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Near Death Experience

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Like usual, Sugawara couldn't breathe.

The water kept rushing into his mouth and up his nose, suffocating him and making him gasp harder. He sputtered and choked and kept trying to push down as if the water would solidify and offer him purchase. His feet kept sinking as if at any moment they would touch the lake bed and he'd finally be able to stand to his full height.

He wanted to call out. He could see swimmers in the distance, but they were too far away and he didn't have enough air in his lungs. He could even hear children laughing over his own desperate breathing. The shore danced with the water clouding his vision and just before he sunk beneath the surface, he glimpsed a clear blue sky.

The moment Sugawara took his last breath was the moment he woke up.

He was gasping and something tightened around his midsection, securing him to the spot. He started to panic and in a flurry of flailing limps, managed to hit whatever was holding him down.

"Ow! Kou-chan, what's wrong?"

The sleepy voice was both familiar and not, and it took Sugawara a moment to recognize the form beside him.

"Tooru?" he whispered.

Oikawa barely opened his eyes while he nodded. "Was is that dream again?"

"Yeah." Sugawara sat up for a few moments, just trying to breathe.

For years he'd had the same nightmare, again and again, of the day he drowned. He managed to survive because some passersby swimmer saved him, and to this day he was still friends with the man, even going so far as to calling him best friend. Sugawara didn't know what he would have done had Daichi not saved him.

Sugawara's neck was covered in sweat and he didn't feel like laying down again. He felt wide awake and totally exposed, knowing nothing would calm him down after his repeated nightmare. Usually he'd walk around his apartment and make a cup of tea or five, waiting until dawn broke and he had to start his day. But next to him, Oikawa just rolled onto his side and lifted an arm.

Sugawara stared at the brunet next to him, wondering again why it was Oikawa put up with him.

Since meeting Oikawa, Sugawara's nightmares had diminished quite some bit, but still hadn't gone away. Oikawa was a champ and despite his airy attitude about most things, was able to understand what Sugawara dreamt about.

The two made an odd pair and Sugawara always wondered what Oikawa got out of it all, but nonetheless, he was grateful they were together.

Finally, Sugawara laid down and shifted until Oikawa could wrap his arms around him. Oikawa smelt like shampoo and felt like silk, and the tightening of his arms around Sugawara made the silver-haired man sigh contentedly.

"It's okay, you know, Kou-chan," Oikawa murmured.

"What is?"

"To let go. You're safe here, Kou-chan." Sugawara could feel Oikawa's lips brush against the top of his head while the other spoke, but could tell by the slurring and slow movement, that Oikawa was practically asleep.

It was Oikawa's slow and steady breathing that finally settled down Sugawara's pounding heart. He closed his eyes and snuggled in deeper, cherishing the fact that Oikawa could always calm him down.

What seemed like minutes later though, the alarm clock went off. Sugawara groaned and rolled onto his side, his arm flung out in search of the infuriating sound. When he managed to shut it off, he opened his eyes slowly and glanced around the room. It was cold and light was coming in through a crack in the curtains, but it seemed like it would be a good morning. Sugawara contemplated just closing his eyes again and falling back to sleep, but knew he had to get on with his day.

He rolled over again to face the other side of the bed, and was surprised to find it empty. He moved his arm across the pillows and sheets, noting how cold they were.

And then like a jolt, Sugawara's eyes started to water and his lungs constricted.

Like usual, Sugawara couldn't breathe when he woke up from his nightmares. It always started with the memory of drowning and then waking with Oikawa wrapping his arms around him. And then Sugawara would wake up for real and remember that the drowning didn't actually happen to him.

He couldn't even remember the exact date anymore. Years had gone by since Oikawa had died. Sugawara still blamed himself for suggesting they take a trip up to the lake, fully knowing that Oikawa couldn't swim. Thinking it would be fine, that the water wasn't that deep and that Sugawara would be there to help if need be; they went in.

He had been flaunting, swimming circles around his boyfriend while his boyfriend drowned. It happened in a matter of minutes, and before Sugawara knew what had happened, Oikawa's head had disappeared from the surface.

Sugawara had panicked and the next thing he knew, he was sputtering up lake water with a paramedic by his side and sirens screeching in the distance. Children weren't laughing anymore and the sky seemed a depressing shade of grey, even though there wasn't a single cloud in the sky.

Sugawara's breath hitched and he closed his eyes, forcing the memory from his mind and instead pictured Oikawa there, whispering in his ear.

It was okay. He was safe. He could let go.