by brooklinegirl (witchbaby)
Sometimes you just need rescuing.
He wonders if this is real.
It seems an odd question, but not really. Not if you consider the source. He smiles. He wants this to be real, he really does. It probably is. But there's always that need to check. To make sure. To do away with the possibilities. The chance that it's just that longing in his heart, gone awry, turned temporarily real, only to fade with the morning light.
He reaches out and with one long fingered hand, traces a line down the naked back of the man sleeping so soundly next to him. Funny. He never remembered Face sleeping sound before. Always there was restlessness. Always nightmares. He'd get up and wander in the middle of the night, sometimes, then try to sleep late in the morning in order to offset the chance of ruining that perfect visage with dark circles under his eyes. Tried to ensure there'd be no evidence of his sleepless nights.
Maybe it had something to do with him. Could it? That would be something. To think that Face slept sound, slept safe, due to his mere presence there in bed with him. Lending him some safety. Murdock hoped that was the case. He really wanted to give that to Face, that sureness to life that always seemed missing. The kid needed it. He deserved it.
These were the thoughts that chased Murdock in the night. What made Face sleep soundly kept Murdock awake with wonder at the situation. Doesn't want to take a chance on sleeping through any of this, just in case. Just to be on the safe side.
He sighed, curling up on his side, watched Facey sleeping. His skin glowed almost silver in the moonlight, making the whole thing even more unreal. Murdock pulled the covers up over them both, and Face shifted, moved closer. Murdock watched him sleep some more. His own eyes were struggling to stay awake, kept closing for longer periods of time, as he tried to keep the object of his affection in view. When he finally slept, it was very much like falling, as he slipped over the edge, fighting every step of the way.
Maybe that was why the nightmare came. The fighting off of sleep caused sleep to fight back. Left Murdock to the mercy of his dreams. No, that wasn't right. To say "dream" gave the impression of something good, something to wish for, something to wrap yourself in. What he got lost in was the vividness of evil, the horrid secret corners of his own mind. The kind of nightmare you wake up from and you know it was real. You know you had lost yourself in one of those false walls of reality, stepped over the edge into a pseudo-twilight zone that was always there, but usually hidden. The type of nightmare that captures and keeps you, and you wake up with your eyes wide, trying to pierce the night around you, looking for proof that you aren't still where you once were.
It was real and not-real, surrounding him and penetrating him. There was no up or down, nothing to hold onto. It was all around him and he was *there* and it was as though he'd always been there and always would be and there was no escape, had never been an escape. All of that "real" stuff, all that was good and normal and true in life, *that* was the dream and this was what he got to live.
He was fighting, struggling, desperate to escape, to get away, to hide, at least, if it wouldn't let him go. They had him, they held him, captured, kept, and this was it, he was lost, lost and gone, for sure, for certain. There was nothing else to wish for, only this endless torture and he couldn't even cry over it, though he felt the tears falling, the sobs wracking his chest, but he couldn't cry, not here. This place was beyond wrath and tears and soundless screams echoing away into the night.
And his eyes were open, but he thought they'd been open already. What he was seeing was nothingness, which was better than seeing what had had a hold of him just moments ago. Here there was only nothingness, but his hands hurt from clutching and his throat was raw from screaming, but there was nothing, nothing, nothing lovely here, and doubly will the dark world grieve me whilst my heart suffers there...
Something. There's something here with him. Something he knows. He knows this scent. He knows it. That scent. It's Face. Face.
The darkness resolved itself as his eyes slowly focused.
Face grasped Murdock in the night, his own eyes wildly dilated, having been roused from the deepest of sleep by the screams. It was always a chance to take, to try to hold him. In his dream, the touch would add to the trapped feeling, but the only way to drag him from the depths was to lay hands on him, get close to him, and the only way to do that was to hold him. A few moments of added terror was the trade-off to release him from whatever hell had captured him in the night.
Face's hold on him was the only way back from the very edge.
When Face had first woken up, Murdock was lashing out, caught deep in the terror of his nightmare. Face wasn't fully awake yet, and caught the brunt of one of the blows from his flailing hands high on one cheekbone. He didn't flinch, ignored the jarring pain, just ducked under the rest of the blows, got inside their range fast, and pinned Murdock before he could hurt either himself or Face. Face knew the pinning would drive him wild in his place of fear, but he tried to offset that, used his voice, penetrating and calm, tried to break through. He was close, close, to Murdock's face, and his body was pressed right up next to the other man's, hoping, praying that this, this closeness, would trigger some sort of recognition, would bring Murdock back from his night terror.
It took a while, for Murdock to come fully back. Face was slightly smaller than Murdock was, but not by much. And the two of them were pretty equal when it came to strength, though Murdock had a bit of height that he could use to his advantage when necessary, when he was in his right mind. Which he wasn't just now. So Face was able to pin him down.
It wasn't the best solution, but he didn't know what else to do. There was no perfect fix to any of this, he knew it from experience. All he could do is hold on and hope to help Murdock ride it out.
Slim as he was, Face was almost entirely muscle, and he held Murdock down, looked into his open, unseeing eyes, and tried to talk him through it. It was several minutes until Murdock's eyes came slowly into focus. When they finally did seem to actually see Face, there was a shock of recognition and Murdock immediately released the fight against Face and collapsed beneath him. Face continued murmuring platitudes.
"Shh, now, shh, baby, it's okay, you're all right, you're here with me, I'm here." His voice trying to convey steadiness, security, to give a sense of trust. Murdock was trembling beneath him, and Face could feel his heart beating like a trapped bird. But he was himself again and lay there, simply breathing and hanging onto Face, staring up at him. Face lay half on top of him, still covered him, but no longer pinned him.
"Murdock, you in there? Talk to me, baby."
Murdock took a breath. Steadied himself. His voice was quiet when he responded, but it was there. "I'm okay. I'm okay, Face. You can let go of me."
Face slowly eased off of Murdock, but still lay close. "Nightmare."
Still regulating his breathing, Murdock nodded. He shut his eyes, then opened them quickly. He could still see his nightmare world, there behind his lids. Memories of the war, of the camps, bled into the early time when he was committed, drugged, forgotten in the back rooms of a squalid, wretched, psyche ward. They mixed and tumbled in his head and tried to drag him down deep, caught in the clutches of time gone by.
He latched onto Face's closeness, an anchor in this reality, not that other demon-fraught one. It was dim in the room, but he could see Face's eyes, stared at him for a moment, trying to decide if this was the real Face or some dream Face sent to trick him. He decided, finally, that he was real, that he could trust in this, and his eyes calmed somewhat. Studying the other man, his eyes suddenly focused on the angry-looking welt left on Face's cheek. He became Murdock again, fully himself, not composed entirely of fear.
"Face." He sounded horrified. "I did that? Oh, Face, I'm sorry..."
Face shook his head, dismissing it. "It's nothing. It doesn't even hurt. And it wasn't you, anyway. You didn't know. You couldn't."
Still, Murdock's face crumpled, reality itself betraying him once again. With conscious effort, he pulled himself together, and brought his long-fingered hands up, carefully checking the spot where the blow fell, making sure he hadn't caused any lasting damage. Face, holding close to Murdock, heart still racing from the shock of being jolted out of sleep, couldn't stop himself from flinching as the probing fingers discovered a particularly tender spot. Murdock froze at the small movement, hand still on Face's cheek.
Face reached up slowly, grasped Murdock's hand, brought it down to hold. "Murdock, I'm *fine*." His voice quiet, whisper-soft in the darkness.
"I know." Murdock nodded slowly, eyes wide and still shocky, unsure of what is real and what isn't. Doesn't know if he can yet trust, doubtful of which world has its hold on him. Shakes his head. He's here with Face. The right place. Breathe.
But his breath was coming short, now, and he had to concentrate to regulate it. Hitching breaths, not enough, and he laid his head back and closed his eyes, but they flew open again and a small strangled sound came from his throat as he found the nightmare world yet again, though shadowy now, behind his lids. He feels betrayed by that. It's not supposed to linger.
Face sits up fully in the bed, and pulls Murdock up with him. They sit amidst the crumpled sheets and blankets in the moon-dark room, everything still and gray around them. The bed is their haven, the place for the two of them, even in cheap hotel rooms like this, even with BA and Hannibal asleep next door. For them, it's the respite from it all, and the complexities of life outside are left behind when they are able to lie down together, their trust in each other translating into the relaxation of sleep. The ability to escape. A bond more important than making love is the act of sleeping together. The inherent trust in the closing of eyes, the pulling close of bodies, shared warmth, all that protection from the night.
Face intends to drive away the violation of the nightmare, somehow make it safe for Murdock again. Somehow.
He sits with him, their legs crossed, knees gently touching, held his hands loosely. His voice is quiet as he asks, "What did you dream about?"
Murdock's eyes were dark and shadowed as he said, "Nothing new." There's a sigh in his voice, a tiredness.
So many past nightmares to choose from. They all run together at times. It happens to Face, too, that forced retreat into the unwanted past. Face asked softly, already knowing the answer, "Want to talk about it?"
Murdock shook his head hard. It was hard to tell in the shadowy room, but Face thought his eyes looked angry, almost. Like he was resigned to something, but didn't want to be. "Talked about it too many times already, Face. Talking doesn't make it go away."
Face nodded slowly. He knew. He knew that real well.
Murdock brought his eyes back from the far darkness, focused again on Face. Raised his hand and made a movement towards the darkening mark on Face's cheek, but stops short of touching it. "I didn't mean to... I'm sorry."
Face waves him away. "Nah, don't worry about it, no big deal. Besides," He paused, grinning over at Murdock, "it makes me look kind of like a tough guy, don't you think?"
Murdock let himself get momentarily caught in the grin, smiled slowly back. "You *are* a tough guy."
Face let the grin linger on his face. "So are you." Gentle, now, in his tone.
Murdock rolled his eyes. Glanced over at the clock. It was late. Early, actually. He looked back at Face. "I'm making you miss your beauty sleep." Something like a real smile broke through. "You aren't going to be able to scam anybody tomorrow. You're not gonna be cute at *all*, all sleepy and dark circles under your eyes." ~And bruised up...~
Face glared at him. "I'm always cute."
"That little secretary from last week didn't think so."
Face frowned. "Yeah, but we got the information from her anyway."
"That's 'cause Hannibal, um, "talked" to her."
"Can I help it that she goes for older guys?"
Murdock tsked. "Better not let the Colonel hear you say that. Don't think he'd liked being categorized that way." He smiled over at Face beside him, absently tracing a line down his bare arm. He wanted to lose himself, here, in the teasing. Didn't want to remember. Never wanted to remember. He'd lived it once. That was more than enough.
Face looked over at Murdock. His face looked so tired. Beaten, almost. They had been through this, so many times before. It had been a while, though. At least, it hadn't happened when Face was there for quite some time. Then again, their time in bed together wasn't often spent sleeping. When they did finally sleep, they'd be exhausted, wrapped around each other, spent.
Face shifted on the bed till he was leaning against the headboard, pulled Murdock back to sit next to him. Murdock yawned and relaxed back a little.
Face shivered in the chilly room and pulled Murdock closer. Had his cheek resting against Murdock's soft hair, as his voice, quiet and smooth in the nighttime, asked, "Did you see Richter this week?"
Murdock voice was soft, calmer, protected by Face's arm firm around his shoulders. "Yeah, we had a session on Tuesday. He's at a conference till next week, told me we'd talk when he gets back."
Face kept his tone easy. "You should tell him about tonight, hmm?"
Murdock's voice was drowsy. "Yeah, I will." He pressed closer to Face. Don't think. Don't remember. "When do we have to get up?"
Face glanced at the clock. "A couple of hours. It's going to be a long day." ~Let him forget, this time. Hope that your arms will be enough to protect him, for now.~
"Yeah, who you gotta be tomorrow?" Murdock's tone low, sleepy.
"Dr. Ewanio, specialist to the stars."
"Specialist in what?"
"Does it matter?" Face yawned. "If I talk fast enough, no one's going to get a chance to ask."
"Do you plan all of your scams this well?"
"Listen, they work, okay? That's all that really matters."
"Yeah, but you could at least try to make it believable."
Face's voice was indignant. "My scams are *always* believable."
Their voices were soft, low with impending sleep, but soothing in the night, easy. They slowly shifted down on the bed, relaxing, drawing the covers up warm around them. Murdock rested his head against Face's shoulder and Face's voice came slightly muffled, lips close to Murdock's head as they continued the easy back and forth of uncomplicated talk. It wasn't so much the words themselves that chased away the lingering demons that haunted them both. It was the closeness that bound them together in such a way that the darkness could gain no hold.
On the other side of the thin motel wall, Hannibal felt himself finally relax. The screams had jolted him out of much needed sleep. He'd lain awake waiting, BA snoring in the next bed. Now, he couldn't hear the words, but it was the steady murmuring, with the penetrating aura of contentment, that let him know that all was well, that they had put things right once again, chasing away the night.
It was weird. It gave him a feeling of déjà vu that he wasn't able to figure out till he was hovering on the edge of sleep. He felt his lips turn up in a grin. What he'd been feeling was the same sense of comfort that used to overcome him when, as a kid, he'd lie in bed and listen to the sound of his parent's voices, talking and laughing softly in the night. A steadiness, a security in life, that held back the fears, if only temporarily. A good feeling. He let himself flow on the tide of the steady voices and quiet laughter that drifted through the walls.
Good that they had each other. They needed that. They needed something. Too much for any man to deal with on his own. If you can find that fix... then even demons aren't strong enough to drag you under for good.
He gave himself to sleep, a smile on his lips.
"I'll not weep that thou art going to leave me,
There's nothing lovely here;
And doubly will the dark world grieve me
Whilst thy heart suffers there."
--"I'll Not Weep", Emily Bronte
"Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid."
--"Invictus", William Ernest Henley
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