halloween trauma

Jul 16th, 2021
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  1. asriel's not doing too well
  2. you expected him to have a great time, he's always liked scary stuff, but...
  3. there's a castle nearby, nothing that fancy or big, really just a couple old buildings and a lot of surrounding land
  4. you're not sure if it's nationally protected like a park, privately owned and operated, or somewhere inbetween
  5. every year it opens up on halloween for about what you’d expect
  6. haunted tours, magicians and fire jugglers, the hedge maze gets decked out with fake cobwebs and some people in costumes
  7. he held your hand a little tightly on the way to the maze, but he was adamant he was alright
  8. that went out the window after the guy jumped out
  9. the gimmick is simple: a guy in a costume "chases" you down the final corridor, making sure he never quite catches up
  10. maybe it’d scare a kid, or someone with a phobia of whatever they’re dressed up as that year
  11. asriel bolted and dragged you stumbling along with him, startling the attendant outside
  12. taking a second to rest after your hand slips loose, making sure you hadn’t pulled anything getting yanked around like that, he kept on pacing
  13. away from the maze, away from the pathways and people, off into the fields
  14. you have to chase after him in the dark, and find him sitting on a rock just barely in range of lanternlight
  15. he's shaking
  16. muttering things to himself
  17. "I'm sorry..."
  18. "I wasn't myself, I never meant to..."
  19. "It's over. It's over. We're all okay."
  20. oh
  21. oh no
  22. he's having, well he's definitely having something
  23. you're no expert on episodes or flashbacks, but he hasn't even noticed you
  24. his eyes look glassy, unfocused
  25. something is wrong, and you don't know what to do
  26. slowly, you kneel down next to him, tentatively reaching your hand to his shoulder
  27. he flinches at the contact, but it seems to snap him out of it
  28. he looks terrified
  29. "...I'm sorry for ruining our night out."
  30. he doesn't usually beat himself up like that, he's always so optimistic, so confident everything will turn out alright
  31. it's like flicking a lightswitch
  32. soothing words, stroking his back, you don't want to push your luck by getting too cozy, don't want him to feel trapped or cornered
  33. he takes the initiative, all but leaping into you
  34. not saying anything now, letting his body do the talking with every uncertain breath and shiver
  35. you ask him if he wants to talk about it
  36. "Never."
  37. there's something in his voice, like he's not happy with that answer
  38. you don't push him, just do your best to soothe him
  39. eventually, he seems comfortable standing, and you start to make your way back to the courtyard
  40. he's not trying to hold back now, his hand constricting the bloodflow of yours
  41. you wouldn't dream of asking him to ease up
  42. you hole up at a table in the corner of the courtyard, just in time to hide under an awning and avoid the onset of rain
  43. you get up to grab a drink from the cafe, and he bolts up to come with you, not wanting to be left alone
  44. you grab some ice cream while you're there, he loves the stuff
  45. it's calm in your corner, everybody who didn't bring a coat or umbrella scurrying indoors or back to their cars
  46. it's a lot more private now - you turn to give him a quick kiss, and he stops you
  47. "I'm..."
  48. the moment stretches on, his hand doesn't move from your chest, holding you at a distance
  49. finally, he seems to land on "You deserve better."
  50. it's all you can do not to laugh at the suggestion
  51. he's the most wonderful person you've ever met
  52. he senses you didn't take his words to heart, and with a lot of struggle, he starts to open up
  53. it starts off slow, talking about his childhood
  54. the buttercups, the plan
  55. the determination machine
  56. it’s more than you can really brace for
  57. there's an edge in his voice as he describes the things he's done, uncertain flickers of pride mixed in
  58. it's the acid dripping from him as he mutters out "Idiot." that really unbalances you
  59. you've never heard him sound like that, and you can tell it’s aimed inwards
  60. he hid it all so well
  61. you’re not sure what to make of it
  62. it sounds unbelievable, but before long you figure out what you want
  63. you want to help him
  64. whether he’s delusional or truthful and traumatized, it’s tearing at him all the same
  65. your asriel, your wonderful, loving azzy
  66. burning up
  67. it’s awful to think about
  68. he's shrinking into himself in the silence you’ve left, hunching up, almost on the verge of tears
  69. you know what he expects out of you now
  70. it's not for you to lean over and kiss him anyway
  71. he doesn't really seem to parse it properly, at first
  72. you're wondering if you should do it again, before he melts into you
  73. soft laughter, quiet tears, and more shaking
  74. it's different this time, though
  75. he's releasing tension, not building it
  76. you share the moment, and the next, and the next
  77. you share a few more hours peoplewatching into the morning, another few on the train home and on the walk back, and about 15 minutes of stripping down and brushing your teeth before you both collapse
  78. you share the night, contented knowing you'll share the morning too
  79. asriel has nightmares
  80. he never talks about them, he tries not to acknowledge them at all, but they've woken you up pretty often
  81. you always try to comfort him, and now that he's opened up you're a lot more confident you know what to say
  82. but if he has them tonight, it doesn't stir you
  83. when you wake up next to him, he's smiling, calm and rested as can be
  84. you wouldn't trade the moment for the world
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