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Nightmares

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Joshua startles at a warm body climbing into bed next to him. He wakes fully, then takes in the close-cropped red hair that's attached to the body. "Claudia?"

Isn't she too old to climb into bed with him? Which seems weird, since, you know, yesterday, for him, she certainly wasn't. She was so small, and fit neatly against him so he could curl around her and protect her from the world, now she won't fit like that, and it feels a little weird to have his baby sister curled against him as a grown woman.

"Nightmare, don't leave again," Claudia murmured sleepily. Clearly she was half awake.

"I'm here now, Claud," Joshua said, stroking her hair and wrapping his arms against now. "It's OK."

"Kay," Claudia said snuggling against him.

Joshua laughed. Earlier he'd been struck by how different Claudia was than ten years ago. At the moment, it was also how disturbing how little she changed.

"What's funny?"

"You, you're still acting like you're eight. Go back to your own bed."

"No."

"Then shut up and go to sleep," he said, wondering if this would actually still work.

"'kay," Claudia said, and did.