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Free Fall

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Breathe. Just breathe. It was the only thought that seemed to actually register in his mind, but he just couldn't do it. His breathing was forced and hectic, with way too little oxygen actually reaching his lungs.

"I screwed up."

He shouldn't have come. Connor had known it the moment when he was standing in front of the all too familiar door. Had known it as he pounded against it like a lunatic. Had known it even as he was driving there, way too fast to actually still be in the legal parameters. But he hadn't cared. He still didn't, what difference did it make now? He had already screwed up beyond repair, what were another few minor mistakes along the way?

The corridor must have been cold, considering the outside temperature and the time but Connor hardly felt it. Everything felt cold. From the air that hit his lungs to the sweat that soaked his clothes. The only blinding contrast was Oliver's calm hand that was resting on his shoulder. So utterly calm and reliable. And so, so unbelievably warm.

God, he missed him. Connor closed his eyes, desperately trying - and failing - not to lean into him. But Oliver was so warm. So present. So alive. His hands grabbed after Oliver's shirt of their own accord, but he would be damned if he let him go. He wouldn't. He couldn't. Not if he wanted to make it through this night somewhat sane.

"Connor." He jerked his head up at Oliver's voice. His eyes frantically gliding over his face, trying to define the emotions that hushed across it. "Can you stand up?"

For a moment, Connor's eyes turned to the floor as he tried to push himself off of it. His knees shook like leaves in the wind, and he tumbled down again at least twice, before Oliver's steady hands grabbed him around the waist and led him into his apartment.

It hadn't changed. Connor didn't really know why he was surprised, after all, only six weeks had passed since he last saw it. But he was surprised. Surprised, because there still was the mug he last drank out of on the kitchen counter. Just as the his notebook was still laying on the couch, next to the ridiculously fluffy pillow, that Oliver insisted his little sister gave him for his last birthday. It was bright orange and obnoxious, but so soft, Connor fell asleep on it every time he was lying on that couch.

Connor only realized that he had somehow been maneuvered through the apartment and placed right on said couch next to the obnoxiously orange pillow when he felt Oliver's hands suddenly missing from his waist and for a mere second he believed he would start hyperventilating again. The tea that appeared out of nowhere in front of his face didn't exactly help, but the fingers that skimmed over the back of his neck most certainly did.

"Here, drink. I also brought you some dry clothes." With a quick look over his shoulder Connor reached for the cup, only to realize he couldn't quite grasp it, because his hands were shaking so much. Connor let Oliver take it from him again and place it on the table across from them as he flexed his fingers. They looked strangely pale, nearly blue from the cold. But it wasn't just that. They didn't look like his hands, or his fingers for the matter. Too pale. Too clammy. Too shaky. There was dirt under his nails and probably blood.

He was gonna be sick. All of a sudden all he could think about was that he needed to shower. To wash off all the traces this night had forever left on him. Just wash it of and be done with it. But it wouldn't be done, would it? It would never be done. This night would define him for the rest of his days. There would never come a day again, where he wouldn't look over his shoulder, wondering if this was the day, where what he did would catch up with him.

"Connor!" Connor's eyes flew to Oliver's face and for the first time this night he felt like he could actually pin point an emotion on it. Worry. "Did you hear a single thing I said?"

He shook his head and Oliver bit his lower-lip. Two months ago, Connor would have disturbed this gesture by tracing his tongue over it. Two months ago, he wouldn't have just burned his professor's husband's corpse. Two months ago. Just mere two months.

"You should take a shower, Connor. Or at least change clothes." He nodded and stretched out his hands, just to withdraw them hastily again as Oliver was about to reach for them.

"Connor?" Connor just shook his head. He didn't really know why he did it, he just didn't want what he did to touch Oliver. Like it would escape out of his fingers and into Oliver's skin. Infesting him. Connor shook his head again and Oliver sighed, running a hand over his face.

"What's going on, Connor?" Oliver seemed more tired now, than when he first opened the door. "I screwed up." Connor wetted his lips. "I screwed up so bad. I-" He ran his fingers through his hair, fisting it. "I don't- I can't-." He tried swallowing down the lump in his throat, but the more he tried to explain, the less he could vocalize it. "I'm sorry."

Rubbing his eyes Oliver kneeled down in front of Connor. "C'mon, you really have to shower, preferably before you catch pneumonia." He wrapped his left arm around Connor's waist and drew him up as he stood up himself, reaching with his right hand after the clothes he had prepared for him. "Wouldn't catch pneumonia. I don't really get sick," Connor mumbled, but either Oliver didn't hear him or decided to ignore him.

When they arrived in the bathroom, Connor once again realized how creepily neat it was. It always seemed to be. He couldn't really understand it, because his own bathroom was always a mess. Opened tooth paste would be laying around, case files would be laying stapled on medicine cabinet. One of his favorite childhood books "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde would be laying on the heater. He never seemed to find the time to put these things back where they belong. Then again, they have been lying there for so long that technically speaking they probably did belong there.

With a sudden jerk his hoodie jacket was lying on the floor, closely followed by his shirt. "I'm able to undress myself." Oliver raised a questioning eyebrow at him and seemed all in all unimpressed. "I know you can. But you have been standing here for five minutes, Connor. You have been zoning out on me for the past hour, which you spend in these soaking wet clothes. And-" Oliver ran one of his hands across his face and sighed. "You worried?" "Am I- Of course, I'm worried! Connor, have you looked in a mirror!", Oliver hissed, grabbing onto Connor's upper arm a little too tightly, which he seemed to realize a second later, because he immediately loosened his hold. He closed his eyes and laid his forehead against Connor's. "Talk to me. Please, just tell me what the hell is going on."

Instead of answering Connor unzipped his trouser and turned away from Oliver as he stripped out off his socks. He could feel Oliver's gaze on him as he stepped out of the rest of his clothes and into the shower, turning the water on.

"You can't avoid answering this question the whole day." He heard Oliver picking up his clothes, and even though his voice was controlled and calm, he knew how frustrated Oliver was under the surface. "You came to me, Connor. You came to me."