[A/N: Edited for line breaks and errors]
Tomorrow didn't get many visitors.
His house perched on the top of a massive cliff, overlooking a valley pulled straight out of a Tolkien novel. The only way up was a winding road that was occasionally mistaken for a hiking trail.
So when Tomorrow's doorbell rang at quarter past one, he assumed it was hiker.
Apparently living in a house miles away from civilization just screamed "I love company."
"What?" Tomorrow demanded, jerking the door open.
It wasn't a hiker. Hikers usually wore clothes.
"You're bloody rude. Do you always answer the door like that?"
"Yes. What do you what?"
"At the moment? Pants."
"There's a mall about fifty miles that way," Tomorrow said. "Good-bye."
He started to shut the door, but the man grabbed the edge.
"I will break your fingers," said Tomorrow.
The man shoved him back, stepping inside and shutting the door behind him.
"What are you doing? Get out!"
"Not without pants."
Tomorrow grabbed the bat he kept by the door.
He really didn't like visitors.
The man smirked at him.
Tomorrow swung. The man caught the bat, pulled it out of Tomorrow's hands and tapped him on head.
"No," he said. "Bad little man. No hit defenseless naked people."
"I am not little," Tomorrow said. "You're just freakishly tall."
"More insults," said the man. "You're not a nice person."
"Get. Out. Of. My. House."
"In a minute," the man said. "Where's your bedroom?"
"No, wait, stop!" Tomorrow scrabbled after the man as he strode down the hallway. "That's not-"
He ran into the man's back, grasping the man's hips to steady himself.
"What are these?" the man asked.
"Paintings, you cretin," Tomorrow said.
The man pulled away, circling the room, pausing to examine each one. They were scattered around haphazardly, leaning against the walls, frameless.
"These are brilliant," the man said. He glanced at Tomorrow. "You're Tomorrow Waits."
Tomorrow scowled at him.
"I always thought you were a woman," said the man. "Your brushstrokes are so delicate, refined. There's a suspended quality to your work, like catching a jumper right before he leaps off a building."
"Christ," said Tomorrow. "You're an art critic. Because this couldn't get any worse."
The man smiled.
"Nope, just a fan. I have one of yours," he said. "Water number thirteen. You're crap at titles, by the way."
"If you can afford one of my paintings, you should be able to buy pants."
"I never said I bought it," the man said. "It was a payment."
The man spun around.
"Let's try upstairs," he said.
Tomorrow followed the man up the stairs, muttering under his breath.
"Enjoying the view?" the man called back to him.
"Oh, yes," said Tomorrow. "Nothing turns me on more than people who break into my home and invade my privacy."
"I'm naked and gorgeous," said the man. "You should thanking me."
"Who says I'm gay?"
At the top of the stairs, the man went right.
"I have perfect gaydar," he said over his shoulder. "I'm never wrong."
Tomorrow watched as the man peered first into the library, then the bathroom.
"This would go faster if you gave me directions," the man said.
"Go straight out the back door and keeping walking until you get a whooshing sensation."
"I already have a whooshing sensation," the man replied with a wink.
Tomorrow's face grew hot.
"It's down there," he said, pointing to the left, hoping that if he appeased the man with pants, he would take his cute ass and charming smirk, and get the hell out.
The man put his hands on his hips.
"I suspect ulterior motives," he said.
With a cry of annoyance, Tomorrow stalked down the hall, threw open the door to his bedroom and pulled out the first pair of pants he found.
"Here," he said, hurling them at the man. "Now stop flaunting that...thing...and get out."
The man held the pants up to his waist.
"These won't fit me," he said. "They're made for short people with tiny little sticks for legs."
Tomorrow was incandescent. He was so angry he couldn't speak. His jaw had locked in the closed position.
"You must have something," the man said. He dug through Tomorrow's drawers, flinging clothing left and right. "Oh, this will do."
'This' was a pair of pajamas, a christmas present from a misguided great-aunt. Not only were they three sizes too big, they were also covered with candy canes and jolly snowmen. The man put them on, leaving the top unbuttoned.
"How do I look?" he asked.
Tomorrow glowered at him and began picking up the scattered clothes.
There was a hell and he was in it.
The man ignored him, choosing instead to examine his reflection in the dresser mirror. He then snooped around the room with the shameless curiosity of a cat.
"You can tell a lot about a person by where they sleep," he said.
"Enthralling. You should write a book."
"Who says I haven't?"
The man jumped backwards onto the bed, crawling to the center. He crossed his legs, watching as Tomorrow darted around, scooping up his clothes.
"I wasn't expecting this," the man said. "King size with a goose-down comforter and silk sheets. Snuggly and sexy."
Tomorrow slammed shut the last drawer.
"Are you done?" he asked. "In case you haven't noticed, I like my privacy."
"Humans are social creatures," replied the man. "I'm doing you a favor."
"Please don't," said Tomorrow.
The man shot off the bed, bounding across the room and trapping Tomorrow against the walls. He bent forward, palms flat on either side of Tomorrow's head. He was at least six inches taller with chromium oxide green eyes set in the rose-milk complexion of a renaissance portrait.
"I should thank you properly," the man said, losing the manic edge to his voice.
"Thank me by leaving," Tomorrow said.
The man inched closer. Tomorrow raised his hands, intending to push the man back, but instead they just rested on the man's chest, refusing to work.
'Traitors,' Tomorrow thought.
"You have the most amazingly long eyelashes," the man said.
Startled, Tomorrow glanced up. The man was still smiling, but it was soft and hazy. His eyelids were heavy, but Tomorrow could still see the dilated pupils. The man's lips parted, just a breath as he leaned in.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Tomorrow asked.
"How can such vulgar things come out such a pretty mouth?" The man said.
Tomorrow ducked under the man's arms, moving across the room and folding his arms over his chest.
"Leave," he said.
The man blinked at him for a moment.
"What time is it?" he asked.
"There is a clock," Tomorrow said. "Do you need me to teach you how to read it?"
"Didn't anybody tell you that you get more flies with honey than vinegar?"
"Yes, and they're idiots. No one wants flies. Besides a pile of shit gets more than either of them. So where's your precious proverb now?"
The man laughed. It wasn't a particularly beautiful laugh, but it was loud and infectious.
"I'm hungry," he said. "I missed lunch."
"I don't feed strays," said Tomorrow.
"I'll feed myself than. Kitchen's downstairs?"
Without waiting for an answer, the man dashed from the room.
Tomorrow screamed into a pillow.
Tomorrow trudged into the kitchen and sat down at the heavy, scarred table. He buried his face in his arms while the man buzzed around, singing under his breath.
"Here you go," said the man, setting a plate in front of Tomorrow.
"I call it a sandwich. It's pithier than bread-with-meat-and-cheese-and-various-other-bits."
Tomorrow poked at the sandwich. It seemed normal, but maybe it was stuffed full of arsenic and GHB.
"I didn't spit in it," the man said, taking the seat opposite.
"You've broken into my house and stolen my clothes. Why stop at poisoning?"
The man picked up Tomorrow's sandwich and took a big bite.
"Peppery," he said. "Unless you're allergic to mustard, I think you'll be okay."
Tomorrow took the sandwich with bad grace.
"It's polite to say thank you," said the man.
"And you're the model of manners."
"I'm just saying."
The sandwich was good. Just the right ratio of meat to cheese, enough fixings to add flavor but not so much that it fall apart, with a generous slather of mustard.
"My name is Soren."
"I don't care."
Soren pursued his lips.
"You are a very unpleasant man."
"You're in my house, eating my food and wearing my clothes. I can be as unpleasant as I want."
"You sound like my father," Soren said.
"I'm sure he was a wonderful man," said Tomorrow.
"He kicked me out when I fifteen."
"Really? How exactly?"
Soren shoved the rest of his sandwich into his mouth.
"Got anything to drink?" he asked.
Tomorrow sighed and waved his hand at the liquor cabinet. He wasn't surprised when Soren selected the most expensive bottle of whiskey he had.
Soren poured a glass and drank it slowly, staring out the window.
"I'm going to admire the view," he said, disappearing out the back door. He moved in quick bursts, like he talked, words tripping over in the effort to escape his mouth.
Tomorrow grabbed the bottle, taking a huge swig and followed him.
"This is fantastic," Soren said. "It's like something out of a movie. Standing here, I feel like I could fly."
Tomorrow shrugged. He knew what Soren meant. Every day he woke up, a little awestruck that lived here, that this was the sight that greeted him in the morning. He would never admit that out loud, though.
"That's decided then," said Soren.
"I need a place to hi-stay for a while."
"No," said Tomorrow.
"You won't even know I'm here."
"Yes, I will!"
"I'll cook and clean. It'll be like having your own personal maid."
"I don't want a maid. If I wanted a maid, I'd hire one."
"Now you don't have too," said Soren.
"I'm calling the police," said Tomorrow.
"If you were going to do that, you'd have done it already."
"I'm going to push you off the cliff."
Soren tapped him on the nose.
"Don't be silly," he said. "Where's the guest bedroom?"
"I haven't got one," said Tomorrow grumpily.
"Having a guest bedroom implies you want guests."
"We'll have to share then."
"Go sleep in a tree."
"I'm the guest," said Soren.
"You're not a guest, you're a trespasser."
"It's a big bed."
"I don't care how big the bed is! I don't know you! You could be a thief or a serial killer or
"I promise I'm none of those things," said Soren.
"Go away!" Tomorrow yelled.
Soren gave a him a smile that shone like the edge of dagger.
"Make me," he said.
Tomorrow lay stiffly, his arms crossed over his chest.
"I'm not diseased," said Soren. "You're not going to catch leprosy."
"Die," said Tomorrow.
"Here? You'd have to buy a new bed. No one wants to sleep where someone has kicked it."
"I'd have sweet dreams every night."
"Liar," said Soren. "I think you're secretly happy I'm here."
"I'm not secretly anything. I am openly furious."
"Bluster," said Soren.
Tomorrow threw a pillow at him.
"This is not bluster! This is how normal people react to lunatics!"
"A normal person would have thrown me out ages ago."
"You-" Tomorrow rolled over, trying to kick Soren under the sheets. Soren just laughed, wrapping his arms and legs around Tomorrow.
"Don't want to."
Tomorrow tried to wiggle free, but Soren's arms were like molasses and steel. He ended up on his side, back pressed against Soren's chest.
"This is assault," Tomorrow said.
"This is cuddling," said Soren, his mouth somewhere near Tomorrow's ear. "You really should know the difference."
"I loathe you."
"Now you really do sound like my father."
"Great. A madman with daddy issues is forcing his affections on me. What a good's night sleep I'll get."
Soren ignored this.
"I'm cold," he said. "You're like a squishy little ember."
"Stop putting your feet on my legs," Tomorrow said. "They're freezing and you probably have toe fungus."
"I'm very hygienic," Soren said. "Fungus free." His hand rested on Tomorrow's stomach, tracing lazy circles. Warm tingles spread out over Tomorrow's skin, ripples of sensation. Tomorrow fought against it, refusing to be coaxed into Soren's mad world.
"No, you're just a parasite," Tomorrow said. Soren shifted, pressing his lips to the spot where Tomorrow's pulse beat. "Stop that."
Soren hummed something, then licked the line of Tomorrow's throat with exquisite deliberation.
Tomorrow swallowed. He flexed his fingers, the only body part he could still move freely.
"Please stop," he said in a quiet voice.
Soren raised his head.
"Okay," he said, loosening his grip. He didn't release Tomorrow completely, but it was enough that Tomorrow could pull away if he chose.
Tomorrow closed his eyes and listened to unfamiliar breathing.
"Why are you doing this?" he asked.
"You're good to hold," Soren said. "Sexy and snuggly."
Soren let out a snore.
'Of course,' Tomorrow thought. 'What else?'
Tomorrow woke up shivering. He groped for the blanket, turning up empty handed. He sat up, rubbing his eyes, stumbling as he climbed out of bed. His comforter was missing. Tomorrow blinked a few times, trying to work out where it had gone. Then he remembered.
Soren. Soren stole his comforter.
Several minutes passed before Tomorrow realized how ridiculous this was. Why would some steal a blanket and leave the pile of cash in Tomorrow's sock drawer?
Wrapping his arms around his waist, Tomorrow walked downstairs. The kitchen smelled of coffee and cinnamon. Through the windows, Tomorrow could see a person-sized bundle.
"Good morning," Soren said as Tomorrow approached. "Scone?"
Tomorrow took a scone and sat down. He stared at it.
"You're not a morning person, are you?" Soren asked. He pulled a thermos from the folds of the blanket and poured some coffee into the lid. "Here."
"Thanks," said Tomorrow. He sipped the coffee and nibbled at the scone. Soren inched closer, draping the comforter over Tomorrow's shoulders.
"You're very meek today," said Soren.
"Fuck you," said Tomorrow.
"I guess you're waking up," he said.
"Give me another scone."
"Please," Tomorrow ground out.
"Politeness wins the confidence of princes," Soren said cheerfully, passing him the plate of scones.
Soren slipped an arm around Tomorrow's waist. He smelled of Tomorrow's soap.
"What are you doing?" Tomorrow asked.
"You're touching me."
"You're cute," said Soren. "Completely edible."
Tomorrow started to blush.
"Stop it," he said.
"Stop being adorable," said Soren.
"I'm not fucking adorable."
Soren kissed his cheek.
"Yes, you are," he said.
Tomorrow ate the scones and plotted murder.
"Did your parents name you?" Soren asked.
"What kind of stupid question is that?" Tomorrow replied. They were in the kitchen. Soren was cleaning the dishes and Tomorrow was watching him. To make sure he didn't break anything. It had nothing to do with Soren being tall and gorgeous and shirtless.
"It's not a stupid question," said Soren. "Lots of people change their names. Tomorrow Waits. It's very romantic."
"My sister is named Love," said Tomorrow. He wasn't sure why he volunteered that. He made up for it by scowling at Soren.
"So your mother was the romantic."
Soren turned off the tap and wiped his hands on a dish towel. He began drying the dishes, stacking them in their respective cupboards.
"Hardly," he said. "It was my father. He's an artist."
He didn't bother to repress the contempt.
"You're an artist," said Soren.
"No, I'm a painter," said Tomorrow. "I make money."
Soren paused, holding a mixing bowl.
"Is that bad?" he asked.
"It is if you're my father."
Tomorrow stood up.
"I'm going for a walk," he said. "Don't steal anything."
"What do you want for lunch?" Soren asked.
"I don't care."
Tomorrow banged out of the kitchen. He pulled on his boots and a fleece jacket. It was late summer, but at this elevation it could still be quite cold. Tomorrow started down the driveway, then veered off into the woods. It was still muddy from a heavy rain, and the forest had a thick, musky smell that sank into Tomorrow's lungs and put down roots. He pushed through a patch of thistles, then skidded down an incline. Mossy boulders dotted the floor. Tomorrow stepped from one to another, working out the best path to take him to the brook.
He had grown up in the city. Lots of cities, actually. Tomorrow hated all of them. The noise, the people, the hideous buildings. Then his father had dragged them off to an artist's commune on the coast of Maine. Tomorrow loved it. Not the commune, which was full of half-rate artists blaming their lack of success on critics who "just didn't get it." To get away from them, Tomorrow would take his sketch pad and spend the day in the woods. When his mother finally snapped and demanded they move to a place with running water, Tomorrow was devastated. As soon as he could afford it, he bought a house as far away from civilization as he could manage. Apart from the occasional hiker, it was perfect.
"I'm telling you, he can't have gone far."
Tomorrow paused, balancing on a boulder.
"The boss is fucking pissed," said another voice. "If we can't find him-"
"Where the fuck is he going to go? Maybe he'll freeze to death."
Tomorrow dropped behind the boulder as the voices approached. Whoever they belonged to weren't used to walking in the woods. They blundered through the trees, cursing as the branches scratched them.
"We should have brought the dogs," said voice number one.
"The boss didn't want the state boys involved," said voice number two. "Fuck! These fucking trees."
"I think something bit me."
Tomorrow waited until the two men left earshot. Frowning, he rose, brushing off his jeans. His unwanted guest was going to be trouble. Even that pair of idiots would eventually discover his house. He turned around and started back.
"Soren!" Tomorrow yelled. "You stupid idiotic moron, where the fuck are you?"
"Those are synonyms!" Soren shouted back. "And stop yelling. It's undignified."
Tomorrow stood at the base of the stairs, strangling the banister.
"Hypocrite!" he replied.
"You started it!"
Muttering to himself, Tomorrow climbed the stairs. Soren was in the library reading Voltaire.
Tomorrow wasn't going to ask. He was not going to ask.
"Did you have a nice walk?" Soren asked.
"Yes," said Tomorrow. "In fact, I heard-"
Soren let out a shriek.
"What are you doing?" he demanded.
"You're tracking mud all over the floor! I just swept them."
Tomorrow looked down at his shoes, which were coated in mud and debris. With a gleeful smirk, he stomped around the library, stopping in front of Soren and wiping a shoe on his shin.
"Eeuch," said Soren. "That's disgusting. You know this is the only pair of pants I have."
"Actually, you have no pants because those are mine and I can do whatever I want with them."
"You should apologize," said Soren.
"Don't hold your breath."
Soren gave Tomorrow a narrow-eyed glare, then pointedly returned to his book.
Tomorrow was not going to ask. He was not going to-
"You know French?" he asked.
"I lived in France for a few years," Soren said. "With my aunt."
"I thought your family kicked you up."
"My father did. I went to live with my aunt. In France."
"How long did you live there?"
"Five years," said Soren. "Don't you speak French?"
Soren raised an eyebrow.
"The man who used to own this house was from Quebec. He spoke French."
"He just left his books."
"He died," Tomorrow said. "His son sold me the house furnished."
"So, you didn't pick out that lovely bed?"
"I changed some things."
Soren smiled at him.
"I'm going into town," Tomorrow said.
"Oh, get the stuff for s'mores."
"Marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate."
Tomorrow just shook his head and walked out.
Tomorrow smacked the steering wheel. He had forgotten to ask Soren about the men in the forest. The truck rattled down the incline. It was ninety percent rust, ten percent duct tape. The suspension was shot, the brakes only worked on dry days, and all three mirrors were missing. Tomorrow could afford a new one, but that meant dealing with salesmen and he'd rather die in a fiery crash.
The town was forty minutes away. It consisted of two general stores, a gas station, a thrift shop and a pizza place. Tomorrow parked in front of the IGA, the truck shuddering to a halt with a gigantic shriek.
It wasn't time for his monthly supply run. Tomorrow sighed and climbed out of the truck.
Ten minutes later, he walked out with his mail and a bag of groceries. He threw them into the truck and stared down the street at the thrift shop.
"God dammit," he said.
"Come on," said Tomorrow. "Come on, truck. We're almost there."
The truck heaved itself up the last hill and stalled. Tomorrow set the parking brake and got out, bags banging against his legs. There were noises coming from kitchen. He debated going in, then decided he didn't want to deal with Soren's manic personality. Instead he dropped the bags in the hallway and walked upstairs to the bathroom.
He was just beginning to relax in the bathtub when the door flew open. Tomorrow screamed and flailed for his towel.
"You bought me clothes!" Soren cried. "See, you aren't a total bastard!"
"I'm in the bath!"
"Stop being so melodramatic," said Soren. "It's not like I can see anything from here."
"I don't care! I'm naked!"
"I hope so, you're in a bathtub."
Tomorrow gripped the sides of the tub, arms shaking.
"Get. The. Fuck. Out." he said.
"You seem stressed," said Soren.
"I am," said Tomorrow. "Because a overgrown, hyperactive idiot man-child is bothering me while I'm trying to take my goddamn bath!"
"Hmm." Soren started towards the tub.
"What are you doing?" Tomorrow shrieked. He grabbed his towel and pulled it over his groin. It kept floating up, though so he had to keep one hand on top of it.
"I've seen a cock before," Soren said. "I do have one of my own."
"Great. Go fuck yourself with it."
Soren gave him a rap on the head.
"Be nice," he said. "Kindness gives birth to kindness."
"My fist is going to give birth to your face in a minute," said Tomorrow.
"That doesn't make any sense," said Soren. "Now duck under the water."
"So I can wash your hair."
"What?" Tomorrow asked, panicked. "No-guh-gulaguh."
He sat up, spiting water.
"Quiet," said Soren. "This is supposed to be relaxing."
"In what universe?"
The tub was one of the old, freestanding kind. Soren knelt behind Tomorrow's head, pouring a liberal amount of shampoo into his hand. He worked the shampoo in, carefully detangling Tomorrow's long curls. Against his will, Tomorrow started to relax. Soren's fingers were gentle as they massaged his scalp, sending warm tingles down his spine. He sank lower, closing his eyes.
"You need a haircut," Soren said.
"Why bother?" Tomorrow asked. "It'll just grow again."
"It would look nicer."
"Because there's so many people I want to impress."
Soren paused, twirling a curl around his finger.
"You know," he said thoughtfully. "I bet if you just let your hair dry you'd have ringlets."
"Hell," said Tomorrow.
"Like a girl. A pretty girl with black ringlets and bright blue eyes."
"There's a pair of scissors in the kitchen."
It was probably not the smartest idea Tomorrow ever had, letting an almost total stranger near his throat with a sharp object. Still, if Soren wanted to kill him, he'd already had plenty of opportunities.
"All done," said Soren. He brushed the towel over Tomorrow's shoulder, then gathered it up with the fallen hair and shook it out the window.
Tomorrow ran a hand over his head. Soren left enough so it would curl around his face. It was going to get in his eyes. He could tell already.
"Do you like it?" Soren asked.
"It's fine," said Tomorrow. He jerked as Soren's face appeared in front of him, upside down and ginning.
"I think it's sweet," he said, before flicking his eyes downward. "Your cock's not bad either."
Laughing, Soren ran from the room as Tomorrow sputtered.
"S'more?" Soren asked.
He batted his eyelashes as he offered the s'more.
"Eat shit and die," Tomorrow said.
"Gooey marshmallow goodness," said Soren in a sing-song voice.
Tomorrow took the s'more.
"I still hate you," he said.
Tomorrow squirmed. Soren had turned into the human octopus again. He seemed to regard Tomorrow as his personal teddy bear.
"Haven't you ever heard of personal space?" Tomorrow asked.
"Shh," said Soren. "Sleepy time."
"How am I supposed to sleep with you crushing me?"
Soren sighed. He rolled over, so that Tomorrow sprawled over him.
"Yeah, this is so much better," Tomorrow said. He propped himself up and looked down at Soren. "What exactly is wrong with you?"
"I have thing for short, rude men with blue eyes," said Soren, rubbing the ball of his thumb over Tomorrow's lips.
"Stop that," said Tomorrow.
Soren smiled and tugged Tomorrow down.
"Go to sleep," he said.
Tomorrow slid away from him. At least, he tried to. Soren keep an arm around his waist, holding Tomorrow against his side. After a minute, Tomorrow placed a hand on Soren's chest.
'Stockholm syndrome,' he thought before falling asleep.
The bed was empty. Tomorrow spread his arms, searching, before sitting up with a big yawn. Still half-asleep, he stumbled downstairs to the kitchen.
Soren was singing. Loudly, and not very well.
"I gave my love a cherry without a stone. I gave my love a chicken without a bone."
He caught sight of Tomorrow and grinned, switching songs.
"The sun will come tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun. Tomorrow, tomorrow! I love-"
"Tomorrow? I have muffins."
"Leave them outside the door," Tomorrow replied.
"Can I come in?" Soren asked.
"Can I watch?"
There was the sound of shuffling feet, then the clink of china on floorboards.
Tomorrow waited until the footsteps faded away, then lifted his brush. Apparently Soren did respect some boundaries.
Well, at least one.
Tomorrow emerged half a day later, prodded by his stomach and kidneys. He found the plate of muffins and inhaled them. Soren might act like an overactive guppy, but he could bake.
He found the guppy in the library, reading Voltaire again.
"Hello," Soren said. "Ready for lunch?"
"Who's looking for you?" Tomorrow asked.
Soren drew up his legs, balancing the book on his knees.
"It's better if you don't know," he said. "You don't want to get involved."
"I'm already involved," said Tomorrow. "It's my house you're hiding in."
"It'll only be a few more days. Just until they stop looking for me."
"Christ," said Tomorrow. "Did you kill someone?"
"I overheard something I shouldn't have, okay? And I can't tell you because then you'll be a target too."
"I'm touched by your concern."
Soren fiddled with the sleeve of his sweatshirt.
"Three days," he said. "Then I'll go."
"If someone comes here looking for you, I'm not going to lie," said Tomorrow.
"All right," Soren said softly.
"Do you want lunch?"
"I'm not hungry."
There was a storm coming. Tomorrow could taste it on his tongue. Storms always affected him. They say the full moon can influence people. For Tomorrow, it was lightening storms.
"Come here." Soren beckoned from the top of the stairs.
"What is it?"
"Just come here."
Soren disappeared out of sight. Tomorrow sighed and climbed the stairs.
"What?" he said again.
"Look at this," Soren said from the balcony, overlooking the cliff. "Isn't that amazing?"
The sun was setting, reds and purples streaking the horizon. Above that hung a heavy, rolling black cloud, lightening flashes visible in the distance. The wind had picked up, whipping past with enough force to rattle the clapboards. Soren clung to the railing, bent forward, balancing on one leg. He laughed as the wind tore past, tossing his hair wildly.
"It's fantastic!" he yelled.
Tomorrow stared at him.
"Don't move," he said, ducking inside. He returned a few minutes later with a digital camera, snapping a handful of pictures.
"Something to remember me by?" Soren asked.
"Are you going to paint me?"
"I might," said Tomorrow.
"You never do portraits."
"It wouldn't be a portrait. Anyway, I do paint them. I just don't sell them."
"Nobody buys them," Tomorrow said. "Unless it's by a old master, no one wants some random person hanging in their living room. And I don't do commissions."
"Have you ever done a self-portrait?" asked Soren.
"No, why should I?"
"I'm not a fan," said Tomorrow. "Come inside. You can help me close up the house."
The rain beat on the roof. Tomorrow's nerves danced with it, speeding up as the beat increased, rushing along as the wind blasted, swooping back and forth.
"Tomorrow?" Soren said. The bed creaked as he crawled up next to Tomorrow. "What are you doing?"
"Listening to the rain," Tomorrow said.
Soren peered down at him.
"Your house isn't going to blow off the cliff, is it?" he asked.
A massive crack of thunder and Tomorrow smiled.
"No," he said. "You're staring at me."
"You have no idea what you look like right now," said Soren. "All pale and huge eyes and eldritch."
Tomorrow arched his eyebrows.
"Eldritch?" he said.
"I'm not sure that's a compliment."
"It is," said Soren. He leaned forward, brushing his lips over Tomorrow. "Beautiful."
Tomorrow lay still as Soren kissed him again, trailing down from his temple, over his cheekbone, along his jaw. The caresses wound themselves in the rain, teasing Tomorrow's senses until his breath caught in his throat. He didn't resist as Soren pulled off his shirt, tossing it aside and resuming his gentle assault.
Soren swirled his tongue over one nipple, then the other. His hands slid up, tracing Tomorrow's ribs, light, feathering touches that made Tomorrow shake.
"Soren," Tomorrow gasped.
"Mmm?" Soren dipped lower, licking and nibbling his way down Tomorrow's abdomen.
Tomorrow's limbs felt heavy. He was floating. Soren nuzzled his stomach, pressing wet, soft kisses to the sensitized skin. Tomorrow blamed the rain. He was never quite sane during a thunderstorm.
Soren paused at Tomorrow's pants. He rested his chin on the hollow of Tomorrow's pelvis, hands still stroking.
"You haven't told me to stop," Soren said.
Tomorrow carded his hands through Soren's hair, then tugged him up.
"No, stop," he said, lips brushing against Soren's.
Soren let out a shuddering breath.
"I don't think I can," he said.
"Oh?" Tomorrow smiled as the thunder cracked. "Good."
He kissed Soren as the rain poured down.
"What's the rest of your family like?" Soren asked.
"Stop fidgeting," said Tomorrow.
Soren snapped into position.
"Head up. No, not like that. You look like a retarded goldfish."
"Nice to know this is your normal personality and wasn't just a result of never getting laid," Soren said.
"Stay still or I'll tie you down," said Tomorrow.
"What kind of threat is that?" Soren asked. "I'm half-hard already."
"An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away," said Soren.
"Motherfucking please," said Tomorrow.
Soren pursed his lips.
"I don't think you're getting the spirit of the word," he said.
Tomorrow slammed down his sketch pad and stomped over to Soren. He twisted Soren's head, bent his back and forced his arms down.
"This is not very comfortable," Soren said. "I think my spine's broken."
"If what we did last night didn't break it, I think you can handle this," said Tomorrow.
"Last night I had incentive." Soren waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"Don't move or I'll cut off your dick and throw it over the cliff. How's that for incentive?"
"That's a threat, not an incentive. Incentives are nice."
"I'm not nice," said Tomorrow. "I'm short-tempered and rude and anti-social. So shut the fuck up and let me work."
He sat down and picked up his sketch pad.
"Can I talk a little?" asked Soren.
"It's just that the more you tell me not to talk, the more I want to."
"If you can talk without moving, then fine."
"So what is the rest of your family like?" he asked.
"My mother's a lawyer," Tomorrow said, eyes flicking back and forth from Soren to the pad. "She divorced my father when I was fourteen."
"Are you close?"
"Not really. I talk to my sister sometimes."
"I have a sister," said Soren. "I haven't seen her in years. I'm not sure she even remembers me. She was pretty young when I left."
"You never went back?" Tomorrow asked.
"It was a very definite booting out," said Soren. "How did your parents react?"
"I never told them," said Tomorrow.
"They wouldn't approve?"
"I don't see why it's any of their business."
Soren laughed, then toppled forward.
"Sorry, sorry," he said. "It's really hard to stand like that." He stood and stretched, bending backwards until his palms pressed against the floor. The hem of his shirt rose, revealing a line of toned flesh. Tomorrow swallowed hard.
"You're blushing," Soren said, springing upright.
Whatever Tomorrow was going to say was cut off by the doorbell.
"Were you expecting someone?" he asked.
Soren shook his head and bolted. The doorbell rang again. Tomorrow counted to ten, then walked to the door.
"What?" he asked, yanking it open.
"Good afternoon, sir. I'm Officer Lakes from the Farmington Sheriff department. I'd like to ask you a few questions. May I come in?"
"No," said Tomorrow.
Tomorrow didn't like the look in the officer's eyes. They darted about, trying to peer into the house. When they landed on Tomorrow, there was a flash of cold malice.
"I'm sure this would be more pleasant inside," the officer said, smiling.
"I don't like visitors," said Tomorrow. The hand shielded by the door reached for his bat.
The officer's smile was brittle. She nodded curtly.
"If you like, sir," she said.
"What do you want?" Tomorrow asked.
"A suspect escaped in the area. Very dangerous."
"What's that do with me?"
The officer passed him a photocopy of a sketch. Tomorrow frowned at it. The features were slightly off and he was sure that Soren never looked so serious in his life, but it was definitely him.
"Have you seen him?" the officer asked.
"No," said Tomorrow, holding out the paper.
"Take another look."
"I don't have to take another look. I haven't seen anyone up here for weeks."
"You recently bought clothes at Wonky's thrifty shop. Is that correct?"
"About twice a year," said Tomorrow. "Is this relevant?"
"What were the clothes for, sir?"
"I paint in them. I'm an artist."
"Is that so, sir."
"Yes," Tomorrow snapped. "Are we done? I was working."
"I'm sure your painting can wait, sir."
"Actually, it can't. Do you know anything about oil paint? Certain effects have to be painted wet on wet."
"Had any break-ins recently? Within the last few days?"
"Are you sure?"
"So you haven't seen anyone in the area?" The officer asked. "Think carefully. He is extremely dangerous."
"You've said that," said Tomorrow. "What exactly did your mystery man do?"
"Aggravated assault on an officer."
"I still haven't seen him."
The officer smiled again. It was quite painful to watch.
"Here's my card," she said. "Call if you think of anything."
"Sure," said Tomorrow. "Your sketch?"
"Keep it. In case it jogs your memory."
"Nothing to jog."
"Thank you for your time, sir."
The officer marched to her patrol car. She sat in the driveway, talking on the radio for a few minutes before pulling away.
Tomorrow shut the door and leaned up against it. He crushed the sketch into a tight ball and stalked upstairs.
"Soren!" he yelled. "Get your smarmy, lying ass out here! You piece of total shit! Soren!"
"I'm here," said Soren.
Tomorrow spun around.
"You," he growled. "Tell me what the fuck is going on."
"I just lied to the police. Tell me right fucking now or I'm giving nice Officer Lakes a call."
"No!" Soren started forward, then stopped, slumping against the wall. "I'll tell you."
Tomorrow crossed his arms over his chest.
"Well?" he asked.
"You really lied for me?"
"Okay, okay," said Soren. "I have this...client. I was at her place for an appointment when this guy showed up, shouting about raids and a whole month's supply being lost. She hustled him out, but it was obvious what they were talking about."
"Drugs?" asked Tomorrow.
"Yeah. Meth. My client runs a series of labs down in Farmington. I didn't know that at the time, but I figured it out."
"Aren't you clever."
"I wasn't sure what to do about it, then I found her ledger. Delivery dates, names, buyers, sellers."
"Please don't tell me," said Tomorrow.
"I took it," said Soren.
"How'd you find this book? Did magical fairies drop it in your lap?"
"I may have broken into her safe."
"Fucking christ, why?"
"I, um, I was thinking that I could...sell the book back to her."
"You fucking idiot."
"I know, I know."
"How'd the police get involved?" Tomorrow asked.
"Well, the thing is, uh, my client is the sheriff."
"What?" Tomorrow yelled.
"She's the sheriff of Farmington. About half the department works for her side business."
"You-you-you-" Tomorrow threw the balled-up sketch at Soren. "What kind of unbelievable MORON tries to blackmail the head of drug cartel who also happens to the goddamn sheriff? Did you have a lobotomy as a child? You have a brain. Did it ever occur to you to fucking use it?"
"I'm sorry!" Soren said. "I know it was stupid."
"Stupid! This is so far beyond stupid, I can't even fathom it. It's an entire universe of idiocy."
"I get that!"
"Argh!" Tomorrow screamed. "I can't even-"
He kicked Soren in the shin.
"Ow! That hurt."
Tomorrow stomped off, slamming the door to his bedroom behind him.
"Don't touch me."
"Don't fucking touch me!"
Soren shifted to the far side of the bed.
"They drugged me," he said, his voice floating in the darkness. "I woke up naked with my hands and feet wrapped in duct tape, my head banging against the roof of the truck every time we went over a pothole."
"I don't care! I don't care what they did. I don't care if they played ping-pong with your balls. Okay? So shut the hell up."
"Okay," said Soren. "I just-"
"I don't care!"
"Eurgh." Tomorrow flapped his hand in the direction of the disturbance.
"There's someone in the house," Soren hissed.
"Oh, god, wake up!"
Tomorrow opened his eyes.
"What?" he asked.
"I heard something."
"It's an old house. It makes noises."
"Does it curse?" Soren asked.
"Shit," said Tomorrow. He reached under the bed and pulled out a double-barreled shotgun.
"Is that loaded?"
"Of course it's loaded. What use is an unloaded gun?"
"You aren't supposed to keep loaded guns about," said Soren. "It's dangerous."
"It's a frigging gun," said Tomorrow. "It's meant to be dangerous."
"What are you going to do?" Soren asked as Tomorrow climbed out of bed. His eyes were wide and his hands clenched bunches of blanket.
"Don't shoot anybody."
Tomorrow snorted. He slipped out of the room, the shotgun propped up against his shoulder. There were crashes coming from downstairs. If any of his paintings got destroyed, Tomorrow was going to kill someone. He paused outside the living room door.
"Fuck!" said a strange voice. Tomorrow flicked on the light.
"What are you doing in my house?" Tomorrow asked, gun leveled at the man.
He was dressed in black, gloves and a ski mask. Someone had seen too many movies.
"Move and I'll shoot," said Tomorrow.
"I'm a police officer," said the man.
"Sir, put down the weapon."
"You're a burglar. I'm defending my home."
"We believe you could be in danger," said the man.
"Got a gun," said Tomorrow.
"Sir, I am an officer of the law."
"I haven't seen any ID."
The man didn't move. Tomorrow sighted along the barrel.
"This might not kill you," he said.
"Threatening an officer is against the law."
"Good thing you're just a trespasser," said Tomorrow.
"You will be arrested."
"Maybe, but I think I'll get off. A masked man breaks into my house, threatens me, destroys my property-"
"That didn't happen."
"You'll be dead," said Tomorrow. "I can say whatever I want. Now get the hell out."
The man tensed. Tomorrow fired a shot at his feet.
"Fuck! You crazy son of a-"
"Next shot hits your groin," said Tomorrow. "You want a dick like a colander?"
"This isn't over," said the man. He turned and sprinted for the door. "Fucking lunatic!"
Tomorrow locked the door behind him, and sagged against it.
"What-" Soren began. Tomorrow slapped a hand over his mouth and propelled him through the house, out the back door.
"Don't talk in the house," said Tomorrow. "Bugs."
Soren wrapped his arms over his chest, shivering in the wind.
"Do you really think so?" he asked.
"I don't know. I'm not going to take the chance."
"I should go," said Soren.
"Oh, now you'll go," Tomorrow said. "Don't be stupid. It's past midnight and you don't have any shoes."
"I'll buy shoes."
"You haven't got any money either."
"I have money," said Soren. "Just not here."
"So you're going to waltz into your bank and empty your account? Why don't you just post your location on facebook."
"You know what facebook is?"
"I'm anti-social, not Amish."
"It's just strange," said Soren. "You don't even own a TV."
"Who cares?" snapped Tomorrow. "There are people trying to kill you."
"That's why I'm leaving. I don't want you to get hurt."
Soren looked hurt.
"Don't be sarcastic," he said. "I'm doing the best I can."
"The best you can sucks."
"I know," said Soren.
"Goddammit, don't go all meek and pathetic. It's repulsive."
"What do you want me to do?"
"Call the police," said Tomorrow.
"I can't. They want to kill me."
"Not those police, jerkwad. Call the state cops."
"No. No cops."
"Why not?" Tomorrow demanded.
"They wouldn't believe me anyway."
"Do you still have the book?"
"I hid it," said Soren. "But that doesn't matter. She's a sheriff. She's respectable."
"Christ," said Tomorrow. "Why?"
"I'm an escort," Soren said.
"You're a what?"
"You're a whore," said Tomorrow flatly.
"We prefer the term sex worker."
"A whore is a whore."
"And that's what the police will say," said Soren.
"Look," Tomorrow said. "I know someone. Maybe she can-"
"No! Just leave it alone, okay? I'll go in the morning."
"Fine. End up headless in a ditch. Good riddance."
"Thank you," said Soren.
Tomorrow lay awake, the shotgun beside him. He was on his couch, just in case someone else decided to pay a visit. Soren offered to stay up with him, but Tomorrow sent him to bed.
A goddamned whore. No wonder he was so willing to sleep with Tomorrow. Probably thought he was paying his bill.
"Fucking christ," Tomorrow said, pressing his palms hard against his eyes. Spots shimmered in the black.
The man was a parasite. One of those that wormed under your skin and wrapped itself around your liver.
Tomorrow groaned. He got up and dropped into the armchair across the room. There was an old-fashioned telephone underneath the coffee table. Tomorrow plugged it in, then sat with the base in his lap. There was really one person he ever called.
"Christ, Tommy, do you know what time it is?"
"Don't call me Tommy," said Tomorrow.
"Three in the goddamn morning. Some of us have to work in the morning."
"Do you want to know why I called or not?" he asked.
Tomorrow gripped the receiver. The words didn't want to leave his throat.
"Tommy? You still there?"
"I need your help," he said.
"I can be there in twelve hours."
"I'll send you some money," Soren said. "For the clothes."
"Don't bother," said Tomorrow.
"Are you really going to make me walk all the way to town?"
"A good deed is never lost," said Soren.
Soren shifted his weight from side to side.
"So, I'll be going," he said.
"You might want to use the bathroom before you go," Tomorrow said. "It's a long walk."
He flipped idly through his sketch pad. Soren frowned at him, then started up the stairs. Tomorrow waited until he heard the door close, then sprinted after him.
The lock required a key, an ancient rust-covered thing that barely turned. There was a loud, thudding click as the bolt slid into place.
"Tomorrow?" Soren called.
"There's cereal bars in the cabinet if you get hungry," said Tomorrow.
"Let me out!"
"I will. In seven hours."
"Relax," said Tomorrow. "Take a bath."
Shoving his hands into his pockets, Tomorrow meandered downstairs for a snack. In the kitchen, there was only faint banging noises. Tomorrow ignored them easily.
The black SUV pulled up at quarter to four. Tomorrow waited on the front steps, sipping a cup of coffee.
"You're late," he said.
"Nice to see you too."
The woman was short and slim, with black hair wrestled into braid and bright blue eyes behind frameless glasses. She was dwarfed by the man behind her. Broad-shouldered and blonde, he looked like a Viking lost in time.
"This is Reynolds. Reynolds, my baby brother."
Tomorrow scowled at his sister.
"You might as well come in," he said.
"Who could resist such a gracious invitation," said Love Waits.
Tomorrow led them into the library, after offering coffee with bad grace. Soren had gone silent. Maybe he drowned himself in the toilet.
"So what's up?" Love asked.
"I have a problem," said Tomorrow. Reynolds hadn't spoken once, so Tomorrow decided to ignore him.
"Yeah, you said that on the phone. Nearly gave me a heart attack."
"Um," said Tomorrow, unsure how to begin. Better to get it out in one big rush. "There's a man locked in my bathroom. He showed up naked about four days ago and demanded clothes. Then he wouldn't leave."
"You want us to get rid of him?" Love asked.
"No. Yes. There's more."
"I can hardly wait."
"He tried to blackmail the head of a drug-running operation. So she tried to kill him. Which is why he's here. Oh, and she's the sheriff in Farmington. And a cop broke into my house and I shot at him. So now Soren's trying to run, but I called you and locked him in the bathroom instead."
"Can you run through again?" he asked.
"Are you sure he can be trusted?" Love asked.
"I've known him less than a week," he said.
"Do you trust him?"
"I-yes. Don't ask me why."
"Is he attractive?"
"What difference does that make?" Tomorrow asked, blushing.
Love smiled at him.
"You know he could charge you with false imprisonment," she said.
"I doubt he's going to do that."
"Well then, let's meet your guest."
"He's not my guest," said Tomorrow. "He's not my anything."
Love's smile widened.
The bathroom was a wreck. Every bottle had been emptied. Toilet paper dangled like streamers. The tub was overflowing with bubbles, and a small tent had been crafted out of towels. Soren stood in the center of the mess, defiant, hair soaped into a mohawk, soaking wet.
"You didn't leave me any books," he said.
"You are six-years-old," said Tomorrow. "Soren, my sister, Love. Love, Soren, the idiot man-child."
"What's going on?" Soren asked.
"She's going to help you. Tell her everything."
"I told you not to call anybody."
"Fuck you," said Tomorrow.
"I don't want anyone else involved!"
"Too late," said Love. "Why don't you dry off and come to library. Tommy, I think it'd go better without you."
"Fine. I'll be downstairs."
Love and Reynolds spent the night. They took pages and pages of notes, made several urgent phone calls, and drank most of Tomorrow's coffee. In the morning, they were bleary-eyed and stiff.
"I think we've worked out a plan," Love mumbled to her coffee.
"Eh," said Tomorrow.
"It's not the best one, but it's efficient."
"I don't care."
"Reynolds went to collect Soren's book."
"Still don't care."
"Aha," said Love. "Care about that, don't you."
"No," said Tomorrow.
"It's like fate. He shows up on your doorstep. You offer him sanctuary."
"I didn't offer him shit."
"Like a romance novel."
"Love! Shut up!"
"Would you help?" Love asked, serious now.
Tomorrow looked up.
"What do I have to do?" he asked.
Tomorrow stood in the center of the clearing. He felt like his pulse was going to burst out of his throat. Sweat poured out of his palms, slicking the cover of ledger.
"Christ," he said, his voice hoarse.
Tomorrow jumped. A tall woman stepped out of the trees. She looked like a upper-class soccer mom. She oozed class and sound thinking. Tomorrow would have voted for her.
"Sheriff Wendell?" he asked.
"Mr. Waits. You have my book."
"You have my money?" Tomorrow replied.
Wendell held up a gym bag.
"A quarter of a million is a lot of money, Mr. Waits. I had you investigated. You do well for yourself."
"I have lot of expensive extracurricular activities," Tomorrow said. "Your line of work."
"A customer?" asked Wendell, eyebrows arched.
"I prefer something more high-end. Can I ask, why meth?"
"It sells," said Wendell.
"That's all that matters?"
"Money makes the world go 'round."
"The bag?" Tomorrow asked.
"On three. One. Two. Three."
They each threw at the same time. Wendell caught the book easily. The bag hit Tomorrow in the chest.
"Oof," he said. He knelt and unzipped the bag. There was more cash then he had even seen in his life.
"That's it, then."
"You are a stupid man," said Wendell. She flicked a finger and two figures emerged from the wood.
"I said to come alone," said Tomorrow.
"Haven't you ever watched a movie? No one ever comes alone."
A barrel pressed against Tomorrow's temple.
"Remember me?" asked the man.
The woman stood a few steps away, her own gun trained on Tomorrow. He recognized her as the policewoman who came to his door.
"Where's Gabriel?" Wendell asked.
"Who?" Tomorrow gasped.
"Don't ask questions. You know who I mean."
"I don't know," said Tomorrow.
"Wrong answer. Manny?"
A fist slammed into Tomorrow's side. He collapsed, choking. Manny grabbed a handful of hair, yanking Tomorrow's head back. The gun returned to its position at his temple.
"Where is Gabriel?" Wendell asked calmly.
"I don't know!"
Another blow, this time a kick to Tomorrow's kidneys. Pain radiated threw his back, tears starting to form in his eyes.
"Manny can do this all day," said Wendell.
"You're going to kill me no matter what I say," said Tomorrow.
"Yes, but if you tell me what I want to know, it will be quick. If not..."
Manny landed another kick.
"He left!" Tomorrow screamed.
"Where did he go?"
"Hartford," said Tomorrow.
"Thank you," said Wendell. "Kill him. Bury the body. Make sure it's deep. I don't want any hikers stumbling over him."
"Wait!" Tomorrow yelled. "I won't tell anyone. I swear to god! Jesus Christ, don't kill me. Don't kill me."
"I'm afraid that's not possible. You know too much."
"Please. Oh, god, don't- don't-"
"Oh, shoot him already," said Wendell. "I can't stand the begging."
Time slowed to a trickle. Tomorrow stared at the ground, memorizing each strand of grass. He desperately tried not to wet his pants.
Christ, he didn't want that to be his last thought.
"DEA!" bellowed across the clearing. "DEA! Drop your weapons!"
Everything went hazy after that. Tomorrow remembered a lot of people shouting with guns being waved around. Manny, not the brightest in the bunch, deciding to start firing. Tomorrow had a split second to register this before a bright spasm of pain burst in his shoulder. He dropped to the sound of his sister screaming.
Tomorrow opened his eyes and wished he hadn't. His ribs ached, his shoulder felt like it was on fire and he was in a hospital bed. Love was curled up in the chair next to him.
"Christ," said Tomorrow.
"You're awake," said Love. "How do you feel?"
"I want morphine."
"I'll get the nurse."
Love left and returned with Tomorrow's new favorite person. The nurse was efficient, silent and gave Tomorrow a pill that made he feel like he was floating on strawberries and cream.
"What...happened?" he slurred.
"We got the bad guys," said Love.
"We're not sure.. There's an investigation."
Tomorrow waved a hand. It was like swimming through jello.
"Soren?" he asked.
"In a safe house," said Love. "I can pass on a message if you want."
"No," said Tomorrow. "Sleep now."
He drifted off as Love stroked his head.
The leaves had turned. Tomorrow sat on his balcony, sipping a whisky neat, looking out over the sea of oranges and reds. His shoulder ached in the cold wind, but Tomorrow wasn't ready to go inside. The house felt empty. The silence that Tomorrow loved now rubbed at him, leaving raw edges behind. It was so bad Tomorrow had ventured out to a club, just for the noise. He left after fifteen minutes, driven to the brink of insanity.
Tomorrow wanted his old existence back.
It was a few weeks after being discharged from the hospital that he could start painting again. Nothing worked until he gave up and painted the image that had been stuck in his head for a month.
It was a sunset scene, with a storm cloud in blacks and purples, with a man in profile, dangling over a railing, laughing.
Tomorrow had titled it idiot and sent it off to a showing.
The wind picked up. Tomorrow drained his glass and went inside. He walked down to his studio, stopping in front of his easel. A blank canvas was set up. Tomorrow stared at it for a long while, then at the mirror propped against the wall. He started to paint.
The painting was technically perfect, but Tomorrow hated it. He knew there was a reason he never did a self-portrait. He picked up a canister of turpentine, then set it down again.
"Goddammit," he said.
Maybe he should just burn it. The canvas was probably cursed.
Tomorrow was still debated when there was a knock on his door.
"Fucking hikers," he muttered. "What?"
"Still haven't learned any manners I see," Soren said. "Can I come in?"
"No," said Tomorrow. "Go away."
Soren brushed past him, giving him a pat on the head. Tomorrow shut the door.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"How's your shoulder?" Soren asked.
"Fine. Hurts when it rains."
"You didn't shoot me," said Tomorrow.
"It was my fault," said Soren.
"Yes, it was your fault. Move on."
"I went to your show. Love sent me tickets."
"Interfering bitch," said Tomorrow.
"Don't say that. She's your sister. She loves you."
Soren leaned down, giving Tomorrow a quick, hard kiss, then darted off.
"Hey!" Tomorrow yelled. "Stop!" He chased Soren into his studio.
"What's this?" Soren asked.
"What does it look like?"
"Congratulations, you're a genius."
"It doesn't look done," said Soren. He picked up a paintbrush.
"Don't you dare," said Tomorrow. Soren flashed him a grin. Holding Tomorrow back with one hand, he painted a stick figure on the canvas. It was considerably taller than Tomorrow's image and had green eyes.
"There," he said. "Much better."
"You're ruined it."
Soren slipped an arm around Tomorrow's waist.
"I think I might be in love with you," he said.
Tomorrow pushed him away.
"Don't be idiotic."
"I can't help it," said Soren.
"What about your 'career'?"
"Retired. Sold my apartment too. I'm homeless."
"No, no, no," said Tomorrow.
"I need a place to stay."
Soren smiled. He walked towards Tomorrow. For every step he took, Tomorrow took one backwards. Unfortunately, there was a wall.
"Let's start with a trial run," Soren said. "Say, five years?"
"What is wrong with you?" Tomorrow asked.
"I'm completely mental. Haven't you noticed?"
Tomorrow started to laugh. He slid down the wall, cradling his head in his hands.
"Is Soren your real name?" he asked when the laughter stopped.
"Yes. Soren Mikkelsen."
Soren knelt down, running his hands through Tomorrow's curls.
"You're going to drive me crazy," said Tomorrow.
"I'll bake every day."
"I'm going to yell all the time."
"Brilliant sex every night," said Soren. "And morning. And afternoon. Twice on holidays."
"Christ," said Tomorrow.
"I'll go get my things."
"This is going to end badly."
"What seems to as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise," said Soren.
"Are you saying you're a bitter trial?"
"I think you missed the point."
"That's not very nice," said Tomorrow.
Soren kissed him, delicate and innocent. Tomorrow arched into him, winding his arms around Soren's neck. He opened his mouth, sucking on Soren's lower lip before giving it a sharp bite.
"I don't like nice," Tomorrow said, out of breath. Soren laughed. He pulled Tomorrow upright, dragging him towards the stairs.
"I can get my stuff later," Soren said.
"I said fucking okay. Don't make eyebrows at me. And no more blackmailing drug dealers."
"But it worked out so well."
"I got shot!"
Soren pushed open the door to the bedroom, then shoved Tomorrow onto the bed.
"I'll kiss it better," he said.
"I like it when you say my name."
Tomorrow moaned as Soren began nibbling at his neck. He tried to focus.
"You screw up once and you're gone," he said.
"We'll see," said Soren.
"We will not see. It's my house and-"
Soren did something tricky with his fingers and Tomorrow lost the ability to think.
"Stay forever," he gasped.
"I'd be delighted," said Soren.
[A/N: This was supposed to be short! I failed on that front. Also, Soren uses several quotes through the story. Ten points to anyone who can identify them.]