for spikendru's BtVs/Ats Crossover Ficathon
beta by lostakasha *luffs hard*
This is my life.
Its not what it was before.
All these feelings I’ve shared.
And these are my dreams
That I’d never lived before.
Somebody shake me,
Cause I ... I must be sleeping*
He'd been in so long that civilization seemed off somehow. No one gave him orders, no one saluted and the colors were brighter. The girls clothing shorter and tighter, the boys dressed heavier and baggier.
He'd been over for so long that America wasn't anything but a fond, strange dream.
They'd offered to send him home, but Booth had chosen LA. For no other reason than because it was the farthest he could land from the east coast and still be under the flag.
He wasn't here for long, at any rate. Just a mandatory thirty day leave and his S.O wouldn't even let him stay on base.
"Get out, Seeley. Hug your mom. Watch football with your dad. Go drinking."
If the first two were directives, it was the only time Booth had ever disregarded anything he was told. If the last one was a suggestion, he took it and ran as if he'd been thrown a pass and the end zone was just in sight, unguarded.
Booth got off the plane and stopped at a liquor store before he checked into the motel room. He was still on airport row, under the flight plan and the cheap plastic frames rattled on the wall in steady fifteen minute intervals. He watched the television blankly, rested back against the thin drywall behind the bed with his boots still on, the bottle open and his glass clean and dry. He emptied the whiskey without once pouring it and opened another, eyes glittering in the dark, still sober.
He hadn't showered since he landed and Seeley imagined that he could feel the constant intrusion of sand under his clothes. In his socks, under his arms, trapped along the waistband of his khakis. Between the leather of the holster strapped to his calf and the gun that wasn't standard issue. It didn't matter. Even when he showered, he never felt clean. He wasn't sure he ever would again.
His shirt was tossed over the back of a chair and he could see the white of his wife-beater glowing against his tan in the shadows contained in the mirror behind the TV. He couldn't see his face and that was fine with Seeley. After looking through a scope and seeing so many other's last expressions, it was better to imagine that he didn't have one at all.
Forty-eight hours and he was out of alcohol.
Six hundred and seventy-two hours left.
Seeley made sure his wallet was in his back pocket and he had his room key as he stepped out into the warm air of the night. Compared to the desert it still felt cold. He realized that he was probably the only one in the entire hotel that had his heater on and not his a/c.
He stopped at the barred window check-in and asked, the gap-toothed clerk pointed without raising his eyes from his portable TV. Booth nodded and walked down the street. Cars passed him, he kicked litter as he strolled along the sidewalk, not looking at anything around him, conscious only of his objective. More to drink. Maybe enough, this time, to get him drunk, get him stoned, let him pass out.
In the small convenience store a young black kid filled a basket with milk and cans of soup. He filled the pockets of his jacket with Twinkies and Ho-Hos. Booth was holding one bottle of Jack Daniels under his arm and taking another from the shelf when the two men burst in through the front door. They waved their guns at the cashier and shouted. Demanded money and Seeley stood completely still, watching. Oblivious to the sweat that ran from his shorter than military haircut and soaked his sleeveless T-shirt and down into the waistband of his pants.
Seeley's expression never changed as he carefully took the second bottle and cradled both of them as he walked up to the counter. Set them down, completely ignoring the two men that screamed at him, their guns inches from his back and chest and head. The quietly whimpering cashier stared at Booth who never took his eyes off him. His hands move liquidly, as if he was under water. Slow. Deliberate.
Booth reached for his wallet, pulled it out and tossed a fifty on the stained Formica.
“Keep the change. Just give me a bag.”
The cursing rose to an incomprehensible noise beside Seeley. Epithets and slurs that Booth didn't even hear. He waited patiently for the clerk to hand him one of the brown paper bags that rested beside the old, scarred register and when he seemed incapable of making the motion, Seeley reached.
Thirty minutes later, Booth was back in his motel room. He had his two bottles of Jack, the television still played on and he eased the shoplifting boy onto his bed.
“No cops. No cops.” The kid's teeth flashed white in the dim room. His hands pinched into Seeley's shoulders.
“Don't worry. You're safe.”
Booth pulled back the boy's pant leg and grimaced at the blood that coated the jeans and dripped steadily to the carpet.
“Gotta bandage this up. Stop the bleeding.”
“Fuckin' hurts, man.”
“Yeah. I know.”
Seeley came back from the bathroom with a wet towel. He fished a clean T-shirt out of his duffle and turned on the bedside lamp. The bullet had gone through the boy's calf, missed the bone and despite all the blood, there was none of the rich red flow that would mean a severed artery.
“This is going to hurt worse.”
Seeley opened a bottle of the Jack with his teeth and poured almost half over the clean wound. He wiped off the excess and tied his shirt around the boy's calf tightly. When he looked up, Booth smiled at the sheen of sweat that covered the young man's bald head and face.
“You did good. You'll be fine.”
“I need to get back--”
Booth had to hold the boy down. He reached with his other hand to his duffle and pulled out a small leather shaving kit.
“You will. But first you need to be still. Stop bleeding.”
Seeley dug out a caramel-colored bottle and popped off the cap. He guesstimated the boy's weight and laughed silently, humorlessly to himself. He had to be taller than Booth and fuck knows, after all but carrying him back to his room, Booth knew he was solid muscle. He shook out three thick white pills.
“Take these. They'll help with the pain.”
More whiskey and a shuddering sigh.
“Not gonna let me die, are you?”
“Sleep, Gunn. I'll be here when you wake up.”
The boy slept. And Booth drank.
Sitting in a chair beside the bed, his feet up on the corner of the mattress. The bottle balanced on his abdomen, just above his pants as four years of unseen television flashed across Seeley's face. He realized that, at least in this particular medium, he hadn't missed anything at all.
One hour before dawn and the heavy traffic on the street in front of the hotel had finally slowed to on ly the occasional car. The plane traffic above had dropped to one every thirty minutes and Booth was halfway into the second bottle. The boy slept on, stirring now and then and slurring out names and words that meant nothing to Seeley. It was only with the shouted 'Alonna' and Gunn trying to climb off and out of the bed that Booth moved. Hands on the broad chest, pushing him back down to sheets that were damp with sweat.
The boy's eyes opened. They were glassy and drugged but there was a spark inside that told Seeley he either hadn't given this kid enough dope or he was really something special.
“Know where you are?”
“Yeah.” Gunn nodded. “A hotel right next to Hell. With the devil himself.”
Booth decreased the pressure on his chest.
“M' fucking thirsty.”
Booth grabbed the open bottle of Jack and Gunn shook his head.
“For water, man.”
A cup of tepid tap water from the bathroom and Gunn was asleep again.
Seeley was down to the last of the Jack Daniel's when Gunn woke up again.
“Are you trying to kill yourself?”
Booth looked over to see glittering eyes watching him in the curtained dark of the room.
“Maybe. Does it matter?”
“Don't you have family? People waiting?”
“Yeah.” Seeley tipped the bottle up and took a long swallow that had long since ceased to burn. “I do.”
Later, Booth would think about the four bottles of whiskey that he'd drank and blame them. He'd use the fatigue and time change, the jet lag as an excuse for moving as fluidly as he did. As easily as he did.
Sliding into the other side of the bed and letting the boy put his arms around him. Letting the whispers of 'thanks' and 'it's okay' pass over and through him as if they didn't matter at all. Watching long, strong, black fingers unbutton his government issue khakis and reach inside. Feeling warm, soft lips on the underside of his jaw and down his neck. Hearing the moan, the light whimper when Gunn moved his leg and wrapped it around Seeley's hip and the quick suck of air, the tighten of muscle, the shudder and twist and tremble as his cock found home and beyond.
And over. And over.
Shirts lifted off, boots finally hitting the floor and the jingle of change and cellophane when pants were pushed off and down. And for a few dark moments, Seeley wasn't thinking about himself at all. For a few precious, precarious minutes he didn't give a shit about the state of his soul.
All he wanted ... all he needed ... all right here ... right now ...
The sheet pooled around Seeley's thighs as Gunn got out of the bed. He dressed slowly, checking the bandage on his leg before pulling up his jeans. Putting a finger through the hole in the denim after tying his shoes. He looked down at Booth.
“You killed those men.”
Booth nodded. Dark brown eyes once again shuttered.
“Never saw anything human move that fast.” Gunn muttered and Seeley watched as he rearranged Twinkies and Ho-Hos in the pockets of his pullover.
Snack cakes and wooden stakes.
“But you are. Human.”
Gunn looked around the room, made sure he had everything he came with and opened the door. Morning cool LA summer air blew in, sucking out the stale smell of sex. Seeley pulled the sheet up higher because it felt like ice.
The door shut and Gunn was gone. Limping away in the early dawn light.
Seeley reached for the last bottle of Jack. A good fourth left. Enough to get him to noon and he waited for the heater to kick on again. He took a drink and whispered to the air.
“I used to think I was.”
*So Far Away by Staind