The second scene I wrote for this month's QQ. Since I had written Johari/Alejan, I simply had to write Johari/Lirios, too. :)
Johari growled softly to herself. Why can't I sleep? She reviewed her day. I haven't had mentha or coffee in hours, and no tea, either. I didn't have much sugar this afternoon, and I accomplished most of what was on my to-do list. There is no logical reason for me to be awake.
She made a face as Raydah's words from three months ago came back to her. ‘Legend says when you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream.’
Who is dreaming about me?
Alejan, she was certain, was fast asleep. Most of the Laddies had taken sleeping pills before bed tonight because of the erratic sleep hours of the past week and the fact that all of them had extra training drills on the morrow.
Besides, idiot, your dream was a freak thing. It's not like Alejan actually dreams about you. Ok, this is just weird. I'm going to stop thinking about it.
She growled again. Maybe I should take a sleeping pill. A glance at her bedside clock told her it was too late for that. I have to be up in three hours.
Cold. Dark. Open space all around him.
Where am I? Lirios looked around trying to make sense of his surroundings. There was light ahead and he walked toward it. It illuminated a bench behind which sat several black-robed figures.
It’s a court of justice. And someone is on trial.
He sucked in his breath and froze in place, recognizing the accused. That’s not just any old 'someone'. That’s Johari.
The Chief Justice banged his gavel for silence. “You are sentenced to life imprisonment.”
Fire blazed in Johari’s eyes. “What authority do you have to pass sentence on me?”
“I have the authority of the people of Denzli.”
For a moment, her eyes still flamed defiantly. Then she bowed her head. “Yes, Your Honor.”
Four men in red escorted her from the room; down the long aisle and through the massive, stone, double doors at the end of the court.
The ground shook when the doors closed on the lone figure of his best friend. The men in red took up guard positions outside the doors.
The jury rose to leave. He had to act now if he wanted to act at all.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury!”
They turned, seeking the source of the voice. Lirios stepped out of the shadows and walked to the floor in front of the bench.
“Who are you that you come before the Supreme Court?” the Chief Justice asked.
The Supreme Court?!
“I’m Johari’s best friend, Your Honor.” The words sounded small, lost in the echoing of the vast room. “Why is she imprisoned?”
“It is the will of Dio.”
“You’re a court, Your Honor, not a church.”
The Chief Justice looked solemnly at him for a moment. “It is also the will of the people. She is a princess. The people decide her fate. So it has always been.”
“Your Honor, I beg permission to join her in her imprisonment.”
“Because I am her friend.”
The silence in the room stretched on and on as the jury drew together in a knot and conferred. Where is the room in which they usually confer? This isn’t like a normal court session.
The huddle of Judges broke apart and faced him again.
“Lirios, you are granted permission to join Johari in her exile,” the Chief Justice banged his gavel and two of the guards in red started down the aisle to escort Lirios to Johari.
When the great stone doors swung closed behind him, Lirios stood still, searching the dark room for his friend.
“Johari?” he called tentatively, heart racing as no one answered him.
Where is she? She was taken here.
Then she was there in front of him, but a far cry from the Johari he knew. This woman was gaunt and pale, as if she’d been imprisoned for weeks.
“Johari?” he reached out to hug her but she backed away.
“What are you doing here?” Her voice was hoarse, but carried the steadiness he was used to hearing.
“I came to stay with you.”
“How can you? I must stay here for the rest of my life.”
He drew near then, putting his hands on her shoulders. “Just because you have to stay here doesn’t mean no one can stay with you and share your pain.”
She looked at him, eyes dull and then her proud stance broke and she leaned into him. “Oh, Lirios, I’ve missed you so much.”
He hugged her tightly, burying his face in her hair. “I’m here now, Johari. I’ll always be here.”
Her arms went around him in return and she lifted her face to his….
An alarm shrilled in his ear and he automatically reached to shut it off. Lying back, he blinked and then sat bolt upright.
Johari! Prison. Wait, was it just a dream?
He flung himself back on the bed, frowning at the clock, since it had interrupted the dream at the most interesting part.
He reached for his CHATU and pulled up a text blank. Normally, he tried not to presume on his former relationship with Johari and kept texts to a minimum and to reasonable hours, but this morning, with the memory of the dream strongly upon him, he had typed and sent the text before he had a chance to reconsider.
Johari had spent the last half hour alternately glaring at the ceiling and reading a historical novel. Her CHATU screen lit up, startling her so she dropped the book, automatically reaching for the CHATU and opening the message.
Why is Lirios texting me at this hour?
I hope you’re sleeping right now. I’m getting up to study, but I’m thinking of you.
An idea made her giggle softly and she texted him back.
How about a video chat while you study?
Do you honestly think I’d pass up that offer?
Johari smirked, reaching for a robe with one hand and setting up a video call with her other hand. She would catch it from Qithera later for not trying to go back to sleep, but video chatting with Lirios was worth a scolding.
A sudden thought made her pause. If he just woke up… I wonder if he was the one doing the dreaming tonight? Her face broke into an hundred lights, eyes dancing and lips curving in a broad smile.
Miss Melody Muffin