You Are the Sunset On My Skin and the Hatred in My Heart

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. What am I doing with my life?

They... shouldn't work, he supposes. 

Finn's all abstract-concepts and turn of phrases, and Travis is half-paint and knee deep in the curve of shoulders on canvas. Yeah, they're both artists in their ways, but they're so fundamentally different that they should hate each other - Travis bashes Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, and Finn points out that people aren't just figures and that flowers don't mean anything except for being a plant if they don't an explanation. 

God knows they grate on each other's nerves, but Travis has a coiling tattoo of a snake and sometimes Finn wears a flower crown. They don't fit, and they're both far too lanky and graceless, but nobody's stopped them yet, so. 

So they'll keep doing it - whatever it is, with soft kisses in the mornings and the weight of Travis' head on Finn's chest when the Brit just wants to bury himself in the other boy, sink into his warmth and disappear. 

It's not like he's the only one who has problems, either: Finn's got his own palette of issues, a mile-wide long and with the face of his mother. They clink and chime like silver puzzle-piece keychains, so close to fitting yet never realizing that their edges aren't compatible. Molly, their tegu, probably doesn't even realize that Travis never stays the night. She's lumpy and pudgy and happy, an amicable pet who lays easily across Finn's stomach in the early mornings when he's tired and sleep-muzzy, the sky still dark enough for him to pretend that it's night. 

When Travis finally sleeps in his bed, it's two in the morning and Finn doesn't want to notice the way the Brit's freezing and seemingly numb to the core, joints stiff and body all awkward angles, like they're younger again. Finn's saffron-yellow sleep-shirt is stretched at the shoulders and has holes above the hem, but Travis doesn't seem to mind when he slips cold fingers beneath the fabric, flat up against warm skin. 

They're too old to play this game, but they'll do it anyways. Nobody lies better than someone with everything to lose. 

Finn's accent is slowly eroding, worn down by the peculiar syllables of Manchester, and he clings to the words of his home with a fearful disparity. Travis pretends not to notice, but something aches and he doesn't quite know what it is. 

Finn has a key to the Brit's apartment, and Travis knows Finn's room lock well enough to pick it easily. Molly remains in Finn's residence room every night even though all of his stuff is slowly migrating - his toothbrush rests behind the sink tap of Travis' bathroom, light blue and orange and purple jumpers pile themselves on his dresser, mechanical pencils worm their way in-between broken sticks of willow charcoal and 5B pencils.

Finn maintains that he dislikes the early mornings and late nights, but one day Travis finds him on the roof of the apartment building on a quiet, still evening. His legs dangle over the edges, bare heels scraping along the side, hands white-knuckled with their grip. 

"Are you going to jump?" Travis asks, voice inflectionless. 

"I don't know," Finn answers truthfully, head tipping to stare at the sky, all endless-blue and inky-black and murky-white. "Are you going to stop me?"

"I don't know," The Brit parrots back to him, legs folding so that he's sitting cross-legged on the grimy pavement. 

They stay there until the sun rises at slightly-after 7 o'clock, and Finn announces that he has class, hopping off the ledge and heading down to order pancakes at the local diner. Travis doesn't follow him, not right away - instead, he stays there with the biting sunrise, watching the way the sky changes colors, a melting pot of shades. There's one particular green that he thinks would look nice as a jumper, warm and heavy on Finn's shoulders. 

They see each other again later in the day - not an unusual occurrence - with Finn's arms cradled around Molly, taking her out to see the sunlight even though she's wrapped tight with Winnie the Pooh blankets, and Travis walking like he has nowhere to go. 

They spend that night with Finn taping things to his walls that make no sense to anyone but him - photos of fading young women with fleeting smiles adorning their painted lips and messy drawings of lizards done by Adina, two rooms over. He takes down the pictures later and throws them out. Travis doesn't stop him. 

What he does do, however, is read all of the papers strewn like carpeting in messy stacks on the floor, sentences scrawled nearly illegibly across the off-white expanse - because we're dead enough to not care but alive enough to know we should and i remember you yelling but i remember your fists better and one day i'll be ashes and nobody can stop me. 

Finn's a writer, and he bleeds onto his pages the same way that Travis has trouble drawing eyes because drawings aren't meant to have souls. 

"I'm going to ruin you," Travis murmurs one morning, sitting on Finn's desk, hands twisting in his sweater. 

"Of course you are," Finn replies with a perfunctory nod, eyes perfectly clear and sheets around his waist, all bare skin and tilted chin. "I thought that was a given."

They love each other the way an ouroboros loves itself: they don't realize they're eating themselves until it's too late. Travis finds Finn sitting in his apartment one day with a bloody nose and an eye swelling shut. They sit on the couch side-by-side and don't mention it until later, when Travis growls that he's going to destroy anyone who ever touches him like that again, paired with a rough kiss before he's leaving for the elevator, riding it down until he can step out into the cold and flip his collar up against the wind, lighting a cigarette and watching the embers burn in the darkness. I wonder when we'll implode, he doesn't say into the still air. 

One day, Finn leaves and Travis finally finds the exact shade of green from the sky (he could have sworn it'd been up there) that one day, sitting on a watercolor palette waiting for a brush. He paints the things he's lost, and ignores the way his bedside table is empty without the Muriel Barbery books and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The notebooks are gone, but so is the lighter from the kitchen drawer, so he doesn't expect to see the pages of cramped handwriting ever again. 

Travis discovers one day that he's already tearing himself apart from the inside, and Finn calls him one last time before there's too much noise and none of the good kind and silence falls, nothing but screeching metal echoing in their skulls, ricocheting and banging around until someone realizes they can't hear the sound of expanding lungs.

The End

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