fandom: Romantically Apocalyptic
genre: hurt/comfort, friendship, fluff
characters: mostly Engie
summary:As a light sleeper, Engie has plenty of time to observe and wonder over his crewmates´ sleeping habits. His observations leave him a bit grumpy, but Pilot is already working to find a solution ...
Maybe it is because he could never get enough sleep when Annet was still sending. Maybe it is because even the reality of post apocalyptic life is not as dreadful as his nightmares back then were. When Charles Snippy is asleep, he could as well be dead. The engineer is sure that even a rifle fired next to the sniper could not wake him up. Of course this is beneficial to Captain´s and Pilot´s habit of pulling pranks on Snippy. Gromov clearly remembers the day the tour guide woke up dressed in a pink rabbit costume because Captain wanted him to replace the Easter Bunny, claiming the real one had been abducted by aliens...
Captain, on the other hand, rarely sleeps. Instead, Seven has the habit of hovering over the sniper until he dozes off. Engie often hears Snippy complain about it, wondering if Captain sleeps at all. Engie always smiles at this, unseen behind his mask. Unlike Snippy, he is a light sleeper, his fearsome nature and nervousness keeping him awake, allowing insight into Seven´s sleeping habits that Snippy probably will never find out about.
When the tour guide is asleep, Seven gives up the hovering position, removes shoes, hat, mask and shroud, placing them neatly next to the worn out mattress that is Snippy´s resting place, and silently crawls beneath the blanket next to the sniper. Every morning, Seven rises silently and takes the hovering position again before Snippy wakes up.
Gromov wonders how Captain-worshipper Pilot copes with this, but he is not even sure the child-man knows. Pilot always leaves when it is getting dark. The engineer attributes this to his craziness. No sane person would sleep outside in the nuclear wasteland if he was in his right mind. But to Engies amazement, Pilot comes back alive every morning. The angsty part of Gromov´s personality tells him to leave it at that, but the part that is a curious scientist desperately wants to know where Pilot is going at night.
Gromov barely has to step outside the unstable door to find out.
Photoshop, the huge, caterpillar-like creature with sharp teeth, blocks the way to the entrance of their so-called base completely. Curled up, it resembles a giant, breathing donut. Right in the center of the circle the worm forms with its body, is Pilot, comfortably cuddling into his giant pet. The child-man is moved gently every time the worm in- and exhales. Gromov watches the strange sight with fascination, until he remembers that darkness and being outside is a lethal combination.
Engie goes back inside and crawls into his sleeping bag.
Though he is wrapped into his coat and sleeping bag , he feels the cold of the concrete floor seeping into his bones. He moves uncomfortably, watching the usual evening ritual. Snippy, removing his mask and goggles, lying down without taking off his boots (The sniper always keeps his shoes on during night since he found his boots glued to the floor one morning). Seven, hovering over Snippy until he is asleep, then moving to rest close to the sniper. Snippy, unconsciously moving closer to the warmth he does not know is provided by Captain.
Engie realizes he is the only one without a companion to warm him. Though he does not really know if it is preferable to cuddle with a pessimistic smart-ass like Snippy, the complete lunatic that Seven is, or, even more dubious, with a giant mutated worm, he is a little hurt. Maybe he still does not belong to this strange little group, having joined it so late while the others already have formed bonds and alliances. Frankly, realizing that even an obvious lunatic like Pilot rather shares warmth with a giant caterpillar than sleeping in the same room with you can be upsetting.
The next evening, Gromov unfurls his sleeping bag in a gloomy mood. He nearly jumps when someone touches his shoulder. The engineer harshly turns around, only to find Pilot crouching next to him. "Yeah?," he grumbles, his scowl invisible behind his mask.
"ERM, MISTER ENGIE... I NOTICED THAT YOU ALWAYS SLEEP ALONE IN THIS CORNER, AND I THOUGHT... WELL, THE JIGGLY SLUG (He obviously makes no secret of his despise of Snippy.) HAS CAPTAIN TO GUARD HIS SLEEP (His tone of voice indicates he does not like that, but also doesn´t dare to question Captain´s actions.). AND I HAVE PHOTOSHOP. ONLY YOU HAVE NO ONE. I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT. I CAN`T STAY IN HERE; BECAUSE...," he tries to lower his voice. "...PHOTOSHOP IS AFRAID OF THE DARK, I CAN`T LEAVE HER ALONE. SO, I DECIDED THAT MR. KITTYHAWK WILL STEP IN FOR ME. NOW YOU CAN SLEEP PROTECTED TOO."
With this words, he carefully pulls out a stuffed plush puffin from the inside pocket of his jacket, holding the prized item out for Gromov expectantly. Engie is stunned. Clumsily, he takes the puffin out of Pilot´s hands, mumbling a soft "Thank you". Pilot, satisfied with his solution, bounces out to meet Photoshop. The engineer looks at the plushie, not sure what to do. Finally, he tucks it inside his jacket, close to his chest. Strangely, he feels a lot warmer when he curls into his sleeping bag this time. It is physically impossible that sentiment emits warmth, he muses before drifting into sleep effortlessly, for the first time since he joined the group.