Justin's breath was coming in small, soft hitches, fast and shallow, like he wasn't sure he was ever going to be able to catch it completely. He tossed his head back and forth and JC curled around him, ran his hands up and down Justin's arms and breathed slow and deep.

"Easy," he said, "it's okay, J, I'm here, it's okay." He leaned in to kiss him and Justin put his arms up and clung to JC but turned his face away.

"You -" Justin said, "you -" and JC shushed him, soothed him, watched as Justin fell back against the bed and his eyes lost their panicked look. Justin was breathing more deeply now, but still quickly, as if he'd just hurried back from somewhere a long way away. Looking at him, JC wondered what it must be like to let someone, something take you so far away, so far beyond everything, beyond words and yourself.

"You know," Justin breathed, "you know," and JC pressed closer against him and wondered if he ever would.