Dutch wakes to screaming. Her heart is in her throat and she feels like screaming herself, but then she realises that the screams are coming from outside her room. She groans. Slowly she rubs the sleep out of her eyes and swings her legs over the edge of her bed.
“Lucy, lights please,” murmurs says, her voice rough with sleep. Lucy turns the lights on.
“Good morning, Dutch. It is now 4:03. Johnny’s been having nightmares for the last two hours.” Her voice is as calm and chirpy as always, but Dutch thinks there might also be a hint of worry.
“Last two- Lucy, you should have woken me earlier!” she exclaims, walking through her door and heading to Johnny’s room.
“He told me not to wake you.”
Dutch scowls. Of course he did. “You’re my bloody ship, not his,” she says, and realises that that argument would never work with Lucy. “Don’t you want him to sleep well, Lucy?”
“Of course I do.”
“Then next time wake me.”
Dutch gets to Johnny’s door and it opens. Johnny has stopped screaming but he’s still twisting and turning. He looks as if someone has poured a bucket of water on him. Dutch kneels next to him and touches his shoulder softly. His eyes fly open - wide and terrified and for half a second it looks like he might attack her but then he sinks back. He stares at her, still terrified, looking as if he’s afraid she might disappear. Dutch takes his hand and leans her forehead against his. With their eyes closed they try to breathe calmly, waiting for the nightmares to go out of their systems.
“I had a bad dream,” Dutch says, after a few minutes. She can feel Johnny open his eyes so she sits up again. Johnny hesitates, then he nods.
“I think God took a piss in my bed, maybe we could sleep in yours?” he asks, his voice soft. He’s still scared, still not out off the clutches of his nightmare. Dutch nods and helps him up. They walk to her room. (Dutch catches a glimpse of D’avin behind them when she enters her room. He doesn’t join them.)
Dutch lies down on the bed and Johnny crawls into her, his head against her chest and his arms wrapped tightly around her; as if he thinks she might disappear.
“What did you dream?” he asks.
Dutch is touching his hair softly, making small circles. “I dreamt that I was Aneela and I killed you,” she says, almost too quiet to hear, the words burning her throat. “I don’t remember why, I’m not sure I had a reason. When you screamed it woke me and I thought I’d actually killed you and I was so terrified.”
“Yeah. Real loud too, probably woke half of Old Town.”
“You better be; I’m real cross at you for robbing me of that wonderful dream.”
They lie quietly, Dutch rubbing her small circles in Johnny’s hair, Johnny’s breathing slowly evening out. Dutch might have thought he’d fallen asleep if not for Johnny’s still desperate grip on her shirt.
“I dreamt of Pawter,” he says, finally. His voice is monotone and without any feeling, so unlike Johnny it terrifies Dutch. “I see her die again and there’s nothing… And I…” Suddenly he pushes her away and locks eyes with her, desperation written on his face. “Dutch I did something bad, and I can’t tell you what, but… Will you forgive me, when you find out?”
Dutch frowns. “Why can’t you tell me?”
“I just can’t - not yet. Please, just promise me you’ll forgive me.”
After a few seconds Dutch pulls Johnny close to her again. “Of course I’ll forgive you.”
“Thank you,” Johnny whispers. His grip loosens and Dutch feels his whole body relaxing.
“Johnny,” she says, quiet and suddenly afraid.
“Yeah,” he murmurs.
“Make sure I don’t kill you.”
“Yeah, but make sure I don’t. I’ve… I’m not like you, Johnny. Khlyen made sure of that. I feel like I’ve gotten colder and I’m worried it’ll only get worse.”
Johnny straightens and moves so that he can look into her eyes again. Slowly he wipes away a tear she didn’t even know was there.
“Dutch, I need you to listen real hard now, I need you to believe it. You are a good person.” Dutch shakes her head; he’s lying to make her feel better, and though he means well how could she possibly believe him?
“Yes, Dutch, you are. You’re a good person, you have a good heart and you mean well. You help people even when you don’t want to and even when it’s dangerous for you to do so. You might hide it under a disgruntled - yes, don’t deny it - you hide it under a disgruntled appearance and I love you for it. And yes, you have gotten a bit… a bit tougher lately, but that’s normal, Dutch. With Khlyen being a douche and then dying and D’avin almost killing and everything else it’s not so fucking strange.”
Dutch stares quietly at him, tears flowing freely now. She sniffles and burrows her head into his neck.
“I love you, too,” she whispers.
“Of course you do, I’m awesome,” Johnny says, and his voice almost sounds like normal. They fall asleep.