"Vivi!" Lewis called, drifting to a stop.
She looked up, and raised a hand in greeting, giving him a warm, excited smile. He reached forward, intending to grab her hand and lace their fingers together-
-but it phased right through hers, his spectral form unable to interact with the human, and Vivi yelped and stepped back.
"Sorry!" He quickly withdrew his hand, holding it in the other. "I forgot- I'm sorry." He wasn't sure he was ever going to get used to that, not being able to just touch and hold people whenever he wanted to.
Vivi looked up from massaging the pins and needles out of her arm. "It's fine, just- be more careful."
"I know- I'm sorry."
Lewis hadn't unfolded his arms since, still feeling guilty and bitterly frustrated with himself. He paced down the hallway, focused on the floor, until he noticed the sound of footsteps. When he glanced up, he realized they were coming from Arthur.
Without a moment's hesitation, he darted forward and wrapped his arms around Arthur's chest-
-and Arthur yelped, a sound that quickly turned into a startled laugh as he was lifted into the air. He looped one arm easily around his shoulders, with a quiet "hey, Lewis."
Lewis didn't respond with words, just pressed their cheeks together, the closest he could get to a kiss without a mouth. There he was – warm and solid and real, a weight that fit perfectly into his arms. He couldn't help but sigh at the comfortable, desperately missed feeling.
"Is- is everything okay? Y-you're-" Arthur was saying.
"Just happy to see you."
Arthur was sitting on the couch, reading. Lewis slipped in next to him, as close as he could physically get, wrapping his arms around him and resting his head on his shoulder. Arthur started with a sharp inhale, but relaxed quickly once he saw what he was doing.
"Tired," he murmured, burrowing a little deeper into the crook of Arthur's neck. He'd been up far too long, and really needed to stop and recharge, but... "don' wan'... go to sleep." He was too tired to properly articulate what he meant, but he knew Arthur would understand anyway. He didn't want to retreat into his anchor, not when he knew there were three weeks' worth of nightmares stored up on the other side. He knew he should just brave them, but they were always so much worse when he was alone, trapped in his anchor with no physical form. If he stayed with Arthur, though, he could simply use his energy to replenish his own – and if he did happen to fall asleep, he'd have someone there to wake him up.
Arthur must have put the book down, because he heard a soft noise, and then there were two thin arms around him. "I got you."
There was a quiet knock at the door.
"What do you want?" He didn't mean to snap, but he couldn't stop himself.
The door clicked open, and Arthur stuck his face in. His expression was mildly concerned, a little wary.
"Arthur- just- leave," he forced himself to say, pulling his knees a little closer to his chest. "I-"
"You d-don't... need to do that, Lew. N-not with me." He did the opposite of leaving, and opened the door completely. "I al- already know what you're f-feeling- I can feel- feel it too, remember?"
He looked down, trying to concentrate on not shaking. "You don't need to worry about it. This isn't your job-"
"What's that- that th-thing you're always- you're always telling me?" Arthur stepped in a little further. "You c-can't stop me worrying about you- so- may as well just let m-me help you?"
He was at the edge of the bed now, and Lewis shifted over a little to make room for him. He recognized the silent statement, and climbed up next to him. There wasn't much space, and their shoulders pressed together, but he didn't seem to mind.
"I know-" he started, and pulled his hand off his knees to hold it, and that was when Lewis just broke. He buried his face in his chest, wrapping both arms around him, finally sobbing as all the pent-up anxiety came crashing into him at once.
Arthur didn't say anything else, but he kept holding his hand, and the other rested on the back of his skull, and that was more than he could have said with words anyway.