|Always Here (hurt/comfort)
||[May. 9th, 2012|10:56 pm]
Title: Always Here
Word Count: ~1,500
Summary: Ever since it happened, Anton has been going through hell and Theodore tries to do whatever he can for his lover but sometimes it's not enough and sometimes it's just exhausting.
Notes; Written for the PTSD prompt for hc_bingo.
Theodore comes home after work to a dark apartment. He squeezes the pharmacy bag he’s holding – getting all the meds, one a month, typically on the second Wednesday, has become a routine thing ever since it happened – and fights the irrational panic. “Tony?” he calls and receives no answer. Anton never goes out on his own. He could be asleep. Or… Theodore shakes his head, kicks off his shoes and drops the keys before going to look for his lover.
He finds Anton sat cross-legged on the floor of the sitting room. The light is off and the gloom of the room and its heavy silence are oppressing. In the dark, Anton is just an outline, a dark shape against more shadows. What dim light does fall on his face only makes more shadows rather than highlighting distinct features. He makes no move when Theodore walks in and remains as he was, staring at somewhere between the opposite wall and the floor. Theodore flicks on the top light and the room is suddenly flooded with bright yellow. Anton winces from the sudden contrast of lighting but makes no other move.
“Tony, what are you doing?” Theodore asks, already running through several possibilities of what could be going on. Anton doesn’t reply and he crosses a few things off his mental list. “Tony? Are you pissed off for some reason?” Again no reply and Theodore’s brows draw together. He drops the plastic pharmacy bag he’d been clutching onto the couch and squats down in front of Anton. The boy’s eyes are open and he is staring silently into space. “Tony!”
Anton blinks and his gaze becomes more aware. He shifts it to Theodore and blinks slowly at him.
Theodore sighs and straightens again. It could be once of those silent spells. Anton had only gone into one of those once of twice but they were disturbing each time. “I bought the meds so we’ll have a full stock again,” he supplies in as casual a voice as he can. “I’m gonna go cook some dinner, anything specific you want?”
Anton looks up and regards him with wide, innocent grey eyes. Theodore had always loved Tony’s large grey eyes and the inherent boyishness he radiated. But lately all of that charm had become more akin to somber childishness, especially in Anton’s more vulnerable moments.
Theodore waits a moment, then realizing Anton isn’t going to say anything, repeats, “I can do spaghetti or rice. Which one?”
Anton stands, slowly, painfully, with a purposeful concentration. Theodore reaches out to help him but Tony only swats his arm away and gains his feet independently, a feat that they’d only managed to achieve in the past couple or so months. It makes Theodore feel like he is torn in half. The victory makes him want to smile but the memories of Anton slowly making unsure steps like a toddler first learning to walk, across the padded floors of the physical therapy room still weigh on him. Those had been heavy, painful moments. He had felt utterly helpless and worthless, the feeling of uselessness of not being able to help had gnawed deep into him like a strong acid. “You can’t do everything for him, he needs to struggle through it if he’s going to learn to walk again,” the doctor had told him sternly and Theodore had listened, albeit reluctantly. It was nearly impossible to bear – Anton’s constant tears of frustration, the constant after-session pains that left him on codeine for the next day and a half, the knowledge that the only way he could get Tony to focus, to not give up, was to be borderline cruel. That had all hurt, despite the fact that he’d refused to show it. But, at least, they’d been focused, they’d been hopeful. Every extra five minutes of walking time had been a relief. Anton had even managed to smile a decent amount of the time.
That had ended over two months ago. No more sessions were scheduled, the medication’s list is slowly shortening, and Tony’s progress has slowed, then stopped. There is nothing wrong with his mechanical ability to walk but Anton still has immense balance problems. The doctors have even suggested that part of it may be simply in his head, part of the psychic trauma, wherein there are so many mental blocks that he cannot function properly in certain physical aspects. Others say it’s just part of the brain damage. This is all on top of the migraines, the still occurring back pains and strange tinglings. Just two-three months ago, Anton had been talking about going back to school and finishing his degree. Now, half the time, all he wants to do is stay in bed, hidden under the blankets like a child hiding from imaginary monsters or their own nightmares. .
“You’re doing good,” Theodore says, looking at the younger boy with fond eyes as Anton finally stands firmly before him, looking into his face with a slight edge of agitation in his expression. “You’re doing so good, Tony.”
“I was thinking,” Anton says slowly, meeting his eyes, then looking away, then meeting them again. The agitated, uncertain gaze has become a normal thing, although it sometimes frustrates Theodore to the point where he wants to scream, Look at me! Please, just look at me like you used to!
“Right now? In the dark?” At least its not one of those silent spells.
“Yes. I was thinking what I would do if you didn’t come back. Tonight. And tomorrow. And ever.”
Theodore’s eyes widen and he reaches out to gently touch Anton’s elbow. “Tony, why wouldn’t I come back? Nothing is going to happen to me.”
Anton shakes his head very slowly and deliberately, almost sadly. His strawberry-blond hair falls into his eyes but he doesn’t seem to notice. “Not that something would happen, I don’t think about that, it would drive me crazy, but … You just wouldn’t come back.’
“Where would I go?” Theodore reaches out and pushes silky strands of Anton’s hair back out of his face. His forehead is warm and he wonders if Tony has a low-grade fever.
“I don’t know. Away. Somewhere that is not here. Where you wouldn’t have to deal with me and build your life and your schedule around me and deal with…with all my shit.”
Theodore sighs and brings both hands up to his temples. He rubs circles into them to relieve the pressure that has been building in his head. “Tony, we’ve had this conversation before. I wish you wouldn’t say that. It’s insulting – after all the tine, after all we’ve been through, you still don’t trust me.” He is trying to not get mad, to not be so frustrated that he becomes selfish. He had promised to put everything aside for Tony and he is determined to do that. Sometimes, however, like now, after a long day, it is hard to see things in perspective, to stand in Anton’s place and see how frightening it has to be to know you are trying your lover’s patience and that most sane people probably would have left by now. But after the therapy, the flashbacks, the nightmares, the phobias, the silent spells – Theodore thinks he’d seen it all and if he still hasn’t left it’s a far chance that he ever will.
“I trust you more that I trust myself,” Anton says.
“Then what’s wrong?” Theodore drops his hands and gives Anton a searching look. “Why do you keep expecting me to leave?”
“Because you don’t need to do this. Because you…you had all these plans and goals and no one needs to be around someone who is always negative and I wish I wasn’t I wish—Oh God.” Anton wavers and Theodore instinctively reaches out to steady him. Anton grabs his hand and brings it up to his face, pressing it to his lips once, then twice.
Theodore sighs tiredly. He frees his hand and pulls Anton into him. The boy’s slimmer frame fits perfectly into his arms and he rocks him gently like one would with an upset child. “Tony, I wouldn’t leave. I’m here because I could not stand being anywhere else, never knowing if you are alright or not, never being close enough to protect you. I’ve told you I love you. I don’t say those sorts of things lightly. So why don’t you believe me?”
Anton clings to him, almost desperately. He’s shivering slightly and his hands tighten painfully on Theodore’s shoulders. “I…it’s not that I don’t believe you.” He sniffs and wavers on the verge of tears for several long moments, then overcomes them and runs one hand down Theodore’s back and the other into his hair, clinging onto him. “I just keep waiting for you fall out of love with me. I don’t want to push you away but I don’t always know what to do with myself.”
“That will never happen,” Theodore reassures him and holds him closer, nuzzling Tony’s neck. His nose is cold but Anton doesn’t seem to mind too much as he only holds on tighter. “I promise, that will never happen. I will always be here.”