Frankie and Louie could not believe their own eyes.
“Do you see what I see?” Frankie asked incredulously.
“I see what you see,” Louie said in the same tone of voice.
There it was, the same damn car they came across a couple of days ago when that little brat broke Frankie’s nose, knocked Louie’s tooth out, and dealt some serious damage to Stan’s kneecap. Then that flame-throwing freak showed up, and things went downhill from there. The hatefully familiar car took a right turn into a dead-end street, and Frankie immediately threw his wheel to the right.
“Should we call Stan?” Louie said in a very dark voice.
“No need,” Frankie spat an impressive chunk of gooey mass out of the window. “We’ll surprise him. That little shit is going to get a ride in the trunk.”
“Oh, man...” Louie laughed softly. “Looks like the dipshit ran out of gas!”
“I’ll refill him, all right...” Frankie muttered and touched his nose bridge. It hurt.
He smoothly turned the steering wheel and turned the car sideways, blocking the street. Then he rolled his window down.
“Car trouble?” he asked with very dark satisfaction.
The door of the car opened, and Frankie expected to see that blond bastard, but to his utter amusement, it was some tall skinny guy with black hair.
“Yeah,” he said with annoyance. “Ran out of gas. You think you could give me a hand?”
“Oh, I will give you a hand, all right,” Frankie thought. This wasn’t the one he expected, but this one would do nevertheless. He didn’t look like someone who’d be able to put up a fight, and he was pretty enough. Frankie figured that he’d just give his regards to the blond bastard after they were done with this guy. Not a fully blown revenge, but it’ll do.
He glanced at Louie and saw that their thoughts were on the same track. He opened the door and got out of the car.
“Say hello to your little blond buddy,” Frankie said in a low voice, and black-haired guy’s eyes widened a bit with a ‘huh?’ expression. “When you get to him, that is...” Frankie nodded. “Tell him that you had to pay his dues for my nose and all those burns we got from that freak...”
“Who the hell are you?” the guy asked with genuine curiosity. “And what the hell are you talking about?”
“He’ll tell you the story,” Louie nodded after he got out of the car as well. “I am not in a talkative mood right now.”
“That little blond shit broke my nose,” Frankie said darkly. “All because I was trying to be nice to him and help out with his tire problem...”
The black-haired guy’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly.
“Saturday night?” he asked very calmly. “Not too far from the gas station? His tire blew, right?”
For some reason, Louie did not like the intonation in the guy’s voice. He nervously glanced at Frankie, but the other man seemed as confident as ever.
“Oh, so he did tell you the story, huh?” Frankie laughed shortly. “Good, no need for me to explain anything. Now, are you going to play nicely and do what you are told or will I have to hmrgph...!!”
Louie couldn’t even tell what the hell happened. One minute, Frankie was running his mouth, as confident as ever, grabbing his crotch in his usual manner, the black-haired guy just standing there, staring at him. The next minute, Frankie was lying on the ground, kissing the back tire of his own car, gasping for air, with the black-haired guy’s boot on his head. Louie blinked several times, wildly glanced around, and almost took off running. He didn’t. He decided to jump the guy from behind and hope for Frankie to be able to shake that boot off his head.
Louie lunged at the guy who didn’t even turn his head to look at him. Louie almost thought that he just might succeed, when the guy’s hand collided with the side of his head, and something rather hard and cold slammed into the soft flesh of his cheek. Louie let out a muffled scream of pain and surprise, and then he could taste blood in his mouth. Then his entire face felt as if it was on fire. The black-haired guy didn’t even look at him. He slightly twisted his wrist, thus causing another explosion of pain in Louie’s face, and then he shoved the bleeding man away, pulling his car keys out of Louie’s ruined cheek.
“Try doing anything again,” he said very calmly. “And I will kill both of you.”
Louie believed him. Therefore, he just lied on the ground, pressing his hands against his bleeding face, screaming nonstop.
“Shut up,” the guy said very quietly, but Louie heard him immediately. “Shut up or I will rip your vocal cords out...”
Louie bit onto his fist as hard as he could to make himself to stop screaming. That seemed to be satisfactory enough for the black-haired nightmare because he turned his full, undivided attention to Frankie who was thrashing underneath his boot. The boot increased the pressure ever so slightly, and Frankie howled with pain when he felt like his skull was about to pop open. The black-haired nightmare lowered himself on one knee, and finally, removed the boot. Frankie was too disoriented from pain to even try and take advantage of that.
“What did you do to him?” the nightmare asked softly, and Frankie felt the car keys pressing unkindly against his ear. “Speak the truth or I will push this key into your ear canal, and it is quite unpleasant.”
“W-who...?” Frankie stuttered.
“To the person whose tire blew,” the nightmare’s voice became slightly more impatient, and the key pressed harder against Frankie’s ear, threatening to slide all the way in.
“N-nothing...!” Frankie screamed. “I swear, oh, God...! I swear, we didn’t do anything to him...! He... He b-broke my n-nose... H-he...”
“You hit him?” The nightmare’s voice sent a maddening, icy-cold shiver down Frankie’s spine. “You had you filthy paws on him?”
“I am sorry!” Frankie screamed with wild desperation. “Please...! Oh, God, please...! I am sorry...!”
“What else did you do to him?” The key started tickling the inside of Frankie’s ear.
“Nothing!” he shrieked. “I swear, nothing!”
“Oh, you just let him go, huh?” the nightmare laughed, and Frankie started sobbing when he heard that laughter.
“N-no...” he stuttered, shaking uncontrollably. “T-the... T-the fire g-guy showed up and...”
“The fire guy?” the nightmare repeated with slight confusion. “What fire guy?”
“I...” Frankie gulped some air. “I don’t know... He could control fire... H-he s-saw... And h-he...”
“Burned your asses?” the nightmare laughed again. “Not enough,” he cut his laughter short. “Should’ve burned you to ashes...”
“P-please...!” Frankie wailed with renewed vigor when he felt the key sliding deeper into his ear. “Please! I am sorry! I am sorry...! Oh, God, please, don’t...!”
For a few very long and extremely excruciating seconds, Frankie believed that this black-haired nightmare was going to shove that key into his ear with full force. Finally, the man let out a deep sigh, and then the key was gone. Frankie felt the guy release his grasp on him, and he dared to look up. The nightmarish apparition went to Frankie’s car.
“Don’t even think about moving,” he said unemotionally and opened the driver’s door.
Frankie watched him pull the keys out of the ignition and walk towards the trunk. A minute or so later, he heard the trunk slam shut, and the nightmare was back with a hose that Frankie recognized immediately. It was a garden hose that he kept in his trunk. A wild, teeth-clattering image flashed in front of his eyes; an image of this nightmare with black hair shoving this hose into one of Frankie’s body cavities. It seemed like such a thought had crossed the man’s mind, but instead, he kicked Frankie hard in the ribs and said in the same unemotional voice:
Frankie got up shakily.
“Open the gas cap,” the man commanded and once Frankie did so, he shoved one end of the hose into the opening, made sure that it was secured enough, and then he walked to his own car, stepping over Louie who was lying in the puddle of his own blood and piss. He unscrewed the gas cap on his own car and looked at Frankie. “Come here,” he said, and Frankie walked towards him, his knees shaking.
The man shoved the hose in front of Frankie’s face.
“Suck it,” he ordered shortly, and Frankie’s eyes went wide. The nightmare let out very dark laughter. “You didn’t think I would do it, did you?” he said in a dangerous voice. “Now suck it! I am tired of looking at your ugly mug... Suck it,” he repeated in a low voice. “Or I will make you do so...”
Frankie took the hose, his hands trembling, and then he started sucking on the dirty end of it. He gagged, and the nightmare slapped the back of his head.
“Puke and I’ll make you eat it!” he promised, and Frankie believed him immediately.
He sucked that hose until he choked on the gasoline and pulled his mouth away, spitting and coughing.
“Good,” the nightmare said without a smile. He grabbed the hose and shoved it into the opening on the side of his car.
He propped one arm on his side and stood there, waiting somewhat patiently. Finally, the hose slightly jerked, and the nightmare yanked it out and threw it on the ground. He screwed the gas cap back on his car, stepped over Louie once again, got into Frankie’s car, and started the engine. He threw the car in reverse, backed up just a little, and straightened the vehicle out, getting it out of the way. After he did that, he got out without turning off the engine, went to his car, and got in without saying anything. Frankie blinked when suddenly, his engine roared to life. He grabbed Louie’s collar and dragged him out of the tires’ way just in time, because the nightmare behind the wheel didn’t even try to wait for him to do so.
Frankie watched that dreadful car disappear behind the corner, and then he slowly walked towards his sedan. The minute he touched the keys in the ignition, the engine died. Frankie blinked and realized that the tank was bone-dry.
Desmond got to the gas station, filled his tank, got back behind the wheel, and considered going back there and killing those two asswipes. Instead of doing that, he took a deep breath and flew out of the gas station lot without slowing down for the oncoming traffic. He ignored all the loud honks and kept speeding towards the highway. When he finally got there, he noticed that his hands were shaking. No wonder Sam seemed distraught on Saturday night, he thought, his fingers digging into the steering wheel hard. If that ‘fire guy,’ whoever the hell he was, didn’t show up when he did... Desmond’s temples throbbed with aching hatred. He almost took an exit just so he could go back to that dead-end street, but then he gritted his teeth, and pressed the gas pedal harder into the floor.
He got back into the city in some lousy forty minutes or so, took the right exit, and smirked to himself darkly. If Rayhe were here while he was driving... Then again, if Rayhe were here, those two asswipes would probably be dead, and Rayhe wouldn’t give a flying shit about the speed limit right now. He slowed down when he drove into one of the main roads and realized that his hands were still shaking. He decided to take a couple of laps around the city until he calmed down.
...He calmed down in half an hour or so, and he was completely out of cigarettes. He sighed, made a quick stop by a smoke shop, picked up a couple of cartons, and finally, went home. Gabriel’s car was sitting on the driveway, Sam’s was nowhere in sight. Desmond took a deep breath, threw a quick glance at his hands, and nodded slightly when he saw they didn’t shake anymore. He grabbed the smokes and got out of the car.
The dog wagged his tail somewhat vigorously when Desmond walked inside. This afternoon’s ball game turned Desmond into someone less scary and more admirable.
“Yeah, yeah,” Desmond muttered while kicking off his boots. “Move it, dog... Just ‘cause I threw a ball for you a couple of times, doesn’t mean I am your bud...”
“Hey,” Gabriel emerged from the kitchen. “Took you a while. It’s almost eleven in the evening...”
“I was driving,” Desmond shrugged and threw the cigarette cartons onto the table. “Then I ran out of gas...”
“You okay?” Gabriel asked softly, his eyes fixed on Desmond’s face.
“Yeah,” Desmond nodded. “Preoccupied, naturally... Didn’t find anything worthy... There were a couple of old books in the library on the subject. Apparently, the person who is to be sacrificed is supposed to be ‘prepared’...”
“What the hell does that mean?” Rayhe frowned and went back to the stove.
“No idea,” Desmond said tiredly. “Somebody ripped the pages out of both books when it got to the ‘preparation’ part...”
“Huh,” Gabriel said thoughtfully. “What happened?” he asked suddenly without turning his head.
“Huh,” Rayhe said again. “Well, I made food and it’s about ready, so grab a plate and...”
“Not hungry,” Desmond shook his head. “Thanks though...”
Gabriel left the frying pan alone, turned off the stove, and looked at Desmond intently.
“Des,” he said quietly. “What happened?”
“Goddammit,” Desmond thought. Rayhe could read him like nobody else could.
“Not right now, okay?” he said softly. “I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
“Okay,” Gabriel nodded slowly.
“Did Sam bother calling?”
“Of course not,” Rayhe snorted and moved the frying pan onto a different burner. “You don’t have to wait for him, I will...”
“No big,” Desmond shook his head. “I can’t sleep right now. Go to bed, Gabriel, I’ll wait for him.”
Rayhe looked like he was about to ask once again about what happened, but instead, he simply nodded and walked out of the kitchen, correctly translating ‘I’ll wait for him’ into ‘I want to be alone right now.’
Sam walked through the front door at 12:15 in the morning, and he looked like the definition of ‘guilty.’ Desmond looked up from his tea mug and gave him a small smile.
“Hey, kid,” he said, and Sam just blinked at that. He looked like he expected another hiss-fit from Desmond. “Everything okay?”
“Umm,” Sam said carefully, as if trying to figure out whether this was some sort of a trap. “Yeah, everything is fine. You are not mad?”
“Nope,” Desmond finished his tea and stood up. “Not mad.”
The dog came charging out of Sam’s room, and suddenly, the kid’s eyes were alert. Desmond frowned slightly at that. “Since when is he cautious of that mutt?” he thought. Then the dog ran into Sam’s knees full speed, almost knocking him off his feet, his tail doing full circles by now, and the kid’s expression became relieved. “Huh,” Desmond thought while the kid was making out with the dog. He had no idea what to make of it, so he just made a mental note.
“Well,” Desmond said lazily. “I am off to bed. How’s your girl?”
“Umm,” Sam said into the dog’s fur. “Good, really good...”
“Sparks a-flying, flames a-burning, huh?” Desmond laughed, and Sam threw him a strange look.
“Yeah,” he muttered and dove into dog’s fur again.
Desmond made another mental note.
“That’s good,” he let out a stifled yawn. “Well, night, kid...”
“Night, Desmond,” Sam glanced at him above dog’s head.
Desmond made his way to the bedroom, positive that Rayhe was asleep by now, and hating that fact. Right now, he needed some contact. He let out a small sigh, figuring that since he got another week off, he’d just let Rayhe sleep. “Even though he kept me up until four in the morning last night,” he thought darkly, and slid under the covers without making any noise.
He scooted closer to the sleeping figure next to him and buried his face in the crook of Gabriel’s neck, the familiar scent calming him down better than any sleep aids. To his greatest astonishment, Rayhe’s fingers immediately entwined with his, and then he felt Gabriel’s breath on his face when the other man turned towards him.
“I thought you were asleep,” Desmond muttered.
“No,” Gabriel said simply, and then his mouth caressed Desmond’s lips slowly and gently, just like Desmond felt he needed right now.
He inhaled somewhat sharply and wrapped his arms around Rayhe’s neck without saying anything, pulling him closer. Gabriel’s hand slid down the side of his body, stroking his skin as slowly and gently as his mouth worked Desmond’s face. They kicked off the blanket, wrapping each other in their own body heat and heartbeats, saying nothing. Desmond closed his eyes when he felt the entire length of Gabriel’s body against his own. He arched his back, trying to get even closer, trying to melt into his mate, trying to become a part of him.
They didn’t say a single word; the silence was only interrupted by their breathing and small moans, which Desmond didn’t even bother to muffle right then. “What’s the point?” he thought hazily while Gabriel’s mouth was caressing his neck. They moved in the perfect, synchronized rhythm, which set itself somehow, without them even trying. Rayhe slid his face down to Desmond’s chest, and Desmond grabbed his hair and pulled him back up. He slightly shook his head and locked his lips on Gabriel’s, feeling that right now, he needed to drink him until they both fell asleep. He couldn’t let go of his mouth; he wouldn’t let go of his mouth.
Gabriel sank fingers of one of his hands into Desmond’s messy by now hair, while the fingers of his other hand started doing their own thing, causing Desmond to exhale sharply and grab the back of Gabriel’s neck even tighter. Then, after a while, they became one, rocking slowly, without unlocking their lips, breathing each other, swallowing each other’s moans, mirroring each other’s shivers. Then the rhythm set faster pace, once again, without any effort from either one of them – it simply started doing the natural accelerando of its own. Then there was an incredible crescendo, flying up several octaves at once, and then Desmond moaned into Gabriel, sending echoes of his wild heartbeat and desperate tremors into every single inch of Gabriel’s skin. That crescendo reached its peak and broke into two huge waves, covering both of them head to toe at the same time.
They held each other tight even when the waves started to diminuendo into nothing, and Desmond wouldn’t let go of Rayhe’s mouth until all the echoes were gone for good. Then he finally unlocked his lips without unwrapping his arms, and Gabriel dropped his head into Desmond’s shoulder without making a slightest effort to move away, to slide onto his side of the bed. Desmond knew that even though Rayhe was curious and maybe worried about what happened tonight, he wouldn’t ask anything right now; he knew that both of them were not going to say a single word until they woke up in the morning.