*A/N- the song lyrics below are my own so don’t bother trying to find the song and please don’t copy. ^_^
“You’re so beautiful.” My arm slides down to the curve of her waist as I nuzzle my nose behind her ear to plant a quick kiss. She giggles and squirms a little, but doesn’t push me away. Encouraged, I do a trail of light kisses down her neck and then work my way back up to her plump, red painted lips. Her small hands grab hold of my shoulders and her breaths come out in excited little pants. I won’t be alone tonight.
I can count my blessings
Or I can count the stars
Makes no difference to me
As long as I am where you are
When the day gets rough
When life gets down
Can I wrap myself
…in your love
Just as I am about to get a taste of her, rock music starts blaring from my pocket. I’m about to ignore it since the ones that usually call me are my asshole friends and this girl is way more interesting than them… even if I can’t quite remember her name at this exact moment… but the song playing gets my attention. There’s only one person that has my music as a ringtone on my phone. Dropping my arms, I step away from the girl and dig the phone out of my pocket. She gives me a disappointed pout and crosses her arms when I give a wave in apology.
“Hey, Win. What’s up?” I ask quickly before he can greet me back. Win doesn’t call this late in the evening unless he knows I’m home or there is something wrong. The other end of the line is quiet until I hear a couple of sniffles.
“Per…” Win whimpers quietly, accompanied with more sniffles.
“Win? Win! Are you okay? What’s wrong?” Gripping my phone tighter, I try to stay calm. The pain and sadness in his voice tear at me. “Win!”
“Per… Per…” A sob breaks his voice and the line goes dead.
“WIN! Fuck!” Throwing the phone back in my pocket, I look over at the girl. “Sorry. I have to go.”
“No way! Per!” She stomps her foot and glares at me, not looking nearly as cute as I had first thought. “You can’t just leave me here!”
I wave down a taxi that’s got a decent reputation and open the door. “This is all I can do. I have to run, so are you getting in or not?” With a huff, the girl climbs into the cab and I hand her money for the fare. Looking up at the driver, I give him a quick nod. “Please see that she gets home safely, P’.” After I close the door, the cab pulls away and I snap a pic of the license plate, just in case.
Waving down another cab, I climb in and direct the driver to my neighborhood. Win and I have been close for years since we live next door to each other so, if he’s anywhere right now, it’s going to be the swing set at the park down the street from us. It’s where we always meet. The cab pulls up to the corner of the park after several minutes. I pay the fare and thank him before climbing out and heading straight for the slumped figure seated on a bench near the swings.
“Win?” I call his name as I approach and see the figure flinch before glancing up at me.
“Per? Sorry I…” His voice comes out so soft I can barely hear him. When I get closer, he tries to stand up but grimaces and wraps his arms around his waist.
“Win!” Crossing the distance between us in a flash, I manage to catch him before he falls. “Here. Sit down slowly.” I help him maneuver back onto the bench. Tears are dripping from his closed eyes and I wipe them away with my sleeve.
He doesn’t want to talk and there is no need to explain. I already know what happened or, at least, I have a pretty good idea. Win’s military father is less than accepting of a son that is not made to be a strong soldier like him. It didn’t used to be this bad. His dad would only yell at him before but he has gotten progressively worse. Recently, he started hitting Win and I don’t mean the ‘get your act together’ whack upside the head kind my mother does either. I try to protect him as much as I can but there isn’t much I can do and, sometimes, it makes his father even angrier.
Holding his small, shiver form against me, anger builds inside me. I don’t know how anyone can treat another person this way, let alone their own child. Win is such a good kid, too, quite the opposite of me. He’s always nice and polite. He gets good grades and never gets into trouble. A person should feel lucky to have him in their life. Even my own mom loves Win, probably more than she loves me.
“Come on, Win. Let’s go to my house. Can you walk?” Swallowing my anger, I focus on helping Win. He needs my care now, not my fury at the injustice of his life.
We make it to my house, which is quiet, and thankfully avoid the eyes of his father next door. After removing my shoes and his, I stand up and half carry Win up the stairs to my room. Sitting him down on the bed, I walk over and close the curtains facing his house. Gathering up some night clothes for the both of us to change into, I help Win into my bathroom.
“Holy Fuck, Win!” The exclamation escapes when we remove his shirt. Blotchy red marks crisscross across his back, some already darkening into a deep purple. There’s a few places where the skin even broke open and trickles of blood snaked down his skin. The anger hits me again, harder, until I hear Win’s gasp of pain when he tries to adjust his position. My concern for him takes over, the anger dispelling to the back of my mind.
“Don’t move. Let me clean you up a bit and put on some medicine.” Getting everything ready, I turn back to him with a frown. “This is going to sting.”
“Just do it.” Win nods and grits his teeth. With the first touch he hisses at the pain but that is the only sound I hear out of him until I am done and he is bandaged up. Then he takes several shallow, slow breaths and gives me a weak smile. “Thanks, Per.”
I nod as I put the first aid kit away and throw away the scraps. Wetting down a wash cloth, I walk back to him and carefully wipe down his face and arms knowing he can’t take a shower. Win’s eyes follow my every movement, gratefulness and tenderness in their depths. I don’t deserve this look. I couldn’t protect him. I couldn’t save him. All I can do is patch him up afterwards and it kills me.
Finishing up quickly, I help Win into the night clothes. They are a little long on him since I’m so much taller but at least they are clean. I tuck him into my bed and cover him up.
“I’m going to take my shower.” Win nods, his eyes already half closed from exhaustion.
After getting cleaned up and dressed, I head back into my bedroom to find Win fast asleep, his face resting on one hand. With a sigh, I turn out the lights and crawl in next to him, laying on my back with my arms crossed behind my head, staring into the darkness of the ceiling. I try to process the events of the day but it’s no use. My emotions are going crazy and I can’t focus on any one thing.
Win lets out a quiet sob beside me and I can hear him faintly whisper something. Leaning over his shoulder, I find him still asleep but tears are seeping out of his eyes. His lips move again and this time I just barely catch it. A name… My name… “Per.” He rolls towards me and I fall back onto the bed as he snuggles into my side. His hand reaches up next to his face and grips the shirt covering my chest tightly.
“Mawin.” His name comes out with a gasp but I don’t move away. Instead, I wrap my arms around him, careful not to hit his bruises, and close my eyes. Strangely enough, my thoughts have settled down and I feel a peacefulness envelop me. My eyes close as sleep pulls me under. I am not alone.
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