He sees her shift in the dim light from the open doorway and wonders if she will refuse him this time. The bed hidden in darkness on the other side of the room suddenly seems so far away. His fear has barely sunken its claws into his soul when there is rustling, and she lifts the covers with one arm.
He steps carefully into her room and makes it halfway to the bed when a desk looms out of the shadows. There will be a bruise on his hip tomorrow. He stands still a moment and rubs the jutting bone absently, anticipating the mark.
There is a glimpse of pale flesh illuminated by the moonlight, and then it is extinguished. His sister sits up. She slides out from under the bed covers and comes towards him, navigating the room with ease.
Of course she would, he thinks, it is her room after all. Taking his smaller hand in her own, she leads him to the bed. He is aware of a hint of embarrassment soothed away by her actions - he has been here, in this room, almost as many times as she has.
He consoles himself with the thought that he has always been distracted while here. In the next moment, however, there is no need for consolation. The breath seems to catch in his throat as the girl by his side passes through the light shining through the narrow gap of the window's curtains.
Her hair is momentarily gilded with silver. She looks like a marble statue come to warm life under the moon's touch, he thinks. He is a little in awe of this goddess who seems so distant from him, poised on her golden pedestal.
She turns at that moment, and he catches the half curve of her mouth, directed at him, all for him, before her head turns away from the light's caress and tugs him down to the bed. Come, she says, and it is the sweetest thing he has ever heard.
Later, when he is almost immersed in sleep, he hears her murmur something sweet and pointless into his ear. The words have a certain lilt to them, and he turns, wanting to tell her that he is too old for lullabies.
Instead, a warm arm drapes itself over his shoulder. The soft words do not cease, that gentle melody winding its way into his mind. He allows it to continue, just as he allows himself to huddle into her side.
And he allows himself to acknowledge that, much as he may dislike it, he is not the one in control of their strange relationship.
No, if he is in her bed at all, it is because she allows it.
And perhaps that's not such a bad thing.