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Quiet Moments

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Quiet moments in this life are few, and Frau takes them as he can find them. He sits leaning against the rough solid wall, and strokes his finger idly through the hair of the boy curled next to him. He watches the rise and fall of his breathing, watches the play of the meager light across his face, far too lined with care and anger than should be.

He remembers being so tired, so tense, despite his own youth. It has been some time, but he remembers the recklessness, the secret sneakings, and the darkened back ways no one else knew about to get in and out of the church, silent in the clouded night. He remembers his own self-assurance and his determination, then the crackled edges of bitter anger upon realizing the limitations of intention, and the whiplash sting of betrayal.

He remembers the bone-deep weariness and the simmering anger that did not let him sleep, that drew him from his bed night after night. He's learned to control his insomnia since then, to take rest even if he finds it less than restful, to make the best of rotten situations and limited resources, both within and without.

He wishes for a moment that he was back with one of his stashes of distractions, glossy pages rustling and flat images tempting conscious thought away, his own hands skimming over his chilled, heated skin... then crushes that thought. Now is not the time for such things, no matter how tempting.

Frau wonders whether, left to his own devices, Teito would have spent this night tossing and turning, eyes glaring into the darkness, seeking and not finding the healing balm of rest, as he himself used to do.

Frau glances up, trying to estimate the time, knowing that he himself is unlikely to find rest this night. There are some hours yet until dawn, but he suspects that no matter that Teito has finally gained at least some rest, it will not be nearly enough for the coming challenges. They must keep moving.

As if in answer to Frau's thoughts of impending travel, Teito stirs, his warm presence at Frau's side stretching slightly away, and then returning, as though the shadows beside them were a inexorable force pushing them together. The links of chain at his neck clatter together slightly, their sound sudden and harsh against the silence. He sighs, shifts his weight slightly, but he's not entirely awake.

Frau continues his idle stroking, sliding his fingers through tousled hair, considers murmuring hollow reassurances: we're safe, we're fine, we don't have to move on just yet. He decides against it.

There is at least some time. Not much, but some. Frau's not usually so gentle, but quiet moments like this are not usual.

Teito seems not to be settling. Frau brushes one stubborn fall of hair away from Teito's forehead... he doesn't know at what point the boy will actually make the transition from restless slumber to wakefulness, but he does know well enough that the boy will need whatever energy he can muster once dawn arrives.

Frau leans in close, and murmurs as gently as he can, for the third time this night: Sleep.