Chapter three already? Heh. Dana might not be so happy with me, though...

Un-beta'ed, so quibble away.

- o – o -

Chapter three: Someday You'll Know

Dana sat on the sofa in her new apartment's living room, nursing a mug of coffee and wishing it was laced with something a lot stronger than sugar. She'd spent too many sleepless nights to enjoy the taste of coffee anymore. Not that she'd begrudge those nights spent up, of course. There were some things so much more important than her love of coffee or need for sleep. Like her son…

She sighed and took another sip of her coffee. Ever since the…ever since ARK Corporation had murdered her husband, Dana hadn't had a decent night's sleep. Neither had Trip, of course. Dana was still working through the numbness she associated with thinking Vince had died. Trip, though… Trip had never been old enough to understand what the men in uniforms at the door had meant. He'd only been six months old; now, though, he was nine and understood what the explosion meant. His dad was never coming home.

The former lawyer rubbed at her eyes. She'd spent almost a month, running on coffee and naps during the day so she could spend the night up to make sure Trip didn't suffer. She set the cup down on the coffee table and stood up, wrapping an old blue afghan around her shoulders. The woman began pacing, worrying her lower lip with her teeth. Eight and a half years ago, she'd had a support group to help her deal with Vince's disappearance. Now… Now all she had were death threats and angry looks every time she went out.

ARK Corporation had a lot to answer for, Dana thought darkly. She didn't care if she never had absolution or—better than absolution—revenge, but her son was another matter entirely. ARK had to apologize to her son, Peter Fleming had to pay… Oh god, why…? Dana sank down to the floor, face buried in her hands. Muffled sobs soon filled the apartment as Dana indulged in a rare moment of self-pity.

And, once again, any indulgences she might have taken part in were put on the back burner. Dana was on her feet in seconds, running for her son's bedroom. It was almost half past midnight, and—as always—Trip's nightmares had taken hold of his dreams again. Dana couldn't recall a time when Trip had ever had a restful night's sleep. Hell, she couldn't remember the last time she had had a good night's sleep!

Dana crept into her son's room, dodging some of his toys that he'd forgotten to pack away again. Trip was curled up on his side, blankets on the floor. His hands were pressed over his ears, and his eyes were closed as tightly as they could be while he was still asleep. The worst part of the nightmares was the inhuman wail of fear coming out of his mouth. Dana sat on the edge of the bed, pulling her son into her arms.

The psychiatrist who lived next door would have been horrified at how she was handling the situation, but Dana didn't care. Her son needed her, and damn the consequences.

As Dana held him, she began humming a lullaby. She hadn't had to sing Trip to sleep since he was a baby. She smiled a little, remembering just how fussy her son had been. She and Vince had gotten a lot of exercise during Trip's first year. Going for a run with mommy or daddy always put him right back to sleep, or a lullaby from Dana in unusually good situations would do the trick.

"And I'll still be here in the morning…*" Dana hummed, rubbing Trip's back.

Eventually, Trip settled back down to sleep. Dana, finally exhausted and assured of the rest of the night being peaceful, crept back to her own bed.

She kept the door open anyways.

- o – o -

So, what did you think? Good? Bad? Want to give Dana a gift-wrapped Vince? Drop a line and let me know.

Once again: The story and chapter titles come from a song by the talented Vienna Teng, titled Lullaby for a Stormy Night. You should go check it out.