Odd how the muzzle of his Special felt so cold against his cheek. Odd because he was slowly bleeding to death and felt half-frozen anyway. Why should the familiar steel feel that way to him? He shook his dark head groggily and tried to remember what he was waiting for. Something... no, wait, that wasn't right. Someone. He could vaguely recall the form in his mind's eye, specter-like in his twilight existence.
A fair head, slight body; the conjured image seemed to bring a sense of peace and calm to his shivering body. His enervation kept him from continuing with the thought long enough to place a name to the ghost. His body had long given out and his mind was functioning on a base level, conserving the little remaining strength left in a stubborn resistance to mortality.
He tried to move the weapon to rest on his forearm but only succeeded in allowing it to fall to his chest. At least there it did not feel so cold. He had a layer of cotton between the pistol and his blood-slicked skin. He stared dispassionately at the red stain spreading across his torso, idly wondering how much blood loss he could sustain without becoming unconscious. He knew that point was coming quickly, knew it by the lethargy of his limbs and the pinwheels that burst in his vision whenever he moved his eyes.
Warm; all he wanted was to be warm again. He floated in the layers of consciousness that lay between the waking and the dream world and remembered a time when he had been warm. And cared for. And loved.
Strong arms had held him as they had slept in a comfortable bed with thick down comforters to nestle into. Had it been Brussels? Perhaps Berlin? It hadn't mattered, it was bliss all the same, heedless of the geography. The stolen moments must have been rare, indeed, for he remembered thinking how little time they could find to be together. It made him sad, and he twitched in his delirium.
The clatter of his Special hitting the concrete beneath him registered as an extraneous detail that was really unimportant now. What was important was reliving this particular memory while his neurons could still fire. Perhaps the dream could make him warm.
Yes, there had been a fireplace, with aromatic logs popping and crackling as the resin inside their veins heated to boiling. Heat, he thought, glorious heat. As glorious as the sleek body that was plastered along his own, lying so close as to make it difficult to see where one began and the other ended. Their joined flesh was sweat-slicked, the passion of their lovemaking had peaked and they were drowsing in the pleasure-fogged state post-coital.
He had tried to shift position and the steel bands around him tightened making breathing difficult for a moment. He quieted and felt the needy embrace relax slightly. A sleepy "Sorry," was mumbled in his ear and he turned within the familiar circle of his lover's arms and pressed his face into the thin shoulder, absorbing the sweat drops there with his hair and feeling the heat of the soft skin underneath.
The dark head dropped lower to the rent chest and a feeble sigh left him as he drew closer to the darkness calling him. The cold concrete leached the remaining heat from his body as he lay fully prone now. Incongruously, he could feel the radiating warmth of his lover as he luxuriated in his embrace. A small smile curled his lips as he tumbled into nothingness and felt suddenly, wonderfully warm.
He must still be dreaming. For he felt the pliant body of his ghost lover close against him, every inch awash in the feeling of the other. Risking nothing to rouse him from this sweet shelter, he moved compliantly against the taut body and snuggled deeper inside the cocoon. A minute whisper of deeply held breath sighed out of him, and he felt the embrace tighten again as he had felt it in the waking dream. He smiled as the owner of those arms pressed nearer and drew his legs even tighter against the cold ones of his companion.
A well-loved voice spoke gently to him through the shroud of the fog he was under. It was a dream, still just a dream, but such a very nice one, and he did not have the strength to affect it even if he had been so inclined.
Surrounded by shadows, he could not make sense of the murmurings but knew the intent was to calm and comfort him. He felt a warm hand squeeze his once, and thought if he concentrated fiercely he could just nearly manage...there.
He heard a quick intake of breath behind him and hoped he hadn't broken the spell he had cast. His hand was held in a firm grip now and the words he heard were coalescing in his mind into a semblance of coherency.
The voice was urgent, quick, and sounded very worried. In a dream? There was no place for worry here. He tried to convey that with another touch to the strong hand enclosing his.
He felt gentle, hesitant hands rolling him onto his back and the loss of the intimate embrace caused him to moan dejectedly.
The knife-edge of worry was back in the voice. "Did I hurt you? I'm sorry, lyubov. I'm so sorry. Please open your eyes. Come on, dushka. Open your eyes for me."
His lips curled as he saw through the trick. He knew if he opened his eyes, the dream would end. And he'd be alone and cold again. He could be very stubborn when he wanted to be. And right now he wanted to be very stubborn indeed. Unfortunately, the frantic hands that were trying to gently shake him awake were just as resolute, and he frowned at their impertinence.
"That's it, partner. Come on, don't keep me waiting. Let me see those gorgeous eyes, milok."
Well, at least this rude person had good taste. Calling forth his last remnant of energy, he just managed to crack his eyes open. His vision swam and sparkled, but he recognized the face as the same one in his dreams. The fair head, the slight form, his spirit sprite had followed him to consciousness. How could that be?
A siren wailed in the distance, but the only important sounds to him were those of his rescuer. The pallid visage was bent over him, lips against his ear, tears rolling down the gaunt cheeks to land on his face below. He felt the warmth of the offering as he tried to catch one on his lips. Brilliant blue eyes stared back at him, drinking in the sight of him. In this reality the pale one had a name. And he remembered it. As quickly as a lightning bolt strikes, he felt the name come to his lips. He tried to speak it, but no sound came out of his cracked and parched lips. They mouthed the name, however, and a trickle of wetness ran across his mouth. He sucked the moisture in and tried again.
"I-I-Illya?" His voice was the barest of whispers. He had no strength left to repeat it. It was enough. It was Illya. He was home again. And loved. And it was warm here. Very, very warm.