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in a little bit of time it won't hurt so bad

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Sometimes, Caleb can still taste the fear.

It doesn’t happen often, anymore. There’s been enough time between then and now, and he’s not healed, but he’s better. He can go weeks, even months without the memory affecting him greatly. Sometimes, however, he’s paralyzed with fear, his own and Damien’s, and it scares him, the hold that it still has on him.

When he shoots awake, it takes him a second to realize that it was a dream. His heart is beating too hard, his breaths coming too quick. Caleb quickly shuts his eyes, but the memory of the safe house and the events of that night are stitched on his eyelids, and he snaps them open again. Instead, he looks to Adam.

His feelings are dulled through sleep, but Caleb can still sense them, grounding him. Even being weaker than usual, Adam’s feelings still hold the ability to comfort him. It’s nice, even if he still feels unsettled by the dream.

Past Adam, he glances at the clock, which tells him that it’s 5:27. Pushing his hair out of his eyes, Caleb gets out of bed, careful not to disturb Adam.

His feet carry him drowsily to the kitchen, where he starts on a pot of coffee. In the quiet of his kitchen, he finds himself thinking back on the dream.

His dreams from the safe house usually don’t reflect what actually happen, usually a variety of things that could’ve been much, much worse. Caleb not being able to save Adam, or Damien not making it out of the safe house alive, or his friends and boyfriend turning on him after what he’d done.

The latter is what had occurred tonight, and in a lot of ways, it’s Caleb’s least favorite alternative. The thought of having gone through all of that and still losing the people he loves scares the hell out of him. A small part of him still thinks that, eventually, they’ll still leave him anyway, and that’s the worst part of it, the lingering anxiety that he fears will never go away.

He’s broken out of his thoughts when the coffee gurgles, and he startles before pouring himself a cup. Once his coffee is made, he heads towards their balcony.

When he and Adam bought the apartment, the balcony was the first thing that Caleb fell in love with. Their first night in the apartment, they brought out all of their blankets and pillows, sitting there and talking instead of unpacking the rest of their furniture. The balcony remains as one of Caleb’s favorite part of the apartment, and he finds himself gravitating towards it whenever his mood darkens.

He’s not sure how long he sits on the balcony, watching the sunrise, but the silence is broken by the sound of the door sliding open. He doesn’t tear his eyes away from the skyline; after all, there’s only one person it could be.

“What’s up?” Adam asks softly. He sits on the loveseat next to Caleb, but not before draping a blanket over Caleb’s shoulders. The softness of living with Adam hasn’t quite worn off yet, and the small action leaves a warm feeling settled in his chest. He welcomes it, contrasting against the anxiety and pain that’s been living in him this morning.

“Nightmare,” Caleb says simply. He doesn’t elaborate, doesn’t feel that he needs to. This has happened often enough that Adam probably knows what it was about, anyway.

Adam hums softly, but he doesn’t say anything else. He does, however, lean to rest his head on Caleb’s shoulder, a gesture that Caleb has admitted to liking when his anxieties overwhelm him.

They sit like that for a while, drinking their coffees in silence. It calms Caleb down, slowly bleeding the murky feelings out until they’re overlapped by warmer ones. They’re not gone, but they’re quieter, and Caleb’s grateful for it.

Eventually, Adam breaks the quiet by saying, “We should start getting ready,” and Caleb agrees. Setting his now-empty mug on the table, Adam stands, offering his hand to Caleb. He takes it, and doesn’t let go until well after they’re inside.