"Where I touch, things want and need and love - drawn to their objects of desire like butterflies to a candle flame." ~Desire


Desire in Endless Nights, as drawn by Milo Manara

Desire is the third youngest of the Endless and the twin of Despair. It is a strikingly beautiful gender mutable figure who can be male, female, both, or neither as the situation warrants. It is often referred to as "sibling" by its brethren, particularly Dream. Desire blends in effortlessly with whatever environment it finds itself in. It lives in the heart of a massive flesh-and-blood statue of itself, known as the Threshold. Desire's sigil is a heart of cut glass.

Desire is described as being of medium height, smelling faintly of summer peaches. Desire casts two shadows, one black and sharp, the other translucent and wavering. Desire's smiles are brief and sharp. Its skin is "pale as smoke," and its eyes are "tawny and sharp as yellow wine."

Desire is easily the most cruel of the Endless. It seems obsessed with interfering with the affairs of its elder siblings, and has a particular animosity toward Dream. The motivation behind its attitude is not clear, but seems to be simply a vicious variation on childish one-upmanship. Desire may not be entirely aware of the consequences of its actions, but considers any consequences ultimately unimportant, a position which angers Morpheus and Death in particular. Desire sometimes acts in concert with Despair and Delirium; and Desire is much more distant from Dream, Death, Destiny and Destruction, than Despair or Delirium.

A forgiving interpretation is that Desire reflects, simply, desire, and is as fickle and self-centered as the emotion. Desire takes special delight in needling those who think they are beyond emotions altogether. It is, besides Death (who, even then, must be goaded), the only one of the Endless that will point out the faults of Dream, some of which, such as the condemnation of Nada, are legitimate. Even Destruction noted that while Desire can be malicious, it isn't always wrong.

A story in Endless Nights, set long before any other Sandman story, may explain the origins of the Dream's enmity, and reveals that at one time, Desire was Dream's favorite sibling. Dream had fallen in love with, Killala of the Glow, and had taken her to a gathering of stars (literally the embodiment of various suns). While there, Killalla met and fell in love with the star of her own home world, abandoning Dream. Desire's role in this is never made clear only that it was involved. After introducing his lover to Desire when they first arrive, and leaving the two alone, Killalla asked what Desire had done for Dream to make him so affectionate, but Desire indicated that it hadn't done anything at all. Later, however, when Dream angrily blames Desire for the whole affair, Desire offers no defense, only asking Destruction after Morpheus storms off, "Doesn't he have a sense of humor?" This story, set billions of years before the story-arc of The Sandman, tends to portray the characters in a very different light, showing that even the Endless are not unchanging.

The enmity between Dream and Desire continued through the millennia, eventually culminating in Desire raping and fathering a child onUnity Kinkaid, then attempting to have Dream kill Rose Walker, Unity's grandchild, which would have caused the ruthless and relentless Kindly Ones to hound Dream until death for the crime of shedding family blood. When Dream discovered this at the end of The Doll's House, he openly threatened Desire with what would happen should Desire interfere in Dream's life again, and there was an uneasy truce between the two afterwards.