It wasn't until Camryn came home four days later in a wheelchair did I really begin to understand just how much this had messed with his head. I'd kept myself busy with school and football and had tried not to think about him too much, but when I saw him being pushed through the front doors, it all came back. Camryn wasn't only hurt because of the incident that had left him so physcially battered. I was also part of the cause for his emotional turmoil. I'd hurt him that night and had failed to go after him, leaving him to face the person who'd nearly killed him. He likely hated me for all of that, but he still loved me too.
It was also then that I was informed that I was to avoid being alone in a room with Camryn, which essentially meant that I couldn't attempt to comfort him. I couldn't get close to him, but he didn't seem to want anyone close to him either. That idea was thrown out the window once he insisted that he would be sleeping in his own bed. This of course meant that someone was going to have to help him get up and down the stairs and probably much more from the lack of movement he made. I really didn't like the idea that someone else might see and or touch him while he was naked.
I'd ended up staring up at my ceiling when I went to bed that night, unable to really sleep in my own bed. While Camryn had been in the hospital, after I was no longer allowed to be by his side at night, I'd slept in the bed we'd shared. I had found a little comfort in holding the pillow that still carried his scent, though my sleep was still restless. That night though, I was forced to sleep in the room I had never used except for the night of my mistake and my thoughts wouldn't quiet enough for me to sleep. I almost fell out of the bed when I heard the first scream tear through the silence of the house.
I was out of bed and out of my room instantly making my way towards Camryn's. I had no doubts the screams I was hearing were his. My heart nearly stopped as I flicked on the light in his room, finding him thrashing on the bed and screaming probably in both current and remembered pain. I quickly moved to him, putting my hands on his shoulders to try and prevent him from causing himself anymore damage from the thrashing. Tears were streaming down my face as I stared at his and the look of fear and pain written quite clearly across it.
"Camryn! Wake up, Camryn!" I exclaimed, trying to draw him from the nightmare. "Come on, baby, wake up! You're safe and at home. Please, wake up!" As Camryn started coming around, I was pulled away and forced to watch as Shane took my place. Camryn's arm wrapped around his neck even as he cried out my name. The bastard was using his close resemblance to me and Camryn's half conscious state to move in on him and there was nothing I could do about it.
Shane was eventually released as Camryn realized it wasn't me and I was thankful that he didn't continue clinging to someone else. He did however refuse to tell any of us what was in the nightmare, but I already knew. He'd let me listen in on his conversation with the detectives and I found myself wiping tears from my face at the knowledge that he could literally still feel it all. It was a curse of his photographic memory to be able to remember everything; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.
Eventually, once Camryn was calmed down again, the notion of going back to bed to bed came up. He seemed reluctant to either be alone or go back to sleep and Shane immediately offered to remain in the room with him. I nearly growled at the mere thought of him being alone with imy/i Camryn, but Leo quickly shot down the idea of Shane remaining tonight. Doug was quick to offer in his stead and while I still didn't like it, it was better than the blonde. At least I believed that he wouldn't make a move on Camryn out of respect for our friendship.
I didn't get any sleep that night, despite my trust in my friend. I knew that we'd all know if Doug touched him somewhere inappropriate, I'd seen the damage to his body, but it didn't completely alleviate my fear. My best friend was lying in bed, imy/i bed, next to Camryn, imy/i lover. It was where I should be. I should have been the one who was comforting him and giving him a sense of security. But it was because of me that he even needed those things, that his body was so bruised and battered that it hurt him to move. That was probably the worst part of all of it. As much as I wanted to put blame on someone else, it had been because of me that he was in such a vulnerable state and unsafe place to begin with.
Camryn's behaviour in the morning didn't help relax me at all, either. He seemed embarrassed and uncomfortable and wouldn't talk or make eye contact. It was the same way he'd been the morning after Shane had gotten him drunk and taken advantage of him. It stressed me enough that as we left for class that day, I pulled Doug off to the side of a building. I didn't want to believe for a moment that he would take advantage of Camryn in this state, but the brunette's reactions made me nervous.
"What happened with Camryn?" I demanded, pushing my friend against the brick wall of the history building. His eyes went wide for a moment before narrowing at me.
"Nothing happened, Nate," he replied, his voice terse with anger.
"Then why the hell was he acting the same as he had the morning before all this happened?" I was serious, but as soon as the question left my mouth he pushed me off of him and flicked my forehead.
"Because he's a headstrong guy," he replied. "He doesn't like asking for assistance and hates even more needing it. He couldn't walk on his own so I had to help him much more than he would have liked. And that included his normal morning routine." I blinked. I knew Camryn's routine as well as my own after living with him for two years and I wasn't sure that Doug having helped him through it was any better than taking advantage of him.
"You touched him?" I asked. I knew he had 'touched' him. He had to in order to get him downstairs, but it wasn't really the question I was asking. I was asking if he'd touched my lover in places that would leave him just as embarrassed as if he'd raped him.
"I had to, Nate," he said with a sigh. "But I didn't touch him there, his hands work just fine. I just found the least painful place to put my hands to help him keep his balance while he walked and stood. Other than that, I helped dry where he couldn't reach and get his pants on. I promise you, I'm not going to hurt him." I sighed deeply, letting the tension in my body drop as I dropped my head against his shoulder.
"I know," I murmured. "I do know. I've just been so wound up since the break up and with what happened and Shane trying to muscle his way in..." I let out a long trembling breath, forcing my emotions back down. "I'm so afraid of losing him."
"I know you are," he replied with a heavy sigh as he draped his arms around my shoulders. "Patience is the key here, though. Let him figure out where he's at and what he wants and go from there. Just like when he lost his memory and forgot everything but the book knowledge that he had. He'll make his wants known when he's ready to." I nodded. It made perfect sense. Camryn wasn't the type who let others into his head for what he felt were personal struggles. "Come on, let's get to class."
"Thanks, Doug," I muttered, turning around to head towards the psychology building. I wasn't a huge fan of the subject, but the courses were a requirement for me to become a social worker. I wanted to help ensure that no other child ever had to suffer in an abusive environment like Camryn had for sixteen years.
The rest of the week passed similarly, with Camryn having nightmares even with Doug sleeping beside him. None of us were getting much in the way of sleep and by Friday night, Doug was at his wits end. We were all on the more frazzled side, but since Doug and I had a football game the next day, he opted to spend the night crashing on the floor of a friend's dorm room. I knew I needed to get some rest as well for the game, but I couldn't go to sleep. I couldn't sleep knowing that the love of my life was going to wake up screaming any minute.
Sure enough, around two in the morning, a gut wrenching scream flooded the house and I rushed from my room to his side. It was different this time though. This time it was worse, at least for me it was. My name was what was being screamed so desperately into the night. Choking back a sob of my own, I leaned over him, wrapping my arms around his shoulder and hugging him tightly to me.
"I'm right here, baby," I whispered, my voice cracking as my tears fell against the shell of his ear. "I'm right here. You're safe. You're alright. You're with me." This time, no one tried to pull me away from him, allowing him to finally wake up with me holding him. He was sobbing uncontrollably and I knew it was only hurting him more to be crying like that, his cracked ribs not giving him the room necessary to breathe properly. His thin arms clung to me, nails digging into my back to make sure that I was real as his mind pushed away the last of the nightmare and woke up fully.
"I'm so sorry, baby," I murmured into his neck. "I'm sorry I wasn't there when you needed me. But I'm here now. Just relax, baby, please." Slowly his sobs began to subside and I reached for the box of tissues his mother had set beside us on the bed. I didn't look up to see if anyone was still in the room. I didn't care. I pulled away from him, dabbing at his tear streaked face with a tissue, trying to get my own tears under control while I did.
He didn't say anything, just kept a firm grip around the back of my neck and kept me from pulling too far away. His eyes were closed again and he was breathing shallowly through slightly parted lips. Lips that I missed kissing so much. Before I realized what I was doing, I was leaning in again, my lips falling against his tentatively, expecting to be rejected. To my surprise, he began to kiss me back, his hold tightening and not letting me pull away. Not that I would have. I loved kissing him too much to pass up this chance.
Our first kiss in over a week was broken by the sound of the doorbell ringing downstairs and I mentally cursed. Camryn's eyes flew open and he stared at me in surprise before he release the hold he'd had on my neck. I sighed and sat up, brushing away tears that still remained on his pale cheeks. I listened to the commotion downstairs as I went to fill a glass of water for him to take his pain medicine and the sleep aide they had prescribed earlier in the week. There were a couple of familiar voices and one that I absolutely could not mistake as anyone else. The crazy science teacher from Elm who had helped Camryn twice before.
"Mr. Morrison should have called Mr. T as soon as this happened!" the eccentric man said as they entered the bedroom. Camryn groaned and propped himself up on his elbows to greet the newest guests, which included Alex and another boy with bright red hair. "Camryn, you don't look so good! And Alex was telling Mr. T how you were up and about teaching classes again." Camryn blushed a bit, fidgeting with the edge of his comforter.
"Je ne pouvais pas un salon autour de l'h pital plus," he mumbled, slipping languages in his discomfort with so many people in his room. I sighed a bit, not liking this development at all. He had for the most part ceased his language slippages in the last couple of years, as well as the flinching.
"He couldn't just lay around the hospital apparently," Shane said, translating for those who didn't know French in the room. Mr. T cocked a bit of an eyebrow at the brunette and moved closer to the bed, reaching out for his head. Immediately, my love flinched away from the hand, even though he knew the person wouldn't hurt him.
"Mr. T fears that Camryn may have hurt his head," the teacher said, persisting in his reaching for Camryn.
"He didn't, Mr. T," I interjected before he could make him flinch again. "He's just regressing into the person he was three years ago. He's afraid of being touched." The crazy teacher frowned deeply and set a kit that he held on the edge of the bed.
"Well, Mr. T came with some medicines for Camryn, at any rate," he said, pulling out a vial of a green liquid. "If Camryn drinks this, it will take away the pain. If Camryn drinks this," he said pulling out a dark blue vial, "Camryn's insides will heal the rest of the way, bones included. And this last one, Mr. T will tell Camryn in private what it will do." A third, purple vial was set on the nightstand. I frowned a bit at all of the vials, especially that purple one.
"Vielen dank," Camryn murmured. He was eyeing the vials just as warily as I was. "A moment, please?" he asked, glancing at the rest of us in the room. I hesitated to leave him with the teacher, but complied anyhow. I waited outside the door until the man left and then slipped back inside. On the table there were the three vials, but they were now all empty. I was worried about the third one, the purple one.
"Do you want company for the rest of the night?" I asked softly, pushing my worries about the vials aside for Camryn's sake. He nodded slowly, his eyes closed again and his breathing slow. He was nearly asleep already, but I quickly slid into my familiar place in the bed, brushing my fingers through his hair. "I love you, Camryn. So much..." He murmured something, but he was so close to sleep that I couldn't make it out. Even if I had to wait twenty years for him, right then, I knew I would. He was my everything.