The setting for this is Dragonwatch compliant, about 2 years after book 2. (Because I'm apparently desperate for these kids to age up a little bit.) I hope it makes sense. This oneshot was prompted by jesussavedevenme. :)
Dragonwatch spoilers are contained here.
"What are you doing up?"
Kendra walked over to Bracken and sat down on the couch next to him, snuggling into his side. "Couldn't sleep," she answered.
Bracken sighed. "Nightmares again?"
She yawned and nodded, then laid her head on his shoulder.
Kendra shrugged in response.
Bracken closed his book, then put an arm around her and rested his head on top of hers. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really," she answered, mindlessly picking at a button on her pajama shirt.
They sat in comfortable silence for a long while before Bracken reopened his book and picked up where he left off. Kendra squirmed closer and squinted at the words on the page, but her tired brain couldn't make sense of the letters. "What are you reading?" she asked.
"Prince Caspian," Bracken said. "It's a novel by C.S. Lewis and I really like it."
A light bulb seemed to go off in Kendra's mind as she interrupted him.
"Oh, with the Pevensie siblings. They help Caspian save Narnia." She yawned again and stretched her arms before snuggling back into Bracken's side.
"Yes," he replied. "I thought I had read it before, but it's not familiar to me after all."
"My mom used to read those books to Seth and I when we were small. Seth always fell asleep. I liked to imagine the things that were going on in the stories." A light smile crossed her face before it disappeared. She rubbed her hand over her eyes.
"You miss him," Bracken stated. It definitely wasn't a question.
"Yes," Kendra answered. She rubbed at her eyes again.
Bracken bit his lip. He'd been back with her for a grand total of two days thus far, and she had yet to talk to him about the loss of her brother. She usually avoided the subject of Seth like the plague - whenever anybody brought him up, she tended to either retreat into her own inner monologue and disengage from discussion or otherwise leave the room. This was the first time she'd willingly mentioned her brother in Bracken's presence.
He wanted to help her. He knew she had been having nightmares off and on since Zzyzx, and that the nightmares had only intensified and increased in number since Seth had been taken and brainwashed. She used to talk to him about her fears and worries. Now… now she seemed almost afraid to say anything.
"Kendra," Bracken began, looking at her instead of the book in his hands. "I want to help you, but you have to talk to me."
"I don't want to talk," she said.
"I think you need to."
"I don't want to."
He dropped his book on the floor and shifted his position so that he could fully embrace her. "Kendra. Please. Please let me help you."
She wiped a few loose tears which fell from her eyes. "What's there to say? It was hard enough when you went missing. Then Seth…" she sniffled. "He hates me now. And I don't know how to deal with that."
Silence fell, broken only by Kendra's sniffles as she struggled to maintain her composure.
"It's alright to cry, Kendra," Bracken assured her. "I'm right here."
He held her as she fell apart in his arms. She cried tears of despair and anguish, the sound of which broke Bracken's heart. He rubbed comforting circles into her back and leaned his cheek against the top of her head while she mourned the loss of her brother. Kendra clung to him as though he were her most vital lifeline.
Eventually she calmed. Bracken glanced at the clock on the wall and saw that it read 1:30 am. Her shoulders had relaxed and she was breathing evenly once more, but he couldn't fully tell whether she was awake or asleep. He hoped it was the latter - she'd been sleeping terribly for the past couple of years, or so he'd been told, and he'd witnessed her lack of sleep himself over the past couple of days since he'd been recovered. He was willing to hold her all night if that's what it took for her to finally rest.
He closed his eyes in disappointment. "Hmm?"
"Will you read to me?"
He perked up at her request. "Really?"
"Please." She moved out of the way so that he could gather the discarded book from the floor. He pulled her against himself once more before he opened it.
"I'm in the middle of a chapter," he said. "Would you like me to start over?"
"No, just wherever you are is fine. I'm kind of tired." Kendra closed her eyes and rested against his chest.
Bracken was pleased when he realized, not even ten minutes into reading, that Kendra had finally fallen asleep. He settled in, determined to watch over her for the rest of the night. Perhaps he'd be able to try and shield her from her tumultuous dreams as well.