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The Morning Before

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     John shuddered from the creeping cold, no amount of heavy wool blankets able to protect him from the ice outside, his breath fogging up in front of his face, though he couldn’t see it. He pulled his blankets up to his nose, his eyes searching for the faint purpling light from the window, heralding the very beginning of morning though the sun still hid far beyond the horizon. He yawned, bringing tears to the corners of his eyes and rolled over, blinking heavily and facing his wife with a faint smile on his lips, still hidden under his blanket. He could only see the faintest outline of her silhouette and he shifted closer, desperate for warmth, throwing one arm gently around her waist and burying his face in her neck. He’d just closed his eyes again when he’d felt her voice against the top of his head.

     “Awake already, John?” Abigail asked quietly, her voice still heavy with sleep. John nodded, feeling her fingers winding into his long hair. He was still exhausted, it being barely the early hours of the morning, and he yawned once more into her chest. “You should get some sleep, darling, you have to leave in a few hours.” John screwed his eyes shut tighter, holding her tighter to him.

     “I don’t want to,” he said glumly, and she gave a quiet laugh. Something about her laugh filled John’s chest with both affection and embarrassment and he huffed, shifting closer to her as the cold from outside became more threatening.

      “They need you, John,” she murmured into the top of his head. “The world needs you.”

     “Don’t you need me?” He pouted. Another laugh.

     “Of course I do. But I can put aside my own needs for the greater good.”

     “But they don’t listen to me.”

     “They should. You’re a bit pig-headed but awfully clever.”

     “Not as clever as you.”

     Abigail laughed again, pressing a kiss into the top of John’s head, and John finally smiled into the darkness. “I thank you for that, John.”