|In Other Hands by Alicia Cameron|
Before Wren was inherited by his new master, his life was a nightmare that spanned years instead of hours, one from which he couldn’t wake, because it was real. His new master, Jere, is trying hard to prove to Wren that he is safe now and cared about, but ghosts from the past still haunt Wren. When Wren has a nightmare and doesn’t want to be touched, Jere finds a way to comfort Wren without touching anything but his heart. (M/M)
Before he knew it, he had wrenched out of his master’s arms and flung himself to the floor, crying and gasping for air. He could almost breathe now. He looked up to the bed, half expecting to see Master Burghe glaring at him in anger. Jere looked so different from Wren’s old master; not just the lighter hair or the youthful features, but the way he smiled at Wren, even though he was clearly worried, his eyes promising Wren that he would never do anything to harm him. But looks were easier to forget than touch and pain, and Wren’s skin still bristled with the memories of the dream.
“I can’t,” he moaned, shaking. “Please, sir, I can’t.”
He heard his master sigh, and he curled into a little ball to protect himself.
“Wren, it’s okay, it was a just a dream.”
Just a dream. No. No, it wasn’t. It was years of his life.
“Come on back to bed,” Jere coaxed.
Wren stood up, still panicked and shaking. “I can’t,” he repeated. “I can’t be touched!”
Without another word, he darted away, out of the room, down the hall, and into his own small bedroom. Wren quickly shut the door and crawled into his own bed, hiding under the covers as if it would make it go away. “I can’t be touched,” he repeated to himself, sobbing silently.
He waited, listening for the sounds of someone following. He dreaded the footsteps that he heard a few minutes later, and he went absolutely still as they drew nearer.
The footsteps moved away, and he heard the water turn on and a glass being pulled from the cabinet. The water shut off a few seconds later, and the footsteps indicated that Jere was walking back toward him. Wren prayed that he wouldn’t come in, that he wouldn’t push the issue, that he wouldn’t try to intrude on his moment of panic and terror.
He then heard a faint rustling, and realized that his master must have sat down. He relaxed slightly. Jere would have to stand up before coming into the room to do anything.
A few minutes of silence passed, and Wren finally felt his heartbeat begin to calm down. He still huddled under his covers, sobbing and shaking and wishing it would go away. Wishing he didn’t have to explain it to Jere. Wishing Jere would just go away and let him cry himself to sleep like he used to.
Wishing Jere was closer.
“I’m sorry.” Wren decided that the mind connection was the way to go. He wouldn’t have to shout through the door, and it might hide some of the fear in his voice.
“It’s okay.” Jere’s voice, even through the mindspeak, was calm and soft and kind. “I just… you didn’t have to leave. I’m sorry if I scared you.”
“It wasn’t you,” Wren clarified. “I… I’m fucked up. I can’t stand being touched sometimes, and I try not to let it get in the way, and usually I can, but tonight… I’m sorry, it was just too much.”