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Pieces in places [Rabi x Tucker]
Pieces in places [Rabi x Tucker]
Pieces in places [Rabi x Tucker]
September 21, 2019, 08:25:49 PM »
Rabi hadn't shown up at the end of the day on Sunday, and Tuck hadn't seen him the morning after. Which honestly should have come as at least a little bit of a relief, but somehow it didn't. Somehow not knowing where the man was or what he was doing left Tucker feeling distracted and twitchy as he made it through all of his classes. He'd half expected Rabi to show up on the way back to his dorm, but that didn't happen either.
So by the time he did get back he was anxious and cranky, and had every intention of seeking out the little baggie of weed he had rolled up in his sock drawer before trying to attempt any of his homework.
He'd be a hit or two into it before Rabi finally did show up -- not there and then there, sprawling out on his bed, legs stretched, the black eye and split lip still in place. But not the concerned expression, or the nervous looking away. He watched Tucker frankly.
"I hope you really do have a medical card for that."
Slouched at his desk, head back and eyes closed, he didn't notice when Rabi appeared, not until he spoke. It startled him, badly enough he damn near fell out of his chair, choking on smoke. It took a solid minute of coughing,
, to draw an adequate breath, eyes watering and face red.
"Jesus fucking Christ!" It was hoarse and raspy, followed by more coughing.
"Pass it, would you?" He waved a hand vaguely, extended in search of a hit himself. "It's been a rough few hours."
He lifted his hand, joint held between his fingers, and his eyes widened as he took in the sight of Rabi's face. "Shit, what happened?" There was woefully little information Tucker had to work with, but what he did have, the direction that pointed him in, made his anxiety spike back. "Did John do that?"
A beat, a blink -- and then he looked amused, reaching out to steal the joint for a hit. "If the police come around here, you should for
tell them that John did it."
It was just getting worse. "Why would the police come here? You said they wouldn't be able to connect anything back to me." To be fair he hadn't completely believed that, but this was the first time Rabi had suggested it was a possibility.
"You called me an Uber." He shrugged at Tucker, casual, as if it hardly mattered. "After my asshole boyfriend knocked me around. Not that I'll admit to it. But there's a ride on a phone that matches up with it, that took me to my office, and security footage that shows I was there, a couple hours before the fire went up."
He had called for an Uber, but that's where the truth ended, and Tucker's brows creased deeper and deeper as Rabi laid out the story. "But none of that..." He stopped, a hand coming up to comb his finger's through his hair to push it back from his face. "I called the Uber
the fire started, we didn't go to your office." He reached for the joint, hands shaking slightly.
"I never said it was a ride on your phone." He stretched out, taking another pull before he passed the joint over to Tucker. "Hopefully they won't come here. You're not very good at this."
He took a deep pull from the thing as he got it back, sinking back into the chair. "Uber probably keeps records, they're going to see a car showed up there
, and I very much doubt anyone called for one earlier that just happened to go to..." Except someone had, him. "Okay, they'll have the car getting there before, but not leaving." His eyes flicked around the room, like he was trying to work it all out. "And you weren't at your office Saturday afternoon." Who knows where he disappeared to in the evening, but that wasn't here nor there.
"There's video footage that shows I was." He blinked at Tucker, eyebrows raised.
He opened his mouth to ask how, then seemed to think better of it and shook his head instead. A sound caught in his throat, something overwhelmed, or resigned, or both, and the hand not holding the joint had fallen over his face to rub at his eyes. "So John beat the shit out of you, somehow I found out and summoned an Uber to pick you up and take you to your office."
"Yep. He was a controlling fuck, he wouldn't let me have my own cell phone." That much, maybe, was true. He stole the joint back.
There was just the tiniest resistance before he let the joint go. 'How am I supposed to have known? Was I there to see it?"
Rabi shrugged a little bit, waving the joint in the air. "Alternately, you could get that hair pin off your hands and I could leave. Then you can just tell the police I'm a liar and I set the fire. Tell them the truth, no harm no foul."
It would have been the tiddiest solution. He should have just handed it over, but he didn't. Instead he took the joint back.
"In which case, I'd say probably you witnessed a fight in my office, and then I admitted to you that things were rough at home in a moment of weakness." He sprawled back onto the bed, slowly, closing his eyes. "Unwillingly."
"Right," he agreed around the end of the joint, pausing to take another drag. Continuing after he exhaled again. "That works, but what prompted me to send an Uber on that day, at that time? Cause it just being a crazy coincidence that I just happened to send one, and you just happened to not only notice it sitting outside, but realize what it was there for and hop in. That's all really fucking reaching."
"I called you, obviously, as one of the only people who knew what was going on. From the house line." He shook his head just a tiny bit, brushing a hand up the side of his face.
Tucker just shot him a look, brows drawn down and pale features sliding back into the same on-edge crankiness he'd been all afternoon. After a moment he huffed out a sigh, the hand with the joint waving. "Fine, that works."
"Hopefully they won't talk to you directly anyway. I hardly gave them your telephone number." He shook his head a bit, tipping his head back. "You're too much of a disaster."
He looked like he was considering asking whose number Rabi had given but stopped himself from it. He really didn't want to know, and it was probably better that he didn't. To the disaster comment he'd merely offer a derisive snort as he folded his arms on his desk and dropped his chin down on top of them, watching the smoke swirl up from what was left of the joint. "You killed my buzz." More tense now than before he'd started smoking.
"Again, it wouldn't take much for you to be rid of me entirely." He said it smoothly, without sitting up. "You could tell them it was all me."
Tuck didn't bother to look back at him, just stared unhappily forward. "You ready to tell me what's going on yet?" It was so easy to tell himself that was why he was holding onto it.
He thought that over, then tipped his head just a little to watch Tucker through slitted eyes. "Magic, obviously."
"No shit it's magic, people don't just pop in and out of places. They can't make themselves or other people look different." And they can't just start fires like that...but he hadn't seen, being steered towards the door. "
Why did you want me to take it, and what is it? Why burn the house down in the first place?"
Another long pause, and then he sat up, leaning forward on his knees. "Because he did beat the shit out of me. And starved me. And locked me in. So fuck him; he deserved it."
Tuck lifted his head at the tone, then stiffened, eyes going wide and features shutting down. His fingers twisted into his own sleeves, throat moving as he swallowed, and finally he'd jerk his gaze away, breathing just a little too hard now. When he spoke it was hollow, almost deadpan. "He did."
"You going to do the same thing?" It came with a lift of his chin, a mocking lilt sliding into his voice.
He shook his head, too fast, murmuring an almost breathy, "no."
"Uh huh." He sat back as he said it, completely disbelieving, falling back into Tucker's bed.
He shifted, sitting up a little, but only to unfold his arms so he could rest his head against his shaking fingers. "You should have waited until he was in the house..."
"Probably." He said it idly, staring up at the ceiling. "But this way I can make it look like he did it."
There was no response to that, just the deeper inhale that came from taking in another deep pull, and the pause as he held it in. It was all just a little too familiar.
"Does that help any?" He wiggled his fingers, vaguely, in Tucker's direction. "Can I go yet?"
He didn't seem to notice at first, but he'd hand the joint over as he slid the chair up and stood. "I'm going to get something to eat." He seemed very distracted. "Do you want to come?"
"I probably shouldn't. I'm supposedly still in my office." He turned the joint over in his hand, debating. "If you wanted to bring me a sandwich, though, you could."
He was slipping back into his shoes, hadn't looked back. "Sure. What's your favorite?"
He shrugged briefly, dismissively, finishing off the joint and snubbing it out casually with his fingers. "I don't care."
"Okay." He said it as he stepped through the door and let it close softly behind him.
Rabi didn't follow him; didn't bother or didn't care. Instead he just went back to his office, with the door still closed and locked, so no one would know he wasn't there.
Tucker didn't come back for a couple of hours, but the take out container he set on his desk was still hot. A French dip and fries, au jus in a little plastic dish. He didn't see Rabi, again, and just went straight to the bathroom to take a shower.
He didn't show up in the room: had more sense than that, right now, and other things he had to handle. The police would find two of Rabi's paintings in John's office, one slashed with a knife, which should help his case. And Rabi still, theoretically, in his office.
Tuck would show up at the office maybe an hour after he'd gotten back to his own dorm. Long enough to realize Rabi wasn't coming back and to recall what the other man had been saying before Tuck had pretty much ran for it. He had his skateboard in one hand, the take out in the other, but it'd cooled significantly at this point. He used the toe of his shoe to knock.
The first knock wouldn't get a response, but a second one would; a sudden shifting, a rustling and a low grumble, and he'd answer the door. Maybe the bruise around his eye looked a bit nastier, now, blooming. His hair stuck up wildly like he'd been asleep. And he had a harried, worried expression on his face until he saw Tucker and let it relax. "Aha."
"That's really disconcerting," he'd deadpan back, frowning up at the bruise around Rabi's eye.
Rabi raised an eyebrow and stepped back to let him in, smoothing his hair down easily. "I'm brown, and I'm attractive; everyone would suspect me, otherwise."
"Still." He walked past him into the office and set the food on the desk before flopping down into one of the chairs.
"I can take it off, if you'd rather, but..." He shrugged, looking down at the food -- and then grabbed it to sit behind his desk, legs sprawled out, and crack it open. He dug in unhesitatingly, speaking around the food. "I might forget to put it back."
"Not the bruise, the," he paused brows dipped as he thought about how to explain it. "That instant, seamless fade from trauma to fine."
Rabi chewed at the mouthful of sandwich, his head tipped while he considered that. "...you're young."
"It's still creepy." He'd shoved his hands in his pockets, attention turned to one of the paintings but it didn't seem like he was really looking at it. Still distracted.
"Why?" He was working through the sandwich like he hadn't eaten in weeks. Or, at least, like he hadn't eaten since the last time Tucker fed him.
"Because it's like you're wearing a mask, but I can't tell what's real and what's fake." There was something to it, a note of experience, like maybe he wasn't just talking about Rabi.
of it's real." He flicked that away, briefly, shoving another bite of food into his mouth. "Everything is a facade, no? It's a mask."
"So you were always just pretending to be a dick?" There was a bite to it, but then tucker seemed to realize what he'd said and the tension riding in his shoulders loosened with a sigh. "Sorry."
Rabi laughed at him, licking the juice from his fingers as he leaned back in the chair. "This isn't even my face, really, so."
That was strange enough to finally pull Tucker's attention back to the man behind the desk. "What do you really look like?"
"Not like this." It was easy, and dismissive, shoulders hiked up in a shrug. "But life's easier in a human shape."
Tucker frowned thoughtfully. "Why that face, then? If you can be anyone, like anyway you wanted, why did you pick this?"
"It was a while ago. And a different place." It made his casual smile fade away, the flash of amusement on his face.
He nodded, like maybe that made sense, before his head tilted. "Human shape... Does that mean what you really look like isn't...human?" Brows creased. "What
"I don't want to go there." He rolled his shoulders, reaching out to poke through the takeout box for any more crumbs.
It looked like maybe Tucker wanted to push it, but after a handful of seconds his lips pressed into a thin line as he looked back towards the painting he'd been staring at earlier. "Fine." He'd actually gotten a few answers the time around, it was a lot more than he'd been expecting.
"Is that enough, yet?" He rolled a hand, casually, in Tucker's direction. "Or is it making you hold on harder."
Baby blues flicked back, looking at Rabi, at his hand. He did reach into the pocket of his hoody, but what he pulled out was a Hershey bar. He tossed it on Rabi's desk as he reached for his skateboard and stood up. "I don't know."
"Yeah, that sounds familiar." He said it slow, dry, mocking but -- with real heat behind his eyes, when he did. "Every fucking time."
It made him flinch, his hand falling away from the handle on the door. "Why don't you want to tell me what it is?"
"Because I'm pretty sure that once I do you'll change your mind and just hold onto it until the day you die. Or someone steals it from you." It came out low, slow, his head tipping back into the chair.
"Has not telling someone ever kept that from happening?" Dark brows arched earnestly.
"People always find out eventually." It was said a little bit bleakly.
He swallowed, something conflicted flickering through baby blues as his hand started retreating to his pocket. When he realized what he was doing he stopped himself, a small sound catching in his throat. Instead he reached for the handle again, opening the door finally. "I have to get back. I have..." He backed through, lingering for a moment, and then let it close.
Rabi waved, as he went -- just one hand raised, but somehow it was sarcastic.
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