Vanyel jerked into wakefulness as the sound of footsteps penetrated his sleep. Instantly alert, he fumbled under his pillow for a knife. Then he realized he was in k'Treva, as safe as anyone ever could be. There was no knife under his pillow; there was no need for one. Thunder crashed outside Voorthayshen, leaving Vanyel wondering how he could have heard the footsteps at all.

The door opened quietly, and the presence that partially stepped inside was a very familiar one. :Moondance?:

Moondance's Mindvoice sounded slightly embarassed. :Aye, it is me. I am sorry I alarmed you. I only wanted to ask if I may stay with you tonight?:

Vanyel was rather baffled by this request. :Why would you want to? I know Starwind is out of the vale, but surely you can sleep on your own. I've seen you do it.: There was a particularly loud thunderclap, and Vanyel felt more than saw Moondance's flinch. Then he understood, clear as anything. Moondance, before he had that name, had called the lightening down to smite his lover... :Of course you can sleep with me.: He sent immediately, turning back the blankets.

:Many thanks, Wingbrother Vanyel.: Moondance sent back, sounding relieved. :It shames me that I am still disturbed by a simple storm after all of these years.: The Tayledras climbed into the bed and pulled the covers over both of them.

:That's nothing to be ashamed about. Plenty of people are afraid of them without a reason.:

:... Vanyel, those people tend to be small children.: Moondance returned dryly. There was another deep rumble of thunder, and Vanyel saw the Tayledras visibly tense. :Hai'yasha, that sound nearly drives me to madness.:

Vanyel reached out, and rested his hand on Moondance's arm comfortingly. :Don't worry. I think most find it a little disconcerting. I certainly do.:

:I would be perfectly fine if my shay'kreth'ashke were home.: Moondance sent, somewhat reluctantly. Vanyel knew why – the Adept felt he had no right to miss Starwind when Vanyel's own lifebonded had been gone for years, and would never come back.

:I know that feeling.: Vanyel sent, making it clear in his tone he meant the words as a half-jest.

Moondance chose not to reply to that comment directly, but softly sighed. A moment later, he sent, :It is not even the sound that upsets me. Honestly, it is the smell of the storm. The metallic tang to the air. It makes my skin crawl and my stomach turn.:

:... How does Starwind keep that from upsetting you?: Vanyel asked softly. He loved Moondance dearly, and hated to see him in such obvious distress - especially when Moondance had played one of the largest roles in pulling Vanyel from his depression after Tylendel's death.

:He is there, of course.: Moondance sent. :He holds me to him and I press my face against his chest, so I smell his skin instead of the storm.:

Vanyel opened his arms and pulled Moondance into them. :You know damn well I don't mind. I'm not Starwind, but if it'll help... feel free.:

:Thank you again.: Moondance pressed himself close, resting his forehead against Vanyel's collarbone. The thunder boomed again, followed by a flash of lightening, and Vanyel felt a shiver run through his friend.

:Sleep well.:

:You also. I apologize again for disturbing you.:

:I'm happy to help.: Vanyel certainly was. And he didn't mind sharing a bed, either. Sometimes he got profoundly lonely when he slept by himself.