After all the noise of the asteroid, the dream bubbles were comfortingly quiet.

It was odd. He had never realized how much he needed silence until he was allowed his first taste of it. But after he'd experienced the strange emptiness of his head, it was something he found he couldn't be without for too long of a period.

He had gone through several different realms already. Areas of light and grass and sand… He was getting better at forming mental pictures in his head as his wandering went on. The cold and the soft droplets settling against his skin told him that this bubble was snowy. And the way the wind played around him without howling through any obstacles alerted him to just how desolate of a place this one was. Normally dream bubbles were bustling and active. But this place was simply cold. A canvas of white.

His feet crunched against the snow as he moved forward, careful to check the ground with his foot before putting any weight on it. As he went on, he became aware of a gentle change in the wind. It appeared to be weaker if he stood in just the right spot. Something tall and thin blocking its path, perhaps. As he made his way forward, he lifted up his arm. His fingers brushed something course and cold. The bark of a tree. He wrapped his arms easily around the trunk. It wasn't very large. As he made his way slowly around it, he felt his foot nudge something sitting at the base, curled up among a knot of roots.

Sollux picked his way over the roots and crouched down. He felt the shoes, the snow crusted cuffs of the pants. He turned toward the figure huddled against the tree and reached out with his hands, cupping his hands around a face.

A faint flutter of movement just by the temples alerted him to the slow blinking of the figure as he stared back at Sollux. But he never spoke. He just shivered in the cold.

Sollux slowly brushed his thumb over the lips. He then bent his face close, and pressed his mouth against them.

They didn't move in response. It was only as Sollux backed away that a voice reached his ears.

"So how long will this one last?"

Sollux gave a tired smile. It was good to hear his voice again.

"They never last. When I see them. Visions a people. I've got to thinkin' that my mind's been makin' shit up just to torment me. So I've stopped playin' along. How long are you goin' to last?"

Sollux sighed. "As long as you like."

They shared a silence for a while. Then Sollux felt a pair of hands on either side of his own face. The rings on the fingers were cold, but the softness of each fingertip sent a ray of warmth right into the pit of Sollux's stomach. Eridan touched his lips, his nose, his eyelids…

"You're blind?" His voice wavered.

"I can see what I need to. Like these." He kissed Eridan's lips. "And these." His eyelids. "And this." His nose. "That's all that matters, in the end."

There was quiet all around them. The snow played at their faces, brushing up against their cheeks. The wind tumbled quietly across the vast white plain.

And then Eridan threw himself into Sollux's arms.

"I missed you, Sol."

"Yeah… I guess I did too. Sort of." He couldn't inject much malice into his tone, though. He just held Eridan close.

"So you're stayin'?"

"Yeah. Until I get sick of you anyway."

They huddled beneath the tree together then, faces raised up to the sky as the clouds parted and the sun cracked the gray world open. Beneath them the cold and snow began to retreat, and Sollux could smell the scent of grass playing against his nostrils.

"Hey, ED."

"Yeah Sol?"

"You know what color red and blue make?"

...

...

((I'd like to thank you all for reading. For a brief discussion of Buried Hatchet plus plans for my upcoming project, you can follow the link provided on my profile page. If you're interested.))