Juice wasn't completely sure how long he had been driving. It felt like weeks, but he knew it was only a few days at most.
Just gotta keep moving.
His arm throbbed. The blowtorch that was taken to it left no trace of the Reaper that had been on it before, leaving nothing but burnt flesh. He was lucky the hospital he went to assumed it wasn't worth asking what had happened. He knew he was lucky to even make it out alive, but there was still a small part of him that was devastated at how it turned out. He assumed he wouldn't get the best reaction from his brothers finding out his father was black, but he never imagined this. He expected harsh words and maybe a hit or two, not the beating of a lifetime and his arm almost being burned off. While at the hospital, he had a bit of time to reflect, deciding even if he had nothing, it was better than being dead. He grabbed what money he had, bought a cheap car from one of the shadier dealers on the outskirts of town, and drove as fast as he could, not even bothering to look back at the place that was once his home.
He was so tired. It was roughly 3:00 AM and the few hours of sleep he's managed to get in the dreary motels he's come across aren't enough to keep him running. The road he's driving is empty, it barely looks like anyone is on at any time of the day. He almost considers pulling over and just sleeping in the back seat when something catches his eye. A hunched figure stumbling on the side of the road. He parks in the shoulder, grabbing a flashlight as he cuts the engine. As he gets out of the car he focuses the light on the figure. It's a man. Looks worse than I do. Juice approaches his carefully, hand reaching back to the pistol tucked into his pants.
"Bro, you okay?" He gets no response. The mans eyes are unfocused, staring past Juice. "Hey!"
That startles him out of his stupor. His eyes focus on Juice and go wide in panic. He turns to run but trips over his own feet, letting out a strangled yelp. Juice walks over slowly, wondering if maybe he should just leave him. What if I can help though? As he walks towards him, the man whimpers and tries to scoot away.
"P-please..." Juice can hear the desperation in his voice.
"What? Can't do anything if you don't tell me man." He holds his hands up, trying to look as non-threatening as possible. He crouches down as he comes up on the man, who has stopped moving, looking at Juice with utter horror in his eyes. Juice had never seen that look in a human before. He remembers when he was a kid, he found a dog, starved and beaten bloody, cowering in an alley. He remembers the whimpers it let out, the trembling of its' body, and the fear in its' eyes. He remembers wanting to help it, but when he came back to try the dog had already died.
"Don-n't. Please..." The mans words broke the stupor Juice was in. Juices' eyes snapped back to his face. All he could see was the dead dog. He reached out towards him, pausing as the man flinched back violently with a choked back sob.
"Hey, come on man, it's okay. Let me-let me help you up." He slowly rose, extending his hand out to the man. The man looked at Juice cautiously, his eyes darted around, as if expecting something to jump out of the shadows. Juice tried putting on his friendliest smile, not sure if it was one hundred percent successful. He must have done something right though, because the man shakily lifts one of his hands. It feels like an eternity before his hand manages to reach Juice, but Juice hefts him up off the ground. Perhaps a little too fast, as the man stumbles forward and crashes into Juice's chest. Juice wraps his arms around his trembling frame before he can fall any further, and the mans body goes rigid. They stay like that a moment, before the man melts into Juice and sobs, clinging to Juice's shirt.
What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?
Juice has never comforted anyone in such a state before. With the Sons, you hand someone a drink, quick hug and promptly let them brood by themselves. He tightens his grip, gently rubbing a hand up and down the mans back despite the pain radiating from his burns. Juice panics a moment later, as the man cries harder, leaning himself as close to Juice as humanly possible. Juice feels as though he should say something, but no words come to mind. After standing for, what seems to be, a fair amount of time, the mans sobs subside. The man gently pull himself away, eyes focused on the ground. He opens his mouth as if to speak, but just as quickly shuts it with a pained look.
"You, uh, want a place to crash tonight? I'm looking for a motel or something, if you want to join." As Juice watches many emotions flash across the mans face he takes in his condition. The scars on his face, the unkempt beard, the dark rings around his eyes, as if he hadn't had a good nights rest in months. "Maybe shower, shave, you know..."
The mans eyes shoot up at the mention of a shower and he watches Juice warily, as if he thinks it's a trick. Eventually though, he jerkily nods. Juice leads him towards his car and herds him into the backseat. The man sees the pillow tossed to the side and looks at it longingly.
"Go ahead man, just-just lie down, I'll get us somewhere to rest." The man looks at Juice like he's given him some great gift. He sees tears collecting in his eyes again. The man opens his mouth again, only to release a shaky breath. "Don't worry, just sleep or something." The man nods, moving fully into the car so Juice could shut the door. As he situates himself and turns on the ignition, Juice takes a moment to ask himself what the fuck he was doing. He decides to not answer at this time.
A gently nudge on his shoulder, and Jesse jolts awake, forgetting where he is. He blearily looks around, taking in the car, the soft pillow his hand was clenching. As he looks up he remembers. The man who helped him.
"Come on, we made it." Where "it" was, Jesse wasn't sure. As he sat up he realized "it" was a motel. "You sleep like a fuckin' rock bro, tried to get you up to ask what you needed from a gas station and couldn't get you to move. Just got you some basics so you can clean up, you know?" The man was babbling. Why did he buy me anything? Does he expect something? Jesse looked the man up and down, taking in his muscular arms and scarred knuckles, bruises and bandages. He can beat the shit out of you. Looks used to fights. Don't go in the room with him. Then he smiles, and Jesse's worry dissipates. It was so genuine, maybe he was just being nice. You're a pussy, no one does shit like this for free. He looks gentle though, maybe it won't be so bad with him. Jesse decides to ignore the cautious voice in his head, and gets out of the car and follows the man into their room.
The man continues talking, Jesse doesn't listen, instead examining the room. One bed, you dumb fuck. What else were you expecting?
"Shower's in here, man." The mans' voice shook Jesse from his thoughts. "Left you some, uh, stuff to shave and whatnot, if you want it." Wants you pretty before he bends you over. Jesse nodded and headed to the bathroom. "I'm gonna run and grab some food, burgers sound good?" Jesse could only nod dumbly as he undressed.
He was so glad to shave. It felt like it was nothing but built up grime. Sure, seeing scars he doesn't remember causes more panic, but the warm water of the shower washed it away. It had been so long since he had any sort of luxury in his life, and now, just the feeling of warmth on his skin was about to bring him to tears. Jesse stood under the spray of water long after he washed all the grime from his body. Even after he washed himself two more times just to try and feel some semblance of cleanliness again. Jesse could honestly say, he felt content at this moment, wrapped in warmth and clean. That shattered though, when he heard the door to the room open, and the man knock on the bathroom door.
"Hey, I uh... got us food... and tequila... So... Yeah..." Jesse was confused as to why the man was being so casual, usually men just made it clear what they wanted. Jesse looked at himself in the mirror, taking in the scars, the bruises. He once used to be able to say that he was pretty attractive, he got plenty of attention. Now though, he looked broken. What muscle he managed to build up before is basically gone, he's almost nothing but skin and protruding bones. Easy to hold down. He ties a towel around his waste, bracing himself for the inevitable and opens the door.
The sight he is presented with is simply what was told to him. The man sitting at the small table provided, removing food from a bag, while drinking tequila straight from the bottle. Jesse studied the man. He looked tired, his face hard. As men go, he wasn't that hard to look at. Silver lining. Guy who fucks you is easy on the eyes. As Jesse approached him, the man smiled as he looked at him, gesturing to the seat next to him. He wants to wine and dine before hand. Jesse didn't want to delay the inevitable, no matter how good the food smelled. He kept his eyes down as he took the few steps to cross the room.
"Shit, man, let me see if I got some sweats or something in my bag you can..." His words dry up as Jesse drops to his knees before him.
Juice had expected many outcomes upon returning to the hotel room with this stranger. Maybe being stabbed and robbed, maybe getting drunk with the man and sleeping in until noon, maybe get a light buzz going and watching shit TV. He did not expect said stranger to go down to his knees and attempt to unbuckle his belt with shaking hands.
"What-what's happening here?" The man flinched and looked up to Juice with big, tear filled eyes. This time though, it wasn't fear that showed, it was confusion. The man pulled his hands back hesitantly, and opened his mouth to speak.
"I-isn't that why you brought me here? Why you're helping me?" His voice was raw, as if he screamed it hoarse. It suddenly struck Juice, all the things that could have happened to him. He looked like a fucking kid. Without his beard, the man had an innocent face, he looked so much younger. When clean, his hair looked soft, touchable. He had an appearance that many men in Stockton would have immensely enjoyed. Juice couldn't help but notice the bruises on his hips looked to be hand shaped.
"I don't know what you think I want, man, but that's not it." Juice stood from his chair, and the man shrunk away. "I don't even know your name." He proceeded towards his bag as the man trembled on the floor. He hears the man mumble something. Juice turns towards the man after he finds the sweatpants he was digging for. "What was that?"
"J-Jesse... My name is Jesse." The man, Jesse, looked at the floor, shaking. He flinched back as Juice threw the pants to him.
"Just, like, go put those on, and we'll eat, and we can talk." Juice hears Jesse sniffle, and sees a few tears trail down his cheeks. After a moment Jesse nods, and scrambles to the bathroom. Juice let out a shaky sigh, putting his hand into his hands. The fuck have you gotten yourself into? He was pretty sure he could hear Jesse crying in the next room. He hears the bathroom door open as he takes another swig from his bottle. He looks at Jesse as he awkwardly shuffles towards the table, notices how he won't meet his eyes.
"My name's Juice, by the way." Jesse gave him an odd look. "Yeah don't ask, just what people call me, man." Jesse just nods as he sits at the table. Juice notices the pants are a little big on him, hanging low on his hips. More finger shaped bruises revealing themselves.
They eat in silence. Juice finishes at a normal pace, Jesse though seems to take his time. Juice notices the blissful look on his face. Kid must have had it rough if he likes a fast food burger this much. Once Jesse stops, Juice pulls his cigarettes from his pocket. Putting one between his lips, he holds the pack out for Jesse, who reaches for one so slowly it's almost like he expects them to be taken away like some cruel joke. After lighting his own, Juice hands Jesse the lighter. Jesse breathes his in like it's the single greatest pleasure in life. Juice decides he needs to break the silence.
"So, um, what the fuck, bro?" Jesse cringes at the question. Sure, Juice could have worded it better, but he figured it would be better to be blunt in this situation. Jesse takes another long drag of his cigarette and lets out a sigh.
"They would, uh, if they were, like, nice they would always want me to..." Jesse makes a noncommittal hand gesture and bites his lip.
"And who exactly are 'they'?" Juice doesn't quite understand why he wants to know, but he feels like he's gone this far, he may as well go all the way. Jesse lets out a laugh that sounds more like a sob.
"It's a long fucking story."
"We got all night." Juice is curious now. "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours." He smiles as he holds up his bandaged arm. Jesse gives him a hard look, but nods eventually.
Juice felt his story was a little short compared to Jesse's. Sure, he had it rough, but Jesse had been through hell. No wonder he's so jittery.
Jesse is in tears by the end. Juice doesn't really know what to do, so he stands and pulls Jesse into a hug. Jesse clings to him, Juice holds him.
Juice wakes slowly. He's in a bed and not his car, that's always a good start. As he looks at the ceiling, the next thing he notices is the arm across his stomach. He looks to his side and sees blonde hair poking out of the blanket covering him. He lifts the blanket, and memories of last night all come flooding back to him.
" I don't want to hurt anymore."
Those words, brokenly leaving Jesse's lips, shattered Juice. He looked down and lifted Jesse's head, looked into Jesse's pleading eyes and simply said, "Okay."
The rest of the night was not something he expected. The feeling of Jesse writhing on his lap, the soft breathy moans that escaped Jesse's mouth as he worked his way from his neck to his chest, trying to leave marks that showed pleasure instead of pain. It was frantic, desperate, just what they both needed. And escape.
Juice runs his hand through the mess of blonde hair at his side and smiles as Jesse snuggles closer to him.
Jesse isn't sure where he is, but he doesn't want to open his eyes and wake up in his cell. He's warm, comfortable, there's a hand running through his hair. He nuzzles closer to whatever the source of the warmth is, letting out a content sigh. He wanted this to last just a little longer, before reality caught up to him.
His eyes shoot open. Whatever his head is on is breathing. This is not right. They don't fucking cuddle after they finish. He pushes himself up as fast as he can, the body below him jumps and lets out a yelp. He manages to fall off the bed in the process, and hears a light laugh on the bed above him. He hesitantly looks up, and he remembers why he's there. He lets out a relieved sigh and leans his head against the bed.
"Shit Jesse, I didn't mean to scare you." Jesse could hear the smile in his voice. Jesse was embarrassed. He'd never had real sex with another guy, just been forcibly fucked and left alone after. This though was nice, it was soft. Jesse could feel his face flush as he remembered the noises Juice brought out of him. "You, uh, gonna stay down there?"
"Why are you even still here? Didn't you get what you wanted?" Jesse still isn't looking at Juice.
"Is that what you want me to do?" Juice sounded confused, almost hurt. Jesse tried to respond but only incoherent mumbling came from his mouth. "Gotta speak up, buddy."
"No! Okay? No, I don't want you to leave." Jesse reached up on the bed, reaching for Juice. Juice smiled and reached out to meet his hand, gripping it tightly.
"You want to get breakfast before we hit the road?" That, Jesse wasn't expecting. He looks up at Juice.
"What are you talking about? After all I told you? You know the shit I've done... you-you want me to come with you? Are you fucking stup-" Jesse is cut off as Juice leans off the bed and catches his lips with his own.
"Stop thinking so hard Jesse. It's a fucking miracle we've managed to make it this far let's just make the most of it, man. I don't want to keep driving alone, I don't know what the fuck you plan on doing bu-"
"Okay." Jesse is quiet as he speaks. He sees Juice's grin and can't help but smile back. "What's the, uh, endgame here?"
"I don't know, haven't thought that far ahead." Juice pulls Jesse up on the bed with him. "Got enough cash to last a few years maybe. I want a dog. I never had time to get one when I was in the club... And a not shitty house!" Juice looks a little too enthusiastic as he says this. Jesse rolls his eyes.
"And what, am I gonna be your housewife or something, in this little fantasy of yours?"
"Your words, not mine." Juice pulls him in for another kiss. "Let's just fucking live Jesse. Like, a normal life. No more club shit, no drugs. We can just start over."
It's a stupid idea, it'll never work. Someone will find you.
"You know what, man, let's just fucking do it." Juice looks ecstatic. "Let's hurry it up though, I'm hungry." Jesse is pulled in for one more kiss before Juice is off the bed and repacking everything. Within an hour they've eaten and are headed north east.
Neither quite knows what they were thinking. As they drove, at first they didn't speak much. Both wondering if they had made a poor choice. Once the silence was broken though, they decided they had made a good decision.