Imagine

 

Starring Bear and Dragon from Dragon’s Kiss and Shenandoah, books 1 and 2 of the Mother Earth series.

 

 

© Copyright 2010 Ally Blue

 

Dragon knew he was dreaming because of the way Bear walked.

Not that he wouldn’t have guessed anyway. The incongruity of the green grass and warm breeze with the glittering white snow weighing down the branches of the apple trees was a huge clue. In fact, his very presence here in the orchard—naked, with no memory of how he’d gotten here—would’ve told him the nature of what was happening even if nothing else did. But when he saw Bear coming toward him through the trees, that settled it.

In the waking world, Bear hadn’t walked without a limp for a long, long time. Not since the wound that had nearly killed him before they found Shenandoah twelve years ago. In their shared dreams, though, time and scars always fell away and Bear’s stride became strong and sure again, just like it had been when he first walked into Dragon’s life all those years ago.

“Why do you always have snow in your dreams?” Dragon asked as Bear approached.

“I like snow. It’s pretty.” Bear slid both arms around Dragon’s waist, pressing their bare bodies together. “We hardly ever saw it in Carwin, you know.”

“Hm. Makes sense.” Rising on tiptoe, Dragon framed Bear’s face in his hands and kissed him. “So. What do you have in store for us this time?”

His pulse picked up, waiting for Bear’s answer. Over the years, Bear had become incredibly skilled at these visionary dreams, and at sharing them with his lover. Sometimes they spent their dream-time doing nothing but strolling the streets of Shenandoah, or making love in the apple orchard. Other times, they explored the world outside Shenandoah’s lush green valley. During their last shared dream, Bear had taken Dragon to places neither of them had ever been while awake. Dragon wondered if the true-life versions of those places were anything like what Bear had imagined them to be.

Bear shrugged. “I thought we’d try something different this time.”

Considering all the things they’d done in their dreams over the years, Dragon was almost afraid to think of what Bear might consider different. He raised his eyebrows. “Like what?”

A wide smile spread across Bear’s face. “I want to go back to the old world. Before the Change.”

Dragon stared, stunned. “Bear, you can’t take us back in time. You… you realize that. Right?”

Bear laughed. “Of course I do.” He grabbed Dragon’s ass in both hands. “Listen, I’ve always wanted to go back there, you know? Just for a little while. Just to see what it was like. And we’ve learned so much about it since we’ve been here, I just thought, why not re-create it?”

“Re-create it?” Dragon ran a hand down Bear’s chest, savoring the flex of hard muscles beneath his palms, the way the hairs tickled his skin. “Here in your dream?”

“Yeah, why not?” The fingers gripping Dragon’s rear dug in. Released. Dug in again. Kneaded like a cat nesting. Dragon squirmed like he always did, torn between wanting more and wanting to get away. Grinning, Bear tightened his grip. “I know it won’t be exactly right. But who cares? This is just for us. Our own fantasy world. No harm in that.”

Dragon couldn’t think of a single thing wrong with Bear’s plan. He laughed. “You always did dream big, Bear.”

“Uh-huh.” The smile on Bear’s face turned childlike with excitement. “Hold on to me and close your eyes.”

Years ago, Dragon would’ve asked why. Would’ve argued, even. Not anymore. The dreamscape was Bear’s world. Dragon had learned to follow his direction here without question. Clutching his arms around Bear’s neck, he buried his face in Bear’s throat and shut his eyes.

He’d never admit it, but he loved how safe he felt when Bear held him tight against his big, solid body.

There was no movement. Just an odd floating sensation, as if the Earth had lost Her pull on them for a moment.

Instantly, noises assaulted Dragon from all sides. Talking, laughter, the sounds of hundreds of feet passing by. He reluctantly opened his eyes. What he saw made him cling tighter to Bear, shaking. “Great Mother, Bear, what is this place?”

“Same place we always are when we do this. Safe in our dreams.” Bear lifted Dragon’s chin and planted a kiss on his lips. “It’s okay. Look around. Isn’t it amazing?”

Both hands still digging into Bear’s hips, Dragon drew back enough to gaze at the landscape around him. It took him a moment to recognize the mind-numbing structures of Harrisonburg, where he and Bear had first met the Shenandoah Pack. Only here in Bear’s vision, the ruins came alive—the buildings intact once more, the roads smooth and weed-free. The metal machines the ancient society had called “cars” sat here and there on the road.

By far the most wonderful and terrible thing about the whole scene was the people. Mother, there were so many of them. They rushed by in a blur of noise and strange, colorful clothes. Dragon stared, hardly able to believe none of them were real.

“This is…” Dragon shook his head as a young woman walked by, smiling, her bright green dress flowing around her legs. She looked as solid and real as he himself. “It’s incredible.”

“I’ve been thinking about the old world for as long as I can remember. How could I possibly pass up the chance to make it real for us, even if it’s just a dream?” Bear pulled away, took hold of Dragon’s hand and gave it a tug. “Come on. I want to show you something.”

Laughing, Dragon let Bear lead him along the wide strip of short grass running beside the road. “You mean this isn’t enough?”

Bear shot him a sly look. “Trust me.”

Anticipation sent Dragon’s pulse pounding in his ears. He knew better than to trust Bear. Not when it came to the dreamscape. But that tiny, bright thrill of almost-fear was what made it fun.

The two of them threaded their way through the crowd of imaginary people. Not real. None of them are real. It was hard to remember that when Dragon could feel the brush of their clothes against his bare skin as they passed. He had to resist the urge to reach out and grab one of them, just to see if he could talk to them.

Eventually, Bear led him around the corner of a tremendous black metal building and into a large open space dotted with dogwood trees in bloom. In the midst of a wide green lawn stood a long, low white building whose many windows shone in the sun. It looked familiar. Excitement made Dragon’s heart race.

“Oh, Mother.” He glanced sideways at Bear. “Is this what I think it is?”

Bear nodded. “It’s a library, like in those books you found.” He squeezed Dragon’s hand, his smile open and sweet. “I did my best to make it right. I know you’ve always wanted to see one.”

A library. Depositories of books for the ancients. Dragon had seen photographs of libraries, in books the Pack had found in the ruins of Harrisonburg and the unnamed town in the mountains above Shenandoah. But he’d never seen one in real life. Never laid eyes on those endless shelves of books, so many you couldn’t read them all if you spent your whole life at it. The Shenandoah Tribal Council kept a few books the Pack had rescued from the various ruins they’d explored, but those small shelves were nothing like the real libraries from the old world.

Technically, he wouldn’t be seeing a real library this time either. But it was the next best thing.

Smiling, Dragon stepped in front of Bear. “Thank you, Bear.”

Bear tilted his head down for Dragon’s kiss. “You haven’t seen it yet.”

“Doesn’t matter. I love that you did this for me.” Dragon turned and headed for the library building, dragging Bear along with him by the hand. “Let’s go inside. I want to see the books.”

Bear followed him up the gentle slope, through the laden dogwood branches swaying in the breeze, to the shallow steps leading to a set of wooden double doors carved with an intricate flowering vine design. They swung open with a gentle push of Dragon’s free hand.

Dragon walked inside, clutching Bear’s hand tight and trying to look everywhere at once. The room was huge, larger than it had seemed from the outside. Sunshine poured through the tall windows lining every wall, making the very air glow gold. But the thing that caught Dragon’s attention—that stole his breath and made his heart thump with a feeling he couldn’t name—were the books. Shelf after tall oak shelf full of whole worlds created in paper and ink, waiting to be discovered.

He thought he could easily spend days—years, lifetimes—in here, just reading, if only it were real. And Bear, who’d never learned to read himself, had created it all just for Dragon, because he knew Dragon loved books and rarely got the chance to enjoy them.

Moved by a fierce rush of love for the man at his side, Dragon let go of Bear’s hand and threw himself into his Brother’s arms. He didn’t need to say anything. All he had to do was curl his fingers into Bear’s hair, seal his mouth to Bear’s and let the press of his lips and the stroke of his tongue express the gratitude that went too deep for words.

Bear growled low in his throat. His big hands grasped Dragon’s ass in a firm grip and lifted him right off his feet. His cock, already swelling, slid against Dragon’s, and Mother, it felt good, just as good as it always did in waking life. Dragon wrapped his legs around Bear’s waist and rocked his hips.

The hot, hard rub of flesh on flesh sent a wave of shivers down his back. Bear’s finger pushed inside him with a brief dry burn, and Dragon let out a low, desperate moan. He dropped his head, breaking the kiss. “Bear. Please.”

Bear rubbed his cheek against Dragon’s hair. “How do you want it, Brother?”

“Like this. Just like this.” A sudden slick sensation hit Dragon’s cock and his hole at the same time. He let out a soft, helpless sound as Bear’s finger slid deep, nudging the spot inside him that made his limbs shake and his skin pebble. “Oh. Fuck.”

A low chuckle shook Bear’s broad chest. “You ought to be used to that by now.”

Dragon couldn’t summon words, but he managed to lift his face and glare at Bear as he walked them toward the nearest bookshelf. He suspected that Bear used the magic-oil trick in dreams just because he knew it threw Dragon off balance.

Bastard. Dragon bit Bear’s neck, teeth sinking in just short of breaking the skin. Bear hissed. The hand holding Dragon’s weight curled, fingertips digging bruises into his ass, and Dragon smiled against his Brother’s throat. Hopefully, Bear would bring both of their marks with them when they woke.

You’re a bastard of a tease, but you’re mine. “Mine,” Dragon repeated out loud, nuzzling the purpling half-moons he’d left on Bear’s skin. “I love you.”

“And I love you.” Bear’s hips thrust against Dragon’s. The oil eased the slide of their cocks against one another. Bear let out a groan that mirrored Dragon’s. “Oh. Mother. Feels good.”

Dragon didn’t want to talk. He wanted to concentrate on the rub of Bear’s prick on his and Bear’s finger inside him. He tightened his hand in Bear’s curls and wrestled his face downward for a rough, graceless kiss. Locking his ankles at the small of Bear’s back, he rocked his body as best he could. Bear’s cock drove into his with near-painful force, and oh Mother Dragon wanted it.

He braced his back on the shelves, keeping Bear’s mouth locked to his with a firm grip on his hair, and thrust against Bear as hard as he could. Did it again, and again and again. Bear grunted and held on, meeting each of Dragon’s thrusts with his own. The finger inside Dragon pressed without mercy into the magic spot. Every time their groins plowed into each other, the movement jarred Bear’s fingertip, sending sparks skating over Dragon’s skin and pushing him closer to the edge.

The head of Bear’s prick slid over Dragon’s, the movement too fast and too rough and so fucking perfect the tiny still-coherent part of Dragon’s brain wished he could bottle it for later. The thread of fire squirming in his belly coiled tight between his legs. He moaned, his mouth going slack against Bear’s. He thought he felt Bear’s lips shape his name as their mingled seed pumped out of them and spread between their bodies.

They stayed that way for a moment, panting, Dragon’s arms and legs around Bear and Bear’s finger still inside Dragon’s ass. When Dragon’s legs started to cramp—because his mind couldn’t let go of those expectations, even though he knew, logically, that it was a dream and he could wish away the muscle cramps if he wanted—he nudged Bear with an elbow. Bear pulled his finger out and lowered Dragon gently to the ground. By the time Dragon got his feet under him, the semen had vanished from his and Bear’s skin like it had never been there.

Shaking his head, Dragon stretched up on his toes for a long, lazy kiss. “Doesn’t it ever feel weird to you?”

“What, getting off with you in a library?” Bear shrugged, straight-faced. “I don’t know, this was my first time.”

Dragon laughed. “That’s not what I meant and you know it.” He traced the mark of his teeth on Bear’s neck with his fingertips. “I know we’ve been doing impossible things together in dreams for a long time. Being magically clean is pretty minor, really. But sometimes it’s those little things that hit me harder than the big ones. I don’t know why.”

Bear nodded, his expression thoughtful. “I know what you mean. For some reason, the little things make it all seem… I don’t know. More real, maybe.”

It made sense. Dragon looked around at the bright, airy room, the tall shelves full of books surrounding them. If he hadn’t known it was a dream, he’d have believed absolutely in its reality.

In fact, twelve years of dreaming with Bear sometimes made him wonder just what reality was. Bear’s own thought must’ve put these books here. But Bear couldn’t read. Couldn’t write. So why did every book Dragon saw have a title he himself could read? A few he recognized from old-world photos, but most he didn’t. So how did Bear’s mind create book titles when he didn’t even know how to make words? And why did Dragon know, deep in his bones, that no matter which book he plucked from the shelves, he’d be able to read it straight through if he opened it?

He didn’t like to think about that too hard. He pressed close to Bear, his one anchor to the real in all worlds.

Bear’s hand cupped his chin, tilted his face up. Bear smiled, amber eyes crinkling at the corners. “Will you read to me?”

The sweet warmth Bear still made him feel after all these years swelled in Dragon’s chest. He smiled back. “Of course.”

“An adventure.”

“Naturally.” Bear loved tales of adventure. He’d sit and listen eagerly any time Dragon read to him from the few books in the Shenandoah treasury, and he’d often tell wildly embellished versions of his and Dragon’s own adventures to the tribe’s children, who loved it and begged him for more. He’d gained a reputation in the tribe as a gifted storyteller, to his delight.

The fact that a warrior as deadly as Bear had once been took such joy in spinning tales for the children made Dragon love him all the more.

Bear pulled away, took Dragon’s hand and laced their fingers together. “Come on. We need to find the perfect book.”

“Yes. We’ll find it.” His heart full, Dragon followed Bear into the depths of the library, in search of their story.