When Gally first felt Thomas' body on his, he hated it.
It happened during the Greenie's integration night, and this guy clearly didn't know how to fight. Don't get him wrong: Gally liked feeling superior. He liked dominating this shank, punching him, throwing him violently to the ground, teaching him how to behave as the newbie he was.
But Gally didn't like feeling these muscles under this far too skin-tight t-shirt everytime he grabbed his arm, this fist which caused his jaw to explode in pain, this way the boy had to pin his torso against his when hopelessly attempting to beat him, when the Builder could feel the Greenie's ribs lift jerkily as so did his pectorals, this jugular of his pulsing far too fast, this husky breath in his neck.
When the boy's head hit the ground and the Greenie became Thomas, when he had to help him getting up as the tradition obliged, Gally knew he hated him.
And then, he started persecuting him. Accusing him for everything and anything, reproaching him at anytime he could, to make him know his rank. As he had once said, Thomas had been here for three days, when Gally had been here for three years! And still, everyone listened to Thomas, everyone liked Thomas, everyone agreed to whatever Thomas said. They made him a Runner though he had infringed the rules, they punished him by keeping him only one single night in the Slammer, they were always so indulgent and. . .friendly! to him, none of that was normal. There wasn't any way the Builder could stand this.
Then it was his duty to remind the newbie of his rank. After all, Gally was the only one to stay cool-headed.
Gally felt Thomas' body on his for the second time in the bathroom.
As usual, he had planned to shower late at night to make sure he was alone. Don't get him wrong: he wasn't ashamed of his body, even on the contrary, he was rather proud of it. He simply didn't like showering in the same room, at the same time, as an amount of grubby Gladers when feeling exhausted.
Unfortunately, when he entered the shack, a soun of dripping water notified him of the presence of some slint-head.
Gally was taking his t-shirt off when the noise stopped; and he recognised Thomas, only wearing a bath towel which he had tied around his waist, his brown hair dripping with water, certainly about to take his clothes back. At this sight, Gally's jaw contracted with anger. How did this shank dare to appear in front of him again? Always in his way! Hadn't he gotten anything yet? He violently grabbed the boy's shoulder and threw him against the opposite wall.
He watched Thomas hitting the
tiling, then standing up and patting his shoulder, giving a confused
look around him. His charcoal blue eyes finally met his agressor's and
the muscles of his neck tensed as he shouted indignantly: "Dammit,
Gally, what the shuck is wrong with you?"
This question made the Builder feel even more furious. He pounced on Thomas, pinned him against the wall. The boy's skin was moist and warm.
"I don't like you, shuck-face" he growled before correcting himself: "More than that, I hate you."
"Guess it makes the two of us now." Thomas coldly answered, and both stared at each other.
Adam's apple was going up, going down, as he was breathing jerkily in
anger, and Thomas was clenching his fists. Neither of them wanted to lower
the eyes before the other, but both of them were aware of the other's
nearness, of his tensed muscles, of his burning breath on his skin, of
the choking humidity around them, of his ears ringing with deep,
dull rage, of his body crying out for crushing the other's into a merciless fight, to release all the tension spreading in his veins like pure fire. . .
"Let's fight, then." Gally finally spat, unable to take it any longer.
"The first who gives in loses." Thomas added in the same tone.
Then they started to fight. Everyday, mercilessly, mano a mano,
body against body, hatred against hatred, endlessly. The other Gladers
sometimes saw them passing by, bleeding nose, swollen lip, black eye,
injuries, and they sighed; the thing had become quite well-known and
usual now. Clint and Jeff had given up on the hope to reason with them,
and knew who was entering the med-jacks' shack most of the time.
Punches, fists, bruises, an almost quotidian fight, an usual, mechanical, agreed hatred. They wouldn't have admitted growing tired, and Gally had forgotten how many times he had felt Thomas' body on his. Still, neither of them had ever given in yet, and neither had ever planned on. They'd have rather died than let the other win.
Then they kept on fighting.
One day, everything and nothing changed.
They were fighting again somewhere near the Homestead, and Gally thought he could win because of the exhausted look on Thomas' face. He said: "You're losing." and the charcoal blue eyes suddenly lit up. The boy grabbed his opponant's collar, and started pushing him while with his calf he was throwing the legs off balance. Gally fell.
"You lose." The Keeper of the Builders pretended to get up and, taking advantage of the strenght the Runner was using to keep him on the ground, drew the boy to him before rolling on the left and locking him under his body. "Don't overrate your skills, Greenie." He knew this nickname truly infuriated Thomas, who glared at him, fists clenched. "Shuck you, Gally." He tried to struggle, but the tallest boy punched his shoulder.
By fighting him, Gally could now read the Runner's body better than anyone. There was nothing left unknown to him: which limb was easier to hurt, where his weak spot was, what moves he could do, how he reacted to this. . .He said, confident in his victory: "There, you lose." With a now husky because of the effort, irritating voice, Thomas managed to spit: "Never."
Gally then kissed him.
It wasn't a kiss as usually meant. It wasn't filled with tenderness, love, or desire, but with anger, violence and frustration. It was a punch, one hundred times stronger. At least that's what the Builder thought when he crushed their mouths together. If regular methods weren't effective, he simply had to find new ones.
And still, even though he knew every single muscle of the Runner's body by heart, the sensation of his lips on his surprised him. Thomas' tasted like dust and effort, then like blood when Gally, once he had pulled himself together, nibbled the lower part. The boy then seemed to realise what was happening, and he flung his knee into the stomach of his opponant, who gasped but didn't interrupt the assault, and even attacked harder. He then stopped and glanced at Thomas, who wasn't reacting anymore, to whisper: "You lose. "
"You really thought you could defeat me with that?" the other answered, and before the Builder could even move, just as he did, Thomas seized his lips.
Their mouths crushing together allowed the Runner's burning hatred to pour into Gally's body, far better than their fists could ever do. The tallest boy refrained a quiver when the other forced his lips to open so he could attack, and he collected himself already. He slipped his hands under Thomas' t-shirt and drew the boy to him, leaving red scratches on the pale skin, deepening their kiss, he couldn't afford to lose. He felt the Runner indignantly arch under him, his nails digging into his back through the strong fabric, sighs of anger being muffled against his lips.
None of them wanted to give up before the other, to lose the battle. Thomas' lips and Gally's hands were fighting, unable to determine a winner, as ever.
When they both had to break the kiss to catch their breath, their eyes full of rage met each other's, and they realised that nothing and everything had changed. They had to keep on fighting.
And so they kept on.
A stealthier, quieter, softer form of violence.
other Gladers felt reassured not to see them bruised, injured, broken
anymore, and the brave med-jacks could finally take some rest.
But more intrusive, enhanced, baneful.
former fights now almost seemed quiet in comparison to their new ones. But as
ever, neither of them wanted to give in. Gally still felt Thomas' body on
his, but it wasn't the same. He had used to know the Runner's body
better than anyone could ever do, but he now had to learn everything
again. They had started to express their hatred with their mouths
instead of their fists. It wasn't so different, and yet. . .
One day, Chuck had asked Thomas about Gally, had anything changed between them? As his friend had astoundly looked at him, the kid had tried to explain: the Builder and him now didn't argue as often as they used to. "No, he's still an asshole." Thomas had answered. "But you don't fight anymore. . ." Chuck had hesitated, and the Runner had agreed not to worry the little boy.
Because indeed, they fought. But their combats had to remain unknown to anyone but them, secret, personal, intimate.
of them pinned the other against a tree, and crushed their mouths
together with an hateful kiss. The "Let's fight" they agreed on on that
day was pulsing on their tongues, burning. Gally then slipped his hands
under Thomas' t-shirt. The boy stiffened as the tallest one's fingers
started to run on his skin, hushed a gasp of anger.
He broke the kiss to attack the other's neck. He descended slowly, willingly taking his time to impose his presence on Gally who hated it, then stopped near the collarbone to suck on the skin. The Keeper stifled a quiver, there wasn't any way the boy's assault would make his Builder's sturdy shoulders shudder! His fingers ran faster, from Thomas' hips to waist, the Runner snuggling against Gally who couldn't repress a shiver of anger from running the long of his spine.
They always ended up pressed against each other, half-sat against the tree, husky breath, skin on skin, the same burning hatred pounding in their ears. No winner.
When Gally last felt Thomas' body on his, he had killed Chuck.
He had killed Chuck when trying to shoot Thomas.
He had killed Chuck, and the Runner had rushed towards him, thrown him to the ground, and endlessly punched him. Gally hadn't even thought about protecting himself.
He had killed Chuck. Thomas was hitting him, and the only thing Gally could feel, instead of his broken nose, his exploded lower lip, his fractured jaw, was his crushed heart. This was how true hatred hurt, destroyed the other, body and mind. Hatred, not desire, made Thomas' breath husky, his body burning, his full lips dry.
Hatred, the real one, not the fake they had pretended to feel for all those weeks, was now blinding and guiding Thomas.
Gally was simply lying there, under the flood of punches, far too aware
of Chuck's corpse in front of him and of the boy's screams
reverberating through the laboratory in a endless and inaudible echo,
too justified to be beared, immobile. He stayed immobile because, what
could have he done? The cruel, terrible truth was choking him more and
more with each Thomas' blow.
Nothing would have been important if Gally had countered the attacks, but he couldn't move, he just beared the punches instead of the facts, dying more and more, bit by bit, because the truth was patiently waiting for him not being able to avoid it anymore. And it eventually reached him, obvious and petrifying.
Since that day when he had crushed their lips together
When he had allowed them to fight on the same level
When Thomas had earnt the possibility to seize his heart and make it beat faster
Gally had lost.