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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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You know, out of all the things that Jae expected to run into here, he hadn't really been prepared for the possibility that he'd bump into someone who didn't know who he was. He was used to being recognized, by appearance if not by reputation. He didn't think that the figure half-obscured by the shelf and the fading light would be calling out to him so easily, so concerned, if they knew who he was.

Hurt? Yeah. Sick? If that's what you wanted to call it. He certainly wasn't well, in a lot of ways.

Jae straightened up somewhat to regard the person hiding behind the shelf for a moment.

"Yeah," he said finally. "You could say that."

He pulled the nearest chair over and dropped into it, keeping his attention vaguely in the direction of the other person while he fished for a water bottle in his bag. He gulped down several mouthfuls, wiping his mouth on the back of his sleeve when he was through. It eased his throat somewhat but didn't do much for everything else that was bothering him.

"Do you know what time it is?"

If he looked up, Jae could catch his reflection in the library's glass dome ceiling. His face was hollow and pale, framed by lank hair and with dark shadows under his eyes. He looked like he was already dead. He could only imagine what his fellow library patron felt looking at his face.

Jae absently scratched at the bandages covering the gash on his face and wondered when the last time he had changed them was, before something else occurred to him.

He couldn't see the other boy clearly behind the shelf, couldn't quite make out his face. If he had to guess, Jae would have said that he was short and probably white, and that was the best he could tell.

"Have you seen somebody in a mask running around here?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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友達 · The Asylum Library