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Elliot is curled up into the corner behind his couch. The loneliness is back. It always comes back. He wonders, sometimes, why it is that it seems so separate from the person he is out in the world. If his sense of self is so fractured that it accidentally created a whole other person, why can’t it shatter further, and separate him permanently from this gnawing, empty hole in his chest?

He doesn’t know how long he’s been like this when the doorbell rings. He squeezes his eyes shut, and tries to pull himself together to answer the door. Every time he tries to get himself under control, a new wave of shame bubbles up inside of him, and he starts crying again. He can’t bear to answer the door in his state. He hates being seen crying. It makes him feel weak, makes him think of the times he caught his father crying alone in his bedroom after the diagnosis. 

Fine, then. Whoever’s at the door can fuck off. It’s not as if it’s going to be someone Elliot actually wants to talk to. It’s going to be a delivery, or a salesman, or someone canvassing. Some other random annoyance of modern American neoliberalism. After all, he’s chased away anyone who would ever want to be friends with him. Or gotten them killed. One or the other.

He knows he’s wallowing in self-pity, but he can’t stop, falling hard and fast down the dark pit in the center of himself like he always does. No matter how many pills he takes, he always winds up back here. 

He doesn’t hear the scratching at the door, until it swings open. Elliot freezes, cringing back into the couch, as Tyrell Wellick walks in, a makeshift lockpick in his hand. Tyrell’s eyes widen as they land on Elliot. “Elliot?” he says. “Are you okay?”

Elliot cowers away, turning his face towards the couch. He doesn’t want Tyrell Wellick, of all people, the smiling, handsome face of the 1%, to see him like this. “G-go away, Tyrell,” he mutters. “Leave me alone.”

“Did something happen?” Tyrell asks.

Elliot laughs, bitter and hysterical. “Nothing. Nothing except my fucking life, man. This is just - how I get sometimes.” He can’t stop crying, and the shame cuts him to his core. He remembers the way Tyrell talked, over that lunch at Steel Mountain, talking about how everyone beneath him on the capitalist social ladder was cockroaches. Well, he must be proving Tyrell right, now, cowering in the corner afraid of the light.

He hears the rustle of expensive fabric on cheap carpet as Tyrell gets on his knees. “It’s okay,” Tyrell says, softly, and Elliot looks up to see him kneeling on the floor near Elliot. 

He reaches out to lay a hand on Elliot’s arm, and Elliot jerks back, adrenaline flooding his veins, and lets out a terrified sob. “Please - no - ” he begs, and the words taste familiar on his tongue.

Tyrell pulls back, and Elliot can’t read his eyes. “It’s okay,” he says again holding up his hands. “It’s okay, Elliot, I won’t touch you. I promise.” 

Elliot squeezes his eyes shut. Tyrell is treating him like a frightened animal, and it’s humiliating, and yet it makes something small and scared and unloved in his chest perk up. 

“Can I get you anything?” Tyrell offers. “A - a glass of water, or - something.” He sounds helpless. 

“No,” Elliot says. “Just - just don’t - ” Another sob wracked him. “I don’t want to be alone,” he admits, barely a whisper.

“Okay,” Tyrell says. “Okay.” He leaned back against the opposite wall, and sat with his knees pulled up to his chest, a mirror of Elliot’s posture. “I won’t leave you,” he promises.

That just makes Elliot cry harder, the words bringing a warmth to his chest that’s uncomfortable, unfamiliar. “I - I’m s-sorry,” he said, not even sure what he was apologizing for, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I - I - I tried to be strong, I - I didn’t want to be like this.” Incoherent ramblings. Tyrell must be disappointed with him. After all, he thought Elliot was a god, didn’t he?

“It’s okay, Elliot,” Tyrell says. “You don’t have to apologize.” He moves closer to Elliot, and Elliot cringes back, squeezing his eyes shut, convinced Tyrell is going to touch him. “Don’t worry,” Tyrell says, and then there’s a warm weight on his shoulders, but without the terrifying intimacy of touch. Elliot opens his eyes, to find that Tyrell has draped his suit jacket over Elliot’s shoulders.

“It’s okay,” Tyrell says, his eyes soft. “I - I’m weak too. It’s okay, Elliot.”

Elliot clings to the jacket, feeling Tyrell’s body heat seeping from it into his body, as close to touch as he could bear, and something like a smile crosses his tormented face. “Th - thanks,” he says. “Hey, will you - can you - ” He shuts his eyes against the shame of it. “Will you stay?” he says, very quietly. 

“Yes,” Tyrell says, without hesitation. “I’ll be here, Elliot. As long as you need.”

Elliot curls up in the warmth of the jacket, and breathes a tiny sigh of relief. He feels just a tiny bit better. “Thanks, Tyrell,” he says. 

“Always,” Tyrell says, and Elliot knows he means it.