« So wait. You want us to drink and celebrate, because tomorrow we'll be dead ? ». Berlin's dark eyes fly toward the Professor, annoyed and provocative all at once. Berlin knows death well, he would have to. Inflicting it, but also living with it…

« Berlin… ». The Professor sighs. He should have expected it. « Look, can you be a bit positive tonight ? A little bit ? Everything is going to go well. The plan… ». He tries to reassure him, maybe even himself. He tries hard, as he always does.

« Sure. Those things always go fine, fantastically fiiiiiine ». He's right, but he's also angry and he doesn't know why. He sits down at the table, takes hold of his glass and looks inside it as if he could discover some of the Professor's secrets. « I'm sure you have never heard of any of those turning to shit », he adds, quite meanly. The other man will certainly know what he's alluding to, and it might hurt him, if he does feelings at all. Berlin often doubts it but this time he hopes he'll be upset. He suddenly stands up, on a whim, and the Professor looks up to him above his glasses.

« What do you want ? It might be easier if you tell me at once », he suggests, ever the rationalist. Berlin tells himself he hates that. What does he want… Not to die ? Not in 6 days and not in 6 months ? A purpose, and one not involving booze or fucking some hardly desireable slut because he can't have what he wants anyway ? He tried. Got married what, 5 times ? It never worked out because it couldn't have. He was fantasizing about post-divorce freedom even while standing in front of the jaded civil servant who, he assumed, had to be judging as his eyes scoured over the paper. His fist tightens around the glass he's still holding. He gulps the liquid down, because it's either that or smashing it against the wall. He feels sad, profoundly sad. This isn't an emotion he allows himself to feel often if at all.

« Berlin… ». The Professor is calling at him again, his voice both a warning and a whisper, soothing. « Can you… Tell me ? ». A dry laugh escapes Berlin's lips. Soon the Professor will bring him a pacifier and remind him to use his words. He could, oh how he could, but he doesn't want to go down that road, and he doubts the Professor could handle it. He is in his own dream world, made up fantasies, he never had to pull the trigger, never brought the cold metal of a gun to his own temple, either. His fist tightens again, his jaw hardens at the memory and the glass explodes, river of red running down, down, down.

The Professor jumps up, obviously at a loss. One, two steps and he grabs Berlin's hand in his.

« What the hell, get a grip, Prof ! It's just the wine », he claims, hating that his voice isn't exactly steady.

« You're bleeding », the Professor insists, stating the obvious as he brings Berlin's injured hand higher for inspection. His voice is so gentle Berlin is afraid he's going to cry. Men don't cry. He's not a fag. He's not.

« I'm used to that », he shrugs. He attempts to remove his hand. The Professor won't let, his grip strangely powerful and strong. Suddenly there's this adrenaline crash and the alcohol is burning on his wound. There's also this hateful, hateful feeling he can't shake off, and he shivers.

«It hurts ? ». The question resonates low in his stomach. The hand means nothing. But, does it hurt ? It does, how it does…

Berlin doesn't reply, and holds the Professor's gaze, defying him. The Professor seems to be thinking one of his crazy ideas and Berlin finds himself afraid. One day he would push him too far. He would push him away for good, or he would break him, or… The Professor is bringing Berlin's hand to his lips, at first barely touching, then Berlin can feel the man's breath on his wound, the lips part and there's his warm tongue soothing him, lapping strangely, and even though he doesn't see it, he can feel it all as if it were on some other part of him. He bites his lip and moans as if tormented by some invisible torturer. Is he dreaming ? Is it a test ? Anger is rising, self hatred, as intoxicating as the sensation growing too low to just be disgust. He attacks because it's the best defense.

« What the actual fuck ? What do you think you are doing, Professor ? ». He spits his name as an insult. The man takes all his damned time, before finally craning his neck up, looking at him innocently.

« Did you know, Berlin, that among the Ancient tribe of the Parisii, it was considered the best way for a warrior brother to heal… ». Berlin's eyes grow big in surprise. Is he going to be subjected to a lecture just now ? He interrupts.

« Urgh, fascinating. What about some alcohol and a band aid or two, something normal ? », he mocks. He wants something that hurts, something cold, something that isn't intimate and doesn't remind him of what brotherly love warriors can share. He's not even sure this isn't some sick invention. After all, he doesn't really do normal either.

The Professor stares, clear rejection in his eyes. Berlin can't handle it, and tells himself he is furious because the man is playing the victim, once again. Before he can think better of it, his hand grabs the man's upper arm, strong, leaving a trail of blood on his white shirt. It mars his perfection, that and the red on his mouth that disturbingly looks like lipstick, crimson like what a whore would wear to get a guy's attention. His hand is shaking on the Professor's arm. He should run away, remove himself from that situation before it is too late. He isn't even drunk enough to justify what he is going to do, and still he does it, because if he's lucky, he'll be dead in a couple days, he won't dream that night, and maybe even he won't wake up. Luck isn't something you have, it's something you do, the Professor said. But for now he's just looking more than a bit lost.

« You don't get it, Professor. You never did. For all your art, and music, and quotes and shit, you have no clue ! ». He laughs madly, because he is afraid to cry. His grip must hurt, but if it is so, the other man doesn't show it. He can be brave, too. « You're such a player », he taunts, certain the double entendre won't go unnoticed. He wished himself cool and collected enough to peer down and check if the Professor is as unaffected as he appears, but he knows there is no way he could handle such direct knowledge. So instead, he decides two can play the Gallic game. « Do you hurt, too ? », he whispers against his lips. He doesn't know if he means now, from their barbed words or his arm, or a more philosophical question. It doesn't matter. He grazes against his lips and the Professor finally, finally shivers.

Berlin's tongue softly explores, and bites down in frustration when his partner in crime doesn't reply. He tastes blood and he doesn't know if it is his own.

The answer comes, light and breathy. « Yes ». Nothing more, but it's all he needs. He isn't sure whether this is consent, or recognition of pain. It could even be sheer despair, an attempt at peace. He never cared to find out with the nameless, faceless cheap fucks, and only put up a pretend of interest when the woman was marriage material, a good cook who would keep the house and shut the hell up. Why should it be different with the Professor ? Still he hesitates for a few moments because it should not be happening, not like that, and not any other way. The Professor is trembling as if he were cold, but he feels burning in his embrace when he presses him against his body. Berlin exhales, a hair breadth from his mouth, on the verge of his biggest mistake and fantasy.

The answer comes again, twice this time. « Yes, yes ». Maybe the Professor is thinking Berlin didn't hear him, but in any case now he does and he gives him a seering kiss, his tongue invading the slightly open mouth that doesn't defend itself. It would be quite a power trip to be forcing the Professor, but instead he hopes this was an encouragement. A tongue meets his, kiss deepening and hands find their way into his hair, pulling and caressing. He wants to tell him… But he can't. He never had those words, with anyone. They would always reproach him with that, too. The Professor shifts against him and he feels hardness against his thigh. This is wrong, he's not one of those sissies, he's actually quite the expert where ladies are concerned… His usual sentences don't help and he doesn't even try not to moan. There's a part of himself that is finding it all repulsive, unmanly, but the other one is saying screw that shit tonight, just tonight. He'll get it out of his system, move on, forget, and die anyway. No one has to know, and he trusts the Professor not to let anyone figure out that he's been breaking his own rules bad.

He finds that he still can't tell the Professor that he has thought of this late at night, that he wants him, that his mouth feels better than any woman's and would be even more delicious a bit lower, but he can show him. He presses his length against the man who inhales sharply. Breaking the kiss for an instant, he drowns in his gaze, and he feels that he is understood when a hand rubs and explores just where he wants it. Startled, he swears under his breath, and takes the red, swollen lips that could belong to any beauty he has met, as hard as he wished he could take the man himself - or be taken by him, if he was certain no one would ever know. He doesn't realize it is his turn to whisper « Yes ».


the saliva thing. While I made up the Parisii reference, saliva has been used to treat wounds for millenia.