Description: After tragedy strikes, Hope and Noel discover that they have no one to turn to but each other. XIII2 Normal End. HopexNoel, with HopexVanille and NoelxYeul elements.
Vignette 3: Comfort
Hope awoke, screaming.
Before he knew it, a pair of strong arms were around him.
"Shh… shh… It's okay, Hope. It was just a nightmare." It was Noel's voice.
The scientist began to breathe again. It was the third time this week that he'd woken up this way. Noel had only had one nightmare this week. The older man wondered if these terrible dreams would ever stop plaguing them.
As he relaxed into his companion's embrace, he tried to remember what it had been like before Noel had moved into his room with him. He shuddered at the now distant memory of all those nights alone, waking up to these terrifying dreams. He had always been too frightened to fall back asleep. Every time he fell asleep, he imagined Vanille's crystal being shattered, and he imagined the black abyss that had begun to eat away at the edges of the world swallowing him whole. Mostly, he imagined terrible things happening around him, and being completely powerless to stop them.
When Noel had finally confessed to similar dreams, Hope had been relieved. He wasn't alone. For the very first time since his father had passed, he wasn't alone. And now, thirteen months since the world had merged with Valhalla, he still had his companion.
Hope had honestly believed that Noel would leave, just as Sazh and Dajh had. He thought that Noel would leave in search of his beloved- the seeress, Yeul. He never did though. He went out to search for her, certainly, but he always planned his expeditions for whenever Hope was available to come with him. He learned that Noel feared being alone for too long. It was a common phobia, but also one that Hope could empathize with. Having been alone himself for years, he understood that pain all too well. However, the younger man's phobia was much more pronounced. Where the scientist could easily distract himself with other things, the hunter wasn't quite so lucky.
Noel had told him that he was terrified to sleep at night, because he was all alone in that other bedroom. He grew up in the wild, where danger lurked at every corner, and after Caius had left, and Yeul had died, Noel had walked for days, too afraid to rest for fear of being attacked by some wild creature. Even though the rational part of the young man's mind told him that he was safe inside the locked apartment, it was still difficult for him to sleep. That endless awareness of danger was too powerfully ingrained into his psyche. He had slept easier that first night in Hope's room, though.
Hope remembered that Noel had laid on the floor, wrapped within the comforter from the other bed. Neither of them were expecting much sleep that night, so they stayed up talking instead. The platinum blonde had learned everything about the brunette's childhood, and vice versa. He told Noel about playing in the tunnels all over Palumpolum, and Noel told him about all of his most memorable hunts. That was when their relationship became more than just a relationship between roommates, or acquaintances. After that night, they had begun to truly bond.
Then came the day that Noel had his first truly terrifying nightmare. He had dreamed that he had killed Yeul himself- at Caius' behest. That was when Hope finally convinced the young man to stop sleeping on the floor, and sleep on the empty half of the king sized bed. He had grabbed a washcloth from the bathroom and ran it under cold water. Then, he gently wiped the sweat from the hunter's brow. That was the first night that Hope had fallen asleep with Noel in his arms.
Now, as Hope lay curled up within Noel's embrace, he felt comfortable. They were always there for each other. They provided one another with much needed familiarity and comfort. It was commiseration, yes, but it was also contentment. They were gradually beginning to heal one another's emotional wounds.