Season of Giving

Characters: Morpheus, Ethan
Origin: Life After Death (WIP, sequel to Oneiros)
Advent Day: Day 28 (December 24th)
Rating: NC-17
Word count: 6,922


Ethan ran. He ran simply for the joy of running, and he loved the beach, the feel of sand and surf beneath his toes as he panted with exertion. The sun beat down on him as he kicked up sea water with every stride, but it only felt wonderful against his skin as the sea breeze whipped his hair about him. He licked his lips and concentrated, and it was as if the world rippled around him, the waves extending to the rocks lining the shore and distorting the sky.

One instant, he was running through the waves, and the next, he was racing through a forest, weaving in and out of the slender trunks of a copse of aspens. Laughter bubbled up out of him, loud and joyous, and he whooped, leaping over a fallen trunk and swiping at the leaves of a distant branch. It was far higher than he should have been able to reach, but a stretch of his imagination gave him all the height he needed, and he touched them before floating back down to the forest floor. He whirled and grinned and fell backward with his eyes closed. Instead of slamming to the leaf litter, however, his fall was met with the most comfortable pillows he could imagine. He panted and smiled, breathing in the crisp scent of freshly fallen snow, the smoke of a nearby wood-burning furnace, and apples.

"Enjoying yourself?"

The voice startled him just a little, but the moment his eyes snapped open and found the youthful face of his lover there, he relaxed, the smile returning to his face. "Guess you could say that."

"You seem to love your runs." Morpheus ran his finger from the hollow of Ethan's throat down to his navel. "Do you know how long you have been here?"

Ethan purred, shivering in the wake of that intimate touch. "No. Time is hard to measure here. Days bleed into one another, and seasons change at a thought. How long have I been here?"

Morpheus leaned down, brushed his lips over one of Ethan's nipples. "A year. It is Christmas in the Waking World, and I have made it Christmas here in the Land of Dreams. For you."

"For me?" Ethan breathed.

"You came to me at Christmas." Morpheus lifted his head, and something hopeful shimmered in the warm, brown eyes. "Does the anniversary mean anything to you?"

Ethan grinned. "Sure it does. A year's a long time. Fuck, a single day in ICU felt like an eternity when I was waiting for that kidney." A shadow must have moved over his face because Morpheus brought his attention back to the present with a simple brush of their lips. He played with a lock of Morpheus' curly hair. "Feels a lifetime away. I have so much here with you, things I'm still just skimming the surface of."

"You're happy to be here with me?"

Ethan chuckled. "I won't say it's always perfect, 'cause I'm not perfect, but... yeah. I'm happy here." He'd been scared shitless at first, and it had taken him a long time to adapt to Morpheus' realm of dreams, but it was worlds better than what he'd had in the Waking World.

Morpheus smiled, and the expression was stunningly beautiful. "It pleases me that you're happy."

"Are you happy with me here?" Ethan asked, running his fingers over Morpheus' golden cheek.

"You have helped heal something I didn't want to admit was broken." Morpheus kissed Ethan softly. "My heart is not so broken anymore."

"What do you do for Christmas in the Land of Dreams?" Ethan murmured. "Does Santa come to visit?"

Morpheus laughed, the sound lyrical and warm. "No. We can do anything you like, Ethan. How do you want to spend Christmas? With me?"

Ethan chewed at his lower lip for a moment, but a grin slowly curved his lips, and he closed his eyes. It always helped to close his eyes, just so he could visualize what he wanted better. The bed remained beneath them, but the sea breeze stuttered to a stop, the roar of the waves replaced by the warm crackle of a cheerful fire. He opened his eyes again and smiled, sighing happily. Apart from the spacious bed, they were in his apartment, the one he'd lived in once Jesse had left. It was a small, studio apartment, but he'd known it would be easy to decorate.

He stood from the large bed, stepping forward from the alcove into the main space of the room. "I... never got to finish decorating. I had to call 9-1-1 because the pain got to be too much, and then I never came back." He flushed a little, looking back at Morpheus. "Help me decorate? Your way?"

Morpheus raised an eyebrow at him. "My way?"

"My decorations suck. This way, we can imagine whatever we want and decorate together, the way I never got to." He ran a hand through his windswept hair, pushing his blond bangs back from his eyes. "Or is this just kinda pathetic, me getting closure?"

"Closure is never pathetic. It's necessary so you can begin again." Morpheus rose from the bed, and suddenly there was a box stuffed full of ornaments at Ethan's feet. "We will decorate together."

Ethan's heart thudded in his chest, and his throat tightened. "Why?"


"Why would you decorate with me, Morpheus? You're a god. You have all of the sleeping universe beating down your door to demand your time. Why would you spend it with me?" Ethan had to know, had to hear the words Morpheus just hadn't said yet. Words Jesse had said with annoyance until the words had stopped altogether. "Why are you here?"

Morpheus exhaled softly, looked around the small room. "Because you are here." His dark eyes returned to Ethan. "Because you need me, and I need you."

Ethan swallowed. "Just need?"

"No," Morpheus admitted. "Not just need."

Ethan waited, but Morpheus said nothing, plunging them into a silence filled only by the snapping of the firewood and the pounding of his heart in his chest. Morpheus looked up at him, and they stared at one another for a few seconds until Ethan finally swallowed thickly and whispered, "Please, Morpheus. Say it if you mean it."

He needed to hear it, needed to feel that emotional connection from Morpheus if it was actually there. He knew Morpheus had reservations, that Morpheus had been burned really fucking badly before, but so had he. Maybe his life couldn't compare to Morpheus' long existence, but they'd become close. It was more than casual, more than just need that kept them together. His eyes pleaded with Morpheus. He'd accept any answer, anything that was real for Morpheus.

Morpheus stepped close, one hand coming up to cup Ethan's cheek. "I am here because I love you," the god said, voice so low and rough, Ethan couldn't mistake the feeling behind the words.

Warmth rushed through him, more visceral and true than the heat from the fire that crackled nearby. He tilted his head, leaning into Morpheus' hand as emotion welled up in him. "I love you, too," he breathed, and when Morpheus' fingers moved to his hair and pulled him forward and down a fraction, he eagerly parted his lips. Morpheus' kisses were always so consuming, as if the god breathed life into him every moment their lips were locked.

Morpheus pulled back, leaving him panting, his mind a bit dizzy, and he laughed softly. "You're here decorating with me 'cause you love me."

"Yes," Morpheus said, his voice practically shimmering with amusement to Ethan's ears. "Where do we begin?"

Ethan concentrated, and when he glanced over, a bare Christmas tree appeared. "How about there?" he suggested, kissing Morpheus again before dipping down and grabbing a few decorations from the box Morpheus had caused to appear.

"A beautiful tree." Morpheus reached for another ornament and placed it carefully. "Have you always decorated a tree at Christmas-time?"

"I only missed a couple," Ethan said, loving all the unique, gorgeous colors of the ornaments. "The sicker I got, the less energy I had, and Jesse wasn't big on the holiday spirit."

Morpheus was quiet for a few moments, adding decorations slowly to the tree. Silence meant his lover was thinking, and Ethan gave him the time and silence to do that in. When Morpheus spoke, the words weren't what Ethan was expecting.

"Why were you with Jesse?" Morpheus paused in his decorating and looked at Ethan. "You don't speak of him with warmth or love."

Ethan fought the anger that instantly rose in him, the bile of indignation. He took a few deep breaths, staring down at the colored glass ornament in his hands. "We met in college. Had the same Intro to Psychology class. I'd been in college a couple years, just taking a couple classes at a time so I could keep a full-time job without stressing myself into a coma. In a class meant for freshmen, we sort of gravitated to one another because we were both a little older. I had fucked around a bit by the time we became friends, but it was different with him. The friendship was there, and then it just deepened. It felt perfect. We bickered a bit, but it felt like it only made us closer. Then, my mom died, and he was with me through the entire thing, all the mourning, all the legal shit. He stuck with me, and I thought I was in love. I thought we could tackle anything together."

He reached up and hung the ornament on a good, strong branch. Morpheus was quiet beside him, but the silence wasn't awkward. Somehow, in this place, the silence was encouraging. Maybe Morpheus was messing with their surroundings, working some quiet sort of magic, but it put him a bit more at ease, and he gave Morpheus a sad smile. "If you'd asked me why I was with him then, I'd have told you because I loved him. But after my mom died, things just got more difficult. I started getting sick more often, and I'd get really fatigued after lots of activity. I can't pinpoint when it all shifted. It was slow, y'know? Sex became exhausting. He was so passionate, had so much endurance I just didn't have. We joked that I was just getting old, but Jesse just got quieter and quieter. I thought it was just a bit of a dry spell, that he was working through me not being able to keep up with him like I used to." He shook his head. "This answer is becoming the story of my life."

Morpheus just smiled and put another ornament on the tree. "It was a difficult question. The answer was bound to be complex."

Ethan chuckled, glad for a moment of levity. "You saying I can't handle it?"

"I'm saying you can take your time."

Ethan looked down at the box of ornaments and chose another, but he hesitated putting it on the tree. "I'm not sure why I was with him near the end. We were spending less time together, I knew I wasn't meeting his sexual needs, and that had dropped his interest in sex with me down to zero. He would stay the night with me, would always come help me out when I wasn't feeling well or when I needed a shoulder to cry on. I'd interpreted that as devotion. I'd thought we were having rough times and that we'd make it through, but I was lying to myself. He was only with me out of obligation, probably just trying to finish what he'd started."

Morpheus' arms wrapped around him from behind, and Ethan let out a long breath, setting the ornament on a branch. "He left. I told him to leave. I didn't want to be someone's emotional charity case." He smiled ruefully at the ornament. "I actually thought he'd come back, hold my hand, tell me he loved me, that he was sorry, that the stress of me being sick had just made him stupid." Ethan poked the ornament, made it sway in the lighted bough. "It was me who was stupid."

"That situation wasn't about stupidity," Morpheus murmured against Ethan's ear. "It was about need and fear. It was about selfishness and a need for more compassion that many humans possess." He paused, and then pressed a kiss to Ethan's throat. "What of the situation now? Trapped in my world, unable to go back, unwilling to go forward?"

Ethan turned in Morpheus' arms, his fingers curling in Morpheus' silky hair. "I was afraid of moving on, afraid of being trapped here. Now, I'm just afraid of being parted from you... and afraid that I'll be forgotten in your vast realm. It's been a year, and I'm looking forward to another year, and another. Do you think I need more than you're able to give?"

Morpheus stared down at him, and not for the first time, Ethan wondered what thoughts moved through the god's mind. "What is it you need? What is it I need to give?"

Ethan licked his lips, knowing his answer was short but infinitely complex. "Love, devotion, time... and honesty."

One of Morpheus' eyebrows lifted. "Honesty?"

"Yes, honesty." Ethan looked away for a moment, trying to gather his thoughts. Honesty meant so many things! "I don't expect you to be... all mine. I get that gods don't tend to devote themselves to anyone person, but—"

Morpheus pressed a finger to Ethan's lips. "You make a vast assumption about gods with that statement."

"Is it not true?"

"We are not all like Zeus."

"So the seventy-two virgins, the conquests, the... sex with your sister and half-brother's mother's handmaiden?"

Morpheus laughed. It wasn't often he made Morpheus truly laugh, and the sound washed over him in the most wonderfully sensual way. "I'm not those gods."

Ethan smiled and tilted his head. "Then what should I expect?"

"Love, devotion, time, and honesty," Morpheus murmured, his lips traveling down Ethan's exposed throat. "No obligation, just mutual need and mutual love."

Ethan moaned softly, a shiver traveling down his spine. God, those words made his eyes sting, but his skeptical nature made him hesitant, and his hands tightened in Morpheus' hair. "You're sure you can give it? For the next year?"

Morpheus' teeth nipped at his pulse. "For much longer than that. I won't abandon you to fear and uncertainty."

"God," Ethan breathed. "What on earth do I have to offer that's worth all that from you?"

Morpheus tugged at Ethan's chin until their eyes met, their lips brushed. "Do you love me?"

Ethan's cheeks heated up, but he nodded. "Yes."

"Then that is all that must be offered, all that is worth my love in return." Morpheus smiled faintly against Ethan's lips. "I have wanted a lover that would be as devoted to me as I was to them. My wife, my lovers, even Caleb... my love simply wasn't enough."

"You didn't love Caleb," Ethan whispered.

"Didn't I?"

Ethan swallowed. "I think you could have, but he would have had to give up living to be with you. I can see how tempting it was for him because you... Morpheus, you are bright and shining and so passionate."

"But he didn't choose me," Morpheus said, a soft sadness to the words.

He pulled Morpheus closer. "He had to choose life. For someone who has years ahead of them, it's a lot to ask, a lot to let go."

"But I didn't ask that of you," Morpheus murmured.

Ethan smiled. "You didn't have to. I had given up. I was out of time and ready for it to be over. All you're asking for is my love, and you have it."

Morpheus seemed to brighten, a glow returning to his face as he smiled and glanced at the tree. Ethan followed his gaze and watched as the tree shivered, suddenly sporting a glittering tinsel garland and a more traditional string of popcorn and cranberries. "And you have my time. Times like these."

Ethan grinned, reaching out and running his finger over the garland with a happy laugh. "Times like these that we build together, remembering the past, but making our own future."

"A future that spreads out beyond thought." Morpheus nuzzled Ethan's throat. "The idea of you, beside me, for years uncounted makes my very heart tremble. It's been too long since I felt that."

"But you feel it with me," Ethan breathed, offering his throat fully again.

Morpheus moaned. "Every moment. Together or apart, you're in my thoughts. My desires. My innocent musings."

Was there anything more fulfilling, more heart-warming, than knowing you were in the thoughts of the person you loved? Ethan doubted anything could make him feel more cherished than that. He smiled as another suckling nip from Morpheus pulled a soft moan out of him. "Have I ever told you how sexy I find men who have innocent musings about me?"

"No," Morpheus chuckled, his hands moving over Ethan's clothed body. "Innocent musings about you are sexy?"

Ethan pressed into Morpheus' hands. Never had he felt so at home, so at peace with himself. This little memory of his apartment, Christmas music playing quietly on the radio, the fire crackling, and his gorgeous god touching him. "I find the fact that you think of me at all sexy," he whispered.

Morpheus' lips blazed over his throat, making Ethan so hard in his jeans. "How could I not think of you?" Morpheus asked. "How could I not want you near every moment we're apart? Wonder if another creature or mortal in my realm has caught your eye?"

"Well there was that centaur—Ow!" he laughed as Morpheus pinched him. "Teasing! I'm only teasing." He pulled Morpheus' mouth up to his, their eyes meeting as he whispered, "There is no other. Even in this world of wonders, no one but you."

Morpheus kissed him, and it was almost like the world around them trembled with the passion he felt in every swipe of Morpheus' tongue, every shift of their lips and bodies against one another. One moment, he was rubbing his clothed body against Morpheus, and the next his clothing was melting away, turning to water that trickled down his body but left him dry. He gasped, pulling out of the kiss with a look of awe. "You... you've never..."

"Did you like it?" Morpheus asked with a deep chuckle.

"Hell yeah," Ethan moaned, eagerly pushing into Morpheus' hands as they swept down his naked body. Morpheus smiled, looking young and perfect, and Ethan moaned. The bed full of pillows beckoned, and Ethan let Morpheus lead him to it. "You going to fuck me in front of the fire, in the glow of the Christmas tree?"

Morpheus nipped Ethan's lower lip. "No. No fucking tonight," he murmured. "There is too much love in me tonight to do anything hard and frantic."

Ethan shuddered and ran his hands down the front of Morpheus' tunic, pushing it open and off Morpheus' shoulders. "I stand corrected. You going to make love with me? Replace the sickness in my memory with the love we share?"

"Yes," Morpheus breathed. He wrapped his arms around Ethan, pulled him close, and the tip of his tongue teased Ethan's lower lip. "I want to give you a special gift tonight, your Christmas gift."

"A gift?" Ethan panted, and as his hands moved down Morpheus' body, Morpheus' trousers faded until Ethan's hands touched smooth, warm skin. "I get a gift?"

Morpheus kissed him softly. "My body," he whispered, a vulnerable shimmer in the brown eyes.

Ethan's jaw dropped. He couldn't help it. "Your body? But... I've never had you like that."

The slightest flush of rose streaked over Morpheus' golden cheeks. "That is the idea."

It was a gift, one that Ethan would never have expected. Whenever he had tried to turn the tables a little and be more dominant with Morpheus, he was always foiled. Morpheus was a master at manipulating things back to his own comfort level and making Ethan love every second of it. He'd started to let go of the desire to take Morpheus, which made this gift even more special. In a world that changed to all his fantasies at every whim, the one thing that he couldn't imagine into being was what Morpheus was going to give him.

Ethan caressed Morpheus' face. "I love you," he breathed before easing Morpheus into a series of soft, reverent kisses. He moved them onto the bed and pressed Morpheus down into the mattress and soft sheets. "Do you have a favorite position?"

"This one," Morpheus moaned, parting his legs so Ethan could settle comfortably against him. "I like seeing the one I am with, kissing. This is the only position that offers such intimacy."

"Other positions can be wonderful and intimate," Ethan pointed out.

Morpheus' lips twitched into a half-smile. "Not for tonight. This one is perfect."

Ethan chuckled, licking over that smile. "Then we won't tamper with perfection." He brought their lips together again and began a slow, sensual rhythm of rocking and swiveling his hips, loving the feel of Morpheus' hard length against his. Silver Bells began playing on the radio, and he smiled, humming along as he trailed kisses down Morpheus' neck and chest. His fingertips teased Morpheus' nipples, and he delighted in every moan, every breathless sound he was able to pull from his lover.

It was unusual being on this end of the pleasuring. Usually, their physical relationship centered on Ethan. He was the utter focus of Morpheus' passion, brought to such heights each time they coupled. It was only now, as Ethan's lips moved over Morpheus' skin, teased at a dusky nipple, that he realized how one-sided their loving had been. Perhaps it had been selfish of Ethan, never forcing the subject, never pressing Morpheus to receive instead of giving all the time, but when he'd landed in Morpheus' realm, he'd been battered and bruised. Ethan had needed to be the center of someone's world, and Morpheus had so selflessly given him that.

"Thank you," Ethan breathed before lapping at Morpheus' tight nipple.

Morpheus' fingers were tangled in Ethan's hair. A moan passed Morpheus' lips along with, "For what?"

Ethan pressed a reverent kiss to Morpheus' chest, right above the god's beating heart. "For giving me time. For giving me you without asking to have much of me in return."

"You had to heal." Morpheus smiled at him, the expression full of such love and understanding that Ethan thought no human could have affected it. "You still must heal, but the wound is not so deep anymore."

"Neither is yours, I hope," Ethan whispered, nuzzling warm skin and licking down to Morpheus' navel. "The wound left by Caleb... by everyone before me."

"With your help, my wounds are slowly healing," Morpheus moaned, encouraging him down even farther. He couldn't deny Morpheus. He worshipped every inch of skin between navel and sex, and he suckled at the base of Morpheus' beautiful cock. It was perfect, the perfect length and thickness, so perfect that Ethan often wondered if Morpheus had always been this way or if he had taken this form based on his fantasies. "I've been this way a very long time."

Ethan poked Morpheus' ribcage. "Reading my thoughts?"

"I cannot help it when you're thinking so loud," Morpheus chuckled.

"Then you know how much I love your body?"

"Almost as much as you love the rest of me," Morpheus purred, "and it brings me joy to know."

Ethan grinned and continued downward. Given the chance to truly explore, he took full advantage, scooting even lower between Morpheus' legs to lick and suckle at his balls, loving the soft texture of them and the way the attention made Morpheus shift against him.

Morpheus spread his legs wider with a low groan. "I'd almost forgotten how wonderful foreplay could be," he murmured.

Ethan licked lower, dared to circle his tongue around Morpheus' tight hole, and that hiss, the tension that sang through Morpheus made Ethan's cock twitch. "Foreplay is most of the fun," he said, and then began to push his tongue inside.

"I'm beginning to see that!" Morpheus cried, his fingers diving into Ethan's hair as he bucked. "Gods alive, the pleasure!"

Many times, Morpheus had driven Ethan mad with such pleasure, but now it was Ethan's turn, and he was determined to cherish the gift Morpheus was giving him. He wanted to make Morpheus fly, to scream and writhe, to lose control in a way the god never had. That was his goal. Strip away Morpheus' control and leave him trembling and sated in the wake of it all.

His tongue worked in and out of Morpheus until he felt the flesh tremble against him. Only then did he pull back, but just far enough to replace his tongue with two fingers. He imagined them slick with lube and smiled when the thought was made real with just a small effort. He eased one finger inside Morpheus, loving the gasp that accompanied the thrust.

"You're getting... quite good at that," Morpheus laughed breathlessly.

Ethan just grinned. "It's a skill you've helped me with, a power you've allowed me here. Just imagine what great things I can do if I start imagining toys to use on you."

"I've been in the dreams of many people with—ah!—varied imaginations," Morpheus panted, and his fingers tugged lightly at Ethan's hair so he looked up. "I don't want that tonight."

Ethan felt heat move through him. "Not tonight," he agreed with another thrust of his finger. He curved it as he withdrew again, searching for that spot inside. Did gods have that spot, too? As he struggled to find it, he began to truly wonder, but then Morpheus bucked and cried out beneath him, and he couldn't help but smirk as he began tormenting that spot with first one, and then two fingers.

Morpheus was soon writhing on the bed, panting and sweating, as beautiful as any god should be in the midst of such pleasure. It always stole Ethan's breath away. He was this perfect creature's lover. Morpheus' chosen. The one in which all hope was placed for happiness and love. It was a heavy burden, but one Ethan willingly shouldered. If he could lighten the grief of Morpheus' past—even just a little—then he would in any way he could.

"So damn gorgeous," Ethan whispered, rubbing at that raised place inside Morpheus. "You're so unbelievably gorgeous." He then dipped down and drew Morpheus' cock between his lips, moaning. It fit his mouth and throat so well. Morpheus may have had this shape for a long time, but their bodies seemed to have been made for one another.

Morpheus gave a choked cry, his fingers tightening in Ethan's hair. "Ethan!"

He groaned and held tightly to Morpheus' thigh, steadying Morpheus' hip with his other hand. He rose and fell, sucking Morpheus deep into his throat over and over, teasing the head with his tongue every few seconds. Morpheus tugged at his hair, bucked and cried out, but he refused to stop, and his mouth was soon filled with Morpheus' come. It wasn't bitter, wasn't the least bit unpleasant, and the surprise of that sent a jolt of pleasure through Ethan. He redoubled his efforts, sucking passionately at Morpheus to milk every drop, which he swallowed greedily.

When Morpheus finally succeeded in prying him back, he groaned, his eyes hazy as he looked up at Morpheus and panted, "You taste... like a dream."

Morpheus laughed breathlessly, his cock remaining hard, wet from Ethan's saliva. "I taste like a dream?"

"You aren't bitter at all." Ethan pulled his fingers from Morpheus' backside. "I thought it would be just like any other man's."

"I'm not like any other man," Morpheus purred, fingers tracing down Ethan's throat. "I can't believe I'd not let you taste me in all this time."

Ethan kissed from one hip to the other, loving that heat of Morpheus' flesh. "Every time I tried, you'd somehow turn it all back around to be about me."

"I don't think I can do that anymore." Morpheus combed his fingers through Ethan's hair. "I like your mouth too much."

Ethan grinned. "Then I haven't lost my touch. I'd worried."

"Don't worry," Morpheus insisted. "I'm going to keep your mouth very busy from now on."

Ethan groaned, his cock positively aching against the sheets. "Promises, promises." He circled his fingers at Morpheus' entrance. "You ready, or...?"

Morpheus pulled him close, arched his hips. "Yes, Ethan," he said, and Ethan had never thought his name to be as lyrical as that moment.

A thought. It was just a thought, and his cock was slick with lube. He pressed his mouth to Morpheus', drew him into a deep, slow kiss as he pushed against Morpheus, into him. Ethan's breath caught, and his lashes fluttered, and the look on Morpheus' face... the shock, the pleasure, Ethan was so glad to have seen that moment. He'd remember it for all time, the look that had crossed Morpheus' face the first time Ethan had slid into the glorious, tight heat of him.

Ethan let out a shuddering breath as his body rested against Morpheus', joined as deeply as he could manage. He felt Morpheus' legs shift against his sides, curl around him, and when Morpheus' heels actually dug into his ass, trying to pull him deeper, he groaned. "Morpheus..."

"I'd forgotten," Morpheus panted. "It feels... you feel... so good."

"Just getting started," Ethan choked out, making that first rocking thrust. Morpheus' heels dug in again, and he set a rhythm, slow and deep. He'd not always been a bottom; he'd taken other guys before, but he couldn't remember it being this good. None of them could have possibly been as beautiful, as passionate, as perfect as Morpheus was in those moments when pleasure transformed both of them and made everything around them seem to blur and fade away.

Ethan couldn't stop kissing Morpheus. He couldn't not touch the god. Even as Ethan rocked in and out of Morpheus, Morpheus' body clinging to him, he couldn't keep from touching him. He wanted nothing but this, the intimacy, the need, the way Morpheus pulled at him, gasped into his mouth. It was everything he'd ever dreamed about, the bright, vivid fantasy that used to get him through those endless nights in the hospital. When every bit of pleasure had been sapped out of him, all energy lost to illness, the dream of being love, of loving, of intimacy and trust and ecstasy, had kept him company.

"I always heard," Morpheus panted into another series of kisses. "Your dreams... always crying out to me... so much need and fear and grief."

Ethan found his throat tightening up against his will, and he tightened his hold at Morpheus' hip. "Never knew anyone was listening."

"We listen." Morpheus smiled. "Every so often... we can't help but listen."

Ethan gave a breathy laugh, blinking back the sting of threatening tears. "You calling me a loudmouth?"

Morpheus pulled Ethan's lips down to his with a groan. "I love you."

He didn't have to respond. He didn't have to say over and over how much he loved Morpheus, because Morpheus already knew his innermost thoughts, knew that he'd give just about anything to stay in this moment of pleasure with Morpheus forever. He moaned into their kisses as his hips sped up, and the pleasure built and built until Morpheus was squirming beneath him, gasping and tugging at his hair. His hands caressed from Morpheus' nipples down to his straining cock, and he pumped at the length, his thumb rubbing at the slit at the tip.

"Ethan," Morpheus gasped. The dazed look in Morpheus' eyes, the way his hands pulled at Ethan, it was exactly what Ethan had wanted. Ethan wanted Morpheus completely undone. "Ethan!"

Ethan thrust harder, faster, pleasure pulling him down, but he pushed it back, focused on Morpheus. "Yeah, I know," he panted, brushing their lips together. "It's like being broken apart, shattered to bits, but it feels so good, and you know I'll catch every piece... help you put yourself back together."

Morpheus' back arched, and his breath caught as his nails raked down Ethan's back. Ethan knew he'd have bruises along his ass from the pressure of Morpheus' heels. "Ethan—" Morpheus' cry of his name was clipped, ragged, and then he was coming. Ethan hadn't ever seen Morpheus so free, trembling under him, around him, his seed hot over Ethan's hand.

The pleasure of feeling Morpheus' body clenching around him was second only to the pleasure of watching all those emotions wash over Morpheus' face, through those dark brown eyes. Nothing existed but those eyes as the pleasure melded with the sweet pain of Morpheus' nails at his back, and his mouth opened, but only a soft, choked squeak escaped as he thrust deep and finally let go. He wasn't sure if the lights that flashed in his vision were imagined or his thoughts made manifest, but his vision narrowed to just Morpheus' eyes as he came hard, holding tightly to Morpheus as the world around them spun.

It felt like he was falling in slow motion, that weightlessness of climax when the world seemed to fall away, leaving you behind in a warm, comfortable haze. He was floating. No, wait. He was actually floating. As he pulled back from Morpheus' throat, he blinked several times with a soft gasp.

Morpheus was beaming up at him, and a caress to his cheek brought his gaze back to Morpheus' eyes. "So this is how it feels?"

Ethan flushed so hard he felt his pulse in his cheeks.

"It's beautiful," Morpheus purred. "Nothing to be embarrassed about."

The world slowly coalesced around them. The crackling fire, the tree with its lights and ornaments, the walls, the ceiling, and the softness of the bed with all its pillows. It wasn't jarring. As his heart slowed, the world came back to them, and Ethan grinned. "That doesn't usually happen when we make love."

Morpheus kissed Ethan's throat, stroked his hands up and down Ethan's sides. "I don't usually let go."

Ethan shuddered and moaned. "The entire dream world twists and turns to everyone else's whims when you let go?"

"Maybe not everyone's," Morpheus chuckled. "Yours, though. Your mind is powerful, focused. The centaurs have been helping you; I can tell."

"Giltdard has been especially nice." He saw a flicker of jealousy move over Morpheus' eyes and pinched him. "No one but you could make me stop time and space like that. I'm all yours. This Christmas and every moment you have free from your work."

Morpheus closed his eyes for a moment. "I should not be so jealous of your friends."

Ethan nuzzled Morpheus' throat. "No, you shouldn't."

"But I am."

"Because you worry I'll stray... that I'll be tempted away by the wonders you have hidden in your world. I understand, but you don't have anything to worry about," Ethan insisted, winding his finger around one of Morpheus' dark curls. "What can I give you this Christmas?"


"A gift. You deserve one." But he didn't know what he could give of himself to help with that jealousy, to help heal hurts like Morpheus had just done for him. He'd never remember his apartment the same way again, and it made his heart feel lighter than it had before. It was the perfect Christmas gift, and he wanted Morpheus to have that same feeling of receiving something wonderful for the holidays.

"You have given me yourself," Morpheus murmured.

"But it isn't enough." Ethan rested his head on Morpheus' shoulder, making a soft noise when his cock slipped from Morpheus. "If just having me was enough, you wouldn't become restless when I visit the centaurs or take me hard and fast as if you have something to prove when I return from seeing the unicorns."

Morpheus kissed the top of his head. "You've noticed?"

Ethan snorted. "My ass certainly did. You leave me sore for days." He tilted his head up. "What can I give to ease your fears?"

"I don't know."

"Not even a clue?" Ethan sighed softly, not disappointed, but a little annoyed with himself for being unable to come up with something. He traced idle patterns up Morpheus' chest and over to his arm. His fingers trailed along the muscles and tendons, down to his palm, and then it occurred to him. "Would you like to mark me somehow?"

He looked up to see Morpheus frowning. "Mark you?"

"Not like a passion mark," Ethan chuckled. "I don't know what your custom would be. I mean, when people are devoted in my day and age, we exchange rings as a mark, a sign that we're together. Or if someone matters, we get their name tattooed on our skin. Would you like something like that?"

"My name upon your flesh?" Morpheus stared at him.

Ethan smiled at him. "If that would make you happy, more secure in what we have. You can brand my ass with your name."

Morpheus laughed, the sound melodic and deep. "It would not be your ass I would see branded." He picked up Ethan's left hand, ran his fingers up the palm and to his ring finger. "Just here." Morpheus encircled Ethan's finger with his own. A flare of magic and heat so intense, Ethan cried out, and then Morpheus pulled his fingers back.

On Ethan's ring finger, circling it in dark, black ink, was Morpheus' name in its original language. He knew it was Morpheus' real name the same way he knew other things about the Land of Dreams. It was just a certainty, a knowledge of what it said, what it meant. The letters were beautiful, etched in his skin, and Ethan couldn't look away. "Your mark."

Morpheus held up his own left hand, the ring finger bare. "And, if you want me to, I shall wear yours."

"I—I don't know. I mean I want to!" Ethan quickly corrected, his eyes darting up from Morpheus' mark. "I just don't know if I have the skill. What if I accidentally cut your finger off?"

Morpheus chuckled. "Then I imagine it back, whole and unharmed."

"You're sure?" Ethan asked, and when Morpheus nodded, he gingerly took hold of the outstretched hand and bit his lower lip, concentrating. He imagined light, bright and hot, and drew his name in the air over Morpheus' finger. His handwriting wasn't the most elegant around, but it was better than chicken scratch. He imagined the letters, imagined the light piercing Morpheus' skin.

Morpheus' shout shocked him so badly he jumped, his eyes snapping open. "I'm sorry!" he yelped, his heart pounding in his throat. God, he couldn't look. He didn't want to see what sort of damage he'd unwittingly done. He just didn't have the skill!

Morpheus was panting, flexing his hand. "No one... has ever been able to manipulate my form but family." Deep brown eyes focused on Ethan. "Look, Ethan. Look what you—and no one else—have done."

Ethan chewed at his lower lip and tried to steady himself before looking, but when he saw the glimmer of light still at Morpheus' ring finger, his heart was in his throat again. The letters were there, just as he'd imagined them, his name glimmering in his handwriting, almost like the letters had been drawn there in flame. His cheeks flushed at the sense of possession that washed through him. God, he'd done it. He'd actually marked Morpheus. Pleasure and the smallest bit of fear swept through him. He looked up to meet Morpheus' gaze. "They're still written in light. Do—do you want them darker like mine?"

"Do you want it to remain this way?" Morpheus asked, his other hand smoothing up and down Ethan's side.

"It might be distracting like that." Ethan smiled. "Light isn't very permanent, anyway."

Morpheus arched his neck, kissed Ethan softly. "Then turn light into darkness."

Ethan licked his lips and nodded. He stared down at his name on Morpheus' finger, and he concentrated. His eyes narrowed, and he exhaled steadily until it was like his world narrowed to that spot, that intention. Light to dark, light to dark, he kept repeating the words in his mind, and it was as if the light glinting from Morpheus' skin was sucked back into a void, pulled inside Morpheus' body until it disappeared, replaced with darkness.

He let out his next breath in a rush, laughing softly. "Holy shit..." Such a little thing, and yet, it was an accomplishment that made him feel like a million dollars.

Morpheus reached up with that hand, cupped Ethan's face. "You are full of surprises," he murmured.

Ethan grinned, though he knew it was a little goofy and lopsided. "Good ones, I hope."

"Astounding ones," Morpheus chuckled.

"But I wear your mark now," Ethan purred. "How's that for a Christmas and anniversary gift?"

"One year seems such a short time."

Ethan blanketed himself over Morpheus again, settling his head against Morpheus' shoulder. "A blink of an eye... and a lifetime."

Morpheus hugged Ethan, and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing began to play on the radio. "A good lifetime."

Ethan smiled against Morpheus' throat and closed his eyes, savoring the moment. "The best."

All works contained here are copyrighted to K. Piet. No reproduction or usage is permitted without written, express consent by the author.