written for the prompt: Kate starts getting nightmares again and has a sleepover with Betty. Cuddling ensues. Bonus points if Kate has another nightmare and Betty soothes her afterwards.
Kate, sometimes, reminds Betty of a sparrow. One wrong step and she'll fly away quicker than a blink of an eye.
And yet, she's simultaneously one of the bravest people Betty's ever met. The fact she's here, away from the so-called father that put those twisted red welts on her back and instilled in her a terror Betty hates to even think about, is a testament to that. And the girls at work think Betty's the strong one- if only they knew.
But right now, Kate is a sparrow again.
Despite her assertion that she was going to have better dreams, she's been screaming in her sleep for the last few nights, and it's not just the sound through the paper thin walls that keeps Betty awake. The sound chills her to the bone, despite the layers and swathes of sheets she has on her bed.
Tonight, Betty has insisted Kate come to her room for a sleepover because they don't have to work tomorrow and at this point, there's not much Betty wouldn't do not to hear Kate's screaming and not have the power to do anything about it.
They stay up late gossiping, and Kate begs Betty to teach her to smoke. This turns out to be a small-scale disaster and Betty has to run to the bathroom to fetch water when Kate inhales too much and starts coughing. She skids on the floor and falls over, and Kate races over to see if she's okay, then breaks out in fits of giggles when she sees Betty sitting on the floor with a comically shocked expression. Eventually Betty starts laughing just because Kate is and it takes them a long time to calm down.
Kate gets tired before Betty does and Betty chuckles when Kate asks politely if she can go to sleep. Only Kate would ask to go to sleep.
Betty diplomatically loses a few rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors because it's the only way he can get Kate to accept taking the bed and has taken a few sheets and a pillow to the floor beside the bed, which is vaguely uncomfortable, especially because of her sore back from the fall earlier but it's bearable.
The light goes off, and Betty begins to remember why she has so much sheets on her bed. It's freezing at night because the boarding house's heaters are always on the blink.
Soon though, she has other problems.
It starts with a whimper so quiet Betty isn't even sure it happened. Her ears are pricked though, and soon enough she hears another; not much louder but definitely there. And it gets progressively worse, and when she hears Kate crying she turns on the lamp and agonises over whether to wake her or let her sleep it out.
"Kate," she says quietly.
Kate starts thrashing in her sleep, long limbs twisting in Betty's sheets.
"Kate!" Betty shouts as loud as she dares in a house full of sleeping women and Kate's eyes snap open, absolutely terrified. Betty feels, not for the first time, a rush of hatred towards the man who caused this. Betty takes her hand and squeezes tightly. "It's okay, Kate. Just a bad dream. You're okay."
Kate lifts a shaking hand to her face, wiping stray tears away. "Betty," she breathes with relief, squeezing back.
"I'm here. You're okay," Betty tells her.
Kate breathes deep for a few long moments then smiles weakly at Betty. "I'm okay," she repeats.
"Yes," Kate says with a stronger voice.
"Okay." Betty smiles back then kneels back down on her improvised bed on the floor. When she lies down, Kate is looming over her.
"Aren't you cold?" she asks, concerned.
Betty doesn't lie so much as be economical with the truth. "A bit." Kate holds out her hand expectantly, with big eyes that really ought to be illegal. "What?"
Kate doesn't answer, just gestures again with her hand so Betty takes it and Kate pulls her up with a surprising amount of strength. Kate shifts in the bed so there is almost enough room for the both of them. Betty smiles and lies down with only a small amount of hesitancy.
It's really rather warm and Kate smiles at her sleepily and wraps an arm around her, eyes fluttering shut again. Her forehead rests gently against Betty's and Betty wonders if she's ever been so close to anyone.
Betty shifts carefully and switches the lamp off again.