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.
Apparently Rowan was comfortable enough to go back to sleep; Cris nodded and spoke softly. "Then maybe you should." Evgeni and Sorcha were both still around if Rowan needed help going back to sleep and then staying asleep. A part of him hated to impose on them but it was a tiny part compared to the rest of him that wanted to see Rowan sleeping soundly.
"They are downstairs. Just got back a few hours ago from a trip around The Towers. I think they are playing a board game." Which hopefully put them both far enough away to not hear the noises from upstairs. "I have thanked them both several times after I got up and saw you still sleeping soundly." Cris smiled and hugged Rowan tighter. "I was willing to offer Evgeni a new car, a medal, a small island..."
He stopped talking when Rowan leaned up and kissed him. Cris blinked in confusion when Rowan thanked him the most. He shook his head and kissed Rowan gently on the cheek. "It is going to take more than the loss of a little sleep for you to get rid of me." Becoming serious for a moment, he added. "I will always be there for you through whatever comes along."
"Now." Cris snuggled down more comfortably in the pillows. "Are you getting up or going back to sleep?"
"Maybe I will," he murmured sleepily when Cris seemed to think that lying there being lazy was perfectly acceptable. "Especially if you're going to be here."
He chuckled softly when Cris listed off the potential rewards for Evgeni's help. "Save an island for us," he warned. "So we can go on vacation too."
He was still sleepy. Not exhausted, not horribly tired, but the sort of sleepy you felt on a gray and rainy day when you just couldn't seem to muster the energy to do anything useful or important. That sort of sleepy, which lent itself so nicely to cuddling back up under the covers and clinging to Cris. This was the first time in such a long time, it seemed, that there was no undercurrent of tension or stress or fear. Yes, Rowan knew they had company and he shuddered at the idea of trying to sleep without Evgeni and Sorcha there. The fear wasn't gone. It still lurked, but it was in the background for now.
"Seems like far too much work to get rid of you," he said, finally opening his eyes and looking up at Cris once more with a smile. "Guess I'll just have to hang onto you forever."
Forever wasn't a concept that they hadn't discussed before, but it felt so much more plausible now. Rowan felt Cris shift against the pillows, nestling down with him, and any slight motivation he had to get up and be a good host and go socialize vanished entirely. It was the nail in the proverbial coffin.
"Don't know if I'll sleep some more, but this is too comfortable to leave," he said.
Rowan rearranged the pillow beneath him just a bit, but mostly he still lay with his head pillowed on Cris's shoulder and his arm and leg around his partner. He moaned with contentment. "Can you make it rain outside? I might feel less guilty about it then."
The windows in their home weren't just for a gorgeous sunny alpine view; they could display any number of images. Rowan wasn't feeling depressed - that wasn't why he wanted rain and thunder. He was after the sensation of being warm and cozy when you knew it was miserable outside. It just seemed right. Hot chocolate would be perfect too, except there was no way he was getting up for it or letting go of Cris.
In fact, maybe he would just go back to sleep. For a little while. Five more minutes...
Presently he slipped back into slumber, Cris's hands gently rubbing his back, the patter of rain against a nonexistent roof. There was fire, overwhelming and unbearably hot, but it was replaced by cool air and snow before Rowan had time to completely panic. That was nice... so very comfortable.
And he remained dead to the world for several more hours.