Itch - Julius Everett x Eric Bran

Itch - Julius Everett x Eric Bran

A Chapter by Ai Ri

A sudden itch washed over his skin, crawling down his shoulders and over his arms, setting a tingle in his fingertips which reflexively kneaded the blanket on the bed where he lay. It was one of the decorations in his practically bare room in the dorm besides his laptop, the desk with which it rested on, and his dresser containing many articles of clothing that matched the ones he was currently wearing to a hypothetical T. None of this included the absolutely massive amount of blankets he had folded and piled in the very corner of his room, but that’s besides the point.

His gold eyes that had slowly lost their fiery light as the weeks passed, trailed over to the drawer in his desk under furrowed brows, which only seemed to deepen as he stared at the storage unit with distaste. As if that would burn the contents so that he wouldn’t have to feel the itch under his skin anymore; the one that could only be scratched by something sharp and harsh and cold..

After several moments of useless glaring, he finally sighed in defeat, rolling out of the strangely comfortable bed and walking the few feet to the drawer; his dorm was actually a little smaller than the room he’d had back at home but for some reason, that didn’t really bother him. A muffled grinding noise of wood on wood seemed to echo throughout the empty space, the metallic object inside thunking slightly against the inner walls of the storage unit. He grimaced as the pointed blade somehow seemed to glint off some kind of light even though the room was drenched in blackness, the way the young man liked it.

Julius had long abandoned this particular blade to the drawer so that he wouldn’t be able to use it for the sole purpose he had made it unless he was alone in this room, which he currently was. He was completely alone seeing as everyone else seemed to have their f*****g faces shoved in each other as they attempt to see who can swallow who’s face faster in a contest of sloppy make-outs. He grimaced, a mute snarl pulling at his lips and he practically ripped his shirt off over his head, his hand grabbing at the handle of the tool he once used to create and protect. Now it was his punishment; his torture.

He pressed the inside of the blade where the edge was sharpest to the already heavily marred skin, biting his teeth together as he stilled his resolve and twisted. The knife sliced through his skin easily and he let out a breathy hiss which turned into a sigh of relief as he watched his sickly colored blood spring up in tiny, unconnected beads. He hadn’t gone very deep; the first cut of the session usually isn’t but he quickly changes that as he brings the blade back to his skin again. Line after line is carved into his skin deeper and deeper. The wounds go from beading to welling to dripping continuously down his flesh, tracing over the back of his hand and the creases of his fingers, gathering at the tips and hovering there, poised to fall.

He put down the x-acto blade and grabbed a blood-stained towel from deeper within the drawer, catching the droplets before they could fall and stain the pale carpet below him with evidence of his activities. The color seeped into the already red-stained material, spreading in blotches as slow as a late night breeze would brush across the grass on his house’s backyard lawn. The pain was already ebbing away, leaving only a stinging residue in the hollows of each slice as Julius cleansed and bandaged them.

He sighed when done, staring down at the expertly wrapped gauze around his forearm for several moments before placing all of his materials back inside the drawer. There was no sound after he closed the drawer, pushing it’s dark contents back into their hiding place. The room was empty, the darkness deep and his ears made white noise in the silence that was almost deafening. Without even thinking, he slipped his shirt back on and walked back over to the door, grabbing his keycard off the dresser before barely opening the door enough to allow himself to slide through, closing it as gently as possible. He stood there in the hallway a moment, tired eyes above large bags that he would do anything to make disappear, staring blankly at the ground. He was so lost that he didn’t even hear another set of foot steps approaching from his left, from the end of the hallway.

“Yo, JuJu, what’s happening bro?” Of course it was Eric, when was he ever in the right place at the right time? Never, because being always late to class and hang outs gave him no insight as to when that was, which Julius would assume was not now. His brows slid themselves back into the grooves above his eyes as his mouth twisted into a half-hearted scowl.

“What’s going to happen is my foot is going to go up your a*****e in a matter of point three five seconds the next time you use that absolutely ridiculous and absurd nickname on me again,” He huffs at the end, his shoulders slouching down more than usual as his eyes raked over the other’s stoic expression, if you could even call it that.

Eric just clicked his tongue before continuing, “Well, I suppose that’s one way to go about it.” He slides his hands into the pockets of his pants.

“Is there any particular reason you are bothering me from my obviously way more important activities with your stupid sarcasm and equally stupid feminine glasses-adorned face?” He starts to get nervous that the other is going to ask him to brawl, his pasty digits finding their way to the bandaged wounds through his sleeve, fingertips moving against the material absently.

The ravenet shrugged, “Yes because staring vacantly at the fancy carpet floor while holding onto your doorknob is clearly more important than anything I could possibly have to do.” His eyes catch the movement of the other’s hand and some little red flag goes up in his head, followed by another as he noted the unusually deep slouch in his shoulders and how dark the bags under his eyes were. Had they always been that black? They were like dark whirlpools of exhaustion threatening to swallow his eyes whole, which already looked sunken and duller than what Eric would ever consider normal. “Dude, are you alright?”

“For the metaphorical record, everything I do is infinitely more important and meaningful than whatever your rotten brain could ever hope to come up with.” Julius snapped, “And I’m f*****g fine, Bran. Why don’t you go back to snogging your ditsy, walking-disaster of a girlfriend and leave me alone like everyone else?” With that, he turned to walk away, only to be stopped by something grabbing onto him, wrapping around his bandaged arm where some of the deepest wounds were, causing him to whimper loudly involuntarily.

“Dude, NeNe and I don’t even date anymore, where the hell have you been. And also, what the f**k was that just now?” Eric's words were calm, or he at least hoped they sounded calm after his heart rate spiked for a second at the pained sound from the other. Julius tried to wrench his arm from the other’s grasp, only to find it locked tight.

“Eric, I swear to whatever unmerciful messiahs are watching over and entertaining themselves with your pathetic excuse for an existence that if you do not let go right now, I will bite your fingers off one by one and spit them into the Rec Room,” he attempts to growl, but his voice cracks and he has to swallow once before he succeeds in making the intended noise. Eric's resolve only hardened as he continued to hold on to the other boy.

“No, bro, seriously, what is going on with you. Hardly anyone has seen you for days at a time, let alone long enough to actually ask where the hell you’ve been or what you’ve been doing. You can’t honestly expect me to believe you were doing some super important s**t that you’ve basically abandoned the rest of us-” Julius cuts him off, anger flaring in his stomach as he whips around to face the slightly shorter boy, teeth bared.

“Don’t f*****g talk to me about abandoning people! I was sought after by all the girls! All the guys wanted to be in my group because I had cash and status! I lead an entire group of the worst possible kids for over seven years, bullied people to the point of self harm and suicide, got my a*s handed to me by that same group I leaded only to be saved by some weirdo art kid I used to be friends with. Who, in turn, helped me make more friends, all of which then left me to my own destructive devices when all of said friends found other lonely people to dance around like lovesick puppies.” His anger bubbled to a boil, erupting through his words at the boy that still had his hand clasped around his forearm, eyes shooting daggers with every word.

“Now I have to watch Rylan make big, lovey, goo-goo eyes at Ms. Know-It-All Poindexter while you and Linette thoroughly memorize the taste of the inside of each others’ mouths, leaving me to wander around by myself because everyone is clearly too absorbed in their little red quadrants to give a damn about me. What about everything I did, all the s**t I’ve been through? No one gives a flying dickfuck about that, now do they? No, of course not! It’s not like Julius f*****g Ceasar has any feelings guys, he’s just a god damn a*****e who was never supposed to exist and we all just realized it now. Why don’t we just ignore him until he… he finally…” His words slowly died, trailing off as he let his head fall to his chest, his arm limp in Eric's  grasp, dull teeth pulling in the corner of his bottom lip.

The outburst kind of shocked Eric, despite Julius having them all the time once he was abandoned by his original ‘friend group’. He guessed it had just been a while since he’d heard one. However, the other’s words actually pricked a bit of concern in his chest as the other slowly quieted down and trailed off; he’d never done that during any of his rants before, at least as far as Eric knew. Another red flag stuck itself in the dirt as the ravenet realized what the other had said just a moment ago in his little spiel. He pulled the other closer to him despite his sudden cry of what sounded like pain.

“JuJu, what the hell do you mean ‘destructive devices’? The f**k have you been doing?” The taller boy only struggled to get out of Eric's grasp, trying this way and that to escape, small cries darting past his lips as the material under Eric's hand shifted. The other eventually gave up, releasing his hold on the boy, who fell backwards in surprise. With a quick step, Eric caught him and gently lowered him down to the ground where Julius sat, unmoving. His pale bangs had grown long as the rest of his hair had gotten shaggy, casting a dark shadow over his face from the dim light in the hall. But even the piss-poor lighting couldn’t hide the little beads of  tears the were building up on the boy’s lower lids.

Eric knelt down in front of him with both knees, brushing aside the other’s bangs so he could get a clear look at his face. Yellow-ringed eyes were cast to the side, trying to blink away the tears to no avail, a small hiccup entering his body. Eric could almost feel his heart break. His next words were unusually soft; if Karam had ever heard anything like this come out of his mouth, he never would have lived it down.

“Julius, man, I’m really sorry. I,” he hesitated for a split second, another penalty Karam would not have let go. “I had no idea we were causing you this much pain, none of us did, I just-” His eyes trailed down the boy’s smooth, pale face as a tear spilled over the edge of the other’s eye, “What have you been doing all this time?” No answer. Eric let the other’s bangs fall back into place but his hand stayed on his almost white cheek, thumbing away the tears the boy produced. “Everett, come on man. Talk to me. We’re bros, aren’t we? That hasn’t changed.” Still no answer and Eric's heart sunk into his stomach. “Julius, please, say something.”

“I have nothing to say to you, Bran,” was the reply, “Just f*****g leave me alone already.”

“Right, like I’m going to do that kind of thing after that outburst.” Eric stood up, his hands finding their way under the other’s armpits and lifting him up to gently set him on his feet, who huffed and swatted the other boy’s hands away.

“Look at that, I’m now standing up like I was before you decided to forcefully stop me from going back to the still more important than you business I had to attend." He quickly used his sleeve to wipe the remaining tear residue from his cheeks. "Are you quite pleased with yourself you obsolete, sloppy piece of horse nasal mucus?” Julius's scowl deepened as he looked back up at Eric, cheeks still retaining traces of a red flush, his ear tips tinged equally so.

“Well, I wouldn’t have had to pick you up if you hadn’t flipped out when I grabbed you. What the hell was up with that, man?” The slightly smaller boy peered into the other’s face, leaning in so they were only several inches apart. Julius could feel fear trickle into his chest as he absently scratched at his arms yet again, fingers digging into the fabric but not his nails as he kept eye contact with the barista.

“What was up is your skin-blotched and upturned nose, which is sniffing around in my god damn business like Linette in your f*****g hair when you’re doing god knows what in that back closet at the cafe, in which you produce noises that I can only fathom are as disgusting lewd and obscene as the actions that are causing them because what the hell else would a couple be doing in a god damn closet?”

“Yo, I already told you we aren’t together anymore,” the ravenet replied a he grit his teeth in annoyance at the other’s blatant disregard in this fact, “Stop avoiding the question.”

“What the hell question would that be, Eric?”

“What did you mean earlier by ‘destructive devices’?”

A twitch; thin fingers seeming to increase in ferocity as they attacked his arm, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“JuJu, don’t even try and play dumb with me yo, you just said it in your little over-dramatic monologue before you had a bigger fit than usual,” he slapped the moving hand away from the arm currently being attacked, “and will you stop f*****g doing that? You’re gunna hurt yourself!”

“And why the ever-loving f**k would you care? The only reason you’re even here now is because you need someone to comfort you after breaking up with my old crush who isn’t love-stupid.” The fear Julius felt turned into anger and he balled his hands into fists, “What right do you have to try and console me when that’s clearly all you want from everyone else; to be constantly comforted about every insecurity you have about your f*****g raps and your totally uncool and unironic self? It’s disgusting Eric and I am not going to deal with it! Not now, not ever!” His fist connected to the other boy’s chest, actually giving enough force to make him slam into the wall.

Eric's mouth dropped open as he felt the air knocked out of him, on hand reflexively bring itself to the area of injury as he bowed over, mouth opening and closing a few times before he remembered how to take in air. His head was spinning from connecting with the wall behind him and his vision danced as he blinked to clear it. Julius stared wide-eyed at the bent over boy in front of him, hand still in the air, fingers now splayed openly. His brain was screaming at him to run but his feet were rooted to the carpet as if the designs had reached up and entangled his limbs, eyes watching as the ravenet in front of him struggled to regain his breathing.

“I, s**t Eric. I didn’t mean- I just-” He was cut off by a hand wrapping itself around the collar of his shirt and his own back being pinned to wall behind him. It wasn’t meant to be forceful or to cause injury, just to hold Julius in place as Eric leaned in, his face barely a hairsbreadth away from the terrified one below him.

“No, you didn’t mean to, you just wanted to take out your anger on something other than yourself for once. I get it, I’ve been there too. I know what you’ve done so much better than anyone else because, even though it definitely wasn’t for the same reasons, it was still the same punishment I gave myself.” He was so close that the freshman could almost swear he could see the outline of the other’s eyes behind his dark and reflective shades in the poorly lit hallway. “But is that really a reason to lock yourself away for so long that most of us actually went out looking for you, even Linette? We didn’t know whether you were hurt or lost or some other stupid s**t you’d gotten yourself into. We all thought- I thought…” His words trailed off as he turned his head away from Julius's face and stepped back, his grip loosening around the other’s shirt before his hands fell to his sides.

Blinking back tears that had reformed from shock and guilt, Julius hesitated before reaching out, two fingers latching onto the sleeve of Eric's wrist. The red material hardly crinkled under his light grip but it was enough to turn Eric's head back to him. He swallowed hard, trying to force down whatever emotion was trying to choke him up on his next words.

“I’m sorry. No, I really am,” he said when the other’s opened his mouth to argue, “I wasn’t thinking and I let my emotions take control of my actions. I f*****g punched you so hard you couldn’t breathe, Erry. I got so caught up in my own self-loathing and my anger that I cut myself off from the people who could have been helping me and now I just…” He held up his arms, staring down at them with harsh scrutiny before he threw them back down in disgust and sighed. Eric watched him for a moment before he held out his arms in an open gesture, rewarding him with a strange look from the troll.

“Come on dude,” he said, his voice back to being stoic and yet tinged with sass, “Give me a f*****g hug.”

“Ex-f*****g-cuse me?” A blond brow rose above is deeply set resting place to arch above Julius's eye.

“I’m pretty sure you heard me unless you call them something else like ‘physically complicating emotional embrace’ or some dumb s**t like that.” 

“Who the f**k would ever call it something as dumb as that?” Now his eyes rolled before he stepped towards the other human, “Whatever, why do I even care anymore?” His heavily-sleeved arms wrapped tentatively around the muscle-bound waist of Eric and gave an experimental squeeze. When he was met with the other’s arms wrapping around him and himself being pressed into a surprisingly soft and warm embrace, he wasted no time in digging his fingers into the other’s shirt, his own freckled nose burying itself into Eric's shoulder, followed by the rest of his face. It was pretty nice, actually, just being held and warm. He had a feeling he was going to be asking for way more of these hugs from Eric from now on. 

After what seemed like forever, not that Julius really minded, they released their holds on each other and Eric's hand founds it’s way to the back of his tanned neck, “You cool now, bro?”

The shorter boy paused and then slowly nodded, “Yeah, actually.” His eyes flashed back up to Eric, “Now what?”

“Now, we go back to common room before Sam finds us and we both get a long-winded lecture that Karam has to intervene by adding a comment about how Sam is one to talk about such things.” Julius blinked for a second before he actually snorted at the reply. He slapped a hand over his mouth to silence the sound, causing Eric's to twist into a small but victorious grin. A smaller one slipped over Julius's before he started walking down the hallway towards the elevator.

“Fine, come on then your f*****g highness.”

“With pleasure, my liege.”



© 2016 Ai Ri


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Added on August 23, 2016
Last Updated on August 23, 2016


Author

Ai Ri
Ai Ri

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