[This post is from Hecate’s point of view.]
Startling awake with a gasp, trying to shake free the last vestiges of her nightmare, Hecate pressed a little closer to Matt, burrowing deeper beneath their shared covers. The freshly healed scar in her side twinged and burned in turns, bile rising hot and sour in the back of her throat, leaving it aching and raw. She felt like she’d been screaming in her sleep but knew she couldn’t have been because Matt was still out like a light, his arms cocooning her in warmth, in safety.
And yet, the nightmares still came.
Hecate squeezed her eyes shut against tears that stung, exhaling in a shaky sigh. It’s all right. You’re safe. Nothing can hurt you. You’re safe. You’re home. You’re fine. Everything is okay.
Matt stirred slightly as she pressed closer, fingers tangling in the blankets and the fabric of his shirt. His hand drifted higher under their blankets, palm skating along her spine until his fingers were laced through her hair.
“Shhh,” he breathed without opening his eyes. “It’s all right.”
Her heart missed a beat and she swallowed hard, shivering slightly. “How—?”
“I think I know you by now,” he murmured, drawing her tighter even as she wrapped one of her legs around his, toes scraping against the back of his calf. “Felt you startle awake. What’s the matter?”
“Just nightmares,” she whispered. “That’s all.”
As terrifying as they’d been, that was all they were—nightmares born of the ghosts of memories long buried in her past. All of it was long ago and far away. Her world was different now. She had a family again, people who cared.
For all that had happened in the last year, for all that she had lost over all the centuries, she’d gained so, so much more.
“Nothing’s going to hurt you,” he murmured into her hair. “Not so long as I’m here.”
“I know,” she whispered back. “I know.”