Alright guys! So many of you wanted another chapter, well, here you go! As far as I'm concerned, though, this is the last chapter! I hope you enjoy it! Thank you all for all your amazing support! I really enjoy all the feedback :)
As Rickon left, Bran realized he was exhausted. He felt…fuzzy. As if his eyes couldn't quit focus. Or more like his brain couldn't focus. It wasn't even midday, but Bran felt his mind coercing his consciousness into sleep, dragging it somewhere with desperation, and eventually he gave in.
Jojen's arrow landed with a wobbly thump a good eight feet from where the turkey had been.
Meera cursed with a glance in his direction and dropped the bird the next second with her own arrow before it had fled too far.
"Jo, what's wrong?" Her anger never lingered because she knew her brother well enough to know that something like this was most likely somehow because of his…magic. Especially in this case, when Jojen fell to the ground before he could even answer.
"Jojen!" Meera ran over to him.
"I'm…fine. Just…really tired. And I can't focus, that's why I missed." Jojen blinked, his mind blurred again, just like it had been doing all morning, getting worse by the hour. "I just…need to sleep."
Meera looked worried. "Now? Can't you even make it back to camp?" She hesitated, "Does this have to do with Bran?"
Jojen's eyes were drooping, and he barely had the energy to lock them onto hers. "Probably…" he mumbled before losing consciousness completely.
Bran saw his arrow fall short and the bird trot away. His hand shook and he could hear his sister's frustrated call from behind him. Soon her hands were on his back reassuringly, as he dropped to his knees. He knew he was going to fall asleep soon. Or maybe he was already asleep.
Soon the wolf came upon them and Bran saw Jojen asleep on the forest floor, dreaming. And then they were both the wolf and they ran back the way they'd come.
Jojen obligingly listened to his little brother tell him about his own feelings. They were very transparent, and suddenly something awoke in a panic in his mind. Bran shouldn't know about this! If he heard Rickon, he would know! He would know how he felt.
He sensed that the other boy was near and that he could hear. And suddenly the thought that he was near was both the worst and best thing in the world. The water that would save his life in the desert, while drowning him in the sea.
Their dream blended and swirled and Jojen realized he was watching Bran sleep through wolf eyes. And Bran was also standing, watching him as a wolf. But there was a void between them, they might've been able to jump it, but at the same time, it was as wide as an ocean.
It was clear their dreams would fight for eternity until their consciousnesses were together, but no matter how tirelessly they fought, there was a certain element of closeness that it could never achieve.
This realization hit Bran in the chest like a fist, and Jojen doubled over from the pain of it. He reached out for the other boy, but their fingers passed through each other like smoke.
Both boys awoke with a gasp and sat up. They were both back at the campsite, on opposite sides of the fire. Their eyes locked and without a moment's hesitation, they moved. Bran lurched up, and Jojen leaped across the distance, making up for the other's lack of progress, and they latched together, gripping tightly and pulling until there was no more space between them.
It all happened within a few seconds, and it caught the others off guard. But for Bran and Jojen, nothing else existed. When Bran had opened his eyes, everything was still blurry, except for the same pair of eyes matching his across the way. Jojen could see nothing else, and for the first time since he'd left that morning, he could see the solution his mind had been searching for, the sanctuary to satisfy his restlessness.
They both felt a certain completeness wash over them as their limbs matched up and their faces touched. Their dream solidified and completed, both realizing that what their dream had been grasping for—what it could never have gained—was physicality; touch, which they had gone without for the first time since the first shared dream.
With a passing interest he knew he should care more about, Bran realized (and knew somehow that Jojen did too) that they had taken the dream walking to an unheard-of level: they had embodied and seen through the eyes of another human—each other.
Their link had not lessened; not really. When they were not touching, their minds searched for each other restlessly, not complete without the other, greater distance only multiplying it. But now it was as if their minds had simply formed into one mind, and Bran saw twice as many thoughts in his head, not noticing any that seemed particularly foreign, yet he knew some were Jojen's. He felt the other boy run Bran's own thoughts through his mind wonderingly, looking them over with interest. And love, Bran realized.
Everything was transparent now, and their shared thought space brought up the scene of Rickon's talk with Bran. Bran widened his eyes in shock and felt his face flush as he mentally scrambled to hide the memory, but Jojen's presence was there in his mind, soothing, and he remembered that Jojen had already seen this.
"You should already know." And a thought feeling was pushed to the front of Bran's mind; it warmed him in a way he hadn't felt since losing his family.
Bran responded with a mirrored feeling, his confidence growing, and created for Jojen a scene of how the conversation would have ended. How Bran would have told his brother that he did indeed love the young ranger boy who had come suddenly and completely into his life like a flood.
Jojen smiled, and Bran could see it both with his eyes, and with his mind's eye, which was much more informed. His mind's eye saw a search fulfilled, a long lost family member found, a heart that swelled and felt like sunlight in a summer that never ended; a glow, a white light that was also all the colors in the world, and the feel of fingers entwined with a matching set with which his fit perfectly.
"Do I need to say it?" Bran sensed the laughter from the other boy as the thought ran through his own head. "Anyway, the others are staring."