Part one of my July QQ. I have at least one other scene cooking....
Curse the void, why could he not sleep?
Alejan rolled over onto his back and stared at the ceiling. A glance to either side of him showed the other Laddies sound asleep.
Why was he the only one who couldn't sleep?
It's not as if I've had a quiet day, he snorted softly. What one of the Crown Princess's Companions ever has a quiet day? Johari had been inspecting new police stations in and around Qatana and they'd been gone most of the day. Then she’d had a conference with certain members of the Nobles Council, which left her so annoyed that she had gone to the gym and sparred with two of her Lassies.
It had definitely been a tiring day, and he hadn't had much sleep the previous night because he'd been up late reviewing security options for the next day.
So why couldn’t he sleep? He was tired, he felt it in every muscle of his body, yet his eyes refused to stay closed and give him the blessed sleep he needed.
The sun was falling. Not setting, it was falling, in slow motion, leaving a fiery orange blaze behind it.
The world is coming to an end. Why am I not more upset about it? Johari felt detached, as if she were watching it from within her body and also through another pair of eyes not her own.
The sun continued to burn a trail through the heavens until it fell beyond the horizon. Darkness settled around her at the same time a pair of arms wrapped around her from behind.
“The world is coming to an end,” she raised one hand and motioned to the midnight closing in on them.
“Why do you say that?” the voice was male; smooth, warm and comforting.
“The sun is gone,” Johari’s eyes clung to the fading orange trail in the blackness.
“That does not mean the world is also gone. We are still here,” the voice reminded her.
“The world will lose all heat and die,” her own voice was quiet and she marveled again at her calm.
“Heat can be manufactured.”
“There is no light. We cannot live without light.”
“Light can also be created, but there will be no need of that. Look,” the man turned her gently to face the east. A huge golden moon rose in the sky.
“It’s a harvest moon,” she said wonderingly. “And something’s not right about it. It rises too fast.”
“It must. The sun is dead, Luno; the moon must rise to take her place.”
“It is too soon for a harvest moon.”
“Yet it is a full harvest moon, which means too early or not, it’s just right for this time.”
Johari had no more arguments to make but a shiver ran over her body, as if she could physically feel the earth losing the heat of the sun.
The arms around her tightened and she closed her eyes for a moment, reveling in the peace and feeling of safety surrounding her.
Lirios is such a comfort.
She tilted her head to smile into his eyes and froze.
It was not Lirios.
Shock crashed through her as she realized that she should have known all along. He didn’t call me Johari or Hari. He said Luno.
How could I have missed that?
She opened her mouth to demand what he thought he was doing but the words died on her lips as Alejan’s eyes caught and held hers.
Johari’s eyes snapped open. What in the wormhole?! Where did that dream come from? She grabbed for her clock. It was only a little past two-thirty in the morning. I have to go back to sleep.
Sleep was a long time coming.
At the breakfast table the following morning Johari only half listened to the conversations swirling around her. By the time she had finally managed to go back to sleep, she only slept for two hours before the morning alarms rang.
“It’s because I was dreaming about you,” Rabnita was saying.
“Yiy, why did you do that?” Raydah scolded teasingly. “I wanted sleep, not to be in your dream!”
Dream? Johari picked up an english muffin and began spreading it with raspberry jam, listening closely now.
“What does her dreaming have to do with it?” Fanli asked.
“It’s the legend,” Raydah said.
“Legend?” Fanli still looked puzzled.
“The Legend of the Dream Link,” Raydah explained. “It’s a folk legend that says when you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream.”
“Is there any truth to it?” Darila asked.
Raydah pointed across the table at Rabnita, “There is! Just ask her. I couldn’t sleep last night and now I know why. She was dreaming about me and I was awake in her dream,” she stuck her tongue out at her best friend and both of them laughed.
Johari tuned out the rest of their teasing. Is it true? The dream from the night before nagged at her, less for its parallels to the social structure of the Throne of Denzli than for its shocking end.
She set the english muffin down on her plate and wiped her fingers mechanically. Inexorably, her eyes were drawn to her Chief Laddi where he stood near the doorway, discussing something with Taruba.
His eyes were fixed on her, not the Lassi at his side, and instead of the usual half-smiling look he always had for her, one eyebrow was slightly quirked, curiosity lighting his eyes. The eyes that radiated the same safety she’d felt so vividly last night.
She looked away from the knowledge those brown eyes held.
So he was awake last night.
Miss Melody Muffin