The Stains Beneath Our Skin {mxm}

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Googly Eyes

The magic of the night before vanished in a puff of some unpleasantly greenish smoke when Casper woke up in Cain’s bed with no Cain to make it the entire point of Cain’s bed. Ironic that. And miserable. He’d clawed himself to about two minutes from making himself leave the warmth to go sulk in his room again when his stomach growled.

Easy choice there. The thought of pulling aside that mirror to hide it made his skin crawl and lying in bed with it right there – nuh uh, no way.

Just a shame that when he trudged into the kitchen with about as much pizzazz as a floorboard, rubbing this shitty sand out of his eyes, Cain was already sat at the table. He pored over a nauseatingly thick book with his equally nauseating bowl of weird healthy breakfast stuff.

The fruit yoghurt oats thing was almost gone, just the ends stuck to the sides of the bowl left, and a steaming cup of coffee rested in front of him. While Casper watched him, his finger stopped in the centre of a page and groaning around the spoon in his mouth, he slumped back in his chair and rubbed the bridge of his nose. The wisteria trickling past the window cast a sweet lilac tint to his skin no matter how overcast the day outside.

Alright, looked like this weird fuck-off fluttering and breath-catching and fuzziness all through his lungs and his fucking kidneys or whatever hadn’t vanished with the magic of last night. Probably liver damage. Easier to go with that. Casper made himself scowl and shuffled over to the table, wiggling his fingers at R2. The thing was doing whatever magic a sorcerous construct did in the kitchen to actually make food. Cain didn’t look at Casper, even though he’d absolutely seen him coming and that stiffness hadn’t been in his shoulders a second ago.

At least none of that psycho breakdown vibe had carried over. A shudder clutched at Casper’s ribs, echoed by that howling laughter. Maybe it’d been stupid coming down here, but he’d already done the stupid running to Cain last night so…

He was still playing the game, wasn’t he? Now more than ever, he needed to get out, ’cause Cain had just told him what was gonna happen if he stayed.

Hands around his throat, choking the life out of him.

(Soft fingers tracing his scars under the brush of starlight, and a slow smile as if every broken thing about Casper was beauty crystallized into a dewdrop kiss.)

Casper dumped himself into his chair and pulled Cain’s coffee toward him. Call that exactly how bad Cain’s mood was that he didn’t even oi him or anything. Casper sipped the boiling liquid. Milk. Gross. And ow.

“You weren’t there when I woke up.”

Cain’s eyes didn’t leave the window, a stubborn cast to his jaw. “I didn’t think you’d want me to be.”

Which Casper couldn’t argue with at all, except he’d kinda had wanted Cain to be there. He kinda missed waking up in that gross sweaty mess with Cain already awake, stroking his hair and watching the dozy fluttering of Casper’s eyes with so much awe that Casper could have been an angel instead of dirty, ghoulish Roach Boy.

Didn’t matter that Casper hadn’t been able to go five minutes without something cruel spilling from his lips – sometimes unintentionally, sometimes because he felt sick with himself if he didn’t put it there – because those five minutes until he snatched the soft wonder from Cain’s face were pure bliss.

Except this time, he just wanted it to be all that bliss. Nothing but googly eyes and holding hands and the way Cain laughed when Casper baited him in for the viciousness. Just that, all the way down to breakfast and all the way through the day until Casper stopped thinking all this sappy crap and got his fucking head on square. Idiot.

Nice daydreams, Roach Boy, but you ever seen anything funnier than a cockroach with googly eyes glued on its shell?

Bullshit, that’s what it was.

Cain’s spoon clashed against his bowl, and when Casper blinked out of his reverie, Cain was frowning at him, a tightness around his lips. “What are you looking at me like that for?”

Almost sounded a little petulant. Casper grinned, wan and humourless, even though he wanted to hide his face and maybe run away because that probably hadn’t been some scowling, miserable look he’d been giving Cain. One blessing from those sniggering gods, at least, that his voice sounded horrible today. Ghastly.

“Does it bother you?” Casper rasped.

“No.”

“Sure.”

“Piss off, Cas.”

Casper snorted and slurped up a mouthful of coffee. A low whizzing cut through the air and R2 slid up to the table in a cloud of indigo and by some completely indeterminable means, levitated a fresh coffee to Cain and a bowl of fruit up to Casper. He still found it hard to eat in the morning, but Cain had basically assaulted him with breakfast foods until he found something he could stomach.

Cain spoke again while a slice of mango sat tangy on Casper’s tongue. Brusquely, the coffee raised to his lips but not tipped to drink. “If you’re planning something unpleasant, I don’t have time for it this morning. I have a meeting in an hour – the one I already had to cancel once because of your Neanderthal of a boyfriend – and I’m hardly going to be late because you want to do something foul.”

And as if to punctuate his point, he slammed the book closed, throwing up a cloud of dust, and planted his elbows either side of it. He cupped the coffee mug in his hands as he took a sour-looking sip.

Casper, on the other hand, didn’t have much function in his brain past blinking. Popping eyelids like twin fish mouths and a vacantly drooping jaw. Real attractive, Roach Boy. Baiting him in great now.

And that was just it, wasn’t it? Was Casper still baiting him in, or had it all tumbled past him, shattered against the unforgiving earth while Casper screamed out the chaos trapped within his own mind?

The words bellowed at him over the wind came back to him, dressed up in violent gales that drew a shiver through his spine with their memory. Something spasmed through his gut and Casper swallowed, the half-masticated mango a lump of sand sliding down his throat.

How else did he get out if Cain hated him?

What was left if he even disgusted Crazy?

Okay, maybe it wasn’t just the mango making a lump in his throat. This lump was wet and whimpering and pressed his tongue into the roof of his mouth. All puppy-dog eyes at Cain without even trying them.

Where’s the line, Roach?

But the blur beneath his feet made it all so real. It made his heart keen. It made Cain lower the cup from his lips, and it softened his face as his eyebrows drew together, etching a line in the puckering of the skin.

“I—” Casper’s voice broke off, a cracked note like ten octaves higher than it should be, horrible and hoarse and Cain’s lips just tightened more hearing it. Casper took a gulp of gross milky coffee to soothe this stupid lump out at least. Never could soothe the break until it healed on its own.

And then once he’d drunk it, he’d forgotten what he was about to say anyway. Something stupid. Something pathetic. Think about it harder, Roach. It had to be the right thing.

Otherwise he might as well just slit his own throat right now.

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