Making Light

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Making Light
by templemarker

Notes: Written for Yuletide 2010 for Ashura. Originally posted here; very loosely placed futurefic. This was a fun one to write, if not the most dramatic story I’ve ever done. Sometimes it’s nice to imagine your great characters being a bit domestic, is all.


Their flat couldn’t seem to get warm at all.

“I don’t understand,” Bran said mournfully, banging on the heater with a spanner. He was wrapped from head to toe in flannels and wool, double-socked feet sliding on the ancient wooden floor. Will could barely hear him through the balaclava, Bran’s normally lovely counter-tenor obscured and tufts of his hair sticking out the front.

“Why won’t it make heat?” Bran said, punctuating each word with a landing blow.

Will was wrapped in their duvet and one of his mother’s older quilts on the couch, which was positioned as close to the fireplace as was reasonably safe. Reasonably safe for twenty-somethings, anyhow. He had a mug containing a very whiskey-laden hot toddy in his hands, and their cat Gwydion was curled tightly in his lap. In a voice he knew to be pitiable, Will said, “Won’t you please come back here and keep me warm? The radiator isn’t going to do any better for you taking your rage out on it.”

Bran grunted in displeasure and tossed the spanner in the direction of the dining room table; it missed, and clattered loudly. Will winced at the draft as Bran pulled up the duvet and slid in next to Will; they sat in silence a moment, apart from the sound of their next-door neighbor’s hi-fi through the wall. Slowly Will’s legs began to warm.

“D’you recall that book?” Bran said suddenly, swiping Will’s mug and taking a long pull. Will pretended to be affronted and took it back.

“Which one, my dear pest? We have a front room filled with them.”

“The one with the ice witch. By Lewis, I think? The whole world is covered in snow, but it’s never–”

“Christmas,” Will chimed in, “yes, I know it, and it is Lewis.”

Bran considered that a moment, slouching down to tuck his head in against Will’s shoulder; Will threaded his arm around Bran to make it more comfortable, balancing the cat between them and his mug in his left hand.

“It feels like that,” he said, “and sort of like that awful winter we had when we were children, do you recall? It was before I met you, but snow swept through the Isles and I was snowed in with my Da for a good half of a week.”

Will did, of course, remember that year. He could hardly forget it. His fingers stole up inside Bran’s balaclava, playing with the loose, long ends of hair he found there.

“Perhaps we ought to find a lion-god then,” Will mused, “something to combat the dark, cold night.”

Bran chuckled a bit beside him. “I think we’d be better off if anywhere in this bloody frozen nation there was a snow plow.”

The neighbor’s hi-fi began to squawk out the pop song that had been playing at every shop they’d been to, doing holiday shopping for family and friends. It was a bit easier, now that they’d taken up together; they only had to get one present together instead of two, able to send them collectively on. Most everyone had barely shown a flicker of surprise; Will’s own mum and clucked and asked why they hadn’t gotten around to it sooner.

Will was at Oxford, reading his master’s, and Bran had found a harpist to apprentice with. They had grown up but not apart, had never managed the trick of truly saying goodbye despite many a good reason to do so. Or at the least, to let a young friendship pass with the natural drift of time.

But Will Stanton could see the threads and loops of time, if he chose to look, and there was too much of his true self wrapped up in Bran Pendragon Davies to ever let go. Even if Bran had chosen not to remember, Will did.

He did admit to being taken by surprise the summer of their nineteeth year, when Bran walked into his flat to stay the holiday and promptly greeting him with a kiss. Will had taken it, and given back his fair share as well. This was as much an expression of his regard, his devotion, as anything else he had ever done when he met Bran Davies.

His devoted was currently trying to worm his feet in alongside Will’s in his slippers, and Will bopped him on the head. “Oi there, stop that, you’ll ruin them.”

“But my feet are cold, Will,” Bran said, the hint of a teasing whine in his voice. “They can’t bear the ten-foot snow drifts or the corner shop being closed for the first time in recorded history.”

“Your feet aren’t very circumspect,” Will observed.

“My feet also want a cup of tea, but they don’t want to go into the cold kitchen to make it.” Bran looked hopefully at Will.

“Not a chance,” Will informed him.

Bran sighed. Somewhere, in the deep recesses of Will’s self, he marvelled that for all Bran was the son of a great man, he made something of a terrible flatmate.

“Oh, all right then,” Bran said crossly. “Do you want another toddy, or some tea?”

Will took the rest of his down. “Toddy, please,” he said, handing the mug to Bran. “We’ve nothing to do tomorrow but have a lie-in, anyhow. Nothing will be open.”

Bran pulled down the mouth of his balaclava and placed a sloppy kiss on the hinge of Will’s jaw. “That’s my Will,” he said, amused. “Always thinking ahead.”

The cat Gwydion complained loudly when Bran moved, and Bran ran a comforting hand over his flank; Will was abruptly cold again when the duvet was lifted, and he craned his head to watch Bran skitter across the flat.

Their world had gone from normal, to very large, back to something approximating normal; and as of late it had gotten so very small. Pleasant, cozy, but small. Will tucked his fingers into the cat’s warm fur and watched the winter rage outside. Perhaps it would get bigger yet; for the moment, Will was happy with what he’d been given.

Leave a Reply