It’s at this point you realize that he might need this more than you want it. It still feels selfish and reckless, but you pull him closer, and he lets you loop an arm around his waist. He leans into you—hesitantly, carefully—and you place a light kiss just below his ear.
You expect him to smile, but he just closes his eyes. You consider pulling back, but as if he can sense your thoughts, he puts an arm around your shoulders and looks at you pleadingly.
You sigh and nuzzle his neck. He clings a bit tighter.
“Shoosh,” he whispers against your temple, and holds your hand a little tighter.
You draw back a bit and look at his face. His eyes are half-lidded and his smile is vague, and though it takes you a moment, you recognize this expression as the same one he had when he was still on the sopor.
“Problem, brother?” he asks, blinking slowly at you.
“No, just—let’s sit down,” your eyes dart in the direction of the pile.
His smile widens a bit. He bobs forward, touching his chin against your forehead like he wants to kiss it, but he forgets the lip part of the equation, so it just turns into a harmless reverse headbutt, and by far the oddest gesture of affection you’ve ever witnessed. He’s terrible at this, and it just makes you pity him more.
When you finally lie down on your side, he curls up behind you on the pile, holding you much too tightly and poking you with all his sharp bony bits. He sniffles at your hair loudly, and you try not to feel exasperated by this. He probably learned it from his lusus, on the few occasions the beast bothered to visit. You were in the habit of skreeing in frustration until the age of three, so you’re not one to judge.
His hand grips your shirt like he’s afraid someone will steal you if he lets go. You can feel the tension in his shoulders in the way he hold you. There’s an undercurrent of desperation to him, of that hunger you’d glimpsed earlier.
Tentatively, you put your hand over his and worm your fingers in between his. This succeeds in making him release you sweatshirt and a little bit of his tension bleeds away. You can feel him relax against you, and as you pull his hand up to rest it with the palm against your heart, you feel him sigh in contentment.
You suddenly care a great deal less about the proper way of doing things. The pretend-moirails of a dead universe are a poor gauge for the success of a moiraillegiance when right here, right now, you can see first hand what pale means, and how much your touch seeps into Gamzee, calms him down, reassures him.
You decide to give him nothing less than what he needs, and oh, how he needs this.