It took a long, long time for Cain to stop crying, longer still before Casper could prise himself away, and like his life couldn’t get any grosser, prising himself away meant the slow, sick peel of his cheek from Cain’s throat, stuck together by drying blood. Casper gagged as he did it and rubbed at his cheek with his t-shirt as soon as he was sat up and free.
Most of the nausea vanished when his eyes actually found Cain’s face. Tear tracks wound through the mask of blood, but the misery that went with them hadn’t stuck. Hazed with drink, and that breathless grin lay so sloppy around the edges that you could tell he was pissed from that alone. Not that it mattered a fucking damn because no matter the shape of it, the emotion behind it shone so bright and warm that it stole Casper’s breath away. A hand, buried right in his chest and clutching his heart in a grip made of clouds and bliss.
That brush of golden in Cain’s eyes, breathless as he drunk up the sight of his angel knelt beside him, and fuck, Casper had missed that look so fucking much he could cry.
His lips pressed together, trembling against his will, and with a tight gasp that stung in his throat, Casper clambered up to his feet.
Cain lurched after him, arm outstretched and his eyes big and doey and frantic. “Cassie—”
Fucking hell, why did he have to look like that? A wry smile twitched at Casper’s lips and he grasped Cain’s hand. Warm from the heat that had come off Casper’s back, but it stopped too soon beneath the surface to feel quite real. “You’re coming with me, asshole, don’t worry. Let’s go to bed.”
“I—” Cain’s eyes trailed up and down the corridor and fluttered shut just as they came back to Casper. With a nauseated shiver, he opened them again, imploring. “I don’t think I can get up, Cassie. I drunk too much.” Cain’s lower lip stuck out as his head lolled back against the wall, and Casper pressed down on the weird little flutter in his chest. Fucking dick. “I feel awful.”
Bullshit, obviously. They always could get up if you tried hard enough, and Casper had done this with Jack so many times he might as well stamp it across his forehead. Professional drunk fuck handler – only accepting applications from men who’re no fucking good for me. Jack was a damn sight heavier than Cain as well. A damn sight meaner too, especially recently, and that meant wrestling with his sour tongue as well as the weight of his body.
Not so with Cain. Instead of burning the tip of his tongue black, everything bad had vanished under the blanket of stars the drink cast over his mind, and here he was, right back to the awestruck man who hadn’t been able to take his eyes off Casper while they ate beneath the stars.
Casper tried to not let himself forget that it was just the drink as he got his arm around Cain’s waist, and the drunk prick swayed like a boneless beanpole above him.
Cain slumped against him while they stumbled down the hallway, his arm tightening around Casper’s shoulder. The chill of his breath puffed against Casper’s neck as Cain nuzzled at the space behind his ear, murmuring senseless nothings in a foreign language.
It was really, really hard to remember that it was just the drink.
At one point, Casper called R2 for a glass of water and pressed it carefully into Cain’s hand when the idiot kept insisting he could drink it. The second Casper let go, Cain took one drowsy blink and let it fall from his hand.
Both of them burst into laughter as it shattered on the floor.
“Now who needs a fucking sippy cup? Come on, nutjob. Get walking.”
Cain pressed his cheek against the top of Casper’s head. “Can mine have pandas on it?”
Jesus fuck, why did he have to be such an endearing drunk?
By the time they wound all the way through the house up to Cain’s room, Casper’s muscles ached as if he’d been walking for miles. The pitch black of the sky outside the window made a mocking affront to his sense of time. To call Cain a gazelle when he was drunk made a grave insult to the grace of a gazelle; he was way more like some baby colt taking its first steps – all goddamn legs, and they went down in a tangle of them at least five times on the trip.
And each time Cain had laughed so hard or looked so adorably pitiful moaning about it that Casper couldn’t even make himself pissed about this motley crew bruises assembling across his knees and elbows and ass.
Couldn’t make himself feel shit but the twirl of bubbly warmth fizzing in his chest and the way the rest of the world just sort of faded away to stars and laughter as they stumbled up the stairs.
Casper took them straight through the bedroom into the vast en suite adjoining it. The light dazzled off the polished marble skimming the floors and walls. A skein of glass at the far end beckoned into a shower whose slick slate walls winked with the silver caps of jets.
The mumble came further from his ear than usual, and Casper paused halfway across the room.
A mirror spread across the wall to their right, plastered above the graceful scoop of the wide sink. The blood smothering Cain’s face and chest was dull now, barely catching the gleam of the lights, but it’d stayed sticky enough that Casper’s hair was gummed up with it, stuck up at a stupid angle from each time Cain had rubbed his face there with a sound a little like a purr brewing in his chest. Dark circles cupped Casper’s eyes, sallow hollows in his face, but something about the look of himself made his heart skip.
It was a little too much like looking at a person instead of a corpse.
Cain’s eyes slithered off their tangled reflections with the loll of his head, but drunk prick was trying his best. He pointed one long finger at the pair of them while he laid his head atop of Casper’s, and a grin spread broad and loose across his face. “I want that, Cassie. Just that. Forever.”
A tightness clutched at Casper’s throat, warmth blooming in his chest, and he tore his eyes from the mirror. Not quite quick enough to unsee the expression on his face. He’d smiled. Like a fucking idiot, he’d smiled, a quick, breathless grin catching like a gasp across his lips.
Casper yanked at Cain’s waist, hauling him over to the toilet. “Come on, idiot. You need a shower.”
The toilet seat clattered as Cain dropped on it, and his head skimmed grimacing close to smashing against the tile behind him. He sprawled there, legs wide and his loose hands dropped between them. Blood plastered his front and showed between his teeth when he grinned.
Casper gulped down the dryness in his throat.
“Are you—” Cain’s tongue stumbled over the slur and he blinked hard, frowning between Casper and somewhere vaguely in the direction of the shower. “The…” A sharp edge came into his eye, and he sat up, nearly tumbling forward off the seat. “You have to come in with me.”
He said it with such breathless intensity, as if nothing was more important in the world than Casper standing with him while hot water poured over their skin and steam slid across their tongues and purified their lungs, that nothing ever had been, nor would it ever be.
Was he going to get in the shower with Cain? The sensible answer was no, obviously. Really, he should dump the idiot in bed and piss off, no shower involved.
But when was Casper ever sensible? Roach Boy was a fawning insectile coward, and with the side of his neck still tingling from Cain’s lips, no part of Casper could bear to put him in bed and just leave. So if Casper was getting into bed with Cain, he sure as fuck wasn’t doing it with the prick covered in blood.
It’d be nice. The shower was hot, and his hair was gross too, but…
Casper hissed a breath between his teeth, tearing his eyes away. But nothing. It was fucking stupid and Casper was fucking poison, and he should just leave.
Another clatter. On instinct honed to a blade by Jack’s eternal drunken misadventures, Casper lunged forward. He caught Cain under the arms just before he tumbled face first smack onto the tiles. Shame, ’cause that’d be hilarious. Maybe he’d have even knocked some teeth out and gotten some of his own fucking blood mixed up in that mess painting his face.
Then he’d probably cry about it, and Casper would have to pat his head and make him feel better, and it’d be a gazillion times worse than just getting in the shower with the stupid fuck.
Slumped against his chest, Cain tugged at Casper’s sleeve and made big brown eyes up at him – and seriously, this fucking psycho murderer had no right looking so adorable. The stupid little flutter of his heart drove home the last nail in the coffin of Casper’s pretend morality.
“Please?” Cain rubbed his cheek rubbed against Casper’s t-shirt. Rust streaked across the white part of the print. “I miss you, Cassie. Y—You always used to—”
The meandering path of those words snagged at a different part of his chest. A line pulled taut to snare his lungs so tight they burned.
“Fine.” Casper shoved Cain back on the toilet seat. His mouth had gone dry. The crimson of the blood smouldered beneath the searing lights. “Fine, but I’m keeping my pants on.”
The grin that broke across Cain’s face was a slice of sunlight through the hell painted down his chest. Casper did his best not to look at it while he got Cain and then himself undressed.