Ren crawls into Makube's bed around midnight. Her feet are small and warm against his calves. "I can't sleep," she announces. "Tell me a story."
"Ask Grandfather," Makube mumbles. "I'm no good at stories."
"He's still working. He wouldn't tell me what he as doing and he told me to go ask you." Ren pouts. "And you are too good at stories."
Makube hugs her. "I can't make them up, though," he tells her. "Not like Grandfather can. I can tell you stories, but they're not really my stories. Just ones that Grandfather told me."
"But that's why you're so good," Ren says. She pulls away enough to get a good look at Makube. He still has his eyes closed. "You remember the stories Grandfather tells you. I can't remeber things like that."
Makube smiles ruefully. "Gradnfather says I have an eidetic memory," he admits quietly. "That means I remember everything. So of course I remember his stories."
"Wow." Ren squirms a little. "Everything?"
"Everything I see or read." Makube sounds both proud and a little nervous.
Ren giggles. "You're so smart. But I'm still stronger than you - " and with that her knee drives between his and her arms twist out of his grip, and they are wrestling, but quietly, with only a few giggles and gasps to reveal the effort they expend.
The freindly tuffle, as always, ends with Ren on top of Makube, her knees planted on his thighs and hands on his upper arms. Even though she is a year younger than him, she is stronger, and faster, and less reluctant to cause hurt. "See?"
"Yeah." Makube tries to lift his arms, but her hands are insistent. "It's okay. One of us has to be strong, right?"
"Right. Because the rest of Castle isn't nice." Ren lets his arms go and hugs him. "When Grandpa lets us go out, I'll have to look after you. Do you think he'll take us out tomorrow?"
"Why tomorrow?" Makube return the hug absently, tugging the blankets up to their shoulders.
"Because it's special." Ren wrinkles her nose at the evidence of thoughtlessness. "It's your birthday, stupid! You'll be six! Six is big, right?"
Makube is silent.
"Right?" Ren whispers, sounding nervous. "I'm strong! I can look after us!"
"Yeah," Makube finally says. "But it's still too dangerous. I don't think he'll let us go out." He turns and pulls the sheet over their heads. "Maybe if he went with us, though." Makube's voice is full of hope. He is almost six years old, and his world so far is compassed by five rooms and the view from two windows and the images on his computer screen.
"I'll ask him, then. In the morning." Ren presses her face against Makube's neck and giggles gently. "It'd be lot of fun, don't you think? You showed me those pictures yesterday. I want to go see what the roofs really look like."
Makube pulls her close. "We'll ask him," he says. He does not expect that the answer will be 'yes'. "Go to sleep now, Ren. I'm tired."
"So how come I have to sleep because you're tired?"
"Because you're in my bed," Makube points out reasonably. "If you don't sleep you'll keep me up."
"Okay," Ren whispers, and kisses him on the nose. "And tomorrow we ask him, right?"
"Right." Makube's voice is already sleep-fogged and he hugs Ren more out of instinct than concious will. She doesn't mind. It's comfortable curled up against him, if not as warm as Grandfather's bed, and it only takes a minute before she's snoring happily.