There are and will be spoilers. You have been warned.
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
by Fushigi Kismet
Thirty-two . . .
She was counting sheep.
The night was long and, truth be told, she was a little frightened of sleeping.
It was like a little death all on its own.
Did someone like her have enough time left to waste any of it sleeping?
Precious moments . . . were slipping endlessly through her fingers.
She was afraid that one of these days she would go to sleep and never wake up.
Silently she recited the child's prayer,
/Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take./
Staring up at the ceiling, she said, "I wonder why God put us here on this earth?"
Dan opened one bleary eye to look at her. "Why are you always like this, Guen? Go to /sleep./"
How could she explain? Dan couldn't understand. She hadn't told him anything. Hadn't dared.
If she had, would she have lost him?
It was questions like that that kept her up at night.
"I'm sorry. I-"
Now he was sitting up in bed and looking at her. "I don't understand," he said, his voice tender, "what gets into you sometimes."
He bent forward and kissed her forehead.
Wasn't it strange, the loving face he could show her when they were alone?
Her chest felt tight. It was too much, far too much. All of it would just end in pain.
They had been colleagues first, then friends, and somehow, unexpectedly, one night they had become lovers. She still wasn't quite sure how it had come about, but she was glad that it had. Their lovemaking was like a validation to herself -/I'm alive! I'm still alive!/ But those times were infrequent and every time came as a surprise again.
She liked it that way. There was no room in her life for commitment. No time.
What did one do with nothing more than a handspan's length of time?
But Dan. She couldn't let it continue, for his sake. In the end, he was the one who would be hurting.
She devoutly hoped that by that point she would be beyond suffering.
His lips met hers and they kissed for a long time. It was really quite pleasant.
"Go to sleep," he murmured, pulling away and settling back against the mattress, his eyes closing.
She thought it was rather too much for her to ask that he continue along that /other/ train of thought. They had to be up by O500, after all. It was already 0200.
/One more time, then,/ she promised herself.
Then she would let him go.
Perhaps, when the time came, he would be able to find solace in Sue's arms. It was a thought.
Fifty-five . . .
Maybe she would try to sleep.