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The strangest sense

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He has a hard time controlling his hands. When they are not fidgeting with everything his fingers can get a hold on, they are trembling hard enough to make him drop his phone three times now. It’s a miracle that it’s not already decorated by a broken screen. He had to get a new one after the thing with Tim. RoboTim. Tim1000. All the names, all the words they tried. 

It’s weird thought, because it’s not so long ago, and it doesn’t feel like it, and still, it does. Time is different and wrong since Jack was gone. It seemed like a split second after he searched him that he emailed Merv, and just a minute more until he arrived in KingFalls. The years don’t feel like years, more like snippets of memories, good and bad, and the bad isn’t even necessarily bad, just weird. The secrets and the lies, but mostly, the secrets. The secrets were the only bad thing. He can’t even excuse them fully, he just felt like they should be secrets. 

Maybe, and there is a growing part of him drowning out that first word, maybe it was so simple all along. Telling Ben about his secrets, letting him in on his life before, that would have been the biggest step in accepting a place without Jack as home. He promised to himself that he would only be home when Jack was there with him, but in the meantime, he found another one. Thinking about it and actually accepting it were two different things, two parts of a broken heart.  He knew he was home here, with Ben, Lily, Troy. With his friends. Being home was in the end the key to understanding, and what he failed to see for far too long. 

It was, in the end, what brought him here. Jack had been his home. His family. But family has a loose definition, a family had been him and Jack and Lily. But Ben became family, half of that city became family. He is thinking about family far too much. How could he not?

His hands are trembling, picking at his skin, fingers, but there is nothing to do, he chewed off his nails long ago and that’s that. There is actually a plaster on one of his fingers, where Ben, Ben, his best fucking friend, took it onto himself to care for it. It’s the smallest cut and he doesn’t remember what Ben said, but he said something and that was all that mattered. He was there. After all that Sammy put him through, after all they had been through together, he was still here. And it was Sammy who nearly left. 

Left. 

He would have left. 

Just been gone. 

Gone. 

Just like Jack had… left? Gone? Vanished? He still isn’t even sure about that. 

His hands are trembling where they are pressed together so tight they appear white. He doesn’t dare to move. He doesn’t dare to risk this to end. Maybe it’s a dream. He dreamed of something like this far, far too often. And here he is. He doesn’t dare to utter a single word in fear the bubble of it will drop, the hazy memories of getting here finally make sense as just the jumbled mess dreams provide. 

Ben left minutes ago, or maybe seconds. Not long, that’s all that matters. He hasn’t lost track of time altogether. There is still a fraction left, a fraction of time he remembers, he knows is there. Time is a mess in dreams too, like memories, and in dreams, they are the same. Maybe this is still a dream. He thinks it can’t be, he wouldn’t feel himself scratching his skin until it hurts in a dream, or maybe he would, he should google it or Ben would know and-

He takes a shuddering breath before the panic has a chance to set in. The dirt on his clothes has dried, and his hair is messy and Jack is in front of him and he is real. Like the hospital is real, like the machines are. Sammy is not used to not knowing things, he spends his nights getting to know stories and more, he is used to inhaling knowledge to use for the radio. He doesn’t know what the machines do, however, he doesn’t know if Jack can hear him. It’s not like he said one word since the woods.

His hands started trembling the moment he didn’t dare to touch Jack. He didn’t dare to touch him, scared he would disappear into thin air like in all his dreams, scared he is still just a dream. He hadn’t dared to try and find a pulse, and it was Troy who shouted that Jack was alive, and maybe it was the confirmation that made him drop his hands on his fiance’s chest to feel a heartbeat, to feel his reality. And that is all that is clear. He clung to Ben and Jack and to some degree Troy when they drove to the hospital, and it's a blur of limbs and hair and words in his head he couldn’t say.

And now he is here. And not only Sammy, no, Jack, Jack is here, and Ben is off getting coffee and Lily and Troy are… somewhere, close, he guesses. And Jack is here. Unconscious, yes, found in the same clothes Sammy remembers him wearing the day before he disappeared, yes. But still. He is here. He is real. And Sammy is a mess, his head is a city of chaos and he can’t even say a word. He should be talking. He is a radio host, by any means, he should be talking to his fiance. But his tongue is lead and his head is chaos and he just stares ahead until his eyes are so dry that it hurts to blink and they form tears and he pretends it’s just from that.

And Sammy’s hands won’t stop trembling. He would have called Lily himself, but there was no way he could even type in her name in his contact list, and Ben, helpful as he ever had been, just told him to sit tight. While he took care of things. So many things. Many things?

He thinks he should talk to Jack. It didn’t work when he tried, the words got stuck and nearly choked him before he could control himself again. His knowledge of geography is more limited than he likes to admit, and even if he remembered the name of the botanical garden, he can only retell it in his head. He wants to tell Jack the moment he knew he loved him, the moment he knew he didn’t have crush, or was just in love with the idea of being loved. He never told him. It was a memory so deep in his heart that it waited for the right moment, and the right moment was now and still not-now. Jack used to love that place. Big greenhouses, plants Sammy had never seen or heard of with names that rolled off Jacks tongue like it was easy. It was an unusual place for someone like Jack. But Jack was, by any means, unusual. 

He should tell him right now. That one of these moments in the greenhouses was the moment he realized how in love he was. 

He doesn’t say a word.

His hands are not a bit calmer than they were hours ago, and they probably won’t stop shaking for another few. He will not be able to get them calm until Ben is back. Until Jack wakes up. Until Lily gets here. And then, and it’s a thought that makes him laugh in his head because smiling is too much and only makes the tears worse and his thoughts more jumbled, then, for the first time, he will be home again. In a hospital room with machines he doesn’t understand, with Ben he doesn’t know he can say a word too, with Lily who will roast him for that, or maybe not, because maybe, even she won’t say a thing. Ben will talk to make up for it, and slowly, the scene will play out like this, with all of them here until someone has the nerve to try to remove them like they did with Hershel when Cecil was comatose, and it will work even less this time. It will take time for him to break enough to actually realize what is happening. It will take time for his head to sort itself and for his hands to stop shaking so hard he fears to disturb Jack while holding his.

Sammy has a hard time controlling his hands. They are trembling and they won’t stop. They will, eventually.