When Alex woke up, it was still dark out. He glanced at the clock on his nightstand, his sleepy eyes barely making out 2:07am.
He wondered for a moment what had woken him up, but he didn't have to think long, as a scream ripped through the house. His instincts took over and he jumped out of bed. He panicked for a moment, thinking there might be some kind of killer in the house or something, but then Alex realized it was Jackson screaming. He was having another one of his night terrors.
Alex just stood there, in the doorway of his own bedroom as he listened to the other man's insistent yelling. He wasn't sure if he even wanted to go in there, it's not like it was his problem or anything. He could just as well go back to bed and no one would even know. Yet he couldn't stop himself as he made his way to Jackson's bedroom. As he swung the door open and stepped into the room, he realized he hadn't known how bad Avery had had it. The entire mattress was askew and all the sheets and blankets were carelessly thrown every which way off the bed, and in the centre of all the chaos was Jackson himself, helplessly thrashing and tossing around.
Alex walked closer to the bed, "Avery.. Avery?" He called, but to no avail. "Damn it. Wake up, Jackson!" He half yelled, careful not to wake the other inhabitants of the house, although if Avery hadn't already woken them all up he was pretty sure nothing would.
This time Jacksons eyes flew wide open and he stopped moving. He couldn't seem to breathe though, his lungs felt constricted, like somebody was squeezing them in their fists.
Alex climbed on the bed and immediately helped Jackson sit up, his inner doctor came out as he instructed Jackson to breathe deeply. Alex checked his lung sounds and heart rate, among other things.
There was nothing wrong with his friend. Well, not physically anyways.
Alex figured the man was in shock. I mean, it had to have been one hell of a dream to make him yell like that. And in Alex's experience, those kind of dreams stay with you for a long time. Then as much as you don't want them to, they come back again the next night, and the next night. They haunt you day in and day out.
Jackson slowly had calmed down, and while he was still blankly staring across the room, he seemed better. His eyes looked sleepy but aware, the colour was returning to his face, and he was breathing at a somewhat normal pace. A few moments went by, and the silence was oddly deafening compared to the screaming.
" 'M sorr.." Jackson mumbled, not looking up. But by the sounds of it, he really meant it.
Alex shrugged, "Whatever." He said, standing up and giving the mattress a shove to set it in its right place and picking up the blankets off the floor. Jackson finally moved his gaze in Alex's direction.
"You don't have to-" Jackson started, but Alex cut him off, "I know, be quiet." He said feigning annoyance for the sake of trying to act tough. On the inside his heart was hurting for the man beside him. But that wasn't something that Alex Karev, of all people, should be feeling. No. Alex was the one who everybody associated with being an uncaring jackass. And maybe he was. Just not with Jackson.
He laid the blankets back over Jackson who was still sitting up but was now leaning his back against the headboard.
"Thanks." Jackson spoke quietly, looking down.
"Don't worry about it." Alex replied gruffly.
Jackson nodded. But inside, he was worrying about it. He hoped nobody would ever catch him when he was in this state. It was inevitable, of course. But at the very least, he wished it hadn't been Alex. Though, not for the reasons you might think. He knew Alex had been through some shit and had a rough life. He didn't want to appear weaker or needy. Jackson didn't need help, he was fine and he didn't have any right to not be okay. Even if every ounce of his being begged to crash and let the weight of the world finally crush him.
Jackson knew it wouldn't take much for himself to break, he kept trying to glue the pieces back together as they were falling out. He knew there would be a point where he'd either run out of glue, or everything would just crumble too fast. What he didn't realize, was that all it would take for that to happen would be for Alex to turn off the light, crawl into Jackson's bed, put his arms around Jackson's body and pull him close.
That's all it took. The string he had been hanging by was cut, and Jackson fell. The thing is though, Alex was there to catch him.
Silent tears started streaming down his face and quiet sobs broke from his chest. Even though Jackson was expecting Alex to take off running, Alex just pulled him closer.
And they stayed like that. Boy, did they ever stay like that.
Because the next night, it happened again; Jackson had a nightmare, Alex calmed him and stayed with him the night. And the night after that it occurred. And the night after that.
Then Alex just started sleeping in Jackson's bed altogether instead of using his own bed. This prevented the nightmares from reoccurring, so they kept sleeping in the same bed. Nobody really said anything about it, but then again, they didn't really care. Mostly because they were all finally getting a good nights sleep, and they were happy that Jackson was too.
So, they didn't talk about it and their odd sleeping arrangement kept existing. It didn't take long before Alex and Jackson's relationship to turn from being platonic to lowkey romantic, and from there becoming full-on lovers.
But that's a story that stays under the covers of Jackson's bed.