Half Moon Bay Weyr - Barracks - Corrals

In a cold sweat, Sevran is startled awake. He stares at the darkness above him and takes slow, measured breaths, letting the last of the adrenaline fade away. He doesn’t need to look to know it’s past midnight. It’s the same every time. It’s been the same every night for a sevenday. Sometimes a nightmare, sometimes not. Although even the not-nightmares were sometimes nightmares of another sort.

Knowing that sleep will not come the rest of the night, Sevran pushes himself upright. He dresses as quietly as possible, loathe to waking anyone. He fishes around for his boots, finds one and then the other, but keeps them in his hands as he stands. With the kind of sure steps that comes from habit, he leaves his cot behind and heads for the door.

He is on autopilot as he walks through the darkened tunnels of the Weyr, letting his body carrying him along a familiar path, lost in his thoughts. He had dreamed of Cora. He hasn’t dreamed of her in Turns, and the irony was not lost on him that it was her body that showed up tonight. Almost an exact opposite to the one he wanted. This time, she had appeared as a temptress in that stupid red dress she always insisted on wearing whenever an occasion remotely called for it. But this time the dream was different. This time, when she smiled at him in a way that said ‘yes’ and her body yielded under his hands, he was the one to say no. Because her green eyes are the wrong color, and her sensual body is the wrong shape. Because the taste and the smell of her is not what he craves.

He rubs a hand over his face, banishing her to the back of his mind. What a sick, twisted unconscious he must have, to dredge up that particular dream.

When he reaches the exit to the Bowl, he pauses in the shadows to pull on his boots. With a long exhale and a roll of his shoulders, Sevran sets his expression to determined and starts off across the Weyr Bowl. He walks with purpose, his whole posture saying ‘I belong out here,’ and he moves with a clear destination in mind.

He’d been doing this for a while, and so far no one had stopped him. If you act like you belong there, no one questions you. It helps that the white-knot has been left on his cot in the barracks. There is nothing to distinguish him as a candidate, and the moonlight does not offer enough illumination for anyone to recognize him from any sort of distance.

The bracing winter air is very welcome, and Sevran allows it to cool the last of the lust lingering in his blood. As the shape of the fence marking the edge of the feeding grounds comes into view, he quickens. He follows the fence line until the tree comes into view. At its base is a small basket of glows, carefully hidden in a knot and twist of the roots. Tonight, though, the moon offers enough light for him to see and he bypasses the tree without stopping.

A quick hop over the fence, a quick jog across the pasture, and he’s found his destination. A small rock ledge, about six feet from the floor. Low enough for him to reach, high enough to be out of the way. Long and smooth enough that he can stretch out and laydown without feeling cramped. It’s here that he settles, one hand folded behind his head, the other resting on his stomach. A clear view of the night sky spread out over him. The cold of the rock starts to seep into him through the thin shirt, but he doesn’t mind.

Only now, truly alone and out where he felt comfortable, could he let his thoughts go to where they really wanted to be. It took no effort at all to call J’en’s image to mind. Most days, he felt more like he had to force the bronzerider out of his head, rather than invite him in. With a soft exhale, Sevran closes his eyes and sinks into his thoughts.

Always now, the first memory isn’t a memory at all, but a nightmare of his own making. He’d wanted to know what could cause such a pain, and now he knew. Sometimes, it was almost more than Sevran could handle, and a rage that he had never before felt, but was rapidly become familiar, would bubble up and make him see red. Sevran had never wanted to kill someone before, but he felt he could do it quite easily if the right person was on the other end of his knife. But what difference would it make, truly? The damage was done. The action that he wanted to take should have been taken Turns ago by someone else. He couldn’t fix it, as much as he wanted to.

The nightmare follows him like a ghost, tearing into his thoughts at the most inopportune moments, having ripped away the peaceful world that Sevran thought he had lived in. That world is gone, and he can’t get it back. But he doesn’t want it back. He’d made his choice on the beach. He had no regrets and he wasn’t going to back down.

And now, he’s back in the grotto, his thoughts taking him somewhere that he can’t go physically. He’s watching J’en sleep, looking so vulnerable. He lingers on this image, on the softness of his expression, of the curl of his hand by his head, and the soft rise and fall of his chest as he breathes. He looked peaceful, but Sevran knew better. It makes Sevran want to protect him. From the pain, and the rage, from the longing and the despair. From the hopelessness that drags him under and tries to drown. He knew a little of it, but how much did J’en actually keep for himself?

‘Share it with me,’ is what Sevran wants to say but won’t. ‘Give me the pain so you don’t have to feel it.’

And then the fire and the ice. The rage that spilled out as Sevran pushed him to his limits. It was better, so much better, than the icy mask of nothingness that the bronzerider usually wore. The snarls and the glares. He pushed to get a reaction and he got one. And then he pushed some more.

‘You can’t scare me’.

And then the hands around his neck, those beautiful golden eyes on that snarling and seething face as the two of them balance on a precipice.

‘Go ahead,’ Sevran thinks. ‘I’m stronger than you think I am. And I’m still not afraid.’

And he wasn’t. It was a revelation that came just as those long-fingered hands close around his neck and his vision was filled with seething, fire-spitting rage. He did not underestimate J’en’s ability, or his willpower. He could kill if he wanted to. But Sevran had suddenly been confident that the bronzerider would not kill him.

If choking him is what J’en needed, then Sevran would let him choke him. If hitting him is what he needed, then Sevran would take the hit. It didn’t matter; what mattered was J’en and the wounds that he held. Despite what the bronzerider might think, Sevran knows he isn’t beyond hope. He has the image of his smile, the sound of his laugh, to cling to. Undisputable proof that there was something beneath the pain and rage.

Leave him the fuck alone? Not a chance.

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