Jonah startles awake beside me, body jolting upright in fear. I can feel how tense he is without even shifting, considering how close he was pressed to me before. As soon as I sit up, he whines softly, pushing away from me. But I don’t care, I scoot forward, closing the space he put between us, and wrap my arms around his shaking form. He always gets like this after a particularly bad nightmare. “I’m dangerous! Don’t touch me, I’ll hurt you!” he mumbles, still trying to get away, but I know better. Jonah’s never hurt me, and he never will.
I know he’s big, and strong, and I know what he used to be. I was one too. I remember everything, and get nightmares too. I trust Jonah with my life and more. He struggled some more, before I heard a soft sob. He his big arms wrapped around me and clung to me tightly, holding me to him. Not that I wanted to go. I ran my fingers through the short strands on his head, where the hair was slowly growing back. I was only one who saw him like this, save for his sister a few times. Otherwise, I was the only one to see him cry. I shushed him softly, whispering soft words of encouragement in his ear, just like I did the other nights.
After a bit, he began to calm down, his breath gradually going back to normal. His hands found my thick, shoulder length curls and tugged lightly. “You need to cut your hair. They’ll find you like this,” his rough voice said, slight panic laced in the words. I reached back to find one of his hands, holding it in my own, “Remember Jonah? Remember where we are.” He was silent for a moment, then nodded, skin growing a little warmer on his neck where my face lay. “It’s alright. Sometimes I forget too,” I whispered in the dark, and kissed the back of his hand.
He stiffened a little, and I knew why. His tattoo was on that palm, and he still never fully trusted himself. ‘That’s alright,’ I thought to myself, ‘I have enough trust for him for the both of us.’ Now that he was calmer, more pliant in my hands, I pushed him back a little to lay down on the bed. We moved a little on the soft sheets, getting comfortable, until I found a spot tucked under his arm and against his side. He only wore boxers to bed tonight, as it was a little warm, and the thought made me blush. Though it was soon forgotten when he spoke again, “I love you.” Warmth burst across my cheeks, and my heart fluttered insistently, just like it did the first time he’d said it.
“I love you too, Jonah. So much.”