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Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time

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"Happy Valentine’s day," Dan growls bitterly, staring at the door he can’t just walk out of without a backward glance anymore.

How Dan’s heart still functions after Ande is simple: He keeps things clean. No ties, no loose ends to tangle him, to trap and hold and strangle him. No complications.

The pacemaker helps, sure, but it’s mostly the sanitized un-complication of ritual: Go there. Kill. Get the money. Go somewhere else.

But lying beside him on the sofa, toes tucked into Dan’s armpit, ass peeking out of tiny cut-off jean shorts, is a huge complication.

"Saw a commercial for it on the TV?" Pana laughs, rearranges himself so that his hair cascades over Dan’s knees. Bends his knees, opens and closes his smooth legs as he smiles up at Dan.

"You never turn it off," Dan shrugs. Already one of his fingers is sticky with spit and winding its way inside the leg of Pana’s shorts. Finds the opening and pushes into that hot grasping tightness, replaces Pana’s self-satisfied smirk with a tonsil-bearing mouth-gape.

"Fuck me," Pana sighs. "Fuck me."

Dan smacks him on the ass, pauses to admire his big hand-print. “When I’m ready. Go get the enema bag.”

And Pana holds it in his belly, grits his teeth, leaks pretty tears that pool in his long lashes. Grasps at Dan’s hand as he writhes naked on the bathroom floor.

"I’m here," Dan tells him, stroking Pana’s sweat-dampened hair back from his scrunched face. "You’re doing so good for me. So good."

But Dan waits too long (on purpose or by accident, he isn’t sure, just knows that he should be lifting Pana to the toilet but he’s after something else, some un-namable proof of a theory he wasn’t sure he had), knows that even Pana’s tightness has its limits.

He watches Pana panic, feels him scrabble and claw and then the mess on the floor and Dan pulls his hands away and goes for a long walk.

A muscular guy - tall and self-assured and so much like masturbation that Dan decides it wouldn’t count, if he were the kind of guy who counted those things - cruises him on the sidewalk and he leads him into an alleyway, unzips for a blow job and then changes his mind even though he’s hard as granite.

"Hey," the guy says, offended.

"Fuck off." Dan stuffs his dick back in his pants, zips up around the bulge slapping against his stomach.

"Fuck you! Closet case." The guy gives Dan the finger and Dan takes the opening, crashes his fist into his nose and the guy goes down, a ton of bricks on the garbage-strewn ground.

And Dan walks for hours, without meeting anyone’s eye.

When Dan comes back

(Because of course he does, he’s a Bad Man, capital letters, exclamation point, all-caps, but Pana can strangle him, entangle him with a placid look, a love-sigh, a pout, a hiss, a kiss.)

Pana is sitting on the sofa in the dark. Holding his knees, staring expectantly at the door he’d never walk through without a backward glance.

"I meant to say it back, I just forgot," Pana croaks. "I never had one before."

"What?" He’s broken Pana’s mind, and everything can be his fault, every blood-spatter on Pana’s face, all the souls Pana takes Dan’ll give penance for, but he can’t be in the red for this much. "Pana."

Dan pulls Pana into his arms to kiss his swollen eyes, holds his limp cautious hands until the life comes back into his slack face and the wheels turn in Dan’s head.

"That wasn’t it. You didn’t - that wasn’t it. You were so good today. So good." How can Dan get back into the black? "I just love you too much. It’s too much," he admits. Hopes Pana understands that this is as poetic as Dan gets.

"Oh. Dan. I love you too…Can we adopt a kit-"

"No kittens."

"Well happy fuckin Valentine’s day to you too," Pana hisses, unaware of the strain he puts on Dan’s stupid heart.