Author Topic: Cut Me Open  (Read 5864 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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Cut Me Open
« on: September 30, 2019, 07:53:21 PM »
Kerr opened his eyes to a face full of Ben's hair, as he did on the cusp of every new night. He'd done it for years, always awakening before his young fledgeling to find them both on their sides, Kerr's arm curled around Ben's waist, bodies fitted snugly together and their legs entwined to varying degrees. Tonight, his knees were offset behind Ben's, one of his larger feet in between his love's, their insteps cradling. He was hard but that was just what his body did. There was no desire to do anything with it.

Usually they fell asleep in this position, too, but they hadn't for the past four dawns. They'd been keeping strictly to their own sides of the huge bed, Kerr naked but Ben clothed, at no risk of even accidentally coming into contact with each other. After a perfunctory kiss goodnight, they'd resigned themselves dutifully to surfing the outer perimeter of the mattress, a vast, contact-less chasm open between them. Yet every dusk Kerr still awoke like this, wrapped around Ben. Just like always.

Tonight was the first night he didn't recoil instantly to his side. Instead, he stayed where he was.

He wished it wasn't such a monumental thing, but it was. He'd had no desire to touch Ben since he'd been with Saraekiel and even though he'd berated himself and told himself every night that he was being utterly ridiculous... he hadn't been able to bring himself to change it. Every time he'd got close, images of Ben fucking him came at him and he flinched or winced or his fist curled and he did his best to deflect the impulse so that Ben didn't notice. He was more than aware of the fact that Kerr wouldn't touch him, though, so what did it even matter?

Kerr had never suppressed his desire to make contact with Ben to this degree, not even when they'd first met. It had become appallingly clear just how instinctual it was for him to touch his love after the night of their big outpouring. He'd avoided Ben with work that night but the next they'd both got on with things. Business as usual. And every time he spoke to Ben, every time he even thought of him, he'd consciously stopped himself from casual touches. He'd barely noticed how often he usually held his hand, rested his hand on his leg, fixed his hair or kissed him until he was stopping himself from following every instinct that arose. It was a soft, miserable kind of torture that he wished he was mature enough to stop inflicting on them both.

To his credit, Ben was being amazing about it and Kerr was insanely grateful. He showered alone and kept his clothes on at all times so Kerr wasn't reminded unnecessarily of the mark. As the nights progressed, it had become easier, his imagination less vivid, his repulsion fading. Ben was becoming his again, slowly, but he was becoming frustrated with his inability to fast forward this awful time. It would take as long as it took, apparently but he hated the thought that Ben was suffering or thinking he didn't love him. He did, he just...

Last night, he'd found himself smiling more freely when he was with Ben, able to sit close to him on the couch, to hug him once. Now, tonight, he'd awoken and didn't flee immediately across the bed. He decided to stay that way and see how it went once Ben awoke. It felt good to hold him but maybe that was just because he wasn't looking at his face and thinking... things. Time would tell. He nuzzled in until his lips were pressed to the back of Ben's neck, waking up properly and feeling his body deflate as it naturally would. He wasn't getting ahead of himself.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2019, 08:30:28 PM »
It was like being back in time. He'd forgotten what had been happening between him and Kerr as he woke, feeling his lover, his sire, pressed against him as usual. He murmured his pleasure before being aware that they didn't have skin on skin contact...

...and then it all came back to him. His eyes opened in the darkness, seeing the room clearly in stark relief. He could sense that Kerr was awake and that he was consciously being close to him. Ben froze, licking his lips, afraid to move, afraid to mess it up.

He'd been so hungry for this but at the same time felt he deserved the isolation. They'd lived together apart for the past few nights and Ben had felt every absence of touching like it was just as physical as the real thing. He deserved it. It had been something to relish as he tortured himself with it. It was proof there was something wrong with him.

They'd spoken about it, calling it his 'darkness' but it wasn't so simple. It wasn't darkness, it was destruction, it was damage. It was the usual diatribe in his head. They'd spoken about unlocking it, letting it out, letting it feast, letting him loose on someone else so that he wouldn't unleash on Kerr.

"Don't," Ben said softly, even though it hurt him - no, because it hurt him - to push Kerr away. "You don't have to."
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2019, 08:54:21 PM »
The first word made Kerr stiffen and pull back slightly - he didn't release Ben all the way, he just moved his head far enough away that he could frown at Ben's hair - but the second comment explained it. He relaxed slowly back down onto the pillow.

"I know that," he murmured. "I want to be here. Unless you want me to move?" he hazarded, wondering if he'd left Ben alone for so long he was no longer welcome to touch him. Wouldn't that be ironic?

Offline Trillian

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2019, 09:03:02 PM »
The closeness was choking him with an outpouring of emotion. He tried to stopper it but couldn't. At least he had control enough that he wasn't crying or in danger of it, but he could barely make sense of anything.

He didn't know what he wanted.
He wanted Kerr.
He didn't want Kerr to touch him because it was too soon, he hadn't been punished enough.
He didn't want to oppose Kerr in any way.

"I don't deserve-"

you

"-forgiveness."
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2019, 09:15:57 PM »
Kerr didn't say anything for the longest time and he didn't move away, either. His foot twitched, wanting to rub thoughtfully against Ben's but he misinterpreted the gesture and just pulled his feet away, leaving Kerr disconnected. He lightly brushed Ben's stomach with his fingers instead (though it felt odd moving the fabric of his shirt around rather than touching his flesh), thinking through Ben's latest vocalisation.

He was also trying to sort through the emotional noise jamming their blood bond. It really had been too long since they'd touched.

Thoughts tumbled around his head as he debated the nature of forgiveness and Ben's deservedness of it. Forgiveness was tied to punishment, which happened after misbehaviour. He wanted to argue that he hadn't been specifically punishing Ben by not touching him - he still wasn't - but he could see how Ben might view it that way. He didn't want him to, really, but the great big wounded hole inside Kerr that refused to close even after all their talking relished the notion, too.

He wasn't as far from darkness as Ben might think. Frankly, being 'a good man' was, in his opinion, more about being fully aware of one's capability for cruelty and merely choosing not to act upon it, not about being truly our or saintly in thought and deed. He was neither and he was ashamed that Ben didn't understand that, too. First things first.

"Why don't you?" he eventually asked, needing Ben's perspective. It was easier to have this conversation with the back of Ben's head. Kerr felt more capable of vulnerability this way.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2019, 09:39:24 PM »
All of his answers felt dramatic and ridiculous in his head but they were the truth. He struggled to phrase it in a way that sounded reasonable.

His love was poison. He was toxic. He cast a critical eye over his past relationships, from family to friends, to lovers, to boyfriends, all before Kerr. He'd burnt them all. One way or another, he'd burnt them all. He'd always blamed his sharp tongue and unwillingness to deal with 'stupidity', but it was more his unwillingness to tolerate others.

Look at his instinct when Murphy had revealed his forced siring. Yes, he'd been compassionate and understanding, but inside he'd also been relieved to be properly off the hook now that Murphy was a vampire, and also jealous that he'd been made with ancient blood. He'd felt only the tiniest bit guilty over that. Not much, though.

And when he'd discovered Charon's latest infatuation with one of their donors, he'd been insulted, taking it personally that someone else might have a relationship with the ancient in his place. As if nobody else was allowed to be appreciated after him. He was pretty sure Charon would laugh at him over that.

Saraekiel, too. He'd gone to him to investigate that attraction and fuck anybody else's feelings. He wanted to know what it was like to experience that kind of sexual magnetism and it had been fucking divine. He hadn't cared how it would affect his potential future as a District Leader and he'd used sex to put Kerr out of his mind.

Out of his fucking mind.

In the four nights that Kerr refused to touch him, he'd spiralled. The more isolated he'd felt, the more he turned his venom into himself. The longer he went without forgiveness, the easier it was to believe he didn't deserve it. Time was healing Kerr, but it was breaking Ben.

"Why should I?" he finally asked.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2019, 09:51:48 PM »
Kerr was disappointed with Ben's deflection and also worried by it. He'd wanted to promote some awareness and self-reflection in his love - mostly as a defence mechanism, admittedly - not to destroy him.

"Because you're not irredeemable," he whispered. "You were selfish and reckless but this... stuff now, this is my thing. I'm trying to get past it. I know it feels like I'm pulling back to punish you but I swear I'm not. I just... "

Words failed him, even though he felt like he should apologise. He just couldn't because it was too big and he didn't understand it himself. He'd got over worse shit than Ben fucking someone he hated before. Why was it taking so long this time?

"The failure is in me, not you."

Offline Trillian

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2019, 10:15:04 PM »
Ben choked a mirthless laugh. He wriggled away from Kerr and lifted up his hips, shucking off his boxers and dropping them onto the floor by the bed, then he sat up, crossing his arms and grabbed the hem of his shirt, sweeping it up and over his head in one smooth motion.

He rolled onto his side, but this time facing Kerr, and this time propped up on his arm, the sheet and blanket at his waist so that the mark was clear.

"Tell me now it's not me, it's you," he demanded. "Tell me now that the reason you can't get over this is nothing to do with me."
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2019, 10:36:10 PM »
Kerr knew Ben was trying to provoke him and he tried to resist it. His face felt oddly hot as he watched Ben disrobe, fearing what was coming like a suicidal man hearing the train he's planning to jump in front of coming around the bend at full speed. He wanted it but he dreaded it. No, he didn't want it.

Didn't.
At all.
Ever.

His gaze dropped to the mark and it was all he could see, think about, hear. It was repugnant and brash and terrifying. It blinded him, deafened him, sickened him. His nose wrinkled and his lips curled in aversion, his head leaning back, needing to get away from it. That small movement was enough to free him from his frozen state and he rolled onto his back, overwhelmed and shaky.

He covered his eyes with his arm because he could see it on the ceiling, only to find it was burnt into his memory and on the backs of his eyelids, too. He pressed his arm down harder, watching pressure-based colour clouds bloom in his eyes and taint the shape he was destined to be haunted by. They didn't obliterate it, they just turned it different colours and made him wonder if he could burst his own eyeballs like this. It would be the last thing he'd ever see.

"Stop," he begged, tears heating his eyes and shaking his voice. It felt like their roles were reversed, like Ben was him driving home a point and he was Ben, helpless and terrified by the pain to the point where he had to shut it out by any means necessary. It tore at him, fisting his hands, gritting his teeth, scrunching his face.

Hate, that faithful black ichor of the devil, twisted in his heart, polluting his veins... in he, its willing victim.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2019, 11:03:28 PM »
"No, you stop," Ben said.

He looked at Kerr dispassionately, hating that he would dare try and take the blame upon himself. Every time he forgot, Ben's body would remind him exactly who was at fault.

"Either look at it and accept me or look at it and hate me, but don't fucking take the blame."
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2019, 11:17:40 PM »
And now he was giving Kerr-style ultimatums. He took a breath in order to answer and found it settled him down a little. Enough to sound composed... at first. He didn't remove his arm, though.

"I don't hate you. I hate him. And what you did," he argued heatedly, sliding out of helplessness and embracing anger. It was an invigorating fit and he found he suddenly had more to say.

"I'm not taking the blame for that. I'm just saying I'm sorry I can't get over it, I... it makes me... I don't understand why I can't!" Kerr exploded, his fists clenching tighter. "But every time I look at you I imagine you fucking him and it's fucking killing me!" he yelled, finally removing his arm and sitting up so that he could glare down at Ben.

"Is that what you want to hear? That I fucking HATE IT and wish you'd never done it?!" he roared, uncertain why he was shattering the silence like this, or even if he was making any sense. He'd known Ben had been trying to provoke him and he was ashamed by how easily he'd fallen victim to his ploy but the part of him that wanted to stop was small and had been kicked out of the pool by the demon cavorting in his heart. Rationality wasn't his master.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2019, 11:34:05 PM »
Ben didn't react until Kerr got louder, and the corners of his mouth stretched into a parody of a smile. When Kerr shouted and sat up, screaming down at him, Ben clenched his teeth but smiled cruelly through it. Not because he'd riled up Kerr, which was an unfortunate circumstance that was needed to get him in the right headspace, but because this gloomy spiral of isolation needed to end.

One way or another.

Still propped up on his elbows, looking up at Kerr, Ben savoured the anger coming his way. He told Kerr why he couldn't get over it.

"Because it means I must belong to him. Because it stops you from wanting me. Because you can't look at me the same anymore. Because I was hot for him. Because he hurt me. Because I hurt you. Because..."
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2019, 11:53:06 PM »
Kerr's expression might have been comical in another situation. His mouth fell open and he looked genuinely aghast, unable to believe the words coming at him. He understood that he was being provoked again but he couldn't fathom why with all of those awful descriptions coming at him and feeding his neurosis, multiplying his doubt and weakness.

Because I... belong to him
to him
Because I was hot for him
Because I was hot for him
Because I
... HIM


He leapt out of bed like it was filled with snakes, chased backwards by those awful words but only taking a step before he turned to face Ben in the bed, his expression still a mix of horrified surprise.

"Yes, yes, alright!" he yelled but there wasn't a lot of conviction this time and far less volume. Ben did stop, though, which was something. His hand was out in a 'halt' gesture, a pathetic barrier between them. "I get it, you chose him over me. But not to get back at me, supposedly. Just because I don't compare to him. Thanks. My ego gets it. He fucked you longer and harder and just better than I ever have while I pathetically sat here waiting all night in our bed for you to come home and you have the souvenir to prove it," Kerr spat, gesturing at Ben's chest.

Bitterness was loosening his tongue, connecting it to the blackness in his heart and he was sorry, so sorry that he couldn't be better than this. For someone who normally took the high road he was proving remarkably comfortable down in the sewage this time.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2019, 05:27:21 AM »
It went the wrong way. Ben had given Kerr reasons why it was reasonable to hate him but again he’d turned it into himself, saying why he was pathetic instead of how Ben had failed. He’d anticipated a physical response as well but Kerr had moved away instead of covering Ben's mouth or...

Of course Kerr would never lash out at him physically. That was the mark of a more dangerous man. One like Charon, who’d smacked him mentally for his cheek, or Lazarus, who'd raped him for less, or Themba, who’d beaten him so badly he couldn’t move for hours until his vampiric self had slowly healed. Beaten him up for less than what he’d said to Kerr. Had he really expected it from someone he considered safe?

“Because I'm damaged," he continued more softly, "because I want pain. Because I want you to punish me. Because I need us to be even. Because then we'll both be sorry and can move on."

He could see Kerr's surprise and figured he’d done a pretty good job of hiding that really twisted part of himself. Hadn’t Kerr known all along though? Hadn’t they both been turning a blind eye?
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Cut Me Open
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2019, 09:48:16 AM »
Kerr’s expression crumpled as Ben didn’t relent, though his barrage... changed, giving Kerr pause before he fell apart entirely. It took him a moment to figure out why and in that time, he found himself shaking his head but stepping back to the bed, one knee pressing into the mattress before the other, then dropping sideways until he was on his side, leaning on an elbow mirroring Ben, their bodies parallel and faces close to each other. The hand he wasn’t leaning on reached up to touch, hovered, then pressed forward to cup Ben’s cheek, giving him plenty of time to pull away, if he wanted.

Kerr’s understanding was as soft as Ben’s words but it had a far more profound effect inside him.

Ben was being honest.

He meant what he was saying.

He really wanted to be punished and believed that it would fix them.

Kerr thought of Jake and what he’d been doing while Ben was fucking and he understood.

It was like a light turned on inside him, highlighting everything, chasing away the shadows to reveal what was lurking beneath their cover. He’d gone to Jake for very much the same reason, to have Jake punish him, ground him, yank down all the buzzing, dizzying thoughts that were swirling around in his head and pound them into submission. The fear and pain had been clawing at him for an hour, debilitating him, sabotaging his reason and testing his sanity. He’d doubted what he’d seen in Ben, feared his own triggered response to it and been left in a toxic maelstrom of self-loathing and doubt, adrift and alone.

That had been after an hour. He’d left Ben to wallow alone in that state for four fucking nights, believing he was doing the right thing. The right thing for him but not for Ben.

No, the man he claimed to love more than himself, he’d relegated to a mental prison with no way to get off his carousel of venomous thinking and suffering - and if there was one thing Ben knew how to do well, it was commit to a self-destructive cycle of thinking, like a snake eating itself in pure desperation. Kerr was appalled at himself. He was finally able to push past his own bullshit, his own revulsion and see that Ben had been desperately waiting for him to see him, to understand him, to fucking step up and do what needed to be done, rather than serve his own needs the whole time.

He was a fucking hypocrite. He and Ben were far more alike than he’d ever dreamed possible, he’d just been blind to the minutiae of it all. It had taken all these steps of revelation for him to finally fucking get it. He’d thought he’d been seeing Ben so clearly, dictating changes he needed to make, forcing him to turn around and shine a light on his darkness to understand it. How fucking insultingly ignorant he’d been.

“Punish you how?” he asked quietly, needing direction.