Disclaimer: not mine

cast from bit and part

He's brushing his teeth at the bathroom sink one afternoon when he realises. It's an understanding that comes suddenly; his genetics have never been good in an evolutionary sense, but they've always been cosmetically forgiving. But he wipes the clouds from the bathroom mirror and notices something slightly off about the slant of his eyes, something fraying about the lay of his skin upon his forehead. He's still good-looking by any account: features fine-boned and regular, bright eyes and bowed lips. But his complexion isn't as smooth as he remembers it, and little lines have started to dig brackets around his mouth. His pale hair will never show grey, but he checks anyway, parting it this way and that to find a single strand of silver amongst the gold. He sees none, though he looks, honestly looks. Carefully, he tries to think back to when he was thirteen, to remember his mother's face, but finds he recalls nothing but a smudge of shapely features and blue eyeshadow - sends himself into a torturous spasm of impossible speed-picking for his trouble.

Toki comes home from work sometime in the middle of that, earlier than usual and rustling with snow in the folds of his coat, his hair bound neatly back above his collar. The cold air he brings with him sends gooseflesh to the surface of Skwisgaar's skin; he hadn't bothered getting dressed. "Bad day?" Toki asks, frowning, tugging at his tie and setting his bag onto the kitchen table. Skwisgaar's left hand has stopped where it'd been when Toki'd walked in, gripped white edging into red over the wires, his right clutched tight on the body. Skwisgaar's mind buzzes only with blank noise like an untuned radio, and he barely notices as Toki makes his way over, oxford shoes clicking on the kitchen's tile til he gets to the carpet of the living area.

"What was it this time?" he murmurs. He smells like ozone and stale coffee and the sterile stink of an office when he leans down to delicately press his lips to Skwisgaar's hairline, and it's as if the touch discharges the white static in his mind. Narcosis dissolves like a fine mist under sudden heat and Skwisgaar feels an immediate clenching of unrepentant rage for no reason he can name, only that there is a wrongness in this that scrapes against his nerves like untreated wool.

"Come on," Toki says and sits down next to Skwisgaar on the couch. He must not feel the violence that vibrates in the wake of Skwisgaar's stillness, because he bumps their knees together, their shoulders, unafraid. "Was it the band? I didn't think you guys were meeting today-" Toki's fingertips are stroking the strings, next to his on the fret, the tips of them round, his nails uncut.

Skwisgaar wants to lash out, wants to crush those encroaching, irreverent fingers that don't even care about craft or artistry or music beyond how much he cares that Skwisgaar cares. He doesn't though, just stands up when Toki's hand carefully, gently brushes against his.

"Don't," he grinds from between his teeth. Black is beginning to ribbon into the corners of his vision, like he's been stopping his breath too long, and his next explosive inhalation is burning in his lungs. He can hear Toki's breathing though, casual like it's nothing, like it means nothing, like he's got nothing to count, not a reason not to freely spend every moment that passes.

Skwisgaar keeps his back deliberately turned as he crosses the room to replace his guitar onto its stand in the corner, just by telly, next to the stereo system and in front of the CDs and in the flat that Toki'd bought for them with his money. Because Skwisgaar's thirty-five years old and he's never had a properly paying job, too busy chasing a stupid, impossible fucking fantasy besides. Not a single thing here is his - charity, he's found charity and he's milking it til-

Like a housepet, like a woman, like a fucking kept boy - pointless and parasitic and pretty, not even-

The guitar crashes into the wall with a clang, and Toki's up besides him in an instant. "What's wrong?" he says, all correctness gone now, just a steady, insisting palm pressing into his shoulder and turning him, his eyes narrowed and searching. Skwisgaar yanks himself away, but the hand returns immediately, more aggressive this time, and he call feel the faint bite of those uncut nails on his skin, beneath his bathrobe. He wants to fight; he wants to break something, or have something broken, but those days are over now. Toki doesn't fight back any more, would just look at him with sad, understanding eyes as he held him still to keep him from hurting himself, as if he were a child throwing a tantrum, just.

Skwisgaar wants to throw a tantrum. It would be something he could make sense of. There'd be some catharsis in it. He wishes Toki would fight him, wishes for the simple pain of blood and bruises, but Toki is plying at one of his fists, trying to spread the fingers, peering watchfully into his face. "You can tell me," Toki says, and strokes his knuckles.

So Skwisgaar drags Toki's face up to his instead, so savagely that he's nearly lifted off his feet; his kiss aims to injure with all the anger of a punch. Toki gives a grunt of surprise but recovers quickly; his hands that clutch at Skwisgaar's wrists move expertly to the back of his head, where his open palms cant Skwisgaar's mouth to more favourable angle into his. They crash apart like breaking waves, Toki's hands where they were but now tangled thick into Skwisgaar's hair. "You," he manages, but Skwisgaar kisses him again, no less brutal.

They make it to the bedroom, but that's as far as they get, Skwisgaar toppling like a tree and pulling Toki down with him. "Hold on," Toki says, trying to pull away. "Just let me get my shirt off at least," but Skwisgaar might not have the advantage in strength but he's got the benefit of reach. Toki's head hits the floor with a muffled thump in a move not unlike a wrestling throw. "Fuck," he gasps, but Skwisgaar's covered him before he can react, fingers hooking easily into his belt and opening his flies.

"You've got to, wait, Skwi-" but Skwisgaar's sucking at his fingers, reaching back to slick himself open. Toki tries to sit up to reach for the nightstand, but Skwisgaar slams him bodily back down.

"Don't you try fucking telling me what to do," he snarls, crawling up Toki's body, relishing with no uncertain satisfaction at the way Toki's eyes grow wide, then narrow.

"You fucking want to do it like this?" Toki asks, toneless and appraising as Skwisgaar ignores him and pulls himself into position. "And I'm just going to let you hurt yourself?"

Skwisgaar's smile is nothing but teeth. "Little Toki's afraid he's going to break me with his dick?" and shoves down. The burn is dull but still a burn, and Skiwsgaar hisses at the white spots that appear behind his eyelids as he sucks his next breath from between his teeth. He feels a touch graze against the side of his temple, sweep into his forelocks and behind his ear. Skwisgaar hits it away then closes his fingers around it, deliberately shakes his hair back into his face.

"You don't touch me, all right?" Skwisgaar sneers. "You fucking dildo."

And there it is, that look that makes Skwisgaar want to take his non-existent nails and scrape them at Toki's face until he hasn't got one any more, just a bloody, meaty mess incapable of looking at Skwisgaar like it's all right, everything's all right because he knows.

Who is he to be so magnanimous, Skwisgaar thinks, biting at the wrist he's captured, when just below that steam-pressed shirt and tidy hair lies whole cityscapes of scars, ridged and creased there upon his skin?

Resentment and spite kept his movements regular and precise, but they will not bring him off. And then there is still the burn. His breath rough with frustration, he wraps a fist around his cock and tries to strangle an orgasm out of it. When he comes, it's more a relief than any sort of pleasure.

It takes a moment for him to come back to himself, a moment he spends breathless and shattered, sluggishly trying to bring himself back together. He can feel Toki watching him steadily, his cock still a certain, pulsing pressure inside him. His wrist is still caught in Skwisgaar's hand. Skwisgaar turns his face into the curtain of his own hair and throws it away from him, though it doesn't drop away as he'd hoped, hovering meaningfully where it'd been released.

"Are you finished?"

Skwisgaar's lips attempt another sneer, but it wobbles from his face like a sloppy drunk, and Skwisgaar is glad for the dark, the inscrutable features of his profile. "Fuck you," he spits and wipes his hand onto the flat of Toki's stomach where it soaks into his clean white shirt. He's still got that slow, boneless feeling from coming, but it mixes with the anger he wants to feel. It's an inelegant cocktail .

Toki's hand has settled on his thigh, just above the knee. "Are you getting off then?" he asks.

Skwisgaar's expression manages contempt this time. "Do you want me to?" he gives a pointed shove to his hips for emphasis.

Toki grunts. "Lie back then, at least."

Skwisgaar doesn't so much comply as allow himself be manoeuvred, making himself no more cooperative through any of it. "Keep your legs open," Toki tells him and he carefully begins pulling himself out. As he withdraws, Skwisgaar lets his head loll back against the floor, the loss shuddering quietly through his frame. He hears the bedside drawer being opened and a momentary fumbling, and then Toki is back, touching the insides of his knee, moving upwards. "You'll have done yourself raw," Toki mutters. His fingers feel knowingly at the raised flesh of Skwisgaar's arsehole.

Skwisgaar lazes against the carpet. "What've you got there, haemorrhoid cream?" he taunts.

"No," Toki answers, but it is cool and soothing nonetheless. His touch is slow, uncomplicated: unrepentant in its sincerity. It makes Skwisgaar feel restive and sordid, as if his skin is too transparent, and he aches to close his knees together.

"Hey," he points out ungainly, pushing to his elbows, "you haven't got off yet."

Toki's shoulders rise and fall. "I'll deal with it later." It's ridiculous what he looks like, sat back on his haunches, plucking his stained shirt from his skin with with meticulous fingers while his cock still bobs, angry red and unaccounted for from the flies of his permanent press trousers.

Skwisgaar stops his hands where they peel at his clothes. "No you won't," he tells him. "I'll deal with it."

Toki's smile is small, but he doesn't meet his eyes. "I'm going for a shower," he says, and gently pulls from Skwisgaar's grip. Their fingers tangle momentarily as Toki stands, unknotting one by one as he pads across the floor. He leaves the room. Skwisgaar lets his arms fall where they are. Then he stands and follows.

Toki's clothes litter a pathway to the bathroom. Closing his robe over his body, Skwisgaar gingerly bends and picks them up. He's not as sore as he'd expected; a small mercy, considering. The splashing noises from the bathroom quiet; Toki's stepped out of the spray to scrub down, by the sound of it. Skwisgaar heads over, Toki's clothing bunched under his arm, kicks his shoes to back by the door on the way.

He finds Toki standing to the side of the stall, scrubbing at his scalp with whatever generic brand shampoo he always makes Skwisgaar buy for him. It smells flat and vaguely aseptic, like soap. Skwisgaar tosses his bundle into the washer and starts a load, even though the machine's still mostly empty.

"You can use the hot water, you know," Skwisgaar says, measuring out detergent with a scoop. "We don't actually pay utilities here." The sounds of running water continue uninterrupted. The washer kicks on. Skwisgaar scowls, turning slightly towards the shower. "So what, you're not talking to me?"

"Sorry, what?" Toki suddenly replies. His face appears in a gap in the curtain. He'd been rinsing the lather from out of his hair; his eyes are still squeezed tight. "Can't hear you; did you say something?

Skwisgaar grunts, kicks the lid down on the toilet and perches himself on the edge of it. "Did you ever figure out that computer wall thing at work then?" he supplies. His hands twist at the thready seam of his belt, picking at the strings.

Toki asks, "You mean the firewall problems we were having last week?" He sounds surprised, and then pleased. He is disgustingly easy to please. "Yeah, I mean, it wasn't anything serious. They were going around installing updates on the internet security and, well, you know Norton -"

No, he doesn't know "Norton", nor does he know anything about firewalls or internets or updates. He doesn't know anything about permanent press trousers, or stale office coffee, or getting up at a decent hour in the morning. He doesn't know anything about having to go around with his hair bound back, packed lunches, commutes back home. It's part of why he still hasn't got a vocation, half-past time in his working life, a pointless bag of washed-up stereotypes. It's why the flat's in Toki's name, why it's his signature on the bills, and his money decorating the walls, white on white.

"Hey." Toki's stepped out from the shower and reaches for a towel. His skin is still slick, dripping onto the floormat, his hair like slipped paint. He doesn't look up as he says, "We should go out. It's been a while, yeah? You can call up your band if you want; all go for drinks."

Skwisgaar doesn't know where to put his eyes, so he doesn't, just lets them slide shut against the world. "Hey," Toki says again. Skwisgaar hears him cross the floor in slow, even movements. He touches Skwisgaar's shoulder as if to shake him, except Skwisgaar doesn't stop himself from falling with the initial movement of it. He folds heavily against him, like old cloth. Toki catches him easily enough, murmurs his name in surprise. He must be getting old, he thinks, for a bout of routine self-pity to leave him so tired so easily. "Skwisgaar," Toki urges. His hands smooth across Skwisgaar's back, along his neck beneath his hair. "What's wrong."

Skwisgaar touches fingertips to Toki's wrists, his elbows, feeling aimlessly at the stability he finds there. "It's nothing," he answers, voice muffled against Toki's skin. Then, "We'll do whatever you want. I don't care. You choose."

Toki sighs, his hands moving onto Skwisgaar's scalp, scratching lightly there and tugging at the snarls. His palms pressed to at the hard bone just behind each of his ears, Toki slants Skwisgaar's face up to meet his. Skwisgaar lets his head fall back; his eyes fall briefly open, like a doll's. "Let's go out then," Toki says, drawing Skwisgaar to his feet by his wrists. "You've been sat indoors for a week now. Getting out would do you some good." His fingers slip along the line of Skwisgaar's throat, stealing unremarked beneath the loose wave of Skwisgaar's robe. "Besides," he says, rises to his toes and pushes at Skwisgaar's lips with his own, "today's your birthday, isn't it?"