"Laurence, come into bed already!"
Laurence didn't even bother looking up from his book, dismissing Ludwig with a raised hand: "In a moment. I still want to finish this chapter."
"...You have said this two hours ago. It's time for you to sleep already."
"But Ludwig, that is important research! I just can't let it slack until to... what are you doing?"
Ludwig had flipped the book over and pretty much picked Laurence up, hurled over his shoulder.
"I am done waiting for you to come to bed, you need to sleep already or I will find you having fallen asleep over this book in the morning again."
"Fiiine.", Laurence said, apparently giving in, even though he didn't sound too happy about it. But the way his body relaxed in Ludwig's group let the holy blade know that he had won this little argument.
Soon the both of them had crawled in Ludwig's bed where Laurence had taken his usual position at his side, clinging both arms around Ludwig's. Ludwig knew he would stay like this until he would awake again. Ludwig also knew that meant he surely would rest.
With his mind at ease, the holy blade closed his eyes.
A memory of the past. Ludwig raised his beastly head from its position on the floor of the nightmare cathedral. Even though this place wasn't real, they still could get exhausted and felt the need for sleep. Especially after such a day where they both regained their sanity, had fought with each other and then given in to their desires.
Ludwig smiled as he looked down at Laurence having already fallen asleep next to him.
This smile turned into a frown when two beastly claws slowly started to cling around his arm.
Some things never changed.
Only that Laurence wasn't a human anymore but a seven meter tall cleric beast on fire.
They had found out that Laurence could control the heat of his flames. That he didn't burned anyone when he didn't want too. The question was... did this also apply when he was sleeping?
Ludwig had the feeling that it got very hot in the cathedral all of a sudden. Sweat started to appear on his forehead. He raised his unoccupied arm to wipe it off. At least he didn't feel like he got burned.
But that didn't mean that Laurence wouldn't get unbearable hot when he was sleeping. Just how much heat was he emitting? The room could have been literally on fire, so overheated did Ludwig feel.
This could be a long night...
Ludwig needed to get some sleep too. He could try and talk about Laurence toning down his temperature the next day. He could take it. The nightmare wasn't a warm place to begin with. At least he wouldn't freeze like this. He laid his head back down and closed his eyes.
A few minutes later though what had only been a cling to Ludwig's arm turned into a grab as Laurence moved uneasy, breath's going in a short interval. Ludwig winced and swallowed a surprised scream as the claws dug in his flesh, blood seeping out from the fresh wound.
This had hurt, but nothing Ludwig couldn't take. He was more worried about Laurence. Ludwig was very familiar with these death grabs. Even as a human Laurence had been able to drive his fingernails into Ludwig's skin and cling so hard he could leave a bruise on the holy blade's arm.
Ludwig nudged Laurence with his free arm, saying: "Laurence, wake up. You are having a nightmare."
Laurence didn't wake up, instead Ludwig felt how his flames grew hotter! Hot enough for him to actually get burned. Ludwig hissed in pain and practically punched Laurence into the face: "Wake up! You are setting this place on fire!"
Laurence finally opened his eyes, blinking sleepily a few times, breathes still going too fast, his gaze locked at the floor.
"Are you alright?", Ludwig asked, not daring to touch any other part of Laurence in fear of getting even more burns.
"Ludwig? I had a terrible nightmare... I dreamed I turned into a beast...", Laurence murmured before taking a glimpse at his own arm which still clung to Ludwig's arm.
"...That wasn't a dream?!", he screamed, digging his claws deeper into Ludwig's arm, making blood gush. Ludwig bit down a scream of his own at the sudden pain.
"Laurence, calm down! You are hurting me!", Ludwig called. "I know this is a lot to take in, but you need to calm down. Before you are setting this place on fire. And me!"
When they still had been humans, it had always calmed Laurence down when someone petted his hair. Maybe something similar would work with his beastly form too? Laurence reached out and stroked gently over Laurence' antlers. Even though they were scalding hot and burned his fingertips.
It seemed to work. Laurence visibly relaxed. Even the hotness toned down. He laid his head back down on the ground, murmuring: "A nightmare.. this place is a nightmare."
"Yes, but it only is a nightmare when we let it conquer us.", Ludwig said, reassuring Laurence. "You should try and go back to sleep. We can talk about all of this tomorrow."
There wasn't an answer, instead Ludwig heard the soft breathing of Laurence next to him, apparently having fallen asleep again already. Ludwig wished he had some sedatives with him, they usually calmed Laurence down. Though Ludwig doubted that the nightmare had a place where they could buy sedatives.
At least the blood drunk hunters seemed to have plenty of blood vials to spare. Laurence had collected dozens of them in his nest.
It was tempting to just go and drink one of them to heal the wounds Laurence had inflicted on him, but Ludwig didn't want to leave him alone. He hadn't only been close to panicking, he had been close to panicking while being a seven meter tall beast. On fire.
Having a few wounds was preferable over having the nightmare cathedral burning down.
Now Ludwig hoped he would be able to get some sleep too. Laurence seemed to have calm down enough that his flames weren't hot anymore but instead emitted a pleasant warmth. He closed his eyes and laid his head back down on the floor.
Finally Ludwig would be able to get some sleep.
At least he had thought that, but he got shaken awake far too soon when Laurence stopped clinging to his arm, which was a relief at first, but instead he pretty much forced his whole body into Ludwig's arm crook, resting his nuzzle on the holy's blade face and got back to clinging to Ludwig's whole form right as he had finished moving his big body.
Which would have been adorable when Ludwig wouldn't having get serious trouble because Laurence had decided to practically lay down his snout on his face. Ludwig managed to at least free his face from Laurence' grip but at the cost of having to taken in a very awkward position because the flaming beast refused to let go of him.
This – indeed – was going to be a long night.
(Author's note: I want to thank my cats who inspired this, because they constantly seem to try and finish me off while I am sleeping by lying on my face or stretching and digging their claws into me. I channelled this energy into a fanfiction.)