She jerked awake but immediately burrowed her face further into the pillow, raising her arm to re-deposit it under the sheet. "I know it's not morning," she mumbled, already on her way back to sleep and that rather nice dream.
"No, I know… I just wanted to make sure you were alright," he whispered.
There was a hint of nerves evident in his voice, an unusual phenomenon enough that she opened one eye and squinted at him, silhouetted by the light of the hall.
He shifted his weight and shoved his hands deeper into his pinstriped pockets.
"I…were you sleeping okay?"
There was that uneasy tone again and she lifted her head with a groan, rolled over onto her back and pushed up onto her lower elbows. "Well, I was… Is something wrong, Doctor?"
"No, no, everything's peachy, brilliant even, I was just worried you might have problems sleeping after today's events."
She bit her lip, attempting to hide the smile of understanding that was threatening to conquer her face. Truthfully, having the features sucked off her face today had been disconcerting, to say the least, but she didn't really remember anything between being at Magpie's shop and seeing him again in the police station. Besides, once again he had saved the day; she had complete faith he always would.
"I'm fine, I promise," she reassured him softly, the veil of sleep beginning to fall away.
He rocked back onto his heels and searched her eyes for a long few seconds. "Are you sure? No, um, nightmares?" He paused, hesitantly, and then rushed ahead, "Because it wouldn't be uncommon after that kind of thing, your brain had to have been a little traumatised, and, er, it wouldn't be anything to be ashamed of, so–"
"I know," she said tenderly, the smile triumphantly raising the victory flag.
"Right. Good. Great. I'll be off then, sweet dreams…" But he made no move to leave, instead rocking forward and backward on the balls of his feet and maintaining his gaze.
"Maybe I am a little shaken up."
Relief flooded his face, incongruous to the words of their conversation but confirming her suspicions.
"Do you…How about you come sleep in my bed tonight? I can make sure you don't have any bad dreams."
He held his breath and she sucked in a silent breath to match. Him being in her bedroom in the middle of the night was unprecedented, much less the notion of sleeping in the same bed. She had never even seen his bedroom, wasn't sure until now that he had one.
His smile threatened to split open his face and hers made some unexpected bonus conquests.
She sat up properly and tucked her hair behind her ears. Groping around on top of the fluffy duvet for her dressing gown, she slipped her arms in the sleeves before turning to set her feet on the floor. He tracked her movements out of the corner of his averted eyes and then stepped toward the corridor, looking over his shoulder to make sure she was following.
She was. Expecting to hike through the maze of corridors, she was surprised to see him instead open the door right next door to hers.
"Has your room always been here?" she asked, confused.
"Er, no, I had the TARDIS move it closer to you…So I could hear you if you had any nightmares."
Likely story, she thought, stepping through door he was holding open. The room was dark but she could just about spy a huge bed in the middle of the room with a thick mattress piled high with a fluffy white duvet and pillows; they were bunched up at the end of the bed as if he'd flung them away in his sleep. Not much else was in the room except a nightstand bare except for the sonic screwdriver.
"You don't sleep here often, do you?" she mused aloud, nodding at the sparse room.
"No, not really. I don't sleep much at all." He scratched the back of his neck as he awkwardly pulled up and rearranged the duvet from the end of the bed closest to the door.
Traversing the room quickly, she followed suit on the far side of the bed, lifting the covers and sitting down but waiting for him to make the first move to actually get under the covers.
He was staring at her and she cleared her throat. "But you're sleeping tonight, right?"
"Yes," he croaked, smoothing down the sheet and avoiding her eyes.
"How much do you have to sleep?" She knew she was babbling to delay things, but there was an uncomfortable tension permeating the room.
"Once a week or so, depending on how much adenosine has built up." He sounded equally happy to ramble away the tension, "Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that increases in concentration in the synaptic cleft with time, but other things can affect its levels too, like stress or physical exhaustion, or–"
"Right," she interrupted his nervy technobabble.
"Right," he repeated inanely, shutting his mouth and sitting down on the edge of the bed.
Finally deciding that she was going to have to be the first one to do it, she shed her dressing down and slipped under the covers, shifting to her side to face him. Oh, these sheets were soft, she observed, unable to stop herself stroking the sheets and wiggling to revel in the feel of the silk against her bare legs. Glancing over at him in time to see him shake off his open, gaping mouth, she slyly wriggled one last time before stilling.
Slowly and gingerly, as if the bed contained a live grenade, he slid his legs under the duvet and sat back against the headboard, staring stiffly ahead.
Reaching out to grasp his hand firmly, twisting his fingers through his, she could almost see the rigidity float up and away from his body. His muscles relaxed, almost limp, and he scooted down until his head was on the pillow. He turned to mirror her position and recaptured her eyes with a soft smile, his hand still in hers.
Squeezing his hand, she closed her eyes contentedly and felt him edge ever so slightly closer to her. She pulled his hand closer, his body following after, and clasped it with both arms to her chest like a child with a teddy bear, all tentativeness drained away. With a hum of satisfaction he draped his other arm around her waist and drew her even closer.
"No nightmares this way," she murmured, taken aback a little by the impulsivity of her words.
"Nope," he trilled softly, his hand abandoning her hip momentarily to gently stroke her cheek and then ghosting along her jaw, her nose.
Warmth ricocheted up and down her body when he ran his fingers along her lips and she was powerless to stay still under his ministrations; bending her knees to brush his, stroking the webs of his fingers with her thumb.
Once he was satisfied that the mountains and valleys of her face were intact, his hand dropped back down to her hip, resting there for only a second before snaking down to the small of her back.
Biting her cheek to halt the moan blooming at the back of her throat, she nestled her head deeper into the pillow and willed herself to sleep against the insistent buzzing of her body. Surprisingly, it was only a few minutes before she felt the waves of slumber begin lapping at the shore. She thought she heard him whisper something in a foreign, melodic language right before her body surrendered to the undertow and knew her dreams would be even nicer than the ones he had interrupted in her own bed.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
-Pablo Neruda, from XVII