It was approaching midnight when Poirot was rudely awoken from his slumber by the creaking of his hotel room door and the tentative shuffle of slippers that followed.
He wasn't altogether too surprised to see his dear friend Hastings, silhouetted by the light of the doorway, with a hand still on the doorknob.
"I just wondered whether you were having trouble sleeping..."
"So you awaken me to inquire? That is friendship indeed Hastings," Poirot huffed.
Hastings turned on the lamp, making Poirot flinch. There was no way he was going to get a full night's worth of beauty sleep now, he thought. The captain perched himself on the edge of Poirot's bed.
"I'm sorry Poirot. It was that business at dinner...with the general hauling out your granny like that..I mean how did he know?" he asked with sincere unease.
At times, Poirot couldn't believe the naiveté and trusting nature of his friend. He made an effort not to laugh or be rude.
"Regarder, mon ami," He mimicked the older woman's performance from earlier that night by groaning and feigning his own psychic revelation. Hastings looked startled for a moment before Poirot reveals the trick to him, how simply one can fake such a thing and pick any common first initial, just to spook someone.
"Yes, yes I suppose so, but what about those 'evil forces' "? replied Hastings.
"They are in the mind of Isabelle Tripp, mon ami, and no where else. And yet...and yet there is no smoke without the fire."
Hasting nodded rather grimly. "Hm, well I'm sure you're right in implying that the Tripp Sisters just put on a little..show for us earlier this evening, But honestly I'm still feeling a little...well, spooked, Poirot," he hesitated."...I dunno, the whole display was still rather off putting-fake or not-and with what happened to Charles' boat this afternoon...I don't know if I could, well-" Hastings flushed.
Poirot could see that his friend was rather shaken, and observed his pale eyes flit to the second pillow on Poirot's bed. His deductive skills told him everything else he needed to know. He let out a reluctant sigh.
"Mon ami, would you feel better sleeping in here the rest of the night, with moi?"
"Oh yes, old boy, thank you I..I'd really appreciate that," Hastings replied sheepishly, eyes dropping to the floor.
Poirot scooted over a bit to the side of the bed. "Just shut the door first, will you please?"
Hastings flicked off the light that was on in his adjacent room, closed the door gently, and practically tip-toed around to the other side of the bed. Poirot turned over onto his side and turned off the bedside lamp as Hastings toed off his slippers and nestled in under the cover.
To his minor annoyance, Poirot could feel Hastings continually trying to get comfortable, stretching out on his back before he realized his toes went over the edge of the bed, rolling onto his stomach, (and accidentally prodding Poirot in the back), before curling up on his side, his knees close to brushing the back of Poirot's thighs. His sensitve ears detect another rustle of the pillow as Hastings finally situated himself.
"Uh, Goodnight, Poirot."
"Bonne Nuit, Hastings."
He could feel Hastings shift about a bit more, But after a half-hour or so Poirot drifted back into his dreamless sleep.
Poirot awoke early the next morning, as was his custom, and blinked against the soft morning light filtering in through the curtains. He seized up for a moment feeling an unknown pressure against his back, until he finally remembered that Hastings was sleeping-quite soundly-beside him. Rather close beside him in fact, with his folded arms pressed up against Poirot's back and his warm even breath tickling the back of his neck, and what felt like a foot nudging at his ankle.
It struck Poirot at that moment that there was probably no one else alive that he would feel this comfortable with, that he would feel so at ease and safe with being so physically close to. He had made a variety of friends and acquaintances over the years (and a fair share of enemies too), but there was no one he really trusted as explicitly as Hastings. Even in front of his dear friends Miss Lemon And Chief Inspector Japp he wouldn't dare show as much vulnerability as he would occasionally in front of Hastings and Hastings alone.
He thought back Hastings' gullibility the previous night, and stifled a chuckle, trying not to awaken his friend. As much as he might mock Hasting's trusting nature, he always greatly valued his ingrained sense of morals, and his firm belief that most people were kind, honest and trust worthy at their core. His optimism, his complete lack of harsh judgement, was really what Poirot needed from time to time.
He wished he could enjoy this moment a bit longer, or to even pull Hastings' arm around himself, clasping his hand to his chest and pulling him snugger against Poirot's back (When was the last time another person had held him, Poirot wondered), but he knew how impossible the thought was.
The detective slipped out of the bed, careful not to disturb his companion, and began dressing and preparing for the oncoming day.
After he applied his cologne and made a final adjustment of his bow tie, he couldn't help but sneak a fond glance at Hastings' still sleeping form now sprawled across the bed, whose dreams, Poirot hoped, were as peaceful and content as his outer countenance. Poirot went down to breakfast, shutting the door very gently behind him, leaving his dear Hastings to sleep a bit longer.