Ganda watches his reflection on his car's window for a while before glancing down. Shit, the blood will stain and while getting rid of it is, theoretically, easy, he doesn't think he could do it with Ghani around.
He grew up with this. First: while violence is never the answer, it's the only way you could survive in this harsh world. Second: tuck your thumb, you wouldn't want your wrist to break. Third: raising your voice won't work, punches will. Fourth—the list could go on and those are what he hangs onto, even when he's steadily climbing to the top of the pyramid. Jakarta is rough, unforgiving, and while it doesn't quite work the way Ganda wants, he works his way around it.
Until now, until he's more than just a thug. Guaranteed the place wasn't given to him for free, Pengkor pulled a lot of strings to get him here for an exchange—Pengkor wants control and Ganda gives it to him. But loyalty could be bought, and that's how he found himself a Ghani Zulham. Or rather, the man found him.
It's very unlike him to involve himself in a fistfight. He used to, but now he's got people to handle things for him. As Ganda makes his way into his place—technically, it's Ghani's place—his side throbs, he could still feel the fist that digs into his body. He has a high pain tolerance, but he's so out of practice that a simple punch to the stomach could leave him doubling in pain. The right side of his face is throbbing, tell-tale sign of a bruise forming and as he brings a hand up to touch his lips, he finds blood there.
Ganda is lucky that he managed to knock everyone off before they even pull their knives out—he knew they brought knives and it was very stupid of him, very cocky, that he felt he didn't need to bring any sharp objects with him. Guns are trickier, harder to control, and honestly, it would be unfair to his opponents if he whipped out a gun.
His hands are stiff, dried blood on his knuckles, the skin tearing and bruised, and lifting one arm hurts like a bitch—probably because of the hit from a block of wood he got earlier. Fucking hell.
Ghani is probably asleep, because the whole place is dark and the bedroom door is shut. Ganda knows Ghani keeps a first aid kit somewhere in the living room ( "have to be prepared of what's coming" ) and if he has to crouch down and look for it, he would. There's no way he'd join Ghani on the bed looking like this. Also, he needs to bleach his shirt.
"Ganda." A soft voice from the corner startles Ganda from his thoughts and it's instinctive to place a hand over his chest with his injured hand, drawing a flinch out of himself. His boyfriend is, turns out, not asleep, and he's staring at Ganda with a displeased furrow on his eyebrows. "Kemana aja kamu?"
An angry Ghani Zulham is a recipe to Ganda's demise and he grimaces, even when it tugs the bruised part of his face uncomfortably. "'Kan aku udah bilang kalau aku ke pasar." His throat hurts, small, uncomfortable spasms when he swallows. Ganda frowns at that.
"Ya tapi ngga sampai jam segini juga." The other man doesn't approach him nor make any move—he's leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, and somehow, it makes things feel more dangerous.
Ganda takes a deep breath and steps closer, thankful for the little lighting in the room. He knows his face is a mess and he's glad Ghani couldn't see it. "Tadi ada sedikit masalah di pasar. Kubu sebelah mau ambil alih pasar kami."
The explanation doesn't ease the frown on Ghani's face and, to Ganda's horror, his hand finds the lamp switch and in no time, light blooms in the room. Ganda twitches, one hand shielding his eyes, and when his gaze lands on Ghani, the other man is staring at him with an unreadable look. His jaw is twitching, muscles ticking on the side. Without another word, Ghani turns around and heads to the bedroom. The door slams close, door frame rattling from the impact.
Great, he's angry. Ganda sits down on the couch with a heavy sigh, careful not to move too quickly. Every movement is slow, tentative, and he peels his shirt off along with his undershirt. Red scatters all over his torso, and if he takes his pants off too, he will find more red under his skin. Shit, he's so out of practice it's embarrassing.
The door to the bedroom slams open again, and Ganda would turn his head around to glance at it, if only his neck doesn't ache. "Kamu ikutan berantem?" comes Ghani's voice and it's soft, calm. The other man has a first aid kit with him and he's aggressive, in his attempt to take Ganda's hands in his, but his grip is gentle.
Ganda hisses as Ghani dabs on his bloodied knuckles with alcohol, the sting causes him to tense under the touch. "Awalnya ngga mau ikutan, tapi kubu sebelah bawa orang banyak banget. Anak-anak kewalahan."
The other man is patient, wrapping his injured hands with bandages, and he's got this serene look on his face as his eyes land on Ganda. Ghani reaches out, thumb swiping over his lower lip and when Ganda flinches under the touch, he draws his hand away.
"Terus kamu biarin mereka mukulin kamu?" Ghani hums, eyes locked on his split lips. The cotton he used to tend the cuts and bruises comes back stained red and something flashes in his eyes, too fast for Ganda to catch. His lips sting, but Ganda tries not to frown at that.
Next is the cut above his eyebrow, which Ganda doesn't even realize he has. No wonder his head is dizzy. "Ya ngga juga," he huffs in irritation and immediately regretting that, because a heavy exhalation sparks pain all over his body, "aku udah lama ngga kaya gini. Kurang latihan."
He wonders how Ghani would feel if the other man sees him before his parliament days. He's used to this, to the pain and bruises, and frankly, he's been in a worse state than this. The man doesn't respond, only sticking an adhesive bandage over the cut after cleaning it with alcohol. His eyes roam over his body, spotting the blotch of red all over his torso, and Ghani lets out a small sigh. He seems tired.
"Besok," Ghani pauses, blinking, "nanti ngga usah masuk kerja. Ngga bakal bisa bangun juga, kalau memar-memar gini." His hand is cold as they trace along his bare skin, eliciting goosebumps from Ganda, and he stares helplessly at the younger man. His words are cold, indifferent, but Ganda knows he deserves it.
It's an effort to bring himself to his feet, even with Ghani supporting his weight. They wobble towards the bedroom, Ganda wincing every now and then, and when his back finally lands on the bed, relief courses through him. Ghani is seated on the edge, slowly peeling his pants off, and he must've found something he doesn't like because his gaze hardens briefly.
Ganda manages to swallow down two pills of painkiller as he feels cold hand against his cheek, stroking over his bruised face. "Tidur." Ghani's voice is soft but firm, a command that Ganda could never resist. His hand reaches out to grab Ghani's other hand, an unspoken request to make Ghani stay, please —and judging from the way his eyes soften, Ghani understands.
Ganda honestly feels bad for Ghani for having to see him in his most unflattering state, but the man is unbearably gentle with him, to his surprise. He patches Ganda every time he comes home smelling of blood, bruised eyes and cuts on his cheeks.
"Kamu bawa pistol," Ghani says one time, his voice firm, and Ganda laughs at that, a barking cackle that turns into endless, rattling cough. His chest hurts, a bruise has started to form on his sternum, and Ganda wouldn't be surprised if his ribcage has a little crack.
Ghani has an eyebrow raised at that, but Ganda smiles at him. "Berantakan, ribet." There is a bleeding gash on his left upper arm, a shallow cut that requires no stitch, and Ghani is meticulous as he's tending it.
"Pisau kalau gitu." Ghani very pointedly glances at his bandaged arm, earning a sigh from Ganda. It's mostly his fault, he should've been more careful in evading the swing. Ganda could take a punch or a dozen, but not knife to his skin.
They both are silent after that—Ghani cradling his hands. His eyes are downcast and after a moment, Ganda feels a hand cupping his cheek, thumb running along the bruise under his right eye. Ghani is staring at him, eyes unwavering, and, to his surprise, the younger man leans in to press a soft kiss on the corner of his lips. Lips brush briefly, tongue sneaking out to lick other the cut, before Ghani pulls away a little.
"Lebih hati-hati lain kali," Ghani murmurs, brushing his lips over the bruise on his cheek, and it warms something in his chest. Ganda knows that Ghani knows he couldn't escape this, so he wishes him safety.
"Selalu." Ganda wraps his right arm around Ghani's shoulders and lets the younger man settles against him gently. It's a half-truth, not outright lie. Ganda knows that Ghani knows. Ghani always does, but he says nothing.
Everytime Ganda comes home late, Ghani feels a cold fist around his heart, gripping fear that never fails to keep him awake. He has decided to camp in the living room when Ganda hasn't showed up at 11 in the evening, with or without notice. It has become a habit for him to sit on the couch, nursing a good cup of coffee, letting the TV runs in the background in an attempt to soothe the roiling anxiety in his stomach.
Ghani doesn't know if Ganda knows—that he's worried, that all he wants is for Ganda to come home unharmed for once. Seeing the older man wincing in pain makes something in him breaks, not to mention the smell of blood he's reacquainted with—it triggers something unpleasant in him. But for Ganda—he's not above letting his boyfriend bleed to death.
Tonight is just like any other night. Ghani is sitting on the dining table, a cup of no longer steaming coffee in between his palms, and it's… quiet, without Ganda around. It feels awfully tacky for him to say it but Ganda brings laughter home. The man has his way to draw a laugh from Ghani and Ghani is immensely grateful for that. But without his boyfriend around, his place seems barren.
Ghani lets his forehead rest against the table, eyes fluttering close, and when he blinks awake, it's already 3 AM in the morning. He frowns, blinking away sleepiness—there's no sign of Ganda. His phone is laying next to the abandoned cup, also no missed calls or unanswered calls from Ganda.
Calling the authorities is not in his agenda, definitely. It will rouse too much suspicion. Ghani debates on calling someone who works for Ganda. The man has mentioned someone in passing, but Ghani never managed to catch the name, let alone their phone numbers. Shit—Ghani never lets his panic shows but this time, it lights one blinding fear in him. Ganda can't die, not before Ghani. Ghani is the one who has a whole letter of will written for his boyfriend.
There is scufflings outside his door, like several people murmuring angrily to each others and Ghani tenses, skulking towards the front door. True to his guesses, when Ghani peeks through the peephole, there are two people in front of his door, supporting one unconscious person—
He never reacts to a sight that strongly before but it's Ganda, bleeding and unconscious, and it feels like his worst fear is coming to life. The door slams open with a bang, causing everyone except Ghani to flinch, but Ghani doesn't care, because it's Ganda. Ghani stalks forward, already reaching out for his motionless boyfriend, eyes wide in panic.
"Dia kenapa?" he says through gritted teeth, even as he drags Ganda inside. He's—in bad state, to put it mildly. The scent of blood is strong, his usually crisp shirt stained red and it's still wet. There are bruises all over his face, blood already clotting, and Ghani exhales shakily once he lays Ganda down on the couch.
"Saya—saya ngga tau, Pak," one of them says nervously. Ghani spares him a glare, making him shrink even further. "Tadi Pak Hamdan tiba-tiba aja jatuh, padahal udah bubaran—"
"Kamu," Ghani motions towards the other one, "lepasin pakaian Ganda—baju dan celana." Without waiting for their responses, Ghani heads to his bedroom to grab his first aid kit, while he's other hand is tapping madly over the screen of his phone, dialling his personal physician. The call is terse, his doctor knows not to ask questions and Ghani has instructed him to go straight to his place.
When he emerges from his bedroom, the two men are still hovering over Ganda, a mixture of nerves and worry, pressing the ruined shirt against what Ghani guesses as an open wound. Ghani shoulder checks the shorter man away, starting to clean the open wound. "Kalau ada yang ketuk pintu, bukain," is all he says, half distracted.
Ganda is warm under his touch, though his chest is heaving only faintly. Ghani stares blankly, mind a static and muddled with panic and fear. Ganda is not going to die, Ghani won't let him. He's not going to die before Ghani.
It takes a moment for Ghani to realize that someone has pushed him away. His doctor has arrived and Ganda's… people are tugging him up to his feet, his hands coated with blood. It's a state of numbness that leaves him dazed, the sight of the older man lying unconscious is not something he wants to see ever again.
"Luka tusuk," his doctor announces—Ghani doesn't even remember his name, what the fuck—and Ghani watches as two people rush to help him wrap a bandage around Ganda, "tapi ngga dalam." The doctor gives Ganda a critical gaze, now examining his eyes and checking his pulse. "Orang ada dendam apa sama dia?"
The taller man of the two offers, a little sheepishly. "Ada, anu, tadi berantem dikit—" A sharp nudge against his side from his friend stops him short. The doctor—Ghani really doesn't remember his name, oh God—rolls his eyes at the two, getting to his feet after setting an IV drip.
"Ngga perlu transfusi darah, cuma butuh istirahat aja. Ada luka di kepala, concussion. Nanti kalau dia udah bangun, suruh minum painkiller." He sets a hand over Ghani's shoulder, who blinks at him. "Nanti saya kesini lagi, kamu istirahat dulu." With that, he saunters away and Ghani exhales heavily as the door slams close.
Ghani averts his gaze to the two men next to him, who stare at him with a healthy amount of fear. "Nama kalian?" he asks, sitting down on the floor next to the couch. Ganda is still unconscious, but with the cuts and wound tended, he looks marginally better.
"Fadli, Pak," the taller offers before gesturing to the other man, "ini Ito." Ito flashes a grimace at him, hands clasped. Both of them still look fidgety, and they keep throwing worried looks to their boss.
"Tahu rumah saya dari mana?" Ganda is warm under his touch, pulse slowly growing stronger. Ghani's thumb is pressed firmly on his wrist, a reassurance—Ganda will be okay.
"Pak Hamdan ngasih tahu kita," Ito answers, peering at him, "kalau dia ngga sadarkan diri, jangan dibawa ke rumah sakit, tapi bawa ke rumah bapak." He pauses, grinning sheepishly. "Pak Hamdan ngga bilang kalau ini rumah Pak Zulham, beliau cuma kasih alamat rumah ini."
Ghani lets out another heavy breath, scrubbing a hand over his face. Ganda is dumb, undoubtedly so. Who in their right mind would rather go home than going to hospital if they're injured? Fadli and Ito are staring at him, and Ghani dismisses them with a wave of his hand.
"Makasih udah nolongin Ganda," Ghani finally says, still not looking at them. He couldn't dart his eyes away from Ganda. "Kalian boleh pergi."
It's not until the door slams shut that Ghani feels an overwhelming relief mixed with despair coursing through him. He lets out a choked laughter, slumping forward to rest his forehead on Ganda's chest. Ghani never cries, he didn't even cry when his father died, but it's a close thing now that he sees Ganda lying unconscious in front of him.
"Bodoh." His lips move against bare skin, thumb still pressed firmly against the pulse point on Ganda's wrist. "Bodoh banget, Ganda Hamdan."
"Aku udah bilang berkali-kali, hati-hati, jangan biarin kamu jadi samsak kubu sebelah." Air hitches in his chest, forcing him to take a stuttering breath in. His eyes burn a little. "Mentang-mentang bos preman, ngga pernah mau dengerin aku."
"Suka banget bikin orang khawatir," Ghani adds, now tangling his fingers with Ganda. "Aku khawatir, takut kamu kenapa-kenapa." His voice is quiet, a mere whisper, and it feels like a confession that comes too late.
"Maaf." Ghani jerks up and when he glances up, Ganda is staring at him through half-lidded eyes. He makes to rise to his feet because Ganda needs painkiller, he must be in pain, but a strong hand pins him in place. "Maaf udah bikin kamu khawatir."
He sounds rough, not above a faint murmur, and all Ghani does is laugh helplessly, running a soothing hand along the other man's cheek. It's either laugh or cry—or he could go out and sets whoever made Ganda like this on fire. "Bodoh."
Even through pain, Ganda still manages to smile at him. He grimaces when the smile tugs on the cut over his lips. "Bodoh," Ghani repeats, leaning in to brush a soft kiss over the cut on Ganda's forehead. "Diem, aku ambilin painkiller dulu."
Silence dawns on them after Ganda takes his medicine. Ghani knows Ganda is awake, he could feel his eyes on him, but he doesn't want to let go. He couldn't bring himself to look at Ganda in the eyes, not after the admission.
"Jangan mati dulu," Ghani says after a moment, bracing himself to stare at Ganda. The other man appears to be half awake, but he stares back. "Kapan-kapan aja, kalau kamu udah umur 80."
The words startle a snort from Ganda, but he smiles, wide and so unbearably fond even when he's all battered and bruised like this. "Baik, Pak."
Jangan mati dulu, Ghani doesn't say as he curls up against Ganda, banyak janji yang belum aku penuhi. He remembers a small velvet box, sitting on the bottom of his drawer—a plain, silver band with a small diamond in the middle.
He never says it out loud.