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A Warm, Beating Heart

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Feeling the freezing cold bite and tear into his skin, Jensen forces himself to keep his eyes closed. This goes the same way every time, every night. There truly is no escape from her. 

The dark, merciless cold will set in. Then water rises up and sinks into him until he can't breathe anymore. No matter how hard he fights, he can't break the surface for a single bit of air. 

Then she comes. She always does. He knows it, she knows it. 

She used to be nice to him, coaxing him to be loyal. Until he wanted to leave. Every time he tried to run, she would find him and punish him harsher. Until one day she threw him in a box- 

His 'cage', she called it. 

Logically, Jensen knows he isn't there anymore. Physically he isn't there anymore. He isn't there anymore. 

Then why can he still feel her grasp around his neck and yanking his hair. 

"I always told you," he can feel her breath hitting his face as she speaks, "you'll never get far from anyone with hair like this." 

"You're not here- I'm not here. This is a dream." The pain from the jerk she gives his hair tells a completely different story. 

"Little rabbit, I will hunt you until the end of your days." She throws him on the ground, pressing a sharp heel over his heart. "Open your eyes." 

He grits his teeth in a mixture of the pain and his own stubbornness. "No." He knows its childish- Hoping that if he just can't see her, then she isn't really there. Even though he can feel her, hear her. Maybe if he can just keep his eyes shut tight enough, he might be able to make this nightmare change into something else- anything else. 

"He's not coming to save you this time, my child." Her voice drips venom, waiting for the perfect chance to sink the toxins in his blood with a bite. Jensen, against his better judgement, falls for her bait. "You will be the reason he meets his end. His blood will be on your hands. And you will come home to me." 

His eyes fall on the most sickening sight-

A scream rattles inside Jensen's chest, the shock to his heart jerking him awake before the wail has the chance to reach his throat. The scream that didn't escape leaves him gasping for a breath. He can hear his heart- It beats rapidly against his ribcage, threatening to shred him apart. 

"Wha- what the fuck…" That was the first time she had shown him… something like that. "Fuck, I think I'm going to be sick-"

Leaning forward, he grips the sheets tightly, the smooth satin being forgiving for his rough treatment. Jensen looks around the lavish room lit by the evening's sunlight. Its warmth pools in the room, soaking into his skin, as if trying to wash away the chill from the nightmare. He relaxes and clenches his fists in the sheets as he continues to work on grounding himself. 

I am safe. This is where I am- in Donnie's ridiculous apartment. In Southland. 

As his heart slows and his breathing evens out, he catches a scent of lemon, spices, and herbs. Whatever the fuck he's cooking smells amazing. Jensen moves to get out of bed, hoping to forget that last split second of his dream. He's alive. He's fine. 

His socks don't make a sound as he slinks out from his room. In the kitchen, Donnie is singing something that he can't quite make out as he makes some type of burritos. 

His blood will be on your hands. 

He swallows harshly, trying to get rid of the knot in his throat. Pushing her voice to the back of his mind, he walks over to the island with wobbly legs. Pulling himself up to sit on the counter, Jensen tries not to stare at the way Donnie's hips occasionally sway. Instead, he looks over to the partially filled skillet. It looks like he cooked some type of chicken. 

A short shriek pulls his attention back to Donnie, who looks like he almost dropped the plate he was holding. 

Oops.  

Donnie catches his breath as he puts the plate down next to Jensen. "Damn, give a man a warning before you try to give him a heart attack-" 

Flinching, Jensen quickly averts his gaze from the other. 

It doesn't go unnoticed by Donnie; he softens his tone, "Sorry Jen, I didn't mean to snap at you." When Jensen just wordlessly shakes his head, Donnie worries. "What's up? Did you see something on TV?" 

Jensen forces his voice to make some form of syllables. "No. Nightmare." He has to fight back the urge to cry more than he'd particularly like to admit. He's had them before. This isn't something new. But, that was new. The image of Donnie like that... He's fine. It was just another one of her fucking illusions. 

"Oh." Donnie stares at Jensen, who is still avoiding eye contact. He feels awkwardly dumb for not knowing what to say to comfort his friend.  

Friend? Is that right to use? Not the point Don-  

Donnie gets an idea before grabbing a bottle of water for Jensen. "Drink this and let's eat some food. It'll help you feel better. Then after, I have something for you." 

Accepting the water, Jensen follows Donnie out of the kitchen. 

 

+×+×+×+

 

After the late lunch, Donnie leads Jensen into the living room. He sprawls across the love seat and motions for Jensen to join him. 

Jensen looks at him like he's grown a third eye. "What?"

Donnie ignores the blush rushing to his face. "I promise it'll help you feel better, if you're willing to try. Lay on my chest." 

His expression turns flat, "you know there's not enough room for the birth of us on th-" 

"Yes," Donnie leans his head off the arm of the love seat with an exasperated sigh, "I know-" 

He releases a strangled groan when Jensen hops over on him, knocking the wind out of both of them. 

That hurt like hell- Donnie gives him a glare. "Was tha-at really necessary?" 

Trying to capture his breath for the second time, he chuckles lowly. "Abso-fuckin-lutely." Donnie's body is so warm. "Why didn't you tell me you were a space heater? Is that another cyborg part?" 

"Pfft, okay wise guy," relaxing into the seat, Donnie threads his fingers through Jensen's hair and wraps his other arm snuggly around the middle of Jensen's back.

Jensen eases onto Donnie's chest, laying his head down while the other combs through his hair gently. He can hear Donnie's heart beating rhythmically in his chest. His chest rises and falls with every breath. A beating, living heart. 

He's okay.  

He closes his eyes and clenches Donnie's shirt in his fist. Donnie begins to hum some tune and they stay like that for a long while. Somehow comfortable on a very cramped seat, soaking in each other's warmth. 

Watching the sunset over the city, Jensen decides to break the silence before this even gets the chance to be awkward. "Heh, where'd you get the idea for this? One of Briggs's old romance movies?" 

Chuckling, Donnie continues to brush out Jensen's long hair. "Funny joke, but no. I remembered that when I was younger and either I was hurt or my dad was stressed out, my ma would do this for us. My dad would do it for me sometimes too. It always worked on us, so I thought it would for you too." 

Letting those words sink in for a moment, Jensen hums. "It does." This is exactly what he needed. "Thanks." He smiles at the skipped beat in Donnie's chest. His breathing remains even, keeping the soothing pace. 

He expects him to quip back with some smart response, but instead, "you're welcome." 

As the sun disappears from the apartment's view, the two let the rest of the world fade away from their warm little corner.