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Cuffed

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The chain between Aaron’s cuffs rattles when he lifts his arms for the guard to remove them. Once they’re off, he flexes his fingers to ease the discomfort.

Marty doesn’t notice at first: the bruising; red-raw lines cut into Aaron’s wrists. When he does, he makes a mental note to bring something next time. The antiseptic ointment in his medicine cabinet will do the trick.

It’s only when Aaron hides his hands behind himself that Marty realises he must’ve been staring.

 


 

The sleeves of Aaron’s sweater are too long—a boy dressed in adult clothes. He balls the loose fabric in his fists, and it makes him look younger.

It takes Aaron absentmindedly rubbing his arm for Marty to remember.

“Roll your sleeves up,” Marty tells him, fetching the tube from his case. Aaron’s immediately guarded, though he calms when Marty passes it across. “It’ll help with those cuts.”

He can’t leave it with him, so Aaron must apply it now, but he doesn’t appear to know what to do with it.

“Here,” Marty says, sitting on the bed and taking Aaron’s wrist. He squeezes out a fingertip of ointment and smears it gently over the damage.

Aaron winces, tries to pull his hand away. Marty holds a little tighter.

“Trust me,” he soothes.

Aaron’s hand relaxes as he says, “I do.”

 


 

Marty can’t believe how low he’s sunk. When Aaron tried to kiss him, he didn’t stop him.

Now Aaron’s against his cell’s grubby wall and Marty’s trailing kisses down his throat, admiring soft skin that smells of cheap prison soap.

He kisses Aaron’s healing wrists, his knuckles, along the lengths of his skinny, trembling fingers.

“When you’re out of here,” Marty breathes, “I’ll make sure no one ever hurts you again.”

Aaron’s eyes glisten. “Y-you promise?”

He does.