Another warning: rape is mentioned here.

This can also be read as a companion to Always. It was almost a bonus chapter.

It always happened on nights like this.

Soubi slumped as he sat cross legged on his bed. His sheets were tangled around his slender legs, blankets spilling around him and onto the floor. The bandages around his neck were loose and falling; his hair tangled and mussed from his tossing and turning. He regarded his hands wearily, long fingers slowly opening and closing.

He wondered if dreams could be caught, plucked out of the air like a fine feather. Of course that was impossible, but it was intriguing to think about. To choose what you could dream about. He longed for the ability to do so.

A crack, not unlike the sound of a whip, rang through the stale air. The blond's head snapped up in alarm, wide eyes staring out into the room. The perpetrator made itself known after a moment- a branch from a tree outside his window. It moved in shadow, waving at him before disappearing into the depths of the stormy night. The man sighed shakily, remembering a time when the sound of a whip meant more than a rainstorm. Those noises, those screams; that voice seemed to fill the air suddenly, as if someone had popped a balloon. Sound rang out into every corner, obnoxious and distorted.

Dreams were sometimes memories, tucked away into the darkest corners of his mind. But this time, he was awake. This time, he was remembering.

Childishly the man pressed his hands against his ears, squeezing his eyes shut. No, not again- he didn't want to hear. Didn't want to hear the cracks, the groans; the murmur of his voice. Not the laced tone his voice took as leather slid over virgin skin, tempting, hinting: don't cry out, it only hurts the first time. But he lied. It hurt every time after. And so did the whip.

Memory seeped in through the floorboards, silent and unyielding. Shadow came alive, waiting for its moment to strike. It watched the man on the bed curiously, waiting for the right moment. The man was aware of it. And when the sound of the whip cracked through his soul, he welcomed it with open arms. It tore him from his bedroom and forced him into oblivion as thunder boomed overhead. It stole his sight, his hearing, and left him in another room on another stormy night in the arms of another. Blood stained the sheets below him. Skin on skin. The sound of the storm echoing the storm inside him.

"Don't scream." Ritsu murmured into the shell of his ear, fingernails digging into his hipbones; drawing blood.

And the thunder raged on inside him as sweat broke out all over, quiet groans left in his ears, Ritsu's fingers slipping in his blood, dragging him closer-

"Stop." A hoarse voice said. It took Soubi a moment to realize it was his own.

The scene froze. The air went still. Lightening flashed from outside the window, without a noise to follow. The air around him quivered, waiting for a request, a demand-

Soubi opened his eyes.

For a moment he could only comprehend the absence of noise. He was back in his apartment, blankets tying his feet together, sweat dripping down his chest. He breathed in, his lungs shuddering under the release of strain. He hesitantly pulled his hands away from his ears, promptly dropping them back into his lap.

He stopped it. He could control his flashbacks?...

Soubi sat in slight awe of himself until his phone began to vibrate, causing him to jolt in surprise.


I can't sleep. Is everything ok?

A smile hinted at Soubi's lips, taking a moment to enjoy the silence around him.

REPLY: It is now.