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vax's heart beat double-time. he felt cold seize him again, this time as two fangs sank deep into his neck. in his panic he sprung away, towards the window, barely feeling it shatter as he burst through it. with a roll, he hit the ground and kept running, yelling a warning as he went, and then he was frozen in place again, his face hitting the grass with a painful thump.

his breaths caught in his throat as warm blood trickled down his neck. with another thud, he heard someone land at his side. vax tried desperately to move, to break the spell, but all he could do was stare at the moon out of the corner of his eye, until it was blocked by the face of sylas briarwood. another thud, followed by a voice, sounded from some distance. "when we mark a target, he does not escape, i'm afraid."

vax managed one shaky breath before his vision went black and he woke. the room was dark and silent except for the roaring in his ears. he was sweating, and the air around him was like ice. apparently he had discarded his blanket in his sleep.

he took another deep, shaking breath to ground himself. with a glance across the bed, he realised he was in percy's room, and the man was faced towards him, his brow furrowed in his sleep.

vax turned onto his stomach, propped up on his elbows. face in his hands, he took a few more deep breaths. beside him, percy shifted. vax pulled his hands from his face to look over at him.

percy's eyes opened just slightly. his brow furrowed even deeper as he looked over vax, who had moved as far away as he could while he slept. quietly, he murmured, "nightmares?"

"i'm alright." vax said, shaking his head. his voice betrayed him, though, shaking like it was. his heart was still racing.

"no, you're not. come here." percy said, holding out an arm towards vax. his voice was dulled from sleep, but not enough to hide the sharp edge of his worried tone.

vax hesitated for a moment, but finally lay back down again, his head tucked under percy's chin, still willing his breathing to even out. percy put a warm arm over vax and asked, "which one?"

vax shook his head and pulled himself closer to percy, shifting so that he could press his forehead against the hollow of the man's throat. he felt percy's hand in his hair and realized the tie that had held it was either broken or lost.

"that's alright. you're fine now. we're okay." vax could feel percy's voice as he spoke, and he took in a few more shallow breaths. he felt percy shift a few stray hairs out of his face.

percy's arm left vax for a moment as he adjusted the blanket properly back over both of them. vax felt himself starting to calm down as he lay there, taking steadier and steadier breaths. a while later, when vax had begun dozing off, percy said quietly, "i'll always be here, vax. goodnight."