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at the end of your rope i'll be holding you taut

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Jasper wakes up to someone shaking his shoulder, and the sound of crying. He sits up slowly, barely just awake. Crying. Fuck, what time is it? It takes a second for him to realise that the crying is wrong, something's wrong-
He reaches out both arms, and Daniel collapses into him, sobbing into his shoulder. "Shh, baby, baby, what's the matter?" he asks gently. His voice doesn't feel connected to his brain. What time is it? It doesn't matter. He holds Daniel close, rocking him slightly. "What's going on?"

"I want to hurt myself again," Daniel whispers against his neck, his voice almost hoarse, cheeks wet with tears.

Jasper's blood runs cold. It's like time stops still, completely frozen, and everything's cold. Everything's so cold. He can't speak.

"I'm sorry," Daniel sobs.

No no no. "No, no, no, baby, it's okay," he says softly, reassuringly, trying to pretend his voice isn't shaking. "It's okay. I've got you. It's gonna be okay. Did- did something happen?"

"No. Yes. I had another nightmare."

"I'm so sorry... do you want to talk about it?"


"Okay." Jasper holds Daniel closer, scared to let go, scared to let him go, scared to lose him. "It's gonna be okay, I promise."

"It's not!" Daniel cries, "I'm awful! I deserve to die!"

"Baby, that's not true." This isn't the first time he's dealt with this. He can do this. "You're not awful. You don't deserve to die, you deserve the world. I love you so much." And yet  at the same time, he can't stand to see Daniel so distraught. If he could somehow magically fix everything, he would do it without hesitation.

"It hurts..."

That breaks Jasper's heart. "I know, sweetie," he whispers. "It's gonna get better. I promise."

"It doesn't feel like it will."

"I know..."

"...How do I stop wanting to die?" Daniel asks quietly. He sounds so broken.

"...I don't know." I'm sorry.

There's a long quiet moment before Daniel speaks again. "Sorry for waking you up."

Jasper almost laughs. Not because it's funny, but because he literally couldn't be less bothered about being woken up, to the point where Daniel apologising for it seems ridiculous. "Don't be sorry," he says. "You can wake me up at any time, I don't mind. If you have a nightmare, or want a blanket, or need a hug- I'll always be here for you, you know that, right?"

"You're too nice to me," Daniel mumbles into his shoulder.

"Hey, that's not true." Jasper's hand finds its way into Daniel's hair, stroking gently. "Listen, we're gonna get through this, okay?"

There's another long pause. "I don't completely believe you," Daniel says eventually, and Jasper can hear the slight smile in his voice. "But thank you."