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You Only Live Once

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“Never trust a man who used to be a feral jungle brat,” Thatch sighed to himself, “it will only end in tears. My tears, to be precise.”

Ace squirmed beside him, clearly uncomfortable. “Look,” he said, voice edging into desperate, “I said I was sorry. I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean—”

“You broke my fucking nose,” Thatch snapped, wincing as Marco dabbed at the blood that was congealing on his face, “you, my very own Sunshine Child, have turned against me and destroyed my beautiful face. The hell is wrong with you?”

You moved at the last second,” Ace huffed, trying to defend himself, “I was aiming for Douma, you know I was.”

Thatch whimpered in pain when Marco pressed the damp towel a little too hard against him. 

“I personally raise you, love you, shower you with my affections and transform you from this little ball of angst into a wonderful young man, and this is how you thank me. Well, you know what? No more midnight snacks for you. That’s right,” he added with a sideways glance at Ace’s horrified expression, “I’m serious. From now on, if I see you hanging around the kitchens after they’re closed, I’ll break your freckly nose.”

“Now hang on a minute, there’s such a thing as going too far, Thatch—”

“Oh, this is nothing, boy. You want to see me go too far? Do you? No dinner tonight for you. Nothing. And Marco, don’t you dare slip him anything; I’ll be watching you like a hawk.”

“You can’t do that!” Ace wheezed, shocked that his good friend would punish him so severely.

“Can’t I? Watch me.”

“Thatch,” Marco said quickly, cutting in front of Ace’s protest, “you are aware that I can heal the break, right? You don’t need to be so harsh on him; you’ll be fine once I clean you up.”

Thatch puffed out his chest indignantly. “Of course I know that,” he said, “but that’s not the point, Marco. The point is that he attacked me.”

“It was an accident!”

“Silence, traitor!”

“Oh my God, Thatch.”