January 27, 2024

Corbin watches his brother undress with a peculiar mix of anticipation and contentment. While seeing Carson’s scars — accumulated over years of encounters just like this one — doesn’t excite him per se, they feel inviting, somehow. Like he’s left little pieces of himself behind as darker lines on the younger man’s skin. He reaches out to touch them and Carson melts into his arms, at least as eager as he is, for reasons that are nothing alike.

Kissing Carson isn’t like kissing his girlfriend. Never has been. It’s like his younger brother wants to drink him up. He lets himself be pulled into it, as much as he can manage, to make Carson happy. It’s hard to ignore that the chest he’s running his fingers over is firm, flat.

For once it’s Carson who pulls back first, breaking their liplock. He sounds just a touch out of breath. “You’re overdressed.”

Corbin chuckles, strokes his brother’s cheek with the back of his hand. “Eager to get started?” Of course he knows what Carson is really looking forward to, and it’s not what amounts to foreplay between the two of them. And Corbin can’t blame him, not really. But as long as Carson seems satisfied with what they have, he’s not overly inclined to question his brother’s willingness to indulge him.

As bad as it would no doubt look to an outsider, what they’re doing is harmless. That one time with Carson’s cheek notwithstanding.

“Fuck you.” Carson’s hands are at Corbin’s waist, inching his shirt out of his waistband until his hands can slip under it. His fingers are ever so slightly cool against Corbin’s skin.

Corbin runs his right hand upward, over and past the inked-over bite scar on the side of Carson’s neck, until his fingers tangle in his brother’s hair. He seizes hold of a good handful, pulls hard enough to force Carson to meet his gaze. “I could always leave.”

They both know it’s an empty threat, that Corbin wants this just as much as Carson does. Hell, Carson’s prospects without Corbin are near-infinitely better than the other way around. Still, the younger man all but growls, his fingers curling against Corbin’s skin, fingernails digging in. That better not leave a mark, or else he’s going to have some explaining to do.

It’s not long after that until Corbin’s shirt lies discarded on the floor, and Carson catches him in another kiss as his hands get to work on Corbin’s belt. He kisses back with fake enthusiasm, bites Carson’s lower lip and only almost enjoys the gasp it draws from his little brother. His belt buckle jingles softly as it’s released, and moments later the grip of his pants slackens further as Carson undoes his fly.

Fingers curl around the waistband of both Corbin’s pants and boxers, and again Carson is the one to break lip contact, his face slightly flushed, lips parted. As he starts lowering Corbin’s pants, he moves towards kneeling, until Corbin’s hand, still in his hair, clenches and stops his descent.

“Cars. Don’t.” He doesn’t know exactly why he doesn’t like the idea of his brother’s mouth on his cock, but he doesn’t. It’s a boundary Carson chafes against, and every so often decides to push.

Carson lets go of Corbin’s clothes, grabs his hips instead for leverage to haul himself back upright. “You’re no fun.” There’s mischief in the curl of the black-haired man’s lips. For all Corbin knows Carson considers his no a challenge. Fucking Carson.

“That’s not what your mom said.” He releases his brother’s hair, gives him a light push, just enough to send him backwards a step or two.

Carson’s eyes narrow, the curve of his lips goes harder. “And what would your mom say about you, Bee?”

“Because you’re going to tell Mom you want my dick so bad you practically beg me to cut you. Sure.” Mentioning it in so many words is enough to kindle a tiny, flickering flame in him, a near-invisible tint of heat to his face.

Carson rolls his eyes. “Yet your titfucking ass is still trash talking. I’ve been ready.”

Corbin shakes his head, steps out of his remaining clothes. “What you’ve been is a pain in the ass.”

“Look who’s talking.” Carson backs up and lets himself fall backwards onto his bed, onto the waterproof sheet he’s spread across it to keep his bedding from getting bloodied. His half-smile is probably part bravado, but that makes it no less an olive branch. “Let’s?”

On the nightstand, within easy reach, lies a disposable scalpel, still in its sterile packaging, next to a box of surgical gloves, a pump bottle of personal lubricant, and a bottle of something Corbin feels comfortable assuming from past experience is disinfectant. He’s not going to say the words, but he can at least admit to himself that yes, Carson had been prepared.

Corbin does like that about his brother. As long as he’s available in the first place, Carson never seems to need much notice to set up for company.

Now he joins Carson on the narrow bed, half-lying to one side of his brother and reaching across him for the scalpel. He can practically feel they younger man’s eyes on him; knows they’ll be fixed on his face as long as he’s holding the blade. The foil package is quickly torn and discarded, and for a moment he pauses to consider the sharp edge. It doesn’t, in itself, do anything for him, but the thought of what he will do with it is a different matter.

He leans in close enough for his breath to stir Carson’s hair, and feels his brother tense next to him where skin touches skin. “Ready, Cars?” Briefly, he presses his lips against skin, then pulls back.

For all that Carson’s habit of smart-mouthing him — especially when they see each other in private like this — has only gotten more prevalent over the years, now he remains silent save for the sound of deep, deliberate breaths, and his nod is short, measured. Tense. And Corbin can’t really blame him. He sets the tip of the scalpel blade against his brother’s skin, then slides it along, pressing down. It stirs something inside him that nothing else can quite touch when he feels the tissue yield under the sharp blade and watches it draw a red line in its wake.

He can hear Carson’s breath shift with every cut he makes, sharp intakes of breath turning into ragged, extended exhalations, but it registers more as background noise. His fascination, attraction, to the action of piercing his brother’s skin is just that much more immediate, that much louder, to his senses.

It stirs up something else in him, too. That is, after all, why Carson lets him do this.

He is hard against his brother’s thigh. Carson’s jaw is clenched so tight the tension is visible on his face. With a sigh, Corbin wipes the sides of the scalpel blade against his brother’s skin. Carson has been a good sport, and he doesn’t want to actually harm him. He starts to move down the bed, but a hand seizes his wrist.

“I’m going on top.” Carson’s voice is unsteady, but his conviction isn’t.

“Are you really sure—?”

“Lie. Down.”

On one hand, Corbin knows full well that his brother is more than capable of being assertive when he wants something. On the other, Carson’s insistence now is making him slightly uneasy, even if it wouldn’t be the first time his younger brother has ridden his cock. “You’re not going to—?”

“Oh fuck you, Bee!” Carson gives his wrist a yank. “What kind of gay panic ass question is that? Of course I’m fucking not; if I wanted to fuck you I would have asked! I’m not even into topping.”

Corbin tries on a sheepish smile, hoping it will placate his brother. “Sorry, Cars, I…”

Carson rolls his eyes. “You’re so fucking straight, Bee. Lie your ass down and shut up.”

He watches Carson as they both move, switching positions on a bed that definitely was never intended to have space for two grown men. His brother’s jaw is still tense, and his movements seem almost too controlled. But Carson is clearly not going to hear any arguments, especially not after the mouthful Corbin already had of his own feet.

All but the very shallowest of the cuts in Carson’s skin are still bleeding, a couple of them enough for a trickle to wind its way down his body. Corbin doesn’t pay much attention to what, exactly, Carson is doing, instead admiring his own handiwork as the younger man straddles his body. Cuts in various stages of healing along with the fresh ones, scars varying in color from slightly pinkish to a brown darker than the surrounding skin.

He can feel Carson’s fingers curling around his shaft, slick with lubricant, through his whole body. They slide along his length, and he closes his eyes with a groan, focusing on the sensation. Then Carson’s grip changes, along with his position over Corbin.

Corbin might not, himself, see the appeal of being where his brother is now, but there’s no mistaking the sounds coming from Carson as he starts impaling himself on Corbin’s cock as anything but positive, pleasured, fulfilled. He doesn’t need to understand it to recognize it. He opens his eyes, and sees it written on Carson’s face, too, feels it in every tiny shift of the younger man’s muscles, with every fraction of an inch disappearing into his body’s hot embrace.

His brother’s expression is dazed, dreamy. Drunk not off alcohol, but off the moment.

It’s not the first time he sees Carson like that, and it’s probably the closest he ever gets to feeling anything like attraction for his brother.

Carson supports himself on Corbin’s chest, and he reaches up with his left hand to squeeze Carson’s right. Lets his brother set the pace, maintain control. Only when he feels he has a grasp of what Carson wants does he start rolling his hips. The pace is more sedate than he would have expected, but not so much that anything immediately strikes him as outright wrong.

It’s difficult to tell how close his brother might be getting. He can tell, however, that over time his movements become a little more erratic, his breath more labored, and a slight tremor is spreading down Carson’s arms into Corbin’s chest. The sweat beading on his skin mingles with the blood that still hasn’t dried — Corbin can’t help but think that has to sting.

A loud sound, like something falling, startles them both. Corbin isn’t sure whether Carson’s left hand slips as he turns to look, or if his arm simply gives out under him, but suddenly his brother is falling forward, and he automatically moves to catch him.

He only remembers the scalpel is still in his right hand when it meets resistance, then is wrenched from his grip. Time slows down, yet he can’t act fast enough to change what’s already happened. The sound Carson makes rips his heart out.

Somehow his brother catches himself on now-shaking arms and manages to lower himself onto his side. His face is pale, and as Corbin regains enough composure to at least shuffle to the side to give him more space his right hand comes to clutch the left side of his chest, fingers splayed to either side of the scalpel grip sticking out between his ribs.

“Carson? Carson, are you alright?” Corbin could hit himself; of course Carson isn’t alright.

Clearly Carson shares that sentiment, because all the answer he gives is a dark look as he slowly, slowly, works himself into a sitting position. His breaths sound… wrong, somehow. Shallow, labored. Looking pale and much worse for wear, his brother looks down at himself, grimacing at the sight of the chest wound.

“What the… actual fuck… Bee?” Carson sounds angry, but it’s a flat sort of anger, like he can’t find enough fuel to express it fully.

He doesn’t know what to answer; of course he wants Carson to know it was an accident, but telling him that doesn’t seem nearly as important as making sure that his baby brother is safe. That he will be okay. “What can I do?”

He can’t remember ever being so scared in his life.

It’s clearly not the answer Carson expects. The seconds of silence before he replies seem like hours. “Give me… your phone.” Another couple of seconds, then he continues. “Check on… Princess.”

He finds his pants, pulls his phone out of his pocket and unlocks it before handing it to his brother. Carson’s fingers transfer blood onto the glass as he taps an icon, then starts typing. Corbin remains where he is, watching in silent panic.

“Bee.” Carson hasn’t even looked up. “Princess.”

“I’m not worried about the damn snake; I’m worried about you! What are you even doing; fucking Googling?”

“Yes.” Somewhere, Carson seems to find the energy to do more than strictly necessary, as he raises a shaky middle finger Corbin’s way. “Princess. Now, Bee.”

He hesitates for another few moments, then reluctantly steps away, around the bed, and towards the glass enclosure that holds Carson’s without a doubt most treasured possession. The yellow-and-fudge snake is moving around, and he can’t see anything obviously wrong with it. “She’s fine.”

“What fell?” Carson’s voice isn’t carrying as well as Corbin feels it should.

He looks again. What at first glance looks like a metal bowl with a black cord coming out of its bottom is lying on the bottom of the cage. The cord looks to be under tension, running all the way to the top of the cage where it passes out next to a piece of plastic, looking like the remnants of some kind of bracket. Looking again, there’s definitely light, warm light, showing around the rim of the bowl-that-isn’t-one. “Heat lamp, I think.”


He looks over to see Carson start to rise, and steps over to stop him. The weight of Corbin’s hand on his shoulder alone seems to be enough to turn it into an impossibility. “Don’t be an idiot, Cars.”

“Look who’s… talking.” Carson still sounds angry; glares at the hand that not ten minutes ago held the scalpel now embedded in his chest.

“Do… You don’t seriously think I meant to stab you!?” Corbin is too worried to feel insulted by the implication. “Do you?”

Carson shrugs. Maybe. He starts to lift his shoulders and winces, at any rate.

“I should just call an ambulance for you—“

“Don’t!” The hand holding his phone moves, putting Carson’s body between it and Corbin. “I’ll… take care… of it.”

There’s definitely something Carson isn’t telling him, but Corbin doesn’t think he can get his brother to talk. And not only because speaking, at the moment, seems to be difficult for him. “You are so full of shit right now. Need me to do anything about the snake?” It’s about the last thing he wants to do, especially when his brother is clearly hurt, but clearly Carson’s priorities are about as straight as Carson himself is, and he doesn’t want to risk the dumbass hurting himself worse.

“Take… the lamp… out. For now.”

Okay. He can do that much. It doesn’t even involve actually handling Carson’s pet.

By the time he’s managed to complete what had sounded like a simple task, somehow not releasing the agitated python from its terrarium in the process, Carson has magicked up his well-stocked case of first-aid supplies from somewhere. Bloody pieces of gauze lie on the floor at his feet, his hands are gloved, and he’s tying up a suture that seems to Corbin like it should be a lot less urgent than the wound in his chest.

“Cars, what are you doing?”

Carson looks up, rolls his eyes, and says nothing. His breathing is definitely, clearly labored. The fresh stitches on his chest and stomach aren’t quite as neat as his usual work, either. When he goes to place another one, Corbin forces himself to look away.

“I’m taking you to the emergency room.”

“Not yet.”


“Idiot.” No elaboration as to what exactly earned him that one. Carson opens another sterile package of gauze; he can hear the plastic and paper crinkle as they’re separated. “Just let me… finish. Go wash… hands… or something.”

It feels like a ridiculous suggestion, so out of keeping with the gravity of the situation. Corbin does it anyway, because it gives him an excuse to get away from the temptation to watch Carson’s needlework. When he comes back there’s skin tape and dressings covering every one of the intentional cuts he made today.

“Come here.” Carson is looking worryingly gray. “Hold this.”

He sits down next to his brother, lets his hand be guided to a folded piece of gauze. It puts his fingers right next to that damnable scalpel, and he has to consciously remind himself of some past first-aid class that talked about not removing impaling objects. He doesn’t even remember when he took it. Had it been in school? For work?


Carson doesn’t give him time to ask what he’s supposed to be ready for; bloodied gloved fingers close around the scalpel grip and pull. The breathless half-scream his younger brother lets out makes Corbin’s stomach knot. Then the sharp tool clatters to the floor and Carson’s hand is clasped over his, pressing the gauze to the now freely bleeding wound.

He can see Carson’s hands shake pulling out a length of tape that matches Corbin’s skin better than his own. Clearly his brother has burned through his reserves.

“Do you need sugar?”

“Don’t worry… about it.” Carson sounds irritated. “Almost done.”

Somehow, the gauze gets fixed in place. A few strips of tape are a bit askew, but it doesn’t matter. Then Carson returns to his case of medical supplies, pulling out a long, thin metal object in sterile packaging. With a look of intense concentration he reaches for Corbin’s phone, wakes it up, and reads through the text on the screen.

Corbin watches with a sinking feeling that something is more wrong than Carson has been willing to let on.

“Bee. Clothes.” Did he space out and miss Carson telling him the first time, or is his brother just being irritable? He’s not sure.

He has blood on his hands again, but he doesn’t care as he pulls on his own clothes, then goes to help Carson with his. He sees his brother slip the item from his first-aid case into the leather satchel that holds his diabetes supplies, but says nothing about it. It’s something to do with whatever Carson isn’t telling him, but he knows his brother well enough to know asking isn’t going to do him any good.

“Can I take you to the emergency room now?”

Carson looks exhausted, but one corner of his mouth twitches. “Yes. But let me… do the talking.”

Fucking Carson.

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