Jack wakes up to dicks drawn all over his arms in black permanent marker that doesn’t wash off no matter how much he scrubs. He’s not sure when Kent left his room last night, but when Jack goes down for breakfast he’s sitting at the kitchen table sucking up to Jack’s mom, and he’s wearing long sleeves.
He winks, so Jack knows he’s wearing them on purpose. Kent loves to taunt Jack, watch his face turn red from anxiety and fear and excitement and arousal, and he’s taunting Jack now with his hidden arms that may or may not also have dicks drawn all over them.
The thing is, Jack wouldn’t put it past Kent to draw dicks on his own arm too, just to fuck with Jack. He’d do the same, if he’d thought of it first. Jack never thinks of these things first, but he wishes he did. Kent’s an asshole, but he’s the fun kind of asshole, the kind that draws dicks on both his and his best friend’s arms and laughs when Jack wrestles him to the floor and sits on him. Jack’s the asshole kind of asshole, the kind that gets jealous of his best friend when his dad smiles at him approvingly.
“Hi, sweetheart,” his mom puts the plate down in front of him and doesn’t try to hide her laugh when she sees Jack’s arms. Jack sees her eyes flick towards Kent, though, quick enough that Kent misses it. He’s glad he’s not the only one wondering. “Do you want my nail polish remover?”
Jack shovels pancakes into his mouth, because he can be normal sometimes. His mom rolls his eyes and doesn’t tell him to get his elbows off the table, because she knows they’re never on the table when Kent isn’t around. He still swallows before he says, “Yes, please,” and glares Kent down when he stifles his laugh with his hand.
Jack scrubs off the permanent marker with his mom’s nail polish remover, and Kent still keeps the stupid long-sleeved shirt on. The next morning, his arms are bare, and Jack still doesn’t know if they’re soulmates.
He keeps waking up to dicks drawn all over his body. Kent keeps wearing long sleeves and long pants and laughs and refuses to take off his shirt until Jack scrubs them off. Jack isn’t sure what Kent’s afraid of; that they’re soulmates, or that they’re not.
Eric knows his soulmate is a boy, because he’s pretty sure girls don’t care about penises this much. Also, he’s pretty sure he likes boys. He’s also starting to realize that the penises on his body are becoming very specific, and at this point he might be able to identify his soulmate just by looking at his dick.
His mama thinks his soulmate is spunky. She doesn’t mention pronouns and neither does he.
It’s a little annoying. Wearing long sleeves and full-length jeans in the Georgia heat is annoying. It’s annoying, but what’s a lot more concerning is the bruises showing up on his skin every few weeks, dark purple and blue splotches on his stomach and back and chest and sides and he hurts and his soulmate is hurt all the time and Eric spends a lot of nights crying into his pillow until he tries playing football and winds up with a giant bruise right in the middle of his tummy that makes it hard to breathe for a week.
Maybe his soulmate plays some kind of high-contact sport. Maybe his soulmate plays football and Coach will like him even though he’ll be, y’know, a boy.
Eric can deal with the dicks showing up on his arms and legs everyday and the dark bruises spreading everywhere, because his soulmate’s knees are probably black and blue from all the crashing Eric does while training with Katya, and the bruises mean he has a soulmate and that he’s alive and .
He maintains that the dicks aren’t the worst part of the deal until he wakes up with seven penises artfully decorating his face.
One day the dicks stop showing up, and Eric misses them a little. The bruises don’t stop, though, and sometimes Eric is still sad that his soulmate is hurting, but mostly he’s glad to know his soulmate’s still out there, somewhere, and they’ll find each other someday.
Eric finds his soulmate in the locker room at Faber. Jack Zimmermann’s dick is still very much a thing of beauty.
Eric sucks hickeys into Jack’s chest, aggressively cuddles him to sleep as per Shitty’s instructions, then slips out of Jack’s arms to go get the marker. He delights in watching the ink bloom to life on his own arm as he doodles on Jack.
Across the country, Kent Parson wakes up to bruises dotting his chest, and a massive penis sketched into the curve of his elbow.