Gryff? Where are you?
I'm here. Right here... I've missed you. His arms engulfed her and she sank into him, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist. It's okay. It's going to be okay. His hand smoothed her hair in a comforting gesture. Gem buried her face in his broad chest and sobbed convulsively.
Please don't leave me again, Gryff. I can't handle it.
You're going to make it, Gem. Just keep going. I have to go now, Gem. Don't forget me. She clung tighter to him, but he began to fade from her grasp and dissipate into mist.
Gryff! Don't go! Don't leave me!
"NO!" Gem's audible scream sliced through her haze and brought her abruptly to consciousness. The pillow was drenched with her tears, and she lay there paralyzed by the fresh abandonment she felt. In her mind, she re-played the sensation of Gryff's arms around her. The comfort she had derived from his touch. His closeness. It was new to her, but it had felt so familiar and natural.
While he was still here, they rarely touched. Honestly, it never occurred to them to do so. The expectations were so strict about that kind of thing. The dream had been a vision of what might have been, and suddenly she ached for what never was — and what never would be — Gryff's touch.