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Tengo kicks the door open, bloodied hands held out in front of him. He's doing his best to make sure the neighbors don't call the police again, although if any of them come out wide-eyed and with their pale faces flushed and their "I have work tomorrow," and "My kids can't sleep through this noise," and sometimes even the "Is that blood?" they're apt to find themselves thrown back through the thin wood of their doors.

Gritting his teeth, he stumbles to the kitchen sink. If there's one benefit to this tiny apartment, it's that there's only so much flooring he can drip blood on. The sink pours, blasting niagara falls spatter down the drain, and he stains it red with his blood-caked hands, circle of purple flesh appearing as the pounding water strips away layers of red. Arms shaking, he gropes at the faucet, fingernails and creases in his palm still crimson.

Jeego's laid out flat on their busted old recliner, eyes glazed over as cops on TV shout orders. Gunshots ring out, tinny and echoing from the fat TV and Tengo's anger is boiling now, threatening to turn his face the same shade as his hands. He wants to pull the plates from his cabinets, their cabinets, and toss them one by one at the wall. See what the neighbors think then. He wants to pull that ratty old chair over backwards, let Jeego flip onto the tile, all long legs and the stench of warm beer.

He doesn't though. He can't. Instead he sinks down on their lumpy couch, silently cursing Jeego for his loud, showy entrances where he drips blood like it's his payment, money all but forgotten in his back pocket. He's always hated this couch, with the lumps in the center and color that reminded him of pea soup, and how he just knew Jeego had dragged it in off the street.

Tengo's grateful for it tonight, though. The fat blood droplets barely show in the horrific mix of colors. His white shirt is soaked with blood, so much that it's hard to tell where the knife actually broke the skin. He tries to peel back the bloodied fabric, but between his fuzzy, dancing vision and the screaming protests of pain that push his fingers back every time he fumbles over the skin, he's forced to give up.

Jeego yells out, tone and volume engineered to annoy the neighbors, perfected over months of practice. "Keep it down, princess. Some of us are trying to watch TV." Another explosion blares over blown-out speakers, and somewhere in the back of his mind, Tengo's sure he can hear the apartment upstairs banging on the ceiling. He doesn't dignify Jeego with a response, half because 'What an idiotic thing to say,' and half because he knows that if he opens his mouth, the only thing that's going to come out is some pitiful groan, slipping through teeth, not stifled by desperate lips.

Hands moving to his ruined shirt, clumsy fingers fumbled over blurred buttons. How can something so easy, so innate, be this hard? Part of him remembers that he's become used to another removing his clothing, but he pushes that thought from his mind. If only he could tilt his head back just a little more, get just the smallest bit farther away… It's like focusing a camera. Get far enough, and suddenly everything comes into view. He leans back, sinking into the ratty couch, trying to push back the sick, tight burning that comes from his chest. It's no use, and with a stifled groan he doubles over.

Jeego's halfway through another casual insult, sprawling back in the recliner when he turns to see Tengo, bleeding on the couch as his hands shake, pulling uselessly at buttons that he can't see. Multilayered curses flow from his mouth, each one fighting to the surface as he jumps from the chair. Fifteen seconds and ten permutations of the word 'Fuck,' and all of its underlings later, he's kneeling on the lumpy couch, bag of stolen hotel sewing kits by his sideand all the towels from the bathroom thrown over the back.

If this was any other time he'd tear open the crisp, white shirt just to watch Tengo's hand clench as the buttons bounced off the tile, but today he unbuttons each button with uncharacteristic gentleness, peeling the soaked fabric back from Tengo's chest. Deep knife marks score the skin and thick, black blood runs from the wounds. Jeego lets out a sigh, pressing the towel against him. "Hold this. You're lucky those idiots didn't know anything about anatomy. You'll live." Ten steps to the kitchen, bottles clinking, and then the ten steps back is all Tengo hears.

A bottle slams onto the table, and he reaches for it blindly, body folding over Jeego who pulls the blood-soaked towel away. Unscrewing the cap unsteadily, it falls from his shaking hands, and he lets it. The alcohol is harsh, and he welcomes the numbing burn. Jeego's snapping thread between his teeth, metallic glint of the needle visible even to Tengo's eyes. Hands sinking into the moldy cushions, he grits his teeth. It's not the needle that hurts, he soon realizes, but rather the raw, tender skin pulled by an tiny straight needle and someone who's never had a knack for tenderness. 

It takes altogether too long and only a second, Jeego's messed hair blurring in and out, the water-stained ceiling drawing shapes big and small. Tengo's not sure if he passes out halfway through, but when he looks down crude black stitches crawl across his chest, and he looks more like something from a morgue that alive, but that's just one of the problems that comes with this skin tone.

Jeego's fingerpainting with blood now, red and still-wet fingertips leaving trails across Tengo's chest, but he doesn't mind, not with the sleepy buzz, half liquor half exhaustion, and the skin there is already a faint purple. There's something almost like wonder in Jeego's touch, in the way his fingers are still soft and light even though the job is done, and how he hasn't quite noticed that he's smearing Tengo's own blood across his torn-up chest, that he's half in the younger man's lap, staring like a miracle has just happened, even though he's stitched himself up a hundred times before. 

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