Twenty [The Nightmare]

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Two hours pass but Harry doesn't move from his spot in bed, his forehead pressed up against the cold glass of his window with his hair creeping across his cheeks and curling under his ears as he waits for the sun to rise. You're late again and he is starting to understand that you were not exaggerating when you revealed your only evident flaw to him weeks ago. Being late is a characteristic that he always found aggravating in others but it's different with you; he imagines you dancing in your apartment with innocent elation, wrapped up in your thoughts and humming to yourself before you gasp, grab your jacket and run out the door when you've realized your faux pas.

Regardless of your timing, he is thankful that you agreed to leave the comfort of your bed and ride your scooter clear across the city at four in the morning because of the black-and-white images that refuse to clear from his mind. He knows to expect them at this time each year, haunting memories of the worst thing that has ever happened to him, harrowing reminders of his past life and current loneliness, sickening echoes of screams and reflections of lights in puddles as dark as oil slicks. His eyes flick to his clock and he whimpers when he understands that daybreak will be appearing in less than 30 minutes and he really, really needs you here to soften the blow of yet another day coming his way to mow him down and shred him to pieces.

Three knocks on his door has his head tossing over his opposite shoulder, his heart rate accelerating when he clears his throat and his voice scours up from his chest, "s'open." He keeps his eyes glued to the doorframe, his sight flickering to the doorknob when it turns and then locking on you when you poke your head in through the threshold. His stomach fills with a hundred wild newborn butterflies at the sight of your skin and hair, your gorgeous mysterious eyes and a sad, exaggerated pout eroding your beautiful features.

Harry is enviably enticing and warm in the soft pile of sheets gathered around his stomach, his clavicles poking from the edges of his sinewy shoulders and the butterfly inked into his stomach seeming to stretch and shrink with each torpid breath. He's thin, much too thin but his biceps are trim and bulging, each muscle in his back and chest distending as his ribcage heaves with sorrowful life.

You tiptoe in with a whispered greeting and twist the knob before shutting the door behind you as to make the least intrusive entrance possible, the heavy weight of his brain palpable as soon as you step into his tiny, private space. He watches you pull a bag off your back, a bunch of scarlet carnations and a baguette poking from the top and he assumes you are a bit later than you originally quoted because you stopped off at a market on the way here.

Your presence, your energy and your voice are even more sugary and rousing than he had remembered. He has a split realization that his memories are always flatter than the actual occurrence and that makes him feel both happy and depressed because that means every time he sees your face it will be better than his recollection of it but every time he thinks of his mum, it will never be as good as when she was a constant figure in his life. His gaze drops to his lap even though he'd rather keep his sights set on you, his chin wrinkling when he forces himself to hold tears back, "can you c'mere, novs?"

You drop your jacket and helmet on his chair and kick your boots off, freeing the bouquet of carnations from your bag and padding across his hardwood floor before dropping a knee on the bed beside him. He raises his eyes to yours, the capillaries exposed and turning his whites a dispirited pink. His face is just as handsome as ever but particularly sallow, the full moon outside of his window reflecting in his watery eyes and making them appear like two glistening ponds brimming with algae and moss.

You tut and lower yourself down to his sheets, his hand slowly crawling out from underneath his linens to wrap around your wrist pegged to the bed, his other hand gripping your neck and his thumb stroking against your throat. You watch one another quietly before he shifts his hand to tangle into your hair, bringing you close to press the tips of your noses together before sealing your mouths in a soft kiss. His lips are pouty and pillowy against yours when he rasps, "mmm... hi." He sucks his bottom lip into his mouth and holds it there with his teeth, studying your face with an air of trepidation as though he's placated to have you here but he doesn't know what he is supposed to do next.

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