Dandelion Crowns and Paper Butterflies


It is late in the evening, hours after the Doors have closed.

Tim is sitting in the Slammer, his legs folded under him, next to Josiah, who is peacefully sleeping. The prison is too small for the both of them to lie down, so Tim had offered to sit instead of lie down so that Josiah could sleep. They had argued about that for a couple of minutes, until Josiah finally gave in and fell asleep.

He is now lying curled up, on the hard, concrete floor, his dark hair tickling Tim's knee. He knows that he'll never say it out loud, but his best friend looks adorable when he is asleep.

Tim watches as he breathes in, and out, and in, and out...

The rhythm is making him drowsy. He is about to fall asleep when Josiah mumbles something in his sleep. It is too quiet to understand what he is saying.

Tim shrugs and closes his eyes.

Then Josiah mutters the word again, loud enough for Tim to understand it, and it makes his blood freeze in his veins.


Tim shakes his head, thankful for the darkness; now nobody can see that his face is burning red.

No, that can't be right. He probably said something else, like 'swim' or 'gym' or something.

People say weird things in their sleep.

It is silent again, for a couple of minutes.

Tim has nearly fallen asleep – again – when Josiah shifts in his sleep and mutters: "T-Tim... No..."

Tim sits upright.

Now he has heard it very clearly; Josiah was saying his name in his sleep. Hopeful thoughts escape from the prison in his head, but he pushes them back.

Of course Josiah isn't in love with you, Tim, he strictly tells himself. It can't be. Stop being so desperate.

Don't you think you'd notice if your best friend was gay, too?

Josiah moves in his sleep again, and this time, his eyes fly open. He shoots upright, breathing heavily before he sees that he is just in the Slammer.

"S-Sorry," he says to Tim. "I... I just had a nightmare."

Tim nods, deciding to keep the saying-your-best-friend's-name-in-your-sleep-thing for himself. He doesn't really feel like embarrassing Josiah right now.

"It's all right," he manages to reply, knowing that he is still blushing but uncertain whether Josiah can see it or not. "You can go back to sleep. I won't let anything happen to you."

The words have left his mouth before he can stop them. He bites his lip before he can say any more stupid things.

Josiah frowns, but nods, looking tired.

"Yeah. Goodnight, Tim."

"Night," Tim replies, watching as his best friend lies down on the floor again and immediately falls asleep.

"I won't let anything happen to you."

He meant the words, though; he knows that Josiah is afraid that George's friends will come to kill him, to take revenge. He had told Tim that right after the Gathering yesterday, when everyone else had left the room.

Tim had told him then that he would protect Josiah with everything he had. He tried to make it sound like a joke, but he meant it; he really would protect Josiah with everything he had.

That is the last thought he has before he falls asleep.

Josiah, I will make sure that you are safe.

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