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Chubby little fingers trailed along the wall, keeping the young boy on track. His other hand clutched tightly at the stuffed dog that just barely dragged on the floor behind him. Another bad dream had roused him from bed and he found he couldn’t sleep in his own room anymore after them.

Francis had already tried to get into the first two rooms he came to but neither one worked out. Gisela’s room was the closest to his but her door had been locked. It was too dark in the hall to fight with it for long and he was scared of upsetting her if he knocked until she opened up. So he had clutched his dog closer and tried his other sister’s room.

Emma’s was unlocked but she wasn’t there. He’d climbed up onto the bed and felt around for her but there wasn’t a sign of her there. For a moment, he just sat there and hugged his dog. All he wanted was for one of his siblings to sleep with. They would keep the monsters at bay.

His sniffles sounded loud to him in the hall as he went for the last door. Going to his older brother’s room was not something he did normally. His was the furthest away from Francis’, after their parents’ room, but it was also was much darker towards the end of the hall.

Every other step was accompanied by a short pause. Little heart pounding and hand tightening around his dog tight enough to turn his knuckles white, he wiped his eyes again. The door wasn’t that far away and he could see the glow from his brother’s clock through the small crack. It wasn’t like his night light but it was enough of a glow to remind him that he wasn’t that far from the safety of his brother’s bed and that there wouldn’t be any more monsters.

The door creaked open when Francis pushed on it. The sound made him jump and he tried to rush towards his brother’s bed. Unfortunately, his short legs were not prepared for the pile of soccer gear lying on the floor and he went tumbling.

Despite his best efforts, the tears started. His dog was lost in the dark, his knees stung, and now he was faced with the terrifying darkness of the underside of Armin’s bed as well. If there were monsters there, he would be easy to eat.

“What the…?” Armin’s sleepy voice barely broke through the broken sobs. Francis was so busy crying into the carpet that he completely missed his name being called until the light switched on and a pair of hands hooked under his armpits to pull him up. “Hey now, Francis, what are the water works for huh?”

“I had a bad dream,” Francis hiccupped, his hands reaching out to grasp at his brother’s shirt and pull himself closer. There was a shift and a moment later he was balanced in Armin’s lap with his dog being offered back to him. “I didn’t want to be alone in case the monsters came.”

“Was it the same one as last time?” There were multiple bad dreams that Francis had been having but the worst was something about monsters coming and taking him away. Armin was fairly certain that it was the last time their father and mother got into it with their Grandfather’s homicidal siblings. They hadn’t been able to get Francis out there quite fast enough to shield him from all of the arguing, and quite possibly the first punch.

There was a small shiver before Francis nodded. His tears were slowing down the longer his brother rubbed his back but he still hadn’t let up his grip on the shirt. There was always the chance that Armin could send him back to his own room. Gisela had done it a couple of times.

“Ca-Can I stay here tonight?” He clung as best he could with hope that there wouldn’t be an no. Armin was the biggest guy in the house besides their dad but he was too far away.

“Sure thing kiddo,” Armin gave his back one more rub before scooting backwards on the bed. It only took a few seconds for him to get all settled in before Francis snuggled right into his side. His head of red hair, so much like their mother’s, stuck out just far enough to rest on the pillow and no higher. “If you kick me though, I may have to retaliate.”

“Noo~” Francis squealed, ducking under the blanket away from his brother’s tickling fingers. The tears weren’t quite gone but the small bout of laughter helped him to forget the knees he scraped and bad dream for a bit. It came back though not long after. “Are you sure the monsters won’t come in here too?”

“I’m sure,” Armin tucked the blanket down around him before he reached over to turn off the bedside lamp. Once the room fell into the darkness again, he let Francis snuggle into his side again. “No monsters want to take on the big bad Wolf. Besides, you’re forgetting something.”

“What?”

“Any monsters have to go through the rest of us to get to you and do you think Dad or Mom would let anything happen to you?”

“…No.”

“Exactly kiddo, you’re safe as safe can be here. Now get some sleep.”

___________

It is short, sweet, and I’m still figuring out if I like it or not. Either way, it is up. If you haven’t guessed, Francis is the fourth child of Drikku.

I’d also like to wish a very happy birthday to my co-blogger! It may be past it in your time zone but it is still your birthday here. ❤

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