Patch Job (Incomplete)


Winter in Northern California was different from the winters Florian had grown up with -- never quite as cold as it got in Bucharest, it lacked the same bite... And there wasn't snow, either. Winter here wasn't abrasive and refreshing -- it was wet and heavy, lingering on everything, weighing him down and sinking deep into his bones to create a damp cold that never fully left him, no matter how long he'd been warm and dry...

It was mid-January when it happened -- when Viktor stumbled into the apartment cursing, rain-soaked and shivering, his clothes torn and covered in blood. Usually, most of the blood belonged to someone else. Today, it was mostly Viktor's.

Panic flooded Florian's chest. The world narrowed down to the burst of crimson that bloomed on Viktor's crisp white shirt, slowly spreading across the fabric... Bleeding. Viktor was bleeding. Viktor was hurt. And badly. Viktor had never come back from a job hurt before -- not like this. Not in a way that made his brows furrow and stole the warmth from his skin, leaving him sallow and colorless.

"Fuck..." Viktor muttered, leaning heavily against the wall just inside the door -- which still stood open behind him, the pale gray light of the cloudy winter sky casting him into shadow.

Florian couldn't tell if the beads of moisture that dripped their way down Viktor's cheeks were rain or sweat. He hoped ot God they weren't tears -- he didn't think he could handle seeing Viktor cry. Especially not when he was already freaking out from seeing him hurt like this.

"God--" Florian jumped to his feet, rushing to help his boyfriend into the apartment, closing and locking the door behind him. "What happened!?"

Viktor laughed weakly, a sound that was more of a pained cough than an expression of mirth. "Bad luck happened." He grumbled. His voice was thick with pain, making Florian's chest tighten with sympathy.

"No shit! I mean beyond that -- give me details, Christ..."

They got to the couch and Viktor collapsed onto it, hands pressed to his side. His shirt was torn there, revealing a jagged slash that cut across his abdomen, just barely missing the dark, shaky lines of an tattooed eye that marked the flesh just above his hip bone. The wound was bleeding profusely and now that Viktor wasn't lit from behind, Florian could see it wasn't the only wound. Viktor's lip was split and red marks that would no doubt deepen into purple and black brusies were forming on his cheek and jaw... His nose was bleeding too, but it didn't look like it was broken.

Thank God. Florian didn't have the faintest idea how to set a broken nose -- and they couldn't bring him to the hospital.

"What do you need those for?" Viktor snapped -- he'd rarely spoken quite this harshly to Florian but... It was the pain. Florian knew that. Viktor signed. "You don't want them, Flor. Just... grab a towel..."

Florian pressed his lips together, looking at Viktor for a moment that seemed to last forever, hesitating. No, he had to be firm. "I will -- but you're going to tell me while I patch you up. No lies, no hiding, remember? We don't keep things from each other. We're family."

Viktor fell against the back of the couch, wincing as he did so, another of those weak laughs that sounded more like a cough. He waved his hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah -- I know, I know. You're too nosy..."

"And you're too secretive" Florian replied, glancing over his shoulder at Viktor as he glanced over his shoulder at Viktor, walking into the kitchen and grabbing a tea towel from the drawer. "Where is your patch kit?"

He knew Viktor had to have one -- he knew Viktor must've gotten hurt before and he was too careful not to be prepared.

"Under the sink."

"Great, thank you..." Florian pulled a first aid kit from under the sink, opening it. Inside of the plastic case is what looks like everything he needs to stop the bleeding...

Not that he'd ever done this before. Florians' father may have failed at keeping a lot of the uglier aspects of their family business from him -- or maybe he had exposed Florian to them on purpose, he didn't know -- but Florian's work was... Casual. Get a few college kids buying product, make sure money got where it needed to go, deliver things now and again... It was never anything particularly dangerous, as long as he didn't get caught. And he hadn't. So Florian hadn't ever needed to patch himself -- or anyone else -- up after a job went wrong.

Viktor did deal with the most dangerous aspects -- enforcing Nikolai's orders, taking care of problem customers... Making sure Florian didn't get himself killed through some stupid bullshit stunt like driving without his glasses...

"You have no idea what you're doing, do you?" Viktor replied, looking at Florian with a pained smile on his lips as he walked back into the living room. There was a faint sparkle in his eyes, at least. That gave Florian a bit of hope.

"Do I ever?"

"I can think of a few times..."

"Outside of bed, I mean." Florian said, rolling his eyes.

"Well, let's see -- you know what you're doing in the kitchen, on the couch, in the men's bathroom at Alcina's--"

"I get it!" Florian cried, laughing. "God, even bleeding out you can't stop thinking about fucking me, can you?"

Viktor laughed and then winced, clearly regretting it. "Not my fault, you're the one who's always dragging me off for something or another..." He sighed softly. "Hand me the flask, now push down on that towel."

Florian grabbed the steel flask from the first aid kit, handing it to Viktor, looking at the rest of what was in the kit. He really didn't know what he was doing. Curved needles, fishing line, gauze, bandages, rubbing alcohol, saline solution, sharp scissors, scalpels, super glue, topical anesthetic, duct tape? What the fuck was he supposed to do with all this shit?

"Okay, Viktor I''re gonna need to tell me what to do." Florian admitted, looking back up at Viktor. He could feel his fingers starting to shake, his chest tightening with growing anxiety. Was he pressing too hard? Was he going to hurt Viktor worse? Fuck, fuck, fuck!

Viktor closed his eyes, taking a quick drink from the flask. Florian felt the shudder as it passed through him. "Relax, Flor. Your hands are shaking..."

"No shit! I don't -- I don't want to hurt you!" Florian's voice broke. He's terrified. He didn't want to admit just how scared this situation made him... Seeing Viktor hurt was terrifying.

"Florian -- look at me." Viktor's voice was calm and steady, even if it was rough and pained. He wasn't afraid, even hurt. He wasn't afraid Florian was going to hurt him.

Florian looked up, eyes still wide. "What?"

"I trust you. You can't possibly fuck this worse than I did the first time. Relax, I'll tell you what to do..." Viktor's expression was nearly as calm as his voice, though Florian could see the sweat and rain still beading on his face, he could see the pain in Viktor's eyes, the way his brow furrowed -- the way the color was still draining away.

Florian nodded. "Okay..."

"Good. Lift up the towel, check if it's still bleeding..."

Florian just barely lifted the towel, folding it back so he could look at the wound... It didn't seem to be oozing anymore but... He was pretty sure the cut went deep. The edges were uneven, too. That was bad, wasn't it?

"I think it stopped... Now what?"

"Saline solution. Just...squirt it into the cut, needs...cleaned out." Viktor's voice wasn't as strong as it was earlier -- Florian couldn't tell if it was the pain or if it was blood loss. Hopefully, it was the first.

Florian managed to get the wound cleaned without much difficulty and getting the area numbed was... Easy enough. Just apply the lidocaine. Florian didn't want to know how Viktor got hold of the hospital grade shit -- stolen it? Bought it from someone who stole it? It didn't matter. He was just stalling. The next step made Florian want to cry.

"You need to trim the edges of the cut, Flor." Viktor said. "Sterilize the scissors first then..."

Florian stared at Viktor in disbelief. "What? How does making it bigger help!?"

Viktor grimaced. "Clean edges...close better."

Florian pressed his lips together in a tight line. "I don't..."

No. No, he couldn't. He couldn't freak out, he couldn't give up. Viktor needed him. He needed Florian to help him. Florian needed to keep it together.

Even with the numbing, every snip seemed to cause Viktor's brows to tighten, his body tensing. Florian hated it, he hated every second of it. He was afraid of taking too much, afraid of leaving a wound that couldn't possibly close...

Stitching the wound closed was next and at least this Florian thought he could do -- it wouldn't be pretty. The scar would probably be thick and ugly but... It would be closed, right?

Viktor reached out, gently touching Florian's cheek. "You're doing...fine. Now, you wanted details, right?"

Florian nodded, still keeping his eyes focused on the stitches he was making -- on the needle...slipping into the skin and slipping back out, pulling the wound together. At least it wasn't too wide. "Yeah, yeah, what...what happened?"

"Turns out that some new...players are in town." Viktor started -- his voice sounded particularly strained right now. Is it that he doesn't want to talk? is it the pain? Maybe Florian should stop thinking so much about everything and just... Listen. Focus.

"What do you mean?"

"Your father wanted me to do some recruitment. Recon. Something of that nature -- talk to a few people down south, in Romero Hills. Some fucking American biker gang. Got surprised when a few of their enemies showed up, decided to make an example of everyone in the fucking bar."

Florian winced. "Are you fucking kidding? What the hell?"

"No idea. Anyway,