Chris was hunched over his crossed legs in his and Paul's room on the floor, pulling the cord harder around his arm. His fucking hand was numb from it... he was doing it right. HE WAS DOING IT RIGHT!... So what was the fucking problem?

His breathing was fast. He felt sick, shaky. Twice he almost got up to run to the bathroom but he couldn't... not until he shot up... he just needed to have a little.

He'd slid the needle under his skin so many times. So many times that his arm was bleeding and bruised just from tonight but it was like there was nowhere for it to go, that steel spike. He couldn't find the vein... he'd been trying for an hour but it felt like more. It felt like a day. He was biting his lip hard because his nose was stinging with tears of frustration and desperation. He tried again. Nothing. Again... again...

"Fuck!"... again...

Once more...

Nothing.

The tears finally came, but he didn't stop. He tapped at his arm harder than necessary. His whole body was so tense; needing the drug, craving it. He'd tried to come off again, for the second time and he hadn't even gone twenty-four hours. He'd thought that maybe this time... maybe this time would have been easier than the first but it wasn't. It was harder if it was anything. The sobs shook his back, every breath drawn in fast, rhythmic, harsh gasps, still trying to get that fucking needle in right, but it was harder with his blurred vision.

He heard the door open and he looked up. Paul stood there in the door. The needle was in Chris's arm, somewhere between his elbow and his wrist. "Paul," he said softly, pleading. "I can't get it." He drew in a shaky breath, trying to calm himself. "I can't get it to go in."

Paul pushed the door closed slowly but he didn't move any closer. Chris made a noise. A low pain-filled moan. "Help me," he said softly, to the needle in his arm, to the boy across the room.

Just when he thought Paul wasn't coming he was there in front of him, dropping to his knees. "Oh, fuck, Chris..." he said, taking in the spots where the needle had broken the skin. Little spots of blood and new bruises. Paul so very slowly, carefully reached up and covered Chris's hand with his own, the one over the needle.

"Let go, Chris."

"I just need one more hit, Paul, just one more hit, I just- please, give it to me, I just need this last one. It's the last one, I promise. I swear, Paul, please... please." He wasn't letting go of the needle, afraid maybe that Paul would take it away and get rid of it. The desperation built and he shook harder, his teeth chattering. Paul was scared he was going to break the needle off in his arm.

"I JUST FUCKING NEED A HIT, PAUL, PLEASE!" Chris cried, making Paul jump a little. He looked down, biting his own lip. He wanted to take the needle away. Crush it. Destroy this fucking thing that was going to ruin them.

"Please." Chris was whispering again. When Paul finally looked up and met his clouded eyes he could still see that boy he'd known before all the drugs... before all this shit had happened. Just barely... but he was there... and Paul would do anything for Chris.

"Okay, Chris," Paul said, feeling his gut twist. But he just wanted to make him better. Stop his shuddering... and he knew this wasn't the way to do it, but, "Okay."

Chris let go of the needle and Paul pulled it slowly from his skin. Chris gave a whimper, watching Paul's hands closely. Paul undid the tie around his arm and changed it to the other one, avoiding Chris's gaze now - not even when Chris raised his free hand to touch Paul's face, even colder than normal because of the lack of blood flow. "I love you, Paul," Chris was murmuring.

Paul just nodded, upset, as he tapped for the vein and injected the Junk. Chris's hand fell from his face and his head fell back. He drew in a deep breath and let it out in a slow, relieved, low sound and slowly fell back to the floor. Paul pulled the needle from his arm, made sure the tie around his arm wasn't still cutting off his circulation and he backed away, leaning against the side of their bed. He watched Chris for several minutes, watched his breathing deepen, then slow, eyes open but not seeing until he finally closed them, just feeling the drug. The drug he'd promised to give up for Paul.

Paul closed his eyes and buried his face in his knees, dropping the syringe to the floor, between his shoes.