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Sleepless Nights

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The clock on the nightstand was turning the room green. That was the last thought Aaron had before turning over and staring at the wall. He sighed heavily when sleep still failed and rolled onto his back. He stared the ceiling and willed his brain to quiet down long enough to let his eyes close. When it failed he sat up and rubbed his face. He swung his legs from the bed and sat for a few moments before getting up, he grabbed his hoodie from the chair and zipped it up before making his way downstairs.

He glanced out of the window and considered going for another run before opening the front room door; he turned the light on and jumped at the sight of Robert sitting at the kitchen table,
"Jesus CHRIST Robert. What the hell-how did you get in here?"
Robert blinked and looked over at him,
"They're gonna hear you."
Aaron closed the door and walked over to him,
"How did you-"
Robert lifted his hand to show the keys,
"Diane...she gave me a copy."
Aaron rubbed his face,
"And what? You just decided to sit in the dark until...?"
Robert stared at the wall in silence; Aaron waved a hand in front of his face,
"You in there?"
He was met with silence again and shook his head,
"Whatever. Just go alright? I'm going back to bed."
He turned away only to be stopped by a hand on his wrist; he looked back at Robert and turned to face him,
"Don't."
Aaron shook his arm free,
"What?"
Robert looked up at him,
"I can't...sleep."
He frowned,
"Well yeah, hard to when you're wandering about in the middle of the night."
Robert ran a hand through his hair,
"She won't leave me alone. Always...in there."
He tapped the side of his head,
"Always digging in there. Even now. Every time I close my eyes I see it. Even when she's..."
Robert stood up and ran his fingers through his hair again,
"I shouldn't have come."
Aaron grabbed him,
"Mate..."
Robert looked him in the eye and swallowed,
"I just wanted to..."
Aaron dropped his gaze to Roberts lips,
"What?"
Robert leant in until their lips almost touched; only to be stopped by Aaron's hand on his chest as he looked around,
"Mum'll castrate you if she finds you in here."
Roberts face fell as he nodded,
"I should-"
Aaron stopped him,
"Upstairs."
Robert raised an eyebrow and Aaron shook his head,
"To talk."
Robert nodded and gestured,
"Lead the way."
Aaron turned to the door and opened it quietly; waiting a moment before turning the light off and leading Robert up the stairs to his room.

Robert sat on the edge of the bed and stared at the pin board in the wall.
"That him?"
Aaron stopped fiddling with his sleeve and looked up,
"Hmm?"
Robert pointed to a photo on the board,
"Is that him? Jackson?"
Aaron looked over and nodded before leaning back against the wall,
"Why are you here?"
Robert stood up and stepped toward the board,
"He looks nice. Friendly I mean."
Aaron dropped his head back against the wall and huffed out a breath,
"I don't wanna talk about him."
Robert looked over to him and held his hands up,
"Just making conversation."
Aaron's head snapped up,
"Yeah? Well why don't you go home and make chit chat with your wife? Leave me alone."
Aaron could have sworn he saw hurt flash across Roberts face before he turned away,
"I told you I couldn't sleep."
Aaron pinched the bridge of his nose,
"So why are you here?"
Robert shrugged and picked up a lighter from the chest of drawers,
"You don't smoke."
Aaron frowned,
"What?"
Robert turned and held it up before putting it back down,
"Robert-"
Robert shoved his hands in his pockets,
"I wanted to see you."
"Why?"
He shrugged again,
"Have you been sleeping?"
Aaron looked away,
"Aaron? Have you?"
Aaron wrapped his arms around himself,
"Not great."
Robert nodded,
"I haven't."
Aaron looked at him,
"At all?"
Robert shook his head,
"An hour here or there, but not properly. Not since before the...wedding."
Aaron swallowed,
"So why come here?"
Robert pulled his hands from his pockets and rubbed the back of his neck,
"My brain won't switch off. Won't...it's too loud. Chrissie just wants to talk, like, all the time. And Lachlan is...weird."
He shook his head and dropped his hand,
"I have Andy on one side and I'm trying. I am trying to keep him together. Keep him here. And then I have the family and the business and goddamn...everything and it's loud and I can't get any peace."
Aaron was frowning,
"So why come to me? What can I do? I'm in the same position as you, except for the wife."
He said it pointedly and Robert glanced away, Aaron shook his head slightly,
"Besides...Thought we weren't supposed to even look at each other."
Robert looked at him for a few moments,
"I came to you because...because.."
Aaron raised his eyebrows,
"Well?"
Robert stepped forward,
"Because you're quiet. Because when I'm with you...my brain shuts up. Just for a minute it's like...silence."
"Silence?"
Robert looked at him and nodded,
"It's like it stands still you know?"
He shook his head again,
"Lack of sleep talking. I'll go."
Aaron grabbed his arm,
"Robert."
The men looked at each other for a moment before Aaron clasped the back of Roberts neck and pulled him in to a kiss. Robert leaned into the kiss; grabbing Aaron's waist and holding on tight he pushed the man back against the closed door. Robert slid his hands up until they were against Aaron's; still cupping the back of his neck. He slid them down again and placed his hands against Aaron's face; scratching his nails lightly on the mans stubbled cheek as he pushed his tongue into his mouth to taste him. Aaron moaned into the kiss and tangled his fingers into Roberts blonde hair. He stopped when Roberts hands traveled down and found the waistband of his sweat pants.
"Woah woah...stop."
Robert pushed their foreheads together,
"Why? Come on."
Aaron shook his head,
"Don't have anything."
Robert chuckled quietly,
"Come on, I'm clean."
Aaron couldn't help but smile,
"Yeah I'm gonna suddenly worry about going bareback with you."
He lifted his head and looked at the man, his eyes flicking down to his pink lips,
"Just not tonight okay?"
Robert leaned in and kissed him again,
"We keep doing this?"
Aaron nodded and pushed him back gently,
"What?"
Aaron stepped away from the door and reached for him again,
"Door handle."
Robert laughed and shook his head; he kissed Aaron again before stepping away,
"See?"
Aaron raised his eyebrows,
"What?"
Robert pulled his jacket off and dropped it on the chair,
"Quiet."
Aaron looked at him for a few moments before biting his lip and turning away,
"Do you...I mean you can stay for a while if you need. Tonight. I mean I'm not-"
Robert clasped his face gently,
"Mate. Hey.."
Aaron looked at the ground between them,
"I missed you."
Aaron slowly looked up and met the mans eye, Robert nodded,
"Yeah. Me too."
Aaron gripped his arm,
"You look tired."
Robert huffed out a laugh,
"Cheers. Not exactly looking 100% yourself there."
Aaron couldn't help but grin briefly before dropping his eyes to Roberts lips again,
"I just meant...maybe you should...sleep."
Robert grinned,
"Thank god I have someone with your smarts in my life. I never would've thought that sleep was th-"
Aaron slammed a hand against his mouth,
"Shh."
The two stood in silence waiting for another sound; hearing nothing, aaron dropped his hand slowly.
"Sorry."
Robert grinned again,
"Maybe uh...the bed?"
Aaron bit his lip and nodded. Robert stepped back and gestured to the bed,
"You have a preferred side or?"
Aaron rolled his eyes and climbed onto the bed. He separated his pillows to make a space for them both and lay down. He watched Robert take his shoes off and unbuckle his jeans,
"Do you mind? I can't sleep in my jeans."
Aaron shook his head before lifting it and sticking his arm under his pillow. Robert glanced at the door,
"It's locked. Don't worry."
Robert nodded and climbed into the bed; Aaron moved away from him quickly,
"Fuck you're cold."
Robert looked over to the man,
"Wanna warm me up?"
Aaron rolled his eyes,
"Jesus Christ. Go to sleep."
He sat up and leant over Robert to turn the lamp off before laying back down. He stared at the ceiling for a few minutes listening to the man breathing beside him. Aaron took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

He opened them again when he felt the eyes on him. Turning his head he looked at Robert,
"What?"
Robert sat up slowly and looked down at Aaron; reaching out he cupped his face, stroking his thumb on Aaron's stubbled cheek.
"Robert?"
Robert tilted his head and dragged his thumb over Aaron's bottom lip. He blinked and opened his mouth as though to say something before shaking his head slightly and leaning down to capture Aaron's lips in a kiss. Aaron sank into the kiss easily, opening his mouth at Roberts prompt and fisting his hands in the mans shirt. Robert shifted over and down until he was nestled between Aaron's legs, he kissed him deeply, his free hand searching for the hem of Aaron's own tshirt before slipping inside and pushing it up. He moved until he could place his hand over Aaron's heart as he trailed his kisses over the mans jaw then back to his lips.
"Robert.."
Robert moved his hand from Aaron's face and used it to hitch his leg up until it wrapped around his waist,
"I know. I know, no sex. Just this..."
He began to move slowly, rocking his hips- his grip on Aaron's leg tightening as he felt the hardness grow between them. Aaron pulled his down for another kiss; gasping into his mouth as he felt Roberts arousal rubbing against his own.
"You're..."
Robert bit his lip,
"Want me to stop?"
Aaron shook his head,
"Gonna ruin our clothes."
Robert nodded,
"Don't care. Need you."
Aaron nodded and gripped his hair tightly. As Robert rocked against him until he could take it anymore and pushed him away,
"What the-?"
Aaron straddled the man,
"Shut up."
He yanked Roberts boxers down; pulling his own trousers off before leaning forward- grabbing them both and rubbing. His hand worked quickly as Robert gripped him tightly, one hand gripped tightly in his hair,
"Fuck...fuck Aaron."
Aaron groaned,
"Shhh. Agh."
Robert dug his nails into Aaron's arm and crushed his lips in a kiss as he felt his stomach tighten. Aaron sped up his hand and stilled as Robert suddenly bit down on his lip and shook as he came over Aaron's fist. Aaron stroked him through it before coming himself and slumping down against the man beneath. Robert buried his face in Aaron's neck; breathing his scent deeply before he felt it; the burning in his eyes that he had been able to restrain for so long. He pushed Aaron away as the first tear fell. Pulling his shorts up quickly he jumped up from the bed and made it to the chest of drawers before he had to grasp the wood tightly as the sobs ripped through him. With one hand clamped to his mouth and the other clutching his chest he doubled over,
"Robert? What.."
Aaron pulled his own sweat pants up quickly and bounded over to him, he grabbed Roberts shoulder only to be pushed back,
"Don't. Don't touch me."
Aaron grabbed him again,
"Robert what the hell happened?"
Robert gasped for breath and stepped toward the door; only to be stopped,
"You're not going anywhere."
Robert fought the hands on his arms,
"Get off me please, please just.."
He shook his head and covered his face with his hands as all the pent up emotion began to seep from him in one go. His knees buckled and he fell; taking Aaron down with him he sat and sobbed. Aaron wrapped his arms around the man and held him as tightly as he could.

Robert had been quiet for nearly ten minutes when Aaron pulled back and lifted his head,
"Mate?"
Roberts eyes were unfocused; Aaron had to hold his head up in his hands to get him to look at him,
"Robert?"
Robert blinked,
"I didn't mean it."
Aaron frowned and wiped a tear from Roberts cheek,
"Come on. Let's lay down."
Robert looked at him,
"I-I didn't mean it. You believe that right?"
Aaron nodded and helped Robert to his feet,
"I'm so tired Aaron."
Aaron walked them to the bed and sat Robert down,
"I know. Come on."
Robert lay down and rolled onto his side; Aaron watched him for a moment and pushed a hand through his hair before standing up; he was stopped by a hand on his wrist,
"Where are you going?"
Aaron removed his hand gently,
"I need to clean up, I can't sleep like..this."
He gestured to his stomach; referring to the dried come on his skin. Robert nodded slowly, ignoring the stuck feeling in his own skin. Aaron turned and left the room quietly; returning moments later with a damp cloth,
"See?"
Robert watched his as he cleaned himself up, his stomach flipping slightly at the sight of the scars across his skin. He was sure he saw fresh marks but Aaron turned again before he could focus on them. He rolled onto his back as Aaron climbed back onto the bed,
"Don't tell anyone."
Aaron looked at the man,
"What?"
Robert looked at him,
"I'm serious Aaron. Don't tell anyone about what just happened."
Aaron frowned,
"Robert...I..."
Robert rolled over again; turning his back on Aaron; who in turn turned the other way and closed his own eyes.

Aaron opened his eyes to realise that he couldn't move. Robert was pressed flush against his back, his arms were wrapped tightly around him and his face buried in Aaron's neck. He frowned and tried to turn his head to no avail; giving up he stared at the wall for a few minutes then closed his eyes again.

The bed was cold when he opened his eyes again. He rolled over and lay on his back; he stared at the ceiling and listened out for the movement downstairs. He sat up and rubbed his face before standing up. His mind drifted to Robert and he rubbed his face again. The guilt he'd been harbouring for weeks gripped him and made his skin prick. He grabbed his clothes and dressed quickly before heading out for a run.

He sat on the edge of the bath and winced as he pulled his socks off. Grabbing a flannel he soaked it in water from the tap and pressed it against his bleeding feet,
"Fuck..."
He hissed at the pain and reached for the antiseptic cream; he treated his feet carefully before sighing heavily and standing. His eye fell on his phone and he shivered slightly- he knew what he had to do, his mind had been full of it as he ran. He grabbed the phone and took a deep breath as he typed out a message,

"We need to talk. Pub. One hour."

He pressed send and stuck the phone in his pocket. Clearing his mess from the room he headed to his bedroom to change. The phone vibrated in his pocket and he pulled it out slowly,

"Won't have long. See you later."

Aaron shook his head and sat down on the bed; his heart beating fast as he convinced himself he could do what he knew he had to do. He took a few deep breaths and grabbed a fresh top before heading downstairs to face his fate.