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everything we had

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He opens his eyes and sees her before him, sitting sloped over the bar facing down a row of shot glasses. She has a hard look on her face, but it’s the hardness she used against the rest of the world, not the darker expression she would save for him; she doesn’t know he’s there. He reaches out and raps his knuckles on the bar; he feels the brief pressure of the wood against his skin, but it doesn’t make a sound.

He must be dreaming.

Looking around the bar, he tries to make eye contact with anyone looking his way, but no one sees him. That’s okay; he’s had dreams before, he knows how they work; though he doesn’t usually enter a dream sitting quietly on a bar stool.

Of course, he could only be within a hundred yards of Jenna in a dream, these days. If he were awake, if she could see him, he would play his usual role – cool, distant, uninterested. Now, he watches her. Even when they were together (when they didn’t hate each other, if such a time ever existed), she wouldn’t have let him look at her like this, and he gets a perverse satisfaction from knowing she would fucking flip if she knew.

He studies her like he never could; the fall of her hair, the slight squint of her eyes, the way her jaw doesn’t relax even when she’s knocking back a shot. That won’t last long; eventually she will have drunk enough to soften, just a bit. Never enough to lose control, or to be taken advantage of; enough to be pliable in his arms, to smile drowsily up at him while he held her, for that brief moment his.

Some things he will admit to himself (no one else, god knows) he misses. Those moments. Mostly those moments.

Between shots, she leans on the bar, her head slightly bowed, and he tests his luck by extending his hand and brushing his fingers through her hair. She rolls her shoulders and shakes her head slightly, letting her hair fall away from her neck. She takes another shot.

Nothing much is happening, for a dream. A few guys come up to hit on her and he watches as her back goes up like a shield; she doesn’t even turn her head to acknowledge them. Until she’s a few more shots in, when she switches to beer and turns her side to the bar, her gaze roaming the room and glancing off its occupants. Seemingly at random, her gaze sharpens and picks out one man in particular. This guy is laughing with his cronies and waving a beer around in a glass. Her eyebrows twitch up and she watches him for a few beats, deciding, then oozes across the room and puts a hand on his shoulder to whisper in his ear.

He follows her, of course he does, and the invisible man does too, though he can’t remember choosing to and in fact he’d really rather not, but dreams are like that. He trails them down the street, watching still. Neither of them stumbles, but the guy is in the bumbly-happy stage of tipsy and Jenna just strides along, mostly ignoring him. She’s so beautiful, especially like this, though he can only really think that because he doesn’t have to deal with her like this.

Her apartment - one he’s never seen - isn’t far, and soon they are climbing the stairs to her place, though Mr. Invisible drags his feet as much as he can which is very little all in all. He does find it odd that he has freedom of thought if not actual free will, but who is he to argue with the authorities of dreaming? The three of them enter her apartment, he who is invisible feeling like a bizarre chaperone, though obviously without any of the powers of a chaperone since the other two enter the bedroom and immediately start taking off their clothes. The non-participant finds a chair in the corner and folds himself up so he can plug his ears and press his eyes into his knees. He peeks, but the temptation of her naked form (oh god, she’s beautiful) is tempered by the two-for-one freebie of some other guy’s hairy body.

When he feels the vibration of footfalls through the chair, he looks up (cautiously) and sees Jenna shepherding the man out of her home. She follows him to the door and locks it behind him, then returns to her bed and lies down without taking off her robe. Her eyes stare blankly into the darkness.

The one who can’t be seen crouches beside the bed and looks straight into her eyes even as they go right through him. Alone, her mask goes slack and her face is just empty. Only her eyes show a haunted, bleak outline.

He puts one hand on the mattress to balance and uses the other to trace a finger over her hand. She doesn’t react, but her eyes shift the tiniest bit. Tipping gently forward onto his knees, he stretches to run his hand over her head and down her hair. She blinks. He does it again, and again, the way he sometimes used to do when she couldn’t sleep and was willing to show a rare touch of vulnerability. He plays with her hair, too, and strokes her cheek, and rubs her back, and after a while she falls asleep. He stays unmoving there with one hand on her back and the other on the edge of the bed, and he sees her in sleep. Looking like a girl he could love, and did.

He opens his eyes and sees his hand reaching out to turn on the faucet at the kitchen sink. His other hand is holding a glass that slides into the basin as his grip relaxes. Swaying slightly, he grabs the edge of the sink to remain upright, then slowly lowers himself to the floor where his limbs sprawl every which way as he stares at nothing and tries to get his bearings. He is in his own apartment.