The darkness was suffocating. It clung to Kevin’s skin and crawled into his lungs. It stole away his breath until he was gasping, trying in vain to bring in some oxygen. He closed his eyelids but it made no difference. The walls of the room felt like they were getting closer but Kevin had no way of knowing if this was true. He was trapped. His hands were in front of him but no matter what he did they would not move correctly. He tried, again and again. Repeating motions he knew off by heart to create something, anything that would give him a light in the dark. He couldn’t. Kevin was powerless in this room, he would stay in the dark because no one would come get him this time. The sound of his shallow rasping filled the room as he let the dark consume him.
Being forcefully pulled out of sleep was only slightly better than the nightmare. Kevin jolted from deep sleep to awake at an unnatural speed. His body tensing as he tried to take in air and found his lungs just as uncooperative in the waking world. Nausea rolling through his stomach. A hand dragged from his head down to the middle of his back, forcing his muscles to relax and radiating calm. His lungs slowed, letting him take in deeper gasps until his head was clear enough for him to breathe alone. Kevin took note of his surroundings, the duvet twisted around his hips, the clock ticking across the room, Apollo’s snores in the living room, the soft light illuminating the wall in front of him, the warmth radiating from the man behind him. Each thing chipping away a tiny bit of anxiety as the familiarity set in.
His breathing steadied Kevin turned over onto his other side, grabbing his boyfriend’s hand and holding it over his heart. Aaron looked tired, there was the line between his eyebrows that was always there when he was worried, and bags under his eyes. Kevin couldn’t help but feel guilty for putting them there.
“I’m sorry I woke you,” he croaked out. His voice quiet compared to the pounding of his blood he could still here.
“Shush you fool.” Aaron tightened his grip on Kevin’s hand and another wave of calm fell over him. “What was it this time?”
The question had another wave of anxiety lapping at Kevin’s heels but he pushed it down, instead concentrating on the hand against his chest.
“I was back...there. In the room again,and it was so dark. The walls were closing in and I couldn’t- I couldn’t form anything. It just wouldn’t work. I was powerless.” Kevin’s voice finished in a whisper. It was so much easier, coming down from a panic attack with Aaron there. There was no forcing his lungs to relearn how to breath when his boyfriend could do it for him, though they tended to rely on that gift rarely. Merely using it in the wee hours of the night when Kevin awoke from nightmares, when they were both too exhausted to spend hours waiting it out. He tightened his hand around Aaron’s, gripping on like it was a lifeline.
“You’re not there anymore, Kev. I’m not letting you go back there either, none of us will.” Aaron untangled their fingers, pulling Kevin’s hands until there were cupped around each other. “And you can do your magic just fine. Even if you couldn’t you wouldn’t be powerless.”
Aaron’s eyes seemed to be looking straight into Kevin’s soul and he dropped his own gaze to his hands. His left still lined with silver scars, the only sign left to the damage that had been inflicted. Although healed they showed how much bad the breaks had been, so bad that even Aaron and Abby’s combined efforts hadn’t been enough to heal without a permanent mark. He adjusted and then concentrated, conjuring a a small ball of light that glowed bright. Aaron let out a small groan and scrunched his eyes shut at the sudden light, but Kevin could only concentrate on the way the way the last dregs of anxiety melted from his body as the heat from the ball lapped at his hands. Kevin smiled and concentrated on his boyfriend, taking in his soft smile, the way the light shimmered in his amber eyes and made a halo out of his blonde hair.
“What would I do without you?” Kevin asked, marvelling at how much peace one man could give him.
“Crash and burn,” Aaron answered, stifling a yawn as he did so. “Don’t you dare drop that.”
“Aaron, I’m not going to drop it. I’m perfectly capable of keeping it steady.”
“Mhm, tell that to the scorch mark on the kitchen floor.”
“That wasn’t my fault.”
“Of course not, Kev”
Kevin’s smile widened into a grin as he extinguished the light, cupping Aaron’s face as he pressed a kiss onto his nose. The huff he got in return made his heart melt. Aaron tilted his head up, capturing his lips in a kiss that made the rest of his body melt down into the mattress. It was a soft exchange; with them both lying against each other, Kevin’s thumbs brushing Aaron’s cheeks, whilst Aaron’s hands found their way to Kevin’s hips and rested there. Kevin finally pulled back, resting his forehead against the other’s and listening to the sound of their breathing sync up.
Kevin wanted a snapshot of this moment, to preserve it forever in a way that wouldn’t deteriorate or change. Just this, lying with his boyfriend in their apartment at god knows what hour in the morning, just existing. Aaron’s hands on his hips and his eyelashes tickling his cheek. He had never thought that he would be allowed this, in The Nest it had been about surviving to the next day and now Kevin felt like he was able to have an actual future.
He allowed himself to revel in the moment for a couple more minutes before pulling back and flopping on the pillow next to Aaron’s head. Kevin falls asleep to the sound of their life together and the feeling of his boyfriend’s body heat. The darkness when he closed his eyes is at last a welcome relief as he lets sleep wash over him.