3: Nightmare

Nick jumped awake to the horrific sounds of the hacking and choking on blood and vomit in the next bed over. The obscured sobs between the flood of stomach lining and vital fluids sounded worse than any cry from a witch he had ever heard before. He snapped his attention to the gruesome sight. The bed was seeped in the rancid liquids. It seemed at that point there was nothing more to come up, leaving the poor kid merely dry heaving and spitting out the remains in his mouth.

Nick rushed over to his bed, wincing from the sudden onslaught of pain from his wounds, and threw the bedsheet from it. Grabbing either side of his head, he held his face up so he was on his eye level. Ellis looked back with a vacant, hollow stare. His entire mouth was dark red and the contents of his guts stained from his mouth to his stomach. Nick could hardly function from the stabbing pain he felt himself and the horrible shock of his teammate's sickness. With the sleeve of his ten thousand dollar suit, he wiped the puke and blood from the other man as best he could, through murmurs of profanities.

"Ellis!" he whispered urgently. "Oh shit! Come on, say something!"

The empty gaze scared him most of all. His bright blue eyes were usually full of idiotic hope and optimism which did well to enrage Nick at the best of times, but seeing them so devoid of all that they are filled him with panic.

"I ain't gonna lie," Ellis' words came out like croaks. "I've felt a whole lot better."

"Goddamn it," Nick sighed. "I don't know what to do."

"It's cool," Ellis tried to put on his air of indestructibility. "I could do worse. I think."

He hurriedly wiped the tears from his face, though he knew Nick had already seen them.

"Man, go back to bed," Ellis insisted. "You're hurt, and I know you don't wanna spend your night takin' care a' me."

Before Nick could consider what he was doing, he was on the desecrated mattress with him, his arms timidly wrapping themselves around the young mechanic.

"Wh- what are ya doin'?" Ellis asked with subdued alarm.

"I don't know," Nick said quietly. "I can't think right anymore with the constant headaches, and knowing that if I go outside I'll have to fight for my life. I can't get away from bad situations like I used to. Just... let me... for a while..."

"O-Okay..."

Ellis turned gently so they were side by side. Nick could feel the southerner's hands shakily move towards his waist and rest there. He trembled so slightly against him that Nick wasn't sure if he actually was or if it was his imagination. He didn't know to what extent Ellis' affections were, Rochelle wasn't exactly clear on the details, but he felt a strange sense of guilt as he wordlessly held him. He really wasn't sure what he was trying to achieve. Was using him really worth it? Surely that's all Ellis wanted, too. No one was so stupid as to feel anything real for Nick, anyway. He's a lost cause with a fucked-up past, nothing more. So why the guilt?

Ellis moved in closer and lay his head on Nick's shoulder after a while of staying deathly still. Nick turned his head a little to see his eyes were closed. He looked painfully peaceful. A content noise escaped his lips before he could stop it.

"Uh, sorry," Ellis mumbled in embarrassment. "That was a little weird."

"Sounds like you're a bit too happy with this set up," Nick suggested coolly.

"I, uh, I might be," Ellis answered cautiously.

"Well, I might be, too."

In a swift movement, Nick had Ellis lying back in his arms and staring up at him with wide eyes. Nick hesitated for a moment before smashing his lips onto the ones below him. Ellis grabbed his shoulders, immediately kissing back. His nails dug into the older man's skin through his clothes. Nick was in charge, using his tongue and teeth with force. Ellis kept up desperately, wanting everything he was prepared to give. The kiss intensified quickly, with both of them clawing and scratching and holding on for dear life. The conman's fingers worked their way up to the other's hair, and he tangled his hands in it firmly, unconsciously pulling at it, with resulted in a gasp from Ellis.

Without breaking from the kiss, Nick lay him down on the mattress with his hands either side of his head, kneeling between his legs. Ellis threw his arms around his neck and pulled him in closer. Finally, the older man broke from the kiss and made his way towards his neck, leaving a trail of kisses and bruises as he did so. He bit and sucked his chosen area of flesh on his neck violently. Ellis wriggled and moaned helplessly. He felt a hand play at his crotch. He bit down on his lower lip hard. All too slowly, Nick traveled down his body.

"Nick!" he cried. "Quit teasin'!"

Nick laughed harshly. He pulled his coveralls down to his knees.

"What the fuck?!" Rochelle yelled from her side of the room.

"Holy shit!" Ellis scrambled to pull his trousers up and rolled out from under Nick.

"What is fucking wrong with you?" Nick growled at her, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Can't you see we were a bit busy?"

"Nick, you scumba- Oh my god, what's that smell?" she covered the bottom half of her face with her palm. Her eyes widened as she saw the mess around and on the bed and over the front of the two men.

"Overalls felt a little sick," Nick shrugged.

"Jesus!" she rushed over to Ellis, who was standing awkwardly beside the still seated Nick.

His aches suddenly hurt again, something he had completely forgotten about when he was otherwise occupied a few moments ago.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, yeah," Ellis answered. "There ain't no more puke left in me anyway."

She looked him up and down, sporting a small frown. Her inspection stopped at the various bruises on his neck. Ellis blushed and traced his fingers over the marks self-consciously.

"I think it's best if you rest, sweetie," she said softly. "Take my bed, I got enough rest."

He nodded silently and did as he was told. She went to climb the ladder downstairs, but Nick caught her arm as she turned.

"You coulda let me finish, you know," he hissed. "Are you jealous of him or something?" he added, his voice like acid.

"As if I'd even think about touching you," her voice was more severe than he had ever witnessed. "I don't know what you think you're doing, but you better start considering his feelings. He'd never ever do this to you."

"He's too stupid to," he retaliated. "Look, we're both adults here. Stay out of our business."

"You make me sick, Nick," she spat. "I've lost all respect for you."

"What do you want from me? You think we should get married or something? That's not how things work, Rochelle. I have 'em then I move on. It's that simple."

"Does he mean nothing to you?"

"He's alright with a gun, and compliant in bed, it looks like," Nick said coldly. "But apart from that, no."

Rochelle opened her mouth to argue further, but instead she regarded him with a resentful look and continued down the ladder.