Cowboy Bebop. Vicious/Gren. R. 500 words.
The only constant was Vicious.
On nights like this, when the air inside the Rester is hot and heavy, the music takes Gren. Notes rise soft and slow like lazy curls of cigarette smoke and pull him in. They hold him beneath the surface and drown him in the beat of the past. The hum of his saxophone fades into sweeping wind and rising in its wake comes the soft, plinking notes of a tiny music box.
Only the crazy ones had thought they’d make it out of there. The bombs came screaming down in wave after wave that followed no pattern. Gren hadn’t been sure if knowing when they’d hit would be better or worse. The reality was, he hadn’t been sure of anything. The only constant was Vicious.
“Six today,” Vicious had said. He left his rifle on a table covered in dust and things left behind.
“You’re too soft.”
“Seven wounded.” Smiling threatened to crack Gren’s lips. The air had been so dry.
A shockwave rattled the already crumbling building. Vicious’s hand on his face had steeled his nerves. “Not that tired.”
Gren blinks. The Rester has emptied, the bar a row of empty stools. He packs up with numb fingers and leaves through the back. Snow crunches beneath his feet. Tonight it’s rain not debris that falls from the sky, and somewhere between Heaven and here, the drops turn to ice. Gren hunches forward to avoid their stinging kisses. He can’t help but compare the weight of the case slung over his shoulder to the burdens he’d carried on Titan.
Groups of twos and threes pass him by, thugs and hustlers mostly; the types of people thick in this part of town. No one bothers him. His path has been his alone for a good while now.
His alone until Julia had shown up dragging her own ghosts along, and now…now he only has one path to walk.
Killing a man is as fresh in his mind as the soft brush of lips on his hip and the tickle of long hair sliding across his stomach. He remembers the taste of sweat, quietly echoing laughter, and kisses that had lasted for hours. He remembers the crushing press of a warm body, fingers skidding over his bare chest. Vicious could be remarkably gentle, slender fingers never forcing their way inside, just stroking him open, slow and methodical and perfect. Pausing at the mouth of an alley, Gren squints up at the sky, the dark snarl of clouds like smoke. He wants to think it was him that brought out the best in Vicious, but the ache twisting his chest knows it was just the darkness.
Vicious had been beautiful in the shadows.
Gren adjusts the strap on his shoulder and resumes walking. From an open window a few stories up the noise of a television turned up high bounces off the brick. “Tomorrow looks to bring a break from the slush,” a forecaster is saying. “Clear skies for Callisto.”