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Story Notes:
Set post Grave Danger
He sleeps now, but it isn't peaceful, despite the drugs and the fact that he is so plainly physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted his sleep is not restful and I am certain he will wake us both with nightmares before long. Not that I will be asleep, because despite how tired I am, I can't bare to take my eyes of him for even a second.

It was so close, had we been just a few seconds later I could have lost him forever, a thought that leaves a chill so deep in my bones I'm not certain I'll ever feel warm again.

His parents have long since gone back to the hotel, its closer to being sunrise than I realized until the nurse came into check his vitals a while ago, giving me a disapproving glare, but not asking me to leave. I wouldn't have even if she'd asked, but Nick's tight grip on my hand seems to soften the strongest disposition, no one could deny him and as long as he wants me to stay, I will do... I'm not even sure I'd be able to make my legs work to leave anyway and more importantly I don't want to leave.

We've never really talked about it, never really defined it, which is probably more to do with my emotional inabilities, than his. We sleep together, but never two nights in a row, we don't date, at least in the sense of actually going out on a date, but Nick has cooked for me on occasion, mainly when we've both had too much work and too little sleep. He says it calms him, cooking, taking the time to wind down after a rough shift... or three in a row as has occasionally been the case.

It’s a funny thing; at least it would be, except that all this, almost losing him like that, made me realize just how unfunny it is. We're not really a couple, but we aren't really friends. We haven't been with anyone else the whole time we've been 'not quite together', but we aren't exclusive. We're in a permanent sort of limbo... purgatory at its best and worst, because I won't step forward and he won't push me.

We are perhaps each other's worst enemies. Nick is giving me everything he thinks I want, not pushing, never assuming, giving himself freely, expecting nothing in return. I am taking it all, letting him give and never asking for more, never offering more of myself than is strictly necessary. Nick is killing me with kindness and I am destroying him with indifference.

If I have to thank the bastard that did this for anything its making me understand things more clearly, making me see what we've both been doing, making me understand what my world might be like without Nick in it, with only my bugs to keep me warm at night... and it was not a pleasant world.

"Gil, why are you crying?" Nick's voice startles me, I wasn't aware he was awake, or that I was crying, but I find I can't stop as one hand, still raw with ant bites reaches up to brush the wetness from my cheek.

"You scared me Nicky." I tell him, mustering all the courage I never had until I met him and looking him straight in the eyes. "I love you."

The look on his face, his eyes brightening, smile threatening to crack his face into a million pieces, that look is worth all the pain I've ever felt and to know I put it there is an amazing feeling.

And just when I think it couldn't get better... "I love you too."

If I never see Nick get so much as a paper cut ever again it'll still be too soon, but for now I'm just going to concentrate on getting him home, with me where he belongs and never letting him out of my sight again.


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