Disclaimer: This story idea was not mine. I found it on the reddit writing prompts. Original prompt: A dreamweaver is heartbroken and decides to curse the world in nightmares. Only one man can stop her.
"Sandman, I'm so alone
Don't have nobody to call my own
Please turn on your magic beam
Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream."
-Mr. Sandman, The Chordettes
Every time he looked at her eyes, he saw the night sky. Constellations crisscrossing and dipping around her pupil, only to swirl back into the abyss of her iris. She was beautiful in every sense of the word, and he found himself staring at her all the time.
The first time he saw her, he didn't approach her.
It was at night of course.
The moonlight curved around her graceful figure as she danced across the pavement. It highlighted the pale skin of her collarbones and the velvet material of her violet dress. Her white-blonde haired fell around her shoulders like a halo of light. She looked ethereal.
But she was a dreamweaver; she was untouchable.
He shook his head, fingers plunging into the pocket of his long gray coat until his hands clutched a fistful of sand. The pale light illuminated his shadowy figure as he floated through the windows that were thrown out against the heat of the night.
He sprinkled the fistful of sand over the children, the lovers, and the lonesome that buried their bodies into thick mattresses. Pieces of stardust sunk into the stitching of quilts and rumpled childhood blankets. Grains of moonlight caught in delicate strands of hair and the ash of meteorites collected in the creases of pillows.
And when daylight filtered through carefully made dreamcatchers, the Sandman's head was bowed against the rumble of the wind as he found a place to wait for the coming evening.
There was no one to come home to.
No one waiting for his wide open palms and empty pockets. He only had the moonlight for company, and the starlight that kissed his cheek before the glory of the sun broke through the darkness.
The second time he saw her, she was sobbing openly into her palms.
He couldn't help but notice how tiny she seemed in that moment. Miniscule bedbugs crawled along the hem of her tattered dress, and her hair hung like a curtain around her shaking shoulders. Even the brightly colored feathers in her hair seemed to wilt in grief.
He looked nervously at the sky. It was almost dawn, and dreamweavers could not be out in direct sunlight for very long.
"Um, excuse me? Is everything okay?" He asked carefully, fingers pulling nervously a the roots of his pitch black hair.
Startled, the dreamweaver looked up with red puffy eyes. Tears streaked down her cheeks in broken rivulets and her pale blue eyes seemed enormously dazzling in the dissolving night.
For a moment the dreamweaver just sat in awe of the man. Her mouth parted and a wisp of air expelled form her lips.
"Mr. Sandman!" she cried, scrambling up from her mourning state. "I-I w-was just-"
"Eli," He interrupts swiftly, glancing away from her terribly piercing stare. "Call me Eli."
"Eli," she repeats, cradling the name in her mouth like a prayer. He feels like touching her just to see if she was tangible. Her body seemed to float lightly in the air before him.
When was the last time that somebody called him by his first name?
"What's your name?" He asks, his dark eyes intense as he examines her frayed attire.
"Um, Selene?" Her answer hiccups out of her like a question, and he quirks an eyebrow.
"W-What...what are you doing here?" She continues, hugging her bare arms, trying to keep herself from shaking.
Again, Eli tugged at the tuft of hair that curled at the nape of his neck. "It's almost sunrise," he explained.
The dreamweaver made a small noise - somewhere between a gasp and a snort - before hissing, "Well. I don't care."
He stopped tugging at his hair, and dropped his arm in surprise.
"Don't care?" he asked in dismay. "You can get killed!"
The girl just shrugged, her figure trembling as the first rays of sun peeked over the horizon. Her white-blonde hair whipped at her cheeks in the breeze, and she batted the strands away with a certain ferocity that intrigued the Sandman.
"What happened to you exactly?" Eli asked while gingerly moving to sit down next to the her.
Selene looked away at his penetrating gaze.
"I should be angry with you," she said suddenly, her voice rising with vehemence.
She whipped around to face him, cheeks flushed and hair in disarray. He had never seen anything so captivating.
"Because you killed him."
Eli's eyes widened, and suddenly it was his turn to look away.
"He had brown curly hair. And freckles. So many freckles; he must have been in the sun constantly. He was only twenty-two," Selene accused, her finger trembling and pointing straight at him.
Suddenly Eli could picture the man Selene was describing. The brown hair she mentioned had been greasy from days without wash and he was so pale, his freckles seemed to sink into his skin. He had been so young. Too young.
"His body was failing him," Eli explained, turning to the girl with wide open palms. All she saw were gritty fingernails that still had remnants of sand stuck in between skin and cuticles.
"I loved him!" The Selene shouted, tears pooling once more in her large eyes. "I loved him and you killed him."
"It could not be helped!" He tried to retort. But the words stuck in his throat and shame consumed his chest until it was a physical ache he couldn't ignore.
Eli turned away from the dreamweaver, trying desperately to ignore the wretched words she hurled at him.
"You make me sick!"
"How can you live with yourself, huh? Knowing that you've killed thousands in their sleep?"
"Your sand only brings despair!"
For so long, Eli comforted his conscience with statements like, "death is a vital part of the cycle of life." But some days, he was plagued with thoughts of dying breaths and halted heartbeats and the way eyelids fluttered right before the shadows took them.
Selene's words echoed in his head until it was a distant echo. Like a childhood lullaby he couldn't forget.
That night everyone suffered from insomnia.
The third time Eli saw the dreamweaver, she was orchestrating chaos. Selene's hands were light like a conductor, and he watched in horror as she disposed nightmares meticulously into the mind of a young child. The black dust of her magic curled around the child's frame, like long tentacles tightening around prey.
For a moment the powder seemed to settle like ash around the child's body before it seeped into the body. When the child started to writhe and twist in the twin bed, Eli yanked at the dreamweaver.
"Knock it off, Selene," he demanded in a low whisper. Eli's eyes appeared so dark, they almost looked black in the dim light. This startled Selene so much that she immediately relinquished her control on the nightmare.
"What are you doing here?" She bit back, turning in his hold, so that her chest brushed against his. Their faces were inches apart, but neither moved away.
She was different this time, Eli noticed. Gone were the colorful feathers that adorned her hair - which was now cut bluntly at her shoulders. Bags hung under her eyes giving her a vaguely sinister look; it matched her shabby dress which hung loosely around her thin frame.
At her question, his fingers dug just a bit deeper into her bird-like arms. "I could feel that child waking up in fright. Your nightmare was so bad he nearly woke up screaming."
She only huffed in annoyance and attempted to shake off his hold, but he only tugged her closer to him.
"What's going on? Why are you turning to nightmares? Is this because of that boy?" Eli demanded, his voice taking on a bitter quality that had the dreamweaver straightening.
"His name was Leon. And don't you think you've done enough? Just leave me alone," Selene barked, blue eyes blazing like comets. He ignored the pang that blossomed in his chest when she yelled alone.
Perhaps that was his punishment for extinguishing so many souls. He was meant to live a life of complete and utter solitude...
"I hate you," she continued with so much fervor it rendered him speechless.
And then, suddenly, he grabbed her wrist and yanked her out the door.
"Ouch! W-What are you doing?"
"You're coming with me," Eli explained while his ghostly figure floated toward a local hospital. On the way there, Selene stubbornly attempted to detach herself from his hold, but her struggle proved to be fruitless.
Selene briefly wondered how he had such a steel grip when he spent his whole life clutching sand.
When they arrived at the hospital they were greeted with the cries of a newborn child, and, for a moment, they both stopped in awe. It is Eli who managed to tug Selene away from the scene and towards a particular room.
In the stark white room, family members circled an old man in a bed. Many had their hands skimming the thin hospital bed sheets, while others nervously eyed the machine that monitored his heart rate.
The old man himself looked peaceful in the bed despite the IV tubes hooked up to him. Eli's hand slipped from Selene's wrist to her hand as he approached the bed. Void of any sand, Eli's hand gently touched the man's forehead. Beneath his empty palm, Eli felt the depleting energy of the man, like a pulse that reverberated throughout his entire body.
When his hand retreated back into his pocket, Selene's fingers intertwined with his and squeezed ever so gently. It took all of his strength to follow through, and carefully scatter sand over the old man's closed eyelids.
Eli heard Selene's shuddering sob right before the man's heart monitor stopped. And then he dragged her out of the room, away from the grief of death and the sound of shattering hearts. He didn't know if he left for her protection or his own. All he knew was that her hand clutched his like a lifeline despite how much he trembled.
And then they were sinking into each other, weeping into each other's shoulders, gripping each other because life was so so fragile and they were terrified out of their minds. Selene's hand came up to twist in the fabric of Eli's shirt, while Eli gripped the cloth at her waist. When they managed to quiet their sorrow, they detangled from each other carefully, faces inches away from each other while hands snagged around hips and shoulders and waists.
"I'm so sorry, so sorry. I never realized-" Selene begged, her hands coming up to cup Eli's jaw.
"I never wanted this job. I never chose-"
"I forgive you. I forgive you," Selene repeated, as she stared helplessly at him.
Eli leaned his forehead against hers as he murmured back, "I know. I know. I'm so sorry. Leon...he-he never deserved to die."
A single tear caught on her eyelash before freefalling toward the white tile of the hospital.
"I don't blame you, Eli. Leon's in a better place now...He is finally free of suffering."
Eli only sighed, and Selene rubbed at his jaw. "I hope he is Selene...I really hope so."
The devastation she saw marring his face was too much for her to bare. She wished she could take it all away and replace it with dreams of sailing and paradise and hot air balloons. Selene had always cherished being a dreamweaver but had never fully realized the significance of a good night's rest.
So her arms went around Eli and she pressed herself against him in a tight embrace, attempting to fix even a small part of his misery. After a moment or two, Eli's arms tugged her closer and he sank into her warm hug.
"I don't know how you can bear to do this every night," Selene commented when they pulled away. Instinctively, they exited the hospital and sought out a moonlit spot in a park that was near the hospital. They sat down on the grass, their palms sinking into the lush earth before turning towards each other.
"You don't sleep yourself, do you?" Selene continued when Eli stayed silent.
The corner of Eli's mouth quirked up at her question. "What do you think?"
Selene's blush could be seen despite the poor light that the moon provided. "I just...I can't imagine never being able to dream..."
Eli was silent for a minute before he shrugged and started plucking at the grass. "It's not like you sleep the same way humans do though..."
"We might sleep for a shorter time but at least we get to dream. You...you must-"
"I'm tired. I'm incredibly tired, Selene," Eli whispered, his eyes finally meeting hers. She scooted close enough to him that she could reach out and brush her nose against his jaw.
"Maybe one day..." Selene reassured her hand reaching out to his to lace her fingers through his gritty, sand covered ones.
Eli's eyes were on their linked hands and he smiled at her through his long eyelashes.
"Maybe," he replied, half heartedly.
Selene smiled back sadly, before pulling him back down to lie in the grass with her. They curled into each other, finding comfort in each other's warmth under the vigilant gaze of the crescent moon.
Selene drifted off to the sound of Eli's comforting heartbeat, while he got lost in the smell of her hair and the incandescent beauty of the stars. He traced the constellations of Ursa Major and Orion's belt and Pegasus with his eyes before slowly lifting their laced hands to his mouth and kissing it delicately.
Almost immediately, his head hit the ground and, for the first time, he fell into a deep sleep that was punctuated with intricate dreams.
Images of gargantuan sailboats that knifed through vast oceans and magnificent palm trees that shadowed endless, infinite beaches and stupendous hot air balloons that hovered peacefully in all of their colorful grandeur infiltrated Eli's mind.
That night, the Sandman slept like a baby.
In the morning, Eli woke up to a shriek that had him jerking upright. Groggily looking for the source of distress, he found Selene next to him looking absolutely breathtaking. In the bright light of the morning her blonde hair seemed to radiate light, and her cheeks took on an adorable pink hue.
He noted that the colorful feathers were back in her hair and the bags under her eyes looked less pronounced.
However her expression was one of complete awe. Selene turned her forearms back and forth as if inspecting for some sort of damage, and her pale blue eyes were bright in utter wonder.
"You okay?" Eli asked, his voice thick with sleep and his eyes were unfocused.
Selene's shocked gaze snapped to his and her mouth dropped open. Her jaw moved up and down as she struggled to find words, but her surprise drowned out any attempt.
Instead she just held up her arms up to Eli.
Eli squinted at her pale arm in confusion. What was he supposed to say?
"I..." Selene started quietly, in a voice that sounded like she was trying to stop herself from completely freaking out. "I'm okay. Even though it's morning."
That sobered up Eli. He sat up straighter, and grabbed her arms, expecting to see some kind of awful burn marks from her time in the sun.
"Nothing happened," Eli reiterated stupidly.
"Yeah...and you just woke up," Selene noted with the same petrified gaze. Eli sat stunned, his hands still clamped around Selene's arms.
"Wait...What?" he stuttered.
Selene's cheeks suddenly bloomed with pinkness. "Do you think - ah - it has anything to do with us...sleeping...together last night?"
Eli just looked at her blankly for a moment. His eyebrows slowly contracting together to pinch in the middle. "But we didn't have sex."
That seemed to snap Selene out of her perturbed state. She yanked her arms out of his loose hold and slapped her hands against his chest repeatedly.
"I. Know. That. You. Idiot." Selene punctuated each word with a slap to Eli's chest. Eli just laughed and grabbed her wrists - effectively ending her slaps and frustrating her even more.
"What did you do to me?" she accused angrily, struggling against him and managing to poke him in the chest despite his hold on her.
"Do to you?" Eli countered, narrowing his eyes on her. "I didn't do anything to you. Even if I did, shouldn't you be thanking me for not burning up?"
Selene eyed him suspiciously before stilling herself and muttering, "As long as it's not dark magic."
"How much damage do you think sand does, Selene?" Eli asked sarcastically, before tugging her closer to him.
Selene seemed to pause at his words and her eyes soon widened back into saucers. "That's it! It must be your sand and my dream magic."
Eli quirked an eyebrow as Selene leaned into him and grabbed his dusty hand in her own soft one.
"Something must have happened..."
"We were holding hands and I...well I kissed our hands right before I fell asleep," Eli admitted, carefully avoiding Selene's penetrating gaze.
"Maybe something about our magic crossed over when that happened..." Selene murmured contemplatively. "And that's how you were able to fall asleep...it's because I'm able to fall asleep. Same thing goes for the me being out in the sun...nothing happens to you during the daytime, so, therefore, nothing happened to me."
"You really think so?" Eli asked, his thumb absentmindedly tracing over her knuckles. Selene shivered at his touch, while a light breeze tousled her hair.
"Well there's only one way to find out..." Selene said, her cheeks instantly turning a dark shade of red while she shyly looked away from Eli.
Eli once again stared at her blankly. "What's that?"
At his voice, Selene looked back at him, and this time her eyes looked determined and fierce.
Eli didn't know what came over him. One minute he was staring at Selene's beautiful blue eyes and the next he was cupping the back of her neck and pressing his mouth against hers.
She responded immediately, her own hands gripping his shoulders and pulling herself onto his lap while his lips massaged her mouth.
His mouth was dry and rough against the softness of her own, but Selene didn't mind. It reminded her of his hands. So gritty against her skin, but provided so much relief and comfort at the same time.
When his tongue touched hers, Eli swore he saw supernovas behind his eyelids and heard lullabies reverberating in his eardrum.
She tasted like candy floss and sweet milk, and he couldn't help but sink into her when she sighed into the cavern of his mouth. He felt like he was going to come undone when she slid her hand up the staircase of his spine; the arm that was bracing himself buckled when her hands tugged at his hair.
He couldn't help but fall back into the grass after her tongue swiped over his bottom lip. She groaned into him while his hands absentmindedly played with the silk of her hair. The more he fell deeper into the kiss the more he thought he was going to fall asleep right then and there...
"Selene," Eli murmured, his lips skimming across her lips to meander across her jaw line. She sighed into him, her breath shuddering along the plane of his cheek.
She pulled away from him, her hands resting at his shoulders, as if to steady herself. Eli rested his forehead against hers, trying to slow down his heartbeat that skyrocketed when his lips touched hers.
"Did that...Did that work?" Selene asked breathlessly while she clung to him.
"I-I think it did. I felt really sleepy towards the end of that," Eli replied, brushing his nose against the length of her throat. He felt her shudder in his lap, and he fingered the material of her dress.
"Well...are you allowed to do that?" Selene suddenly asked, pulling away from his warmth to examine his drowsy face. He was all half lidded eyes, slow blinks, and long eyelashes.
"I-I'm not sure. I've never...I've never properly been with anyone before," Eli replied, his cheeks warming at her narrowing gaze.
"Well. Consider this your warning Mr. Sandman, you're not going to be with anyone else but me," Selene answered fiercely, her blue eyes flashing as if daring Eli to contradict her.
But Eli just smiled and tugged her closer to his chest, and buried his face into the juncture between her neck and shoulder.
"That...That would be perfect, Selene," Eli whispered, his teeth grazing her skin before peppering kisses down her throat. "I love...I-I'd love that."
Selene pulled away from him, noticing his slip-up even as he continued his exploration.
"Were you going to say what I think you were going to say?" Selene asked quietly, tugging at Eli's hair to grab his attention. He looked at her with half-hooded, velvet eyes. Looking at him made her sunburn.
"What did you think I was going to say?" Eli questioned, his hands roaming her back and his thumbs resting at the lowest part of her ribcage.
Selene looked directly at him trying to look fierce through her violent blush. "That you love me."
"And what if I do?"
"Then...Then we might have a problem."
Eli was intrigued. "Oh really?"
"Yes. Our work schedules conflict all the time Mr. Sandman."
Eli broke out into the biggest grin, and Selene thought he looked positively brilliant.
"Well then you'll have to come visit me in my dreams," Eli answered, his eyes mischievous and playful.
"That-" Selene's voice was cut off when Eli started nipping at her neck again. "That can be arranged."
A/N: Life's been super crazy lately and I was in a horrible writing rut for like the past two weeks. Which was awful since I was on Spring Break for the last week. But I'm glad that I managed to whip this up! I'm not entirely happy with it, but sometimes you just got to be happy that you completed something. I think the Chordette song helped me figure out the ending. However, the perfectionist in me wants to develop Selene and Eli's story more, but I think this was a relatively okay ending.
Let me know what you guys think! I'm excited to hear your opinion!
Review Challenge: What did you do for spring break? Have you seen Captain America 2 and if so what did you think? What was the last fictionpress story you read that made you stay up in the middle of the night because it was that good?
Love you all! Thanks so much for your continuous support!
P.S If you happen to read my ongoing fic. called Tug of War please be patient with me! I'll try to work on it as soon as I can!