Like the rest of his/her siblings, Desire is neither a mortal being nor a god, s/he is the personification of desire itself. Desire is androgynous, appearing as the most beautiful person or being to anyone. His/her skin is pale and his/her eyes are gold. S/he is not about love, s/he is about wanting, and as such, can be treacherous, vindictive and cruel. His/Her realm is “the Threshold”, an immense statue of his/herself standing in mists of sunset red. He/she dwells in its heart.
Many, many eons ago, Desire and Dream were friendly, but when s/he caused one of his love affairs to collapse they became nemeses. Desire found Dream to be “…rude and boorish, he’s been stuffy and stupid and he thinks he knows everything. And there’s just something about him that gets on my nerves” and so after losing a competition between him/herself, Despair and Delirium vs. Dream over Emperor Norton I, Desire swore to make Dream shed family blood, bringing the wrath of the Furies upon him. S/he attempted to do this by fathering a child on Unity Kinkaid, a woman who was supposed to be the Dream Vortex, an event that came along once in many eons that broke down all the barriers between dreamers in a world, destroying them and wrecking havoc on the Dreaming.
Dream had been captured at this time and Kinkaid was many people affected with a sleeping sickness that took hold during his imprisonment. Unity gave birth while still unconscious and her daughter was adopted. The Vortex passed along the family line to Unity’s granddaughter, Rose Walker. Dream was about to kill Rose when Unity, at the edge of death, took the Vortex back and died naturally, preventing the Vortex from coming into being and Dream from killing his own grandniece. He suspected Desire immediately, and threatened him/her if s/he ever interfered in his affairs again.
S/he did not, but took some sadistic delight in watching Dream's romantic relationships fail. It was s/he that taunted him into journeying into Hell to free the lover, Nada, whom he had condemned there for millennia after rejecting him. When Dream finally did shed family blood - setting into motion the events of his own destruction - it was not Desire’s doing. Though s/he felt s/he should be pleased, s/he felt sorry for him and was frightened.