Arabic Lullaby

"If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I." - de Montaigne

She senses the sound before she hears it, a faint tossing from the next room. Her master, and something wrong.

She leaves her bottle and hurries across the floor and under his door, pausing a few feet from his bed.

His hands are twisted around the covers, face etched with deep lines. He mutters something, turns his head to the side. He's dreaming, a troubled dream, and an ache twitches within her.

She turns back into her usual form, or rather the small version of it, knowing what he'll say if he wakes to find her here. She crawls up onto his pillow, resting just over his ear.

She sings quietly, barely above a whisper, words in her native language that he can't understand. The melody is soft, a lullaby brushing away the nightmare, echoing into his dream.

His hands slowly relax, breathing evening out.

After a long while she stops singing and crawls down to look at him.

The lines have smoothed out of his face with the vanishing of the nightmare, cheek nestled into the pillow. A lock of hair has tumbled across his forehead giving him a boyish look, like a tousled child. Her heart swells with love and a fierce sense of protection.

She drifts back into smoke, pausing long enough to curl around the errant lock and tuck it back into its proper place with the most gentle of kisses. He doesn't stir and she leaves quietly, slipping back into her bottle before the sun rises.

In the morning when he finds her sound asleep in her bottle, Tony has the oddest memory of a lullaby being sung to him. But he hasn't been sung to since he was a small child..and he's certain his mother doesn't know any Arabic.