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Weights and Measures

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6353 Juan Tabo, Apartment 6.

Yeah.

**

Meth, hell! The high you get from the naked amazement in Mike's face--not even you could manufacture a product to compare. You snap your coat around your shoulders, flash your teeth. "You don't know whether you want to kill me or suck me," you say, and exhale sharply from the rush that comes when his expression turns some more.

Two phone calls later and he's tossing you your cell. Of course he's been told to let you go. You are the center of their precious universe, the linchpin of a multimillion dollar empire. You are indispensable. Indispensable.

**

Your buzz briefly mutates when you arrive home to find a jimmied front lock and Jesse crashed out on your couch. He comes here? Here. That imbecilic.... You start to wake him up, stop. Your fingers are just short of his shoulder, and the shoulder is bony and bare; he's shirtless, folded into himself, the skin of his nose and eyelids enflamed. Your hand wanders, skimming his hair before dropping to your side.

You suppose it doesn't matter--after all, you hold all the cards here. They need you to cook, and they know you won't cook without Jesse. You've seen to his safety for now.

Your chest constricts, then expands: fresh, unwelcome feeling floods in. Jesus God. You move away as fast as you can without sound, shuffling across the living room until your shoe catches in something lightweight and yielding.

**

You've stripped to your undershirt and briefs and even taken off your glasses, but your eccrine and apocrine glands relentlessly push sodium- and chloride-rich fluids to the surface of your skin. You're leaning against the kitchen counter, clutching Jesse's T-shirt.

The spatters seem almost at home in the bizarre doomsday graphic, the brighter red and deeper black. You smell it to be certain, flinch: fading iron, invading rot. You should bury it, burn it maybe. Or should you make some attempt to remove the stains? You find yourself trying to conjure some past image of Jesse wearing that shirt, clean. You can't see it, can't see it, can't see it.

You gasp when Jesse does. Glands pump. Norepinephrine levels rise. The T-shirt ends up back on the floor.

**

Seriously, he's too skinny. The tattoos are unrecognizable and ridiculous. You've never seen eyes like his. The sum of it is simply unbearable.

You're sitting with him on the couch, shushing him, and then you're circling his nipple with your fingertip. What is that inked up there, a snake? A dragon? Ludicrous. You circle tighter, lean forward. Lean into him when he starts to mumble frantically.

"Shh, shh." Your other hand drifts to his hipbone. Holy God, you could break him! You make a sound you hadn't meant to, and he recoils slightly; you pull him back in to you, rub your goatee against his ear. You murmur to him firmly. You need to make him understand.

"Everything is going to be fine. You're going to be fine, Jesse. You're the good guy. Do you understand? You're the good guy, son."

**

Jesse's choked cry begets your fainter one--he's tugging hard at the back of your collar. You tuck your chin briefly to protract the sensation and the dopamine kicks up and fuck, you start to shove yourself against him but catch yourself, hold back. You unsnap his pants instead, spitting into your palm, jamming your hand down his boxers. He releases your shirt at the collar, latches on again in the middle of your spine.

You're stroking him: short, strong, arrhythmic. You're telling him: "That's it, that's it. That's okay. That's okay." He's making reedy, truncated sounds behind lips pinched thin and tight. Air scratches violently through his nostrils.

And then his body is curling into you, and the air and the sounds and the wet of his lips are rippling into the deepest hollow of your neck, and you're instantly, irretrievably spellbound by whatever is coming next.

"Please, Mr. White." It vibrates low and long against your skin. "Please--please."

**

You grab yourself through your underwear with your free hand, deliver a single, brutal stroke through the cloth. Your other hand fumbles into his scrotum, cupping it, jerking down.

"Ohgodfuckyou," you hear Jesse say distantly, but his forehead rocks compulsively into the slick of your neck. You love him, want to shake him. Your head lolls forward toward his.

"Again."

He's wriggling, not answering you right away. Your mouth scrapes in and out of the heated whorls of his ear. Barely, only barely, you tighten the fit of your palm around his ballsack.

"Again, Jesse."

"Please, Mr. White," he grates out, and the words are a binary compound--need and now blistering bitterness--that makes your cock swell and your eyes start to burn.

**

You shush him with a whisper and the flip of your fist on his erection. You twist your wrist a few times on your way up his shaft, extend your thumb to ridge of his glans.

"All right," you say finally into the rifts of his hair. You move your thumb across him gently. "All right, now, son. Come on."

He stiffens immediately, then comes into your hand.

**

You're holding his neck while he gasps for his breath. The narrow shoulders pump. The absurd tattoo lifts and deflates, lifts and deflates. You don't know what you expected to see. His eyes are haunted and endless, the dread in them unmistakable. Misery takes up its gnaw at your chest.

"Uh, did you, uh," Jesse gulps, "did you--you know, want--"

You want to hiss in his ear and ram his head down. You want to seize his hair and his shoulders and still him; to fill his mouth and his throat and shut him the hell up. You want to forget the pink of his eyelids and the stink of his shirt, and to feel just one thing, just one facile thing.

"I mean, I don't know if you wanted, like.... But Mr. White, I'm not--I can't--"

Do it. You weigh the risks and rewards of one more measure of resentment. Do it! Your fingertips spasm on the tender skin of his neck.