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There was a triple threat of reasons Red stuck to one night stands.


First up? The absence of strings.

He owed no shit to the people he fucked, and that was it. No second dates, no mushy morning-afters. Red wanted none, and couldn’t see anyone wanting that from him, either. He remained stringless, free as a fucking pigeon, and about as desirable. His partners’ disappointments would only go as far as to his shortcomings (heh) in the bedroom. Nobody had any business nagging him for his abominable life choices — and if anyone tried, he’d kick them to the curb, no questions asked, and find someone who would ruin his sheets and not his night.


Second? Pleasure.

No science to that one, really. Shit felt good, and not thinking felt better. He’d stopped caring for skill long ago; what he craved was distraction, and it was something even the worst sex could provide. He’d had plenty who couldn’t find their way around a cunt if he’d supplied them with a topographic map and a searchlight, let alone get him off or anywhere near it. Those were still the ones who tried; most were content to just use him and leave, and that was fine by him, too. It hammered home what he already knew to be true, and while the reminder could set the cogs in his mind spinning, most of the time he’d be too drunk and out of it to care.

He’d had his share of good times, too, but they were few and far between — and to be frank, it’s not like he remembered much of them, anyway. Red never went home with the same person twice — not knowingly, anyway, though it wouldn’t surprise him if it’d turned out he’d been too drunk to notice — but he’d be damned if there hadn’t been moments, rare though they were, when he’d almost gone back on that rule. There was a difference between laying there distracted, and getting fucked in a way that left no room for thought; it was a comparison he rarely allowed himself but on those same rare nights, when his hands were fisted in the sheets so hard his knuckles hurt while he screamed his pleasure to a stranger’s ceiling. Those nights were a luxury, he knew, and not getting used to nice things was the only way to outrun disappointment.


Third act? Castigation.

It was a shifty one for sure, and even in the dubious safety of his own thoughts, the concept of it didn’t sit right with Red. Red didn’t sit right, either, after nights that were heavy on the castigation. Sometimes he found comfort in the reminder, other days it only made him feel more and hate harder. Hating the person made him feel better, if only for a while, but sooner or later, it all came down to him and his shame. Nothing he’d had done to him was anything he hadn’t permitted — not that he could remember, anyway. He got off on pain alright, and flushing down poor judgment with alcohol got him brave about his body’s limits. He'd come from things that shaved off decimals from his already-scant HP before and he would do it again, even with the knowledge that all it would take was a sliver of intent and he’d be dust on someone’s sheets. Sometimes the thought alone would send a thrill of happy hormones through his bones, and a string of happy whore moans out his mouth. He hadn’t died from fucking yet, and if it were to be what killed him, that’s one more issue off his plate.

Ironic enough with all he’d willingly put himself through, what he really took issue with would be the aftermath.

Getting himself home wasn’t the worst of it, though taking a hike with someone’s come still drying on his legs did lose its novelty after a while. No, the worst part was when whoever was doing him was done, and Red was ejected from limbo between pleasure and pain and forced back into a mindspace where he was someone’s bedmate, and someone’s brother, and something other than a cheap whore being fucked stupid on a stranger’s whim.

It was a relief that few of them deigned to treat him as anything but. He figured the majority wanted him out of the door as much as he himself wanted the same thing. They had no strings obliging them to do more. Some would go the extra mile and toss him a towel to wipe himself down, and then Red would wobble his merry way home — or pass out in some bushes along the way and get an earful from Boss in the morning. By then, at least, he’d have the aches of his bruised body to distract him from all that he’d see written across his brother’s face.


And when every movement hurt the next day, Red could find solace in the thought that he deserved it. He could dig up the pain and the humiliation and dump it into the blanks of last night, and pretend that the hate and disgust that he felt for his body was someone else’s. It made it easier to swallow, easier to justify when the tears came and he’d smother them in a pillow just like he did when he was getting fucked, because at least that way there was no telling what he really cried for.


What else was a lazy guy to do?