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Fic: Drained

Title: Drained
Rating: PG
Words: 866
Pairing: Raw/Jeb
Summary: Jeb finds his way home after a long, rough day.
Notes: Early “Perceptible” ‘verse. Using two of the Big List of Cliches prompts: ‘exhaustion’ and ‘scars.’

Covered in dried mud, ashes, and unspeakable things, it took the very last of Jeb’s strength and willpower to make it home. It had been a hellishly long day, most of the police force recruited to help douse a fire that had broken out in a hotel just on the edge of the city.

His boots scraped across the floorboards; he’d taken the elevator for the first time, unable to face the long staircases to the third floor. As he thumped and careened his way down the silent, middle-of-the-night hallway, he realized his return had not come unnoticed. One floor down, he was certain his father’s homecoming had also been intercepted, by Glitch.

Jeb leaned his shoulder and forehead against his door, closing his eyes in utter exhaustion, not even able to dredge up the energy to reach for the handle.

A warm, gentle hand came to rest between his shoulder blades, while a second set of fingers touched his cheek. “Tired,” a soft, knowing voice announced next to his ear.

“Mmmm,” Jeb replied in a barely-audible hum.

After that, everything became fuzzy and disconnected. He was manhandled and guided and encouraged until he was standing next to his bed. Though he wanted nothing more than to simply let his body fall back onto the welcoming surface, those same caring hands prevented his collapse. Instead, they worked on removing the soiled, ruined clothing from Jeb’s body.

His boots came first and he braced himself with one hand on the bedside table as he lifted one foot, then the other in turn. Eyes dragged open just long enough to catch sight of the top of Raw’s head, the long, delicate strands of hair making a curtain that hid his face. Next came his trousers, fingers no longer encased in leather and metal working to remove the torn cotton cloth from his legs. Once those had joined the boots and socks, Raw stood.

Jeb’s shoulders were given a gentle push and he gratefully sat down, now only in his boxer shorts and his usual two layers of shirts. The scarf he had used to block the worst of the smoke still clung stubbornly to his neck, but Raw, standing in front of him, was able to make quick work of the small knot that held it in place and it, too, was tossed aside.

Not bothering with the fastenings, Raw merely tugged and pulled until the once-blue button-down over Jeb’s head and threw it even further, his nose wrinkling at the stench of burned wood.

No longer able to hold his head up, Jeb rested it against Raw’s belly while Raw considered how to approach the last layer of shirt. Eventually he sighed and stroked Jeb’s head lovingly. “One more. Sit up?”

Jeb groaned almost inaudibly but he did as requested, swallowing hard as he struggled to support himself for just a few more moments. He lifted his arms obediently and allowed Raw to drag the t-shirt up and over and away. Once this was accomplished and Jeb was down to just his underwear, he slumped forward and let Raw take his weight again. Knew instinctively that Raw would always hold him up, though they had yet to venture past a few tentative kisses. There were just some things he knew.

Those wonderful hands slid down his back, stroking him with such care that his eyes stung from more than just the residual smoke irritation. Until Raw’s hands stopped suddenly, over a place Jeb remembered well. Though he had never seen it himself, Jeb knew the scarring was there.

“Jeb,” Raw breathed his name, a mixture of question and sympathetic shock. “What happened?”

Not having the power to remain upright, Jeb took hold of Raw’s waist and together, they tumbled back in a tangle of limbs. Jeb stretched out on his side, one hand resting on Raw’s hip. As much as he might want to, he simply did not have the strength to return the favor and divest Raw of his own clothes. That would have to wait. Eyes closed, Jeb laid his head on Raw’s outstretched arm. “Just because my father had been locked up, didn’t mean that the Witch left us alone. Usually it was Zero who came to make our lives a living hell, but sometimes she would send her other soldiers. Those are courtesy of one of her mobats. I was fourteen.”

Raw inhaled sharply, his fingers tracing over the long, thin raised marks marring Jeb’s right shoulder blade. There was a smooth, easy flow of trust radiating from Jeb and Raw understood that he was welcome to look deeper, using his perceptive hands to bare witness to what Jeb could not find the words to describe. There was hazy darkness, pounding fear and shattering pain, far more than Raw ever cared to find in this man. It was disorienting and sickening and it broke his heart.

When Raw finally pulled back and opened his eyes, he saw that Jeb had fallen asleep, the both of them still enmeshed together sideways on the bed. There were still a few hours of darkness left, but Raw spent them wide awake, watching over Jeb’s drained slumber.




( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
I just love how you write Raw taking care of Jeb no questions asked. Lovely little piece. ♥
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
*grin!!* Oh, thank you so much! Raw's good at that - caring without question, letting others decide when to talk or show him what he'd like to see. :D
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )