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Fear and Loathing

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Rise vaults upright, panting in the dark. He could swear that the dark, suffocating water was still pressing in on him, Ryu lost to its depths.

His breaths mist the air, dropping well below room temperature. Ice crackles along his skin, flaking off and reforming rapidly. His body shakes as the nightmare replays in his head.

He jumps as he feels a hand grab onto his forearm. Ice shoots up the foreign hand and Rise turns to see where it came from.

Ryu stares at him with a concerned look and Rise realizes that his ice is probably hurting him. He tries to pull away, but Ryu's grip is firm.

"Rise?" Ryu sits up further. "What's wrong?"

His hands twitch but he can't bring himself to form signs. He isn't even sure if he could find the signs to tell Ryu what's wrong.

Ice flakes off of his lashes as he blinks. His lip quivers and all he can do is stare helplessly at Ryu, raw fear plain on his face.

Ryu's concern visibly deepens. He knows Rise enjoys fear, but not fear like this. This fear is real and specific. It's nothing like the general fear Ryu's pheromones produce.

Telegraphing the movement, Ryu brings a hand up to Rise's cheek. Despite the slow movement though, Rise still tries to jerk back from the contact. He's hurting Ryu. He knows he is.

"Rise, it's okay," Ryu sooths. "I can't feel the cold."

Rise blinks, remembering that Ryu is right. He knows that even Ryu could be hurt by the ice he's producing, but he's more durable than the people he's shared a bed with before.

Ryu's thumb brushes a swath of frost off of Rise's cheek and Rise can't hold back anymore. He flings himself into Ryu's chest and holds on tight. A deep, shuttering breath rattles through his own chest as he pushes his face into the crook of Ryu's neck. Ice spreads from every point of contact, but Ryu doesn't seem to mind as he wraps his arms around Rise.

He runs a hand through Rise's hair, knocking loose the powdery snow that continuously reforms there each time. He quietly shushes Rise as silent sobs rack through his smaller body. Even if Rise could speak, he doubts he could form words now.

They sit like that for a small eternity. Rise's shaking eventually calms and Ryu realizes he's fallen back asleep. The ice covering their bodies begins to thaw a bit, but Ryu is sure that they would need to sit in front of a fire to melt it properly.

Deciding it's too much work, he pulls Rise closer and slips back under the blankets. It's only a moment more before he's fallen asleep as well; resolving to ask Rise about this in the morning.