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Through the Night

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It wasn't that he minded being woken up by the screams of Cesar every night (though Lazarel wished it was in a different light) it began to get a little repetitive once it started to happen every two hours.

While Lazarel had always been a heavy sleeper, those beyond the grave could most likely awake from their eternal slumber after hearing one of Cesar's cries. One night happened to be particularly bad in Cesar's case. First eleven, then twelve, one thirty... it happened every hour or so and by three in the morning, Lazarel had had it.

"Oi! Cesar! What the heck is going on with..." Lazarel threw open the door to his roommate's bedroom only to find him hugging himself, tears streaming down his cheeks. Cesar glanced up at him with red, puffy eyes and paled pink cheeks. As much as he wanted to joke, even Lazarel could tell Cesar was not doing too hot. Objectively, he looked cold, judging by his violent shivering.

Lazarel advanced closer to him, but Cesar spat at him with a cold gaze, "Do you not know how to knock, you ignorant child!? Get out!" Sure, Cesar had his moments where he would get upset to the point of no return, but Lazarel knew him well enough to know that this wasn't one of those times.

Despite being tired as all hell, he wanted to help him out. Maybe then the both of them (and their poor, poor neighbors) could get a peaceful night's sleep. Calmly, Lazarel continued to walk towards him, eventually placing himself on the edge of the bed to look Cesar in the eyes. He was hurting, but he couldn't quite figure out why. It wouldn't kill to ask, though Cesar has never taken confrontation lightly.

Long of the short: someone always ends up with a black eye.

And more often than not, that person is Lazarel.

He reached his hand out to Cesar, "Hey, what's been going on with you?-"

"Get. Out. Leave me be, this is none of your concern! A fool such as yourself could not even begin to comprehend how I am feeling." Cesar growled and slapped Lazarel's hand back, pulling the blankets up to his chest.

"Then instead of being a baby about it by yourself, then help me understand, Cesar!" the two of them fell silent, not knowing what to say next to the other. Cesar certainly had hell to give, but he was too tired- too exhausted to berate his 'friend.'

It didn't help that he saw that same, warmed smile fade each time he saw a knife thrust into his chest.

The last thing either of them expected was Cesar to scoot over a little to allow Lazarel a space to sit next to him.

He took the offer greedily, sitting uncomfortably close to his childhood friend turned flatmate and eyed him skeptically. "Finally want to talk, eh? After what, a month? Must be pretty bad if you don't want to..." Lazarel found himself training off once Cesar met his gaze.

Pain. There was true, raw pain written all over his face. Cesar tilted his head down away from him, closing his eyes and speaking with a low, soft tone. A contrast to his usual octave-hopping, passive-aggressive (or not so passive-aggressive) yelling.

A sigh escaped him, "If it will get you to shut your trap and leave me be, I will take the time to tell you. But I am only going to relay this to you once, so open your ears and listen closely. Though I doubt your capability to listen, a disclaimer is warranted." Lazarel nodded a bit, Cesar continued, "We have all had our fair share of nightmares, I am sure you have had your share. How it affects one varies from person to person depending on how... extreme they are. Unfortunately for myself, the unbearable dreams that I have are... very extreme." he rubs his arms nervously.

Lazarel tilted his head, "Soooo, what are they about? They can't be that bad! You always spout about how tough and strong you are, so why aren't you acting like it?"

"Hm!" Cesar scoffs, "To think you've reached your peak of stupidity and ignorance. While I am in a position to give details, it is my personal life and I intend to keep it that way. Personal."

A warm hand touched his arm. Cesar jolted and whipped his head towards Lazarel, whose smiling eyes read a thousand words. As much as he hated to admit it, Cesar has always had a soft spot for him, even if he could be more annoying than a group of young teens. That being said, he didn't quite know how big of a soft spot that was.

Cesar knew he could confide in Lazarel, but the truth is he was afraid to. Afraid to let him see the man on the other side of the looking glass: a vulnerable, crumbling soul. One in desperate need of someone- anyone- to hold onto.

Still, though. He couldn't wrap his head around why was he so afraid to let Lazarel of all people see that side of him. The person who is least likely to pose a threat to him. He just didn't understand, which was surprising since he usually makes at least some sense of the problems he has.

"Hm... even if I chose to tell you, you would most likely make a fool of me for opening my mouth in the first place, knowing you. I will leave what is troubling me to your imagination then. And do not start playing the guessing game with me, Lazarel, I will strike you down if need be." Cesar eyes him cautiously, swatting at Lazarel's hand that still lied on his arm.

His hand didn't move.

Cesar tried shaking it off yet again, this time more forceful and agitated.

Lazarel's hand still didn't move, his soft gaze now turned to a more serious, worried expression. "I believe you, alright? If you don't want to tell me, you don't have to. But I'm here for you, so if you ever wanna talk about it let me know." he smiles warmly. "Oh- and try to stop screaming every couple of hours. We've gotten quite a few noise complaints already." he chuckles and rubs Cesar's shoulder.

To his surprise, Cesar pulled him into a tight hug and ruffled his hair, distinctly reminding Lazarel of what he used to do when they were kids. A warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feeling resonated in his chest whilst he patted Cesar's back comfortingly.

"Huh? What are you- Woah!" the force of Cesar pulling the both of them down to the mattress to lie together startled Lazarel so much he felt himself cling closer to him. "What was that for, Cesar?"

Cesar sighed quietly and continued to thread his hands through Lazarel's strangely colored (and remarkably soft) hair. "If you stay in here for the remainder of the night, and stop myself from making a ruckus if and when I awake next, I will cook dinner for the next few days."

It didn't take long for Lazarel to conduct a reply, laughing heartily, "You can't cook to save your life, Cesar! You don't have to do that." he pulls the covers up over the two of them, "But yeah, I'll stay in here for the night if it'll get you to shut up so we don't get evicted."

For once, they found a compromise. That's a first.

Cesar got the sanctum he sought for (even if it was just having a bedmate), and Lazarel got some shut-eye for the first time in ages.

Honestly, Cesar wasn't quite ready to bombard him with what his nightmares were truly about, he felt that he could be at least slightly more open with him.

That didn't mean he was about to tell him about every single problem or imperfection he thought he had, but Cesar felt as if he could have a peaceful conversation with him at breakfast without arguing to some degree.

Not many words were exchanged between the two, though something between them changed for the better. It was apparent now that they were able to sleep in the same bed without any awkward tension, but more importantly, Cesar wasn't entirely dismissive with Lazarel. He expressed something, while vague, but nonetheless, it was a big step for him.

It had only been a couple of months since they had made the decision to move in together, and while they both thought it would go downhill immediately (which it did) it seems they're slowing picking up the pieces.

Very, very slowly.