A/N: This fic incorporates a good deal of backstory from Better Call Saul, and occasionally features/mentions a character or two from BCS. Obviously, there's no telling how BCS canon is going to affect this story, so this is just a pre-emptive warning that events or dialogue from BCS might invalidate entire scenes, nay, this entire fic. As an anal-retentive control freak, this upsets me a great deal, but I'm willing to take the plunge and hope for the best. You guys probably don't care, but I thought I'd throw a warning up for all the future nitpickers. :P
"Hey, kid, I heard about your little, uh, inheritance," Saul says as Jesse walks into his office. "Any plans for your newfound wealth?"
Jesse sits in the chair across from Saul's desk. "Yeah, actually, that's what I wanted to talk to you about."
Saul steeples his fingers and leans in. Mr. Attentive.
Jesse toys with the hem of his t-shirt. "You got expensive taste, right? Your office, your suits..."
"Aww, are you gonna buy me something? I'm touched, really."
"I wanna spend it. Like, on a vacation."
Saul huffs amusement, kicks back in his chair. "Well, can't say you haven't earned it."
"I mean, it makes sense, right? If you think Mr. White's comin' for me, maybe I should get outta town for a couple days. Pay in cash, totally untraceable."
"But enough to keep Mr. White from findin' me," Jesse presses. "If he wanted to track me down, he'd have to go through you, right? You know a guy who knows another guy who could do that?"
"Hypothetically. So what's the deal?"
"I just—I dunno where to go. What do you think?"
Saul lifts an eyebrow. "You want me to tell you where to go on vacation?"
"Yeah," Jesse says, like he has no idea how bizarre that sounds.
"Pardon the insensitivity here, but don't you have friends for this sort of thing? Most people don't ask their lawyer about the hottest vacation spots."
"I had a lot more friends before Mr. White came along," Jesse says in a moment of honesty. Walter White damages more relationships than a heated game of Monopoly. Because at least the little Scottie dog thimble doesn't murder anyone when he goes bankrupt.
Saul winces and glances off. "What about, uh, what's-his-name? Badger?"
Jesse shakes his head. "Badger's idea of havin' fun usually involves, like, crystal." He rubs a hand over his face. "I don't wanna get back into that."
"Right, yeah, your sobriety thing." Saul does something with his fingers that twists Jesse up in knots. "Well, I'm honored that I'm... pretty much last on your list, but, hey, I'm here to advise, right?" He chuckles. "The financially-conscious part of me wants to suggest a savvy investment in a thriving business, but the fun part of me says Vegas, baby." Saul spreads his hands. "There's a reason it's the go-to locale for pissing away your life savings."
Jesse hadn't even thought of that. Since Saul showed up the other day and handed him a gun, Jesse's brain feels fuzzy. He wants a good night's sleep. He wants to open his eyes and be somewhere far away from Walter White and the periphery of Heisenberg.
"Man, I miss that town," Saul says. "Y'know, I probably wouldn't even be a lawyer today if it wasn't for Vegas." His mouth's curled into a soft, reminiscent smile.
"You've been there? Is it cool? I mean, it looks dope, but I don't wanna get shanked and end up as a dead guy on an episode of CSI."
"I've been there plenty of times, and I'm still unshanked, as it were."
Jesse sinks into the chair a bit. "You gamble? Or what?"
"A little bit of everything. My brother was a big fan of Old Vegas, so we'd check out that kind of stuff: The Neon, the Mob Museum..."
Jesse had no idea Saul even had a brother. He realizes Saul looks exhausted, like dealing with Mr. White's bullshit has siphoned so much joy and life out of him. The idea forming in Jesse's head is probably stupid as all hell, but it feels right. "Yo, why don't you come with me?"
Saul blinks in surprise. He looks stunned, as if his brain just...stopped. Jesse's tempted to shake him and see if that jump-starts him.
"Yeah, we can party, buy stuff, stay at five-star hotels, do some gambling... It'll be the shit. When was the last time you had a vacation?"
Saul gives it a moment of thought, checks his watch. "Two years, ten weeks, four and a half hours."
"Wow." Jesse's not sure if he's impressed or terrified; he finds a safe place between the two.
Saul hasn't said yes yet, which is kind of stressing Jesse out. He rubs his tattooed arm, drops his gaze to the floor. "You don't have to if you don't wanna. I just, I dunno, I thought it'd be cool, y'know, not to be by myself."
Saul's quiet for a moment like he's thinking it over. After about ten seconds—yes, Jesse counts them—Saul taps the intercom. "Francesca, clear my schedule for the next four days. I'm taking a long overdue vacation."
She sighs like she's pissed at the universe for making her deal with Saul. "I'm the one who needs a vacation around here."
"Just do it. C'mon, I'll make it worth your while."
There's another sigh Jesse assumes is a yes, because Saul switches off the intercom and and swivels to face him. "Looks like I'm free."
Jesse can't help the smile that spreads on his face. This is pretty low on the list of craziest things he's ever done, but it feels monumental. He's finally doing something for himself, something he wants to do. Sure, Saul's along for the ride, but he's not horrible. If he were, Jesse wouldn't have bothered extending the offer. Jesse doesn't do pity, yo, especially when said pity might cost him five million.
Okay, there's no way he's spending all five million in Vegas. But he can damn well try.
Saul claps his hands together. "So, my car or yours?" He laughs. "Just kidding. Of course we're taking mine."
Saul makes a face. "No offense, but I've seen that piece of crap you drive. I'd rather not get stranded on the interstate, 'cause guess what? It's all desert."
Yeah, Jesse's not too confident in his car's ability to make this journey.
"Also, my car has GPS. Sorry, kid. You think you can handle being in a car with me for eight hours?" Saul asks with a lilt of a smirk at the corner of his mouth.
"Dude, I spent four days straight in the desert with Mr. White."
Saul lets out a low whistle. "Yeah, that's... that's pretty commendable. There should be an award for that."
"I hope your taste in music is better than his," Jesse mumbles.
"You'll just have to wait and see, won't you?"
Jesse groans. "Alright, ground rules: we switch playlists every two hours. Nobody gets to monopolize the music."
"That sounds fair," Saul says. "So, tomorrow morning, bright and early? I'll pick you up at, let's say, eight?"
Jesse's eyes bulge. "In the morning?" He can't even remember the last time he woke up at eight.
"If I bring food, will that persuade you out of bed? Personally, I can't resist the siren song of a McGriddle."
"That's a pretty crazy combination of words," Jesse says. "But, uh, you don't—you don't have to bring me anything." He deflects his gaze to his shoes. One of his laces is coming untied. "I'll be fine."
Saul strokes his chin as if in deep thought. "I guess you want me to handle the hotel stuff?"
"Yeah, could you? I mean, since you've been there you probably know a good place to stay." Jesse scratches the back of his neck.
"Not a problem, kiddo. I got it all under control. You just go home, pack your bags, and set your alarm. Consider me your tour guide to Sin City."
So, Jesse's going to Vegas with his lawyer. Party on.
Jesse wakes up to his alarm at exactly eight o'clock, because it takes him about ten minutes to get ready. He wants all the sleep he can get. He briefly considers what to wear before throwing on a t-shirt and jeans. Saul doesn't give a shit about Jesse's clothes as long as all the inappropriate-to-show-in-public parts are covered. His breakfast consists of half a bag of Bugles and a can of Red Bull. He's stuffing his phone charger into his bag when the doorbell rings.
Jesse opens the door and gets a good look at Saul. He tries not to laugh, he really does, but, wow, he's never seen Casual Saul before. It's a pretty hilarious sight. Saul's wearing dark jeans—jeans, for God's sake—and an AC/DC t-shirt. Saul listens to AC/DC. This is damaging to Jesse's world view. He needs a moment.
Jesse's quiet snickering makes Saul furrow his brow. "What?"
"Dude, you have arms."
Saul stares at him like he's trying to figure out how Jesse's brain works. Jesse realizes how weird that comment sounds out of context. "I've never seen you wear a t-shirt before," he explains. "I didn't even know you owned one."
"I'm full of surprises. Now grab your stuff. You can admire my killer guns while we're on the road."
Jesse glares and turns to grab his bags, his face about ten different shades of red. He was so not admiring anything about Saul.
Jesse tosses his luggage into the trunk of Saul's Cadillac. There's a grease-stained paper sack on the passenger seat. Jesse hands the bag over to him as he sits down. Saul just gives him a skeptical look. "That's for you, kid. Thought you might want somethin' to eat."
Jesse's mouth drops open. "I—I told you you didn't have to..."
"Well, what can I say, I'm the generous type." Saul switches on the ignition, and the engine hums to life. The speakers blare a song Jesse knows but can't remember the name of. Saul switches the music down, trying casual, but Jesse's not oblivious. Saul was totally jamming out in here. Jesse can't even picture him as the type to listen to loud music. Every preconceived notion he has about Saul is getting blown the fuck out of the water today.
Jesse rummages through the bag and digs out a biscuit sandwich. "Oh fuck yes, I love these things!" He unwraps it, and, okay, maybe he lets out a squeal when he sees it's got chicken strips inside. Maybe that's a thing he does. He takes an enormous bite, then there's honey sauce dripping down his chin, and he doesn't even care because it's so good. "Oh my God," Jesse moans.
"If you get any crumbs in my car, you're vacuuming her out at the next rest stop," Saul warns him, pulling onto the road.
Jesse makes a sound of agreement around the food in his mouth. He thinks about turning up the music, but he doesn't want to seem like a douchebag. This trip ought to be a good opportunity to get to know Saul. Maybe he should take it instead of appearing unapproachable.
"So, you, uh, you like this kind of music?" Fuck, that sounds really judgemental. Jesse wishes he could claw the words back. "I—I mean, it's cool, I just—didn't know you were into that."
"Like I said, I'm full of surprises."
Some answer. Jesse takes another bite of his sandwich. "So you got a brother. He cool?"
Saul gives a half-assed shrug. "He's a good guy, yeah. A pain in my ass sometimes, but that's how it goes, huh?"
Jesse smirks knowingly. "Totally. He younger or older than you?"
"Older, so of course he thinks he knows everything."
It's difficult to picture Saul as someone's little brother. This trip is seriously fucking with Jesse's understanding of the world. Jesse licks a glob of honey from the corner of his mouth. "What's he do?"
"He's a lawyer too."
"That's pretty cool. Is law like a family trade or somethin'?"
"Nah, ol' Chuck graduated law school, and I figured, hey, I can't always be the family disappointment, so I followed his lead."
Jesse wants to poke at that "family disappointment" thing. He takes another bite of his sandwich. "You guys still keep in touch?"
Saul gestures in a way that's probably supposed to mean something. "Periodically," he says, with an edge that makes Jesse want to know more. There's something deeper there, but he's not going to press the issue if Saul isn't comfortable talking about it.
"What about you, kid? I only met your parents once, but they didn't strike me as totally crazy about you."
Jesse chuckles humorlessly. "You got that right." He sinks into the seat, tilts the A/C vent so the air blows on him. "They'd do anything for my little brother though." Then again, so would Jesse.
"Is he the, uh, golden child of the family?"
"Oh yeah. He's one of those, like, genius kids, so yeah, they're proud of him."
Saul's expression softens, like he hears the subtext there. "The two family screw-ups go to Vegas."
Jesse snickers. "Sounds like a movie."
"Let's hope it's a good one."
They stop for fuel and food about halfway into Arizona. Once the tank's filled and the car smells like Taco Bell, Saul takes a little detour north. Jesse looks like he wants to ask why they're not heading west anymore, but he's in no hurry, munching on nachos like he doesn't have a care in the world.
Everything about Jesse is rough and heated, a slow implosion in progress. Saul wants to see how Jesse lives when he's not sanded down by the constant wear of Walter White. Saul's seen glimpses of that youthful, fun spirit in Jesse. He knows it's in there, it just needs a little coaxing.
Jesse figures out where they're going when they drive by a sign that reads "Grand Canyon National Park." He chuckles. "For real? You're takin' me to the Grand Canyon?"
That makes it sound like a date, which it absolutely isn't. "We're both going. It's been a while since I've seen it."
Jesse stretches his legs out. "What could'a changed? It's a giant crater."
Saul's almost offended that Jesse can't appreciate the natural beauty of the world, but he used to think the same thing. "If you're this close, you might as well see it."
Jesse shrugs like he can't argue with Saul's flawless logic.
They park where they can see the vast collection of plateaus and the veins of the river running through it all. Jesse eats in an almost reverent silence, staring out the window, but it's hard to look introspective while eating a burrito. Jesse does his best, though.
"In my experience, most people who come into this kind of money don't try to get rid of it all at once," Saul says into the silence. That's when it hits him, right the fuck out of nowhere, and makes his heart clench. Jesse's somber, sullen defeatism, the sudden urge to rid himself of his wealth, quitting the business...
"Kid, you're not—you're not thinkin' about"—Saul searches for a gentle euphemism—"checkin' out, are you?"
Jesse blinks, looks over at Saul. "What?"
"I mean, it's probably not a good idea to have five million lying around for the next of kin to fight over, but—"
"What the fuck are you talking about?" The disbelief in Jesse's voice takes Saul off-guard.
"Are you gonna kill yourself when this weekend's over and I take you home?"
Jesse recoils from the question, his eyes wide in horror. "What? No? Why would you—?"
Saul realizes he's misunderstood. "I just thought maybe you were—with you lookin' to spend your money, I thought..." He stops, starts over. "Then what is it? What's with the sudden philanthropy?"
Jesse glances at Saul. "You're still my lawyer, right? I mean, if I tell you somethin' you won't tell anybody?"
"My lips are sealed."
Jesse explains how Todd Alquist killed an innocent boy out in the desert. He tells Saul how he urged Walt to leave the business alongside himself and Mike. How Walt jeered him and said Jesse had nothing in his life aside from their partnership. How he tried to convince Jesse there would be no more violence. How he threatened that Jesse wouldn't receive a penny if he walked out.
"It's blood money," Jesse says plainly. "I wanna wash my hands of it."
Saul wonders about the red in his own finances and feels guilt burn in his gut. "That's... so much better than what I was thinking." His favorite thing about Jesse is how the kid's a gentle soul beneath that bratty exterior. Maybe Saul can use some of Jesse's innocence and goodness for himself to cover the black marks on his own soul.
Jesse chews in silence for a moment, then: "Were you worried about me?"
Saul wants to tease him about it—"What? Of course not!"—but he knows Jesse's asking because someone giving a shit about him is as rare as a solar eclipse. So he nods and says, "I'd miss you if you weren't around anymore."
Jesse huffs a weak laugh and looks out at the canyon. "Man, are we a couple of fuckin' downers or what?"
Saul smiles, reaching out and turning up the radio. Jesse seems to relax now that the space between them is filled with music. He gets out of the car while Saul eats to take pictures of their surroundings. Saul watches him, and he thinks he sees a hint of a smile at the edge of Jesse's mouth.
They don't fight over playlists as much as Jesse thought. Saul's got pretty good taste in music. It's nothing Jesse would choose to listen to, but he knows some of the songs and the others are decent enough.
He draws the line when Saul starts singing along with whatever's pumping through the speakers. "Ay yo," Jesse calls, "this ain't American Idol. No singing."
"You can't not sing along to a Queen song. I'm pretty sure that's in the Constitution somewhere. Besides, I was a karaoke champion three years in a row."
"You're such a fuckin' liar," Jesse says around a laugh. "And karaoke is judged by drunks anyway. Being named champ isn't as prestigious as it sounds."
"Have you been named karaoke champion?"
"Then hush." Saul cranks the music up and blatantly ignores Jesse's newly-established rule. Jesse rolls his eyes, leaning the passenger seat back. Maybe he can sneak in a quick nap before they make it to Vegas. He drifts off to the smooth roll of the highway underneath him and the husky sound of Saul's voice.
Jesse's jerked awake an hour later when the car jolts like they've run over a deer. "Jesus," Jesse grumbles.
Saul glances over at him. "Oh, you're up."
Jesse rises and looks at the huge pothole that's shrinking in the rear-view mirror. "How did you not see that?"
There's barely any other cars on the road, so there's no way Saul couldn't have avoided it. Jesse's brow knits while the cogs in his brain spin to life. He's not the sharpest thinker when he wakes up, but he figures it out pretty quickly. "Did you hit a pothole on purpose to wake me up?"
The corner of Saul's mouth twitches with a smile. "Why would I do that?"
"I 'unno, 'cause you're a dick?" Jesse adjusts the seat upright again, stares out at the dying brown surrounding them. "Pull over. It's my turn to drive."
Saul laughs. "Kid, I don't trust you behind the wheel of my baby." He grips the wheel a bit tighter like Jesse might reach over and steal it from him. "You strike me as the speed demon type."
Jesse can't argue with that, though he's been driving a lot safer since lately. Can't afford even the faintest sniff of police around him. "I could buy you a whole new car," Jesse says, which doesn't make Saul feel any better.
"Maybe we'll share some profound secrets, become best friends, and I'll let you drive on the way back." Saul smirks. "Maybe."
"Yeah, I'm not holdin' my breath."
Jesse makes Saul join him in a selfie in front of the iconic Vegas sign upon entering the city. En route to the hotel, Jesse's playing with his phone in a way that makes Saul a little suspicious.
"You're not going to tag me in that picture, are you?" Saul asks. "My hair's a mess, and I don't think my clients would like to know I pick favorites."
Jesse chuckles. "Whatever." Then he looks up from his phone. "I'm your favorite?"
"Hey, hey, c'mon, I didn't—I didn't say that exactly. From the outside, that's what it might look like, but—"
Jesse asks the hard-hitting question. "How would somebody know I'm one of your clients though?"
Saul doesn't answer that, just purses his lips in a sort-of frown.
"It's not like I'm gonna post this and be all 'on a road trip with my lawyer lol hashtag what happens in vegas.'"
"Did you really just say 'hashtag' out loud?" Saul shakes his head, bemoaning the state of today's youth. "And do people use hashtags on Facebook?"
"I don't use Facebook," Jesse says.
"Are you—What—Seriously? Even I have a Facebook page." Saul stresses the word in a way that tells Jesse this is serious shit.
The idea of Saul on any form of social media is fucking hilarious. "I have one, I just don't use it."
"Oh, good. We're in the same boat, then."
"What boat? The SS Losers With No Friends?"
Saul pouts, taking offense to that. "I have friends," he mutters under his breath.
The MGM Grand Hotel looms into view like a tower of neon green glass. Jesse stares up at the building. "Wow, this place looks dope."
"Yeah, you can't even tell it burned down," Saul says, as if that's not creepy at all.
"What? For real? Is it haunted?" Saul seems like the kind of guy who would purposely book them a haunted hotel.
"No, it's not haunted. I guess I can't prove that, but I've never seen it on one of those ghost hunter shows, so I figure it's safe."
"If any freaky shit happens, I'm drivin' home and leavin' your ass."
Saul chuckles and fixes Jesse with a curious stare. "Not that your fear of the paranormal isn't adorable, but after all the real-world horrors you've lived through, how can you be afraid of ghosts?"
Jesse's mouth drops open, his stomach plunging to his toes. Saul just called him adorable. Jesse lets himself breathe before he says, "You've never been haunted, have you?" He believes in ghosts, because they visit him every night.
"I've got the Ghostbusters on speed dial," Saul says, completely missing the point.
The inside of the hotel is decorated in ornate golds and striking red accents. The floor's so shiny Jesse thinks he might slip on it. He gawks at the expansive lobby while Saul goes to the front desk. Huge television sets on either side display advertisements for hotel events and specials. Jesse admires the enormous golden lion centerpiece, distracted by the bustle around him. On his right, there's a souvenir shop the size of the entire first floor of his house.
He's still taking in the sights when Saul appears at his side. "Impressive, huh?"
"Totally." Jesse's trying not to sound too awed, but he's never been anyplace like this. "I wonder what the room looks like."
Saul chuckles like he knows something Jesse doesn't and flashes him the room key. "Let's find out."
Jesse does his best to ogle like a tourist as Saul leads him to the elevators. The elevator bank replaces the rich gold and red tones with soft, ethereal blues and the occasional firey orange accent from the lighting. It's calming, peaceful, as if underwater. He glances around, wondering why they're the only ones waiting on the elevators.
Saul picks up on his curiosity. "Our room is a little more elite and prestigious than the average guest's."
"I might've gone a little overboard," Saul says as the elevator chirps. "But, hey, you wanted to spend money."
They step inside. "Hell yeah. Let's get a look at this bitch."
The elevators move at the speed of light. Jesse braces himself against one of the rails. Saul smothers a laugh at his expense. Dick.
They walk through a long hallway until Saul stops to unlock their room. When the door opens, Jesse's not prepared for what lies inside.
The room is, to be frank, fucking awesome. The foyer opens up to an actual living room with couches and chairs and an unbeatable view of the city. There's a dining area with a wet bar, a mini fridge, and a coffee machine. Giant television screens hang on the walls. "Dude, this looks like an apartment," Jesse says.
"That's kinda the idea."
Double glass doors lead out to a private deck. "Holy shit," Jesse murmurs, making his way outside. There's a small pool on the right, the tranquil water glistening an azure blue.
But Jesse's attention locks on the wink and glitter of neon lights over the balcony. Colossal hotels stand tall against the sky, their windows catching the colors of the fading sun. A mountainous landscape lies in the distance as the perfect backdrop to the smorgasbord of lights that spreads out for miles. Some of the hotels have their names plastered across the top—Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo.
"What's that castle thing over there?" Jesse asks.
"Is that, like, a giant Medieval Times or somethin'?"
"Well, kind of. They do have the whole jousting thing. But it's mostly a hotel and casino. Pretty much everything you see out here is a hotel, casino, or both."
"What's that pyramid thing?"
"The Luxor." Saul points off to the right. "That's the Bellagio, and the one lit up like a purple Christmas tree is the Mirage."
Jesse looks at him. "How many times have you been here?"
"Enough." Saul leans on the railing; Jesse worries it might give way and send him plunging down twenty-nine stories. "So, whadd'ya think?"
Jesse makes a surprised noise. "Dude, it's awesome! You know I've never been anywhere this cool before, right?"
"Yeah, I got that feeling," Saul says, with a hint of a smile in the lines at the corners of his eyes. "You look like you're having a religious experience."
"Shut up," Jesse huffs out around a laugh. "Don't hate just 'cause you've been here a million times. It's not my fault I'm, like, a Vegas virgin."
Saul laughs at that one and heads back inside. "Well, then let's go pop your cherry."
Jesse's jaw drops as Saul swings the door open. He cannot believe Saul actually said that. He feels a stir of heat in his stomach. Jesse mouths, "oh my God," and follows Saul inside. "Homo." He hopes Saul doesn't hear the way his voice shakes around the word.
Saul grabs his bags and effortlessly carries them up the stairs. "Hey, you set me up for the punchline."
Jesse nods, because, yeah, he kind of did. "You didn't have to take it."
"You really don't understand me at all, do you?"
Probably not. Jesse figures he might as well unpack while they've got some downtime. The top floor boasts two bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. Jesse claims the vacant bedroom on the far end. The bed is big enough for maybe three or four people; the shower stall's about the same. He's still not sure why the bathroom needs a television, but whatever. There's a walk-in closet that could fit more clothes inside than Jesse even owns. "Holy shit, look at the size of this closet," he says aloud to no one in particular.
Saul loiters in the closet doorway while Jesse's putting his clothes away. "C'mon, Pinkman, daylight's wastin'."
Jesse doesn't falter. "I thought all the cool shit in Vegas happens at night."
Saul makes an amused sound. "See, this is why you need me." He smirks, then: "I can show you the world—"
"What did I say about singing?"
"Pretty sure that only applies in the car."
Jesse sighs, because Saul is the actual worst. "Pretty sure it doesn't."
"What about humming? Can I hum, or have you declared a moratorium on all things musical?"
"How are you so"—Jesse searches for the word, comes up empty—"this way all the time?" He hangs up another t-shirt. "Doesn't it get exhausting?"
"I was born with a staggering amount of charisma. It's a burden I've chosen to carry for the sake of mankind. I'm like Superman, if you replaced the ability to fly with the ability to make a woman disrobe with nary a smile."
Jesse doesn't mean to laugh at that, but it happens anyway. He can't help it. Saul can't say ridiculous shit like that and expect him to keep a straight face.
"Ah, a skeptic. You'll see, kid. By the end of the night, I'll have worked my magic."
Jesse grins. "You're one of those dudes who totally buys it when the stripper flirts with you, huh?"
"For tonight's purposes, I won't be performing the patented Goodman charm on anyone whose paycheck depends on finding lame one-liners and pick-up lines amusing."
Saul didn't exactly answer Jesse's question, so Jesse's assuming that's a yes. He moves toward Saul. "Alright, you're on. I can't wait to see you make an ass outta yourself."
"Careful what you wish for."
They ride the elevator down to the casino. Jesse's still in "gawk like a tourist" mode, so he gets a little distracted. Saul has to pull him away from ogling the gold statues and the sheer size of everything. "C'mon, I wanna lay down a couple ground rules," Saul says as they walk inside.
"Well, they're more like helpful hints. Number one: if you spend or win a lot of money, the hotel will notice."
Jesse gasps. "'Cause it's haunted, right?" He fucking knew it.
Saul's brow creases. "No, they keep track of people who spend a lot because they want repeat business. So maybe they pay for the room, give you some casino or food credits. Whatever it takes to make you lay more money down."
That sounds like something Jesse wants to avoid. Kinda defeats the purpose of coming here if all the money he spends comes back to him. "Okay," Jesse says, nodding. "What's number two?"
Saul looks off to the side, presses his lips into a line. "There isn't a number two. I thought I had more, but I guess not."
"Wow," Jesse says, unenthused. "Not gonna teach me how to play anything?"
Saul gives him a curious look. "I thought you wanted to lose."
"Yeah, but I don't wanna be totally obvious about it. People'll think I'm stupid."
"They'll just think you're drunk like everyone else is." Saul gives a dismissive handwave. "Who cares?"
Jesse stops himself from saying, "I care," like a complete tool. He shrugs and says, "Yeah, I guess."
"So, whadd'ya say we meet back up here in, what, two hours?" Saul offers.
Jesse's not a professional gambler, so he finds a blackjack table and does his best not to look like a total newb. His playing style—or more likely, his cash flow—catches the eye of a gorgeous dark-haired girl in a sparkling green cocktail dress. She sits beside him, sipping at a fruity drink. A tiny paper umbrella rests against the rim of her glass.
"You know the point is to win money, right?" she says.
Jesse huffs a humorless laugh. "Thanks, I wondered what I was doing wrong."
She smiles, pink lips stretched over pearly teeth. "Is this your first time in Vegas?"
"Am I wearing a sign or somethin'?"
"Looks like you got more luck than me."
"It'll pick up," she says, patting his hand. "What's your name?"
He doesn't see the harm in being honest. "Jesse."
"Jesse," she says, as though testing how the name sounds in her mouth. "I'm Rosita."
As their conversation builds, Jesse learns Rosita is a showgirl and a Vegas native. The more he focuses on the give and take of information between them, the more money he wins.
"You've won five hundred dollars so far!" Rosita whispers, incredulous.
"Yeah, I guess I'm gettin' better at this." Jesse isn't sure if he should laugh or cry right now. "Or maybe you're good luck."
She laughs. "I like that theory." Rosita finishes her drink and spins on the stool so her body's facing him. "What about you, Jesse?" She makes his name sounds like a double entendre. "What brings you to Sin City?"
Jesse shrugs. "I wanna have a good time, get away for a while."
"Where are you from?"
If Saul were here, would he be standing over Jesse advising him to lie? "Albuquerque."
"So you're pretty comfortable with the desert, huh?"
Jesse laughs to himself. "Yeah, totally."
By the time two hours have passed, Jesse's about two hundred dollars richer. He doesn't even think about the time until he's hopping down from the stool. Rosita sidles up beside him. "You wanna get a drink? There's a bar on the second floor that makes the best mojitos."
Jesse rubs the back of his neck and glances away. "Actually, I—uh, I came here with somebody," he says, almost as if on instinct. He checks the time on his phone, sees a missed text from Saul. "Shit, they're probably waiting on me right now. It was nice meeting you, though."
Jesse doesn't know what to think as he heads for the casino entrance. Did he really turn down a hot chick to hang out with Saul? God, he did. Why did he do that? And why was it so immediate, like he didn't even have to think about it?
Because over the course of their road trip, Jesse's learned that Saul is interesting. He's nowhere near the dull, bland image Jesse built up in his head. Saul is nothing like Mr. White. He doesn't watch Jesse out of the corner of his eye, waiting for him to do something wrong. He's just... a vibrant person. And he carries that vibrance like an aura, sharing it with whoever is near him. Jesse needs that kind of warmth and positivity in his life, and Saul supplies it in spades. No wonder Jesse feels so light and buoyant around him.
Saul smirks when Jesse emerges from the casino. "There you are. How's your luck?"
"I won two hundred bucks."
That makes him laugh. "Jeez, I might've lost that much."
Jesse digs some bills out of his pocket and shoves them into Saul's hand. "There. Problem solved."
Saul chuckles, pockets the money. "Easiest two hundred bucks I've ever made. What'dya say we go back up to the room and put that wet bar to good use?"
It turns out Saul's actually pretty good at mixing drinks. Jesse would be surprised, but he stopped being surprised by Saul about halfway through Arizona.
"So, what's your poison, kid?" Saul asks. "Whiskey? Vodka? Lemme guess, you're more of a rum guy, right?"
Jesse shrugs and shifts in his seat. "Beer is fine."
Saul sighs as though he bears the weight of the world on his shoulders. "I'm taking that as a 'surprise me.'" He pulls out some bottles from the bar and starts pouring into an empty shot glass. Jesse watches with piqued curiosity. "You're not allowed to drink boring on my watch."
Saul slides the finished drink across the table to Jesse. Jesse examines the contents. "What is it?"
"The common name is a Slippery Nipple, but clearly whoever was in charge of the nomenclature never actually tasted a nipple."
Jesse kicks the shot back. It's not as bitter as he was expecting. It's kind of smooth in a way that reminds him of Saul. "Yeah, totally." He watches Saul pour himself a drink. "Did you used to be a bartender or somethin'?"
Saul chuckles. "No, I'm what you call a 'recreational drinker.' My late twenties and early thirties were basically a giant 'screw you, liver.'"
"Kind of a late start for 'recreational drinking,'" Jesse says, complete with air-quotation marks.
"Yeah, well, divorce is a pretty good reason to hit the bottle, right?"
Ouch. Jesse flinches away from the raw truth in those words. "Yeah..." He regrets bringing it up now. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be. It's not as bad as it sounds." Jesse's life has been lousy with addicts long enough that he knows to ignore their protestations of sobriety.
Jesse reaches out and wraps his fingers around Saul's glass. "You sure you should be drinkin'?"
Saul lets Jesse drag the glass across the table. "Are you trying to protect me? That's... kind of adorable."
Saul just called him adorable. Again. "I just don't want you to relapse, is all."
Saul laughs an airy sound. "Relapse? I'm not an addict, kid. You don't have to worry about me." He doesn't seem angry or offended by Jesse's concern, so maybe he is fine. But Jesse will keep an eye on him tonight. He'd be heavy as shit to drag back up to the room if he drinks himself stupid.
Saul tips his glass and pours the orange-ish brown liquid down his throat. Jesse watches with far too much interest. "So, uh, hey, what'd you do to get labeled the family screw-up?" he asks, softening the question with a self-deprecating chuckle. "I mean, you know my story. What's yours?"
Saul swirls the remaining contents of his glass. "You want the short version?"
"Whatever you wanna tell me."
A small smile tugs at the corner of Saul's lips. He stares into his glass for a moment and says, "I was a con man."
Jesse struggles with a snort of a laugh. "You?"
Saul makes a face. "You don't think I could run a scam?"
"What'd you do?"
"I grew up in Cicero, and when the winters rolled around I figured out a quick way to make a buck. A couple thousand bucks, actually." He takes another drink. "All a guy had to do was slip on a nice patch of ice, and, bam, he'd clear a good six to eight grand."
"And this guy was you?" Jesse's still stuck on that part. Saul nods. "So, how'd you go from a con man to a lawyer?"
"Obviously I had to straighten up, right? I mean, you pull too many schemes and eventually you land yourself in trouble."
A smirk spreads on Jesse's mouth. "You got pinched?"
Saul purses his lips and glances off. "Not my proudest moment."
"Wow." Jesse sits back in his chair, soaking in this glorious moment. "So you really are a criminal lawyer, huh?"
Saul groans and takes another mouthful of liquor.
"That's dope, though. You're, like, legit. You understand the struggle," Jesse says. Saul looks at him with a soft smile, as if seeing Jesse for the first time. "What?"
Saul shakes his head and drops his gaze to his drink. "N—nothing, you just—you remind me of someone I used to know." A hint of melancholy flickers in Saul's eyes. He looks at Jesse's empty glass. "You need a refill?"
"I don't wanna get, like, shit-faced or anything."
"So, wine, then?" Saul's up and grabbing a bottle of red from the shelf. He pours Jesse a glass and slides it over to him. Jesse takes the stem between his fingers, examines the contents like they might come to life and attack him.
"It's just grapes, kid."
Jesse sniffs the dark red liquid. "What's it taste like?"
Saul gives him a perplexed look. "Grapes. Jesus, haven't you ever—" He stares at Jesse with an unfair amount of disbelief. "You've never had wine before, have you?"
"No. Wine's for chicks and rich people."
Saul blinks a few times too many; Jesse might have just broken Saul. "Never? You know they have wine at Olive Garden, right?" Jesse hesitates a second too long. "Oh my God, please don't tell me you've never been to Olive Garden."
"When I was a kid, yeah," Jesse says, because he's not that sheltered.
Saul sighs. "When was the last time you went to a restaurant with cloth napkins?"
Jesse thinks it over for a moment, and just ends up shrugging.
Saul opens his mouth, closes it, opens it again. "Okay, we have to rectify this immediately. We're going to the fanciest restaurant this place has to offer. You get to have an upscale restaurant experience and spend money. It's a two-fer." He taps on the rim of Jesse's glass. "C'mon, drink up. Just a sip so you know where to start when the wine menu comes."
Jesse lifts the glass to his lips and takes a swallow. It tastes like grape Fanta with a hint of cough syrup. Jesse grimaces but doesn't spit it out. Big of him. "I thought they were s'posed to take their shoes off before they stepped on the grapes."
Saul laughs an actual laugh, not one of his usual half-assed chuckles. Jesse beams. "Not a fan, huh? Alright." Saul takes back the glass and chooses another bottle. He pours a light colored wine into an empty glass. "Try this one."
Jesse sips this time. He doesn't want to jump the gun and end up with a mouthful of something gross. This one tastes like grape-flavored ginger ale with a satisfying afterburn. He licks his lips and swallows half the glass.
Saul smirks. "Slow down, kid. This isn't a kegger."
"Bet I can drink more than you."
"Yeah, you probably can," Saul says. "But you couldn't beat me in my prime." He swirls the wine around in his glass before taking a sip.
"So when do we eat?" Jesse asks, sipping his wine like a total pro. He tastes a hint of green apple this time around. "I'm starving."
"As soon as you're dressed in the proper formal attire. You brought a suit, didn't you?" Saul watches as Jesse makes a face. "Of course you didn't. You're not getting out of this that easily. There's plenty of shops in the hotel where you can pick one up."
"What about you?" Though Jesse's suspicious Saul's got a treasure trove of suits hidden somewhere.
"You think I didn't plan ahead for this contingency?"
Of course. Jesse finishes his glass of wine before pushing away from the table. "Alright, I'mma go buy a suit."
Jesse's gone for about an hour, and Saul passes the time researching the hotel's cuisine offerings. He shoots Jesse a text that reads: What kind of food do you like? Your choices are: French, Chinese, steak, Japanese, Italian, seafood, American, or Mexican. Choose wisely.
Jesse writes back: pizza bitch
Saul sighs. This boy needs some culture. He types out: You're not going to a high-end restaurant just to order a pizza. Christ, have some sense of culinary adventure.
Jesse sends a reply about five minutes later: why dont u pick somethin then
Saul fears for Jesse's Autocorrect, because that sentence is atrocious in so many ways.
He entertains himself by flipping channels on the widescreen TV in the living room. Despite the crystal-clear picture and the size of the screen, the channels hold nothing of interest. Some things just don't change no matter how much technology advances.
Saul hears the front door open. He turns his head in the direction of the sound. Jesse steps inside wearing a black suit with skinny lapels and an even skinnier black tie laid flat against his crisp white shirt. He looks like a GQ model. Saul's never seen Jesse wear anything but over-sized hoodies, baggy jeans, and graphic tees. This is a good look for him.
"Lookin' sharp," Saul says instead of the saucier compliments swirling in his brain.
Jesse flashes him a chagrined smile. "You think? Is it fancy enough?"
"Absolutely. You should dress up more often; might score you some points with the ladies." Nice save.
"I do just fine," Jesse grumbles as he passes by the couch. He goes upstairs to drop off the bag containing his old clothes. "So,what'd you decide on?" he calls from the top floor.
"How do you feel about seafood?"
"Dude, I would fuckin' eat cardboard right now."
"Well, this is a significant step up from cardboard. At least it should be, with an average check of forty bucks."
"You're not even payin', dude," Jesse reminds him. Saul can just barely see him moving about in his room. "Chill, I got this. Just gimme a sec." Saul figures he's loading his wallet with more cash. After a minute, Jesse hurries down the stairs. "Alright, let's do this."
The restaurant maintains the hotel's theme of luminous golds, accented with mahogany furnishings. Their table backs up against the glass-encased wine rack near the rear of the restaurant. Toward the center is the bar, with a luminescent purple display of the various spirits. Saul's got a pretty fantastic view, but Jesse earns most of his attention.
The meal comes in three courses. Saul sips from long-stemmed glasses of wine and watches Jesse dive into his starter plate of ribs. He devours the meat off of the bones, licks barbecue glaze from his fingers. This is probably the nicest meal Jesse's had in quite a while, so Saul doesn't hassle him about table manners.
"Save room, kid. There's more to come," Saul says, filling Jesse's empty wine glass.
"Don't worry about me, yo. I got room." Jesse's tongue darts out and licks away a dab of sauce at the corner of his lips. Oh no, that's attractive. Saul briefly contemplates icing down his crotch.
"Is this what you and your brother used to do in Vegas? Gamble and eat?" Jesse asks.
"Those are pretty vital activities. But, again, there's more to come; this is just day one of our Magical Mystery Tour of Vegas."
Jesse wrinkles his nose. "Was that a Beatles reference?"
Jesse catches a hint of Saul's surprise. "Mike used to listen to them a bunch when we'd go on our rides. He'd always smack my hand away when I went to change the station." Jesse chuckles at the memory, something sad around the edges of his smile. He takes another drink. "You know I've never been in a place this fancy before?"
"Yeah, I had a feeling your idea of fine dining was eating inside the Burger King."
Jesse huffs a laugh. "You think you're funny, huh?"
"You're the one who's been laughing at all my jokes."
"Shut up, no, I haven't." Jesse's cheeks flush pink, and he glances away.
"You just did."
"That wasn't a 'ha-ha' laugh," Jesse insists. "That was, like, a 'you're stupid and ridiculous' laugh."
Saul leans back in his chair and watches Jesse's chagrin grow. "And yet you still invited me to come to Vegas with you. Now, why, I wonder, would you do such a thing?"
"'Cause you invited yourself, dude. You're all, 'oh, I love Vegas,' how am I not supposed to ask if you wanna go? You play dirty."
"Something you were fully aware of when you invited me along."
Jesse rolls his eyes and takes another drink. "Whatever."
Saul can't help but poke at Jesse's irritation. "But you're having fun, right? 'Cause I don't think I've seen you in this good of a mood since, well, ever."
"It's Vegas," Jesse mumbles. "How can you have a bad time in Vegas?"
"You've seen The Hangover, right?"
"That was a movie though. People make shit up."
The main courses arrive on enormous platters: shrimp etouffee laid over a bed of pearly white rice, lobster carbonara with hickory-smoked bacon and sugar snap peas, and a basket of cornbread. Jesse's practically salivating over his plate. He digs in once the waiter's walked away, as if his enthusiasm for delicious food would be viewed as unflattering.
"If you want an unfortunate Vegas story, I got plenty," Saul starts.
"Yeah?" Jesse says, his mouth full.
"Absolutely. Though they're mostly my brother's fault."
Jesse finishes chewing and says, "Tell me."
"Well, the first time we went, it was the mid-to-late '80s, and we wanted the whole Vegas experience. So we get a nice room at the Bellagio, gamble a bit, and we end up in a strip club. Chuck brings the stripper back to our room. I'm out like a light because I cannot handle that much vodka. I'm asleep for maybe ten hours. Chuck wakes up in the morning and realizes the stripper took our cash and raided the mini bar. Our credit cards are pretty much maxed out at this point. So Chuck has the brilliant idea of taking the last hundred bucks out of his account and trying to win back our money in the casino." Saul takes a sip of wine. "My brother is a terrible gambler, by the way."
Jesse's grinning and trying his hardest not to laugh. "Oh my God."
"So I wake up to Chuck shaking me awake and telling me all our money's gone."
"You punched him out, right?"
"Too hungover. I think I just groaned and fell back onto the bed."
"So how'd you get home?"
"I suggested we hitch a ride home since we couldn't afford a plane ticket. I used a little bit of money from my emergency account and won us enough to eat for the next two days. Good thing we paid for the room in advance, right?"
"Wow," Jesse says, his mouth open wide in amusement. "But it wasn't totally bad, right? You must'a had enough fun to keep goin' back."
"I never said it wasn't fun. The second time around, we were much more reserved."
"No more stories, huh?" Jesse asks, coy as he stuffs a piece of bread into his mouth.
"I've got plenty of stories, kid. You know my third marriage was a Vegas wedding?"
Saul entertains him with more anecdotes, delights in the way Jesse grins and laughs. He's not oblivious to Jesse's pinking cheeks or how often he refills his wine glass. Jesse's posture loosens up, and he leans back in his seat, sprawls his legs out underneath the table. His knee bumps against Saul's own, but Jesse doesn't seem to notice. Saul can't stop staring at how Jesse's fingers play along the stem of his glass. He finds himself wondering how Jesse might touch himself before shutting down that train of thought entirely.
Not now, boner.
Saul thinks this is what dating Jesse would be like.
Jesse's wearing a curl of a smile on his lips, still fingering that damn glass. "You're full of shit. You said you were magic or whatever, but you haven't hit on anybody since we got here."
Saul's been working his charm on Jesse since this morning, but he's playing that card close to his chest. "It's not my fault our waiter's a guy. The Goodman charm is still in research and development when it comes to men."
"You flirt with dudes?"
Saul wants to shake Jesse and say, "I've been flirting with you," because how can the kid not see that? Instead, Saul says, "I like to keep my options open."
Jesse opens his mouth like Saul's said something scandalous. "So you flirt with dudes... You ever gone any further than that?"
Saul almost chokes. Holy fucking shit. "Hey, we're not here to talk about my sexual history. I don't kiss and tell."
Jesse glances off and scoffs a laugh. "How come you haven't tried to pick up any chicks then?"
"Because I'm distracted by your scintillating table conversation." God, Saul wants to be responsible for Jesse's next orgasm.
Jesse wipes a hand over his mouth. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
"You're good company, Pinkman. Anyone ever tell you that?"
Apparently not, because Jesse blinks, looking shocked. "Not really, no. Mr. White never liked spendin' time with me. And I don't think Mike did either. I mean, he wasn't a total dick, but I think he just saw it as babysittin', y'know?"
Saul doesn't have to be a genius to see how talking about this distresses Jesse. He looks like a lost child, wondering why his parents don't love him anymore. "Hey, I'm sorry. I should've known better than to ask."
Jesse pokes at the remnants of his dinner with his fork. His somber mood vanishes when the waiter clears the table and sets two heaping bowls of vanilla ice cream topped with caramel sauce, chocolate shavings, and candied peanuts in front of them. Jesse gazes at his dessert like it's a long-lost lover. Saul's beyond wondering how Jesse has room for any of this.
He can't resist the urge to tease him a little. "This must be what that song 'Hungry Eyes' is about: the forbidden love between a man and his food."
"Look at it, Saul," Jesse says with fervor. "It's beautiful." He digs his spoon in and immediately takes a bite. Saul notes the way Jesse moans around the mouthful of sugary sweetness. He tries his damndest not to make correlations between that and how Jesse might look and sound with Saul's cock in his mouth.
"Yeah, it is," Saul murmurs, though he's not talking about the dessert. He edges off a spoonful of his own but doesn't find the same bliss Jesse does. But, hell, seeing Jesse smile is pretty much worth the price of admission.
After dinner, they head back to the elevators. Saul can tell the spirits have taken effect on Jesse. "This was so totally a date, wasn't it?" Jesse snickers out as the elevator door opens. Saul's legs stop working, because hold the fucking phone. Jesse laughs and grabs his hand, pulling him into the empty elevator. "C'mon, you don't drop this much cheddar on a friend."
Saul regains a sliver of coherency to say, "I didn't drop anything. Technically, you took me on the most expensive date I've ever been on. I feel like I should put out." He chuckles around that last part in case Jesse's repulsed by the idea.
But Jesse's smug smile shifts something inside of Saul. "Yeah, maybe you should."
If Saul didn't know better, he'd think Jesse was flirting with him. But there's no way, right? Jesse couldn't possibly be interested. The wine's just lowered his inhibitions enough for him to volley back the jokes.
"Maybe I will." Saul tries to make that sound like a threat, but there's a quake in his voice.
Jesse looks up at the ceiling. "How come we aren't moving? Oh my God, are we stuck?"
Saul almost falls prey to Jesse's panic-stricken demeanor until he notices the problem. "It usually helps if you tell it where to go," he says, moving to press the proper button on the panel. Jesse laughs a deep, throaty sound, a sound that Saul wants to remember until the day he dies.
The elevator picks up speed. Jesse grabs onto the railing for balance he needs more than ever since the alcohol's slowed down his fine motor skills.
Saul wonders how much of Jesse's flirtation here is borne of genuine interest in Saul touching his dick and other body parts. Jesse's never flirted with him before, though there's some come-hither body language the kid can't turn off: intense eye contact, and the whole lip-licking thing. But Saul's never seen Jesse drunk. Maybe he's one of those people who gets flirty with everyone when they're tipsy.
A chime rings out, and the elevator opens up to their floor. Jesse leads the way at first, then he makes a wrong turn and they're heading back the way they came. Saul tugs at Jesse's jacket, just enough to orient him in the proper direction. Jesse turns and sort of startles when he sees how close Saul is. His gaze flicks down to Saul's lips for a fraction of a second before he glances away.
Saul tugs at Jesse's sleeve and guides him down the hall to their room. It takes him a little longer than it ought to getting the door open. His brain can't stop reminding him that Jesse was this close to his lips. Close enough to feel the air move with his breath. And of course he just stood there like a moron and let the moment pass him by. Because Saul's never initiated something like this before. He's not sure this could exist outside of tonight's boozy haze and devil-may-care decisions.
Saul opens the door and lets Jesse inside first. Jesse sheds his blazer over one of the leather chairs. He moves for the window where the city sparkles like a field of fireflies. Saul trails behind him and switches off the lamps. Jesse tosses Saul a concerned glance over his shoulder.
"It's easier to see without the glare," Saul says.
"Oh. Yeah. Thanks."
Saul admires the bristly scruff over Jesse's jaw and the way his body is so, so long. He remembers the delicious tattoo that curves over Jesse's forearm. "Hey, uh, I'll just—I'll be right back," he stammers. He takes the stairs as casually as a man in a panic can. But he doesn't want to give Jesse the wrong idea, so he takes it slow until he reaches his bedroom.
Saul locks himself in the king-sized bathroom and takes a deep breath. He can do this. He can totally do this. Jesse's tipsy, which means he might be more agreeable to Saul's advances. It's not like he hasn't been laughing at Saul's jokes all night, even the awful ones.
All Saul needs to do is psych himself up. Don't let Jesse see the terrified, paranoid man inside. Saul Goodman doesn't stumble over his words or wipe his too-sweaty palms on the front of his slacks. That's Jimmy McGill's shtick, and Jimmy McGill died a long time ago.
Saul rubs a hand over his mouth. This is just like giving an opening or closing statement, except instead of a jury he's only got to convince one person.
"So, uh, hey, Jesse," he starts, trying to find the right combination of words, "if you still want me to put out, now would be a good time to ask."
No, no, no.
"So, Jesse, maybe we could go upstairs and, uh, see what happens?"
That sounds like he can't make up his mind whether he wants to have sex or not. Amazing.
"Hey, kid, I, uh, I'm not really the best at this, but if you wanted to, y'know, fool around or something, I'd be up for that."
Indecisive and inexperienced. Perfect.
"I really want to be responsible for your next orgasm."
Why is this so hard? How do people even do this?
"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?"
Could he sound like more of a sleaze if he tried?
Maybe he's approaching this all wrong. Jesse appreciates Saul's sense of humor, and this isn't something Saul's capable of handling face to face. Maybe...
Saul drags his cell phone out of his pocket and switches the screen to life. His conversation with Jesse is still open, beckoning him to send a life-ruining text message. It would be so much easier to play it off as a joke through text in case something goes horribly wrong.
With shaky fingers, Saul types: Still want me to put out tonight? ;) #whathappensinvegas
He hits send before he can talk himself out of it.
Oh God, oh Jesus, what the fuck did he just do? It's too late to recall that text. It's out there, arriving on Jesse's phone with a cheery little chime.
Why did he do that?
Saul rakes a hand through his hair. As much as he wants to stay here until the awkwardness can't hurt him anymore, it'll be difficult to pretend the text was a joke if he's hiding in the bathroom like a chump.
Saul pockets his phone—as if it hasn't ruined his entire life—and opens the door. Jesse's on the balcony, staring at his cell phone. He turns around when he hears Saul's footfalls coming closer. "Dude, did you just text me from the john?"
Saul pauses mid-stride. Oh no. "Wh—no! I was just..." Only revealing how pathetic he is can stop this hurricane of awful from sweeping them up. "I was trying to think of a half decent way to ask you if you wanted—if that was something that's on the table or not." He forces up a pained smile. If all else fails, maybe Jesse will take pity on him.
If Jesse pities Saul, it's not entirely clear through the graceless horse noises he's making.
Saul sighs. "A simple 'no' will suffice."
"Oh my God, you seriously—" Jesse gasps, breathless.
"It's not funny."
Jesse takes a breath and loses it immediately at the sight of Saul's wounded offense.
"Okay, you've been drinking, so I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt here." Saul can't be too upset about it, because Jesse's insanely good-looking, especially when he laughs. Over the course of almost a year, Saul's seen Jesse go from a lithe, loudmouth little twink boy to something harder and more rugged, yet still maintaining his youthful eyes and smile.
It's as if Jesse tried emulating Heisenberg when he cut his hair short, but couldn't complete the transformation because his heart is too full of hope and wonder. Saul sees it in the way Jesse laughs and smiles, the twinkle in his eye that says the old Jesse Pinkman's still in there, clawing to get out.
Jesse's hysterics taper into a huff of laughter that might be the last of it. But he's still grinning like this is going to be funny forever. "Dude, that's—I don't even know what that is."
"It's pathetic, I know," Saul supplies with a heavy sigh.
Jesse does that squinty thing with his eyes and nose. "That's not the word I'd use."
"Right, that'd be, what? 'Hella lame'? 'Gay as hell'? Something along those lines?"
"Those are all more than one word."
Saul throws his hands up in irritated disbelief.
"It's not pathetic," Jesse says. "I get it. You're nervous, right? So am I. But we can figure it out." He rubs the back of his neck, glances away. "I mean, if I was gonna try it with anybody, it'd be you. 'Cause I know you won't, like, use it against me or anything."
Saul wonders how often Jesse's been manipulated to force him into guarding himself like that.
"Well, that's... oddly sweet." Saul never dreamed the possibility of sex with Jesse Pinkman could exist outside his own head. "But, hey, don't let me talk you into something you don't want."
"N—no, I do," Jesse says. He licks his lips, and, God, Saul wants to kiss that stupid, amazing mouth. "Do you really—with me?"
Saul looks around the room. "Is there someone else here I could be asking?"
"The ghosts," Jesse says, completely serious.
"How would you even have sex with a ghost?"
Jesse shrugs. "Demi Moore did it in that movie."
Saul thinks he's finally found someone who will understand his lame '80s movie references. "Well, I don't want to have mind-blowing, life-altering sex with a ghost."
"You think you're that good, huh?"
Saul moves closer, reaches down and starts working Jesse's belt out of its clasp. "I've had some, uh, pretty satisfied customers."
Saul doesn't answer. All he can focus on is how Jesse breathes hard into the space between them. Saul gets the belt unhooked, tugs Jesse's shirttails out of his pants. He can't help but slide his palm over Jesse's stomach and drag his fingers through the tease of hair. Jesse drops his head down to watch, gasping a breath as if he's surprised by how much he likes this.
Jesse's cheeks flush pink, his lips parted in arousal. Saul moves his hand around the curve of Jesse's hip, glides his fingertips along the valley of his spine. "If you don't want this, just say the word," Saul reminds him.
Jesse catches Saul's wrist, and Saul worries that Jesse might want to stop. "No, I want this," he says, his voice low and breathy. He leads Saul up the stairs, stumbling a bit. Saul catches him, his hands low and tight on Jesse's back as they make it into Saul's bedroom.
Jesse drops onto the mattress, reaching out for Saul's tie and pulling him closer. He ends up jerking Saul forward, and Saul has to catch his fall with his hands planted on either side of Jesse. Minus a couple layers of clothing, their dicks are touching.
And Jesse is unbearably hard.
Saul's brain snags on that particular detail while Jesse unravels his necktie and works on the buttons of Saul's shirt. Saul moves so he can stand, kicks off his shoes and unbuckles his belt. He doubts Jesse can summon that kind of dexterity when his dick's hard enough to hunt with.
Jesse gets Saul's shirt open and skims his palms over his chest. Saul loves the way Jesse's hands feel gliding down his abdomen. Jesse unbuttons and unzips him, sticks a hand inside Saul's boxers and wraps his fingers around his cock.
Saul shudders an embarrassing sound of want and nudges his hips into Jesse's touch. Jesse drops his head back and giggles. "Oh my God, this is the gayest thing I've ever done," he says, his fist squeezing and stroking.
"Not even in my top ten," Saul breathes out.
Jesse laughs again, his free hand pushing Saul's pants over his hips. Saul works Jesse's tie loose and hears two clunking sounds behind him. He looks in the direction of the noise and finds Jesse's shoes on the floor next to his own. Jesse might be trying to peel off his socks with his toes. Saul slips the buttons of Jesse's shirt from their clasps, and, holy fuck, look at him.
Saul's mouth goes impossibly dry. Jesse's lying there on the bed with his naked torso on display, and Saul cannot stop staring. The deliciously-placed dragon tattoo above Jesse's left nipple that Saul wants to put his mouth on. The teasing trail of hair leading from his navel to the slipping edge of his pants. The sparse patch of fuzz over his chest. The hollows of his throat and collarbone. The dip of his hipbones. His tattoo. His nipples.
Jesse bites his lower lip and squeezes Saul's dick. "Yo, c'mon, I thought you wanted to fuck me." Jesse wriggles underneath him, and, goddamn, that feels amazing. Saul stands up for a moment to tug Jesse's pants and boxers off in one go, discarding them like rags on the floor. Jesse is naked in Saul's bed. It takes a moment for that to really register.
Jesse slides his arms out of his shirt sleeves and tosses the shirt over the edge of the bed. He grabs a hold of Saul the best he can and hauls him up the bed. "Shit, dude, you weigh a ton." He hooks his legs around Saul's hips, sliding his hands up and down Saul's arms and chest.
Saul fits a hand around the curve of Jesse's thigh and squeezes with the slightest pressure, just enough to feel the taut muscle there. His thumb finds that little juncture where Jesse's knee and leg meet. Jesse giggles again, squirming under Saul's touch. Saul dips down, because he's had the urge to kiss the tattoo on Jesse's chest since he saw it.
Jesse hums a contented sound and arches his spine off of the mattress. He writhes in the bed, making the sheets slide and rumple. Jesse's hands roam over Saul's back and push at his boxers, nudging them down his thighs. Saul opens his mouth around Jesse's nipple. Jesse mewls out a sound Saul absolutely wants to hear again tonight. And maybe for the rest of his life.
Jesse clutches at the base of Saul's spine, his fingers digging in. Saul grinds his hips into the space between Jesse's legs. Jesse takes a sharp breath, because that's his dick Saul's grinding into. Saul smirks and grazes his teeth over the sensitive nub in his mouth. Jesse groans, squirming in the sheets like he's dying.
This is the only chance Saul has to worship every inch of Jesse's body before they're just awkward sort-of friends tomorrow. He sucks kisses over Jesse's throat and the snaking tattoo on his chest. He sucks and nips at Jesse's nipples until Jesse's clawing at Saul's back and sliding his legs over the bed. Jesse reaches down with an impatient hand, but Saul pins his wrist to the mattress. "No way. I'm gettin' you off, Pinkman."
Jesse licks his lips like that's the hottest thing he's ever heard. "Was that a lawyer joke?" he says, his nose crinkled in that adorable way of his.
Saul chuckles. "Maybe." He sits up, kneeling over Jesse in a way that makes him sort of dizzy. "Turn over."
Jesse's mouth opens, his lips curling around a smirk. He does as he's told while Saul moves to the foot of the bed and digs through his bag. "You better not be jerking off," Saul warns him. "I might think you don't trust me to give you a mind-blowing orgasm."
Jesse snorts a muffled laugh. "You're all talk. I bet you're over there tryin' to get your nut up."
"Not exactly," Saul says. He finds the bottle of lube he brought, because you never know when you're going to get laid. He'll be damned if he's caught unprepared in the heat of the moment.
Jesse's lying flat on his stomach with his face buried in the pillows when Saul makes it back to the bed. Jesse's back is almost as amazing as his front. There's a skull tattoo between his shoulder blades that Saul knows he'll have fun kissing. Light, sparse freckles cover Jesse's shoulder. His perfect ass bears a dimple above each cheek, and, man, that should not be so fucking hot.
Saul snaps the bottle open and gets his fingers wet. He tugs Jesse up to his knees, teases a finger at his opening. Jesse moans into the pillows and tilts his hips into the press of Saul's hand. "Oh fuck, that's"—he swallows—"that's good." Saul can't believe this is happening, can't believe he's even doing this. He's fingering Jesse Pinkman, and the kid's actually enjoying it. Saul might be the first person to touch Jesse like this, and his stomach flips at the thought.
Jesse's hands curl around the pillows as Saul works his fingers in and out, stroking him open. He hears Jesse moan something that sounds like praise and maybe even Saul's name. Arousal curls in his belly, and he has to hear that again.
Jesse whines a shaky sound of loss when Saul slides his fingers out. "I didn't come yet."
"I know, kid," Saul grumbles, lathering his dick in the oil. "Just let me get inside you first before you start grading my performance." Jesse huffs impatience, but it's subsumed into a gasp as Saul lines himself up and slides in. Jesse takes it like a goddamn champ, lets Saul spread him open and take him. He's so tight and hot and wet it's fucking with Saul's head a little. Every coherent thought drops out of Saul's brain once he's buried deep inside Jesse. He can barely think anymore. His hips shove forward and drive into Jesse, pulling fractured little moans from him that sound so fucking good.
Saul digs his fingers into Jesse's hips and curls over him. He's sort of glad he can't see Jesse's face while they're doing this, because it's already too much. Watching Jesse's teeth capture his lower lip and his mouth open around moans might actually kill Saul.
Jesse chokes out broken noises and pushes his hips back, deepening the push and pull. They find a rhythm that works for this frantic, desperate, needy fuck. Saul breathes hot over Jesse's back tattoo, pressing his lips over the ink when Jesse's groans set his nerves ablaze.
His hands squeeze around Jesse's hips, coaxing him to move faster and rougher. Saul's name shakes out from Jesse's lips, a plea and a benediction all at once. Then he's gasping, "Fuck, God, yes, shit," and clawing at the pillows as he falls apart. Saul murmurs, "Jesse, Jesse, Jesse," into the curve of Jesse's shoulder, and he loses it in one hot slide, every muscle tight and twisted as he fucking ruins Jesse Pinkman. Jesse shakes through their shared orgasm, his entire body quaking and moans trembling in his throat. Saul drops his forehead against the tattoo on Jesse's back while his hips wring out the dying pulses of his climax.
"That was the shit," Jesse slurs into the pillow, and Saul can hear the smile in his voice. No, he didn't ruin Jesse. He ruined any hope of them having a non-sexual relationship, because Saul wants every night to end like this. He can feel Jesse's frantic heartbeat slow to a normal rhythm as they ride out the dimming waves of bliss.
"I told you I was a professional," Saul reminds him, because he so did. He drops into the empty space beside Jesse, still sort of catching his breath. Jesse slumps over the bed, his limbs about as functional as wet noodles. He turns onto his side to keep his jizz-smeared belly from touching the sheets.
"Yeah, I guess you are." Jesse's eyes are too wide and too blue for Saul to handle right now. His gaze flits across Saul's face before he pushes off of the bed and pads into the bathroom. Saul worries that he's done something wrong, said something stupid to make Jesse regret the whole thing. It wouldn't be the first time, but it matters because it's Jesse. Orgasms have already demolished their friendship. Here on this shaky ground, anything could go abysmally wrong.
Saul's clothes lay in a pile on the floor. He finds his boxers and pulls them on, his legs still rubbery. He strains to listen for the sound of a shower running or the flush of a toilet, something to clue him in to why Jesse ran off like Saul proposed marriage.
After a nerve-racking thirty seconds or so, Jesse emerges from the bathroom. His stomach's sort of shiny and clean, and—oh. That explains so much. Saul chuckles to himself, amazed at the heights of his own paranoia. Jesse quirks a brow with a hint of a smile on his lips. "Cool boxers."
Saul's got no idea why Jesse thinks boring old plaid is cool, unless he's being sarcastic, which he probably is, and—
Saul glances down and sees black with blue flames, and, goddammit, he grabbed the wrong underwear.
Yeah, it's probably time for Saul to die now.
He drags a hand over his face, mortified. "I didn't even notice." He slips his thumbs underneath the elastic. "I'm sorry, I'll just—"
"No! They look dope." Jesse grins and sits beside him, stilling Saul's hands by laying his own over them. Saul wonders if the sight of him in Jesse's clothes is as glorious as the reverse would be. Probably not.
Saul is so fucking grateful Jesse got drunk tonight. None of this would have happened if Jesse were sober. The thought makes him sad, so he shakes it off with a joke. "Told you the charm works."
It takes Jesse a moment, then he gasps, "No way," his mouth open in surprise. "Were you—were you seriously workin' me?" He laughs. "I kinda feel like a slut."
"Don't beat yourself up over it, kid. You didn't stand a chance."
"Why me?" Jesse asks, tugging the sheets over his legs, suddenly self-conscious of his nudity. "I mean, if you're so smooth, you could'a got anyone you wanted, right?"
The answer's right there in Jesse's question, but he doesn't hear it. "I enjoy a challenge," Saul says instead.
Jesse smiles and looks away, a tinge of blush under his cheeks. When their eyes meet again, he fixes Saul with that wide-eyed, open look. "Is it—is it weird that I wanna sleep with you? Like, literally?"
Saul's tempted to make a joke out of that too, something like, "Now that's the gayest thing I've ever done." But when Jesse looks at him like this, he has no idea how to deal with it other than be honest. "No, it's not weird."
"Can I?" Jesse rubs the back of his neck, his go-to "I'm uncomfortable" gesture.
Jesse climbs under the blankets, tentative like Saul might change his mind. He wraps himself up like a burrito and turns so his back's facing Saul. Saul wants to kiss the curve of his neck, but since they're no longer a tangle of sweaty nudity that kind of intimacy might be uncalled for. So Saul settles in and enjoys the moment while it lasts.