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Night Terror

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When he opened his eyes, the room was still in complete darkness.

At his side Jonathan was panting heavily, as in desperate need for oxygen.

Edward had not heard him scream, not this time, but even like this it was clear that he had had another of those episodes.
Blindly, Edward's hand searched for the light switch and once the room was enlighted, showed him a far worse vision of what he was expecting to find.

Jonathan was lying at his side, shaking and breathing hard, holding his hands over his face in the attempt to hide it. Judging by the traces on his lips and on his shirt, he must have thrown up, hopefully on the floor.

Edward got out of bed, determined to get a glass of water and a damp cloth for his partner.

Jonathan did not seem to react to any of his movements, probably still lost in the memory of what he had seen, still trapped in his own mind.

When Edward returned, he put the glass on the bedside table and noted a small clear pool on the floor, consisting mostly of saliva, water and gastric fluids.
He avoided it without problems, then sat down next to Jonathan, on his side of the bed.

He was tempted to touch him, but the chemist had taught him that the best approach in those cases was mostly verbal.

It had happened so many times that Edward could be called an expert.

"Jon...?" He called softly, with the calmest tone he was able to use.
The other moved his mouth to speak, but no words or sounds came out.

"It’s me, Ed. You're home, Jonathan."
He spoke again, seeing another shiver running through the other man’s shoulders and spine; his face still buried in his hands.

"Can I touch you?" Edward asked softly, just waiting for a sign from him.

Crane nodded, startling anyway when the wet piece of cloth that Edward was holding was passed on his lips, thoroughly cleaning it from the traces of vomit.

"It’s not real..." he tried to tell him, hoping for some reaction, but all that Crane could do was swallow unladen.

"Jon, look at me, please..."
Crane breathed deeply again, panting. His hands shook when he tried to move them away from his face.
Edward gently caressed his cheek, not surprised in finding it wet with tears, his deep blue eyes, now lost and reddened, were more than an evident proof that he had been crying.

"It's all right. It over now, It’s gone." He repeated him, moving his ravenhaired tuft from his sweaty forehead.

They stood a while in silence, even when Edward handed him the glass of water, helping him sit up.

"Why didn’t you wake me up...?" He asked, careful not to reveal reproach in his voice.

Crane shook his head.

Probably he had deemed unnecessary to wake him up, once again, choosing to face his fears and what’s left of them, alone.
Edward turned the cloth piece inside out to the clean side and handed it to Jonathan’s face, hoping to please him and erase, with delicate gestures, the traces of his tears.
As time passed, Crane breath seemed to be regularized up to normal, leaving only the memory of the panic attack just overcomed.

"Do you feel better?"
He finally asked, receiving a slight nod from the other.

Edward helped him changing his shirt, then layed by his side on the bed, as close as possible to him.

There was no need to say anything: Jonathan turned quickly toward him and sought solace in the embrace Edward were offering, resting his forehead against his chest.

"Try to sleep..." he whispered, kissing his head.

"I am here with you."

Crane tightened his grip and affectionately rubbed his face against Edward’s body, doing his best to keep his labored breath under control.

If he could speak he would have told him how much grateful he was for being once again by his side, but the silence had always been different between them.
They learnt how to interpret it and share it, like a sweet secret just for them.

They learnt how to please the other with it, and this time would be no exception.

The delusion was over. Edward was there with him.

Enough with the incessant cawing of the crows, and with the pain of their claws on his back and arms.
Enough with the foul smell of Keeny great-grandmother ‘s chemical mixture on his clothes and skin.

Enough.

It was over once again.

Edward was there with him.