They were different now. No longer did he dream of blood-soaked floors or wastelands barren of beauty or even of the wife who had been taken by this City that also gave so much. These dreams were heavier. Full to the brim with the ache he denied existed through his days. That ache had a name. Had a voice as clear as glass, as nuanced as the sea.
Erik ran a hand across his face, then started for the shower, knowing from experience that there would be no more rest for him, despite the darkness still holding sway behind the velvet of his chamber windows.
Thirty minutes later, he pulled a suit jacket onto his frame. The comfort of his morning routine had failed to calm him. Restless still, but mindful of the women with whom he shared this mansion, he closed his chamber door gently and moved with well-practiced silence through the corridor leading to the library. He paused just a few seconds beside a certain door, his fingers unwillingly brushing the surface, before pushing himself away.
That hideous longing crept upon him the more he distanced himself, until he was certain it would gnaw his body cavity through and through. Erik leaned heavily on the closed library doors, pressing his face against the wood and swallowing the groan that kept threatening to break the early morning shush over his house.
When he was again out of danger, again somewhat his own master, he turned the handle and stepped into the darkened room. Needing no light to guide him, he went straight for the bourbon, poured a measure amount, and eased himself into the closest armchair.
His mind was a mess. In days past, he already would have had the needle in his vein. To dare seek that bliss again was to betray his young friend Hannibal, but he nevertheless acknowledged that such sweet silence in his mind would have been a deeper comfort than he could say.
He made do with the bourbon.