Title: Memories
Author: AdoreTheAngel
Disclaimer: I don't own shit.
Summary: Why is Bloom so scared of Diamond Dog?
A/N: I saw the movie a few years ago and watched it again recently, and the same thoughts nagged me- why was Bloom so scared? Why was Stephen so protective? Why the hell did DD grab Bloom's thigh?

*vrach- The phonetic form of the Russian word for doctor, which is courtesy of google translator.

After seeing Diamond Dog again, Bloom hides.

He can't help it. It's a reflex, the same way scratching an itch is. He locks himself in the bathroom, sliding to the floor with his back against the door.

The barrier between him and the rest of the world still isn't enough. He can still see it.

Its night and pitch black in the entire building. It's officially an orphanage, but it's built like a mansion, dilapidated and dead inside.

He wouldn't be out of his room, but Stephen's sick, and Bloom's afraid he'll get a fever if he keeps shivering like this.

Hopefully there'll be extra blankets in the laundry room.

There's a creak somewhere to his left, making Bloom jump and press himself against the wall. He almost hisses at the pain of his back- he'd taken his brother's beating three days ago- but has enough self-control to stop himself.

He's still noticed, of course. The Master notices everything.

"Bloom." Bloom shrinks under the sound of his own name. "Bloom, come here."

He does as he's told, mechanically entering the room that the creak had come from.

Diamond Dog looks up at his charge, two mad, blue eyes, gazing in malicious amusement as Bloom trembles.

"What are you doing out of bed?" he asks, the sickly light of his lamp bathing hi in an orangey glow. It makes him even more frightening, the contrast of the shadows on his craggy face. "Speak up, now, Bloom."

His voice is never raised, but there's something terrifying about it, nonetheless.

"I- Stephen's sick," Bloom stammers out. "I- I was going to- going to get some more blankets for him. From the laundry room."

Diamond Dog's smile sets Bloom's teeth on edge, and he hugs himself, shoulders slumping forward so he looks even smaller, even more pathetic.

"Well, such brotherly devotion should be admired," Diamond Dog says, his voice like oil. "How old are you now, Bloom?"

"Ten," Bloom tells him. "Eleven in a week." He's allowed some pride. Eleven's his favorite number, and it also marks a whole year of living in one place without mucking it up too badly.

Diamond chuckles at Bloom's pride. "And how old is your brother, twelve, thirteen?"

"He's twelve."

Diamond nods to himself and stands, his tattered cloak moving with him as he takes a step forward.

Bloom has the urge to back away, but he's frozen, paralyzed.

"He takes good care of you, no?" Diamond remarks, coming closer. "You must wish you were able to repay him."

"Of- of course, sir," Bloom agrees, nodding quickly.

"I've known he's been getting sick, of course," Diamond murmurs, coming closer- too close, in Bloom's opinion. "He'll be dead before the week's out."

"What?" Bloom whispers. "N-no, he can't-"

"Unless," Diamond Dog interrupts, putting a hand on Bloom's shoulder. It looks huge- Bloom's thin, no matter how much extra food Stephen sneaks him. "Unless I take him to the vrach*, where they'll give the care and medication he needs." Bloom's Master leans forward, so close so that Bloom gets goose bumps on the flesh of his neck and ear when he speaks.

"You'll need to convince me that I should take him, Bloom."

Then it's just feelings. Cold air hitting bare flesh, pain, blood running down his legs and back as wounds reopen. A raw throat from muffled screams when he returns to Stephen's room, blankets piled in his arms…

Diamond takes Stephen to the doctor the next morning in the shitty little car that Bloom hadn't even been sure had moved in ten years. Stephen comes back feeling better, with medication and a second-hand jacket much warmer than his old one.

"Diamond Dog says I should thank you," Stephen says. He always refused to call Diamond by his title. "He says you convinced him I should go to the doctor. He said I could've been a dead man."

Bloom tries to give him a smile, tries to brush it off like it was nothing. He tries to do the sort of thing Stephen would do.

Stephen, luckily, doesn't see. Instead he wraps his brother in a hug, smiling into his neck. "I love you, Bloom."

Bloom looks up to see Diamond standing on the porch, a knowing grin on his weathered face. He doesn't want to see that.

He closes his eyes and buries his face in his big brother's shoulder. "No problem, Stephen."


Bloom jerks out of the memory at the sound of his name. There's pounding on the bathroom door, which he's locked and barricaded with his own body for good measure.

"Bloom, open up!" It's Stephen, coming to his rescue yet again. "For Christ's sake, open the fucking door!"

Robotically, Bloom does as he's told.

Stephen's standing in the doorway, looking worse for wear, some of Diamond Dog's blood staining the cuff of his shirt and his vest torn from when he was pulled from the fight.

He sighs, his eyes large and sad. He reaches up to wipe at his younger brother's tear-stained face. Funny, Bloom hadn't even realized he'd been crying.

"Oh, Bloom…"

Bloom looks down at his shoes. He hates that he's so weak, so pathetic.

It just proves how much he hasn't changed since he was little. It just proves how sad and miserable of a man he's become.

Stephen hugs him, and it hurts, because any touch hurts right now.

But he doesn't push his brother away. Instead, he clings to him tightly, his face buried in Stephen's shirt.

"I'm so sorry, Bloom," Stephen murmurs. "I didn't think- I'm so sorry."

"You can't always be there," Bloom whispers, repeating his earlier statement.

Stephen lifts his head to look at his brother. "Maybe I can't," he says, his eyes glittering. "But I'm sure as hell gonna try."

And yeah, even though the promise is near impossible to keep, it makes Bloom feel better. It makes him feel better because Stephen knows, he knows and he's going to try his hardest to make it right.

It's all Bloom can ask of him.