They both had nightmares. Growing up the way they had, did that to them.
The nightmares didn't return every night, and often their nights were spent with blissful lovemaking and sleeping, calmth. Tranquility. The both of them were obsessed, really, feeling only most alive when they were in each other's arms and only feeling at their strongest with the other by their side. Complete. Safe.
But when the nightmares did come, they were bad. They were vivid and intimidating, entirely ground-shaking and terrifying. They were nightmares that gripped the both of them, nightmares that led to them waking up bathed in sweat with their wide, unseeing eyes blinking in the darkness in the hopes of grasping reality. Those were the nightmares that left them crankily clutching a cup of coffee in their hands in the morning – nightmares that they just couldn’t let go during the day and would dread to experience once more when they'd go to bed at night. Often they couldn’t even take comfort in the thought that those nightmares were creations of their own twisted fantasy – they were memories, coming back to them to haunt them and rob them of precious sleep.
Those were the worst.
Their childhoods had not been easy, of course they had not. The abuse had rendered Harry jumpy, the hate had rendered Tom bitter. They fought, they yelled, they cursed. They said things that should be unforgivable.
But in the middle of night, when Harry woke up in tears or when Tom woke up from his own sleep-talking, they already knew. There were no awkward explanations, no harsh words of rejection. Just patience and silence because no one would understand, not in the way they did. Not in the way they knew each other.
‘Nightmare?’ they’d whisper. And then without waiting for a reply, they wrapped their arms around each other and clutched each other’s bodies close to their own and clung onto the only thing that anchored them down to reality.
‘Nightmare,’ the other would confirm, the room falling silent right after that simple word, nothing but their own breathing audible.
And they needn’t say any more.