His dreams were a strange kaleidoscope of colors. A touch of the rainbow broken into pieces of shattered glass. It took her a while to realize they were actually gemstones — cut, carved and shaped by his loving hands. When she went deeper, further into his subconscious, she found a world she could get lost in, a place of rolling green hills and rich brown earth. A mountain range decorated the horizon and the blue sky stretched as far as eternity.
His world smelled of earth and bark and iron. There was a hut, his own private little place at the very end of the dirt road, past the little village with stone cottages and wooden roofs. Within it, she found a scorching, suffocating heat.
Items forged by his own powerful hands hung from the walls. Intricate swords with gemstone-crusted hilts. Sculptures and vases crafted of clay, heated and glazed. Jewelry with stones in every color, hanging like wind-chimes, glistening in the sunlight that broke through the small window.
He stood at the far end, his naked back to her, the strong curve of his dark shoulders angled as he rolled a glowing, golden ball of molten glass across the table with a blowpipe. He looked like some sort of god, his back and arms streaked in cinders, glistening with sweat as he sculpted and formed something so delicate, so beautiful.
There was a kind of purity to his mind, one that she had yet to find in any of the other Guardians. His memories were not polluted by remorse or jealousy, unrequited love or the burden of unwanted destiny. The walls of his dreamscape seemed infinite, as though his soul had no bounds, and just as clear as the cooling glass, as the very Air she personified.
She smiled. He was everything she’d expected and more. Much more.
He turned, sensing the breeze, and put down his tools.
They stared at each other for a long, silent moment.
He took a step toward her, a flare of recognition in his molten gold eyes, though they had never met. And when he stopped right before her, her breath caught, just a moment, in her chest.
“Do you know who I am?” she asked, feeling foolish. Her cheeks flushed warm.
“Yes,” he said, on an exhaled breath. He reached out to take her hand.
Her skin was a pale, translucent alabaster, compared to his dark, sun-kissed brown. Her hands were soft and small, looking delicate and frail in comparison to his, so large and callous. He twined his fingers with hers, pressed his hot palm to her cool one, and looked into her eyes as though he saw her very soul.
Air blew between them and around them, caressing their hair, dancing through their arms, pushing them together. Two halves of a whole, separated for so long. Earth and Air, united like the earth and the sky in that distant place on the horizon.
He smiled. “I’m glad to finally meet you,” he said, and that shy, earnest look on his face warmed every part of her. “I’ve waited for you for a very long time.”
“So have I,” she said, wilting in return. “So have I.”
*Note: This story is based on characters from my Guardian Circle series, a YA fantasy series surrounding 6 Elementals forced into a destiny they aren’t quite ready for. If you’re interested in reading more, feel free to check out Book I, Zerah’s Chosen, available now from Drollerie Press.