Sleep was an escape from reality. On the Starblaster, this had been welcome: a few hours away from a century of running, from a fight they couldn’t afford to lose.
But now? Lup didn’t want to escape. Reality was everything she could ever want: curled up with Barry, her family safe and sound. Sleep meant dark and nightmares and thrashing and thinking about everything she wanted so badly to forget.
And so, after Taako freed her from the umbrastaff, Lup developed more of an appreciation for trancing.
Trancing was a suspension between dreams and reality. It meant a night of feeling Barry’s warmth beside her, his arm resting around her middle and her head on his chest. She could focus on his heartbeat, or on his slow breaths and gentle snores. And even only semi-conscious, Lup found she felt warm and happy and content in a way a life of running hadn’t prepared her for.
And each day morning would come, with warm light dancing on her closed eyes. She’d keep herself pulled under, keep herself in that threshold of consciousness as long as she could. Barry would begin to stir beneath her, and his rough fingers would card through her hair lightly enough that sometimes Lup thought she’d just imagined it. Then he’d press his lips to her forehead, and the scruff of his face would scratch her skin as he whispered against her. And that warmth, that joy, would fill Lup’s chest until her eyes fluttered open and she arched up to kiss him back.