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"And in the end, we were all just humans... Drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness." -F. Scott Fitzgerland


Anders half-jogged to the Laundromat, Mitchell's blanket tucked under one arm and the broken canoe paddle clutched in the other. He may not have to worry about fighting off Mitchell, but there were still other unsavory people littering Sequim.

The Port Hadlock Laundromat was a few blocks away when Mitchell came into view from a cross-street.

"Hey!" Anders waved.

The brunette turned, a tired yawn caught in his smile as he waved back and slowed down so the blond could catch up.

"Hey, how're you doing?"

"Not bad now that I know I'll soon be wearing clean clothes! You left this."

Mitchell accepted the blanket. "I didn't have the heart to take it back before. Besides, I figured I'd get it back eventually."

Smiling slightly, Anders fell in step with the brunette as they made their way towards the Laundromat. Mitchell pulled open the door and gestured for the blond to enter.

Anders looked around. "Where's the owner?"

"Asleep, most likely. It's late and the quarter machines don't have to be managed by anyone except the customers."

Mitchell selected a random washer to set his backpack down on before dumping out his dirty laundry.

"I've got good news. I have enough money now to move to Seattle by tomorrow. The offer still stands if you want to come, there's enough money for a ferry ticket for you too."

Removing his jacket, Anders looked at the brunette. "I- I guess. Are you sure you want me to tag along?"

Smiling, Mitchell nodded as he tugged off his own jacket and added it to the growing pile of clothes on the cold floor. "I'm sure. You're good company, and if you do come along you'll have an actual roof over your head instead of abandoned bars."

Anders watched as Mitchell continued to shamelessly strip down to a pair of black boxer briefs, dumping the rest of his and the blond's clothes into the washer.

His body was even better than the blond had imagined. Though both of them were underweight, Mitchell had a slight muscular build, like a swimmer, with a flat stomach that Anders knew would develop into abs worth worshipping if the brunette ever had enough to eat.

Feeling eyes on him, Mitchell looked up and grinned. "You just going to watch or do you want to join in?"

Brought out of his revelry, Anders blushed. "Wh-what?"

"Your clothes. If you want them washed you're going to have to strip down."

"Oh, right."

Anders complied, except with less confidence, until he was shivering in the cool Laundromat in nothing but his boxers. Noticing the shaking, Mitchell looked around the room until his eyes landed on an old abandoned robe with a floral print on it.

"Hang on." Anders watched Mitchell walk over to retrieve the robe. The brunette's back was just as enticing as the rest of his body, although it did look like he had some dark marks along his shoulders. He couldn't tell from far away, but hey looked like small bruises.

Upon attaining the thin garment, Mitchell handed it to the blond before turning again to their pile of laundry. The brunette inserted a few quarters into the machine and then dumped their accumulated filthy wardrobe into the washer while Anders slipped into the floral robe. He could get a good look at Mitchell's back now. They were bruises, but not like regular ones. They almost looked like they were caused by-

Anders stopped in his thoughts. Teeth. They were caused by someone's mouth.

It was only then that Anders realized Mitchell was now staring at him. He had a blank expression on his face, but beneath that mask of indifference Anders could only describe the emotion he saw as 'broken.'

"Is- Is that what you do at night? That's how you got enough money to move to Seattle?"

Mitchell didn't say anything. He didn't have to. He could tell that Anders didn't need an answer to know the truth. Before the blond could press the matter, he changed the subject.

"You wanna play cards?"

Nodding numbly, Anders watched as the brunette walked over to his bag and began digging around inside. It made sense really. There's not many places that allow teens to work at night, and Mitchell would have had to be making a substantial amount of money if he was planning to move to Seattle, especially if he had enough for Anders to come along too.

"Got it." Mitchell came back waving a worn deck of playing cards in one hand while clutching his pack of cigarettes in the other.

"Do you know how to play gin?"

"Yeah." Anders responded.

He copied Mitchell as the brunette fluidly swung himself on top if one of the washers, slid a cigarette between his lips, lit it, and started dealing the cards.

They played silently for a while, the smoke from Mitchell's cigarette lazily encircling the only two people occupying the Laundromat. Neither of them were all that focused on the game though, they were more lost in their own thoughts than anything else.

The silence was broken when Mitchell looked up at his companion and chuckled. Anders glances towards the brunette.

"What?"

"You look ridiculous." Mitchell said, grinning around his cigarette.

It was only then that Anders remembered he was wearing the floral-print robe. Laughing along with Mitchell, it wasn't long before the remaining tension fell from both their shoulders.

They spent the rest of the evening in a shroud of cigarette smoke, which Anders decided he liked the smell of, and occupied by a game neither of them were entirely good at.

Both of them were more than happy when their clothes were out of the dryer. Anders hugged his warm jacket to his chest and inhaled the scent of fresh laundry detergent while Mitchell tugged on his black t-shirt over the hickeys on his shoulders blades.

"Thanks you." Anders' words were muffled through his clean coat.

Smiling, the brunette tugged on his warm black jeans. "No problem. Anders… if you don't want to come with me after, after finding out about what I do, I understand."

Anders watched as Mitchell shifted his weight from foot to foot. He couldn't judge him. The brunette was doing something awful, something that no living soul should have to do, but he was only doing it to survive.

And maybe, just maybe, he could help him get out of it.

"What's the plan for the ferry tomorrow?"


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