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Even watching him felt like being a voyeur. He sat in the corner of the dirty hotel room and traced the sharp tip of a needle over his palm. Starting from the end of his middle finger then up and over the creases in the hollow of his hand, farther, scratching the skin pulled tight and translucent over the throbbing blue veins in his wrist. Along a skinny forearm to the bruised and mottled juncture of the inner elbow. Another puncture wound among dozens. Needle sinking, voice hissing in a pinpoint of pain and then melting to a moan as the plunger pushed warm death down, down into his blood.

Needle out, clatter to the floor, body collapse into the coupling of two stark white walls.

He crawled across the floor on hands and knees, long hair stringy, falling in his eyes. All the way to the corner, rug burn on his knees beneath his jeans, the snap of the needle as he knelt on it. Looking up, chestnut brown stare through a curtain of wild brunet. Stronger arms around a narrow torso, pulling the living corpse away from the solidity of the wall, hauling back out flat against the floor, two bodies aligned. T-shirt soaked with sweat against a naked chest, the skin still vivid white and not sickly blue.

A struggle to lift, body swaying, drunk, carrying an unconscious burden. Stumbling then dropping, yielding bounce of an old hotel mattress. Then the other joins him in the bed.

Eyes half lidded, violent blue peeking from sallow lids and sticky lashes. Lips parted, pale, dry. Breathing so shallow it hardly lifts his chest. But heart beating, determined, bulging the veins in his forehead, distending the red and blue ropes inside his arms like little electric cables. Brain shut off, just one touch to the pleasure center. A sigh.

The other, sweating in the heat, blinking under the weight of alcohol, clinging. Lips pressed to the side of a cool, pale neck, muddy hair a tangled puddle around his head. Feeling every little tremor, every jolt, hearing every beat of the heart with his head pressed to ribs. Watching, listening, drinking in the high he can not touch himself. Sick little satisfaction at the gasps, the throaty groans hidden by a heavy tongue. Feeling with fingers over torso and limbs, groping to touch flesh off limits in the regular lighting of day. Taste skin with trembling, wine poisoned lips. Pulling cotton away, over his head and off his arms. Stripping denim.

Naked. So skinny bones poke out like a cadaver, hips jutting, tiny, pale nipples, ridge after ridge of rib bones. Sharp edge of a collar bone, head lolling back and a kiss to the exposed throat, healthy lips to dying skin. Warm nudity, fleshier hips, pushing up to be nearer, sick, hard warmth between the mostly living and the nearly dead. Blunter fingers, beige skin, curling around one bony upper arm, face buried against an angular shoulder. Moist exhalation of breath.

"I love you, Kurt."

But nothing more than an echo of a weary breath replied.

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