“Whenever it happened, they were creatures kissing in the rain, they were rough and desperate and there was always blood at Noel’s neck…” Julian’s greed works out in the worst possible way.


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Disintegration by spiderweb_kiss

And mouth and eyes and heart all bleed,

and run in thickening streams of greed

—The Cure, Disintegration

Nights when the babies slept soundly, when Julia’s soft sugar-breathing played across his skin. Nights when the bedclothes smelled of baby powder and he lay awake, moving still, watching the dim lights roll across the ceiling as cars went past. These nights were too common now.

He was on his back, now, thinking of doing it all again when he got up in the morning. Wake, shower, feed them, change them, drop her off at the doctors at nine, meet the accountant at ten. Interview without Noel at four. And then he’d come home to it all, the toys strewn about the flat and where was the baby lotion? She’d cook, he’d do the dishes, and then—too tired for anything else—they’d collapse into bed like this all over again.

A night bus outside, engine running loudly as the doors hissed open. What time was it now? Five? He rolled onto his side, away from her. Julian vaguely remembered a time when it wasn’t like this. A different time altogether, different nights. When another person’s make-up smeared across their hot mouth in sin, lip-gloss like silk on Julian’s tongue. A velvety kiss that tasted of vanity. When he’d laughed like never before because Noel was with him, and the damp dawn of spring suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

Really, it couldn’t have been so long ago. A year. This time last year, Julian realised, he’d been happy. This time last year, Noel still crept into his lap with that awful shy-cheeky grin on his face and begged with his eyes. Taste me. Feel me. Fuck me.

And nobody could deny Noel that, could they? Not Julian, not when he knew the fuck would taste the ruby-taste of greed and blood, not when a hand was already pushing and moving on the swelling in his jeans like that. Whenever it happened, they were creatures kissing in the rain, they were rough and desperate and there was always blood at Noel’s neck (bite me, corrupt my skin). Something came loose inside Julian whenever it happened, just because he finally had something so beautiful and precious. He’d never known why he always wanted to hurt it. Scratch me, be rough with me, make me red.

Without fail Noel would be sublime and cheeky the next day—not that creature of sex and darkness—and Julian would tighten again, his heart in his chest would tighten again.

Now, though, it was different. Now instead of Noel’s vivid purples and blues and spangles and stars (now, instead of tastemefuckmecovermewithyourscent), Julian lived in this grey world. Washed-out world. With the babies and Julia, a parent. He and Noel had carried on behind her back for a while, but it ended in the whitewashed winter when he found out she had babies inside her. He could only thank god Noel was still there to paint his life every now and then. But not like he used to.

Julian breathed in the scent of baby powder and responsibility, and turned back to face Julia’s sleeping form.

And dreamed of blood and rain.

Different again, this night.

For the first time, he’d convinced her they needed a night out, and the babies were at her parents’. Now Soho’s neon danced in the rain around them, a gaudy rainbow, and Noel clung to Julian’s arm to steady himself. Julia with Dee and Sue, making awkward conversation three metres behind.

It was the closest Julian had been to Noel in months, and the silk lining of his jacket brushed Julian’s alcohol-fevered skin, cool. The rain hissed on the ground, slicking the black pavement with the purple-green shine of the sex shops. The air tasted of spring, damp and humid and sultry. The alcoholic sin was beginning to gnaw away at Julian’s stomach, the need, and Noel’s body was pressed so close and so hot that it begged.

Noel flicked a hairsprayed lock out of his eyes and tripped over on purpose, leaning heavily on Julian. Their eyes met, blue versus hazel. “Go on, ” Noel murmured, but he was pissed and so was Julian and Julia was only a few steps behind.

It didn’t stop the need, the delicious desperation, from tugging in Julian’s groin. Reason pierced the fog of lust. “No.”

They found a bar eventually, and sat at a booth far away from the dance floor. Humid in here. But it didn’t smell of rain, and that at least was a blessing. The drinks arrived, Dee already wobbling and the glasses rattling together on the tray. “Dig in, everyone.” They all stared at the tray for a minute, trying to remember what they ordered.

Turquoise and sugary with a bitter ethanol bite. Noel’s.

Ruby and thick, and it would taste like sweet blood on Julian’s tongue. Noel stared.

Two long slim tumblers, icy pink and topped with strawberries. Dee and Sue.

Nothing for Julia, she was still feeding the children. Julian cringed guiltily and sucked in half of his wine in one go. He was aware, horribly aware, of the lusty gaze Noel was levelling at him across the table. And the burn inside of Julian was urging him to get up, go to the men’s room and wait for Noel to follow. The stench of shampoo and dry teabags and hairspray and sex was radiating from Noel, all the things a boy should never smell of.

Finishing his wine, Julian wondered how long he would last. How long he could fight his passionate love for a younger vintage.

The photo album was out on the coffee table when Julian came in. The bluish light of the TV shone on the surface of the photographs, attracting his attention. An empty wine bottle and a tipped over glass sat beside the album, haphazard. And drop by drop, the last half-glass of red wine dripped onto the carpet to form a stain. It was so dark in the room that the stain looked black.

She wasn’t allowed drink. She was still feeding the babies.

He could already hear her crying in the bedroom, and a thrill of self-righteousness went through him. Of course she was drunk—she knew, didn’t she? Knew that it had started again. It was horribly obvious and he hadn’t even bothered to try hiding it: the way he left the flat messy but came back rumpled, departed nervous and came back sex-high. He briefly wondered if it was worse because it was with Noel. She probably knew that, too, because how else would he come home with traces of glitter in his hair, on his mouth?

Steadying himself, Julian began to walk to the bedroom. He shed his coat, because he was uncomfortably hot in the t-shirt and incorrectly buttoned up shirt. Maybe he would start staying a few minutes longer at Noel’s, just to do the buttons up right and get the stars out of his eyes.

Halfway down the hallway, he felt a wave of nausea and swayed a bit. Didn’t she think he had to be drunk, too, just to alleviate the guilt a bit? Didn’t she know it was tearing up his insides too, like a bottle of wine had broken in his ribcage?


Oh fuck, what a state. What a state they’d gotten themselves into. She was lying on the rumpled bedsheets, ink-streaks of mascara all over her white skin and the white pillows. The babies were waking, and she didn’t move. Just stared at him in the hallway.

“I’m home.” He said it just to have something to say, but he might as well have said, I’m back from Noel’s, and I have new scratches all down my back, so I’ll be sleeping in a t-shirt for another week. How was your day?

She coughed and sat up, shrugging. For the first time Julian realised she had dark purple bags under her eyes. He swayed again drunkenly in the doorway as the babies cried.

“I wish…” she began, but stopped, and Julian felt sick again. He wanted to be back in bed with Noel, in the black velvet temple of darkness they fucked in. Oh Christ, he was really going to be sick—

“I—” He gave up, and ran into the en suite. She listened to him wretch disinterestedly, and when he came back the screaming began.

He wouldn’t remember much of that night, just that he and Julia cried and the babies wailed, that she wouldn’t hold them and he didn’t trust himself to. Didn’t feel like he deserved to. They said things they would never be able to take back.

At one point he decided to leave. Leave the flat, and her, and… She was after him, though, quick as a shot and snarling. “You don’t even love him.”

“I don’t have to, ” Julian screamed, “I just have to need him.”

She threw the wine glass at his head and it smashed on the wall. The babies cried in the background, wondering why nobody was coming.

They stared each other down. “Julian, don’t do it like this, ” she’d said it shakily, trying to keep herself from falling down, “Your children are here.”

“They’re hungry, ” he countered, and as he walked out of the door he saw the red wine stain blossoming on the carpet.

A dirty scratch, laced with lust, and a thin streak of blood collected at the wound like crimson lacquer. They pushed slowly together, panting. It was dark, soul-dark, womb-dark, the pitch blackness they always fucked in. Neither said a word, but Julian’s hands tightened on Noel’s wrists almost imperceptibly, grinding the tiny bones inside together until they nearly snapped, and it was over.

They lay together in the darkness, the velvet of night, and Noel’s vain kiss resented the dark. “What made you come back tonight?”

Julian knew by instinct where to reach, splayed a hand on Noel’s neck. Quickly, a small cold hand shot up to grab Julian’s, and he was pulled bodily on top of Noel. The weight almost suffocated Noel, as if the darkness was pressing down on him. At least this way he could feel Julian, completely, utterly. There, solid, warm.

He still needed an answer, though, and he quietly whimpered. “Ju.”


Blood. Velvet. Rain.

Sex. Vanity. Dark. Cologne.

“I came to taste you one last time.”

Julian whispered it so quietly that he was barely sure if he’d said it. Noel remained still, cadaver-still, and Julian rolled off of him. Through the darkness, Julian felt Noel’s shock. It seeped into his skin like rainwater.

Lips moved whisper-soft against Julian’s neck, and he felt what Noel was saying. “I love you. I love you.” Over and over. And the small, breathy sounds of Noel crying were almost the same as him coming.

It didn’t seem strange at all to Julian that sadness and sex shared so much—desperation, secrecy, intensity.

Because he had to go back home. Though things would never be right with Julia, though he would never feel the rain-kiss again, he had to go home. His children were there.

Chapter End Notes: This isn’t real, never happened, and I’m not earning any money off of it.

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