my nightmares are usually about losing you
continued from here
(…) “i’m…” he wants to say that he’s here,
no matter what, he wants to say that he’s not a stone to be cast across
a lakeside surface, only to sink beneath the depths; he is a lighthouse
in a storm, a sun burning in the vacuum of space, always shining,
always reaching, always waiting. come to me. there are exactly
three steps between him and doc’s body, three steps between cold
loneliness and tasting which flavor of liquor is on doc’s lips, and all
he can do is stare at it, blazing.
but no matter how brightly he flares, doc can’t see that.
“your nightmares are ridiculous. let’s get you back to your room.”
salathiel is right there, right there across from him, he knows even if he can’t see the man, and he aches to be closer to him, to cross the distance there is left between them and to make sure that it’s all fine. his whole body is trembling, a tremor seemingly permanently in his legs, but he knows that’s just the exhaustion. he hasn’t had a proper night’s sleep in what feels like forever, though he’s lost track of the days. how long since the captain got shot? how long since he had to wash the man’s lifeblood off his hands, his arms, his clothes, his very soul? how long since he lost his footing and didn’t find it back yet?
there is an absolute quiet in the air once the words have found their way out of his throat, exhaustion and inebriation easing the way for them, for there is no other situation in which he would have allowed them to leave the confines of his mind and move into the open air. there is no way he would have spoken them aloud had he been fully aware of what he was saying. the response he gets is typical, such a very salathiel thing to say, and he wishes that just for a moment he could pull the boy back to the forefront of the man and be given a reassurance, a sign of warmth, anything to know he’s not talking to an absolute stranger. but of course that is just his own hopes and dreams, and the reality is that this is all there is for him now.
which sounds like he hates it, but he doesn’t. he loves even this man with his sharp edges and rock hard inside. he loves everything about this man, even the parts he doesn’t yet know, even the parts he can’t stand. he loves, he loves, he loves, and he’s so terrified of losing it all that not even the normalcy of the captain’s answer soothes that fear this time.
he stumbles, seemingly falling forward but really he’s just putting himself in motion, crossing the distance until his hands are on salathiel’s chest, fingers brushing the coarse fabric of his shirt, tracing the line of his collar, reaching, grabbing, releasing and then moving until he’s touching skin. he follows the line of salathiel’s jaw upwards, until his fingers brush over the man’s cheek, his other hand following a similar path only these fingers trace over lips ever so gently, then up over the nose. of all the regular crew on the ship, his hands are perhaps the least calloused, the least worn from grasping blasters or tools, and his touches are soft, barely there, the ghost of an actual touch. still, his fingers move until he’s mapped out almost the entirety of salathiel’s face and he slowly lowers his hands again, lets them come to a rest on the captain’s chest.
the only sound in the room is their breathing, uneven and laboured on both sides, and he vaguely figures the captain must be angry beyond belief at this point, ready to beat him to a pulp or something like that for crossing so many boundaries all at once. he wonders why he hasn’t been pushed away yet like he now thinks he should have been, wonders why he has not yet been thrown across the room. perhaps the captain is still considering between taking out his blaster and shooting him in the face or just throwing him off the ship right here in the middle of space. perhaps the captain is too shocked, too outraged to have given a reaction just yet. he makes use of the moment to curl his fingers in the coarse linnen of the man’s shirt a little better, anchors himself to the captain as if to make sure he won’t be taken from him again, nor the other way around. if he’s going to die anyway, he thinks, then…
and that very same train of thought makes him lean in even closer then, lowering his forehead onto salathiel’s shoulder and closing his useless eyes as he breathes in slowly, listens to the man’s heartbeat as it pumps the blood through the veins in the man’s neck, lets that proof of life and health soothe him until he feels his own breathing ease up slowly, some of that boundless anxiety in his chest finally giving way at least a little.