Warning; slight AU, and not entirely sticking to the anime plot.

I was a bit of a mess when I wrote this, so don't expect much c:

panic attacks

Yukiteru wakes up in the middle of the night; it's 3am, and the skies are black, the streets are empty. But somewhere in his mind, a crazed girl with pretty eyes and a scary smile and messy pink hair screeches his name, and clutches a knife, and he is seconds away from death.

And so, he wakes up panting, sweating, with tears swimming in his eyes and a dry pain in the back of his throat. He sits up in bed, the duvet covers wet with sweat, and he gnaws at the skin around his thumbnail until it bleeds, and then he picks up his phone.

This happens every night. It becomes a ritual, because Yukki can't shake the anxiety, he can't shake off the nightmares, even though Gasai Yuno is buried six feet underground, no more than a brittle skeleton and rotting flesh, useless organs. And every night, Yukki does the same thing; he picks up the phone with shaking hands and stabs in numbers and the dial tone echoes throughout his empty house.

And every night, he calls Akise Aru.

/

Akise says the same things every time.

'Yukiteru-kun?'

'Are you alright?'

'Calm down, Yukki, just breathe.'

'I'm on my way.'

He never tells Yukki that it's just a dream, or reminds him that Yuno is dead, and they both know that he'd never hang up the phone or tell him to grow some balls. He always speaks in calm, gentle, soothing tones; his voice never once rises, and his words are kind of like music to Yukki's ears. The things he says are like the lyrics to his favourite songs and even when Akise cuts the connection, the call clicks off and the line goes dead, the erratic beating of Yukki's heart is eased knowing that Akise is on his way and soon; Yukki won't be all on his own.

And anyway, Akise's already saved him once, hasn't he, when he plunged the knife into Yuno's throat and- it makes Yukki feel sick, kind of, because Yuno loved him and for a while he almost loved her too.

But Yuno, Yuno had monsters in her eyes and darkness in her heart and corpses in her house, and blades in her pockets and blood on her hands and Yuno was mad, she was never protection, that was all a lie. Akise is safety, and security and Akise- well, Akise is love.

/

He is still shaking when Akise knocks at the door. His three ratatat's signal to Yukki that it's him, not anyone else, come to kill him and then Akise lets himself in slowly and calls 'Yukiteru-kun?' and his voice echoes throughout the thin walls. And Yukki whimpers in response because well, he's shaking in fear and he can't talk properly anymore, not when he's like this and the good thing about Akise is that he understands that and he doesn't label Yukki crazy because of the little box of pills he keeps beside his bed and the way he can't leave the house anymore, and he holds his hand when the doctors say things like 'post-traumatic stress disorder', and 'trauma-induced anxiety', or even 'clinical depression'. Akise strokes his fingers softly and squeezes his hand and tells him it's okay, it's okay, it's okay. Even when it's not. He does the same thing now when he pushes open Yukki's bedroom door and finds the boy hugging his knees on the floor whimpering, his black hair sticking to his sweaty forehead, his body shivering and his eyes welling up. He doesn't judge. Not for one fraction of a second do his eyes linger on Yukki and flash with pity or exasperation or disappointment. There is only love and kindness amongst the scarlet orbs in his eyes.

Akise crosses the rooms. His arms reach out, and Yukki's hands fall into his, and he pulls him to his feet and wraps his arms around him tightly. Yukki buries his head into Akise's neck and sobs, Akise runs his hands soothingly up and down Yukki's back, feeling the ridges of his spine and worrying because Yukki's too scared to do anything now, and even meals are hard work because the manic butterflies in his stomach that seem to carry spears just send each morsel flying back up his throat.

Yukki feels the warmth of Akise's touch running across his skin, the softness of his lips gently pressing against his own, the delicate pressure of Akise's hands squeezing his own- and allows himself to breathe.