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Aasim shook his head, his eyes widening in absolute horror as two Delta soldiers walked towards Louis’ cell, one holding a sharp dagger and the other one holding a small towel.  Those sick bastards, he looks over at Omar, whose eyes were wide with shock and horror .  They’re not going to do that right? He thinks to himself, but his fears were confirmed when that woman, Lilly, makes the dreaded command.

 

“Cut his tongue out.  That should teach him a lesson.” Her lips twisted into a feral grin, a murderous gleam in her eyes. Aasim’s breath shook at her command, his heart pounded and he felt numb.   I can’t let this happen, I have to do something! Clenching his fists, he bangs them against the bars, shouting at Lilly

 

“Stop! Don’t hurt him! Please!”  He yells desperately, his eyes misted over, but he blinked away the tears.  A huff leaves his lips as the woman glances over at him, a curious glint in her eyes.  

 

“Hurt me instead…” He hisses, Lilly smirks and lifts her hand up. “Hold it.”  She demands, walking closer to his and Omar’s cell. Aasim glares at her, looking her in the eye,  challenging her.

 

Lilly unlocks his cell and pulls him out roughly by the collar of his jacket, a sharp cry leaves his lips as his back hits the wall roughly. “We told you to stay silent… But..” She narrows his eyes, kicking him in the side making him yelp. “I guess if you want his punishment… Then you will get it.”  Lilly places a hand on her hip, “Dorian, why don’t you show this rebel what happens when a soldier falls out of line.”

 

Dorian smirks and walks over, pulling him up roughly by the shirt. “With pleasure.”  Aasim narrows his eyes, looking the woman in the eye. “Go to hell.” He hisses, shivering a bit as Lilly laughed darkly as she left the hall, the other soldier at her side.  

 

A startled gasp leaves his lips as he was thrown into the cell across from Louis’s. He glared up at the woman as she shut the door, his heart clenched when he heard Louis panic from his cell.

 

 

“No, No! Aasim! Don’t you fucking touch him!”  Louis shouts, Aasim frowns, taking a breath, he pushes Dorien away harshly and runs to the door.  “No matter what happens, I…” He chokes up, his panic growing as he heard Dorian get up. “I love you, Lou.” He whispers, tears fill Louis’ eyes and he shakes his head, Aasim knew that look.

 

Aasim gulps and Mouths I love you, one last time before Dorian grabs him roughly and throws him to the ground.

 

“You little bitch.” Dorian hisses, kicking him in the side, a yelp of pain leaves him. Quickly he kicks her in the leg, making her groan and stomp over to him. “You’ll pay for that!” She growls kicking him again, this time a bit harder.  Aasim winces, backing up some more until his back hit the wall. His heart clenched every time Louis yelled for him.

 

I’m sorry, Louis. I’m so sorry.  

 

“Aasim! Please don’t hurt him!”  

 

Aasim shook his head, tears spilling down his cheeks, as the kicks kept on coming. Shut up, Louis. Please shut up.  He thought to himself, his eyes widen as Dorian holds him down, bringing out her knife. Aasim struggled in her hold, an annoyed growl leaves Dorian and his eyes widen and scream escapes his lips as the blade goes through the skin and muscle on his left hand.

 

A whimper leaves his lips as Dorian roughly pulls the knife away, his body shook and he brings his leg up and kicks her in the stomach. “Bitch!” He hisses, slowly moving to his feet.

 

Dorian snarls and tackles him to the ground, he groans as his head bumped against the wall. “I’ve had enough of your shit.” She growls, pinning him down, she grabs a hold of her knife once again. Aasim’s body shook, and his eyes closed. Dorian’s hold on him was strong, leaving him powerless.

 

I’m So Sorry, Louis. I’m So Sorry.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Louis covered his mouth, tears spilling down his cheeks. Aasim’s screams were haunting, fear filled him when his screams grew quite over time. Guilt coursed through and his thoughts jeered at him.

 

This is your fault! You did this!  

 

Louis whimpers, pulling his knees to his chest . Please, please. Let Aasim be okay… Please… He tugs at his dreads, his heart pounding in his chest.  All Louis could think about was the fear in Aasim’s voice when he said ‘ I love you.’

 

Louis flinches when his cell door is thrown open, his eyes widen in horror when they dump a body on the floor. Not just any body but Aasim’s. Dorian glares at him and points her gun at him. “Cause any more trouble and you’ll get what’s coming to you, boy.”  Louis stayed silent, his breath hitching as she walked out of the cell and slams the cell door with a bang.

 

Wasting no time, Louis crawled over to Aasim’s still body. Tears filled his eyes and he choked on a sob,  “S-sim?” He whimpers, resting his hand on his boyfriend's shoulder. Louis whimpers again when his eyes land on the blood-stained bandages wrapped around Aasim’s throat.

 

No...NO! Please…. Please! It should’ve been me! It should’ve been me! He shook his head, a small sob leaving his lips .  Oh god, I’m so sorry,  Aasim. I’m so sorry.

 

“P-please... Don’t take him from me…” He begs tears spilling down his cheeks, gently, he pulls Aasim up on his lap.  “They... They... Omar... They cut his goddamn throat…” He whispers brokenly, loud enough for Omar to hear.

 

A soft swear and a small bang came from Omar’s cell, “W-what? I-Is he d-dead?”  Omar stumbled over his words, he was panicking and Louis couldn’t really blame him for that he was on the verge of a break down himself.

 

“I… I don’t know, his breathing his very faint.”  He replies shakily, pressing a kiss to Aasim’s forehead delicately.  “Please... Aasim… Open your eyes... I can’t lose you... D-don’t leave me please.”  He begs his voice cracking ever so slightly. This was his fault, he let this happen to Aasim, all because he couldn’t shut the fuck up.

 

“Why didn’t you let me take the punishment, Sim?”  His body trembled, swallowing heavily, he looks down at Aasim. He looked so... Pained... It was his fault. Louis didn’t know why Aasim was still breathing… How does one survive something like that?  “It should’ve been me, Omar!” He cries, his body shaking with sobs. “I can’t lose him! I just can’t!”

 

Fear coursed through his entire body, he blocked out the comfort Omar was offering, all he could think about is how Aasim was still alive and if these were his final moments. He shook his head, he couldn’t think about putting Aasim down, he couldn't.

 

A gentle touch to his cheek broke him from his thoughts, Louis looked down at him, all the panic fading a  broken smile twists on his lips and he rests his hand over Aasim’s that was resting gently on his cheek.

 

He was okay… Aasim was okay… Aasim wasn’t taken from him...

 

"Oh god... Aasim..." He whispers,  "You're okay...." Leaning down, he gently brushes his lips over Aasim's, relief shot through him as he kissed his loved one. He made a vow right then and there… No one, no one will ever hurt Aasim again. No one.    

 

"I'm so sorry…” He whispers, “It should’ve been me…”  Aasim shook his head frantically, his eyes pained. Aasim opens his mouth to speak, but nothing came out… Dread and horror, along with guilt rammed into the Louis’ heart as the realization settled in.

 

Aasim couldn’t talk…

 

Aasim looked at him, panic clear on his face as he sat up,  his fingers brushing over the bandages around his neck. Aasim shook his head and opens his mouth again, but nothing again. Louis bit down on his lip and pulls Aasim closer, cradling him to his chest as his body shook with silent sobs. “I’m so sorry, Sim... Please calm down, don’t tire yourself out…” He soothes, tilting Aasim’s face up, brushing away his tears.

 

Aasim frowns deeply, setting his hand on Louis’ cheek,  “Louis? Is he awake?” Omar called from his cell, Louis sighs and mumbles a soft ‘yeah’ loud enough for Omar to hear.  He didn’t take his eyes off Aasim, “Hey…” He whispers, stroking his cheek gently. Aasim blinks tiredly and takes Louis’ hand, lacing their fingers together.

 

Sighing softly, Louis brushes some Aasim’s hair out of the way. A sad smile twists on his lips and he hums softly, running his fingers through Aasim’s hair.  “Remember our first kiss?” He asks softly, his gaze gentle and soft. Aasim cracked a small smile and nods, Louis sighs and presses a kiss to his cheek. It was one of his fondest memories... One of the memories that kept him going… Kept him sane.

 

Louis laughs softly, hooking his arm around Aasim’s waist as they walked towards the music room.  Aasim glances up at him, their eyes meeting and Louis loved the amusement shining in Aasim’s brown eyes.  “What’s so funny, dork?” Aasim muses, a fond smile on his lips, and Louis would be lying if he didn’t fall even more in love with Aasim at that moment.  

Louis snorts, rolling his eyes fondly. He let out a loud sigh, “Who ya callin’ dork?” He teases, trying and failing to use his best southern accent.  Aasim laughs breathlessly, another thing Louis loved about him, his laugh. It was so light and carried a melody almost. “Well... You are the only one here, Lou… So you’re the dork.”  Aasim mocked his loud sigh, “Sorry to break it to you.” Louis’s jaw drops and he removes his arm from around Aasim’s waist and places his hands over his heart, dramatically.

“How dare you?” He gasps, a mock look of betrayal crossing his features. “You hurt me truly, Sim,” Louis smirks and walks over, taking Aasim’s hands in his, gently he leads him into the music room.  “Shut up… Dork.” Aasim laughs, Louis grins and sits down on the piano bench, pulling Aasim down next to him.

“So why are we in here?”  Aasim questions, making Louis’ grin grow.  “Well,” Louis sighs, running his fingers gently over the ivory keys. “I want to teach you to play a song.” He smiles at Aasim, “Is that okay?” He tilts his head, a smile tugs at Aasim’s lips and he nods.

“Of course it is… But I might suck.”  Aasim warned with a small laugh, Louis takes his hand and lifts it up, pressing a gentle kiss to the back of it.  “So? It's how you learn. Also, why not have the best piano player around teach you?” He winks, enjoying the light pink that dusted across Aasim’s cheeks.  Aasim sighs, shaking his head a bit, but nevertheless agreed.

Taking Aasim’s hand, Louis set it on the piano keys. His hand hovering over Aasim’s, gently, he presses Aasim fingers on the ivory keys and with his other hand he reached into his left coat pocket and pulled out a piece of folded paper.  Unfolding the paper, he sets it against the piano so they could see the notes, Aasim glances at him fondness in his eyes.

“I love this song,”  Aasim whispers, his eyes softening. Louis nods, he knew Aasim loved this song. “I know,”  He murmurs, his cheeks light red. He looks back down at the piano keys, a dorky smile on his lips.  “Alright, first things first.” He announces, moving Aasim’s hand further down the keys.

“Set your fingers here,” He whispers, setting Aasim’s hand up, the shorter boy nods and looks up at him. “Like this?”  He asks, his voice a bit hesitant, Louis nods and sets his other hand on the keys, playing the tune. The chorded harmony filled the room,  Louis smiled at the beautiful sound.

“Alright, copy me.” He instructs him, Aasim bit down on his bottom lip and nods hesitantly, playing the tune. Louis nods slowly, he needed some practice and maybe, just maybe Aasim could be a pro.  “Good, good.” Louis beams, and looks at the sheet music for reference. He plays the same chords again, Aasim following along.

While he played, Louis glances down at Aasim, wonder shining in his chocolate brown eyes.  How did he get so lucky? How did he end up with someone like Aasim? The corner of his lips quirked up when Aasim turned his head and met his gaze.  “What?” Aasim arches a brow, “Am I playing that bad?” He grimaces, his eyes held amusement though, another thing Louis admired.

“No… You’re playing beautifully.”  He whispers, reaching out, Louis gently cups Aasim’s cheek, tilting his head up, making Aasim blush heavily.  “L-Louis?” He stammers making Louis hum softly in reply. “W-what are you doing?” He breathes, Louis could sense the nervousness in his tone, he leans in closer his smile never faltering.

“Admiring the most handsome person in the world.” He murmurs, Aasim blushed brightly and rolled his eyes playfully.  “You are such a sap.” He sighs, Louis grins and leans down a little bit more, their lips centimeters apart.

“I’m your sap.”  He whispers, closing the gap between them by gently pressing his lips to Aasim’s. His eyes fluttered closed and he smiled into the kiss when Aasim slowly returned it.  After a few minutes, they broke away from each other.

“Well, that went as planned.”  Louis grins, his pride growing as Aasim struggled to form a coherent sentence.  “S-shut up!” Aasim managed to force out, Louis laughs loudly and brings their lips together again.

Louis let a few more tears roll down his cheeks and he looks down at his boyfriend. “Remember that song we played?” His voice wavered, Aasim frowns and brushes away one of his tears, Louis leaned into Aasim’s touch.  Licking at his lips, a shaky sigh leaves him, god, how could he let this happen? It should’ve been him… Not Aasim.

Sighing softly, Louis slowly runs his fingers through Aasim’s dark hair humming softly. He noticed the way Aasim’s eyes lit up at the familiar tune, clearing his throat he softly sang the first verse.

On a Wednesday morning in July

We dried our tears and we said goodbye

Another angel gone before his time

But he's still alive in our hearts and minds

While he sang softly, he laced their fingers together, this was one of Aasim’s favorite songs. Louis would sing it to Aasim anytime he woke up from a nightmare, leaning down, he presses a gentle kiss on the tip of Aasim’s nose.  

 

Tonight we sent an angel home

Sing out and celebrate his song

Tonight he'll go where we can't go

Sing out, sing out, sing out

Oh-oh-oh

Oh-oh-oh

There are things in life we can't explain

In a blink of an eye, everything can change

So just appreciate the little things

'Cause you never know what tomorrow brings

Aasim’s eyes slowly started to droop, his breathing becoming even. Good. Louis thought, he needed the rest, but Louis?  He wasn’t going to sleep, he needed to watch over Aasim.  Make sure no one hurts him again… No one…    Louis didn’t sing anymore, Aasim was asleep and Louis didn’t want to bother him.

But one thing was certain, he wanted that woman to suffer. Suffer for causing the pain of his loved ones, for taking the twins, but most of all… Hurting Aasim.  “I want that woman to suffer, Omar…” He snarled, fires igniting in his usually soft brown eyes.

“Louis…” Omar starts, Louis chuckles darkly, interrupting him.  “I’ll see to it that she dies, Omar.” Omar sighed heavily from his cell, Louis knew what he was thinking.

“Louis, just worry about Aasim right now… If you try anything they might hurt you or him.”  Omar warned. Louis grit his teeth, Omar had a point… The other side of him screamed vengeance…

“Get some rest, Omar.” He shook his head, gently stroking Aasim’s cheek. Omar didn’t reply and Louis knew that the normally calm chef was worried.  

“Don’t worry, Sim.” He murmurs, giving Aasim’s hand a gentle squeeze. “We’ll get out of here and when we do… I’ll see to it that Lilly dies.”  He glares at the wall. “I promise you that…”

~~~~~~~~~~

Louis’s head snapped up when he heard talking outside his cell, he looks down at Aasim in his arms. Aasim’s eyes held confusion and some pain, it made Louis’ heart clench,  your fault… Your fault.    Louis shook his head and holds Aasim closer to him as the voices got louder.

What’s going on?

Narrowing his eyes, he watched as his cell door was opened and Clementine rushes in. Instantly his hardened glare fell, relief crossed his features.  “Clementine! You-” He stopped mid-sentence, his eyes widening when he realized what was about to happen. “Clem Look out!” But it was too late, Minerva quickly brought her elbow down on the back of Clem’s head, knocking her out.

A growl leaves him and Louis glares harshly at Minerva, “What the fuck Minnie?!”  He yells as she walked away, pointing her crossbow at Violet, AJ, and Mitch. Louis glances down at Aasim and Clementine with worry, his anger skyrocketing. “Don’t you fucking point that thing at them!” He hisses, his teeth grinding together.

That fucking Witch.

Gently, Louis rests Aasim against the wall and stands up, he wraps his hands around the bars of his cell and glares at Minerva as she locks Violet, Mitch, and AJ up in the cell across from him. “Hey!”  He snaps, startling the four in the cells across from him, his glare hardens when Minerva turns to face him.

“What the fuck, Minnie?” He growls, “You’re a fucking traitorous bitch!”  His glare never faltered, “Do you know what they did to Aasim?” He snaps, making Violet and Mitch share a worried glance,  Minerva glares back at him, “It’s not my problem.” She replies, his blood boiled and he bangs his fist on the bars.

“Not your problem?”  He asks lowly, glaring at her back as she walked down the hall. “Do you even fucking care that they slit Aasim’s throat?” He calls to her, but she kept on walking, he glares after her until she was out of sight.

“Louis…”  

 

Louis shifted his hardened glare onto Violet and Mitch, his looks soften slightly. He shakes his head and glances at the ground,  “He’s alive… If that’s what you are wondering.” He whispers, Violet drew in a breath, Louis knew she was fumbling a bit. “H-How?”  She asks, her voice strained. Louis looked up, his grips tightening on the bars again.

“I… I don’t know… But fuck…” He breathes, “Aasim can’t fucking talk.”  He snaps his gaze back to them. Mitch was pacing, his fist clenching, AJ was watching Violet worriedly. Violet looks up at him, her expression broken. “Those bastards…”  She whispers. Shaking his head, Louis glances behind him, he needed to check on Clem and Aasim.

“I’m going to check on them.”

Moving away from the door, he kneels down beside Clementine, checking her over.  She seemed alright… Just might have a horrible headache... Sighing softly, Louis crawled back over to Aasim, his tired brown eyes looked into his then looked at the unconscious Clementine with worry.  “She’s okay, Sim…” He whispers gently, moving Aasim back onto his lap.

Minutes pass and Clementine let out a small groan, thank god.  Louis thought, glancing down at Aasim then at Clem. Clementine frowns, her golden eyes landing on Aasim and Louis.  “Holy shit, Lou? Aasim?” She whispers, crawling over her eyes widening at the bandages wrapped around Aasim’s neck.  “W-what happened?” Her voice faltered. Louis sighs heavily and glances down at Aasim, who simply nods once.

Wetting his dry lips,  Louis nods a couple of times to keep his emotions in check. He didn’t want to snap and scare Aasim, “I was being stupid… So fucking stupid and loud.  I-I wouldn’t stop talking… Lilly got tired of it… “ His voice shook, and his voice started to become thick with emotion. “She ordered her men to cut my tongue out… But... Fuck..”  He looks at Clem shaking his head as his body started to shake, Clementine frowned and reached out resting her hand on top of his and Aasim’s, squeezing gently.

Taking a breath, he continues:  “Aasim stopped them, and he took my punishment. They slit his fucking throat, Clem!”  He exclaims, his anger taking over once again. Clementine frowns deeply and tries to calm him, but Louis shrugs her hand off. “He’s lucky to be alive…” He looks into her eyes, making her flinch at his harden stare.

“Because of me… He won’t ever speak again... “ Louis clenched his teeth together, “Because of that Bitch… I want her to suffer, Clementine.”  He hisses, Clementine frowns deeply, her brows furrowing together, “Louis-” She was cut off by footsteps and the sound of Lilly’s voice, Louis’ eyes widen and he looks down, Aasim’s brown eyes held fear and his body was shaking violently.

“Shh…” He soothes, cradling Aasim closer to his chest. “I won’t let her touch you…” He promises and watches as Clementine walked to the cell door,  his anger only grew as Lilly and Minerva stepped into the room.

 

Louis stayed silent during the whole thing, his disgust mixed with his anger as Lilly spewed out her bullshit lesson. When Minerva revealed that she killed Sophie, the urge to make her and Lilly burn hit him at full force.  

 

She wasn’t their Minnie anymore… She was the Delta’s.

 

Louis shook his head, averting his gaze back down at Aasim, blocking out the yelling. Aasim looked up at him, his hands gripping at Louis’s trench coat.  “I know… I know..” He soothes, “I won’t let them touch you again… .” He strokes Aasim’s cheek gently.

 

That woman will pay…

 

“Louis!”  

 

He looked up startled to see Mitch standing in front of him, his expression panicked with a hint of concern. “Come on, we are getting out of here.”  Mitch helped him and Aasim to his feet, glancing at the bandages around Aasim’s throat worriedly. “Those fuckers…” Mitch mutters and leads them out of the cell.  

 

Aasim shook his head, his grip tightening a bit, Louis frowns at him worriedly. This… This was heartbreaking to watch. Aasim looked so defeated… So… Louis shook his head, taking a deep breath, he looks over at Clementine, a sneer twisted on his lips when he spots Violet kneeling down next an unconscious out Minerva. Louis cocks his head to the side, AJ wasn’t here… His fists curl up, and his lips pull back.

No. Not again, Lilly wasn’t going to hurt a little boy.

“Clem!”  He calls, gently passing Aasim over to lean on Mitch. He could feel their questioning stares as he walked closer to Clementine, his movements halted when a smaller hand grabs his. Glancing back, his heart clenched at the sheer panic on Aasim’s face, his brown eyes begging him to come back.  Louis squeezes his hand gently, “Don’t worry, Sim. I’ll be back.” He reassured him, gently letting go of his hand, moving to go with Clementine.

 

"Woah,"  Clementine places a hand on his shoulder, halting his movements.  "You can't come with me." The statement angered him, why the hell not? That crazy bitch had his boyfriends throat slit,  he almost fucking lost him.

 

"Why the hell not?"  He hisses, his anger taking over.  All Louis could think about was bloodshed,  he wanted that woman dead. He was blinded by his own anger to realize how dark his thoughts were.  Clementine sighs and gives him a look, one full of knowing and understanding, she's been in his shoes before... Felt this type of anger before.

 

"I know you are mad...But don't let it take over you..."  She whispers gently, Louis met her eye, his fists uncurled.  "Aasim needs you right now...Just like AJ needs me..." Louis swallowed thickly, she was right... He needed to get Aasim off this boat

 

“Thank you…”  He whispers softly, worry replacing his furry. Clementine nods slowly, giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze. Taking a step back, Louis turned and walked back over to Omar, Mitch, and Aasim, without hesitation, Louis hooks his arm around Aasim’s waist.

 

“Let’s get off this boat,”  He demands softly, he glances back at Clementine. Determination shining in both of their eyes, “Better see you on land.”  He calls, making his way down the hall.

 

When they got off the boat, Louis quickly scanned the area. “I think the coast is clear…”  Mitch whispers, motioning them to follow him. Louis nods, keep Aasim close, Omar limped grunted a bit, “I hope Clem makes them burn.”  He mutters, glancing down at his injury. Louis nods in agreement, he had no doubt Clementine would make them burn, Louis, trusted her.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~

A few weeks pass, everyone was healing from what happened on that boat, but the nightmares still lingered for some.   Aasim bit down on his lip and traced the brim of his notebook resting on his lap, it was a bit troubling at times… But he was coping, learning, everyone was. Aasim felt grateful for their help, he remembers the joy he felt when Tennessee brought him an old notebook for him to write out what he wanted to say.

 

“Aasim?” Tennessee’s soft voice called out from behind him, his tone a bit hesitant.  Turning around, Aasim rose a brow, smiling softly at the small child. Tenn shifted a bit, his gaze on the floor as he clenched something tightly to his chest.  

 

Tilting his head, Aasim walked closer to the smaller child, quickly opening up his journal, Aasim flipped to the back of it, scribbling out something onto the paper and flipping it out for Tenn to read.  “Something the matter, Tenn?” Tennessee smiles timidly and holds out a small red and black notebook, hesitantly, Aasim takes it while arching a curious brow.

 

“It’s for you, so you don’t have to use or waste the paper in your journal.”  The child explains, clasping his hands together. Aasim smiles fondly at the child, pulling him into a hug and Aasim wished he had the voice to thank him.

 

“Penny for your thoughts?”

 

Aasim blinked and looks up, startled by the voice. Clementine chuckled softly, “I’m not that scary am I?” She jokes, moving up the steps slowly with her crutches. Flinching forwards, Aasim reached out to help her sit down but Clementine playfully swats his hands away and sits down next to him.  Clementine sighs, laying her crutches to the side carefully, with a small huff she gives him a smile.

 

“How are the ASL lessons going?” She questioned, Aasim lifts his hands, placing the fingers of his right hand against his lips. Move his right hand into the palm of his left hand.  “Good”   He signs to her, Clementine nods, she knew the basics of ASL.

 

“That’s good, it’s nice that James is teaching you and Louis.” She said Aasim blushes lightly, Louis… He’s determined to learn with him, it was a fond memory despite the frustration Aasim felt that day.

 

“Alright, move your hands like this,”  James instructed, Aasim nods watching his hands very carefully with a hint of frustration.  Taking a breath, Aasim tries to calm his nerves. Out of the corner of his eye, he watches Louis copy the sign flawlessly,  biting on his bottom lip Aasim copies the movement. “Good job, Aasim. Now you know how to say how are you.” James smiles.

 

Aasim nods a bright smile tugging at his lips,  he looks at Louis who smiles fondly and kisses his cheek. “Good job, Sim.” He whispers gently.  Aasim blushes lightly and glances back at James, time for another lesson. James cleared his throat, Aasim nods slowly in conformation.  “Alright, I can teach you to sign your name?” James suggests Aasim nods, shouldn’t seem so hard.

 

Boy, he was wrong…

 

Ten minutes later Aasim finds himself struggling. Aasim narrows his eyes, dropping his arms with a defeated look, he bit at his bottom lip and sighs.  James glances at him, then at Louis with concern. “How about we take a break?” James suggests gently. Aasim nods slowly and James gives him a small smile before going over to Mitch.   

 

Aasim sighs and stares at the ground, his fist clenched.  Why couldn’t he get this? Why was it so hard? He tensed slightly when a hand was set gently on his shoulder,  slowly he looks over. Louis gives him a sad yet gentle smile, his eyes holding concern, gently Louis hands him his notebook.  “Tell me what you’re thinking, Sim.” Louis murmurs, his voice soft and soothing and sudden Aasim felt a bit calm.

 

Nodding slowly Aasim takes the notebook, flipping it to an empty page writing down what he was thinking; “I feel so at loss, I’m still learning to cope with what happened… But right now?  I feel so useless. I can’t sign my own fucking name, Lou. Now I wonder… Why are you helping me? It’s… Confusing me so fucking much.” With a frown, he shows what he wrote to Louis, who reads it with a troublesome frown.

 

“Sim…”  Louis whispers, slowly leaning forward and resting their foreheads together.  Aasim takes in a shaky breath and their eyes meet and one of Louis’ hands rest on his cheek.  “Listen to me. You are not useless and never will be... “ He says sternly, his eyes starting to mist over.  

 

“Aasim… I’m helping you because… It’s my job.  You’re my boyfriend and I will do everything in my power to help you… Please, Sim…” He chokes out, his voice thick with emotion.  “Let me be your voice…” Louis begs. Aasim’s eyes widen and his heart flutters, he takes Louis’ hands. Louis wanted to help him… His heart soared at the selfless boy sitting in front of him.

 

Biting at his lip, Aasim looks away briefly before locking eyes with Louis again. ‘I love you…’ He mouths to him. A pure smile tugs at Louis’ lips and he closes the gap between them in a short sweet kiss.  “I love you too, Sim.” He whispers, Aasim smiles softly at him and his smile only grew when Louis reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box of matches.

 

“Here light a few… But only a few. I know you keep a box hidden in the drawer under the photo album, I know you light one when you are feeling stressed… So go ahead, Sim.”  Louis sets the box into his open hand, giving him a gentle smile. Aasim opens the box slowly and grabs a match, quickly lighting it. A relaxed smile tugs on his lips as the fire burned the match, always watching the flames soothed him.

 

“Better?” Louis asks, amusement filling his tone. Aasim nods slowly his smile never fading.  

 

Aasim smiles softly which draws a laugh from Clementine. “You look so in love over there.”  She chuckles. Aasim playfully rolls his eyes and opens his notebook, quickly writing something down; “How are you doing, Clem? We’ve been worried.”  With a small smile, he shows her the page.

 

Clementine reads it and sets a hand on his shoulder. “I’m doing better...Still, have those phantom itches and sometimes I think I can just hop out of bed and walk.”  She explains, glancing at her stump with some distaste, Aasim couldn’t blame her there. She glances around before sighing softly, “Anyway, enough about me. How are you doing?” Clementine tilts her head, Aasim blinks at the question. How was he? Stressed, tired, worried. Among the many other things…

 

He shook his head as these thoughts raced through him, quickly he writes out his reply and shows it to her;  “I’m getting better, like you... I’m coping… Coping with the fact that I can’t talk...  But I’m slowly growing used to the fact. I’m still having the nightmares… As is Louis. But It might take some more time.”    Clementine sighs and gives his shoulder a gentle squeeze. Before she could reply, a beach ball landed in between them.  

 

Aasim sets his notebook to the side and picks up the beach ball, a smile twisting on his lips at the sound of laughter. Looking up Aasim arched a brow, AJ stood at the bottom of the steps giggling, “Come on, Aasim! Throw it back!”  AJ exclaims. Aasim’s shoulders shook, it was a silent laugh. Without hesitation, Aasim throws the ball back to AJ.

 

“Well look at you, Aasim!”  Clem cheers. Aasim rolls his eyes fondly and tosses the ball again, his smile never fading. It was good to see AJ happy, good to see him acting like a kid,  “Hey Shug. I hate to ruin your fun But it's time to take your meds, Sim.” Ruby gives him and AJ a gentle smile, AJ sighs, glancing at Clem.

 

“I can play with you, goofball.”  

 

Aasim stood up slowly, picking up his notebook. With a wave to AJ and Clementine, he follows Ruby inside. When they are inside his and Louis’s room, Ruby motions for him to sit on the bed. “Any pain?” Ruby asks, digging through her medical bag, glancing over at him. Aasim shook his head and opens his notebook to set to the side, resting the pen on the page.

 

“That's good shug,” Ruby smiles and hands him two pills and a bottle of water. Aasim smiles in thanks and takes the bottle, and the pills, popping the pills in his mouth, he downs them with water.  Wiping his mouth he tilts his head, looking at his best friend, he picks up his notebook and writes something down and shows it to her.  “How are you doing Rubes?”  

 

Ruby laughs and sits down next to him, resting her head on his shoulder.  “Well, I’ve been worried. I have you and Clem to worry about…” She sighs, her smile fading.  “I was worried about you the most… When you came back… You were so...emotionless. It wasn’t like you.”  Ruby sighs softly, her accent thick with emotion.

 

Aasim frowns, lifting his arm he wraps it around her and hugs her close. With one hand he writes something out to her, in hopes it would cheer his best friend up.   “Come on Ruby Rubes.  Where is that big smile of yours?  Where is the fiery attitude?” With a grin, he turns the book around.

 

Aasim watched as a smile tugs at her lips, with a huff and rolls her eyes she swats him on the arm. “You’re such a nerd.” She chuckles, Aasim smiles and stands up, opening one of his drawers, he pulls out his sketchbook.

 

Drawing was a small hobby of his,  a sad smile twists on his lips at the memories of those rainy days. Aasim and Sophie would stay inside and draw all day.  

 

He missed her…

 

Flipping through the sketchbook, he stops on a certain page. He hands Ruby the sketchbook, a pained expression crosses her features. “It has been a long time since I've your art…”  Her smile turns sad, “I didn’t even know you were drawing Vi.” Ruby chuckles softly, flicking through the sketchbook. Quietly, he writes something out in his notebook and shows it to her.

 

“Flip to the next page.”

 

Ruby raises a brow and flips to the next page, a small gasp leaves her lips. “Aasim.”  She whispers, her eyes flicking from the page and him. On the page was a simple, yet beautiful drawing of a wolf. Wolves were one of Ruby’s favorite animals. Gently, he reached over and tore the page out and handed it to her.  

 

Ruby wiped her eyes, “You are still a nerd.” She laughs softly. Standing up, she gives him a side hug, the drawing still in her hands.  Aasim rolled his eyes at her comment playfully, he missed seeing one of his best friends smile. Before Ruby could speak, Violet walked into the room. “There you are Ruby, it’s time for your watch shift.”   Violet huffs, leaning back against the wall.

 

Ruby nods, giving Aasim’s a shoulder a squeeze before walking to the door. “Hey, Vi?  Can you stay with Aasim for a bit? Until his medicine kicks in?” Ruby asks, opening the door. Violet nods, glancing at Aasim. Ruby gives them a wave and leaves the room, closing the door behind her.

 

Violet blows out a breath and crosses her arms, Aasim wished he had a voice to tell her to fix her posture. Even if he did, he would die if he said that, turning around he grabs his notebook.   “Something on your mind Vi?”  With a frown, he turns the book around to her. The blonde reads the page, her frown never fading from her lips, biting down on her lip she nods.

 

“A lot actually,”  She sighs heavily, running a hand through her hair.  Aasim pursed his lips, flipping the page in his notebook, he quickly writes something out.  He was a bit concerned, she seemed so… Stressed and Worried. Clicking his pen, he turns the book around and shows it to Violet.  “Is it about the Caravan group?”

 

Violet huffs softly, nodding slowly.  Aasim tilts his head, arching a brow he motions for her to tell him.  With a roll of her eyes, Violet lets out a soft sigh. “What if these people hurt us?” She questions. Aasim frowns, that was a possibility, but not one they really wanted to think about. They still did though, all of them did and most kept quiet about it.

 

Violet seemed to take his silence as an answer,  “We just don’t need another Delta on our hands… We lost enough, and we hurt enough. We can’t go through that again.” Her eyes held many emotions and Aasim understood, if he was in her place he would be conflicted too.

 

With a quiet huff, Aasim clicks his pen and writes something down glancing at Violet a few times.  “I know. But we have to look at least, this school is still in ruin and falling apart… Maybe this group isn’t so bad?  They could possibly help us… I get that you are scared, I am too. Don’t pretend you aren’t scared, I know you, Vi. You don’t need to act tough, no one will judge you for being afraid. Just take the chance, but be cautious and smart about it.”   Giving Violet a small smile, he flips the book around.  

 

The blonde sighs softly, her shoulders slumping slightly a worn out frown twisting on her lips.  “I guess you are right…” She presses out, crossing her arms she tilts her head. “When did you become so wise?”  Violet ponders Aasim smirks and simple flips the page. “I’ve always been wise, Vi.”   

 

Violet rolled her eyes, arching a brow she let a small chuckle leave her lips. “My god Louis is right. You are a dork.”   Aasim shrugs at the comment, looking up when the door opens. A soft smile twists on his lips when Louis steps into the room, the pianist gives him a smile then glances at Violet.  

 

“Hey, Vi. Clem’s looking for you.”  

 

Violet nods, “Thanks for the… Advice Aasim.” She gives him a smile and leaves the room.  Aasim tilts his head and sets his notebook on the desk, crossing his arms as Louis walks closer to him.  “Hey, cutie.” He smirks, booping him on the nose. Aasim narrows his eyes at that, he wasn’t cute…  

 

Louis chuckles at the look on his face, “Ey ey don’t you give me that.” His smile turns to a grin and he reaches out and takes Aasim’s hands.  “Are you feeling okay? The meds aren’t making you dizzy or anything right?” He asks softly, Aasim shook his head, giving Louis a reassuring smile. It was a bit cute to see Louis all worried, but he loved him for it.

 

Louis nods and gives his hands a gentle squeeze, “Dinner will be ready soon, do you want to eat in here again? Or with the others?” He asks gently. Aasim smiles fondly at the question, Louis has been so patient with him and Aasim sometimes wonders why Louis hasn’t left him yet. Moving away, he walks over to his notebook and picked it up, quickly writing out his reply.

 

“Let’s join the others tonight.”  

 

Slowly he flips the page to show Louis, the pianist nods a grin tugging on his lips. “Are you sure?” He arches a brow. Aasim nods and takes Louis’s hand, lacing their fingers together.  “Good,” Louis says, his grin turning to a smirk. Before Louis could do anything, Aasim slaps him with the notebook. Louis gaps dramatically, placing his hands over his heart.

 

“Babe? How dare you?” His tone held mock betrayal and Aasim wanted to whack him again. Louis chuckles and takes his hand again, leading him out of the room.  Aasim smiles softly, these were the times he wished he could speak… All he wanted was to tell Louis that he loved him, and thank him for being here and never leaving. But… No.. Aasim shook his head, he didn’t want to go back to those negative thoughts.  

 

When they got outside, the others were sitting at the tables, Willy was sitting next to Tenn and AJ, his hand wrapped again. Casting his gaze over, Aasim looked at the others at the table. James and Mitch were sitting next to each other, their hands brushing every so often, as he set down Aasim noted the way James and Mitch would glance at each other and smile.  

 

It was good seeing Mitch so happy, usually, the boy was sulking in the corner. Aasim glances down at Violet and Clementine, the two seemed to be having a serious conversation.  He could tell by the way Clem had her lips pursed and the way Violet furrowed her brows, he looks back in front of him when a bowl of stew was set down. Aasim looks up, giving Omar a smile of thanks, the chef simply nodded and went back to passing out the bowls of stew.  

 

Picking up his spoon, Aasim slowly began to eat. Resting his left on the table, slowly a smile tugs at Aasim’s lips as Louis gently rests his hand over his. Aasim’s whole face heats up when Louis leans over and kisses his cheek, “Nerd.”  Louis whispers in his ear. Aasim narrows his eyes playfully, glaring at his tall boyfriend, why was he dating such a dork?  Aasim smiles inwardly, Louis was his dork…  

 

After dinner, Aasim followed Louis back inside, feeling a bit drowsy. His meds were starting to take full effect and all he wanted to do was go to sleep maybe with Louis holding him. Even though I would never admit that... He thinks to himself, his cheeks and nose light powdery pink.  “Aw, Sim. Are you blushing?” Louis smirked, wiggling his brows as he walks into their room.  Aasim shook his head widely, his cheeks getting brighter.

 

Louis chuckles and takes the notebook and pen from him gently and sets it on the dresser.  The pianist smiled devilishly, making the bookworm frown. What is he planning?  Louis chuckles lowly and wraps his arms around Aasim, pulling him back onto the bed, holding him close and tight to his chest.

 

This fucking dork…

 

Aasim pursed his lips, furrowing his brows he glances up at his boyfriend, his eyes asking ‘what the fuck?’  The only  response he got from the taller male was a loud laugh and a sloppy kiss on the cheek.  “You know you loooove it.” Louis sang, giving him a small wink. Aasim huffs quietly in defeat, slowly nodding and how could he say no to that? Well, he can, but doesn’t mean he was going to even though Louis was a dork.

 

Louis sighed heavily, resting his hand on Aasim’s cheek. He smiles softly and lowers his head, bringing their lips together in a gentle kiss, Aasim closed his eyes, kissing back just as gently.

They broke away, both of them having matching smiles, then Louis sighs heavily his expression turning serious.  “Hey, Sim. There are a few things I want to say, okay?” He whispers, “And I really need to get these feelings off my chest.”  Aasim nods, a worried frown twisting onto his lips. Louis gives him a half smile and licks at his lips, with a heavy breath he takes one of Aasim’s hands.

 

“Every time you wake up from a nightmare, a part of me just dies…” Louis began, giving his hand a gentle squeeze as guilt flashed in his eyes.  Aasim tilts his head, squeezing Louis’s hand back, the pianist nods simply and clears his throat as if he was clearing away the pent up emotions.

 

“I know it’s my fault…And fuck I am so sorry, Aasim…”  Tears started to fill the taller boys eyes, and Aasim felt his heartache.   How long has he kept this to himself?  Why didn’t he tell me sooner?  Aasim brushed those thoughts away as Louis began to speak again.  “It should’ve been me… I should’ve been hurt. Not you. But I had to fuck up again and you paid the price, I’m so fucking sorry Aasim… Because of me, the boy I love got hurt…”  His voice broke and tears rolled down his cheeks, Aasim shook his head rapidly and reaches up, brushing away Louis’s tears.

 

Please, don’t blame yourself, Louis… Please….

 

Aasim took Louis’s hands, making him look up.  Aasim gives him a watery smile, his eyes say everything.. ‘Don’t blame yourself, I don’t blame you… It’s okay…’ A choked up sob escapes Louis’s throat and he buries his face into Aasim’s neck and lets his emotions break free.  Aasim blinked rapidly as tears rolled down his cheeks, the two lovers clung to each other as they cried, eventually falling asleep in each other's embrace.

 

~~~~~~~~

 

Aasim woke in the middle of the night for reasons he didn’t know why. All Aasim knew that something was missing, looking over to Louis’s side he frowns deeply to find it empty.

 

Where did he go?

 

Sitting up, Aasims slips on his shoes and grabs his notebook, standing up he walks to the door and silently leaves the room.  Darkness consumed the hallway and Aasim mentally cursed himself for not grabbing a candle, as he walked down the hall he almost jumped when he bumped into someone.  “Woah, chill out Aasim. It’s just me.” Mitch chuckles, shining the lantern.

Aasim lets out a small breath and quickly takes advantage of the dim light to write out something. “Do you know where Louis is?”  Quickly he turns the book around, showing what he had written to Mitch. The bomb loving boy nods, “Of course, he’s in the music room.”  Aasim sighed in relief, he should’ve known… Mouthing a ‘thank you’   Aasim brushes past Mitch quickly, making his way to the music room.  

 

As he neared the room, a familiar melody reached his ears. Quietly yet slowly, Aasim opens the door, his body relaxing when he spotted Louis at the piano, playing his favorite song.  

 

Taking a breath, Aasim walks over and sits down next to him on the bench.  Louis was too entranced to notice, closing his eyes he listens to the melody.  A sad smile twists onto his lips, secretly, Aasim leaned how to play this song for Louis… He never got to play it for him… Those damn raiders happened… With a glance at Louis, Aasim gently sets his fingers on the keys and plays the next part.  

 

As he played, he glances at Louis who was looking at him fondly as he played. Aasim gives him a smile, his eyes holding nothing but love, Louis’ eyes held the same thing.  Music filled the room as the two lovers played in harmony, never faltering and never missing a note. When the song ended, they pressed the last ivory key together, their hands brushing.  

 

“Aasim… When did you?” Louis whispers, his voice barely audible as it was holding pent up emotions. Aasim simply smiles and grabs his notebook, writing down something simple. “Before the attack… I would sneak in here at night and practice...For you, Lou.”  He hands the notebook to Louis, the pianist reads it with a watery smile and set the book down.  

 

“I love you, Aasim.”  He whispers softly, his eyes misting over. The bookworm simply smiles and holds his hand up. Putting up his thumb, index finger and pinkie finger, while keeping his ring finger and his middle finger down. Aasim holds the hand out, palm facing away from him, slowly he moves it back and forth, mouthing what he was signing. “I love you…”

 

Louis’s eyes widen, with an excited yelp Louis pulls Aasim closer and hugs him. “I am so proud of you, Aasim!”  He exclaims, making Aasim’s shoulder shake in a silent laugh. No matter what happens, Aasim knew he would have Louis.  

 

Leaning up, Aasim wraps his arms around Louis’s neck and brings their lips together in a tender kiss.  Things were going to be rough no matter what... But they had each other's backs.