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sleep so quietly

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Ichabod is frowning and twitching in his sleep, making distressed-sounding noises deep in his throat.

Blinking away the eyestrain, Abbie looks up from her laptop screen and considers whether or not she should wake him. She learned that with Luke it was better to let the bad dreams run their course. If she let him fall into a deeper level of sleep, usually he wouldn't even remember the nightmares in the morning.

Ichabod fell asleep about an hour ago on her sofa, which is about a foot too short for his ridiculously tall frame. Since then he's been sleeping like--well, like the dead, completely motionless and silent. Until now.

The little wordless noises begin to sound more like him repeating the word no over and over, his hands moving as if he's trying to push something away from him. That decides it for her--she needs to wake him up.

"Hey. Hey, Crane," she calls. "Wake up."

Abbie learned the hard way never to wake up someone with PTSD by touching or leaning over them. She's pretty sure that's part of what's going on with Ichabod, even beyond the whole "frozen in time for over two hundred years" thing. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Between Luke and Corbin, Abbie has a lot of experience with former soldiers with PTSD symptoms.

She calls his name a few times but Ichabod just isn't waking up. Abbie gets up from the little desk where her laptop usually lives and walks over to the end of the sofa near his feet. Then she grabs one of his feet and shakes it, and quickly steps back.

Good thing, too, because he wakes up yelling and swinging a punch so hard that he overbalances and rolls off the sofa onto the floor.

Abbie peers down at him. Ichabod is lying flat on his back, blinking up at the ceiling and looking both confused and offended. She privately calls that his "what the fuck just happened?" look.

(Not that he'd ever use such a word. The first time he heard someone casually use the term "motherfucker," she was afraid he was actually going to burst a blood vessel or something. Poor da Silva got a five-minute lecture on respect and appropriate language. It would have been longer except that Abbie succeeded in distracting Ichabod with cookies. Man has a sweet tooth like you wouldn't believe.)

"Morning, sleepyhead," she tells him.

"It cannot possibly be morning yet." (Eventually, she's going to get him to recognize sarcasm when he hears it.) "Why am I on the floor?"

"You had a nightmare and woke up fighting." Abbie doesn't believe in sugarcoating things. Polite lies just cause more problems in the long run. She's got enough lies in her life already.

Ichabod sits up slowly. "I ought not to have fallen asleep at all. I apologize for imposing upon your hospitality, Miss Mills."

"Don't be ridiculous. The only reason I'm still awake is that Irving is breathing down my neck to get these reports finished tonight. Why don't you crash out on my bed? That sofa can't be any good for your back. It's no good for mine and I actually fit on it, unlike you."

He has that little wrinkle between his eyebrows that indicates he's running what she just said back through his head to try to make sense of it. "I take it that to "crash out" means to sleep. I could not possibly sleep on your bed, Miss Mills. It would be--"

"Inappropriate? Doesn't the whole "saving the world together" thing mean we're past worrying about appropriateness?"

Closing his mouth, Ichabod looks mulish. That's fine. Abbie can out-stubborn him any day.

"That sofa you've been sleeping on unfolds into a bed. You can sleep on that. It's meant for guests, so it's not "inappropriate.""

He's so utterly fascinated by the way the sofa-bed unfolds that he almost forgets to object to the idea. "Really, I couldn't possibly--"

"Get. In. The bed," she enunciates clearly, staring him down. Ichabod starts to say something, stops, looks indecisive, and finally gives in, sitting down on the edge of the sofa-bed. The way he takes off his boots looks like he feels every single one of his two hundred and some-odd years. "Jacket off," she orders.

She raises her eyebrows at him, giving him a look that she hopes translates as you're damn right you're not getting your skanky two hundred year old jacket all over my sheets, you're lucky I'm not making you put on the sweats Luke left at my place that I "forgot" to return to him because they're really soft and about five sizes too big for me and sometimes I still miss him even though he's an ass. Well, hopefully that last bit didn't translate.

"Very well," Ichabod grumbles, stripping off the jacket and then looking around, a little helpless. Abbie sighs and grabs the coat from him, bringing it over to the hall closet to hang it up. She notices that the coat smells distinctly like Ichabod, musk and sweat, with an underlying spiciness that is not sexy at all, damn it. "Thank you," he says.

Turning around, she sees that he's lying down in the center of the unfolded sofa-bed, flat on his back with his arms crossed over his chest. He looks about as comfortable as a plank of wood. "You're welcome. Now shove over."

Ichabod doesn't seem to understand what she means until she picks up her laptop and stands next to the sofa-bed, looking at him expectantly. His eyes widen. "Miss Mills! I really must object. This is most improper."

"That desk chair is starting to make my back hurt. If I'm incapacitated by a bad back, how can I do the work of a Witness? Shove over."

Grumbling, Ichabod eventually obeys her and shifts so far over that he's in danger of falling off of the sofa-bed. Abbie rolls her eyes but doesn't comment, sitting on the other side of the bed on top of the covers, with her back propped up by throw pillows. She turns the reading lamp off, plunging the room into darkness except for the blue-toned glow of the laptop screen.

Of course, Ichabod probably still thinks it's ridiculously bright in here. He can't get used to how bright the nights are now. The conversation they'd had when she had explained light pollution to him was memorable, to say the least. She's not looking forward to trying to explain climate change to him. Oh, it's not that he won't understand it--Ichabod is brilliant. But it's going to be the donut tax conversation again, only about three hundred times worse.

Of course, if the whole world gets sucked into hell they won't have to worry about sea levels rising, will they? Bright side to everything.

She snorts silently and makes herself refocus on the report she's filling out. Trying to write a report on what's gone down the last few days without once mentioning witches, spontaneous combustion, or the part where she and Ichabod set off the equivalent of a bomb under police headquarters is not going so well. Crap. Maybe she really should have taken that spot at Quantico.

Except that it... kind of feels good to have a higher purpose. A mission. And she'd sort of miss Tall, Annoying, and English. (Handsome is the word she's trying to avoid. Really, it's ridiculous how hot Ichabod is. Where are the wooden teeth and the creepy white wig?)

On the other side of the sofa-bed, Ichabod seems to have finally fallen deeply asleep. His arms are relaxed, no longer crossed like a mummy or something, and he's breathing deeply and steadily. Not a snorer, either. Hello, my name is Ichabod Crane, and other than the part where I may be insane, I am really ridiculously perfect, she imagines him saying. Abbie makes a face. Even her imaginary British accent is terrible.

He turns over on his side facing her, his outflung hand touching her hip. If he was awake, he'd probably turn red and sputter out something about this being terribly improper. (She doesn't think about how much that sort of thing makes her want to show him some really improper behavior.)

It's nice though, sharing a bed again. Even though they're not sharing a bed, technically. The first few weeks after Luke left, she really missed having the presence of another person in her bed. Having someone else there made it easier for her to fall asleep. She guessed somewhere in the parts of her brain that have nothing to do with logic, it made her feel safer.

Yeah, yeah, tough-as-nails Lieutenant Abbie Mills has trouble falling asleep. Whatever. It doesn't make her any less tough to admit that she has insomnia. (What she doesn't tell anyone--even Corbin--is that she's had problems falling asleep ever since the day she and her sister woke up in the forest. Corbin probably guessed though. He was good that way.)

Abbie goes back to typing, absorbed enough in her work of creative fiction--err, her completely accurate and factual report--that she doesn't notice that Ichabod is shifting around in his sleep again until he slings an arm over her lap.

Now this is really improper, she thinks, stifling a laugh. A Revolutionary War soldier is cuddling her like a giant teddy bear. How is this her life?

She considers moving his arm but if she moves him he'll wake up. And then there will be the apologies and the horrified sputtering about impropriety, and probably they'll get into an argument, and all of that will mean that her reports aren't getting written. Irving had been very clear about those reports needing to be in his inbox by 8 AM tomorrow. Which is in--she checks the clock on her laptop--just a little over six hours. If she gets this done soon she can grab almost four hours of sleep. Fuck.

Ichabod's forehead is pressed against her hip, his breath creating a hot, damp patch on the fabric of her thin sweatpants. He looks younger when he's asleep. His face is calm and relaxed, the little lines next to his eyes smoothed out. He's smiling a little, just a hint of an upturn at the corners of his mouth.

Well, Ichabod was married, after all. He's probably dreaming that he's in bed with his wife Katrina. Abbie refuses to contemplate why that thought is causing her stomach to feel sour.

He shifts closer, his hand settling on the curve of her hip, his fingertips just touching the soft skin above the waistband of her sweats. A thrill of awareness goes through her. Abbie feels her nipples tighten and curses her body for its predictable response. Ichabod is still in love with his dead wife. This doesn't mean anything.

So if her hand happens to brush his hair away from his eyes and her fingers happen to stroke lightly through the surprisingly soft, tangled mess, well... it's an innocent, affectionate gesture between friends, right? That's all.

Except that then Ichabod breathes a name in his sleep and it's not Katrina. "Abbie..."

It's the first time he's ever used her given name.

Abbie goes back to working on her report, resolutely not thinking about the butterflies fluttering around in her stomach and the smile she can't quite manage to wipe off her face.