|Aura Castillo ∴ Hel (calaveritas) wrote in paxletalelogs,
@ 2010-06-16 02:00:00
Who: Aura and Billy
When: Several weeks after this first dream. About nine months in the past.
Warnings: Not a one.
This dream was warm and bright too. It was on a beach that smelled very strongly of baking sand and old salt wood. Music was playing from a cheap radio with a gleaming silver antennae, and you could barely hear it over the roar of the waves, the indistinct murmur of conversation from beach-goers, the shouts of children, and the sound of a hundred different cars sliding down the vein of Pacific Coast Highway, the road that supplied lifeblood to the coast of California down toward Mexico. The ocean breeze was coming inland, and it was crisp and salty against the eyes. It was the most distinct, most detailed dream Billy had experienced in a very long time.
He wished he could move properly and really enjoy it.
So far Billy had regained feeling at the back of his calves--both of them--and a few other places on his legs. Most of the sensations were pain and discomfort, but hey, they were sensations. If he could have jumped for joy, he would have. His trunk and upper body were fine--thank God he could do his own breathing--but no feeling in the limbs and, the worst of it, no hands. His right arm was still in a cast and they’d basically reassembled his entire right leg, so that was immobile too (even if he couldn’t move it regardless).. They had him up in traction in the hospital, which meant he got to make a lot of puppet jokes to Merc, but in the dream, there was nothing to hold him up.
He liked being able to just sit, back against hospital pillows, like he always did when he wasn’t in therapy, and watched the waves. It was nice to watch the waves. There wasn’t anything to watch in the hospital except television.
Aura, who had been dreaming of cool places underground, faded into the bright dream reluctantly. She’d grown up in Las Vegas, where the blue of the ocean was something generally reflected in the pools and glass edifices of the hotels that dotted the strip, but real water? She wasn’t accustomed to that. And the sand was different under her bare toes; loose and cooled-under by the water so near the shore. Sand in her waking world was tight and hard and dry; amber concrete underfoot and little else.
She shielded her eyes with her hand, and she mentally chided herself for selecting such a location for her subconscious wanderings. Aura, you see, was an expert in dreaming, and this was a dream. Any doubt was driven away by the black jeans and shirt she wore - if she was awake, her mama would have made her wear something brightly colored.
She could see someone in the distance, though she couldn’t make out shape or form yet. It could have been her mama, waving a tortilla and telling her to wear eyeshadow; it could have been her papa, waiting to watch one of his silly gameshows with her; it could have been one of her hermanas wanting to set her up with a chaparro she was certain to hate the moment he opened his mouth.
She sighed. Didn’t she see enough of these people when she was awake?
He could turn his head--an incredible freedom that he savored by slowly looking back at the water and then back at her as she came nearer. He didn’t match the beach, because he was looking at it, and the wheels of the hospital bed were sunk deep into the sand. He gave her a very slow smile that literally sapped some of the energy from the air around him, dimming the heat into cool for a brief moment before he stopped trying and it shimmered back into existence. “Hi.” Friend to friend. “Visiting?” Billy was no expert at dreams. He just had them. The two realities, beach and hospital, kept interchanging, not visually but in every other way.
As she neared, she noticed that it was a hospital bed - she was very familiar with those, and she was certain they were not meant to be buried in the sand. She was equally certain the moving parts would rust. And then there would be paperwork to fill out.
She stopped just short of him, and she cocked her head. “I refuse to fill out paperwork for you in my dreams,” she told him. “Get up from that bed this instant.” It was her dream, after all; she could make demands.
She could, but she wasn’t the only one in the dream. He gave her a faint look of uncertainty, brows furrowing. He was a lot paler than he had been before, and he had the look of someone who had been in that bed long enough to drain some of the sunshine vitality that belonged under his skin. “Sorry,” he said, truthfully enough. “I can’t. I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about the paperwork, though.” He had no idea why he would make paperwork for her, anyway.
She walked a little further forward, taking note that she had not imagined the freckles that dusted his nose. Still, he didn’t smell like the sickly sweetness of death, and it wasn’t his time. Which meant he wasn’t hers. “Why are you here again?” she asked. stepping a little further forward. “If I tell my mama, she’ll come and tell you to leave my dream so an acceptable Chicano can take your place. Someone who wants two children, hot tortillas on the table every night and fake orgasms in bed every morning.”
“I’m just hanging out,” he said, turning his eyes from her to the waves again. “You don’t have to worry about any of that stuff around me. If your mama comes by, just make sure you let me know in advance so I can call in the guys in dark suits.” The humor was graveyard casual, almost gleaming with too much effort.
She walked all the way to the bed, and she rested her hip against it with easy familiarity. Her hand reached for the mechanical device to raise it a little, so he would have a better view of the waves, and she did it with an unthinking practice that only came from doing something repeatedly for years. “Don’t they get repetitive?” she asked, referring to the waves, her fingers moving to his upper arm to instinctively check for a morphine patch.
He tipped his chin sharply down at the familiarity, and he didn’t care for it one damn bit. But he didn’t shift away. Couldn’t. He was silent for a little while as he conquered the desire to snap at her for moving him around when he didn’t want to be moved. It was the worst fucking thing about this whole deal. “No. They always come ashore differently.”
She caught the tipping of his chin, and she looked at him a moment. When she spoke, it was with a perceptive sort of curiosity. “That bothered you?” she asked. In Aura’s profession, the patients were generally unconscious or sedated, and the ones who weren’t didn’t mind soothing fingers and casual touches. It was something encouraged, actually, since touch remained when little else did in life, and it made her consider, pause. “Why?”
“I don’t like it when you move me around. I didn’t decide to move so I don’t want to be moved.” He did his best to keep the irritation out of his voice, because he didn’t want to sound like a spoiled child. It made him want to scream and kick, but he didn’t do either because there wouldn’t be a point.
She didn’t look like she minded any irritation that managed to slip through into his voice. “But we’re supposed to anticipate your needs,” she said, the we in the sentence clearly a collective of some sort. “Making you ask, it’s supposed to make you feel powerless. If we just anticipate, it helps you keep your pride?” she said, a definite question in the rote statement.
The hazel eyes slowly cooled. The irritation, quick to grate, smoothed away. “Lady,” he said, gently, as if she was the one in the bed, “There’s nothing you can do to help me keep my pride.” He licked his lips. “But thanks for trying.”
“Alright,” she said easily, not at all disturbed by the sentiment. “What can I do to take less of it away then?” she asked, and she slid up onto the edge of the hospital bed with a comfortable ease that said she wasn’t uncomfortable or nervous around people in hospital beds. She pulled her bare, sandy feet up onto the white, coarse sheets, and she hugged her knees and propped her chin on them. “Though, really, I don’t know why you’re in my dreams, unless you’re a Starfleet officer we’ll never have a future, you and I.”
“You always talk about Star Trek,” he mused. “Just keep talking, I don’t need anything right now.” Thank God. Every time he needed something there was either some long humiliating process or four doctors consulting.
"Would you rather I compare you to a night elf paladin?" She asked. "That would do nicely too, but I don't think you have the ears to pull it off."
"I know just enough about that to pretend I know what you're talking about. I'm going to stick with Star Trek. The captains get lucky a lot."
“Not the female,” she said, not expecting him to know about Janeway and her romance problems. She smiled down at him. “You know, encouraging me to talk means something sarcastic is going to come out of my mouth,” she informed him truthfully.
Nope, he had absolutely no clue who Janeway was, you could tell by the puzzled blink. Unconcerned by his ignorance, however, he just kept going. “I figure if I can’t handle sarcasm, I really am broken.” He grinned out over the water. A little kid splashed by, totally oblivious to the bed and the man in it.
She looked over toward the water when she heard the splash, and they she looked back at him. “I don’t dream children,” she said with certainty.
He was unconcerned. There were a lot of them. Billy never really acknowledged what she said about them being dreams. They always made sense when he was in them. He was concentrating very hard on the white crest of each wave, imagining things and listening to music that wasn’t there. “Why not?”
“Because they’re everywhere when I’m awake,” she said. “At home, at work, everywhere.” She looked out at the waves, and then she looked back at him. “This is a dream. You can go in,” she told him, though she didn’t offer to help. Despite her tendency toward sarcasm, Aura was very passionate about making the sick and dying feel comfortable; if comfort, for him, was not being moved around or touched, she was completely willing to grant him that - even if it was only a dream.
“Sometimes in my dreams I do,” he said, looking at her again. “But not this one. Do I know you?” It was all one breath, two thoughts, one important, one not.
“From last time,” she said, wondering if her freckled dream boy didn’t retain memories. It would be typical, of course, if he was like a goldfish and she was his plastic castle, the one he never remembered after swimming by it.
He stared at her a little while, trying to place the face, and then broke into a grin. It wasn’t like the first grins she’d seen, the ones he had flashed on the sidewalk so fast and immediate. This one took effort, but it meant just as much. “Right, the sidewalk.”
She nodded, and she didn’t interrupt and try to jog his memory while he tried to work it out. She was unfailingly patient in this, and she just slid off the bed as he pondered, and she walked toward his waves, the white caps crashing over her toes. Once he spoke, she grinned, and she turned and kicked water onto him, onto his hospital bed. It was a dream, after all. No rusting, and no need to be somber. “Precisely.”
He tried to lift his arms and automatically block his eyes from the water, but they didn’t raise. He still squinted his eyes shut though, and when he opened them he was smiling again. “Revenge for leaving you in the dust,” he theorized.
She shook her head, because she didn’t tend to lie (if anything, she couched truths in sarcasm so thick it was nearly impossible to cut through). “I just wanted to pester you,” she admitted, and she did it again before climbing onto the foot of his bed and kneeling between his feet. “See, when I’m awake there is no splashing. Never. Splashing is completely verboten.” She looked very serious indeed when she said this, and then she smiled again, her normal, reserved smile. “Why are we on the beach?” she asked, repeating.
“You have a problem with being on the beach?” He gave his head a little shake. His hair was just a little too short, the kind of convenience short his mother went for when she’d come by and commented he was looking a little shaggy around the ears. “Why can’t you splash? Other than the fact with anybody else it would get you dunked.”
“Splashing is annoying in a playful way. One can’t be serious business and be playful at the same time,” she said with exaggerated somberness. “And you are made of complete and utter fail when it comes to confessions. I hope you aren’t a Catholic, it would make the afterlife very inconvenient for you.”
“What do you want me to confess?” He gave his head a cocky little tilt. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Hansen, I did steal the last black crayon and hide it in my lunchbox.”
She looked over her shoulder at the waves and then back at him, and she quirked her brow at him.
“Why do you have to be serious business all the time?” he asked, curious.
She cocked her head to the side, and she thought about that. “I like it, being serious. There are a million serious things to explore, and always sticking to surface things bores me. My familia does that, always worries about makeup, who kissed who, what so-and-so wore to the grocery store. I want to talk about deeper things - or Star Trek,” she finished, grinning.
“Who kissed who is pretty deep,” Billy opined, wisely.
“It is?” she asked, her tone and expression indicating that she didn’t think that was deep or important at all. “You’ve read too many books, seen too many movies, listened to too many ballads.” She shook her head then, black hair messily tumbling over her shoulders. “Sex is about procreation, and love is just like every other myth we fabricate to make ourselves feel better about things we don’t understand.”
Billy smiled. He had a secret weakness for ballads, especially Journey’s epic percussion-piano ones. He’d also read quite a lot of books and seen quite a lot of movies. “Sex is about procreation,” he nodded, “unless you’re doing it, and then it’s about something a lot better than that.” He frowned a little at her comment about love, as if she had struck him a blow, but he didn’t say anything.
She noticed the frown, of course, and she waited a moment before commenting, choosing her words wisely. Aura didn’t feel the need to rush or hurry through things, so she let the silence stretch and grow before speaking. “I’m not a virgin; sex is still a chemical process created by nature to produce tiny tadpoles. Love doesn’t last.” She said the last kindly, but very much in the vein of someone who hasn’t experienced it - who has only sat on the sidelines and watched (disapprovingly).
Amusement threatened to spill out of Billy’s expression, so much that he didn’t trust himself to speak for several seconds. Finally, he said, “Oh, honey, clearly you haven’t been doing it right.”
She graced him with her own amused grin. “Oh, honey, I have been.”
“No,” he insisted, giving in to laughter. “You haven’t.”
“Because I didn’t imagine fireworks or see stars?” she asked, the amusement unhidden in the question.
“No, because you can compare it to anything else.”
“What am I supposed to compare it to?” she asked, leaning forward onto her elbows. “Enlighten me.”
“It’s incomparable. It’s close and hot and heavy and it makes you feel alive.” He shrugged. Or would have. “You’ll get there someday, don’t worry. Some guy will come along and prove it.”
She made a very unimpressed sound. “There are more important things.”
“No argument there.” He looked at her, and his expression changed, fond and uncomprehending at the same time. “You’re a weird kid.”
“So are you,” she said, not taking offense at being called a kid. If she was a kid, so was he. It was as simple as that, really. Aura had no interest in acting older than her years, and she wasn’t about to leave behind the things she liked because she was too old for them. She was as she was, and he was he was. And they were the same.