Genre: Angst. Drama. Romance. Friendship. Post-Movie.
Word Count: 4,397
Pairings/Characters: Charley Brewster/Peter Vincent
Synopsis: In the aftermath of Jerry's reign of terror, some of his victims are left with some pretty intense nightmares.
Comments: This has been in progress forever and I finally managed to finish it off tonight. Might throw in another part, from Peter's POV, but we shall see. Rated for language. Characters are not mine, please enjoy! Comments are awesome.
Charley is not having a good day. He supposes it's to be expected a mere two days out from an all out supernatural brawl, and the fight with Jerry left him a little worse for wear - slightly singed, more than slightly worked over. His bruised and cracked ribs - who knew getting flung into floors and ceilings and walls hurt so damn much? - certainly make navigating the crowded halls of his high school a particularly painful venture, what with all the bumping and rushing students. He's tired and sore and just a little bit on edge by the time he finally makes it out the school's main entrance.
He's surprised to find the parking lot still abuzz with activity so long after the last bell. Normally, the place is a ghost town within ten minutes, but no. Not today. Today, everyone is gathered around something (someone?) parked straight ahead on the edge of the sidewalk.
He hears people asking for autographs, for pictures and wonders who it could be. But then he hears a familiar voice turn down these requests and then that voice's volume increases, offering a shouted, "Charley!" to get his attention (as if he could possibly be missed).
So, Charley finds himself picking his way through the gaggles of giddy teenagers and at last breaks through and reaches the sleek, black motorcycle that Peter sits upon.
"You know the Peter Vincent?" Someone, a freshman, Charley dimly recalls, asks of him as he passes by.
"Mm," is the only response he gives, too tired for anything more coherent.
"Charley," Peters says again. He's dressed in the outfit he wears for his act - the wig, the make-up, the fake tattoos, the leather - but the way his eyes soften, darting over Charley's bruised and battered frame to settle on his ribs when he cringes (thanks to the jarring of another student in the crowd), doesn't really mesh with his 'fuck off, I'm awesome' image very well, Charley thinks.
"What're you doing here?"
Peter glances back at the space on the back of the motorcycle, the extra helmet that sits there. "Thought you could do with a ride home."
And Charley hadn't even thought about that. His usual method of transportation met an untimely end when Jerry threw it through the back of his mother's SUV, and he's long since missed the bus. He'd have had to walk home, had Peter not shown up - and his ribs would not have appreciated that very much.
"Yeah, sure, okay," he agrees, taking the helmet and strapping it into place. He makes sure his backpack - so heavy, so many textbooks - is steady on his shoulders before he climbs on behind Peter, ignoring the twinge of pain it causes him.
His classmates are watching him, talking about him in not so hushed voices, but he ignores them, scoots in closer to Peter and holds on tight.
Charley nods against Peter's shoulder and the bike revs back to life. He braces for the inevitable pain that will come with bouncing off the curb, but it doesn't come. Peter, instead, takes the bike down the pedestrian ramp and straight onto the flat parking lot. Must be feeling generous today. "Thanks," Charley says, as they idle at the stop that takes them onto the road, before the roar of the engine can drown him out.
Turns out that the roar of the engine causes other problems, too. Like not being able to ask Peter where the hell they're going when he drives right on by the turn off to Charley's neighborhood - they've moved into another cookie-cutter house, just a few streets up and over from the one that Jerry had destroyed in his mission to get them - without even kind of slowing down.
They don't stop until they get into the city, to the Hard Rock's private parking garage and really, Charley should have known. Peter's costume should've given it away - it's not like he enjoys wearing it just for kicks.
"I have rehearsals," Peter confirms. "You can go upstairs and get some rest if you want."
But Charley doesn't want to do that. Despite his exhaustion, sleeping is not something he is eager to do. "Can I watch?" he asks instead.
And maybe it was the right thing to say, because Peter smiles, nods, says, "sure."
Grateful for the distraction, he follows Peter into the main building, not really seeing where he's going, just sort of blindly following. Eventually, Peter slows, then stops and Charley nearly runs into the back of him. "Sorry," he says. Peter's arm settles lightly across his shoulders, then, leading him along.
"Maybe you should go sleep. I'll cut practice short and come up soon," he offers the out, but Charley shakes his head and forces himself to look a little more awake.
"No, really, I want to watch."
"Okay," Peter agrees, and he leaves him in a seat closer to the back of the large auditorium. "The explosions never make it back this far," he jokes, flashing Charley a grin as he walks away to head backstage.
Charley laughs and pulls his homework from his bag - math, to start - and sets to work. He only makes it through a few of the assigned equations in the big, heavy book before the rehearsal starts and the lights dim down to almost nothing. He gives up on his homework for the time being and sets his eyes on the stage, following Peter's movements as he sets up his tricks.
"Excuse me, son," a uniformed security guard says, startling Charley into jumping when a hand lands unexpectedly on his shoulder. The surprise contact makes his ribs pulsate in pain, but the guard doesn't seem to have noticed. "Who let you in here? I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave, this is a closed-"
"Hey!" That's Peter. On stage, he's interrupted his own fire stunt to shout at the guard. "Hands off down there, yeah? I let him in here."
The officer mumbles an apology and quickly takes his leave and Peter barks out an order that will give Charley access to anywhere he wants to go in relation to the Fright Night act, including the penthouse, before he goes back to his tricks. He gets back into things like he never stopped, but now Charley notices that he keeps shooting glances in his direction.
It doesn't take him long to nail down the stunt and while they're setting up for his next one, some of the other cast members take the stage to work on their lines and placements and stunt work. Charley doesn't care about them, though, so he finishes off his math homework and pulls out his English work. He only gets about ten pages into the novel he's supposed to read and review before his eyes get heavy. He drifts off slowly and not even the flashing lights and loud bangs from the show can keep him awake.
Charley's world blurs from the dark, cool auditorium into the dark, musty, hollowed out basement of a fearsome creature of the night. The change is so real - he can smell the scents of death and decay that choked the air out of him in that place, can smell the smoke and burning skin that saved them all.
He can't see much with all the smoke filling his vision, can't get a clear picture of what's going on even though he could be when did this before... he's done this before, hasn't he? He's sure he has. And he can't find Peter anywhere.
Right now, Charley should be on fire and clinging to Jerry as he freaks out and slams them around the walls of the basement. Right now, Peter should be covering him, stupidly risking himself to make sure Charley can finish the job. But none of those things are happening. He's not on fire - even though there's smoke and the scent of charred something in the room - and why is this all so different but all still the same?
Amy's nowhere to be seen, either, but that worries him less than Peter's absence because he needs Peter for this.
But then he's not alone and Jerry is stalking up to him, looking all predatory and hungry and blood-lusty. "Charley," he croons, drawing the word out as he approaches.
Charley's weaponless and not in the fire gear he knows he came here in. What the hell is going on?
Amy appears out of nowhere, still all vampired out even though he knows they saved her. Her and Peter because they both were turning and no no no, this can't be.
Peter comes next, fades into existence out of nowhere, sitting in the sunbeams and smoldering slowly, screaming but not moving out of the light and Charley finds it really confusing that he'd rather have another vampire after him than to see Peter go up in smoke.
"No, no, no, no, no." He's saying, over and over and over again.
Amy and Jerry advance on him, backing him into a dark corner of the room where there's no escape from whatever they want to do to him. Only... they don't do anything to him. Hands leech out of the walls - grabbing him, holding him in place, and they won't let go no matter how much he struggles and fights, while Amy and Jerry turn to face Peter.
And this Peter, this half-burned vampire Peter, seems to sense something is wrong because he finally does start to move, only it's too little too late and they're on him. Jerry sinks his teeth into Peter's neck and blood just gushes out like some sort of comic explosion and Amy licks the blood from Jerry's lips and all he can hear is Peter-
"Charley! Charley, come on," desperate pleas like the ones he only vaguely recalls hearing Peter make after he put out the last of the flames. "Come on, wake up. Charley!" Somewhere in there, the hands disappear, with an out of place comment he doesn't remember hearing before that's a furious "get off of him!" before the voice is back, just as desperate as before.
"Fuck, Charley, come on," and hands are on his face and then there's bright overhead lights and a rush of sound and he's not quite sure how he ended up lying on the floor in the Hard Rock's auditorium, but that's where he is.
Peter's kneeling beside him, in an eerily similar replay of the other night in Jerry's basement, but this time he looks even more panicked than he had then, which is impressive because he'd looked pretty frantic there.
"Rehearsal's over, everyone fuck off," Peter says, so matter-of-factly that no one questions or protests the abrupt ending to a rehearsal that was supposed to drag on for at least another hour. Quickly, the room clears, leaving only Charley with Peter hovering over him. "Now what the fuck was that about?"
"Ugh," Charley starts, his breath catching in his throat because, shockingly, however he ended up on the floor did not do his ribs any good at all. "Nothing?"
"Nothing," Peter echoes. "Right. Yeah. Because screaming for me and rolling about on the floor is nothing, yes. Perfectly normal activity, that. Why did I even ask?" He sits back, so he's not hovering quite so much anymore. "Jesus, Charley. Someone else got to you before me and you flipped out when they grabbed you, started throwing punches," and huh, Charley thinks. That might explain the grabby hands and the 'get off of him' he heard in his dream. "That's not fucking nothing."
"I had a nightmare, okay?" Charley snaps, sitting up slowly. "It happens. It's no big deal."
"Clearly." Peter shrugs, getting to his feet and grabbing up Charley's backpack and the book that fell to the floor in the chaos. "Come on, you're coming upstairs with me."
"I could just go home if you..."
Charley follows him out of the auditorium, through the halls and to the resident's elevator, through the recently repaired mini-museum of supernatural things, and into the heart of Peter's penthouse. Peter drops Charley's bag on one of the over-sized chairs and sets about the cumbersome task of getting out of his costume.
He's shirtless, having shed the giant leather coat, and he's dragging a hand through his normal hair, plucking at all the fake things on his face, by the time he notices Charley staring aimlessly out the big windows at the Vegas Strip below.
Peter sidelines over to the bar and pours himself a drink before he approaches Charley, coming to a stop next to him.
"I have them, too, you know. I've had them for years."
Charley cringes. "They don't stop?"
He swirls his Midori around in the glass. "What d'you think this is for?"
"What are yours about?" Peter asks, even though he looks like he doesn't actually want to know the answer. "Mine are usually about my parents," though Charley suspects that recently they have included Ginger, too. "Are they about your friend? Ed, was it?"
Surprisingly, no, they aren't - killing a boy who was once one of his best friends probably should be giving him nightmares, but that's not what's keeping him from sleeping. He shakes his head and sighs, "About what would've happened if we hadn't stopped Jerry."
"So... they're about Amy, then?" Peter guesses. "Have you talked to her?"
Charley frowns and stares down at the floor. "No. She's... kind of avoiding me, I think. She just wants to forget about the whole vampire thing. My Mom does, too. But I... I can't. Knowing they're out there just..."
"I know," Peter agrees. Even though he spent most of his life trying to forget about vampires, now that he's been drawn back in, he doesn't seem to be running from them again, which Charley is grateful for. He'd be on his own in this, otherwise.
"And they're not just about Amy," he adds on, glancing sideways at Peter.
"So, what then?"
"Amy and Jerry were attacking you, but you were a vampire, too - since, you know, Jerry was still alive. And I couldn't help," he explains. "Last night's wasn't as bad."
"Last night?" A sigh, and Peter tries to take a sip of a drink that is long gone. "Have you slept at all?"
"Not for long, maybe three hours," he calculates and ugh, no wonder he's exhausted. Three hours in two days. Awesome. Charley follows Peter back over to the bar so he can refill his drink and perches on one of the barstools, cringing when he has to move certain ways. "Hasn't been particularly easy to sleep given the rib thing, either."
"Yeah. And I totally forgot to take the pain pills they gave me," he sighs - which, ow - and gets back off the barstool to retrieve the pill bottle from his backpack. He takes two, swallows them down dry and notices his phone in the depths of his bag."Yikes. Six missed calls."
Peter stays quiet in the background when he calls back, and he doesn't look surprised at all when Charley starts talking to his mom. "Sorry, I didn't hear my phone," he starts, then, "I'm fine. I'm with Peter." She hasn't met Peter yet, in all the chaos of the last few days, but both he and Amy told her about him, about his role in stopping Jerry - she knows who he is from the commercials for his Hard Rock shows, though. Charley's not sure how his mom would take actually meeting him. "I, ugh, needed a ride home from school and didn't want to bother you," he lies. "I'm just," he looks to Peter when he talks now, asking for confirmation when he says, "gonna stay here tonight?" He gets a nod from Peter and adds on a more confident, "yeah," to cancel out the part of his statement that sounded like a question. "I'll be back sometime tomorrow, Mom. I promise." Luckily, tomorrow is Saturday, so he doesn't have to suffer through school again or be awake stupidly early (as if he's going to sleep at all). "Yeah, bye."
"Since you're not going anywhere," Peter starts, grabbing a fresh bottle from one of the lower shelves of the bar, "how 'bout a drink?"
"Probably not a good idea, the whole mixing alcohol with pain medications thing." Charley counters.
Peter huffs and takes a long swig. "Suit yourself."
Charley shrugs and settles down in one of the chairs to work on the rest of his homework. Peter's quiet, drinking and staring out the window at the bustling city below. He drinks and drinks and drinks and finally ends up passed out in the chair opposite Charley, snoring softly.
"I guess one of us should sleep," Charley grudgingly admits, scribbling out notes on the novel he's plowing through.
Peter jerks back to consciousness after a few minutes, though, panting and wide-eyed as he looks around the room in search of some unseen danger. His eyes settle on Charley, and he mumbles a hoarse, "fuck," before he heaves a sigh of relief and leans back in the chair.
"Was that 'nothing'?" Charley asks, countering Peter's earlier criticism of him. "Or something?"
"Fuck," he repeats, dragging a hand over his face and digging the heels of his palms into his eyes as if that will get rid of the lingering images of whatever nightmare he just escaped. "Dreamt I was a fucking kid again, hiding under the bed while Jerry killed my parents. But then I was here, like this, and I was watching him with you instead. Fuck, I need another drink. Maybe another bottle. Fucking hell."
And Charley doesn't know what to say to that. Out of all the people Peter's lost, all of the people he could be having nightmares about, he hadn't really expected to make the list. "I'll get it," he says, even though his ribs forcefully remind him that they don't really appreciate much movement right now.
The bar is fully stocked and the Midori is easy enough to find. He straightens up and turns to grab a new glass, but he finds Peter standing, too, approaching slowly.
"Charley," he says, "We can't stay up forever."
"I know," he answers, solemnly shrugging off reality, "But I'd like to prolong another nightmare as long as possible, thanks. If I'm tired enough, maybe I won't dream at all."
He plucks the bottle out of Charley's hands and drinks straight from it, seeming to revel in the familiar burn as the alcohol stings down his throat. "Don't blame you," he mumbles, still hell-bent on chasing away the memories of his own vividly detailed dream.
Charley takes the bottle back from him, takes a short swallow of it for himself, despite whatever effect it has when it mixes with the pain meds he's on, and winces when it hits him.
"You'll get used to it," Peter tells him, still hovering well within Charley's personal space.
"Guess I'll have to," he answers, as much as he hates the idea that that might be his future if he can't reign in the nightmares - and if Peter couldn't... He dares to take another swig before he passes the bottle back to Peter, but all he does is set it back down on the counter, his face an unreadable mask when his eyes land on Charley. "What?"
Peter shakes his head and looks away, looks like he's contemplating grabbing up the bottle and guzzling it until whatever he was thinking is drowned in an inescapable pool of alcohol. "Nothing, just..." he says, "nothing."
"Looks like 'something' to me," Charley counters, though he's not exactly sure where he thinks this conversation is going to go.
Peter glares at him, just for a second, like he's not very happy about that challenge, but then he presses in a little closer on what's left of the space between them, which wasn't much to begin with, and Charley finds himself backed up against the bar. Peter hovers in front of him, hands braced on either side of him, caging him in. "And if it is' 'something,'" he starts, leaning in even closer, "then what?"
And Charley has no idea what he's supposed to say to that, what he's supposed to do when Peter's acting so weird. He stammers out a few things that aren't quite words and stares, wide-eyed.
His hands settle on Peter's arms, a pre-emptive move made with the intention of getting out of this box he's been trapped in. "Um. What... what are we doing right now?"
Instead of something helpful, like a logical and coherent reply, Peter opts for a visual demonstration. He closes the remaining, minimal, distance between them - though he's careful of Charley's injuries - and kisses him. It's quick, alarmingly quick, actually. And it's over before Charley is actually convinced that it even happened. Peter backpedals almost immediately, freeing Charley from the cage of his arms, and looks a little despondent, as he seems to register what he's done.
"Fuck, sorry. Fucking fuck," he mumbles, pacing the length of the bar.
By now, Charley's noticing a heavy correlation between the amount of cursing Peter does and his present state of stressed out. The fact that he's still grumbling out a variety of colorful curses as he further distances himself suggests that he's not calming down anytime soon, at least not unless Charley can manage it himself.
"Uh," he starts, unhelpfully, as he searches for something to say. He sucks in a deep breath, remembers that doing that hurts, and tries a shallower one before he attempts to speak again. "I, uh, it's okay."
Peter raises a skeptical eyebrow and shakes his head. Clearly, he does not think it will be.
"Peter," Charley tries again. "Really, I, uh... it was okay. Relax."
He stops pacing across the room, which Charley counts a minor win, but he still looks skeptical. And Charley is thinking this might not be the worst idea ever. He's even pretty sure that it's not just that whole pesky dead-tired thing he has going, he thinks it might chase away both of their nightmares for a little while. Certainly isn't seeing a downside to this at all.
"You could do it again," Charley offers, with the thought that this might even be a good idea.
"No," Peter counters quickly, because "No, you're a fucking kid," and he starts moving again.
"Oh, please. For like another month," Charley counters, because he'll be eighteen soon enough and after fighting vampires, after nearly dying to save the man in front of him, he doesn't see why a couple of weeks should matter all that much in the scheme of things. He makes the move closer this time, stops just a few feet from the other man. "Peter."
But Peter won't look at him.
"Peter," he says again, this time catching the older man's arm. It's enough to make him turn this time, and before Charley realizes it, they're kissing again. Peter pulls him in closer, one hand on his hip and the other curled into his hair, holding on tight.
For once, Charley finds himself not thinking of Jerry or of vampires or of blood and fangs and dreary basements and all of the other things that have filled his mind for the last few days. This is a pleasant distraction, and he finds himself kissing back just as enthusiastically as Peter. His own hands land on Peter's bare chest, accidentally smearing the fake tattoos.
The hand that's on his hip slides up, when Peter groans into his mouth -
Fuck, this was a fantastic idea.
- but it presses against the wrong spot and Charley is forced to pull away with a sharp, undignified squeak of pain. "Fuck, stupid ribs."
"Shit, sorry," Peter says, reaching out to steady the other man. "I, uh, that was..."
"Good," Charley insists, before Peter can claim it as another mistake. "That was good and we should do it again."
Peter sighs, possibly in defeat, and Charley breathes a careful sigh of relief when he doesn't try to back pedal this time. Instead he moves closer, "Yes. Yes to all of that, but I'm really, really drunk and you're really, really tired and I think we should go lay down before we fall down," he rambles on, already drawing Charley toward his room.
Charley follows, despite the increased risk of falling asleep that comes with a bed.
"How are you supposed to sleep with your ribs?" Peter asks, as Charley peels off the t-shirt to reveal deep purpling bruises all over the place. It's no wonder Peter managed to bump one of them, there are several.
"Supposedly, you should sleep on the side that's broken. But I've got broken ones on both sides, so..."
"No wonder you can't sleep, even if you weren't having nightmares," Peter cringes as he carefully traces the edges of one of the larger bruises. "Surprised you can stand."
Charley resists the urge to shrug, "It only hurts when I bump it. Or I move wrong. Or breathe too hard."
"Oh, only then, huh?" Peter counters, wrangling Charley down onto the bed with him. After a fair amount of careful maneuvering, Peter digs out some extra pillows and ends up sitting against the headboard, with Charley leaned back onto his chest. Blankets are drawn up, comfortable in the cool darkness of Peter's room, and slowly, they both begin to relax.
"I'll wake you up if you start freaking out again," Peter promises, arms curled loosely around Charley.
"Same to you," he answers.
For the first time since the attack, Charley actually feels like he might be able to sleep without the nightmares. He's not sure if it's the combination of drugs and alcohol or if it's this mutual protection, where they can keep each other from falling too deeply into the bad dreams, that makes him feels comfortable and content. Whatever it is, he's out within five minutes and he sleeps soundly until morning, when he wakes with Peter still snoring lightly against his shoulder.
He has a feeling he's going to be waking up like this a lot.