Eve smiled as she caught a glimpse of golden hair, and immediately raised her hand to catch the man's eye. She noticed the dark circles under his blue eyes as he got closer, making her frown with sympathy. It was apparent that he still wasn't sleeping well. (Bond hadn't been sleeping well for several weeks now.)
"Hey!" she greeted cheerfully as he pulled out the chair across of her and sat down. He returned the greeting, though couldn't seem to make it quite as cheerful or happy sounding, and ran a tired hand down his face. "You look wonderful." she joked with a hint of sarcasm, hoping that it would help in lifting her friend's spirits.
"I always do." James smirked, his reply dripping with sarcasm. Eve considered it a victory when she saw those beautiful blue eyes brighten up a bit. "You look gorgeous." he returned the compliment, but it was much more sincere.
"I always do." Eve threw James' reply right back at him with a laughing smile before she thanked him for the flattering remark.
James gave an amused chuckle as he accepted the 'thank you'. "So how's life, Miss Moneypenny?"
The black woman reported that life had been good. Aside from the fact that she had just broken up with her boyfriend a few days prior, everything was normal. James shook his head at that and commented that her boyfriend didn't know what he'd thrown away, and that if he really was that stupid, he didn't deserve her anyways. (-You flatterer- Eve interjected.) He asked if she needed him to hunt her ex down to punch him for her, but Eve just laughed and said that that was already taken care of, which made James raise an eyebrow. Eve decided not to elaborate, and instead asked him how he had been.
"You know. Nightmares." was all he said, all he would say, and all he had to say.
Eve watched as pain and exhaustion floated to the surface of Bond's eyes before quietly sinking back into the deep blue depths. She gave a tentative smile and reached across the table to hold James' hand, "I actually brought something for you that I think might help."
"Cyanide pills?" James asked dryly.
Eve rolled her eyes and withdrew her hand to rummage through her bag. James eyed her curiously, snorting loudly when he saw what she'd procured from her bag. Eve fought to restrain herself from smacking her friend upside the head. Of course, she was close enough to him that she had expected him to react that way, but it didn't make it any less rude.
At Eve's glare Bond held his hands up defensively, "Eve, believing that dreamcatchers actually work is like believing that Santa Claus actually exists." (A little boy and girl sitting a few seats of them gasped audibly, horrified by what Bond said. Their mother hissed, scolding them for eavesdropping. Eve and James wisely ignored them.)
"It works." Eve vouched for the dreamcatcher adamantly. James stared, disbelieving. Eve rolled her eyes and sighed. "Just. Try it."
James gave a small shrug and took the object gently, "If only to amuse you."
"Promise me you'll actually use it and not throw it in the bin, break it, or try to give it to some stranger."
"I promise," James agreed with an amused smirk.
His time with Miss Moneypenny passed by normally after that. Neither of them mentioned a word about Bond's nightmares again. The only evidence that they ever touched on the subject was the dreamcatcher dangling from James' fingers. Time seemed to slip through their fingers, and before they could blink it was time for them to part ways. Eve gave him a warm hug and Bond returned it with a soft smile. ("Remember to use that dreamcatcher. I'll know if you didn't." Eve said with a look that said she'd never forgive him if he didn't listen. James just chuckled and slipped the dreamcatcher into his bag.) Then, giving one last comforting pat to Bond's back, she departed, leaving James to continue on with his day.
He didn't go back home after his meeting with Eve. Instead, he spent his time at Alec's, his best friend, who ended up taking him out clubbing. There, a buxom woman boldly made advancements towards him, and he surprised both himself and Alec by declining. Alec gave him a worried look, but before he could ask any questions, James left. He ended up arriving back at his flat at nearly two in the morning. (If he'd accepted her invitation, he was sure that he would have been back closer to sunrise.)
James sighed and threw his bag to the side, the dreamcatcher that he'd momentarily forgotten falling out of it. He paused before he picked it up. True to his word, he didn't give it to a random passerby, and he wasn't about to break it or throw it away. The blue-eyed male dragged his feet towards his bedroom with dreamcatcher in hand. He soon found it a home near his bed, reasoning that since it was supposed to catch bad dreams, that's where it should go. At least, that's what he heard...
James ran a hand through his hair, gave a breathy laugh, and shook his head. "This is ridiculous," he muttered to himself.
Q was a dream spirit. Dream spirits were celestial creatures who were assigned a handful of dreamcatchers. Those who acquired the dreamcatchers that Q was assigned were automatically under his protection. He, and other dream spirits, would protect the owners of these dreamcatchers by harvesting energy from good dreams to trap the bad dreams in the dreamcatcher's web. Normally the owners would be children, but there were occasionally a few adults that they had to look out for as well.
So when Q sensed that another of his dreamcatchers was in the possession of a middle-aged adult man, he wasn't very surprised. That particular dreamcatcher was brand new though, which meant that it was an empty vessel. There was absolutely no energy in it for it to work against nightmares. Q hoped that the man wouldn't go to sleep before he visited a few houses. The vials that he used to hold energy in were as empty as the man's shiny-new dreamcatcher.
Quickly, he dashed across the starlit sky to the houses that he regularly visited. As was routine, he checked the dreamcatchers to see if they needed maintenance or not, but Q was something of a genius, and it was rare that any of his dreamcatchers had holes for nightmares to slip through. (Still, Q always made a point to check. It wouldn't do to make his reputation suffer because he was cocky enough to believe that none of his dreamcatchers would fall apart.)
Once he was sure that his dreamcatchers didn't have even the tiniest hole in them, Q moved on to harvesting energy. There were many ways to harvest energy, but Q's favorite way was to place a kiss on the human's forehead. It was the simplest, easiest, and quickest way. And he needed to be fast if he wanted to be at the man's -James, Q sensed was his name- house before he began to dream. Thankfully, it didn't seem as if James would be asleep anytime soon. In fact, Q was able to get through every one of his assigned dreamcatchers before he began to feel the drowsiness from James.
Q moved swiftly towards where he felt James and his dreamcatcher were located. When he arrived, he could sense the dark cloud of nightmares sinking down towards the man. He was surprised at the density of the nightmares. It was rare, or at least he never witnessed it, that the nightmares were this bad. Q didn't let that intimidate him though. The spirit flung some of the dream energy at the cloud.
Green eyes flashed dangerously, "Stay away!" he warned, growling.
When he saw the nightmares recoil, he immediately took the chance to pour the energy he harvested earlier into the dreamcatcher. Q was tense throughout this entire process, but he was able to equip the dreamcatcher before the nightmares could do anything. The spirit visibly relaxed once he was finished, and finally allowed himself to study his new charge.
He nearly jumped when he saw two piercing blue eyes looking straight at him. No. James wasn't looking at him, Q realized belatedly. The brunette stepped to the side so that he wouldn't be in the way of James' line of sight. (Not that James could see him of course, but Q was solid to himself, so it felt as though he was blocking. It also made Q uncomfortable when human eyes were in his direction.) He followed the blond's line of sight with his eyes and found that his intent stare was directed at the dreamcatcher. Q's expression projected something close to curiosity.
Then, he heard a voice that came from the depths of James' soul. It was a plea so strong that it echoed painfully in Q's ears.
The words triggered Q's empathy and made the spirit's breath hitch. The brunette stood still, bit his lip in thought, sucked in a breath, and stepped forward. If he were to be completely honest, if he weren't himself, he would have asked, "Have you gone bonkers?" Truthfully, he didn't actually have to do this. He'd done enough for the man by setting up the dreamcatcher. James would no longer have nightmares. It would work. He'd answered the poor man's plea.
"Well, this is why I'm popular." Q mused to himself as he rubbed his hands together anxiously. "I give good service."
He carefully climbed onto the blond, carefully because he was nervous and not because he was afraid of waking the man up (it would be impossible for him to do anyways), and pressed their foreheads together. Then, he closed his eyes. Doing so would make the journey into James' dreamworld less queasy and overall more enjoyable, after all.
Green. Dappled light. Blue sky. Rustling leaves. Outside? He saw blurs of color zig-zagging in front of him: children playing tag. Must be a park. It didn't seem to be familiar, but he felt safe and quite at peace.
He turned his head. (To the right or the left, he wasn't sure.) A young man, looking younger than thirty and older than nineteen, stood there. He seemed to be skinny. Dressed in a cardigan. For some reason he couldn't tell what color it was. The young man's hair was dark (black? brown?) and a chaotic tangle of curls. His eyes stood out the most. They were the brightest, kindest, most peaceful green that he had ever seen.
The young man called out to him again. The dark haired man looked as if he were happy to see him and seemed to be moving closer. The young man's mouth seemed to open slightly, and a beautiful sound came out of them. (A laugh?)
Hello James. The young man greeted.
Hello. He replied. He was confused. A thought surfaced that this young man was a stranger who shouldn't know him at all, but part of him insisted that the young man was the reason why he was in the park in the first place. He gave in to the part that insisted that they were acquaintances and quickly forgot about his doubts a second later.
Were you waiting long?
No. He answered the young man confidently, but a soft whisper told him that he had waited a long time, and that the wait was incredibly painful.
As if hearing the whisper, the young man placed his hand over his. The young man's thumb rubbed the back of his hand in circular, comforting-like motions.
Could I give you a hug? What possessed him to ask such a thing, he had no idea.
The boy's expression softened and his head seemed to bob up and down in affirmative. Afraid that the young man would change his mind, he quickly leaned over to hug him. Idly, he noted that the boy felt like an odd mixture of soft silk and fresh air. He felt a hand pat his back in a friendly manner that wasn't unlike the way Eve would pat him.
Tea? The boy asked in what was like a gentle whisper.
Then they began walking. Sometimes it felt like he was holding the boy's hand, other times they were simply walking side by side, and other times still he found himself looking at the back of the boy's head. His vision was so focused on the boy that he wouldn't be able to tell you the directions to their destination. It was as if the park had blurred and morphed from being a park to being a cafe. He could barely even register entering the cafe but he could distinctly recall the sound of a bell chiming as they opened the door. He could remember the cashier's face and approaching the cash register, but for the life of him couldn't remember how the conversation went as he ordered their food. Suddenly, they were at their table, and the food was already in front of them. Didn't they just order their food?
It was as if he were constantly blacking out.
The boy was talking about something that he couldn't really comprehend, which was strange because he knew it was something very simple. The boy stopped talking and waited for a reply. He did reply, even though he had no idea what they were talking about, but it seemed as though some part of him did because the boy seemed satisfied with his answer. Strangely, he couldn't find it in himself to focus on the boy's face. It was blurred and only came into focus for brief moments. Frustratingly, the intricate cups that held honey colored tea were far more interesting to look at.
You'll be okay now.
Something about the way the boy said it made him feel like a suffocating weight was being lifted off of him.
Q withdrew quietly from James' dreamworld. The man wouldn't notice. (It was highly likely that the man wouldn't even remember him. Oddly, most humans seemed to forget their dreams the moment they opened their eyes. ) Before leaving, he leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss on James' forehead. One of the vials that he possessed filled up almost simultaneously. Q smiled tenderly down at the peacefully sleeping male before moving towards the window. He nearly gasped in utter shock when he realized that someone, another spirit, was standing just outside the window observing him with a familiar cold glare. Q felt he should have been given an award for keeping himself composed.
"Q." The older, more experienced dream spirit stared down at him intensely. She was something similar to what humans called their "superior." Q watched warily as the woman folded her hands in front of her. She knew. Of course she knew. M had eyes bloody everywhere. "You are aware of what you just did."
"You dream jumped."
Q winced. She didn't have to actually say it. "Yes."
"Was it an emergency?"
"No, ma'am, but-"
"There are no 'but's' in dream jumping!" M interrupted sharply. "If this happens again I won't hesitate to demote you back to weaving."
"Yes, ma'am. Of course. I understand."
It wasn't that dream jumping was dangerous or harmful to spirit or human, it was that the dream spirits had policies about secrecy. If a dream spirit was allowed to dream jump whenever he or she felt like it, humans would notice. Dream spirits didn't like humans noticing them. It wasn't as though anything bad would happen, even if they noticed them it wasn't like they could do anything about it, but they liked being in the dark.
"Good. See to it that it doesn't happen again." M brought out a pocket watch, looked at it, and put it away. "Wrap it up quickly now, Q, and head back to headquarters."
The younger spirit nodded and watched as M's form glowed brightly before she disappeared into thin air. Just a few moments later, Q climbed gracefully up onto the window sill and stepped out into the air as if there were solid ground. Turning, he glanced at James for one last time that day and said softly, "Pleasant dreams, James." Then, he made his exit in a way that was similar to M's.
James woke up feeling surprisingly well rested. He couldn't really remember his dream, though he vaguely remembered that a cafe was involved. And tea. It definitely wasn't a bad dream, and the realization made him smile. He reached up above his head and stretched. A few joints cracked loudly as a result, and he let out a loud groan of pleasure. James didn't get up right away. He laid there in his bed for a while, staring at the ceiling before his gaze wandered to land on the dreamcatcher.
It was only the first night. Could be a fluke. He wouldn't give Moneypenny the satisfaction of knowing it worked...yet.