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Mohn brings her coffee in the morning no matter how much she insists on being independent. Among his talents is the ability to sneak from bed without anyone knowing, choosing to wake them gently with a preferred beverage. Lusamine watches him through her hair, ruined by sleep and children whose nightmares demand crawling into their parents' bed for comfort. Every thrash and kick becomes road marked on her body in bruises and scrapes.

“I see our teacup humans have taken over again,” Mohn says, leaning in to kiss her forehead. “Don't worry; this dose has extra sugar to make up for what my love lacks.”

Lillie rolls toward her brother, whining because some unidentifiable creature has threatened her. Lusamine reaches over her shoulder, shushing the whine and running her fingers through her loose braid. Coffee isn't usually enough when the children take over their bed.

Nobody in Aether would ever question her love for her children. Well, Faba might when he sees the opportunity but otherwise, no one is privy to her irritation surrounding them. Prior to having Lillie, her son is independent, comfortable accepting his nightmare is over once reassured and given some water. Having a sister requires he remains through whatever frightening thing traumatizes her.

Sleep is a minor sacrifice, one she should’ve been accustomed to given her dedication to research. Yet, she sometimes resents the seasoned parents tittering over her bruises, encouraging her to enjoy sleep deprivation. Someday she might find cause to miss this.

Mohn’s coffee warmed hand cups her cheek. “I don’t recall you ordering iced coffee. Where are you drifting off to, my girl?”

Her husband is sturdy. He knows how to manage and carry pain for everyone else. Except, she can't make this confession. Doing so would cause an irrevocable hurt between them. His finger catches on a wet eyelash, and she wishes again, confessing were easier.


“Everything’s fine. I’m just tired.”

Lately, she’s always just tired.