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 Hot, burning hands tore the clothes from his body and roughly ran over his bare flesh.  A heavy body on top of his cut off any escape.  A long, slimy tongue forced its way into his mouth, swallowing any attempt to scream.

Naoya couldn't move.  He couldn't speak.  He could barely breathe.  His body wouldn't obey him, almost as if he were dead. 

But he wasn't dead.  He couldn't be, because the dead don't feel. 

 If he were dead, he wouldn't be able to feel that disgusting, wet mouth kissing and licking and biting its way down his chest.  He wouldn't be able to feel those burning hands bruise his skin as they forced his legs apart.

And he wouldn't be able to feel that searing, agonizing pain as that...that thing forced its way into his body

'Please, please stop!  I-It hurts!'  Naoya screamed in his head, as his voice would not obey him.  'I don't want this!  Please!  Nii-san!  Help me, Nii-san! I don't want this!  I don't want this!  Nii-san!'


Naoya jolted up from the bed, eyes frantically darting around the room as he tried to remember where he was.  It was only when his searching gaze came to rest on the sleeping form of his brother Naoto in the bed next to his that it came back to him. 

They were in a hotel room.  A hotel room far, far away from that bar, and far, far away from

Naoya shuddered.  He was safe now.  That man couldn't hurt him anymore.  Nii-san wouldn't let him.  He had promised.

...So why did Naoya still feel so afraid?

Suddenly feeling suffocated by the enclosed walls of the hotel room, Naoya got up from his bed and, carefully, so as not to wake his brother, opened the sliding glass door that led to their room's balcony. 

He shivered as he stepped out into the damp chill of the October night, only just realizing that in his haste to escape the caged feel of the room, he had neglected to throw any clothes on over the boxers and over-sized t-shirt he wore to bed.  He had also forgotten to put on shoes, which he immediately regretted as he felt the cold of the tile balcony floor seep into his bare feet.

Deciding that he'd rather brave the cold than go back into that suffocating room, Naoya walked further out onto the balcony until he was standing just in front of the railing.  Wrapping his arms around himself for warmth, he looked out over the city below him.

Why? He thought to himself, Why am I still so terrified?  Why do I still have these nightmares?  We're so far away from where it happened...and really, nothing happened in the first place.  It was all because of my ability.  Nothing happened.

Naoya began to tremble, and this time it had nothing to do with the cold.  No matter how many times he tried to convince himself of this, no matter how many times he berated himself for being weak, it changed nothing. 

He still jumped at every shadow, every little noise.  He still felt a thrill of fear every time a man so much as looked at him.  And the thought of physical contact of any kind terrified him even more than before.

Why? Naoya asked himself again, tears beginning to stream down his face.  Why did that have to happen?  Why did he...

Naoya's thought was left unfinished as a pair of warm, strong arms wrapped themselves gently around him from behind.  He didn't even have time to panic about those arms because as soon as they touched him, thoughts of comfort, tenderness, and love filled his mind.

Naoya sighed, falling back into the embrace. “Nii-san.”

“Naoya,” Naoto breathed, laying his cheek on the smaller boy's hair, “What are you doing up?  It's the middle of the night.”

Naoya let himself lean even further back against Naoto's hard chest, reveling in the heat that emanated from him.  “I just couldn't sleep, Nii-san.  I thought some fresh air might help cure my insomnia.”

Naoto didn't need Naoya's ability to know his little brother was lying.  “Naoya, I know you're lying.  Tell me the truth,” he admonished gently but firmly.

Naoya sighed, closing his eyes.  Of course Naoto knew he was lying. Nii-san always knew. “I...It was nothing.  I just...just had another nightmare,” Naoya whispered.  

Naoto tightened his hold on the amber-eyed boy, “Naoya, that's not nothing.  I told you that if you ever have those nightmares, you should wake me up.”

Naoto leaned down so he was speaking right next to Naoya's ear.  “You don't have to deal with these dreams alone, and you most certainly do not need to hide them from me, so why do you keep trying, Naoya?”

Naoya felt his cheeks color with shame, and he was glad his brother was behind him so he wouldn't have to look him in the eye as he spoke.  “I know, I know you told me not to hide my nightmares from you, but...” Naoya trailed off for a moment, feeling tears once again build up behind his eyes.  “But I shouldn't be feeling this way!  I'm a man!  I should be stronger, I should be able to handle this.  I shouldn't be this weak!”

“And besides,” he continued, not even trying to stop the tears as they began to flow freely down his face, “It's not like he even really did anything! It was all inside my head, all because of my power.  It was no different than any other time I've touched someone.  So why...?” Naoya didn't finish, his voice breaking off in a strangled sob.

Naoto didn't waste a second in spinning around the sobbing boy in his arms so that they were face to face. He then dropped to his knees and grasped Naoya’s hands tightly in his own, looking up into the tear-streaked face of his younger brother.

The lost, agonized look in those beautiful amber eyes broke Naoto's heart.  No one should ever have to go through something like this, Naoto knew that.  But still...why Naoya?  Why did it have to be Naoya?  Why, on their first night of freedom, did his sweet, innocent little brother have to...

His brother's pain also drew out of Naoto a deep, merciless rage.  While he didn't know what happened to Jin after he sent him through the brick wall of the bar, the bastard had better pray that he died and went to hell.  Otherwise, by the time Naoto was through with him, there wouldn't be anything left for hell to claim.

“Listen to me, Naoya,” Naoto demanded firmly, gripping Naoya's arms tightly, but not so tightly as to hurt the already fragile boy.  “Rape is not something exclusive to women. Rape is not something that is purely physical. Rape is a violation. Rape is being thrust into a horrific situation that you have no way to combat.  Rape is having every shred of control ripped away from you. Naoya, you were raped.

“What happened in that bar was not the same as with everyone else you've touched.  You were not just observing an event from the past or the future.  You were a part of it.  You were forced.  You suffered a trauma that no one, no one, should ever have to endure.”

“But know this, Naoya,” Naoto continued, gripping the delicate hands in his even tighter, “It is not. Your.  Fault.  Do you hear me?  You did nothing wrong.  Absolutely nothing.  That bastard took something that no person has any right to take by force, but that is not on you.  It's on him, it's all on him,” Naoto finished and pulled his sobbing brother into his arms, holding him tightly as the younger boy collapsed into his embrace. 

And me, Naoya silently added, tightening his hold on the crying boy.  It is also on me, for not being there to protect you.

Not surprisingly, Naoya heard these unspoken words and, when his sobs had finally quieted, looked up to see his Nii-san's dark eyes shining with his own unshed tears.

Reaching up, Naoya gently laid a small, pale hand against his brother's cheek, causing Naoto's eyes to widen at the intimate touch.  “Nii-san,” Naoya said in a shaky but firm voice, “It is not on you.  You were unconscious, knocked out by the same man who...who did that to me.  He hurt us both, Nii-san, but neither of us are at fault.”

Naoto couldn't help but feel a swell of love and pride rise in his chest for the beautiful, strong person in front of him.  “You're right, Naoya.  Neither of us are to blame for what happened.  But know this,” Naoto growled, his eyes acquiring that dangerous glint that never failed to send shivers down Naoya's spine.  “Should anyone, anyone, ever attempt to hurt you in any way ever again, I will kill them.”

Naoya shuddered, knowing his brother was serious.  Still, his words warmed Naoya all over and, for the first time since what happened at the bar, Naoya felt safe.

“Thank you, Nii-san,” Naoya whispered, snuggling against his brother's chest.  “I love you.”

Naoto smiled fondly at the boy curled up in his arms like a kitten.  “I love you too, Naoya,” he replied softly, pressing his lips against Naoya's forehead in a tender kiss.

They stayed like that for a while, each one content just to be in the other's embrace, until Naoya suddenly shivered.  It was then that Naoto became aware of his little brother' current state of dress.

“Naoya!  What are you thinking, come out here dressed like this?  Are you trying to catch a cold?” Naoto snapped worriedly, taking off his jacket as he stood and wrapping it around Naoya's thin shoulders.

Naoya couldn't help but smile at his brother's “mother hen” ways as he slowly got to his feet.  “Sorry, Nii-san.  I wasn't thinking.”

Naoto tried to seem put out, but he was secretly thrilled to see his little brother's smile again.  It had been far too long since he'd seen it.  “It's fine.  Just come in now.  You really should get some sleep as well,” he said with false gruffness, placing an arm around Naoya's shoulders.

“Ok, Nii-san,” replied Naoya softly, leaning on his brother's shoulder as he let the larger man lead him back into the hotel room, his eyes already half-lidded with exhaustion.  He stopped before he got into bed, however.

Naoto threw him a questioning glance.  “What's wrong, Naoya?”

“Umm, Nii-san,” Naoya said quietly, his face bright red as he looked at the ground, “ you think that I could, um...s-stay in your bed with you to night?”

Naoto smiled at the request.  His Naoya be strong, but he was still the little brother Naoto had always known.  “Sure, Naoya.  Come on,” he replied as he got into bed and pulled back the covers, making room for Naoya to slide in beside him.

Naoya curled up against Naoto's chest as soon as they were both in bed, loving the feel of Naoto's arms as they wound around him back. 

Naoya knew he still had a long, rough road ahead of him.  He knew it would take years for him to heal from this, if he ever did.  But he also knew that, no matter how broken or terrifying the path ahead of him may be, he still had one place where nothing, not even his memories and nightmares, could hurt him.

In the warmth and safety of Naoto's arms.