Sep 16, 2019 10:40 PM
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"We'll keep watch," Erie promises.

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Star hums a little, and shifts a little, so that his head is pillowed a little more comfortably on Lee's shoulder.

Hesitates. "I- talk to me? Please?"

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"Okay. What do you want to hear about?"

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"I don't- anything-"

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"How about that old story about the winged horse?" Erie suggests.

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This gets a very brief flicker of a smile. "Sure," she agrees, and takes a breath and begins.

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As she speaks, Star's breath evens out as he slides into sleep.

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Lee continues to the boy successfully fixing the horse's wings, and building himself his own pair, before she stops, and looks up at Erie.

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He's watching her quietly, and kisses her forehead when she looks to him.

'He's going to be okay. We're going to be okay.' (He might actually believe that.)

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"I hope so," she whispers, still in the same tone she was using telling the story.

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He squeezes her gently. (No matter what Star and Lee decided, Erie would make sure they were somewhere safe.)

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Lee is watching his face. "We," she says, a hint of firmness in her voice. "Always."

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"You know I can't argue with you," Erie says, tone teasing.

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"Then believe me," she says, softly.

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-That's harder. That's asking something he's not sure he can do. (Because he loves them so much, and if they want to leave, he's never going to stop them, but he's not sure he can go with them...)

"I'll try."

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"That I want to stay with you, that I think Star will too," she clarifies, pressing into him as much as she can without risking disturbing Star.

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"Yeah. I know. It's just. Hard. Sometimes." He kisses her hair.

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She makes an unhappy-but-acknowledging noise.

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After a moment, she looks up at him again. "I'll keep reminding you, if that helps?"

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"-Yeah, you might need to."

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"I love you, and I'm so glad I'm with you again, and I wish you were -- hurting less -- but you're still here, and you think we're safe and I know you wouldn't say we would be if you weren't sure? And you matter so much to me, I don't even have words for it -- "

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The faith she has in him is overwhelming.

(But nothing in that is new.)

"I- I love you too. And-" And of course they're safe, of course they are, he doesn't have the words, really, to explain why, or how, he just knows that they are.

(But safe or not, this still might not be the best place for Star and Lee, and he knows that, as much as it hurts.)

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She seems to think the best place for her to be is with him.

But she doesn't argue further, just leans her head back against him and sighs, softly. "Love you," she repeats.

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He leans his head against hers, silent for a a while.

"-How do we even explain this to Star?" he asks eventually.

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"...lead with reminding him that we are safe," Lee says, after a moment. "And then -- I don't know if it's better to go through the broadest strokes of how or -- just skip to the present, like you did with me. I don't think he'll -- react as strongly to what you've been up to as I did, but he will to what happened to you, and -- I expect he'll need the reassurance that we're safe, about the others. Not about you." Never about you.

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