Night Terrors


elisabeth2_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Night Terrors
Synopsis If there are precog warnings in dreams, it must be Tuesday.
Date December 31, 2019

Richard and Elisabeth's Apartment

There is no screaming. There's no actual sound to the way she comes awake, as if she's too terrified to actually make any noise.

Maybe it was the way his ears popped that caught his attention. Or perhaps just the feeling of a low-pressure pulse of not-sound, the kind that usually presages the earth shaking or the air humming like angry bees that happens when she's upset.

She wasn't sleeping well before he left, but it's been months since Elisabeth has come awake like this. By the time what's happening registers fully, she's coming straight up out of the bed, backpedaling into the headboard. And he can't actually hear the sobbing until he breaches the silence field that can't be more than a couple of inches off her skin, frightened enough that unconsciously she has clamped her ability down so tightly nothing is shaking, nothing is rattling, nothing has broken, nothing is even humming. She grabs his forearms, her nails digging in and blue eyes panicked, even as he reaches for her. "It's coming!" Her voice is a husky rasp of sound. "We didn't stop anything! It's happening again! Soldiers, executions. It showed us!"

The sound didn’t wake him up, but the thump of her body against the headboard and the movement is enough to alarm him out of sleep— twisting her way, straightening up and opening his eyes only to be grabbed.

“Whoa, whoa,” Richard blinks in confusion, his own hands coming up to her own forearms as he shifts up, “Liz. Liz, it was a dream, just focus… it’s okay, there’s no danger here.” Worry writ plain on his face, brow furrowed in deep concern.

"No!" It's urgent in that moment, immediate and very real. "No, it isn't a dream," Elisabeth insists in a choked voice. "It's like before! It was there! It took people … a lot of us. Kaylee was there!" Her blue eyes don't leave his face. "Devon, Eve. Others. A lot. She showed us… Detroit in ruins, kids being scanned and then shot against the wall. Soldiers with international patches, like UN troops, dead in the street. The RayTech building collapsing. It wasn't a dream, it's a warning!"

She's regaining some control. At least enough that she's unlikely to shatter anything in their room and set off the alarms. But she's trembling and cold sweat dampens her whole body.

“Easy. Easy…” Richard’s grip is firm but gentle on her arms as he looks to her, “Breathe, love. Just breathe a minute, and then you can explain, just easy. Come on, you can do it, breathe in… out. In… out.” Worry in his eyes at her panic - worse than a simple dream, it seems.

It's worse. It's way way worse. Elisabeth holds his gaze, focusing on his eyes in the dark. Letting him coach her through breathing so that she can slow her heartbeat down enough to actually catch her breath and talk. Her hands slowly loosen on him and she finally looks around the room. "Jesus," she breathes out.

One shaky hand comes up to push the mop of damp blonde hair away from her cheek. She's still trembling in his hold, though. Finally she looks back at him and fights for a light tone that falls a bit flat. "I don't like Tuesdays," she quips. Because if all hell is breaking loose, it must be Tuesday, right?

Richard holds her gaze in the dark, chin dipping in a slow nod as he walks her through the breathing exercise, fingers squeezing her arms gently in reassurance. Once her hands relax, so does he, and he leans back a little to watch her.

“Tuesday’s the worst day of the week,” he agrees, then leans forward to rest his forehead against hers, eyes closing, “It was a dream. Even if it was more, we’ll work through this, okay? We always do.”

As the panic relents, she rests her head against his, curling into his arms. Her skin is still a little clammy with fear, and she pulls the blankets that she kicked off up toward them both so that they are cocooned within them, her fingers twining into the material. "It was the Wasteland all over again," Elisabeth tells him quietly. "She said… she brought us there to witness. Napalm… screaming. Executions." She turns her face into his neck, her eyes closed tightly against tears. "Dead soldiers from across the world this time. Because they'll always fear… and always destroy what they fear." Her voice is low, tinged with bitterness and regret.

“It sounds like she was trying to scare you,” Richard says softly, “It isn’t all necessarily going to happen. That’s what we’re for, love…” He wraps his arm around her shoulders, nuzzling his face into her hair with a sigh, “But you know that last part is somewhat right. It’s why there’s so much fucking war in this world…”

"Well, it's an epic success on her part," Elisabeth admits with a quiet sniffle. "She said 'The Resurrection is upon us.' and that the world wasn't meant for 'their kind,' it's meant for ours. I… couldn't tell if she was warning or trying to recruit." She's fighting to remember the faces of who was there. "She was showing us destruction of places… that could only have been the other timelines. I saw Pinehearst go down. A different way. Old tanks rusting in a field. The flooded world." Struggling to keep the details of the dream fresh enough. "Dessa was there. And Silas. People I didn't recognize." That's more why she thinks it wasn't merely a dream. "Not that I want you to have seen this shit, but… God, Richard, it's bad." She looks up at him. "I'm tired of fighting the same fucking battle."

“It could have been a little of both,” Richard says with a slight shake of his head, pressing his face in against her hair for a moment before leaning back to look down at her. A faint, sad smile as he admits, “It’s always the same battle. The battle for a better world. And it never ends. You know that.”

He shakes his head, “It wouldn’t be any different if it were just the Evolved. Human nature is human nature. I wish it wasn’t.”

Resting the side of her head against his, Elisabeth smirks faintly. "You're still just a ray of sunshine in the world, Cranston," she teases, albeit in a shaky tone. There's a long exhale of breath as she slowly relaxes, the dream still vivid but the details slightly fractured. Nuzzling his cheek lightly, letting his warmth and his scent soothe the nightmare, she sighs softly. "I should write down what I saw. So you can add it to your maps," she murmurs. "But I don't want to. It's more… real if I do.

“You married a shadow,” points out Richard in equally gentle teasing, “You should know better than to expect sunshine.”

He brushes a kiss down to her brow, “Think of it like a dream journal. Maybe it’s just that. We have no way of knowing otherwise anyway… I know you don’t think it was, but think of it like that, maybe.”

Tipping her head to look at him in the dark, She asks — somewhat incredulously amused — "Are you… are you telling me to be an optimist about it?" Mostly right now she's just trying to sort her impressions of it. But that makes her giggle softly. "I thought you were trying to cure me of that affliction." The laughter is definitely helping settle her heart rate.

“Look, one of us needs to be an optimist,” Richard grins down at her, eyebrows going up, “And it’s absolutely not going to be me, you know, love. So I guess it’s gotta be you.”

"Fffft," she scoffs. "You can fool all the rest, lover, but you can't fool me. You're the ultimate optimist," Elisabeth tells him softly. "You always think we can win." There's a sense that her own faith in that might be a little less than his — not that she won't fight to the end.

“I just know that if we stop fighting, we lose,” Richard replies with a shake of his head, “And I don’t believe in hopeless situations. No Kobayashi Maru scenarios for this cowboy, thanks.” He taps a finger against her nose, “If Aurora, Ricky, and Lili grow up happy? That’s our win condition.”

Lifting her chin at the light tap, she studies his expression in the dim light of their room. It's a strange feeling to realize he really is the more optimistic of the two of them sometimes — she's has too many no-win scenarios play out. But she smiles softly and agrees, "I can live with that win condition."

As she draws him down to snuggle back in to the warm cocoon of their bed, Elisabeth giggles softly. "I'm telling Dad you said Kobayashi Maru and cowboys in the same sentence. He'll be appalled."

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