lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
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Larry's History
Word Count: 1100
Universe: Old Bloods
Summary: When Larry contracts hemophagia, his body starts rejecting some earlier modifications. Luis and Mary Ann join forces to give him something just as good.
Notes: This was prompted and sponsored by silvercat17!  Another note at bottom.

Luis had never been jealous of Larry's ex-wife.

Well, no, that was a lie. He was a little.

Larry didn't call Mary Ann his ex-wife. He called her his 'wife emeritus,' as though it had been a lofty position from which she had gracefully retired after a long reign. Which was fairly accurate. She and Larry had (and still did) love each other deeply, parented Angel together. Unfortunately, while Larry was bi, she had discovered that she was strictly lesbian, and they were both intensely monogamous.

There was no such thing as a happy divorce, but they had almost pulled it off, and most of the time, Luis liked her unreservedly. Larry had been honest about her involvement in his life from the start, and Luis couldn't deny, she'd been a huge help in times of trouble.

There was just one thing that bothered Luis: Larry had her name tattooed over his heart. It was an old one, of course, from back when they'd first married, and Larry was always quick to reassure, but Luis still felt insecure when he saw it. It felt as though Mary Ann were still there, in the bedroom with them.

But he couldn't ask Larry to get rid of it. He'd been married to her for almost fifteen years; he'd been with Luis for only three. It wasn't right to ask Larry to erase his history.

On the night of their third anniversary, after celebrating, Larry turned over in bed and smiled at Luis in the dark.


“Mm?” Luis's medication was setting in, making him groggy.

“I'd like to ink your name on me.”

Luis stared at him. Squeaked. Then hugged Larry tight and kissed him for all he was worth.

The following months had been full of excitement. Where? (Over his heart, of course.) By who? (An artist Larry liked across town, who had a waiting list a month out, but was worth it.) What style? (Luis's own handwriting.) When? (ASAP.) Luis had walked on air, smiled and hummed at work.

And then Larry had been attacked.

They both forgot about the tattoo then, between the hospital bills, the legal problems, Larry's inability to keep blood down, the frantic move into a smaller apartment. Even as Han came through with his recipes, and Larry began regaining weight, Luis didn't think of it. Later. Later.

Then, one morning, before dawn, he woke to find Larry fresh from a shower, standing in front of the mirror with pajama shirt in hand. Even in the dark...

“Larry? What's the matter?”

Larry turned, came to the bed, and switched on the bedside light—dim and red, so as not to strain his new vision, or dazzle Luis. His face was solemn with grief, and he pulled his robe open.

The tattoo on his chest was fading.

“Oh,” Luis said. “Oh honey...” He hugged Larry and rocked him.

“My history,” Larry kept saying. “My history...”

It turned out that in a small segment of the population, hemophagia affected the immune system in such a way that it'd attack tattoos and reject piercings. (Sure enough, in a day or so, Larry had to take his earring out.)

With the help of Han's cooking, Larry had started coming out of his illness and torpor. Now he withdrew again. Angel could coax smiles from him with her antics, and he put on a brave face, but Luis knew he was suffering. The attack had robbed him of his job, his health, and legally speaking, his life. It'd taken his present, and now it was taking his past.

Luis had sometimes privately wished Larry's tattoo would disappear, but not like this. And knowing now that his name would never adorn Larry's heart either… it hurt worse than not ever getting the chance.

It wasn't fair! It wasn't--


Luis thought.

He had an idea. He poked it, held it up to the light, shook it to see if it rattled.

Then he got up from where he was meditating on the couch. “Larry, I'm going to go pick up Angel, okay?”

When Mary Ann answered the door, holding Angel's hand, Luis held a Sharpie in his hand.

“I need your opinion,” he said.

She thought it was a wonderful idea. “Not Sharpie though, it might be irritating. Here, let me check the desk...”

Mary Ann's ancient steel monster dated back to the Cold War, and had probably never once been cleaned out. Luis was amazed she could find anything in it, but she came up with something permanent and non-toxic.

By this point, Angel was thoroughly engaged. “I want to do it too!”

“Only if Larry says okay.”

“Okay,” Angel said. “Let's go! I want to do it now!”

She was so bouncy, it took a while to wrestle her into her sweater and shoes (tying laces was still a little beyond her), and then the three of them set out into the blue of evening. The new apartment was only a few block away.

When they arrived, Angel rang the doorbell. Larry pretended to be surprised when he opened the door.

“Angel, honey, you don't have to ring the doorbell; you live here.”

“Special delivery!” Angel declared, and waved the marker over her head.

“It's a very nice marker, sweetie. Is it for me?”

“Not like that.”

Larry glanced at Luis and Mary Ann's face, a hint of a smile in his eyes, and he let them in. “What's all this about?”

“We're redoing your tattoo,” said Mary Ann.

“And doing mine,” Luis said.

“I want to do it too!” Angel said, waving her marker. “Can I, Dad? Pleeeease?”

Larry blinked. “It'll wash off.”

“Then we'll redraw them every day,” Luis said.

And Larry grinned, that slow soft smile that had made Luis fall in love with him, three years ago. He took of his shirt, and sat on the couch, and one by one, Mary Ann, Luis, and Angel took the marker and signed their names over his heart in black ink. When it was Luis's turn, he leaned close, steadied himself with a hand on Larry's shoulder. Under his other hand, Larry's heart beat, inhumanly slow, but strong and kind. His skin was cool, but dear and familiar, and goosebumps rose on his chest as Luis's breath gusted over it. They shared a warm look, and Luis smiled as he signed his name.

And every morning after that, as Larry showered and headed to bed, Luis signed his named over Larry's heart, between Angel's and Mary Ann's. Right where it belonged.

Notes: Sharpies generally aren't irritating to the skin unless someone's particularly sensitive. With Larry's immune system out of whack, though, Mary Ann doesn't want to take chances. (She's intimately familiar with such things, thanks to Angel's propensity to cover herself in whatever she's drawing with.)
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