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Finding pause.

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Okkotsu Yuuta was good at many things, but sleeping was not one of them.

Toge couldn’t remember much from the battle that took place at their school, but he remembered the events that followed. The weird jumble of loss and gain experienced by learning the world was more wonderful, complex, and terrifying than any of them had originally thought.

And then Yuuta had embraced him and cried into his shoulder and Toge fell into bed with his friend wrapped around him for the first time.

Yuuta had pulled him closer and nuzzled into his hair and whispered, “I’m here. You’re here. We’re here.” over and over. Speaking reassurances into the darkness likely as much for Toge as for himself.

They slept together more often than apart after that. 

Yuuta clung to him in a way that had as much protectiveness as it did desperation. It was as if he needed something to ground him in reality while also needing to act as the shield between Toge and everything else outside of the bed they had begun to share.

It was probably more accurate to say that Toge slept and Yuuta rested. Closing his eyes and reclining to give the illusion of sleep with none of the follow-through. Perpetually in a half-awake state, unable to release that final grip on consciousness.

Toge didn’t know all of the details of Yuuta’s past but he understood that there was a deep, defining hurt there. Gojo had mentioned once that Rika completed Yuuta as much as she haunted him. A symbiotic relationship built on love and pain simultaneously. Yuuta had likely experienced horrors and personal torments for years very few others could ever hope to understand. 

And there was an unbridled obsession that came with being the source of hurt to those around you while also needing them desperately. It was hard to let go. It was hard to move past. It was hard to forgive yourself. And it was hard to try to hold on to everything at the same time. Toge assumed much of Yuuta’s restlessness spawned from a volatile mix of those feelings.

He wondered if Yuuta had nightmares.

He had had nightmares dealing with the worse parts of his own demons. 

He still had nightmares sometimes.

On the few occasions that Toge had woken up in the middle of the night, Yuuta had responded instantly with a comforting touch, gentle fingers running through his hair, and murmuring words of protection, trying to calm any and everything that could possibly be wrong.

Toge would look at the bags under Yuuta's eyes that only grew worse instead of better as the weeks went on and worry. Worry about him being unable to turn off these guard dog-like sensibilities built from the trauma of too much loss. Worry he was worsening the entire situation by allowing this behavior to perpetuate without check.

Toge knew he could make Yuuta sleep dreamlessly with a single word. It would be so easy. It could help. But that felt like a breach of trust. He trusted Yuuta and wanted Yuuta to trust him in turn. It was not the right answer.

He thought about this, again, as he laid caged in Yuuta’s arms, months later. Yuuta was growing; bigger, stronger, more self-assured, but also clingier. They couldn’t keep pretending nothing was wrong. 

He sat up and shrugged Yuuta’s arms off of him, moving towards the edge of the bed. Yuuta grabbed back at him immediately, trying to pull him back into an embrace but Toge pushed the arms away. He heard Yuuta make a disgruntled sound and felt his discomfort permeate the room. 

Toge wrapped his hands around Yuuta’s wrists, tugging forward. It was clear Yuuta didn’t understand what was happening, but he followed Toge’s lead regardless, sitting up and scooting over towards the edge of the bed. Yuuta tried to reach out to hold him again, but Toge pushed his arms away a second time.

They sat, staring at each other in the almost dark. Concern lined Yuuta's face. 

He looked so tired.

Toge crawled over and settled behind Yuuta, pulling his friend back down to lay in front of him.

Toge was smaller, the fit wasn’t the same, but he entangled their legs, wrapped his arms tightly around Yuuta’s chest, and rested his head on his shoulder. He hoped he was able to convey the same sentiment that had been whispered to him the first time they had slept together.

I’m here. You’re here. We’re here.

It’s okay. 

Yuuta let out a shaky sigh as his body released some of the tension it had been holding and relaxed into Toge’s arms, understanding becoming more apparent by the second. 

Then, in what seemed like a single moment later, he fell asleep.

It was an odd sensation to Toge, feeling Yuuta grow heavier as consciousness left him, breathing evening out, and limbs relaxing for what might be the first time in months. It wasn’t a solution, but it was a step.

Okkotsu Yuuta was good at many things, but sleeping was not one of them. However, occasionally, he was able to find pause with some help.