Yeah, I know; I thought the last chapter was the end of it too. However, Dave refused to accept that his story was over (yes, the characters in my stories talk to me. Don't like it? Too bad. If they don't talk, I don't write), so I wrote another chapter. This story is more for me anyway, so I really don't care if you like it or not. :P
Dave talked in his sleep. Not actual sentences, or even words; not really. Occasionally a word would slip out, something like "no" or "don't," but usually it was just indecipherable muttering. Usually it wasn't too bad; or, at least, it was quiet enough that Bumpo could just ignore the sounds radiating through the thin walls of the apartment into his room. But for the past few days, ever since Dave came back from the hospital, it had gotten worse.
He would be woken from a sound sleep to whimpering and begging from the next room, and would toss and turn for hours, torn between waking his friend from his nightmare so he could sleep and the response he knew he would get from Dave if he did; the initial look of fear upon waking followed by the burying of emotion and the subsequent demand that Bumpo leave him alone. No, he didn't want to face that again. He rolled over, pulled the pillow over his head to shut out the noises as much as he could, and tried to fall asleep.
The next morning, Dave and Bumpo went to the diner where Joan worked, their usual morning routine. Nothing was said about the previous night. They sat down at the counter, and were immediately greeted with steaming cups of coffee and stacks of blueberry pancakes. Dave grinned, pleased with the new development. Bumpo glanced at him quickly; he looked like he hadn't slept in a week, despite his attempts to seem cheery. He sighed to himself. "What?" Dave asked around a mouthful of pancake.
Bumpo shook his head, digging into his own breakfast to avoid answering. Dave shrugged and returned his attention to his food, looking up again when Joan came back over to the counter. "So, how's the food?" She always asked this; it too was part of the routine. Both Bumpo and Dave nodded and made appreciative noises, signifying that yes, the food was good. Joan looked pleased.
After some friendly chatting, Joan looked around the diner, and, noticing that there were significantly more customers, told Bumpo and Dave that unfortunately she had to get back to work. They nodded, and Dave got up to leave. Bumpo stayed seated, and upon seeing Joan's raised eyebrows, he sighed and began to speak, quietly, so as not to bring attention to it. "Umm, listen. Dave's been having these…dreams, and since he won't tell me what's going on, I figure maybe you could find out…? I mean, he kinda shares more around you, so…I don't know."
Joan's eyebrows rose further. "What kind of dreams?"
"Umm, I don't know, like I said, he's not one for sharing. But they sound pretty bad; he mutters to himself, and they've been getting worse since he got released from the hospital."
Joan was hesitant about agreeing to Bumpo's proposition. Sure, Dave was her friend, and if he was having problems she wanted to help out as much as she could. But she wasn't sure how he would respond if she tried to talk to him about whatever it was he was dreaming about. Typically, if things got to be more than he could deal with he would shut down, and since he had just recovered from one of those things, she didn't want to aggravate the problem. If he was having nightmares, though, he must not have recovered as fully as he had led them to believe. So maybe it would be a good thing if she did this. She nodded. "Yeah, sure." She paused for a minute. "But I can't just randomly ask him about it. Wait until tonight, and if he starts having nightmares again, call me. I'll come over and talk to him when he wakes up."
Bumpo nodded, obviously relieved. "Okay."
That night, Dave dreamt again. The same dream he had been having almost every night since Quentin Glass had shown up in Castle's apartment. His dreams weren't about that; he had stopped having those after the first night in the hospital. The dreams he had now were of earlier times, events he tried to suppress when he was awake.
Bumpo woke up, hearing the same noises he had been hearing for the past few days. This time, he got up. He tiptoed to Dave's room and peeked in, seeing Dave's sleeping form tossing and turning, muttering something to himself over and over. Bumpo left the room, this time traveling to the kitchen, where the phone was. He quickly called Joan's number, and paced the small kitchen until she picked up.
"Hullo?" she asked, obviously still half asleep.
"It's Bumpo. Dave's having his dreams again."
Joan seemed to wake up a little more. "Okay; I'll be right over."
A few minutes later there was a knock on the door, and Bumpo answered it. It was Joan. He let her in, and led her to Dave's room, where he was still asleep and in the grips of a nightmare. She motioned Bumpo to leave, and pulled a chair over to the bed. She sat down, and waited.
After a few minutes of sitting in the chair waiting, Dave still hadn't woken up. If anything, his dream had only gotten worse; he was whimpering now, and every so often she could make out a "no," "don't," or "please," usually in close proximity to one another. She was going to have to wake him up; she couldn't stand to watch this play out any longer. She reached over and shook his shoulder, but no response. She shook harder. "Dave, wake up. Come on, wake up, Dave." After a few minutes, he did, sitting straight up and looking at her, naked fear in his eyes.
"Dave, it's Joan; it's okay."
He blinked a few times, then, realizing where he was, he visibly relaxed. The blanket had slid down when he sat up, revealing strange circular scars scattered across his torso. Upon further inspection, Joan was horrified to realize that they were burn marks. Dave looked up at her, then followed her gaze to the reason for her silence, immediately pulling the blanket up to hide the offending marks, unable to meet her eyes.
"What…?" Joan was unable to settle on what to ask. She had meant to ask what he was dreaming about, but his reaction when she woke him up was enough to cause her to have second thoughts. Now she had more questions than before, and no way to tactfully ask them.
Dave looked up at her, unsure of what to do. What was Joan doing in his room? He chewed his lip nervously, opening one of the sutures and making it bleed. He swore silently to himself; why couldn't he just leave it alone? It wasn't the first time he had accidentally reopened one of the holes; when he was in the hospital he had done it a few times, to the frustration of the nurses. He waited for Joan to say something, knowing she couldn't help but make an effort to fill any awkward silence. He wasn't disappointed.
"So, what were you dreaming about?" Dave was grateful that was the question she asked. Both questions were hard ones to answer, but he wasn't sure what he would say if she asked the other obvious one. "Umm, stuff. Obviously." He laughed nervously. Her leveled gaze told him that his answer wasn't good enough. "Can we maybe talk about this later?" He started fidgeting, causing the blanket to slip a little. He pulled it back up, putting his arms around his knees to keep it there.
"No, I want to talk about this now. I think it would be better to talk about it now, actually."
"Why are you in my room? This is my room; you're not supposed to be in here without my permission." Dave tried to put a little force into his words, hoping she would drop it. Unfortunately for him, Joan didn't.
"Bumpo let me in. He actually told me to come. He's worried about you, Dave; he said you've been having these nightmares, and to tell you the truth, this morning you looked like you haven't slept in a week. So what's going on? Bumpo may be willing to overlook things, but I'm not letting you off the hook."
Dave sighed. He really didn't want to talk about this. He was okay if he didn't think about it; it was only a problem when he fell asleep, so he had been doing as little of that as he could. He was jumpier than normal as a result, since he remembered his dreams more vividly when they came, but he had been trying to hide it as well as he could. He had hid it from Bumpo pretty well, since he was about as observant as a tree, but Joan was harder to hide things from; she had a way of reading people so it was as if she already knew what you were thinking about. She never actually did, but by the time you realized that you had already blurted it out, so by then it was too late to hold back. "I'm fine, really. It was just a bad dream, nothing to worry about. Promise."
Joan kept looking at him, unconvinced. "You have two choices. Either you tell me about your dream or you tell me about the marks you're trying so hard to prevent me from seeing. I have a feeling it's the same thing, but you can pick how you tell it." Her voice told him that he didn't have a choice; she wasn't going to leave until he spilled.
Dave gave one more last-ditch effort to avoid sharing. "No. It doesn't matter, really. Just go home; you're wasting your time. Bumpo doesn't know what he's talking about."
"I kind of doubt that. He said you were mumbling in your sleep and you actually were keeping him awake. Bumpo may be a bit of a worrywart, but this time I think he has a point."
Dave sighed again, then nodded. "Okay. Um…my dad, he liked to drink. A lot. And when he drank, he got violent. And one of his favorite things to do when he was drunk was to take one of the cigars he was constantly smoking and, well, you can probably guess what he did with them." Joan nodded. Dave had let go of the blanket, figuring it was pointless to hide the scars from her now. He still had his arms around his knees, but it was more because he was comfortable in that position than that he was trying to hide something. He put his chin on his knees and looked at his feet, waiting for her response.
"And that's what you're dreaming about?"
Dave looked apologetic. "That and other things…he did a lot of shit to my mom and me. None of it up for any 'best parenting' awards. I guess when the guy who was sent to kill Castle showed up, and, you know, it kinda brought it all up again."
"So, are you okay now?"
"Yeah. I was okay before, I swear. I just need to get past this." Joan gave him a doubting look. "I'm fine, really. I got through it before, I'll get through it again. Just tell Bumpo to give it some time." He shrugged. "Maybe…a week?"
Joan nodded. "I believe you. I'll tell him."
Dave gave her a grateful smile. Joan was really understanding. It was cool; before he met Joan and Bumpo he hadn't had any real friends, people who would just let him be. It was a good change. They never asked him to be anything more than himself, which in and of itself was more than he could handle some days. As Joan left the room, Dave lay back down, pulled the blankets back up, rolled over, and within minutes was asleep. He had no dreams for the rest of the night.
I swear, this is the end of it. If you want to review, it would be appreciated, since I always like to hear what you guys think of what I write. But don't feel like you have to; like I said, this one was more for me than anything else; I was disappointed that they never really explained why Dave seemed so screwed up, so this is just me trying to fill in the blanks. Granted, Dave wasn't a main character, so it really didn't matter, but that's not the point.