The most painful thing in the universe, far more painful than any abuse, rejection, combat, hell worse than broken hearts- is the reaction you feel when people you care for say that something they normally love about you, they see as dangerous, or is something they fear. Intentionally said or not, the notion shatters the universe you inhabit. Walls are built faster than you can realize. Walls to protect those around you from them. It’s only a matter of time until you disappear completely just to keep them safe.
Sleep is supposed to be a reset, an ability for the body, mind and soul to recover from whatever happened during the previous day so that they are ready for the next one. For Alexi though, sleep meant revisiting all things that kept him up at night. Between fears and nightmares, sleep meant emotional distress because he didn’t get a peaceful reset, he only got another wave of demons to fight- his own.
“I know what you are saying, I just– all I am saying is that- when you project those fears onto me–”
“Oh so I’m supposed to just get over it? Alexi- you realize what you’re asking?”
“That is not even remotely what I’m saying. I am saying that intentionally done or not- your actions, though entirely justified, have damn consequences, I am simply asking you acknowledge that you know that, I have done stupid shit you know but at least I own up to it.”
“You’re over reacting- and being a bit of an ass about it, all I’ve said is that people like that are dangerous, I should have said something else, you’re right, maybe something like they terrify me after what I have gone through growing up. Hows that? Better for you?”
Alexi didn’t respond, his eyes simply became lost, all sound caught in his throat, fighting to escape but his mind held everything back, not because it feared saying the wrong thing, but because it couldn’t formulate any of those sounds into a response. People like that terrified them? People like -him- terrified them. He was one of those people, did she realize that or was it simply something they were trying to convey he was misunderstanding. Why didn’t they say that he terrified them? Were they terrified to tell him? Was he hurting them all this time and their fear muted them to the problem? Anything they were saying now wasn’t reaching him, no Alexi had gone into a different mindset, he wasn’t there, he was inside himself, so far inside that he might have actually forgotten and become auto pilot because the response he finally gave was a simple.
“I have to leave, sorry. It’s fine, forget it.”
He awoke panting, sweat in his hair and his body clammy. His heart rate was high and Shade was standing over him, that sad look in her eyes as she nudged him and licked his face, he didn’t notice at first but she was cleaning his tears away. He was crying in his sleep. That memory, he figured by now he’d have been over it. But it still brought him the same numb feeling. He nodded slowly and sat up, motioning that he was ok, but Shade didn’t buy it and instead laid at his side, her head in his lap looking up at him those eyes still sad as he felt. So he began to pet her slowly to assure her he was fine. Echo was looming nearby, not a beep was made, either they were finally accustomed to his sleeping behavior or for once the machine didn’t know how to respond to whatever happened in his sleep. He wanted to say something, to talk about it to them. Hell he wanted to take the weight off his back. But nothing came to him. No words, no indication he wanted to be pried for information. Simply auto pilot behavior. His throat was dry and a bit sore, but he didn’t reach for the water bottle nearby. Took him a minute to notice but he finally noticed that his shoulders and arms were shaking, not a lot but enough to make his body feel almost out of phase, he tried to sit up straight but his back felt heavy.
Shade’s ears perked slightly, but she remained glued to him, it took a minute to realize why, Alexi was humming. He didn’t even notice his own behavior. He was humming a very quiet weak attempt at a love song he knew. It was about state of bliss when everything around you is a source of joy. It was not some long song, instead it was really short, simply. Some people played it with those tiny acoustic guitars. The title wasn’t even in the same language as the lyrics. Humming it caused a tiny pit in his heart which hurt but he didn’t stop because it also filled the rest of him with a bit of hope.
“…press me to your…I’m in a world apart… where roses” he muttered, well more like croaked out. His voice was shot, but after that he returned to humming. After a while though he leaned forward and rested his forehead on Shade’s and whispered thanks.
“Sorry I’m like this.” He added.
He finally rose to his feet, reluctantly. Shade staying near his side, not convinced he was ok but would be near in case he needed her.
“Echo, lead the way, Novak said we should investigate the center of The Brink for this Shatter Point stuff. So let’s go.”