?

Log in

 
 
16 September 2010 @ 02:28 pm
Havemercy; In Thunder, Lightning, or In Rain 1/2; Rook/Thom; NC-17  
part one



--

We never talked after we fucked, but sometimes we ordered a pizza and got horrendously drunk during a hockey game and once it was done and the Cobalts had won, we would have awful maudlin conversations.

This was only if it was an obvious game, of course, because if it was close we were both so worked up by the end we ended up fucking on the sofa. The kid was still a fabulous fuck, and Have tended to leave us alone, though sometimes she watched from the kitchen counter, this knowing look on her face, smug as all fuck, and I would flip her off over Thom's head.

But we would talk every once in a while, and one night I was drunk enough and happy enough to tell him about Hilary. He'd been talking about the whorehouse he'd grown up in, about the boy who gave him hand-me-downs and the girl that beat him up and taught him how to throw a fucking hard punch, and the drink in me'd decided it was time for me to return the favor.

"Hilary was a fucking smart three-year-old brat," I said. "He learned how to fucking read when he was three, just by listening to me tell him what street signs said what. But he had no common sense, the fucking pest. In the summer he'd eat fireflies, 'cause he thought they'd make him glow. And he never fucking listened to me." I didn't tell him he listened to me that day, when I told him to stay in the house and he fucking had, actually fucking listened to me for fucking once, and look where he ended up.

The kid said nothing in response to that, just looked oddly pale. Prolly the light. Then he glanced at the clock and said, "Shit! I have class tomorrow at seven-thirty, and it's past midnight." He stood up and said, "I should get--"

"What, no fuck?" I asked, sprawling back on the couch.

"It's Chemistry 306," he said, pleading suddenly, almost desperate. "And I have a test--"

I rolled my eyes. "Whatever."

He went to bed. I called a whore.

Have was quiet all night, which was fucking weird but a good thing, overall, except for the part where I couldn't sleep 'cause she wasn't moving around to make noise. But when the whore left and I got up to piss, Thom's light was still on--probably studying, prude that he was--and it was gratifying to know that he knew that I fucked some bitch but it could have been him, if he hadn't been too busy taking it up the ass from the 'Versity like a good little shit.

--

The next morning he was gone when I woke up, and still hadn't returned that night. He called, saying something had come up in some class, and I told him to stop fucking caring so much and just come the fuck home.

Part of me wondered if I'd done something, and most of me didn't particularly care. After all, it wasn't like I was invested in this…thing we did, anyway. Why should I fucking care?

But…part of me did fucking care, and that pissed me off more than almost anything ever had.

Have and I ordered Kyril take-out and sat on the couch and ate horrible, delicious fried food. She was more subdued than usual, but that didn't make her any less amused at the fact that I was clearly suffering from fucking emotions. It just made me more angry, and Havemercy called me grouch and I kind of wanted to wring her neck.

Even though I went to bed alone, she didn’t come with me, which was odd, but she gave me that I can take care of myself and you, you little fucker look and I let her be.

Thom wasn't there the next morning, either. He'd been home, though; there were new dirty clothes in the hamper in his bathroom. He didn't call all day, and I wasn't worried but it was fucking weird.

I taught that afternoon, and Have was lounging on the couch, still lazier than usual.

"You're being fucking lazy," I told her, and she gave me an irritated look.

Fuck you, she said, Go be a productive member of society and teach little brats how to kill other little brats.

Which was a pretty accurate assessment of what I did, except for the 'productive member of society' part. I don't think glaring at small children is really productive for anyone except me and Have.

We sure as fuck like it, though.

--

The brats were pretty on board that afternoon, which was surprising in a good way. Usually they were so far behind me that if it'd been the war I would have killed them in milliseconds. They might have lasted a whole second that lesson, though, which was truly impressive.

I was sparring with one of the older, less-incompetent ones when the door slammed open.

I whirled. "How many times have I fucking told you to--"

Thom was standing there, holding a pet carrier. His face was the color of paper, and his hands were trembling.

And he was holding a fucking pet carrier. The one that I bought for Havemercy when I'd gotten her, though I'd never used it. She'd never been sick, never needed it.

"It's--" he said, and I shoved him hard against the wall.

"What did you do?"

Thom shook his head. "Nothing! She just--she came in through the window and she was acting odd, moving slowly, and she just went to sleep on the floor--"

"What," I hissed, "the fuck did you do."

"Nothing!" Thom said, and shoved me off. "I did nothing! I put her in her carrier and took her here because I don't know where you take her to the vet!"

I stopped, and took the carrier from his hands, holding it up. Have was in there, awake but she was clearly weak. She barely lifted her head.

I turned back to the class. "Lesson's over. Go home."

Then I tucked the carrier under one arm and grabbed the kid's with the other and dragged them out to my car. I shoved him into the shotgun seat, put the carrier in his lap, and got in on my side.

"I--"

"If you say another fucking word I am going to slit your throat."

His mouth snapped shut, and I nearly smirked, except it took one glance at the carrier in his lap and all I could think of was Have, sick and weak and I didn't have a fucking clue why.

We got on the freeway and Thom swallowed so hard I could hear it. Fucking bitch.

"I'm Hilary, John," he said suddenly.

I slammed one hand on the wheel and snarled, "What the fuck did I—" and then the words made sense, or didn't make sense but I understood them--

Thom looked like he was going to throw up. "You're my brother, John. I'm Hilary."

I pulled over. "What kind of sick fucking joke is this?"

"It's not a joke. We--you used to go out to the library dumpster, and get books they'd thrown away. In the winter a lot of kids would get sick or something, and there might be vomit or saliva or urine on them, and so they would just throw them away because they got city funding and could afford to do that. You'd bring the books home to me, and we'd read them. Sometimes you'd read them to me, but I got to reading them on my own."

He looked down at the carrier, and I shook my head, trying not to think and failing. I had done that. I remembered the sick smell of the trash, the books stained with puke and piss and little-kid drool, Hilary's fucking smile as bright as the sun when I gave them to him--

--and everything just kind of clicked, his smile like our bitch of a mother's, except kind, the familiar considering look—our asshole of a father calculating the money he'd made the week, before he realized there was never enough and looking at us with resentment—and fuck, he had Mother's eyes. He had Hilary's fucking eyes, of course, that was where I'd always seen them, trusting and certain that I could do no wrong--

Have.

"We'll talk about this later." I pulled back onto the freeway.

Thom was--the kid was fucking Hilary.

I thought I was going to puke.

--

I went to Have's vet every few years, just to make sure she was doing okay. She knew me, because the statues of the airmen weren't far away and because she didn't have any other patients with pet hawks, but I'd never come in without an appointment and she was surprised to see Have in a carrier and not on my shoulder.

"She's fucking sick," I told him. "She's been weak, and the kid over there says this afternoon she went to sleep on the floor, not one of her perches, lying on her fucking side."

The doc bent slightly and looked in. She was skinny and kind of bitchy and married to some desert prince and had a strange quality to her voice but she knew what the fuck she was doing and she was damn good at her job and Have liked her as much as Have liked anyone.

She nodded. "I'll run some tests, Airman Rook," she said, and I scowled at her use of my title. She never didn't call me 'Airman,' though, so I'd fucking given up. "Let's move to an exam room."

In the room she took Have out of the carrier. Have let her, but she seemed so weak that it wouldn't have mattered either way. "She's…around ten or eleven now, right? I'll check her file for the exact age in a moment."

I nodded. "Almost eleven, I think."

The doc ran her fingers down her wings gently, and then her torso. She bent each little leg slowly, and it struck me how small Have really was, compared to humans. How weak parts of her were, how easy it would be to break one of her legs or her hollow-boned wings.

"No wounds or anomalies," the doc murmured, and coaxed Have's mouth open. "Hmm. I'll need to draw some blood, all right?" Looking down at her, she asked, "Can the Airman stay here, or do you need him to come with you?"

He might need me, Have said, tossing her head, still snooty as fuck even when sick. I'll be fine.

The doc shot me a look that said, will you be fine? and I just glared at her and sat on the bench next to Thom, who was pale and shaking, his hands clenched into fists.

"Rook," he began, and then, "John—"

"Shut the fuck up," I told him, and he did, and we sat there, not looking at each other. I wasn't thinking about him, I reminded myself, and for the most part I wasn't: I was focused on Have, on hearing her and the doc if I could, on her smell still in the room and on my shirt, on the feather she'd shed in the carrier.

I didn't know what I was going to do if she was sick. And I couldn't even think about what would fucking happen if she—

I took the feather from the carrier and buried my face in my hands, waiting for the damn doc to come back.

--

I didn't know how much time had passed, but something occurred to me as we sat in the exam room, something I remembered Hilary doing, something I remembered seeing when Thom had thrown his head back when he came, something I had never connected. I grabbed his shoulder, ignored his, "Ro—Jo--what--" and pushed his hair off his forehead.

And there it was, a small white scar, from when Hilary had tumbled down the steps and cracked his head on the landing.

It seemed like a part of me had always known.

"Fuck," I said, and then: "Fuck!."

"I'm sorry," Thom--Hilary said, real quiet-like. "I'm so sorry." He reached out, like he was gonna set a hand on my shoulder, thought better of it, and pulled away. We sat at opposite ends of the bench, a foot of space or more between us.

Fuck.

--
More time passed, hours or minutes, and then the doc came back in, Havemercy cradled in her arms.

"Well?" I said, and she stroked Have's feathers, gently.

"It's not good news," she said. "It's not good news at all."

I swallowed. "What the fuck is it?"

She sighed. "It's called cholangiocarcinoma. It's a form of liver cancer—I took a few cultures, noticed some liver abnormalities, and remembered reading about it a few months ago in a journal. The cancer's most frequently found in humans, but a strand of it was found in red-tailed hawks not too long ago." She placed Have in my arms, and I cradled her to me, not thinking about how fucking ridiculous I looked. "Symptoms include pain, jaundice, abnormalities in tests, itching, fever, and weight loss, and while she hasn't lost any weight—that you would have noticed—she's had all the others. She just has been hiding them very well. She's the smartest bird I've ever met, you know."

"How long?" I asked hoarsely, and she shrugged.

"She's been sick for a few months, maybe."

"How long does she fucking have left?" I demanded, and the doc closed her eyes.

"Hours. Probably less."

There wasn't anything you could do about it, Have's face said. You would have worried, and you're not meant for worrying.

"You're worth worrying about," I said, and she cackled a little.

Brat, she said fondly, and nuzzled my hand, pecking at it.

"You're welcome to stay as long as you like," the doc said quietly, and I nodded, leaning back against the wall, settling Have in my lap, stroking the soft feathers on her head.

Thom—Hilary—the kid stood up after a while, and left. He came back later. I didn't know how long he'd been or where he'd gone, and I honestly didn't care.

He's a good kid, she said when he came back. He's good for you.

"He's my brother," I told her, raw. "It's the whole fucking universe against me."

Against us, her face said. You and me, and maybe him, if we decide so.

"Haven't you decided that already?" I asked, and she cackled, weakly.

Guess I have, she said, and pecked my hand again. I'm sorry, you little fucker, she said, and sighed.

I looked up, and the kid and the doc were leaning against the counter, not watching me; Thom reading a book, though his eyes weren't moving at all; the doc looking through her charts.

Have shuddered, and let out a loud breath, and my heart squeezed tight on itself.

I picked her up off my lap and she was trembling and looked up at me. Her eyes were brilliantly gold still, and sharp, but glassy with pain.

"I thought—" I said, and looked up. Thom—Hilary—Thom was leading the doc out of the exam room, though they left the door open. A shallow comfort, but one nonetheless. "I thought I had years."

You know better than anyone how fast things change, her face said. Don't be a fool.

"I know," I said. "I—I—"

Bastion fuck, don't say it! She looked fairly horrified. Fuck, you're even more of a cindy than I thought you were, you rude little asshole.

"Fuck you," I told her, and she pecked weakly at my hand, and looked up at me. She seemed endlessly exhausted.

I held her, more gentle than I'd ever fucking held anything, and begged her to live. Begged whoever, whatever was out there to let her live, to suck away my life and give it to her.

She made a weak little squawky sound, said, get some manners, you fucking fool, and went limp.

"Have. Have." I rubbed my fingers against her. "Havemercy. Havemercy,, you litte bitch, wake the basion fuck up! Damn it, you cunt, wake up!"

A big hand landed on my arm, gentle. "Rook," the kid said, and it was the first time he'd ever called me by name when we weren't fucking. "Rook, she's—" he stopped, and looked in my eyes, and then removed his hand when he read whatever he saw there.

I grabbed his wrist, pulled him back, rested my face on his shoulder, my head too heavy for my neck.

"Fuck you," I told him. "Fuck you and her and everyone in this whole bastion-damned fucking world and fuck it!"

"I know," he said, and when I punched him in the jaw, he let me.

--

We went home, Thom—Hilary—the kid driving, with Havemercy in a little box that was supposed to go in the freezer until I decided where to bury her. The doc hadn't charged me for the visit, even though it was nearly midnight and I'd been there for eight hours. We left the pet carrier with her.

I couldn't move, barely. The kid was moving me, holding my elbow, a dark bruise forming on his jaw where I'd hit him. I didn't regret it. He very quietly told me to turn left here, here's the elevator, come on, and by the time we got to the top I was sort of thinking straight. I stopped the elevator on the floor below me and Thom followed me, confusedly, his face pale, as we walked to the stairwell.

"What are we doing?" he asked, and I stopped.

"We're taking the fucking stairs," I said. "I want to do something." I put my key into the stairwell lock.

"Why?"

"Why the fuck not." I unlocked the door and shoved it open. "You're my little fucking brother, you should listen to me."

The kid swallowed, his face going even whiter, and followed me into the stairwell, but he didn't climb. I stopped and turned around. "What the fuck are you doing."

"I--I should have said it right away, when you talked about it last week." Thom--Hilary--said. "B-but, we'd already--and I didn't--" He looked completely fucking miserable.

"Shut the fuck up," I said. "I don't know what the fuck I would have done if you'd told me you had an older brother who brought you picture books from the library dumpster that had been puked on by little kids. I'm not going to beat you up."

Except I wanted to punch something, or stab it, or go out and get piss-drunk and kill someone and leave 'em for dead in an alleyway—because it was only just occurring to me that Have was dead, had fucking died and the kid who I'd been screwing, who I actually might have liked, as much as I liked anyone, was my kid fucking brother, the one thing I remembered happily about growing up in Molly and I'd been fucking him, and neither of us had known and Havemercy was dead and--

I sat down on the landing and thrust Havemercy's box at him. "Go. Go away."

Thom--Hil--the kid jumped and stared at me. "Wh-what?"

"Go to your room or school or anywhere, just...fucking leave me alone right now."

He nodded, shakily, and rubbed his eyes under his spectacles and nodded again. "O-okay." And then he didn't leave.

Little shit. "Did you hear me? Get. The. Fuck. Out."

He jumped and dashed up the stairs and I heard the door click shut.

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

--

It didn't even fucking matter if I liked the kid or not, if he was my brother or not. Because it just kept setting in, deeper and deeper and deeper, kind of like shoving a knife in my ribs and just twisting it, more and more, and deeper and deeper, until I thought it would come out my back but it never did.

It never did because there was no fucking knife, the thing twisting in my ribs was fact and the fact was that Havemercy was dead.

I finally managed to make it up the stairs and into the front hall, but I couldn't go any further. Have had perches--ones designed for her and places she liked to perch on whether they were meant for a bird or not--in every room. More than one. One next to the coat rack. The spot on the back of the couch, just barely visible from the hall, where her claws had dug into the leather over and over during hockey games and rugby matches and UFC on Saturday nights.

My boots by the door.

Have was fucking everything. I had nothing without her. My whole life was hers, my schedule, my apartment, my food, hell, if I wasn't fucking anyone (and sometimes if I was) she roosted on one of my bedposts. No more walks in the park, no more glaring at fucking annoying little kids at the playground, no more bastion-damned half-conversations in the kitchen whenever I tried to make dinner. Nothing.

There was liquor in the kitchen, which had been my plan when I'd lurched up the steps, but now I couldn't move. Couldn't do anything but slide to the ground and rest my cheek against my knees, hands at my sides, lying limp on the tile. I'd held her in those fucking useless hands and willed her to live and she had died anyway.

"Maybe this is how Balfour feels all the time," I said aloud. My voice was hoarse.

--

The need to shit finally got me off the floor and into the toilet, and from there I went to the kitchen and found vodka. I sat on the chair in the living room I never sat on—I always sat on the couch, Have on the back of it behind me—closed my eyes, and drank the entire fifth in two hours.

The kid found me the next morning in the bathroom, covered in puke. Most of it had, somehow, made it into the toilet. Some of it hadn’t.

He moved me to another bathroom and then I heard the phone, him talking quietly. Probably calling the cleaning lady, part of me realized.

The cleaning lady had been terrified of Have. She'd respected her like nothing else, but had been so fucking scared of her—

If I was thinking of that—thinking of her--I needed more alcohol. My headache would go away if I was drunk.

And that was how I spent the next week.

--

At some point I actually passed out, instead of living in fuzzy drunk world, and when I woke up I was in my bed. The sheets were clean—I knew I'd puked on 'em at least once—the bedroom was picked up—oh right, I hadn't changed clothes in bastion knew how long—and my head didn't hurt so much.

I needed something. Something—

Vodka.

I stumbled to the kitchen. The clock read three-oh-eight, and it was dark. Morning. Early, then. Or late.

I still had alcohol. Huh. The cabinet was actually fully stocked, and I wondered if the kid had been—

He must have been keeping it full. For me? Even though he thought I was being a fucking idiot? He had to have been thinking that, he was a fucking brownnosing asshole, he couldn't have thought I needed it, maybe he wanted me to poison myself—

Maybe he was being fucking nice—

I pulled out a fresh handle of vodka and took three swigs from the bottle. It burned going down.

This wasn't what I needed. I needed loss of control, yeah, but not like this. I needed someone to take it away from me. I needed to fucking forget about bastion-damned Havemercy and my fucking little baby brother and Have--

The kid.

I pushed open the kid's door and walked over to his bed, stripped, and crawled in. I felt kind of woozy. I wasn't drunk, not really—a couple of shots wouldn't do that to me—but I wasn't myself. I was—I felt strange and empty.

"Rook?" the kid asked sleepily. "Rook, what are you—"

"Fuck me," I told him, and kissed him.

His mouth went soft and slack underneath mine for a moment, and his tongue flickered against my lips, and then he pushed me away. "Rook. We can't. We're—"

"I don't fucking care," I said fiercely. "I don't fucking care, okay? And you're the only person I trust to fuck me and not pay me for it, and I need something and I don't know what and it's not a fuck but that's the closest I can fucking get."

"John," Thom said, and then, "Rook." His hand landed on the back of my head, and tangled in my hair, and then he pushed my head down onto his shoulder and held me there. " When was the last time you got more than an hour of sleep that wasn't passing out??"

The question surprised me, pissed me off. "What the fuck does that have to do with anything?" I demanded. "Why the fuck do you care?"

The hand in my hair tightened, and I knew he was setting his jaw. "Because you're my brother, even if I've only known for two weeks. And because I love you, more than I should."

The admission was fucking true, was one of those things you knew was true—no way was he lying about that, especially since a statement like that gave me free rein to mock him forfuckingever, and all of a sudden there was heat stinging at the back of my eyes.

"I loved her," I said into his collarbone.

"I know."

"I don't know what I'm supposed to do now."

"Think about it later," the kid—Thom, he was Thom, he was Thom and he was Hilary too but this, this was Thom more than anything—said, almost a whisper, and moved his hand to the back of my neck and rubbed, gently. "You should sleep now, okay?"

"I don't have anything without her," I said, and Thom laughed quietly into my hair.

"You remember," he said after a moment, "when we first slept together? And before we came back here, you asked me if I had anyone, and I said I had you." He shifted us, just a little, so he was almost curled around me. "It goes both ways, Rook. You have me too, if you want. I'm here for you. I'm not going to leave."

"You don't have anywhere else to go," I told him, and stuck my tongue in his ear.

He squeaked, pushing my head away, just like he had when he was three, and I laughed. It felt real, the first real thing I'd felt in days. "Fucking pussy," I said.

"Probably," he told me, and stroked my hair. "Sleep. Go ahead."

The vodka was just enough to make me sleepy, and my head ached but closing my eyes made it better. The kid smelled nice, like soap and sleep and warm, and I pushed my nose against his collarbone and smelled.

When I woke up, he was still there, and it was light out.

--

Turned out it was past noon, and Thom had skipped classes to fix a meal and pick up a little. When I stumbled into the kitchen, wearing only a pair of his sweatpants, he was on the phone.

"…much better, really," he was saying. "I don't think you have to worry too much. He'll be starting bar fights again in no time."

"Damn straight I will," I said, and Thom glanced at me, startled. "Is that Ghislain? Or fucking Adamo?"

"Luvander, actually," Thom said, and then into the phone: "Would you like to talk with him? He's awake."

I heard Luvander's voice on the other end, but not what he was saying, and when Thom sputtered into laughter I immediately got suspicious.

"Well, I'll let him know your night's still on next week," he said. "I'll talk to you later."

"You're a fucking Cindy, Luvander!" I hollered as Thom hung up, and heard the start of a laugh from the other end of the line as he put it back on the receiver.

"You seem better this morning," he said, and smiled.

Why hadn't I seen it before? That smile--fuck, all kind and trusting and unafraid even when he damn well should be—it was all Hilary.

"I made some macaroni and cheese," Thom said. "And after that you need to shower, or else I'll clear out the liquor cabinet."

I whirled from the pan on the stove and glared at him. He was leaning against the counter next to the refrigerator. "Don't you fucking dare--" I started and he narrowed his eyes.

"I'm serious," he said. "You stink. And booze is one thing, but you smell like puke and that's just nasty. When I got up this morning I could smell it all over my shirt. And in my hair."

I smirked. "Bastion fuck, Thom, could you be anymore of a fucking Nellie? Your fucking hair?"

"You're the one who braids it three times a week," Thom shot back. "Eat your fucking macaroni."

--

The afternoon wasn't as good as the morning, when we were watching TV but all I could see no matter where I sat was one of her perches, or the window I always left open for her, or a stray feather that had never been picked up.

It was worse two nights later, when Thom was at his job, and I opened the freezer to grab a frozen pizza and there she was, in her little box, and all of a sudden all I could think was how miserable I was after the war, slutting around and even after I won the lottery, alone except for the occasional whore and the other Airmen, all of us fucking miserable anyway, and what the fuck was I supposed to do now?

I was still standing there two hours later when Thom got home. He stood in the doorway and shouted my name till I started and pulled a knife, hurling it into the wall where his head would have been if he hadn't've ducked.

"I saw that one coming," he said dryly, and then his face grew concerned. "Are you all right? I've been home for twenty minutes and you've been like that the whole time."

I stared back down at the box, and came to a realization.

"I need to bury her," I said, and marched over to the phone and called directory assistance.

--

I had to wait til the stone I ordered from the gravestone guys came in—it was little but made of the most expensive fucking rock there was. What else was I supposed to do with that fucking money except waste it?

There was a pet cemetery near my apartment, but fuck if Have was going there. That was fucking ridiculous—I'd seen some rich bastards having a whole fucking funeral for their dog once, complete with a hearse and a fucking Sister and everything.

No, I buried her in one of the clearings in the park we liked—off the trail, right near the sign that said to keep on the fucking trail. Thom helped me dig, and then placed a hand on the lid of the box and stood and left, leaving me along with it. With her. With Havemercy.

"You were the best thing that ever happened to me, you know that?" I told her, hugging the box gently. "You were."

I didn't know what the fuck else to say after that, what else I could say that wouldn't sound worthless, and so I placed her in the ground and I covered her up and I put the little stone I'd ordered on top of the dirt. The stone said, Havemercy and the years she'd lived, and underneath it said, you common little fucker, her very favorite insult, and that was it.

I came back to the trail, and Thom was standing there, watching me careful-like.

"Bastion fuck," I said, "It's not like I'm out to stab you or anything. I'm not fucking insane."

He smiled, a little wry quirk of his lips. "No, you're insane, all right, but you've been insane for as long as I've known you and probably longer, so that's not about to change. I was—I was just thinking."

I looked at him, waiting.

He shook his head. "It's nothing, yet. Maybe later."

I narrowed my eyes. "You better fucking tell me later."

"I will," he said, but didn't meet my eyes. "Let's go get meat buns, all right?"

--

It felt wrong to sit at those tables without Have, so we went to a bench by one of the playgrounds instead. Glaring at the kids felt strange without Have, but Thom gave me disapproving looks instead—it wasn't the same, but I guessed it was okay.

His disapproving look was like our mother's, and I wondered, as often as I'd seen that fucking look, how I hadn't noticed. How I hadn't thought, or said—

It never fucking occurred to me, though, that Hilary was alive.

"We're the only ones who know," Thom said, and I looked at him. "Your friends know we—well, that we—" He glanced at the kids on the swings.

"That we fuck?" I asked, a little loudly, grinning like a madman. One of the mothers on a nearby bench gasped in horror. Thom flushed.

Thom looked down. "Yeah. And if we told them—if we told even Cook or Isobel"—the cleaning lady—"they would—well, they would react a lot like we did. But they'd feel pity, too."

Like me, like any good Mollyrat, Thom hated getting pityed.

"It's been almost seventeen years," he continued, his jaw set, not looking at me. "Telling everyone—is there really a point to it?"

I hadn't even thought of what I was going to say, if anyone was going to know. But Thom was right—to put it out in the open, 'specially after we'd been screwing for three months, would be…a bad fucking idea, was the best way I could put it.

"What are you saying?" I asked. "No, I fucking know what you're saying. I mean, what's your fucking point?"

He leaned over and kissed me on the mouth. A firm kiss, but short, and then he pulled away.

"I don't know about you," Thom said quietly, "but I'm not standing on the moral high ground. As much as I'd like to say that it'll change, I'm still a bit of a Mollyrat. I probably always will be." He took a breath.

"Before—before Have got sick, I was the happiest I've been…maybe ever. I know it won't—it can't--be the same; too many variables have been changed, but I want to be able to eat pizza on the floor half-naked with you and get worked up over hockey games and drink too much liquor."

"No such thing," I muttered, and he smiled.

"Like that." His smile turned sad, and he added, "And I've already told you I love you more than I should. That's been the case since before I knew we were siblings, and it's only worse now." He looked over at me. "I realize, of course, that all of this is setting me up for heartbreak. And I weighed the options and I decided that I don't care."

I thought about Hilary, how much I had fucking loved that boy, how I loved him still even if I hardly knew him, just because he was Hilary. And he still trusted me—bastion knows why—and he still smiled at me, and he still loved me, just like he had when he was a bit, and maybe more than that.

Hilary was the one thing I'd ever loved before Have, and I loved Have so very very much but I had loved Hilary desperately, passionately, little face tucked under my chin when we slept, little hands fisted in my dirty shirt, I'm never gonna let anything happen to you, you're the only good thing our parents ever made--and when I looked at Thom, it bubbled inside me, a little bit, that desperate love, under all the years and the war and the pain. I had felt it every day since I started living again, felt it and felt disgusting, because it was my brother and when I remembered Hilary's face, smiling at me sleepy in the morning, Thom's face appeared, sated and happy, draped across the unmade bed after he'd shoved me in the wet spot, the prick. It was still his mouth wrapped around my cock that I jerked off to in the shower, turning the water up when I was done so it was almost unbearably hot because he was my brother--my bastion-damned brother and I loved him more than anything else but I wanted him too. You don't love someone like that and want them too where I'm from, not if you wanted to stay alive and be as happy as you could.

But Thom knew that as well as I did and loved me anyway, he said, and it wasn't Hilary I wanted, it was Thom, and they were the same person but two different ideas and I loved them both.

There was no way this could work if I didn't love them both.

I looked at him. He was watching, his green eyes waiting. His glasses were still broken, tape holding the bridge together. Why hadn't he ever fucking fixed them? I'd pretty much gave him free rein to go do whatever the fuck he wanted with the money that I had no fucking clue what I was supposed to do with.

I kissed him. Not short like he'd done me, but long and deep and lots of tongue, one hand on the back of his head and the other between his shoulder blades, keeping him close. He melted almost right away, cupping my face, and I smiled into his mouth when I heard the mother on the bench next to us gasp again. I didn't pull away until he was panting, his lips red and swollen and wet, a string of spit connecting our mouths for a moment.

"Fine," I said, "But I'm getting you a new pair of specs."

--

He'd refused the glasses, because I would break them. He pointed to another spot, on the temple, taped up where I'd pulled them off and thrown them on the ground one night. I didn't remember that.

"You were too busy getting a blowjob," Thom said, and lifted an eyebrow.

"And fuck you too," I told him.

He laughed.

"You know what?" I told him. "Too fucking bad what you want or don't, we're going to get you a new pair of glasses so you don't look like an idiot at the 'Versity and ruin my good name—"he snorted—"and then we're going to go home and fuck. It's been two weeks since I've gotten laid."

He went red and looked away, and when he looked back at me, under his lashes, it was like he was looking forward to it too.

"I haven't had a checkup in a long time," he said, the tiny smile on his face turning sly. "It might be a while."

"I fucking hate you," I said, with very little anger. "You trying to make my life more fucking miserable?"

That sly smile widened. "I make your life interesting," he said, and pickpocketed my cell phone to call a doctor.

--

It was nearly three hours later when we finally got into the elevator, and before I could do anything he had hit the emergency stop button, dropped the plastic bag from the eye doctor's, and enveloped me in a hug so tight I thought he might crack one of my ribs.

"What the fu—"

"Shut up," Thom said. "We can have sex later. Right now I'm going to hug you." He buried his face in my shoulder. "You're going to have to fucking deal with it, all right?" He inhaled, and I felt his mouth turn up through my t-shirt. "You smell nice. Like a home."

Balfour said that the apartment smelled like commercial cleaning products, whiskey, and burnt pizza. I couldn't smell my own damn house, and Balfour was usually full of shit, but it honestly seemed pretty valid, and if that was Thom's idea of home, it was a pretty fucking weird one, honestly.

"Like home," I said. "You're fucking kidding."

His shoulders shook with laughing. "Why would I kid?" he asked, his voice muffled. "It's a good smell. Smells like you."

"Bastion fucking fuck," I said, "What on earth did I do to have a wimpy cunt for a little brother?"

"You were an asshole," he said, turning his face into my neck and hugging me tighter. "Now shut up and hug back or you won't ever get a blowjob again."

"That's an empty promise and you're full of shit," I told him, but I hugged him back anyway, my face next to his ear, his hair messy from the wind and smelling like shampoo and ink.

Bastion, I was turning into a Cindy.

And I didn't even fucking care. And I didn't care that I didn't fucking care, because I had my brother and I had Thom and I had everything I could possibly have, now that Have was somewhere else.

But even so, I knew where she was, and I remembered her, and she had made my life the best fucking thing ever, and even if she was gone she wasn't going to stop doing that, 'cause she'd found Thom, and she'd taught me how to love something, even if neither of us would have ever called it that.

So I let Thom hug me, and I hugged him back, and when he finally loosened his hold I said, "I hope you know I'm never gonna let you do that again. Ever."

He smiled, satisfied and sated in a way that had nothing to do with fucking, and said, "I know," kind of dreamily, and tangled his hand in my hair and kissed me.

Well, final-fucking-ly.

--

We stumbled into the apartment, kissing. He kicked off his shoes in the entryway, his hands at my fly right away, unzipping and shoving down and pushing his hands up my shirt and making little soft desperate hungry noises in my mouth and it had been three whole weeks since I had kissed him like this and I hadn't ever missed anyone's mouth like I'd fucking missed his.

Somehow, it wasn't until that moment that I realized I was well and truly fucked.

I pulled away and looked at him for a long moment.

He blinked back at me from behind his broken specs. "What. Seriously? Seriously, Rook?"

Fuck. Who was I to turn down willing, fantastic, free sex with no consequences and little to no chance of pain?

Well, shit happened every day, but Thom was a Mollyrat, and that was what we were fucking good at, staying alive even thought the shit happened. And he wasn't about to leave anytime soon. If anything, I'd get bored of him. Completely painless, for me, at least.

But it didn't seem like that would happen anything soon, either, though.

Well, then.

"Nothing," I said, and kissed him again, pushing him up against the wall so hard he went up on his tiptoes. He was still too skinny and light as fuck, prolly always would be given the fact that he inhaled whole pizzas without blinking and was still this fucking skinny, but he was healthy too and, more importantly, he was wrapping his legs around my waist and grinding and making filthy, dirty, gasping fuck sounds while I sucked hard on his throat and collarbone and ear. He was going to have hickeys everyfuckingwhere, and everyone in class the next morning would know he'd been fucked hard, and even if they didn't know who it was who was doing the fucking, it was a satisfying thought.

I grinned and bit down on his earlobe, and he bucked against me. "Fuck," he said and grabbed my hair. "Fuck, come here, Rook. Please."

I kissed him again, 'cause he asked nice.

He pulled away again and this time stripped my shirt clean off, old army t-shirt tearing a little in the process.


"Fuck this," I said, and pulled away, dragging him to my room and throwing him on the bed, before kicking off my boots and shucking my pants and crawling on top of him, pushing his own pants off and scraping my nails on his hipbones. He arched and moaned and bared his throat, red and purpling already, and the line of his jugular was enough to make me want more, want the taste of his skin in my mouth.

He's your brother, something little in me said, and I didn't give a fucking damn.

I kissed him again, and he bit at my lip and rolled us over, sudden and quick and a surprise. "Fuck," I said, and he grinned down at me and reached for the nightstand drawer, fishing through all the shit I'd shoved in there for the lube, pulling it out and pouring it into his hands.

"Bastion," I said, "We don't need that much."

"I could go slowly," he told me, reaching behind himself and gasping as he fucked himself on one finger, two, and then three as my own hand joined his, twisting and curling inside him to hit all the spots that made him shudder and gasp. "I thought you would appreciate expediency."

"What does that even fucking mean," I muttered, and he laughed, breathless and gaspy, and pulled off our fingers and slid down onto my cock.

He made a sound like he'd stopped breathing for a moment, and went so still I half-wondered if he'd just fucking died, and so the harsh breaths had to be mine, hitching at the end, sounds I had never heard myself make even when the fucking Ke-Han were torturing me.

And then he blinked, and sunk down all the way, and shuddered, and when he opened his eyes they were already all blissed-out and happy and he said, "Missed this."

"You're such a Nellie," I told him, and he laughed and started to move and reached for his dick, and in a fit of genius I smacked his hand away, grabbing his wrists. "You don't get that," I said, and bared my teeth up at him. "You are going to have to deal."

He looked at me, suddenly desperate behind the happy in his eyes, and I smiled at his cock, flushed red and almost angry and leaking steadily and he was at his best here, needing and not getting. "You're joking, rig—" he began, his voice cutting off into a moan when I pushed my hips up to meet him and laughed at him, low and hoarse.

"More," he said, his voice breaking, and then: "Faster, Rook, please--"

I grinned and slowed down, relishing the slide of my dick into him and the pull out and he whimpered, voiceless but begging anyway, and it was just fucking great, him wanting but not having, and me getting everything I fucking needed at that fucking perfect moment.

And, like he sometimes did, he came all of a sudden all over my stomach without even touching his cock, and then he slumped forward and lay gasping and wore-out on my chest.

"Fuck you," I said. "You're fucking kidding me."

He lifted his head slowly and the smile on his face was satisfied but also hungry. "Give me ten minutes," he said, "and don't you say shit about my stamina, you old man."

I opened my mouth to protest but he'd already slid down my stomach, smearing his come all over us, and was sucking my dick like it was his favorite thing in the world.

"I'm not old," I said, but it was kind of raw and crackly and not very convincing, even if it was the truth.

He pulled up, my cock sliding out of his mouth with a wet, obscene pop, and smiled. "We have all night," he said, almost out of the blue but not quite, and went back to town.

We did have all night. And I was damn well going to take fucking advantage of that.

--

We were naked and panting on the bed; Thom'd cleaned up with a pillowcase and grabbed the comforter from where it had slid to the floor with the rest of the sheets and pulled it up over us, and when I turned to face him he was watching me, hands curled next to his head, eyes big and soft like a kid's.

"Fucking what?" I asked, and he smiled, real quiet-like.

"I'm just glad I found you again," he said.

I blinked. "Bastion fuck," I said after a moment, "you are such a fucking pussy."

His smile widened, and one of his hands moved from next to his head to cover mine on the mattress. He didn't take it and he didn't lace our fingers together, he just touched it, and I thought about sitting with him and Have while he drew at the tables by the meat-bun stand, and I thought about Hilary, and I thought about him holding the shovel we'd bought, wiping a smudge of dirt off his face ('cept his hand left more dirt there instead), and then leaving me and Have alone, knowing exactly what I needed, and I thought about waking up to find him sitting next to the bed, drawing, but he never was drawing me naked or anything, it was always my hands or my feet hanging off the bed or my hair tangled on the pillow—he never let me look at his sketchbook, but I knew where he hid his fucking secrets. Kid'd gotten soft at the 'Versity; under the mattress was the worst fucking place to hide shit.

I turned my hand over, so our palms touched. "Pussy," I told him again, just for good measure, and then: "Go to sleep, you've got fucking class in the morning."

He laughed, quiet, and closed his eyes, and his breathing evened out in minutes, and I watched him sleep for a little while, his hand curled into a fist on my open palm.

It might have made me a fucking Cindy, so I wasn't ever going to say it, but I was glad I'd found him too.

--fin.


notes:

1) on Havemercy and Rook talking. I wanted to maintain their relationship as much as I could given the fact that Havemercy is no longer a talking dragon. In the end, I ended up not being able to convey things I wanted without Havemercy actually having some semblance of a voice. However, I don't want to imply that Havemercy is a special hawk or that Rook talks to animals. So it's like this: Havemercy is just abnormally smart for a bird, and Rook infers what she says. But his inferences are pretty much spot-on. Does that make sense?

2) On Thom and Rook's relationship. They get along a lot better here than they do in Havemercy, and even in Dragonsoul. There are a couple reasons for this: one, that I feel Thom and Rook's relationship would have been drastically better had they simply met one day on the street or something—that is to say, Thom's being there as sensitivity trainer automatically made them more antagonistic towards each other. The second reason has to do with Thom's characterization as well—he is four years younger here than he is in Havemercy, and so he's four years closer to living in Molly. Thus he's a) not as mature as he is in the actual book, and b) more rough-around-the-edges. I'd presume it took him a long time to be able to be fully accepted by rich aristocratic students, and while he might have grown out of it by the time he starts training the Airmen, I don't think he would have while he was still an undergrad. ☺
 
 
 
stark raving saneolukemi on September 17th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
You're very, very welcome. I totally bookmarked this on delicious.