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Chapter Two

April 9 2006

Snapping out of the (good) stupor he'd somehow managed to drift into in the course of the gig, Pete casts wildly around, eyes searching the faces in the room…Carl hadn't re-appeared.
He'd just sort of melted into the backdrop behind the stage, if that was possible. Pete blames the two other doubles (whisky, this time) Amy-Jo had brought him that he had downed, eyes un-moving from the guitarist/arsehole he was utterly captivated by on-stage. Pete leapt off his stool, ignoring Amy-Jo's yelled "Oi! Pete! Lee's here!"
Pete did not want to talk to Lee. He was irritating and felt more like a stalker than an 'acquaintance' any day. He didn't want to talk to the rest of the band either (he thought them pretty dire, anyway). Right now he just wanted to get to Carl.

And wish granted, Carl was standing just out of the double doors, dragging on a stolen (slightly limp) cigarette. There was a young-ish girl chatting to him , with a perm…she was maybe a few years younger. 'Probably fucking fourteen, just looks sixteen' Pete didn't really surprise himself when he thought things like this. He was infinitely more worth Carl's time than this little slag. Carl just didn't know it, yet.

"S'cuse, mate, could I have a word?" Pete lazily swaggered on up. He was met with hostile eyes. The girl seemed to be on her way anyway, so Carl couldn't really use her as an escape, much to Pete's satisfaction.

"Yeah?" Carl's tone is accusative and curious, if that's possible.
Pete takes a step closer and Carl flinches a little. "Just wanted to apologize 'bout earlier, really. Yeah, temper's a bit…." Pete gestures vaguely, hands striking the air, smiling.
Carl looks absolutely baffled at this personality change and not as if he trusts Pete at all. "Look, Pete," he sticks out his hand. Carl doesn't take it. At least, not straight away.
"Er, yeah, I'm Amy-Jo's brother" he adds. It's still better, less awkward than Amy-Jo introducing them, he thinks, despite the earlier encounter.

Carl looks a tad shocked. Then he nods, says simply "Right, Pleasure."
Taking his hand back, Carl looks about them. They stand in silence for a moment, regarding each other quietly. Pete's doesn't feel the slightest compulsion to look away from Carl's eyes (looking for the first time, with some tiny spark of old recognition straight into Pete's own, and he wonders what's caused it? Did Carl read Pete's letters with confusion? Or see some of himself in the crazy, bored, idealistic youth writing to him?).

Other people are starting to leave through the double doors. Wordlessly, Carl breaks the eye-contact, (Pete was beginning to wonder if he could go blind just from staring so intensely into those blue mirrors of his own eyes) turns and walks away, but not in a way that suggests he wants Pete to leave him be.
So persistently, Pete follows. He's surprised when Carl speaks "Yeah, I remember now, Amy mentioned you might be coming down this way soon."

Pete's flattered, a little re-assured even, that Carl's now at least (verbally) acknowledging him. That he's remembered him from letters and things, perhaps. Carl's a brisk walker, they're already nearly a block away from those doors Pete had located Carl by. Pete catches Carl's eye again, in a sideways glance and Carl casts frightened, determined eyes away. It makes Pete want to laugh, that. He knows now, then. Carl had no trouble meeting his gaze a second ago.

"Where you off to now, then?" Pete asks conversationally, realizing he's pretty much un-invited, but not really caring.
"Right. Need company?"
"Not really, no."
Pete realizes they've traveled several streets into an area with more tenements, graffiti and fewer cars. Bit more like home this, the area surrounding his school, his friend's homes…but nothing like the barren, isolated environment of army barracks that he calls a home.

"Wanted a chat…" he presses.
"Did you now…"
A hush descends on them. This clearly isn't going as smoothly as he'd planned, nor as well. So how less smooth or well could it possibly go if he throws caution to the winds?
Without warning, wrenching Carl by the collar of his jacket, ignoring the surprised yell, the choked "the fuck you think you're-"
and he has him trapped against a shop-front,
tongue cutting off the rest of Carl's question, one hand pressed tight to his shoulder, pinning him to the glass behind, and one hand screwed just as tight into that long, raven-soft hair, so that if he has any sense he won't try to rip his mouth away from Pete's, for fear of being scalped.

To Pete's astonishment, he isn't being fought on this; if he'd been anticipating being hit before, back inside, he DEFINITELY expected it now.
But not this…yielding hips against his own, the lax, un-restraining hand on his arm, not this depraved mixture of dizziness, intoxication (not just the alcohol in his bloodstream), hungry excitement taking over his body and soul…so what if Carl isn't really reciprocating the kiss? He isn't exactly pushing him off, either.

But Pete has *some* boundaries (occasionally, anyway) and doesn't really want this bloke to think he's just some totally over-eager, lovesick schoolboy. He pulls back, affecting his cockiest grin, swipes a hand quickly over the collar of the leather jacket, smooths down any undue ruffling he may have caused.

Carl is slightly breathless, flushed, but doesn't look wholly surprised. Just lazily swipes a tongue along that hypnotic lower lip, sullying Pete's noble efforts to look insouciant and detached. Damn.
"Erm - ok…" Carl claps two hands chummily together and looks expectantly at him.



"Yeah…do you wanna have this chat, then?"


Pete stares at this strange creature, jawslack, blinking dumbly in the street/milky moon-light. Pete isn't used to this in the slightest. How can Carl just resume that nonchalant air as though nothing just happened? He's used to leaving people high and dry, speechless, not the other way around.

The strange creature is still, then shrugs, not waiting for an answer and begins to walk again. Pete follows, and a benign air of companionship settles over them. Pete thinks it's probably just because of Carl's 'yeah, so what?' reaction, that their now walking in silence. Not really chatting, is it? He smiles a little smile to himself. Carl catches it and suddenly looks irritated.



Pete recognizes the street they've come to. Because it's the one Amy-Jo's place is on. The place he knows that she shares with Carl.
"Where's this bar, then?" he says uncertain, a little hope gnawing at him, hand twisting in his trouser pocket.

"Not going to one."

"But you said…"

"Changed my mind."

At this, Pete feels his heartbeat quicken, tries to hide any look of hope or anticipation on his face as Carl jams his key in the lock and steps inside.


"Yeah, 'course"

They climb the decrepit stairs (too slowly, in Pete's opinion) and Carl lets them into a cramped and careworn bed-sit place. Does Amy-Jo really share this place with Carl?
He can't imagine any privacy here…paper-thin walls, a door removed from it's's a far cry from the acres of open land at home, surrounded by wire and no-trespassing signs. He doesn't see how you couldn't not trespass, here.

"Amy-Jo said it was en-suite! Said she had her own bath an' everything…" he says, pulling his burburry-pattern jacket off.

"Haha! Cobblers, all of it!"

"So, which is your room, then?"

Carl motions at a door to the left, poster of Nico and the Velvets plastered across it. Pete goes boldly in, without asking, sits on the bed and takes his Nike sweater off too. Carl comes in a second later, whiskey bottle in hand, hands it to Pete and shakes off his own leather jacket, throws it on the bed. Pete swigs from the bottle, watches Carl roll a joint, dropping off-white powder onto the rizzla.

Lighting it, Carl takes a deep toke, hands it to Pete. Putting the bottle aside, he tries to drag on it as long as Carl just did. Carl looks more relaxed now, he's noticed…doesn't seem as likely to bite his head off, punch him if he tries anything again, a little smirk playing loosely at the corners of his mouth. So Pete brushes nearly-but-not-quite accidental fingers over Carl's wrist as he hands the joint back.

Looking unfazed, Carl puts an old cassette on. Pete's starting to feel light-headed, more confident. He actually laughs aloud, un-self consciously as Michael Jackson starts singing.

"Oh Carl!" he howls.

Carl is agitatedly fiddling with the stereo, fast-forwarding, muttering "It's Amy-Jo's, not mine"

They pass the joint back and forth as the tape machine whirs softly. Pete sticks the spent joint into a nearby mug, his hand shaking a little, Carl hits play and Lou Reed's voice fills the room.

"I'm waiting for my man, Here he comes, he's all dressed in black…"

Carl pulls his shirt over his head, throws it on the bed too, and pulls a packet of woodbines out of his faded jean pocket, lights one and offers it to Pete.
The 'chat' might have to wait, Pete thinks, suppressing a shudder as he regards the shirtless boy reclining in an old, splintered chair, like something from Transylvania, skin the color of tea, he thinks, the most breath-taking, half-naked body he's seen of any boy that he's known …bright, black hair in waves, tendrils all too easy to wind around his hands…

"He's never early, he's always late
First thing you learn is you always gotta wait
I'm waiting for my man
Up to a brownstone, up three flights of stairs…"

Dragging on the cigarette, Pete regards the obsidian tangle of cotton shirt crumpled next to the leather sprawled in similar disarray on the covers next to him and feels like giggling. Thinks they resemble two fallen, charred, twisted blackbirds …although that might be the Charlie and the drink talking. And probably his stupid mind needing to find other, more poetic ways of seeing (even when this inebriated). Doesn't do to stop and contemplate why it feels, momentarily like some metaphorical premonition or other…

"He's got the works, gives you sweet taste
Ah then you gotta split because you got no time to waste
I'm waiting for my man"

Carl doesn't look any easier to decipher, to undo, than earlier this night…still the strange creature from before. Stranger still, how with fewer clothes on, simplified somewhat, he's still no closer to unraveling a single thing about him. So, Pete stretches back on the bed, with the whiskey bottle in the grip of one hand, fag in the other.
"'ere, don't have it all, give us some…" Carl scolds, reaches over for it. His bed, his drugs, his drink, after all….

"C'mere and get it yourself, I ain't sitting waiting for you to finish it…" he pats the covers beside him.
Sighing irritatedly, Carl gets up, comes and stretches out next to him on the bed, settles shoulder to shoulder with him so that neither of them have to get up to pass the bottle back and forth. Plucks it from Pete's grasp too, and drinks deeply. Pete watches in silent adoration as Carl's neck stretches back, Adam's apple shifting under fragile skin, eyes feathering shut as the whiskey burns his insides.
Carl's eyes are still closed when he hands the bottle back, arms behind his head, sublime chest fluttering as he breathes…maybe from the amphetamines rushing behind closed eyes or maybe from……

Pete sets the bottle on the floor, and without waiting for permission, leans over, brushing his lips across Carl's throat. "You won't even try and give me a reason…" is bitten from the throat being kissed so worshipfully, the skin beneath Pete's lips humming with the words, as previously resting eyes snap open accusatively and Pete flinches a little, lost for a split-second in those twin pools of hurt…as if this is another agenda of Pete's, that doesn't include letting Carl know what his role in it is. No words are forth-coming, however, and a hesitant hand drifts up his spine, over the cloth of his polo-shirt, but rests itself demandingly on the back of his neck. And come on, Carl knows how alluring he can be, is even, didn't really need to take any clothes off to prove that…

He has to bloody know, anyway, Pete thinks…all this coy, tentative shit is just to cover up the fact that he's secretly full of it…...right?
Pete looks searchingly into Carl's eyes once more, where some of the hurt has been replaced with lust, playfulness and no little chemical-induced recklessness.
Which, if he's honest, is just the sort of situation Pete likes to take advantage of. It's debauched, its drugs and rock 'n' roll, all the things that he spends lonely minutes at home praying, searching vainly for.
But there's still a stubborn veil of insecurity there when Pete tries to tear his eyes away from Carl's and just concentrate on everywhere else.
Wishes it was enough to make him take notice, and leave; leave this boy for someone else to hurt instead….
but he knows it'll be him. Knew tonight, the first time that he met Carl's eyes, when they were still utterly unknown to each other, of the awful easiness with which he could hurt him.

But he can't (can't even try to) ignore the insistent palm pressing at his thigh when he looks down, or the shift of Carl's hips as he lies flatter into the mattress, under him, as Pete locks a knee either side of his waist…

And suddenly Pete is struck by the (pretty ridiculous) notion that he doesn't want anyone else to hurt this boy. This is the last thing he decides to say on the matter (to himself), as he dips his head, leans down and kisses Carl harsh and deliberate, smoke clouding the taste of him, and sucks until Carl's mouth opens properly for him this time, more sensual in its ministrations, doesn't feel forced open, which, (to be fair) it was before. He's proving to Peter, to be someone just as sensitive physically as he is emotionally, and it only makes Pete want him more.

Gasping from the close heat and the absence of air (that seemed to have settled for finding sly ways to convince him that all the air he really needed, he could extract through Carl's mouth), Pete broke the kiss and sat back on Carl's legs.
Still not saying a word, Carl stares gaminely up at him, eyes lazy in their teasing travels of the boy sat before him, all inviting lines and blatant arousal…

The cocaine still humming through his nerve endings, Pete pulled his own shirt off, to cast it onto the bed beside them, next to his two crumpled blackbird premonitions of earlier…and moving forward, straddling Carl, locking their hips together and tries to figure out how to rip apart Carl's jeans without him getting too upset about it, as he sucks possessively at the willing lips between his own…

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