well, this is my submission under the challege given under my new writing tumblr (the link is available on my profile). garrett already posted his first chapter on schedule, but i'm almost always behind. oh well. this is a one-shot, because i have enough on my plate without starting yet another long story.

also: The Rosary, by Florence L. Barclay, is real. it was the best selling novel in the United States in 1910. i happened across it in a thrift store and bought it for a friend who enjoyed its aesthetic appeal (it was purple with gold text). he allowed me to read it, and i was very glad he did. i do believe there was a more recent edition published not too long ago, so if you ever feel the need for something a bit different, by all means, look it up.

although i do not know how to read Braille, i did research it a bit while writing this story, and i know the basics. i also mention something called proprioception, which is the reasoning behind how 'phantom limb syndrome' exists. very interesting, if you're into sciencey things.

if anyone feels they'd enjoy the challenge of writing fiction to prompts, feel free to look up my self-induced disease tumblr! the more the merrier, i always say. and even if you don't want to write, readers are always welcome. it's a blog focusing on slash fiction of all varieties: sometimes it will be links to stories posted here, or entire pieces posted there.

right now, only myself and gbringer are involved, but we'd love more authors to participate.

hope you enjoy!

23 september, 2012. 4:47 pm.


Birds chirped and bees buzzed and did all manner of 'fun time' asshatery things, I suppose. I wouldn't know; I was asleep. Well, I was until someone stumbled and crash landed somewhere in my living room. Grumpy and more than a little groggy, I rolled over in bed and listened, angling my best ear in the right direction and stilling my breath.

Low curses sounded as more thumps announced further mishap, and I added to the mix with a few expletives of my own as I slumped back into place, rolling onto my side and scowling into my pillow.

The bedroom door swung open with a faint creak and the switch on the wall clicked…and clicked…and 'clickclickclick'.

"Graham, your light is busted again."

I grunted, and the man sighed, rustling around and producing an alternative light-source; probably his phone. He does that a lot.

"G'way."

"Like that's ever worked. It's two in the afternoon, asshole."

"So?"

Footsteps carefully wound around the various paraphernalia on the ground in order for a particularly bony digit to poke at my exposed back. Stupid back; it never learns.

"So you promised me lunch at one and I'm literally starving to death."

"Are not."

"Fuck, yes, I am. Starving to death right here in your bedroom. My blood sugar is dropping right this very moment."

"You could stand to lose a few."

Knuckles crunched against my spine and I grunted, burrowing further into my pillow and blanket even as Ira hissed because he's a pansy who punches like a little kid. But with fatter fingers.

"Grah-am!"

I groaned and covered my ears with my arms, only to hear him inhale for another overly-dramatic whine. He left me no choice, really. I whipped the pillow at him, his breath cutting off in a choke as the lumpy projectile landed with a distinctive 'whump'.

In the eyes. Probably. While they were open.

"Shit, ow, you fucktard!"

Snickering, feeling much better, I sat up and rolled out of the way of his obviously incoming tackle, managing to turn the tables by listing over onto his midsection and digging my elbow in what felt like ribs. He grunted in real pain and slithered away, managing to use his bulky advantage to pin me to the mattress for a final win, laughing a little beneath his breath even as I grinned my eyes to crinkles.

Finally, I slapped his side; "Get off, you lummox. You always cheat."

He hummed and slipped off, stumbling from the bed and over a pile of books stacked precariously close at hand for the moments of insomnia that punch me in the throat far too often.

"Pick those up after you're done face planting."

"God, you're a dick. I thought someone like you'd be neater, but your place is always a fucking mess."

I heard the soft thumps of books being restacked as I slid from the bed, stepping around all the usual piles of things on the floor and navigating to the dresser placed against the nearest wall. The bed creaked from his weight as he sat at the edge behind me, and I smiled a bit, hooking my thumbs into the waistband of my shorts and pushing them down to the floor. Naked, I reached down and picked them up, depositing them into the hamper next to the dresser on the right and opening the top drawer for underwear.

I dressed in this fashion, putting on each piece one at a time in a precise fashion to ensure nothing was buttoned wrong or worn inside out, and then took the time to find my wallet and shades, slipping them on even as I turned back toward the bed.

"How do I look?"

"Decent."

"Hm. More than anyone ever says about you. Move over."

He snorted back indignant laughter, moving so I could sit on the bed and find my flat-bottomed tennis shoes, shoving my sock-less feet into them and pulling each foot up onto the mattress so I could patiently go through the motions of tying solid knots into their laces; the laces were long enough that they tended to come untied unless I wrapped them around my ankle once before tying them.

"Hand me my phone?"

I held my palm out and felt the solid weight of my phone slide against it soon enough, offering a smile of thanks even as I stood and poked the phone into my pocket, making sure it was situated how I preferred.

"Hold still a moment."

Ira moved to stand in front of me, his fingers combing through my hair and situating it as he pleased before he moved back.

"Better?"

"Definitely. Hurry up; I'm seeing spots."

I snickered, setting off toward the door without mishap but hearing his curses as he stepped on more things on the floor.

My pole was right where I'd left it next to the front door, it's smooth handle in my palm as familiar as breathing, its weight like a fifth limb. Even though I looped the pole's strap around my wrist, I held my hand out for Ira's arm, our routine as familiar as anything else because we've done it since I first began losing my sight in the first grade.

I was completely blind by my tenth birthday, and he's been my second pair of eyes for nearly as long. Other than my family, Ira's face is the only one I could recall seeing; he'd been pudgy then, his face round with deep dimples in both cheeks every time he grinned. I don't suppose people ever grow out of those; particularly if they tend to retain pudginess into adulthood.

Like Ira.

My fingers closed on the inside of Ira's arm and he flinched, my eyes going wide behind my glasses.

"Ouch, wait, wrong arm, here."

He switched sides, directing my open hand to the inside of his left arm even as he pulled the door shut behind us and gave it a tug to make sure it was locked.

"What happened?"

"Just a bruise."

I frowned, and he snorted, starting off down the hall and forcing me to keep up or be left behind.

"Same guy, or someone new?"

"It's not like that, I got it from work."

"Bullshit, you did. You don't get a bruise somewhere like that unless someone's grabbed you."

I tugged him back in time to save his face from meeting with the stairwell door opening up into the space we'd occupied seconds before, and he cursed, startling whomever had opened it. Ira mumbled an apology at the same time as the girl, and she went on her way even as Ira pulled me further down the hall to the elevators.

"I hate it when you do that."

"Save your face?"

"Show off your freaky powers."

"Like your powers of misdirection?"

He chose not to comment and I rolled my eyes, knowing he knew I'd done it even though nobody could see my eyes behind my shades. I'd been very specific about that when I'd bought them.

Outside was nice enough, I suppose, considering I could have still been asleep, but if I had to get out, the weather was decent for it. The air was mildly warm and smelled like oncoming fall; cooling weather and sneaking, bitter rain showers, deadening leaves and breath blooms against your skin.

I remembered those best from when I was a kid, the puffs of clouds escaping your mouth. We used to pretend it was smoke because cigarettes still had cartoon characters for spokesmen, back then.

Cartoons, man. I still love those guys; they make great background noise for when I'm working.

"Damn. My toes are sweaty."

He snorted; "Maybe you should wear socks."

"Maybe nobody asked you."

"Maybe nobody-"

"I want to eat here today."

The heady smell of garlic and chilies and a thousand and one other distinct ingredients I was always too lazy to learn to distinguish socked me in the mouth and I was suddenly too weak to walk any further. I dropped Ira's arm like a molten hunk of nuked hotdog and found the handle to the door before he'd even had time to process my interruption, the smartass retort dying on his lips even as he sighed in resignation.

"Of course you would want to eat here. Your stomach can handle anything."

"Pansy. Hurry up or I'll fall over somebody and call for you in a scary falsetto."

Somebody smothered laughter nearby and I flashed a grin, hearing Ira hold the door open for someone because he's polite like that. I was already at the counter when he finally joined me, a woman finishing up her order as I waited; Ira's gentle touch to my elbow induced me to step forward, smiling at the automatic-yet-genuine greeting from the young man who mans the register six days of the week and most holidays.

"Is May working today?"

"Yes, sir, Mister Sir."

"Can you let her know I'm here and to make it spicy? I mean, spicy. Last time she must have forgotten because I could still taste food three days later."

He chuckled, and I grinned, stomach already tightening in anticipation for the wreckage I was about to force upon it.

"I'll have the same. Not spicy. At all. In fact, make it like for a baby, but even less spicy."

"I do not know why you come here at all, sir, if you pardon my saying."

"Believe me, I wouldn't if not for this idiot here."

I whacked him with the tip of my cane and he yelped, making the guy laugh even as he accepted the plastic card I handed over from my wallet.

I let him lead me over to what I typically consider 'our booth', which is almost always vacant; Ira claims its consistent vacancy was due to poor lighting and a rather unfortunate portrait of the owner's mother on the wall. Whatever. If I want to go somewhere for the 'atmosphere', it's going to be fucking expensive as hell and probably taste like shit, so why bother.

Styrofoam squeaked against the tabletop, the pleasant scent of honest intentions wafting up, and I grinned. Root beer and orange soda; nobody mixes it best like Ira. I sucked down the first mouthful and he snorted in amused disgust, pulling in his lemon-laced iced tea and digging at one of the sour wedges, liquid dodging and ice clucking its disdain for his fingers in their midst.

The acrid smell of lemon came nonetheless, and I reached out and plucked the wedge from his hand; a maneuver that used to startle him but is now only expected; and used my teeth to glean the remains of the stringy flesh from the peel. The sourness made my tongue turn to chalk and the back of my jaw to smart, and I grinned, shivering with delight and adding another mental notation on their literary use.

Lemons are a common theme to my writing, for they typically recall to mind first loves; tart and sweet, overly sweet sometimes when sugar is applied with an over-eager hand, sharp and full-bodied. You eat a lemon and you remember it always.

That's how love can be.

"A new project already?"

I shook my head; "No, still working on just the one. Making notes for the future, though."

He hummed; "About a Jew who smarts off and gets juice in his eyes, I bet."

"I'd never write about you," I retorted, and he laughed.

"Too boring?"

I didn't say anything, only grinned, and he called me an asshole, my grin only growing bigger.

Once our food arrived and my tongue proceeded to peel four layers deep and turn into a blackened lump, I asked him about any new clients; I may or may not have drooled all over myself in the process. It's hard to gauge saliva output when your tongue has reneged on your lifelong contract and decided to live somewhere in your ass.

Damn, May was in top form today.

Ira talked about a guy who commissioned him to paint his kid's tree-house to resemble a pirate's ship, which was pretty cool, I would assume, and an asshat who let him paint half his house before telling him he wasn't going to pay the full price and tough titties all around so Ira packed up his shit and left the dude with a half-painted lime eyesore.

I'm assuming that's a bad thing, because lime eyesores sound kind of badass, if you ask me. Nobody ever does though. Pity.

"Oh, this isn't half bad this time. Making my eyes burn, though."

"No, that's the fumes from mine."

"Heh. Asshole. I don't even see how your colon is still intact."

"I'm tough and you're not."

"…God, you're an asshole."

"But mildly famous."

"Oh! Hey, that reminds me. Remember that reunion I went to last week?"

"Vaguely. I don't think I slept last week."

"Typical. But apparently, one of my cousins is close friends to that designer everyone's talking about now. You know him? Sorrel? ….What am I talking about, of course you don't. But he's famous! So, I'm almost famous, by proxy."

"What am I, chilled liver?"

"It's chopped liver."

"Either way, it's gross."

I stretched, belly feeling rounded beneath my shirt, and I grinned, fat and lazy. Ira snorted back a laugh, poking a bit more at his food, though I could tell most of his enthusiasm for stuffing his face was depleted already. We sat in comfortable silence for a while, until I finally grinned.

"So, who is it?"

"Who?"

"The person you're staring at. I can smell it."

"Shut up, you can not."

"Humor me. Who is it? Someone in the restaurant? It's not Sir, Mister, Sir, is it? He's…well, out of your league."

I was not prepared for a chip of ice to smack me beside the mouth, startling only modestly violent and with a very softly-shouted expletive, and he snickered, making me wish I could whop him across the face with my cane. I guess I could always do the 'falsetto' and accuse him of arson, or something, but what'd be the point. I like this joint.

"Stop doing sexy hijinks in your head with a random stranger, and take me home. I'm going back to bed."

"What time did you pass out, anyway?"

His clothing rustled as he hauled his ass from the booth, and I obligingly stuck my hand out in a non-verbal cue to pull me up.

"Not sure. Birds were already being annoying, though. So daylight, I'd assume."

"Writing?"

"Nightmares."

"Hm. Maybe if you didn't write horror…."

"Nah. Remembered your face and kept screaming myself awake."

"God, you're a cunty bitch today."

"…You ever notice you say 'God' a lot for a nonbeliever?"

"You ever notice you're a cunty bitch?"

He didn't take me home. The asshat.

He shuffled me into places that smelled like old body odor and moldy furniture, decaying books and stale hopes and dreams. Children cried and the scraping of metal on metal drilled holes into my teeth; I couldn't even begin to imagine what could produce such a overbearing sound while still being so intensely quiet, but it put me on edge.

Thrift stores. Not my favorite place.

Still, they had their uses.

"Oi, butler."

No response. I could hear him breathing. And ruffling through clothing. I used my cane and poked at the direction I assumed his leg to be, finding a solid object that felt vaguely 'leg-like' and then proceeding to jab it repeatedly.

"Butler? …Butler. Buut-lerrr."

"God, what."

"Find me an eyesore to wear for TV."

"Pfft, only you."

"Because I'm sexy. Now, do it. Do it right now. An eyesore."

"Yeah, yeah, it'll be neon orange with pink glitter. Shut up and don't touch anything."

"I could get lice, I bet. Ick."

"For a slob, you're awfully snobby."

"I thought I was cunty?"

"You are many things. Pleasant is not one of them."

I grinned, and he moved away. To search for an eyesore.

"Tell me it's ugly."

"Dude, if it were any uglier it'd be cute. …No, no, it's rancid."

I grinned, shifting my grip on the crinkly paper sack my eyesore was currently nestled within; apparently, there was a wolf, and a unicorn, and it glowed in the dark.

Fuck.

Yes.

"So, what's his name?"

"Whose?"

"The one who bruised you."

Duh.

Ira sighed, long-suffering; "I told you, I got it at work."

I contemplated this, stepping around a small obstruction he had failed to pull me away from…for the third time.

"Liar. Obviously you're getting something, because you are beyond distracted today."

"God, I'm not getting anything. From anyone."

"…Ohh, so that's the problem. Dude, if you're that hard up, I'll do you for free."

It was a joke.

Maybe.

Except not to Ira, because he finally went nuclear asshole and jerked his arm away from me, causing me to stumble and bark my shins against something decidedly made of rock. Or concrete. Definitely not metal, though not from lack of trying. Particularly when it leaped up and poleaxed me in the mouth, my palms skinned from catching my fall too late to save my face. Which apparently decided to play one-man-tennis by bouncing off…whatever it was made me fall.

"Shimo-fu'ker, mf'in ow."

"Fuck you."

His voice was already distant and growing rapidly more so, angering me more than fiery pain engulfing nearly 99.99% of my body. Groping around my battered person, I found my cane and managed to ease myself to my feet, taking stock of my injuries and deciding that nothing seemed permanently damaged.

Then, glancing around at surroundings that looked just like everything else since the beginning of time, I realized I was a bit more fucked than had initially appeared.

"Fuck."

I can't write when I'm pissed; it only comes out tasting like diseased monkey poo. Poo from diseased monkeys, and then doubly-diseased due to rot. Diseased monkey poo squared, or something. Something ridiculously gross, at any rate.

When I can't write, I can't sleep.

All I do is eat.

Peanut butter on white bread that I tear viciously with my teeth and then spend twenty minutes un-sticking from the roof of my mouth because I'm secretly an idiot. Well, an idiot monkey. An angry, very pissed-off idiot monkey.

An idiot monkey that turned of their phone after the fifth call from their supposed-best-friend.

I'm never talking to that asshole again.

"Are you dead?"

Muffled through the closed bathroom door, through the closed shower door. Muffled from the echoing silence of the tiled cubicle of my shower, the tiles still chilled beneath my bare back despite that I'd been laying there for a couple hours already.

"Graham? You better not be fucking dead."

Thumps and curses, a swallowed shout as he knocked over the cd tower in the bedroom; despite myself, my mouth pulled into a smile, listening to the lummox bully himself about looking for me. Clattering sounded as he attempted righting the mess, only to be abandoned far too soon to be done and not near as quickly as I'd expected.

A knock came at the door, a moment's hesitation before the knob turned and I heard him poke his head inside, the switch clicking and making the fan above the shower thrum into life.

"…Graham? Are you sulking again?"

I made no answer but heard him cross the room anyway, the screaming of metal on metal sounding as he pushed the stall door the wrong direction; it always sticks if you push the door to the left.

"…Hm. Sulking."

I ignored him, and his scent spiraled down as he crouched by the low stall wall; he smells like contentment, normally, but today I only caught guilt and overwhelming relief. And, you know, he forgot to wash his hands after taking a piss, again.

"You look like shit, Graham. What have you been eating? …Peanut butter?"

I shrugged.

"Constipated?'

I shrugged.

He sighed, then, "Come on, asshole, get out of there and eat something that doesn't make you shit concrete sometime next month."

I didn't answer, but allowed myself to be tugged into sitting up, body creaky from staying in one spot for so long. When heat hovered near my shoulder I smacked it away, hearing him pull back out of my way so I could crawl from the shower on my own steam, pointedly bypassing him entirely as I walked from the room into the small hallway.

From there were only fifteen short steps, or eleven longer, more angry strides, I suppose, to the kitchen, where I pulled out the nearly-empty jar of crunchy peanut butter from the cupboard directly to the left of the sink. Spoons were kept furthest from the stove, and as I planned to finish off the jar, I twirled off the lid and chunked it into the recycling bin beneath the table holding the microwave.

I could hear Ira watching me but didn't care, walking forward as though alone and knowing he'd get out of my way if necessary; he did, allowing me to walk to the living room unimpeded by his blocky presence. I stepped over an abandoned knitting attempt from when I'd been curious whether or not my hands were dexterous and talented enough for anything other than translation of the garbage in my head to the garbledy gook on paper; news flash: they aren't; and slouched into the plush armchair I'd splurged upon with my first publication check. Ten years or something, now, and the bastard was still capable of 'living the dream' to my ass, the suede as smooth against my skin as the day I bought it and had it delivered.

"Fuck, Graham, I meant food. You're going to be stopped up worse than a fat guy's commode after a bacon-eating contest."

For a moment I thought I could actually smell that bathroom carnage, bile rising in my throat and making the peanut butter currently in my mouth switch from something awesome to vomit-inducing in the span of half a second. Disgusted, I dropped the spoon in the jar and shunted it aside, leaving it on the end table nearest the chair even as I pushed myself up and stalked from the room and back into the hall.

I slithered into bed still wearing my jeans, yanking the legs up to my knees as I bullied myself into a comfortable sprawl, the blanket wrapped how I liked it around my waist and shoulders. Ira stood at the door to the bedroom for a long time before making his way over to the bed; for once in his life, without stepping on something or knocking anything over.

The mattress shifted with his weight, springs softly complaining that he was breaking them at the edge, a permanent dip already there because he sits his ass in the same spot every time.

"…I'm sorry, okay? I never should have left you like that, but you always-"

He cut himself off, frustration cramping his voice into something less clear, a vocalization of a rougher nature; "It doesn't matter. I stormed off like an asshole when I knew better."

Like I was a kid or something. Fuck you, Ira.

When it became clear that I wasn't going to magically voice an acceptance for his piss-poor apology, kiss his boo-boo and make him feel like a decent human being again, he sighed.

"Okay. You can call when you're ready. Just…eat something other than peanut butter? Please?"

The bed protested further when he got up, his shoes scuffing the carpet as he moved a few steps away, pausing long enough for the sound of a soft thump to alert me that he'd dropped something near my stack of novels. Then he was leaving, bypassing obstacles that normally made him curse and trip about, a comical annoyance on most days that was deprived from me today.

I heard the distant click of the front door and rolled onto my back, staring up at the darkness that was probably my ceiling-maybe it was the sky, or something, but due to the lack of differing precipitation in here, I was given to assume it was still up there like it should be.

Finally, unable to keep my curiosity at bay any longer, I rolled onto my side, reaching out into the darkness that was my room, fumbling about only a moment before finding my stack of books. The top one was a hardback, the texture of the cover rough, feeling fairly old but still in decent repair. The title was engraved into the spine, recessed letters I couldn't quite make out until I opened the book to the title page, the spine crackling with age.

Raised bumps on heavy vellum told me that the book was called The Rosary by Florence L. Barclay, and the publication date was the early twentieth century, surprising me; most books written in Braille in that time period were difficult to come across just anywhere, particularly since a more finalized version of Braille was published only a few years before the book. The title itself was nothing I was familiar with, being as old as it was, and that alone intrigued me.

Dragging my carcass from the bed, I carried the book to the living room, resettling myself into my chair and pulling my heels up onto the seat, the book balanced against my knees, and set my fingers to reading.

Four hours later I finished, not completely sure how I felt about the subject matter of the story but plenty satisfied with how the story made me feel. It was romantic, yes, and based upon trivial pursuits I could never understand due to being a man of the twenty-first century, blind and homosexual, but it still struck a chord within me.

And not just because it happened to feature an artist who was blinded through an unfortunate accident.

The woman who loves him secluded herself away for a period, blindfolding herself and living life that way so that she could better understand his obstacles and limitations, how he has adapted. That should not have touched me but it did; nobody had ever done that for me. Nobody ever did anything to see what it was like living as I do, beyond maybe closing their eyes sometimes, or leaving the light off while they took a shower.

People always said they understood, in school, that they got it, but they always meant that they thought I was strong, a hero, for being 'brave' about being blind. Maybe if I'd been older when my sight finally left me altogether, I'd have taken it harder, but it was always just a thing.

My parents started me out early in learning Braille, even when I'd had limited sight and despite the fact that with the rise of computers, it'd been almost outdated to really use it. They instilled in me a love for reading, for the written word, and my first attempts at writing began while still in elementary school.

I had something published in a local magazine when I was a junior, no money offered but my name put in print. Ira bought a copy for everyone we knew, and he read it aloud in my living room, my parents and sister hanging on his every word but me…I'd been trembling, exhilarated to hear my words in his voice and know others were reading them as well.

These days, reading that story would most likely flush me all over in embarrassment, my mind finding everything that was wrong and gutting myself a million times for every mistake. Unless it were Ira reading it aloud, his voice most likely mollifying me into mild irritation at my earlier syntax and form.

Shaking my head at myself, I went to close the book and put it aside, but a piece of paper stuck in at the end made me pause, its length slightly wider than the width of the pages and weight not as heavy as the vellum. I pulled it out, wondering if someone had forgotten their grocer's list or something they'd used as a bookmark, but found it to be something completely different; the texture was not quite smooth, sketch paper, maybe, and I was startled to feel Braille across its surface.

An initial examination led to the realization that it was structured somewhat like a poem, which was even more odd, considering. Sliding my fingers across the dots without really reading them, I was still taken aback to find my name within the poem, fingertips stuttering and flicking back to make sure. 'Graham, are you'.

My stomach turning to heated ice, I forced my fingers to the beginning, moving slowly to make sure I misread nothing.

The depths of you

Have I ever seen?

I would live forever

in that cave of yours.

Change the damn light bulb.

God damn you

don't you know?

Would just one suffice,

from you, just one.

I trip on all your shit

But this fall, in my heart

hurts worse than

that one stupid rock.

I find it every time.

Barefoot.

You're blind,

Yes. You are.

But never to me,

but to my heart.

God. I burn.

Bumps all along my skin

spelling you.

G. and R. An A?

Fuck you.

Graham, are you

really that blind?

Eat more, you

skinny bastard.

Eat better.

You make me

into my mother.

Shit, how could

I even begin to

measure

the depths of you.

No words, no touch.

These eyes, this skin,

the tips of calloused

fingers.

From you, just one.

The first time reading it, my stomach lurched and flipped to the point where I thought I might vomit, skin clammy and flushed. The second time, I felt nothing, a strange emptiness in the pit of my gut, and I sat there a long time, feeling the nothingness and knowing it was a lie.

So I read it again, the shock wearing off as it sunk in, really sunk in, that Ira loved me.

Well, he'd always loved me, yes, and I him, but he was in love with me.

For forever, maybe, or since last year. When did it happen? Did I laugh at something he said at the right moment? Were we wrestling around and he abruptly found himself wanting to kiss me? Did I do something kind and unexpected, like the time I took him to the movies on the night after he was forced to put his ancient cat to sleep when we were still in high school?

Maybe it was all of those things, because that's when I started falling in love with him too. I just never…it was never important. Things were fine as they were, with me knowing how I felt, how I cherished him in ways I could never put into words had I thought to try.

Ira, a house painter, literate in Braille but having never written anything that was not for a grade in school…wrote me a poem. Put his thoughts and feelings into words and translated them into dots on paper, working with a stylus in mirrored form. And then he tucked it into a book I might never had read, might have tossed away or sold or let someone borrow, without having ever found his poem, his declaration.

What an idiot.

I carried the book and poem back to my room, the book set with care upon the bookshelf in the corner and the poem placed upon the nightstand, taking the place of my phone, which I flipped open and gave the verbal demand to speed dial 'The Asshole'.

"Graham…?"

I smiled, briefly, at the hesitancy in his voice.

"I'm hungry."

"Okay."

I hung up and flipped the phone closed, standing there a moment.

Fuck, I needed a shower.

Ira found me in the bathroom, the same jeans hanging low on my hips because I'd yet to button them after bathing, though they were zipped as far as the fabric would allow. If not for the razor currently scraping across my fragile flesh, the fact that I heard him metaphorically pop a boner in his skull would have made me grin.

God, I really had been that blind.

"I never knew how you could shave that way, until I learned to do it too," he admitted finally, and I raised an eyebrow.

"Like what?"

"With proprioception. You know where the razor is in regard to your face, where to place it next, how to move your hand without cutting your skin. You shave without your eyes. Like raising your hand in the dark and knowing where your hand is without having to see it. That is how you shave."

I shrugged, caught more on the 'until I learned to do it too' than anything else.

"What did you bring?"

"Thai. Atomic muk goong pik for you, and mild shrimp chu chee for me."

I grinned, and felt him relax fully for the first time since he'd arrived.

He watched as I finished shaving and put everything to rights, everything in its place for next time. I finally took the time to button my jeans, feeling his eyes drawn to the motion and how I still had never bothered with a shirt.

Some of my thoughts must have been on my face somehow, because instead of moving out of the way as I approached the door, Ira stood in place, his heartbeat racing beneath the fingers I placed to his neck once close enough. I tugged him closer, wordlessly accepting his advances, and his breath was shaky as he inhaled, one of his hands finding my jaw as the heat of him brushed up against the front of me.

His fingers trembled, his mouth just as unsteady, his kiss hesitant and still unsure as he broke away too soon. He made to step back, to let me go, and I reached up and grabbed the hand on my face, stilling his retreat.

"From you, just one…would never suffice."

His response was choked, too garbled to make out, and I grinned, laughing as he cursed and kissed me proper, mouth more confident in taking liberties.

"…Are you okay?"

"Me? Yes, I'm fine. Why?"

Fingers along my collar bone, tracing dips and ridges, the calluses on their tips making me shiver.

"Because I'm an idiot, and I have to know."

I rolled onto my side, closer to the dip where he lay, his heat and scent. Taking his hand from my neck, I moved it down to my abdomen, his fingers grazing cooled splotches of cum on my skin, my sex already half-hard again as he followed the logical path down to touching me again, calluses a familiar sensation against the over-sensitized skin.

"Does that feel like I'm okay?" I teased, flame licking up all over my body at his pattern of squeezing strokes, already learning how I liked them.

"You're probably just suffering in silence."

I punched him for that, knowing he only half-meant it for a joke; only time could persuade him not to be an idiot, to stop being such an asshole.

"Don't you know? Love is blind."

Making a rough sound to cover his emotions, he pushed me onto my back and used his bulky advantage to pin me to the mattress, the above-average length of his dick pressing into my side.

"Hey, Ira, do you think you'd be any bigger if you hadn't been circumcised?"

He paused before growling laughter, smiling against my lips; "God, you're a cunty bitch."


a/n: End.