Could you do 29 (‘When was the last time you slept?!?’) for Malvie? Perhaps Evie is being stressed about the number of orders she has to complete, revising for a exams, or both simultaneously? Or perhaps it could be worked into a chapter from I'm just a teenage dirtbag?' Perhaps Mal hasn't been sleeping because she's too caught up in helping Evie sleep, worrying that she isn't enough to protect her, dealing with her own Isle trauma kind of thing? Either way, I adore your works! Thank you!
This one ties into my fic ‘we’re so close yet so far apart’ :)
TW: Panic attacks and discussion of questionable consent.
They diagnosis Evie with PTSD, and her parents quickly put her in therapy. At first, it works. She is able to sleep a little better, and the anxiety medication they put her on is a blessing but then the nightmares start up. Evie lays in bed and stares up at the ceiling, she counts the plastic stars that Ben put up their first year; she makes wishes on them, she wishes that this ache inside of her would go away. But it doesn’t, it just gets worse and she pretends that it isn’t real. She pretends that she’s had a good night’s sleep in a week, and she pretends like the moment her eyes close she doesn’t think of is the Isle.
The worst though are the nights when she remembers the feeling of being under Uma’s strong influence. She remembers trying so hard to fight it, trying to hang onto her memories of Mal; she even remembers how it hadn’t worked at first and how angry Uma had gotten. The worst part is remembering how rough Uma had been with her when she kissed her, how she pulled away and looked at Mal who looked so betrayed and disgusted. That’s what haunts her to the most, the way her body and love was used as a way to inflict revenge on Mal.
Audrey tries as hard as she can to comfort her, and sometimes she wordlessly crawls into Evie’s bed at night and falls asleep beside her. Evie appreciates it, but all she wants is Mal. When she is with her girlfriend, Evie feels safer; she knows that Mal will never let another thing happen to her, she knows she’ll always be cared for with Mal beside her. On the same hand, Evie doesn’t want to torture her girlfriend with anymore guilt. She knows how hard Mal is still struggling with it all, and she refuses to add to that.
Evie startles as she blinks up at Ben, “Hm?”
“You okay?” Ben asks in a low voice.
“I’m fine.” Evie nods as she forces a strained smile onto her face. “My meds have just been making me a little tired since they upped the dosage.”
Ben studies her for a moment before his face softens ever so slightly, “You’re lying.”
“I don’t want to talk about this.” Evie snaps as she looks down at the book in her lap, a book she doesn’t even remember grabbing. “Just leave it alone, Ben. Please.”
“I will. For now.” Ben sighs as he makes his way to the doors of the study and pauses to glance back at Evie. “Mal is worried about you. Everyone is.”
Evie ignores him. Or maybe she doesn’t hear him at all, Ben really can’t tell. But he can see from his sister’s expression that she’s a million miles away. With a frown of defeat he leaves, but instead of returning to his office he simply closes the door and sinks down against the wood. On the other side of the door, Evie bites her lip until it bleeds and closes her eyes to fight the images playing in her head; yet she can’t escape them, she never will.
“Tie her up.”
“You don’t have to do this.”
“Oh, but I do.”
Evie thrashes helplessly in her bed as the nightmare plagues her. She can feel the fingers curling around her bicep and squeezing until she is sure there will be a hand shaped bruise left in his wake. The smell of salt and dead fish is potent as she is tossed against a pole and her head snaps hard against the wood. And then hands are all over her; they pull at her, tighten a rope around her, and brush over her cheek while she stares into faceless monsters. As soon as she hears a cackle she knows what is coming, a scream rips from her throat as they pull the ropes around her wrist tight enough to dig into her skin.
“Evie! Evie, darling, wake up!”
Evie whimpers as she shudders in a breath and feels familiar arms wrap around her, “Mommy?”
“It’s me, sweetheart. I’m here.” Belle soothes as she rests a hand against Evie’s head and guides her to rest on her shoulder. “A bed maid heard you screaming from down the hall, she ran to get me as soon as she realized you weren’t stopping.”
“I-It was just a dream?” Evie shudders out.
“It was just a dream, baby. You’re safe.” Belle assures as she holds Evie to her. “Tale as old as time, true as it can be. Barely even friends then somebody bends unexpectedly.”
Evie sniffles and laughs, “Really?”
“I used to sing this song to you and Ben when you’d have nightmares, I’m not stopping now.” Belle teases with a small smile. “Just a little change, small to say that least. Both a little scared, neither of them prepared. Beauty and the beast.”
“I don’t want to close my eyes…” Evie admits.
Belle frowns, “Why?”
“I don’t want to see them.” Evie replies as she winds her arms around Belle’s waist. “Mommy, will you please stay with me?”
“Of course, Evie.” Belle assures her as she scoots back on the bed and carefully pulls Evie into her. “I won’t leave you, okay?”
Belle smiles as she looks down at the teen in her arms, and for a moment she is reminded of Evie with chubby cheeks and unruly curls. She looks down at the terrified girl in her arms and all she sees is that little girl she met in the clinic. Her eyes burn with tears, but she is quick to blink them away as she tightens her grasp on Evie and ducks her head to press a kiss to silky blue hair.
Evie stops going to therapy, she doesn’t see a point anymore. All her doctor does is hum and scribble things down on a pad of paper, and he doesn’t understand. He tells her that she has to let time heal her wounds, but how is time supposed to heal wounds that never stop bleeding? So, she takes to ditching her sessions and plastering on fake smiles as she tries to move on with her life. It works for a while, but she knows people are catching on; she’s always irritated, she snaps at everyone but Mal and Ben, and she pretty much takes herself out of spending time with her friends.
“This will be good for you.”
Evie glares towards Audrey, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Okay.” Audrey shrugs.
“I have homework. I don’t need to be attending a movie night.” Evie grumbles as Audrey taps a little beat against Jane’s dorm door. “I’m going to go back to our dorm and…”
“There you are.”
Evie gasps and turns with fear filled eyes until she sees that it’s only Mal, “Hi.”
“Hi.” Mal replies in a slow tone.
“It’s about time you guys got here,” Jay greets as he opens the door and ushers them in. “You’ve missed all the fun. Dude ate all of the gummies, Carlos has made himself into a blanket burrito, Lonnie and Hayden won’t stop making out, and Chad is arguing with Jane over what movie to watch.”
Mal takes Evie’s hand as they walk into the dorm room, “I thought we agreed on a horror.”
“Chad wants a romantic comedy.” Jay sighs with a roll of his eyes.
Eventually, everything is sorted out and the group spreads themselves all over Jane’s large dorm room while a suspenseful soundtrack plays. Evie is tucked into the corner of the couch with her knees pulled up to her chest and her chin resting on her kneecap as she tries to pretend she’s the least bit interested. She hasn’t ever really been fond of scary movies, especially right now. She can already feel the telltale signs of a panic attack building as she looks around the darkened room and tries to block out the screaming pouring from the TV speakers.
She tries to stay, she does, but after yet another scream she can’t help but press her hands over her ears. Mal is the first to notice her discomfort and as soon as Evie sees a hand reaching for her she is quick to jump up from the couch. All of her friends are suddenly replaced with smirking pirates and she presses a hand to her stomach as it twists painfully. Just as she turns to run, she gasps as she crashes into a broad chest and feels fingers curl slowly around her wrists.
“Don’t touch me!”
The entire room goes quiet as Evie sinks away from Jay, and her hand immediately goes to her wrist as she rubs the scars. Everything around her blurs together and her knees feel weak, and she barely feels it when they make contact with the hardwood floor of the dorm room. Evie can’t breathe, she feels like she’s back on the Isle. Every breath she takes, she can taste the stale salt in the air and she can smell the hint of fish that always seemed to linger on the pirates that harassed her. A sob breaks free as she curls her hands to her chest and tries to pull herself back to reality.
Mal is there. Evie can hear her voice, and it calms her for only a moment. But as quick as it comes, it goes. Mal is on the boat, Mal is in danger. Her hands reach out and she grabs onto stiff leather before she pulls herself closer until she replace the smell of salt with the familiar scent of strawberries. The second arms curl around her, Evie settles. She can feel her breath slowing as she tucks herself under Mal’s chin and matches her own breaths with the way Mal’s chest moves beneath her.
“You’re okay. You’re okay.”
As Mal continues to repeat the words, Evie allows them to lull her to sleep.
The first thing she feels when she wakes up is the soft brush of lips against her forehead. Normally, she would bask in it but it’s a touch that she hasn’t consented to so she instead pulls away with a hiss. She hesitantly opens her eyes and frowns as she sees Mal lying beside, and she glances around to see the splashes of blue and pink and she knows she’s back in her dorm room. With a whimper, Evie reaches for Mal and tugs her close until arms are curled so tightly around her that it aches.
“How did I get here?” Evie rasps.
Mal runs her fingers along the dips of her spine as she sighs, “Jay carried you back. You’ve been asleep since last night, and it’s already two in the afternoon. Fairy Godmother excused us from classes, Ben told her that we somehow are both sick at the same time.”
“Evie,” Mal begins as she pulls back so she can lock their gazes, and Evie flinches at the concern. “When is the last time that you slept?”
“I just did…”
“You know what I mean, princess.” Mal sighs.
Evie swallows hard as she begins to play with the soft material of Mal’s t-shirt, “Truth? I don’t really know. I sleep in little splurts, I try to sleep a lot during the day.”
“What’s going on with you, E?” Mal demands as she furrows her brow and pauses her fingers. “You’re not sleeping, you’re distant, and I have never seen you react to Jay in a negative way.”
“I’ve…my anxiety is really bad.” Evie admits as she ducks her head. “I thought it was getting better, but then the nightmares started getting more intense. I just can’t get over what happened, Mal. I’ve tried, but I can’t. I’m so sorry.”
“Why are you apologizing?” Mal scoffs.
“I…I kissed her.” Evie whispers.
“Evie, don’t ever apologize for what happened that night. You were…you didn’t want any of that and I know that.” Mal assures her as she runs a thumb over the dimple of her chin. “I’m the one who should be sorry, it happened because of me.”
“I’m falling apart, Mal.” Evie whimpers.
“And that’s why you have me. That’s why you have your parents and Ben.” Mal points out. “We’re here so you don’t have to fall apart, we’re here to hold you together.”
“I just don’t know how to get over it.” Evie murmurs after a moment. “I realize that I was under the influence of Uma’s spell, but…I remember what happened. I remember all the things I said to you. I remember how she touched me, how she kissed me, how she held me.”
Mal shifts herself so she can cup Evie’s face as her girlfriend’s chest begins to heave, “Shh. You’re okay. You’re here, you’re with me. You will never have to deal with Uma again, okay?”
“I want her out of my head.” Evie chokes out as she looks up at Mal with a desperate gaze. “Pl-Please get her out of my head.”
“Are you suggesting I…?” Mal frowns.
“Anything, Mal. Just…get her out of my head.” Evie begs as she clenches her jaw. “I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can barely think straight.”
Mal brushes a thumb over Evie’s lips, “I’m not going to spell you.”
“No.” Mal snaps as her eyes flash, and Evie ducks back in surprise. “I won’t do that to you, it isn’t right. I know you want to forget, but casting a spell on you isn’t the way to do it.”
Evie sniffles, “Then how?”
“I don’t know, princess,” Mal confesses with a saddened frown. “But we’ll figure this out. You and me and the space between, remember?”
“You and me.” Evie nods.
“You need to sleep.” Mal notes as she looks her over.
“I’m fine.” Evie protests.
“You’re scared, but I’m here. If you even begin to make a single face in your sleep then I’ll wake you up. I won’t let anything happen to you.” Mal grins as she pushes Evie back down and slides behind her. “I am right beside you, okay?”
Evie pulls Mal’s arm around her waist and sniffles softly, “Will you sing to me?”
“Sure, princess. But don’t tell anyone because I’m rotten to the core and I don’t want anyone forgetting that.” Mal huffs, and and she smiles as Evie gives a small giggle.
“A million thoughts in my head, should’ve let my heart keep listening. Cause up till now, I’ve walked the line. Nothing lost, but something missing. I can’t decide what’s wrong, what’s right. Which way should I go?”
Evie falls asleep to Mal’s soft voice, and for the first time in awhile she thinks that maybe she can do this. Maybe she can get better. Maybe there’s a way to fight her inner demons. So long as she has her girlfriend and the people she loves, she thinks there’s a way to move past this.