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can't find my way home

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It was near dusk when Kobra had headed out to Gerard’s place, messenger bag full of supplies he’d scavenged slung across his back.

Poison had given him a look, one that made him flush. “You don’t understand,” he’d muttered. Poison hadn’t looked away for a long time, and eventually his eyes had sought out Ghoul, who’d been sitting in the booth, tinkering with the engine parts he’d spread across the table.

“Of course not, sugar,” he’d mocked. “I don’t get it at all.”

Kobra had felt a twist of guilt, because of course Poison understood. He’d bumped shoulders with Poison in mute apology, and was waved away.

“Go, get out of here, and stay out of trouble.”

Kobra went.

Gerard’s hideout wasn’t far from the diner, but to get there required motoring over rough, rutted roads. Kobra knew these roads; he’d grown up using them to run from Drac patrols and more. The roads were burned into his memory, a Zonerunner network of safe places and secret caches.

It was full dark when he got to the old house and the day’s heat was finally starting to dissipate. The stars were coming out, bright pin-pricks against the indigo of the night. Shivering a little, Kobra pulled his jacket tighter around himself and settled his bag more carefully against his hip.

Visits with Gerard were. . .difficult.

Kobra had found this place for Gerard, kept them supplied with food and water, and had begged a precious shortwave radio from Dr. D, for just in case.

Ghoul had raised his eyebrows at that. “Pricey.”

Poison had snorted. “Hope he’s worth it.”

Kobra’d just clutched the radio silently to his chest.

He hadn’t seen Mikey since the day he’d brought them here in the Trans Am, hands tight on the wheel, Mikey huddled against Gerard’s side in the backseat, flinching at every sound and movement.

Kobra stopped by once a week with supplies, never feeling welcome and never staying very long. And he understood, he did; Gerard had his hands full taking care of Mikey. He’d seen victims of all sorts out in the Zones, saw the external damage and could only imagine how much worse it was inside, where eyes couldn’t see.

And the internal damage took a hell of a lot longer to heal.

So he visited as infrequently as he could, not wanting to inflict himself where he wasn’t wanted and Ghoul watched with dark, sympathetic eyes.

Kobra climbed the rickety wood stairs onto the porch, stopping dead because Mikey was sitting against the door, hunched in a ratty hoodie that once belong to Jet.

He looked better than when Kobra had seen him last. He didn’t look so starved, and seemed less likely to shatter at any moment. “Hey,” Kobra tried, soft voiced.

Mikey took a drag off of his cigarette and blew out a cloud of smoke, squinting at Kobra. “You can’t come in. He’s asleep.” The words were clipped and distinctly unfriendly. “He barely sleeps at all, now.”

“All right.” Kobra knelt down and started to empty his bag, pulling out the cans of Power Pup and bottled water, a couple of packs of cigarettes, and a bag of hard candies. Gerard had told him, once, that Mikey had a sweet tooth and Kobra had remembered the way Gerard had whispered it, like he was giving up secrets in the night. “These are for you,” he said, tapping the yellowed cellophane package.

“You were fucking him, weren’t you?”

Kobra looked at him, saw how young Mikey was and tried not to let it get to him. “That’s not any of your business,” he said mildly.

Mikey flicked his cigarette off the porch and got up onto his knees, shuffling forward into Kobra’s space. “Gee’s mine,” he said, and leaned in to press his mouth to Kobra’s, rough and aggressive and raw, scraping his teeth over Kobra’s bottom lip and biting hard. “He’s mine,” Mikey repeated, before getting to his feet and slipping into the house.

Stunned, Kobra sat back on his heels and licked his lips, tasting blood. “Fuck.”