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The Midnight Run

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Ratbat couldn’t remember what he had dreamt of, but it had been forever since he had been woken up from a bad dream.  Panting hard, he regained control of his breath as he wiped the sweat from his brow.

 

He looked to see that it was almost one in the morning.  He was lucky it was only Saturday (technically Sunday) and that he had nothing to do tomorrow morning.  If he ever woke up in the middle of the night, it was hard to get back to sleep.

 

After tossing and turning for another ten minutes, the young teenager pulled back the sheets, pulled on some socks, and quietly made his way into the hallway and down the stairs.  He was right next to his mother’s room and he did not want to bother her or her boyfriend, who was staying the night.

 

Making his way downstairs, he turned into the kitchen only to stumble upon someone already raiding the fridge.  The fridge stood open as the man chugged away at the milk carton in his hands, unaware of his new companion.

 

Bombrush finished the carton before he opened his eyes.  He seemed surprised to see Ratbat standing there, but he figured the kid had just gotten hungry or thirsty. Hell, it was why he was down here. He put down the finished milk carton before turning to face the other. 

 

"Need something?"

 

"Uh..."

 

It wasn't that Ratbat didn't like Bombrush. He was a nice guy to his mom. It was just... He couldn't help but to feel intimidated. Especially since Bombrush tried to act almost fatherly towards him and his brothers. The others didn't seem to mind it too much, but Ratbat still felt uneasy. His biological father had been an abusive person and - though he had never told anyone this - had hit him a couple of times when he accidentally got in his way. 

 

He just found himself a bit cautious when it came to male parental figures, even if he knew that Bombrush wouldn't hurt him like Razorcut used to. 

 

“Ratbat?”

 

“I-I woke up and... I-I couldn’t go back to sleep.”

 

Bombrush titled his head. “Are you okay?”

 

“Y-Yeah.  It's nothing.” 

 

Geez, it was still really weird for someone other than his mother and brothers to worry about him. And even though he did have personal trouble with Bombrush sometimes... He could see his mother's boyfriend cared about him and his brothers. He was more lenient and easy-going than their mother, but still looked after them. Frenzy and Rumble were quick to accept this new adult figure in the house; the rest of them took a little longer to open up to him.

 

“So why are you down here?”

 

Oh right, he hadn’t answered him yet.  “I... I wanted to get some milk. I-It usually helps me fall back to sleep.”

 

"Ah." Bombrush looked at the milk carton that he had put down on the counter. "Well I finished this one, but there's a gallon of milk still in the fridge, so-"

 

"I-I can’t... drink that one.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

Ratbat flinched back a bit. Right, he shouldn't have interrupted him. But seeing the other look at him with a blank expression, he quickly continued. “I can’t drink regular milk.  It... It makes me sick.  I can only have skim milk.”

 

"... Oh. I'm sorry. I was unaware-"

 

“I-It’s okay.” Ratbat interrupted, quickly retreating out of the kitchen. “I only really needed it as a kid.  I-I’m sure I’ll fall back to sleep soon.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Y-Yeah.  Th-Thanks anyway. Good night."

 

The man only watched as the teenager quickly bolted from the room to head back up the stairs.  Bombrush bit his lip as his eyes fell to the empty milk carton, still sitting on the counter.

 

xxx

 

Ratbat tossed and turned.  It was now almost two and he was still having trouble sleeping.  He had hoped to get some more sleep before morning came, but it looked like he would have to stay awake for the rest of the night.  Maybe he could start Sunday morning breakfast for everyone.

 

As he attempted to close his eyes again, he opened them suddenly as light fell onto his bed.  He turned to see that his bedroom door was opened and someone was standing in it.

 

“Sorry, did I wake you?"

 

Ratbat blinked.  Bombrush?  “N-No… D-Did you need something?

 

“No, no.  I just came to check up on you.” The older man opened the door further to come into the room, quickly closing it to only let a little light come in. Ratbat was glad since his eyes were still in night mode.

 

“Still having trouble sleeping?”

 

Ratbat looked up to the man who stood near his bed.  He looked away, “Y-Yeah.”

 

“Here.”

 

A glass of milk was suddenly placed on his night stand.  Ratbat looked on in shock before turning back up to the man.  “But it’ll make me sick…”

 

“It’s skim milk.”

 

“H-Huh?”

 

“It’s skim milk, I promise.”

 

Though he wasn’t sure where the other man had gotten skim milk from, Ratbat took the glass and sipped it down.  His eyes widened as he recognized the taste.  “W-Where did you-?”

 

“I drove out to get some.”

 

Ratbat’s jaw almost dropped.  “You what?”

 

“I went out to get some more skim milk. After all, I did drink the last of the carton and that wasn't fair to you since it's technically your milk and you needed it more than I did.”

 

Ratbat just drank the rest of his milk, trying to wrap his head around what the other just said.  This man had gone out of his way just to get him some milk.  He knew the man had gone out of his way to impress and help his mother, but he couldn’t remember the man ever doing something specifically for his brothers. Or for him.

 

Feeling his cheeks heat up, he finished the glass and gave it back to the man’s opened hand.  Bombrush gently took it from him as the boy curled back under the sheets, holding the covers tightly to him. 

 

“Think you can get some sleep now?”

 

Ratbat felt the kisses of sleep at the edges of his consciousness.  He slowly nodded, letting his head sink into the pillow as he felt the man gently pat his head.

 

“Good. Now get some sleep. I'll see you in the morning.”

 

Ratbat couldn’t respond.  He, despite it seeming impossible, was starting to fall asleep from the milk.  He watched as the man just stood there for a few moments, looking him over with the glass still in hand.  Then he gave a small smile before turning around and walking out of the room, gently closing the door behind him. 

 

After that, Ratbat went to sleep and didn’t wake up again that night.

 

END