A/N: So, as it says in the summary, this is my NaNo story. It is completely unedited, and any suggestions you may have are greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy it.
The first thing Scream does when he wakes up is put a tick mark on the low ceiling above his bed.
There are about nine marks up already and a bunch of ones that had been scratched out farther down the bed.
They mark the number of days it's been since a boy showed up bleeding his life out in the desert. Scream has a feeling he's going to have to cross those nine out soon enough. It hurts him every single time one of 'em shows up, but…can't do anything about it, that's just the way it is.
So many of them die.
Scream was a lucky one.
He rolls out of his bed, ignoring the sudden headache he's getting. Probably just the heat, or maybe the lingering effects of a pill he shouldn't have taken.
Or he's getting the Fever and he's going to die.
But, y'know, that doesn't happen around Scream's place. He keeps the place nice and clean and Fever free, so he'll pass all the inspections.
At least, that's how it seems. None of the inspectors go into the basement, because Scream doesn't let them. When they ask he gives them a fuck off smile and rubs the handle of his gun ever so lightly.
They usually get the message.
And speak of the devil, the basement is exactly where Scream's headed.
He trips on something and falls down a few stairs to the cement floor of the basement, the only cool place in the house.
"Babe?" he whispers, checking if the reason no one can go in the basement is up.
"Hey," comes the whispered reply, and Scream feels his way to the light switch and pulls it.
Through the flickering light, Scream can see his brother (let's just call him Fever), something like ten blankets covering him and his face pale and sweaty.
Scream sits on the ground next to him, smiling faintly at him. "Morning," he says.
"Hey again," Fever says.
"How are you feeling?"
"You're lying," Scream says. It's all over Fever's face, the grimace, the sweating, and the heat that Scream can feel, even from where he's sitting.
"How are you actually feeling?"
"Three times as bad as I was yesterday," Fever says, looking down at his hands.
"You'll get better, okay? I'll make you better," Scream says, grabbing one of Fever's hands. It's an old, worn out lie, but he tells it every day, hoping that just maybe it'll come true.
Scream smiles at him again, gives his hand a squeeze, and gets up, turning the light out on his way up the stairs.
It's three minutes later and Scream's outside trying to hitch a ride.
He's late already, spent just a minute too long with Fever and missed his lift. So now he has to find someone kind enough to drive him to the Base.
Not likely in the desert.
Not likely at all.
And then there's the matter of that figure off in the distance, God knows how far away. Looks like he's staggering a bit, falling every so often.
It's another whipping boy, thrown out and near dead.
On one hand, helping people is a good thing, and maybe Scream can use the karma from that to get Fever into heaven. Karma transfers are easy as fuck these days.
On the other hand, the boy will probably die, and that could put a kink in Scream's day. Also, he's starting to be really late for work.
But work's boring, and who knows, the boy might not die. And Scream really does need all the karma he can get for Fever. It's like two thousand points for heaven, and Scream's only got one thousand. (He had more, but he blew it on one kiss and a few hangover-less nights of debauchery.)
It's about fifty for being a good Samaritan.
Scream figures that it's worth it, and runs off to grab the boy.
It's a lot farther than he was expecting. Stupid fucking flat land.
But he makes it eventually, out of breath and a tad dehydrated, but certainly in better shape than the boy.
The boy's right leg is mangled, skin ripped up everywhere and bite marks and general disgustingness.
Scream figures that was one of the new dogs, the kind that was perfectly engineered to be a watchdog. Poor boy probably accidentally staggered onto someone's property.
But that's not the worst part. The boy has a nasty deep cut across his forehead. Could be brain damage at worst, major concussion at best.
And there're the infected-looking whip marks across the boy's back (he's shirtless, which can't feel too good in the sun).
The boy's conscious, eyes open, but he's not really responding to anything.
On top of all his injuries, he was drugged too? Geez. Prince must have hated this kid.
Maybe even more than Prince hated Scream. Which was kind of hard to beat. But Prince didn't hurt Scream physically at the end, not like that.
Nope, he damaged Scream more psychologically.
If you're good, Scream might talk about it. But probably not. He talks to his imaginary therapist for that. His imaginary therapist is quite useful for those kinds of things.
"Can you hear me?" Scream asks, running a hand over the boy's head wound and trying to get some of the blood off.
The boy nods, such a small action that Scream barely catches it. But Fever's actions are small now too, really tiny, so Scream's kind of used to it.
"Good. Okay, I'm going to take you to my house now. I'm gonna make you okay, alright? Everything will be just fine." Scream's using slow, deliberate speech, and lots of positive words, making sure to get his message across.
The boy doesn't like those words, and he scrambles back from Scream, eyes widening and gaining a bit more life.
In that moment, Scream realizes that it wasn't Prince who had drugged the boy. Prince was too fancy for all those lowbrow illegal substances, old-fashioned beatings were more his style.
No, it was someone else who'd done this. And he probably said almost exactly the same thing that Scream's saying now.
That makes things ten times worse.
But Scream feels for this boy, knows how he feels so well. He knows that feeling of pain, betrayal, loss…blinding.
But the boy's at the level of a little kid, so Scream can probably make this all work out.
"No, I didn't mean—" Scream starts, but the boy's giving him a real suspicious look, so he switches gears. "Prince is a terrible person. I know. I have the scars, same as you. And I'm not going to hurt you. Promise. I hate him as much as you. I want the same thing as you. Please, you have to trust me. Can you do that?"
The part about Prince visibly convinces the boy, and Scream picks the boy up, knees draped over one arm and shoulders over the other.
The boy's light, underfed like all of Prince's. Makes sense.
As Scream carries him, the boy falls asleep in his arms.
A/N: Once again, all feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more...if you're interested...