That Morning (Vignette)

That morning, Jethaniel was roused from his sleep by desire - by a draconic impetus that invaded his dreams and changed their nature around a shape found within them. Not that awareness of that fact, when he awoke enough to recognize the dragon-spawned feelings sweeping through him, did anything to alter the effects; a reaction of his body he refused to acknowledge and an image in his mind he had neither the will nor inclination to deny.

He sat up in his bed, but moved no further than that. Knees bent in front of him, arms across them. Shoulders back against the wall. His breath, coming quickly despite his efforts. His eyes, closed, seeing Darsce nonetheless.

Picturing her took very little effort. The parts leapt to mind eagerly; the lines of her cheeks, the cascade of her hair, the pale blue of her eyes. The softness of her lips-

Her hands. Delicate fingers. Buffed nails. Light, teasing touches and-


She wasn't here. For once, that absence made him a part of him glad. She shouldn't be here. So long as she was not here, he merely had to resist his thoughts. A simple task, and yet one to which it seemed he was insufficient. His eyes remained closed, but they wandered.

He had no permission to see her so. If she were here, he might ask - oh, but if she were here, he would ask for far more than that, and so he was glad for her absence, in that part of him that sought to resist. So long as she was not here, he could not ask for what she might regret.

She could not ask, in this moment, for anything she might regret. Jethaniel could not deny his thoughts, but he could deny his body. He could not deny her.

At least while he was alone, his failures would do her no harm.

He lowered his head and ceased to resist those thoughts, letting them roam free.


Moments when he didn't look away.


Jethaniel stayed there, unmoving save for the occasional twitch or tremble, until the flight was over. Until his breathing slowed. Until his body calmed. Until he was once again confident that there were more possibilities in the universe than nothing and her.

Then, and only then, he rose from his bed, went to his office, and began the day's work. The first task to reach his outbox was an order for the inspection of the heating system in the hatching sands. It would be required, after the events of that morning.

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