Innocence tried to open his eyes but light drilled through his skull, and he shut his eyes closed. Sand scraped at his throat, his mouth tasting of something foul. He curled on his side, grabbing his head and recognising embarrassing soft sounds as his own whimpers.
For some reason his senses were overly sharp. He smelled electricity and metal and dust just before a palm touched his forehead. He leaned into it, the hand was cool and sleek.
A chuckle sounded above him. ‘Had too much to drink?’
Innocence almost jumped, recognising Roy’s voice, but then he clutched his head harder, swallowing groans of pain. A blush heated his cheeks and neck, and even his ears were on fire. He tried to say something but couldn’t do it.
He started to remember what had happened.
There was a hand on his shoulder, guiding him and gently supporting him when the world swayed in funny ways. He thought he was grateful, and a smile creeped on his face, he couldn’t help it.
There was also a voice at Innocence’s side, softly humming something about him… being wasted? And the voice was also sorry that he couldn’t be replaced. Innocence shook his head and the world shook with him.
It didn’t make sense.
The voice was pleasant, though, deep and kind of velvety, like the fire that was spreading through Innocence’s body, making him heavy and slow. He liked that voice.
‘Huh? You like what?’
The humming stopped and Innocence made a noise of protest. He wanted the singing back, it washed over him nicely, arousing pleasant feelings and thoughts that were too unfocused for Innocence to recognise properly.
‘You say funny things, kid.’
Say? He didn’t say anything. Or maybe he did.
He couldn’t care less.
Details were making their way into the daylight. Innocence wanted to run, he wanted a mole to come and swallow him alive, anything, anything to end this.
There were still holes in his memories of the previous night but the things he recollected made him crave for death.
The voice in his memories — Roy’s voice — was burning him like a brand. He pressed his face into his palms.
Innocence came to Charity’s bar in search of Roy, and Charity told him to wait. She offered him some weird brown luquid in a glass. At first he politely refused but then Charity said something about him being a ‘little boy’. A fire burst in his chest, and he downed the glass in one gulp, coughing when the liquid burned his insides. Charity laughed, patted him on the back and then poured some more liquid in his glass. He drank that, too.
It went downhill from there.
He didn’t exactly remember how many drinks he had. Charity, Faith and Honesty were laughing, sharing stories, and he listened, trying to remember everything so that he could write it down later.
Then eventually Roy came.
Innocence looked at him, his vision blurring a little, and he almost said that he never actually recognised that Roy’s eyes were so beautiful, his brown eye gold in the light of the evening, his blue eye deep and bright.
‘You’re right, boy,’ Charity said near him.
Did he say this out loud? Well, it didn’t matter.
‘Which one of you bastards have made my kid drunk?’
The words didn’t exactly register in Innocence’s mind but the voice was definitely nice.
He made himself comfortable on the couch and squinted at Roy, the man’s features suddenly sharp in the overall blurry world. Roy was in his usual clothes, a jacket and pants, with a scarf around his neck. Innocence noted that his sleeves were actually buttoned to the jacket, and he immediatly wanted to see what was under the jacket and how Roy would look without the sleeves. Innocence giggled. His mind presented him a picture of Roy out of his jacket, and Innocence felt his neck heating up.
‘Don’t be so strict, the boy is an adult,’ said Charity or Faith.
He wanted to prove on the spot that he was a grown-up already. Maybe Roy thought that he was useless and needed protection and the man was planning on abandoning him, and Innocence couldn’t stand this thought. Dread scraped at his heart like sand.
He hurried to get up but his legs were too heavy.
‘I’ll beat your asses if you ever do this again. Even your ass, Charity,’ growled Roy, and oh, his voice was distracting, sending chills down Innocence’s spine.
He made a noise of sorts, and suddenly Roy was too close and his scent filled Innocence, making him gasp.
‘Hey, kid, let’s go home.’
Strong hands rose Innocence to his feet. The world swayed, and the ground tried to pull him down again when a hand in black glove stopped him. ‘Woah, stay with me, okay?’
Okay, he could do that.
‘Alright, you’re doing good, kid,’ a low chuckle sounded near his ear, hot breath ghosting over his cheekbone.
Innocence nuzzled at the leather-clad shoulder, inhaling deeply. His head was spinning a little, and he laughed. ‘Thank you, Roy.’
‘For what, kid?’ A breath touched him again, now near his temple.
Innocence looked up and stared in awe at the incredible eyes, so close to him, glinting with laughter and light. ‘For everything.’
‘Okay,’ Roy laughed, and it vibrated into Innocence’s chest. ‘Now let’s go.’
Innocence nodded enthusiastically, though it made the world sway again, but he wasn’t afraid of it because strong hands were still on his shoulders.
All of this came back to him, and if his head hadn’t been on fire, he would have banged it on the wall. Innocence’s stomach growled angrily, his insides tied in knots.
A cool hand returned, unclenching Innocence’s palms from their grip on his head.
He risked opening his eyes a little and stared right into Roy’s eyes. The man had a look of utter amusement on his face. ‘It was not a good idea, to drink so hard for the first time,’ he said in a soft voice.
‘I’m…’ sorry, Innocence wanted to say, but Roy pressed something cool to his forehead. Innocence barely stopped himself from moaning in bliss.
‘Here, water. Drink,’ Roy ordered.
The man carefully helped him to sit on the bed, and Innocence recognised Roy’s room in the hideout, a pile of metal and electric details on his workbench, dust dancing in the light.
Innocence took a sip of water. It was fresh and cool, and he wondered where exactly Roy had found cool water. He downed the rest of it and licked over his dry lips.
Roy was standing near him, with a small smile on his face.
‘Thank you, again,’ Innocence muttered, averting his eyes. The motion made his head hurt, pain blazing through him.
A black hand got down on his head, startling him, but it was so nice that Innocence couldn’t help himself and leaned into it. The hand scratched his scalp slightly, making the pain fade away a little.
‘It’s going to be better. Just no running and jumping today, okay?’
Innocence still wanted to apologise, to do something, to ask if he had done something… inapropriate last night. But the hand on his head was so soothing and Roy’s presence so familiar it felt like home and lulled Innocence to drowsiness. ‘Okay,’ he muttered, and a chuckle answered him.