Title: Anything But the Truth
Warnings: Explicit sexual content, slash, etc.
Indications: Jack Knight/Sand Hawkins. Third in the Sand & Stars series. To follow Anything But Normal and Anything But Lonely.
Notes: kerithwyn and miss_porcupine have scrubbed this thing within an inch of its life AND put up with my obsess scrubbing today. They are saints and any remaining mistakes, inaccuracies, and/or awkward parts are all my fault.
Disclaimer: Sand, Jack, and their supporting characters belong to DC Comics/Time Warner. They are SO not condoning this use of their intellectual property.
Anything But the Truth
The third time was definitely the charm, Sand Hawkins thought sleepily as he stretched, feeling the warmth of Jack Knight's body against his back. They weren't quite touching, lengthwise, but Jack had thrown an arm across Sand's side and his wrist rested comfortably in the hollow of one hip.
They'd finally gotten it right the night before, Sand decided, falling into his bed after the celebration of a successful mission. It had been a fairly low-key adventure, dangerous, but without much publicity. They hadn't had Courtney or Dinah but the rest of the team had been more than enough and for once, Sand's powers had responded exactly as he'd hoped.
Upon return to the brownstone, the team had celebrated with an impromptu party. Jack and Sand had done a little celebrating of their own afterward. They'd followed up a half an hour of kissing and groping in the darkened museum wing with a decidedly not awkward coupling upstairs and Sand was starting to think he might have gotten a hang of the entire life-outside-work thing.
He reached for Jack's hand, lacing their fingers together and pulling their hands across his stomach.
"Mm." Jack was awake and snuggling closer, his body fitting up against Sand's, almost as closely as it had the night before. His hand curled under Sand's, rubbing both sets of knuckles against Sand's abdomen. "Morning," he whispered, nipping gently at Sand's ear.
Sand shivered. "Morning," he said, glancing down at their joined hands. He liked the image of them together. Jack's thumb rubbed against his palm. The touch made Sand shiver a little. He wasn't used to that type of physical affection.
"Sleep ok?" Jack's mouth was warm on the back of Sand's neck, trailing little kisses from the nape to the indentation of his shoulder blades.
"Slept fine," Sand answered, not unaware of his body's response to Jack's greeting. "You?"
"Great." Jack punctuated the assertion by nipping Sand's shoulder lightly. "Most sleep I've had in weeks, I think."
Sand didn't want to say that he knew the feeling, even though he did. He was more interested in the way Jack was closing the space between them than discussing his sleep patterns.
"Hey." Jack's voice was soft against Sand's shoulder. "I wanted to tell you something. I thought you should know before I said anything to anyone."
"Hm?" Sand managed, more curious as to why Jack's hands were sliding back up his chest -- and not downward -- than about what Jack had to say.
"Yeah." Jack's hand stilled entirely and he propped himself up on his elbow. Sand looked up at him. Jack looked troubled. "I've been thinking," he said reluctantly, "about leaving the team."
Sand felt like he'd been sucker punched. Jack leave? Leave the team? Or leave the team so that he could leave him?
"Why are you telling me this in bed?" Sand asked, sitting up and throwing the sheets down to his lap. His nudity kept him from jumping out of the bed. He knew he was conflating his upset at Jack's announcement with the minor issue of appropriate venue. He just didn't care.
"Hey, wait. Stop." Jack pressed a hand squarely against Sand's chest. It wasn't a sexual touch and Sand suddenly wasn't sure if Jack had ever touched him in any other way. "I'm telling you in bed because I want you to stop calling me for missions. I don't want you to stop calling me."
Sand's first thought was that Jack's leaving solved the ethical dilemma of leading his lover in battle and he pushed it aside as selfish.
"I can't believe you would leave," he said hotly. "You're a founding member. I thought this meant something to you." It meant something to your dad, he managed not to say, and knew he was being unfair.
"Look," Jack returned, "I know I don't talk about it much, but a lot's happened since I joined up with you guys. My dad...and Sadie...," he choked out as if he couldn't bear to fill in the corresponding details. "Culp, and Opal burning, and everything and now I've got Teddy -- " Jack pressed the heels of both hands against his eyes and took a shaky breath.
Jack's words hit Sand in the gut. Jack's father had died, and his fiancée had left him, and his city had burned, and Jack had put on a brave face through all of that and Sand had believed it.
The realization disgusted him. He'd been self-absorbed and preoccupied with the JSA. He hadn't even returned the favor of sharing his memories of Ted Knight with Jack after the funeral. So many other people had been there at the time, with so many better stories. But Sand had needed to go back to New York, to run the JSA and repair the damage the Injustice Society had done to the brownstone. Or at least that's what he'd told himself.
"I've always been a reserve member, sort of," Jack was reminding him, hands still pressed over his eyes. "Left the brat in my place too many times...."
"Jack," Sand interrupted, trying to sound gentle to compensate for his earlier obtuseness. He shifted around on the bed until he was kneeling between Jack's legs and pulled Jack's hands away from his eyes. Red pressure marks were visible on Jack's fair skin. Sand cradled his face in both hands and kissed him. Jack yielded with an eagerness that made Sand ache. He'd picked an awkward position and when he tried to shift, his legs tangled with Jack's and with the sheet. He pushed Jack down on the bed and sprawled on top of him, mouths still trading kisses. Skin rubbed against skin as Sand reached down and tried to push away the sheets crumpled between them. He lifted his hips to pull the corner of the bedding away and then there was nothing separating their bodies.
Jack groaned and rocked under Sand. His head fell back on the pillow and Sand used the opportunity to lick a line up his throat.
"Oh...wow," Jack said weakly, his fingertips tracing lightly down Sand's arms. Sand was busy exploiting last night's discovery that Jack's collarbone was a highly sensitive erogenous zone.
Jack's scent and taste were familiar now, expected flavors in Sand's nose and mouth. He shifted down, the salt from the skin of Jack's clavicle giving way to the slight bitterness of tattoo ink. Sand supposed he wasn't actually tasting it, just recognizing a difference between bare and painted skin, but then he remembered that Jack had recently had the tattoo touched up and decided the bitterness might very well be ink.
Jack tasted like Jack again farther down, his nipple hardening under Sand's tongue. Sand could feel Jack's erection against his stomach and settled himself between Jack's legs. He didn't know if Jack liked teeth against his skin but he seemed to react favorably when Sand sucked hard. He moved his mouth to the other side of Jack's chest, lifting his other hand to continue caressing Jack's already raised nipple.
Sand felt Jack's fingers in his hair, combing through the disorderly waves, and shifted against the mattress. He set his elbows on either side of Jack's waist and wriggled lower, licking his way down to Jack's stomach. Jack chuckled as Sand ran his tongue around Jack's navel and shifted away.
"Stop," Jack managed, laughing the entire time. "That tickles."
"You're ticklish?" Sand asked, delighted. He showed mercy, letting Jack grumble out something about it only being his stomach and then bent his head and licked the head of Jack's cock.
"Oh, fuck," Jack gasped out before he'd even taken a breath. "God, Sand...."
Sand braced his hands on Jack's hips and used his tongue to run a line up the underside of Jack's cock.
"Wow, yeah," Jack sighed appreciatively. Sand had to smile a little. Jack was much more vocal than he was and it was sort of fun. He leaned forward and took the head of Jack's cock between his lips, cheating a little with his thumb. A quick breath through his nose and then he took a bit more into his mouth, and felt the brush of hair on his chest and arms as Jack opened his legs wider.
Sand set one elbow on the mattress against Jack's hip and shifted his weight to that side so he could use his other hand to guide Jack's cock into his mouth and then slide down to handle the heavy sac beneath.
"Wait a sec," Jack said, shifting again. Sand glanced up to see Jack pushing himself into a sitting position. "Roll over on your side," he suggested, eyes bright.
Sand opened his mouth and drew back the length of Jack's cock, leaving it wet and hard against Jack's stomach. They had an awkward moment as he moved his body over Jack's leg and Jack scooted around until he was backward on the bed, head toward the end.
"What are you doing?" Sand asked, vaguely mystified.
"That better?" Jack asked, holding his own cock in his hand.
It was a different angle, not necessarily better, Sand decided, leaning forward and taking Jack's cock in his mouth again. Jack's hand stroked over his face, pushed into his hair, and then left him entirely.
A moment later, Sand felt Jack's hand and mouth on his cock. It surprised him enough that he let Jack's cock slip from his mouth and made an eager sound. Jack's only response was to cup Sand's balls in his free hand and stroke them with his thumb. Sand wrapped his hand around the base of Jack's cock and directed it back into his mouth.
Jack groaned and Sand felt the vibration all the way to the base of his spine. His response was to tighten his mouth and suck harder. He twisted his fist and felt Jack's thighs tense against the sheets. Jack did something similar to him and Sand gasped, but didn't release Jack's cock.
It was like a game of chicken, he thought, closing his eyes and flicking his tongue against the crown, each trying to make the other come first.
"Oh...man...," Jack mumbled around Sand's cock, finally sounding desperate. "I'm gonna...mmm!"
Sand tasted the first evidence of Jack's orgasm and prepared himself, but then Jack slid one wet finger inside him. It wasn't as big as Jack's cock and there was no pain at all, but it awakened stretched muscles and brushed over Sand's prostate. Within seconds, Sand was coming, too, body tensed as he sucked desperately at Jack's softening cock.
Jack sighed, breath warm and light against Sand's cock and his fingertips brushed Sand's cheek. Sand released Jack, realizing how sensitive he must be. Jack sat up and flopped back down again, his head back on the right end of the bed. Sand pushed himself up far enough to collapse on the pillow.
As the room echoed with the sound of their breathing, Jack rolled to his side and squeezed one hand around Sand's shoulder. He leaned forward and pressed light kisses to the barely visible freckles. Sand closed his eyes and smiled faintly. He felt good all over and Jack's affection was welcome.
"Can I ask you a question?" Jack murmured against his skin, wrapping an arm around his waist and snuggling in close.
"Sure," Sand said, lifting his hand to run his fingertips up Jack's shoulder blade. They were cuddling, he thought. Like real lovers. Caught up in the thought, he turned his head and brushed Jack's forehead with his mouth.
"Who was he?" Jack asked, bracing himself on one elbow. "Who was it who taught you all this?"
Sand's hand faltered on its path. This, of all things, he had not expected. His first impulse was to ask Jack to clarify the question, to say that he didn't understand, but he did. Jack was asking about Doc.
What a complete non sequitur, Sand thought, wondering what had happened to safe topics like quitting the JSA and Jack's ex-fiancee. Somehow, the attention had shifted to him and his past, and he wasn't entirely sure this was what people were supposed to talk about in bed. In fact, he was fairly certain it wasn't, but he admitted that he felt a little pleased to be able to talk about Doc to someone -- particularly someone who could understand the situation.
"You probably knew him," Sand said, looking down at Jack, "before he died." He could feel the muscles in Jack's back tense against his hand and wondered what memories he'd just stirred up. "Charles McNider," he said. The name sounded odd in his mouth, formal, like a secret. "Doctor Mid-Nite." That was closer but in Sand's mind he would always be 'Doc.'
"McNider? Really?" It was clear that hadn't been the answer Jack was expecting. "Wasn't he kind of...old?"
"As opposed to me?" Sand asked with a snort. "He was far closer to my age than I am to yours."
"Yeah, well...." Jack waved his hand dismissively. "You know what I mean. You were the kid sidekick. Sandy the Golden Boy."
"I was nineteen," Sand replied testily. "What were you doing when you were nineteen?"
Jack seemed to ignore the question as inconvenient to his outraged sensibilities. "How long did it last?"
Sand opened his eyes and looked up into Jack's concerned face. "Five months," he said. Five months, one week, and three days.
"And then he...? Did you...? What happened?"
"And then I got turned into a sandmonster," Sand said shortly.
"I just...wow." Jack shook his head. "When did you figure it out?"
"Figure what out?"
"That he was, you know." Jack shrugged. "I just always thought he was such an up and up guy. My dad used to talk about him like he was a saint."
"He was an up and up guy," Sand retorted. It offended him to hear Jack speak so carelessly of someone who had been so important to Sand, but moreso because it sounded like Jack was condemning Doc for being gay. Which didn't make much sense considering that Sand was still aching from the way Jack fucked him the night before. "What are you talking about?"
"Dude, he totally took advantage of you," Jack said with the pained tones of one who was explaining the obvious to someone who should have known better. "You were nineteen. What was he thinking?"
Sand reeled. At some point during the conversation, they'd moved apart, sat up, faced off. He wasn't even sure how they'd gotten in these positions or what he'd said to make Jack think Doc had taken advantage.
"What are you thinking?" he asked by way of reply. "Doc never did anything to hurt me. Never. He didn't take advantage of me."
Jack groaned and rubbed one hand over his face. "You were nineteen," he sighed. "Everyone does stupid stuff when they were nineteen."
"So you're saying this was stupid. That Doc and I -- being together -- was stupid."
"No." Jack dropped his head back and stared at the ceiling. "Ok, look, I wasn't there, I don't know. You guys might have been the greatest love story since Bogart and Bacall. These days, when a guy in his mid-thirties takes up with a kid, it's usually because...it's just a little sketchy, ok?"
"My nineteen wasn't your nineteen," Sand said, only slightly mollified by Jack's explanation. "I grew up with a war going on and I was Sandy the Golden Boy since I was fifteen. You see a lot of New York when you're the Sandman's sidekick and it's not usually the pretty side."
Jack chewed on his bottom lip, considering. "There's different kinds of maturity," he said when Sand was done. He glanced up and suddenly he looked his age. "Was he your first kiss, too?"
Sand knew Jack was guessing yes, and if he were a better liar, he might have tried to dissuade Jack by making up some imaginary school sweetheart.
"He was my first everything," he said quietly.
Jack nodded slowly. "And...I'm being an ass, crapping all over your memories of him," he said with a sigh. He fell back on the bed, the mattress bouncing under both of them.
Sand didn't answer. Jack was being an ass and having him admit it helped a little bit. Sand didn't want it to help. He was angry and he was missing Doc and they were in his room, so if he wanted to be alone, he was going to have to kick Jack out.
He got out of bed, his body screaming in protest when he straightened up. New boxers from the dresser and jeans from the floor, and well, that was good enough. Except that it wasn't, so Sand went back for an undershirt before he scarred Courtney for life or something. He didn't remember that Courtney wasn't even in the brownstone until he'd tugged the shirt over his head.
"Wait. Where are you going?" Jack's hands were on his shoulders and turning him around. Jack himself was naked.
"I'm going to make coffee," Sand said. "It's way too early for this."
Jack sighed, letting his head drop, but his grip on Sand's shoulders stayed firm. "Let me, ok?"
"No, I can -- "
Jack was looking straight at him and Sand couldn't meet his gaze. "I didn't want this morning to be like this," he murmured.
"I know. Neither did I." Jack tried to make eye contact and failed. "Look, let's just -- "
"Maybe it's for the best," Sand interrupted. "You're quitting and if you keep coming around or if I keep going to Opal, everyone's going to figure out what's going on."
"And you don't want them to?" Jack asked quietly.
Sand finally met his gaze. "Maybe it's for the best," he said again. "This was never meant to be serious anyway."
"Yeah," Jack said, letting go of Sand's shoulders. His hands fell to his sides. "I guess it wasn't." He turned away and started getting dressed in the clothes scattered around the room.
Sand watched him with a gnawing dread in the pit of his stomach. Jack would leave and he'd be alone again, just as he had since Doc had died. Just as he had since Dian had died. Just as he had since Wesley had died.
He set his chin. Jack was not Wesley or Dian and he certainly wasn't Doc. Sand Hawkins wasn't anyone's sidekick, and he wasn't anyone's boytoy. He'd been alone before and he was perfectly capable of surviving on his own again. He even, he thought, ignoring the twinge of regret for all the time wasted in the house upstate, liked it.
He wanted to say something to Jack, magic words that would make everything all better, but they weren't there for him and he wasn't sure if he'd say them given the chance. Jack's words had hurt in ways he hadn't expected and although he would have liked to say he wasn't the type to hold a grudge, he hadn't suffered much in the way of personal conflict since he and Wesley had resolved their guilt/blame problem with a mutually agreed-upon policy of avoidance.
Sand was still at a loss when Jack finished tying his shoe and slung his jacket over his shoulder. He looked around the room for the cosmic rod before remembering that Jack had left it downstairs. When he looked back, Jack was watching him sadly. He turned away and listened to Jack cross the room to leave. The silence between them was painful, but Sand couldn't bring himself to break it. It was the only protection he had.
"Look," Jack said resignedly, pausing by the door, "I fucked up. It's what I do. I'm good at it. And I'm sorry. I just -- look. I haven't quit the team yet, ok? Don't...not call me if you need me. Not because of this."
"This?" Sand said before he could stop himself. "This what? This 'fuckbuddies' thing?" He could feel the frustration pounding in his ears and felt as out of control as he had back when he was trying to figure out how to survive in a world that had grown forty-five years without him. "I don't even know what the hell that means!"
Jack had turned from the door when Sand's voice had risen and now he gave Sand a long, appraising look. Sand set his jaw and waited without further comment.
"That's ok," Jack finally said, quirking his mouth into a half-smile. He yanked the door open, letting in the light from the hallway. "We never really were anyway."