Sleepless Nights

“Hadrien! Wake up, you’re screaming.”

“Huh, what! Where am….oh, I’m sorry ma.”

“Dear, you’ve been having nightmares since you got back. What’s going on?”

“Oh, it’s nothing. Just a bunch of meat, and rats, and most of the town getting repeatedly stabbed or blown up or melted in acid, or falling down a chasm, or turning against each other. I’m fine; I’ll let you get back to sleep.”

“No, Hadrien, let’s talk about this. I know you want to help people, but I know people would appreciate you just as much if you made a few more medicines, or maybe brought them a few more materials. If you don’t want to fight, what did you say they were? Rat wizards? You don’t have to. You don’t have to go down there.”

“I know ma, but I never felt anything like it. It felt like I was outside of my body. I wasn’t hardly thinking, my arm was just moving. My mouth was just shouting. My legs were just walking. It felt like I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew everything that was happening at the same time. And after everything was over, looking over the cave, and looking over the town, and realizing we all made it out. And then realizing that I help us make it out. And everyone helped me make it out. And there was this bond between us. And. sure, I was scared, but I didn’t want to run. We were all in it until the end.”

“Well, honey, if you’re sure then you are sure. I just don’t want you to be losing too much sleep. Do you want me to leave a candle on for you?”

“No, ma, we don’t need to waste the resources on me. Just give me a couple nights, and I will be good as new.”

“Ok. Goodnight, son.”

“Goodnight, ma.”

“What about you missing sleep, Merle? I’ve noticed you’ve spent most nights by his door since he came back home.”

“It’s just, when we sent him to market, I expected him to connect with the circle, improve at his trades, feel like part of the community and be his own person. I didn’t expect flesh tunnels, and mad saints, magic rats. And I certainly didn’t expect Hadrien of all people to be in the middle of it all.”

“We live in a dangerous world, Merle, we both know that. I’m not thrilled about him getting himself in the middle of all of it. But I am damn proud at him being able to take care of himself–”
“But Sylvain, there is a difference between him being able to stay safe from some ghouls, and him fighting a witchking!”

“But he isn’t fighting a witchking. And whatever he is fighting he isn’t doing it alone. And besides, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the boy so happy. He is going ‘round without us. People around town are talking about him. He’s smiling, he’s being his own person, he has confidence, he has friends. He isn’t just following around in our shadow. And I’m proud of him. And if this is a fight he wants to take on, and if he feels so strong about protecting us, then I am proud of him. After all, if no one took up the fight, we would all be dead.”

“I know, I’m just scared for him. And I suppose if he can be brave, then I suppose I can be brave for him. He really has grown into such a wonderful person in such a short time.”

“Now let’s try to get you some sleep.”

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