Oneiros

Caleb shut and locked the door when he managed to make it home. He was hungry, exhausted, and sore. All he really wanted to do was go to bed. After all, he had a dream-lover he was aching to see again. If his tired imagination would humor him, he'd maybe get off in this dream.

Scampi yowled at him, demanding a full bowl, and Caleb was feeling a little more human and less a pincushion by the time he settled on the couch with a beer and some supper. He spent a good hour mindlessly watching television, losing himself in the dramatic world of a small town. Caleb hadn't realized he'd fallen asleep until Scampi jumped into his lap, pawing at his hands and demanding attention.

"All right, all right," he said between yawns. "Bedtime. I get it, Scamps. Let's go."

Caleb quickly stripped down and crawled into bed. Almost as soon as his head hit the pillow, he was asleep. He knew he was asleep, even as he dreamed. It was a strange, awkward knowledge, sitting up in his bed in the dream while he knew he was still in bed, asleep.

"Again I ask, does it matter?"

Caleb turned his head toward the door. Leaning against the jam, in all his naked glory, was Morpheus. Caleb took his time looking, eyes sweeping from head to toe, lingering on the lax sex resting against hairless skin. "Is this real?" he asked, voice rough as he raised his eyes to meet Morpheus'.

"It is as real as I make it."

"Why are you here?"

Morpheus smiled, the expression soft and indulgent. "You are lonely."

"There are millions of lonely people out there," Caleb said as Morpheus stepped into the room. "Why am I different from them?"

"Why is anyone drawn to anyone else?" Morpheus stopped at the edge of the bed, his arms folded, and looked down at Caleb. "I have always been a part of your dreams, Caleb. The only difference between then and now is that you are aware of me as you were not before."

Caleb's heart began to race, color rising to his cheeks as he stared up at Morpheus. "Are... you going to hurt me?"

Morpheus shook his head, unfolded his arms, and cupped Caleb's face. "No. Never would I hurt you," he murmured.

The touch was so real. His skin was soft, warm and smelling of rain and moist earth, against his overheated face. Those hands drew his face upward, and Caleb whimpered when Morpheus' lips touched his. It wasn't the desperate passion of the night before; this was something sweet, something tender. Caleb parted his lips, his hands resting atop Morpheus' as Morpheus slid his tongue into Caleb's mouth.

It was just a kiss, Caleb told himself. A kiss shouldn't make him so hard he hurt. It shouldn't make his pulse pound in his ears. It shouldn't make him feel so weak, so needy, but it did. The kiss made him want to let the god take away all the worries he felt when he was awake, all the fear and self-loathing and sadness. This was all a dream, something his mind conjured to ease his own loneliness, and even if it was a lucid dream, it really was just a dream. So, why didn't it feel like just a dream?

"Dreams are the gateway to the self," Morpheus whispered into his mouth. "Dreams are what give heroes their courage, kings their bravery, and the common man a reason to believe. Dreams are made of the stuff of legends, Caleb, and I am the maker of those dreams. Dreams are not 'just' anything."