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Tomorrow, he’d have it back together.

Tomorrow, he would act like nothing had happened. He would drink his coffee, scowl at his smiley-face pancakes, and feed Juniper cheerios with the airplane spoon. 

But that was tomorrow.

End.

"Oh Ven…"

"It’s like my brain has some sadistic vendetta. You and June and Vivi and everyone are fine. I know that. But once I’m asleep, I…”

He leaned his head back, tapping against the wooden bars of the crib. Ginger gently took his hand, uncurling it from a fist and weaving their fingers together.

"I’m right here, Ven."

He was almost embarrassed at how much those words comforted him. She was here and alive, vibrant and healthy, and that alone would soothe him. The tension went out of his shoulders as he tugged her into a hug.

"Thank god for that."

She smiled against his shoulder.

"…I dreamt the crib was empty."

"Ven. Tell me the truth. Did you have another nightmare?"

"…"

"You know you can wake me up, right?"

"I’m not going to wake you up over something so stupid.”

"It’s not stupid! Ven, please. Talking about it has helped before, right? Talk to me."

For a long time, the only sound was rain against the window.

"Did June wake you up?"

"No. He sleeps as well as you do."

"Then what’s wrong?"

"…Nothing."

"Ven? What’s wrong?"

"…Ven?"

"Don’t be an idiot! It wasn’t real!”

He wanted to check.

"She’s fine. He’s fine! You don’t have to…have to…”

He had to check.

"It was just a stupid dream."

He felt like an idiot. He was too old to be waking up in the middle of the night, gripped with terror. Too old to be shaken like this.

"It wasn’t real."

He knew it wasn’t real. But he couldn’t shake the compulsion to check.

Not that he noticed the rain at first. The roar of his heart drowned out the storm outside. His hands wouldn’t stop shaking, even when he pressed them against his chest.

"G-Ginger…?"

She didn’t stir, and his heart leapt in his throat. He couldn’t calm down until he saw her breathing, couldn’t settle until he touched her arm and found it warm.

It chased away phantoms of her lifeless body, of her cold skin.