Non-Canon Awards; Mythical Creatures
Title: In Dreams
Pen Name: Noravei
Word Count: 2010
Summary: She fell; He flew.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
He’d watched over her for years.
She was never aware of his presence, in either world. Once, he thought she might have seen him violently remove another who did not belong in her dreams. The next day, however, she’d ignored his physical presence. As it should have been – it was all planned that way.
Still, he could not help but be a little disappointed. After all, she was his charge – he kept her safe, though she did not know it, and it had hurt him some to not be acknowledged when the opportunity had presented itself. It had taken him months to figure out why that was. It shouldn’t hurt him. She shouldn’t know he existed. It was supposed to be that way.
When he finally figured out that he loved her, he had not been surprised, but he’d been angry with himself. She was not for him, that much had been made clear. She was royalty, and he was a peon; a soldier, full of violence and not made for softness such as hers. Still, they’d always been friends. She’d always made time for him, gracing him with her smiles and welcoming his presence where she often spurned others deemed more suitable. So, when she’d decided to try out a human life, he’d been the one to defend her and offer up his services as her silent guard.
She would lose her memories, and he was to stay hidden. No contact, that was the rule. Her father had insisted – he thought now perhaps he had known something that he himself did not.
Tonight, he was stationed in a tree outside her window, cloaked in the magic of their kind as he watched her vampire boyfriend hop through. The idiot boy had no inkling of his presence, but that was also by design. Vampires, he thought bitterly. She always did have a habit of finding the most dangerous things to pursue. It was only fitting, he supposed, that she find the one who wanted to eat her the most, and choose that one to date.
When he’d gotten the heads-up that she’d be coming into contact with this coven, he’d done the prudent thing. He disguised himself as one of them, altering their memories with an elaborate backstory which would allow him to keep an eye on both her and the potential threat.
The threat, of course, was not her death. Dying would only return her to where she belonged – the world of dreams; the fae realm. No, the threat was that she be bitten – that she be turned. If that happened, she would be lost to them forever, oblivious to all she’d given up. It had already almost happened once, and he had been beside himself. With his current physical persona, he could stay by her side if that happened, but it was not a life he would choose for himself, or for her. He was almost sure she would not choose it for herself, either; then again, he could not discount the possibility. She always did the unexpected.
As he watched the couple through the window, he formulated a plan to remove them from her life. All he needed was for her to bleed in his presence, with a few witnesses.
The night the vampires left, he found her in the woods. Curled into a ball on the ground, freezing after having cried herself unconscious. He could not give away his presence, so he used the wolves to find her and get her back to safety before he left for the other world.
Now, he stood watching her from the top of a tower, smiling to himself. She always did dream big. It was not the dream he might have expected her to have, given the most recent events of her life. He’d expected her dreams to be full of vampires and heartbreak. Then again, she’d gained surprising command over her dreams of late, building elaborate cities and, sometimes, entire worlds. As if a part of her knew what she was.
She was atop another spire a mile or so away – distance was relative, here. He watched as the moved to the railing, and climbed atop it, and he tensed. If she died here, there would be no saving her. When she launched herself from the building, he unfurled his wings and raced for her, praying to every god he knew of that he would get there in time.
As he flew, he realized he’d always been in love with her.
She had loved him for as long as she could remember.
From the first day he’d appeared at her home with his unit, invited by her father as a reward for a battle well fought, she’d thought him intriguing. Her father had been not a little annoyed when he found that none of his choices of companion for her seemed to be able to hold her interest, and it was worse when he discovered the reason why. She couldn’t help herself. He was fascinating. Beautiful, graceful, loyal, and devoted to his duty. He was a soldier, and she wished with everything in her that one day he’d turn that devotion to her.
They’d spend ages together, walking the different worlds created in dreams, and it made no difference. He seemed to see her in a way nobody else ever had – as herself, instead of just as her father’s daughter. He humored her ridiculous notions and strange adventures, following her wherever she would go, but he never once gave her the slightest indication that he felt anything more than friendship for her. It broke her heart.
Desperate, she’d gone to the seer – one on the outskirts of even their kind, for who should really know what the future holds? It was there that she learned she’d need to take drastic steps. To see her dream realized, she would need to leave the world in which dreams were real. It was terrifying to her, and yet there was no hesitation. She wanted him; he was the one she chose. If only she could make him see it, everything else would fall into place. She’d make sure of it.
When she told him she wanted to try human life, he’d supported her without question and agreed to be her guard. This was something done rarely, and never without protection. It was too dangerous; there were many things in the world which could prevent a safe return to their realm. She’d need to give up her memories, and have no contact with him. This was almost unbearable, but she accepted. It was the only way.
In her human life, something had always felt wrong to her, and the moment she laid eyes on him in the high school cafeteria, she understood why. Memories came rushing back. Not all, but enough to remind her of her purpose here. It wasn’t supposed to happen, she thought, but she’d take the help where she could get it. But how had he got himself turned into a vampire?
It didn’t matter, she decided. If that was what he was, then that was what she would be. For him, it was but a small sacrifice. She befriended the coven and involved herself with one she thought would turn her. Every time she saw him, it killed a little piece of her to see no hint of recognition in his eyes. No reluctant smiles. Nothing. In fact, he actively avoided her wherever possible, saying she smelled too good; he didn’t want to end her life. It didn’t matter, she told herself. Once she changed, she’d make him see.
There had been a glimmer of hope in Phoenix, when he told her she was worth it. In that moment, his eyes had bored into her, as though he was trying to convey more than he could say. Before she knew it, though, the moment was gone and so was the man she’d known. She’d been beyond disappointed when she’d finally been bitten, only to have the venom removed.
Months later, he’d attacked her, and she’d almost been relieved. If he bit her, then he would know, she thought. But the others yanked him away, and soon afterward, they all left her. They took with them her hope – the only way she could be with him. The boy she had involved herself with had told her to live a normal, human life, but that was simply an impossibility. She’d never wanted that. She’d only wanted him.
Desolate and defeated, she’d retreated to her previous world. In a fit of despair, she placed herself atop the highest tower in the dream she had created. Creating her own was a novelty she’d been refused when she could walk the creations of others, but it held no joy for her now.
She climbed atop the railing and sat for a moment, solidifying her thought process. This was dramatic, she knew. Insane, perhaps. To end herself over a man. And yet, in her immeasurable life span, he had been the only one. Even if he never returned the love she felt for him, the removal of the possibility was simply too much to bear. With final resolve and a wish for his happiness in his new life, she pushed off.
As she fell, she thought only of him, shuffling through the memories of when he had given her hope.
Their bodies collided midair, and he wrapped his arms around her. Holding her securely, he lowered them gently to the cobbled ground below as she stared up at him in wonder.
“You should watch your step,” he told her. “Death here is more permanent than humans think.”
“How? How are you here?” she demanded.
This surprised him. She knew? “Tell me you did not jump on purpose,” he responded angrily.
Not knowing how to respond, she looked at the ground and watched as the tears made their way down.
“After all I have done to keep you safe!” he raged. “First, a human life! Then vampires, and now this!” He was seething, yanking at his hair in frustration and pacing, and he hadn’t bothered to sheath his wings. She only saw them rarely, and though she knew he was ashamed of them, she thought the tattered and torn mass of black feathers one of the few instances of true beauty she’d ever encountered.
He turned to her, cupping her cheek to lift her face, and rubbed a tear from her cheek. Staring at her intensely, he demanded softly, “Are you so determined to be lost to me?”
“I- I thought,” she started, but could not finish. She felt pinned by his gaze, pierced to her very soul, and overwhelmed as realization crashed over her. He never relented, waiting for her to understand all he needed her to.
Determination found her, and she leaned forward, barely brushing her lips against his. “It was the only way to make you see.”
He needed no further explanation, lifting her and moving to lean her against the ornate doorway of the closest building. “I see,” he told her, as he captured her lips hungrily.
They were so absorbed in each other they never noticed the world around them change. It probably should have occurred to her when she found herself lying on her bed instead of propped against a door – but she was focused on his trembling, on his strong arms supporting him above her, and on the kisses he laid on every part of her he could reach as he moved within her. He might have noticed when he looked down on her, watching her body writhe and move under and around him, but he was entranced by the thin sheen of sweat on her brow and the way her head rolled back and he moaned when he touched her in certain ways.
As it was, neither noticed until much later, when a throat cleared across the room. They found her father’s face, and were shocked to see mirth in his eyes. “Finally,” was all he said before closing the door behind him.