You asked me to hold you
Sweating, I turned to gaze at your sleeping form, relieved and feeling a little foolish at the same time. But it felt good to feel foolish, after all, it was just a dream...wasn't it?
Your eyes open and you smile at me and suddenly all the fear is chased away. I am beside you here in our bed, in our room; in our house. God I love you. The words never pass my lips though, I'm too afraid that to speak them would be the jinx that would cause me to lose everything that I have.
I told you that once and you laughed, I had laughed with you, but the fear never quite leaves me. I gently touch the medallion you gave me when I first moved in with you, my fingers moving across the cool surface. I remember when you gave it to me, it was the night when I first shared your bed.
I remember your smile and how your hazel eyes had danced when you gave it to me. I had held it up, the silver reflecting off the light from the bedside lamps.
"But Fox, I was born in '62, not 60." I had said, puzzled. Your smile widened as you pointed to the carving on the dull silver disk.
"But it's yours Alex...look."
I studied the picture of the rat, it's tail curled around it's plump little body, then I grinned.
"So it's me, even though I wasn't born in the year of the rat."
You kissed me then and I have worn the medallion ever since. It's my good luck charm, my talisman that wards off evil. No matter where I am, when I wear it, you are with me-and I feel safe...and loved.
You asked me to believe in you
It was never easy putting all the crap in our lives behind us, but we managed-you and I. Together we made a life for ourselves and you no matter what other said, you never stopped believing in me. And finally I was able to believe in myself.
After a while everyone accepted us and things went smoothly for awhile, until the nightmares, until the unreasoning fear that suddenly and inexplicably had me held in it's grip.
The first nightmare had left me gasping with a terror that refused to flee until you had taken me in your arms and soothed me. The second nightmare had been worse and had left me weeping uncontrollably while you whispered comforting words in my ear. I suffered every night after that.
But this nightmare had been the worst yet.
"I love you." I whisper and you lean over to press your warm lips against mine.
"Another nightmare?" You ask and I nod.
"The same one?" I am touched by the concern in your eyes.
"Yes." I tell you, then you open your arms and I find myself cocooned within your warmth.
I don't want to leave you, I think as I listen to the slow steady beat of your heart. I don't want to die.
Why is it that I can still see the bullet heading straight for for me, even though it was only a dream?
You asked me to trust you
You are worried, I can see that in your eyes and it saddens me. I had once vowed never to cause you any concern ever again, after all, I owe all my happiness to you.
"Eat this Alex." You say as you set the plate of French toast in front of me. I pick up a slice and take a bite but I can't taste anything. The fear inside me is too strong. It threatens to swallow me whole.
"Nothing is going to happen to you Alex." You assure me and I believe you, but still the fear grows ever inside of me. I touch the medallion lightly with my fingertips, drawing comfort, the metal is cold but reassuring. Not as reassuring as your smile though.
But you don't smile today, your forehead is furrowed. You sit down beside me, taking my hand in yours.
"Why do you think you are going to die?" You ask me. I shrug, turning away for the intensity of your gaze. But you don't let me off quite that easily.
I know that tone of voice.
"Talk to me sweetheart, tell me why you are so upset."
I look up at you, my eyes meeting yours.
"I don't want to live an empty life Fox, and I don't want to die an empty death."
"What?" You seem puzzled for a moment, then impatiently, you shake your head.
"Alex, what are you talking about? What makes you think you are going to die?"
"The dreams." I whisper once again feeling tears pricking behind my eyes. Once again you gather me in your arms and once again I find both my comfort and my source of strength there.
"Nothing is going to happen to you Alex." You whisper fiercely in my ear. "I've only just found you-I am never letting you go.
I'm free falling into another dream. The same place. A garage, cold and damp. Skinner is standing in front of me, his face cold and unreadable. I see you and my stomach does a slow flip.
"Fox." I whisper, but you turn away.
Please, I don't want it to end like this...
...and I awake.
The medallion feels cold against my skin and I know that I'm all right. I lay back down beside you and you roll over to snuggle against me.
Is there a place in this universe where you never loved me? My throat closes painfully. Is there a time where I needed you and you turned away? I close my eyes against the pain, pitying the man who had never found you. Who fate never gave the opportunity.
You murmur and reach out for me in your sleep, finding me there, you settle into your dreams once more.
I pity those who have never been loved. Those who are doomed to live an empty meaningless life and to die an empty, lonely death. But that's not me. Oh it could have been once, but you saved me. Took me in and and gave me a reason to look forward to life. With love and humour and tenderness, you taught me that I could be different, that I could be better. That I could live among the humans and most important of all. That I could be loved and that I am worthy of your love.
Clutching the medallion tightly, I settle down once more, listening to the gentle sounds of your breathing. Somewhere in another time and place, maybe there is an Alex and perhaps he will die, but that Alex is not me. No; I am here, lying beside you, knowing that I will spend the rest of my life with you. And with that knowledge, I close my eyes, finally at peace.
And somewhere, in another time and place, in another reality a shot rings out, a bullet finds it's mark, but it's unheard by the two men as they sleep, blissfully unaware-curled up in each others arms.