It's a presence at his back, a weight that settles into the air when he walks. He can't see in the pink haze. The paths are those created by his steps, not his eyes, trees of incertain fluff parting before him as he follows a trail only his feet seem to know.

No matter where he goes, no matter how vague and changing his surroundings are, he can still feel the warmth at his back. Following, at a distance, too far to hear but close enough to feel breath.


He walks, but he finds himself slowing down, legs grazing the ground like moving forward is a chore. He feels comfortably scared. A threat that feels right, a surrounding menace that embraces.


The voice is in his ear, soft, intense. His own voice, nearly, but deeper pitched, and more assured. He stops moving altogether, gasps as lips brush his ear.

He still feels the fear. The enemy is always one step behind him, he knows. But this... he can't move. This is where he's supposed to be.

"I'm behind you, Lucas. I've always been. I follow you wherever you go."

Warm, encasing pressure against his back. He used to be like this, used to sleep safely. So he leans, rests into the heat out of instinct. His body is sluggish, but there's a current ploughing into him, following his veins into limbs and chest, making him as hyperaware as he is heavy against the body behind him.

His heart is beating fast, but all he can feel is the heavy beat of the one against his back. Strong, regular, heady.

"Can you feel it?"

He stops breathing.

"It's beating... can you recognise it? Just like it used to."

Arms circle his chest and pull him in, trap him and follow his breathing, control it. Hands on his chest. One warm and strong, curled around his waist. The other hard and heavy, pressed against his own heart, reading its mad race. It feels too weak, frantic, out of synch compared to the steady rhythm behind him. A hunted animal or a body tense with heat.

His breath hitches and lips settle against his windpipe. They press and open and trail, leaving warmth and a gentle pressure.

"Calm down... it'll be all right, Lucas... it'll be all right. I'm here."


"You know where. You've seen me. With your eyes..." the voice softens, melts into a mere whisper in his ear. "And in your mind."

He wants to cry. A shaky tearless sob escapes him instead.

"I trust you, Lucas."

He shudders, and the hold weakens just enough to let him move his arms, cling in turn at those hands holding his body. His fingers lace with metal, and the cold hand squeezes back, rubbing his knuckles, before releasing his and trailing up to caress his cheek, his lips.

He wants to close his eyes and sink, surrender to that caress. Forget the needles, the pain, everything. Stay in this predatory haven forever.

"You're my salvation... the world's... everybody's."

The world slips out of reach, pink and buzz fading and leaving only the arms around him, the sudden kiss against his neck. And then even that leaves him.