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for the life of me

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Chris finds him in the basement on a Tuesday afternoon in November. He’s sitting on the concrete floor, staring at this legs. Dex is shaking like a leaf. 

“Babe, are you ok?” Chris murmurs. 

Dex doesn’t answer. He shakes his head the slightest amount. 

Chris sits next to him. “Wanna talk about it?” 

Dex shakes his head. 

“Can you breathe in for me? Slowly, c’mon,” he instructs. 

Dex complies. Following Chris’ instructions, in and out, until his breath is a little steadier. Until Dex’s eyes are a little more focused. Dex’s  arms wind their way around Chris’ torso. Chris squeezes back with everything he’s got. 

“You can cry if you need to,” he whispers. “I’m right here. You’re safe with me.” 

Dex flinches. He just holds Chris for a while. Eventually, Farmer’s voice comes shouting from the top of the stairs. 

“We’re down here,” Chris shouts. He instantly regrets it when Dex flinches. 

Farmer comes cautiously down the staircase, Nursey following close behind her. They don’t ask questions. Farmer settles down on the other side of Dex. Nursey sits beside Chris. 

“You’re alright,” Dex chokes back a sob. “You’re alright.” 

“We’re right here, babe,” Farmer assures him softly. 

“Yea, we got you,” Nursey adds. 

Dex nods, tears running down his face. They hold him, because that’s all they can do. 

“I’m sorry,” he says once he has enough composure to be lead back up to their rooms. 

“It’s ok, Dex,” Chris assures him. “Happy birthday.”