Alice in Dreamland

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Desu Juice

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[fieldbox="Finnick and Zachary, white, dashed, 10"]Zachary was leaning back on a desk, resting with his eyes closed and wearing a peaceful expression on his face. Finnick was doe-eyed watching his best friend - he had a beauty mark under his eye, and that fascinated the blonde to no end.

Finnick glanced up to see Penelope approach them, and sudden his smile fell. "I'm going to be honest... I'm not feeling too great." Zachary opened one eye like a sleepy cat and looked up at the the girl, saying nothing, merely observing.

There was a steady pressure building in his chest - that ball of light he had held in his heart, just as golden-bright as his hair and his smile, was faltering and growing monochrome. It was... Something was...

Like it used to be. He felt like he did on those days he would sit outside on the porch and wait for mom to come home - and she never did. Like those days after his eyes was stitched up and shut forever, locking his gaze in a lopsided look, low blue eye always downcast like a leering moon above the ocean. Those were hard days, dog days - hah, more like cat days. Just like in those times, he was feeling all the more self-conscious for his look, and the bright, bubbly buoy of a boy, who always somehow stayed afloat, was sinking. Could it be because Zachary had lost his mask, or because of Alloys? The two were very tightly connected... Or was it just because that was the way he was? Finnick's hand reached up and settled over the eye-patch, and his lips bore a bitter, brooding frown. [/fieldbox]
 
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[fieldbox="Penelope, White, 10"]She sat down next to the blonde haired male and sighed. She could feel that something was wrong with Fin, but she just didn't know what it was. Something was bothering him...

"Fin... What's wrong? You seem really down." She looked at him, her gaze softening. "Is it because of what happened to Zachary, that you're so blue?"

She couldn't help but feel that there was more to it than just Zachary. Of course Finael probably felt bad that Zachary got hurt like that, but something about the look on his face told her that there was something else also bugging him.

"You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. I won't force you. I just want you to know that you can talk to me. I..." Her voice trailed off for a moment as she carefully worded her sentences. "We all have some sort of problems, Fin. Even me..." Penelope stopped to give a small but sad smile. "That's why we're Alices... It's a relief for us to be in this dreamworld. We can forget about reality for a while and enjoy ourselves."

Of course, was that really the case entirely? Penelope, occasionally, has run into nightmares that took form of her problems, taunting her and making her feel worse. Those were the times she really wished she could have woken up. But... then there were people like Hanson, Backfire, even Fin... Everyone here made her happy. She felt some sort of belonging once again. So, should she be complaining? Probably not.

She shook her head and turned to Fin and smiled a genuine smile. "Whatever it is, it's going to be okay, Fin!"
[/fieldbox]
 

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[fieldbox="Finnick and Zachary, white, dashed, 10"]Penelope sat down beside him, and Finnick gave her a sad smile. He wondered what she was running from.

"That's the thing." He uttered, looking down at his hands, now balled into fists in his lap. "I can't forget... I'm worried about what's going on in the real world... Am I in a coma right now? Knowing my mom, she probably wouldn't spare me, she'd turn off the machines..." His hands lifted up to his face and settled over his eyes again. "My dad started going crazy when I was eight, and the first things she did was throw him into an institution. When I thought that I was going crazy, and Zachary was feeding off of that fear, she threatened to lock me up too... I'm scared that she wouldn't bat an eye at the idea of just... Letting me die..." He felt Zachary shift and sit up beside him, and something hard rested on his shoulder. When he turned to look, there was the former nightmare himself, resting his chin against the blonde, and staring up at him with those half-lidded, all-seeing eyes. Finnick could read regret into the seafoam irises.

"Hey, Penelope's right... It's going to be ok. I'll help bring you back to the real world. I owe you for all the power you gave me. Your fear... Was one of the finest things that I've ever tasted..." And that was the wrong thing to say, because Finnick began to shudder as he recalled those days again, full to the brim of steely horror.[/fieldbox]
 

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[fieldbox="Penelope, White, 10"]"F-Fin? Hey... calm down it's okay! It's over now. Please..." Penelope started to rub Fin's back to sooth him, hoping he'd calm down a little. "Shhh Fin, it's okay..."

She was surprised she hadn't had any moments like this yet. Despite the horrors in her waking life. Despite Haku leaving and changing his identity... And despite all the terrible nightmares she's had... She hasn't broken down yet. She hasn't let herself go. She's held onto this hope that she will somehow find a way to make things alright once more. Even though it's taken so many years... she's trying to hold on to what little hope there is. Her knuckles would have turned white from how strongly she held onto hope. Even now, when she has been stuck in dreamland for a bit too long... when she might as well be in a coma, she's still trying to help others.

She was growing tired though. Maybe she should try once more? It would be better if not all of them are in a coma... the more Alices in coma's the more nightmares will come... and STRONG nightmares at that.

"Zach, help Fin calm down. I'm going to try and sleep. He should try and sleep too... so that he can wake up in the real world. At least... he should try." She then got up and went over to her bed, plopping down onto it. She shut her eyes tight, and tried to fall asleep.

...
[/fieldbox]

((I am trying to think if I should keep her in dreamland still or have her wake up and let you get a glimpse of what she is dealing with.))
 

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[fieldbox="Finnick and Zachary, white, dashed, 10"]When Penelope began to comfort him, Finnick faced towards her and sighed... Taking in a few deep breaths to kill his panic. Was he to give up hope now? Was all truly lost? No, surely not.

Zachary regarded his friend with wise eyes and reached out to the blonde, placing a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Finnick, sleep."

"I'm scared." If he was locked-in... No, no times for such dark thoughts, the boy's sunshine had no right to be stamped out by reason. He had always been such a happy creature, Zachary thought fondly, it was rare to see the boy so distraught. Despite the blonde's hesitance, he pushed the shoulder, moved the boy until he was on his back, and the two switched places. The dark-haired male sat up to watch over the boy like the night draped itself over the golden-haired setting sun, and with those eyes of gracious, twinkling light regarded the world below him - yes, he though so highly of the other. Finnick was an Alice, Finnick was a thousand times more important than he, so of course...

"I don't want to," the boy whined, "I'm scared that what I think will come true... I'm scared I'll be stuck here."

"Oh come now, here is not such a bad place." the corner of Zachary's lip twitched up in amusement at the other's childishness. "I'll be here when you're ready to come back, just like always. I wont move from this spot, so you don't have to be afraid."

How ironic - the creature that had once brought Finnick nothing but fear was now an immense comfort. The blonde shut his eyes and let himself drift off.[/fieldbox]
 

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[fieldbox="?Penelope?, White, 10"]...

"Mmm..." She stirred in her bed as daylight shone through her curtains into her room. The girl rubbed her eyes before slowly sitting up and sleepily glancing around the room. She was back it seems. She wondered if the dream had just appeared long or if she had been out for a couple of days. Not like anyone would notice. She was living alone after all.

She got up from her bed, swinging her legs over the side and then standing, before making her way to the bathroom. She turned on the sink and splashed some warm water on her face then looked into the mirror above the sink. Long, dark brown hair, forest green eyes... Yep, she was back. It was both a relief and a disappointment to have been able to wake up. Part of her wishes she didn't. She sighed and got herself ready for the day. She took care of herself in the bathroom and then went to the kitchen to get herself some breakfast.

Lifting her dark emerald eyes up to look at the clock, she read the time. It was 11:23 AM. She sighed again as she made herself cereal. The house was silent, like it has been for the past two years. She was surprised she was still making it by just like this.

Closing her eyes, she could remember when she first woke up to the empty house. She woke up so cheery that morning, expecting to see her mother in the kitchen... but she wasn't there. She called out for her mom, but there was no response. She searched everywhere. In the house and around it. She wasn't getting water from the well... she wasn't milking either of the cows... she wasn't even watering the plants.

The girl called her mom on the house phone and her cell phone. No one picked up. She thought maybe mom was busy... so she went about her usual day. She went to school and studied. She came back home late, and opened the door, yelling 'Mom, I'm home!' No response. She tried calling her again. No response. The girl flew into a panic. She wheezed with each breath, hyperventilating and crying as she sat on the floor. This feeling began to sink into her. She knew her mom had probably left with him.

The girl opened her eyes again, looking down at her cereal. She regretted not telling anyone about this, but at the same time she still didn't want to be in a foster home. Besides, she was 19. She could take care of herself. Although... she DID have to go to her school and tell them that she's 'transferring school's' because she was 'moving'. They asked why her mother didn't come and tell them this, and she had told them that her mother was 'ill in bed'. They didn't question it any further after that.

She got a small job as a waitress in the city center. She got paid decently, so she could buy herself food and pay for anything she needed in the house such as electricity and the phone line. She was just barely getting by, but she was still able to live in this little cabin in the woods. It wasn't too far deep into the forest. She could still walk to school or take her bike to the city center to get to work.

As she ate her breakfast, her thoughts wandered to how Fin was doing. She wondered if he had woken up in the real world or not. She hoped he wasn't in a coma, and she hoped that his mother wouldn't do such a thing as take him off of life support. She really liked him, and would hate to lose a friend like that... and hey, you never know. Maybe she could meet Fin in the real world someday. At least she would have someone then, who understands what she's going through. Right now, she had no one who she could talk to about this.
[/fieldbox]

((That's all I'm going to write about with Penelope for now.))
 

Desu Juice

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[fieldbox="Finnick, lightblue, dashed, 10"]Finnick struggled awake, gasping as he was abruptly shoved out of his dream and into...

In a soft pillow, he had been asleep on his stomach, like always. For a moment the boy floundered in the blankets, unable to find where they ended or began, there was nothing but the sheets for a moment and hesitance. After a moment of trying to get his bearings, relief lit up his features. He wasn't in a coma, he wasn't dead. Everything would be alright... He managed to stand, and didn't even bother to put on his eye patch. Fin had a feeling that his mom wasn't home - she never was. There was no need to wear the thing when she was gone, not when his naked eye, scarred and stitched couldn't bothered her like it always did.

He strolled over to the bathroom, giggling at the sight of his messy, dandelion hair sticking up every-which-way. He didn't bother to brush it, he wasn't planning to stay long. Dreamland had become an addiction.

The boy made a round through the house to see nothing but darkness and dust, and finding nothing interesting, he checked his cellphone. Eight missed calls, all from mom. He quickly called her back.

"Jesus, what happened?!"

"I... Lost my phone, I'm sorry."

"..." There was a pause, and a long sigh. "It's alright hun. How are things? How's school?"

"All good, nothing new. I'm sick, so I didn't go to school."

"You don't sound sick... Ah well. Good..." There was a long pause. "... I have the feeling that you're not telling me something."

"What? No, there's nothing to tell." He could have left it at that and it would have been perfectly fine, but... "You'd know if you were around..."

"Finnick. You're right, but you know why... Argh, never mind. How can I know what's happening with you when you're always running away?"

"I have to go."

"There you go again... How are we ever going to fix our problems if-"

"Love you."

"Love-" He hung up quickly, quietly glancing around with an oddly distant gaze as he searched the edges of his vision for Zachary... Who wasn't anywhere to be found. Well, the former nightmare did say that he'd be waiting... Finnick missed his new friends already, but was quick to cast the feeling away. The boy went back upstairs and threw open the balcony, breathing in the salty air, and taking in the sounds of the ocean outside. He peeled the curtains away from sun-bleached window frames and let the sunlight burst into the room and cast him in a golden halo - the warmth was a fresh sensation on his back, but even when surrounded by all the beach-side beauty and seashell collections, all he could do was think about Dreamland.

Dreamland, Dreamland, Dreamland...

He went down to the beach that day, deciding to take another day off from school. He ate icecream by himself.[/fieldbox]
 
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[fieldbox="?¿?, White, solid, 10"]Somewhere within the cabin in the woods, a book was writing itself. Without pen or some form of ink, letters formed on the pages of an old journal, writing out a message to the inhabitant of the house. They weren't aware of it at first. If anything, they were completely clueless. They went to work, and came home, completely unaware that anything was out of place. The writer of the journal knew this however. As if a poltergeist was in the house, the invisible writer knocked over a potted plant that sat on the window sill of the window closest to their journal.

Crash

Dirt and roots covered the floor, followed by some scattered rosy pink petals from the flower that bloomed. The girl who had just gotten home jumped in surprised and rushed to the room from which the sound came. She stared for a moment at the mess on the ground and tilted her head in confusion. Her windows weren't open so surely nothing could have gotten into her house except for maybe a mouse. But could a mouse really push over a pot like that? Maybe it was something bigger like a rat.

She glanced around the room, trying to see if she could spot anything else out of place. When she could see nothing else wrong, the went out to grab a broom and pan, before coming back and cleaning up the mess. She didn't take notice of the old journal yet.

The writer could of course see this, and decided to give one last attempt at getting the girl to notice the journal and what they wrote down in it. A gust of wind blew through the room and made the pages of the journal flip. The sudden sound of pages turning startled the girl once more and she spun around to look at the book. Finally, she walked over to it and looked down at the pages, noticing handwriting that she was sure wasn't hers. She read:

[GLOW=White]Dear Penelope,[/GLOW][GLOW=White][/GLOW][GLOW=White]

I'm sure you're quite surprised to see something written here. I came to tell you that Finael has woken up just fine. Everyone else you were traveling with is alright as well. This isn't the only reason I am writing this letter to you though. I've noticed another Alice within Dreamland who you should probably run into on your journey. I don't know the details of this Alice, but please be cautious. They seem hostile for reasons I cannot really fathom. Don't let them deceive you. Stay on guard.

You're probably also wondering when we will meet again. Well... I sadly cannot tell. To be honest, I am not even sure if our reunion will be a happy one, my lady. I have a tough choice to make right now. I can't give any details, I'm sorry. I just want to let you know that no matter what, I'm with you. I wish I could tell you more, but I am afraid I must go back to the dream world before anyone suspects anything. I'll see you later, my lady.

- Hanson[/GLOW][/fieldbox]

((I had to ahhhhhh I had this idea that Hanson could talk to Penelope sometimes in the real world and I wanted to try this. I have this badass idea for Hanson as a character and I'm trying to slowly work on it ;~; ))
 

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[fieldbox="Finnick and Zachary, white, dashed, 10"]He brought his hands up to his face and rubbed the desire to sleep away - now was not the time. Not yet, there was still a few hours left.

A flicker caught his attention - the movement of something dark and transient, like a shadow, or a ghost, in the very corner of his eye caught his attention - in those outskirts, where shapes become blurred, strange, and all too often terrifying. "Zachary?" Finnick called out to the horizons of his sight, turning sharply to the right where no eye could tell him what was what, and who was who. It seemed like there was nothing there, one blue optic said. Just the workings of a mind ill at ease, just those bad genes, insanity-inducing blights in his code. Nothing there.

But where he turned back to look at his desk - there was Zachary, perched atop the dusty, light wood and smiling sheepishly. He never knew that such an adorable creature had been hidden under that mask of madness, that Cheshire grin that once felt like it could bore holes in his head with its darkling stare. "Ah, it's such a relief..." The male purred, and adjusted his new glasses. "I was afraid you really were... Well, never mind. You're fine now." Fin nodded in response, and tilted his face away, still shy about the disfigured eye, that pale-blaze scar. "Yeah, looks like I'm not in a coma... Hey, you look good in glasses," he suddenly uttered, and the compliment caught Zachary off-guard enough for him to laugh - a chiming, sweet sound. The way the other grinned, gentle and genuine, made his aqua eye widen with the sudden desire to see Zach laugh more often. "So, how are the others?"

"They're just waiting, for now. Jasper's dead asleep, like always... I tried to wake him up, so he threatened to punch me in the dick with a cactus." Finnick burst into laughter. "Needless to say, I left him alone."[/fieldbox]
 
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[fieldbox="Peleilah and Hanson, White, solid, 10"]She was out the door in no time, running into the forest where she knew she could go to dreamland as well. She had to get back now. She couldn't wait until she fell asleep. She clutched the letter in her hand, as well as the items she always needed to have when doing the ritual at the altar in front of the mysterious door. Sometimes though, it wasn't there. She hoped it would be there now, or else she would have no choice but to run back to her house and try to sleep. It was already getting dark, and the sounds of crickets chirping and owls hooting softly could be heard. Small critters scurried around on the land, rustling in the bushed. Meanwhile, Peleilah's loud and heavy footsteps could be heard, loud and clear, crackling the leaves beneath her feet. She was almost there, and the altar began to come into view... then followed the door. Relief swept over her and once she reached the altar, she stopped for a moment to catch her breath.

Looking up, she stepped forward and began the ritual, first placing the pocket watch on the left pedestal. Then a drop of her blood on the right one, slicing her hand a bit with a knife she brought. Then, on the middle one she places her other hand and began to sing an old lullaby about a dream world. Then, the doors began to creak open slowly, revealing pitch blackness behind them.

She knew that she was told to never use this method to get to dreamland, since she would be in the world with not only her soul, but her fragile human body as well. Sure, she could still use powers, but she would be oh so much more vulnerable in dream land like this. At this point though, she didn't care. She just wanted to find Hanson.

With a few quick steps, she went forward and lunged herself into the darkness.

...

A shadow watched her in the distance, frowning as they watched her enter the door.

Why did she have to concern herself with him? Couldn't she just understand that what he was doing was for her? To protect her? And now she would be throwing all that away... by putting herself in such danger.

He decided it would be best to give the other Alice a visit as well, to warn him and ask him for a favor.

So, he disappeared into the darkness of the forest and went to see the Alice Finael.[/fieldbox]

((I know this seems weird but Hanson is kinda like a glitch in the matrix. He knows more than he should so he does know who Finael is which is why he could also tell Penelope/Peleilah that he woke up safe and sound.))
 
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Desu Juice

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[fieldbox="Finnick and Zachary, white, dashed, 10"]Finnick grumbled something, but it was muffled by Zachary's shoulder. The black-haired male sat limply on the docks, taking in the smell of the sea, while Finnick rested on him, near tears.

"The dark energy... I felt it. It was like being underwater." Finnick shuddered, wrapping his arms tightly around himself.

"You've never felt it before?"

"No... I've always felt so happy."

"What happened? I don't feel different... My mask is gone, though."

"That arm, who was that?" Finnick said, as abrupt as he was confused.

"Maybe it was the freak with the scythe..." Zachary muttered softly, then turned with surprise as he noticed something quite remarkable. Finnick looked so unhappy. Zachary had never seen the blonde so downtrodden. "No, I think you know who it was... It was someone else, right?" Finnick sensed Zachary was lying, but changed the subject before the dark-haired male could get annoyed.

"I feel alone. You're right next to me, but you might as well be in another galaxy."

"Are those the effects of the darkness on an Alice?"

"No, I don't think so. I just want to go to sleep. I want to see Dreamland again." Something was off - Zachary could feel the downward spiral before he could see it.[/fieldbox]
 

ᕼᗩᑕKᕮᖇ 707

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[fieldbox="Hanson, White, solid, 10"]Footsteps creaked behind Finnick and Zachery on the docks. The footsteps were slow, but always followed the same pattern as they got louder and louder.

Tap. Creak. Tap. Creak.

Once they were close enough to Finnick and Zachery, the sound stopped all together.

"I'm not intruding on anything, am I?" Came a gentle yet masculine voice, followed by a soft chuckle at the two. "It's good to see you both outside of that world for a change. Do you mind if I sit as well?"[/fieldbox]

[fieldbox="Peleilah, White, solid, 10"]She could feel herself falling, yet it seemed like the more she fell, the more she slowed down until she came to a halt, floating. She began opening her eyes to see space around her. Stars twinkled around as her eyes darted about, looking for something specific. Ah, there is was. The train to dreamland. She entered it, expecting it to be empty, but to her surprise someone was already there.

"Eh? Takahiro?" She said, giving the young male a confused look. He chuckled and smirked at her.

"Now now... I thought you knew by now that trains are my specialty.~ I am the one who runs the dreamland express after all.~"

Peleilah shook her head. "Nevermind that. Please take me to the dream world. I need to get there. I need to get to the second of the Distorted Reality worlds."

"Sorry to break it to you, but the dreamland express doesn't go to that area. I can take you to Xonnen which is close by to it."

"Alright. That will have to suffice... I'll have to contact them somehow and tell them that I am already there."

"I don't think that will be necessary, Alice. Your little guardian will surely sense that you are present in the world as not only a soul, but a vessel. She'll be able to tell where you are and they'll come running for you. Of course... that is to say if you aren't already harmed by the dangers as a vessel in that world.~" He chuckled again. "You might want to hurry up whatever you are doing there before the nightmares realize what's going on. Otherwise, Alice, I believe you will have quite the problem on your hands.~"

"Yeah, I know. But I can't think about that right now. I must find someone and talk to them before they make a decision."

"A decision? A decision on what exactly?" Takahiro questioned as he snapped his fingers and the train began to start up. "You may want to take a seat now, Alice."

She sat next to him before continuing on. "I don't know what kind of decision they are planning to make. I just feel that it won't be a very good one."

"Ah. So you wish to save them from making the wrong choice, yes?"

"Exactly."

"Well then..." His smirk grew. "I wish you luck... Penelope."

And with that, the train took off at a speed that was way above the norm in the waking world.[/fieldbox]
 

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[fieldbox="Finnick and Zachary, white, dashed, 10"]Zachary twitched as the sound of creaking board caught his attention, and he could sense an odd, powerful being - it felt the way like mint and forest berries smelled, and Zachary couldn't quite pinpoint its significance, until he remembered he was in the real world... And such a strong, tangy scent cannot come from anything but a powerful neutral being.

Finnick jumped when he heard a sudden voice from behind, and tore his head away from Zachary's shoulder, suddenly embarrassed. The blonde turned to see a male with bi-colored hair approach them, wearing an odd uniform. Wait, world?

Who was this man? What in the world...? "S-sure..." Finnick answered, and and fidgeted shyly. "Who... Who are you?"[/fieldbox]
 

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[fieldbox="Hanson, White, solid, 10"]He smiled and sat, looking at the two males with a gentle gaze.

"I do apologize for not introducing myself first. I am Hanson. Maybe you heard about me from Penelope or Backfire." He paused. "I'm sure you're wondering how I managed to find you in the real world when you keep your real name hidden, Finnick..."

His gaze turned up towards the sky, his expression turning monotone and plain as he pondered there. "I know many things... but that is not what matters right now. What matters is why I am here, sitting beside you."

His smile returned to his face at this moment, but he continued to stare longingly at the sky. "... I love that girl. Penelope... And I want to protect her. But it seems as though just my presence alone is putting her in grave danger..." He paused again.

"A long time ago we met. She was just a little girl, and I took the form of a young boy. I kept her protected and as happy as I possibly could. But because of what I am, nightmares began to come after her. More and more. Soon she became an Alice in order to fight by my side, but that only made the nightmares want to destroy her even more so. So I decided it would be best to leave her."

Hanson then began to frown, remembering how heartbroken Penelope had been that he left. "I felt I had no other choice. I... regret leaving. But I don't know what else I would do. Sadly... things didn't end when I left. Sure, the nightmares didn't bother her as much anymore... but they used her now to get to me. Because I am a strong neutral entity, they want me to join them. If I don't comply... they will kill her."

He looked back over to the two males, a look of desperation in his eyes. "I beg of you... please protect her when I join their side. From them, and from me."

He then dropped his gaze to stare into the wood of the dock. "But while I am still able to, I will try to guide both you and Penelope, as well as protect if need be. It's the least I can do."

Sorrow was evident in his voice. It was noticeable that he in no way wanted to go through with becoming a nightmare. He just felt cornered, like prey against a predator. But even still, he had to try and protect Penelope. There was no way of telling if the nightmares would actually leave her be after he would join them. But he had to try at least.[/fieldbox]
 
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