The curtains wavered in the thin starlight, the off-white fabrics shot through with natural silvers and blacks. The apartment was dark...as dark as it had ever been. Shadowy outlines were all that remained of the expensive furniture and décor, smudges of gray against the black. The only light filtered through a white sheet that had been thrown over the porcelain shade of a lamp, muting the brilliance that would normally have spilled from its bulb.
Cain knelt under the light, resting his elbows on the couch that he'd positioned there and furrowing his brow at the figure sprawled across it. Isaac hadn't been moving when he'd found him. That alone was enough to steal several heartbeats from the older boy's chest; leaving in their place hollow empty spaces of silence that seemed to last forever. If Isaac had been in bad shape before, he was absolutely crushed now. The only thing that had stopped Cain from taking him directly to the hospital was his caution toward the questions the doctors were sure to ask.
Running a hand through his dark hair, Cain brushed a finger along the cracked edge of the younger boy's lip; he fidgeted and turned away. Tucking both hands under his chin, Cain contemplated Isaac thoughtfully. He was young...too young to be dealing with his current situation; especially alone. He always acted so defensive. A quick wit and a sharp tongue; of course it was a combination of those things that had probably landed him in this state.
A smile tugged at Cain's lips.
He was looking forward to the day when he could feel that sharp tongue against his own.
* * *
Through the haze of pain and pressing dark Isaac felt an unfamiliar heat against his mouth. Immediately he felt his body respond, growing rigid and tense as the last dregs of unconsciousness were violently thrown away. He lashed out blindly with the last of his strength, feeling his elbow come in contact with something that gave a satisfying crack. A muted thump followed, chased soon after by an irritatingly loud crash.
Isaac cracked his eyes open, feeling his entire body throb in response as he propped himself on his elbow. The room was dark, but also unfamiliar; someplace he'd never been before. Light was glaring from the upturned lampshade that was lying on the floor, it's broken fixture rocking back and forth on the carpet. And next to the lamp...was Cain.
He was staring at Isaac with wide and watering eyes, one palm pressed firmly over his nose which was leaking small yet noticeable rivulets of blood. A wiry grin stretched across his face; short, sharp bursts of laughter leaping from his lips. Isaac touched at his mouth, feeling the warmth that still hovered there. It took him all of three seconds to put the rest together.
What the hell! Didn't I bite you hard enough the first time?
Cain waved a hand as if to dismiss the comment, strongly aware of the waver of pain in the younger boy's voice. Relax. I woke you up, didn't I? A sharp pain stabbed against Isaac's side, drawing him back down to the unfamiliar couch with a faint groan, ...I really wish you hadn't... He narrowed his eyes into what he hoped were intimidating slits, staring hard at the blood running between Cain's fingers, I hope that hurts...
Dabbing at the blood, Cain licked his lips and shrugged nonchalantly, rocking back into a sitting position at the base of the couch. It's not broken. I'll be fine. Isaac pressed away from him, burying his face into his arms to hide that heat that was gathering there, Damn.
A moment of silence passed.
Isaac squeezed his eyes shut hard, watching the bright dots that danced in the dark in time with the throbbing of his body. He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt this much pain. It flooded him; driving needles and nails into every bruise and cut. He probably looked like shit, too. Everything was so hazy after he'd refused that family's offer. What had happened? He remember rain, and darkness, and pain grinding in from every direction...someone held him...
A cool touch came at the back of his neck, pulling him from his thoughts as he turned his head just enough to see through the crook of his arm. Cain was inches away, his dark eyes worried and brooding. Isaac felt his eyes grow heavy, faintly aware of the older boy's fingers winding through his blood-red hair.
Are you okay? Cain whispered, moving a knuckle under Isaac's chin, You look tired. Listen, you can stay here as long as you want. But I think your father should know that your here... Isaac turned away, using the absolute last fumes of his energy to roll over and pull the blanket he hadn't been aware of up to his chin. Cain leaned over him, just enough to hear his muttered reply of:
Don't bother...he doesn't care anyway.
...before he slipped back into sleep.
* * *
Strangely enough it was the absolute black that woke Isaac the second time. A cold sweat gathered on his chest and back, making him shiver as he stared unseeing into the abyss of the shadows. He bit his lip until the cut that was etched there reopened, feeling the warm sting of the blood in his mouth. Gritting his teeth, Isaac swung his legs over the side of the couch and gingerly got to his feet, a violent shiver wracking his body. He hugged his arms firmly around himself and took a hesitant step forward, the room spinning around him.
He knew that something inside himself wasn't right. All the stress and pain of the passed week was finally catching up in waves. Pressing a palm firmly over his temple, Isaac shuffled through the apartment blindly...who's apartment? It was...Cain's. Where was he? Isaac leaned hard against the wall, a soft whine boiling in his throat. He felt sick. Cold and numb...
He swallowed hard, stepping faster now that his eyes had adjusted to the dim half-light. He could clearly see the kitchen just around the corner, the flickering neon clock on the microwave spelling out some time after one in the morning. Pressing his lips into a determined line, Isaac leaned dependently into the counter and opened one of the cupboards. His father always kept it in the same place...why should anyone else be any different?
A sigh dropped from Isaac's chest, his fingers closing around the cool neck of the clear glass bottle in the cupboard above the sink. Rubbing the tears in his eyes with the heel of his hand, Isaac brought the bottle down and fumbled with the lid, every part of him screaming to get it open. The thick smell of liquor filled the air the moment the cap came off, stinging Isaac's nose and eyes.
He gripped the bottle against his chest and slowly sank to the floor, wincing at every cut and every bruise. His hands were shaking as he raised the bottle to his lips, taking a deep swallow and almost immediately choking. He set the bottle aside with a loud clack, gagging emptily. He'd never tried drinking before; and most certainly wasn't expecting it to be anything like this. It was supposed to take the pain away, wasn't it? He just wanted it to go away...
The lights flicked on.
Isaac? Cain breathed, crouching on the floor next to the younger boy. Isaac felt his face burning hot, the tears running unchecked along with several sharp sobs. Cain wrapped his hand around Isaac's wrist, gently tugging at the fingers until he released the bottle completely. I'm sorry, Isaac muttered, jerking his hand back as hard as he could though he only succeeded in lifting it a few inches from the floor.
Cain took a deep breath, breaking all physical boundaries as he leaned forward and slid an arm under Isaac's legs, bracing the other behind his back. Come on, Cain said quietly, lifting the younger boy free from the floor despite his broken protests. Isaac gritted his teeth until his jaw ached, his muffled thoughts refusing to form a single sharp retort as the older boy carried him through the unfamiliar apartment.
The bed nearly swallowed him when Cain set him down, the sheer number of sheets and pillows enough to bury him twice over. Isaac bit back the whimpers of pain as the bed rocked, responding easily to the added weight as Cain slid in beside him. The older boy wrapped an arm around Isaac's waist, pulling him into the curve of his body with a firm glare that dared him to protest. Sleep, Cain muttered, simply holding him tighter when he tried to pull away.
Somewhere nearby Isaac could hear the shuffle of curtains over the roar of his heart. He waited expectantly for his body to tense as it always did when Cain held him so close...but it didn't. Calming his breaths, Isaac allowed himself to relax, hating the burn that the alcohol had left in his throat. He probably reeked of liquor...and the street. He was still in his clothes from the day before, the buckle of his belt digging uncomfortably into his stomach. But beyond that...
...he couldn't remember the last time he'd felt so comfortable.
Slowly closing his eyes, Isaac concentrated on the spot where Cain's arm touched his skin, holding him firmly against the older boy's chest. Only then did he manage to finally sleep.