"You're not coming to bed?"

Tristan shakes his head, bent down, running an absentminded hand through my locks. "I have some work to do. I'll be in later."

"Oh, okay."

I'm too tired to watch him go. My eyes close.


Until they reopen, wide and frantic in the dark. My stomach falls as I feel the bed shaking, hoarse breathing coming from beside me. Not needing to think twice, I turn on the lamp beside me, gasping loudly as I find Tristan, drenched in sweat and completely asleep... immersed in a nightmare.

I reach over and grab him, terrified by the fact that he's trembling so violently. He begins gasping for breath, sounding in pain... In a lot of pain. When he speaks, my heart stops at the helplessness in his voice.

"I-I can't. Fuck, I can't. It hurts."

I sit up in a flash, now in action and shake him, desperately, feeling sick knowing what he has to be seeing in his mind.

"Tristan. Tristan, wake up!"

An explicit leaves him in a hiss and I see his hand rise to his chest- to his scar.


His blue eyes finally open, wide with fear and he immediately turns to his side, coughing over the bed as if he's trying to get rid of something. I'm left staring in horror as he throws the covers off, standing in a hurry. As he falls to his knees by the toilet and begins vomiting, I'm already two steps behind him.

The gutted sounds escaping him have me extending my hand to touch him but doubting whether he wants it or not, I don't. I feel tears fill my eyes as I imagine what he's feeling.

Knowing there is nothing truer than the fact that Tristan and I went through completely different experiences in that tsunami. While mine was truly horrific, I have to think about that fact that I was found... I had help. I wasn't alone for more than a day.

He almost died out there. He saw that second wave... He sat in that water, bleeding to death in the darkness until probably nothing but his will got him up to try making it to someplace with civilization. I have no idea what haunts his memory everyday- I have no idea what he's going though because he's so strong that he faces the days without fear.

I scoot forward on my knees closer to his back as he flushes the toilet, finally calmed. I watch in silence as his knuckles deepen into the skin of his thighs, bracing himself. His frame is rigid as stone.

I'm left in utter shock as his shoulders- his entire body begins to shake again and as he raises a hand to cover his face, I feel a special, deep place in my heart tear open at the sight.

He completely breaks down- gutted, forced sobs escape his lips, as if he's losing a war with himself.

The tears spill over my eyelids now as I'm unable to bear seeing him like this. I do the only thing I can do- I hold him. Wrapping my arms around his stomach, I press my cheek onto his back, squeezing him tightly. The force of his anguish causes my body to tremble as well but I don't loosen my grip. My tears fall between my cheek onto his skin as I listen to the sound of a man in utter pain.

I've never heard a man cry like this- I've never seen it except on movies. It's horrible- absolutely horrible to witness.

"You're here," I whisper softly, sniffling. "You're okay."

I hold on as tightly as I can until it's silent in the room. I have no doubt it's been a long time that we've been sitting here. 

When he pulls back, reaching for the sink to stand, I move back, rising with him. He keeps his face toward the ground as he grabs his toothbrush.

I cross my arms over my body, wiping beneath my eyes as he brushes his teeth in silence, never once looking up into the mirror. I wait as he rinses and grabs a towel next to him to wipe his mouth and hands. His body is coated with sweat- an indication that his adrenaline is still up.

I'm gutted as his eyes flicker to mine suddenly through the mirror. They are bloodshot and swollen and it still looks like he's still desperately trying to keep himself together.

"I- I'm sorry you had to witness-"

At the sound of his voice, I rush forward, moving my body between him and the sink. I shake my head, crying once more as I wrap my arms around his shoulders tightly. "Please, don't. Don't ever be- ashamed of that."

My bottom lip quakes in relief as his hands press to my back, embracing me in return. I gasp desperately as I try to keep my baring's, resting my head onto his beating heart.  

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