OMG, another one. Yes, this is Nia-fic number three, and I'm posting it for a few reasons.
First, there needs to be more lucky fiction. The end.
Second, this fic is dedicated to Melissa, because she's awesome. And if it wasn't for her, I don't think I'd be half the Lucky fan I am today. Nor a quarter the 'authoress'.
Thirdly, much like tws, this has been sitting on my computer for months – yes, months – and I might as well just let you guys have it. No use keeping it to myself.
Lastly, ;3 I love angst and if you're reading this, so should you.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own D. Gray-man.
Warnings: Confusing plot structure. Clingy Lavi. Lost of stuff. If you think Tyki is odd, give him time. His logic will be explained in the future.
-- -- --
Chapter One: Everything's Broken
The world was dark, completely and utterly black. Oblivion. And pain. His head, or he assumed that it was his head, throbbed with a distant sort of ache that pulsed with every beat of his heart. He felt heavy. Too heavy. But he couldn't remember what came before this strange, dark existence where breathing felt like work.
He worked his jaw a little and found a length of fabric held firmly between his teeth, too tight to push away with his tongue, too thick to be chewed through, and he whimpered softly at it. Why would there be cloth in his mouth? He didn't know. He couldn't remember. He jerked his hands to move it and found them secured to whatever he was laying on, a length of soft cloth looped around either wrist, restraining him gently. The attempt at movement brought pain the likes of which he could never remember feeling searing through his shoulder blades and up the back of his neck, across his eyes and down the inside of his forehead. It was too much pain to deal with easily and he choked out a groan at it, wordless and lipless from the wad of material holding his lips a half inch apart.
"Oh, the beast stirs at last. For a time there I thought I had lost you." A hand was touching his face, following the line of his cheekbones, and he shivered, fire dancing across the skin. "You're very resilient Lavi; even your eyes seem to be healing." Under the press of those fingers he couldn't help but let out a second cry of pain, not understanding. The sound got him a soft chuckle. "I gagged you when you threatened to bite off your own tongue while I was trying to dress your eyes the first time. It would all be pointless if you drowned yourself in your own blood, wouldn't it? All for nothing. The binds on your wrists are the same: you tried to hit me and reopened every wound you took. Almost bled out in my hands, you did. What's the fun in that, hm?"
Lavi – he assumed that Lavi meant him – tried to dislodge the cloth from his mouth with his tongue, and made a loud encouraging sound when fingers fell behind his head and tugged at the knot there. The material slid away, slick and wet, leaving his mouth hot and dry in its wake. He swallowed with difficulty, wetting his lips with his tongue. "Where…"
The voice laughed at him softly, fingers ghosting over his lower lip. He didn't stiffen at it, nor did his breathing hitch – this person was comfortable touching him, even if he couldn't name him by the sound of his voice. "It doesn't matter where; no one is going to find you here."
"Who… are you?" The question was answered with silence for a moment, eerily still, and he swallowed hard, his mouth still terribly dry. A hand cupped the base of his skull and tilted his head back a little, just enough to encourage his mouth to fall open before a cup pressed to his lips and poured stale tasting water into it. He gulped it down just fast enough not to choke on it, bittersweet agony searing in a line down his back from where that palm held his head aloft. The water was moved away, but the hand stayed where it was, holding his face up at an angle that might have been best for someone else to look down on it from above. "And I'm… Lavi, right?"
There was yet more stillness for a bit, the air in front of his face slightly warmer than it had been only a moment before. A hand pressed to his chest and he waited, though he wasn't sure what he was waiting for. "Tyki Mikk." The man said, low as if it was something to be feared. Lavi felt himself frown a little.
"I don't… remember…" Lavi started, racking his brain for an instance of the name somewhere in his memory. There was nothing there, nothing but for this moment, nothing but black. A small wave of panic began to fill his chest. "I don't remember! I don't remember anything! I am Lavi, right? And you know me? Then… I'm sorry, I'm really sorry but… how did I… how come – let me touch you! If I'm blind then let me feel your face so I can remember..." The man above him remained unmoving, the breath steady against his face. After a moment the hand on the back of his head lowered to the pillow and left his flesh to come back at his chin tilting his face upward.
"You do not remember anything?"
"No! What happened? Who are you aside from Tyki?! Why can't I… why can't I…"
"Calm yourself, Bookman, before you threaten your own life again."
"Bookman? But I don't—"
"If you're lying I'll rip out your heart with my bare hands."
Lavi heard a distinct note of honesty in the words and clapped his mouth shut for a moment, breathing deeply. He shivered at the touch of fingers on his throat, tracing the line of his windpipe, and gathered his courage once more. The sheets were soft, the bindings light, and this person had done it all to save him. "I'm sorry," He whispered upward, shaking his head in the hope that the other could see. "But… there's nothing. For all I know, you could have done this to me. And I don't think that's what happened with how you're taking care of me," The hand on Lavi's chin tightened before it loosened again, almost tender against his flesh. Though he could not see the expression that went with it, he somehow felt that it was safe to assume the man leaning over him was either incredulous or worried. "Will you remind me? And… lemme touch you're face so I can see you?"
Tyki let Lavi's head back against his pillow and began to gently tug at the restraints that held his arms to the wooden headboard.
Lavi didn't move for a moment when they were free, thinking about where he wanted to put his fingers first.
The Noah cleared his throat so he could speak. "You and I are… fighting something of a holy war," Tyki said softly, and a hand shook its way to his jaw line, the young man almost beneath him trembling at the pain the motion sent shooting down his back.
"Holy war, hm?" Lavi pressed his fingers from lips to earlobe and back again, building the image of a masculine jaw and something of a pointed chin, a wide mouth, and ears that sported small, almost elfish points. Tyki's cheek bones rose slowly under the redhead's fingertips, followed by the hollows of his eyes. Lavi frowned a little. "What color are they?" A little gasp sounded softly against his palm.
"Grayish brown. Usually."
Lavi tried to nod and winced under his bandages. "Something tells me that you're the prankster of the two of us…"
His fingers found a tall forehead followed by thick, curly hair, most likely dark. When he carded his fingers through it the man he was touching grew tense, almost jumpy, so he lightened his caresses in an effort to soothe him. "A holy war? Like I'd believe that sort of crap. I don't know what year it is but I'm not the type to go lookin' for blood, I don't think, especially not over something like religion. Besides, I can't see… how would a blind guy fight in any kind of war?" As soon as the question was out of his mouth the head against his hand was shaking, slowly, moving back a bit as if to pull away completely. His fingers fisted a little in Tyki's hair, not wanting to let him go.
"You could see before." Tyki said softly. "You… might again… when your eyes are healed."
At the words Lavi moved his left hand to his own face, most of which was bruised to the point that doing so was painful. He ran his fingers softly over the bandage that covered both of his eyes, hissing at the pressure. There were still sockets with the correct shape, but they didn't respond to the touch like normal – no spot of color dotted the Exorcist's sight, no flicker of light. There was nothing but that continued unending darkness in front of his eyes.
"I don't… remember…" Lavi mumbled under his breath. "War? Is that… how this happened?"
He thought he heard Tyki nod before a little sound of confirmation sounded in front of him. "You really don't know who I am, do you?"
Lavi shook his head, then winced at the pain it caused. It seemed that his back and neck had suffered almost as badly as his face had. "I don't. I can kind of imagine your face now but… can you remind me? How do I know you? We're not… brothers or something, right?"
Tyki chuckled and fingers guided Lavi's hand away from his face to the mattress. Lavi could feel that the blankets were heavy and warm, the topmost a soft and fuzzy like fur, but he didn't let that distract him. Instead he wound his fingers around the larger man's and held on, squeezing with most of his strength.
The man above him let out a soft gasping sound and the hand jerked back only to grow still again without returning his hold.
"No, Lavi. We aren't brothers." Tyki answered quietly. "I'd rather not shock you with all of the truth at once though, so I won't tell you everything. Besides, I'm not inclined to believe you."
"Do I lie a lot?"
"I don't know you well enough to know that."
Lavi let his lips turn down in a small, thoughtful frown, holding on to Tyki's hand a little more tightly. "Then… what can you tell me?" The words came out shakier than he intended but he couldn't stop himself now, not knowing anything, not understanding the situation, having no comfort – it was going to drive him mad. "Anything? If I'm fighting a war what side am I on? Fuck, how old am I? I don't… remember…" He stopped at the touch of a palm, gentler this time, on the side of his face, tilting it upward. There was breath on his cheeks and nose, warm and soothing, the hand in his tightened enough that he could feel fingernails brushing lightly on the back of his hand. Everything felt close. It didn't matter that he didn't know Tyki, nor did it matter that Tyki didn't know him: it only mattered that he could feel the heat of another body pouring down against him.
Maybe I was lonely.
"Your name is Lavi, as far as I know. That's what's printed on the buttons of your coat at least." Tyki's voice said from above him, louder than was absolutely necessary to convey his point. "I don't know how old you are but you appear to be between eighteen and twenty. This happened because you placed yourself in a position to fall down an abandoned well, but you hit your face on something before you actually managed to teeter to your near death."
"What was it?"
"Hard to explain exactly. I suppose an enemy attack would be the best label for it."
With a shuddering breath and a slow swallow, Lavi reached up with his left arm to touch the back of Tyki's shirt and tug him closer. The press of a chest against his own, however reluctant, however unfamiliar, sent a little pinprick of comfort into his mind that wasn't entirely negated by the pain the contact caused. "Thank you, Tyki." The words were spoken genuinely, tiredly, sounding even to Lavi as if he expected death to come for him the moment the larger man pulled away from him and left him in this never ending darkness alone. "For bringing me here and… telling me even that little bit of the whole story. I wish I knew you. I wish I could look at you and try to recall when we met but… I don't even know my last name…" He tapered off and his fingers tightened in Tyki's shirt yet again. It was solid. And Tyki smelled like a person. And he did not want to be left alone to think about how much he didn't know.
Tyki's breathing was a bit more rapid than it had been and his voice a little softer when he spoke. "This is not what I thought would happen when I brought you here."
"Are we not the hugging type?"
"You might say that."
"'Cause I'll go outta my mind if you leave me alone right now." Lavi admitted very quietly. As he went on, he tilted his head enough to press his forehead into the crook of Tyki's throat regardless of how much his body did not want to bend at that angle. The Noah let him take a long, shaky breath against his skin. "You smoke?"
"You should quit. It's not good for you."
-- -- --
With a deep rumbling laugh the larger man pried the smaller away from him and sat beside him, but allowed the boy to keep his right hand occupied regardless of his own desire to yank it away. It seemed that the redhead was being entirely honest with his tale of memory failure, and the twitching of his fingers only served to prove it true.
The Noah let out a sigh and looked at the bruised and beaten face of his not-quite-captive, then frowned, studying the blood spots that had seeped through the older of the bandages. They would have to be changed. The wounds cleaned. It was true that killing the young man now – without his memory, his weapon, his anger – seemed like a pointless endeavor, and so there were things that had to be done. Tyki would have to avoid infection unless he meant the apprentice Bookman to die a relatively peaceful death at God's hands and not his own.
Just what have I gotten myself into?
"I suppose you're hungry."
"A… little… maybe…" Lavi had never sounded so very timid in all of his life.
"I attempted to make stew for myself yesterday, will that do?"
"I don't remember what I like."
With his eyebrows furrowed and his free hand pressed against the less sore looking flesh of Lavi's jaw, Tyki tried to read the expression on the redhead's features without seeing his eyes. In the end he could only guess what the down turned mouth and wrinkleless brow meant, everything else lost behind the red and white gauze that covered the boy's eyes. Fear though, had nothing to do with it.
His hand fell to Lavi's chest and rested over his heart. It should have been seen as a threat and got him some sort of reaction – anything besides the little lift of the redhead's lips he saw at the brush of his fingertips.
"Tyki," Lavi's mouth said the name as if it had no meaning that went with it connotatively, just a name he could say while he smiled. "If we aren't close enough for you to know if I lie, why are you touching me like… you know how to?" The fingers paused and Tyki leaned closer, not quite as close as before.
"Don't overanalyze things, I am only checking your wounds." Tyki began to do just that, running his palms over the heavier bruises and lifting the smaller man to see the damage still present on his back. There were a number of places that made Lavi hiss in pain or groan in discomfort, but he never flatly stated just how much the little bits of pressure hurt. All the same Tyki found himself avoiding the worst of them, less than half of his touches falling on bruised or cut flesh. "I will have to change most of these once you have eaten. Try not to move between now and then, there are already bloodstains on the other set of sheets from when I brought you here." He lowered the redhead down again, but left his hands where they were, one on Lavi's neck and the other gripped to the boy's chest.
For a moment the Noah wasn't sure what to think about the redhead's trust in him.
"What's the worst of it?" Lavi breathed up at him, not quite frightened. "Besides my eyes, I mean?"
Tyki wet his lips before he spoke. "You're right ankle is wrenched, likely broken, though I have yet to concern myself with more than setting it straight at the moment. You hit your head hard enough to jar your memory and split the back of your head open – your skull didn't crack so I thought you'd be fine." He traced his fingers to Lavi's left shoulders and pressed on the very darkest bandage, which drew a muted exclamation from the Exorcist's lips. "A metal rod came through here, from behind. Part of a cart, I believe. The rest is mostly bumps and scratches and bruises, your back got the worst of those, mostly along your shoulders. I expect that you'll want to sit up while you eat, won't you? That should pinpoint the ones I have forgotten for you." With the words he moved his hands to the slightly less painful looking area under Lavi's arms and lifted him, propping him against headboard.
The redhead reached out and gripped his shirt, a hissed curse under his breath. "Shit… coulda warned me you were gonna—" Lavi cut himself off with a gasp at a look of utter and complete confusion and Tyki's hand sank into the left side of his chest, like a tickle against the surface of his heart. "Wha-what are you doing?" Lavi's voice was almost steady, just a note of pain and an undertone of fear lacing it ever so subtly.
With a grim sort of smile Tyki wound his fingers around the apprentice Bookman's heart and gave it a small, teasing sort of squeeze.
Lavi produced a strange sort of choking sound at it – the same sound he had made the first time.
Tyki grinned a little wider. "What does it feel like I'm doing, boy?"
"To-touching… my heart…" The redhead hardly managed to speak at all; Tyki wondered if speaking was harder with a hand restricting the already bruised and beating muscles in his chest. "But that can't be… true. Maybe I just… hurt something in my…and you d-didn't find—" He took in two large gulps of air and his heart pounded against Tyki's palm, too rapid, fear and anguish obvious on his face despite the length of gauze around his eyes. Lavi reached out further and desperately dragged the Noah closer, incapable of getting enough oxygen to his brain to stay conscious much longer. "I'm… sorry that you tried…t-to save—"
With a shiver and a scoff the larger man let go and pulled away, leaving Lavi panting with his neck tilted against the headboard, shivers running from the bottom of his feet to his shoulders. The apprentice Bookman wasn't lying – he had no idea who Tyki was. What he could do. What he had wanted.
"I – apologize. It was all I could think of to test if you were lying." To his surprise the redhead nodded lopsidedly at him, his mouth still open so he could take in as much air as possible. It made him look pale and broken with the sheen of perspiration soaking into the bandage on his face.
Tyki moved away from the bed and looked down at the slowly recovering Exorcist with his eyebrows pushed together in thought. Perhaps it would be more painful for the apprentice Bookman when he realized who it was that he was trusting – assuming his memory came back with his sight at least – and it wouldn't all be for naught. Tyki hoped that would be the case: his family would never forgive him otherwise. "Rest, I will heat food and find something to ease your pain. It shouldn't take more than ten minutes."
As he turned away, Lavi seemed to struggle to speak to him again, but stopped himself, still breathing too deeply to form whole sentences. Before Tyki left, he brushed his fingers over the Exorcist's brow and frowned at the warmth of his skin. Feverish, if only slightly. The young man hadn't been ready for that kind of treatment.
"No… blood thinners." Lavi mumbled at length. "Your sheets won't… forgive me."
"Aspirin. Willow bark tea. Stuff like that." The corner of the redhead's mouth lifted in a mirthless expression of amusement, though he didn't turn his face to make the expression more visible. "Why the hell do I remember that and not who you are?"
With the same hand he had just wrapped around Lavi's heart, Tyki touched the side of the young man's face and felt him lean into the touch, more than willing to have the physical contact there. For the briefest of moments the Noah felt sorry for him, pitied his weakness as well as his pain. The thought, the distinctly human emotion of sympathy, forced him to lean forward enough to hold the fragile red haired human against his chest, the same as attacking an Exorcist in reverse. This Exorcist didn't have his Innocence with him, dropped somewhere on the battlefield: he was harmless and breakable, like a defenseless child left to wander without knowledge of home or family. Gingerly Tyki rubbed at the place he had put his hand through, unharmed, while his right thumb stroked slowly over the boy's cheek, a feather over the deeper bruises.
The apprentice Bookman moved his right hand just enough to run his fingers through the Noah's hair. "Even if you don't know me that well, Tyki," The redhead had taken to shaking. "You care enough to hug me when I need it?"
"I'm afraid that things are just a bit more complicated than that."
The Noah shook his head, then remembered that Lavi couldn't see and sighed, exasperated. "Moments of compassion are my weakness. I shouldn't comfort you."
"Pretty sure you shouldn't have tested me by squeezing my heart like a boa constrictor either." There was a hint of sarcasm in the statement, just detectable, and it quirked Tyki's lips a bit to hear it. "How'd you do that, by the way? Magic?"
"I do not do magic." He responded at once. With a slowness that was only half meant to be non-threatening, his fingers moved through the bandage of cloth around Lavi's chest and ran his fingers lightly across the skin there, which in turn made the boy shiver. "My… God given gift is to pass through whatever I do not wish to touch, and vice versa. The fact that you didn't remember that makes dishonesty rather unlikely."
The Exorcist did what he had done before and leaned his face into Tyki's neck, resting on his forehead, making the Noah's heart speed in his chest. That close, that trusted by an enemy, Tyki didn't know what to do with either of them. "That's pretty handy… so… what can I do?"
"You never explained it to me, but you have a large, lengthily named hammer that grows when you will it to, and such. I have had the occasion to see you control nature with it as well." Lavi didn't respond at once to that, just leaning into Tyki with his eyebrows furrowed against the older man's shirt.
The redhead's stomach rumbled. "Yours sounds better."
"It is better. Every time you've fought me, you've lost."
"I bet you don't fight fair."
"Fighting fair is fighting to win."
"Whatever." Lavi breathed in deeply, completely at ease, and sighed, the air he expelled play back across his upper lip, the current changed by Tyki's shoulder in front of him. He sank against the rumpled pillows, a bit lumpy against his back, and touched the crisp fabric of the Noah's shirt with his fingertips. He looked prepared to fall asleep if Tyki would let him, his breathing even now, deep and slow, almost forced. "Ne, Tyki… will you… be here? I mean… if I fall asleep?" His fingers loosened slightly.
"I was going to feed you first, Lavi."
"I know but… while you're getting it I might just conk out on ya. If not, I'm sure I will afterward." His hand hardly played at the material under them at all. "Will you be here when I wake?"
The Noah tried to swallow the utterly human emotion that washed through him, but he couldn't quite stop himself from closing his eyes and thinking of another naïve young man – much younger – he was acquainted with only in times of light. Waking from a nightmare always produced the same question, and it always got the same answer.
'If I fall asleep again and have the same dream, will you be here when I wake?'
"Yes. I will."
-- -- --
Attempted, Lavi decided, wasn't the word for it.
The stew was too salty, most likely because the chicken broth hadn't been well watered down, and then beef had been added onto top of that, as well as potatoes and carrots and some kind of over-cooked thing that tasted only vaguely spicy. And there was black pepper and yet more salt. In the end, flavor did not matter however and he stuffed himself with two bowls of it as well as a slice of very hard crusted buttered bread, at which point he had to refuse the offered apple to end the meal with. He refused to be spoon fed also, though he did allow his hand to be guided from bowl to mouth and back again a few times before he learned to simply move the container to his face and shovel to save time and energy and laundry. His companion had been moderately amused by the style of eating, but hadn't called him rude for it.
Part of him wanted to believe that rudeness was something forgotten between friends the same it usually was between relatives, but something told him that the assumption was wrong. Instead he decided that, even if they were fighting some kind of holy war, Tyki was not the member of some elitist clergy, decorated with titles and manners and all means of useless ceremony – he was likely a working class citizen, plucked from a hard life and made to fight a war he wasn't cut out to take part in. Lavi didn't ask specifically. Who knew if he was supposed to know?
With the food finished, Tyki offered him a steaming mug of chamomile tea, which he accepting knowing it would likely be about as delicious as the stew had been. He burned his lips bringing it to his mouth, which nearly caused him to slog hot water all over the sheets, cursing. Mild shock stilled him at a cool, unexpected thumb checking that he had not burnt himself passed healing.
With a smile he did not know the look of he informed Tyki that he was fine, just a bit stupid, and would wait before he tried to drink anymore.
"While the tea cools I might as well change the worst of your bandages." Tyki's whispered suggestion was very close to Lavi's right ear, near enough for the younger man to make out just the slightest note of apprehension in his tone. With a grimace he hoped was reassuring, Lavi nodded, and the cup he held in his hands moved without any further warning, leaving his fingers cold. "We'll start with the worse ones and your ankle, you should… relax as much as you are able." The voice was a bit louder, in front of his face, and the sound of a drawer opening made him flinch just a bit to the left, away from the sound.
The fingers that touched his temple worked gently and deftly to remove the gauze around his eyes, which in turn caused no small amount of pain down most of his face. His jaw tightened and palm caressed his cheek, as if in an attempt to soothe him.
The fabric fell away, but no change occurred. No light even flickered in his vision. All the same he had eyelids, nearly immobile with the orbs themselves swollen beneath them.
Tyki made a short sound of disappointment as he tilted the apprentice Bookman's face to the side, the better to see in the light.
"It can't be as bad as all that," Lavi tried to smile. "At the worst I won't be able to see, right? That's not so terrible."
"At the worst," Tyki muttered as he leaned away, likely reaching into the drawer he had opened before. His voice was distracted. "Your right eye has become infected. Which will likely spread, go into your brain, fester, drive you mad, and kill you."
"Geez, I kind of liked the thought of living a long dark life, pessimist."
"Hold still, I'm going to touch your eyes." A cold hand slipped up the back of Lavi's neck to steady it and the redhead leaned ever so gently back, relaxing his face as much as he could. There was a soft popping sound, then warmth against his left cheek before the pain came. He couldn't say if the fingers against his left eye where cold because his was heated, or if the touch burned because of the natural salt in the older man's skin or something else. There was a vague scent however, of something like alcohol and mint, and a dull stinging across his lower lid.
Tyki shushed him just as his arms began to tense, working quickly. "Does it hurt?"
"Mmhmm." Lavi moved his hands to the turns of the larger man's shoulders, where he could feel the angle of Tyki's arms and the muscle move beneath his fingers, warm and sold beneath his touch. Tyki felt broad under his hands, as if he used his upper body quite frequently, and the question of what the man did for a living drove the pain from the redhead's mind a little. The stinging spread from the corner of his eye to his tear duct before he opened his mouth to speak. "What… are you using, exactly?" He inquired, and dug his fingers into yet more shirt at the stabbing pain that came with pressure on his right eye, more sensitive than the left.
"Poultice. The doctor down the street convinced me that it will keep your eye moist and stop infection." Tyki continued to talk in that distracted sort of tone, but a smirk came to his lips that was perfectly audible regardless. "I only wanted enough for one eye but he insisted, luckily enough."
"Why – ow – only one?"
"Oh." The older man finished smearing and leaned to the side again, toward the drawer. "I only knew you had one eye to begin with, the right had always been covered with an unnecessary patch in my presence." Something soft and not-quite fibrous pressed over the redhead's eyes ever so lightly, almost unnoticeable with the medicine dulling the pain as it seeped in. The numbing agent in the poultice worked well enough to keep Lavi from blinking even with the cover pressed directly against his eyes, irritatingly close to his lenses.
He held on to Tyki's shirt as the man leaned away again. "That's… odd…"
"Yes it is."
"I guess we really didn't know each other well, eh?" Lavi mumbled and felt something wrap slowly around his head three times, tight but not too much so, before he heard the snip of scissors and felt it secured on the side of his head with a pin.
With a grunt of acquiescence the larger man moved down his chest, working at the bandage on Lavi's left shoulder.
"When you're finished, will you stay with me… until I fall asleep?"
"I know I'm being childish," Lavi went on softly, face turned a bit away as if he knew the other man was looking at him. "It's just… I can't… it's hard to explain. It won't take more than a few minutes 'cause I'm dead beat and…" He felt a hand grab him by the base of his jaw and turn his face up, a flicker of something distant sparked in the back of his mind, some memory he had seen and not felt. It didn't come back; a rush of de jà vú parted his lips ever so slightly and he recoiled, a tremor taking his shoulders.
"You needn't worry yourself so much, Lavi." Tyki's answer spread warm air across the bridge of his nose and down his neck, enough so that when the hand left his neck to continue with his shoulder, he didn't feel as if he had lost something. "Even if I leave the room you can always call to me, this place is not very large. If you remember something, hear a sound that frightens you, need to know where to find the bathroom – I will come for you if you need me." Lavi's lower lip twitched inexplicably at the words and Tyki allowed a small smile to creep into his voice. "And I will stay with you. I understand that you have nothing right now. And you're blind. Because of that, I don't expect you to be able to do much without me, at least not until you learn the floor plan."
"I don't… really need directions to sleep though…"
"No, but you do need something that won't slip away like your memories have."
"Yeah… that sounds… thank you."
"Please stop saying that."
Tyki moved lower, taking the covers with him, until Lavi felt his mostly bare legs exposed to the coolness of the room. He felt awkward for the first time since things had begun. Did he have knobby knees? Would the larger man care that he had knobby knees? Was there anything to say or do besides sit there in awkward silence while a pair of strong hands touched first his calf and then his right foot?
He went sliding back with a hiss. "Christ."
"The whole fucking thing," Lavi breathed, tilting his head back as if to find meaning in the ceiling he could not see. "Can't feel my toes, but from the bottom of my foot to my kneecap is on fire." Fingers danced a painful line from the turn of his heel to the top of his toes, terrible sensations zinging through the limb at it. It had to be broken. If it wasn't broken, something else was wrong with it just as bad or worse. To his horror the feeling worsened the more Tyki touched and he grimaced, fighting down a sound of discomfort. "Tyki…"
"I know, please try to bear it."
"What I are you—Oh, God! Shit!" Lavi tried to curl on himself, away from the dagger of pain ripping through his lower leg, and only managed to lift himself marginally before there were hands on his shoulders, pushing him down, a warm chest there for him to cling to. He shuddered slightly, gasping, dots of pale light dancing in front of his eyes, and pulled Tyki closer, an ill stopped retch threatening his stew.
The larger man calmed him after a moment, running his fingers through the side of Lavi's hair. Lavi wanted to cry. He wanted to scream. He instead found his face pressed to Tyki's chest, the scent of smoke and food seeping in his nostrils. "Please don't do that again…" The redhead grumbled, and fisted his hands more surely in Tyki's clothes.
"At least I know that it's broken."
"Is it purple and black?"
"Quite a bit."
"Are my toes moving?"
"Hm… not the little ones."
"Yeah. Broken. And a whole lot less painful way of telling… please tell me you don't have to touch it again…" Lavi felt Tyki shake his head, hair tickling the side of his face.
"I have to splint it if you want it to walk on it ever again."
"Fuck." Lavi rocked himself sideways a bit, burying his face in the turn of Tyki's shoulder. "Gimme a sec… I'm all… shit…" He shivered again, and a tearless sob wracked his shoulders, though not enough to make him open the wounds that still littered his back against the headboard. Shaking, he pulled his hands away from Tyki's chest and laid them on his face, crying into them rather than the other man. He felt impossibly awkward, weak, pained, and terrified, all of the emotions so deep they left him incapable of doing more than feeling. He wasn't afraid of more pain, nor was he afraid of the man beside him, it was something else entirely that made his breathing changed, choking, and forced his already confused mind into yet more puzzlement. A rather loud sound of anguish made its way beyond his constrained throat and he thought, for a moment, about apologizing for his strange reaction to everything.
A hand came into soft contact with his forehead, cool against his skin, and ran up into his hair, gently repeating the motion once it was completed. Another hand touched his left collar bone, then his neck, following the same pattern as the one that moved against his forehead. Skin against his own was different than fabric, somehow more reassuring, and he used that as an anchor with which to draw himself in and breathe. Before long, though it was still obvious by the downward posture of his lips that he was fighting away his tearless onslaught, he had calmed himself enough to move his finger's to Tyki's and give them a small, undignified squeeze.
"I'm sorry." He breathed. "But I'm kind of scared right now and… I dunno if I should react like this or what but... I'm just…" Flesh touched the side of his cheek, not a hand, some other thing that he couldn't recognize through feeling, and warm breath brushed into his right ear, tickled down the side of his neck. It made him still and quiet, knowing how very close the larger man was.
"It's alright, Lavi. If you would like me to, I will stay like this until you are calm."
"Wow… um… hmm…"
"Would you like me to stay like this?"
"It's fine to be selfish." Tyki whispered, and his fingers paused before they went on again, pushing a little harder on Lavi's skin. "Perhaps I can use a bit of my art if you fall asleep like this – touch only the parts that aren't broken or bruised I mean. When you wake I will be here. Maybe not exactly as I am now, but within shouting distance, I'm sure. It's alright." His words, perhaps less than half genuine, encouraged Lavi to drag his hands away from his face and lean his head softly to the side, bringing their cheeks together.
Instinct got the better of the Noah and he tilted back, less than adverse to the trusting touch of skin against his own. He seemed slightly taken aback at the light brush of lips on his face, innocent if not perfectly knowledgeable in what they were doing.
Lavi worried that doing that, pressing his mouth to skin, was too far, but decided to ignore it. "Why are you so good to me?"
"Because you aren't who you were. The man you were wouldn't cry in front of anyone, especially me."
"I'm just so…" Lavi's voice was a raspy whisper, his hand cold when it pulled Tyki's face more firmly against his own. "Please stay." He said bluntly. "Please. I don't want to be alone. I don't want to… inconvenience you, but if you're willing to stay here with me then…"
Tyki hushed him and pulled back a bit, reaching with his right hand for something, and then came back again, still very close to the blind boy's face. "Here, drink the tea. With any luck it will help to make you sleep." The Noah watched the redhead reach up with his left hand and slowly, curiously, found the lip of the mug and followed it around in a circle, deciding how wide the container was and how deep. Once he seemed to know the dimensions again, he took the cup in his hand and moved it to his mouth, drinking the liquid within with slow, thought sips.
After about a fourth of the cup, Lavi pulled it back a little and the right side of his mouth lifted in a smile. "You make good tea." He whispered, and drank more deeply, fingers clenched a bit on the surface of the mug.
"Thank you. My coffee isn't that bad, either." Tyki offered with a smile in his voice. "Drink it all though. The chamomile should at least make you drowsy."
"I've been drowsy, this'll put me out like a light." Lavi yawned and gulped the liquid with a sudden enthusiasm; tilting the cup back enough to catch the few flakes of dried leaves that had made it to the bottom of the mug. When he was finished he held the cup out before him as if offering it to Tyki, then let it fall with his hand to the mattress beside him, thankfully facing the correct way up. With a sigh the redhead slipped lower on the headboard until his neck found the pillow again, a hand still pressed to the surface of his forehead. "Is there… anything I can do to repay you for this?" He asked at an upward, slightly wrong angle, leaning into the touch against his skin.
For a moment Tyki was silent in response. In the light of the lamp seeping from beside the bed, the redhead looked distinctly pale, weak, breakable, hurt – even Lavi had to know that.
Lavi could only wonder what it was that the larger man saw besides his weakness.
"Heal. Rest." Tyki whispered, and his fingers tangled themselves once more in those strands of auburn, curling enough to be felt as more than a teasing caress of uncertainty. "And remember."
-- -- --
(Updates will be slow until TWS comes to an end.)