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There is something in your veins, and it is not blood.

You can feel it move through you, feel it slip-sliding through the channels and rivers and branches twining throughout your form, cool and cold and clear beneath the surface of your skin.

( Sometimes, he tells you, when you’re half-dreaming and half-awake--or maybe half-dreaming and half-sleeping--that you smell like a river. You smile and hum and curl closer, enticed by his own sickly-sweet scent.

It comforts you, now. )

There hasn’t been the abrupt shift that you expected. The change has been a slow, steady trickle, forming into a stream that fed a puddle. The puddle grew to become a lake, and that lake grew and became the ocean. Where the salt came from, you don’t know, but you are grateful for how it buoys you along as you float through your days.

You still aim to do your best in your classes. Your attendance has only suffered slightly--some days, life here is a dream you can’t bear to let in your head. Lawrence understands this, and always welcomes the warmth of your company beneath his sheets in the cool light of dawn.

But you still try.

It’s hard for him to understand, and you know this. This dream of a life, for you, is just that: a dream. There are ups and downs, lucid dreams and nightmares. For him, it is nightmare more often than it is not. You can’t blame him for wanting to block them out--you would too, in his shoes.

But still, you work and you learn and you grow. You wonder if he notices how the shape of you has changed, how your silhouette seems to have outgrown you.

( He’s noticed. You’ve caught the sight of his fingers, skimming over its edges like it’s something tangible, like saying ‘goodbye’ to an old friend before parting ways.

Sometimes you delicately trace your own fingertips over the antlers you can’t see, but you know are there. Your boy’s silhouette is not human, and you pray to whatever mercy may be watching the two of you that his shape does not begin to grow apart from him.

The barest touch is enough to wake him up, and then you’ll be underneath him, and you’ll see the luminescence of water in his gaze as he makes you bloom beneath him. )