How Green Becomes Wood

Daizi carefully sat up properly, and with the cautious, deliberate, movements of Indiana Jones when he attempted to swipe an artifact from a booby-trapped temple, lay Ivy into it and then froze the moment she had removed her hands, leaving them hovering in mid-air. Awaiting a reaction.

Ivy squirmed, beginning to fuss, but managed to soothe herself. Breathing a quiet sigh of relief, Daizi lay back on the couch, covering her face with her hands. Whispering, she said, "She has not allowed us to lay her down all day." Normally, when Ivy slept, she didn't bother whispering, wanting her to be able to sleep through anything, but after the day they had had, she wasn't taking any chances.

"No, it is alright," Dark replied, getting up again and now sitting besides Alec to get a better look at the tear, "I can fix that. You will hardly see the stitches after, if I use the right thread. It is not a problem." He looked up at Alec's face, "What is going on, Albuma?"
"I think I'm glad school started for real," Xander remarked, watching her movements. "You look like a bomb disposal squad."

Alec wavered only a moment before caving. "I completely failed the driving test, and it wasn't even a real test," he mumbled. "We were just supposed to circle the parking lot to get a feel for what it was like to drive a car. That's it." He hugged his knees and rested his cheek on them. "I messed up even doing that."
"You haven't been here all day," Daizi replied simply. "Before she was born we talked about how we'd hold her all the time, then after she came we quickly fell into a pattern of laying her down when she slept, unless it was a rare moment where we felt energized enough to hold her until she woke up again, and I guess she remembered hearing the promises she'd never not be held, and decided to force us to pay up."

"Yes, and?" Dark asked gently, "You are new, mistakes happen."
Xander just snorted and fell silent so Daizi could get some rest.

"The other's mistakes mostly included turning the wrong way or slamming the breaks too hard, not crashing the car into one of those divider pole thingies after making the teacher dizzy from spinning," Alec said bluntly.
Dark nodded, watching Alec with patient eyes, "Was anyone hurt or were they just dizzy?" As he spoke, he reached out and rested his hand over Alec's wrist, but didn't break eye contact.
"No one was hurt," Alec admitted, picking nervously at his pantleg with his other hand. The hand with the wrist Dark was touching held perfectly still, soaking in the touch. "But they could have been. I just... I locked up, just like in my nightmares, and my brain... it wouldn't work! I don't want to feel like that ever again."
Dark bent slightly, so he could look more carefully at Alec, "If no one was hurt, it does not matter. The school has insurance. Everything will be okay. But I understand that is not why you are upset. Alec, a fear of driving is normal, especially given your experiences."
"Xander's not afraid," Alec pointed out instantly. "He likes driving. Some of the others weren't thrilled, but they did okay. They seemed to feel better after driving. I just feel worse."
Dark sighed, and moved his arm from Alec's wrist to his shoulder, "My dear son. You are not Xander. And you are not any of the others in your class. Of course you did not react the same as any of them, you have a different brain and a different mind. You are going to have unique feelings regarding driving. Hm?" He gently squeezed Alec's shoulder, "You and Xander have both experienced a traumatic event involving cars and driving. And trauma affects people differently. I am certain there are some behaviors, reactions, and feelings your brother has which you do not share."
Alec didn't respond at first. What Dark said made sense, and logically he accepted it, but it wasn't really making him feel any better. At least, not right now. Maybe later it would. At least Dark was not as disappointed in him as he was in himself. "Do I have to take Driver's Ed?" he mumbled into his knees after a long moment of silence.
Dark inhaled, "I don't know. I need to check the graduation requirements. But I know we can make sure you do not have to take it this year, okay? We can delay it, if nothing else." He rested against Alec, because he knew Alec responded to touch just like Daizi did, "When I was learning to drive, I was frightened too, you know. I have always thought about things really deeply, and I get lost in thought, and I was convinced it would happen when I was driving."
Alec glanced at Dark, surprised, instinctively leaning into him. "Really? I didn't think anything scared you. Well, anything like that. I know there are other things... but nothing like that." He bit his lip lightly before asking, "How did you overcome your fear?"
"I think the fear I had of driving is related to those 'other' fears. There is a reason why I think so hard, yes?" He smoothed Alec's hair with one hand, "I think yours may take more work than mine, but for me, it helped to take it slowly. I started only driving maybe once a week, and for a short period of time. I tried to do deep breathing after I got into the car and started it, but before I took it out of park. And I reminded myself why driving was important. For me, I was in love with a girl who would never be able to drive, which was a big motivation. And because I was in love, I kept imagining what if she had an emergency? I had all of these violent intrusive thoughts of her being shot, or otherwise gravely wounded, and not having cell service--because when I was learning to drive that was still a very real concern--so I could not call anyone, and being unable to bring her to the Emergency Room, because I could not drive her there." He sighed, "I suppose in a way, those 'other things' motivated me to end up driving in the end. And I am not sure if my experience will be helpful to you. Because just as you are not Xander, I am not you... But taking time to calm yourself before you begin to drive is always helpful. And it might not hurt to make a list of reasons why driving might be something you want to learn to do. Just remember, albuma, although it is good to earn your license, that does not mean you have to use it right away, or at all. You can get it, after completing the course, be it this year or next year or after that, but that does not mean you have to begin driving all the time."
Alec took a deep, shaky breath, held it for a moment, and let it out slowly. "I..." He swallowed hard and pressed against Dark for reassurance. "I will try again. I guess if I can just get through the program, it will be enough for now, right?" He gave a tiny nod. "For now. Just trying to get through it will be enough."
"It is enough for now," Dark confirmed, "It is okay if it takes you longer. And I can take you out alone when you need it, if that would help. So it is only us in the car, and you do not have to compare yourself to anyone else."
"I will make time, habibi." Dark told him, squeezing him close to his side, "You just have to promise to be honest with me, okay? If you feel you need to stop for the day or moment, at any point, you must tell me. Do not push yourself too far beyond your limits, it will not serve you."
"I promise." Alec closed his eyes and reveled in the feeling of Dark holding him close. He felt safe now, safe and surrounded by love and warmth. Dark had that effect on him. Daizi was comfort, but Dark was safety. Dark's hugs were so much rarer than Daizi's, too, that they felt far more powerful. They were special. Not that he wanted Daizi to hug him any less or did not like it, it was just different between the two of them.
"Good." Dark said softly, staying beside him with his arm around his shoulders until Alec pulled away. If he needed it, he needed it, and that was enough for him. Since he had only shortly before taken a long bath, he smelled like himself, but more strongly, and he rested his chin on Alec's head, perfectly content to wait.
Alec stayed there for as long as he dared, Dark's limitations in the back of his mind. Finally, he sat up and gently pulled away. "You smell nice, and you look good," he told Dark absently. "Was it a good day today? For you? And Daizi and Ivy?"