Andrew notices the moment Steven starts feeling anxious. Steven’s so bright and bubbly all the time, which is useful in picking up on developing anxiety. He just… shuts down. Andrew hates watching it happen.
Most of the time, Steven’s okay. Most of the time, if he’s left alone, Steven can slowly bring himself back from the brink with just his music and a slow, easy, editing project. So Andrew leaves him be, focuses on his own project, because he knows trying to help Steven right now only makes it worse.
And everything seems like it’ll be fine, until a loud crash disrupts their quiet ease. Andrew looks in the direction of the noise, only to find that someone’s dropped a few large bundles of tripods.
When he turns back, Steven is gone. Oh no.
Knowingly, Andrew rushes to the bathrooms. As he’d suspected, the door to the handicapped stall is shut. Andrew lies on his belly and wiggles his way through the gap between the door and the floor.
Steven is curled against the wall farthest from the door. His knees are to his chest, arms wrapped tight around his legs and his face tucked between his knees. Andrew sighs softly, and walks over, making enough noise that he’s sure he won’t startle Steven.
He slides down the wall to sit in the same position as Steven. Steven’s hyperventilating breaths are ragged and Andrew can tell he’s crying, even without seeing his face. Andrew makes no move to touch Steven more than allowing their thighs and upper arms to touch where close proximity demands it. And he sits there. He doesn’t say a word, just stays connected by those two contact points and sits, and listens to Steven’s breath start to slow down.
After a few minutes, Steven reaches over and grabs Andrew’s hand. Andrew lets him tangle their fingers together, squeezing just once. A little more time and Steven pulls his head from between his knees to rest it on Andrew’s shoulder. Still, Andrew doesn’t move, doesn’t speak, just lets Steven sit there and breathe.
Finally, Steven speaks, a soft whisper only audible thanks to their proximity. “I love you.”
Andrew turns and presses a kiss to the top of Steven’s head. “I love you too.”
They sit in silence for a moment more, Steven playing with Andrew’s fingers absentmindedly.
It’s nearly four thirty now, so Andrew just shoots their supervisor a quick text letting her know he’s taking Steven home for the day, saying he’s not feeling well.
Steven’s quiet on the way home, and Andrew’s not surprised. Although the worst is definitely over, it can take Steven a while to be back to his usual self. When they get home, Andrew sends him immediately into their bedroom to get changed into sweatpants and a jumper.
He follows him in with two steaming mugs of tea and, once they are both settled on the bed, puts on Friends . Steven curls against Andrew, head on Andrew’s chest so he can listen to his heartbeat. Steven doesn’t laugh, but every so often Andrew can feel him snort a little. The tea is long finished when Andrew realizes that Steven’s fast asleep. He kisses his boyfriend’s hair, eases the mug out of his relaxed hand, and scoots down the bed ever so slightly. Sleep comes easily to Andrew, with Steven’s warmth relaxing him and the soft, even breaths coming from Steven a reminder that he’s okay, he’s here, and they’re both safe and happy.