Summary: Thea wakes up in the middle of the night. May be considered a continuation of "The Bridge", although it can also be read as a standalone.
Oliver's mindset in both stories is consistent though.
Warning: May contain PTSD triggers, but probably not bigger than the show itself.
Beta: By T. Lena. Thank you dear. :)
It's two a.m.
Thea blinks against the bright numbers in the dark; cold breeze brushes over her naked skin. She reaches out, half-asleep, but the comforter is beyond her reach, so she gropes a little farther only to feel it slip from her fingertips and fall to the floor completely.
Damn, she must have been trashing in her sleep again. She hasn't been sleeping well since... Well, since her father and her brother died, presumably, but there were worse nights and better nights. Since Oliver got back - or to be more precise since she caught him undressed, that one and only time - those worse ones have gotten more intense. They have substance now, all the reasons, unreal but horrendous, of why his body looks like it was dragged through the Inquisition Chamber. History lesson on torture in Medieval Europe haven't helped in that regard.
Thea sits up on her bed, shivering. She's left the window open, she's thrown her covers off in her sleep and now she's cold. With her arms wrapped tightly around her middle she gets ups and tiptoes into the bay area. She reaches out and... stops, frozen.
The wind carries a sound and Thea listens for a long while, chill forgotten, before she dares to give it a name.
She hears someone sobbing.
At first impulse she wants to go back to bed, pull covers over her head and pretend she hasn't heard anything. She wants to do it more than she dares to admit. She takes a step back, another one. She bumps into a chair and she knows she can't take the coward's way out.
Face it then. The robe is thrown over the back of the chair, just within reach. Thea puts it on, fastens the strap around her waist, takes a deep breath and slowly exhales, bracing herself. Oliver's room isn't far, just down the corridor and to the left. The door is slightly ajar.
Thea stands there, unable to move, to push the door fully open and enter, because... What's she supposed to say? Two weeks ago her big brother bolted out of the Christmas party he threw and almost got himself killed. A week ago he returned home, pale, shadow-eyed, bearing a small smile that was supposed to convince them all that he was okay, and they all pretend that they believe in his pretend bravado.
Nobody's said anything out loud, but Thea knows it's because of her. He tried to kill himself because she told him she hated his party and earlier she was angry that he didn't talk to her, except about her social life and that he was mean and a jerk, when in fact it was her, she was mean and she didn't know how to change that.
She only wants her brother back, the old Ollie, the one from before.
There's not a sound coming from Oliver's room and Thea begins to think that she imagined that crying. After all, what do they say about wailing of the wind? Maybe it was the wind?
And then she hears a thud and a crash from the other wing of the mansion and she's on the run before she knows it. Corridors, stairs, another corridor, lamps, stands, curtains. The door to her mother's room is wide open and Raisa, in her night-gown, puts shreds of a broken vase on the round table in the center of the room and, with her back to the door and to Thea who's a few steps outside, she wraps her arms around someone, whispering words Thea can't make out. And Thea's mother is sobbing, sobbing like her heart is about to break in a way this vase broke, never to be mended.
Thea heard sobbing on the wind then, she's only mistaken the source. Of course. Oliver is okay. He doesn't ever cry.
She walks back to their wing of the mansion. She doesn't run now, but walks, purposefully, boldly. She makes up words in her mind. She'll tell Oliver that he has to get over himself, because he's not the only one who's hurting. Mom is hurting too, she lost a husband and for five years she thought she lost a son too. And now, there's something wrong going on between Mom and Walter, he's left again, without talking to anyone but Mom. Thea thinks they argued, from the way Mom is acting. Maybe he'll never return.
Why Oliver should do something about it, Thea can't explain. Or what he should do. But she knows he's the man in this family. It's his duty. He's her big brother, who always stood up for her, who'd always protected her and was strong, really strong, not pretend strong and falling apart at the seams inside.
Unconsciously Thea wipes tears from her face, before she pushes the door to her brother's room and calls out, laudly, "Ollie! We need to talk!"
But he's not there.
"Of course," Thea speaks to his ruffled bed and curtains flapping in the wind. "Typical. Whenever I need you, you're just... gone! To wherever. I need you, damn it!" she screams at the top of her lungs, turns around and walks out slamming the door behind her.
Before they bang, she thinks she hears a soft, "Thea?" and she stops dead in her tracks and swirls around. Did she hear it or did she imagine?
She opens the door again.
He stands there, between his bed and a desk at the near wall and Thea has no idea how he got here. She's positive the bed was empty when she was in, a minute ago. He's wearing a t-shirt he sleeps in and sweatpants. His hair is ruffled and eyes have that odd wild sheen to them that she sees a glimpse of sometimes, before he blinks it away.
"Where have you been?" she asks and he responds immediately, "Here," breathless.
"Oliver!" Thea sighs exasperated. Then shakes her head and composes herself. She's come here with a purpose. "Something's going on with our mother," she tells him, "and I don't know what to do. She despairs over Walter. She misses him. We need to do something, find a way to reach him," she shrugs. "I don't know." She's out of ideas. There is a stash of meth in her desk drawer that might just numb her to everything and then she wouldn't worry.
Oliver stands in front of her, his stance crooked, nothing like the stiff, distant stranger who came to their house to replace her brother, and not loose, nonchalant like her real brother either. Someone completely different. He looks at her like he wants to eat her, but she's certain he hasn't heard a word she said.
"Are you even listening to me?" she rises her voice.
"Yes," he breathes out. "I am listening." He reaches to touch her but his hand hangs limp in the air and then falls back to his side.
"What is going on with you?"
He doesn't respond.
He keeps staring, that's all and Thea's blood boils.
"Where are you?" she yells, because sometimes she thinks his head is still stuck on that island somewhere and she just wants him to return home once and for all.
And her heart freezes when she sees him looking around, uncertain. He touches the surface of the desk, as if making sure it's solid wood, not... something else.
"I'm in my room," he speaks quietly and Thea's dizzy, because oh my god, she was right. "Mom," he blurts out then, in a different voice. The stiff and distant, but focused one. When Thea's vision clears she can see that his posture and face have changed too, he took a step toward her and he's watching her, wary. "You said something about Mom?"
"Yes," Thea chokes out. "She's crying in her room, because she misses Walter." Now Thea's crying too, silently. "Do you think you could find a way to reach him?" Find a way to reach you, she echoes in her head.
"Hey," Ollie wipes a tear from her cheek with his thumb. "I'm sorry, I should have thought about it. Of course I can."
Thea can't stop herself and she closes the distance between them, wraps her arms around Ollie, holds him tight and presses her head to his chest and just listens to his heartbeat. And she doesn't care that he goes rigid all over and feels like he's about to bolt out of his skin, that his breathing becomes hitched. She needs this contact, she needs him. She soaks up his warmth until he utters a strained, "Ribs."
"Uh! Sorry!" Thea jumps away like she burned herself, or him with her touch. She didn't mean to cause him pain, "I'm so sorry." She looks up and in Oliver's face she sees that it's not all. The pain wasn't only physical, but he blinks the darkness away and smiles his pretend smile and she pretends that she believes he's fine.
She smiles her own pretend and mouths, "Thank you," because she knows her voice would betray her true emotions. Then she flees. She flees like a coward, instead of confronting him, because she doesn't know how.
There's a stash of meth in her desk drawer. It might numb her just enough but tonight she closes that drawer without taking any...