She has nightmares sometimes. It is ridiculous, true—she is Dreams. She is not supposed to have nightmares; she makes them, winds them and spills them over the edges until the mind is overflowing. A bathtub overflowing with darkness and blood and laughing, laughing, laughing.
But she does.
Road has them.
Sometimes they are so intense that she can't wake up at first. She twists in the sheets, screaming silently into the cotton-soft pillow, or when she does wake up she is lying in the middle of the floor, shaking. Other times she wakes up almost instantaneously, breathing sharply and staring at the ceiling with wide eyes.
Noah is not happy with his Dreams.
I have done everything for this family, she wants to scream at him, at them. All of her cursed ancestors that have sent them like lambs to the slaughter. I have done everything for this family, and this is how you repay me?
When she had them before he arrived, there was no one to comfort her. Not even the Earl. And she didn't need comfort, really. She is Road. Road has no need for comfort. She is the one who comforts and gives the rest all of their lovely dreams while rising above her own horrors.
But when he arrives, he is the first to pick her up that first night, up off of the floor and back into the bed. He is the first to hold her until she stops shaking, the first to know that this is not her true form, not her ugliest form, and yet he still stays. Holding her, humming a lullaby under his breath.
He is the first to comfort her.
She knows that it is not without a price. Her brother is made of greed, and he desires so much that it will consume him. But she does not care. Road loves her family all the same, even with their faults, even with their tendencies to turn their backs on each other and cause everything to shatter.
And when he falls, she will be there to hold him in return.
Sometimes he does not hum that lullaby. Instead, he tells her of his baby brother that he left behind when becoming a Noah. His baby brother who can barely read, who is too handsome, too charming for his own good. His baby brother who honestly needs to learn how to take a bath on his own accord, he says disapprovingly, but he smiles anyways.
She knows that he misses that baby brother with the mole under his eye. In return, when she gets up in the middle of the night without a nightmare in her head, she weaves him a lullaby of dreams of his memories with his brother. A good dream, a wonderful dream. It is one of the most wonderful dreams she has ever given anyone.
But the next morning, he takes her aside from breakfast and tells her:
"You don't have to do that for me, darling."
Road is confused. Her brother is made of greed and desire and there is not a thing that he does not expect in return. So she tilts her head to the side and looks at him with a questioning glance.
"But we're family, aren't we?" she asks.
He nods, smiling. "And that is why you don't need to give me anything."
Her brother is so strange.
That night, when she is writhing in the sheets and he holds her close, tight even in her half-asleep, half-awake state, he hums the lullaby. The lullaby that weaves into her head a faint memory, a memory of long ago, forgotten in her madness.
And for the first time in many years to come, she calls her brother 'father'.
This road of dreams is dark and stained with blood.
But in the end, there is a light, faint and slowly, slowly brightening in its glow.
And this road will stay strong yet.
Inspired by the lack of Cyril/Road father-daughter relationship fics out there. :| Seriously, guys. Go make some! I can only give my half-assed version here, but I'm sure so many more of you can do better.
I hope you enjoyed reading.