Desire's Dance with Death:

BY : VladimirHarkonnen
Category: Comics > The Sandman (Vertigo Comics) > The Sandman (Vertigo Comics)
Dragon prints: 135
Disclaimer: I do not own Sandman or any of the characters from the Sandman Universe. No profit is intended by writing this fanfiction.


            Death of the Endless was quiet, restless, worried. Even bored, though this was a thing she knew would pass with time. And time, ironically, was something she would wind up with more of than Time himself or her own mother, Night. Hers was a task to outlive the universe and all her family, and others of them had resented her for it. Destruction had tried to talk to her about it and dared to pity her and that had led to some fairly harsh arguments between them that did not work out so well for either one of them, in the end. They’d had to do with her own part of why he left. Since Dream had changed first with the transformation of Daniel Hall, and then with the business with the AI, Wan, she’d felt a hint of the same elements that must have been part of what compelled Destruction to change.

            Her siblings had long speculated that if any of them would outlive the universe, she would be the one. What they did not know, or want to fully accept, was that Death had outlived not one but several universes, and not in the sense of the various Crises that the mortals went through, and with them most of the Endless. The reason that she was no longer (though once, in a real sense, she had been) bound by the rules that linked other beings in this universe was that she was not of this universe, and had not been since the very first one, long, long ago.

            It wore on her to live so many of the same things again and again, to see her siblings repeat the same mistakes. She knew that Dream’s various children, and those of Desire, were plentiful lessons on some things, and that the children of the Endless deformed reality only a little less than the Endless themselves. She knew that others of the Endless, Delirium and Desire and even Destiny, had more active lives on such things than she did. It wasn’t a big deal to her, not really. She’d had her fun a few times, almost always with women.

            Then there was Hazel MacNamara, whom she’d had more than a slight crush on herself, and with careful requests from Dream, who was eager to answer the requests of a sister that he, and all of them, felt was beginning to estrange herself the way Destruction had, she had returned to Hazel’s dreams, several of them…erotic. And had awoken from some of them with feelings on her lips and her body that were wondrous.

            A later dream had seen Hazel’s lover, Foxglove, standing next to her and glaring and ultimately making Death leave, but not without another kiss. Even then Hazel had become something of a frequent….acquaintance of Death’s, who ached for things in a manner she had not in a long time. That wasn’t what was driving her rift with her family, a sense of everything just catching up to her, of the grief and loss of burying the same siblings again, from the same kinds of errors. Despair too trusting and too hopeful, Dream too rigid and too honour-bond to let himself loose.

            And then this new silliness with the Nth Metal, with Barbatos, and she was just sick of it all, sick of all the continual patterns whereby wonder ebbed and flowed and each high tide of new marvels brought old sufferings nigh.

            Death sat on her couch wearing nothing but a pair of boyshorts, too bored and too out of it to get dressed, even as the rest of her was spread throughout the multiverse, doing things. And paying a visit and a courtesy call to one Doctor Stephen Strange, who needed to consult Death but didn’t want to consult that Thanos-obsessed bitch in his own universe. At least this time she wasn’t dealing with Thanos himself, nor his attempts to contact her and to woo her, nor the sense of very real fear she’d felt when she’d been in his dimension and he’d held the Infinity Stones together in a great gem and had pressed himself against her and forced her to kiss him and things had gone on from there.

            She had not liked it and preferred to repress that memory, even if it had had a great deal more to do with what was happening with her, and for her, and as she was.

            No, much of it simply was that she was tired, and that this too was its own cycle. In the beginning she was close to all the family, then to Dream in the last fervent hopes and well…. dreams…that the cycle would not repeat. Now……

            Destruction had tried to abandon his post. To become something other than what he was. She was not going to do that, as she mused on her couch, feeling her bare flesh against the sofa, relaxing a little at the reminders of something like what she was not. She could not leave her position anyway, she’d already tried and given him the idea and where his function worked well enough without his oversight and where dreaming had continued, if breaking down, absent dream, if she left her function it ground to a halt.

            She could be Death of the Endless without answering Destiny’s summons, without being snared in the will of her siblings. And this was what she was aiming to do.

            Unknown to her, and unexpectedly, Desire, who had been estranged from her more than most following a time in the far past when Desire had seen her hard and cold and brittle and tried two things to get her out of it, one a relationship that had been induced in her and another woman, in the very far past. This woman, a lady of Muspelheim, had taken the news extremely poorly when she’d found out, wounding Death badly with a sword of fire and then going straight for Despair of the Endless, to wound Desire where it would hurt xir most.

            Despair had perished at the hilt of a sword, wielded by one who had been driven into the brink of her realm and into a calculated act of malice. And the Jotunness who had done the deed had been transformed in turn, remade into the Second Despair. Each and every time Death saw her sister as she was now, she could not unsee that person that Desire had manipulated into that action, into that fate. Then Desire had decided to try this on Dream and had done so with Kilalla of the Glow and that had led to the decisions at the parliament that set up rules that affected her siblings. Death was not bound by them. She could, if she wished, desire to subvert and to avert everything about them.

            And yet, that meant that Despair and Death were the most estranged of all the Endless, and there was nothing Despair had done wrong except continuing to exist as she did and each time Death saw her eyes, she could not but fall into Despair’s realm, often quite literally and it took her a long time to leave. There was a depth of sorrow and of shame in all this, with Death wanting to change in a way but too stubborn and feeling she dishonored the memory of the person who had been and if she did accept it then that just….

            Thinking of her first love, induced though it was (and that had been enough to turn away from anything but the most frantic and secretive couplings), and of all else that was with it, drew her into an agitated state. Her wings flared into existence in a visible sense and flapped, the countless eyes within them that let her ‘see’ where she needed to go blazing with a tangible light, and she shuddered, feeling a sense of deep anxiety.

            Then Desire had come to her after the death of Morpheus, seeking solace in ‘companionship.’ She had been stricken too deeply by guilt to even suspect that there was something more to it, and Desire had neatly pressed her onto her own couch with xir lips, slipped her on the couch, xir hands had roved along her body, and from there things had taken a course she neither expected nor predicted, nor could she fully explain.

            After the incident with the Jotunn, after the incident that had concluded in the literal murder of one of their siblings because her younger sibling had meddled in her life and instilled something to try to ‘comfort’ her, she had shunned Desire past a point. When Desire’s games with Dream began to intensify, that had in turn intensified and let her turn old hatreds and resentments into a nobler shape, or so she thought. Dream was close to her, moreso than any of the others. His love was real and it had its stranger moments, and she loved him, as she loved everyone, even Desire. And as that proved, even those who made it so supremely difficult to love them.

            Desire had, after that first conquest when she laid on her own couch, parts of her hurting in ways she’d never really imagined them hurting until Desire had tried it (and patted her ass afterward, the jackass), kissed her, xir hand on her right tit, and kissed her again and still more deeply, and then whispered into her ear that Of all our siblings the angriest to hear all of this would be Dream. as he laughed in her ear as a he, then, low and menacing. Not for the reason you think right now, and when you do find out…..

            She’d tried to look at xir and ask her sister-brother just what xie was talking about but Desire only contented xirself with a deeper kiss from her and their bodies tangled together. Because of those words, there was an anxiety, slight but real, at the thought of Dream and what the darkest possibilities of Desire’s words could mean. Thinking this, yes, but refusing to accept it or to apply it.

            Dream was her brother, and unlike Desire, there was nothing to that, was there? She paused for a moment. Thinking of who her brother dated. Women who were cold and powerful and knew how to get what they wanted, as they wanted, and in cases like Nada and Thessaly….especially Thessaly….

            She squirmed. That raised way too many prospects she did not want to face, too much of an emotional maelstrom. She was used to loving people in ways they did not love her, the idea that Dream could have…..

            She squirmed again at realizing that thinking this after everything she’d done with Desire seemed hypocrisy. Then again, whenever Desire came over to see her for all of this, the quiet grief and fragility beneath her affable mask as it had been beneath the cold and icy one eased. She felt good during those times with Desire, she could not deny that even if she’d wanted to and she didn’t want to. She didn’t know why it felt so good, didn’t want to look too hard either. Not with the other memories associated with them. Even for Desire, inducing one of xir siblings to sleep with xir like they were the Olympians seemed a bit much, wasn’t it?

            She squirmed again and tried not to focus on the reality that she was a very little bit wet, but still wet, that her least favorite sibling had this kind of power over her, that she welcomed that power, let it in, let xir into her in a most literal sense. To give Desire her, to just yield….it contradicted other elements of who she was, and what she was. The only entity among the Endless unbound by rules, free to do as she damned well please and to go wherever she wished. Yet when Desire came over, nowadays, all that went by the wayside and there was just….

            Unknown to her, the sigil of Desire in her gallery was gleaming. The thoughts of her sibling with xir genderfluid shape that could be anything and everything xie wished to be, even leavened with anger and hate, surged through her and she mouthed the words of response to Desire’s entreaty. From the sigil materialized a being clad in a red suit without a shirt, xir body intedeterminate in shape in those parts unless xir wished otherwise.

            Xie strode into the room, seeing Death and the way Death was clad, and smirked slightly, as xir sister looked at xir with an undisguised disgust and contempt.

            Hello, sister, purred Desire.

            Death glared. Desire.

            Desire smirked, as xie strode in more closely and drank in the fullness of Death’s own form.

            I must say, elder sister, you are a sight for sore eyes.

            Death, rather than cover herself up glared the more firmly.

            Desire laughed, coldly.

            Always with the games, dear sister-mine. As if that convinces me, or anyone else. You hate me but you have never shunned my embrace, nor my touches. You estrange yourself from all of us, especially my idiot older brother you were closest to, and then here, in your own apartment, I break you, over and over again.

            Death’s look, while still one of anger, was amplified by nervous fidgeting of arousal, by her remembering that this was why she’d been dressed like this. She was losing her desire to be with and around her family, and yet there was this element, something that had arisen from simple curiosity gratified a few further times. She was closer to Desire than she had ever been, and still hadn’t decided…..

            By that time Desire was very close to her indeed and her eyes of endless darkness met eyes of burning gold, and she froze, as xir hands grasped her own and pushed them away from her, and her legs spread as if conditioned (and in a sense, in spite of an absence of deliberate focus on this as a direct goal, Desire was doing this. If xie had been the kind of entity to realize this absent another telling xir that it was so, xie probably would have held back. All Desire saw was that several billions of years of a rift were not only healed but for the very first time in all that time one of xir siblings had responded to one of xir most forbidden games, and of all of them, it was the fairest of them all).

            That last thought led to a bit of idle or not so idle malice, Desire envying that in spite of xir being personification of want, of lust, of so many other things that xir elder sister was more beautiful than xie was. Desire’s hand reached out and gripped Death’s hair, as raven-dark as xir own, in a grip of iron strength that had Death suddenly freeze. Desire leaned down and licked along xir cheek, smirking as Death froze and was uncertain.

            Desire loved this. Death was always so resistant at first, but she was, deep down, lonely and hurting and fragile, and this was something that Desire, being Desire, could not see without exploiting to the hardest. Dream had been fun and was still fun to have xir sport with, even moreso without Death to protect him as much (but then absent that there was less fun in it so that didn’t quite make sense). Death was the revered older sister, even to xir, and here she was lonely and hurting and fearful that something in her had alienated her sister-brother.

            Desire hissed in her ear: It’s not right that you are prettier than I, before lancing out with xir hand to backhand Death, who yelped more from the shock than actual pain. In the Endless family, age granted more potency and power. It was beyond Desire to truly harm Death physically, but that only meant the more fun, as Desire had a perfect freedom to be xirself, unhindered. Death looked at Desire with a questioning, almost wounded sense, and Desire only regretted that xie had not sought to truly try this with her long before this.

            Desire then reached down, xir own clothes not yet obstructing xir, and ripped Death’s clothes, what were left, off, leaving her clad only in the necklace that held her ankh. That Desire knew better than to touch, for unless Death gave her explicit permission, mental or verbal, any being that did so came to know Death intimately in a way far less fun than this.

            You’re hairless down there, now. I see our time together is paying off. Death’s glare had shifted to something else, a mixture of several emotions Desire understood and that made this still more amusing at one level. Death had hair down there, once, as Desire did, but Desire had impressed on Death a little wish and Death had complied. Desire sloughed off the jacket, tossing it aside, and xir body was both masculine and feminine from moment to moment and whim to whim.

            You do prefer women, sister. That MacNamara woman shows that much….Desire kissed Death more deeply and xir form became distinctly masculine, one well-built, too. Not near the height nor the bulk of Destruction, but surprisingly so. The more reason why I love taking you like this, dear sister. It means that you enjoy enjoying things, and wanting things from the hand and the body of Want as I am. Death soon found herself on her knees on her own couch removing first Desire’s shoes, tossing them aside, and then unbuckling Desire’s belt, the mixture of shame and arousal in her eyes as potent as the look of amusement and arousal in Desire’s blazing golden suns.

            Now, sister, you know what to do. Death didn’t glare or dare glare this time, she simply knelt forward, her hands on her own sofa, and lowered her mouth to Desire’s cock, hollowing her cheeks, and began to move her head. She had opinions on sex acts from her various liaisons and this one was one she hated more than most. Going down on women was more of a pleasure for her, and it was more something that she could ensure was a mutual pleasure. This was a purely one-sided thing, so naturally Desire ordered her to do this, and to do this first. Some part of her burned with an ache and a fire when she did this all the same. Here, she was not lonely, here, part of her that missed the simple idea of being worthy of this felt something sated that otherwise could not have been and it just…..

            Desire couldn’t get enough of xir sibling’s dark eyes looking up at xir as her head moved with speed and skill, angling her throat sufficiently to take his cock down her throat. They did not breathe as mortals breathed, so there was no risk of her choking, which was a shame in a way, but it did mean that a blowjob from Death was something not to be shunned given that she could do things none of their mortal lovers had ever come close to. Her tongue moved in a way that xie’d trained her, because training Death, who preferred women and was happiest with women, to serve men was a suitable trick for Desire in xir own element.

            The sight of Death going down on xir and of the skill that she had, the knowledge that these skills were entirely due to xir training Death, it led to a heady power rush, amplified by Desire’s grip tightening like bars of iron on Death’s head, shoving Death further down. Death’s mouth was warm, far warmer than her reputation and the associated fears of mortals and immortals alike indicated. Warm, wet, and with a little help as in the old days, perfectly his to toy with. Dream, Destruction, even Del, they were aware of his manipulations and knew how to decipher them from their own feelings. Death? The poor dear was so afraid beneath her new warm mask to replace the older icy one that she didn’t even know how true emotions worked that she was…..

            Death’s eyes met xirs and it was delicious, the sight of Death knowing that Desire was about to cum and bracing herself for that, only to feel Desire’s potency going straight down her throat. Since Death had no means to need breath, outside one day every century, it meant that Desire could relish this sensation, knowing that xie could send the full amount of xir cum straight into Death’s gullet, that Death remained on her knees enduring this, the growing golden hue in her eyes showing that with each further action and each amount that streamed into her belly her connection to Desire, the lingering elements of what could have been and might otherwise have been fueling this moment moreso for both of them, Desire slightly more than Death.

            When xie was done, Desire watched as Death drew back up on her couch, hesitant.

            Xie smirked at the sight, and xie could not resist moving further, but then xie never could have done so. For it was xir nature, and xie could not restrain a tendency to take things further, especially when one of xir siblings had not only tried to reach out, but had proven so susceptible to xir influences to begin with. The fear that if xie didn’t get Death to do those things, that this growing estrangement would lead to the eldest sister leaving them like their older brother had.

            It was not Desire’s wont to be able to express so finely such emotions, when interwoven with millennia  and beyond of emotions interwoven and amplified by Desire’s goading of Dream and even Destiny at times, and the sourness caused by the scenes after Destruction had left. The emotions went unsaid, and Death, who wiped her lips, looked still more withdrawn and quiet. A moment lapsed and then Desire lowered xirself onto the couch, beside Death, who remained in a position where Desire could slide xir hands between her legs, starting to rub her delicately, and softly. The feeling was always wonderful here, though it disturbed Desire at one level that xir sister’s eyes were turning golden, slightly, and that there was only a moderate wetness, far less so than xie expected from xir partners, who after all, as the chosen partners of Desire xirself tended to enjoy the experience rather more deeply to a point that xie believed this expected.

            Death had never been like this, and it did raise questions to Desire as to whether or not xir power could be influencing Death more than xie believed, and yet Death’s lips parted with a low and continuous rolling moan, her hips moving in unity with Desire’s fingers, and the small amount of moisture became a much grander amount, the wetness increasing along with a squelching sound. Death trembled and her wings quivered, Desire reaching out to gently stroke along the feathers as Death’s moans amplified with the touch, Desire knew from the last times that Death’s wings were very sensitive to the touch, that a careful management of this could induce in her states and sensations even she didn’t fully understand.

            Death’s body trembled and though she did not need to breathe she panted nonetheless, overwhelmed by the sensations, by the full weight of Desire in xir own preferred territory, by the sheer simplicity with which her body yielded to Desire’s touches. She bit back whimpers and part of her felt hope that these times would heal the elements behind the growing rift, that if she let herself go into this, that the maelstrom would….calm. Desire was monstrously good at teasing her, xir hand at work and slipping into her, first one finger, then another.

            You have no idea how truly fuckable you are, sister-dearest, murmured Desire, as xir hand slowly worked its way all the way inside her, and her body felt the pleasure-pain that faded to pleasure and Death arched her back in a yelping scream as she came for the first time in this visit, followed swiftly by three more in a roiling cycle of pleasure that left her seeing stars and shuddering, her vocalizations a string of keening wails that left Desire that much more amused.

            From the look of initial hatred, Death had become putty in xir hands, twitching and falling from her own couch, as Desire’s hand slid out of her, coated in Death’s juices, ones that glistened with a kind of starlight hue that looked….enchanting. Desire licked a couple of xir fingers clean and leaned down to smear the rest on Death’s face and in her hair, xir sister still twitching and shuddering.

            For a time Desire let xir sibling be, content to see her usual quiet kindness and dignity even in the harshest situations fallen by the wayside, xir sister’s legs spread, her face against the ground of her own apartment, her shuddering leavened with a sound that was somewhere between a pant and a sob. Desire told xirself that xie wouldn’t have escalated it further to the next situation had Death not murmured her name, the figure that xie’d ensorcled her to fall in love with all those years ago, and words that followed.

            The memory of the look of heartbreak on Death’s face and the escalation from there to the murder of their sister, the Jotunn striding into her realm boldly with the sword of flame and impaling Despair on it, snarling as Desire saw her on the monster’s blade and screamed and Death froze, her face caught between emotions and then, after the body had fallen with the blade removed (and no blood on it, for it wasr a blade of flame and those left those horrid cauterized holes), the Jotunn had strode toward Death and kissed her, their kiss a bruising one of passion with Death slammed against the wall of Despair’s realm, and the monster that had done this turning those coal-fire eyes to Desire, and telling xir:

Now, little Endless, you shall learn not to goad those with hearts of fire and blades meant to end worlds. The world of Despair is such a world, too.

The creature smiled and then had suddenly frozen and the horrid transformation had begun then, and Death’s wail at the sight had followed a long, long time after the funeral of the First Despair where only Destruction and maybe Dream knew where she’d gone. Her function did not end, but even Destiny was silent on where she was or what she’d done.

Death still mourned the murderer and the kinslayer, more than she mourned one of their own kin. To hear that name, to hear that name and to have those memories surging back made Desire enraged, enraged as xie hadn’t been since xie’d seen Death taking a passionate kiss with the burning sword held against her body and nearly hewing her left hand off, over the broken body of their sister.

Silence reigned for a time and Death was very quiet, very afraid. Good. Very good.

            With that, Desire stopped down and yanked Death up by her hair, their eyes meeting. None of the golden hue, Death’s eyes were dark as night and the pits of her foul heart that took their kin and knew their fates, had to know their fates for she was never late, only early, were terrified, showing that Desire’s reading of xir sister’s emotion was very right.

            You know better than to mention the kinslayer in my presence, dear sister. With that carried Death to Death’s bedroom, kicking down the door and producing ropes from thin air that left Death sprawled on her back hands tied over her head in an X-fashion, her legs spread wide, tied to the bedposts. Death’s fear was more intense now, because in her own apartment, where her writ had been absolute, she was bound, Desire quietly inscribing Death’s true name on the ropes.

            As it turns out, sister, you do have a true name. None of the rest of us do, and I have pondered why that might be. Could be that it’s a relic of your surviving the past universe and that means that there is no speculation on your survival relative to us, merely a fact, and a fact written in the sorrows behind those dark eyes of yours. Could be that the mortals who wished power over you have it, and that this is how the Morningstar and the like can bind you and wield you as weapon and deny you souls that otherwise would be yours to claim.

            Desire’s cock tapped against her pussy and Death shuddered, a low whimper starting to echo from her mouth, as Desire smirked more sharply and then thrust inside her with a single brutish thrust that had Death screaming from both the sudden sensation and the reality that after everything else with these ‘games’ it had gone beyond that.

            That feeling of detachment, of understanding Destruction in the end and his ennui with all of this, of his leaving this family and its twisted set of emotional issues behind intensified as Desire continued to thrust inside her, and Death just lay there. She’d given into Desire long ago, and she knew this, knew the fullness of what it meant. This… was little wonder then that she felt the tiredness that haunted her creeping on her more.

            Especially since if the implications Desire raised were true, the sibling she was closet to had never been so for her, exactly, so much as there for the sake of something that would make Desire and Dream not so different. Desire was thrusting away inside of her, and the emotions and mixture of memories and sensations left Death quiet again, the only sounds in her apartment that of her body and Desire’s linked in the primordial bonds of sex, her arms bound so that she could not move them, her apartment, the very outer edges of her own realm now thrall to another.

            Desire laughed, coldly and unkindly at the sight of the bound and constrained Death and at her staring at the walls of her bedroom.

            I know people’s hearts, sister. Even one as black and cold and unfeeling as yours. You’re afraid that I’m right, that our beloved family idiot really does have the hots for you, that all that closeness between you was a poorly sublimated attraction. That would sting, wouldn’t it? To realize the only one in this family who spent all those years acting like our father and mother exiling you for fear of the End of All Things didn’t mean anything, that he lied to you.

            Death looked at him with a look of broken shame and sorrow that gave Desire some pause, even as xie looked at xir hips in motion and Death’s own twitching and heard her voice echoing with the smoky and serene beauty that was innate to her, that made conquering her one of Desire’s proudest and greatest feats. Mighty, haughty Death who concealed her pride beneath a transparent veil, either of ice or of compassion but in either case only a veil of weakness easily shattered.

            Mighty, haughty Death reduced to a quivering mess with tears running down her face, vocalizations those of conquest.

            And yet here you are. Even though I know what’s in Dream’s heart, I know what’s in yours. And it was to me that you yielded, in the end merely because I asked you. If he had asked you, what would you have done?

            After xie came inside her, and Death groaned at a deep and shamed level, Desire pulled out, resting xir softening cock against Death’s thighs as Death kept staring at the wall, until with a great effort she turned her face to Desire’s.

            Dream doesn’t think of me that way, sister-brother. I know you keep saying this, but….

            Desire laughed then, long and cold.

            You know that matters of the heart are mine to know, sister-dearest. They have always been, and they will always be.

            Death looked at xir then with a strange look in her eyes. Insecurity, far more blatant than xie had ever expected to see from xir loving and stoic, at times, elder sister.

            Is that why we’re doing this, then? So you can tell Dream you fucked the woman he wanted to fuck but never had the courage to try or something like that?

            Desire shook xir head.

            No, sister-dear, that is not it. You’re growing distant from us. I would have offered this to the one who left, but he is something of a prude for all the rest of what he is and who he is. Your doing this is a sign that you don’t want to be distant.

            Death looked at Desire with a frown, and said nothing, and went back to staring at the wall, and Desire felt xir getting enraged at their petulant older sister who could neither make up her mind nor decide what she was doing nor be honest enough to admit what it was and how it got there.

            All right sister, Desire said heavily, a gleaming lightning burning from xir eyes. You want to see how dear Dream and I differ? Here’s what would have happened had our brother actually had the balls to admit to himself, and to you, what underlaid everything with Thessaly when you went to speak to him after the two of them split.

            Death found herself in a vision of a world that could have been, some two thousand years before the incident with the Vortex where Dream had remade the world and for a brief time she had been all that was left in a silent void of nothingness and felt the universe reshaped around her, a terrifying situation and a proof of her immortality being insuperable. Dream had most recently seduced a witch, Thessaly, who reminded Death of herself at several levels and in the point where the vision still held true to reality, she was as uncomfortable with it there as she had been in truth.

            Then she sat by Dream and said Do you want to talk about it?

            Her brother shook his head and simply seemed to look away.

            You’ll find someone else, Dream. Just let me help. I’ll do anything I can for you. Anything.

            He looked very consciously away from her, and she was concerned.


            Then he turned to her and spoke a word that left everything around them for fifty feet ferried to the Sunless Lands by her and she stared at him in shock and a sense of betrayal.

            D-D-Dream? She stuttered, she couldn’t help but stutter, feeling like the teenage waif she seemed to mortals rather than the ancient being that far predated this version of Dream that she was.

            I bind you, he spoke that word again, and Death jerked, frozen stiff, and I bid you come with me to the Dreaming, and to my halls. And in a flash of light she was taken by him, and with silent prompts from the lord of the Dreaming walked with him in his halls with a smile frozen on her face and a growing fear within her.

            Then, as they reached his bedroom, Dream opened the door and shut it and locked it and she suddenly had her eyes widen, and outwardly said things that gave full consent to what Dream did, casually kissing her and doing so in a way that underscored how very much taller than her he was. He then started taking off her clothes as she shuddered even within the bind as her mouth spoke words she did not mean but her summoner and binder wished to be said, leaving her as bare as she was on her bed at another level, with Desire.

            Dream threw her on the bed, face-forward, and her hands and feet were bound, the elder brother tying her down as much as the younger sibling did.

            She heard him speaking words into her ear much as Desire did, but his words were a blend of strange coldness and ice and then he slipped into that same part of her that Desire had only taken after a surprisingly attentive bit of preparation that had puzzled her until xie had become he and slid it in and it had still hurt then. She felt that pain, Dream’s cock deep inside of her ass, and she jerked but she was bound, and it dawned on her that the word ‘anything’ was where she’d gone wrong, and where her true self had not spoken those words.

            She screamed, then, but the Dreaming was not her realm, it was Dream’s, and there was absolute and enduring silence beyond the doors of the bedchamber, and no indication to anyone or anything else of just what Dream was doing there. It hurt so much and she screamed so loudly, tears flowing freely that she felt herself growing hoarse, and her wings visible, as Dream stroked along the feathers and she wailed as a pleasure she did not want to feel followed and her body spasmed and rewarded him for his attentions in a way that left her weeping on the bed, weeping that outwardly seemed very much that of pleasure and consent fully given and yet in truth from the binding, it was something that she’d seen and done as if it were another doing it.

            Dream would use her multiple times more, using that hole repeatedly, and between her legs, making her face him whenever they did it and she saw in the mirror of his eyes that her face smiled and outwardly it was if she was not only eager for this but more than actively participating in it, letting herself relish it.

            When it was done and Dream released the binding, she remained in his bed for a time, shuddering and staring at the ceiling, and got up and hesitantly and painfully walked to get dressed and left without a word.

            A week later Destiny called a conclave and instead of Destruction leaving the family, Death did, though her function continued and so did her roles and rules as an Endless. Death made herself impossible for them to find and proved to herself that only if Destiny summoned her, for he alone among the Endless had the power to do so, would she speak to any of her family. She’d even set up trip-wires to ensure that none of the family could contact her again.

            None knew or could speculate as to what precisely had changed, save Morpheus, whose face was stricken by a quiet guilt that only Desire had questioned, seemingly, though Destruction had noticed the same thing and had frowned. Destruction, not Death, filled in the role of the peacemaker and the loving elder sibling of the family, and in her absence her family adjusted, even if there was an aching emptiness that could never fully be filled.

            Not until some centuries later, after the incident with Roderick Burgess and a new lease on life, would Morpheus set out with Destruction at the behest of Delirium to find their missing sister, and they found her in a very faraway place, not on Earth but around the ruins of a dead world where a shining crystalline intelligence had died in horrid fire. In the ashes of Krypton words were spoken and Death hugged Delirium, and her youngest sister very briefly became Delight again out of the sheer relief of seeing her sibling, and the emotions of her older siblings.

            Destruction and Death shared softer words and Death simply stared at Dream and remained silent to any and all entreaties from him, and then spoke three words and vanished. From that point, the only being who could and would contact her with some frequency was Timothy Hunter, the greatest of Earth’s mages, who saw her as a kind of mentor, and learned much in the way of lore from her.

            Only at the end of the current universe would Death and Dream see each other again, and there Dream finally heard another three words from Death that he’d longed to hear ever since the incident where he’d told her what he felt and showed her. As she held him at his end and he heard the beating of wings she spoke: I forgive you, and in the eyes of the Wings of Death he vanished.

            The vision faded and then Death shuddered, staring at Desire with a defeated look on her face.

            And if it was Dream as he is now?

            Desire showed her an image of the most recent catastrophe as it could well have been. Death had been summoned by use of her true-name by the would-be captors of the imagination, and held in shackles as bait for her brother, Dream. Her brother had come to rescue her, a shining hero with a great sword and very much Dream of the Endless as he’d been in longer years, long and far away before the brooding and the sorrow of his suicidal frenzies came upon him.

            Death found herself looking at her brother strangely when he’d held her a little too intimately, and then he’d held her firmly, kissing the bloodied wrists where the shackles had cut into her flesh and healing her with a confident element that had her bemused.

            This was Dream, too, Dream as he became, not Dream as he was. Dream with hair bone-hued as his skin and robes as white as both. Dream, who reached out to her and kissed her deeply, a kind of kiss meant for lovers, as his arms wrapped around hers and her eyes widened and she tried to pull away only for him to deepen the kiss, and when it was broken, he said:

            Morpheus did not have the courage to do this. I do.

            Death stared at him in horror, and her wings flared into existence and she flew away, little grasping that in the process of pursuing her captors Dream had been forced down and a dreamcatcher etched onto his back, and in that binding had been commanded to reveal deeper feelings hidden, with the old close relationship and Morpheus’s emotions surging in Daniel’s mind. Even when this was uncovered and Lucien had gone to her personally to speak and to convey the words on behalf of his master, Death had placed her work face on her with extreme difficulty and spoke kindly to Lucien, and from that point Destruction was not the only one of the Endless to be sundered from the family to a point that he would not attend the conclaves.

            Death stared blankly at Desire and then sighed, as Desire leaned down to kiss her again. As had been so all along she did not return the kisses even when under the fullest nature of his power, until she turned to him and initiated a kiss, willingly, as Desire unbound her and pushed her on her side and sought to enter her again. Death let this happen for the first time far more enthusiastically than she’d ever had before, and then finally, Desire was on top of her and a woman, her eyes burning suns of gold, her smile arrogant and roguish.

            Death let herself yield to having Desire lower herself on her face, giving her sister what xie wished her to do with more enthusiasm, but not that much more. The sight of what Dream could have done, the recognition of what both Morpheus and Daniel repressed into something that she’d seen otherwise…..and then it sank into her that until Desire had come to see her in a point where she was vulnerable that she’d never felt this way toward any of her siblings and didn’t even consider it a possibility.

            After giving Desire that pleasure, Death reached for her sigil and suddenly Desire found xirself in xir realm, and when xie went to look at xir gallery, the sigil of Death was obscured. Dream of the Endless, who wished to speak to his sister likewise a couple of days later, as the Endless reckoned, went to his gallery and found that her picture was a blackened portrait, the golden ankh covered up.

            None of the Endless would see or know anything of what happened to Death until one day, Destruction was working on an archaeological dig, enjoying the chances to do at least some of his function in a more creative sense, and relishing the paradox. In most ways he was content to be an Endless without exercising the fuller functions and prerogatives of same, but in other ways, he was well content to be rid of the family.

            Then he saw a woman clad in black wearing a skirt that went past her knees, pleated, and a black shirt that went to her wrists. She had skin as pale as his own family, black lips, and most critically, a bright silver ankh around her neck. He stiffened, and since it was about breaktime anyway, got up out of the hole to go see why of all of them, his sister had to be here. Hadn’t they gotten the message the last time?

            When he went to speak to her and Death reacted to him not with eagerness, but genuine and unfeigned fear he was concerned, worried, and then angry. That last emotion had her on her knees, shivering, and the anger disappeared to be replaced more fully by worry. For the first time since the major argument between them when Death had yelled at him for him insisting that his leaving the family was no different to her attempt to and that she of all of them should have been sympathetic since she’d left once before. She had not taken well to that and he had been one of the few people to see her fully enraged, and the words spoken there had left a rift that Death had never felt interested in healing. The sight of his older sister troubled this way ended that for a time and he sat beside her, asking her questions and letting her answer as indirectly as she wished, but what he heard had him speechless with rage.

            She simply leaned in on his shoulder and the next morning, after they’d talked and eaten, she was gone.

            Two centuries later, on her mortal day, Destruction found Death standing in front of a derelict building with a map in her hands, looking deep in thought. She heard him coming and looked at him with not a faint and terrified smile but one far more genuine, and he had the first day in some thousands of years with his older sister where the two of them set aside their burdens and were just family, and from that time while their lives did not intersect too regularly past a point, the two who left the family built a new one.  

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