Gippal knew all about using work to keep himself from thinking. [Written for Ironman7's smutfic week.]
Looking back, he couldn't remember what Baralai did when he was worried. He remembered Baralai talking, asking questions about anything and everything. He remembered Baralai sitting next to him when they made camp, arms folded round his knees and a tired smile on his face. He remembered rolling over in the night to find Baralai watching him.
He just didn't remember anything that might help when Baralai woke up in the night, gasping for breath and muttering under his breath about Shuyin and trapped and help me someone please.
Gippal'd tried different ways of dealing with it. Way back in the beginning, he tried comfort - soothing until Baralai wasn't shaking so hard, until he'd lie back down and try to sleep again. It didn't work so well; Baralai'd lie there until he thought Gippal was asleep, then get out of bed. Gippal always found him later, face down on a pile of reports in his office. The same thing happened the couple of times Gippal managed to pretend he'd slept through it.
Rikku would tell him either to talk about it or put something in Baralai's food, and of the two, putting something in Baralai's food looked like the more effective option. If Baralai didn't want to talk about something, then there was no way to make him. He could talk in circles for hours, if he had to, long past the point where Gippal remembered what the question had been. It was one of the many things Gippal could hate Yevon for: giving Baralai the opportunity to perfect that skill. Still, Gippal tried - and the response was pretty much radio silence until he gave up.
The one way he figured out that actually worked, as far as keeping Baralai in bed and not looking so panicky-lost was to remind him where he was - who he was, and who exactly he wasn't - and then keep him from thinking for as long as possible. The second part was easy. Most of the time, it involved kissing Baralai hard until he started kissing back, or marking out the pulse in Lai's throat with Baralai's hand twining into his hair, crushing the spikes. After that, it got easier; Baralai usually rolled him over and pinned him to the bed, mouth on Gippal's neck and hips rubbing together. After that, there was only Baralai mumbling Gippal's name into his hair, his ear, his eyepatch; there was only smooth skin under Gippal's calluses, and the way Baralai's breathing hitched as Gippal started stroking.
After that, there was only Baralai, lazy and dazed, slumped against Gippal's side and smiling slightly, all ready half asleep. Only Baralai.
The first part was the tricky part, but Baralai seemed willing to help him out with that one. Gippal touched his shoulder, his face, turning Baralai to look at him, not letting him go until he saw some recognition in there, until some of the tension went out of Baralai's body and the panicked whispers turned into Gippal's name.
It wasn't a permanent fix, he knew that, and it wasn't solving the problem. But as far as keeping Baralai from thinking about it went, it did a pretty good job.