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DJ ([personal profile] djsoliloquy) wrote2013-02-12 04:06 pm

[Gentlemen Bastards] Confidence Game

Fandom: Gentleman Bastard Sequence
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Sanza twins
Summary: Fill from the kinkmeme. Hurt/comfort after a close call.


It's bad timing, a slip at just the wrong moment but not much of one overall—Calo has time to wrap the cut on his hand while Galdo hisses a quick apology—and it’s nowhere near enough to counter how they are just that good. All of them celebrate victory with their heads only mildly attuned to thoughts of averted dismemberment and torn throats.

"Let's never do that again," Locke says with a laugh, speaking for all of them. They know he means the blunder, not the entire event. He doesn't look at the Sanzas when he says it. Jean glances at them once, laughing right along but with remnants of tension at the corners of his mouth.

The festive air holds through dinner, their satisfaction broken only by moments of quiet that may run darker than usual, and by Calo forced to favor one hand during the meal. Chains notices but says nothing, just lets them figure it out while his knowing looks sear through their pockets of silence.

By morning it’s all where it should be—in the past. Learned from and more or less forgotten, not mentioned again.


Something remains quietly amiss about Galdo. Thoughts swarm like flies around him, building in clouds over a slow source of decay too small for anyone to see.

Anyone but Calo, at least.

He picks up clues and tipoffs that Locke and Jean and probably Chains haven’t even spotted, but honestly he already knows what’s going around in Galdo’s head. He can guess the form it takes—how one near-miss raises the specter of failure despite every success before or after, despite how they all of them should know better than to distrust themselves. He knows it bothers his brother as sure as it’s possible to stand in the dark and feel another person in room. Somewhere private and deep down Galdo is pissed off with himself and nobody but Calo catches the slightest hint of it.

They don’t speak of it all day. Somehow they’re never alone together, and Calo doesn’t want to do it in front of everyone. In the evening, he sits by himself and makes an intentional mess of bandaging his own hand. It would have taken longer to lure a shark by soaking the wound in a canal than it does Galdo to appear and seize the dressing with a scoff at the pitiable attempt.

Galdo untangles the binding from around the wound, and Calo waits to speak until he begins to wrap again.

“You certainly fucked up last night, didn’t you?” he starts, and before too much blood can drain from Galdo’s face he adds, “As if you weren’t already at a disadvantage in the realm of striking good looks, and now this.” He smirks and waves with his injured hand. “How the ladies will swoon as I invent exploits behind this scar.”

It’s clear just how bad things are when Galdo fails to offer an instant retort. The silence that opens between them pains Calo worse than the gash on his palm.

“Knock it off,” he says.

Galdo doesn’t even have the decency to smirk. “It’s nothing,” he says.

“No, it’s bullshit,” Calo says, unsettled to catch hints of fear as well as anger in his brother’s voice—that Galdo isn’t just irritated at himself, but spooked. Calo lowers his voice. “You work as hard as everyone else. We’re not steps ahead because we just happen to be, we’re ahead because we take the damn steps. We’re careful and you act like that’s for nothing all of a sudden. How does that help, anyway?”

“I know.” Galdo makes a face at him and shrugs as he returns to wrapping Calo’s hand. “It could have been worse.”

His tone brands it a mixture of agreement and dismissal, which fools neither of them. It rings too much of the fear they never, ever voice aloud and that centers vaguely around the word alone. It could have been worse.

For a long moment they stare at Calo’s hand instead of each other.

“Not a chance,” Calo says. He pitches gently forward till his forehead bumps against Galdo, by the ear or the start of his neck. A motion reminiscent of when they were very young and would cling to each other for security, to confirm each other, holding tight until they fit, matched, or were mirrored down to their heartbeats. Then Galdo leans back into him, propping each other up.

“Stop beating yourself up about it before I start beating you up about it.” Calo holds his hand to Galdo’s, a fair perfect match, pressing finger to finger. “You want to be rid of the competition you’ll have to do better than a little cut.”

And Galdo presses back, bone for bone. “Readier and carefuler than everyone else,” he says like a promise, curling their hands so the palms press together. “How unexpected, we still fit. Guess it wasn’t that big a slip after all. Luckily for you no one will be able to see that disfiguring scar in the dark.”

“And fear not, if it happens again I’ll just drag you down with me.” And between them their hands clasp together like they intend never to let go.

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