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Perchance to Dream

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He staggered backwards and collapsed into Abbie's arms as she rushed forward, crying out his name. This was becoming a very painful habit of his; recklessly throwing himself into the path of something that might hurt Abbie. Christ, it hurt... everywhere. Somehow he felt like he was not dying or that he had received physical harm.

He just wanted to die for the simple fact that he would not be hurting.

Abbie was holding him in her arms, stroking his face. "No, no," she said with desperation. The cloaked figure of Pandora swished over to stand over him. "What did you do to him?"

"Don't worry my beautiful, brave one," Pandora said sweetly. "He's not dying. Not yet anyway. No, no... But, he will mostly likely lose consciousness. It's best that way, I think. Less painful. Yes, a lot less painful. Physically anyway."

Abbie looked up at the woman. "What. Did you. Do?"

"Are you worried?" Pandora asked. She smiled and shook her head gently. "Don't worry. He can come back. He just has to want to." She laughed, her voice like like a beautifully wicked melody. "But will he want to, with all the temptations that await him?" She stood over them, she looked so very pleased with herself. "Or perhaps, it is even better this way."

He wanted to call out to Abbie, cling to her, but the pain had rendered him both unable to talk and unable to reach for her. All he could do was lay there helpless in her arms. He dreaded losing consciousness, there was no telling what horrors he would have to face once he did.

The last thing he remembered before losing consciousness was Abbie looking down at him. If he wasn't mistaken there had been tears in her eyes as Pandora lovingly touched Abbie's hair, a look of blind fury filled Abbie's dark eyes.

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"Abbie!"

Ichabod sat up, gasping for breath as her name was finally able to leave his lips. He was only vaguely aware of a stirring beside him until a solitary pale light clicked on. A soft, gentle hand touched his arm as he tried to pull his mind out of the haze. A second hand stroked his back.

"Babe... Come on babe," Abbie's voice said softly. "Breathe. Remember to breathe. Focus... Come on, latch on to my voice and come back to me."

"Abbie," he said weakly, his breathing finally starting to steady. He blinked as his vision became clearer. He was in a bedroom. He was in a bed. The hand stroking his arm trailed over the slope of his shoulder, up his next, and under his chin. Careful fingers touched the other side of his face and made his head turn.

He was in a bedroom, in a bed... with Abbie. He found himself breathless for an entirely different reason. She smiled gently, he could see the glow of love and affection in her dark eyes.

"There we are," she said, her voice just as soothing as her hands on his bare skin. "It was just a nightmare, babe. The doctor said they might be pretty bad while you tried to adjust. Remember? Do you need to talk about it?"

Ichabod blinked at Abbie. Abbie stroking his face. Abbie, her hair wrapped up in a bright silk cloth. Abbie... in a sleeping gown, which the thin strap had fallen down her arm and was dangerously close to exposing her womanly delights. His fingers twitched and he slowly pulled the strap back into its rightful place.

"I'm... fine. I'm fine," he said quietly. "Yes... I'm fine."

It had been a dream, he told himself. A dream.

Abbie urged him to lay down. She clicked off the light and he felt her snuggle up next to him, her hand finally coming to a rest on his chest. "We'll get through this," she said softly. "I promise. They said it would just take time. And, right now, we've got a lifetime at our disposal."

"Yes," Ichabod breathed. "Yes. A dream. Nothing more."