"Everyone is mistaken about me, you know..."
She was uncomfortable with slipping into his room unannounced. Though it really couldn't be helped, as she had become so attuned to his moods over time. It was inevitable really, due to the circumstances. Same species, same planet, same time period, same experiences... of course a bond would be created. It was only natural. She couldn't blame those who jumped to conclusions about their relationship as they watched the two of them interact. If she was in their place, she would assume the same thing.
Her intuition had always been one of her strong points and life within the Ship only seemed to strengthen it. She sometimes felt as though the TARDIS itself was helping her, guiding her... leading her passively to the answers she sought, to the people who needed her. It was an irrational and silly explanation, of course. It was only a machine.
Well, to hell with it. There were occasions when she preferred the irrational. In the life she led now, sometimes the irrational was the only thing that helped her cope. At least it went some way into explaining how she was always there at the right time. How she always knew when he was suffering.
"I'm always regarded as the strong one. Reliable. Dependable. Stalwart Ian, always there to save the day..."
She approached the bed cautiously, not wanting to wake him from his fitful, violent sleep. His body was spread across the long, dark cushion of the cot, twitching every few seconds in a frightful manner. One of his arms hung over the edge of the mattress, clenching and unclenching convulsively.
Few people knew Ian Chesterton had nightmares. But then again, few people knew Ian well enough to realize he feared anything at all. He was always dashing about from place to place, not allowing his worries to overcome him when his speed and resourcefulness were required. Susan, Vicki, even the Doctor... they had all come to look upon him as their rock, the reliable anchor and backbone of the crew. The one that everyone could trust to push emotions aside and tackle the problems at hand.
However, the worries continued to chase him long after the danger was over. And they always caught him in the end, usually within his subconscious. Trapped within his own mind as one was while they dreamt, the poor man was unable to escape. There was no where else to go.
Settling herself on a stool by his bedside, she watched and felt for him.
"They never notice you, do they? Never see you in the corner there, watching and analyzing the situation. Never notice that it’s your quiet, rational presence that fuels us. Gives us all a foundation to lean on, gives us all strength..."
Sweat glistened on his brow as his head began to jerk from side to side, his eyes screwed up tight. It became too much for her to bear and she finally reached for him. As she rested her palm against his forehead, she was relieved to see his face relax slightly. She stroked back his bangs and made soft, meaningless sounds of comfort, her face leaned close to his.
As his breathing gradually slowed and his twitching ceased, she found herself humming softly. A tune she didn't realize she knew... alien and haunting, yet soothing all the same. She briefly wondered what planet it came from, before deciding it really didn't matter.
When he was finally at peace, she gently released his brow and took his hand lightly. She felt pressure against her skin as she did, his fingers tightening against hers.
"You're the strongest of us all, Barbara."