Logan stood, stretching his aching back. It had been a long-haul, but he’d finally finished finalising Thomas’ video schedule for the next month. He stared at the calendar, colour-coded and cross-referenced, each possibility and deviation carefully accounted for, and nodded to himself in satisfaction. A job well done – at least for now.
Right. A glass of cold water (proper hydration was essential for good physical and mental health), and then time for bed.
He glanced at his watch on the way out of the door: 02.38.
He grimaced – it was later than he had anticipated. At least no one else would be in the commons; even Virgil, who often stayed up into the early hours of the morning, was usually secluded in his room and dozing off by this point of the night.
His assumption was quickly proven wrong, however, when he saw the tell-tale flickering of the TV lighting up the stairway.
He frowned. Who could possibly be awake at this hour?
As he carefully made his way down the stairs, the TV came into view and he recognised the DVD menu of Winnie the Pooh, the volume turned to low. There was only one other Side who could possibly be watching Winnie the Pooh in the early hours of the morning, and as he entered the room he immediately spotted the culprit.
Patton, curled up in a ball on the couch, was wrapped in a cosy blue blanket and clutching a throw pillow tightly against his chest, the hood of his cat onesie obscuring his bright purple hair and his glasses hanging askew. His freckles were faintly visible in the light of the TV and, as Logan watched, his chest quietly rose and fell with each inhale and exhale, the steady rhythm of someone deep in the arms of sleep.
He looked…peaceful. Calm. Cute.
Logan flushed, and then shook his head sharply, as if to knock loose the errant thought. He had already weighed the pros and cons of confessing his...attachment to Patton, and he had concluded that it was inappropriate – especially since the other man had never eluded that such an attachment was more than one-sided.
To think otherwise, to even ponder it, was untenable.
Logan spared Patton one more quick glance, subconsciously committing the sight to memory, before quietly making his way to the kitchen. Pouring out a glass of cold water, he ignored his own flushed cheeks and the warm sensation in his chest at the thought of the other, and downed the water in several quick gulps.
Leaving the glass in the sink, he swiftly and silently headed back towards the stairway, ignoring the urge in the back of his mind to look to the couch, to the man sleeping there, to the person who made his heart race and his stomach twist in the most illogical of ways.
He took a single step up the staircase when suddenly he heard it.
It punctured the air, ringing out like a gunshot. He froze, his foot barely touching the second step.
A second whimper, louder this time, followed by a hitching breath and a barely-there sniffle.
Logan turned back, ignoring his earlier thoughts of hurrying straight to bed. In the few minutes he’d been in the kitchen, Patton had curled up even further around the throw pillow, and his mouth had tightened into a distressed frown. As Logan stared, momentarily struck dumb, Patton’s frown deepened, before he quietly cried out, a wordless sound of despair that made Logan’s chest ache.
Logan slowly moved towards the couch. Patton was clearly in the depths of a nightmare, but what to do? Prior research into nightmares and night terrors had indicated that waking someone in the midst of a nightmare was less than ideal, yet Patton was clearly suffering. His thoughts raced in indecision.
Another whimper, and then a voice, familiar and yet not so, because Logan had never heard Patton sound so pained, so sorrowful, so scared.
“…N-no, please d-don’t….”
And as Logan watched, a small tear escaped from the corner of Patton’s eye, glimmering wetly against his freckled cheek.
Logan’s stomach fell, and he quickly staggered forward, his mind made up. He couldn’t bear this any longer. He dropped to his knees beside the couch and carefully reached out, his right hand resting on Patton’s shoulder.
“Patton. Patton, wake up.”
Another cry. Logan gently shook his shoulder, and called out again, “Patton, you need to wake up. Wake up!”
A sharp inhale, and then suddenly Patton’s eyes flew open, his gaze wild and unfocused as he lurched upwards, his breathing heavy and panicked. Logan shifted until he was perched on the sofa, as close as he could be without invading the other’s personal space.
“It’s okay, I’m here, you’re okay. Deep breaths now, come on – in, and out, in, out – that’s it, you’re doing brilliantly, that’s excellent.”
Slowly, Patton’s breathing steadied and the panic in his eyes gave way to confusion, before recognition bloomed.
Logan smiled encouragingly, subconsciously tightening his grip on Patton’s shoulder, “There you are.”
Patton pitched forward, his arms clumsily wrapping around the other as he buried his head in Logan’s shoulder. Logan’s eyes widened at the sudden contact, his arms hanging frozen in shock, but as he heard Patton’s hitching sobs and felt the tears soaking into his shirt, his surprise gave way to concern, and a desperate need to make this right, somehow.
He swiftly returned the embrace, one hand rubbing soothing circles into Patton’s back while the other reached up and gently combed through his hair, which was damp and sweaty from fear and exhaustion.
“L-Logan, I was so sc-scared…”
Patton tightened his grip, his glasses digging into Logan’s shoulder as his chest stuttered with each hiccupping sob.
“Shhhh, it’s okay, I’ve got you, you’re safe.”
Logan continued murmuring soft reassurances, and pushed down the growing tide of worry in the back of his mind – emotions were so confusing, and he’d never had to comfort someone before, not like this, and what if he doing it wrong, what if he made it worse?
But he must have been doing something right, because with each passing moment Patton’s hold slowly relaxed and his sobs faded to the occasional quiet sniffle. For a few minutes they sat in silence, warm and secure in each other’s arms, their chests pressed tightly together, before Logan felt Patton take a deep breath, and slowly pull backwards.
He reluctantly dropped his hand from Patton’s hair, though he could kept one arm wrapped loosely around his back. He couldn’t quite bring himself to let go, at least not yet.
“Logan?” Patton said, his voice strained from his ordeal.
He looked down, biting his lip, “Thank you. I know emotions make you uncomfortable, and I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable – “
“You could never make me uncomfortable,” Logan interrupted, the words spilling out before he could stop them.
“Really?” Patton glanced up at him, his fringe falling forward at the sudden movement.
“Confused sometimes, perhaps. But never uncomfortable,” Logan carefully reached out and brushed Patton’s fringe away from his face, until he could look into his eyes, his gaze steady and reassuring, “In fact, past experience demonstrates that your company does the exact opposite.”
Patton’s eyes lit up as he smiled, and Logan almost believed he saw a small blush on his cheeks – although it was mostly likely a remnant of his earlier distress, rather than the result of anything he could have possibly said.
Still, his heart began to pound as he abruptly became aware of how close they were sitting, how he could feel every little puff of air against his chin as Patton breathed, and there was something building between them, something charged and full of expectation, and Logan needed to say something, anything to break the tension.
“Would you like to talk about it? Your nightmare?”
The charged atmosphere immediately dropped, as Patton’s smile fell and he quickly looked away.
“Not really,” his voice was quiet, broken, and Logan kicked himself for his emotional ineptitude.
“Very well,” he replied stiffly, annoyance at himself straining his voice, “Then perhaps it is time for bed.”
“Oh, of course,” Patton drew back completely, “I’m sorry I kept you up, Lo.”
Logan ignored how his own arms hung stiffly at his sides, at the sudden gaping loss he felt as the other moved away, and instead drew himself to his feet.
He glanced down at Patton, preparing to say goodnight, and his heart gave a sharp pang as he saw Patton curled up once again, his shoulders slumped and something lost and pained in his expression.
Logan frowned, his mind desperately racing for a solution, for some way to remove the pain in Patton’s eyes. But he was tired, and it was late, and if such metaphors hadn’t been completely illogical and unnecessary, he would say he could almost hear his bed calling out to him, urging him to sleep…
“Patton,” Logan quietly called, though he found he was unable to look towards the other, his face already beginning to flush red from the thought of his next words, “I’m aware that sleeping after such an emotional ordeal would be troubling, and it is clear that you are uncomfortable being alone. Therefore, I was wondering if, perhaps, you would prefer to sleep…with me. In my bed. Together. Just for tonight?”
Logan, the tip of his ears burning, reached out a hand, though he kept his stare focused resolutely at the floor.
A silence fell, heavy and awkward.
Logan sighed, and began to draw back, when suddenly a hand reached out and grasped his own, burning hot and pleasant against his palm, and he quickly looked up, startled.
Patton looked back at him, his eyes still wet from his earlier tears, and yet somehow warm and full of something that made Logan’s cheeks flush even brighter, and he smiled widely, his grip tightening, “I would love to.”