My original Yuletide assignment was The Taste of Honey for Neil Gaiman’s brilliant and beautiful comic book series Sandman. It’s rated G.

You do not need to know the series to read the story, nor does it spoil anything; but if you’re not familiar with the series, read the paragraph below before reading the story.

Sandman is considered a classic for very good reasons. It’s about Dream, also known as Morpheus, or Sandman, or Lord Shaper, or by many other names. He is the lord and embodiment of dreams, both the literal kind and creative inspiration, and of stories and storytelling. Like his siblings, he appears differently to different people: a dreaming cat sees him as (majestic) cat. And it is the story of his sister Death, who takes her job very seriously and life very lightly, by which I mean, very seriously indeed. And the stories of his other siblings: Destiny, Desire and Despair (who are twins), Destruction (who abandoned his post), and Delirium, who once was Delight. And many others, Gods and mortals, angels and demons, werewolves and witches and pumpkinheads; and everyone who dreams.

I generally recommend beginning with the fourth volume, Dream Country, a collection of stand-alone stories. The first volume, Preludes and Nocturnes, can be skipped; it’s not the same tone as the rest of the series. The second, A Doll’s House, is again a little wobbly, but begins with a lovely story about Dream accompanying Death on an ordinary day on the job, “The Sound of Her Wings.”

Please read my story, if you’re going to read it, before clicking on the cut. It definitely benefits by not being spoiled for it before you read it.



I received the following notes from my recipient, [livejournal.com profile] d_generate_girl : "I meant it when I said "anything Death/Dream". Shippy would make me do backflips of squee, but again, I know the incest isn't everyone's cup of tea. Banter is always good, so is Death kicking Dream's butt. Please feel free to write crossover or character fic involving John Constantine, too." She also mentioned, in general, liking banter and disliking fluff.

The hardest part, given that prompt, was not rewriting “The Sound of Her Wings.” I did contemplate John Constantine, but decided trying to replicate his accent would be too hard. Then I thought of the idea that became the story I wrote, and the story came to me as a whole, like a gift. Though I didn’t exactly go for “shippy,” I did try for “sensual.”

I got the idea of writing in second person from The Wake; but the way I used it also owed something to the bravura opening page of Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White. A couple commenters mention the shift in POV; I actually set up the second person narration early, but snuck it in so it sounds like it could be a figure of speech rather than an actual POV.

I thought for sure the mention of cherry blossom ice cream would give me away, because I had that in Japan and was very taken with it, but if anyone did guess that I wrote it, they kept their suspicions to themselves.

This story was very well received, and I’m very happy with it. It goes out to every city I’ve ever loved, and to everyone who ever felt that a city loved them.
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