Josh’s transformations become a window into what Aidan most desires. Death.
Josh changes every full moon and he’ll watch. It’s a ritual of his. No, Aidan, thinks, not like flipping off the lights before crashing a party or choosing to pick up small women whose bodies will fit into the trunk of a car. There’s no self-preservation in hearing Josh’s bones snap behind the grate, howls blacking out his screams. He’s not sure why he does it. But he does.
Aidan nurses a beer tight in his fist as Josh undoes another button on the collar of his plaid shirt. Josh has always been fussy about this, not that they’re just the best of guy friends, not that he hasn’t seen this dozens of time before. It’s not practical, that’s why he has to end up buying new shirts every month. Josh’s attempts at death glares have made his point well enough. He won’t be getting lucky.
Most of the time, Aidan closes his eyes for effect. He can smell the wolf in Josh- a musky scent, not unpleasant exactly. It makes it harder somehow, tightens something deep in the root of his stomach. Aidan tells himself it’s the beer. It’s not going to stay long in his system anyway. He’s no stranger to an attraction to a man, having lived with Bishop for over a century. It’s the lack of a high here, the lack of the opium red in his system that surprises him. It’s just Josh.
The first scream rouses him. Josh’s eyes are dark and green on his as his slim shoulder jerks out from the arm of his shirt at an awkward angle. When the change is on him and his eyes are half-comprehending, there’s no Jewish modesty in Josh. There are just the basics- what makes Josh, Josh. There’s fear in his eyes, fair skin, down sprinkled against his chest, thin shoulders bunching together as something ripples and punches through him. Aidan can hear it when Josh’s jaw snaps. This is not what he does, cower behind windows but there’s something in the sound of him, pure unregulated pain, that stirs up too many memories.
Aidan thinks that now would be the better time to close his eyes. But he’s got a feeling, somehow, that Josh needs him to watch. It doesn’t make sense, Josh doesn’t remember that when he wakes up, but Aidan holds his eyes. He doesn’t try to imagine the amount of pain he’s going through. Josh’s on his knees now, back twisting and bucking, skin pale and tempting. Now that’s a thought.
Aidan’s always thought of Josh as solidity. He’s never prepared to see him like this. But he is changing , fingers sharpening, teeth yellowing and bloodying his mouth. His neck is dark with hair springing out, and his eyes glossy and black, feral. The wolf is massive enough tear him up pretty good. There’s something in those eyes, though, something pacing wrathfully. That’s it, their connection is broken, Josh is gone. He lunges toward the steel bars, jaw snapping. Aidan can almost feel the stone crack. Aidan shatters the beer bottle in his hand, eyes captivated and black. It’s one night a month. He doesn’t wish he were Josh.
He can see the ripples now, him to Rebecca and Rebecca to Kara and Josh- an endless trail of blood that stretches across the asphalt to his door. After he kills Officer Garrity, he begins to dream about the rest of them, the blue-collar policeman with the nightstick and the two girls he found. Aidan starts to wonder if the wolf could kill him, if it would all stop then.
Josh’s changing too. He even stops complaining about the room every time he gets there. But he can’t control what happens to him either. It’s almost worst before his body starts turning because Aidan knows its Josh. It’s all Josh with his throat parched from screaming under that Kiss track.
He’s crying out, making groans too high come from the wolf, a kid with nightmares in a man’s body. Aidan opens the door. Josh is down on the floor, the bones in his wrists curled limp and awkward by his sides. His arm is broken and the real danger is going to start any moment.
Aidan feels strangely calm. This was what Josh did when he came for him at the bar, confronted the monster under the human mask. Maybe if Aidan was someone else he would tell him he was there for him too. Instead, he moves for the water, dribbles some into Josh’s mouth. A lot more goes onto the floor. Josh can’t see him now; he’s looking into an abyss much bigger than his soul. Maybe that’s the most fitting kind of end.
Aidan almost touches his face before he realizes how sappy the idea is. He was always too good at faking human. When the spasms start, Josh’s arm hurls him into the stone wall. Aidan can feel the scratches stinging up his wrists and arms, feel the relief that it’s over, that it’s all almost over, but…]
Sure enough, there he is, slumped against the door with a broken bottle of beer. It’s strange the elation Aidan feels suddenly, buried somewhere under wolf-smell and bloody morning-breath. It’s been his ultimate dream and he’s not ready. He doesn’t want it. “At least I didn’t eat any.”
“Haha, keep the dog jokes to yourself, jerk. Come on.”
“Depends. Are you going to be nice to me?”
He takes his time pushing the door in and bringing in Josh’s clean pack of clothes. Star of David, water bottle- Josh looks so young holding his hands out like that. “Yes, Grandpa.”
“Don’t insult the man with the clean clothes.”
There’s a bloodspot on Josh’s mouth, probably his own. There’s never been an appeal in wolf-blood to Aidan, like mixing in a little arsenic with coffee, but there’s something in his face. Aidan smacks Josh full on the lips before he can say anything. He has a soft mouth, and wicked teeth and Aidan wonders if he’s actually been out eating rats. It’s an instinct of the kind of arguing they do that Josh doesn’t just let it happen. Aidan doesn’t feel like he’s dead. It’s not his first kiss, not even his first time kissing a man. Then Josh’s eyes are curious and green and it’s not so strange to think it might be his. “Clearly, you are drunk.” He mumbles, finally, tongue polishing the blood away. “Clothes."
Aidan hands them to him, socks first because his face gets all pinched and wonderfully alive. “Nice legs.” he says.
“I hate you.” Josh throws back, mouth in a half pout.
They climb on up the stairs to home and Sally, Aidan bunching his fingers on the back of Josh’s shirt until he gets used to the feeling of having Homo sapiens limbs again. Josh doesn’t thank him for staying the night. Aidan doesn’t thank him for making him want to live. Somehow it works, this little ritual of theirs.
I knows I owe you buttsecks. <3 Prompt me if you want. If not, I will attempt to think of something dirty enough. ;)
- Current Music:The Knives- Heartbeats