Flip woke up with a gasp, bolting upright in bed and covered in sweat.
His heart was racing as he checked the clock with a groan – not even three o’clock in the morning.
Was it too early for a cigarette? Probably, he thought, but that didn’t stop him from rummaging around in the bedside drawer for his extra pack of camels he kept there, didn’t stop him from swinging his legs over the side of the mattress, blindly reaching in the dark for a pair of underwear to slip on.
He ran a hand through his hair, breathed in the nicotine and whatever the hell else they put in cigarettes these days. He knew it was bad, knew that not wanting to quit was even worse. But nights like these, it was the only thing to calm his nerves when they were so fucking shot like his were.
Well, maybe not the only thing.
You stirred as the mattress sprung up slightly from where Flip stood up. You woke up with a bit of a stretch and some quiet groans, clearly not too pleased with having been woken up as Flip gently padded around the bed to sit at your side, tuck his half of the quilt over your shoulders.
“Honey?” You asked, bleary eyed and voice thick from sleep. His chest pained at waking you up, he leaned down to softly kiss your temple, little smooches there that traveled to your cheek, your lips.
“Here take my blanket,” Flip sighed, “I had a bad dream again.”
All the small kisses had you smiling, he was grateful for that at the very least. The smile didn’t last very long as you came to your senses. You could always tell when something was wrong.
“Oh honey.” Your eyebrows pinched in as you freed your arms from the cocoon of blankets that Flip had tucked you into.
You reached for him, and he was helpless to resist your arms, your embrace.
“I’ll be okay, for now just smile,” He said, leaning down to kiss you again and again, sweet presses of his lips, your arms encircling his shoulders, wanting to keep him there, keep him kissing you. He knew his goatee would tickle, knew it’d get you laughing if he did it enough. “I really need to see you smile right now.”
It worked, you giggled, your sleep-sweaty hands moving to cup either side of his face as you smiled against his lips. But when you pulled back, he could see the concern in your eyes.
He’d been having these nightmares more and more frequently, ever since the big case with Ron. Some nights he woke with a quiet gasp, but others…well others had him shouting himself hoarse.
Too many bad dreams of guns pointed in his face, of explosions, of white hoods and symbols of hatred.
He still felt sick to his stomach about it, after all this time, months after the case. He wondered if it’d ever go away.
“Do you want to talk about it?” You asked, sitting up in bed, resting your head on his shoulder as the smoke from his cigarette wafted into the night air.
You were, as always, incredibly patient. How’d he get so lucky? He thought to himself, how’d he get so lucky to have someone like you?
The star around your neck twinkled in the moonlight, the soft orange glow of his camel. He couldn’t help but reach out and touch a fingertip to it.
You understood, you always did.
“In the morning?” He answered eventually, not wanting to relive it so soon.
“Okay.” You simply nodded, before casting aside the blankets he had worked so hard to wrap you in. “I don’t want this.” You smiled, standing and taking his hand.
“C’mon ketsl please – ” Flip groaned, not wanting to drag you into his subconscious more than you already were, not wanting to ruin your sleep, not wanting to disturb you.
“Nope. If you’re up, I’m up.” You were stubborn, he loved that about you. You were playful too, a teasing smile quirking at your lips when you asked, “We could have sex?”
How could he ever say no to something like that? He smoked his cigarette, ran a hand over your bare hip. You were warm, creases from the sheets still printed onto your flesh.
“Let me wake up a little more?” He smiled back at you, the tension from the nightmare already slipping away from his shoulders.
You grinned, and it felt like all the demons living in his head were chased away, even if for only a few moments.
“Alright. I’ll make us cocoa in the meantime.” You nodded, leaned down to kiss him before leaving the bedroom, roaming naked throughout the house, not that anyone would know.
Flip put out the cigarette, and let out a sigh.
He’d brave the bad dreams later, for now, he just wanted to be with you.