Sleeping In Shifts


aaron_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Sleeping In Shifts
Synopsis Aaron and Peyton discuss a change in sleeping habits after they discover something very, very strange.
Date December 2, 2009

Aaron and Peyton's Apartment — Upper West Side

The sound of pounding can be heard and it takes Aaron some time to realize it's the sound of his heart beating in his ears. It's with a great deal of effort that he gets himself off the ground. His head is pounding, and though he can find no knot when he searches for one, he does find a tender spot. "Son of a bitch," he mutters to himself, slowly getting up off the ground. The mild head injury has distracted him from his panic, but it is soon resumed when he finishes getting his bearings. The horrifying sight, the glimmer of silver in her hand, is once again fresh in his mind. And he realizes that it's real.

Time seems to slow as his eyes widen, taking in the sight of Peyton holding a knife to her wrist. His heart skips two beats and his breath catches in his throat. "No." He can feel tears break through as he breaks into a run from his place at the doorway to come up onto Peyton's bed. There, he grabs at Peyton's wrist, trying to wrestle the knife away. It's all he can in this situation, completely confused as to why Peyton would do such a thing. She's never given him any indication of being suicidal, and given his experience, how could he have missed it?

The tackling leap onto the bed startles Peyton; she realizes it's Aaron — sleepwalking with her eyes open have at least allowed them to adjust to the dim level of light in the room, even if she was asleep. She gasps, and flings the knife away from both of them, as if it were a snake.

"Oh my God, you're here, you're alive, you're okay," she gasps. Her skin, her hair are drenched with sweat from the adrenaline rushing through her body. She throws her arms around his neck, her tears wet on his shirt. "I thought you were dead, but it was just a dream, just a dream…" She seems more worried about him than the fact she almost sliced her own wrist.

With the knife no longer in range, Aaron grabs Peyton and holds her tight as she starts her hysterical ramblings. Confused. The threat to his sanity eliminated, his heart starts to slow down a bit and conflicted emotions settle in the place of his panic. Anger and sadness mix with his confusion. "What the hell, Peyton? Why would you think I was dead?" The question seems almost absurd given his recent surreal nightmare, but it's one he asks nonetheless. He's hurt by this, although the fact that she's glad he's alive warms his heart a little.

Her happiness at seeing him alive has now melted away, and the terror and confusion of what she almost did begins to set in. Her breath comes in hitches, and it's difficult to talk. "I dreamt you were dead and Wendy was dead and I had no memory and Gillian said I was shallow and pointless and the only person who cared was a nurse or someone, and, oh God, it was so real…" She pushes away; her face is red and blotchy, tears and sweat making a shiny mess of her face. "I don't understand…" she says, her voice trembling as she gets up to go find the knife on the other side of the bed. She doesn't touch it but instead crouches, staring at it. "That's from the kitchen…" she says with a shake of her head.

Aaron quickly follows to where the knife is, and after Peyton's stared at it for a few seconds, he snatches it away, as though he thinks she might try using it. "I noticed," he says quietly. He's really not sure what to do or what to say. He holds his free hand out, "Why don't you slow down a little bit. Take a breath or two. I'm going to go put this back and then we're going to sit down and talk about this." Whatever this is, and he's still not sure. She had a dream that led her to try to kill herself, and he had a dream wherein she was about to try to kill herself. It's a seriously bizarre situation, even for him and his utterly messed up, complicated life. How did things go from him being suicidal to Peyton trying to kill herself?

"Clean it," she adds helpfully. She isn't wearing what she was wearing in the dream — no fuzzy robe, just her regular pjs. She follows him to the kitchen — probably so she isn't alone in the room. "How did you know — did you just happen to look in my room or what?" she says quietly. She looks sick — hair damp against her pale cheeks, eyes red. "I didn't go to bed with that, Aaron. You have to believe me. I didn't … I was asleep." She goes to the refrigerator and gets two bottles of water, putting one on the counter for him once he's done with the knife.

"So was I," Aaron says, washing the knife and then sticking it back into the knife block. "Until, I think, I whacked my head on something, or tripped or something. All I know is I woke up on the floor just inside your doorway, and you were just like you were in my dream, only less surreal but equally horrific." He opens the water bottle with a harsh twist and stares at it with a dissatisfied expression. Water seems so underqualified at the moment to deal with this situation. "It's funny how I'm the one who practically cries suicidal, and you're the one trying it. Only it's not really that funny."

"I'm not. I'm really not. I've never been. I don't run that deep, seriously," Peyton protests. She hops up on the counter. The kitchen's bright lights and modern technologies seem a safer place to discuss the nightmare than the room she just left. "So you dreamt that was going to happen? And somehow you came to rescue me?" she says, a touch of wonder in her voice. "And we both slept walked?" She pauses. That doesn't sound right. "Sleepwalked?" She takes a sip of her water. "I've never slept — sleepwalked in my life, I don't think. You?" She shivers a little at the thought of it — to be walking around getting knives and such… if Aaron hadn't come to her room … "Oh, my God. I almost died." This last is a whisper. The reality settling in around her like a dark, cold mist.

"Never." At least, he doesn't ever recall sleepwalking. But apparently there's a first time for everything. Apparently, Peyton's realize is shared. Aaron pales. What if this happens again? "Oh God…." No, he can't give her that idea. Sure, she might come to it on her own, but best give her just a little bit of peace, if she can manage peace at this point. He dismisses his water bottle for Peyton, coming closer to her and wrapping his arms around her to try to pick her up off the counter. No more knives.

She's shaking, trembling palpably, but she tries to think logically, focus on facts. "It's … too strange to be coincidence, d-don't you think? I don't understand what it c-could be. Maybe B-Bella has an idea, shared consciousness or something, I don't know but…" she frowns. Thinking of Bella makes her think of the dream, the psychologist in the dream, and her nurse. The empath. Aaron's an empath. "It couldn't be some strange part of your power, could it?" she asks, looking up at him, eyes stricken. "Not purposeful… but like, if you were d-dreaming and somehow your power made me feel what you felt…?"

Aaron stumbles just a bit with Peyton in his arms as he carries her over to the couch. He sets her down on the couch and she comes up with a suggestion that so does not sit well with him. He frowns. That's the last thing he needs. Channelling his own suicidality into his roommate? "Wonderful. The perfect way to top my already fucked up ability. I nearly killed me roommate with it? Fuck." He starts to pace in front of the coffee table, biting at his thumb nail. "Maybe I should go stay a hotel or something, but no… then I'd be unleashing this madness on unsuspecting…. God damnit."

"Aaron. No. I didn't mean it like that, and I didn't mean to make you feel bad. It's an idea and I might be wrong," Peyton says. "Don't, please, don't …" it calls back the feeling of guilt, that he killed himself because of her lack of … whatever. Caring, being there, acknowledging him. She curls up into a forlorn ball. "I don't know. But you saved me, from whatever it was." She wipes her eyes, beginning to leak tears again. "I don't know who to ask about this. It doesn't… you have to believe me, I wouldn't try to kill myself." At least not right now. She doubts her words a touch — if things were as bad as they were in her dream, would she?

Aaron eventually sits himself down on the couch next to Peyton with a resigned sigh. "I don't like the idea that my ability could be hurting you, especially since it may have led you to try doing something you say you'd never do." His own eyes haven't quite leaked any tears, beyond the ones that streamed down his face when he saw Peyton trying to slit her wrist, but they're glistening with tears that will not fall. He really doesn't want to voice the worse possible question: What if it happens again? Hopefully she'll remember that it's not real. "I … I don't even think Bella could help us with this, but who knows, right? I should, I should call her in the morning and tell her what happened," he says, before placing a hand on Peyton's shoulder, "And I think you need to talk to her."

The shrink in her dream didn't seem to be able to help her — and it just goes with the feelings she's had toward psychologists most of her life. "I don't need a shrink," she says a bit harshly, especially considering he does or feels he does. "I didn't … it was sleep walking, and I wasn't trying to kill myself. I was trying to kill some made up version of me, in 2012 or something. It wasn't real." She hits the sofa, then the coffee table. "These were gone. It wasn't even my real surroundings. It wasn't me but some sick dream version of me that's not real."

This is not a sight Aaron's familiar with, and he backs away just sightly on the sofa, not certain what to expect from this practically-yelling Peyton. He'd press the point that clearly she thought it was real — why else would she try to kill herself? — except that he feels no desire to upset her more. He frowns again, unsure of what to say. It's times like these he wishes there were no curfew. He could go outside and get some air, walk around a bit and try to clear his head. Unfortunately, there is a curfew, and he can't leave.

"Peyton, I'm sorry. I don't, I don't know what to do, OK? I'm sorry, I just. This is how I try to deal with things, it's the only way I can without-" He stops. Without killing himself? Are things really that bad that he contemplates that as a solution to his problems? Aaron sighs and shakes his head. "I just… what if this happens again, huh?"

Peyton's face crumples with sorrow for causing him to feel bad. It's the last thing she wants to do — especially after her dream. She doesn't want to tell him how he died in the dream — and God, what if the dream was psychic? That's just weeks from now. Not even a month. "It's a good idea, I just… I don't think it's … I don't think a psychologist can fix whatever it is, at least not for me. I don't think. I don't … I don't like them, Aaron. Bella was nice, but … they never did me any good. I had to go through group and private sessions when I was in rehab, when… before the bomb went off. I didn't get anything out of it." Of course, she was there for a lie, something she didn't do, but that's beside the point.

Aaron sighs. There goes his only good idea. "Well, they work for me." Though that point is really debatable. Is he any better than he used to be? If he really thought about it, he'd probably say he's worse now. But then, he could be even worse off if he weren't seeing Bella. What ifs are simply too much of a burden for fragile minds…. "Bella was weird. When you saw her, she was so not herself. She's normally more professional… more distant. She hugged better while she was high."

"Well, talk to her. Maybe she has some ideas," Peyton says, reaching for the blanket on her chair and bringing it to the couch, spreading it over both of them. "Maybe we should … take turns or something. Sleeping," she says, her voice smaller. "You sleepwalked too, so it's possible whatever it is — it could have hurt you, too." She could have hurt him with the knife. She doesn't say that aloud.

"You may as well go first. No way I'm getting back to sleep tonight, anyway." Or ever. Aaron wraps an arm around Peyton and pulls the blanket closer to them. And her closer to him. One could almost call it snuggling, though neither of them would probably ever admit to it. "How will I know if you're sleepwalking?"

"I probably won't sleep for a while either," Peyton says. She's afraid to. To sleep, perchance to dream — she doesn't want the dreams that lie beneath the surface to haunt her again. There's another palpable shiver of her body against his. "I don't know. Maybe a code word? But then my subconscious will know it, won't it? Maybe some questions… if our answers make sense, then it's probably okay?"

"I don't know, maybe. I'm not an expert on sleepwalking," Aaron says miserably. This situation sucks beyond measure. "Questions and actions have to make sense, I guess. If one of us starts doing something unusual, chances are, we're sleepwalking. Or something." His other arm wraps around her, holding Peyton against him. "This sucks."

"Right. Like ask what the date is and stuff. If I say 2012, I'm in a fucking bad place, okay?" she murmurs, voice muffled a little from where she's held to him. "Maybe we should check with … I don't know." She sighs. She would suggest the Suresh Center, but she knows that will freak him out more. "I'll ask some people." But there's so few people left to ask. "Or maybe a sleep study place, but… the fact we're evolved, I don't know if they'd handle that well or not."

Aaron reaches a hand over Peyton and rubs his eyes. "Bella's our best bet, at least of people I can talk to, anyway. Pretty much the only one…." It's sad, he realizes, that the only people he knows and cares about our Peyton, Gillian, and Bella. What concern he had for Wendy is really up in the air at this point, given their rather complicated history. Gillian would have been great to talk to, or…. "Maybe someone at the Lighthouse? The place Gillian lived. Maybe there's someone there who might know something… anything."

"Her brother might, maybe, I don't know," she murmurs, sleep creeping into her voice. She's afraid to go back to sleep, but the sleep she has had was anything but restful. "I … I'm afraid they'll just say I'm apparently crazy or something." She sighs and closes her eyes. "Just… by the way, you know I'm your friend, right? That I care? You don't think I'm shallow or like I let you down all the time, do you?" she says, her voice small and barely audible.

Aaron runs a hand over Peyton's head, not answering the question immediately and glad that her eyes are closed so she can't see him blush or his eyes tear up again. "You're not shallow." Though he wishes she'd show that she cares more often. Then again, that could just be his insecurity talking. But it seems to him that saying that aloud wouldn't be a good thing for her right now, so he doesn't. "Try to get some sleep, Peyton. I'll be here with you all night. As always."

She notices he doesn't answer the friend part, but she simply nods, turning her face away and stretching her legs out, in a position more likely to be comfortable for sleep. He may or may not feel the liquid heat of fresh tears through his shirt as she grapples with feelings of guilt — he's already got enough troubles, and now she's laid more burdens upon him. She sighs, a long shuddery thing, but soon sleep comes — this time, a dreamless sleep without the Nightmare Man twisting her mind against her.

Aaron does feel those tears, and knows she's his friend even if she doesn't know how to deal with him all the time. The fact that he didn't make that clear to her makes him feel guilty, and as she sleeps dreamlessly, he holds her tight and cries silently. Why should he be making her feel bad because he's broken and she doesn't know what to do with him?

True to his word, Aaron doesn't sleep. He can't sleep. Instead, he slowly stops crying when he can't summon the energy to continue, and instead stares off to nowhere in particular, concern etched on his face. Something led her to try and kill herself in that dream, and it terrifies him to think that maybe something might be able to do that to her when she's awake. He knows full well that he can't live without her.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License