Pairing/characters: Connor/Nick (Connor/Becker implied)
Warnings: Language, smut, abusive relationship, dub-con (borderline non-con).
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: approx 1600
Summary: “I can’t do this any more.”
AN: Follows on from The Substitute, Need, The New Order, The Next Roll of the Dice, Secrets and Lies, and Tangled Webs.
AN2: If you haven’t already read the previous part, Need, now might be the time to do so. It’s sort of a background to this part.
Cutter had already been drinking when Connor arrived. The smell of scotch was on his breath and Connor’s stomach twisted as he went in and hung his jacket up. Sometimes it was easier when Cutter had been drinking. He could convince himself that the alcohol was to blame for what happened, even though he knew that was a big pile of shit.
Connor followed Cutter through to the living room and sat down next to him on the sofa. There was an empty glass ready and waiting for him on the coffee table, but for once Connor ignored it. He hoped he wouldn’t need the alcohol to get him through the night this time.
“Cutter, we need to talk.”
There was no response, and Connor forced himself to look up from where he was staring at the empty glass. Cutter’s gaze was unfocussed and he gave no indication he had even heard Connor speak.
“Cutter, please listen to me. I can’t do this any more.”
At that Cutter did look up at him, and Connor almost flinched away from the look of anger in Cutter’s eye.
“So why the hell did you come here?”
“I wanted to talk to you. I couldn’t just abandon you. I’m sorry, I really am. But I just can’t...”
“So fuck off and leave me alone then.” Cutter reached for his glass and downed it, and then filled it up again from the bottle on the table.
Connor rubbed his hands on his trousers and tried to remember everything that he had been rehearsing for days.
“I want to help you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. I hoped, you know, with enough time, it might get better. But it’s not getting better. And what we do... it’s not helping, is it?”
Connor wondered if Cutter even guessed at the lie hidden there. Connor had wanted to help, yes, but he had always wanted so much more than that.
“So why now?” Cutter said without meeting Connor’s eye.
Connor shrugged, but it was tense, nervous gesture. He had no answer that he was willing to voice to Cutter.
Neither of them spoke for a long time, and Connor got more and more tense. He realised he was twisting his trousers in his fists to stop his hands from fidgeting.
“Stay,” Cutter said abruptly.
Connor met his eye for only the second time since he had arrived, and the look he saw in Cutter’s face nearly broke him all over again, as it did every time. Without Stephen, Cutter was lost, and Connor knew that no matter what he did he would never be able to fix that.
He nodded. “I’m here. I’m always here for you.”
Cutter’s gaze seemed to soften a fraction.
“Yes, you are. Thank you, Connor.”
Connor tried to smile, but he wasn’t certain he quite managed it. Cutter leaned towards him and cupped Connors face in his hand, gently stroking the line of his cheekbone with his thumb. Connor closed his eyes and breathed deeply. This was what he had been unable to explain to Becker. These were the moments that made him stay when he knew he should have walked away long ago, for both their sakes. These were the moments when he dared to believe that one day Cutter might feel something for him, might see him as more than just a lesser substitute for Stephen.
“You’re a good man, Connor. Not sure I deserve you.” Cutter’s voice was rough, but there was a hint of real affection there and Connor clung to that, and tried to preserve this moment in his memory.
All too soon Cutter let go and there was the sound of glass chinking on glass again. Connor opened his eyes and saw that Cutter had poured scotch into Connor’s glass as well. He still wasn’t sure he wanted any tonight, but he accepted it and sipped a little as Cutter finished another glassful and refilled it again.
Connor worried when Cutter drank this much. He didn’t say anything, though. The last time he had tried to take the bottle away the bruise hadn’t faded for nearly a fortnight. Cutter had been suitably contrite afterwards when he realised he had lashed out, but Connor had no desire for a repeat performance, no matter how much Cutter apologised.
They sat there side by side, the silence only broken by the occasional chink of glass, time marked by the level of liquid left in the bottle. Connor wished he could find the right words to break the quiet, but every time he got as far as opening his mouth he abruptly closed it again.
Eventually Connor tentatively suggested, “I think that’s enough. Maybe it’s time you went to bed.”
Cutter hesitated, and then nodded. “Maybe you’re right,” he said.
Cutter stood up but wobbled precariously for a moment. Connor leapt up and grabbed him until he was steady.
“Come on. Let’s get you upstairs.”
Cutter nodded and looped his arm around Connor’s shoulders as they made their way up to the bedroom. Once there Connor sat him down on the edge of the bed and helped him get his shoes and shirt off. He knew Cutter was capable of doing it himself, he wasn’t that far gone, and he could handle his drink far better than most people, but Connor was almost on automatic pilot, looking after Cutter even when the man didn’t want to admit that he needed to be looked after. When Cutter was down to just his boxers Connor gently pushed him to lie down and then he turned to leave.
Cutter’s hand caught his wrist. “Connor, where are you going?”
“To sleep on the sofa. I’ll be here if you need anything, just downstairs.”
Cutter’s fingers held on and the man looked up at him with pleading eyes. “Please, don’t leave me.”
Connor hesitated for a moment as a thousand options flitted through his mind. Then he sighed and nodded. Cutter let go and Connor moved around the bed and took his shoes off and lay down next to Cutter, still fully clothed.
He knew it was stupid. He knew it was sending the wrong signals after the conversation earlier. He tried to tell himself it was just to keep Cutter company until he fell asleep. Then he could go downstairs and sleep on the sofa, just in case he needed to be here, and slip out in the morning before Cutter woke up.
Cutter rolled closer and his arm wrapped around Connor’s chest. Connor forced himself to relax. There was nothing wrong with a comfort cuddle. It was fine.
He had almost convinced himself that Cutter was going to sleep when Cutter’s hand slipped under his t-shirt.
Connor immediately tensed. He pushed at Cutter’s arm to stop him, but Cutter either ignored him or misinterpreted what he wanted, because he started trying to get the button on Connor’s trousers undone.
“Cutter, please. Don-”
“Need you, Connor.”
Connor screwed his eyes shut as his thoughts became tangled with indecision. Cutter’s lips pressed against his, stifling any thought of protest, and his fingers worked Connor’s trousers open and started to tug them down. Cutter made an angry sound when he couldn’t get Connor’s trousers off, and without thinking Connor lifted his hips until Cutter achieved his objective. As soon as he did it, Connor hated himself. Hated that when it came down to it he couldn’t bring himself to deny Cutter his moment of comfort, no matter how much it hurt.
He’s just forgotten that I said no.
He couldn’t hate Cutter, even now. Not when he looked into the older man’s eyes and saw the pain, the loss, the anger, and the desperation there.
Stupid. My fault. I should have picked a night when he wasn’t drunk.
Cutter pushed Connor’s t-shirt up until it rucked up under his arms. A hand on his hip turned him over onto his front.
Just this once. Next time it’ll be different. Next time I’ll make him understand.
“Need you, Connor. You’re a good man.”
This is the last time.
Cutter’s barely lubricated cock pushed at him, and Connor forced himself to relax. Controlling hands settled just above his hips, holding him down.
This will help him. He’ll be better tomorrow because of this.
The entry was painful, and Connor couldn’t stop himself squirming. Cutter’s fingers dug in harder, hard enough to leave marks, and all his weight pinned Connor to the bed beneath him, preventing movement. Connor bit down on the whimper that tried to escape.
I can’t leave him. I can’t risk what he might do to himself.
Please stop saying that.
Cutter’s cock dragged as he thrust. Connor buried his face into the pillow and kept his eyes closed.
It’ll be over soon.
Cutter thrust hard and Connor felt a burst of pain. His brain started to disconnect, to be elsewhere until this was over. It was the only self defence that he had left.
Connor didn’t react when Cutter’s thumbs dug into his back, pressing against the bruises that were already there.
He didn’t react to the sharp pain when fingernails broke the skin.
He remained as passive as possible when Cutter thrust harder and harder.
He only came back to himself when Cutter gasped and pulsed within him, crying out Stephen’s name as he did so.
That was when Connor’s tears finally started to come.