The great black dragon lay felled in a field of fresh snow. The white wolf approached the beast slowly, though the rise and fall of its chest was faltering, and its once-mighty wings lay shredded and bloody.
There was no chance the beast would rise again but still(more) Shiro skirted it, eyes alert and ears forward. He'd never seen a creature this big outside a museum, and caution ruled his stride. As he came around to its head he realized for the first time that they weren't alone; a cloaked figure lay against the dragon's horned crest, and the soft crunch of Shiro's paws in the snow made him stir, turning to acknowledge the interloper.
Shiro's heart thudded in his chest as the hood fell from Lance's face.
No - it was Lance, but it wasn't, brown hair speckled with white, his skin almost translucent and eyes glowing a preternatural blue. The quiver on his back lay empty, a broken bow forgotten in the snow, and Lance stared at Shiro with wonder and fear in his eyes.
The great black dragon gave a shuddering gasp and exhaled its final breath. Lance choked out a broken noise, closing his eyes and pressing his forehead to the dragon's rough skin - and as Shiro watched he seemed to dissolve entirely into the snow.
Lance's hand closed on Shiro's shoulder and he was awake, chest heaving as he flung himself upright, disoriented by the darkness and the heat. "Shiro, Shiro," Lance said, grabbing at him now, both hands on his shoulders, warm and familiar. "You were having a nightmare, it's all right-"
He looked at his husband wildly, the image of a pale, shattered Lance dissolving into snowflakes still fresh, and pulled Lance close. "It's okay," Lance said, patting his back. "It wasjustadream."Shiroclosedhiseyes,pressinghisfacetoLance's,andwondered.(less)
One of my favourite memories of that year is of the weekends we spent at your parents' house, shifting shadows around its circular walls through the day. It is where I learnt to love beer. After our morning toast with sprinkles and that strong Dutch coffee with creamy koffiemelk,(more) your dad would offer us a dubbel from his pantry on his way out to weed the garden. Just a taste, you said, sharing it with me to make room for the trippel that would follow.
That house, its garden, that's where you and I made a cold avocado soup from unripe avocados, dessert for four from a can of frozen coconut cream and fresh berries. That's where I saw the first photo of you when we were getting to know each other, announcing a year after you'd left that you were back to the land of bikes and little frogs jumping in your parents' pond.
It's where we pored through Diane Arbus' photobooks and snuck in a little shot of something with the 8 pm family coffee around the TV. It's where I learnt to eat cheese, crackers and fig cakes, and to take sheer pleasure in the hedonism of a weekend well-spent. But mostly, it's where I found the warmth of family in a flame, so beautifully absorbed into yours while being so constantly, continentally away from mine.(less)