A/N: My first Sandman fanfic...Possibly my only one, but I have another, more personal one I want to do that may or may not get posted, if I ever get it written. I didn't plan this out at all, the idea suddenly struck me last night while I was listening to the song that the fic is named for. Sat down and typed it out in a couple of hours, and edited today. Still unsure if I hit what I was aiming for 100%, but I'm happy with it. Let me know what you think! Also, "I Dreamed a Dance" is from the musical Next to Normal. If you're interested in listening to it - www(dot)youtube(dot)com / watch?v=u8rRl2xxXK4
Disclaimer: I don't own Sandman, Dream, or the song "I Dreamed a Dance". All of those belong to their respective creators.
Restless, Dream of the Endless stands and paces across his throne room. His most recent lover had fled from the room hours before, her cries echoing in his ears. His own heart was quite intact – his initial love for the girl had faded over time, as it always did. But he retained a certain fondness for her, and he was unhappy with the distress he had caused her. The whole business in general was unfortunate…Love, that is. He wasn't immune to its pull, to the power of his sibling. He gave in to the weakness, to the terror, and the joy, but ultimately it came to sorrow. Sorrow and pain and shattered dreams.
What was the point?
Fed up with his throne room, Dream brusquely gestures the doors open, wandering into the hallways of his palace. He takes no notice of any creatures he passes, whether they greet him or no. Turning a corner, he finds himself leaving the palace, leaving the Dreaming, wandering into the pathways of dreams flowing up from stars and worlds and humans and not-humans.
He passes through cities, fields, forests, crowds of people, and banquets. He passes through battlefields, weddings, and funerals. The dreams blur into one another, the lights and colors and sounds swirling together. Images come from the blur, startling in their clarity as he pauses and looks upon them.
Two men meet each other's eyes, two islands in a crowd of people. They move towards each other, parting the people between them like a sea, the electricity drawing them together.
I saw you light the ballroom
With your sparkling eyes so blue
Their hands touch and the shock of it jolts them both as they gasp, then smile and nervously giggle away the moment. The crowd melts away into mist as the two look upon each other, each trying to find the courage to say something, anything.
They blend into the swirl of dreams as Dream steps forward into another image. A new mother lays in a shining bed, surrounded by shadows. Beyond the bed, figures move in the dark, but the woman pays no attention. In her arms, a baby rests, not one minute old. The eyelashes flutter, the fragile limbs curve through the air, unused to this new freedom.
Graceful as an angel's wing,
I dreamed a dance with you.
The mother gazes upon her child, counting every finger, every toe, every hair. Catching up the infant's hand as it arcs through the air, she gently kisses the tiny fist with a bow of her head. She feels like she's waited an eternity for this moment, for the rest of her life, for the rest of this child's life.
Another step, another image. A meadow comes up from the swirl, just before dusk, fireflies blinking in the summer air. Frog calls echo across the meadow and cricket chirps fill the silence between. A girl runs through the grass, laughing as she jumps at the fireflies, trying to capture one of the waltzing lights. Behind her follows a boy, grinning as he watches her leaps and whirls. Quickening his steps, he reaches her just as she jumps once more. His arms go around her waist, spinning her through the air as they turn on the spot, then fall backwards into the wildflowers, laughing.
You whispered slyly, softly,
You told me you would be true.
We spun around a thousand stars,
I dreamed a dance with you.
He leans over her, checking her for bumps as she tries to catch her breath, her bright smile still shining in the moonlight. He brushes a lock of hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear, and leans down to kiss her gently upon the lips.
Dream steps into the next image, revealing a bedroom with two women asleep in the bed. The sun's light peeks through a window, falling upon the face of one woman. She wakes with a yawn, stifling her stretch as she looks down at her love, resting upon her arm. She smiles, brushing her finger lightly across the other's cheek, a ghost of a touch.
I know the night is dying, dear,
I know the day will dawn.
The dancers may disappear,
Still the dance goes on and on.
The sleeping woman shivers suddenly, goosebumps rippling across her skin. The woman shifts, pulling the blanket up to cover them both, moving closer to her love. The movement wakes the other woman, as her eyes open and she smiles sleepily at her sweetheart, tucking herself closer to her embrace.
He lets the lovers melt back into the swirl of dreams and another room comes forth to replace them. A old man sits alone in a chair, staring out a window. There are no lights in the room, and the sky outside the window is gray and cloudy. The man turns from the gloomy sky and picks up a picture frame from the table next to him. By the dim light, he gazes upon the face of his beloved, gone from him for weeks now.
I'll wake alone tomorrow
The dream of our dance is through.
A tear dances its way down his cheek as he bows his head, letting the picture fall to his lap. A sudden knock on the door startles him and he carefully sets the picture back on the table before making his way across the room. Pulling the door open, he reveals the woman from the picture. She floods light across the room, her beautiful smile warming up both man and dream. He reaches for her without hesitation, taking her hand in his.
But now until forever love,
I'll live to dance with you.
Still smiling gently at him, she pulls him forward, away from the room and out the door. He steps forward, following her beckons. He pauses for a moment, letting go of her hand, frowning as though he's forgotten something. He looks down at himself, then back at the room, trying to place what's wrong. Looking back up, he finds another woman standing beside his love, a woman with dark hair and dark eyes, full of joy. She smiles at him and holds her hand out. He looks at his beloved, his eyes questioning. She nods, smiling reassuringly. The man lays his hand into the one offered by the dark-haired woman. She squeezes his hand once and pulls him forward to place his hand into that of his beloved.
The man straightens, his sorrows suddenly lifted from him. He takes another step forward, testing, wondering if it's real. His beloved smiles at him, pulling him forward with her as she glides another step away from the room, her feet skimming the floor. They continue together, leaving the darkness behind and fading into the light of the dream.
I'll dream my love,
I'll live my love,
I'll die to dance.
The dark-haired woman watches them go, smiling to herself. As the couple disappears, she turns back towards the house, looking directly at Dream standing there, watching. Raising an eyebrow, she waves at him, then follows the couple. Dream steps back, letting the room fade into the river of dreams once more. He stands in the blur for another moment, then slowly walks through it, back into the hallways of the Dreaming.
Walking the palace again, he thinks about what he's been shown. He finds himself walking straighter, his steps growing deliberate once again. Outside the palace, the rain that the rest of Dreaming had been suffering through lessens, then stops completely. The mist clears and the inhabitants of dreaming dry themselves out, wondering what fortunate event changed their master's mood this time.