Chris walked around the house aimlessly, watching his feet the whole way. He had nothing much to do; Erik and Riley were off at school, Tom, Ricky and Jeremy had gone out shopping, and he’d decided to stay home. He wanted the three to bond more, to spend more time together without himself there. He thought that maybe, just maybe, it’d help their relationship problems, even if it was only slightly.
He stopped once he reached the couch in the living room, settling himself down and looking up at the opposite wall. A soft smile grew over his face when he saw the pictures that were taken over the past year and a half. There were some of him, some of Tom and Ricky, and of all three. The newer ones had Jeremy as well, often with a wide smile on his face.
His personal favorite was of when Jeremy had gotten home exhausted from a day of work, and draped himself immediately on the nearest chair, which happened to have Tom resting in it. Chris was almost surprised that he’d manage to capture that moment. He smiled at the good memories, but it faded when the bad ones came to the forefront of his mind.
Chris broke out in soft shakes, staring at the ground when the image of Jeremy laying on the ground bleeding out flashed before him, then seeing him being carted away. He stared ahead, not quite seeing the house, and didn’t hear a thing when Jeremy and the others stepped in.
Jeremy smiled softly when he got into the house, holding a few bags of groceries. He went straight to the kitchen, smiling at Chris. He didn’t respond, and Jeremy stopped to look at him. He set the bags on the counter and went to kneel before the doctor. His eyes were wide, his breathing quiet and labored, and he gripped the couch with white knuckles.
“Chris? Are you alright?” He reached forwards, touching his cheek lightly, watching in concern when the ex-Medic’s eyes flicked over as if staring through him.
Chris watched helplessly as his lovers were carted away, turning to face where Ricky should’ve been. Instead, a familiar purple mist sat in his spot.
“Why do you continue on? I’m sure they don’t matter. Only a minor part in your lifetime, yes?” Chris shook his head fiercely.
“Never! Why must you continue to torment me? Get out of my head!” He screamed in pain when the purple man jumped at him, jumping off the couch and howling when he felt the cold claws raking down his face. Chris panted hard, looking around frantically. Jeremy stood before him, hands out, concern written clearly on his face.
“Chris? What’s wrong?” He asked. Chris could barely see Ricky and Tom behind the night guard, and that was all he needed for the tension in his body to drain through his feet, wrapping his arms tight around Jeremy. His husband gave a soft sigh of relief, hugging back. Jeremy looked down at him, still worried. “What happened? W-Was it…him again?“ Chris nodded, closing his eyes.
“H-He told me to do it again…n-never…I won’t do it!” He whimpered, pressing himself closer to Jeremy, who muttered softly into his ear to try and comfort him. The guard rested his head on Chris’ shoulder and closed his eyes.
Tom looked at them, a bit awkwardly, and stepped forwards. Chris looked up at him, smiling weakly. He kissed the Medic on the top of his head almost nervously. Jeremy slowly let go of Chris, running his fingers through the black and blond hair. He looked out the window, sighing when he saw the darkening sky.
“Let’s get you to bed, yeah?” Chris nodded, following the guard over to the bedroom. He lie down once the covers were pulled back. Jeremy kissed his forehead.
“I’ll be in after a few minutes, okay?” Chris smiled, closing his eyes as he covered himself up.
Jeremy sighed, walking back out and closing the door. Erik had come home, and looked around at the three.
“What happened?” The teen asked quietly. Jeremy looked over at him.
“Chris had a slight… hallucination, but it’s fine. You should get some rest.” Erik nodded slowly, slipping between Tom and Ricky to go to the room he shared with Riley. Tom watched quietly as Jeremy sat down on the couch, rubbing his face softly. Ricky settled next to him, rubbing his back.
“It’s alright, Jere, he’ll be fine. ‘M sure it’ll pass soon, yeah?” Jeremy nodded a bit, laying his head on Ricky’s shoulder. Tom shifted his weight and sighed. Jeremy looked up at him, studying him for a moment, then he sighed.
“When will you two go back to how it was before?” He said, and Tom froze, looking at Ricky. The ex- Scout looked back, giving him a harsh glare. Tom flinched slightly when he noticed the pure hatred in his gaze, staring down at the ground. Jeremy stood up, looking between them and sighing. He rubbed his arm softly, biting his lip.
“It’s…have you two seen what’s happening with Chris? H-He’s been staying up whole nights wondering if one of you will break off or something! I-I can see him emotionally wearing down by the day. S-Something needs to be done!” Jeremy sighed, turning on his heel and walking towards the bedroom, going to sleep next to Chris.
Tom looked up at Ricky, and lowered his hat, waiting until the runner followed Jeremy’s lead to settle on the couch, propping up his knee carefully.
Jeremy stretched out the next morning, finding himself alone in the bed. He looked around as he sat up, running his fingers through his mousey hair. He stood and stretched himself out with a tiny grunt when his joints popped. He stepped gingerly across the room to a light brown dresser, opening one drawer and digging around. He stopped when he noticed a slightly yellowed piece of paper on top of Chris’ area of the dresser, and lifted it gingerly. It was dated for about a month ago…
Alright…First time ever using one of my own therapy methods…
I know this letter will never be seen by you, but I wanted to try and explain why I’ve become so…different, lately. I’ve been rather mean, and I accept that but it doesn’t have to be the permanent reality. I’m not quite sure how I can possibly excuse my horrendous behavior, nor how to explain why, but I’ll try my best.
First, I wanted to try and resolve the argument we had a few years ago, when Jeremy had first arrived. It was all my fault…
A tiny, wrinkled spot showed where a tear had dripped from the doctor’s face.
I know that Jeremy is a beloved and sweet man, but I understand that I rushed in too soon. It’s my fault that this all broke out, that you grew angry at me. I was the one who began the fight, and who ran away from my problems and cut myself. I’m so sorry.
Second, I understand that these past five years haven’t gone so well, and that my own behavior has grown terrible. I am no longer the Christofer that you and Ricky fell in love with; rather, I am a lifeless shell of who I once was. I apologize for putting the <s>two</s>- five of you through my attitude. I seem to be the cause of every problem, and understand wholly if you despise me for it.
Third, I know now that I cannot force my ways of dealing with things upon you. Your nightmares remind me much of myself before everything, and my ways worked for me, I was only trying to help you. You pushed me away, and helped me realize that I cannot force you to do things the way I do. I’m glad you’ve showed me the error of my ways.
And finally, I know who I am. I’ve become the thing that I despised most. Where I used to be a ‘sweet, loving, brave German’ as you’ve said to me once yourself, I’m now an abusive, cruel, heartless monster. I’m so sorry for everything I’ve put you through. It was never my intention…Hell, I’d rather hurt myself than any of you. I love you all with every fiber of my being! These five years without Jeremy were all I could do to not have myself six feet under. The second he woke I held tight to him and wanted to never let go…
I suppose that’s all… I know this may never be seen by anyone but me, but understand that I love you all, and will keep you as safe as I can…
I love you all.
Jeremy looked up from the paper, shifting his gaze to look out the door, and he set down the paper to yank on his shirt. He left the room and squinted with the extra light in the bigger room. He looked around the lighter living room, spotting Ricky on the floor putting together a puzzle with Riley, Erik on the couch reading, and Tom in the tiny dining area sitting alone.
“Where’s Chris?” He asked the teen reading, looking around the room still.
“He’s in the garage. Came out about an hour ago and went right back in, haven’t seen him since.” Jeremy absently ruffled Erik’s carefully combed hair, striding swiftly to the heavy door and opening it. He peered through the dark location, spotting a lighter shadow.
“Chris?” He stepped in, turning on the light. Chris turned to face him and yawned, setting down a vial full of a golden liquid.
“What are you doing?” Chris shrugged, staring at the ground. Jeremy took his chin in one hand, lifting his head gently.
“Why are you out here? Did you get any sleep?” He shook his head slightly.
“I came out to see how much I could do…”
“To zhe formula for Tom’s knee…I have some leftover Australium from my old job.” He turned back to the table, yawning again. Jeremy shook his head and scooped him up. He was only given a weak protest before the doctor snuggled up to him with a soft purr.
Ricky looked up when he heard the garage door close, smiling a bit when he saw the doctor away from whatever he’d been doing in the garage. He stood after patting Riley on the back and walked up to them.
“Hey, doc, ya okay?” Chris nodded softly, reaching out to stroke his hair.
“Don’t vorry about me, I’m fine.” Ricky scoffed, rolling his eyes.
“Ya always say that, doc, don’t mean that it’s true.” Jeremy leaned close to Ricky and whispered softly in his ear.
“I found something that I think the two of you need to see. Let me talk to him first.” Ricky nodded, eyes a bit wide in wonder. He looked back at Tom, who hadn’t noticed the three talking, and still stared down at his injured knee.
Jeremy carted Chris off to the bedroom, lifting the paper and sitting on the end of the bed. He smiled when Chris immediately snuggled in close against his body. He ran his fingers gently through the German’s hair and sighed.
“Chris?” He waited until icy blue eyes met his own brown pair, “What is this?” He asked gently, holding up the paper. Chris took it into his own hands and sighed. He set it gently onto the bed next to Jeremy’s leg.
“It was a few weeks ago vhen zhe problems started. I-I vas still in a dark place, and I decided to see if I could get my feelings out on paper. It-It only vorked for… maybe a week?” Christofer shut his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Jeremy, I’m trying to be better, I really am.” Jeremy shook his head, kissing his forehead gently.
“Chris… we love you the way you are, you don’t have to change! We fell in love with Chris, and you’re still Chris.” The doctor sank against him, burying his face in the guard’s chest. Jeremy just held him quietly, trying to get him to relax.
After what seemed like hours of rubbing the doctor’s back, he noticed the weight getting heavier, and looked down to see his husband fast asleep. He grinned, lifting him and gently setting him under the covers of the bed. Jeremy sighed, running his fingers through his hair and quietly leaving the room, yellowed paper in hand.
Ricky looked up once he heard the door close, looking behind him.
“Hey, Jere. Is Chris okay?”
“Yeah, he’s asleep right now. Didn’t get any sleep last night. But I need to show you something. Tom, come here, please.” Tom looked up, a bit hesitant, but he stood once he heard the tone of his voice, walking carefully to the couch and settling on the far end, away from Ricky.
Jeremy settled between them, holding up the paper and reading it quietly, so they didn’t take up precious time reading it separately.
Ricky stared at him for a moment, eyes flicking down to the paper.
“How long did he feel like this…?” He said softly, gently tugging Jeremy’s hands closer to examine the paper more.
Tom sighed, rubbing his temples. He knew it was because of him. He refused to apologize to Ricky, and he just drove a wedge between himself and the rest of them.
“Alright, look, I’ll talk to ‘im when he wakes, an’ try t’ fix this as much as I can… It may not be much, but I’ll try.” Ricky glared at him, and snorted.
“Yeah, just don’t make anything worse, would ya?” Tom looked down at his own lap, sighing softly and nodding.
When Chris woke up a few hours later, he swallowed down the rising terror when he noticed that he was alone. His feet hit the floor a second later, and the door opened with a soft creak. Three sets of eyes landed on him once he stepped out.
“H-Hallo, liebes…vh-vhat’s wrong?” He asked nervously, and Tom stood.
“Alright…” He looked at Ricky first, “Look, Rick, I know I fucked up, that ya think I shouldn’t be here, but I ain’t ready t’ leave ya yet, an’ I wanna try ta make it all up to ya. Would ya be willing ta give me another chance?” Ricky looked down, grinding his teeth together, then looked back up as he stood.
“Fine… I will. But only ‘cause Chris an’ Jere already have. You screw up again, you’re out.” Tom nodded and turned to Chris, who shifted his weight nervously.
“Doc?” Chris looked up when the ex-Sniper stepped closer and took his smaller hands in his own rougher ones, “I saw th’ letter…ya not a failure in any way. Ya may have changed with the past five years, but ya still my sexy little doctor.” Chris blushed softly, then giggled lightly, and Tom scooped him up.
“I love ya doc, and nothin’ is ever gonna change that.” He kissed the German, and settled more into the couch. Chris hummed softly and nuzzled his neck happily. The doctor wrapped his arms around Tom’s torso, pulling himself close. Chris was content to be close to his husband, at the very least.
“Ich liebe dich auch, mein Sniper.”
Tom leaned on the doorframe silently, watching his husband talk with Erik quietly. Chris kept his hand on Erik’s shoulder, and the teen kept looking at the floor as if he were ashamed. After a few moments, a big grin grew over the doctor’s face, and he hugged Erik close. Tom edged closer quietly and just made out what the man had to say.
“Oh, Erik, that’s wonderful! Zhere’s no need to be ashamed, it’s completely fine. Actually, zhe feelings jou have are called being ‘Asexual’.”
“Oh, really? Uh, i-is it alright? I-I’m not a freak?” His face dropped when he heard this.
“Not at all!” Chris caught a slight movement from the corner of his eye, looking up. A smile stretched over his face again.
“Hallo, Tom. Are jou alright?” The Sharpshot nodded, stepping in completely and settling on the corner on the bed. He lay completely back and scooped up his doctor, pulling him close. Chris giggled softly and relaxed, looking at the furiously blushing Erik.
“Don’ worry none, kiddo. Be whoever you wanna be, who am I t’ stop ya? You know we’ll always love ya the same.” Erik nodded softly, smiling a bit more now.
“Thanks, uh, Tom…” Erik stood, still blushing, and left the room silently.
Chris hummed softly, laying his head back on Tom’s chest and relaxing further into the protective hold. He let his eyes slip closed once the sounds of the house died, and the only sounds were of Tom’s heartbeat and soft breathing. Tom himself stroked his hand over his doctor’s chest softly.
“Chris?” He said quietly, looking down towards Chris’ head. The smaller man gazed upwards.
“Ja, liebe? Vhat’s wrong?” Tom swallowed nervously.
“Uh… I want ya to know why I don’t wanna go through wi’ the surgery.”
“Nein, it’s alright. I vouldn’t trust me either.”
“No! No, it’s not that. I mean that…well, remember Tex’?”
“Engineer? Ja, I think I remember helping him build a hand after his vas lost. Vhy?”
Tom bit his lip softly, feeling a bit foolish. He was afraid of something that, normally, fix him right up and make his knee brand new again. But he remembered those robots they’d battled against, as well as the machine’s at that ‘Freddy Fazbear’s’ place, and shivered. He didn’t want to be like one of those things!
“Well, I’m kinda afraid of bein’ like him. That hand always made me feel a bit shaky… I hate ta admit it, love, but I don’t wanna be a robot!” Tom hugged Chris tighter, shaking his head. Chris laughed softly, wriggling around and laying his chin on the ex-Sniper’s chest.
“It’s alright. I thought jou might react like zhat, so I have a backup plan. I’m trying to get zhe Medi-Gun vorking again.” Tom’s shoulders relaxed in relief, rubbing Chris’ back softly. He looked out the window and up at the stars, smiling softly. They looked so beautiful out here…
He closed his eyes quietly, finally able to fall asleep at a normal time, knowing that they’d all be okay. At least he’d resolved his problems with Chris, and that was all that really mattered in the long run. Things would be okay.