Note: Written for corialis as part of the 2011 Yuletide fic exchange
Disclaimer: The canon source is not my IP, no profit or harm intended.
Desire had always met its siblings over the bodies of mortals. Perhaps they did not notice the pattern, since they were not always there, but still.
People Dreamed of Desire. They Died for and of Desire. Some lovers were Destined, and others simple were Destroyed . Desire threw perfectly normal people into deep Despair, and some of those days Despair refused to even say hello, but was quite happy to grumble about cleaning up somebody's messes to everyone else in the family .
But the person that Desire meets, most often and consistently, isn't any of these.
Once, she had been Delight. Bright wide eyes, clear smile, happy thoughts. Filled with joy at the whimsy and brilliance of the world. They would linger together, in the sunlight amidst the flowers, and follow young couples in love, or children chasing their dreams. Just walking. It was enough to be loving and wanting and hoping and then, finally, that sweet elation, Delight, when it all came together.
Desire liked to wear a delicate blue suit, with an umbrella tucked under one arm, Delight's small hand curled around the other. When Delight walked a little too far ahead, her skirts would wisp against Desire's trousers. When Desire did the same, their arms would stretch out between them. Delight's hand would slip until their fingertips were barely touching. In the distance, that day, a young boy was trying to feed breadcrumbs to ducks in the pond. They shied away, and he stared after them, across the water, with the longing curiosity of youth.
Delight tutted and skipped forwards, lacing her fingers in between Desire's, pulling Desire until they were walking abreast once more. The ducks noticed the crumbs, and began to swim.
'What I don't understand, you see,' Delight said in a sing-song voice, 'is that some people never ever get to see me. Don't they like me? And other people try to find me, but they never do. They get lost somehow. It is strange. Do you know where they go?'
Desire could only shrug and swing the umbrella out, turning it in circles in the air. 'There are some people who I can't ever reach, did you know that? They can lack something, even know they need it, but they don't want it. Depression, apathy, hopelessness. That's where that grey area between my domain and our sister's ends, the furthest corner of Despair .'
Delight wasn't to be put off with that alone, of course. 'But do you ever see the ones that want to find me?'
Desire stopped walking, and dropped its umbrella to place both hands on Delight's shoulders. 'Why do you ask, my dear?'
'Because.' Delight was petulant, angry, and surprising. There was something in her eyes, at the very back, that Desire had never seen in her before. 'If they want to know me, and they crave it, why can't they find me? If they want to find joyfulness in the touch of a breeze, why can't they?'
Desire shrugged. 'I can't answer that. I'm all for consummation, don't get me wrong, and there's often a happy husband or wife. But for every happiness, there's always pain, and lack. Some people just can't feel the sweetness of things. Compared to our older brother and sister, we are far less... universal. Though,' Desire placed a finger on Delight's nose and winked, 'I think that our brother Dream doesn't notice how often I wander through the dreaming with his dreamers. Better keep that to ourselves, or we'll never hear an end to his pathos.'
Delight giggled. 'All right. But I'm still not happy with that answer.'
These days, they meet in smaller places. Bedrooms. Desire wears silk stockings underneath an asymmetrical cocktail dress that is the blackest red and so soft to the touch that you could just swoon. Delirium has become odd. She's in a three-piece suit, or would be, except she's lost half of the trousers somewhere and the waistcoat keeps slithering to the ground and trying to crawl away. They face each other over a young girl, who is lying on her back and staring up at a poster on the ceiling.
'Hee! Look, it's going to be my friend forever! I didn't know buttons had feelings, you know?' Delirium flaps her hands around her slithering waistcoat, which had crawled back up for the moment. The buttons turn into butterflies, and circle her head.
'Well I'm glad somebody's entertained here, at least. I came because this was special. You said, "intense and special and wonderful."'
'No, I said wonderfilment. It's obviously different.'
Desire can't help but smile, and reach across the girl, unseen, to ruffle Delirium's short hair, which that day has glitter sprinkled through it. It dusts the air, swirling up to the ceiling, but the girl does not see.
'So this is Jocelyn?'
'No, this is CJ's_Goldfish. She made it herself, they all make them up for themselves. Like I made my name!'
Desire frowns and squints. 'Are you sure?'
'Sure as I am that you're under-dressed.'
Desire looks down, affronted. 'In this? I'll have you know this is a very special dress, custom made. How could I possibly be...'
Delirium twirleses and shows off her suit. 'You didn't check! Hah-ah, everyone thinks I'm the worst at this stuff, but I know best. I can feel it.'
Delirium leans forwards and wobbles her fingers, slowly pointing them all one at a time upwards. Desire cranes to look up. It's... a man in a suit. That much is certain. But what a man, and what a suit.
'West Wing, Leverage, and ummmmm. Um. Hum. Things from that place where they talk all proper and eat scones and tea, when they're good or silly. I like Dr Who the best, it gives good strange nightmares that Dream lets me visit. But the West Wing has fishies.'
'I... see. I suppose. So why are we here?'
Delirium rolls her eyes. 'Because. This is the kind of person that wants to find me, but never does. But I know a secret, and it's all going to be good forever and there's answers but they make no sense!'
Desire shrugs. It will make sense, or it won't, given time. It's at least a way to pass the time, and Jocelyn on the bed has a sweet look to her eyes. She isn't the kind of person that you knew you craved, but the one you desire deep down below all the mess of ideas. She's so fascinating that it gives Desire shivers all over.
In the corner of the room, beside the desk, Delirium gasps. 'Ping!'
Jocelyn gets up, and goes across to check the screen. Delirium fusses and tugs and pleads, so Desire slinks across and they both look over Jocelyn's shoulders. It doesn't seem like much to Desire, but it can feel it. Taste it. One positive comment on a piece of fanfiction, something old and obscure. Desire can't tell who squeals the loudest, Jocelyn or Delirium.
Delirium flails her arms and dances in a circle, glitter trailing from her fingertips. 'Found you, found me!'
Desire frowns. 'How did you even pronounce that? And is that it? If you found some kind of answer, I didn't recognise it.'
Delirium giggles, a little hysterical. Tears form in the corners of her eyes. 'Oh, oh it doesn't matter. No answers. I just missed holding hands. With everyone.'
Desire looks down. Delirium has laced their fingers together. Well. Two lovely ladies, that doesn't make for a bad night. Desire wraps an arm around Delirium and whispers close in her ear, 'Are we going to intervene, or is this where we part for now?'
'Oh! I want to, but no. I forgot something, but I can't... Anyway. This is great! Can we do this again?'
Desire smirks, which seems a better answer than any words. Delirium is glorious and lovely. Desire had ached and longed for Delight's innocence, but now, watching her dance upside-down around the poster on the roof, there is an answer. Delight had never left the world, or even really changed. She'd found a way to find those other people, years ago. She's still there in the corners of all the genuine smiles that ever were or would be.
'Next time,' Delirum confides in Desire, 'I'm going to come as a titanium rainbow zombie unicorn. Everyone will love me!'