katydidmischief: (tealights)
[personal profile] katydidmischief posting in [community profile] cjs_own
disclaimer. Not mine and none of the events described here in have any basis in reality.
title. Insufficiently Fed
rating. NC-17
pairing. Hannibal/Face
summary. Resignation, he knows, works best to keep his sanity intact.
warnings. AU - Hooker!fic (Face).
notes. Written for this prompt at [livejournal.com profile] a_team_kink.

"Ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed,
but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had.
"
- Hannibal –

It's no one cause that sends him to the streets, no one cause that makes him turn to a life of prostitution. Honestly, it's a series of events (and isn't that always the story) – his father dies when he's just three, his mother turns to liquor in his absence and slowly there is a parade of men through their dingy, squalid apartment; he starts to miss classes, then starts to skip them. He sips from alcohol bottles more and more, comes home only to sleep in a bed that is sometimes occupied by some random, stinking stranger, and when his mother finally chooses some cocaine-infused jobless asshole over his well-being, that is when Templeton Peck decides that life on the streets in LA has to be better than all that.

At first, he finds it's not too bad. There's a church not far from the school he struggles to attend now, needing the single midday meal that is sometimes his only one, and an elderly priest takes him in, giving him a blanket and a pillow. Let's him sleep in a pew, hard as they are, but Templeton is glad for it when the weather begins to warm.

The priest dies shortly after school lets out and the bishop comes to visit; he is not impressed with the streetrat lounging in one row, nor, apparently, subscribes to the doctrine of charity for he throws Templeton out on his ass with little else said. (He doesn't cry then, too wrapped up in trying to figure out his next step, but later, when it sinks in that the kindly old man who had shown him the first real affection he'd had in his life is dead, Templeton cries in an alleyway with rats for company.)

;;

Food costs money, and apartments too. Though he lives in and out of the shelters the first year – following other homeless from place to place like roving nomads – he eventually finds that they're particularly bad for someone his size and age. Granted no one really ever figures out that he's just a minor (thank god for small miracles because of all things, he does not want to have to deal with DSS), but he's still far younger than most of the men cramped onto uncomfortable camping cots and too easy a target. He loses his thin blanket more than once, his shoes taken in the middle of the night, right off his feet.

Then someone tries to force him to his knees in a bathroom and he knows that the shelters are no longer safe haven for him. The church has forsaken him, his mother wouldn't want him if she had the option, and that leaves only one choice.

;;

Five years pass and sometimes Templeton thinks that maybe it went by too quick, maybe he'd miscounted and he's still that boy between sixteen and seventeen that had no where to go and no where to be. Numbers, however, have always been one of his strong suits and he knows the days really have passed: he's got the old calendars packed away in a decrepit cardboard box in his bedroom closet to prove it.

He looks older, time and stress ebbing away some of that boyish appearance; as he looks in the mirror, he wonders if his mother would even recognize him were they to pass on some street. He doubts she would – his eyes are duller, his skin rougher, and his hair loose and flat and long.

Templeton has tried to take care of himself, as the small collection of higher end products that sits on the bathroom counter would attest to, but when you're a prostitute in LA, no one really ever cares if your hair is coiffed just right. They only care if you charge the right price.

Rinsing the bits of shaving cream off his chin, he sighs and this time, averts his eyes from the mirror. He trudges to the closet, staring listlessly at the meager choices presented to him; it is high time that he go purchase new shirts, new pants, perhaps a jacket for the fall... He won't go, though, not to any store and the next church handout day isn't for several months.

He slips on a pair of worn jeans, the ones with the loose seams in the crotch, and yanks a white shirt over his head while praying that someone - anyone - needs a boy for the night. He's paid his rent up through next month but he'll be short if he doesn't earn something tonight.

He shudders involuntarily as he thinks about what he'd had to do the last time he'd been short and his pimp had come looking for his share of the money. He won't do that again, he won't, not if he has to forgo sleep to go stand with the day laborers tomorrow.

Continuing to pray and hope, Templeton closes his apartment door and locks it (pointless as burglers would just bash in the door if they wanted), trudges down the steps and begins the long walk to the street he spends his nights on. Sarah and Joanna are already there, Matthew too. Randy, Karli, and Rio will probably show up at some point; he hopes its after he's hooked, because seriously – it makes him sick to see these kids selling their bodies.

Okay, yeah, at one point that was him, but all that means (in his mind) is that he knows that anything is better than this. He regrets making this his life and he wants for them to see that there's possibilities for someone their age, that they have potential to be more. And lord, he tries, desperately, to get them understand that, but when it comes from the pot, the kettle doesn't listen.

"Ryan!" Sarah calls, smiling dimly. She's an older girl, redheaded and smart, who's been working this particular stretch for close to ten years; she's the only reason (he'll swear this over and over) that he's not dead yet, killed by some fucked up John.

He hugs her with one arm and smacks hands with Matthew.

They all know him as Ryan, since Templeton is too outrageous a name to forget and that's what he wants to be – forgettable – so when he either: a) dies, b) gets the fuck out of here, or c) moves on from this street and this city and this state, they won't remember him as anything more than that kid who used to come around. It makes his heart ache, that thought; these are his friends and allies, but all things, he knows, must come to an end.

His melancholic introspection ends when a car zips by, the brakes slam, and then reverses. Everyone immediately scatters, putting a little distance between them in order to preserve plausible deniability if it's the cops and also to make it easier to tell who precisely the driver (if it's a John) is interested in.

Templeton, of course, always assumes he's not the first choice, so he doesn't look to see where the car has stopped until he's safely ensconced in his favorite spot, leaning against a beaten up, paint-chipped mailbox. It's then that he sees a pair of amused blue eyes through the dirtied window of the Pontiac looking him over; he lets out a breath of relief.

;;

The guy says his name is John, which entertains Templeton, and it doesn't take a genius for Templeton to know he's looking at a military man. Hey, everyone's got needs and after all, there's a reason it's call R&R (he's been fucked by his fair share of the four branches – he knows the lingo.)

He doesn't expect much in the way of finesse; military guys tend to be this side of rough, which he has absolutely no problem with, and once they come, they're interested in leaving ASAP, but they pay well (guilt maybe) and this guy, he thinks, might be the type to not try to enlist him. Many of them have tried – he suspects its their way of trying to save him – but who in their right mind would let a high school dropout rentboy enlist?

The motel staff says nothing as they hand over the key to Templeton's usual room, nothing as he hands over the twenty; they've been well-trained by the manager to not ask questions and to never admit anything to the cops. It makes it easier to not think about where he is and why he's here, the two things that have (in the past) roared up in his mind to make the experience worse than it already is.

Resignation, he knows, works best to keep his sanity intact.

John doesn't immediately start stripping nor demands Templeton start. Instead he kicks off his shoes, crawls on the bed, and holds out one arm to the confused young man.

"Kid, I have been driving for two days. I need a nap," he says, and Templeton raises an eyebrow. "Pay you extra."

That gets him moving. His sneakers carefully abandoned (laces tied around the lamp), he slides on top of the blanket beside John and lets himself be curled into an embrace. It's hair-raisingly unusual, freaks him out some, but pushes the fear back because being cuddled is not the worst thing to ever happen to him. (It helps that for once, he feels somewhat comfortable and that alone should be the warning sign – he knows better than this.)

He dozes.

;;

John's got his teeth on Templeton's neck when he comes to full alertness a half an hour later. John's nipping at all the right places, tonguing the spot under Templeton's ear that makes him whimper like a small child, and when he realizes Templeton's awake, John lets his hands slip over the lithe body beneath him.

Templeton moans, startled by it; the shock must show in his eyes, given how John smiles. "I won't use you, kid," he says, and pops the button on Templeton's jeans, lowers the zip.

The mouth that envelopes him is warm and skilled, and Templeton manages to hold onto his control just barely – it's been too long since anyone has blown him. He doesn't want to come, not now, because if he does, he knows he won't be able to tolerate being fucked with his usual class (he's sensitive after he comes, so much so that it borders on painful to be taken), but it seems John is intent on that goal.

"John..." he spits out, "Boss, you, uh, I have lube... condoms..."

Thankfully the older man relents and eases back, picking through Templeton's pockets for the aforementioned items. He finds them, drops the packets on the bedspread, then begins to pull the jeans free of Templeton's legs, pulls the shirt free of flesh.

Templeton turns on his belly while John disrobes, waiting with his legs spread and his head pillowed on his crossed arms; he is taken by surprise when he's forced back over, ass to the mattress. He immediately asks, "What?"

"I'm not fucking you like that, kid – not my style," John answers, and leans forward as though to kiss him. But Templeton moves his head away, and instead, John picks a stretch of pale skin that'll be hidden under a shirt to bite into.

For a few moments, Templeton stays still while John ruts against him; hands settle on his hips, pulling him in a rhythm, slow and pleasurable, that he gets a little lost in, barely noticing when John rolls on the condom, slicks it with lube, and slides his cock between Templeton's thighs.

;;


Templeton showers after John, dresses in record speed and manages to have the both out the door before the motel management came knocking.

This time, the car ride is uncomfortable and though Templeton takes the money with a smile, he genuinely hopes never to see John ever again.

;;

He and Sarah go out for breakfast the next day and she drags the details out of him when his face falls at her mention of the "hot old guy" over pancakes and eggs. God bless the ladies at the diner – they bring him chocolate chips with a sympathetic look when he bangs his head against the table.

"Okay, so let me get this straight – you had a guy that didn't argue about a condom, didn't fuck you, and cuddled and you don't want to see him again? Honey, I will gladly take him off your pretty hands," she remarks, stealing one of the chocolate chips.

Templeton glares at her, but it's lackluster, half-assed. When it's put like that, it is hard to reject, but honestly it wasn't the actions of what happened so much as how it had felt: comfortable, safe. And he opens his mouth to give a retort, when Matthew slides into the booth and tells them, "Rio's dead."

;;

Losing someone has always been the impetus for some to get out of this life, off the streets, and this time is no different: Karli and Randy disappear one night, leaving word with Sarah that they're going home and half a dozen others do the same. The crowd on the street thins out, dispersed by the imaginary stink of death and by the cops, who up their patrol of the area temporarily.

Templeton remains, a staple of that street, though he earns significantly less the first week after Rio's death. It makes him desperate all over again, waiting for someone to decide, in the slim pickings, that his pretty face is worth the two hundred an hour. He lets Sarah put eyeshadow on him, lets her eventually buy him a new package of undershirts when his last one rips and he has to hook half naked for a while.

He gets close again to being short for the month and not simply short enough to buy his way out of it with his ass like he's done in the past; so short he's gonna have to dip into the tiny bit of savings he's managed to scrape together and still owe Jasper.

Then the Pontiac turns up the street and Sarah tosses him a sideways smile.

"Ah, fuck," he sighs, resigned, and hops in the car without so much as a gesture from the old man.

;;

It becomes a monthly routine – John coming around – and he starts to buy more than just an hour of Templeton's time. Two, three, four, whole nights; he never says what he does, but John comes with bruises and aches and sometimes all he can manage is to cuddle up with Templeton, whispering whatever comes to mind into the younger man's hair.

Templeton tries to keep a distance, throughout, knowing that at anytime, John could be sent on duty and his regular client could disappear without a word. It wouldn't be the first time, nor the last, and he's okay with that – it's the nature of this life, never seeing some people again. So he tries not to get attached, tries to squirrel away bits of the money John gives him to his little savings fund.

Slowly, though, he realizes that they've formed something resembling a friendship: they talk on the nights they don't fuck, and now Templeton knows that John's in the Army, that he's unmarried, got no kids, and on the fasttrack to a command. He doesn't want something big, he says, just a few men, maybe run an airborne unit; he's a Ranger complete with tattoo.

John, in turn, knows that Templeton was barely out of puberty when he started hooking, that he has a mother he wouldn't know from Eve, and that he spends most of his time when not on that street, reading stock figures.

"I didn't graduate from high school," Templeton admits one night. He's splayed out on the bed, John in a chair by the window, and they're both relaxed from take out that John had brought him. (He knows not to take food or drink from the Johns, but this one he trusts. He'll kick himself later for putting this much trust in one person.)

"Didn't think you did." John rubs his eyes. "You could now, kid. Get a GED."

"What use would it give me?"

John shrugs his shoulders. "Lots of places'll hire you with just a high school diploma."

"Yeah, but not many will hire a guy with a rap sheet the length of a guy's arm that's all prostitution charges," he points out. He snuffles into the pillow, and says, "Besides, I'm not good at much besides this."

As he falls asleep, he hears John speak but doesn't catch the words.

;;

He gets mail for the first time at his apartment a week later – an informational packet from the Army.

He tries not to look so crestfallen, and when John comes the week after, the old man can't get out of Templeton why the younger man is so quiet. It is the last time that Templeton as Ryan sees John.

;;

It takes another year before Templeton finds the need to leave overwhelm his resignation of his place in life; another year of getting by day to day and month to month before he realizes that he really is going to die out here if he doesn't get somewhere better, because if Sarah, wizened and experienced Sarah, could be fooled by what had seemed like a nice guy, it's only a matter of time for the rest of them.

He quietly packs his things into a duffel bag, slips out in the middle of the night, and sets off for places unknown which turns out to be northern Cali. It puts him just out of reach of Jasper and within reach of an activist group trying to ease homelessness in the area; they get him a bed in a shelter far better than the ones of his youth, get him registered for his GED.

And though he tries not to think about it, every so often, Templeton wonders if John's been down the street, if he's asked about Ryan.

Those thoughts fade gradually until shortly after he completes the degree; there's a ceremony that the activists put together for the graduates, some sort of celebratory thing at the school, and someone asks him what he plans to do now.

He ponders for a minute what he should say because, honestly, he doesn't know – it's been a long time since he's had to think about what tomorrow will bring. (Rentboys don't need to plan, so much as show up.)

Then a voice comes from behind him, strong and deep and familiar. "Yes, kid, what are you going to do?"

And Templeton knows.

;;

John likes to be called Hannibal and when he introduces him to Russell Morrison, Templeton takes an immediately liking to the old man. Morrison reminds him of the priest from so long ago, though he curses more and he prefers whiskey to prayer; it's Morrison who teases Templeton at first about having such a pretty face, but it's Hannibal who starts call him by the nickname.

It's a nickname that sticks all through basic training, despite being separated from Smith for several months; the guys in the barracks take to it though no one can say for sure who told them it in the first place.

When he leaves basic, it's only to go through more training; he sees Smith around this time, like some sort of overseer as he weaves through the guys stripping down guns, and when he finishes, it's to be told that he'll be partnered with Smith. "Clandestine missions, son," he's told with some measure of distaste in the words; these men know his past and they're less than pleased with the thought, but he's used to people's disapproval so he takes his orders with pride and salutes like a proper soldier.

Outside the building, Hannibal waits in his Class A's, neat and proper, on a bench.

Smiling when he sees Face, he tells the younger man, "I love it when a plan comes together."

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