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*

 

Lucienne was standing in front of the Library door. She was leaning back onto the polished wood, making sure that the doorknob didn't poke her in the back, and the TEMPORARILY CLOSED sign remained visible. She was reading a little paperback titled A Study on Love, Marriage and my Wife's Vagina by Milly Baxter.

The fact that she was reading a book was of course standard practice. It was by no means surprising. What was surprising though, was the fact she was reading it outside her Library, not at one of the many thousand reading or writing desks, or bunkered up at the base of a yet unorganized pile of books, or sitting on the ladder steps a few miles above ground, or atop one of the bookshelves, or literally anywhere that was strictly inside the Library.

So yes… Quite unusual.

She turned the page. It was a decent enough book. At least given the fact that she'd had to pick one in a rush. Barely had time to read the whole title. A soft thud came from the other side of the door, followed shortly by something that sounded vaguely like a moan. 

She turned another page.

Oh my, Lucienne thought. The next chapter's main focus was, indeed, the wife's vagina. And near microscopic focus at that. She squinted at some words that had definitely not existed before this book or before Milly's rather vulgar imagination, then raised an unimpressed eyebrow at some positions that would have been tricky to pull off even in the Dreaming. 

Another moan. Or the creak of ancient oaken bookshelves. Could have been either.

She turned the page, hoping to find a part that contained at least some actual plot.

 

*

 

An inkpot rolled off the desk and crashed onto the ground. It spilled ink over two poetry collections, one titled The Hitchhiker's Manual to Cleaning Rusty Pipes by Nikita Wyszłewska, the other Are You a Dune? Cause You've Got the Curves by Alejandro Nunez.

But soiled poetry books were not exactly something Morpheus concerned himself with at this time. Truth be told, there was little room left in his thoughts outside the words-

"Don't stop!"

Hob raised his head to smirk at Morpheus from where he was kneeling.

"Did I hear a stop ?" he asked as he leaned onto his hand, elbow resting on the writing desk. Effectively stopping since his heavenly mouth was now more than a foot away from Morpheus' cock.

"Hob!"

"Mm? Anything troubling you?" 

Morpheus wanted very much to punch that smirk off Hob's face. Then he remembered physical violence was not exactly befitting of the Lord of Dreams he was, so he figured that he could send him off to Nightmare for a night or two. Either way, he would have almost certainly done at least one of those things had he not been laying on a writing desk on his back, naked body splayed in front of Hob, legs dangling off the edge. He was painfully hard, so his mind was too much of a heated mush to do more than pant and squirm. Hob tracing his fingers up the inside of his thigh wasn't helping either. 

He whined.

"Stop teasing me!"

"You sure you want me to?"

The hand drifted downwards to his arse, and he choked on a breath as fingers gently circled his entrance.

"Please…"

All of the sudden, Hob's touch disappeared. Morpheus was about to complain again when hands gripped his legs beneath the knees and folded them to his chest.

"As you wish."

And Hob fell on him again, taking his cock deep into that incredible warmth of his mouth in one push.

Morpheus screamed.

 

*

 

Lucienne knocked sharply on the door behind her. "Quiet, you two!" she whispered not at all silently and went back to reading her book. 

The sound of wings flapping in the hallway reached her, accompanied by a croaky raven's voice.

"Hiya, Loosh."

She gave an acknowledging hum and turned the page.

Matthew found his perch on her shoulder and first looked down at the book, then left to the simple cardboard sign hanging off the doorknob and lastly at Lucienne with a puzzled expression.

"Uh. Mind explaining this?"

"Explaining what?"

He ruffled his feathers, annoyed.

"Why's the Library suddenly off limits, and the Librarian's standing outside?"

"Oh, that." She glanced back at the door. "I am guarding the door. Lord Morpheus is busy in there."

"Busy?"

"That's right."

"But what's he-" The sound that came from the library this time, could hardly be mistaken for anything but a sigh of pleasure. "Ooh, right."

Lucienne shushed the door again.

"So his boyfriend's visiting again, is he?"

"He is."

"And how the hell did they end up in the Library of all places? Thought there were a coupla hundred fancy bedrooms."

"There are."

"Loosh, stop reading please."

She sighed and closed the book.

"Me and Lord Morpheus were discussing whether it would be beneficial for the Library to have an entirely digitized section when Mr. Gadling showed up." She turned her bespectacled eyes up towards the ceiling at that. "Now, to the man's benefit, he was going to leave us to our debate, but then Lord Morpheus - for reasons beyond me - got that look in his eyes that I could only interpret as lust." And she finished, a hint of pride in her eyes at her rectitude. "So I discreetly removed myself."

Matthew snorted. "They've been fucking like rabbits, these two. Got nothing against it of course, but… do they really have to baptize every horizontal surface in the castle?" 

"They're probably making up for lost time. Lord Morpheus has only been with us for three months after his century-long imprisonment, after all."

"Okay, there's that…"

A short pause followed as Lucienne continued reading. After about five minutes of silence, that was only interrupted by distant moaning, Matthew grew bored.

"Whatcha reading?"

"Oh, nothing important. Just a little love story."

"Lemme see." He settled lower on Lucienne's shoulder to read with her. "I gotta start reading more anywa- Kraa?!" He flapped his wings, shocked, nearly falling off in the process. When he calmed himself, he craned his neck to stare at the paperback. "A… love story, you say?"

"Yes, well…" She might have blushed a little. "It can get a little intense at some parts-"

"A little intense?! Loosh, this stuff's more hardcore than what me and my pals used to watch when I was a man!"

"Give me a break! Don't pretend you don't enjoy it!"

Matthew had nothing to say to that.

"How common are books like that in the Library?" he asked, a bit sheepishly.

"Hmm, let me think." She counted on her fingers. "They make up for about a quarter at least."

Matthew's bird-eyes dilated at that, but he didn't get to comment because, in that exact moment, a shriek made its way to their ears, followed by a loud moan.

"I think those two fit right in."

 

*

 

God, that beard!

Morpheus was crushing his legs to his chest, fingernails leaving red crescents on the white skin since there was nothing else for him to hold onto. And he desperately needed something if he was to survive the overwhelming sensation of Hob's tongue inside him, prodding his most vulnerable parts with a velvety softness that somehow managed to light his entire body on fire. He'd never done this before, never known how incredible this could be, and he needed Hob to keep going. 

He whined as he felt Hob lick around the edges, then dip inside again, barely the tip and in and out a couple of times, teasing him. Whimpering, Morpheus tried to push himself further onto the tongue, to feel it fully inside him again, but Hob held his hips down firmly and kept up the torture. Then at last, he decided to take mercy on Morpheus and oh, god, oh, god! He had to bite his lips, lest he shout out or scream or possibly sob. It worked relatively well, though he still failed to contain his moans which seemed to only grow in volume, entirely without his consent, as Hob just wouldn't stop making him feel so damn good, swirling his tongue in him, caressing those sensitive walls while he fondled his hips and thighs with rough hands. He thrust his tongue inside, deeper than before at the same moment as he pinched the soft skin of his arse cheek, and Morpheus gasped, unable to keep his mouth closed anymore, his hips buckled without his consent, but Hob refused to let him move. If this continued, he would start screaming and Oh, oh, that beard! It tickled and scratched him in all the right places, adding to the electric currents crackling across his body as Hob fucked his tongue inside with gentle brutality.

Eyes closed, he allowed sensations to overwhelm him, so he almost didn't notice when Hob slowed down. Only when he felt the tongue disappear did his heated thoughts screech to a halt. What is he doing?

"Hob?"

He was about to ask what was going on when it was replaced by what must have been at least two wet fingers. He drew in a startled breath at the stretch, hoping it wouldn't hurt, but then Hob's mouth was around his cock again, that amazing tongue licking around the head…

The sensation distracted him enough from the stretch, then he noticed it didn't hurt at all as Hob pushed in and out with gentle movements, scissoring his fingers, then going deeper and deeper and-

"Oh oh." 

It felt like an electric shock hit his entire body with the force of a battering ram, knocking all air out of his lungs and a couple of books off their shelves. And then it didn't stop, Hob just kept touching that spot inside him again and again, making him squirm, and that, combined with Hob still doing his best to drive him insane with his mouth, pushed him over the edge.

"Hob, I'm- Ah!"

He was coming. His fingers dug painfully deep as his thoughts, his senses, everything, peaked then blanked out. He was vaguely aware he hadn't been able to contain a shout, but that didn't seem very important anymore.

He released the vice grip on his legs, letting them dangle off of the edge again while he panted, trying to collect himself but not succeeding in the slightest. Then he figured it didn't matter anyway, so he just lay there blissed out and exhausted. He felt familiar hands caressing his hips, which made him smile.

Then Hob decided to speak.

"Liked it?"

Liked it?

Morpheus' eyes flew open at the question as he struggled into a sitting position. Judging by Hob's expression, he must have made quite a hilarious sight.

"Did I-" He was working hard to catch his breath and failing spectacularly as he stared down at Hob, incredulous. "Did I- Did I like it?" 

"That's the question." He was smirking again, the utter bastard. This time, Morpheus decided to just kiss the expression off his face.

"Come here!" And he scrambled to pull Hob up by the lapels - why is he still dressed? - on top of himself, making Morpheus thump back onto the desk. Hob was laughing his arse off in the awkward position he'd found himself in, but Morpheus couldn't have cared less, so he immediately attacked Hob's mouth with his own, showing him exactly how much he'd enjoyed it. He could taste his own spend as he ran his tongue along Hob's mouth, who moaned and returned the kiss with equal vigour. 

"You still didn't answer me you know," Hob murmured, apparently not yet finished with his teasing. Morpheus couldn't bring himself to be annoyed anymore. Or perhaps he'd never been in the first place.

"Of course I loved it," he laughed, out of breath and happier than he'd been in ages.

The smile that bloomed on Hob's face at the words instantly became his new favourite sight. 

"Good," he said simply as he hugged him tight, nuzzling his neck, the coppery-red beard tickling him. Never. Ever. Shave. That beard. Morpheus gladly returned the hug, locking his legs around Hob's still clothed hips. The difference between their states of undress was an unexpected turn-on.

Then, he felt something poking him in the abdomen and, embarrassed, remembered he hadn't even touched Hob. Slipping his hand between their bodies, he rubbed it down his lover's still clothed erection, getting a groan for his efforts .

"May I return the favour?"

"Ah, bugger," Hob moaned into his ear, involuntarily squeezing Morpheus tighter. Then he managed to collect himself and said, "Wait, think you can go for another round?"

The mere thought of it made his spent cock twitch with interest. Hob must have felt it since he chuckled. 

"I could." I most certainly could. "But…" He pushed Hob's head to the side to glare at the Library door, then whispered, "I doubt I will be able to keep my voice down…"

After a moment of silence, Hob untangled their limbs and held himself over his lover. The mischievous grin made Morpheus' heart pick up its pace.

"I think I've got a solution to that problem."

 

*

 

"But why doesn't the Boss just, I dunno, teleport them to a bed or something?"

"I don't believe it has occurred to him."

"Really? It's not that big of a jump in logic."

"I know. But he gets a bit… Preoccupied when he's in love."

"Right."

"Now, wha's this?"

Matthew and Lucienne both - with notable regret - raised their heads, from where they'd been avidly reading the paperback, to look at Mervyn in all his pumpkin-headed glory. Behind him, he was dragging a shiny red wheelbarrow, filled to the brim with books of all shapes and sizes. Literally. On top of the pile, Matthew noticed a shark-shaped - and shark-sized - book, titled The Life and Death of a Shark Who Went to a Sushi Bar For Take-Out by Simone Munro. Mervyn eyed the pair blocking the Library door, his pumpkin tilting slightly when he attempted to read the sign.

"Started a book club or sumthink?" 

Lucienne sighed.

"No, Mervyn, we have simply found a satisfactory and educational way of killing time."

"Yeah, yeah, fine whatever, what I meant wus, why the everlovin' shite are ya standing here like a coupla dipshits?"

"Oh, the Library is off limits for the foreseeable future."

"Uh, why?"

"Because of renovations," Matthew blurted out when Lucienne said nothing for a few seconds too long. Right in time since, at that exact moment, rhythmic thumping started coming from the other side of the door. Mervyn's eyes became comically large holes in his pumpkin.

"Because of what?!"

"Renovations." Thump. Lucienne decided to double down on the lie. "Lord Morpheus is renovating the Library. It had fallen quite out of fashion in the last centu-"

"Wait, wait, wait, he's renovatin'?" Thump. " He's renovatin'?"

"Yes, Mervyn. He is."

"His Royal "Let's make Mervyn do everythin' that involves ev'n the littlest bit of manly physical labour 'cause I'm too high and mighty to get my artsy fartsy hands dirty with actual work"-ship is renovatin' by himself?"

"That's right." Lucienne could feel Matthew shaking on her shoulder with suppressed laughter while the thump, thump, thump sounds kept their even pace.  They both watched, a smidge impressed but mostly just entertained, as Mervyn let the wheelbarrow drop to the floor, grinning the most self-satisfied grin they'd ever seen on a pumpkin.

"Finally! He's finally grown a pair!" Thump. "Knew I could make a man outta him! Ah, the sweet, sweet thumping sound of handwork, the guy's finally figured it out!" Thump. "Only took a coupla hundred years of me settin' an example for Mr Artsy Pants to turn around, but I did it!"

"Right, Mervyn."

Thump. 

"I'm tellin' ya, nothing like a healthy dose of good ol' Merv Pumpkinhead's influence-" Thump . "-to turn a Michelangelo straight!"

"Of course, Mervyn."

"And there ain't gonna be no more of that, that… that faggot business around this castle no more, no sir! I can just see the guy getting kicked outta the gates, balls first." Thump. "So he'll finally stop ploughing the Boss's arse like a dame's!"

Thump.

"Definitely, Mervyn."

Thump.

"I'll leave him to it." Thump. " Here's the books for ya guys to sort, now I'm off with me mates for a pint of Toad's ale and a quick roll in the hay if ya know what I mean." He winked at them and, whistling, hands in pockets, sauntered out the way he'd come, pumpkin raised high.

Thump, thump, thump.

Matthew and Lucienne just stared at the abandoned wheelbarrow, then turned to look at each other. And both burst out laughing. Lucienne in a bit more dignified manner than Matthew, but the effect was the same.

"What the hell was that?" croaked Matthew, voice hoarse from laughing.

"Oh, same old Mervyn." 

"But seriously, what the hell?" Matthew shook himself out of his amusement. "I mean, how's the guy got any right to trash talk Boss and his boyfriend like that?"

"It's his function, Matthew," said Lucienne, still trying to stifle her giggling. "Homophobia and toxic masculinity are as much a part of the Dreaming as fairy tales. And it will remain so until humanity as a whole abolishes these concepts."

"Oh, right. Yeah, you got a point…"

She sighed and raised her hand to scratch Matthew's head.

"Don't concern yourself too much with this, Matthew. There is hardly anything you can do, and Lord Morpheus barely notices it anyway."

"Hope so… Wouldn't want him spoiling Boss's mood with his bullshit."

"I believe it would be a chore to spoil his mood at this moment," Lucienne commented as the thumping picked up its pace.

Matthew snorted.

"True that."

Thump.

 

*

 

"Fuck! Oh, blimey! You feel so good, sweet bleeding Jesus Christ!"

I thought we were supposed to be quiet, Morpheus thought as he eyed the half empty bottle of lube which lay on top of a soggy manuscript titled A Materioptikon's Marriage Story by John Dee. He had no idea how his thoughts had managed to remain coherent after the last - "Mmf- mm!" - few minutes or perhaps a couple of days, he couldn't really be sure how long he'd been- "Mmf!" - here, bent over the writing desk, the edges digging into his hips while Hob pounded away into his arse with the speed, strength and ooooh God stamina of a bull with his incredible cock, so marvellously hard that the desk banged into the wall at each thrust and ah, ah! Lucienne will kill me for this, don't stop!

"Mmmf!"

Hob was pressed to his back, crushing Morpheus to himself with an arm around his chest, panting moans and words of praise into his ear. The hot breath and beard tickled.

"That's it, that's it."

His other hand was firmly clasped over Morpheus' mouth, effectively silencing his comments and his moans of pleasure and an occasional scream. It was harder to breathe since he was forced to draw frantic breaths through his nose, but he couldn't be bothered to care, when everything just felt so breathtakingly good, and the presence of the hand just poured oil onto the already blazing inferno of his lust, and Hob, please, ah!

"Mmf!"

"You liking this?" Hob panted into his neck. Morpheus did his best to nod against the firm hold and give an enthusiastic "Mmhm," but he doubted Hob made it out among his incessant moaning. Until he felt the rhythm of the trusts stagger a little as his lover shook with silent laughter. Hob squeezed him closer to his chest and whispered a shaky, "I'm glad," and these two words alone melted his heart.

He sagged in the hold, letting Hob do as he pleased. He was fully hard again but nowhere near coming, so he just let himself enjoy the sensations and the rocking of their bodies while Hob kissed his hair in between moaned I love yous and Jesus Christs and an occasional fuck.

"Jesus fucking Christ, Morpheus…"

Do… not… stop…

The thrusts grew heated, Hob timing them perfectly, each punching a frantic breath out of him. He felt the fire in his gut build again, even though Hob hadn't even touched him yet, he moaned into his hand with increasing desperation, then Hob hit that spot inside him and - "Mm! Mmf!" - he was seeing stars, the world was spinning, he didn't know whether the plain wooden desk was the vaulted ceiling or the marble floor, and, honestly, he didn't care, it felt so incredible, so, so incredible, Hob, Hob, please, keep going, ah!

Then that train of thought got cut off as he realised that there was no writing desk beneath him, and the world was indeed spinning.

He had a brief moment to think to himself that he must have accidentally reshaped the Dreaming before both he and Hob were tumbling to the ground in a cloud of dust and books. Somewhere along the line, the hand had slipped from his mouth.

 

*

 

"Excuse me, ma'am, why is the library closed?" asked a dreamer with a hypnotic narrator's voice. He'd just appeared out of nowhere in front of Matthew and Lucienne as was usual for most dreamers. What was unusual though, was the fact that his features bore an eerie resemblance to those of Lord Morpheus. 

"Oh, well you see, good sir, some…" A piercing shriek came from the other side of the door, then something heavy thumped to the ground, followed by the sound of a large number of leather-bound volumes tumbling from the shelves. "... extensive renovations are currently taking place in the Library."

"Renovations?"

"That's right.'

"And you're not letting anyone in?"

"I'm afraid not."

"Would it be possible to make an exception? This is an emergency."

"What kind of an emergency?"

"My scripts are all in there, and we start shooting tomorrow. I…" He looked around, then leaned closer to whisper the rest. "I might just get assassinated if we waste a day on set."

"I am really sorry, but it is just not possible. There is-" Thump. " -hardly anything I can do about it. I simply cannot allow you to risk your life and sanity in there at this time." 

Thump

The dreamer sighed, dejected. 

"Shoot."

"I really apologise for this inconvenience."

"No… No, it's alright. I'll just have to tell the fennec foxes to improvise, I guess." 

"You could come back in…" She checked the non-existent watch on her wrist. "Five hours shall we say?"

"I doubt it, but thank you anyway."

With that, he turned and left, just as the thuds got replaced by equally loud moans.

Lucienne shuffled her feet, staring at the marble floor. Then Matthew nudged her head with his own feathery one.

"C'mon Loosh, don't feel bad about it." He winked in that strange way ravens blinked. "We wouldn't want him risking his life and sanity, would we?"

"Oh, shush, bird!"

 

*

 

"Hob- Hob- Ah, Hob!"

"You- oh, fuck! You okay?"

"Yes! Yes, keep going! Please!"

"How the bloody hell are we on the floor?"

"It does not- ah- matter, ah! Ah!"

"Okay, okay, okay, oh Christ!"

A book lay in a pool of ink, a couple of inches from where Morpheus' face was pressed into the floor. He managed to read the title, A Collection of Short Stories on Black Widows and their Mating Rituals by Chantal, while Hob kept ramming his cock into his raised up arse with brutal thrusts, each one sliding his body an inch forwards, no matter how desperately he tried to find purchase on something.

"Good God, Morpheus! Don't you dare make me forget this when I wake up, you hear? Don't you dare!"

"I, aah-ha! I won't!"

"Don't you dare, you feel too good, goddamn it, how do you feel so good?"

"Hob!"

"Am I making you feel good?"

"Yes, yes, ah! Please! Fast- faster!"

"Fine, fine, don't get your panties in a twist."

He did speed up, setting a punishing pace that punched a gasp out of Morpheus' lungs with each thrust, so deep and hard it had him seeing stars. There was no way Hob would have been able to keep this up for so long outside the Dreaming, and frankly Morpheus was content to enjoy it as long as it lasted.

Then Hob shifted the angle of his thrusts to hit Morpheus' prostate with each one, and moans turned to screams in a fraction of a second. He was vaguely aware of Lucienne knocking on the door again, asking them to keep it down, but the words didn't really get the chance to register past the heat in his cock building to a peak. That is until Hob clasped his palm over his mouth again, muffling his screams.

The hand pulled him up onto his arms, contorting his back into an uncomfortable position. It silenced his moan of displeasure at the change, it made breathing near impossible, and the way Hob kept pounding his prostate into oblivion felt incredible but was quickly becoming too intense, too much, combined with everything else overstimulating his senses, Hob! He shifted his hand to try and find purchase at a particularly hard thrust, desperately needing something to hold onto, but it slipped on the spilled ink. "Mmf!!" His heart skipped a beat as panic crashed into his senses with the force of a truck, overwhelming and disorienting him, he was going to fall, he couldn't breathe - Hob, please - he had no control, he felt too helpless, he couldn't do anything, he couldn't say anything, then…

Then…

"It's alright, it's alright, I got you."

Then it all stopped.

The hand was gone from his mouth, instead caressing his neck, allowing him to draw in frantic gasps. He felt Hob shifting him, so that he lay sideways on the floor. Arms that closed around him were firm yet gentle, no longer crushing him to the chest behind him, just holding. Hob's cock was still rock hard inside him, but not moving anymore, not overwhelming him with sensation. Just a familiar presence. His breaths still held the edge of panic, even as he tried to calm himself.

"Hob…"

"I got you."

"Hob..."

"Shh, I got you, I'm here."

"Hob…

"I got you," he said one last time, and Morpheus finally relaxed into the hold, panic slowly but surely melting away as his breathing returned to its normal pace. They stayed like that for the next few minutes, both still aroused, but for now merely enjoying the sweet closeness.

"It was too much, wasn't it?"

After a moment of hesitation, Morpheus nodded.

"I felt too…" A breath. "...helpless." And another, then he continued quickly, "I know it makes little sense since this is my castle, the heart of the Dreaming, I am near omnipotent here, but-"

"It makes perfect sense," Hob whispered gently. "Of course it makes sense."

A soft kiss on his hair.

"Shouldn't have silenced you."

"Hob-"

"I wasn't thinking," he murmured, sounding a bit angry with himself. "I didn't think for shit, just remembered that you'd enjoyed it before. Didn't even occur to me it would be too much."

"Don't trouble yourself. You were quick to rectify the mistake anyway."

"I know. Just wish I didn't make it in the first place."

"I know."

"I didn't hurt you, did I?"

"No."

"Thank God."

Hob squeezed him to his chest while Morpheus reached with his own hands to intertwine their fingers.

"Love you."

"I love you too."

 

*

 

"Alright, alright, that book's getting too sappy for me."

"I told you it was a love story, Matthew."

"Well, sorry if the first half gave me the wrong impression on what kind of love story it was."

"Expecting four hundred pages of porn, were you?"

"And? What's wrong with porn?"

"Nothing at all."

She went back to reading and did not comment when Matthew leaned in again as well.

"Sue me, it's still good," he mumbled, defensively.

 

*

 

"I know you said you liked it when I silenced you… And that we're supposed to keep quiet here, but…"

"Yes?"

"Just prefer it when I can hear you, s'all."

"Oh, Hob."

"And when you say my name like that."

"In what fashion is that?"

"Oh, you know… Scream it over and over like you're dying, and my cock's the only thing that can save you."

"Hob!"

"Bloody music to my ears, it is."

"I like hearing you speak as well."

Hob snorted.

"That definitely never occurred to me in the last six hundred years. You'd let me prattle on about my nonsense for hours."

"I just so happen to enjoy listening to your 'nonsense' as you call it."

"You're a sap, you know that?"

"Did you not dub me a 'bloody romantic' on the last occasion?"

"That still stands."

"Do you… want me to change?"

"I don't."

A kiss.

"Wouldn't have you any other way."

"Now, which of us is the sap?"

 

*

 

Matthew turned around to look at the door, puzzled.

"They've gone quiet… Maybe they're done?"

"I doubt it. It usually takes them longer to finish."

"Now, why would you know that, Loosh?"

"I pride myself in being on top of all happenings around the Dreaming," she said haughtily. Then murmured, a bit embarrassed, "And there is… also the fact that castle halls are unfortunately prone to… echoing."

"Unfortunately, huh?"

"Oh, shush!"

 

*

 

"Wanna try again?"

"I do."

"Okay. How'd you like to do this?"

"On my back."

"Okay. Here let me just turn you around…"

"Oh."

"Sorry."

"Hob, come here."

"I'm here, love, I'm here."

 

*

 

"No, ma'am, I'm sorry, you can't come in. There's renovations going on," said Lucienne to the ninth dreamer in a row. The skinny lady swiped a ginger curl away from her brow as her eyes widened.

"Oh, shit, really? But where'd you put the books then, you gotta have the books stored somewhere else, right?"

"There is that wheelbarrow to your left-"

"Checked it. It's got the wrong ones."

"Then, there is little I can do to help you, ma'am. The rest are still inside, and going in right now would simply be too dangerous."

"Oh, blasted Hell! What am I supposed to get my angel for our anniversary then? Harry Potter again?!"

"I am certain you will figure something out."

"Fine, fine. Fine! You librarians, you can all go… drown in a tsunami or something!" 

And she stomped off, black heels clicking angrily on the tiles.

"...why thank you, ma'am."

Matthew just patted Lucienne on her shoulder while she groaned into the paperback.

 

*

 

"In me, Hob, in me."

"Alright, love. Here, hold still…"

"Oh."

"That's it, aah-hah, God! Doing okay down there?"

"Ye- yes."

"Can I move?"

"Please- oh! Ah, ah, ah!"

"Like that?"

"Ah-hah, Hob?"

"Yeah?"

"Hold me when you make love to me."

"With pleasure."

 

*

 

"There… they're at it again."

"Stop listening in and read the book, Loosh. It's getting interesting again!"

"Oh, very well…"

 

*

 

"Hob, faster, faster!"

"Let's take it slow, okay?"

"Hob…"

"Let me make you feel good."

"You may- made me feel good- aah- before..."

"I know, I know."

A kiss.

"I just wanna do it gently this time."

"Hob, Hob…"

"Do you like this?"

"Ah, I do, I do."

"That's all I'm after."

 

*

 

"He could've just soundproofed the door…"

"Of course he could have, Matthew."

"But it probably didn't occur to him."

"Of course not, Matthew."

 

*

 

"Ah- ah! I'm close, I'm close!"

"Yeah, yeah, oh bugger, me too!"

"Uh- uh- Aah! Don't stop!"

"Not stopping, oh Jesus bleeding Christ, I'm not stopping!"

"Please, don't stop!"

"Morpheus… I'm- I'm gonna-"

"Hob!"

"Fuck!"

"Ah- ah- uh- unh-"

"Oh… God… you okay?"

"Hob, please!"

"Alright… ooh bloody focking hell, I'm knackered… alright, here, let me… let me help…"

"Oh oh! "

"It's alright… let go, love, let go…"

"Hob!"

"I got you."

"Aaah!"

 

*

 

"Oh, for heaven's sake! Please, be quiet, this is a Library!"

"Leave them be, Loosh. Just leave them be…"

 

*

 

"There you go. I got you."

"Hob, Hob-"

"I'm here, I'm here."

"Hob…"

"Shh, I'm here."

"Don't go…"

"Not going anywhere."

 

*

 

"Think they're done this time?"

"Could be, Matthew. Could be."

"Jeez, Loosh, stop grinding your teeth like that, you'll break something."

"Oh, you have no idea how very much I would like to break someone."

 

*

 

Morpheus lazily raised his eyes past Hob's beard to look at the broken inkpot laying in a mess of disordered paper, ink and books. One of the unluckier ones bore a smudged title Of Twinkling Teapots and Tripping Turnips by Gilbert.

Be whole again, you unfortunate inkpot, he thought, still in a daze, and the shattered porcelain pieced itself back together, taking all spilled ink with it. Morpheus sighed, content, and nuzzled his nose up into Hob's neck, which got him a chuckle. So he continued by pressing tiny pecks there until Hob hugged him tighter and rolled them over. Morpheus didn't really manage to follow how Hob had ended up leaning onto a bookcase, and himself onto his naked chest, but he had no complaints. He just snuggled closer.

"Love seeing you like this," Hob murmured, his breath ruffling the hair around his ear.

"Mm? Like what?"

"Oh, you know…" Hands travelled over his body, petting gently. "Sex loopy. Acting like an oversized cat."

"I am an oversized cat… sometimes."

He felt the chest beneath him shake in suppressed laughter. 

"As I said. Loopy."

He just mumbled something in response and settled deep into Hob's arms which squeezed him as close as they could. He wanted to say… something. It took him a few minutes to form his thoughts into a coherent sentence, so he figured thinking might not be his forte at this time.

"Your beard."

"Huh?"

"Your beard."

"What about my beard?"

"Do not ever shave your beard."

Hob laughed in earnest at that.

"Is that why you looked like you were gonna jump me right in front of Lucienne?"

"Perhaps…"

"So that's a yes."

"Hob."

"Alright, alright," Hob chuckled. "Not shaving it. If only so I get to have a bonus round of library shag every now and then."

"As if your frail human body could handle more 'bonus rounds'."

Hob sputtered, indignant.

"Oi! For your information, I-"

"Shut up and kiss your oversized cat, Hob Gadling."

"You're a brat, you know that?"

"You dare- Mm!"

 

*

 

"Put the book away, put the book away!" whispered Matthew urgently.

"Oh, lord, you're right."

She stuffed the tiny paperback inside her waistcoat, then straightened it and smoothened her face from a stormy mask into a pleasant smile. She cleared her throat to greet the being approaching them.

"Good to see you again, Mr Aziraphale."

"Oh! Hello, Lucienne, dear. Mr Raven."

"Hiya."

"We've been seeing quite a lot of you lately."

"Oh, yes. Crowley introduced me to the joys of sleeping, and well… it is quite addictive, I must say." He smiled the sweetest smile. "And your remarkable library might have contributed a smidge."

While he spoke, he leaned forward to squint at the CLOSED sign through his reading glasses. Then straightened back up with an expression of a child who'd just dropped his ice cream to the floor.

"You're closed?"

"I really am sorry, Mr Aziraphale."

"But… you've never been closed before?"

"The situation today was quite extraordinary," she said with honest regret.

"Oh, well…"He sighed. "Guess I'll have to sleep another night then."

Lucienne was quite relieved he did not inquire about the nature of the 'extraordinary situation'. Lying to her second favourite bookworm was not something she was looking forward to.

"I… I'm really sorry."

"Oh, don't worry, dear. It's not your fault."

With that, he bowed low, first to Lucienne then to Matthew, tipping a tartan hat that had only just materialized atop his white curls.

"Until our next meeting. Lucienne. Mr Raven."

"See ya," croaked Matthew.

"It was nice of you to come by, Mr Aziraphale…" 

As soon he was out of sight and earshot, she whirled around on her heel to glare at the door, throwing a surprised Matthew off her shoulder in the process. Her hands were squeezed into tight balls of rage as she snarled at the wood. 

"When I get my hands on you…"

Matthew flapped to the ground and looked up at the enraged librarian. He felt sorry for her and perhaps a smidge intimidated. Well, a bit more than a smidge.

"Eh… Loosh, shouldn't you calm down a bit?"

"Should I?!"

"...okay, fine, maybe not."

 

*

 

"Morpheus?"

He didn't bother raising his head, just gave an inquisitive "Mm?"

"We're in the Dreaming."

"We are."

"And you're basically omnipotent here, right?

"I am."

"Meaning you can do whatever you can think of here?"

"I do believe that is a definition of omnipotence, yes."

"Then why didn't you teleport us to the bedroom?"

Morpheus opened his mouth to answer, then the question registered properly. He closed it again and pulled himself into a more upright position to face Hob, who was apparently finding it very difficult to keep a smile from spreading across his face. The twitching at the corners of his lips betrayed him.

Morpheus stared at him for a beat or two, trying to find a reasonable answer, but his search came up empty. His cheeks heated up with embarrassment.

"Oh."

At that, Hob burst out laughing and crushed Morpheus to his chest again, who suddenly found himself with a faceful of that coppery red beard. His body was rocked with Hob's laughs.

"It did not occur to me," he mumbled. To his relief, his alabaster skin didn't allow more than the faintest traces of pink to appear on his cheeks. He tried not to imagine the deep blush he'd be sporting otherwise.

"Don't mock me," he whispered jokingly but the words still held a sour undertone of irritation. It was an emotion he neither wished to feel nor express at this time, but despite his best efforts, it still peeked through.

He wasn't looking at Hob, but he could feel the cackles die down and turn into a shaky sigh. A hand reached for his chin, turning him up, so he was facing Hob whose eyes still shone with mirth.

"You know full well I'm not mocking you." The words were gentle but firm like his embrace.

"I know." The certainty in his own words surprised him, but then again, they'd had this conversation before many times. He was left feeling a bit foolish for thinking Hob would make fun of him.

"Good." It was a soft murmur, spoken just before Hob leaned in and kissed him. Shame melted away and was forgotten in a moment as a gentle flame flared again in his heart. He kissed back and lost himself in the feeling. They didn't break apart for a long time.

Until a sharp knock disturbed them.

They separated and turned to face the Library door. Morpheus felt a twinge of that embarrassment again, thinking that teleporting them to a bed now might have been a good idea. They have caused Lucienne enough grey hair as it is. Hob must have guessed what he was thinking because he gave him a little peck on the cheek again and spoke:

"Don't bother. I should leave anyway."

It took Morpheus a couple of minutes to answer. Mostly because he had no wish to keep the conversation going in this direction.

*I would prefer it greatly if you did not."

"You know I'll be waking up soon."

"You could stay here."

"You know I'm not like that," he said as the smile turned sad. "It's the waking world for me."

"I know."

"I'll be back next time I dream."

"And I will visit you when you don't."

They kissed again, this time ignoring the impatient knock. Or at least Morpheus did.

"You should really do something nice for Lucienne after the way we hijacked her Library. She deserves it."

"I will."

"Good."

And one final kiss before Hob removed Morpheus' arms from where they'd been clutching onto his shoulders, mirth in grey eyes.

"Really need to go now."

"Hob…" Morpheus whined as Hob got up.

"If I don't leave now, I'll probably fall into a coma and never wake. And we definitely don't want that."

"Don't we?"

Hob snickered at the words and leaned back down for a deep kiss that made Morpheus moan. The smirk he found on Hob's face when he opened his eyes again was truly devilish.

"How then am I supposed to screw you over that couch you're so fond of?"

Morpheus' cheeks turned pink again.

"...I have no idea what you're talking about."

Hob snorted and smooched him on the hair before he moved away to find his long discarded clothes.

"Of course not."

Legs drawn to his chest, Morpheus watched him, while he struggled to pull his trousers back on. He couldn't help but laugh when Hob realized he was doing it wrong, the zipper ending up on his arse. Hob didn't seem to mind, just laughed with him as he worked harder to rectify the mistake.

Successful in finding his shirt, he turned to Morpheus. Grey eyes travelled over his still naked form, appreciating the sight.

"Gonna get dressed or are you planning to sit there, arse naked until I leave?"

"I will go with the second option."

"You're impossible," Hob said fondly, already bending down to give Morpheus one more tight hug.

"It's in my nature."

"Only when you decide it is."

"Mm."

"Alright, you can let go now," Hob laughed while Morpheus just held him tighter, unwilling to break the hug.

"Must I?"

"It's kind of necessary if I'm to leave."

"I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you too, you sap."

 

*

 

Hob made his way past the piles of yet unsorted books, all the while fighting the urge to turn around and look at Morpheus again. He doubted he'd actually be able to leave, were he to catch another glimpse of all that smooth white skin. The thought, combined with some recent memories, made a stupid grin spread across his face. He opened the Library door and walked out.

And found himself face to face with a very angry-looking librarian. 

"Hello, Lucienne." 

"Mr Gadling. Is Lord Morpheus decent?"

"Oh, he's incredible-" he answered before he'd had time to properly comprehend what she was asking him. Then it registered, and the grin evaporated as his eyes widened.

"Oh, good," she said drily, deliberately misunderstanding his answer, and pushed past Hob into the Library.

"No, no, no, wait, he's not-"

And slammed the door into Hob's face.

"-decent."

He heard a ruffle of feathers and looked down to find Matthew on the floor, nervously shuffling from foot to foot.

"Hiya, Hob."

He gave a quick nod of acknowledgement.

"What's she gonna do to him?"

"Beats me, mate."

"Should I be worried?"

"Yup."

 

*

 

"Lord Morpheus," Lucienne greeted.

His eyes widened in alarm when he noticed her from where he still sat on the floor. His hair was mussed more than usual, his cheeks and lips bore a deep shade of pink and, all in all, he looked characteristically fucked out.

"Lucienne! I'm-"

"Naked as the day you were born?" He looked down at himself as if he were only now noticing it and hugged his limbs closer. "I can see that, I still have my eyes." She walked over to the writing desk and picked up the black cloak with flames at its base that had been carelessly discarded some hours ago. 

"Well… Yes, but I meant to apologise for today's-"

"Here." She tossed the cloak at his head, not listening. He scrambled to catch it. "Get dressed. You have work to do."

"...work?"

"Yes, work."

She walked over to a particularly high bookshelf and climbed the ladder while Morpheus struggled to his feet, twitching a little as he did, then wrapped the cloak around his naked frame. Puzzled, he watched Lucienne flit from one ladder and bookshelf to another, picking out books with the speed and efficiency of a true librarian.

"Lucienne, what exactly is going on?"

She jumped off, a pile of twelve books in hand, balancing them masterfully. 

"Hold this," she said and dumped them into Morpheus' hands, who staggered under the weight. The topmost book fell onto his head, a thin screenplay titled The Definitely Not Finished Scripts for Season 2 and the Hypothetical Season 3. He managed to catch it in the crook of his elbow before it tumbled to the floor.

"What is this?" he asked, craning his neck past the books in his hands.

"Work. A total of twelve dreamers came to my Library, but I was forced to turn them around since my dear Lord was having sex inside." She pointed to the pile. "These are the books they were looking for. You will deliver them." She checked a note on one of the books. "The due date is two weeks, don't forget to mention that."

"Lucienne-"

"Next, outside the Library door, you will find a red wheelbarrow filled with books that need to be sorted, courtesy of Mervyn. I believe you will find your way around the sorting system."

"Lucienne-"

"Thirdly, Mr. Aziraphale has expressed his wish to visit the Library. You will find him talking to Fiddler's Green most probably and tell him he can come back if he so desires."

"But I-"

"Oh, and lastly…" She pulled the profusely worn paperback out of her waistcoat. "...find Mrs. Milly Baxter and discuss with her the possibility of a reprint of this book. Hardback edition. And possibly an audiobook. It has earned the honour."

"Lucienne…"

"Yes?"

The blush had spread down his cheeks to his neck now as his eyes widened into a sheepish expression. 

"I am no librarian," he mumbled.

She nodded. 

"No, you are not. But I am taking the rest of this week off, therefore I require somebody who will make sure everything runs smoothly in the meantime."

"Me?"

"Any objections?"

"No, no, of course not."

"Very well, then."

She placed Milly's book on top of the pile and patted Morpheus on the shoulder. And smiled a very bright smile.

"Off you go."

Morpheus just stood there for a couple of moments then, without another word, turned and walked towards the exit. His gait was unsteady from the weight of the books in his hands, four of which were huge leather-bound volumes. The soreness in his arse wasn't helping either, just made his blush deepen by another shade.

Lucienne watched him go, humming happily in satisfaction, and started packing for her holiday.

Matthew flew inside.

"Um, Loosh?"

"Hello again, Matthew. Did Mr Gadling manage to leave yet?"

"Uh, yeah, he did. Woke up and was gone in a puff."

"Very good."

"So, uh…" He craned his neck to glance back at Morpheus who was currently struggling to open the enormous library door, all the while, trying very hard not to drop the small mountain of books. When he'd finally succeeded, he fell through them, limping slightly. "What did you do to the Boss then?"

"Oh, just made him run a couple of errands, that's all."

"You couldn't have given him a minute or two to recover?'

"I'm sure he's fine."

"Yeah. I'm sure he is…"

Suddenly, Lucienne stopped in her packing and smacked herself over the head with a graphic novel edition of Paul McGuire's Escapades Behind the Gardening Shed. "Almost forgot!" She walked over to the nearest bookcase and pulled out a black and white comic book. "You said you wished to read more. Perhaps you could start with your own book."

"What? Mine?" Matthew jumped over to see what she was talking about. And promptly backed away when he saw the title. It read All About Matt's Rodeo Nights by Matthew Cable. But that was nothing compared to the cover art. He would have blushed bright red, had he still been a man.

"I'm… I'm not gonna read that, Loosh." 

"Suit yourself," she said and stuffed the last book into her pack: a handphone-sized novella titled Hob's Leviathan.

And with that, she was gone, leaving Matthew alone with his thoughts which were mostly centred around the most efficient and permanent ways of book disposal.

 

*