Guess who wanted to try her hand at another Stephen/Rory thing? This girl.

Disclaimer: I do not own The Name of the Star.

Sleep

"Stephen?" a female's hand shook his shoulder.

"Again?" he mumbled through the worn pillow, keeping his eyes closed.

"Afraid so, yeah," Boo said and he could hear her light footsteps walk away. Probably to return to Callum's room.

Sighing, the black-haired Shade eased up. Opening his eyes, he groped around for his glasses. The blanket slipped to the floor as he pulled on his robe. He began to make his way through the dark living room to his bedroom.

The dreams were usually silent, and not exactly so loud or strange that the Shades had not found much use to be extremely worried. They had begun shortly after the American girl was settled with her parents in their new home out of London, and she began to spend weekends at the Shades' apartment.

At first, everyone just sort of shrugged them off. The girl had almost died because of a modern Ripper. Of course she would be traumatized for some time. They tried to wake her up, but she would only be in reality for a couple of seconds and murmur something about being okay before slipping back into the clutches of sleep and whatever dreams haunted her.

Stephen stopped at the slightly-cracked door. He could hear the faint tossing and turning. "Rory?" he whispered as he stepped in. He always called her as he entered. Maybe if she answered, he could go back to sleep.

She never answered.

Once he made it to the bedside, he flicked on the lamp to reveal a dark-haired girl with a forehead slicked with sweat. The night air was cool, but it made no difference. She was squeezing the pillow as if it was a lifeline, and her mouth was opening and closing like a fish's, as if she could not get enough air.

It had not taken long for the Shades to realize the fact that only Stephen could successfully calm down the traumatized Rory while she dreamed. Boo and Callum found reason to believe that perhaps they were linked through the fact that both had almost been killed by the Ripper.

It made sense, but it didn't mean that Stephen Dene had to like it. Or love it. Or enjoy it.

You didn't see him dreaming like this. You didn't see him suffering. He had hidden it in his mind, in the very back, where facts like his sister dying were stored. He had almost died. Perfect. Happy New Year. Where was some tea?

But, Rory Deveaux just had to be affected. The shadows under his eyes were darkening because of this. He was losing sleep more than usual. Even though he could calm down Rory, it seemed to take forever.

He watched her for a second more before silently pulling up the chair that they had moved into his room just for this nightly endeavor. "Come on, Rory," he said softly; he even attempted a smile for measure. He clasped his hands under his chin, feeling the faint stubble of five o'clock shadow. "If you wake up, I might be able to get you some iced tea."

The girl still clung to the pillow.

"You can do it." He waited and then glanced at the watch he had forgotten to remove earlier. It was too late for this. But, that meant that it would take less time to wake her up, right? If it was so late it was practically almost early?

The girl's parents had even asked the Shades about what was going on with her. Stephen had managed to convince them to let Rory stay for a while – longer than just a weekend – until everything got under control.

Moments like this made him almost take it all back.

He leaned forwards and began to gently rub his hand in a circle on her shoulder. She shuddered and clenched her teeth. At least she had stopped moving her mouth.

This continued for some time. He would talk about some nonsense that was hopefully calming, wipe her forehead with his sleeve, and rub her shoulder. Sometimes he dared to take her hand, and it tended to work.

That episode – dream – whatnot - must've been mild that night, and just when Stephen was about to leave, he heard a mumbled pronunciation of his name.

He cursed under his breath. He had made it to the doorframe! He was so close! He slowly turned around. "Are you okay?"

Rory blearily stared at him.

"Was it bad?" he ventured.

She nodded slightly.

"Do you want some tea? Iced?"

She nodded again and closed her eyes.

He breathed loudly through his nose, but did go get the tea. When he glanced at the clock, the kitchen lights revealed that it was almost five. This made him mutely flick off the lights.

He tugged his robe tighter around himself as he carried the iced tea back to the girl who had been sleeping in his bed. What was up with iced tea? He had tried it, on the persistence of Rory after one lighter dream, and it hadn't tasted that great.

He nodded in acknowledgement of the girl's thanks as he sat back down in the chair. She propped herself up on one elbow as she sipped the tea.

"What do you dream about?" The words sprang out past his lips to the floor without his brain's consent.

They had never dared to ask her. There had never been much reason to.

She looked at him over the rim of the glass, as if how dare he ask such a thing. She placed it on the bedside table and said, slowly, like she was choosing her words carefully, "The Ripper. He slices at me. It's all over quickly, but it's too quick, you know? I never get to say goodbye to you, or to Jazza, or Boo, or-"

"Well," Stephen eyed the quickly-melting ice in the chipped glass, "he's gone. He's been terminated. No need to dwell over it, right?"

"-or anyone." Rory settled herself back down in the sheets. "You sometimes die. Boo sometimes dies. It's all about death now, isn't it?"

"We aren't dead," Stephen met her gaze. "I'm right here. You're right here. Boo and Callum are right down the hallway-" here Rory smirked the tiniest bit "-so no need to dream like that."

"I think it's all almost over, though," she said, closing her eyes. "These dreams, I mean."

"Thank God." He almost regretted saying that, and just hoped that she would take it as thankfulness for her sake and not his sleep deprived one.

Her breathing began to slow to a normal pace, and he quietly left the chair.

"Stay," he heard her quietly say. "Please?"

He paused, wondering if he had even heard her correctly. "What?"

"It's your bed, anyway."

Stephen walked backed towards her. He had made it past the doorframe that time. "Why?"

She kept her eyes closed. "It's morning, isn't it?"

Stephen sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Alright. Fine." It was a swift decision, and he just blamed it on the sleep deprivation as he slipped under the covers on the other side. He hadn't realized how much he had missed a proper bed. Or just how lumpy the couch was.

"Rory," he murmured condescendingly when he felt her press up against his side. He opened his eyes to see, with the help of the lamp he had forgotten to turn off, her with closed lids and a soft smile. Rolling his eyes, he settled deeper in the covers and finally fell asleep.

...I just needed some more Stephen/Rory fluff in my life, okay? XD Thanks for reading! -MythScavenger