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uncomfortably numb

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Helmet Boy kneels in the grass of a minuscule, tucked away park. It’s empty, a tranquil and quiet scene aside from the wind rattling the chains of the two-person swing set accompanied by hushed whimpers and sniffles. His helmet sits by his side, his hands to his face to muffle his sobs. It’s been two weeks since his... since Summer...
Everything seems to hurt.
Sleeping at night has been a laborious task. And eating. And breathing. And showering and brushing his teeth and going to school and getting on his bike properly without his hands just making the handles shake violently.
Then there were the nightmares, graphic depictions of what Summer could’ve possibly done to himself, because even the general public was unsure of that one. But once, on a dreadfully long trip to the grocery store he was forced to accompany, Helmet Boy had overheard two policemen speaking outside the sliding doors; the body hadn’t been found.
Thoughts of Summer’s body, mangled and rotting, floods Helmet Boy’s mind, and he inhales quickly through his nose and begs his brain to conjure up any other possible thought at this time.
It hurts so bad.
He wishes he would’ve been more insistent on staying after Jade had found out about... everything.
And although Helmet Boy feels embarrassed about these lame teenage emotions, Summer is dead. There wasn’t anything he could do about that.
And that hurt the most.
Now, like every day for the past week, it’s just Helmet Boy and the park. Helmet Boy and the dimming sky, the gentle rustle of leaves, the creaking of playground equipment.
They never came to the park very often.
Maybe that was why he was able to find solace here. He switches from his knees to just sitting, legs crisscrossed, hands fiddling with pieces of grass as he allows tears to quietly roll down his cheeks.
Suddenly, footsteps crunch the grass apprehensively in front of him. He wipes his slightly dusty hand on his pants and quickly wipes his eyes and nose.
He swallows, hastily peering upwards.
A teenage boy stands in front of him, skinny and tall. His jeans have stains and a scarf wraps around his nose and mouth, probably a shield from the cold. Not that it was late enough at night to be that chilly. A black hoodie stays pulled down over his eyes as he stares at the ground, like he has some bad news to relay and doesn’t want Helmet Boy to attempt kick his ass for it.
Before he can reach for his helmet and stand to him confrontationally, pale, red-knuckled hands swiftly pick it up.
Helmet Boy feels sick, somewhere inside. He’s sure it’s someone from the football team, here to knock his lights out and blame him for Summer’s death. But it’s not like that consciously worried him; he’s convinced that he deserves it. Emotionless, he lifts his head. At this moment, the masked boy freezes.
“Yes,” Helmet Boy thinks, “it’s that faggot’s real face. Just end my shit right here.”
But the kid doesn’t do anything but begin to... tremble. He slowly comes to his knees, studying the helmet carefully, then placing the helmet beside himself, still not giving it back. With shaky hands, he pulls scarf off, lifting his head to look back at Helmet Boy with icy blue eyes.
His stomach lurches.
“Summer...” he rasps, tears promptly welling in his eyes. His arms stay pinned to his sides, Summer leaning forward and hugging him so tight that he can barely inhale. He sobs, heartbreaking and ugly, barely able to control his breath as his undead boyfriend cries with him, telling him how much he loves him and holding his head close where it smushes on his shoulder.
“I’m so-I’m so sorry I left you,” says Summer, voice cracking, “I don’t ever- I don’t ever want to-leave you again.”
“I thought you were...”
“I know- I know, I’m so sorry...”
Helmet Boy pushes Summer away to look at his face, holding it in his hands and just staring. Marked with tears, there’s bags under his eyes, Helmet Boy notices, like he’s been awake for days on end. Summer looks at him similarly, not even used to seeing Helmet Boy’s bare face at all.
So he kisses him, remembering the comforting feel of his lips.
And Helmet Boy cries, into Summer’s mouth while still trying to place himself onto his lap.
The sky darkens around them, but Summer and Helmet Boy remain lost in each other.

The walk back home is made in silence.
Summer gave Helmet Boy his jacket somewhere along the line, holding his hand tightly in the streetlight illuminated dark. His helmet is back on, now. They opt on returning to Helmet Boy’s house, deciding it would be best if Summer faced his parents on his own. Having arrived at his front door, Helmet Boy fumbles with his keys, shivering despite having Summer’s coat. Naturally, Summer presses himself against his back, arms on either side of his neck. He kisses at his neck, Helmet Boy batting him away as he manages to finally get the door open. His mother fast asleep on the couch, Helmet Boy guides his boyfriend quietly through the dark house to his room. The door creaks as he slowly opens it. He walks inside and flops backwards dramatically onto the bed, feeling absolutely drained.
Summer shuts the door behind him, looking around the unfamiliar space. He had only been here one or two times; Helmet Boy was insistent on not being home. There’s a mattress on the floor- one his cute little boyfriend was sprawled out on invitingly, watching him with careful eyes, like he might run away- pressed into a corner and covered in piles of blankets, like a bed thrown together for a large dog. A long window sits right above it, with no curtains and various figurines set on the seal. A tiny, in-wall closet with no doors stands diagonally from the bed, two other variations of helmets standing out to Summer in particular.
He wonders if Helmet Boy had ever worn the black one.
He’d have to ask sometime.
Summer yanks off his shoes and strips to his boxers, making himself comfortable under the covers and watching quietly as Helmet Boy does the same but more a little more elaborately; untying his shoes and tossing them in the general direction of the closet, sliding down his skinny jeans and pushing off his socks with his toes. Searching for two pillows in the sea of thick and thin blankets alike, tossing one to Summer who responds with a small and polite “Thank you”. Fluffing his own pillow and placing it down just so, and finally lying down, pulling the covers over himself and scooting closer to Summer.
He doesn’t take his helmet off. Which felt odd to Summer, as he hadn’t slept with his helmet on since the first few times they had slept together.

Helmet Boy just needed to adjust.

Summer takes him into his arms and kisses his helmet, making him want to cry again.
And he does, and Summer just kisses him more, holds him tight with those lanky arms.
And Helmet Boy feels like he’s safe again.