Kio allowed himself to trail shaky fingers down Soubi’s bare back, from shoulders to tailbone. He wasn’t afraid of hurting him -- for God’s sake, how could he get any more hurt than that?
Yet somehow it was still hard to believe what he was seeing, so he felt compelled to touch. The criss-cross design of old, pale scars contrasted against the new and still oozing ones. Kio had soaked them, cleaned them, put on ointment, all the while too busy with his task to truly think about what he was actually doing. Or why.
But now, with Soubi passed out on the bed before Kio had even started on the bandages, Kio touched the truth of raised and tortured flesh, and found he was not too grown up to cry. Soubi wouldn’t cry, couldn’t do much of anything for himself, and Kio was getting used to picking up the slack anyway. Why stop at tears?
“Kio, are you crying?”
Kio pulled his hand away from Soubi’s back as if the unexpected words had burned his fingers. Shit, he’d been sure he was sleeping.
“Nah. I’m just allergic to antiseptic.”
“Ah. You don’t have to stop touching me. It feels nice.”
Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.
“Nice? Sou-chan, you’re a fucking mess.” Kio couldn’t keep an edge of anger out of his voice, though he tried to convince himself it was directed more at that Aoyagi prick than at Soubi. “This feels nice?” he asked as he ran his finger down one particularly nasty gash, not with much pressure but hard enough to make Soubi suck in a pained breath.
“Yes,” Soubi sighed between clenched teeth.
“Fuck you!” Kio yelled, his whole body shaking now as he jumped away from the bed and turned his back toward Soubi. He didn’t want to look at him right now.
How the hell was he supposed to take this? Kio had wanted a friend, not a responsibility. He’d wanted someone to hang out with, to joke with, to drink beer with; maybe even to sleep with on occasion. Instead he was nursemaid to a pain junkie.
Kio heard movement behind him and automatically turned his head to see what Soubi was up to. Fuck, he was trying to put on his shirt, the idiot.
“What do you think you’re doing? Get back on the bed,” Kio admonished as he walked back to Soubi’s side.
“I don’t want to trouble you,” Soubi replied, and fuck if he didn’t sound earnest. The bastard.
“Ha ha, too late,” Kio said, managing a weak laugh. “Trouble you give me, all right.” He pushed and prodded Soubi until he was lying on his stomach again, then he picked up the bandages to finish what he’d started.
Yeah, okay, Kio had wanted a friend, not a responsibility. Apparently, he’d gotten both. Someone to hang out with, joke with, and drink beer with. Three out of four wasn’t bad.
“Just stay still. I’ll get you mummified in minutes.”
“Kio, I’m not that bad.”
“Shut up, you,” Kio said affectionately, all his anger gone. “Just shut up and let me take care of you.”
Kio hadn’t even noticed the tension in Soubi’s body until he felt it slip away as he dressed his wounds. Again Kio was struck with the urge to cry, but that wouldn’t look terribly manly, now would it?
But now that Soubi had indeed shut up, Kio wished he could silence the screaming in his own head.