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I feel like this needs a notasinglefuckwasgiven.gif disclaimer, almost.

Title: Baseball
Author: Jess
Rating: R.
Fandom: Generation Kill (AU)
Pairing(s)/character(s): Brad/denial/violence, minor Ray/terrible life choices (Brad/Ray. Ish).
Warning: I haven't finished anything in a while so this is probably not the best.
Notes: Sidestory in the Gentle Art Of Making Enemies 'verse. Will be completely confusing without reading the others. Set before the beginning of the series (a fact I just realised, by my own timeline, makes Ray a teenager). Written for the fight_bingo prompt "baseball bat".
Summary: Repressed Iceman has feels for horrible drugslut. (Summary courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] apiphile, and horrendously accurate, considering she hadn't read this before she said it).




The last time Ray tried to get sober it had ended with his breakfast-themed puke sprayed from across Brad's shower curtain and up the wall, orange juice and dry white toast in off-yellow lumps sliding down the tiles.

This time it ends with blood sliding down a wall, but it's not Brad's wall, and it's not Ray's blood, so Brad is almost ready to file the experience as “neutral”, give or take some earlier aggravation. Ray attempting to keep himself clean for any length of time can only be a good thing, and so he's leaning towards “good”.

Despite the ache in his knuckles where they've been wrapped dead-man-white around the wood in his hands, and despite the blood on his shoes, and on his shirt; despite the fact Ray is currently higher than a passenger plane; despite the fact they have got to go, right now.

The adrenaline settles in Brad, but he doesn't regain the glass-sea stillness he's used to.

Brad's boot soles catch faintly on the sticky floor. Ray is right where he should be, looking up at Brad, but standing with the barest amount of support from Brad's slick fingers. He's even more ready to file this night under good now Ray's essentially supporting his own weight.

Ray's eyes are red-rimmed, but smiling. He takes a steadying step forward and bumps nose-first into Brad's chest.

“Brad, has anyone ever told you you're really tall?” Ray mumbles into his skin. His breathing is slow, compared to Brad's own, and his breath seeps hot through the cotton of Brad's shirt as he speaks.

Brad feels naked. Ray’s fingers slip through his slick ones and his hands hang limp at his sides, the fingers of his right still wrapped slippery around the baseball bat's handle.

He takes a step backwards, away from Ray.

Ray sways, then, and a fat red bead of blood from his nose rolls slowly down to catch on his top lip before it spills over, spreading between the just-open line of his lips. Before he can ask Ray why the fuck he's bleeding, Ray's eyes roll back in his head and Brad's holding him up solely by his quick grip on the thin cotton of his shirt.

The bat clunks to the floorboards loud as a gunshot, and the seams of Ray's shirt complain audibly under his hands until he can lower them both slowly to the floorboards.

No, this clusterfuck gets filed under bad, bad, fucking bad.

Ray is still breathing, though, and Brad can feel the warmth of it against his neck as he hefts Ray into his arms. Ray makes a nonsense sound and hangs on, which Brad is thankful for because despite the fact Ray's still got the physique of a junkie, he's put on weight and muscle tone in the last two years, and Brad feels it all now. A dead-weight body is never easy to carry.

Ray wipes his nose with a wet snort against Brad's neck.

"Take me to bed or lose me forever," he mumbles, and Brad says nothing about the idiotic origins of the quote, just kicks the half-open door out of his way and walks down the uneven driveway quickly as he can with Ray giggling and bleeding against his skin. At least he's awake.




There are six messages after he gets back from meeting with Godfather:

1: "Brad you big stud, take me to bed or lose me forever!" followed by a thud and Ray's muffled laughter.

2: "Brad, I found my DVD collection under my bed! Okay, okay, I got them out of hock. OKAY, Colbert, I can see the fucking stupid I know every damn thing about you Ray I have x-ray vision look in your cold ass killer eyes, I went down to 2a just to talk, I wasn't buying shit before you ask, and I remembered last time I got stuff from the hideous fucking chud that sells there I'd traded him some DVDs andahandjob for stuff anyway he lent me back DVD of Top Gun you gotta come here and watch it or I'll convert to Scientology, and end up a homosexual alien fucker like Tom Cruise--"

3: "Iceman I just watched Top Gun by my-fucking-self, you cocksucker, how can you be so fucking blasé about your namesake? Is it a Jewish thing? Now I'm blind from looking directly at Tom Cruise's teeth and where the fuck am I going to find a gay alien to mack on? That is what Scientologists do isn't it? Or are they waiting for alien Jesus or something? ... I'm a loser baaaaby, so why don't you kill meeee."

4: "I don't know if you got the reference there but you know the dude who sings that is a homosexual alien fucker too. Aww goddamn it, my fucking broke-dick DVD player just crapped out motherfucker--"

5: "Brad, seriously. What the fuck are you doing? Did Godfather want you to suck him off or some shit? Are you dead? Did you refuse to suck Godfather's cock and get iced? No, you'd fuck his shit up. Are you on the run? You know I wouldn't tell Godfaggot shit, come on Colbert. Call me, Brad. I'm feeling kind of shaky."

6: "Brad, call me. Please."

Brad, call me. Please.




"Where's your other half, Colbert?" Godfather's rasp fills the room as clearly as a shout from another man.

"Excuse me?"

"Finally got the stitches out, then?"

"I'm not sure I take your meaning," Brad lies. "With all due respect, I believe you called me here in regards to a job."

Godfather's laugh is dry as a desert and about as hospitable.




Ray's phone rings out three times, and Brad leaves no messages.

Brad's got his boots on before he remembers he is not answering Ray tonight. Because he can do that. Ray is his student, not his.

Not his anything else.




The stairwell of Ray's apartment smells like cat piss, and guilty-looking children with grubby faces peer at Brad with bravado so false he doesn't even have it in him to say boo when they hawk spit loudly over the banister as he walks past.

At Ray's door he knocks with his knuckles a few times and waits, then knocks out the beat of Cold As Ice, and waits.

Ray doesn't answer, and Brad's fists clench. Now he doesn't fucking know where Ray is, and he could well still be inside, face-down in his own vomit.

There is snickering from the stairs and Brad turns around and fixes a stare on the three dirty kids. The littlest one stares back, sucking on his thumb.

"Hey are you Brad?" the biggest one asks, kicking the railing repeatedly.

"Of course he is," the boy next to him whispers very loudly. "He's stupid-tall and he's got blond hair and he looks really cranky."

Brad attempts to stop frowning abruptly. Clearly Ray knows these children, so if they've been loitering on the stairs long enough they might know if he's still inside. Brad doesn't particularly want to break the door down, but he is perhaps thirty seconds from doing just that. Ray's call me. Please, echoes in his ears.

"I'm Brad, yes," Brad supplies after staring at them doesn't garner any further information.

"Josh Ray said to tell you he went out to Big Ugly Mike's house."

"No," the second boy whispers equally as loudly as before, more of a breathy yell, "he said Fat Mike."

"Oh yeah he said Fat Mike," the first boy echoes.

Brad has to think for a long minute before the nickname means anything to him. It hits him like a shot to chest armour, kicking the wind out of him with an intensity that's unsettling.

Ray hasn't mentioned the name in years, and the only context Brad knows Fat Mike from is some of the worse stories Ray had told him about the Southside house he'd lived in when he'd first come to the city. First met Brad.

Brad was going to kill Ray.

"Hey!" one of the kids yelled out as he ran down the stairs past them, and his hand was on the door before the biggest kid yelled, "Hey he also said to tell you something else!"

The boy who'd failed to whisper gave up entirely on subtlety and yelled "Dwayne don't say it he'll get fucking mad you idiot!"

"He's already mad," Dwayne said impatiently, "and Josh Ray said to, so I'm gonna. He gave me ten bucks! You're jealous anyway."

"What, kid?" Brad snapped, one palm pressed flat against the glass of the building's front door and neck craned to look up at the grubby line of faces staring over the wooden railing at him. His entire body felt tensed as if he was about to push the door open into a firefight.

"He said to tell you you're a pansy-ass faggot!" Dwayne yelled and then disappeared back over the railing howling with laughter.

Brad shoved the heavy front door open hard enough the glass rattled.

Fucking Ray. Brad was going to kill him.




The white noise when he pushes the Ducati around a wide bend going an even sixty is usually accompanied by the feeling of being untouchable, solitude falling over him gently as light snow, so the longer he rides the deeper he gets buried in it.

Right now the white noise doesn't get a chance to start above the unholy racket his heart is putting up every time he dodges a bumper on the freeway, or overtakes a honking truck or startled late night commuter.

Ray: seventeen, skinny, shivering in a familiar outfit of skinny leg hugging jeans and gape-armed shirt falling far past his collar bones and nipples, arms wrapped around his knees and staring up at Brad like a stray dog. He was around the same size as one, then, as well. Stillness was already something he'd realised was rare in Ray, and Brad must have looked concerned. Ray had just dragged his eyes and the bags under them up, the corners of his lips quirking up, and told him he wasn't really getting much sleep where he was staying.

It was hard to sleep with a twenty-four-seven revolving door of shitbag dicksuck light-fingered junkie fucks stomping through his living room buying from his landlord. He could sleep through the music, the films, the XBox screaming gunfire and zombie-growls at two in the morning, but he couldn't sleep through the people. Couldn't sleep through Mike waking him up, either, and couldn't refuse to get up and check this count or try this shit or run down the corner for me, or, and Brad grits his teeth, suck my dick. Because Mike owned his house and Ray was just the piece of shit in the spare room that happened to be good at those things, and never allowed to pay enough rent that he didn't owe Mike something.

Brad turns a corner and the back tire jerks, the bike nearly fishtailing under him on the sharp turn after he takes the off-ramp to the city's southern suburbs.

He is going to fucking kill Ray, he thinks, and slows the bike considerably as the roads narrow, the rev of the engine bouncing off the rows of houses even through his helmet.

He sees the flicker-glow of TVs through open windows, and the flash of cats’ eyes in his headlight. The street is familiar. Last time he'd been here it had been dark too, which helps.

It's a pity he can't kill Fat Mike -- he amends the thought. He could kill Fat Mike, and he thinks of a few detailed ways in which he could accomplish it. Then, a few ways in which he could accomplish it that wouldn't end up on the nightly news and with a very public interest in finding who murdered the dope-dealing retard.

It's a pity he can't kill Fat Mike tonight, is what he means.

The street is as he remembers it from retrieving Ray and all his earthly belongings (a backpack and a torn plastic garbage bag) a good year and a half ago. It's lined with overgrown lawns, picket fences like hillbilly smiles, and muddy kids’ toys left out to crack and decompose.

This time of night it looks disturbing, as if someone had plucked all the people and children away before they could clean up whatever they'd been halfway through doing, and the grass had grown tall in their absence.

Brad pulls his bike up to the curb and steps off, taking his helmet off to the sound of window-shaking bass and the colourful kaleidoscope glow of a television flashing behind flimsy curtains. He glances around and finds nowhere he can chain his front tire still. He pockets his keys with a resolution that he'll be ten minutes maximum. It takes Ray five to get the Ducati going without the keys, so it should take the smacked-out retards around here a lot longer.

He leaves his helmet on the bike's seat and grinds gravel under his boots up the cracked pavement of the driveway, slipping his hand under the back of his heavy leather jacket to pull his M9 out as he climbs the front stairs. He raps on the door.

"What the fuck you want?" A deep, bored voice comes from inside, then a shout away from the doorway, "Don't fucking unpause the game, Mike, come on! I'm COMIN'."

Brad resists the urge to cross his fingers that they're stupid enough to crack the door, so he doesn't have to break it down, or shoot the lock -- it'll go a lot easier if he doesn't have to both pull a potentially high Ray out of here as well as break and enter the hard way.

He tightens the silencer on his gun.

Potentially high? Brad grits his teeth. It had been a week and a half that Brad knew of that Ray had been sober as a nun under threat of a piss-test. Ray would be high.

"I believe you have something of mine," Brad says, not too loudly.

The door cracks and a thin slice of yellow light leaks from inside like a sunbeam from heaven, illuminating the gun in Brad's hand. He presses it fast and firmly to the hollow-cheeked face of the redhead that peers out the door, and jams his foot in the doorway, the wood slamming against the steel-capped toe of his boot ineffectually. The man's lips twitch but no sound comes out.

"Be very quiet, and take a step back from the door," Brad says softly.

Brad moves in after him, maintaining eye contact since the man seems the kind that may think if he can't see Brad, Brad can't see him. Brad has dealt with stupidity on that level before, and he has learned not to underestimate the potential depths of retardation to which people might sink.

He pushes the door so it's shut-over but the latch doesn't catch, easy to get out without leaving a visual. This is going to be quick.

There's a baseball bat leaning into the corner beside the door. It's been a long time since he's held one, and he picks it up without a second glance, hefts it in his left hand, flexing his fingers around the comfortable thickness of it.

He keeps his gun up and steady in his right.

It's an amateur move he'd berate anyone he was working with over, but he isn't a teenager so eager to get his dick wet he'll overload himself with potential weapons he can't use in a situation that's predictability is limited. He isn't an amateur, and since one-weapon-at-a-time is a rule he'd made he can break it. Do as I say,not as I do.

"Back up," Brad says.

"Just tell 'em to fuck off, Pat! If you don't get back here in about ten seconds I'm unpausing this shit," comes loudly from the other room, over the increasingly loud sound of some god awful bass-heavy dance music. It sounds to Brad like a throbbing headache recorded to disc.

"Shh," Brad says, and backs the tall gangly redhead, Pat, out of the hall and into the lounge.

Mike holds a remote out and the teeth-itching bass from the stereo quietens just slightly. He turns his head from the paused war game on the television, and Brad smiles fractionally at the widening of his eyes, and his slack mouth, pouring what does not smell like cigarette smoke into the already cloudy air.

"Who the fuck--" Mike coughs.

Brad gives Pat a significant look and shifts his gun to point at Fat Mike's wide face.

"I'm looking for Ray Person."

Mike's face twitches awkwardly between anger and fear, his lips and eyebrows twitching, his deer in headlights eyes.

"Fuckin' Person," Pat says in front of Brad.

"Shut your mouth," Brad snaps. "Or I'll break your teeth,” he shifts his grip on the bat, and Pat's eyes dodge between it and Brad's face, and his gun. You," he inclines his head but keeps his gun steady on Mike, "tell me where he is."

"He's here man, if you want him you can fucking have him. He's passed out in the bedroom,” Mike holds his hands up over the couch back, “I've got no beef with you. He's down there, second door. On the right. Do whatever the fuck you need to, then get outta my house," Mike speaks with the well-oiled, solicitous tone of someone used to being threatened, the perpetual middleman used to oozing his way through life on quick lies and concessions he looked happier to be giving than he really was.

"Show me," Brad says. Mike hesitates for a second, but hauls himself up from the couch.

As if Brad would have been idiotic enough to give them his back and go looking for Ray by himself.

"You too," Brad says, and ushers them both in front of him through a marijuana leaf-print beaded curtain that covers the doorway into another hall.

Mike stops in front of the second door and pushes it all the way open, leans inside and gestures sweepingly to the inside of the room with sarcastic grandeur. "There you go. He's all yours."

Ray is, indeed, passed out in the bedroom, sprawled on top of the covers fully-clothed, looking like he's been hauled up and dropped there from a height. He shifts, but in a way that indicates he's not entirely awake. His hair's in a sweaty disarray, two strands hanging limp in his face, the buzzed side is obscured when he moves and his hair flops away from its usual slicked-back neatness.

"Ray," Brad says, heartbeat quickening for the first time since he'd gotten off his bike. "Ray!" he says, louder, and Ray rolls onto his back and groans, then mumbles something. "Speak up, you dumb fucking hick."

"Brad," Ray says and flails one arm up towards the ceiling without moving otherwise, only to have it flop back a little too hard onto his own face. He doesn't wince, and Brad frowns. "I left you a message," Ray mumbles into the crook of his own elbow.

"I know," Brad says, frowning.

This isn't Ray's usual high. This isn't Ray drunk, either. When Ray is drunk he oscillates without pause between annoying Brad, hitting on everything that moves, and asleep. This makes Brad pause for a second, frozen, and it's just a second but one long tick of the clock is more than he's hesitated for in a long time. He's finds he's angrier than he has been for a while, too.

"Ran outta money," Ray supplies, a complete non-sequitur, but something clicks for Brad then. "Brad. Come here I want to tell you something."

Brad's holding Ray's share from their last job. It's not an inconsiderable about of money, and it's in his very much above-board bank account at Ray's request. Which means Ray will have been living hand to mouth, and the meals he'd picked at at Brad's would have been, Brad is now sure, all he'd been eating. He'd given ten bucks to the obnoxious child in his building, and Brad's sure it was his last. It dawns on Brad with a killing-hot blaze like the desert sun.

"So," Brad asks, gesturing to Ray's prone form with his gun, a smile on his lips and his teeth well hidden. "How'd he pay for whatever you sold him then?"

Ray rolls over onto his side and laughs.

"Shut the fuck up, Ray," Brad snaps, then looks back at Mike. At least Ray is on his side now, and if he pukes he's not going to choke on it.

"Man, I don't sell shit," Mike says, on what must be reflex because Brad is fairly sure he does not look that stupid.

Brad stares at him. He watches as a bead of sweat rolls down the pale cheek of his full-moon face. Mike shifts on his feet, floorboards creaking under him.

"We got an arrangement," Mike says with an emphasis that makes Brad's fingers twitch.

Brad very deliberately moves his finger off the trigger of the M9, checks the safety is still on, and places it on the outside edge of the trigger guard. He holds the comfortable weight of the baseball bat at his side, and keeps his wrist loose and his grip from going white-knuckled.

Ray's facing away from them on the bed now: he's turned so his back is to them and the shallow curve of his spine is naked and vulnerable where his shirt has twisted and ridden up.

There is not enough room to swing a bat in this hallway.

He is not going to use the M9, this is not worth the potential trouble.

He cannot conceive of touching Ray right now, and he will not ask either of the dope-dealing shitsacks to help Ray up, to touch him.

"Ray," he says, eyes still on Mike, Pat hovering like a nervous greyhound in the background, thin and pale. "Ray! It's time to get fuck up now," Brad says it loud and slow, in his best Ray-those-are-live-rounds-and-the-safety-is-off-refrain-from-miming-fellatio-on-the-gunbarrel voice.

"I am not sure if my legs work," Ray says, like a comment on the weather. Looks like rain, only it's, Brad I'm paralytic from drugs. Fucking wonderful.

"Try," Brad says.

"'Kay Brad," Ray says and slides himself to the edge of the bed, legs seemingly working just fine as he swings them over the side.

Brad keeps his eyes on Fat Mike and the gangly, pale-faced Pat, until he feels a surprisingly heavy tug on his jacket, pulling his shoulders down, and glances down to see Ray's hand grasping the leather. He presses his face to Brad's arm for a moment, bumping his forehead into Brad's elbow as he dips. He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out.

"Move," Brad gestures with a flick of his gun. Mike glances at Ray, and gives Brad a long look, a ballsy move considering the gun on him. Brad waits him out, and he turns his back and gets moving as quickly as expected after Brad doesn't blink. Pat, clearly the smaller-balled of the two, walks backwards down the hallway instead, bumping into a wall briefly.

Ray slaps a hand against the peeling wallpaper, still keeping his grip on Brad's jacket with the other, and trails his fingers along the wall, humming tunelessly. Brad doesn't look at him.

"Stop," Brad says when they get into the lounge, intending to tell Fat Mike and his skinny friend to kiss the floor for at least sixty seconds while they leave. What comes out of his mouth instead, is: "Did you touch him?"

He feels himself flush.

"I'm going to just," Ray mumbles something indistinct and lets go of Brad's jacket. “Wake me when we're going.” He doesn't so much fall as liquefy, sliding his back down the wall to land in a puddle of splayed limbs. Brad raises his eyebrows at Ray briefly, and gets a quick, loose smile back. Ray pulls one knee up and rests his chin against it, and the buckle of his belt clinks against itself, the silver clasp undone. Rays fingers trace the wallpaper beside him blindly.

Brad feels his nostrils flare. He looks back to Mike.

Mike says nothing. Mike is apparently under the illusion that answering Brad is optional.

There's a feeling in his chest, familiar as a storm over the ocean at home: stirring calm waters to small sharp peaks at first, the roiling underneath unseen until a wave breaks against the cage of his ribs.

Ray is singing under his breath, yeah my girlfriend takes me home when I'm too drunk to drive and she doesn't get all jealous when I hang out with the guys, a tuneless litany underscored with quiet laughter, and strokes his fingers against the wall in time with the stereo's quieter, but no less headache-inducing, bass thump.

"You can answer me, or I can shoot you," Brad says, calmly leaving door number three closed: the prize clasped tightly in his left hand, the wood smooth and well worn. Brad is assuming Fat Mike doesn't play baseball regularly.

"I don't run a fucking charity here, I run a business," Mike says. "You want my shit, you gotta pay up." He shrugs a rounded shoulder.

Brad lowers his gun with a brief, controlled jerk, to shoot Pat in his knobbly kneecap.

He howls and buckles like a partially-demolished building, lopsided, and then tumbles to the ground, hands clamping across the hole in his knee. He rocks on his spine like a turtle knocked onto its back, fingers as ineffective at keeping the blood from welling red and spilling between his fingers as his teeth are for keeping the bubbling whine of pain spilling between them.

"Fuck, man, shit, I don't -- I've got cash, in the ceiling," he takes a step forward, and gestures to a small square manhole in ceiling near the hallway, "and shitload worth of uppers and downers, and some Es," he says, sounding as if he's run a mile, or he was the one Brad had just shot through the leg. His eyes are wide as his face, white and wild. "You can have it. Just get outta here and let me call -- let me get my brother to the hospital."

"You misunderstand me, Mike," Brad says, pushing his M9 back into his waistband and flipping his shirt over it out of habit. "I don't want anything from you."

Brad transfers the bat from left hand to right quickly, but for a fat man Mike can move, and he catches the blow with a raised forearm. The wood reverberates with the force of Brad's swing, the full force he'd put into it, the bat cracking home against bone. Mike stumbles, cringing then moaning.

In Brad's opinion Mike is now nursing, at best, a fracture. It's obvious, the way he's raised his arm to his chest like a dog with an injured paw. Brad's fingers ache already, and he shifts them on the bat's handle. Mike has just made the best mistake he could right now: he is backing away, scared, instead of coming closer and rendering Brad's weapon ineffective.

And I know that everything know that everything's gonna be fine, Ray sings to himself from the floorboards.

With Brad's second swing Mike's slower on the uptake, and makes the entirely terrible decision to attempt to save his face again by throwing his hand up, open-palmed. At least two fingers definitely break, the angle they snap to isn't in any way natural.

Mike sways, taking unsteady steps away from Brad. He's too focussed on Brad's hands, not cautious enough to avoid the foot Ray kicks out just as Mike backs past him, catching him in the ankle and felling him like a huge tree.

He hits the ground heavily, screaming as the arm he flings out on instinct to stop himself turns out to be the one he's just broken fingers on. A cheap rack of fake Japanese swords and a ceramic dragon crash down from the mantle as Mike scrambles backwards against the wall, glass shattering more dangerously than the cheap unsharpened metal.

Ray grins up at Brad and Brad nods down to him; the flash of Ray's crooked white teeth the landmark Brad will find his way back to. He steps past and grabs the middle of Mike's shirt, hauling heavily on it so he slides away from the wall a little, his arms up and face contorted He’s no doubt torn between the pain in his right hand's fingers and his left forearm, and the instinct to protect his face.

It makes no difference to Brad.

He takes a step back, and a golf swing at the peak of Mike's raised knee.

The blow connects less jarringly than the one to his arm, but with a crunch like nothing but what it is: the tearing pop of cartilage dislodged and shattered, and Brad finds his teeth showing in a grin and a grimace, the intensity of satisfaction a slow explosion in his chest, echoed through clenched to aching knuckles.

He thinks how fucking dare you and you don't get to fucking touch him, and he hammers at Mike's leg even as Mike mashes curses together in a lingering wail, curling himself into a fat foetal ball.

Brad keeps going until on the fifth, sixth, tenth blow of the bat falls less jarringly across the padding of his thigh. There is blood seeping through the denim on the side of Mike's knees.

Brad straightens his own back then, and drives the steel-capped toe on his boot into the fleshy curve of Mike's spine, and Mike jerks but doesn't uncurl from the ball he's managed to roll himself into.

"Braaaaaad, check your six," Ray says slowly, like he's functioning at half the pace of the rest of the world, and a quarter of what Brad is right now.

Pat's up and hobbling with pained hisses loud enough Brad berates himself for not hearing, ears to full of pounding blood and head full Ray. The gangly red-head hits the wall with a thud and stops statue still for a moment, clearly having jolted the shattered remains of his kneecap. His hands reach slowly, halfway to it, then stop as if he can't choose if it would be more painful to touch or not.

He's not going anywhere fast, but Brad glances down at Mike, shivering and curled on himself like a doughnut. Brad gestures with the bat, looking down the length of it. "Do not move a fucking inch. If I see you so much as breathe out of the corner of my eye I will kill you. Do you understand me?"

Mike shudders and moves his head underneath his arms.

Brad turns and strides quickly over Ray's legs, and into the hallway.

The back of Pat's knee, and his naked calf, have run with blood so thick it's soaked his white sock red, and his skin is masked like a solid tattoo. He starts to turn slowly, one hand braced against the wall, and the side of Brad's boot catches the back of his uninjured knee. He straightens his bleeding leg on instinct, and goes down like a house of cards as his bloody shoe hits the ground.

The hand supporting his weight on the wall flies automatically towards the bullet wound again, no hesitation this time.

Brad cuts his keening moan off with the butt of the bat and drives it down into his cheek, into the open 'O' of Pat’s lips. He chokes a surprised cough, and sprays blood across the floorboards, a chip of tooth skittering through after it. Brad lifts the bat again: there's no room to swing in the hall, so he drives it down mortar-and-pestle, until he's ground the face underneath him to a red-stained hollow that bubbles blood through one nostril.

Pat shifts his fingers from his knee to his face on the third down stroke, and Brad ignores them, smashing them against his cheekbone. It feels good to let go, and a litany of Ray's name runs though him loud and continuous, in time with the burn and flex of his arms, like a song he can't get out of his head.

"Brad, I got--" Ray says, then stops, and the hitch of his breath cuts through Brad's concentration more than his own name. He turns to face Ray, chest heaving and face tickling abruptly, dripping with sweat, his arms blood-spattered.

Ray's halfway to standing, but slides to the floor again with a thump, and whispers, fuck under his breath. He's not smiling or singing now, and Brad takes a long breath and turns completely away from the mess on the floor in front of him.

Ray leans over and throws up across the floorboards, and it's clear enough to Brad he hasn't eaten for a while.

He walks through the faintly sweet smelling stomach bile. He's going to have to hose his fucking shoes anyway.

He keeps the bat clasped loosely in his left hand, though he doubts, now he's less focussed on his task, that either of them will be any threat. He's fairly sure he can smell piss over the coppery blood and puke, and the ingrained funk of cigarettes and pot. Mike hasn't moved from exactly where Brad left him, however many seconds, or minutes ago he did.

The lost time, he thinks, might bother him more tomorrow.

"We've got to go," Brad says, and waits for Ray to look up at him again. "Hey. Ray. What do you need?" Brad asks, and Ray smiles again then, pupil dilated ridiculously, he bumps the back of his head against the wall rhythmically.

"Thirsty," Ray says. "Brad, you've got," and Ray swipes clumsily at his own face.

"I know," Brad says, and reaches down with a red and white hand, Ray's own grasping his firmly.
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