“I can’t keep doing this.”
“Your hair's getting long,” Party Poison observed, tangling his fingers in it and tugging lightly. Fun Ghoul (the kid’s new, stupid name for himself) made an irritated noise.
"I like it," Poison went on, glancing down at Ghoul. Ghoul glared back, the insomniac shadows under his eyes rendered black and a little threatening in the stark light of the alley. Poison couldn't stop a smile from spreading across his face.
"Looks good. You gonna keep it like this?" He tugged hard, grinning wider when Ghoul shuddered, and would have kept going had Ghoul not pulled off to speak.
"Not if you keep fucking messing it up." Ghoul's voice was tight. “Can you just shut up and let me do this?”
"Right, of course. Didn't mean to throw off your mojo, honey." He released his grip on Ghoul's hair and moved his hands to his own sides, palms held out in mock supplication. "Is that better?"
Ghoul muttered something rude under his breath, but got back to it. For a few minutes, all Poison’s attention was focused on the sound of their breathing and Ghoul’s movements, the feeling of Ghoul’s mouth and hands. Beyond that, he was somewhat aware of other things: the muffled roar of music inside the club, the not-far-off rumble of various motors as ’runners arrived or departed for the night, the low buzz of a broken neon sign. When Poison’s hands came up to rest again in Ghoul's hair -- just sitting there, not grasping or pulling -- Ghoul let them stay there without comment.
Unbidden, Poison’s thoughts turned to the first time they’d done this, how nervous Ghoul had been. How he had frozen when Poison reached for the button of his jeans and shook when Poison touched him. Maybe he missed it a little, but this was better,
Later, when Ghoul had finished spitting, wiping his mouth with exaggerated distaste, and risen to his feet -- Poison had been slumped against the wall, still somewhat boneless -- Poison reached for him. Ghoul shrugged him off, frowning.
“You’re awfully handsy tonight.”
People still used words like “handsy?” Poison shot Ghoul a look that expressed his opinion of this semantic choice on Ghoul’s part, then pressed forward again. “Come on, you haven’t even gotten off.”
“I can’t stay.”
“You? Have somewhere else to be?” On any other night, the derision in Poison’s tone would have driven Ghoul to bristling, passionate confrontation, but tonight it inspired a single eyeroll.
“Don’t sound that surprised.” Ghoul adjusted his clothes and ran a hand through his hair. Poison noted the dust and gravel stuck to his knees with some satisfaction.
“Well, see you around.”
Ghoul could have muttered something like, “Don’t count on it,” but Poison was too busy striding away to hear.
The kid did not belong here. And not just on an existential level. It was supposed to be just Poison and his boys -- well, and a squad of Dracs and a transcendently illegal quantity of explosives. Semantics.
Poison summoned the most imposing look in his repertoire. It was a pretty good one. It changed every few weeks, depending on the caliber of characters he met.
“You want to get out of here, kid.”
“Do I?” said the kid, raising his eyebrows till they disappeared into his terrible dreadlocks.
The next time Poison saw him, the dreadlocks were gone, shaved off, and there were colorful tattoos spilling over the borders of his clothes. He made Poison buy him four drinks before he reminded him how they’d met.
Either Poison was getting old way faster than he thought or Ghoul had been practicing for this, because he’d hardly had time to catch his breath or zip up his pants -- had been about to reach for his jacket, in fact -- before he was suddenly being grabbed and flipped over, pinned, an elbow at his throat.
“The fuck, baby?” he gasped, and Ghoul said, “Don’t move.”
So of course he started flailing. It was graceless and ugly. He bucked like a firecracker, trying to throw Ghoul off. Ghoul was heavier, though, and hadn’t just come, and he kept him down, leg slung across Poison’s like an iron bar.
For the first time in several months, Poison regretted choosing to follow Ghoul into this abandoned warehouse.
When Poison chose to stop struggling, Ghoul let up with the elbow and sat back on his hips, straddling him. Their eyes locked. For a moment, Poison was almost afraid. Ghoul was younger, and in some ways innocent; but he was strong, and...
“We need to talk,” said Ghoul, once he’d caught his breath enough to speak.
“Oh, you have got to be fucking kidding me.”
“We need to talk,” Ghoul continued, attempting to hold the stare, “about where this is going.”
“Holy shit, you’re actually serious.” Poison broke eye contact in favor of noting the determined cast to Ghoul’s expression, the flush spreading down his chest to where his stomach spilled over the top of his jeans. An incredulous smile nudged at the corners of his mouth. “You actually… Oh, honey. Not that you aren’t a good time and all, but…”
“I know I’m not just a good time to you.”
“And how is that?”
“Interesting.” He brushed his fingers against the back of Ghoul’s thighs, the only part of him his trapped hands could reach. “Let me know when you’re ready to explain how you arrived at that conclusion. Cause, from where I’m, uh, sitting...”
“I’m not sure why you think putting me down will help you seduce me into shutting up about this?”
“There is no this to discuss.”
“The guy you’ve been paying to follow me doesn’t think so.”
Startled laughter rang out. “What?”
“I know you've been paying someone to follow me,” Ghoul continued, which was still not at all what Poison had expected him to say. He seemed to mistake the relief on Poison’s face for an attempt at denial, because he then clamped a hand over Poison’s mouth, forcing Poison to wheeze out breaths through his nose.
“You need to make him stop,” said Ghoul sternly, “because it’s fucked up. I get you’re paranoid and all, but it’s still fucked up. I’m not -- I wouldn’t -- since when have I ever --” He was getting flustered, from anger or from some kind of weird stage fright -- actually, no, it was definitely just from anger -- and he kept looking away from Poison’s face.
“Whfh, kh hh tmhwk?” gasped Poison, and then repeated himself when Ghoul had taken his hand a little away from his mouth. “What, you can take care of yourself? You don’t need someone to look after you?” It still came out garbled.
“I wouldn’t betray you,” said Ghoul. He seemed mad. “I mean, I haven’t yet, have I?”
Poison glanced pointedly at where Ghoul’s other hand was pinning down his wrist. Ghoul flushed redder.
"I haven't been paying anyone to follow you," said Poison, because that was true. “Someone might check round your place once in a while, but that’s because...it’s because....”
“Still fucked up.”
Poison tilted his hips up experimentally. It’d be a while before he could get it up again, but Ghoul was half-hard and getting harder. Ghoul flinched and stiffened.
“Fucking stop it,” said Ghoul through gritted teeth.
“Fucking stop what,” Poison drawled, tilting his hips up again. He bit his lip, and Ghoul’s eyes tracked it, as he’d known they would. He let his mouth stretch into a lazy smile. Ghoul groaned, ground down, and then his mouth was on Poison’s, clumsy and hard and frustrated. Poison kissed back until it turned sweet. It always turned sweet with this one.
He managed to snake a hand up to pet Ghoul’s back, which turned into grabbing his ass, and soon he was pulling Ghoul’s hips down against his in a steady rhythm.
“Let me make it up to you,” he muttered against Ghoul’s lips, once Ghoul’s breathing had turned harsh and the rhythm had started to falter.
“We are having a conversation after this,” Ghoul threatened breathlessly, but then he was rolling onto his back and opening his jeans, and they didn’t talk for a long time after that.
“Come on baby, just let me take care of you,” Poison murmured into Ghoul’s ear, not caring how much it sounded like begging. “Wanna make you forget, make you feel so good…”
“Get off me,” said Ghoul. “You’re high.”
Poison’s own laughter sounded mocking in his ears. “So?”
“So get off me.”
He released Ghoul and stepped back. “There you go. I’m off you. Happy?”
“No.” Ghoul looked at him, and his expression was so open Poison couldn’t keep looking at his face.
“Right, you’re never happy.” Poison turned away, feeling the ugly curl to his lip. He was being too loud. He could tell. No one would care in a minute, but for now all eyes were trained on him. On them. He couldn’t take it. He headed for the exit.
Ghoul caught up with him outside. “You can’t keep doing this,” he said.
Can’t I? Poison thought, but his mouth didn’t say anything, and it opened when Ghoul pressed his own against it, and it kept opening for a long time after that.
“I thought you were dead,” Ghoul muttered wetly against Poison’s cheek, “thought you were ghosted, dusted, gone.” Poison didn’t say anything back, because he was busy sucking a juvenile bruise onto Ghoul’s shoulder. He thought greedily of the expanse of Ghoul’s naked skin, his own capacity to stain it brown and purple and red in the spaces not covered by ink.
“We can’t keep doing this,” he parroted, half-serious, and Ghoul laughed into his neck until he cried.