Title: Waltz

Author: A.j.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Not a one.

***

Waltz

by A.j.

***

Bobby doesn't like to dream.

He does, nearly every night, but he doesn't like it.

Unlike quite a bit else about him, that's not very strange. People, that big conglomerate of humanity, would be deeply unsurprised to find out how little Bobby likes sleeping in his own mind.

His head is too full. Filled with badbad things that are interesting and fascinating and extremely visceral in the daytime. Sometimes he forgets that they're all those things and just something more at night. Most of the time, he moves through his evening routine carefully, methodically, and dreads stretching out under his blankets.

He used to play at insomnia. Back in his younger, wilder days - when drinking yourself stupid and showing up to work at 6am didn't seem like that big a deal - he avoided sleep all he could. Physical exhaustion was something you could run from and avoid as long as you needed to. A few hours here and there; cat naps on trains and car trips. Rest. Meditation.

He can't do that anymore. Hasn't been able for a longlong time. So he's learned to accept the nightmares and sweating and half-awake showers to make the ash of everything go away. If he had his eyes open and coffee in him, he'd know it wouldn't, but at 4am, anything seems possible.

His dreams aren't always dark. He's the first to admit that. The large things usually come when he's alone and not stretched up tight against a warm body. Eames likes to tease him about his lovers. Nothing in-depth or crude, just silly and mischievous, all the while saying "I know. Be careful. Be well." with her eyes.

He thinks that in another life, he would have married this woman and they would have killed each other before their fifth anniversary.

He dreams about her sometimes. Smiling and tart like an apple in fall. Falling, touching, knowing. He clings to those dreams in the fuzzy time before awake but after sleep. It's odd and worries him occasionally - because obsession comes soso easily to him - but not very often.

Because his mind is his mind, he doesn't know when the good or bad dreams will decide to visit. Even in this, he has no stability. Nights he's fought sleep hard, thoughts raging and guilting through his mind's eye, he's slept like a child. Curled tight to a pillow and breathing deeply of New York's evening air. Other days, peaceful happy ones, have been wrecked by screaming in the early light and quiet murmured conversations with someone who asks the questions he can't and brings him coffee and nevereverever pushes too hard.

Dreams are hard things. Bobby knows this. Has read it, lived it, and finally accepted the broken images and storybook romances that build clouds in his mind. He sleeps nearly every night now; owns a bed with pillows and an extra-long mattress that cost him an extra $300. He sleeps because his body can't go on without it, but Bobby... Bobby doesn't like to dream.

-fin-