Blood.

He tasted blood, he smelled blood, he felt blood, he saw blood.

Blood all around.

Blood on the broken houses and furniture and family pictures and the carpets and beds and windows.

Blood on the ground, on the pink blooming flowers, on the shiny grass, between the rocks of the stone road.

Blood on broken bones and open wounds, on gauged out eyes and dislocated jaws, on missing fingers and limbs, on bitten off heads and torn in half bodies.

He saw blood on Tom.

His eyes were white and kohl splattered on his cheeks and nose. His horn was gone, a hole on the side of his head replacing it. His hair was disheveled and burned and cut and pulled, his arm missing at the elbow and his leg broken to pieces. His clothes were torn, gashes that went so deep you could see his organs and bones littered his stomach and chest, muscles torn and opened.

He walked towards him slowly, shocked and terrified. It couldn't be real. This can't be real. It was a dream, it was a dream, it was a dream-

He fell to his knees, the pain in his burnt and scratched legs not registering.

His hands shook visibly as he slowly reached to touch his beloved-

Don't.

He snatched his hand back. His breath was labored, bordering on sobs and uneven.

This is your fault.

"N-No…" He started shaking even more, his eyes wider and tears going down his cheeks. He tried to curl himself up, tried to hide away, but he felt a thousand eyes on him no matter how small he tried to make himself appear.

It is. You know it is.

"C-Can't… I-It's not…" His chest was heaving, panic seeping into his soul as he continued to stare at Tom. "P-Please…" He tried to reach out again, flinching as the voice boomed.

DON'T TOUCH HIM.

"Please-!" He gasped pathetically, clutching his hand to his chest and sobbing uncontrollably.

YOU DON'T GET TO TOUCH HIM.

A loud, broken and hurt gasp escaped his lips, his tears coming tenfold. He was shaking and hurting and panicking and breaking down slowly.

THIS IS YOUR FAULT.

"No!" He tried to protest weakly, falling forward. His head hit the ground as his hand was still clutched to his chest, knees hurting and red from the stone underneath.

YOU DIDN'T LOVE HIM ENOUGH.

"I love him, please!" A pathetic cry followed his words, ugly noises coming from him filling the silence.

IT'S YOUR FAULT.

"No, plea-ase!" He shook his head, trying to make it all stop, make it all disappear. His skin was tingly and bruised and cut and hurting and it felt like a mosquito bite compared to what he felt now. The ache in his heart was like claws sharp as knives digging in it. It was like his soul was leaving his body, too weak to support it.

IT'S YOUR FAULT!

"No!" Marco woke up in a cold sweat, his cheeks tear stained and pink, his eyes wide and his whole body shaking. Panic. Panic panic panic panic panic panic PANIC-

"Marco?" A groggy voice asked beside him, a soft hand landing on his fore arm. His head began to spin when he turned it, but the relief he felt overpowered it as he flung himself at Tom. An ugly sob escaped his mouth as the demon yelped, wrapping his arms around his boyfriend securely. "Hey, what happened, dove? It's okay, I'm right here-"

"I love you." Tom paused for a second and sighed softly.

"I love you, too-"

"I love you so much." The demons chuckled gently.

"I love you more-"

"Please, I love you so much, Tom, just- please." Another sob racked his body as he buried his head in his boyfriend's neck, feeling shielded from that horrible nightmare.

"Hey, Marco, what happened?" Tom tried again, concern bringing his brows together as he tried to pry the human away so he could look at him.

"No, no, please, I love you so much, Tom, I- please." His crying began anew as he was pushed away, his hands gripping at Tom's pajamas tightly.

"Hey, dove, look at me." Tom said softly, bringing his hand to Marco's chin and lifting it so he could look at those terrified eyes. "I'm right. Here. I'm not going anywhere. Okay? It was just a bad dream."

"Horribly terrifying bad dream." It was pathetic how broken his voice was, but his throat was sore and he didn't give two shits about how he looked or sounded or acted. He needed Tom now.

"And it's over." The demon said and kissed him softly, feeling some of the tension seep away from his boyfriend. "Come on." He pulled the other into his arms and rested his chin on his head. He made sure to wrap the blankets and around them like a nest and held Marco as tight as he dared without suffocating him, making him appear small and feel safe. Their legs got tangled as the human curled himself a little, hiding his head in his boyfriend's neck again. "We can talk about tomorrow if you want, okay?" A nod was his reply.

Tom kissed his head and nuzzled closer, softly talking about some childhood story or stupid thing that he did when he was younger. Marco would giggle and comment here and there, tightening his arms around the demon's chest as encouragement to continue. When he'd close his eyes and go stiff because the flashing images from his dream, Tom would tighten his hold back and make him look at a fire trick he'd do. Those always made them smile. He'd make a tiger act like he was on fire and running around, a flaming fish swimming in the air, he even made Star waving at them. Marco softly laughed at that one.

His favorite, though, was the dove that would sit on his boyfriend's finger, purring softly and slapping its wings. The fire never burned his skin when he'd hold it, his eyes watering ever so slightly. This was their thing and theirs alone and he treasured it every time it happened.

He cradled the dove in his hand like it was made of glass, bringing it to his face and nuzzling it. He felt the flame and its warmth and how it tickled his skin. Tom nuzzled his fore head and pet the dove as well, its head moving into the touch.

More storied came after that small pause, like how Tom fell into a river when his parents first took him out to Earth and he tried to flame up but couldn't and brooded in his room for over a week, thinking his powers were gone fore good. He still held that grudge for that lake, even if it was irrational. No one had to know. Or that one time he set his parents' clothes on fire right before a ball -accidentally, of course- and they had to wear improvised outfits made of their curtains. It would've worked for his mother if she wasn't so big, Dave, on the other hand, couldn't pull it off even if he had tried. They looked like Greek Gods for the rest of the night, at least a cheap local market toy version.

Marco went to sleep with a small smile on his face, about three hours after he woke up, and his boyfriend hugging him tightly and securely.

Tom kissed his forehead and nuzzled in.

"I'll always be here, my beautiful dove." He whispered, closing his eyes. "I love you too much to leave you and I know you do too."

Marco made a noise and curled up closer.