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Yume to Jitsuzai

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Summer’s the best! Today we all had a cookout at the Dojimas’, and now that it’s dark we’re getting ready to go set off fireworks in the park. Yuu picks up anything leftover in the yard while Kanji prods us all to walk around the house without going back in. He says Dojima fell asleep, so we shouldn’t bother him.

“Nnn, I need to use the bathroom!” I tell Yuu.

He glances down at me, nodding. “Come with me then,” he replies. “I need to wash these dishes.” I nod and follow my friend inside the house, shutting the sliding glass door quietly behind me.

Dojima is sleeping sitting up on the couch, eyes pinched shut in a way that doesn’t look very peaceful. I don’t think Yuu notices. He heads right for the sink barely looking at his uncle. I shuffle closer, my bare feet making a shushing sound on the tatami.

The man’s arms are folded across his chest and he should look like his defensive self, but instead I get the feeling he’s trying to hug himself. I see Dojima shiver, and realize I should grab the blanket from shelf behind the couch. I’ve got it tucked around him as best I can, when I hear Yuu.

“He’s okay,” he tells me. “It’s been few years, but I think he still gets nightmares.”

Still? I turn to face my friend, and he gives me a gentle smile. “That’s so sad…”

“Mm,” Yuu nods. “Do you want me to wait for you?”

I shake my head quickly. “Nope! I can find the way,” I assure him. “You’ll bearly notice I’m late!” I grin at my joke to show him it’s really okay. Yuu laughs softly and heads for the door, and I head for the toilet.

When I’m done, the atmosphere in the living room has changed. Dojima looks more tortured than before. One of his hands is gripping the arm of the couch and the blanket is on the floor. He’s making whimpery noises I don’t like—They sound like muffled screams.

I’ve only learned recently that I can see someone’s dreams, if I try. It’s difficult and I don’t know if it’s bad for them, and it does feel like I’m spying. But I wanna help if I can.

I bite my lip and chew. Maybe I could help if I knew what was wrong. He never tells anyone what he’s thinking…

I really like Dojima. The more time I spend with him, the more I realize that he’s really nice. People don’t always notice because he’s kind and caring in a way that’s hard to see. That’s the way he likes it: he doesn’t do nice things that are showy because he doesn’t do it to seem like a nice person, but so people quietly know he cares about them.

I’m sitting down next to him before I consciously decide to do just that. People seem to sad when they’re having bad dreams. You’d think they’d look scared, but it sounds more like their hearts are crying—Maybe they’re trying to scream, but it always comes out as muffled mewls.

I reach out my hand to Dojima’s arm. When we’re almost touching, I can hear static. My head snaps towards the television, knowing that it’ll show what he sees.

Except it doesn’t. All I can see is static. It doesn’t clear, even when I’m tightly gripping his arm. Usually when I touch someone like Yosuke or Kanji, I can see what they see super clear, like I’m the TV’s antenna.

I don’t like this. I bite my lip, worrying why nothing is coming through.

I let go, then try gripping his arm higher and higher. The picture changes, but never gets good enough for me to tell what’s going on.

I don’t know if I do something right, or if I just get lucky, or what—But something happens to. The fuzziness sharpens and I can feel myself rising up, up, up—!

Glancing back down, I can see that the TV shows Dojima, pressing against the screen. And he’s terrified.