A Splinter in the Sound Series
Part Three | A Splinter in the Sound
A/N So I've gotten a lot of requests to finish this. Here you go, I guess.
He's tossing in his bed, tongue running over teeth, when he hears the knock on the window. Taps, more like; a soft kind of breaking, a waterfall of tiny glass particles. He flips over and looks, assuming it's some branches, and sees nothing. There is no tree directly outside that would cause such a noise. Imagination. Something solid in him unexpectedly plummets.
"What are you hoping for?" he asks angrily to the night air. The siren of an approaching police car wails nearby, getting closer and then screaming away in to the shadows. He swears he can hear the kitchen clock ticking. "Why would you hope for that."
Fully dressed, the summer sheets on his bed pick up grime from jeans past their prime of cleanliness. He's rough with the pillow underneath his head, calluses catching on the material. It's hot in his room, even in the darkness. Moon slants in sideways. He's been drinking too much.
Ceiling-stares catch long shadows forming—again, he looks to the window. It is almost like he's waiting for something to happen, anything, after the bar bathroom and the spitting. Saliva still gelatinous in his mouth, caught behind molars. Baring his teeth to the glass panes, he smirks unkindly to himself and closes his eyes. It hurts to swallow. He adjusts his position restlessly.
"More and more like him every day, huh." He's not sure who he hates more, now.
A couple minutes pass. Again the waterfall starts, slowly at first. It builds, but he ignores it as a ruse. Just one of the many mirrors to internal turmoil; no more laughing, no more jokes, less cake and more beer, less cartoons and more shadows. He feels less eloquent than ever, if he ever was. Mostly dodging chicks he would pick up, passing into the corners of buildings and the alleys between them. Hoping, ever hoping…
Dallas pounds on the window. "Hey, asshole!"
Jumping up, Two-Bit balls his hands into fists. "What the fuck?" he hisses, not daring to step any closer to the window. He thinks if he latched it or not, and can't decide which one he would rather it be right now.
"Let me in!" Dallas counters, quieter. He still knocks on the window, a specter glancing over his shoulder with the fervor of paranoia. "Come on, just open up!"
Even in the dark Two-Bit can see how brightly the other's eyes are blazing—not fear, no, but adventure. Misadventure. No doubt there is a bottle of whiskey cradled close to his chest in that leather jacket-covered arm; no doubt the hood has no wallet or cash on him.
He crosses his room, the carpet now unfamiliar underneath his bare feet. He doesn't know what he's doing as the metal of the window lock is on the pad of his thumb, as he slides open a space for Dallas to silently vault through into his room, his territory. Two-Bit's hair rises on end like an electric shock's gone through him; the cop car's siren is back, crawling along further down the street. Still stunned by the side of the window, Two-Bit can see red and blue lights reflect on a neighbor's busted two-door chassis.
A coarse laughter comes from behind him, breathless and excited. "Get the fuck away, Mathews, close the window. You'll give me away."
Biting, "You would like that," he slides the window back into place and slinks back to his bed, refusing to look at the tow-head. His body is alert to the distance between them, though—expected confrontation, polarized either negatively or positively. He cannot figure out if he'd be sucked to the other like gravity or if he's revolted by his very material presence.
Dallas cackles and pulls a bottle out of his jacket—whiskey, just as predicted. "Oh, cool it you pansyass." He's drunk, or high, Two-Bit can't tell. The whirring of the cap being twisted off distracts him. He's watching from the corner of his eyes, spine stiff on the farthest edge of his bed.
Dallas takes a swig, the amber liquid glorious in the moonlight. His hand around the neck of the bottle pale, knuckles bruised or bloodied. He gasps like a fish after finishing, an inch of the bottle's contents down his throat.
"Hey, shut the fuck up would you? Ma might be workin' but my sis is straight down the hall." Two-Bit sounds strong but his hands tremor—there is a large, though fading, welt on the tow-head's neck. Teeth marks and everything.
Has it only been six days?
"Better lock me in here quick," Dallas replies with a sneer that'd make the moon sick. More dangerous than ever, thinner and bony. Taut. He swigs again with skeleton fingers, not taking either eye off Two-Bit. "A woman-Mathews?" He almost purrs, mean eyes shining.
Two-Bit fumes, not able to shake off this buzzing in his head. The siren is closer, slower. "I could throw you back out that window just as easy as I let you in, you sack of skin," he threatens. "You're looking more worse for the wear than my shoe soles."
Dallas spills a bit trying to get up from the floor where he'd stayed since diving in to safety, unsteady on his feet. He regains balance and walks over to Two-Bit, who is still staunchly refusing to meet his gaze.
"If you don't close yer pie hole, you'll be meeting the soles of my shoes, bucko."
Two-Bit sneers. It takes everything in him to not jump up and run out the door, away from the drunk who smelled of Buck Merril's couch, metal shavings, and bad country music. Dallas' skin has a sheen of sweat on it, but he doesn't take off his jacket. Another long drink.
"Well, then." Dallas changes his mind, backing away from Two-Bit to do a lazy lap around the room. "What you been up to, Two-Cents?"
Fully aware the towhead is just biding his time until the coast is clear, Two-Bit chews his cheek and stays silent. He hadn't had a lot tonight, only a couple beers, but it's enough to intensify everything in the small room. Ranch-style houses are hell in the summer.
Across the room, the back of a hand wipes across a full mouth. Some half-healed scrapes dot the thin flesh, cracked from dryness or teeth or stranger's fists—Two-Bit's guess was as good as any. When they finally lock eyes it's like the whole room is dropped into a bowl of ice water.
Slowly, Dallas approaches the window adjacent to Two-Bit's bed and places the bottle, a third drained, onto the sill. Without looking away he takes one leaf of his unzipped jacket and pulls it back, then moves on to the other side. He's wearing a white undershirt, armpits translucent with sweat. The jacket is thrown onto the ground between them like a matador's cape. Two-Bit can't move to stop what's going to happen next, nor does he feel like he can just sit still; somehow, his body freezes with this feeling inside of him. If it was possible to move by sheer mind-will, he'd end up split in two separate places—closer and further.
Choosing his steps carefully, Dallas makes his way to the edge of the bed. Two-Bit has to arch his neck to look up at the hood, painful crick from a bad week's sleep catching a nerve. But still he can't look away—Dallas' hand comes down to his face, fingers ghosting over his profile. They're shaking.
"So… I'm drunk, Mathews."
As if all his latent energy of the past week suddenly released, Two-Bit grabs Dallas' waist in the circle of his arms and uses the clean motion to bring him swiftly down to the mattress, thin body bouncing on its surface from the abrupt throw. Two-Bit's leg swings over the towhead's lap haphazardly, crotches pushed together. Their faces are close, breaths an invisible veil of condensation between them.
"You think that changes anything, shithead? You think just 'cos some lifted whiskey's sliming up your brain that you won't be responsible for something you've obviously premeditated?" All of the sudden, Dallas' features lose their alluring façade. Grey eyes get hard and cold, but Two-Bit's broad hand rings around thin wrists before they can do anything deadly.
"What, your plan not panning out?" he taunts.
Dallas bares sharp teeth. "No."
Hearing something so honest catches Two-Bit off guard. He lets go of Dallas' hands and earns a sharp jab to temple for his troubles. He rolls over on the bed, back against the wall, to avoid its twin. Dallas quickly corners him, holding him horizontal with surprising force.
"What will it take?" he asks, voice lilting into a whisper heard only by the two of them, edges of his mouth turned down with disgust. "Fucking anger and violence every time we fuck?" He pushes Two-Bit to the wall, banging his head. "If I was looking for that, I'd get my old man when he was tipsy by wearing my Ma's summer dress."
Something's off, and by the time Two-Bit can get the stink of alcohol blinked out of his eyes it's too late. Dallas' hand has reached around back and pulled out Buck's six-shooter from his waistband. It clicks into cocked position by Two-Bit's temple, whose limbs fall limply to the bed with terrified compliance.
The towhead's mouth hisses out the words, distorted and ugly-pretty: "What? Finally up, Mathews?" He presses the gun in threateningly, voice rising. "What are you going to do about it, huh?"
Two-Bit turns his head away, gripping the bed sheets. He's not sober enough to stay stoic and stare down the barrel; he wouldn't be able to even if he were sober. "Dal," he tries, voice soft. "What do you want?" Adrenaline makes his heart jump. He swallows and puts his eyes back on the towhead's, continuing just as sedately. "Dal, Dal, hey. Tell me…"
Snarling, "I'll shoot you before I ask you!"
Suddenly it clicks. Two-Bit looks down at the mouth so scab-bitten and moves his own closer to it. The motion is met by the barrel of the gun pushing further into his skin. He looks up and meets grey eyes again; everything changes in an instant. Gently, he brings Dallas' bottom lip between his own, sucking on it, eyes closing soundlessly.
Dallas' tongue moves past his teeth into his mouth, against his own tongue. The gun is still held, but it's as if Dallas has forgotten about it. Two-Bit puts his fingers in the groove of the other's spine, relishing as the drunk turns to putty in his lap as the kiss continues. A string of saliva connects their mouths when they part, finally, lips wet. Some feeling completely different, yet completely the same stirs between Two-Bit's legs as Dallas regards him with a grey gaze.
Dallas nudges the gun to his temple, body language everything opposite; quietly, "Again."
Two-Bit wraps his arm around the towhead and pulls him closer. He kisses his chin right at the tip; his skin between upper lip and nose; the corner of his mouth: he dips his tongue into an ear, and Dallas straightens up impulsively, shivering. When Two-Bit pulls away for a second to switch sides, he realizes eyes are closed complacently despite the strength that shows in a gun-hand.
He thinks about it, and then lowers the other's body to the mattress in tandem with his own so the barrel can be kept to his temple. "Nevermind," as he connects their mouths once more.
Somehow it's easier to just let this happen than it is to force anything else; even with the threat of a bullet ripping out his brains, Two-Bit relaxes into whatever's happening. A refusal to process seems likely, but he feels it in every nerve of himself when Dallas responds to the slow, shallow dips his hips make against the turgid organ between the other's thighs. It's not like kitten kisses being shared—they have an unexplainable edge. Between he and the hood there still exists a fight; paradoxically to the existence of the gun and what has happened between them before, from free will.
Letting distance of a few inches grow between them, Two-Bit looks down at the towhead. "I only ever wanna fuck you, you know."
Dallas smirks, adjusting his hand around the gun. "How bad, Mathews?"
Deliberately, Two-Bit grinds his lap downward in maddening circles. If he could hear one sound for the rest of his life, it'd be the moan Dallas makes in his ear—anything but deliberate, premeditated, stifled.
He draws away carefully, the barrel smelling of iron and sweat, and begins to reach for the hem of his own shirt as the door to his room flies open. It happens in a second. A man in uniform trains a gun on Dallas, using the door frame as a brace and barrier—only his arms reach into the room; "Fucking drop it!"
Betrayal shows on Dallas' features like dawn. Two-Bit watches it happen as a fly sees the newspaper gunning toward it in those final throes; protecting himself, half out of surprise he jumps away from Dallas, off of the bed, hands held up in front of him as if he were the guilty one. Dallas sees this and in a split second his vulnerability is replaced by steeled anger. His mouth twisted up in half-desperation, half-valor, Dallas remembers what he holds in his hand and moves its mark square between Two-Bit's eyes.
"Are you always this goddamn scared, Mathews?"
He hears the gun shot through waves and waves of air. It's not until Dallas is on the floor, the fuzz's knee in his back and thin wrists handcuffed that Two-Bit realizes there's a hole in the window by his head, and the glass waterfall sound starts without hope of stopping.
Barbara rushes into the room, eyes full of tears and movements erratic. She throws her arms around her brother—"I heard him, I heard him say 'I'll shoot you!' Keith!"—shoving past Dallas, who is escorted from the room like some kind of dangerous jungle animal, eyes burning in the moon light. Two-Bit pushes his sister from him and follows the trail of broken picture frames and vases, of upturned furniture Dallas leaves in his wake. They're outside on the front porch when he catches up.
"He's not… Why are you—"
"Son, I suggest you go back inside if you know what's good for you," the officer replies tersely, wrangling Dallas at the same time as he shoots disgusted looks around the disheveled neighborhood. "This thieving hood here is about two steps down the road further than you. Make this—" Finally having it, he punches Dallas in the stomach, the thin body going limp momentarily, "a window into your future if you don't straighten yourself up."
Dallas wheezes manically, "Yeah, Mathews, two steps!" His voice is hoarse with rage and abuse, arms like wings behind his back, bent and broken, elbows in the air. Past ribs sticking stark again his sweat-soaked shirt, Two-Bit can distinguish the bitterest disappointment, the almost-weeping air and what unrequited sadness it holds, as if feelings were something felt, as if it were a dream; as if this were something to be torn up about, something besides the let-down of not getting sexual gratification.
Barbara appears at his side and shouts to the officer some form of defense, separating the towhead's actions from anything her brother has ever, or will ever, do. She wonders loudly why she called the police in the first place if all they were going to do was abuse them and their situation, and to just hurry up and do their job, get the fucking hood in the slammer already. Two-Bit tells her to shut up but he's not sure if the sound makes it out—his throat's gone dry. As Two-Bit watches Dallas' red eyes home in on him from beside the car, all he can do is suppress the urge to vomit out of fear, the fact they were almost caught dawning on him; maybe it was bigger than sex, maybe it always had been between them. He didn't know there were things besides, and the fact a hood with no home or honors to his name has taught him something like this makes him sick, makes him so incredibly small. His body shakes, as if from withdraws.
As he's pushed into the back seat, Dallas' mouth stretches open to unleash an animalistic snarl, but all Two-Bit can hear through the struggle of limbs enchained is that one pure moan, momentarily thinking how similarly the mouth moves; a splinter in the sound of his silent, wide-eyed headspace.