we're accidents waiting to happen Who: James & Adam. What: James retaliates. Where: 504. When: 28 October, shortly after this. Warnings: Violence. Notes: James dgaf that Phobos is influencing Adam. Oh, unlucky stars.
The cloud of discomfort in which Alex had left had not yet begun to dissipate. Hours later Adam lay awake, staring blankly at the ceiling, wondering how things had gone so completely and awfully awry. The thought of Alex plagued him. He could not say what most drove him mad - the thought of her beauty, ethereal and at last within his literal reach, or the memory of her pain, the look on her face when the sting of rejection, even temporary, had at last set in. He kicked himself for his clumsy handling of it, for his insistence on total honesty no matter the cost. There was no way of knowing how far he had set them back, or if the damage done was something too permanent and too deep to be repaired. And so he tossed, and turned, and all but spun atop his sheets, waiting for some epiphany he knew would not come.
Eventually he rose from the bed, now a rumpled mess of sweat-slick sheets. Pulling black-lacquered nails through his hair he shuffled into the living room, hoping the mindless drone of late-night television would prove enough white noise to drown out his racing thoughts. There he settled in on the sofa, nuzzled snugly against the arm of the couch, and waited for sleep to take him.
James waited until Alex was asleep. He tucked the blanket around her small form before quietly leaving the room. The lights were off, the apartment was silent, he left her a glass of water just in case she grew thirsty, all in all she was safe and sound. Putting on his shoes, James slowly unlocked the bolt on his apartment door before opening it quietly, still not wanting to disturb Alex for a number of reasons, and slipped into the hall.
It was a short walk to the other end where Adam’s apartment door stood. He paused outside of it, considering how he could go about this. Maybe he could punch Adam the moment the door opened, maybe he could just stare at him and scare the hell out of him. Adam, unfortunately, was relatively smart so he had to know that this was coming.
Lifting a fist, James beat on Adam’s door then crossed his arms over his chest, waiting for the tattooed covered wimp to open up. He gave up on decisions as to how he would handle the situation and figured he would simply go into it with whatever felt right.
Adam started, sitting bolt upright on the couch. His jaw tightly clenched. He knew who it was, without so much as a glance; the only question was why it had taken so long for him to arrive. He swallowed hard against the lump in his throat, steeling himself for what he could guess was to come. He crossed the living room more slowly than perhaps was truly necessary, glancing through the peephole to confirm his suspicions. He drew a deep breath, exhaling on a sigh, and slowly opened the door.
“James,” he said, trying his best to sound cordial - or at the very least, to keep his renewed fear from showing in his voice. “What can I do for you?”
“Do you know how long it took for me to get my baby sister to calm down?” James snapped. Already he was stepping forward, getting into Adam’s face, and yet...keeping his voice to a dangerously low tone. That in itself indicated how angry he was. Too angry to yell or scream, he could only force out short, deep voiced words as his hands shook slightly. “What do you think I am doing here, asshole? My baby sister comes to my door freaking out because of you.”
He took another step forward, pushing his way into the apartment and keeping his gray eyes unmoving from Adam’s face. He wanted to break him in half and make him cry. The very memory of Alex being upset caused an remarkable about of rage but his tear sodden shirt was easily enough of an additional force to make his rage double.
Slowly Adam backed away, hands raised, palms out in a pitifully clear sign of surrender. His black eyes flicked toward the door, looking out into the hallway as if expecting salvation to sweep by at any time. But it was late for passers-by, and his instinct, long since attuned to the powers of bullies and their preternaturally unpleasant timing, told him no help would be coming. With his heart pounding mercilessly somewhere in his throat and a cold sweat breaking out across his temples, Adam hardly trusted himself to put forth a viable argument that might appease his attacker. He felt confident James wanted no part of his explanations and would brook no attempt to offer them. His teeth sank into his tongue, worrying at one dry edge. Words came before they were fully formed, each stumbling out over the other.
“James, she wasn’t herself,” he stammered. “I didn’t want to upset her, but I’m not going to take advantage when she isn’t...” No word he found seemed to fit. She had not seemed ill, and when she denied any intoxication, Adam had believed her. And still something had seemed askew, a shift in her manner and mien he could not wholly cast aside - no matter how much he had wanted to. “I just couldn’t.”
“Wasn’t herself? Damn right she wasn’t herself! Do you know what she was dressed in? Or how about the lack of clothing!” James proceeded further into he apartment and with a kick of his foot, the apartment door swung shut behind them. In a brief, unguarded moment Adam’s eyes snapped widely open, narrowing the moment he felt this childish reaction. “I told you, I told you I would kill you if you dared to hurt my sister and I just spent a great deal of time calming her down and wasted half a box of tissues on her because she was so upset.”
He was like a running train and the brakes had failed. Nothing would stop the pursuit now that it was set in action and quickly, James’ hand was made into a fist and striking forward to hit Adam just shy of his brow bone.
Adam turned, but it wasn’t enough. James’ fist struck him high along his temple, the impact seeming to reverberate through his entire body. Not for the first time he thanked whatever fickle being watched over him, grateful for his seemingly preternatural tolerance for pain. Long years of such suffering had drilled this into him, had made him stronger, if not harder, than he had any right to be. But for all his ability to accept and push through the agony, his slight, fine-boned frame still buckled beneath the blow itself. One knee seemed to fold beneath him, his body slumping, eyes rolling as he blinked away the worst of the pain.
His name being spoken did nothing for James, it only propelled him forward again as his fist went forward and hit Adam again, hitting the side of Adam’s nose but not (from what James could tell) breaking it. What a shame. “I told you never to hurt her. I told you. You knew this was coming, you little ass. Fucking wise up, get your fucking act together, because I swear to god if you do this again you will wish that this was all I would do to you.”
James’ anger was making his head spin and his vision narrow. All he could see was Adam, right there before him, and all he wanted to do was break him in two. Of course, in the back of his mind, there was a more reasonable voice that said to string it out. Make Adam flinch every time he saw James...that would be rather lovely to inflict that sort of fear. Alex would, despite her upset that night, unfortunately be sad if James killed Adam... so maybe he wouldn’t go that far... yet. But for now, the quickly rising bruises and was that a splatter of blood? made his shaking anger lessen slightly.
That, however, didn’t stop James from fish hooking his foot around Adam’s legs, hoping to make him fall.
Immediately he got his wish. Distracted by the blood now threading in thick runnels down his hands, Adam was unable to catch himself or to even see the attack when it came. He felt his breath knocked out of him as he landed hard on his back. Flecks of commingled light and dark swam in his vision, blurring his sight even when he forced his eyes open once more. His mouth opened, but at first no words would come. They would have proved precious little use even if it had been otherwise.
He rolled onto his side, hoping for nothing but to get out of James’ way. Perhaps a little fight would appease him, and then he would go. Adam’s black nails dug into the carpet, pulling him out from beneath James’ looming shadow.
James gave a swift kick to Adam’s stomach and fought the urge to spit on Adam. And yet, somewhere deep, he found him laying on the floor to be undeniably hot, even if he was the one who put him there. But that feeling was shoved aside, completely replaced by his anger, and seeing the man quivering at his feet was satisfying. “Do you have anything worth saying?”
His indrawn breath was ragged and sharp, a gust of chill air cutting its way into his lungs. He knew every wound for what it was, distracting himself from the pain by thinking of nothing but how to properly attend to it. With no way of knowing when this trial would end, being certain no help would come, such assessment was a mutable, eternally shifting task. But at least he would not dwell on the pain.
“I don’t know what you want,” he gasped, choking on the words. Blood slicked his lips, thickening his rasping voice. He curled farther in on himself, elbows drawn to the sharp lines of his hips as he drew into a tight, tattoo-patterned ball. “I had a dream...” He coughed; watched blood spatter across his clean floor. “Then you showed up...” He looked up, one black iris ringed now with the deep red cobwebs of ruptured veins. His splintered thoughts rattled nonsensically in his mind, tripping over one another as they fell free. “I love her, you asshole. I’m not gonna use her when she shows up half out of her mind, whether you want me to or not.” None of this made any sense. Adam paused, trying to collect himself, swallowing a mouth full of blood. An answering wave of nausea welled up in his gut. “I can’t figure out why you care.”
“I care because-” James faltered. Because I think I love you too. “I care because she’s my sister. She came to me a complete mess because of you. If you love her, figure your shit out, do this right, go and take her on a fucking date and don’t wait for her to show up at your door. Fucking make a move and if you hurt her again I won’t stop where I’m stopping now. I promise.”
James stared at Adam for a moment before taking a step back and moving towards the door. “I’ll let myself out,” he sneered as he gripped the door knob and threw it open, leaving Adam’s apartment and not bothering to close the door behind him.
Adam lay still for a moment, listening to the steady beat of James’ retreating footfalls. His every breath was a fight to draw. But harder still was the monumental task of gathering his thoughts, trying to piece together some proper course of action now. Under any other circumstances he would have gone to Alex, trusting in her reasoned objectivity to put his broken self to rights. But she was not an option now, and there were few others left to him. So he picked himself up, wincing as the motion sent a shock of pain piercing through his ribs.
Shirtless and barefoot he left the apartment, taking only what time was required to grab his keys and lock the door behind him. Slowly he wended his way upstairs, seeking with bruised and bloodshot eyes the door to 605.