He can’t breathe.
His hands are furiously shaking and even though he gasping for breath, it never seems to quell the need for oxygen in his lungs. Every inhale leaves him desperate for more, every exhale squeezing his lungs until he feels like they’re going to concave on themselves. It’s a vicious cycle of having too much air and none at all, all at once. He’s choking himself on hiccups, and every time he starts to feel the relief of a successful rinse over his insides, it starts again. A hiccup, or a gasp, or a choke on nothing but the very air he’s so desperately trying to get.
His hands don’t work anymore. He can’t control the shaking, nor can he control the way that he’s furiously clawing at his own arms, pinpricks of pain remaining the only sensation that lets him know that he’s still real, still conscious to this world, not a figment of his own twisted imagination.
He can see colours behind his eyes whenever he close them, but even when they’re open they’re beginning to spot and flicker against his vision, already clouded but tears, tears he can’t stop from coming. Tears that physically burn.
It’s too loud. He can feel the thudding in his ears of his own heart, and the chatter of those around him, loud, so loud, but never clear enough to actually make out words. The sounds all mingle together, much like the tears and spots manipulating his vision, all merging into a mess. That’s the only way it can be described. He’s a mess.
But there’s a soft voice, calm and low and forcing him to concentrate. There aren’t arms around him, he hates that, but there are strong hands guiding his away from his arms and placing them on his thighs, the stranger’s hands placed on top, quelling the shaking, finally. His fingers twitch beneath the warmth, but they steady. He can feel that. He can feel.
The world is quieting, but there’s still the thudding in his own ears. It calms as he speaks, his heart rate slowing from furious to a fluttering anxious. It helps him breathe, helps him finally take those large gulps of breath he’s been starved of.
He catches his breath, and his vision slowly begins to clear, his body still wracked with shudders of aftershock. The first thing he notices is his eyes. Brown, warm, and soft. He doesn’t look worried, because he knows it’ll make the younger panic again, but he looks calm. He looks happy, almost. It makes his lips twitch.
The hands enveloping his own try to shift, but he twists his fingers until they’re locked together. He isn’t ready yet, his heart still thudding and his breath still catching every now and then. Their hands still.
When he finally brings himself to focus, it’s not on an image in front of him, but on the soft caress of lips against his own. Otabek’s lips.
Yuri can breathe.