It Smelled Like Cherries 

It smelled like cherries— the unripened kind that prickled the tongue from a single whiff, and bubbled red in the candy-apple-colored cough syrup dripping down the silver spoon.


His dark eyes leered at the spoon, his face crouched on his knees, enveloped in white sheets. “I’m fine.” He could see his distorted reflection in the spoon— stringy dark hair and ruddy skin. Twenty-five and covered in tattoos, but didn’t look a day over eighteen. Maybe it was because of the way that every part of him burned and shook at the slightest provocation of the fingers sliding along the back of his neck.

“No, you aren’t.” came that all-knowing voice, the one crouched behind the deceptively warm brown eyes and close-lipped smile that peered back at him with— amusement. Yes, amusement, because Blake was a piece of work… and it was clear now as much as ever.

“You have a cold.”

Sid smacked away Blake’s hand.

“I do not.”

“Whose idea was it to go hiking in a snow storm?”

He pressed his lips together.

“The view was worth it—”

“My point exactly. You aren’t competent to determine whether or not you are fine. Hiking in snow-storms for the view.” Blake shook his head and released the breath he’d been holding, forcing it past his lips, “Biggest pile of shit I’ve ever heard.”

Sid snorted back a laugh and grabbed the spoon, downing the cough liquid back into the vial— which Blake drew away shortly afterward. Blake, with his strong dark hands and broad shoulders, the close-cropped hair and angular jawline.

“Yeah well, the view here’s not bad, either,” Sid grinned slyly, sliding his hands over the other’s head, and leaning in closely— just as Blake rebuffed the kiss with a firm shove. “You’re not getting any farther until you take the medicine.”

“This is not my idea of an obstacle course.”

The bed was only large enough for one person, but the door was locked. No one would know. It was like cheap hotel room, the kind that only stocked hand-towels. And it was for a vacation in the Alps, a backpacking trip, full of danger, and excitement, and the smell of fresh—
Actually, it had linoleum floors, and an IV in the corner. Beeping softly. There was a desert outside, a cactus in the window.

“Cherries. There ain’t no god-damn cherries in this thing, it’s just cherry flavoring. Look at the ingredients.” Sid rasped, sliding his tattoo’d arms back in the sheets, and pulling the sheets over his shoulders, “This isn’t what real cherries smell like, and it probably isn’t what they taste like, and—”
From out of nowhere, a spoon shoved into his mouth.
Sid gagged, smacking his hand to his mouth and swallowing thickly.
“No fair.”

“How’d it taste?”

“Bloody. Sour, bloody, and like I’m stuck in Twilight. As the vampire.”

“Edward.” Blake tissued Sid’s mouth, and kissed him quickly. “His name is Edward, and Edward likes blood.”

Sid gripped Blake’s collar, and pulled him close. “Maybe I do…” His eyes looked him up, then down. “You’d taste a lot better than cough sy—” he started to cough and back loudly, just as Blake patted his back, and eased him down on the mattress.

“Hey. Blake,” Sid said in the softest of voices. When no reply came, he arched his neck back, threw his wrist over his forehead and chirped, “Doc-tor Blake…”

“Not a doctor yet,” Blake reminded him, “Just training.”

“You think that, when Bella gets her period, she pulls out her tampon and goes … popsicle?” his eyes gleamed briefly, as the doctor just shook his head.

“More like a lollipop. Shift’s over, buddy. Gotta go.”

“Kiss me again?” Sid sat up on his elbows, “To help me sleep? You promised me…”

Blake unlocked the door and stood still for a moment, before peering over his shoulder at the boyish grin, the bright eyes, the bony hands that clenched onto the bedsheets… waiting.

With a sigh, Blake locked the door. He approached the bed, and Sid slid his arms around him,

“I already kept my promise,” he whispered, as he kissed Sid’s lips again and again, then buried his face in the other’s shoulder. He held him until he felt Sid’s grip loosen against his shoulders; his joints grow rigid and cold. “You don’t have to ask me twice.”

“I knew it.” Sid breathed, eyes betraying the twitching smile that slowly took over his lips. “I knew the second I smelled it that wasn’t any damn cough syrup… And that you don’t have a place in the Alps, that you don’t work here anymore…” Sid took a shaky breath, closing his eyes. “But that kiss was real.”

Blake slid his jaw over the other’s shoulder, kissing his neck and holding him close to his chest. When the tears came spilling down his cheeks, Sid whispered, “Don’t be such a crybaby, it’s nothing, and I—”

“Shut up.”