[identity profile] neevebrody.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] brendan_vincent
title: Rescue Blanket
author: Neevebrody
pairing: Brendan/Vincent
rating: PG
words: ~1700
warnings: could be triggery for anxiety disorder – and not betaed
notes: Not sure where this came from – I started it during a particularly hellish week where work and RL converged in a not-so-good way.
summary: All his pulse points throb with a deep, resounding rhythm; it ramps up even more now that he's noticed it.

I even managed a cover (of sorts)

Rescue Blanket2


"Bren…? Look, babe, if you can't sleep, go watch infomercials… or I'll just ge—"

Brendan throws his arm over, clamps his hand onto Vince's chest, and hopes Vince can't feel it trembling. "Sorry," he mutters – a tight-lipped noise almost lost in the stirring of sheets as Vince turns his way. Even though he instantly thinks he should've let Vince go, he's glad he didn't… maybe.

In the darkness, he looks down at what he knows is a sleepy yet understanding face, then further along the moon-shadowed and naked body of his lover, his friend, his… Brendan welcomes the light pounding of Vincent's heart because it means he's not alone. It means the escalating anxiety will stop soon and Vince will wrap his arms around him and he can finally fall asleep. It means the hot prickling sensation and the pressure inside his ears will subside and this dark, stalking fist of impending doom will dry up and blow away.

But that doesn't happen – not even close.

"Gotta stop arguing with Mrs. Kolaski," Vince says through a yawn. "Y'know, she's never going to believe it's not you, personally, reading her email or listening in on all her phone calls."

Mrs. Kolaski is their neighbor, a widowed octogenarian with the lungpower and tenacity of a filibustering politician, and who seems to have her radar honed on Brendan's comings and goings from the apartment, picking at the same bone each time she sees him. But this has nothing to do with her, even though the jokes, innuendo, and conspiracy theories are starting to wear thin with those of their friends who don't understand the distinction that he works the security enforcement side of the NSA. As far as he can tell, he still has to jump through flaming hoops while threatening to call down the wrath of god for a single wiretap authorization.

He tries taking a deep breath, but it isn't that simple, as if expanding his lungs too much will make this spread. All his pulse points throb with a deep, resounding rhythm; it ramps up even more now that he's noticed it. A metallic taste assaults the back of his tongue and his mouth begins to water… maybe he's going to be sick.

Maybe he's having a heart attack; he holds his breath as a phantom pain run the length of his left arm and he wishes now he'd opened just one of those annoying emails touting the four signs of an imminent attack. Should he call 911? Should he go to the emergency room on his own? Even though that's exactly what he wants to say, he's unable to get any of the words out of his mouth, and his anxiety level rockets with each successive thought.

Vince sits up then. "Jesus, Bren… you're shaking. You okay?"

Brendan nods because he's fine, dammit, but what he says is, "I don't know." He doesn't know how long this will last or where it will stop; he only knows it's different – worse – than the last time.

Freya had picked up on it right away and shuttled him into an empty interrogation room. The quiet helped, but he'd still struggled – his own manic pace on steroids, mind racing and wanting to rip off his skin to escape from whatever it was.

But Freya stayed with him, held his hand and talked to him, keeping him in view of those deep, brown eyes until the worst of it had ebbed – like pouring a constant stream of warm water over his body or wrapping him in a rescue blanket – until he could take a full breath and had dared to speak again. She'd mentioned the possibility of him seeing Welles about a prescription or something and that only made him roll his eyes and return to his desk, feeling foolish and regretting the wasted time, which Harper was sure to take out of his hide.

"It…" He licks his lips and stops right there because there's no way he can adequately explain this to Vince, and he hates how weak that makes him. How does he explain the feeling of utter isolation or the way the shadow of not knowing tastes without sounding idiotic? He isn't supposed to be afraid. He isn't afraid, but… if only there was some rationale to it maybe he could understand it better. Because Brendan isn't a worrier… to him, there's enough to keep track of on any given day. He's always lived in the present, so where does this even come from?
What does frighten him is the chance it would ever bleed over into work, that it would paralyze him during a takedown, or worse. And it takes only thinking it to lead to another round of shallow breathing.

That's when Vincent lays his hand on Brendan's wrist and Brendan's pulse pounds against the fingertips in response.

"My uncle…," Vince says calmly, stroking Brendan's arm now. "He was like a god to me—never saw a minute's worry in his face… hardly ever lost his temper in front of us kids. After he died, Mama Nori told me how much he suffered…how it just came out of nowhere. Apparently, he worried about everything—his business, his family, being strong for everyone who counted on him…"

Vince trails off and Brendan manages to feel something beyond the walls of his own self-serving refuge. Uncle Mik was the only real father Vince had, and Brendan is the only person who knows how deeply his death affected Vince. It seems an extraordinary confluence of circumstance that he sees Vince in much the same way.

"Freya says I ought to see Welles."

Even panic can't keep the contempt from Brendan's voice. He turns and looks into Vince's eyes to gauge his reaction. Vince smells good, all sleepy and bed-ruffled and Brendan wants to hold him and show him everything he is, but it's too much right now. He can barely move. As it is, Vincent's presence – the warm touch of his body – is the only thing holding Brendan together.

But Vince's pause only adds fuel to the fire. Vince does that… lets Brendan ramble sometimes until he works out the answer on his own, but not this time. Brendan's not biting; hell, he can hardly string three words together.

"So, this has happened before?"

"You know, fuck that…" He swallows hard, wishes like hell he could take the words back. Not that it's a surprise Vince feels put out with him for not mentioning it, but at the same time Vince ought to know that this is exactly the type of thing Brendan would hold back – the type of thing that would make him seem… less. "I don't need a goddamn shrink," he says, and just the notion that he might sends another jab of adrenaline headlong into the pit of his stomach, making him lightheaded and his mouth dry.

"Are you cold?" Vince asks after giving him a moment.

Brendan shrugs. He presses his lips together and bites down hard in hopes of holding back the next wave, as if by will alone he could make it stop.

Before he can protest, Vince gets out of bed but returns quickly with a glass of water and a blanket. It's the middle of August but Vince pulls the covers up around them and holds Brendan tight. The normal climate of the apartment combined with the blanket and Vince's body starts Brendan sweating – not a cold, fearful sweat, but soothing, more like a purge, as each soot-black drop eking through his pores unclouds his thinking and frees his lungs.

"You're okay, babe, I'm right here," Vince purrs into his ear, then asks, "Do you want a Tylenol or anything?"

Brendan shakes his head and leans into Vince, feeling the rigor of his body give way just enough to begin to relax.

"You just had your annual physical for work… everything was cool, right?"

He nods against Vincent's chin.

"Heart, blood work… A-Okay." Vince's voice is the only drug Brendan needs. "And there's nothing wrong with your love life as far as I can tell…"

He tries to work up a sexy smirk but the most he can do is squeeze Vince's hand. As he does, something catches in his chest, a tightness that threatens to open it up and spill out the love he has for Vince… so much, as if one body can't hold it all.

"… the week you've had, I'm not surprised. But it's over now. Tomorrow we get to sleep in… or we can stay in bed all day if you want," Vince adds, pressing a kiss to Brendan's temple. His lips linger there as he talks, and Brendan just wants it to be real. Too many weekends Vince goes in to the office and "a few hours" turn into all day.

"You don't have to work?" he asks, glad that Vince seems not to notice his wry tone, or doesn't care.

"We could go uptown for a late breakfast… stop for wine on the way back home. I'll make us dinner and then make you forget this week ever existed."

That, Brendan doesn't doubt. The soft touch of Vincent's lips is good for a full-body shudder; it burns away the last grip of the stronghold and he tastes Vince instead of the ashy threat of the unknown. Kissing Vince leaves him in a dizzy, euphoric torpor where everything starts to shut down.

The relentless beat of Brendan's heart slows. His fingers tingle where he's holding Vince, and his muscles finally thaw as Vince eases him back down on the bed. Vince stays with him, lips never far from some part of Brendan's body.

His eyelids grow heavy as the warm thrum inside persuades him that this dark thing has been exorcised. With Vincent's head resting protectively on his chest, Brendan drifts on a cloud of relief. He listens to their breaths lengthen as if it's something he's never heard before. He listens as the tired drone of the air conditioner and the gentle whispers from Vince mix a monotone cocktail, dragging him under and finally to sleep.
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