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(The characters Skylar and Chaos both belong to ARC_Trooper_Fives )

Jerking awake, Creed sat up fast, panting. he winced as dull pain settled back into his body and the panic of the nightmare began to fade, leaving him only more fearful of the contents of the horrifying dream.

They weren't really dreams, just darker more twisted version of his memories of his imprisonment by Kore, but they were far worse than regular memories.

Finding himself trembling badly, Creed slowly forced himself to let go of his white knuckled grip on the blankets and looked over at Skylar. She was still asleep, looking exhausted. He was glad he hadn't woken her, she needed decent sleep more than he needed comfort.

He sat there a moment wishing that he could crawl into her arms, though, but he knew that would wake her and after a long moment pulled himself out of his frozen state. He got up silently and tugged his long sleeves down over the bandages and bruises on his arms again, wincing as he moved. He didn't want to think of the patchwork of stitches and scars holding his battered body together, but the dull pain never faded. Even the painkillers didn't work anymore.

He kept silent about it, though, and padded softly towards the stairs.

As he passed the guest room he could hear Chaos snoring and quietly remembered that Chaos was staying the rest of the month, or at least until he was off the painkillers and antibiotics. He paused a moment outside his brother's room, a strong part of him desperate for someone to hold him. He didn't go inside, though, knowing better. Chaos needed to rest, they all did. He could deal with his nightmares on his own.

Turning away shakily, Creed made his way carefully down the stairs, still gripping the banister. The height occasionally made him dizzy, especially while he was hopped up on medication. He made it to the living room without issue, though, and snagged the blanket off the back of the chair before sinking down onto the couch.

Laying his head back, Creed curled up under the blanket and tried to still his trembling body. He buried his face in the pillow, allowing himself to sob silently into it now that he was out of range for anyone to hear. His grip on the blanket grew tight again and the harder he sobbed the more he longed for Skylar to hold him and cradle him, just to remind him that he was safe.

He pushed the thought out of his mind, though, forcibly reminding himself that he shouldn't bother her. She put up with so many of his issues, he didn't need to add to the burden he already was.


The quiet voice caught him off guard and Creed froze up as he recognized Silver's quiet tone. Slowly, he choked back his tears and lifted his head some, looking almost fearfully up at the younger trooper.

"Y-Yeah," he mumbled, failing to hide the raw sound in his voice.

"What are you doing down here?"

Silver moved across the room and sat down in a chair nearest the couch, seeming confused by Creed's presence. He pulled both legs up into the chair to sit cross legged, cocking his head a bit.

Creed looked down, not sure how to explain. He thought about lying, but knowing his family, he figured Silver would see right through it.

"I...I can't sleep, and I didn't want to bother anyone," he admitted quietly after a long moment.

Silver nodded some sympathetically. "You know you won't ever bother them, right? Chaos put's up with me 24/7," he said.

Creed's eyes cut away from Silver's gaze and he curled up tighter, hugging the blanket to his chin. "I'm not his younger brother, though. He shouldn't have to look after me. I'm supposed to be looking after him," he muttered numbly.

Silver shrugged a little. "And? Skylar loves you. She did marry you, so that's gotta count for something. I doubt it would bother her."

Creed swallowed hard, thinking about the past week and all the pain and exhaustion he caused her. It hurt to know that he was hurting her. He knew she wouldn't stop helping him, but he didn't want to be the reason she needed extra sleep, why she always looked so down. He wanted her to be happy but he was ruining it.

"I put her through too much already. She doesn't deserve the half of what she goes through for me. I'm already a burden. I don't deserve her," he whispered. "She deserves someone who can make her happy, not a broken soldier like me."

Silver was silent a long moment, then he sighed. "You're probably right, but you know what, she didn't choose anyone else. She chose you. And so what if Chaos is your younger brother. I take care of Chaos just as much as he takes care of me. Just because you have different roles doesn't mean you can't swap occasionally. They care about you. They love you, and knowing the both of them, they'd gladly wake up at 3 am to help you," Silver said firmly. "Because that's who family is and what family does."

Creed looked up at him some, feeling hollow. He knew Silver was right, but he couldn't suppress the feeling that he would be hurting them. They deserved better, even if they had chosen him.

"Sorry for the rant," Silver said after a moment and got up slowly. "I'm going back to bed," he mumbled and slipped off, disappearing back up the stairs.

Creed just watched him leave and looked around the silent empty living room. He knew Silver was right. He wanted that truth to shove out the lie that was pressing down on him, but he couldn't escape it. He'd messed up so much, ruined so many people's lives. He loved his wife, his brother, his family, and he didn't want to hurt them.

He screwed his eyes shut, feeling tears start down his face again, but he forced himself to open his eyes again and sit up quickly before he could stop himself. He got up and pressed himself to head back up the stairs, heading back to his and Skylar's room. He was shaking, overwhelmed, terrified, and still haunted by the nightmares.

He headed back inside the room, though, and timidly crawled back into bed, burying himself under the blankets and screwing his eyes shut. Tears began to slip down his face until he found himself sobbing, unable to stop. He heard Skylar shift, though, and tried desperately to choke back his tears so she wouldn't hear but he knew he'd already woken her up.

"Creed?" he heard her mumble in confusion. He curled in on himself, timidly peeking out through the cocoon of blankets he'd tried to hide in. He looked up, his eyes going wide as he met her eyes and he burst out sobbing and panting wildly, desperate to be in her arms.

"S-Skylar...I-I'm scared..."

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