Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Susan Cooper. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's Note: This story was written for pikkugen in the Yuletide 2011 fic exchange, in response to a request for something of Cally and the Snake. I didn't exactly manage porn, but this is actually not all that much more explicit than the book itself - seriously, go reread it and tell me that scene isn't a euphemistic description of an orgasm. I dare you.

The title is a Latin quote that means, roughly, "While we live, let us live."

Summary: Caught between grief for her parents and longing for Westerly, Cally dreams of Snake. Mild Cally/Snake.

Dum vivimus, vivamus

Aunt Tess's cottage was less than half the size of the house Cally had grown up in, but together they cleared a room to be hers and hired a lorry to move her bed, her clothes, and some of her parents' things from one side of town to the other. The walls were plain white plaster, and Cally thought for a while about painting the mural of the sea she'd always dreamed of, but somehow that dream seemed distant now, childish, and tainted by the idea that it had been an escape from the life she'd shared with her parents.

She wanted her old room back, horrid wallpaper and all. She wanted her parents.

But death doesn't return what it's taken, and life goes on, growing new branches after the killing frost.

Cally spent the summer taking long walks in the hills and fields outside town, studying the trees and flowers as if learning their secrets would make her forget her pain. In autumn she returned to school and her feet memorized the new path from her friend Jen's house to Aunt Tess's ramshackle cottage. In winter she noticed Jen noticing a tall, sandy-haired boy whose family had just moved out from London, and awkwardly excused herself when they started wanting to spend time alone together.

She was sixteen, nearly seventeen - not a child anymore. She wanted to want somebody. Her body was hungry, ready to sing and dance in the joyous fever of being young and alive. But none of the boys in school were quite right, and she didn't think she was the kind of person who wanted girls (not that there was anything wrong with that, probably, just that it wasn't her), and Aunt Tess didn't approve of girls staying out late anyhow. So Cally came home early and shut herself in her tiny new room and emwanted/em.

One night, she dreamed.

"What are you waiting for?" a deep voice asked her, easy and warm in the rhythmic dark. "Lugan promised you a reunion, but you don't have to stop living until that day. Don't be afraid, don't hold back. What can anyone do to you? The sea's not marked on your hands anymore, but it's always in your blood. The sea is in everyone's blood, until they turn to stone."

"I'm living!" Cally protested. "I'm not afraid. I do what I want, and I don't want anyone now."

"But you want to want," the voice said, laughing, as hot scales brushed over the bare skin of her arms and coiled around her waist. "So spend a while with me, until you meet your Westerly again. Come and dance with Snake and let me anchor you in life."

"Yes," Cally said, and then again, "Yes!"

The sound of the sea rose to fill her mind, pounding like the heartbeat of the world and swaying like an acre of trees in the summer wind. Snake twined in and around, enveloping her in heat. His coils brushed her from toes to hair, loops rose and fell like waves, scales scraped like fingers against her skin. "This is the way of life," he said, his voice dark and soft in her ears. "This is as old as time and as young as tomorrow. Every end holds the seed of a new beginning, forever and beyond."

Cally ran her hands along the smooth, muscular twine of his coils, pressed down on his scales, let need rise up her body until she arched like a bow, drawn tight, waiting for release.

"Be in life, Cally," said Snake. "Be here and now. Be yourself. Live!"

Heat and joy blazed through her like a star kindling in the ocean of the night. "Live!" she shouted. "Live."

Her heart echoed the rhythm of the darkness that was the beat of Snake's dance. His coils rocked her through the fading sparks into lesser dreams.

"You were shouting last night," Aunt Tess said in the morning as she poured tea into two heirloom china cups. "Is it nightmares? Your parents wouldn't want you to be unhappy."

"I know," Cally said, grasping at the gauzy shreds of memory. She touched a sense of joy and health and life. "I think it was a good dream."

When she walked into school, she smiled at the short, curly-haired boy who'd tried to sit next to her during lunch a few times since Christmas holidays. She didn't think he was the love of her life, but she was young and so was he. There was no sense in missing half her life because she was waiting for something perfect that might never come.

"Hello," Cally said as she unwrapped her scarf and shook out the damp residue of snow. "I think it's going to be a beautiful day."


AN: Thanks for reading, and please review! I appreciate all comments, but I'm particularly interested in knowing what parts of the story worked for you, what parts didn't, and why.