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"Homecoming, Part One: Departure" (Part 2)

Elliot Parsons jerked upright in bed, slick with sweat, his sheets clinging to him like a second skin. For one panicked moment his eyes darted across the shadows in the room, searching for something hidden in their depths. He found only small towers of textbooks, rumpled clothing, the odd jut of a armchair’s shoulder, the benign outlines of a table lamp. The shadows were only that – nothing sinister tonight. Elliot took a deep breath and ran a hand down his face, letting it float over his mouth as he listened to the decelerating thump of his heart and the hiss of his breath between his fingers, and finally felt the wet chill of his sweat-drenched sheets against his bare skin.

“Elliot?”

Alex stirred beside him, his voice muffled with sleep. Elliot glanced behind him, abruptly angry with himself for having reacted so violently to a dream. He leaned over and smoothed a hand along Alex’s bare arm.

“Go back to sleep, Alex. It’s nothing.”

As usual, even barely awake and half-brain-dead, Alex didn’t listen. He sat up, rubbing his eyes, and laid a hand on Elliot’s shoulder.

“You alright?” He looked down sharply, brows furrowing as wakefulness dribbled into his face. “You’re soaking wet! What happened?”

“Nothing. Just a nightmare.”

“Again?” Alex took Elliot into his arms, warm and comforting. “God, you’re freezing! That must’ve been some nightmare. You wanna talk about it?”

Elliot sighed and leaned his head back into Alex, listening to his heartbeat and feeling his warmth wash over him. He ran a hand along his lover’s biceps, tracing the smooth lines of muscle underneath the skin, the fine dusting of golden mist-like hair along his forearms, and let them chase away the strange terror of the nightmare.

“No, I’m fine. It’s…I don’t know. Actually it’s creepy, is what it is, but…that’s all.” Elliot closed his eyes, simply taking in the warmth of Alex’s skin against his as the last vestiges of the nightmare slowly faded away. Alex ran a slow hand through his hair, pausing so often to unsnarl some particularly stubborn tangles, and Elliot settled into the comforting sensation. At length, he glanced at the bedside clock. “Christ, it’s six already. I hate waking up this close to class.” He raised himself up and kissed Alex on the cheek, then swung his legs out of bed and reached for his glasses. “You go back to sleep, see if you can get a couple of hours. I’m just going to get up, maybe go for a run.”

Alex shook a hand through his own hair, raising a mess of blond cowlicks, then leaned into the side of Elliot’s neck. “You’ve got at least an hour before you need to start getting ready. Come back to bed. I’ll keep the bad dreams away.” He kissed him on the shoulder.

“Ugh. Alex, stop that. I’m not seven.” Elliot laughed, pushing him away. “Anyway, you know if I go back to bed now I’ll be groggy and grumpy all day.”

“Mmmm…yeah, wouldn’t want a grumpy Elliot,” Alex grinned at him, then slid his hand along the outside of Elliot’s thigh, tugged lightly at the waistband of his boxers. “Well, if you’re going to get up anyway…”

“Don’t you have an exam today?” Elliot allowed a severe expression to fall over his face, but suspected the grin tugging at the corners of his mouth ruined the effect.

“What does that have to do with anything?” Alex’s grin widened as his hand slipped underneath the boxers’ waistband and his finger traced a teasing circle against Elliot’s skin. Elliot gave in to the smile as a warm tingle spread up his back and across his side.

“You’re terrible.” Elliot leaned in and brushed against Alex’s lips with his own. A chaste kiss. Even Alex’s morning breath hinted of cinnamon. “Don’t blame me if you fall asleep in class and fail,” he said.

You’re warning me about falling asleep in class?” Alex replied with a snarky grin. He leaned in and they shared an open-mouthed kiss. Alex’s lips were soft, silky, and Elliot felt a bare hint of tongue dance across the bottom of his incisors. Heat rose into his cheeks and tingled down his extremities, spreading across to the front of his now straining boxers. Elliot shifted back onto Alex, kneeling over him at the waistline, then slowly kissed him on the neck, allowing the tip of his tongue to glide along his jugular. Alex inhaled sharply, two staccato breaths, and gave a soft moan high in his voice.

Elliot smiled into the curve of his neck, “Yeah, okay. Point taken. You talk too much.”

All thoughts of darkness and shadow, and the remainder of the pre-dawn night, were lost in the warmth of heavy breath and sliding muscle.

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