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last night out

Rent boy; hustler; fille de joie; prostitute—he might be a little expensive, but Elliot knows he's a whore, plain and simple.

He doesn't give blow jobs for a twenty and won't take less than two hundred an hour, but it's not like this is something he does in a pretty little bathhouse or whatever. He spends the money johns hand over as soon as it hits his palm and it appropriately feeds the addiction that started all this.

He doesn't let anyone leave him on a hotel bed strewn with paper bills—he leaves first, no ifs ands or buts. Post-coital snuggling will cost you more than the fuck did, at that.

He's done decently for himself, he thinks. Sure, he's five-eleven and weighs about one-thirty, but emaciated seems to do it for a lot of the men. And he had to drop out of college because his parents noticed the bank account seemed to decrease faster than their careful calculations had intended, but he'd been an undecided major the day he left campus and he still doesn't know what he wants to do.

But when he says decently, he's thinking more along the lines of his, uh, 'temporary career'. He doesn't pretend he's rich shit, even if he charges more than the bleach blonde tramp that stands on the corner across from him in tacky pink stilettos. He's as clean as they come—smack in the middle of the streets of Chicago and Elliot can proudly inform you that he gets tested every three months and he's negative across the board.

And he's gotten excellent clients—y'know, the type that come back for more, learn his rules, start seeing him more than they see their wives. Elliot's not the type to cuddle and the one time he got one of the really old touchy-feely types who just wanted to hold him, he got five hundred for twenty minutes of innocent spooning.

And he always leaves first.

Even with these types, he notes, flicking his cigarette once, twice, three times with a trembling hand before dropping the filter and putting it out with his heel. There's a car ten or fifteen feet away and it's been lurking for ages now. The guy that occasionally twists around to look at Elliot has a pretty awful sneer—the kind of face that he really thinks not even a mother can learn to love—and obviously intends to be especially rough by the derisive-but-oh-so-wanting glares. They—the self-loathing types—still let him leave first, however bruised or dirtied he may be, because he's good at what he does. They never get to leave him behind, never get their last chance to do something to make themselves feel better, like spit on him or call him a whore (even though, y'know, it's the truth).

They're actually his favorite type of client. Cigarette finished, it's not like he has anything better to do than add another shiner to the long list of pretty black eyes he's gotten, right?

With the usual guarded gait, he sidles past the car like he's not coming over, not interested, not what you're looking for—

Waits appropriately for the clichéd, gruff "get in" and smiles lazily, taking a few steps back and tugging open the passenger door.

There's no talk with this guy—Elliot likes that. It's not like he doesn't have a big mouth, because god, he never used to shut up when he hung out with Ethan or Miranda, but he really doesn't care for the conversations some of these men feel compelled to dredge up. Y'know, was he a boy scout, did he play any sports, does he know how perfect-and-flawless his skin is while they run calloused fingertips over his arm. (Please, a note: don't touch the merchandise until you've paid, Mr. Gropey-in-the-Blue-Volvo.)

But this guy is quiet. Not, like, serene or anything. He's gripping the wheel like he wants to rip it to shreds, and Elliot can't help but smile at that because god, what might happen to him when he's under those hands could be a fucking party.

Halfway to whatever location he's going to get thoroughly fucked at, Elliot gets handed a wad of cash. It's a surprisingly decent amount for being so far in advance—because, y'know, some whores trick more than they treat—but Elliot's not complaining. A few flips through guarantees El' enough speed to be shooting up for... three days.

Trust him, it's actually more impressive than it sounds. Back in the day, it'd last him weeks. You know, when he did it to feel high, wasn't an addict, blah blah blah—

Anyway.

Elliot wishes this guy had a little more class, because like the old, sputtering Dodge he drives, the motel he treats him to is dingy and probably houses more moths than guests.

The handful of bills in his back pocket reminds him not to get too picky, and so he simply leans against the wall, watching the man pay for a room. The exchange is a little shadier than Elliot's used to—no credit cards, no driver's license check, and the woman behind the desk doesn't even take a name.

Whatever, like anonymity is a bad thing.

He lets the man tug him toward the door leading to the stairs, dismisses the absentminded 'I'm clean' because words mean nothing and Elliot's still going to make him wear protection. (Remember, he's good at what he does, and that means everything.) When they exit the stairwell and reach the '301' labeled door, Elliot just smiles patiently while the larger man fumbles with the key. (Card keys, Elliot notes, are actually just as much of a pain as this traditional kind. Doesn't help that the lack of a card key reminds Elliot just how run-down this place is.)

Elliot hasn't bothered saying anything yet because it's been unnecessary, and the man's only given him four words and the name 'Jerry' which is so terribly plain, it's either a lie or the tragic truth. Least the man deserves is an interesting name, when his face is so misfortunate.

As judgmental as that train of thought seems, though, Elliot's going to be nice—he's always nice, really, except when people grate on his nerves. So he smiles, still placid, and his hands fool absently with his shirt collar. "D'you have a preference for where we do it?" he asks.

If he doesn't, Elliot's vying for the bed (and preferably, on top of the sheets because god knows what's under them). When he's going to get treated roughly, he at least wants a soft surface.

He's actually steered in that direction rather than given a reply. The man's less angry looking at the moment, almost awkward in the way he tries to tug at Elliot's shirt.

"Here," Elliot reassures, covering his hands—they're huge in comparison to his, and at least five shades tanned darker, "I'll do it for you." He makes quick work of the buttons, and he expects some kind of relief or tentativeness in the man's eyes—maybe even anger or frustration—but not smugness.

"Knew you were gonna like this," he says, and Elliot's mildly confused because, uh, of course he is, there's money in his pocket and his body's waiting to nurse some well-placed wounds and some really good speed—was he supposed to look sad or humiliated about this or something?

He opens his mouth to respond—not tartly, like he wants to, but curiously—when the man supposedly named Jerry continues. "All of you are the same, you all just want a bunch of Ben Franklins and a cock and you're happy no matter what happens."

This talk isn't even mildly dirty, Elliot begins to realize. It's genuine anger, and it's not self-hatred, it's pure, unadulterated loathing for him.

He never did anything to this guy, he's never met him, and he keeps saying things like 'you all' in his quickly-becoming-a-rant and it hits Elliot—this isn't a john.

He doesn't want sex.

He doesn't want to cuddle.

He doesn't want to beat up Elliot because he's too much of a coward to hurt himself.

Whatever the reason is—a dad that left his mom for another man, molestation, bullying, television, what-the-fuck-ever—Elliot's not supposed to get out of this without at least a concussion, by the look in this man's eyes.

"Uh, I'm... I'm going to get a drink," he says quietly, and the words are barely acknowledged underneath the rambling, profane tirade. So he mistakenly tries to just, well, go—and by go we mean bolt out of the bedroom—and of course, Jerry's taking off right behind him.

"Where the fuck d'you think you're going, you fag?" The anger's being replaced by some kind of anticipation, and suddenly Elliot feels like a rabbit, not a cute, well-dressed speed-freak. (Hell, maybe if he had some amphetamine in him, he'd be a little less terrified of the impending doom over his shoulder.)

He makes it out of the bedroom at least, nearly to the door before that's blocked by Jerry. Elliot bites hard at his lip—usually to stifle a moan or play hard-to-get, but right now it's to the point where he's drawing blood because he's scared shitless—and turns right around.

There's nowhere to go if Jerry stays by the door, he tries to rationalize—rationalize, right, when his body's screaming for another fix and his brain is informing him just how close he is to getting beaten to death by a gay-hating townie.

So he tries placating when he finds himself facing Jerry and backing up with no idea of what the hell's behind him. "Listen, I'm sorry, I thought you wanted to—"

"Already knew what you thought I wanted, you little shit." Okay, so not only did placating not work, but Jerry's all sing-song now, and Elliot's going to die—really fucking die, end-of-it-all—if he doesn't figure out something to do.

"Please, you can have the money back and I'll leave, and I won't say a word and—" The rambling plea is cut off effectively by a blow Elliot didn't even see coming. Funny, he thinks dimly, a hand reaching up to touch the stinging cheek—he's usually got better reflexes when he doesn't want to get punched in the face.

Elliot already tastes blood and he doesn't get to relish in a kind of pain he hasn't felt in a while—the bruising kind he doesn't ask for, tries to avoid, hasn't known since high school when Brian Harris hated him for being queer—because barely a few seconds after he felt the punch another one follows through, this time to his stomach.

His empty stomach, his very concave-these-days stomach, the one fragile part of Elliot that he likes to keep relatively unwounded and god it hurts like a bitch. He swears, and Jerry reiterates just how incredibly gay he is.

Right, the reason he's doubled over in pain is because he's a fairy, not because he's been shooting up for years and really is about as weak as he looks.

Whatever, though. He doesn't exactly intend to try and change the guy's mind when he's busy trying to dodge another blow, his skull barely escaping the collision. Stumbling slightly, he gets about a foot's distance before he tries to shove back—and see, the key word here is 'tries' because Elliot isn't stupid and he knows just how weak he is when he's jonesing for a fix.

Jerry catches his wrist and squeezes and ohgodohgod it hurts please don't fucking break itpleasedon't goes Elliot's brain. He twists it but it's okay, Elliot tries to breathe, as okay as it's going to get when he's about to die in a seedy motel without even a fucking Adderall pill or something—

"Why're you shaking?" he asks, fake concern dripping off of his tongue. He twists harder, and Elliot winces. "Your girly little hands are shaking like you're scared. Are you scared?"

No, Elliot thinks mindlessly, I need to fucking score tonight but it looks like that's not happening, you fucking douchebag, I need it, need it now, and that's why I'm shaking.

"Or is it 'cause you like it?"

Whatever, whatever—Elliot shakes his head then nods it all in one fluid, meaningless motion, because if this guy wants to beat him up and leave him half-dead, fine, just leave him with enough strength to dial someone to pick him up (Ethan still cares, he visited the apartment a week ago) and the money and he won't complain, won't fucking care. Hell, he'll take pictures and frame them on the wall if he'll just fucking—

"Let go, goddammit!" Elliot yelps when he twists harder and god, something did break that time, and it hurts, doesn't hurt good, hurts bad, and now everything's a run-on sentence in his brain so he's definitely not getting out of this.

He sees another swing coming and he's so proud at first, proud that he shifts enough to dodge it, but then the other hand shoves against his chest and he stumbles.

That would be okay in other scenarios, he wouldn't mind falling on his ass, but he's so fucking out of it right now, shaking more than when he'd first dropped that half-finished cigarette, not sure whether his brain is begging for a fix or a flight— and he slips.

He doesn't fall on his ass.

The last thing he sees (last person, last face, last image he'll ever get) is Jerry looking startled, and the last thing he feels is the corner of the tiny pseudo-kitchen counter colliding with the back of his head.

Turns out Elliot's not leaving first tonight.