living_endless: ([spec] with morpheus)
[personal profile] living_endless
It was not unusual for Didi to go months or even years without seeing her younger brother. They'd passed centuries without much more than the exchange of pleasantries, millennia on no more than an afternoon together. That was, simply, how it was for the Endless.

So it was perfectly when he disappeared early in the morning of his first day back from the dead, with only a reluctant promise to meet Didi and her friend at the coffee shop.

Perfectly normal -- but it still had Didi nervous. "Do you think he'll get hot chocolate?" she chattered at Jono. "He should have whipped cream. It'd chill him out."




Jono

//And we want him t'be chilled out, right?// Jono raised an eyebrow slightly, reaching across the table for her hand. //Breathe, luv. It'll be fine.//

He was confident enough about this. That was possibly because Jono had a very lacking imagination when it came to things that could go wrong when meeting the family, apparently.



Didi

"Easy for you to say," Didi said wryly. "You don't even have to breathe."

Had he totally forgotten how they weren't even supposed to be together according to her family? Because Didi hadn't.

Still. he was confident. She could be confident. She managed a very shaky smile.



Jono

And he gave her hand a squeeze. He hadn't forgotten, no. But Del had seemed okay enough with it. Both Dels, now, actually. And he'd even given the island's resident Delirium a job on Tuesday, which had to count for something? Maybe?

Yes, Dream wasn't Delirium. He was pointedly trying to ignore that part.

//Yes, yes, rub it in,// he replied, though his tone was gentle as he did so. //Panicking isn't going to do any good, is it?//



Didi

Didi squeezed his hand back. Dream wasn't Delirium, but it did count for something.

"It might make me feel better?" she tried. "I don't know. I don't usually panic. I have no idea what it might do."

Still, she did seem to be calming. He had that effect on her.



Jono

//Mostly, it would probably leave yer makeup running,// Jono mused. He was so very helpful that way. //Can I get you anything while we wait? Tea? Decaf? I can't imagine th'caffeine in most of these drinks would help you relax at all, unfortunately.//

And now he was filling in the dead air with words, something to focus on. Silence and thinking only led to more panic.



Didi

Didi rolled her eyes at the make-up comment, but she appreciated the effort he was putting into calming her down. "Tea would be okay," she said. "Ask them to put honey in it? I like honey."

Blah, blah, blah, and she had one eye on the door.



Jono

//Tea,// Jono agreed. //With honey. I'm certain that can be arranged.//

He gave her hand a small squeeze, and then pushed his chair back, making his way to the counter, practically walking backwards in order to get there. After all, he had to keep an eye on Didi, too.



Dream

The black-haired man in the swirling cloak had waited until the boy had gotten to the counter before entering, and he waited for a moment, indecipherable, before coming over to her table.

"Sister."



Didi

"Hey there, little brother," Didi said. You'd have to know her well to notice the steel she was putting into her voice; it was casual on the surface. "Where'd you run off to?"



Dream

"Here and there. I felt it prudent to...orient myself," he replied, looking down at her.

His Eldest sister's love for mortals was no secret, but Dream wanted to see this place she had claimed for herself before passing judgment.



Didi

A slight smile crossed Didi's face. She didn't think of Fandom as a place for her to claim as her own, but she suspected correctly that her brother thought of it that way.

"And what did you find?" she asked, a bit archly. "There's some nifty wildlife in the woods -- talk to any blue deer?"



Dream

"You're teasing me again."

She did that a lot. Even dead, an anthropomorphic personification couldn't get any respect.



Didi

"Duh." Apparently Dream wasn't getting eloquence, any more than he was getting respect. Didi gave him a fond look, then her eyes skittered to the counter. "You'll be nice to Jono? I know you don't do nice, but ... just once?"



Dream

A rare flicker of humor crossed his face. "I am Dream, sister," he reminded her, "Not 'Devotion' or 'Dulcet' or 'Delight.'"

"But I will do my best."

Morpheus wasn't completely without a sense of whimsy.



Jono

Of course Jonothon had seen the man come in. He'd been keeping an eye out for Didi, after all. He'd also given them a moment to get settled, to talk, to... Something. And when he finally returned, it was with two drinks in hand.

//Tea. With honey. Hot,// he greeted, setting it down in front of Didi. //Hot chocolate for you, mate. With whipped cream. Didi's idea.//

Ordering a second drink had given him an excuse to linger at the counter longer to get his nerves up.



Didi

Didi smiled ruefully and sipped her tea to settle her nerves. "Dream, this is my boyfriend, Jonothon Starsmore. Call him Jono. Jono, this is my younger brother Dream. Call him Morpheus."

She hesitated. "I feel like I should say 'I suppose you're wondering why I called you here today...'"



Dream

"You called me here because you wanted me here, Sister," he pointed out, ever logical. But to put Death -- and the boy -- more at ease, he took a seat.

"A pleasure, Jonothon."



Jono

//Th'pleasure is all mine, Morpheus,// Jono replied, nodding just slightly as he set the other drink down on the table, and then pulled his own chair up, again.

His heart wasn't racing, he wasn't short of breath, his mouth wasn't dry. It was always so easy for him to pretend that he wasn't ill at ease, in moments like this. Nothing more to react to than a constant, unsettling tingle in the back of his head.

//I have to confess, I'm not much good at conversation.//

A lie. He was excellent at conversation. He just had no idea what to say to the dead brother of his girlfriend, Death. Somehow, 'Hi, I understand I'm not supposed to date your sister and you probably hate me for this,' didn't seem like a good topic.



Didi

"He's great at conversation," Didi supplied. (Someone had to be calm. It might as well be her.) "Brother, Jono's a musician. You should hear him play sometime."



Dream

Morpheus was perfectly calm, thank you. He was never not-calm.

"Really?" He turned his dark eyes on the boy, looking him over with a bit more interest. "What is your preferred genre?"



Jono

//Well, I'll listen to anything,// Jono replied, thankful for a topic of conversation that seemed, well, normal, in the face of a situation that just a moment ago had felt as though it was leagues above his head. //And I dabble a bit in whatever feels right at th'time. Back in London, when I was playing for audiences,// small ones, //it had been mostly grunge, though.//

Grunge had put a bit of food on the table, now and then. That used to be pretty important.



Didi

Normal. This was all so very normal, and that was new in itself.

"He taught me how to play guitar a little," she said. "Just a little, though. I'd rather listen than play."



Dream

"I think I'd like to hear you play sometime," he replied. "The idea of my elder sister picking up a guitar is an intriguing one."

It was a very human hobby for her to pick up, after all.

"Perhaps the two of you would be so kind as to treat me to a duet while I am here."



Jono

If Jono had been able, here would be the point where he'd go right ahead and cough into his hand. Barring that, he was just going to smirk faintly around the corners of his eyes.

//We'll get her to sing, then.//

He strongly suspected that they were going to be subjecting Morpheus to the handful of Disney songs that he knew how to play. Otherwise it would be that stunning if lopsidedly energetic number they'd come up with one day that went, 'Jono... and Didi... and Jono... and Didi!'



Didi

Hey now. Didi also knew the lyrics to several Beatles songs and a double handful of vaudeville numbers.

... all right. Disney was probably a better bet than "Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay!".

"If you don't mind being subjected to my voice," she assented cheerily. "We have to go to the general store, too, while you're here. I've worked there most of the year."

Speaking of human pursuits, yes.



Dream

"She sings?" If it was possible for Morpheus' eyebrows to escape his head completely, they would have been raised that high, although he tried to cover his shock by sipping at the hot chocolate. "That might be...educational."

And excellent blackmail, were he still alive, and she not a mortal.



Jono

//She has a perfectly lovely, if somewhat untrained, singing voice,// Jono found himself insisting. Tactfully.

Well, her singing voice was certainly better than his, wasn't it?



Didi

Didi snorted. "He flatters me," she said. "Jono, honey, I'm old enough that it was going to get better, it would have by now. I can just manage to carry a tune and I don't care."



Dream

Honey. Morpheus choked on his whipped cream and started coughing before he got himself under control.

"Sister, you cannot give me a heart-attack if I am already dead." The implication being that she was being a brat on purpose, much to his annoyance. "You know the rules."



Jono

Jono actually allowed himself a moment to draw a little bit of selfish joy from the fact that Morpheus had choked, there.

Never let it be said that Jonothon wasn't capable of being perfectly petty.

//She knows them very well, yes,// he replied, leaning back a little in his seat. //Do the rules forbid pet names? I was always fuzzy on that part.//

Jono. Behave.



Didi

... not helping, Jono. Didi winced; she hadn't realized what a slip the endearment was.

"They better not," she said, then babbled. "Well. I guess I wouldn't mind if they forbade really mushy ones, like Snooky-wookums or Blondie Bear. But those are just kind of punishment for everyone around you."



Dream

"The rules forbid pet names by association, considering what it is that they say," Morpheus replied before turning his attention to his sister. "You know what Nada told me. She was right."

It is not given to mortals to love the endless. Only disaster can follow from it.



Jono

//Brilliant,// Jono mumbled to nobody in particular, directing a dirty look in the direction of Didi's brother. But beyond that, he said nothing. Whatever this was, it was out of his reach, and pushing any more than he already had couldn't possibly end well.

He'd liked both of the Deliriums so much more.



Death

Didi folded her arms, meeting Dream dead in his not-eyes. "Yeah, well, when you get stuck as a human for months and months, then tell me how you feel about that rule," she said flatly. She'd been apologizing for her relationship all year and she was sick of it. "You and Nada were you and Nada. This is different."

It still had to end when she was done with ... whatever this interlude was. Too dangerous, to date a mortal when you had power over life and death themselves. She knew that.

It didn't mean what she had with Jono now wasn't valuable.



Dream

It would be childish to say 'he started it,' wouldn't it?

Morpheus put his cup down on the table very calmly, and very carefully. "Boredom is no reason to play one of Desire's games, sister," he replied. "I simply have no wish to see you end up like Despair or Delight over a mortal boy."

Or like himself.



Jono

At that, Jono's expression simply went more grim. He knew that this man was trying to get a rise out of him, or out of Didi, or...

Or something.

And the insinuation that this was nothing more than a means to pass the time, that what was there between himself and Didi was all in his head and he was a toy to be trifled with because she was bored...

//It's not a game,// he said, his voice completely devoid of any nuance at all. Flat. Hollow.

His hands had curled into fists, resting on the tabletop. He was staring them down.



Didi

"Leave our siblings out of this," Death said. (She wasn't Didi, then. Not really. Her age shone in her eyes, and her very skin had gone paler.)

"I'm not doing this because I'm bored, or because our sister-brother is toying with me, or any of that. I'm doing this because I fell in love. Have the grace not to insult the object of my affections in front of him."

Seriously. Her hand crept over, patted Jono's. "Now let's change the topic before I bring up Thessaly and scare Jono away."



Dream

Yes, let's not bring up how Death let very dangerous little witches wander around, un-aging, and generally getting her brother into knots because he didn't know how to deal with her. Morpheus was convinced his sister played favorites.

"I believe she's living under another name now, if you'd care to look her up," he said, sipping his lukewarm chocolate. "Although I did not mean it as an insult to Jonothon in particular, I simply worry about my favorite sister. My apologies."



Jono

//Mm. Accepted.// No, not really. But that was how exchanges like this one were supposed to go, weren't they? Especially while attempting to make a good impression.

Not that Jono was terribly concerned about the impression that he made to Morpheus, so much as the fact that he was now trying to spare Didi any measure of grief from this coffee date. //I try not to make myself into cause for worry, mate.//



Didi

Because it was totally Death's job to just kill people she didn't like very much. That was why Lyta Hall had dropped de -- oh, wait, she was still out there too.

Death was patient and relentless; she came for all. Someday Thessaly's luck would run out and she'd be waiting. Until then, she had very little choice but to let her go.

Not that she could do anything about it at the moment, anyhow.

"It's all right," she said sulkily before shifting into a more teasing tone. "Don't worry so much. It's bad for you."



Dream

"It's bad for me," he echoed dryly, looking at Jono. "Is she always this bossy?"



Jono

//Not always,// Jono replied, casting a significant look in Didi's direction. //Not unless I'm asking for it, at any rate.//



Didi

"I've always been bossy," Didi contributed fondly. "You've just had time to forget, brother."

It seemed as though they'd skated to the brink of disaster and backed away. Death was Didi again, and grateful for it.



Dream

"Maybe." His not-eyes crinkled up in mirth. "But you're as hard-headed and sure of yourself as usual. That I remember."

"Did you knew she threw a loaf of bread at me once?"



Jono

//Were you askin' for it?// That was actually said about as pleasantly as Jono could allow. He wasn't surprised in the least that there would be bread-flinging going on, somewhere through all that.

Especially not when Didi had a younger brother who somehow came off as even more hard-headed than he was.



Didi

"Yes," Didi said. "And I'd do it again if I had the chance."

This was a compliment. She didn't know Daniel well enough to throw a loaf of bread at him yet.


[OOC: Preplayed with [livejournal.com profile] icecoldfrost and [livejournal.com profile] furnaceface. NFI.]

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Didi (Death of the Endless)

October 2015

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