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Safe (in the way we touch)

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Callum's panic attacks get worse after the Storm Spire. It's hard for him to feel safe and secure, and he has moments where his brain gets swept up in what-if scenarios. He uses every tool he has: focusing on his breathing, picturing a calm, safe space, and drawing, but sometimes it is not enough.

The first time it happened, Rayla was not sure how to react. It was disconcerting to see Callum totally fine one minute and struggling to breathe the next. Now, she feels slightly more confident, even though she is just as worried. With each panic attack, Rayla learned a lot about how to soothe him in the following months. She recognizes the furrow in his brow when he gets too stuck in his own thoughts. She quickly notices the small change in his breathing when he momentarily loses touch with the present.

Rayla approaches Callum slowly, placing a hand on his knee. This reminds Callum that she is there; he doesn't have to work through his anxious thoughts alone. Callum breathes a slight sigh of relief, but his mind is still elsewhere. Rayla's mouth slips into a smile as he grabs onto her hands. It's a tight grip, but she doesn't mind.

Squeezing her hands, Callum tries his best to take one or two deep breaths. Their linked hands rest gently in Rayla's lap as they breathe slowly together. Rayla loses track of time, but she eases up and smiles at Callum when she feels his hands relax in hers. He returns the smile and wraps her in a hug.

Rayla pulls back, looking at him fondly. "Feeling better?"

"I'm getting there. Thanks, Rayla. It's not easy for me, and you make it better."

Rayla snuggles back into him, grateful to just relax as she listens to Callum's slow, easy breathing.