Dream dashes about the debris-littered battleground in his ridiculous yellow attire, ribbons fluttering behind him. All this while his legs, clad in those tight black spandex, send him scrambling for cover from a hail of bone shards from Dust. Alas, none of the attacks rip his leggings and show the sweating body underneath.
Nightmare watches him without change in his expression. His eye is slitted with a keen focus. Unlike his usual character, he does not monologue to Dream about the hopelessness of his toil. This causes the guardian to wear himself out faster than usual.
Nightmare tastes Dream's growing anxiety on his tongue, and it is delicious when it spikes with pain as his brother lands onto his side. Crashing down, like a shooting star. And just like that, the fight is over-his underlings know better than to get between the two, now. Nightmare needs to investigate that sad noise that Dream made.
A pointy-toed, black, heeled boot pushes Dream off his injured side with a grunt. Dream swats his ankle with a yellow glove-and when Nightmare tries to stomp it, he gets flipped off. Rude. Frankly, Nightmare's a bit insulted that Dream let him get this close. He didn't even at least try to roll away and off the cliff he's on.
So close, Nightmare eyes the steep drop, and yet…
"The answer to our feud may be revealed to you in decades more, Dream."
Dream is breathing harshly, every pant emphasizing the rise and fall of his rib cage. It is just like his modest brother to cover his throat, to defend it from attack. From whom, Nightmare wonders. He finds the black agreeable on Dream's creamy-white neck, where his scarf falls away and pools into sunshine under Dream's sweating head and his open, hot mouth.
Gravel crunches underfoot.
The wide, dizzying rays of hope that irritate his very existence flinch away from his looming shadow as he steps closer. Dream, on the other hand, continues to lay still on the ground. He's splayed like a pinned butterfly. Nightmare thinks that it matches the way he flits about. It matches his stupid ribbons, trailing around like a kite, calling out to Nightmare in a simpering voice-"Look, I'm here! Follow me, follow me, I'm here! Catch me!"
"Can't you just tell me already?" His brother whines. That pouty, high-pitched voice is the same he used to wheedle the baker's daughter into giving Nightmare an added pastry-not that she knew it was for him, of course.
He wants to pull on those ribbons, watch his brother's head tilt back and his spine bend under him. To see his rib cage shivering with the same exertion he sees in Dream now. Would he whine then? Would he use that same, pouty, high-pitched voice?
"If you cannot remember now, then maybe another century should pass," Nightmare sneers. "and you may remember then."
With the same longing that Dream is horrible at hiding from him. That Nightmare fails to hide, as well. Dream's single plea does not make him weak.
"Please." and Nightmare does not swallow. He does not feel the word lance through him, scalding, like a brand. It does not scorch him from inside out, rake him new and raw, and does not make him leave him wanting for anything.
Dream stares at him anyway, he always did, and those burning stars that nestled bright in his skull burn through him. How can he plea so openly while maintaining that intense eye contact? Nightmare fights to keep his scowl.
How used to coaxing, his brother. "Just tell me." His voice is softer now, gentler, so much different from the simple boys they once were. He has a pleasing tenor to it, and it reaches a new high when he screams.
How used to rejection, is Nightmare. "You should know, already."
Nightmare knows he's being stubborn. Between the two, he had always thought Dream had the more stubborn streak-but…
But he doesn't want to answer. It's embarrassing now, humiliating at the very least. After all of this strife, the answer had always just been…
His mouth still feels so dry when he remembers. He wants, hungers so badly.
A hand slides, slowly, hesitantly, along his thigh where he kneels beside Dream. The glove trembles. It hurts-their auras reject each other so badly, but the pain conflates with the same breathtaking emotion he feels when he sees Dream. He tries to shift away, but the fingers wrap around his pant leg and tighten.
"I do, know."
And his blackened, twisted soul, it freezes. Nightmare can feel the way Dream quails, that he becomes fearful of Nightmare's reaction, and then pushes on anyway.
In an exhale, his words are tight. His face has warmed, and he tries to lean away, but Dream draws closer-despite the wince it draws from him. Quiet, vulnerable, Nightmare has not been such since one tall tree and two smiles. He forces the steel into his voice, but it melts in the face of Dream, and drips down hot on his back.
Dream's exhales are shuddering, and his face is golden even in Nightmare's casted shadow. He glows as he nods, those bright eyes never leaving his own. If only to guiltily flit down at his mouth.
The next words are a slight husk. "And what, pray tell, do you know?"
His brother's pale throat is hidden by black spandex, and Nightmare wishes to tear it away.
And Dream, that coward, fails to voice the rest. He belated registers that he leaned in at Dream's voice. His arm and leg cage the other man in, a wide, clawed hand digging into the rubble. Trapping him in.
The flick of yellow is Dream's tongue. He remembers it well. It reminds him of something stolen away in the gentle night, tucked between teeth and secreted down. He wants it badly, again. Nightmare does not swallow. He pretends to ignore the flare of want that scorches them both, again, staring at one another on this broken platform while the world shrinks away to muffled violence and laughter.
And suddenly, Nightmare's long, long patience is worn thin. He tires of their dance, of the teasing, of the edge between a cliff and a heavy, panting body. He is greedy, he is selfish, and he takes what he wants now. No more waiting. He is tired of waiting, and of little yellow tongues and of fluttering ribbons and blinding stars.
Nightmare does not need to wait in the dark any longer. He catches falling stars, and he makes his wishes come true.
"You stole from me, brother."
Dream blinks wide. Innocent, naïve fool. Ridiculous how endearing he makes it look. Cheater.
He stutters a bit. "A-Ah, wait, stole your...?"
Nightmare leans close, their faces close enough to brush if Dream jolted. He can sense the latter considering it, flustered as he is.
His voice is dark, and the deep richness of it rolls through Dream before his brother can register the words. He senses the pleased blur of his eyes, and a vengeful spite rises in him again. Dream, ever reactive to his tumultuous moods, stops and thinks. Nightmare watches Dream turn the memory of his words over and over in his head, and the ensuing grief and disappointment makes every injury worth it.
"… your FRIES?" Dream shrieks.