CW: Panic Attacks
"Looks like home," Pollux signed, and Castor chuckled, cuffing his brother on the side of the head. Pollux smiled too, but it dropped quickly when his brother turned away.
Everyone settled in, ready to get some rest before they had to move on again. Today had been draining to say the least.
Pollux would have liked to sit next to his brother to rest but didn't want the rest of Squad 451 to think he couldn't handle himself. They were in a war; he couldn't be cuddling with his brother while on a mission.
He settled right across from him, telling himself it was comforting enough to be able to see his brother. Everyone was closing their eyes and quickly falling asleep. Pollux leaned his head back and closed his eyes, determine to relax enough to get some actual sleep.
What was that?"
Pollux's head snapped up, looking around wildly. None of the others had reacted. He settled back again.
The crack of a whip sounded thought he air and Pollux's head shot up again. The others still hadn't reacted.
Pollux tried to react, but his heart wouldn't slow down. He closed his eyes.
"Come on, faster! Not like you lot can stand around chitchatting! So why's it taking so long?" *Another crack of the whip*
Pollux's eyes flew open, and he couldn't suppress the distressed sound that left his throat.
The others woke up, looking around for any sign of danger. Castor looked at his brother and realized right away what was happening.
"Hey, hey buddy, it's okay," he said softly, moving so he was crouched in front of him.
Pollux's breathing was too fast. He felt like he was going to suffocate. Or maybe he was having a heart attack. The pain in his chest and the rapid pounding of his heart against his rib cage supported this theory in his hand. His hands were freezing, and he couldn't stop his body shaking, but he could also feel sweat pouring off of him. He was dying. He was doing to die in these tunnels after all.
"Pollux, buddy, I'm going to touch your hand," Castor said, slowly reaching towards his brothers. He ignored the others who were all completely silent, clearly unsure what to do.
Pollux was sobbing, the noises his mangled throat was making were awful and heartbreaking.
"Just breathe pal, come on, you can do it," Castor encouraged. He took Pollux's hand, relieved when he didn't pull away, and placed it against his own chest.
Pollux could feel the calm, steady beat beneath his fingers and he started to make out a voice over the rushing in his ears. Castor!
"In… out… in… out… Come on pal, I got you."
Pollux tried to follow Castor's directions. Now he could hear him he tried desperately to match their breathing. If Castor was here, he'd be fine. Cas wouldn't let him die down here.
"Good buddy, you're doing great," Castor praised as Pollux started to match their breathing. "I'm gonna move and sit next to you, okay?"
He moved slowly, never losing touch on his brother, and sat next to Pollux. Cas wrapped his arm around the other man, holding tightly and murmured comforting words until Pollux's breathing was back to normal.
"There you go buddy, you're okay now," Cas said, pressing a kiss to his brother's hair.
Pollux lowered his head to lean on Castor's shoulder, tears still falling, though now they were more tears of embarrassment.
"Sorry," he signed.
"None of that," Castor shook his, "You have nothing to be sorry for."
"Pollux," Katniss said softly and they both looked at her. "Castor said you were down here for five years?"
"He's right, you have nothing to be sorry for," she said, "I can't what that was like for you. How hard it must have been, how scary… Thank you for bringing us down here and leading the way. It's really brave."
Pollux smiled gently and Castor mouthed his thanks to her.
"And listen," she added, "I'm eighteen and sometimes the only thing in the world that makes me feel safe, is my little sister. Please don't be embarrassed to ask Castor for help or something just because we're here."
Pollux nodded sheepishly but nodded as the others all smiled gently at him.
The others all settled down again to get some more rest. Cressida reached across and squeezed his knee comfortingly while Messalla gave a small smile, kicking Pollux's foot gently.
Castor leaned his head back, keeping his arm firmly around Pollux.
"I hope you'll listen to what she said," he signed, "I'm here. If you need me or you're scared, I want you to tell me. And being down here? She's right, you're crazy brave for doing this. I know how hard it and I hate seeing you upset like that."
"Sorry," Pollux signed back, "I just… we're in the middle a war mission. I thought it would be pretty pathetic if I cuddled up to my brother just cause I'm scared."
"Nothing pathetic about being scared or asking for help," Castor signed back, "Especially with me. I know you're not going to sleep down here but close your eyes and try to rest. I won't let anything hurt you down here."
Pollux did as Castor instructed, leaning against his brother's side. He was safe so longer as Castor was nearby.
Thanks for reading!