Part One: Bullet Wounds
The first gunshot went off.
"You fuckin' idiot!"
The second gunshot, from the second gun, went off seconds later.
Two bodies thudded to the ground, one quickly and artlessly, lifeless, the second with a little whimper of pain, and a very ungraceful 'ooph' as he hit the floor.
"Ow," the second body said.
"You fuckin' idiot," Gene Starwind snarled, dropping down to his knees beside the fallen body that was, apparently, still alive enough to groan in pain. It was sprawled out on the floor, blood seeping through its dress shirt, pooling beneath its shoulder on the previously pure white tiles. 'It' happened to be Fred Luo, Gene's meal ticket, ship-parts supplier, and friend, as Gene very occasionally and very grudgingly admitted.
"The hell'd you do that for? I'm gonna kill you!"
"Won't be hard," Fred said, trying to be cheerful with a soft, pained laugh, and failing quite miserably. "Ow."
"You think you're the human shield or something?" Gene's eyes flashed angrily as he pulled open Fred's shirt quickly, jaw set into an angry, hard line.
"Didn't even pop a button," Fred murmured appreciatively, face pale. His tone, though, was humorless. Gene shot him a withering scowl as he pushed back the soft fabric, which stuck stubbornly to Fred's blood-soaked skin.
"Don't go jumping at bullets for me. Never asked you to go jumping at fucking bullets for me! What kind of idiot"
"Hold me, Gene."
"Get a hold of your own God-damn self, Fred." The sharp, ragged sound of Fred's breath catching in his throat almost made Gene wince. But he had no pity for the idiot. No pity at all.
"Please, Gene?" The bullet was lodged deep in Fred's shoulder. Must have hurt like a bitch. Fred was less of a baby than everyone though, Gene mused, to still be conscious, and attempting those jokes.
"Just shut the hell up, Fred. You're gonna be okay."
"It hurts, Gene." He could have taken it without complain.
"If you're looking for fuckin' sympathy, you're not gonna get any from me."
"Oh," Fred said helplessly, "right."
"Can you walk?"
"Maybe." Gene leaned down, pressing his own jacket against the wound to stop up the blood, which flowed too freely for his liking. Fred's face - always pale, like ivory - was a grayish color. Gene didn't like that, either.
"C'mon," Gene said, "let's get you up."
"No, really, Gene. Ow." With an exasperated sigh -- exasperated because he was worried, now - Gene wrapped one arm around Fred's waist, hoisting him up. Fred leaned heavily against Gene's chest, eyes shut, breathing labored. Gene scowled deeper, eyes narrowing.
"The hell are you trying to pull on me, Fred?"
"I'llbe all right."
"I saw the bastard comin', you know."
"Yes. I know."
"So why the fuck'd you do a fucking stupid thing like that for?"
"Youowe me a lot of money, Gene." The laugh died on Fred's lips before it could even begin. "Ow," he winced.
"That was fucking stupid."
"Yes. I know."
"I can't believe you'd be so fucking stupid."
"You're welcome, Gene."
"I'd've shot the fuck outta him, never would've harmed a God-damn hair on your God damn rich head."
"Nice to see -- you care, at least, Gene."
"Don't be stupid."
"I'm supposed to fucking protect you, do remember that?"
"Not the other fucking way around."
"Talking to me isn't really going to help, as much as I enjoy being held so tenderly. Perhaps, Gene, we should call for assistance? A doctor? Get to a hospital, if we're feeling particularly upset?" Fred choked faintly on his own words. Something coppery filled his mouth and he grimaced.
"The hell - Fred, there's fucking blood on your lips."
"So that's - that funny taste."
"Don't try and be fucking cute with me, Fred!"
"Perhaps a hospital then, not a doctor"
"Shit! Fred, cut this out."
"You talktoo much, Gene." Fred's eyes - Gene noticed how blue they were, with pain - sparkled faintly, wearily. "I'm going to - going to pass out, now. We'll laugh about it - later - say I fainted, like a little girl" Gene lifted a fumbling, awkward hand to Fred's lips, brushing the blood away.
"Keep your eyes open, Fred."
"Would you do me a favor?" Fred was light, Gene noticed, as he stood, carrying his friend, who was maybe more important than he'd previously thought, but now wasn't the time to go into that.
"Depends on what the fuck it is, Fred."
"Kiss me, Gene?"
"Fred, get these fucking crazy ideas out of your head right now."
Those blue eyes on Gene's face were fucking unnerving, bright and focused, as if they were trying to burn holes through his skin, or something equally disturbing.
"Jesus," Gene hissed. "Fine. Fuck. Fine." He closed his eyes, brushed his lips lightly over Fred's brow, silk-soft hair getting in his way, tickling his chin. "There. Are you fucking happy, now?"
Fred said nothing, and it took Gene a moment to realize he'd passed out.