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Cure for Pain
Thanks to Wendy for betaing.

Morphine. Morphine was lovely, really lovely for an ordinary drug.

Randall sat on the edge of the hospital bed, smirking at him. "It's gonna hurt like hell when they take you off it." He leaned forward, and his chest fell open in flaps. "And I'm gonna enjoy every single minute of it, you tosser."

Stupid Randall. Dead and getting nasty stuff all over him and reading his mind. Just as much of a git as when he had been alive. Maybe more. But that was okay, too. Everything was okay.

"Broken nose, six cracked ribs, a punctured lung, a concussion...I do hope it was worth it," Thomas drawled at him. Disgusted. He'd probably had to interrupt a game of croquet with the countess he was shagging. Ethan thought he must be real, because he didn't remember knowing all that. The doctors hadn't even tried to talk to him yet.

Worth it. Yes. Might've been worth it just for the morphine, even. Couldn't remember the last time he felt so numb. Stuff he used always had a nasty edge underneath it, cutting in even while it took some of the pain away. Tradeoff with the magic.

"We torched the place," Diedre told him. She was smoking, though it was against the rules. Ethan didn't even want a fag. Not now. "Did it in daylight. I think we got about ten of 'em. The head vamp came by to see us later, or tried to. He said you hadn't paid. Said he had to make a statement. I said, well, we just made a statement, too. Fuck with us, and we'll put your arse in a sling. Just because Ripper's gone--"

For one second, the morphine was not enough. Then he remembered, and it was okay. But she had stopped. Must've seen him flinch or something. She took a long drag on her cigarette, then leaned over and kissed him, breathing the smoke into his mouth. He could hardly taste it.

"It's gonna be okay," she whispered quickly, fiercely, as if she was embarrassed. "You're gonna be okay. Life is still a party, right? One guest leaves, another one shows up." She squeezed his fingers.

No, he thought. That's not right at all. When some people leave, the party's over.

"You wanna die, mate? That's all right by me. But for fuck's sake, don't get yourself turned in the process!" Philip. Always thought he was more impressive than he was. Not very impressive at all, when he was five feet and twelve dimensions and Janus knew how many ccs of painkillers away. "You hear me? You hear me, you insane little wanker? I'll slit your throat for you if you want to die that bad. In fact, I'll slit your throat if you ever do anything like this again!"

Threats. He liked threats. But these were the wrong kind. And Philip, Philip couldn't get anywhere near him even without the morphine. Weak. Weak, weak. Philip should have died instead of Randall.

No, he should have died instead of Randall...

No, it was okay. Remember? After everyone else had left? When he was supposed to be asleep?

"Christ, Ethan, Christ..." Gruff voice, thickened with repressed sobs. A hand almost touching his face, hovering over his cheek. It hurt even to have him that close, but the good hurt, the kind he hadn't felt in weeks. "Don't do this. Not for me. I'm not fucking worth it!"

He'd said he'd never, ever come back, but he had. Only for a few minutes, but still. And if he did it once, he could do it again. Ethan just had to figure out how to make it happen.

It was better than the morphine.


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