Disclaimer: I do not own Keen Eddie and intend no copyright infringement

Nightmare

Eddie Arlette was beyond tired. He could have stayed at the Clerkenwell for another night, but he hadn't wanted to give Lise the slightest possibility to show up in his room again, this time because of gratitude instead of fear.
As soon as the door to the flat closed behind safely behind him, everything that had happened seemed to catch up with him all at once – three days of next to no sleep, the double burden of trying to catch the stalker and fending off Lise's amorous advances, the worry that Fiona might become a second target after that ominous phone call, almost getting run over….. even the fading bruises from the fight in the restroom seemed determined to prove that they were still in the game. For a moment he had to lean heavily against the door to stop his knees from buckling and dumping him unceremoniously on the floor. He longed for a shower, but the sound of running water at this time of the night would undoubtedly wake up his reluctant flat-mate. And he definitely wasn't up to a repeat performance of their usual "I hate you" routine right now. Not when he could close his eyes and still feel the spike of sheer terror that Morris Lang's softly spoken words "Are you there, Eddie? Shouldn't you be here?" had sent through him. The time between that phone call and the moment he had seen Fiona stand before him in her pyjamas, perfectly alright and mad as hell, had been one of the worst in his life – despite the fact that most of the time he hated her. Only… deep inside he wasn't sure how much of that feeling was real and how much was just a sort of strange game between the two of them.

Pushing away from the door he dragged his bone-weary body the few short steps along the hallway to his bedroom door. Once inside, he barely managed to change out of his suit into loose drawstring pants and a t-shirt before he fell into an exhausted sleep. However, it did not take long for his body to start twisting and turning, as his mind jumbled the events and emotions of the last three days together in a series of nightmarish scenes…..

A disembodied hand holding a gleaming dagger….

The phone call again; the words distorted until they resembled the sibilant hissing of a snake…

A card with a single line of text: "You touch mine and I touch yours"

"Stay away from her." – "Sorry, I just can't do that."

Suddenly the disjointed images solidified into a clear scene. He was sitting in the theatre, with the final scene – the queen's death scene – playing out before him. On stage, the queen stood half turned away from the audience, her face obscured by shadows, unaware that her murderer was approaching right behind her. Slowly she turned around to face the man, whose face was also shrouded in shadow. The murderer turned to face the audience….. and instead of the actor in the play, the face that suddenly became visible belonged to Morris Lang! "See what happens when you get involved where you shouldn't…." he said, still in that strange snakelike whispering.

Eddie wanted to jump out of his seat and run up to the stage to stop him, but he couldn't move. All he could do was helplessly watch as with a malicious grin Lang plunged the dagger into the heart of the queen. Clutching the knife she wordlessly crumpled to the floor in a lifeless heap.
Suddenly Eddie was able to move again. In a flash he found himself on the stage. Kneeling beside the body of the fallen queen, he turned her over, expecting to see Lise – only to look into the sightless but still accusing eyes of Fiona. For a second, it felt as if his heart would stop.
"NOOOOOOOOO!"

Fiona wasn't sure what had woken her up, but whatever it was, she had a feeling it wouldn't just let her go back to sleep again. Well, maybe a cup of tea would help…. She got out of bed and quietly padded down the stairs.
Turning toward the kitchen, she suddenly stopped and frowned when she heard a noise. It sounded like indistinct words and it seemed to come…. from Eddie's bedroom?

The part of her that really hated the brash, annoying American detective who had invaded her flat and her life wanted to just ignore it, but there was another part of her that wasn't so sure about what she was feeling. And that part whispered "what if there's something really wrong? Shouldn't you go check?"

Before her conscious mind could veto the idea, that other part took over and made her turn away from the kitchen and toward Eddie's bedroom. She reached out a hand for the doorknob, only to find that the door hadn't been closed completely. Cautiously she pushed it open a little further, so that she could take a look inside.

At the sight of Eddie tossing and turning in his bed, obviously caught in a pretty bad nightmare, that second, not-hating part of her grew stronger and moved her body farther into the room until she found herself standing beside the bed. This close she could hear the distress and – was that fear? – in the mumbled words. Feeling as if she was caught in a dream herself, she sat down on the side of the bed and cautiously reached out a hand to wake him up.

Suddenly Eddie cried out "NOOOOOOOOO!" and shot straight up, panting as if he had just run a marathon. Fiona could see that he was still asleep and in the grip of the nightmare. Throwing caution to the wind, she grabbed his shoulders to shake him out of it.

Instead of waking up, Eddie reacted to the presence of a warm body that somehow seemed to promise safety by instinctively wrapping his arms around her and burying his face against her shoulder. At this moment, hate waved a white flag, instinct took over and Fiona put her own arms around him, as if trying to comfort a frightened child. Through the thin material of his t-shirt she could feel that he was trembling and automatically started to move her hands across his back in soothing circles.

She had no idea how long they stayed like this until she could feel him relax against her. Carefully disentangling their arms, she pushed him back down on to the pillow and pulled up the covers again before getting up and padding out of the room.

As soon as she was out in the hallway, the "I hate you" part of her mind seemed able to take over again. She closed the bedroom door firmly behind her as if with that action she could also lock what had happened in the last few minutes behind a closed door in her mind, never to be opened ever again.

All thoughts of tea forgotten she walked up the stairs again, determined to convince herself that when she woke up in the morning she would find out that all of this had just been a really weird dream and that things were back to normal. Or at least what passed for normal lately.