Happens sometime after Dave finds out about Jed's shift, and after Théo and Éomer's picnic
Long after Dave had fallen asleep, Paris had lain awake, his mid whirring, until finally, not wanting to disturb Dave, he’d slipped from the bed after placing a kiss on his lover’s shoulder and pulled on a pair of jeans. He padded downstairs and slipped his boots on and grabbed a sweater on the way out of the door.
The air was still chilled at this time of the morning outside, and he wrapped his arms around himself to keep warm, feeling vulnerable in the light of what Dave had told him earlier that night.
He shuddered, a bone deep shudder that left him colder than ever, and felt little surprise when he felt the tiny buzz in his head that let him know Théo was close. And this time, he took comfort from it. He didn’t really want to be alone, but Dave had looked tired enough when they’d spoken about this earlier, and he didn’t want him worrying about anything else, about him. He’d put up a brave front for him, reassured him that there was nothing they couldn’t face together, but deep down, he was shit scared.
He’d taken care of himself for so long before he’d arrived in Wellie, knew he could handle himself in a tight spot, but now? Now there wasn’t just himself to think of. What if Dave’s reckless nature got him into danger? What if Paris couldn’t get to him, couldn’t save him? Couldn’t … he couldn’t …
Paris let himself into the stables and gave Laurelea a pat and stroke of welcome before reaching Cavalo’s stall. The big gelding stuck his head over the door, and butted his head against Paris chest, leaving it there as Paris tangled his fingers in the dark mane and let out a sigh.
Théo could feel so many emotions running through his shift and not for the first time thought it would be easier if he could just read Paris thoughts. Fear, concern, anxiety, underlaced with a grim determination.
“Paris, there is something wrong. Please tell me what it is that troubles you?”
“You once told me that if I needed your help, all I had to do was ask. You said you were forever in my debt.” He rested his head against Cavalo’s forelock and the horse whickered softly, as if he understood the human’s distress.
in your debt. Ask, and whatever it is you need, I will aid you.”
Paris teetered on the verge of telling him everything. Jed, the Ringwraith, his own fears and concerns, but he stopped himself. He knew Théo well enough to know he would want to act straight away, and while that made sense to Paris too, they had to decide what to do first, and that wasn't down to him. It was something that everyone needed to be involved in.
"It's nothing. Just ... just a bad dream set me off thinking, that's all."
"Hmmm ... A bad dream drew you from the warmth of your mate on a cold night to seek the solitude of the stables?" Théo wasn't convinced.
"Yeah, that's all it was." Paris let out a long sigh and scratched Cavalo behind the ears before turning and heading back out of the stable door.
"Paris?" Théo knew he was being lied to, but knew Paris to be an honest man, so assumed he must have good reason.
"When you need me, you know where to find me." His curiosity had been stirred, but he would try to bide his time until Paris was ready to tell him what was going on.
"Okay." Paris said quietly and he felt Théo leave as he walked back up the track to the cabin, still feeling uneasy but needing the reassuring warmth of Dave and their bed and the oblivion that sleep would bring.