AN: Everworld has been a favorite series of mine since it came out. I reread the books recently, and decided I really wanted to write fic for it. Here's what I came up with. I adore all of the characters, and like them in pretty much any combination you put them in. So this is a story about all of them. It's a foursome (with both male/male and male/female content,) so if that is not your cup of tea, you shouldn't be reading this. There is implied sex, but nothing explicit. Reviews are greatly appreciated!
It is a scream that wakes him. The scream is from David's room, in this house the four share. Jalil's room is the closest. No one else hears.
He's heard the words before, but never the scream. That is why this time he gets up, walking down the hall. David's cry has ended, but it's been too long in Everworld to think that is necessarily good.
He knocks for politeness, but does not wait for an answer before he opens the door.
David is sitting, back to the wall. He shivers, teeth clenched, rocking back and forth. His arms are wrapped around himself, bloody gashes where his nails have scraped.
Jalil walks to his side, touching his arm, sitting beside him. "David?" His voice conveys his meanings, and the emotions he does not show. worry. are you okay? concern. what happened? is there a problem? do you need help?
"I'm fine, Jalil, go back to bed." The words are almost difficult to understand through his shaking.
Jalil does not leave. David's skin is icy against his.
Jalil grabs the blanket from where it is tangled on the floor, fought away in David's nightmares. He wraps it around their leader, pulling him closer, trying to warm away his chill.
David tries to fight him. He pushes ineffectually, but Jalil does not move. "Let me help. Please, David." Finally he stops fighting.
Jalil begins a stream of words as he holds David; promising that the nightmares are not real, that they are in the past or in the never, they cannot hurt him, it is not his fault, sunlight will chase them away. They are words Jalil does not know if he believes, for it is illogical to fear dreams, and yet a part of him worries that they are also promises that are not his to make.
But this is all Jalil knows to give him. He's heard the words David cries before, he knows what the nightmares are about. An older boy, abusive in the worst of ways, and not resisted; an older man, still a bully; a kid on the battlefield, dying too young; an immortal friend being devoured; a woman, raping his mind, while still making him love her. His three companions, dead, himself to blame.
So when David stops shaking, and Jalil can lay him back down, he stays. He stays because David can only break down if he is alone. He can only hurt himself if he is alone. If someone is there, he will be okay, because he will be strong if he has a reason.
Jalil stays because the nights are cold for the both of them, and as cold as David's skin is, it's warmer than being alone. The fingers running through his hair, the hand gripping his shoulder, the lips on his own, and the feeling of skin on skin. Things he didn't know he wanted until he has them.
Jalil does not mention the nightmares to David. David once saw Jalil's weakness, but never spoke to him of it, and Jalil will do the same for him.
No one comments when Jalil comes out of David's room the next morning. Even Christopher does no more than raise an eyebrow.
No one comments when Jalil moves his things out of his room and into David's. Christopher pauses in his conversation to stare a moment, and April swallows hard.
Of them all, it is Christopher who is most surprised when he finds himself at the door to their room in the middle of the night, a week later. He's holding a pillow.
His knock is more hesitant than he wants it to be. He isn't scared. He doesn't know what the fuck he's doing there, but he isn't scared.
Jalil is the one who answers the door. He doesn't say anything, just gives a look.
"Can I stay here tonight?" Christopher asks, lame as he knows it sounds.
Jalil shrugs, standing aside to let him in.
David is in the bed, looking towards the door. His look is puzzled, but not accusative. He moves closer to the outside, a leader to the end, placing himself nearest to danger. Jalil climbs back over the foot of the bed, leaving room nearest the wall.
Christopher climbs over as well, gingerly kneels in the space left for him, then lies down. "I'm not into, you know, this gay shit," but his voice holds no bite.
Eventually he is the one to make contact. He pulls closer to Jalil, turning to face him, mirroring David on Jalil's other side.
Christopher sleeps easily there.
The next morning, April blinks slowly when all three of them come out of the same room, but she still says nothing. It's awkward for a while, but she acts as if nothing has changed and it puts them at ease.
Christopher does not move his things.
But the next night he shows up again.
Again Jalil answers the door with a questioning look.
Again Christopher asks if he can stay.
And again he is welcome.
But this time they leave space for him in the middle. Now Jalil is by the wall. David stays on the outer edge, no question. He will stay nearest to the unknown, protective, forever their general.
Christopher lies down again, and David whispers, "Into it or no, you're responsible for what happens. Leave if you want, but if you stay, remember that it was your choice."
He just nods.
He isn't sure what he wants and what he doesn't, but two different pairs of hands locked with his own, two sets of lips on his neck, bodies on either side, and arms both holding and allowing him to hold make up his mind.
The next day, he moves his own effects into their room. He shoots nervous glances at April. She seems torn in what to think. Her beliefs don't quite mesh with what she knows of the three of them.
All three wonder if she will resent or despise them.
Finally she smiles and asks if they need help moving another bed in, since one is pretty small for all three, but two together are a decent size.
Then they all know that it will be okay.
Things stay the same for about a month before she shows up at the door.
She doesn't know exactly why, but tears stream down her face. She isn't really crying; there are no sobs, her nose isn't running. Just tears.
She stands in her loneliness, wondering what is behind the door. Wondering if she could be a part of it. They provide the comfort the three of them need, but will it stretch to one more? Will she find love, acceptance, belonging? Will she be a part of their group again? Or will she find awkward silences and quiet apologies, telling her why she isn't included? Or will it not matter? She knows how she feels, but is it a betrayal of her faith? A betrayal of the promise of one and one only, till death do they part?
Her questions circle, but even a chance is better than the loneliness. And so she knocks.
Christopher opens the door, and motions her in.
She stands awkwardly a moment, but the warm looks on the other's faces don't give her room to doubt them.
Christopher climbs back into the side-by-side beds, next to David and leaving space between himself and Jalil. David is on the outer edge.
She did not come because she wants sex. She was always going to wait.
They don't push the issue. They hold her and kiss her. Their hands are warm on her skin, under her nightgown.
Her questions and her reservations are forgotten as the four embrace each other.
This is the only way for it to be. It is what they all seek, the comfort they all need. They hold each other's weaknesses in check, giving support for their fragility and receiving it in turn with absolute trust. Nothing hidden, no one alone.
Something all four of them can count on, even here.