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And His World Was Filled With Darkness

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Come back, Mike. You can’t sleep forever.


The Voice is back. It always comes back, pleading with him to wake up—Mike doesn’t understand; he’s not asleep (just lost in the darkness)—and come back to me—why would he need to come back when he’s right here (and who would he “come back” to)? Mike wishes the Voice would just stay away.


He cannot seem to speak or swallow—it is as if something is lodged in his throat, restricting his voice, inhibiting his movement and limiting his breathing. His body feels sluggish, his limbs heavy and useless, like he has not moved them in a long time (which is ridiculous because he has been running through this darkness for days, weeks, months!).


Mike hears a slow, steady beeping noise—like on the monitors in hospitals, keeping track of a patient’s heartbeat—and thinks of how incongruous that is in this place, where the only sounds he’s heard since he arrived (how long has he been lost?) are his own resonating footsteps as he attempts to outrun the darkness, and the Voice.


Open your eyes, Mike.


Don’t you think I’m trying? Mike wants to shout. I’m so sick of this darkness!


There is a warm weight on his hand (it always comes when the Voice does) and something is moving (caressing?) over his palm.


Mike. The Voice sounds weird again—choked, like how Mike imagines his voice will sound if he is ever able to speak again; the Voice gets like this a lot, usually after its first few pleas go unanswered (how can Mike answer the Voice when his own will not come?).


------

I miss you.


Mike does not know how long it has been since he last heard the Voice (time is lost here, just as Mike is), but for once he is glad of its return.


I miss you so damn much, Mike.


How can the Voice miss Mike when Mike is right here?


I was a goddamn wreck when you got hurt; Jessica insisted I use my vacation days so I could stay here.


But I’m not hurt, Mike wants to reassure the Voice; it sounds so upset.


You and your goddamn bike, the Voice mutters.


His bike? Did Mike get into an accident? Is that why he is trapped in this terrible, endless darkness?


Wake up, Mike.


------


Mike is choking; he can’t breathe! Why can’t he breathe?


I’m dying.


Where is the Voice? Why is it letting him die? Mike gasps for breath and clutches at his throat, panicking. Help!


Michael, you’re fine, dear; you’re all right. Calm down now, sweetheart; this part will be over soon.


What will be over soon? Who is that? That is not the Voice. Where is the Voice? Why can’t he hear the Voice?


What is happening?!


------

He can breathe now.


He can breathe, and the darkness isn’t so dark anymore. His eyelids feel so heavy, like hundred-pounds weights are holding them down, but twice now, he has been able to lift them, and there was light.


Mike saw the owner of the Voice too, both times. He saw the blur of a shadowy figure next to him, and while he was not able to see anything other than that dark outline, the shadow leaned forward, and Mike felt warmth on his hand and something moving (caressing?) over his palm just like he always felt in the darkness. Then the figure said Mike, and Mike lost the fight with his eyelids, taken under by the haze of darkness.


------

There are slivers of light in the darkness—small, like the light that shines under the gap of a closed door.


Mike, wake up.


He has to open his eyes; he knows that voice, he knows who the Voice belongs to now! He has to see him clearly, not just another shadow.


He cannot. The eyelid weights win once more.


------


Mike can open his eyes! He can see! (Or has he always been able to see, but been overwhelmed by the darkness?)


Everything is so… bright! There are no more dark or shadowy figures, no more vague and ambiguous shapes; there is no more darkness.


There is someone holding his hand.


Harvey!


Mike wriggles his fingers—or tries. He feels so lethargic, like when he was trapped in the darkness. Mike whimpers at the feeling of helplessness, and then winces at the burning in the back of his throat.


There is a gasp to Mike’s left, the opposite side of Harvey. Mike shifts his gaze there (his head feels so heavy) and sees a flash of red. Donna! Her lips (the bottom one looks as if she’s been worrying it lately) part slightly, then close as she gives Mike the small, tender smirk she reserves for just him. She leans forward, one of her hands rising to settle on his cheek as she applies her lips to his forehead in a soft kiss. Then she pulls back, her smirk still in place, and says Harvey’s name, moving her hand from Mike’s cheek to shake Harvey’s shoulder lightly; he startles awake, and Donna rises, murmuring something about finding someone (a doctor?), and swiftly leaves.


Mike slowly returns his gaze to the side of the bed with Harvey and smiles (or he thinks he smiles—he feels so numb, it could be a grimace for all Mike knows). Harvey’s warm brown eyes, the ones Mike knows so well, look so weary and worn, as if he has been battling something for days (weeks, months?), and the shallow lines at the corners of them are deepened just slightly by fatigue and sadness. Nonetheless, his mouth twitches in a grin as he stares at Mike, spreads wide and beautiful as he leans over Mike and touches their foreheads together, and his breath rushes out in warm puffs against Mike’s lips. Then, he speaks Mike’s name so soft and tender and breathless, and Mike can’t help but wonder why it had taken him so long to recognize this perfect, perfect voice as the one that stayed with him in the darkness.