She pushed the hood back again to stare at him, embarrassment tinting her cheeks. Then she flung herself at him in a huge hug, radiating gratitude overwhelmingly.




Derek was  a little startled at the sudden hug and rush of emotion, though he caught her and tentatively patted her back soothingly, still a tad bit stunned at the force of her gratitude but glad he could help and make someone feel so thankful.

This felt right. Familiar. Someone curled at her back, guarding her from the things that went bump in the night. She smiled in the dark at that idea, that some of the things that went bump would protect her from other things. But then she knew that humans could be more monstrous than anything called a monster. Waiting for sleep to reclaim her, she stroked Isaac’s back lightly.

When she opened her eyes again it was morning.

Isaac had leaned into the touches, relaxing under them from Derek and Summer. Derek settled in and they all calmed and then fell asleep one by one. Isaac was out soon after Summer and then Derek was a little bit later.

The next morning, Derek felt Summer stir and grumbled lowly, snuggling a little closer as Isaac snuffled in reaction, rolling over and nuzzling into his pillow.

Everything felt so good — blinking her eyes open slowly, being warm and relaxed, waking without a headache, not being alone. Derek’s little sound, pulling her closer, made her smile. Her feet were tangled with Isaac’s. Even her mind felt relaxed, not clenched in fear and desperate seeking. 

So she shared that feeling with them — how nice the morning was, the simple happiness. Then her mouth quirked with mischief and she tugged away from Derek slightly to flop on top of Isaac, running fingers down his sides to find the ticklish spots.

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