Groaning, panting… Droplets of sweat beaded on his face and body, trickling down it, pooling in the dip at the base of his neck and the flute of his upper lip. Inoue cried out once more, louder this time, gripping the sheets in his fingers and arching his back. Red hair was across his face, streaking through his line of sight, clinging to his forehead and cheeks, and his mouth was dry.

But he was climaxing gloriously for the third time that night, and thought he’d go mad if they tried to milk one more out of him. He felt the orgasm of the man that had been thrusting so viciously, striking that one spot inside him that made him shudder and scream like a woman. He felt the cock slide out of him and the slap on the ass as the man made an approving grunt.

“Good fuck, boy. Good fuck,” the man rasped, nodding to his partner.

It had been the first time Inoue had taken on two people at once, and it had been far better than he’d thought. He had been dreading it, but these two seemed practiced, good at what they did—and they weren’t like most of the johns that went after the young ones like Inoue. They didn’t hit, didn’t cut, didn’t treat him like shit.

A wad of bills was stuffed in his hand by the other man, and he was kissed on the cheek. “You were amazing, kid,” the guy whispered. “Thanks. I’ve been bugging him that I wanted a threesome for months. Here’s something extra.” More money in his hand. “You can use the shower if you want before you go.”

The two men dressed and left the hotel room, leaving Inoue on the bed, staring at the ceiling, panting. His wrists hurt a little from when they’d tied them to the bedposts, and of course his body was thrumming from being fucked so thoroughly, but other than that he was fine.

He sat up slowly, winced a little, and swung his feet over the edge of the bed. Maybe he would use the shower after all… As he stood and walked over to the bathroom, he felt the seed from both men sliding down his inner thighs, and ignored the feeling, turning the shower on full blast hot.

Dropping the money on the sink ledge, he stepped into the shower and revelled in the steam and burning heat. Tried to feel cleansed as his skin turned pink with irritation at the scalding water and his hair matted to his back, but to no avail.

He slid down onto the floor of the shower and pulled his legs up to his chest, pressing his forehead into his knees and squeezing his eyes shut as the water beat down on his head. His chest shook once, then twice, and quickly he couldn’t hold it in any longer, and he was crying softly. The noise of the shower drowned it out, but it didn’t matter since he was alone anyhow.

He didn’t know why he was crying. He didn’t cry any of the other times, except after the first few johns he’d ever had. But that had been months ago and he hadn’t broken down since.

You’re thirteen now! And you’re crying! What sort of a man are you going to grow up to be? Stop it! Stop!

He clenched his throat shut, shuddering, and forced the sobs to stop, though his shoulders still shook. Inoue's nails were digging into his calves and he was sure they would leave marks, but he didn’t care.

The boy suddenly found himself wishing he was at home getting scolded by his father.


They didn’t have sex any more.

At first Inoue had wanted it all the time; wanted Daniel’s touch and his mouth and his hands… His desire began to dwindle when he’d started whoring. Mostly because he was often too sore or too upset to be able to be with the brunette. But from there, the intimacy had dropped. He saw too much of men and women, and had grown to hate any hands upon him, any mouth.

Even Daniel’s, he regretted to admit.

But the elder boy hadn’t said anything about it. He didn’t try to initiate intimacy any more, and he barely held Inoue at night at all. Like tonight, for example.

They lay together on the same ratty mattress, but each faced in the opposite direction, their backs to each other. He knew Daniel wasn’t asleep; his breathing was still too quick, and he shifted on the bed every few minutes.

“You have bruises on your hips,” Inoue said quietly, still facing the wall.

“Rough john. They’re fine.”

“Daniel…” Inoue paused. He didn’t know what he wanted to say, or why he had even said the name. He felt the body next to him shift, and knew the boy was facing him now.

“Did they hurt you tonight?” the brunette asked quietly in the dark.

Inoue shook his head and finally managed to turn as well, until they were facing each other. “No, they were actually really nice. I’m fine. Are you ok?”

The brunette nodded. “You don’t need to do this, you know. I’ve told you that hundreds of times.”

“I don’t quit until you quit,” the redhead said firmly, immediately.

Daniel smiled warmly, warily. “Inoue,” he breathed softly, reaching up to touch the boy’s face but letting his hand drop back on the mattress, “It’s killing you. I can see that it’s killing you. Let me do this; you just go back to cleaning yards and houses for old ladies, ok? We already have this month’s rent paid, so you don’t have to worry about that.”

The hand lifted again to touch Inoue's face, but the redhead took hold of it as his eyes went wide and he lifted the arm, staring at it. His gaze became suddenly accusing. “Daniel! You’re not!” he hissed.

Grey-green eyes glanced over at Inoue harshly. “I am and it’s none of your business!” he barked, pulling his arm away and hiding the track marks.

The redhead fell silent once more, staring pleadingly at his friend for several minutes before turning back round and facing the wall again. His lower lip trembled but he bit it until it stopped, and he curled into a tight ball.

“Inoue. Don’t be like that. Listen, it makes things easier for me, ok? I shoot up before I go walking, then I can’t feel their hands and mouths and cocks no matter what they do to me! It’s not like I’m addicted; it’s just so it doesn’t bother me as much. You understand, don’t you?” A hand rested on Inoue's shoulder and the boy pulled himself away from the touch immediately, nearly falling off the mattress.

“I’ve seen the addicts, Daniel,” the redhead hissed. “I’ve seen them! And they all say they’re not addicted! They all started out somewhere, just like you! If you got like that, I don’t know what I’d do!”

“I’m not going to get like that!” the brunette raged, sitting up and pushing Inoue so that the boy was on his back and had to look at the man before him. “Do you hear me? And I won’t get addicted! Do you hear me?!” Daniel’s hand cracked across Inoue's face, and the redhead gasped, stunned.

The same shocked expression crossed the brunette’s face, and he pulled away slowly, staring at Inoue with eyes wide and mouth open.

The redhead said nothing, letting his eyelids fall down to half-mast as he did when his johns hit him, and turned on his side once more, facing the wall.

“Inoue… don’t do that… I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, I didn’t…” the elder boy whispered weakly.

“I know,” Inoue said flatly.

That was the end of the conversation. The two didn’t speak for days, and it turned into a week. At first, Daniel would open his mouth and try to initiate conversation, but Inoue would just glance at the fresh red marks in his arm and look away.

Soon after that, the apologetic demeanour disappeared, and became accusing, angry. Inoue's glances at Daniel’s arm would be replied with hard glares or a sneer.

On one occasion about a month later, Inoue came home from a trick and found the brunette lying on the mattress, completely gone from reality with the syringe still embedded in his arm.

“Only before you meet your johns, huh?” he asked the body lying on the bed, knowing he wouldn’t get a reply.


Inoue sat on the windowsill silently, a cigarette dangling from his lips as glazed violet eyes stared at the brunette on the mattress, but didn’t actually see anything. Daniel rolled onto his side and stretched out his arm, taking hold of the redhead’s left ankle and muttering something unintelligible; he then released it and rolled onto his back once more, staring up at the ceiling.

“You make any money this week?” the redhead asked the body on the mattress quietly, knowing he wouldn’t get an answer. “Or am I going to give you some of mine again to feed that habit? You’ve gone from dealer to addict right in front of me, you son of a bitch.”

He reached out with his foot and poked Daniel’s shoulder with this toes when he saw the man’s chest didn’t rise back up to take a breath for several long moments. The brunette gasped, sucking in a breath and clinging to life for another few minutes at least, and Inoue tapped his ashes on the floor before putting the cigarette back between his lips.

His eyes wandered over Daniel’s emaciated body. Angry red track marks everywhere, and he was much skinner than could ever be attractive. What had once been muscle tone was now barely sinew wrapped around bones, and his skin had a watery, near see-through look to it. The brunette’s eyes were milky more and more lately, and he twitched when he wasn’t pumped full of the vile shit he used to sell.

A sharp pain wrenched at Inoue's chest as he stared at his only friend. What had happened to them? Two happy, bright young boys had turned into monsters. The redhead couldn’t look at himself in the mirror, either—his eyes were deadened, his mouth always turned down. His hair had grown longer, and was to the middle of his shoulder blades now; he was much taller, near as tall as Daniel.

Fourteen years old, but he knew he looked like he was in his late teens.

He got off the windowsill and walked around the mattress, into the kitchen area. Inoue opened a tin without reading the label; he just bought whatever was cheapest at the store when he went shopping. Which he had to do now, since Daniel had stopped being able to.

The can opener was put back on the counter and he picked up one of the two forks off the edge of the sink, digging into the preserved food. The redhead winced slightly as he ate; he hated tuna. But, it filled his stomach, so it was good enough.

“Where is it?! Where is he?!”

Inoue glanced up mildly as he heard screaming down the hall outside the apartment, and went back to his tuna silently.

“Where’s the fuck that got my brother killed!”

He put another forkful in his mouth and swallowed without chewing. The fork was buried in coral pink chunks once more, about to lift the meat to his lips again, when the door to their apartment burst open, broken at the knob. Splintered wood fell on the floor as a large man with greasy black hair and angry eyes stormed into the room, holding a knife in his hand.

Inoue dropped the can, startled. “Who are you?” he demanded, heading towards the intruder quickly, placing himself between the man and Daniel and putting his cigarette out on the wall. “Get out of my house!”

This guy was huge—two feet taller than Inoue at least, and had to weigh over two hundred pounds. He snarled at Inoue and held the knife before his face. “Get out of my way, whore! I’m here to kill the fuck that sold my brother that shit and just watched as he OD’d!” the man screamed, as another guy entered the doorway behind him, glancing at Inoue and appearing almost as terrified himself.

“Get out!” Inoue barked again, standing at full height and lifting his hands, bracing for a fight. He’d gotten into several street fights already while walking the alleys at night; he wasn’t sure if he could take this guy, but he could at least put up a good resistance. “Get the fuck out of my house! I don’t care who you are or what you think anybody here did!”

The movement was surprisingly quick for somebody the angry man’s size—Inoue's eyes went wide as he felt something cold slide along his side, then a numb warmth spread through his torso as he immediately took hold of where he’d been sliced clean open. He remained frozen to the spot, staring at the second intruder with wide eyes, feeling something thick and warm trickling over his fingers as he heard the man approach the mattress.

His animal instincts kicked in. Daniel was many things, but he was still Inoue's best and only friend—he would not lose the brunette to some drunken beast with a knife! The teen bolted to the kitchen once more and pulled open the drawers frantically, until he finally found the heavy 8-inch knife from the cutlery set they never used. He drew it out and ran at the intruder as the huge man knelt down and brought his knife up to stab an unaware Daniel through the chest, holding the brunette up by the throat.

Inoue released a primal scream and lifted his own knife quickly, sinking it into the intruder’s shoulder and dragging down, not doing enough to kill but definitely enough to distract the man from taking Daniel’s life. The greasy man whirled around on Inoue, eyes wide and enraged, roaring with pain and fury. He swiped at the boy once more, but the redhead was more prepared for ruthless attacks and dodged the second lunge.

“Fuck off!” the redhead screamed, holding his bloody blade before him threateningly and bracing himself to either attack or defend.

The intruder seemed to be debating for a moment whether to continue the fight, when there was a sudden loud noise, making Inoue pale immediately. The large intruder seemed just as surprised, and they both turned their gazes to the man in the doorway who had been forgotten. He was holding a small gun in both hands, trembling, the muzzle still aimed in Daniel’s direction.

Inoue could hear his own heartbeat in his ears, as violet eyes glanced away from the gunman and towards their bed, at the still body on the mattress and the blood spatter across the floor and wall. His eyes went large and his mouth hung open as he heard the gunman screaming for his partner to get out of the apartment, and that they had to leave now.

The teen saw red—he shuddered and screamed, ducking slightly and snapping his arm forward, sinking the knife in his hand into the large intruder’s throat, then pulling it back out and holding the handle with both hands, bringing it down once more and slamming it directly in the middle of the man’s chest. Within seconds the knife-wielding intruder was on his knees, and then he slumped forward, landing on his face with the knife still in his chest.

Slowly the enraged redhead turned to look at the remaining intruder, eyes still wide and teeth bared. The gunman cried out and threw his gun at Inoue, then ran down the hall, leaving his partner lying on the floor.

Inoue shuddered, nearly collapsing on his knees himself as he gripped his side and turned back round, facing the bloody mess on the mattress. “Daniel,” he whispered, taking a step towards his friend slowly, then another, barely making his way to the bed. “Daniel,” he pleaded again, trying to get a response. He fell to his knees at the side of the bed and took hold of the brunette’s arm with bloody hands, shaking him.

“Daniel!” he rasped out, moving the body slowly, watching the head roll back and forth, seeing the blood oozing from the gaping chunk of skull missing just above his left eye. Inoue shuddered all over violently as he stared at his friend, and he sucked in a deep breath, lifting his hands to his eyes and covering them, releasing a scream.