PART 24





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The first thing he noted was the quiet - the peace. It sure was pleasant after the time he'd just had. He was pretty sure it had been a hell of some kind! He wasn’t entirely sure of the details.

Just that it was all right now.

He gave a small smile; tucked some of his long dark hair behind his ears. There were things he had to remember sometime soon, but that was all in good time. For the moment, he had a job to do.

He listened to the soft, whirring sounds of the machinery in the room. Comforting. Regular. He seemed to be the only one here. He snagged a chair from over by the window, and dragged it over to the bed. Sat himself down. It might be a long wait; he needed to be comfortable.

The man in the bed was very still. He was a mess, really - a mess of tubes and drips and white bandaging, and God knows what else. Reven grinned to himself. He knew that Inoue would hate this! But it was expected in a hospital. Of course it was!

He didn't feel the need for a book, or conversation. Hell, he wasn't gonna get much of that from this patient at the moment, was he? Plenty of drugs - plenty of sleep.

That's what was needed - not talk. That's what any doctor would say. He smiled to himself again.

It was good enough just to watch Inoue sleep. To let his eyes slide slowly over the length of his partner's body, distorted by sheets and bandages and splints, but still the body he knew so well.

The strong shoulders - the long, lean legs. The flesh that he'd kissed and caressed and pressed closely to his own, many times. The hands that had struck him, and shaken him sometimes with frustration, but had also stroked him and teased him, and grasped him viciously in the middle of climax.

They were memories that warmed him. That had made his life what it was today.
That he'd share again.

Inoue lay perfectly still and silent, though everything around him made soft noises.

The drip of the IV, the hiss of the oxygen flowing into the mask covering the redhead's mouth and nose.

His fingers were bound and straightened, and though most of his flesh was marred with dark, angry bruises, he appeared worlds healthier than he had been when Reven had last seen him.

The heart monitor continued to chirp away that all was nominal, and a nurse came by moments later.

She smiled softly at Reven and put a finger to her lips, an unspoken request that he remain silent and let the battered patient sleep.

Gently she opened the white blanket in her arms, and draped it across Inoue's body with the greatest care.

She smiled once more at Reven before turning to go, closing the door quietly behind her.


Reven was restless, though, and not quite sure why. Inoue was in the best place for his care. He was attended to by the nurse; all was as it should be. He, Reven, was exactly where he wanted to be, and glad for it.

But he wanted something more.

He wanted to be nearer Inoue - to be beside him, not sat here, on this sterile plastic chair, a world away. The blanket looked warm - but it hid his partner even further from view - discouraged touch even more.

That's what Reven wanted. Needed.

He stood up and moved to the bed.

He knew he mustn't disturb the man in the bed - he knew the importance of that. But how could he disturb Inoue, the one man who cared for him above anyone else?

Worthy of a laugh, surely! After all, wasn't he the only one keeping this vigil here? The only one to watch over him as he slept?

His hand stroked at the blanket, feeling its softness; enjoying its weaved texture.

Just to lie beside him - that would be enough!

He lifted a leg, ignoring its stiffness and nagging pain, and he pulled himself up on to the bed beside Inoue. It bounced gently under his additional weight. The monitors never faltered. He looked down on the red hair, the closed lids. He tried to remember what it had been like before - in another place, not like this. Their own place, perhaps.

He lay down gently, his head sinking into the pillow, sharing the softness. Almost sheepishly, he tugged the blanket over a little way, so that he could pull it round his own shoulders. By turning just a little into the centre of the bed he could lie spooned up against Inoue's body. Seeking the warmth of it; seeking a heartbeat to match his own.

He felt very sleepy.


Monitors continued to chirp softly in the background as Reven curled up next to Inoue, though the blanket wasn't big enough for the both of them.

The moment was familiar, soothing-- to feel Inoue's hand rise and come to rest upon Reven's back would have been comforting and commonplace, though the redhead didn't move at all.

He remained still as Reven's muscles relaxed and a soft, peaceful sigh escaped his lips—he could dream, knowing that Inoue was well.



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