Disclaimer: I own nothing from FFVII, not the settings, not the characters, not the names. Nothing. I own absolutely nothing. It is all the property of the wonderful Square Enix.

To the untrained eye Sephiroth was merely sleeping, seemingly peacefully. Chaos, having spent several years with the former general and watching him slumber from time to time, knew better. It was there in the tension causing his eyes to close just a little more firmly, the twitch in the fingers of his left hand, the curling of his right hand into a loose fist. It was there in the mounting tension he could practically taste in the air, yet so subtle no human would detect its presence.

They were all warning signs hinting at an uneasy sleep, a nightmare dripping with suffering and darkness and Sephiroth stubbornly evaded Chaos' attempts to soothe or wake him. Each and every time. It was beyond frustrating since the nightmares usually left the man shaken and deathly pale, flinching at the slightest noise and regarding his lover with wary eyes as though waiting to be harmed. Each and every time it killed Chaos to see that vulnerable look buried beneath a cracked mask, but there was very little he could do to prevent it. Instead Chaos more often than not found himself having to slowly but surely repair the damage left behind, when Sephiroth finally opened up about the memories and images plaguing his sleep.

Tonight was no different. The sudden pause mid-breath signalled Sephiroth's sudden awakening, the quiet sigh shortly afterwards meaning he was very much aware of his surroundings. Cool fingers rest on his shoulder and glowing jade locks with concerned amber, those bright depths Chaos loves so much veiled and guarded again. He doesn't say anything, he doesn't have to, merely pulls himself into a sitting position and braces his back against the headboard after spreading out his wings. He encourages Sephiroth to move between his legs, guiding his taller lover so that a strong back meets the solid wall of his chest. Chaos winds and arm to fit loosely around Sephiroth's waist, the other lifts so claws can gently sift through silver hair, silken but dampened with sweat. A particularly nasty nightmare, then.

And still he doesn't try to speak or pry for answers, merely continues stroking Sephiroth's hair while purring quietly in an effort to relax him. It is hit and miss, the purring. On some nights Sephiroth will let the tension slip from his body with the continuous sound, on others he resists. Tonight is different as he shifts restlessly against Chaos for several minutes before sighing again and yanking the WEAPON back down against the mattress. Chaos remains on his back at the commanding press of hands against his shoulders, both eyebrows lifting in silent question. Sephiroth settles on top of him, head resting on Chaos' chest. Surely the position can't be comfortable… but then again, his silver-haired lover will move if he has to.

"Stay. Just like this." The quiet breath of sound is so soft he nearly misses the words. Nearly. Chaos relaxes back into the mattress without question, claws once again moving up to gently massage Sephiroth's scalp while his right hand moves to the small of his back, fingers splaying out wide. He feels cool lips touch the scar tissue marking the place the Protomateria once resided at his left pectoral, and then Sephiroth is settling against him with a small exhale, eyes sliding closed and his restless fidgeting slowly dying away. It takes a few minutes for Chaos to realise his lover is listening to his heartbeat but when he does he stops purring so Sephiroth can hear the steady beat of life being coursed through his veins more clearly, leathery wings shifting over Sephiroth with the muted, dry rustle of flesh on flesh.

In their first few months together Sephiroth hated being held this way, felt too trapped, too confined in the avian embrace. Now though… it helps combat the nightmares he loathes so much. He has never admitted such a thing, but Chaos knows there is a part of Sephiroth that fears what those nightmares might bring with them. He understands. Sephiroth isn't he only one with horrors to relive. But for now they have both found their own ways of trying to keep the pain away and the faces hidden. It works some nights, other times it fails.

But at least they have each other to turn to, rather than look in the mirror the following morning only see a broken person haunted by past mistakes.

A/N: Any comments you would like to share are appreciated. Leave a review for me, please?