Barney would toss and turn in bed at night, sweat running down his forehead. He would screw his face up in frustration and make small, feeble noises that he would later deny could ever come from his throat. Nina did not know what haunted his dreams. She would often wake as he ruffled the sheets, or slapped her or kicked her unconsciously. Nina would lay next to Barney in worry and watch him carefully without a clue what she could do to help.
Only when he stopped moving and whimpering – eventually, she would always think – did she close her eyes and go back to sleep herself, exhausted by both her lack of sleep and her concerns. It was always as fast as a blink, and then she would be awake again.
Nina would wake with a start, sitting up in bed as she jolted awake. Barney would be woken too, brought around by her sudden movement.
‘Are you okay, baby?’ he would ask her, and she would say yes, that it had just been a bad dream. He would then squeeze her hand a few times, then look at the clock before going back to sleep.
Waking up was always a shock to her system, but she would understand when she did. She had not woken in the middle of the night to Barney moving around or making noises; Nina was the one who had been dreaming.
Her nightmare was an inability to save him from his fears, and there was nothing she could do to make it go away.