Story: Radial: Unravel
Challenge: Buttercream #4 - Dye; Guava #8 - Cross My Heart
Word Count: 1,453
Summary: Milos remembers the client. He just wishes he didn't.
Warning: Contains references to past abuse.
For one instant Milos thought the parcel would slip through his fingers as his brain became too preoccupied with the sudden explosion of bone-deep terror to stop them following the example of his abruptly numb knees. Not now; not here; anything but this...
Judging from the widening of the smile in front of him, his face had betrayed him.
Screw this; there was no way he was going to let anyone—let alone this sorry excuse for a human—let him feel like this again. “Is there a problem?” At least his voice didn’t shake. There was something to be said for that.
The recipient raised an eyebrow, the smirk remaining. “No. Just you’ve gone a funny colour.” His stare didn’t linger too long on him, dropping to the box with an avariciousness that shot a chill the length of Milos’s spine. “That’s my stuff. Come on, hand it over.”
It was almost impossible to resist the urge to drop the box and watch it split apart on the stone slabs. Sturdiness be damned: gravity was stronger, especially if he helped it along. “Not yet.”
His fingers dug more tightly into the weave as his recipient scowled at him. “You’re only here to deliver that, kid. Anything else’s already been dealt with.”
“Not everything.” He put the package down on the car’s bonnet with infinite care and began to reach into his satchel, keeping one wary eye on the man opposite as he made a move to his back pocket. “Don’t even think about drawing a weapon.” It would be a knife. It had been before.
“Only good business, kid. Y’know, you look familiar.”
“Trick of the light.” He bit on his lip to distract from the tremor that threatened to overwhelm his hands; he prayed it went unnoticed. The clipboard almost slipped from his fingers as the pencil snagged itself on the strap ring. “Find your name on this, please.”
“What the hell is this?” At least it wiped the smile off his face.
That little flash of victory did nothing for Milos’s rapidly ebbing patience. “It’s a fucking clipboard, what does it look like? Sign it, please.” He jerked it towards the human again as if he could impale him with it.
“And why would you want me to do that?” The other man’s smirk began to return; Milos wondered how quickly he could cross the distance and remove it again, this time with a fist, before retaliation could occur. “Why do you need my name, considering what that is?” He jabbed one discoloured finger at the offending package.
The alfa took a deep breath and started counting backwards from ten. If he acted on impulse now that was it. No home any more. He had no intention of letting it happen twice. “You want me to ditch that now and you never get it? Your word against mine. I could sell it to someone else.” The other man opened his mouth to speak. Milos raised his free hand to hush him, following it up with a pointed stare. “So you prove you got it, you take it and go, we’re all happy. Right?”
“You sound familiar too.”
His arm was starting to ache, muscles taut as he held the board like a weapon between them. “Take the goddamn thing.”
“Your hair’s not always been that colour, has it? I can see the roots. Brown once, was it kid?”
“Just sign your fucking name before—” He caught himself before he could continue with before I enjoy beating your skull in with this piece of shitty plywood. The sun was behind him but not bright enough to obscure his features. The last thing he needed right now was that final spark of recognition. He just wanted to get this done and get out, how hard could it be?
The grin was at full beam. “You know, I bet if I heard you cry it’d come to me in a second.”
“You’re not going to,” Milos ground out between gritted teeth. “And if you don’t want to receive this, I’ll just go.” He shoved the clipboard back into the bag, leaving the pathetic stub of a pencil dangling outside the leather, and moved to retrieve the package again.
A hand wrenched his wrist away from the coarse fibre frame and didn’t let go even when he spun on one foot to come face to face—far closer than he’d like—with the man. “You’ll do no such thing.”
“Let go of my arm.” Keeping his voice calm was another small victory that didn’t feel like one. “You can have your package just as soon as you sign the form.”
There were many things he was expecting in response, ranging from threats to eventual compliance. Being shoved backwards against the Capri, the metal bumper digging into the back of his knees and the man’s hand firmly gripping the collar of his jacket, wasn’t on the list. “I do remember you. You were skinnier then, smaller, but oh yeah, I remember.” Ignoring the way Milos struggled, like each jerking movement and attempt to prise his fingers from the fabric was nothing, the man skimmed the hand not holding on to the alfa’s clothing over his chest, directly above his heart, and laughed. “Want to fuck again?”
“I don’t remember it being voluntary last time,” Milos spat, ripping the hand from his clothing and slamming both hands against the other man’s chest. “Get away from me.”
“Why so touchy?” The man stumbled then jumped back out of Milos’s reach as the alfa tried to regain both his balance and composure. “It was only a business transaction.” His wide grin displayed teeth that looked to be in even worse condition than a decade ago. “It wasn’t exactly the first time you’d done anything like that.”
The package and car both were undamaged by Milos’s collision with the bonnet, a small mercy he tried to focus on rather than the human’s words. He withdrew the clipboard from the bag again with a hand finally made steady with rage. “Sign this, please.” And if he didn’t he could always stab him in the face with the pencil.
Perhaps sensing that something had shifted in the alfa, he took the clipboard from his hand with a flourish. “If you ever want to do it again—”
“I never want to see you again.”
“Whatever, kid. Y’know, I never did get your name.”
“You never thought to ask while you were—” the word stuck in his throat, refused to come out; he swallowed and tried again, “—when you fucked me? Who’d have guessed.”
He pulled a face and laughed. “Come on, kid. I prefer to think of it as you repaying a debt.”
He scrawled a barely-legible tangle of pencil on the form and handed it back to Milos who took it like it was something filthy. “Why don’t you get one of those electronic things?”
Milos shoved it back into the satchel. “I hit someone with the last one.” The box’s rough material scratched against the fabric of his gloves, breaking through to pierce his skin. The hardwearing frame was strong enough to withstand almost anything, including an angry alfa’s iron-hard grip, but unlike his teenage self it did a good job of fighting back against rough treatment. “Here. It’s yours.”
It didn’t matter who it was, from an ostensibly respectable businessman to scum like this, they all reacted in the same way. The basket was whisked from his grasp so rapidly if he’d blinked he’d have missed it. “Thanks, kid.” There was that grin again, the one he’d flashed down at him as he’d dug the knife into his chest, once, twice. He wanted to scratch at it; he didn’t want to touch where this man’s foul hand had so recently been. “And remember, if you’re gonna keep selling yourself, make sure there’s no one you owe any... taxes to.”
Rage almost tipped him over the edge. “I’d never had sex until you—” He broke off, then smirked at the package now firmly ensconced in the recipient’s hands. “I hope it kills you.”
It probably didn’t wipe the expression off his face, but Milos wasn’t looking. The blood pounding in his ears drowned out his footsteps as he stormed off; it obscured everything except the self-loathing screaming in his head.