The sun was already rising well above the horizon when I finally went to sleep that morning. In a last mad rush to finish forging Comrade Varvara Sidorovna's transmitter bracelet, I had worked the whole night.
At first it was to pass off time. If I wasn't going to sleep anyway - waiting for news on Peter's aggressively proactive unicorn hunting - the time was best spent in a useful manner. I took a break in the small hours of the morning, when Peter called to report, but it was almost finished and one does say it is best to strike while the iron is hot. So I put in a few more hours, which led me to pull an all nighter.
Just as I was turning off the gas, Molly appeared at the door with a tray and a fresh cup of strong tea. I hadn't touched the sandwiches she had left earlier and I greatly appreciated the gesture, which I told her. Leaving the still hot metal to cool down, I went upstairs to wait for our Russian guest to wake up.
As I waited, I phoned the interested parties to arrange the transfer. All that remained was sealing the bracelet on since the Night Witch didn't have a lot of packing to do. She watched with gleaming eyes the metal glowing red as I lifted my hand off it. I did apologise for the abruptness of the sent-off, but she laughed in my face. "Don't bother, we both knew it was coming. I have a feeling I'll see more of you very soon anyway." After a last long wondering look at Molly, she stepped up into the custody van without so much as a glance back.
Traffic was picking up and I could hear an ambulance rushing to the nearby children's hospital. The day was starting for the rest of London. For myself - as well for the rest of the people who made their living during dark hours, or the last clubbers who had enjoyed their night so much they had extended it to the last possible minute - it was high time to call it a night and hit the sack.
With a last nod to Molly I retired upstairs and made for bed. The physical and magical exertion of the last few hours had left me so exhausted that I fell asleep as soon as I closed my eyes.
I definitely slept a few hours before I found myself dreaming of a large luxurious bedroom, the palace kind you only find in movies or sleeping with some kind of celebrities. The bed was taking almost the whole width of the chamber, soft with egyptian cotton sheets between which a movie spy would happily find scantily clad women waiting for him.
As a matter of fact the bed was occupied, and lounging on it, naked but for a pair of briefs which moulded an otherwise very fit and desirable body to be damned for, my own apprentice was absentedly looking at the ceiling and ornate chandelier, calling for me with his personal magic.
Well, not only for me. Peter Grant was calling at large for people he lusted after. Lelsey May still, although he usually sent her away as soon as she turned up. The wound of her betrayal was still fresh with him - with all of us, really - but he still found her desirable. I wasn't surprised she was a no show: a few hours of sleep for me put us right in the middle of the day and there wasn't much chance of finding her asleep at this time - it would be too much of a coincidence.
There was another person in the room, a few meters away on my right, just outside of Peter's perception range. Beverley Brook, the river goddess, and the closest he currently has to a love interest. Given how I sent her to him with my blessing just a few days ago, I shouldn't feel this bitter to find her here. This jealous.
I nodded to her, steeling myself. I wondered if, tired as I was, I would manage to wake up to escape the dream, escape Peter, and stay awake long enough to remain out of calling range. But her piercing gaze seemed to see right through me and she smiled and nodded. 'Go state your claim, wizard.' she mouthed, and her words echoed in my ears as clearly as if she had spoken out loud.
I startled, both surprised and touched, but she had recognised my claim on Peter. The one I sadly couldn't acknowledge in the physical world for the trifling reason of oath technicalities. She smiled again and disappeared a second later, I supposed she had woken up herself. Which left me alone in the dream, with Peter, whose mind I still felt calling to me.
I watched him for a few moments, just outside of his perceptive reach, wondering how I should handle the situation. But of course I had to act now. My claim over Peter was weak and it needed at least this confirmation to reinforce the agreement I had with Beverley Brook. And, cursed with fire in my blood, maddly wanting Peter Grant and obligated to him, sole remaining target of his call, there was no way I could escape. No way I would ever want to.
But this didn't mean I should act recklessly. My oath was binding in the physical world, and as long as Peter didn't actually challenge me in the flesh, I could resist. Who was I kidding. No, I knew in the end I wouldn't be able to, but at least I could delay the inevitable.
Weaving my own magic in the dream, I reached out, willing my essence to enfold the room. Let the dreams remain dreams. Peter shouldn't remember any of this in the world of waking - though I couldn't possibly prevent him from remembering this night in any of his future dreams, should the situation repeat itself. I shuddered. I had let the call go unanswered long enough and found myself uncomfortably needing. Swallowing my fears and uncertainty I took a step forward, reaching with my hand for the invisible limit of Peter's power realm's bubble, gave it a passing caress and boldly crossed the line.
Peter pushed himself up on his elbows at my intrusion and did a double-take at seeing me there.
"You called for me." I said, on the defensive. I really should reproach him his surprise at seeing me after calling me for so long. But as much as I wanted to sound guarded, I couldn't prevent insecurity to seep through my voice. And how I hated how needy it sounded!
Peter's eyes opened wide. "I did? ...Yes I did, of course I did." The way he tried to smoothly cover for his incredulity was so comical I almost laughed. He sounded so eager that I felt myself warmed all over. It felt nice to feel wanted after craving after him for so long, so I smiled.
The scantily clad handsome stud on the bed beckoned me closer. Perhaps I had enough qualities of the film hero he seemed to affectionate to be worthy of the fantasy - the car at least, maybe the accent, and of course the suits.
"Come here," he said, and he called my name, the way it is in dreams when in one word you hear all the meanings you want to convey at once. Thomas. It said. Nightingale. Boss. Governor. Inspector. Teach. And a whirlwind of so many other things all wrapped into one word. "Come here, Handsome."
I let myself forward, carried by the promise he held in that one word. Silently, my eyes not leaving him for a moment I walked to the right side of the bed and sat down on it by his side while he sat up to meet me, and cupping my cheek gently drew my face closer.
"This is me, claiming you." I breathed across his lips before meeting them for a kiss. It was just a short touch, barely a taste of flesh for a brief second as he drew back just enough for us to part. "Claim away, Handsome." He said, his voice so low it made me shiver all over as once again I heard his many names for me echo around my head.
He pulled me back against him, meeting my kiss with equal desire and strength, and finally, finally, we let our souls taste each other, breathing each other's heart.
The good thing with dreams is that reality's constraint don't have to play a part in them, that and you can set on repeat any part of those fantasies you like. We didn't have to breathe or adjust for any troubling restriction of our bodies. We enjoyed that first kiss for an eternity, learning each other's quirks and likes. As we parted I only felt the faintest pang at not knowing the real feel of Peter's touch on my lips, or the taste. This wasn't the physical world and I knowing that in reality I couldn't have any of this made me feel even emptier, but at the same time this unreal world brought with it an unreal intimacy of minds which, at Peter's contact, made my own heart swell.
Contact with Peter had given me some welcome sense of clarity, and as we stopped kissing to look at each other, we were both smiling.
I looked down at my right hand which rested easy on Peter's chest. The feeling was too smooth to be real, and nicely warm, but I still found myself mesmerised by the contrast of our skins, with mine so pale across his own.
I felt a new surge of desire rise in me and looked up at Peter's face again. The way he looked at me, with unadulterated lust, felt like a real boost to my sense of self-worth and I grinned. It occured to me, then, that I had some claiming to do, and leaned forward to do just so when Peter intimed me to stop.
He reached for my collar instead, and bent forward to whisper in my ear. "I do love your suits, but right now you have way too many layers on." He undid a few buttons and started nibbling at my jaw and neck. Which, I freely admit, managed to completely distract me from my intent. And when he put his hands on my waist, I felt a definite thrill as they met no cloth but bare skin.
I decided, then, that it was high time to retaliate, so I put my hands on his waist to find his briefs dissolve under my touch. He gasped, I grinned and proceeded to ease him back on the bed, where I used the advantage of many years of experience to slowly and methodically pull him apart.
Inch by inch I discovered his body, coyly alternating between long periods of tender caresses and bold groping, using all my ressources to keep him off balance and wanting, bathing him in pleasure born from by own love and wanting.
I watched his grinning face with greedy eyes, allowing myself all the moves and touches I dared not risk in the physical world, the passes I would make and the kisses I would steal if my oath didn't keep me in check. I revelled in the trust Peter showed in abandoning himself to me thus, the very same loyal faith he had proved over and over, and there, in bed with him, watching him come undone under my hands made me feel ecstatically powerful and overcome with a joy that I didn't know could exist.
For a long time I watched his blissed out face, enjoying the warmth of his closeness against me, and somehow relieved and content at seeing him so relaxed. Those last few months hadn't been easy on him.
Then, with a mischievous grin and a nib at my hand, he indicated it was his turn to have a go at me. And he playfully lounged to tackle me to the bed. I... I might not remember exactly what happened in what order, the intensity of the feelings he induced in me scrambled somewhat my mind. Between his hand, mouth and body, he brought me to a hazy world of lust and pleasure that had me writhing, and chased from me any coherent thought. I might have believed I burned before, but I had been so wrong, oh so pleasantly wrong.
After a while though, Peter slowed down and let me surface for a while. I smiled at him, blissed and full of lust, and he kissed me softly before he asked : "I know I like my partners keen, but you have been very eager for a long time and..., am I doing something wrong?"
I laughed then, both incredulous and happy. "This is your dream Peter." I said. "You called me there." I let my hands pass over his, trailing on his fingers. "This gives you both power, and responsibility."
He got it then, and kissed me very eagerly before he brought me back to the wonderful land of pleasure, and it wasn't quite his hand that enfolded me but his essence, pulling me in him and him in me in ways that aren't possible in reality. But maybe it was magic, the way he pulled, and pulled and laughed.
I came in an explosion of pleasure which made magic run ablaze in my blood and lifted my soul to mystic heights. Oh the bliss I felt looking up at Peter's face! He was smiling at me in a halo of light that glowed like the sun. In a way that was much novel to me I let myself drift, my heart was at peace, and my soul was singing.