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"I..." Julia's voice cut off. She swallowed, wetting her throat and drawing her courage. She smiled down at Larry, but her smile was crooked. "I think it would be best to just show you." She turned and led him up the familiar stairs to the damp room.

The door hardly creaked as she pushed it open. She didn't enter, just tilted her head and shyly lowered her eyes, as though there were sights inside she wasn't worthy to see. He stepped into the shadows, squinting at the small ring of candles in the center of the room. Perhaps this was her attempt at a seduction?

But, no, Julia closed the door behind him, leaving him alone with the candles. The soft light barely reached the walls, creating dark shadows in the corners and making the ceiling a dark, distant blur. He looked around, trying to fathom what she had been so eager to show him.

There. In the far corner, a shape barely discernable from the darkness. Larry took a step closer, then another, until he was half-way across the room, almost standing in the candle circle, and still he could not see. It was large, curled, bumpy.

"Larry?"

The voice was soft, questioning, but unmistakable. Since before he was born, Larry had heard that voice, though it had deepened, roughened with adolescence and experience. He squinted his eyes, only now recognizing the vague shape as being human, of someone curled up in the corner, face turned to the wall.

"Frank?" he asked, his voice coming out a little less angry than he had meant it to be. Always the wanderer, the troublemaker, that Frank. He summoned up his old anger, the frustration that his brother never failed to bring out of him. "What have you gotten yourself into this time, Frank?"

The form moved, shivered, and deep laughter came muffled from the shadows. "You wouldn't believe it if I told you."

Larry shook his head, ready to slip into his usual lecture, but a low moan followed that laughter. "Are you hurt?" There was movement, a head shaking a denial. "Do you need a doctor?" Again, that sharp movement. "Dammit, Frank, if you die on me..."

"You always were afraid of that, weren't you?" Larry was quiet a moment, and Frank continued. "Death. Even the sight of blood would make you panic. Give you nightmares for days. Mine, yours, any death. Didn't it ever occur to you that maybe, sometimes, death was better?"

"Frank--"

"You remember what it was like when we were kids?" Frank's voice was undeniable, stealing away Larry's words and conjuring memories of youth. "We used to be close. People thought we were twins. Those 18 months didn't mean a thing when we were together. We were the same blood, same flesh."

The way Frank said 'flesh,' the sibilation trembling in the air between them; it spoke to a primal part of Larry's consciousness, and he was shocked to feel his body respond to the simple stimulus. Like he was still a hormonal teenager, Larry felt himself grow painfully hard in his shorts, aching against his fly.

"'Blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh.' Wasn't that what the old man used to say? Right before he slipped off his belt and--"

"Stop!" Larry cried out, turning his back to his brother. The memories, again, came unbidden, unwanted, to his mind. He'd spent so many years forgetting, running away himself not long after Frank had abandoned him. Larry had never forgiven him that--everything else, but never the fact that his brother, his other half, had left him behind.

"But I would make it all better, wouldn't I?" Frank's voice was closer now, even though Larry didn't hear him get up. A long shadow rose up around him. "I can make it feel so good."

Larry closed his eyes as he felt a hand rest on his shoulder. He didn't want to remember that touch any more than he wanted to remember the rest of it. The hairs at the back of his neck rustled with Frank's breath--a soft sigh against his skin. He shivered, though the heat rolling off his brother's body was incredible. He could feel it outlining his form, warning him just before Frank's other hand came around his waist. His hand stretched out across Larry's stomach, and suddenly Larry couldn't breathe at all. He gasped, but it came out like a low moan, his body weaving with the pleasure of that simple touch.

"'Let me kiss it better,' I used to say. I'd run my lips over the wounds, lick away the salt of your tears, rub your flessssh until you were hard and aching." Frank hissed in through his teeth as he leaned his chest against Larry's back, the noise of his breath shivering across Larry's body like a punch to the groin--so much pleasure it was exquisite pain. Larry bit back a sob, his hands fisting at his sides as he was once again helpless in the clutch of his brother's desire.

"You were so hot, so hard, you burned my hand, my mouth...but your taste was so sweet." Another hiss of breath, and Larry could feel the weight of an erection against his ass. He could almost feel the ghost of lips against the shell of his ear as Frank whispered, "Do you still taste as sweet?"

There was no more fighting it; Larry could never deny his brother anything, especially when he asked in that voice. He turned in Frank's arms, blindly seeking his mouth and opening, his blood singing to once again feel what he'd been denied for far too long.

Frank found his mouth and wasted no time sliding his tongue inside, flicking against Larry's palate. When he pulled back, Larry chased him, his lips latching on to bare lips, tasting, tasting...

Blood.

Larry's eyes shot open with first worry, then grew wider with surprise and, finally, horror.

"Flesh of my flesh, Larry. Flesh of my flesh."

The knife, as it slid between ribs and cleanly pierced his heart, didn't hurt nearly as much as sneer on his brother's ruined face.