While He Sleeps

I am thankful that, at least for tonight, we were able to stay in a motel. The bed is big and comfortable and any other night I would sell my soul just to sleep in such a bed. But tonight, I prefer to sit on my chair by the window instead of lying awake in the bed, because from here I can noiselessly observe the lone body that occupies the sheets.

I have never been able to comprehend this strange fascination of mine. On nights where I should be sleeping quietly beside him, instead I stay up quietly. I had never suffered from anything remotely similar to this before meeting him two and a half years ago. I had always been able to sleep through the night, even when others found it difficult to get any rest. But ever since we became friends, became partners, I find myself staying awake almost every other night, just to watch him when he is most relaxed.

I can't help but smile softly at my slumbering companion. Through the calm mask of sleep his expressive eyebrows knit restlessly. And I can tell that he knows I am no longer lying next to him. He snuggles closer to the warm spot my body just occupied. He reaches out for me in his sleep, reaches out for my warmth without knowing it. He would never admit to doing such a thing. We always settle down on opposite sides of the bed. But, often we end up an awkward, tangled mass of arms and legs in the morning.

He's managed to move himself from his side of the bed to mine. He's tensed his tone body around the pillow I had abandoned and his face is buried in the fabric as if trying to inhale my scent that was left behind. He whimpers.

Even when he is tormented by his nightmares, I still love to look at him. The emotions that flicker over his features when he dreams are the secret ones that no one else gets to see. Am I cruel for taking interest in the rare expressions that form on his face when his mind is in turmoil, when he is locked in his own guilt ridden skull, dreaming? I'm sure that he would call me cruel if he were aware of this guilty little pleasure of mine.

Small and helpless whimpers break from his lips and he looks to me to be very vulnerable. He gasps wetly and instinctually, I extend my hand to cup his cheek and tenderly removed the tears from his eyelashes with my thumb.

I cooed softly to him, "Its okay."

His only reply is an incoherent mumble as he nuzzles into the palm of my hand. When I can't stand watching anymore, not knowing what ancient demons he is fighting, I climb between the sheets.

Almost automatically his legs are tangled with my own with my own. I can feel his body relaxing as he fastens his arms securely around my waist. I curled my arms firmly around him and tuck his head under my chin. He is like a child. He clings so desperately.

And I am cruel for taking even a moment's pleasure in watching his pretty pain. But, I cannot help myself. It is something he shows only me. And he shows me only in his sleep. Maybe, there is some redemption in the fact that, for once, it's me protecting him from his silent, hidden hurt and not the other way around.

He coils tightly around me. I whisper into his ear, "I'm sorry, Ban-chan. I'm right here."