robin’s egg blue
It isn’t even until he sits down on Bitty’s mattress that Jack realizes he’s cold.
This early in the morning, the silence in the Haus is as deep and supple as leather. Safe, like the soft hum of a radio from behind closed doors. Perhaps it’s that safety, the sense of familiarity, that helps Jack regain awareness of his own body. Limb by limb, beat by beat. He slumps, sinking into the warm, shallow divot left behind on the mattress, the exact spot where Bitty must have been sleeping.
It’s strange—he can’t even remember much about his drive from Providence to Samwell. All he can remember is the rain, falling from the sky in sheets. The sharp, repetitive whine of the windshield wipers working at full speed. The forced pulse of his own breath. Bitty’s voice, ashamed and weary and pleading, looping on repeat through his brain.
But now he’s here, at last, with Bitty close enough to touch, and Jack aches.
“—and your pants, oh, I do hope they aren’t made of wool, honey, it’ll be a wonder if they dry by morning,” Bitty says, still trying to fold Jack’s sodden pants over a hanger. Jack knows that he’s taking longer than necessary, knows it from the way Bitty’s movements are still jagged and raw, the way his face is turned away as he fusses.
Unperturbed, Jack shrugs out of his suit jacket, drapes it over Bitty’s desk chair. Slowly begins to unbutton the dress shirt that has stuck to his arms and chest like a second skin.
He hears a soft intake of breath and looks up. Bitty is holding a towel now, standing closer than expected. His eyes seem drawn to the space between the third and fourth buttons that Jack had just wrangled free. He has his bottom lip caught fiercely between his teeth, and Jack has never seen anything braver in his life.
“You fool,” Bitty whispers again, and Jack shivers. He drops his hands from his shirt, opens his knees to invite Bitty into his space.
“Hey,” he says softly in reply.