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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317498
In which estranged siblings Jet and Kai reunite
The last time his little brother threw up on him, Jet was eleven and Kai was seven.
A particularly virulent strain of flu had ripped through Thailand, felling people left and right. The virus had hit Kai particularly hard. But it had hit him in the middle of the school day, and because he’d always been a stubborn little shit, he’d muscled his way through.
Until Jet saw him and dragged his ass home.
Once they got through the front door of the orphanage, the nuns barely had time to gasp over Kai’s state before he’d thrown up all over the front room tile, then all over the dormitory and the bathroom floor--and all over Jet.
At least this time, there was only vomit on his shoes.
“Easy Kai,” Jet steadies his younger brother’s shoulders as Kai’s body heaves, then eases him back against the alley wall once the gags and heaves turn to shallow gasps. “Just take it easy.”
“I’m sorry,” the words are slightly garbled as Kai swallows, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth.
“Don’t be. It’s not like you haven’t done it before.” Jet’s not sure if Kai can see him smile, but he does it anyway. “Do I have to ask if you’re drunk?”
Kai’s forehead wrinkles as though he would raise his eyebrows if not for the dried blood keeping them in place. “Allergy.”
Jet raises his eyebrows. “You’re allergic to alcohol?”
“Which you would know about,” Kai retorts. “If you stuck around long enough.”
Fair point.
“My phone,” Kai’s fingers are fumbling toward his pocket. “Where’s my phone?”
“Still in your pocket unless you took it out between now and when you left the club.” Jet glances around the alley, just in case. Not that he’ll be able to see much in the dark, but it’s worth a shot.
“It’s here,” Behind him, Kai lets out a sigh of relief as he pulls his still intact phone from his pocket. “I thought they’d taken it.”
“Can you stand?” Jet takes Kai’s shoulders in case his younger brother isn’t steady yet. “Let me—”
“Get the hell off, I can do it on my own.” Kai braces his feet against the floor of the alley, and his back against the wall in an effort to lever himself to a standing position. His shoes skid against the muck on the ground and he doesn’t get very far.
“Of course you can,” Jet grasps Kai under the arms and hauls him upright. “Come on.”
“Get the hell away from me.”
“You want to stay in this alley?”
“Don’t be stupid,” Kai pushes himself away from the wall only to have his knees buckle a second time. He would have toppled if Jet wasn’t holding on to him. “My feet don’t work.”
“You may not be drunk, but you sound like it,” Jet keeps one arm around Kai’s waist. “Lean on me if you need to.”
Kai glares, but does as he’s told. It’s not like he can walk in a straight line at the moment anyway. Jet loops one of Kai’s arms around his neck as they make their way down the alley. Once they’re back on the main streets, one or two people glance their way but most seem too occupied with their own business, for which Jet is grateful.
“I’m really sorry about your shoes,” Kai actually sounds regretful this time, and Jet smiles at him.
“Don’t worry about it. Hang on a second while I unlock the car.”
Kai blinks at the vehicle in front of him. “You drive a luxury car?”
Jet gives him a Look. “I drive a Lexus, yeah.”
The Lexus can be unlocked with a fob, which is another stroke of luck because Jet is too occupied with keeping his younger brother upright to worry about juggling keys. Now that they’re under street lights, Jet gets a better look at his brother’s overall state.
One half of Kai’s head is matted with blood, some of which has crusted on one of his eyebrows, sealing shut the eye below it, and there are dried red streaks down one of his cheeks. Kai’s face is clammy and white as a corpse and his speech is definitely slurring.
“Lexus, that’s what I said.” Kai tries to nod, but doesn’t seem to be able to. He winces, one hand going to the gash above his brow. “My head hurts.”
“I know. Get in the car.” Jet eases him into the passenger seat. By the time he’s gone around to the driver’s side, Kai’s head is lolling. “Kai, don’t sleep, do you hear me?”
“I mean it,” Jet starts the car. “I don’t know if you have a concussion, so you can’t fall asleep, ok?”
“I won’t sleep.” Kai is silent for a minute. “What are you doing here?”
“Other than saving your ass?”
“It’s nice to hear you say my name,” Jet keeps his eye on the traffic rather than on risking a glance at Kai’s face. Watching those two thugs work his younger brother over had made him feel sicker than he’d felt in years. “But you used to call me ‘Hia’.”
“I also used to be shorter than you,” Kai grumbles, ignoring the unspoken invitation to use the familial term of endearment.
“You still are, by a couple of inches.”
“Answer the damn question.”
Jet glances over at him, eyebrows raised. “Missing my little brother isn’t a good enough reason?”
“Hasn’t been for the last ten years, so what’s different now?”
Kai’s answer hurts Jet more than he wants to admit. Nevermind that it’s partly true. But it’s not like leaving was his choice, was it? Mali had found a way to stay in contact with him, so why hadn’t Kai?
“Why don’t you tell me the reason you were getting beaten to a pulp first?”
Kai is silent. So silent for so long, that Jet wonders if he’s passed out. When he does speak, it’s not the answer Jet wants to hear.
“They wanted something from me.”
“Your phone?” Jet clenches his jaw when Kai doesn’t answer, deciding to push. “They knew your name.”
“I knew theirs, too,” Kai leans his head against the window. He seems to be fighting to keep his eyes open. “It’s how I knew exactly what they wanted.”
“Which was?”
“Were you following me?” Clearly, there’s only so far that Kai’s willing to be pushed.
“Yes,” Jet keeps his eyes on the road. “Don’t tell me you could have handled that on your own.”
Jet isn’t sure if Kai’s answer is a denial or not, but given his current state, Jet doesn’t really care. Mostly, he just wants to keep Kai talking.
“I won’t sleep,” Kai seems to be saying it both to reassure Jet and himself. “Promise. Just drive.”
Despite every instinct screaming at him to take Kai to the hospital, Jet drives in the opposite direction--to the condo he’s been staying at since his return to Bangkok. It’s also in Thonglor, which is a little too trendy for Jet’s taste, but he doesn’t really want to get a hotel room if he’s got a friend to stay with instead. Particularly if that friend is letting him stay rent free.
The bad part is that the condo in question is on the top floor and the elevator is currently out of service. In spite of his words, Kai’s eyes are half shut when Jet pulls him out of the car, and by the time they reach the condo, Jet all but carries him through the door and into the front room. The condo is spacious, classy, and brightly lit. Kai blinks at both the sudden change of light and the man who springs up from the couch as they enter.
“What the hell?” Kit, a long time friend of Jet’s and condo’s owner, stares at the bizarre picture in front of him.
“Things didn’t go as planned,” Jet’s face is expressionless as he removes both his shoes and Kai’s, but his eyes spark with a warning that Kit doesn’t altogether ignore.
“I can see that. What does the other guy look like? And what the hell happened to your shoes?”
“Guys,” Kai corrects him. He leans against the door and lets Jet help him take off his shoes. “There were two of them. Waiting for me. I got sick on Jet’s shoes.”
“Right.” Kit’s mouth twitches with either sympathy or amusement or a combination of both. Jet isn’t sure.
“You got any iodine?” The tone of Jet’s voice makes it sound like a demand, rather than a question. The look on Jet’s face tells Kit that right now is not the time to ask questions or be amused.
“Yeah, I’ve got iodine.” Kit doesn’t look the least bit offended by Jet’s tone. “I’ll get it.”
Kit disappears into the bathroom as Jet takes Kai into the bedroom.
“Who is that?” Kai mumbles.
“He’s going to help.” Jet lowers his little brother onto the edge of the king size bed which takes up most of the floor space.
“I didn’t ask what he was going to do,” Kai glares as best he can. “I asked who he is.”
“A friend of mine.” Jet turns on the light so that he can see Kai’s injuries better.
“You tell a friend you’re back in Bangkok, but you don’t tell me.” Kai makes it a statement, rather than a question.
“He’s got a free bedroom. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of that?” Jet keeps his back to him until he gets his face back under control, but when he turns back to the bed, Kai is slumping in a way he doesn’t like. “You want to lie down?”
“No.” But Kai pitches forward off the bed and Jet barely catches him before he hits the floor. “I said I don’t want to lie down. I want to sit.”
“I heard you,” Jet eases his little brother from the edge of the bed to the floor, so that he’s leaning against the bed frame instead. At least, on the floor, Kai doesn’t have as far to fall. “Just sit here, then, and be quiet for a minute.”
“Stop telling me what to do.”
“Only once you listen.”
Kai shoots him another pathetic excuse for a glare, but he shuts up. Kit comes into the bedroom. Not only has he brought iodine, but also wet cloths, bruise cream, cotton swabs, and bandages. He pauses at the sight of Kai on the floor instead of the bed.
“I don’t want to get iodine stains on your bed.” Jet says.
“I didn’t say anything,” Kit hands Jet a bottle of painkillers and a full glass of water. “ Give him these, too. You need anything else?”
“If I do, I’ll tell you.” Jet takes the medical supplies from Kit, and answers his friend’s silent question. “I’ll talk to you in a minute.”
“You got it,” Kit closes the door, leaving the two brothers alone.
“Here,” Jet presses the water glass against Kai’s lips. “Drink slowly.”
Kai takes a sip, chokes, then takes a smaller sip. “I can do it myself.”
“Do it, then. But slowly. Don’t choke yourself.” Jet puts the glass in one of Kai’s hands, and opens the bottle of painkillers. “These will help.”
Kai silently swallows the painkillers, finishing the water. He stays silent, leaning his head back against the bed frame. Jet takes the glass, and sponges him down with the wet cloths, careful to get both the dirt and the dried blood off his little brother’s skin without hurting him too much.
Aside from the blood on his head, both of Kai’s arms are covered with various scrapes and bruises, and there are a few welts on his face that will probably darken to bruises by morning. His pupils aren’t dilated though, which means he probably doesn’t have a concussion, but his head will still hurt in the morning. Kai’s body tenses a little bit when Jet opens the bruise cream and starts applying it to the red and purple welts up and down Kai’s arms.
“You’ve got bruises, too.” Kai finally breaks the silence.
“I’ll deal with them later.” Jet says. “I’m more worried about you. You can yell if it hurts.”
“I can take it.” Kai scoffs. “I’m twenty-two, not four. Ow, Jet!”
“This isn’t even the worst part.” Jet rubs the cream into the bruised areas until all traces of white disappear. “Hold still.”
“It hurts!”
“And I told you to yell if it hurt, so let me finish this. I don’t want you getting sick from an infection.”
“You’re worried about me now?” Kai twitches, either from irritation about Jet’s comment or the pain of his bruises or both. “I don’t get sick.”
“My shoes beg to differ.”
“That’s different.” Kai sulks. “If you’d stayed out of it, your shoes would still be clean.”
“So I get an ‘I’m sorry’, but no ‘thank you’?” Jet tries to keep his voice neutral as he closes the bruise cream and reaches for the cotton swabs and the iodine bottle. “That hurts, little brother.”
“I apologized once,” Kai doesn’t even smile. “I’m not going to do it again.What are you smirking for?”
“Nothing. Hold still.” Jet applies the iodine to the scapes on Kai’s arms first.
“Ow! What the hell?!”
Jet’s grin widens at Kai’s squall. “You need a second?”
“I’m good.” The words come from between Kai’s teeth. “Just hurry up.”
The scrapes don’t really need bandages since they’re shallow and will be scabbed over by morning. Truthfully, it’s the gash in Kai’s brow that worries Jet the most. Head wounds bleed a lot, but—
“The hell did you get hit with?”
Kai gives his older brother a Look. “I was a little too occupied with getting my ass kicked to ask.”
“Not much of a brawler, are you?” The question is rhetorical, and Jet keeps his voice neutral so he doesn’t cause offense. Kai’s jaw tightens anyway, so Jet adds, “Anybody fighting two to one is bound to get scrummed.”
“Didn’t happen to you.” The expression on Kai’s face could almost be called admiration. “You get special training or something? Ugh!”
It’s not a sound of disgust, but pain, as Jet has applied iodine to the gash on Kai’s brow. Jet grins at him. “See? This is the worst part.”
“It’s making my eyes sting!”
“Then close them until I’m finished.” Jet waits until Kai’s eyes are shut before applying the iodine soak cotton swab to his brow again. Kai presses his head into the side of the mattress, but he doesn’t cry out this time. “You’ve never seen Muay Thai before?”
“Huh?” Kai’s eyes don’t open, but his forehead wrinkles.
“I told you not to move.” Jet wipes off the excess iodine before it drips into Kai’s eyes, then applies a bandage. “You asked if I had any ‘special training’. I practice Muay Thai.”
“No shit?” Kai actually sounds impressed. “Could you teach me? I mean--if you’re going to be around long enough.”
“What makes you think I’m not staying?”
Kai opens his eyes so that he can see the expression on Jet’s face when he answers. “I still don’t know why you’re here.”
Jet takes his time cleaning up the medical supplies before answering. “Lie down. You’ll feel every one of those bruises in the morning.”
“You told me not to sleep in case I have a concussion.”
“Your eyes aren’t dilated.”
“Is that good?”
“Means you probably don’t have a concussion,” Jet emphasizes the words, helping Kai up from the floor and getting him into bed. “I’m not sure. I’ll wake you up in a couple of hours.”
“You’re going to stand guard over me all night?” Kai’s voice almost sounds hopeful as Jet tucks the sheets around him.
“I’ll be in the front room,” Jet reassures him. “Don’t move around too much if you can help it. Those painkillers will kick in soon.”
“I’ll tell you in the morning.”
Jet closes the door before Kai can figure out he’s lying.

"4. Brief

Read from beginning: "1. Ignored
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