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Bullets Are a Nuisance

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"Boring," said Harry. He gingerly touched his head - it came back with something red and wet on it.

"Fuck," Perry said.

Harry tried very determinedly not to think of the word 'blood'. Just ... red and wet. Might be tomato juice. Squashed strawberries. "Not tonight, honey. I've got a headache." Ketchup.

"A headache?" Perry frowned. Consumed with concern for Harry's health, clearly.

"Yeah, but can we talk about me and my needs now? Because, I mean, you told me - not that long ago, two, three months tops, so I still remember it very clearly and you can't claim I - "

"Shut your mouth," Perry said. "How many fingers am I holding up?"

Harry counted one. He considered returning the gesture, but Perry just had no sense of humor sometimes, honestly, and especially during a crisis, such as this was, obviously, Perry tended to express his ... more tender feelings in rough, even violent ways.

Harry'd been shot and his head was bleeding (fuck). These were not ideal circumstances under which to be the recipient of one of Perry's affectionate gestures.

"You can talk." Perry grabbed his shoulder. It immediately started hurting, too, so there: QED. "Idiot."

"I don't know, could you repeat the question, maybe?"

Perry scoffed and released his shoulder. "You're fine."

"Fine?" Harry echoed. "All right, just what is it with you and adjectives? Three months ago - and no, I will not shut up this time - for fuck's sake, I'm bleeding here, okay? Now, where was I? Oh yeah, three months ago, you told me this job was boring. Boring."

"It is boring," Perry said.

"Now, I've just gotten shot - again, and instead of rushing me to the nearest hospital as maybe an, oh I don't know, a person with any actual concern for my health would do, you tell me I'm fine. Do I look like I'm fine? Do I?"

"Harry," Perry said. Not grabbing any part of Harry's body this time, which was nice. "My God."

"Yeah," Harry said. It was nice to see Perry finally beginning to take this whole thing serious. Seriously? Well, never mind. The point was that Perry had seen the light.

Perry smacked him on the head. "You accidentally fired your gun at a cat - you missed, by the way, lucky for you - and then you fell and bumped your head. You haven't been shot. Idiot."

Harry considered the sky, the stars and the world at large. Harmony'd called him two days ago to let him know she'd finally been offered a part in a reasonably popular and fairly well-known soap series. Playing someone's mother, which had stung - but hey, Harry'd pointed out, it's a part, right? And I'm a dad in real life, so, you know, given your age, it's not that unrealistic or anything.

She'd hung up on him very shortly after and called Perry instead, with whom she'd chatted for well over an hour, while Harry'd been doing accounts or something. (Playing solitaire, mostly, but hey.)


"Harry?" Perry stared deeply into his eyes. Harry wondered if this was going to be their big, romantic scene. Things hadn't looked very promising five seconds ago, but maybe it was just going to be a surprise. Like, ta-dah, they love one another after all - isn't that cute?

"Be honest," Harry said. "It's bad, isn't it? Give it to me straight, I can take it. And I don't mean 'straight' as in 'not gay' - I mean, that would be ridiculous, because you are gay, you're Gay Perry and I'm your favorite assistant slash boyfriend, which might make me gay, too, except that - "

"You're my only assistant slash boyfriend," Perry said. "Trust me, if I had another one, any other one, they'd be my favorite."

"We could get a dog. Or a cat." Maybe even the cat Harry hadn't actually shot just now. It'd make for a nice story to tell people, Harry thought - people'd come by and see the cat and ask where they'd gotten it, and then Harry could tell them about this night. Him lying on the pavement, Perry kneeling by his side. Tearful but heartfelt confessions and promises.

One for the grandkids, no doubt, except that the cat probably wouldn't live long enough for that.

"Yeah. You know what, maybe we should get you to a hospital after all." Perry feinted to Harry's right and hoisted him up from the right. "Get your head checked out."

"I have a great head. I give it, too."

Perry sighed. It was full-body sigh; Harry felt it down to his toes. "My leg."

"Harry, for the hundredth time: there's nothing wrong with your leg."

Harry would like to demand how Perry would know that, exactly; he hadn't even gotten Harry's pants off or anything. Which, granted, might have been a little weird - you know, gay guy taking another gay guy's pants off in the middle of the street: that was the kind of stuff that people talked about at parties.

"It hurts," he said. "Honestly, I'm pretty sure I feel a bullet in there somewhere."

"You're imagining things." Perry took two steps in the direction of the car, dragging Harry along as so much dead weight. Which might be an entirely too accurate description, shortly.

"Hospital, right? I mean, that wasn't some bullshit story just to get me moving?"

Perry looked at him. "Now, really, Harry. Would I do that to you?"

"Yes," Harry said firmly. Perry did this thing with his eyes sometimes that made you want to say things like 'yes' (okay, no problem there) and 'please' (still acceptable, if hitting the right tone) and 'oh God, do me now, please - yes, right here on the desk' (totally not suitable for the current situation, clearly).

"Huh. Just when I think you really are a total dumbass, you have to go and do or say something actually halfway intelligent. I suppose it's why I haven't dumped you yet."

"What are you talking about? You haven't dumped me yet because I'm a great boyfriend." Harry wasn't quite clear on how he was pulling it off himself, actually - in his darker moments, he thought that maybe it had something to do with how Perry's expectations of him were already so low that Harry couldn't actually disappoint the guy - like, Perry already assumed Harry was going to fail all the time and act like a loser and fuck everything up and so even if Harry did all of that, it didn't really matter.

That thing he'd had going on with Harmony: completely opposite story. High expectations all around - or, well, on Harry's part, anyway, because, hel-lo, childhood crush, dream girl walked out of his dreams and into his car (which he didn't actually have, but okay).

Perry was more like that guy they rushed in at the last minute to pair off with one of the extras. Like, oh hey, wouldn't it be cute if everyone got all nice and hooked up at the end of the movie? So hey, let's bring in some gay guy, or some straight guy who figures maybe he's not that straight after all.

"Okay, how's this," Perry said. "I take you home. You take some aspirin. I check out your leg."

"Just my leg?"

Perry briefly closed his eyes.

"Joking," Harry said. "I mean, isn't that what you're supposed to do during a tense situation? Lighten the mood a little, put a smile back on people's faces?"

"I'm not smiling," Perry said. As if Harry was blind or something.

"Actually, I think that was kind of funny. And, I mean, I know my legs aren't what you usually check out when I'm bending over to get at some hard-to-reach file at the office."

"Maybe I'll just leave you here. Some random passer-by might call you an ambulance. Assuming they don't mug you, but maybe you'll get lucky and they'll do both."

"Fine." Harry cautiously tried his leg. It felt ... okay, maybe there wasn't actually a bullet lodged in there somewhere. It happened; people did not get shot sometimes. In fact, it happened pretty often.

Perry eyed him a bit warily. "Fine, I'll leave you here?"

"I meant it more, like, a general comment on the situation." Harry took a step. "And your feelings on it all." Another one. "And, just, you know. Fine. It's fine."

"Great," Perry said.

"Yeah," said Harry, "like that."

Perry unlocked the car doors. He still wasn't smiling, but Harry could tell he was getting closer. "Let's just go home. I'm tired and I feel a headache coming up."

"You should take some aspirin. If it's a real headache, I mean, and not, well, you know. Not a real headache."

"Oh, it's real," Perry said. "Although now that you mention it, sex actually helps to make it better. Why do you think that is, huh, Harry?"

"I'm not a doctor. Or a psychiatrist. How should I know?"

"My personal theory is that it's because sex is the one time when you actually stop talking for more than five minutes. Sometimes you even manage ten. Pure bliss, I'm telling you."

"Thank you."

"That wasn't a compliment. Idiot."