Close Enough to Start a War

Nigel was watching him again, Alex knew. Or more like studying him. There was no proper word for it; every word in the dictionary lacked that something. The other boy just kept watch while he slept (but in all honesty it was kind of impossible to get a good nights sleep under that intense gaze), his eyes never leaving Alex, almost like a predator ready to pounce on its pray. But this look, this one look Alex had seen the other boy directing him countless times during long, comfortable silences was not malicious or vicious, it was just a look. But it was that look. Alex resisted the almost uncontrollable urge to shift on the bed, to nudge just a little bit closer to that warm body sitting on the beds edge.

And the fact that Nigel didn't do it in secret, that oggling of his, could be kind of nerve-wracking at times. Like now. They had a test tomorrow too, and they'd both more than probably fail it if they kept this up. Sleep deprived Alex did not make a smart Alex. And he really wasn't in the mood to be lectured by his father anytime soon.

In all honesty – that gaze made him quite uneasy. He often felt like he was some precious specimen of Nigel's, which he observed and took notes for. Which just might have some truth to it, he'd seen those journals the boy kept and that so very much uncalled assessment on his personality. What kept Alex from falling into Nigel's usual research subject category was the fact that he was still alive, breathing and kicking. It was mostly that fact that made him feel so unnerved; with Nigel's fascination for all things dead he shouldn't be his interested, or whatever, in him.

But at the same time, bundled beneath all that anxiousness those goddamn eyes made him suffer through, was the fact that in a weird way it made him feel absolutely safe too. It hardly made sense, Alex knew that. But still, what was, was. It wasn't as if he could help it. Nigel was looking out for them always had a plan and was a step ahead of him and everybody else. It was a good thing.

If only Alex knew what that look meant. It was weird, being in Nigel's head as he was in Alex' and not to know something like this.

After Josh, Nigel was moved to another room, but that rarely stopped the other boy from sneaking into Alex' in the middle of a night, sometimes leaving "presents" behind but mostly he just sits and stares. It's become their routine of sorts. A very weird, fucked up ritual but no less one. Alex would lay in his bed unable to fall asleep, waiting, and then Nigel would come, take a seat on the bed and breathe with him. They never exchanged words, sometimes maybe small touches but even those were few and far between. Rare as a four-leaf clover, special.

So the least Alex could do was to convey his gratitude –for gods sake, he didn't even know what for, but he felt inclined to do so. To give a 'yes' to whatever Nigel was attempting to verify by sitting there.

It was unbearable to have Nigel's thoughts so close in his head, entwining with his own, but their bodies separated by a blanket and a few inches of space.

Was Nigel feeling the same too? That thing pushing, begging for something deep inside his chest rather than in his head, all the while making his stomach knot with tight heat? Was that the reason he spent hours sitting next to Alex, looking at him long enough to count his freckles (and he had a gazillion of them, mind you)?

Maybe he was trying to catalogue that thing, and not Alex himself. He already knew Alex after all, had his thoughts as his own, so it had to be. He was just as unable to identify that feeling as Alex was. Blind, refusing to open his eyes, Alex searches out for Nigel's hand propped to the edge of the bed and circles his wrist with his fingers.

"I'm not one of your wenches, Jack," he almost expected it to be said out loud.

But there was no need to –if it was in his head it was in Nigel's too.

Still, Alex kept his eyes closed. There was no point in poorly feigning sleep anymore, but...those goddamn eyes. Nigel didn't move his hand away from the other boys grip, although it was loose and he could've easily done so. But he doesn't. He's not pulling back, but not moving further towards Alex either.

A heartbeat and a half later Alex tugged at the hand, moving it closer to himself and finally to his mouth. He let's his breath ghost over Nigel's hand, those bony knuckles and milk white skin he still cannot see, but has unintentionally memorized damn too well. He waits for a response, a hitch in Nigel's breath or something along those lines, but gets none. It's not surprising. Alex pushes his lips to Nigel's thumb. He gives an each finger a delicate kiss –no, not a kiss. A peck maybe, but definitely not a one kiss is given.

This is his spear, his weapon, a tool to be used so they can achieve salvation. But it's Alex who's strangely enough fallen under the other's spell, quietly waiting for orders, but always receiving none.

Please, let me, he doesn't need to say it out loud.

He needs to give something back.