd, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)
I was pleased to see a chapter of this up. It was so sweet them holding hands as they slept.

And I'm glad Yusef was busy fot he evening...I laughed at Ennis' thoughts on the 'Do not Disturb' sign...hehehe

Thank you for this.

t_wistfulheartt_wistfulheart on September 3rd, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
Fun! I like the grumpy-sounding Ennis at the end. :)
jennastsjennasts on September 3rd, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
Ahhh! Sending waves of happy appreciation to the author for updating one of my favorite stories on this American holiday! You capped off my weekend. Love the way you end this, with Jack never having used a Do No Disturb sign. It was also a wise decision not to repeat yourself with another live-action sex scene so soon after the one in the previous chapter. Always love this story.
sweetjesweetje on September 3rd, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
I was afraid that Jack and Ennis would not get any time alone there for awhile. I'm glad Yusef decided to go out drinking. At least our boys can now have some real fun.
That Do Not Disturb sign was a nice touch. I hope Yusef heeds it if he comes back early.
Great chapter. I'm looking forward to your next update in this wonderful story. : )
samtyr: icon_jake by probodiesamtyr on September 3rd, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad that you updated this. I'm hoping that they do get to do a little bit of sightseeing; otoh, the sports bar and hotel room are all they really need... as long as the roomie stays away. ;) Can't wait to read more. Thank you for sharing this.
cathyinazcathyinaz on September 3rd, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
Happy Dance! Ennis is going to get some, LOL. I have been wondering about the boys at the conference and I have to say this is one of my favorite AU stories, so glad to see an update, thanks.