Title – Bad Dreams

Author – Rina

Rating – PG

Summary - Richard watches Justin sleep.

Warning – Language, slash, ie. boytouching.

Disclaimer – This is just a story for other people's enjoyment and I do not own the characters in any way or make any money from it. I just like writing. Writing fun. :)

Justin started having nightmares. Ever since we killed that woman. I know because I've seen him. Most nights, I climb in his window and watch him sleep. I sure as hell can't anymore. Every time I close my eyes, I see him, his hands around her neck, that fucking awful, heart-wrenching look on his face. He didn't want to do it. I know that. I didn't want to do it either. But someone had to. I knew I could get him to finish her off if I said the right thing. I'm good at that. Manipulating people. He only did it for me.

And now he has nightmares.

I watch him tossing and turning and mumbling, sometimes my name, and it tears me up inside. I wish with all my soul that I could suck them out of him. I'm the one who deserves to suffer. Not him. But I leave him alone and sooner or later, the bad dreams go away and he falls still and quiet again. Only when I'm positive he's all right, I go home. He probably knows I've been there. Can smell me with his Spidey-sense or whatever. Or it might be the burn marks I leave on his windowsill. One of these days, I gotta remind him to get a frickin' ashtray.

Anyway, I'm certain he knows of my nightly visits. But he never says anything to me about it. It mustn't bother him too much or he would have told me by now. Or started locking his window.

So, here I am again. Watching over him in the moonlight like his fairy fucking godfather. God. He's so breathtakingly beautiful when he sleeps. It's the only time I can really look at him, at the gentle contours of his face, his cheekbones, the sweet curve of his lips, his feathery eyelashes, without him blushing or trying to hide behind his hair. I wish I had some artistic talent because I'd draw him like this, capture his angelic features with charcoal and paper or even paint him in full, living colour. But I don't. So, I smoke. And watch. It always happens around the same time. I could practically set my Rolex to it. 1.13 am. Give or take a few minutes.

And there he goes. He starts twitching, then his breathing quickens. He frowns, his eyes closed and his head turns back and forth on the pillow.

"No," he mutters. "No, I don't want to. Don't. Don't make me."

I stub my cigarette out on his window ledge and sigh, rubbing at my weary face. This goes on, intermittently, for at least twenty minutes. Jesus. Twenty minutes of bad dreams. Every night. The poor kid. No wonder he looks so tired and distracted at school. I think I'd prefer insomnia.

Sometimes, he throws his covers off and I carefully pull them up again, trying not to wake him. I've heard that if you wake someone up during a nightmare, it can kill them or something. Insane, I know, but I don't want to take the chance. Besides, I'm not sure how he'd react if he woke up seeing my scary mug looming out of the darkness at him. He'd most likely bash me over the head with his lamp or scream and make his mom come running in. That'd be fun. Not.

So, I leave him be. And curse myself for being the cause of his nightly distress. But it's done now and I can't alter what happened. I don't have a super-dooper time-machine to go back and change the past. All I can do is make sure he doesn't bite his tongue or strangle himself with the bed sheets.

"Please. Please, no. Stop it," he murmurs, and lashes out with his arm, as if he's pushing someone away. "We gotta go…We gotta hide."

I crouch down on the floor beside his bed, seeing his limbs flailing under the blankets in the silvery light of the moon filtering through the window. "I'm sorry, Justin," I whisper guiltily. "I'm sorry I did this to you."

It kills me to see him like this. It really does. But it won't be long until it's over and then I'll tuck him in again like a baby and go home.

Except this time it doesn't stop like it's supposed to. Justin keeps twisting around and mumbling. I can see his eyes flickering beneath his lids; REM, which is apparently normal during this deep stage of sleep yet looks freaky all the same. I furrow my brow as his movements get more agitated and his breathing escalates to almost panting. He actually has an expression of total terror on his face.

"No. No. Don't. Go away," he gasps and flings one of his pillows clear across the room.

"Christ," I exclaim. I've never seen it get this bad before. I seriously wonder if I should wake him.

"Oh God. Oh God," Justin yelps, desperately clawing at himself as if hundreds of spiders are crawling over him. "Run, Richard. Run! It's coming! OH GOD!"

Suddenly completely frightened myself, I grab his shoulder and shake him, hard.


He blindly scratches at my hands in panic, crying, "Don't touch me! Let go of me!"

"Justin," I hiss, fending off his defensive attack, attempting to hold his wrists but he frantically pulls out of my grip. "Justin, wake up!"

He shoves at me with the strength of ten men, sobbing in sightless fear. "Leave me alone…leave me ALONE! Please, Jesus, no!"

He's making choking noises, as if somebody is wringing his neck. His hands are now grasping his throat, trying to pry the spectral fingers off. It sounds like somebody is murdering him!

"Oh fuck! FUCK!" I swear, utterly petrified now.

Spinning out and not knowing what else to do, I slap him across the face. His whole body jerks. His eyes spring open and immediately fix on me. He draws in a breath, as if to give an almighty holler and I quickly clap my hand over his mouth.

"Sshh. It's me, man," I explain soothingly. "You were having a nightmare. That's all."

Not comprehending, he struggles wildly, yanking at my arm and making alarmed muffled noises behind my palm. I restrain him, leaning on him with all my weight. It's like trying to hold down a tiger. His muscles are bunched and coiled and his ribcage is rising and falling erratically underneath me.

"Hey, hey. Settle down, Justin," I whisper in his ear. "It's only me. Richard. Sshh. It's okay. Everything's okay."

He stops fighting me and looks up, his eyes wet and round, finally recognising who I am. I take my hand away.

"Richard?" His voice is so small and anxious.

"Yeah, it's me. I'm here. I'm here," I tell him reassuringly, brushing back his knotted up hair, raking my fingers through the strands, removing the snarls. He lets out a broken sob, his face crumpling like tissue paper.

"I'm scared, Richard," he whimpers, clutching my arms with his fingers. "Don't let it get me. I'm so scared."

He's still half-asleep, still caught in the cobweb of the bad dream, in that dark endless place between reality and the surreal, where anything is possible and monsters lurk in shadows with sharp, jagged teeth. He's shivering unstoppably and I can see trails of liquid coursing down his cheeks in the pale moonlight. I cradle his face tenderly, wiping his tears away with my thumbs.

"Don't be scared, Justin," I say softly. "Nothing's gonna get you. I promise."

I've never seen him so vulnerable and deathly afraid. He's like a little boy. I press my lips to his clammy forehead and this appears to make him bawl even more, his slender body wracked with shuddering sobs. He's hugging me tightly now, as if I'd disappear in a puff of smoke if he let me go. I slip my arms around him and squeeze him back, to let him know I'm not going anywhere. It's like holding a precious Ming vase. My every instinct is to protect him.

"Don't cry. It's all right," I keen, trying to calm him down. "It's all right, babydoll."

I realise what I just blurted out, what I just called him, my best friend, but at that moment, I don't care what's coming out of my mouth. I just want him to stop crying. It's breaking my heart. Somehow, my lips find his and I kiss him. I need to comfort Justin and this is the only way I know how. And hey, what do you know? It works. It effectively silences his weeping, like I just flicked a big 'off' switch on his back.

So, I keep doing it. I keep kissing him.

I'm not even thinking about what I'm doing, or what it means. I'm gonna be doing plenty of that tomorrow. For now, I am running on pure instinct. I gently kiss him until his night-fright is nothing more than a faint memory and his tense body relaxes in my embrace. His mouth is so very soft and sweet under mine and he starts giving me little hesitant, grateful kisses back. We don't even touch tongues; it's not that kind of kissing. I don't want to ruin the moment by making it sexual. We exchange small, light, chaste kisses, butterfly-wing brushes of our lips.

It's nice. 'Nice' is not a word I normally like to use because it sounds plain and boring and non-descriptive, but nice is exactly what this is. Perfectly nice. I didn't even know I could like nice, or be satisfied with nice, but I do, and I am. How about that, huh?

I don't want or need anything else. This is enough. I'm rather shocked at myself.

When I'm absolutely certain Justin has recovered from his nightmare, I burrow my face in his hair, breathe in the familiar scent of him and whisper, "Go back to sleep."

He snuggles into me and I keep my arms wrapped securely around his warm, supple body.

"M'kay. G'night, Richard."

"'Night, Justin."

His breathing soon turns deep and regular. I keep watch for half an hour or so, to make sure he's not gonna have any more bad dreams but he doesn't. For the first time in days, I fall asleep, exhausted. And, thankfully, I don't dream.

When I wake up, Justin is laying there, his head on the pillow beside me, staring at me with his big, baby-blue eyes. I blink and yawn, then grin at him. He looks cute first thing in the morning.

"Hey. What's up?"

He keeps staring at me, looking slightly puzzled. Finally, sounding surprised, he says, "You stayed."

I look down. I'm on the right side of his bed, on top of the blankets, while he's underneath them, wearing a t-shirt and, I presume, boxer shorts or sweat pants or something. I can't see because the blankets are draped around his waist. My shoes are still on.

Dang. I didn't even try and climb under with him last night. If he'd been a girl, I would have had his clothes off by now. And mine. Heck, if he was a girl, I wouldn't even be here. I've never spent the whole night with anybody. Not ever. Not even with Lisa. Once the sex is over, I either leave or kick them out, depending on whose place I'm at.

But there wasn't even any sex last night. And here I am.

"Yeah. I guess I did." I scrub my face with my palm, feeling stubble on my chin and cheeks. Justin's face still appears as smooth as ever. Lucky bastard. Then, my hands go to my head, patting my wayward blonde spikes. "Oh, crap. Do I have bed-hair?"

A resemblance of an amused smile touches his lips. "Kinda." He gazes at me while I attempt to tame my locks with my fingers.

"You've never stayed before," he says softly, wonderingly.

"Yeah, well. You know." I shrug. "Didn't wanna freak you out."

"I'm not freaked," he replies generously. "But I do wish you'd stop ashing on my carpet. And my room reeks of cigarettes in the morning. My mom thinks I've taken up smoking."

I make a sheepish face of acknowledgement. "Sorry. What'd you tell your mom?"

"I said I had." He lifts a shoulder. "Like it matters anyway. She never cares about what I do." A shadow passes briefly across his face and I wonder why Mrs. Pendleton cannot see how unique and special her only son is. Why the world can't see it.

"I do." I roll over onto my side and reach out to touch his bare arm. He permits me. His skin is warm and velvety. "I care, Justin."

He lowers his lashes and chews on his bottom lip. The side of his face is a little pink from where I slapped him last night. I gently caress his cheek with my fingertips.

"Sorry I had to hit you," I say remorsefully. "But you wouldn't wake up. Fuck, man. You shoulda seen yourself. You scared the shit outta me. What the hell were you dreaming about?"

He looks away. "I don't remember."

I know he's lying but I don't push him. I sit up and rub the sleep out of my eyes.

"What time is it?"

Justin checks. "Seven thirty five."

I groan and get up, lifting my arms over my head in a big stretch, which pulls my shirt up and exposes my belly. "I gotta go home. That humungous fuckin' essay is due in today."

Justin's eyes widen. He's propped up on his elbows. "You haven't done it? Richard, it's three thousand words. There's no way-"

"Naw, I'm not that much of a moron. I've already done it," I cut him off. "I just have to print it out, that's all. Plus I really need to do something with my hair. I look like one of those stupid troll dolls." I preen myself in his wardrobe mirror, making myself half-way presentable, before sliding his window up.

I throw him a parting glance. "Catch ya later, dude."

"Richard… wait." Justin throws back his covers, swings his legs over the side of the bed and pads over to me on bare feet. He's got on these blue-striped pyjama bottoms of the same type that my grandfather wears.

"Cool PJ's," I tease him. He shifts awkwardly, looking like he wants to say something but searching for the right words. I wait. Neither of us is game to bring out into the open what I did last night. What WE did. It feels like something's changed, our relationship has transformed almost imperceptibly into something else but…What? I'm not sure. I have no idea what is gonna happen with us, or where we're gonna go from here. But something is different. I know it. He knows it.

Making out with your supposedly platonic buddy tends to do that.

Eventually, he looks up at me with unfathomable eyes and quietly says, "Thank you."

I want to ask, for what? For waking him up from that nightmare? For comforting him? For kissing him? For staying? Maybe he means all of the above. Shit, if I had a choice, I'd do it all again exactly the same way. I'm his best friend. He doesn't need to thank me.

Full of some new, unidentifiable, chest-aching emotion, I tuck a section of his long hair behind his ear, then cup his chin with my hand. Justin closes his eyes, waiting, as I slowly incline my head. If I kiss his mouth, his big plush mouth, I know I won't be able to stop, plus there's the threat of horrid morning-breath on both our sides, so I press my lips to his cheek instead. He's blushing adorably when I pull back.

Not knowing what else to say or do at that point in time, I climb out the window and onto the roof. Just before I go to slide down the drainpipe, I call his name impulsively. His head appears at the window, an enquiring expression on his face.


I smile at him. "See you tonight, Sleeping Beauty."

He quickly shuts the window, as if he's embarrassed, but as he draws the drapes closed, I can see the shy smile on his own lips.