A/N: Written as romantic (pre-relationship), but I suppose it could be read as friendship. What John's upset about is up to you. I wrote it with the idea that it was memories from his childhood, but it's left ambiguous in the fic itself. Title from The Kids Are All F***ed Up by Cobra Starship.
Henrik leans against the wall of the university building and takes another drag from his cigarette.
After nearly an hour of tossing and turning, he finally gave up on sleep, so now he's outside, searching for a distraction of sorts from all the thoughts in his head keeping him awake.
He's idly observing the night sky when he hears a sound from around the side of the building, something that sounds like a muffled sob.
Concerned about the potential origin of the noise, he moves closer to where it seems to be coming from, and sees a figure in the shadows – someone curled in on themselves, it seems. There's another barely-repressed cry, followed by a gasp, and as Henrik gets closer he realises just who it is.
"Henrik?" says a quiet, cracking voice.
"John? What on Earth are you doing out here this late?" Henrik questions. He's getting quite worried, now; he hasn't seen John this upset since… since that night.
"Who are you to talk about being out late?" John deflects, somewhat more confidently than when he last spoke.
Henrik's cigarette has mostly burnt away now. He's fairly certain he won't be getting any more use out of it, so he stamps it out. "John, what's wrong?"
"You wouldn't understand," is all John says in reply. He raises his hand up to his cheek and wipes away a tear.
Henrik sighs and curses under his breath. He wonders if John's doing that thing people do, where they don't tell him things and then expect him to know them anyway, as if he's supposed to be telepathic. "Maybe not," he begins, "but I'll do my best to understand. Just tell me."
"You can't… you just wouldn't understand," John's voice cracks again. He sounds like he's about to start crying.
Henrik nods, and hums in sympathy, unsure of what's left to say if John won't tell him what the matter is. He could try to reassure him, toss out every platitude he knows, say 'it's okay, John', but it – whatever 'it' is – is very clearly not okay if John's so upset, so what would be the point?
He sits down next to his friend, instead. "I'm here," he says, tentatively, because that's the only thing he can offer right now that isn't an obvious lie. He holds out his hand.
John not only accepts the physical reassurance, but practically collapses, still gasping for breath and forcing back sobs, into Henrik's arms.
Henrik nearly pulls back in surprise, not having expected John – John 'Don't-Touch-Me' Gaskell, as some other students have nicknamed him – to actually react that way, but before his instinct of shock takes over, he realises John might blame himself for the rejection. (It wouldn't be the first time John has blamed himself for something that he had nothing to do with.)
So rather than pulling back, he gently puts his arms around John and just sits with him. He doesn't know when this is going to pass, but he doesn't have any classes to go to or any studying that truly requires doing tonight, so he'll wait here and give John whatever comfort he can for as long as he needs to.