A/N: Happy (belated) Birthday, Pearl! (PrincessPearl.) This is for you; I hope you'll like it and that you had a wonderful day, yesterday.
The lyrics are from Timo Räisänen's "Didn't We Almost Have It All" (originally Whitney Houston.)
I got the prompts shiver and snowflakes from Rachel (intoxicating touches) at the S, S, S forum.
Many thanks to mew (mew-tsubaki) for betareading!
A World of Me and You
a moment in the soul can last forever
comfort and keep us
She opened her eyes and knew instantly it was a dream, that she hadn't yet awoken. Because where else would the sun shine so brightly? Where else would the colours be so vivid? Where else would the birds chirp so cheerfully, the air smell of crispiness and life?
Where else would someone look at her without hatred in his eyes?
Certainly not somewhere when she was awake. But she didn't want to think of that now, not now when she for the first time in so long seemed to be having a dream without the dark undertones and the inkling it would turn into a nightmare at any second the moment she made a mistake.
That was what always happened. Both when she was asleep and when she was awake; a word too much, a misread situation, a strained laugh which wasn't sincere enough, and what had once been a peaceful sea turned into a stormy ocean and pulled her down, down, down into the deepest grave around.
But she shouldn't think of this—hadn't she already decided to just go with this dream?
"Need a hand?" The eyes that weren't full of hatred apparently belonged to a mouth as well, and an outstretched hand.
"No, thanks," she said and heaved herself off the ground, brushed off her jeans-clad knees, and pulled the tangled ringlets of hair out from her face.
Then she took a proper look at the boy—or man, in fact—in front of her. "I don't recognize you," she said after a moment of pondering. Her dreams always used to consist of people she knew, or a mix of people she knew. But she had never before seen someone with that shade of black hair, or that special brown colour of eyes either.
"I don't recognize you either," he said with a little smile. "I'm Edmund—" He hesitated and looked as though he was going to say something more but stopped himself.
She nodded, suddenly feeling as though there was someone behind her. Or no, that wasn't it. It was the lack of sensing someone following her that was leaving her uneasy. She swallowed hard and tried to calm herself, tell herself it was okay. She wasn't going to make this a nightmare herself.
"Who are you?" the black-haired boy asked after a moment, and she realized she had yet to introduce herself. But a part of her didn't want to reveal her name—wasn't that dangerous? Couldn't she be caught in here if she did? Or maybe that was just a myth…or something she had come up with herself…but she didn't want to risk anything.
"I—I don't have a name," she finally said. She had first thought of telling another, but she didn't want to do that since she didn't dare to lie. And well, maybe this was lying as well, but not really. Because when she was awake she used to feel as though she hadn't one. At least not one that meant something to her or anyone else.
He raised his eyebrows in surprise but quickly collected himself. "All right," he said. "Would you like a name?"
If this hadn't been this dream, she would have been offended by that, and thought he was talking to her as he would talk to a child, but here it didn't feel like that. The question actually felt so serious, so deep, as though it was of life and death to him, to her, to this place, whether she would continue being nameless or not.
"I would," she answered after a moment.
"Which would you like to have, then?" The smile he gave her, it was so sincere it almost hurt her eyes, she hadn't seen someone looking at her like that for ages, and it sort of made her feel awkward, but it also calmed her.
"You can decide," she said quietly, tearing her gaze off him and looking instead at the surroundings, the tall trees, the blue sky with the grey clouds.
"Then I'll call you Silver," he said with another smile. "If you like that?"
"I do," she answered, and she really did. It was much better than anything she had ever been called, and it filled her with a feeling of flying and she didn't even know why. "Very much."
"Good." He nodded, and she realized they still stood in front of each other, they hadn't changed their position at all since she had risen from the ground. "So, where are you from?"
"What do you mean?" She narrowed her eyes slightly, immediately feeling her body tense. She was positive this was one of those critical moments where everything could be destroyed, where the trees would grow arms, grab her and strangle her. Oh, she shouldn't have been so happy just for a name, she had to stay neutral not to let it all crash, why couldn't she learn?
"I mean, you suddenly walked out of thin air, fell down to the ground, unconscious, and then you woke up. I first thought you were a witch, but then I realized you couldn't be, I don't know how, but just nothing screams 'witch' about you." He paused to smirk a bit and continued, "But you've got to be from somewhere else, and even though you aren't a witch, you must have magical powers."
Her body relaxed again, so this wasn't the time where this place would be turned into dark. "I'm from…I'm from…," she began, ignoring that he thought she wasn't a witch. But, where was she from? What did you say when nowhere felt like a home? "England."
"England?" He furrowed his brow. "I've heard that before."
"Oh," she said, not knowing what else to say. This, all of it, felt so fragile.
"But how did you come here?" he asked, as he apparently couldn't remember from where he had heard it.
"I don't know, at all," she said, pulling another lock out of her eyes. "I just opened my eyes and saw you," she said, and almost wanted to giggle over how she stood explaining for someone in a dream why she was there. But she had never been one for giggling.
He shrugged. "Well, then that's how it is. You sure you didn't hit your head or something as you fell? And lost your memory?" His eyes were suddenly filled with concern, and it made her in one way want to get away from there, in another just want to stay. Because sure, he sounded sincere, but her brain told her quietly that sounding sincere was one thing, and she should know that very well.
"No, it's fine," she said, folding her arms around her body as a sudden, ice cold wind blew past them, ruffled her hair and made her arms be covered in goose bumps. Ah, that was it, she told herself. The sign that the dream was about to turn bad.
"Look," he said, pointing up at the sky. She followed his finger and was stunned. It was snowing. The sun was still shining, and made the sky look as though it was full of sparkling diamonds.
"It's snowing," she said breathlessly, turning a hand up and trying to catch one of the big snowflakes. After a while she succeeded and watched how it melted into a drop of water on her skin in merely a second. When it was gone, she looked up and found him gazing nervously around himself, melted snowflakes hanging in his dark eyelashes. "Are you all right?" she asked carefully, not completely sure how to ask such a thing.
He still didn't look at her and she noticed, for the first time, that he had a sword hanging by his side, the hilt of which he clutched tightly. "I'm still not used to winter," he said finally, and she understood he didn't want to spill more to her. And she was never one for interrogation; she had learned the hard way how much that could destroy.
So instead she only nodded, not looking at him. She was scared that this was the breaking point, that he, because of the snow, suddenly would have lost the warm glint in his eyes and have it replaced by an insane glitter, a maniac's rage shooting through them. She had no idea why, but her pounding heart was enough to alarm her.
"It's not your fault," he said quietly, and she wondered how he could know what she was thinking. "I'm only silly, don't worry." This time she looked up and found him smiling at her, but she could tell he was still distressed; it felt as though she was gazing at a reflection of herself.
"You're not silly," she whispered.
He laughed, strained and humorlessly, but took a step closer to her. "A bit I am, yes. I'm like this every year the first snow falls, and I know it's all right, but I can't help being afraid."
She wasn't certain what he was talking about, but she still understood him perfectly. "I know what you mean."
The faint blush that was on his cheeks faded away and his face relaxed into a sad smile. "Thanks," he said, and that was all.
didn't we almost have it all
the night we held on till the morning
loving you makes life worth living
She would never ever find out if it had only been a dream, but something always told her it hadn't been. An inkling remained, the way she remembered it so clearly, the way she could still remember how the snowflakes had landed on her arm. How she could still feel his shivering lips against her cheek, how she could still see his eyes being locked with hers.
But she had closed her eyes for a second, and when she had opened the next time, there hadn't been a trace of the snow-covered trees or the glittering sky.
Only a white-painted ceiling and a pain in her chest heavier than something she had ever felt.
Still, when the pain had eased slightly, it was what had caused her to stay alive. And she would always wish she had gotten only one moment back there with him, so she could have had time to thank him, as he had thanked her.
Because he had helped her.
didn't we have the best of times
we'll never lose it again
'cause once you know what love is, you'll never let it end