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thundering hearts

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     He’s been scared of thunder his whole life. The fear has never had a reason to be there, it just always has , and it’s terrifying. Every time a storm comes rolling around, he’ll open his window, watch the rain and clouds and lighting, confident he won’t get scared this time, but as soon as the first boom of thunder hits, the windows are closed. The windows are closed, curtains drain, doors closed, and Keith will find every blanket in the house and wrap himself up until he’s so far away from the rest of the world, he can convince himself he isn’t afraid of thunder, so he can brave out the first few minutes of the next storm just to see the lighting.

     He’s never told anyone about his fear, the only people who ever knew were his parents. After they died, and Keith was in the foster system, he’d always managed to find somewhere to hide during storms, so no one would know. But he’d never had anyone follow him into his cocoon to just be there with him. No one’s ever comforted him through a storm. No one’s ever cuddled him and played music as loud as it could go and danced with him around his room to distract for the storm outside.

      Not until now.

      He’s been dating Lance for almost six months now, but this is the first storm since they got together. In Arizona, storms are few and far between, especially full-blown storms with thunder and lightning. It’s monsoon season though, and the first storm to kick it off is typically the biggest one.

      Lance has work this afternoon, so Keith is home alone when the rain starts. He follows his usual routine of opening the window and marvelling at the rain, waiting for the first of the thunder to hit until he hides himself away.

      When the thunder does hit, it hits big, and powerful, and Keith thinks it might be the loudest thunder he’s ever heard. He’s genuinely scared, dreading the next one. He makes haste to shut out the storm and pull out all the blankets he and Lance have stored in a dresser. Within two minutes, he’s curled in the bed, wrapped in at least 5 blankets, and regretting not turning the AC on higher, but not brave enough to exit the blankets.

      After half an hour of laying and crying and wondering what time it was and when Lance would get home, he finally heard the door unlock and open. On one hand, Keith was scared that Lance would make fun of him for having such a trivial fear, and he really didn’t want Lance to see him like this. But on the other hand, he knew Lance, and he knew Lance would be understanding and want nothing more than to help Keith, and Keith honestly wanted that more than to be sat there alone for any longer.

     So, when Lance opened their bedroom door to look for Keith, he stuck his head out of the blankets. Lance was standing at the edge of their bed, still in his work clothes, looking more confused than anything. Which was reasonable. He didn’t know about Keith’s fear, and it wouldn’t necessarily be something easy to guess.

     “Keith?” He asks, “What are you doing? why are you in all those blankets? It’s like, 100 degrees outside.”

     “It’s the storm,” Keith replies. “I’m really scared of thunder,” he admits quietly, and he wants to crawl back into the blankets to hide from his confession. He’s never had to say it out loud before, and he feels like a child.

      “Ah, I’m sorry babe.” Lance places his hand on top of the blankets, over Keith’s thigh. “I would’ve come home sooner if I knew. Would you mind some company in there?”

      “Please,” he said.

      “Okay,” Lance confirmed, “I’ll be there in just a second, I’m gonna change out of my work clothes really quick.”

      Keith nodded and shrunk back into the cocoon. It took maybe a minute for Lance to change, and now he’s asking Keith to undo some of the blankets so he can go in. Keith gladly does, wondering what it’ll be like to not have to do this alone.

     He’s got his eyes closed, but he can feel Lance climb in beside him, and pull the blankets back over them, and he feels Lance nudge his leg between Keith’s, and wrap an arm around Keith’s stomach, and lace their fingers together. He can feel Lance, warm against his back. He can feel Lance place chaste kisses across his neck. He gets so caught up in feeling Lance that he forgets what he was so afraid of in the first place.

     “You been this scared of thunder your whole life?” Lance asks, but he sounds like he’s just curious.

     “Yeah.”

     “Didn’t you say you liked watching lightning though?”

     “Yeah, I do. I always watch the first lightning strike of the storm. I wish I could watch more without getting so afraid.”

      “Sometime, we could record a time lapse of a storm and cut the sound so you can watch it,” Lance suggests, and Keith appreciates that. He appreciates Lance.

     “Yeah, that’d be cool.”

     He feel Lance smile against his neck, and he thinks, even with the storm going on and the thunder still rolling, he could fall asleep.

     “Hey,” Keith says.

     “Hey.”

     “I love you a lot.”

     “I love you a lot, too.”