In continuation of the second story here from over a year ago.

Ib woke not in pain. He woke not aching everywhere, not unable to move. He woke.

He woke, which meant he wasn’t dead. That in itself was a bit of a shocker. The last time he’d had a beat-down like this – close to this, there hadn’t been as much bone-snapping that time – he’d ended up in the hospital for weeks and in agony for months.

Today, he had a little pain in his lungs and his throat was a bit raw. That… that was not how this worked.

He looked up at the big guy in the doorway. Baram looked sort of like unfinished clay, like someone had lumped him together and then forgotten to glaze or bake him. He also looked like anyone going through the door would have to go straight through him. The doctor would have had to go through him to get to Ib; maybe she’d gone through the wall. That seemed like the safer option.

Ib had more important questions at the moment. He squeaked, cleared his throat, and tried again. “Why?”

Baram’s brow furrowed. “Mine. Not theirs.”

Oh. Ib swallowed. Well, if that was the price he had to pay… “Y-“

“What he means-” Rozen somehow shouldered the bigger guy aside. Ib had never been so grateful for an interruption. “-is that he considers you crew, and doesn’t like other people fucking with his friends.”

“Oh.” Friends. These were the sort of friends that you wanted, in a place where people randomly tried to break all your bones.

“I mean, if you want to Belong to him, I’m sure he won’t object. It might be a little awkward, and I don’t think he’s all that into guys.”

“No, no, that’s all right.” Ib cleared his throat, and found he could speak without squeaking if he spoke very slowly. “Thanks.”

“Crew.” Baram thumped his chest with his fist.

“Crew.” Rozen, unsurprisingly, was smirking.

“Crew.” Ib found himself smiling, too. Crew.

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