OUT OF MIND continued...
Brennan was awake again; the sheer volume of food he had consumed at dinner had been forcing him to make regular trips to the bathroom all night. Plodding wearily back to his room, he couldn't help but notice Shalimar's door was ajar. Unable to resist the urge to glace the feral in her relaxed and vulnerable state, (something very seldom witnessed,) Brennan peeked around the door. Her bed was empty, however. He wondered for a moment if he should be concerned, but figured she'd probably just gone for one of her nocturnal walks. She was a creature of the night after all. He withdrew his head quickly, lest she appear suddenly behind him and witness his thin attempt to spy on her as she slept; he really didn't feel up to combat with an irate feral tonight.
He stopped again as he passed Emma's room. She had been better today. They had all been relieved when she had agreed to come out with them; at least she had eaten some proper food. Still, he couldn't help but think that she might just be putting on a brave face to stop everyone asking her questions. Something was disturbing her mind, and it wasn't likely to go away with one evening out. As he continued to stare at her door, he realised that there were noises coming from the other side.
Carefully, Brennan pressed his ear against the solid surface and listened. He could hear muffled sounds of movement, as if someone was struggling inside. But this was Sanctuary, he reminded himself; no one could possibly get into her room. She must be dreaming again.
The though made Brennan's blood run cold as he remembered the pain he had experienced when he had caught that glimpse of her dream last night. He didn't think he could bear to see the hurt in those blue eyes again,
"Emma!" Brennan hammered on her door with his fist, desperately trying to wake her out of whatever nightmare had her in its grip.
"Emma, it's me... open the door! EMMA!" But it was fruitless. He could still hear thrashing from inside her room. Trying not to let his frustration get the better of him, Brennan took a deep breath and then shot an electricity bolt at the door lock with two fingers. The shock to the circuits caused her door to open immediately and the elemental rushed in, blinking in the near darkness.
He could see her in the bed, her sheets twisted as she fought against her invisible foe. Her breath seemed to be coming in short, desperate pants,
"Emma, come on, snap out of it!" He shouted, reluctant for a moment to touch her in case she connected with his mind again. Her face was wet, with tears or sweat, he couldn't tell. Suddenly a small sob escaped her lips and her head jerked back, as if she had been struck. That was too much for Brennan, he damned the consequences and grabbed her shoulders, shaking her hard and willing her to regain consciousness.
"Emma, it's just a dream, come on, wake up!"
Her eyes flew and she gasped, taking in huge gulps of breath. It was a few moments before she realised Brennan was at her side, having apparently saved her from her nightmares once again. She gazed into his eyes and saw the worry reflected there.
Relief flooded through his body as he heard her speak and without thinking he wrapped his arms around her and engulfed her in a hug. Emma leaned into him, the protection she felt radiating from his strong, muscular, body calmed her. Gradually, her heart rate began to return to normal and he relaxed his hold on his friend. He ran his thumb across her cheeks in an effort to wipe away the dampness still clinging to them.
She smiled at his gesture. "You make a great human hankie'"
He grinned; trust Emma to make an effort to diffuse the situation with humour, "Glad to be of service madam." As he looked into her pale face, however, he could see the fear still etched in her features. Carefully pushing her hair back with his fingers, he looked at her seriously,
"Emma, we need to..."
"Don't Bren..." She took a hold of his hands and brought them into her lap, stilling their movement. He could feel her palms, damp beneath his hands, and couldn't help but notice a slight shaking as she looked desperately at him.
"Emma, you have to trust someone. Trust me, please..." he rubbed her hands gently as he spoke, at the same time trying to still his thoughts, so she wouldn't find any cause for agitation there, if she chose to look. "Talk to me, Em."
She sighed, her resolve folding, and finally nodded. Despite the tangle of her bedding, she made no move to extract herself but merely motioned him to sit beside her on the bed. He did so gingerly, not wanting to crowd her, in case it caused her more panic.
"I can't explain it but they seem to be getting worse," Brennan knew what she was referring to.
"Look Em, I know I was in there last night, but I didn't really understand much of what I saw through the confusion. Tell me what actually goes on." He noticed her lip tremble, but she took a steadying breath, and started to explain...
"Things change slightly, but for the most part the visions are the same. There's a man, I can't really see him, but i can hear his voice. I'm trapped in a room, or sometimes chained to wall... he asks me questions, like he's trying to interrogate me... and when i won't answer..." She trailed off, staring fixedly at her hands. Brennan understood. He was torturing her. And through the power of her mind, she experienced every blow as if it were real. But why? Why was Emma's mind creating these awful images? Was she subconsciously trying to torture herself about something... or was there another reason... something he was missing.
"Brennan, it's as if someone's attacking my mind. I'm afraid to close my eyes, and when i do, the dreams don't allow me any rest. I know it's stupid to be afraid, but the pain... it just feels so real..." The tears were running down her cheeks again, but when he went to comfort her she pulled away.
"No Bren, this is silly, I just need to get a grip." She grappled angrily with the sheets, finally ripping them away and climbing out of bed. Standing there in her thin nightclothes, the picture of innocence about her struck him again; a sense of sadness washed over him that something so pure should be hurting so much. Her voice was softer when she spoke again, feeling touched by the empathy radiating from him,
"I'm going to take a bath. Really Bren, don't worry, i can handle this. Thank you for listening though."
She smiled slightly. He couldn't know, but sharing her pain with him had lessened it somehow, her mind did feel slightly less heavy. Perhaps it was because of the connection they had. She had never really tried to explain it, but on some mental level, she knew that they had shared some sort of affinity since the day they had met. Her mental calm was short-lived however, being quickly replaced by a sense of guilt; that he was now suffering because of her. She closed the bathroom door behind her, in an effort to block out the strong feelings coming from him. She really wasn't ready to make sense of his emotions tonight.
Brennan continued to sit on her bed for a while, until he heard her bathwater start running, then made to move out of her room to give her some privacy. His head was spinning. He'd had his fair share of nightmares and self-recrimination- his past wasn't exactly something he was proud of. However, nothing could compare to experiencing the pain of torture, night after night. He wondered about the questions from faceless presence in her dreams. He would have asked her, but he realised she wasn't ready to discuss it any further, tonight at any rate. All Brennan knew, was that he had to do something to help her. She had trusted him... and he wasn't about to leave her alone, no matter what she said. There had to be something he could do... He lay there, pondering this for a while, until sleep finally took him.
Upon waking he was relieved that his own sleep had apparently been dreamless.
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