.D looked down at Izm, who was curled against his chest. Despite the queen-sized bed that had been purchased for him, Izm somehow always ended up in the other's bed, limbs wrapped around .D as if he was a human teddy bear.
The nightly embrace always brought back scraps of memory from earlier times, but now it wasn't like it had been during their Hedone High days – definitely not as intense or passionate – and never as intimate. There was still the issue of trust. Trust and fear.
Growing up had warped their relationship, and parts of it were so fragile that .D was almost afraid to move at times.
Izm's withdrawal had been the hardest part for .D to watch. The screaming, cold sweat, full-body tremors, and the occasional seizing fits were horrible enough, but the nightmares were the worst. Izm would twitch and moan, whimper and toss about. Those were the nights that neither of them slept.
Sometimes he still woke shrieking and flailing, and .D would have to throw himself over top of the other and restrain him until his fit subsided and he was once again Izm. The nightmares that made Izm scream were okay, because he'd wake up. But there were night terrors that caused Izm to writhe in pain and torment, often with tears streaming from his eyes.
He still got those once in a while.
It still wasn't quite clear to .D why Izm had taken up heroin as a pastime. Whenever he asked about it, the answer from the other was vague. The main gist that he had been able to surmise was that Izm had been unhappy, possibly due to the absence of .D, so he'd sought a chemical stimulant to induce good feelings. He just happened to pick one of the most vicious drugs out there to do it.
You could still see it in his face, his gaunt, hollow face and dull eyes. He was hungry, but no food would ever satiate him, nor would any activity stimulate him the way the drug had. But there was no way he'd be able to pick it up again. He was under the constant surveillance of .D, who had even cut down his hours at the office to take care of his friend.
Friends. .D gave a low, gruff chuckle. He supposed that's what they were, what they'd been, even against their wills.
After their skirmish in the sub shop, Izm had gone out and told Caleb the truth – .D learned this much from his connections to members of the Underground – which had lead to the various injuries sustained by the headstrong, goggled man. The news of Redback's addiction had spread, causing his reputation to crumble into ruins, and the release of all the teenage lackeys he'd acquired to do his bidding.
He'd barely escaped with his life, only to save .D's. The agent was eternally in debt to the recovering, would-be drug lord, and all he had to show his thanks was the rest of his life. Izm had nowhere left to go – his house had been burned by hordes of angry competitors of the drug world craving revenge. His occupation, however illegal it may have been, was no longer a viable option, which left him with no means of a salary, and no work experience to help him find a job. So .D's second room and office had become Izm's bedroom, even though he hardly ever occupied it.
.D was doing the best he could; he was helping Izm find his feet.
He smiled and brushed a stray hair off of Izm's perplexed face. The man's features smoothed out, and he cracked a bloodshot, auburn eye open. Realizing his proximity to .D, Izm scooted hastily to the other side of the bed and sat up.
He yawned and stretched, glancing sideways at .D to gauge his reaction. When .D didn't throw punches or spit fire, Izm smacked his lips sleepily and flopped back, landing in .D's lap.
"Hey. Hey, .D. HEY .DEEEEEE" Izm pestered, poking .D in the face.
"What?" .D asked in annoyance. At the same time as he was annoyed, though, he was also happy that Izm seemed to be doing well.
Izm grinned. "Let's go get milkshakes."