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The Dreamer

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"Maybe it's a premonition."

Wyatt sprinkled rosemary into a potion and stepped back from the resulting puff of smoke before he spared Chris a skeptical glance. "You don't get premonitions. Also, dreams are not premonitions. Premonitions are premonitions. And you don't get them."

"I could," Chris protested.

"Talk to Aunt Phoebe about how it works, then. How am I supposed to help you?"

"You were in it. I'm just saying, maybe we should try to found out about this demon clan, if we're supposed to vanquish them. They were called the Taxil clan, and--"

"You've already looked for them in the Book, haven't you. Is the clan in there?"

"No, but..."

"You said we were both grown up in this dream. If this was a premonition, and if I would ever need your help to vanquish any demons, then you've got another five years, at least, before you're even close to grown up. Talk to me about it then."

*

Five, six, nearly seven years passed -- years for Chris to learn through bitter experience how little that "premonition" had foretold the future. His brother had not grown up into that cheerful, slightly dorky Wyatt who had been in the dream. His brother had not grown up into someone who fought demons, let alone required Chris's help doing it. And there was no talking to Wyatt about anything.

And the Taxil? When Chris, in a gesture of fading faith, looked into that, he found there was such a clan -- and they had been folded into Wyatt's demonic forces. A minion was a minion, Chris supposed, but these demons weren't even particularly powerful. Some premonition. Chris had probably just heard the clan's name somewhere in passing, and it lodged itself into his subconscious, only to make an appearance when he was sleeping. The rest had been just wishful thinking.

He put the dream from his mind.

Until, one night, he dreamed it again. Once again, in Dream San Francisco, Chris, carrying a handful of potion vials, orbed into some alleyway, where Wyatt was already fighting the Taxil. From about ten feet away, Chris tossed Wyatt a few of the vials, and between the potions and the two of them, the job was quickly over.

Wyatt -- all clean-cut with short hair and no beard, not even stubble -- brushed a smudge of dirt off his beige jacket. "Took you long enough," he said, but he was smiling.

"Excuse me, who just saved your butt? You're welcome."

"Eh, I could have taken them."

Chris rolled his eyes.

Wyatt grinned. "All right, maybe I could have, but I didn't have to, thanks to you. So, thanks."

The world around them was bright and the city unruined. It was all as normal as the easy trust between them that no lighthearted teasing could shake.

"Done in time for dinner," Dream Wyatt said. "Let's go home."

But then Chris woke up.

*

If only, if only it could have been a premonition.

But what if it was?

As Chris pondered the dream again, he began to ask himself: What if, when he was fourteen, he had misinterpreted it? He had taken so much for granted then -- of course his brother would be good, of course they'd fight evil side by side when they were adults. So Chris had focused on the demon clan. But maybe the demons were never the point. Maybe the dream was telling Chris something about Wyatt. Maybe it was a premonition of a life that could be.

If he had got it wrong then, was it too late now?

No. If it was too late, he wouldn't have had the dream -- the premonition -- a second time, a magical reminder that his task was incomplete. The whole reason to get a premonition, Chris thought, was to do something about it.

He just had to figure out how. That was always the hard part, as Phoebe could have told him.

Or maybe the dream really was just wishful thinking. It didn't matter, Chris decided. Either way, this future he had dreamed up, he would find a way to make it happen.