Author's Note: Nothing but sweet happy fluff here, folks. Abe needs it.
When the Nightmares Come
Hellboy woke up to something cold and clammy pressed against his back. For a moment he had thoughts of giant tentacles or slumbering elder gods whose alarm clocks had just gone off, but this was far too passive for their ilk. Also a bit too friendly.
He half-rolled over and looked sleepily at the pale blue creature curled up next to him under the blanket. "Abe, what're you doing in my bed?"
Abe's large eyes blinked open and he shrugged, obviously trying to look casual about sneaking into his best friend's room in the middle of the night and secretly replacing his girlfriend. "I just felt like taking a walk," he answered with a dismissive wave of his hand. His voice wavered and he couldn't seem to meet Hellboy's gaze.
"Walks usually involve walking. And if you ain't up and walking in the next two seconds you'll be going back to your tank by airmail courtesy of the Hellboy Express."
Abe started to sit up and it was only then that Hellboy noticed his hands were curled inward, protecting his sensitive, psychic fingers. It was something he did when he was worried, and most often when he'd come across something abhorrent.
He sighed. Apparently it was nice guy time. "Abe, what's wrong? You're shaking."
Abe's lips pursed together nervously. "I had a nightmare."
"The Bulgaria thing."
"…oh. Yeah, that'd do it."
"Some things should…just not be seen."
Hellboy shifted and slipped an arm around the icthyosapien's shoulders. "It wasn't your fault, Abe, happened long before we got there. And we got the bastards for it, too."
Unfortunately, to someone of Abe's talents it didn't really matter. They'd just seen the aftermath, Abe had been the one unfortunate enough to inspect one of the scalpels, and spent the next five minutes curled up on the floor shuddering.
"I just…I kept dreaming that I was there instead. With the wires and the tubes and the—"
"Shh. S'all right, Blue."
"I'm sorry to intrude—"
"Shut up, Blue."
Hellboy shifted, pulling the curled ball of icthyosapien closer and letting him spread a webbed hand against his chest. Abe was a thin, stretchy sort of guy, and you never really noticed how small he was until he folded himself up. It was like holding a bald, slightly moist child. He breathed out, letting Abe spread his palms against his broad crimson chest and delicately touch his mind for support.
"I go to the bathroom for five minutes and you're already cuddling with someone else? Way to make me feel loved, HB."
"Huh?" Hellboy flicked his head up and saw Liz standing over them in her thin nightshirt and boxer shorts, arms folded in mock annoyance. "He had a nightmare, Liz. About the thing in Bulgaria."
"…oh." Liz sat down awkwardly on the other side of the bed, watching as Abe did everything but blush.
Hellboy was generally the opposite of cuddly, with the exception of Liz and the cats. The tales of his response to the concept of Manning-mandated 'team building exercises' only grew taller in the telling and were fairly violent to begin with. Then again, Abe Sapien was practically brother to him They were both aberrations in the natural scheme of the world, both taken in by Professor Bruttenholm and the BPRD with no real chance at even trying to pass as normal walking down the street the way Liz could.
Again Abe tried to get up, weakly struggling against Hellboy's powerful left hand of slightly less doom. "I can leave if I'm bothering you…"
Hellboy patted his back gently. "S'okay, Abe. I know you had a hard time. This the first time you've had this stuff happen?"
"The first since Professor Bruttenholm…passed away." The term was far too clean for what Rasputin's pet had done, but nobody protested it. "He used to let me sit in his bathtub and hold my hand until I fell asleep. It was comforting."
"Aw, Abe…" Liz's fingers ran over Abe's bare shoulder and she smiled gently down at him.
"We really need to get you a girl, Blue," Hellboy commented as his own significant other slipped in on the other side, leaving Abe curled up between them. "Hey, maybe one of those mermaids from down in Hawaii."
"Don't think you told me that about one," Liz said, pulling the covers up to her bare shoulders.
"This was…maybe oh-four or something, a little while after you left. Abe'n me were down in Hawaii taking a free vacation because a bunch of beach bums came up missing. We spend two days soaking up sun and saltwater, and on the third day Abe here has to go messing it up by finding out what was actually going on."
"The mermaids had set up a colony in a nearby underwater cave and were feeding on night swimmers," Abe continued, ever so cautiously letting his hand slide across the bed to Liz's forearm. She didn't flinch, and the warmth of her…Lizness was a great comfort to him. Not as firm and stubborn of a sense as he got from reading Hellboy, but a different sort of gentle strength.
"Their singing combined with a subtle telepathic effect puts the listener into a hypnotic trance and compels them to follow their voices into the sea, whereupon they drown and devour their unwitting prey. I was wearing civilian clothing at the time, for camouflage-"
"It was a good look for you. Especially the straw hat and the beard."
Abe sighed and jerked his head in an imitation of a human rolling his eyes. "I was picking false hairs out of my gills for weeks. Anyway, they mistook me for a human and sang to me. And it worked, for as long as my head stayed above water. When they pulled me underwater the sound became distorted and the effects wore off."
"And meanwhile I'm on the other end of the beach with a daiquiri, when all of a sudden Abe comes exploding out of the water. He runs halfway across the beach and then bam, right into a coconut tree. It's the fastest I've ever seen him go away from water. And the best part is, we finally got the nets around 'em and it turns out the things were only about four feet long."
"Ten inches of which were teeth, and I was close enough to count all of them," Abe said primly.
Liz giggled in spite of herself, watching how Abe's terror turned to good-natured embarassment. "I'm guessing we're not talking about Ariel here."
"Let's just say I wasn't even sure if they were chicks or just had some well-placed barnacles. Ugly, ugly little suckers, and that's coming from me."
Abe did everything but actually smile, shifting onto his back and letting his legs unfold a bit. "I think I can deal with being a bachelor, for now. Or at least I can wait until I find someone a bit less fond of sushi."
One clammy hand rested on Hellboy's shoulder, the other folded behind him to touch Liz's fingers. With the both of them surrounding him, their minds warm and safe like a giant psychic pillow fortress, Abe finally managed to let himself sink down into unconsciousness.
"Thank you," he muttered softly.