He hears it when the door clicks closed, signalling Taekwoon’s quiet entrance. He’s not up yet, just barely awake — his dreams were quiet, for once — but he turns and blinks blearily when Taekwoon sits at the edge of his bed.
“I, uh— I had a nightmare,” Taekwoon whispers, gaze only meeting his briefly. “Just needed to see another person.”
Oh. “You mean, like…?”
“Yeah, like you.”
Hongbin sits up and makes space for him to sit further onto the bed. From what he’s been told, Taekwoon has been doing extremely well for a long time since he escaped the army. This is strange. “Is it because of me?” he says hesitantly, not wanting to make this about himself but wondering if this is his fault, if his presence brings back bad memories that Taekwoon would rather keep tucked in the far, far back of his mind. He knows he would prefer that himself.
Taekwoon shrugs, seeming absent. “It might be,” he says earnestly. “But I don’t know. I have these days every now and then, before you came along too.”
“It never really goes away.” Hongbin sighs. It’s upsetting to see his friend suffer the same way he has. Even though, in a sick way, he feels relieved to have someone who understands his feelings and experience, and traumas, he simply wishes things were different. That they could be friends in a different situation.
“Sadly not…” Scooting a bit closer, Taekwoon leans into him, seeking warmth, comfort. Hongbin holds his hand carefully. They’ve become more comfortable with touch recently; they both find some comfort in it, especially with each other.
“Maybe when we’re old and forgetful we’ll finally have peace,” says Hongbin, smiling despite himself. Taekwoon chuckles softly into his shoulder, squeezes his hand gently.
They’re silent for some time, eventually lying back down in what resembles a cuddling position. “I dreamed about the corrections,” Taekwoon whispers. “Usually you don’t feel pain in dreams, but… I must remember it, because it felt fresh.”
Hongbin doesn’t reply, just lets him speak, as he’s been allowed to do. “It was hellish… I begged so many times for them to just kill me, it would be better, but they never did. I’m glad now, but… back then, I longed for it.”
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