Like most people--but unlike any Vessel--Ghost had things they liked and disliked. They liked the glitter of Crystal Peak, the damp smell of Greenpath, and the way the wind rushed along Howling Cliffs. They had come to like their modest home in Dirtmouth, the only place in Hallownest where sleep came easily. The house was made distinguishable by the silk threads binding its domed roof. They glinted in the town's murky light, visible even from the station.
Getting closer, Ghost could see that the cracks in the roof had recently been sewn shut. Yes, sewn. They didn't know how their sister could do that. It's not like rocks and shells were as soft as fabric. They shut the door behind them and, as they always did, glanced around the room. It was customary of them to do so, even though nothing had changed. The round door to the far right was still shut. Ghost didn't hear anything from inside, so they went upstairs.
Although Hornet was a quiet person, there was usually some kind of noise coming from her room. Usually it was the clicking of needles, the whine of pulled thread, or even the soft clacking of a spinning wheel. Today, it was as quiet as downstairs. This was curious. It was...worrying. They pushed open the door, which creaked in protest. Their sister, with all her talents, managed to turn her room into a miniature replica of the Weaver's Den. It always creeped them out, but they braved it for her.
Imagine their horror when they saw a cocoon, suspended in a web in the corner of the room. At once, memories of Deepnest came rushing back to them: the deceptive bench, sticky threads and cramped tunnels. They tried to imagine Hornet in their place, struggling to free herself from a web. The real horror was that she actually was trapped. Ghost lunged forward and slashed at the cocoon. They ripped at the frayed threads, until Hornet came slithering out.
Her appearance was not because of her sibling's efforts, but because she had come out on her own. Had she had her needle, she would have surely hurt Ghost. They are overcome with bewilderment when she throws out a spindly arm, sending them hurtling onto their back.
"What in wyrm's name do you think you're doing?!" Hornet thundered. "You had better have a good reason for waking me up." She hoisted Ghost up and set them upon their feet, rougher than needed. Though Ghost was just trying to save her, they now cowered before her. She was mad, she was so mad.
But also, she was sleeping? They tilted their head to the side, and looked at the strands stuck to their palms. With a shudder, they wiped them off on their cloak. Hornet sighed.
"Is something wrong down below?" she asked. Ghost shook their head, so she guessed again: "The old stag?"
Again, Ghost shook their head, and pointed to the silk. Both looked at it. Hornet rubbed her forehead, started to say something, then fell silent. A gust of wind rattled the window.
"Yes, that is my cocoon. You...did not realize what it was, did you?" Hornet finally asked, and was met with another nonverbal 'no'. Ghost wondered how much Hornet knew about their descent into Deepnest. She had followed them to her mother's den, but for how long before that? Hornet knelt and started to gather the silk fragments.
"This is how I sleep, most of the time. It was mistaken of you to think I was in danger," she explained. Ghost stood back, unable to comprehend Hornet finding comfort in something so constrained. Her long fingers worked like needles themselves, balling the silk up. Ghost finally approached to take the lump, which was still sticky but no longer harmless.
"It's late. I can tell you just returned from the cliffs." She flicked some debris from their cloak. "You ought to return to your quarters."
Ghost stood unmoving with the silk ball between their palms. The red of Hornet's cloak drew their gaze, as it had done the first time they saw her in Greenpath. Against the grays and browns of their dwelling, it lured them in like a brightly burning lantern. Their own room felt like a mile away from Hornet, who was stringing up a blanket with silk on each corner. It's their first time seeing a suspended bed. They dropped the silk.
Hornet couldn't just make something so interesting and expect Ghost to leave. Not them, who was so driven by their whims. They made up their mind that it would be fun to take a flying leap onto the blanket, right as Hornet was making herself comfortable. Her cry of indignation was even greater than when they had awoken her.
"Ghost!" Her voice cracked from the strain of trying not to fall out. When the hammock did not immediately stop rocking, she got out and steadied it herself. Ghost peered over the edge at her, to be met with narrowed black eyes.
"You are such a grub." She jabbed a claw between the eye holes of Ghost's mask. "If you keep fooling around, I'll throw you out right now. I won't hesitate."
Ghost propped their chin on their hands, in the most 'but you're not gonna' gesture they were capable of. Hornet made a noise between a sigh and a growl. It was hard for Ghost to sit still, but they did what they thought would make her happy. It did make it easier for her to lower the hammock until it was a harmless distance from the ground. Tall spools guarded them from front and back, and below, the secondhand carpet. This was what the Weavers must have seen in their rooms, deep in the earth.
It was comfortable. It wasn't scary like this, not with Hornet by their side.
Hornet's arrival into the hammock depressed the thick fabric, and Ghost slid right into her. It was a snug fit, but not an uncomfortable one. Hornet had already eased herself into a reclined position, ankles crossed and arms folded over her torso.
"No wiggling, now."
Her command felt like more of a suggestion, when said so sleepily. Ghost heeded it and let their vision fall dark. They didn't fade out immediately, of course not. Their journey had not wearied them that they would sleep as quickly as Hornet had. She had slackened into a sprawl, with one arm draped over the edge of the blanket. Ghost's vision returned to them to see how she fared, and saw her eyes screwed as if forced shut.
Nightmares were no longer a plague of Hallownest, but they still worried. The thought Hornet worried a lot, too. They shifted to their side and stroked her arm, something they had done to themselves. Once thought just a fidget, they came to realize it comforted them. They only stopped when her expression relaxed. Warm and heavy with sleep, they drifted off with their hand resting on hers.
Maybe Hornet would let them jump on the bed tomorrow.