A Night in the Dream Garden
Well, second part of Dreams In Darkness. This took so much longer than it should have. Whether or not it should have happened in the first place is debatable. So... Enjoy? :-)
A Night in the Dream Garden
It was most unexpected. I have witnessed a miriad of his dreams, but none of them ever were this... small. His usual fantasies spawned rolling plains, vast woods or seas which touched the skies at the horizon. To be greeted by a marble wall was certainly out of the ordinary. It felt warm to the touch, polished like a mirror without a single crack or seam. The gloom made it hard to distinguish the colours, but I think it was deep saphire, with gold veins running through it.
I looked around. I was standing at the top of an amphitheatre, its tiered steps harboring an exotic garden of unimaginable beauty. Bushes, vines, trees, shrubs, each tier contained hundreds if not thousands. Their leaves chittered quietly in the light breeze, backed by the splashing of miniature waterfalls which ran off each plant bed. Among them at random I could see what I thought to be lamps, suffusing their surroundings in soft blue, violet and turquoise light; however at closer inspection they turned out to be blooming flowers, their petals shining like miniature stars.
It took several seconds to overcome the unexpected feeling of awe and spot the thin stairs, almost lost in the sea of surrounding vegetation. I began my slow descent, laden with interruptions at every flight, as i tried to take in the sights, and hopefully spot my friend. The further down the stairs went, the less dense and brighter the gardens became, but only at the final flight did I manage to see my destination fully.
The "floor" of the amphitheatre was a large circular platform, large enough to hold a small crowd. The half closer to me was occupied by a gargantuan crescent-shaped couch, with several small tables holding a plethora of various bottles and flasks situated inside its curve. The other half consisted of a pond, fed by the streams falling from the lowest tier. Its floor, as well as the outer wall on which it boredered, were made of clear glass, beyond which shone the light of the endless abyss of space. It was a breathtaking sight that firmly grasped my attention, to such an extent that I at first didn't even notice Hasan's presence.
He was a peculiar sight, shyly nestled in the corner of the great couch, his head tilted onto the backrest. Like me, he was staring into the shining abyss, a half-empty glass held in an outstrecthed hand.
His expression was an equally peculiar sight - he looked like a man abruptly roused from his sleep, startled and a little confused, before his features adopted a flash of recognition and a warm welcoming smile, and yet retaining a sliver of embarassment about them. He stood up and we embraced, our lips momentarily locking for a brief kiss. His fingers ran through my hair like a comb, and immediately I felt at home.
"Good to see you again, beautiful." whispered Hasan, winking, and yet his posture still betrayed a sense of awkwardness.
"Are you well?" I inquired, watching him with rising curiosity. He turned away, wiping his brow, letting out a short sigh.
"I... I think I've lost the track of time for a while. I could have sworn I still had more time to prepare something for your arrival." mumbled the human, before returning eye contact with an awkward smile. "Sorry, Yan, this is all that I have for today."
I fought hard to hide amusement. Embarassment was not a facet of him that I've seen before, and it was almost bordering on cute.
"I promise, something a lot sunnier next time." I felt his hands run along my hips through the bodysuit's fabric, immediately igniting my desire, but I refrained and stepped away.
"I like this place. Does it exist?"
"No, it's... Just something I threw together to pass the time." Shrugged Hasan, rubbing his chin. "Worked a little too well I guess." He added with a grin.
I walked to the nearest brush, bristling with blue fluorescent bulbs. In my hands one sprang open, throwing apart its translucent petals, so delicate, as if they were sculpted from glass. Just one deep breath of the scent was enough to make my head spin. This was nothing like I have experienced before. It felt almost... Alive? I quickly looked around. Every other dream of his lacked this feeling. They were beautiful, from the tips of millenia-aged trees down to the last blade of grass, just as beautiful as they were hollow, like a decoration for a troupe performance. They were not born, they were created, and once their use was outlived - cast away. Here, there was a process, to which he returned time and time again. This garden was grown, from the soil and seeds, it had its own whims and desires, it had a soul. It WAS alive.
"Are YOU well?" asked Hasan, an echo of concern slipping into his voice, as his hand lay down on my shoulder. I nodded, finding and squeezing his fingers between mine.
"It is beautiful, San. I'm glad that I got to see it."
"I'd show it to you when it was finished, Yan. You think I'd hide this from you?" He scolded with a grin, mock offense strung through his tone. "But, I'm sure as hell not complaining if it's to your taste. Make yourself at home then."
"I have never been to your home before." It was true - of the myriad worlds he had conjured for our retreats, none bore a likeness to his homeworld, Talorn, a fact he had openly admitted. There was little doubt of course that this dream could be an accurate representation either, given what little I could gather from our conversations it looked "ruined, crumbling to dust and infested by orks as far as the eyes can see". I knew full well the feeling of an erased home, provided by my beloved craftworld Kai-Dann, so I never pressed him further, and neither did he. To stand here now... It felt a little like I was tresspassing, an uneasy, and yet quite an intriguing sensation.
"First time for everything, isn't there?" We set on the couch, hands still together, and he poured us a glass from one of the flasks on the table. "Welcome home."
I nodded, quickly diverting my attention to the drink. The fruity taste tickled the senses, providing a momentary distraction from the chill that seethed in my spine. I could not help, but imagine my own soul pouring into a spirit stone, sealed behind its crystal walls, alone... Was it my decision to make, to consign him to such a fate? Was it selflessness, or selfishness?.. In truth, I was terrified to ask.
"Bad mood?" whispered San's lips, pressing against my cheek. I could feel his warmth seep through my skin, dissipating my grief. It would, of course, return. But that would come later...
"Not any more." His concerned gaze wavered, and gave place to a playful wink, which I couldn't help but return. With my initial curiosity satisfied, I felt another thirst, begging to be addressed. I set down the empty glass and asked:
"Is there entertainment planned for the guests?"
I bit my lip, fighting back a scream. The cool water of the pond was enveloping our bodies, but my flesh felt on fire. I could feel him pressed against my back, tight as a second skin, his breath tickling the nape of my neck. I could feel his hands stroke my skin, stoking my fire further and further. For an embrace where I could not gaze upon him, it was unbelievably intimate. I could not see him, but instead felt him around me, cradling me in his arms, whispering something very sweetly in between kisses. I think I had tears streaming down my face as I whispered his name again and again. Was this what Isha felt in the hands of Kurnous? I certainly felt like a worshipped goddess in his...
I reached out, tenderly stroking San with my toes, his low moan flowing like music to my ears. Exhausted, our breath laboured and shallow, we had crawled onto the couch, dropping into one another's arms, bathing in the bliss of respite. Our fatigued muscles pulsed with the sweet ache, having given every reserve. I adore this time, for it means that we can simply lie down in each other's arms, and enjoy the pure intimacy. I also hate it, for it means that I must soon wake, and return to reality. But until then... He is mine, and mine alone.
Finally, he looked at me, his eyes asking the wordless question.
"Soon..." I whispered, snuggling against his chest. Even here, he still lay in a position to cover me with his back, should there be assailants.
"Soon..." He echoed in response, fingers running through my hair. Isha, how I loved that...
"Wait." He stood up, swiftly moving towards the nearest flower bed. He returned carrying a glowing blossom, it's petals a deep hue of violet, which he gently placed behind my ear. He evidently wanted to say something else, but instead simply waved it off and kissed my hand. I squeezed shut my eyes...
A sense of anxiety permeated the air of my cubicle. The hum of craftworld, Siarynn, was reverberating with alarm. My first thought of course was that of an attack, but it was far too quiet to have any credence. An accident, perhaps?.. I sprang off the bed, racing for the infinity Circuit terminal. I am a Mender, if there are injured my place would be tending to them. The moment my hands touched the cool crystalline matrix of the circuit, and influx of frantic inquiries washed over me. They were.. Inquiring for my safety?..
In confusion, I shot an accidental look at my bed, and felt my heart skip several beats - on my pillow lay a blue blossom, its thin, translucent petals glowing brightly with the residue of the psi-energies.