A/N: Let's just say this is what a truly dedicated ChainShipper comes up with when she gets a homework assignment to write a horror story in romantic style. ;) AU as hell, I know, but all in all, just a short, angsty OneShot that I hope you'll like!
Afraid Of The Dark
"How are you?"
The receiver is slippery in his hands.
"Adam, how are you?"
There's something cold and slimy over his vocal chords. Wants to answer. Can't.
"Adam!" he says, firmer now.
Adam huddles up on the chair next to the phone table, cautious about having his back against the wall. So it doesn't sneak up behind him. Both hands around the phone. The little piece of Lawrence he's holding is the only thing keeping him in reality.
"What is it? What happened?"
"She's… She's here now… She's angry…"
"She's not there, Adam. We've talked about this, remember?" Lawrence is tired, but with the patience of a saint. More than Adam deserves. "She's not there. Have you turned on the lights?"
There was no light down there. Adam squeezes the receiver even harder, presses out a shaky sob.
"There's no light down here…"
"There is a light in your apartment. In your mother's cellar, there was no light, but you're not there, you're at your place. There's a light at your place. Okay? Now, turn on the lights."
Fuck. He knows this. There's a light in here. He knows that. A loose, slippery, useless piece of information that slides around in his head, sticks sometimes. Most of the time doesn't. At least when it's like this. And that wasn't the reason why he called Lawrence in the first place.
"T-the power… It's not working. The light isn't working."
"None of the lights are working?"
Pause again. Sigh that crackles in the phone.
"Okay. I'm coming over. Try… Try to stay calm, okay? She's not there. She's not coming there."
Adam takes a deep, jagged breath. Okay. Okay.
"Yeah. She's not coming over."
"No, she isn't. I'll be there in a few minutes. Love you."
"I love you."
Click. Adam nods to himself almost half a minute after Lawrence hangs up.
She won't come here. He's not hers anymore. There were years when he actually was her property, she could let him go free when she thought he was good just like she could lock him up down there when he wasn't, but all that's over now.
It's over now. Lawrence is coming here. And if he stays like this, with his back against the wall, he'll be safe. It's safe here. He's not with her.
It's just so damn cold. And the ceiling is so low.
The floor is so damp. And he shouldn't sit on this chair, The Big Rat hides under this sometimes. Adam presses his legs harder against his body. Blinks away a few burning tears.
This has happened before. He really should know better.
He should know how afraid he gets on these bad nights, when Lawrence can't stay over and the anxiety whirls up inside, like the gooey bottom of a lake. All the dirt, all the things he's ashamed of. But he should know that no matter how afraid he gets on these nights, he'll never be so afraid that he travels back in time.
It's just that everything gets different when it's dark. The cellar was different when she locked the door. The apartment is different when it's dark and he's alone. Lawrence should be here. Lawrence isn't here.
Lawrence is the only thing keeping him in reality, in the present. Without him, Adam becomes a kid again.
He tightens his grip on knees. He's Adam, fourteen years old. The Big Rat is moving underneath him. He hears it eating. He doesn't know how it's managed to get so big, there's no food down here, maybe it's eating off of him when he's sleeping?
Maybe it's The Big Rat that's sitting in his stomach and nibbles with sharp little teeth when he's been down here for two days without eating?
Adam whimpers and presses his head down between his shoulders. No, no. This isn't happening. He's an adult now. She won't come here. And Lawrence has taught him that when he gets this scared, he shouldn't look at anything, he should keep his eyes shut and sing to himself until Lawrence comes to save him, because when he's looking, he sees things that aren't real and when it's quiet, he hears things that aren't there, becomes someone he's not anymore.
He becomes Adam, fourteen years old. Adam, fourteen years old is so senselessly in love. He's discovered that his best friend is more than his best friend, that he spends basically every day and every night with him but still misses him when they're not together and that he looks at Lawrence's mouth way too often when they talk about things. Adam, fourteen years old tells his mom, and her soft eyes are still soft, but in such a cold and polite way when she says: But honey, Lawrence is a boy.
This is a new trick that Adam's mind's started to play on him lately. Instead of bringing up the memories that makes him panic, it brings up things that always makes him warm inside, no matter how scared he is. Lulls him into a false sense of security.
Adam, fourteen years old comes home and is euphoric. He's just had his first kiss, so perfect and wonderful in a way that only happens in movies, when he was lying in Lawrence's arms watching a movie and felt Lawrence looking at him so he turned his face to him and it just happened, completely natural and soft and warm, and oh, he's so happy, so happy that he has to tell mom.
He hears Lawrence knock on the front door the next day and ask her where Adam is. Adam pounds on the cellar door even though his fists are already bloody, and screams Lawrence, Lawrence, I'm down here, long after he's heard mom say he's sick and close the door again, screaming and pounding, screamingscreamingscreaming until he feels warm, liquid metal at the back of his throat and balls up on the floor.
The Big Rat comes out when he's laid there for a couple of hours. It's the first time they meet. Not the last. Never the last. Never ends.
She let him out the next morning, asked if he'd learned his lesson. He had. He'd learned that from now on, he was going to have to get used to not being able to tell her everything anymore. The important thing was to not get caught, keep that part of himself that his mom thought was so horrible well hidden. For as long as he loved Lawrence.
And the downside with that was that it seemed like he would never stop loving him.
Before Lawrence gets to Adam's place, Adam's managed to not become so insane that he moves, stays with his back against the wall despite the dark sweat stain that's spread over his t-shirt on the place where his back is resting. But he hasn't managed to get balanced enough to cover his eyes and sing. His eyes are wide open, he probably hasn't been blinking, because there are little tears leaking out, getting caught on his lips and on the incoherent words this isn't real…
And since his eyes are open, Lawrence knows exactly what the apartment looks like to him right now. Knows that the chair is his mom hovering in the corner, about to stand up and ask if he's learned, like she always asked when she opened the door in the morning. And Adam always said he had even though he hadn't, always went back to Lawrence again.
He knows that all the dark shapes in the apartment are either The Big Rat or all that was wrong and ugly with their relationship, or just the hunger, the horror, the spider webs in the corners, all of Adam's demons that grew up in the tiny cellar under his mother's house.
Lawrence wishes that none of that had happened to Adam. Or that he'd at least had a light to switch on right now. But all he can do is close the door behind him, as quietly as possible, since he knows what the sound of a door closing reminds Adam of, walk up to him, take the trembling little body in his arms and keep him there until the ice melts in the warmth between them and the chair turns into an ordinary chair. None of that is real. Their love will still be here when the lights go back on.