Pirates counting ninja sheep
Cris had suggested his plan to Rowan on the way home. He hoped it gave his partner something other than the moving car to think about and possibly a little hope.
The plan, desperate as it might be, was conceived perhaps a day ago when he had spoken with Sorcha about her new job. In the course of the conversation she had mentioned that she might not be able to stay up into the wee hours of the day talking to her friend Evgeni. She had mentioned him before; he was the Tacharan that they had tried to save, only to find him missing.
Now he was free and still kept in frequent contact with his friend in Evenhet. Sorcha explained that Evgeni could sleep through the dreams of someone else if he knew them or was close by. The Tacharan had even learned to control dreams. Sorcha believed it was an evolution of the suggestion ability. The whole change from the brute force of command to the more subtle suggestion to the even more subtle use of the subconscious within dreams was something she found fascinating.
What Cris had found of interest was that this friend of her's might be able to solve Rowan's nightmare problem. With Rowan's approval, they had called both Evgeni and Sorcha to the house. It seemed like an intervention of some sort and Cris hoped Rowan didn't feel too uncomfortable with being the center of this strange attention.
He had carried his companion up to the bedroom and settled him down in the bed. Cris smoothed the hair from Rowan's forehead and told him that he loved him and that everything would be okay. He then went back downstairs to make some chamomile tea for their guests, and Rowan if he wanted it, and to find a blanket and pillow to add to the chair in the room for Evgeni so that he would be as comfortable as possible while he slept nearby if he needed to be in the room. The sofa just below was fairly close and much more comfortable but only Evgeni would know whether that was close enough.
While the water was heating up, he returned with the blanket and sat on the edge of the bed with Rowan. "You are sure you are okay with this? They could still call the whole thing off if the idea of a stranger entering his dreams was too much for Rowan. Cris was not sure he would be okay with it. His dreams were private and his alone but he was not having trouble sleeping and had never had trouble pulling himself out of a nightmare. For Rowan the nightmares seemed worse than this solution.
Being at home in their bedroom helped. Cris's assertion that he loved Rowan helped, too. Rowan would not deny fearing that the stress this was placing on them might cause Cris to question whether this was really what he wanted, but through it all his partner had never wavered and Rowan knew his fears were born of his own frustration and worry, not because he actually believed he could lose Cris's love over this. It still helped to hear, and Rowan opened his eyes long enough to smile into that gorgeous bright blue gaze and tell Cris he loved him, too.
He had jumped on Cris's suggestion that Sorcha and her friend Evgeni lend some help. Rowan wasn't sure how he felt about someone in his dreams, in his head, who wasn't Cris, but he was desperate and beggars couldn't be choosers. He needed help, any kind of help. He needed to sleep but the nightmares plus his own tendency to sleep heavily kept him trapped in his own personal hell. Which made him reluctant to try to sleep again. It was a difficult cycle. He needed sleep so badly he was ready to have a breakdown. Who was he kidding? He was having one now.
When Cris returned from downstairs Rowan immediately turned toward him - carefully. "No. I'm not sure I'm okay with it," he murmured in a heavily accented voice thick with the need for sleep, "but I can't think of anything better and if they're willing to help I'll try it."
He reached out for Cris. "You'll stay here? The whole time? Please?"
Rowan wasn't normally quite this clingy... but he did know for a fact that the nightmares were less hideous when Cris was right there next to him, sending to him, even. "I'm sorry. I know I'm leaning on you. It's just... everything is better when you're near. Everything."
He moved a little bit on the bed, shrugging carefully out of his lab coat. He wanted it gone. Wanted to be comfortable. He didn't want the scent of the hospital on him. Cris helped him, as always, and after what seemed like forever but was probably closer to a couple minutes, Rowan was dressed much more cozily in a pair of cotton pajama pants and a tee. The sheets on their bed were cool and crisp and smelled wonderful. He wanted to sink into them so badly, but even as he did his body jerked him back to reality and he thought he felt fire.
"Are you going to be all right? This is your space."
Others had come into Cris's bedroom before, but usually their friends and Cris's co-workers. Sometimes Rowan wondereed if Cris resented the invasion of privacy. Always, though, he reached the conclusion that Cris didn't know how to do such a thing. He was one of the kindest, most generous people Rowan knew.
He moaned softly into his pillow as the room swung around again. "I just... don't want... to be apart from you," he said between deep breaths as he tried to make the spinning stop.
There was noise from downstairs, and in spite of his most fervent wish he knew Cris would have to leave him to ready everything and answer the door. He'd manage. He was a big vampire... mostly.
He had come here once before to meet Sorcha for some shopping and a coffee. She said there was this place in their mall that had the best caffeinated beverages in the world. Evgeni was dubious but he enjoyed the chance to be social so he came and they talked, walked and drank. The entire place was strange, clean and modern, like something out of the future. Not the gritty post apocalyptic future that Tacharan seemed to expect but something more cheerful and hopeful. Evenhet seemed to be intent on building their eventual utopia and their mini test version was a success as far as he could tell.
They were going to an apartment of one of Sorcha's friends. She had said that one of them had gone with her to try and rescue him from Sophia. For that he was grateful and indebted, even if they had not been able to find him.
As it was, he was happy to be asked to use his gift to help someone else. Most of the time he rode the dreams of others in order to help himself. He had occasionally helped his friends with their nightmares but he had never been asked to do it before. He had just done it. Perhaps that was wrong. Evgeni shrugged inwardly. Whatever.
Sorcha said that she would let Cris and Rowan explain what the problem was but that she knew it had to do with fire so if that would bother him then he could always say no. Evgeni smiled at her and gave her a gentle pat on the arm. No, fire didn't bother him. Besides, the goal would be to not endure a nightmare. He was sure he was quite capable of doing that. At least in other people's dreams. If only he could dream walk in his own. He would walk out of it.
They reached a door on the ground floor and Sorcha knocked. A shorter blond man opened the door and let them inside, showing them up to a loft bedroom. In the bed was a wane looked redhead with a lot of piercings, made more striking by his lack of colour.
"Hello, You are Rowan, yes?â€ He smiled. "Mind if I sit a moment?â€ Evgeni gestured to the end of the bed. Sitting carefully, he said. "I explain to you how this works, da? You explain what is problem. What you want to dream about instead. What makes you calm, yes?â€ He frowned slightly and gestured with one hand to explain. "You can confront demon if you wish or...you can take vacation to a nice island in Bahamas. Your choice.â€
"Okay dokey. When you sleep then I sleep. I enter your dream is like... your people are having...â€ Evgeni looked up at Sorcha and she filled him in on the words. "Yes, Suggestion and empathy. Is like empathy except I dream what you dream instead of feel what you feel and is like suggestion. I can change dream to what I want. Morning cartoon, an episode of CSI...whatever. You like Star Wars? No problem. I can do.â€
He gestured to Rowan indicating that it was his turn and then stood up and moved to one of the chairs by the end of the bed. Looking to the side he noticed the wallpaper had moved. The sun had sunk lower on the horizon while he had been talking. Interesting, he had originally taken it for one of those photo murals. Evenhet had all kinds of cool toys.
She would have come with Evgeni anyway, not wanting to abandon him with strangers. They were good people but that was still not what friends did. It seemed expected that she would stay. Cris had told her that there was a guest bedroom if she would like to get some sleep.
The Security Chief opened the door. He was dressed in comfortable black pajamas and she did her best not to smile at the continuation of his daytime monochromatic attire. Sorcha wore all kinds of colour now, having spent centuries in black herself. She had been certain he was secretly harboring a closet full of bright garments.
His home certainly suggested it. Perhaps it was Rowan's decorating but there was an obvious likeness to an alpine home that suggested the decorating had at least been mutual or with Cris's comfort and heritage in mind. The far wall had been dominated by a beautiful mountain view at dusk.
Following Cris and Evgeni up the stairs, Sorcha waved to Rowan as she entered. She wondered what he was like when he was well. He seemed to have a good sense of humor but the first time she had met him, not long ago, he had been burned badly and was having trouble sleeping. Apparently this had continued. Cris had not gone into detail about what had happened. He had only said that further trauma had caused the insomnia and nightmares. She had read about the hospital fires in the attack and could put two and two together to make sense of at least some of it. There had been some crazed arsonist serial killer attacking children. Rowan was a hero. She felt sad that he had to go through such difficulties after being so brave.
Settling into the far chair, Sorcha listened to Evgeni explain how his gift worked. She supplied him with the names of their gifts that were similar. Not needing to pay much attention, having discussed more than once who their various abilities worked in long debates and discussions with Evgeni late into the morning, Sorcha watched the wall in the bedroom, noticing that the sun was slowly setting.
[Impressive] She sent to Cris when he looked her way.
"Shhhâ€ He gently pressed a finger to Rowan's lips. "You have no reason to apologize and you are not leaning on me...now.â€ Cris smiled. "Earlier, yes but I owe you a shoulder for getting me to bed safely our first night together. So we are even if anyone is counting.â€
Cris helped Rowan out of his clothes and into his pajamas while he talked, occasionally slipping in a quick little kiss here and there. "You are not burden, Rue. I love you and want to help any way I can. So do not worry so much. It is has not been very long though it might seem like an eternity to you. I have no grown tired of your presence. I love that being here makes you feel better. I only wish I could make the nightmares go away on my own. I would fight every sleep battle for you if I could.â€
He got Rowan settled back down into the bed and nodded his head at Rowan's question. "This is our space.â€ Cris smiled. "Do not worry once you have gotten some sleep we can re-christen it again...thoroughly.â€ He raised his eyebrows meaningfully at Rowan, trying his best to lighten his companion's mood.
Giving Rowan another kiss and he stood up to answer the door. "I am right here, Love. We are home and we can stay here as long as you like.â€ It was not exactly what Rowan had asked of him but he had to at least answer the door and get the tea.
Cris hummed softly as he went downstairs, making noise so Rowan would know he was there. He quickly pulled the kettle off the stove and then went to the door.
"Sorry, Kettle was done. There is chamomile tea if anyone wants some.â€ Cris sent the same question to Rowan, not sure if his lover wanted to risk sitting up enough to drink it.
"Welcome Sorcha, Evgeni. I am Christian or Cris, if you like.â€ He closed the door behind the two of them and gestured toward the stairs. "Rowan is this way.â€
He led the way to the bedroom and stood near the bed while Evgeni explained the way his gift worked. When the Russian got up and moved over to the chair not occupied by Sorcha, he took the spot on the edge of the bed.
[Thank you. Its home.] He answered Sorcha's comment about the evening scene.
Looking at Rowan, he reached out and took his hand. [Do you want to explain or do you want me to?] He wasn't sure how much Rowan wanted to say but if he didn't feel like talking then Cris would do his best to fill the Tacharan in.
"I wouldn't wish this on you," he said with a fleeting, dry smile. It wasn't any fun. He was really afraid he'd go mad without sleep. Sheer stubbornness had kept him going until now.
The smile returned to his lips in a softer, more gentle way when Cris hinted at what they would do to regain their sense of personal space. God, he really wanted that. It hadn't been quite the same, making love to each other recently, enjoying it because they always enjoyed it but secretly hoping to wear Rowan out. Not to mention they hadn't done it nearly as frequently as Rowan would have liked. This nightmare thing was hell on their sex life. It had to leave.
Rowan suffered through the minor sense of loss as Cris left him to go downstairs. He could still hear him humming, though, and he affixed his focus to that deceptively cheerful tone, content in the knowledge that Cris did so for his benefit.
[Yes. Please,] he responded to Cris when asked if he wanted tea. Rowan was well aware of the many ways a person could relax to go to sleep, with his medical background. He had given frequent recommendations to patients over the years to suggest ways to relax. A body needed a good 20 minutes or so of sleep-inducing surroundings. Low light, a warm drink, a book to read, a Cris to snuggle. Ah, all right, perhaps that last one was strictly a personal preference. Chamomile tea, though, known for its relaxing properties, might help him prepare for the terrifying event that was sleep, lately.
Since the room was currently empty he worked on very slowly maneuvering himself into a sitting position. There were plenty of pillows on the bed for him to lean comfortably up against the headboard, so he arranged them accordingly and managed to move without dry-heaving. The room spun again but it settled down a minute or so after he did, so by the time their company arrived he was reasonably stable again.
Evgeni turned out to be a tall, slender, youthful looking vampire, at least Rowan's height, he guessed, but with none of the fullness of adult muscle. His skin looked about as pale as Rowan's, which wasn't a good thing for Rowan, who, while fair, did usually have a little color that suggested a human life spent outdoors. He sat on the end of the bed and began to speak without introduction, explaining how his ability worked. Rowan listened quietly, holding the mug of tea handed to him in shaking hands, sipping occasionally.
When Evgeni moved and Cris took his place, Rowan set the mug on the nightstand to take his partner's hand. [I can try,] he answered Cris, [but feel free to fill in if I'm missing any salient points, or if he doesn't seem to understand me.]
The last few weeks were really very much a blur to him. He would have thought everything would have gotten better after Brand's death, but no. Things were a million times worse, only no one else was dying except in his dreams. That, at least, was an improvement. On top of that, as usual when utterly exhausted any control over his accent vanished, leaving him to speak in a thick near-brogue with hints of French, German, and whatever else popped out. Evgeni clearly spoke with an accent too, and Rowan didn't doubt that his own could be difficult to understand even if you spoke clear English.
"It started with a serial killer," Rowan explained, determined to be brief and certain Evgeni did not need every gory detail. "Killing children, to get to me. Trying to draw me," he paused and looked at Cris, "us... into his traps. He used fire. A lot of fire."
He felt his own face go ashen at the reminder. "I don't like fire," he muttered thickly. "Even now that it's over I keep dreaming it. Again and again. Every time I close my eyes. Children scream and burn, everyone I know is dying around me."
He gripped Cris's hand. The thought of sleep was making him shake again, tremors that wouldn't stop. His heart was pounding, for a vampire, his breath coming in shallow puffs even though he didn't technically need to breathe.
Rowan glanced at Sorcha, then at Evgeni. "If you can take the fire and the screaming away, that would be a blessing. Better, still, if you can change the surroundings entirely. I've tried but when I'm asleep I'm really asleep."
Altering his own nightmares was next to impossible the way he slept, so deep in it he couldn't rouse himself if his own room was on fire. "I don't care where we go. Someplace cold. With snow. With Cris."
He looked at Cris, not sure how his partner would feel about being thrust into his dream by someone else. "If that's all right."
Against the wall, the alpine sunset was fading to night under a canopy of snow-covered fir trees. "We could go there," he said softly. He would love to be with Cris in his snowy homeland. He tightened his hold on Cris's hand and tried to breathe slowly and deeply. He would never get to sleep if he couldn't stop the anxiety over it from overwhelming him.
For the first time in several weeks, though, he felt hope. If he could just sleep, really sleep, he would feel so much better. "Thank you for doing this," he said to Evgeni. "Even if it doesn't work."
Though, as Rowan explained that he was afraid of fire and obviously he very much cared for children, it was obvious that the serial killer had managed plenty of diversity whether he had meant to or not. It angered him that another twisted soul was managing to torment their victim from the grave.
"I understand." Better than most, perhaps. Sorcha reached out and took his hand, giving him a small smile.
The request was for somewhere cold and for Cris to be there. Evgeni looked over at the blond who stared back. He nodded. Rowan then suggested the alpine scene behind them.
Studying the mountains and the small village that was starting to glow with a sprinkling of lights as darkness fully descended upon it. "This is Lauterbrunnen,yes?" The blond nodded. Evgeni smiled at Rowan. "This we can do also. Is known. James Bond. Very first."
He looked intently at the redhead. "It will work. You will get sleep tonight." If necessary they could repeat the process until the nightmares were completely gone on their own. "Is no trouble. I am happy to be helping." He explained to Rowan when he was thanked for agreeing to help whether it worked or not.
Standing up again, Evgeni turned to the blond. "You are sleeping also, yes?" When he received an answer, he nodded. "Good, you will both dream the same dream." He reached down and picked up the blanket and pillow that was sitting on the footstool next to the chair. "I can sleep on sofa?" He would be close enough. Sleeping right in the room with them might make it more difficult for everyone to stay asleep. He had troubles enough with sleeping and didn't want to be woke up by someone's snoring or moving around. Plus, he suspected they would like to be alone to continue getting some rest. Both looked exhausted and would probably sleep longer than he would.
"I wait for you downstairs." Evgeni leaned over Sorcha and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Unless you wish me to stay?" She shook her head and smiled, saying she would be down soon, promising to tuck him in. Evgeni raised his eyebrows with a chuckle. Glancing over at the two on the bed, he said. "Mother is so sweet." Then he was slapped on the arm and shooed out of the room.
The fires were especially hard for Rowan to deal with but he did it anyway. She could tell, because there was a little blonde girl telling her about it. The little girl looked sad when she looked at Rowan. "He was very brave. He tried to save me even though the fires scare him very much." The girl turned to her with solemn eyes. "You will tell him I am okay now? He tried." Sorcha looked at her and subtly nodded her head. She decided she wouldn't tell him now, maybe years from now. Rowan didn't need to be reminded of children who were dead. He probably blamed himself, which was terrible enough without adding what seemed like an empty platitude on top of it. Not everyone believed she saw ghosts, especially in this era of science. Rowan might not believe her and she didn't know him well enough to guess whether the news would be more harm than good.
She knew also that the description of Rowan's troubles would affect Evgeni who had similar demons of his own. Sorcha silently reached out a hand to his and gave it a little squeeze while the details of the dreaming was being worked out.
Evgeni agreed to the snow scene and seemed to know something about the village that was painted on the walls. Sorcha had spent a little time in Switzerland. They had a lovely convent near the top of a mountain in the alps, or at least there had been one at one time. It was not Lauterbrunnen though so she had no idea how near there it might have been.
Once that was finished her friend got up and went to head to the sofa. He stopped and gave her a soft kiss on the cheek and asked if she wanted him to stay. Sorcha told him that she was fine and would be down in a minute then she added that she would be sure to stop and tuck him in. When he called her his mother, she slapped him on the arm. Evgeni was still smiling as he went down the stairs.
[Okay.] She sent to Rowan as she sipped her chamomile tea. [If you are ready then I will begin.] Sorcha sent the same to Cris also just in case there was something he wanted to do or say before she helped Rowan drift off to sleep. He said he was ready whenever Rowan was.
Settling more comfortably in the chair, Sorcha closed her eyes. [Surely you've been to Ireland...] Rowan's accent had a mixture of places in it but his brogue was even stronger than her's and she had lived in Ireland for centuries. His had a wider mix of places than her own but it was remarkably similar and so even at its thickest, Sorcha understood Rowan perfectly. Old English sounded more German than it did English and her time had been even before that when the language of the Britons was dominate, add her time spent in Ireland and you ended up with an interesting mix made over the years. His accent was comforting, like home.
Hopefully she sounded equally like home and perhaps that would be comforting. [ Near the convent in Kildare there was a lovely wooded area. When I was troubled I used to walk along the path among the trees, listening to the birds sing and the leaves rustle.] Sorcha was sending to him so that he could follow along with her imagery, figuring he knew well enough what the forests in Ireland looked like. While she sent her narrative she also eased in a soft layer of calming glamour. It was light at first, like a gentle breeze and as she spoke more about the forest and the lush late summer grass in the evening and the night creatures beginning to wake, she added more, bringing him with her on the mental journey. [The path crossed a stream and there was a little cobblestone bridge that arched over it. I would always pause there and listen to the burbling water and watch it rushing over the stones. I would imagine my problems looking like fallen leaves drifting away down stream until I could no longer even see them.] The glamour was stronger now; she added a sense of peace and tranquility that she had always felt while watching that stream and listening to the forest around her. [Then I would head back home, secure in the knowledge that everything would be all right.] Sorcha finished the glamour by adding a feeling of home and sense of security. Rowan was safe here, protected and among friends and loved ones.
Everything would be fine.
((OOC: Her description of the journey is somewhat longer. Talking about deer walking nearby, hearing the hoot of an owl, that sort of thing. She'll describe the cool breeze on a mild late summer night. The texture of the stone bridge... All kinds of things to help him experience it with her while she uses her glamour to bring about emotions of calm serenity. I just didn't want to put everyone else to sleep. ; ))
Setting his mug down, he leaned over and wrapped his arms around his lover. The retelling of this experience was agitating Rowan all over again. Cris did his best to hug Rowan close. [I am here, Love. Safe and sound.] He knew that Rowan knew that but he did not know what else to say. Dreams were irrational and even though Rowan knew that Brand was dead and that everyone was safe, he kept dreaming about the fires and people burning and dying around him.
The explanation was quick. It couldn't be over fast enough. Seeing Rowan upset bothered him and made him feel helpless. Cris hated feeling helpless, especially where Rowan was concerned.
Evgeni and Rowan discussed the dream that Rowan wanted to have. He was amused but unsurprised that he was to be featured in it. The dreamwalker asked if he would also be dreaming and Cris said yes. He would not ask Rowan to do something like this without being willing to do it also. Rowan might not want him to fight his sleeping battles but that didn't change the fact that he would if he could. Besides he promised Rowan that he would be right here with him.
They discussed his homeland and Evgeni seemed to recognize it. He smiled and nodded when James Bond was mentioned. It was perhaps the best known claim to fame for Lauterbrunnen. Its restaurant at the top of the mountains. The producers of the James Bond movie "Her Majesty's Secret Service" had funded the rest of the revolving restaurant's construction with the understanding that they had the right to shoot part of their movie in it before it was opened. It became the hideout of the villain and James Bond escapes and skis down the slopes to the village below. All in all a very short movie career for his place of birth.
Evgeni got up and left, heading down the stairs to the sofa. Cris felt momentarily bad for being somewhat relieved at the blond's retreat. He would be able to sleep even with Evgeni in the room, but he would sleep better with just himself and Rowan here.
He snuggled down further in the covers when Sorcha asked if they were ready. Gathering Rowan in his arms Cris laid back against the pillows and listened to the sound of his partner's heartbeat. He wouldn't sleep until he was sure Rowan had drifted off peacefully. Only then did he dare close his eyes and let go.
As Evgeni prepared to leave Rowan slid down into the cool sheets some, turning slowly, very slowly, and oh so carefully toward Cris. Sorcha's sending surprised him a little in the sense that usually when someone's voice entered his head it was a calm and reassuring tenor. Sorcha's was most definitely not male.
[Please,] Rowan said, indicating that he was more than ready. [I think I grew up there,] he said when Sorcha asked if he'd been to Ireland.
Her voice continued on, bringing to mind an instant image of the location she spoke of. He knew Kildare. He had spent a great deal of time on Ireland's opposite shore in County Clare, but it was a small country and his life had been long enough to travel it all. He knew County Kildare and remembered its lush green plains cut with rivers, the bogs, the view of the hills. It was a beautiful place. All of Ireland was.
He listened without interrupting Sorcha as her voice, reminiscent of his own homeland, spoke of all the things he loved about it. She was very good, he realized, as he noticed that he was beginning to calm down. She was glamouring him while she spoke. It was so subtle he'd never have noticed it but for the fact that he had the ability too. He wasn't about to fight. Oh, no.
Instead he took what she offered and drew it around himself like a blanket. Resting in Cris's arms he gave a soft gasp of relief as his heartbeat slowed and his overworked nerves calmed, leaving him trembling again, this time with fatigue. He could have wept, it was so relaxing. He knew deep inside he was terrified of sleeping but Sorcha's glamour kept that fear at bay. Not just at bay but completely in the dark. Rowan hadn't realized just how keyed up he'd been in the last couple of weeks.
His tea was growing cold on the nightstand but it didn't matter. He could smell the chamomile mingled with Cris's subtle, clean scent. Rowan glanced up at Cris, eyelids heavy with much-needed sleep. He threw an arm and a leg over his lover and curled close, uttering a long sigh. He had thought he'd never get to sleep without hearing Cris's voice in his head but Sorcha's was sweet and melodic as she brought him into the Ireland she remembered, so much like his own. Any other night he'd have been excited to share with her but tonight...
Sleep swept over him, an irresistible tidal wave of darkness, and he didn't fight it. Even if he had nightmares in spite of the dreamwalking, he had no more energy to fight it. He wanted to thank Sorcha but he was out before he even realized it.
He was prepared for the wall of flame the roared up around him, but this time there was still a strong glamour in place and he didn't scream. There was something... something about this, tonight. He heard others' screams but they were distant. Instead of being overwhelmed with terror, dream-Rowan knelt down and covered his head with his arms. The fire would be gone this time. He was calm. Frightened but calm. Please, he begged inside. Please take the fire away.
((ooc: Probably about twenty minutes or so after falling asleep, is when the dreaming begins. This time, however, there are no outward signs that Rowan is doing anything but sleeping. Thank you Sorcha! Rowan says he will try not to drool on Cris but makes no promises.))
Sorcha explained that Rowan had drifted off before she had left and that Christian was probably close behind him.
Getting comfortable, Evgeni closed his eyes and sought the minds of the sleeping people upstairs. They were not well known but close and that was good enough. He had, over the years, experimented with his favorite ability, tested the limits of it and tried new things.
Now he was going to do something difficult but he had done it before. He was going to enter both men's dreams, swapping back and forth from one to the other so that they experienced the same dream.
He started with Rowan, finding the man kneeling down with his arms over his head, flames roaring around him. Screams could be heard in the distance. Evgeni changed the scenery to the Nachton airport, knowing it well enough from his own recent traveling. He added a flight attendant who called to Rowan. "This way, Sir. May I see your tickets?"
"I am sorry. I have them." He looked in the messenger bag and found the two plane tickets. Presenting them to the woman at the counter, he looked over at his partner. "You okay? What are you doing down there, Rowan?"
Reaching down, he wrapped his hand around Rowan's arm and helped him to his feet. "You do not want us to miss our flight, do you?" He looked back at the rest of the airport, checking out all the various people who were intent on getting somewhere. Leaning closer to Rowan, he murmured. "I am still surprised we made it out of The Towers without protest so we best get on the plane before Alfarinn can send goons to drag us back."
Cris's hand was firm on his arm. He stared at his partner, a little dazed, then looked back down at himself. He'd thought he was wearing bloodied and burned scrubs... why? Now he had on a loose grey open-weave sweater over a dark green tee that molded itself to his muscular frame. Faded jeans, torn at the knees and across his thighs; his usual black boots. Leather bands on his wrists, a leather choker, an assortment of silver jewelry. Everything like he would normally wear.
He turned back to Cris, shaking his head. "I don't... know," he murmured, trying to sort it out. But he stood, slipped his hand into Cris's, and shook his head no, he did not want to miss the flight. They were going somewhere.
Rowan followed Cris to the counter where they were checked into their flight. The attendant led them to the boarding ramp, and opened the door to it. Rowan stopped and dug his heels in for a moment as flames roared up behind the door. Then he blinked, and they were no more. Confusing.
They were settled into first class, big comfortable chairs, coffee, pillows. It was the next best thing to having their own private jet. "I can't wait to get... there," Rowan said, unable to complete the sentence with any more detail. It didn't seem to matter, where they were headed.
The cabin lights were low; Rowan took the offered blanket and lifted away the arm of the chair between them. He curled his long, muscular but agile frame up and cuddled up next to Cris. He was so damn tired. Why was it he just wanted to sleep? He closed his eyes and breathed in Cris's scent...
...and opened them to see flames. He closed them again with a shudder. Then opened them after a moment...
...snow. There was the scent of snow. They stood on top of a low hill, surrounded by mountains, huge mountains on all sides. There was snow on top of all of them, and a light dusting on the lush grass beneath their feet. A chill breeze ruffled his hair, pushing it away from his face.
"This is beautiful," he murmured. He turned to look at the man next to him, horrified for a moment when it wasn't Cris but a taller man with dark hair and a scowl. Rowan blinked and Cris was back. He shook his head slightly. Odd things had been happening lately. He could relax now. He took a deep breath of cold, bracing air. It was wonderful. He didn't get the sense that Cris wasn't Cris. More like Cris was fighting for him, to stay next to him. This was Cris. No one else could feel the same next to him.
They landed in Lauterbrunnen which should have been odd. The village didn't have an airport. It was far too small. Cris dismissed the problem, figuring he simply didn't remember the train ride to get here.
Now they were standing just outside the village on a low rise looking down at the beautiful scenery. Lauterbrunnen was in a valley surrounded by the alps. In fact it was one of the deepest in all of Switzerland, a cleft nestled in the middle of sheer limestone mountains that rose starkly up around it.
"There you can just make out the falls." Cris pointed. "Sadly they are not as impressive this time of year as they are when it is warmer." Still it was one of the highest.
"They call that chain of mountains there" He pointed again out in front of them. "The Lauterbrunnen Wall. It makes an impressive barrier just beyond the valley." Cris loved his home. It had always been a beautiful hidden bastion of civilization within the stark winter landscape surrounding it. He was excited to share it with his partner.
Taking Rowan's hand, he led them toward the village. "Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien modeled his valley of Rivendell after this valley?" It was beautiful in the summer months when the grass in the valley was green against the peaks that enclosed it. Some of those mountains stayed snow capped all year around, providing stark contrast to the vivid hue of growing things in the land below. "I bet you did not realize that I was an elf. A vampiric Elf."
"Would you like to go to get settled or would you like to get something to eat?" They didn't have luggage. They must have already dropped it off or had someone bring it by. Cris had a home here, renting it out to family much of the year.
((OOC: Evgeni is around, being unseen for the most part. For the plane ride, he was seated a few rows back. For now he is following them but staying hidden so they have their privacy. As such, he has nothing to add for the moment. ))
"No, I didn't know that," he responded when Cris mentioned Rivendell, "but seeing it now, it makes a lot of sense. And don't forget - sexy. Sexy vampiric Elf."
There was a familiar feeling of 'home' when he took in their surroundings. He didn't know why, but it seemed like the hills and the mountains were his in some way, like he knew them already.
"I feel like I've been here before," he murmured as their feet crunched in the thin layer of snow beneath them. "Maybe because so much of you is here, but I love it already."
He tugged on Cris's hand for a moment, stopping suddenly, pulling Cris close and kissing him gently on the lips. It felt like they hadn't done that in a while; just kissed each other for sheer love and pleasure. They'd been stressed out lately. Rowan wanted to kiss his love's worries away. Soon. He pulled away, squeezed Cris's hand again, and they resumed their walk.
"I'm not hungry. Are you?" he said with a little surprise. It had been a long plane ride here, hadn't it? But he didn't need blood. He was just fine. "I'd like to see your home. All the things you remember, anything you want to show me."
He smiled, tipped his face up into the brisk wind, and breathed it in. It felt glorious. His heart felt lighter, and he couldn't remember what it was he'd been worried about. This beautiful winter land felt soothing. He suddenly felt tired again, but not enough to slow his steps or weigh down the happiness in his heart at being here in Cris's beloved homeland.
His companion stated that he felt like he had been here before. Cris looked around the village and then back at Rowan. "I am sure you have been to Switzerland before." He shrugged. "Perhaps one alpine village looks very much like another?" He personally thought his home was far superior to the rest and far more memorable in many ways but he knew that he was biased. "Or do you think you have been -here- before?" It was also possible but Rowan never mentioned having visited his village before. In fact, he had said that he wanted to visit it together. Somehow the past conversations led him to believe that Rowan would be seeing it for the first time with him.
Speculation stopped when Rowan pulled him close for a kiss. Cris wrapped his arms around his boyfriend and pressed him close, savoring the moment. Rowan felt especially warm in the brisk winter air and his embrace seemed more like his old self, carefree and full of passion.
There was something important about that. Something he should be remembering... He tried to puzzle it out as they walked. Rowan had a difficult time after all of Brand's torture. He couldn't sleep, collapsed at work. Cris remembered that and then...?
Then he got better. He took the job as the Towers doctor and eventually they planned this trip. It was November. They both decided that they needed to stay home for Christmas so it was better to take a trip now. Christmas was a lovely holiday but very busy for people who worked in careers that involved other people. Policemen and Doctors were especially busy, sadly enough.
Rowan said he wasn't hungry and Cris laughed. "I did not mean in that way." They had both fed before getting on the plane. Right? It seemed only logical. "I meant food."
Pointing at the mountains, he smiled. "There is a restaurant on one of the peaks. It rotates so you get a nice view of the area." Or you would if it was not dark outside. "Perhaps not as impressive right now. There is a Bond museum up there though." Cris shrugged and headed toward his house.
"Well it isn't the one I grew up in. That one is long gone." Made of wood and wattle, his childhood home was lucky to have survived several generations. It certainly did not last a thousand years. "However I still own the land." He kept it in the family for a very long time until one member thought he could sell it. Cris's lawyer had placed a clause in the contract that required he (the current form of himself) be a part of any changes made to the property. So he was notified by the attorney after the fact. He came home and to take back possession of his land in time to stop major construction of some monstrosity. He and his lawyer had to straighten out the deed and the man who thought he owned the property had to deal with Cris's descendant. He had let the man take most of what his relative had but he intervened when the man demanded that his descendant go into servitude to pay off the rest of his debt. Cris paid the rest and ever since then the land belonged to him solely. Occasionally he would let his descendants live there if there was a need. Most of them had their own homes and many were now stretched around the globe, far away from Lauterbrunnen.
Stopping in front of a tall slender A-framed home built of log and stone, Cris turned back to Rowan. "It is small but comfortable." His home was partially up the mountain side on the far edge of the village. It had a wonderful view of the rest. "My family was made up of herders and farmers and, as you can see, there is very little land to farm." They did better with the herding but even that took land. It was how he ended up in the military in the first place.
((OOC: Obviously dream Cris is making up reasons for why everything seems fine now and why it is winter. He is also adding in part of his wishes and such. ))
He could only shrug at the speculation. He, too, was sure he'd been to Switzerland before. Rowan remembered that quite vividly, actually. He had spent many years as a pirate but not all sixteen hundred of them. It wasn't worth losing sleep over; he wouldn't remember any details and did not want to. Whatever he had been as a human should stay in his unknown past. It could be no good. None at all. He was well aware that the unfinished brand on his shoulder was a slave brand.
Kissing Cris made him let go of it all, anyhow. He considered the possibility of the rooftop restaurant and Bond museum. "Maybe tomorrow," he said, stifling a yawn. It had been a long flight. But hadn't he slept through the whole thing? "I want to see your home."
Which was exactly what they did. The little house on the mountain hillside was modest, but beautiful. Rowan looked up at it and smiled. It felt so very home. It nagged at him again, why? But mostly he was brimming with happiness. Happiness to be here, feeling light-hearted and worry free. He turned and looked out over the valley.
"My God," he said, moving closer to Cris again, sliding his hands over his partner's shoulders to hug him close as he took in the view. The village lay spread out just below them, a merry little scene of crisp snow and sparkling lights. The smell of woodsmoke was on the air, but faint. Rowan felt like it might have bothered him but it did not. It smelled perfect, the scent mingling with that of the new-fallen snow in a perfect wintery way.
"It's like a post card," he said with a grin. "It must have been hard to leave it."
He gently nuzzled Cris's neck, kissing it tenderly and hugging his partner tight. "Mind you, I'm awfully glad you did. But we need to spend more time here."
Cris looked so at home here. There was an air of relaxation about him, too, as if something were different. He knew Cris had been worried recently about things. About him. That worry was gone. They could both feel it.
"Let's go inside," he said, his voice taking on the husky quality of someone who was intensely interested in his partner. Rowan didn't need Cris physically right now, wasn't necessarily looking for sex, but being next to Cris like this was always a turn on and right now especially more so. He wasn't going to hide his attraction from him.
"Maybe once we get settled we can walk down in the village? It's not too late, is it?"
This wasn't Nachton. It was already night time. Rowan was very much enchanted by Lauterbrunnen, though, and wanted to explore not just the village itself but the land around it.
"I am glad you like it. As you might guess, I am very proud." He wrapped his arms around Rowan and, leaning his head on his partner's chest, he closed his eyes. The scent of crisp winter air and evergreen trees mixed with Rowan's in a magical blend that was euphoric. Cris would bottle it and keep it with him always if he could.
Rowan asked him about leaving home. He shrugged in his companion's embrace. "It was but I had no place here as a child so I needed to find my own way. As a soldier, I did not see home often. It became easier to come and go after leaving it the first time. Now, it is a special retreat." The small village was like his secret hideaway with a few thousand people.
His partner suggested they go inside and he couldn't miss the particular tone in Rowan's voice. Looking up, Cris smiled. "Of course." He took Rowan's hand and led them up the short flight of side stairs to the porch. The space was wide in the front, accommodating the wooden columns that helped support the smaller second story balcony.
Cris unlocked the door and flipped on the light just inside the entrance. The floor plan was open with a great room just inside the door. There was a fireplace on the far side. A deep teal sofa faced the front windows. Two comfortable, tall backed side chairs in a sandy beige faced the sofa on the far side of the fireplace. Just beyond the great room and to the left was the kitchen. There was a winding staircase leading upstairs on the left.
Standing inside, he turned and closed the door. "So, do you want a tour of the whole house?" Cris smiled. "Or should we start with the bedroom?"
He bent to kiss Cris again, a smile upon his lips. "You cannot imagine how glad I am that you weren't the eldest," he said softly. He might never have met Cris otherwise. He probably would have remained here in Lauterbrunnen, had tons of adorable blond children with mops of bright blond curls, and passed away like every human did.
Their way, there was heartache and difficulty, yes, but Rowan would gladly go through anything he had personally gone through as many times as he had to to be here with Cris in his homeland. For a man who had eschewed the idea of romantic love for so long, Rowan was now hooked on it. He knew in his soul he would never want another partner the way he wanted Cris. No man or woman could possibly fit him better.
As they entered the house Rowan looked around, smiling. There was the distinct feeling of being home again and he knew it was because the architecture at Liefde was reminiscent of this area. Also, though, because Cris was here and that made anywhere home. The colors in the house were relaxing and soothing, nothing horribly vibrant or overwhelming. That was definitely Cris's taste, and Rowan enjoyed it. He might have decorated differently, himself, but that didn't mean he didn't appreciate those details that made an area 'Cris.'
Cris had closed the door behind them and Rowan took the opportunity to sweep his partner into another happy embrace. He felt so good here... like nothing was wrong in the world. Like worry and care were so very far in the past that they couldn't possibly touch either of them again. He lifted Cris off his feet, hugging him tightly, and kissed him once more as he set him back down, a hungry kiss full of passion, desire, and love.
And yet his next words were counter to that. "If we visit the bedroom first," he said in a low murmur, "we will never see anything else tonight. Possibly not tomorrow night either."
He gently cupped Cris's chin in his hands, long fingers framing his lover's face. "I want to explore everything here. I want to know where you came from. It's so beautiful here. Let's leave the bedroom for last, love."
Because you always saved the best for last, didn't you? And there was something nagging Rowan in the back of his mind. Something about the bedroom... christening it? He didn't know what, but he remembered Cris saying something about it in a soft, warm voice, and for some reason Rowan thought he'd meant another room.
((ooc: Obviously we are referring to the bedroom they are actually physically in, Rowan just doesn't realize it. ))
Evgeni....hmmm... That was what worked, right?
He pushed the thought aside as Rowan kissed him, clinging tightly and returning the embrace with equal fervor. Being home and seeing Rowan so happy was everything he could ask for and, with Rowan kissing him like this, he wanted to savor the moment, naked, in a bed. Though the last part was not necessary, nor was the first part...entirely. But they were in a private place which happened to have several beds so they should avail themselves of both things.
Rowan wisely pointed out that the tour should end in the bedroom otherwise they wouldn't see the rest of the house. Cris took his lover's hand and led him beyond the short half wall that partitioned off a part of the great room. "Kitchen." He gestured at the room in front of them. The walls were a cheerful yellow and the cabinets were a blond wood which contrasted with the warmer wood in most of the house, making the kitchen light and airy. The half wall had a counter top with bar stools on the outside and space to prepare meals on the inside. The kitchen was not huge, around the same size as the apartment in Nachton, but it was big enough for two of them to work in it without always bumping into each other.
Down the hallway was a bathroom done in various shades of green. Across the hall from the bathroom was a guest bedroom. It was decorated in a slate grey with accents in a dusty purple. There was a down comforter laying across the big cedar chest as the foot of the bed. On the wall were pictures of the mountains in the area taken in some of their best times. Alfarinn had taken his favorite. Perhaps that was because his friend was determined to get a sunset picture and so he wrapped himself up in scarves, mittens, gloves and goggles and raced through the snow, ignoring the odd looks from the people in the village. Cris, of course, had donned similar protective gear to join his friend. Luckily such clothing left him a way to deny all knowledge of the event.
A door at the end of the hall led out to the porch. The platform outside did not wrap all the way around the house. In fact, it ended just beyond the door not continuing on to the left. To the right it had a set of steps down and out the back and a wide walk way which connected it to the larger front porch.
"That's it for down here."
He took Rowan up the stairs, a smile growing at their destination, there was not a lot to see up here but the master bedroom. Opening the door on the right, Cris leaned in. "Office." It was a large room, originally intended to be another guest bedroom and had been occasionally in the past but he needed an office when he stayed here because work always happened at least part of the day. The walls in here were a bright red with colourful abstract artwork in bold black frames.
The master bathroom was large and decorated in crisp white with only the occasional accent in a deep green, such as the plants and the washcloths. The near wall held a large corner shower big enough for the both of them and a friend. The far wall was dominated by the large tub that took up the entire length.
Entering the door on the left, Cris backed into it, taking both of Rowan's hands and guiding him in as well. "And here we are...."
The bedroom had dark walnut wood floors, under the bed was a plush pile rug in a light aqua. The bed was large with a side table built into the support platform. It ran the entire length of the bed, with a slightly higher piece where a traditional nightstand would be. This was lit with four small square lights in a soft aqua. He used the table when he didn't feel like getting out of the bed and going into the office and he used the lighting occasionally instead of the overhead lights. From time to time, he had come here to convalesce after a difficult mission and there had been instances where he couldn't get out of the bed. Of course, even at its worst, that rarely lasted more than a few days.
The thermopedic bed, situated on a sidewall with the table portion facing the hallway, had been left with both sides raised to a seated position and the pillows piled on top of the deep terracotta coloured comforter. The far wall was aqua and dominated by the french doors that led out to the balcony. The rest of the walls were a soft cream. The bookshelves on one side were a pecan wood which echoed the comforter and the niches were filled with items from his travels, including a thing or two from Nachton. There was a couple of comfortable chairs to one side with a small table between them for a laptop or a book and a drink.
"So, what do you think?" Cris asked while backing up toward the bed.
"Oh, I like this," Rowan said as they entered the guest room. The gray with the heathery purple accents was beautiful. "It reminds me of Ireland," he said, thinking of the misty mossy forests, which really did look sort of gray and purple in the mornings. He had once told Cris he would decorate a room in these colors himself, in colors that reminded him of Killarney, and these were them. Maybe a bit of green here and there.
The rest of the house was gorgeous, and Rowan could recognize Cris's style. He knew his partner well enough now, to recognize Cris's neat, meticulous touch and simple, clean design. They spoke volumes about the man himself; deceptively simple but still colorful and full of depth, beauty in plain sight.
He rested his eyes on the large tub in the master bath, smiling at the fond memories they shared already that took place in their current bathroom. Something about all that warm water. Oh, just the thought of it, though, was tempting. Not even the alluring partner part, although that was delicious, but Rowan would dearly love to sink into a warm luxurious bath.
The thought was quickly put on the backburner as Cris backed into the master bedroom, all sorts of suggestions dancing in his bright blue eyes. Rowan was not genetically programmed to resist this sight. He didn't even try. Although he had meant that perhaps they should explore the village first and then adjourn to the bedroom, he was certainly not opposed to this. Not a bit. Not even a shadow of a hint of a bit. In fact, he picked up the pace a little bit, closing the short distance between him and Cris so that by the time they reached the bed all he had to do was lean down and slide his arms around Cris to kiss him again, deeply and thoroughly, savoring the taste of his lover. Slowly and sweetly he kissed Cris again and again after that first deep one, emotion rising so strongly in him it nearly brought tears to his eyes. How was it possible to love one person so much?
"This is so right," he murmured, his lips gentle against the curve of Cris's ear. "This is all I ever want."
He tilted his head down a little, gently kissing a line down Cris's neck, following it with a tiny nibble here and there. "Always, my heart, my soul. I will love you always."
He didn't realize he'd slipped into a language Cris wouldn't recognize as he took on the musical lilt of his own homeland. Rowan was too busy being caught up in the euphoria of being here with his partner. He wanted it so badly, nothing outside of this mattered.
((ooc: Green, of course, is Gaeilge))