As I Lay Me Down
Background info on Sandman: kkk.. this is going to be super brief. Basically, there exists 7 Endless, listed from the eldest to the youngest: Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium (who used to be named Delight) They co-exist along with the Egyptian, Hindu, Greek myths, Hell, Heaven, and all its angels. The series is fascinating, with 10 anthologies in all, written by Neil Gaiman. This is my poor attempt at writing it ^^;; Don't hurt me...
Notes:... the beginning quote's straight from the.. fourth? anthology, a bit paraphrased but there ya go ^_^
As I Lay Me Down
Sophie B. Hawkins
As I lay me down to sleep this I pray
That you will hold me dear
Though I'm far away
I'll whisper your name
Into the sky, and I will wake up happy
I wonder why I feel so high
Though I am not above the sorrow
For one day within every century, Death assumes the burden of flesh and blood and enters the mortal world. Perhaps to renew the ties between herself and the souls she cares for. Or perhaps to remind her of the frail threads to the living the Grey Sisters weave.
No one knows except Destiny. And he keeps his own counsel as always.
The dark haired young woman clucked her tongue as she watched the scene in the hospital room, unseen by any of its occupants. The young mother laboriously giving birth to her first child would be hers very soon. The woman was too frail to have children really, but the couple had wanted a child so badly... and even in this supposedly technologically advanced age couldn't afford an artificial birthing. She eyed the obviously worried man by the woman's side, a steady stream of curses, pleas, and prayers issuing from between half clenched teeth as he gently wiped away his wife's sweat with one hand and grasped her hand with the other.
Death silently materialized at the head of the bed, patiently waiting for the soul to emerge.
She had forever.
The next thing she knew, *she* was the one heaving and groaning on the bed. The mother's soul had already departed, that much she was sure of. The young woman whose body she was so charmingly in possession of was no longer in this body.
Well shit, Death though wryly, clamping down on a scream as an agonizing, steady pain, starting from her lower back, rippled downwards and blossomed in a violent burst of pain to her lower stomach. She was animating, essentially, a dead body. One that was determined to give birth, with or without the original owner inhabiting it.
After at least 10 more hours of steady labor, the baby had finally been born. Too exhausted and numb to speak, she managed a vague sort of smile as the doctor placed a red and fuzzy bit of a human in her arms. The young woman's husband lay on a cot within the same room, his loud snores the only sound in the hospital room. He had stayed by her side the entire time.
Death felt an unexpected, pure rush of maternal pride when the newborn shifted closer to his heat source, yawning with his eyes closed. Well, well... wouldn't her siblings be amused she thought wryly. What should I call you little one.
Impossibly, the baby's delicate eyelids fluttered open, revealing deep violet eyes, the rich, multi-hued color of twilight before nightfall. She caught her breath at the sight. He blinked and stared directly at her, as if recognizing her as as an imposter within his birth mother's body. Then he crooked a small smile, acknowledging her effort to bring him into the living, ironic considering her occupation. Then those perfectly focused eyes, framed by impossibly long lashes, fell closed once more. He too had labored equally hard to live.
Dream of the Endless watched, bemused, as his older sister continued to rant. He had never seen her like this... at least he didn't carry any traces of memories from before. Reflexively, even after several centuries had passed, he stroked the brilliant emerald jewel hanging in stark contrast to his white robes. When she had called him, Dream had been... surprised. Though their relationship had become much closer than the time he wasn't himself, but really he was... He was starting to think like Delirium, not a good sign.
They had certainly drawn closer, though they remained independent, as the rest of their family was wont to.
"So he opened his eyes and smiled. Babies do this usually... do they not?"
Death blew at straggling strands of rich brown hair from her face. "Not a scarce five hours after they're out of the womb! He *knew* I wasn't his mother, it was in his eyes."
"Ahh..." He was understandably hesitant to speak in the face of her... forceful personality.
She rolled her eyes, cooling off a bit. Her brother could be such a wuss sometimes, especially with women. "Yeah, oh."
"What can I do to help then, sister." He gestured rather helplessly. "My realms encompass the living and their dreams not.. suckling babes."
"Yeah, well... The baby's asleep now."
It took him a moment to register her matter of fact statement.
He nodded, "Very well. Through from few past experiences babies' dreams are very... chaotic."
Death suddenly smiled. "That's why I called in an expert."
From the shadows, the youngest of their family, Delirium, cautiously stepped into the quiet hospital room, her shock of orange hair curly and untamed. "Hi, Death." Her mismatched eyes of blue and green widened slightly as she took in the sight of her silent brother. "Umm, hi, Dream." Nervous in his presence, she let loose a few glittering, translucent butterflies. They fluttered in the air, before settling all around Death's bed. "So umm... like I think I'm here to help coz you called me, Death but without my sigil. Can you do that?... but you *did* do that, so I guess you can, umm.. hi."
Death grinned at her younger sister, "How'd you like to meet your nephew, Auntie Del?"
Dream just brushed away the few of the more inquisitive butterflies that chose to flutter around his shock-white hair. They morphed into singing stars that fell, dissipating into the air and leaving only traces of their glittering fall.
Dream and Delirium slowly made their way into the newborn's sleeping consciousness. Their older sister, still caught within the mortal's body, remained behind in the waking world.
The air was thick and viscous, almost liquid like as the two walked sluggishly through. It was warm within the dream, the heat of a steaming shower after a walk in the rain. A baby's dream was a delicate thing, the dreamer oft starting awake and then falling asleep again in intervals. Images in translucent, glittery rainbows shifted in and out of existence, delighting Delirium to no end. *This* was a world she could understand and indulge in. Dream mildly noted that his sister too began to blur in and out, matching the strange existing pulse of the dream shifts.
"Yes, sister?" She fuzzily materialized before him, outline blurring with the air.
"If there are two babies, does that mean I have to be two Auntie Dels?" She split into two, humming and rocking an imaginary babe in her arms. "Cause I can do that, but only if Death wants me to. Be two Dels that is."
"Two?" There were indeed two living presences within the dream, which meant two souls within the body as well. "My sister, ask them how they came to be there."
Delirium shuttered in and out of vision, her blinking reminiscent of speech patterns in an unknown tongue.
"There's two there, and there used to be one, and he was there before Death came when there was another person not Death there, she's gone now cause she left when Death came with another person and there's two here now. So can I be two Dels?"
Dream pressed forefinger and thumb to the bridge of his nose. That night, dreamers awoke with a throbbing headache.
"What do you mean there's *two* of them?" She peered at the baby almost suspiciously. The nurse had allowed her some time with the baby. "Bonding" time she supposed. The husband had been sent home, leaving with a fond kiss on her slumbering cheek and one last wave at their baby through the nursery window. Death supposed it was for the better. Waking up to a dead wife in the hospital room would be rather traumatizing.
Dream shrugged in reply and stared fixedly at a sapphire blue spider which was weaving gem bright webs along the hem of his white robe. Delirium had long since lost interest and disintegrated into dozens of starlings, flying shrieking and cackling out into the night.
She cradled the baby a bit more, on alert if he opened his eyes again. She didn't have much time in this mortal body, her 24 hrs. almost being up. Death eyed her younger brother who was still staring bemusedly at the busily weaving spider. "Got any suggestions? Ideas? Anything?"
"Perhaps sister, if you were to speak with one of the souls, one of them having arrived with you. You would be able to speak to them?"
"Then we'll have to wait until my time in this body is up."
Silence descended. Death continued cooing at the baby, and Dream stared studiously at the spider.
He pretended not to hear his sister's whispered words.
-I would've made a great mom, little one.-
Dream thought, perhaps, that he could see a pattern in the webs.
With no little regret, Death gazed down at the baby nestled in the dead woman's arms. She gently closed the staring hazel gold eyes of the body she had temporarily inhabited. She only had a few minutes before the nurse would come in. The black haired figure tapped a leather clad foot impatiently. "I'm waiting."
The baby blinked... and opened those strange violet eyes once more, focusing with an unnerving intensity on her. -Yes, mother?-
"Cut the crap, junior, where'd you come from?"
The baby seemed amused. -I came from you.-
"Bullshit, where's the real baby?"
A frown crinkled the delicate skin. -He... is still with me. It is strange. *He* should have died with the other woman but didn't. He remained with this body. I came from you, I think, when you animated the woman. So there are two of us.-
Death massaged her temples with one hand and with the other beckoned her brother forward. "Any suggestions, bro?"
He shifted uncomfortably. "Both souls have the right to the body, yet only one can remain."
She cocked her head wryly, "Well, duh."
She ran frazzled fingers through her already tousled black hair. "Ok, ok, ok... One of you come with me."
No response stirred from the newborn. Then, -What will happen?-
She sighed, "Well, we'll have to see. I can't do anything now, but one of you is just going to have to leave. A body can not support two souls. I'll have to consult the Grey Sisters."
Death murmured, "Is that reasonable?"
Death quirked a brow, "Got any other suggestions?"
The man shrugged, sending the spider swinging wildly as his robes flared. "An you will."
"Hmmph." She turned back to the baby. "Which of you will come with me?"
The babe's eyes closed, seeming to draw within itself to consult. The eyes then opened, this time one a familiar purple, the other a piercing blue. Idly she noted that they were the same startling blue of the father...
-*He* will go with you, mother. This body is no longer his, though...- he voice grew wistful. -Though we have grown used to being together....-
Death smiled a little sadly as one soul took leave of the other. "If the Kindly Ones will it, you'll meet again." She let her hand hover over the baby, *her* baby, for a while. Then she left, taking the lost soul with her.
Dream lingered for a moment, gazing down on his nephew. "I can only offer you dreams and hope, little one. Will you accept my gift?"
"I do, thank you.. uncle."
He brushed a pale, slim hand over the baby's eyes, closing them with a sprinkle of sand. Then, he too took his leave of the sleeping babe.
The spider followed him into the dream realm.
Blue eyes met purple, even as the short haired boy made to leap into the ocean, both ignoring the piercing protests of the girl next to them.
-I know you.-
Death laughed, amused. "Duo, little Shinigami. How appropriate your names are." Idly, she wondered if her son realized just *how* far back his need for a partner, a double, had existed. Perhaps only in his dreams. She then made her way over to view her foster son. "Heero. One." She clucked her tongue. "What a mess, eh Dream?"
Her brother stepped from the shadows. "Apparently their brief time together had more lasting effects than we thought possible."
She watched the two boys for a while, almost brooding over the roles the two had been neatly piled into. "Maybe I should've just taken one... or both of them."
"It was not your right to do so. The Weird Sisters had already made their plans for the two known." The blue spider which they thought to have been left by their younger sister was in fact a messenger from the Three Fates.
"Yeah, but..." She sighed then shook herself. "Hey, got a spare loaf of bread on you?"
"C'mon, let's go find a park, I heard that the pigeons in Washington Square are starving."
*snickers* And of course, Death trailed behind her two sons, and Dream visited them both in their slumber. And the two Endless had the sneaking suspicion that Delirium very much dropped in on her nephews and associates once in a while which would explain the Zero system very well =p
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