In Sleep

By Seema

Author's note: In response to the first line challenge. First line courtesy of S1ncer1ty. Thanks to Rocky for looking this over.

Disclaimer: Characters and places belong to Paramount; no infringement intended.


There’s something about the way he sleeps -- flat on his back, hands laced loosely against his stomach. To me, it looks like an uncomfortable way to spend the night, especially since he rarely shifts position. Funny, I think, as I brush my lips lightly against his forehead, in sleep Tom has a discipline he rarely shows during his waking hours.

Tom is also a very deep sleeper. I'm the one who wakes at the very hint of a slightest hint of a vibration in the warp engines. I swear, if a red-alert went off right next to his ear, Tom wouldn't hear it. It falls to me to make sure he wakes up in time for his shift. He moans when I reach for him, but keeps his eyes closed. Depending on the time, what's planned for the day, sometimes I wrap my arms around him, press my lips to the base of his neck. Other days, I practically leap out of bed, rush into the shower and then get dressed; my engines can wait only so long after all.

I put bread in the toaster, order a coffee from the replicator and go back to check on Tom. By then, Tom might be ready to face the morning. If my gentle persuasion has had no effect, I'll try more 'violent' -- his word, not mine -- methods of waking him. Funny, most people think *I'm* the difficult one to deal with. They should try waking Tom up and then they'll see *who* has the temper in *this* relationship.

I try to be gentle about waking him, honest. I'll kneel by the side of the bed, whisper his name, run my hand lightly over his slightly damp hair, and maybe give him a kiss or two on the cheek. Sometimes he responds by pulling me down on the bed with him. A hearty growl of a good morning and invariably sex follows; those are the days when Tom leaves my quarters with a slight skip in his gait – don't tell me you haven't noticed or, em, *heard*.

But ah, the days when he simply ignores my gentle prodding and admonishments to get out of bed. That's when he finally shifts position, rolls onto his side, curls into a fetal position, and pulls the blankets over his head. That's when I start shaking him or pulling the covers off. After a few minutes of this, I usually tell him curtly I left his breakfast waiting on the table and for Kahless' sake, don't leave my quarters a mess on the way out. (This last thing, by the way, is another request Tom ignores; he *will* kick the sweaty, tangled sheets onto the floor, leave wet towels on the bathroom floor, usually because by the time he rolls out of bed, he is so damn late for his shift, he barely has time to dress and scarf down his now cold coffee and brittle toast).

Even with all of expended energy to wake Tom, I miss the nights when our shifts don't coincidence. I've gotten used to waking up every now and then and seeing him lying next to me, his hands flat on his stomach, his breathing quiet and even. In sleep, he's peaceful, thankfully free of insecurity, self-pity, and the thousand other demons that plague his waking hours. So I curl up next to him, my arm across his chest and still asleep, he reaches out to entwine his fingers with mine.

~ the end

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