Spot slouched at the end of the dock, one sharp knee in the air, his other boot dangling above the water line. Tonight he wasn't looking out over the river. His focus was instead on the thin switchblade knife in his hand. He was surprised by how cold the blade was, how it could be cold after what it had done. He felt cold, too.
He ran the flat of the metal between his fingers. Scraped the pad of his thumb with its thin edge. Sliced the grain of the wooden plank between his foot and thigh. They were motions he'd been repeating for more than a few minutes, as though he were sharpening the knife's edges and the memory of what had happened. Or trying to dull them both.
He wouldn't forget. Couldn't. The man was dead. That was part of him now.
Racetrack's footfalls and cigar smoke reached Spot at the same time. He didn't look up, but did narrow his eyes to slits and raise them to glare at the empty, darkening horizon instead of his lap. Race stopped beside and a little behind him but stayed standing. Spot's fingers continued to play through their routine with the switchblade.
"It's yours now," Race said into the air above him.
"I know," Spot returned flatly.
"You get to keep it."
"You don't need it."
Spot looked down again at the knife, slight and sharp and soulless. "I will now."
Race didn't say anything, but Spot heard him shift into sitting position, saw him rub out the stump of his cigar on the dock boards and stick it in his vest pocket, felt him begin to scoot into place behind him. At that he spun and stabbed an elbow back, aiming for Race's chest. Race blocked it with his palm and roughly jostled Spot to face forward. Spot's propped foot slipped over the dockside, both legs now hanging loosely, the switchblade cradled in his lap, fingers still flicking over the blade.
Race paused a minute, then moved again, not gently or gracefully, but still cautious. He inched forward, placing one leg on either side of Spot, grabbed hold of Spot's shirt at his shoulder and pants at his waist and yanked him until his butt was settled further away from the dock edge and his back was firmly pressed to Race's chest. His hands then went to Spot's wrists, stopping his fidgeting.
When Race spoke again his voice was low but firm in Spot's ear. "It's not you. It's not the same as you. You get to keep it, but you don't got to turn into it."
Too late, Spot thought. He'd already used the knife. He'd already become that. The hard wood of the skinny handle, the tense joint, the cold metal blade, the stealth and menace, all in his hand. All in him.
"All the more reason not to use it again," Race said steadily.
Spot lifted his chin, briefly taking in the dark gray horizon before closing his eyes and, with them, the switchblade. Racetrack's left hand crept over the fist Spot held the knife in, sealing it closed. His right arm he wrapped firmly around Spot's chest.
Spot shivered, but felt a little less cold.
Edge by cymbalism
Sometimes I try to write Sprace. Sometimes it turns out okay. So here's a moody oneshot, just because.