You glance at your clock. It's already eleven thirty p.m., and Dave isn't there yet. He usually joins you in your room by ten thirty, asking you to perhaps read him a book, play a game, tell a made-up story, something to take his mind off of "them". The nightmares, of course. And you always oblige, every time, because you do love your dear cousin, and although you aren't sure how healthy it is, you would feel terrible hearing him cry in the middle of the night and doing nothing about it.
Maybe he's already fallen asleep. He'd seemed tired earlier, not overly enthusiastic about playing with you, even though you'd let him pick a computer game. In fact, you'd beaten him rather quickly, and he'd let it go without any excuse. He'd probably not been feeling well. The fact that this observation had slipped by you earlier is more than a little bit disconcerting. Perhaps you should go check on him...
You sit up slowly, your feet not quite hitting the floor when you swing them over the edge of the bed.
You're wearing the most dreadfully sweet-looking lace nightgown in the entire world, the hem of which hits your ankles, and the sleeves of which go all the way down to your wrists. You'd been admiring its special form of hideousness in the store, wondering just how it had gotten so awful--did it have a bad home life?--and inspecting it thoroughly. You'd finally turned away from it and gone on to look at books instead, and when your mother had come to collect you, she'd announced that she had a surprise and handed you the hideous lilac thing that was the nightgown. You'd smiled widely and thanked her graciously, and told her that it was a lovely present.
You tug gently at the collar of your nightgown, the lace itching on your neck, and then slide slowly off of the bed. You slip on your slippers--expensive silk ones, just as visually unappealing as your nightgown--and then quietly sneak out your bedroom door. You step gently as you walk down the hallway, as to not rouse any suspicion or wake anybody. The house is totally silent, sleeping, dark. You think that most children would be afraid in such an environment, but you rather enjoy it. The silence does not last long, though, as you approach Dave's bedroom. You can tell he's fallen asleep already, because you can hear him cry.
You quietly inch his door open, and whisper-call into his room: "Dave?"
But, being asleep, he doesn't hear you, and he stays silent, aside from his quiet whimpers.
You close the door slowly behind you, approach his bed. You slip your slippers from your feet and sit down on the bed next to him. Slowly, gently, you place your hand on his shoulder. "Dave?
His muscles tighten under your touch and you can hear the sharp intake of breath. You've woken him. Good. "Dave, it's only me. It's only Rose."
He sits up and throws his arms around you, holding onto you dreadfully tightly, so that it almost hurts. "Are you real?" he whispers. "Wh-when you aren't, your voice is different. But you have the right voice now. Are you real?"
You can't imagine what he could have been dreaming, but somehow it hurts you somewhere inside to hear his panicked whispers. "Yes, Dave, I can assure you that I am very real. I am Roselle Lalonde, the one and only, I swear that to you."
"Y-you have the right voice," he says quietly. "But I... Turn on the light."
You give him a questioning look, but realize he probably can't see it. You oblige, switching on the lamp and looking back toward him.
He inspects your face rather intently, his bright scarlet eyes seeming to judge your every feature. Then he slumps forward into your chest. "You're the right one," he says finally.
You gently pet his hair, wait for him to fully come out of his nightmare--sometimes they linger in his head for a while, things that are pure imagination to anyone else are a harsh and frightening reality for him. So you just wait it out, wait for his heart rate to slow to normal, wait for his breathing to become soft and even, for it to not hurt when you look into his eyes.
"My head hurts," he mumbles after a while. "Turn off the light."
And you do, you switch off the lamp, and as you do this, he slumps over onto the bed, letting out a deep, exhausted sigh. You lie down next to him, put one arm around him, and let out a soft humming sound. He seems fully relaxed now, able to go back to sleep. You'll sleep here with him, and if he has another nightmare, you'll be right here for him, waking him up before it can get bad.
"Goodnight, David," you say softly.
"Night, Rose," he mumbles.
You close your eyes and drift off comfortably to sleep, once again ignoring the fact that you need him to fall asleep as much as he needs you.