Chapter 1: Prologue
Once upon a time there were two brothers.
These two brothers were special. More special than any other beings in the entire Multiverse.
These brothers were born of feelings.
Dream was created out of all the positive feelings. He was sunshine and delight, sweetness and charm.
Nightmare was created out of all the negative feelings. He was rain and melancholy, tart and somber.
But he wasn’t bad.
I wasn’t bad.
I never wanted to hurt Dream.
Dream, my brother.
Dream, the only one I had.
I did it for you.
I did it all for you.
I shouldn’t have touched the golden apples.
Who knew my touch was so corrupting?
I shouldn’t have taken that bite.
But there were so many people.
So many angry people.
You tried to hold them off.
You tried to keep them from me.
But they overpowered you.
The apples, they whispered to me.
It was the voice of a man I had never met.
“If you don’t do something, you will die. Dream will die. Be stronger than them.”
He continued to whisper, like a snake wrapped tenderly around my throat, hissing in my ear.
I took a bite.
This is not my story. This is not Dream’s story.
The end of the X-Event had been a blur.
Once Cross had been rescued from Nightmare by Dream, they were able to formulate a plan on how to defeat XGaster. They had to find Cross’s Frisk. They had to restore Chara.
Dream wasn’t one for killing people.
But he couldn’t find it in his SOUL to mourn the loss of XGaster.
Watching Cross stand with the two children, all of them using their powers against XGaster and Ink, who had been tricked into becoming the mad scientist’s puppet, to finally destroy him and release themselves from his hold, was something marvelous.
But that wasn’t the only reason for Dream’s wonderment.
When XGaster had been defeated, all of the souls of XTale’s inhabitants were released from the pages they were trapped in. Only, they could no longer survive. There were teary farewells, and the others disappeared.
However, Cross did not.
Something was tethering him to the Multiverse. And Dream thought he had caught a glimpse of it. A familiar feeling. Something like warm summer breezes and the smell of pollen as it was carried on the wind.
He wanted to approach Cross about it as quickly as possible, but that would have been selfish. Especially when everyone was deciding what to do with themselves. Cross, Chara, and Frisk had nowhere to go now. Core!Frisk took on that burden.
“You can come to the Omega Timeline.” Core told the trio. “You can live peacefully now that XGaster has been stopped.”
“...” Chara and Frisk exchanged glances. They really didn’t have a home anymore. All they had ever known was gone, whisked away by the threads of fate. What other option did they have? They wouldn’t be allowed in any other universes or timelines.
“Okay.” Frisk finally spoke up. The quiet child whose bond with Chara was unbreakable, and the only person in the Multiverse Chara would actually listen to.
“Okay.” Chara mumbled in agreement. He had been forgiven once everyone had been informed on what really happened to XTale. His motives were understandable. After all, he had just wanted his family back.
The two brothers turned expectantly to Cross.
Cross, the skeleton who had started it all. The X-Event. The one who cowered in fear of XGaster’s name and yet stood before him and so valiantly helped seal him away forever. Cross, the royal knight who had fought beside Dream so many times in the past few days that he had already lost count.
Cross, who looked between the boys and then lifted his head, finding Dream amongst the others they had fought with. Their eyes met, gold on white. Dream’s breath caught in his chest. He dared not hope and he dared not wish. And of its own accord, his mouth twisted into a sad smile. He would miss him.
Cross looked back to the kids… His kids. He looked between them once more.
“I’ll come visit you.” He said softly.
Frisk’s mouth fell open and Chara grumbled.
“What do you mean you’ll come visit us?!” Chara cried, not wanting even one part of his remaining family to be apart from him. Even if it was just the stupid comedian who had lost his sense of humor.
Cross reached out, mussing up both of their hairs and grinned.
“You both have each other. You don’t need me hanging around, do ya?” Cross asked. Frisk quickly lurched forward, wrapping his arms around the skeleton’s waist and holding tight.
Cross gently patted his head before leaning in closely.
“Someone needs me more than you.” Cross said so quietly that only the boys could hear. The two glanced at Dream, then back to their friend. “You two have each other… He has no one. And he saved my life. I owe him.”
Chara frowned and crossed his arms, yet said nothing. Frisk still hung onto Cross for a few more moments, then pulled back.
“Ready?” Core asked, offering the two boys their hands.
Frisk and Chara looked back at Cross one last time, before accepting the omnipresent child’s hands.
“Bye, Sans.” Frisk said sadly.
“Bye, idiot.” Chara continued to glare, trying not to let Cross see the tears in his eyes.
“Bye, kiddos.” Cross waved slightly.
Dream took this opportunity to surge forward. He would have to be a fool if he didn’t realize Cross meant to stay with him. Cross had told him several times, after all, that he would stay with Dream after the X-Event had been cleaned up.
No matter how the story ended.
“Cross?” He gasped when he finally reached him. The other monsters began to disperse, being sent back to their own homes, where Ink was busy restoring them, or beginning to help clean up other messes that had been left behind in the white XTale landscape.
Cross turned to him, his stoic face unrevealing. He had known this would upset Dream, but he didn’t care.
Not much, anyway.
“Why didn’t you go with your family?” Dream asked. He was bewildered and pouting, but a small piece of him was happy. And he hated himself for it.
“I promised you.” Cross looked down at him. “They’re safe, and they’re together. That’s all that matters.”
“You matter too!” Now Dream really was pouting. He almost puffed up like a flustered cat. “You should be happy too.”
“Who says I won’t be?” Cross gave him a half smile that looked more like a smirk. If Dream couldn’t read emotions, he would have thought he was toying with him. “I want to stay with you, Dream. Just… let me be your guard. It’s the least I can do.”
Dream gazed at him, calculating. He finally relented.
“Okay.” He sighed.
“Should I pledge myself to you?” Cross asked.
“When becoming a member of the Royal Guard, I had to pledge myself to the King. Should I pledge myself to you?”
“N-No!” Dream quickly shook his head. “Y-You don’t have to do that…”
But Cross wasn’t going to accept Dream’s refusal.
He got down onto one knee and bowed his head.
The air around them became so thick with magic they almost couldn’t breathe. Without thinking, Dream summoned his staff and held it out before himself. His body was sure but his mind was fraught. He didn’t know what he was doing.
Cross, without being prompted, began to speak.
“I pledge myself to thee, Guardian of Positive Feelings. I will place the protection of happiness, love, and all related feelings above my own worldly needs. From this day forward, I am Dream’s to command how he wishes.”
Dream immediately tapped each of Cross’s shoulders, thus claiming him as his own.
The magic released and Cross stood, revealing sun insignias magically embroidered onto his clothing. Dream blinked.
“How did that happen?” He asked softly. Cross had one sun on his turtleneck and another on his long scarf that acted more as a cape.
“...” Cross looked down at himself thoughtfully. “It felt… Similar to making a deal with Nightmare…”
Dream frowned, thinking.
“It would make sense that I would be able to make a similar pact… We had similar magic before… Before he…”
Cross cut him off with a shake of the head. He wouldn’t make Dream say it.
“I’ve just… Never done that before.” Dream looked at him sheepishly. “I just hope nothing bad happens because of it…”
Cross shook his head once more.
“It’s you. It could never be bad.”
Dream needed to check on his friend.
After Cross had been set to begin sending the stolen code back to the appropriate universe, Dream went to find Ink.
He found him in Underfell, helping to repair the Snowdin library. He was glad he found him away from XTale. Away from Cross.
“Ink, friend!” He called out, grinning. Ink smiled and turned to look at him.
Ink was still battered and bruised from the final showdown. He hadn’t let himself fully heal, instead just painting over the major injuries and moving on to fix his mistakes.
“Dream!” Ink said happily. “How’s it going on your end?”
“Oh, we’re almost done sending all the code back and returning the inhabitants. Cross has been working pretty hard. But I came to ask how you were doing… Ink?” Dream paused, reading Ink as well as he could with the swirl of painted emotions mixing inside him.
“How are you?”
Ink grew silent, his face falling every so slightly.
“I’m fine.” He quickly grinned. Dream frowned.
“I can tell you’re lying.” The guardian of positive feelings huffed.
“...It’s hard to talk about, Dream.” Ink let his smile fall for good this time. “He used me. XGaster knew when I didn’t drink my paints I turn into a blank puppet. It feels awful to be taken control of. And I did terrible things. Because I wanted to play a game. I’m surprised you’re still talking to me.”
“...” Dream gently rubbed his own arms. “Good people do bad things all the time, Ink… Cross is the same. You should probably talk to him, too. I think you have a lot in common-”
He was cut off by the look that crossed Ink’s face. It told Dream that Ink would rather eat nails than confront Cross now. They needed time apart, both of them. To cool down. Maybe, someday, they could even be friends again.
“Okay.” Dream shrunk into himself. “I understand.”
Ink’s face morphed into a grin once more.
“On that note you two seem pretty close. I saw he even got knighted. ” Ink chided. Dream puffed up. Again.
“He insisted!” Dream cried, then let himself relax and smile slightly. “I’m kind of glad I don’t have to say goodbye.”
“As long as you’re admitting it to yourself!” He called before painting himself a portal and jumping in.
Dream knew he was just escaping to avoid any further conversation.
He could understand.
Ink was a bastard of a monster, on account of not having a SOUL. And yet, he still felt. He still tried to do the right thing, in his own, terrible way.
Realizing you messed a lot of universes up and almost completely wiped one universe and all of its inhabitants out of existence because you trusted the wrong person must be the worst feeling ever. Dream wasn’t feeling too great himself, either.
So many “what ifs” intruded upon his thoughts.
What if he had been able to get to Cross before Nightmare had?
And better yet:
What if he had been able to get to Cross before Ink had?
These were impossible scenarios, he knew. But he could have saved Cross such heartache if only…
It didn’t do to dwell.
Dream opened his own portal back to the remnants of XTale.
Cross would be done soon.
When Dream returned to XTale, all he found was emptiness and Cross sitting on the floor, curled into himself. He started forward, about to shout to his friend that he was there, that he hadn’t left him, that it was okay. But he realized Cross wasn’t upset.
Timidly, Dream moved towards him. He knew Cross had heard him appear but chose to stay seated.
“Cross?” He asked when he got closer.
Cross barely lifted his head, allowing Dream to see what he was doing.
He was holding his own SOUL in his hand and had seemed to be studying it. As Dream gazed down at it, he felt the familiar presence he had when XGaster had been defeated. Tenderly, he sat down beside his knight.
“Why me?” Cross asked, his voice barely audible.
“Why you?” Dream repeated, looking to him gently.
“The others… From XTale they… They disappeared when he did. Their SOULs shattered. But mine didn’t.” Cross frowned, looking back to his own, pure white SOUL.
“Maybe some of Chara’s DETERMINATION is left?” Dream offered, also letting his eyes drift back to the SOUL. He had a strong urge to touch it. Just one, small caress.
Cross shook his head.
“There’s none… I CHECK’ed.” Cross continued to frown.
“May I?” Dream breathed, slowly lifting his hand. Cross studied him for a moment before nodding. The guardian smiled and reached forward, cupping his SOUL in his hand and gently pulling it towards him-
Cross cried out in pain. On reflex, Dream’s fingers wrapped around his SOUL, holding it in place. That only earned a pained howl from his companion, who was now doubling over in pain.
“Cross!” Dream cried out, quickly moving onto his knees to check on him. “Cross! What’s wrong?!”
“It… Burns…” Cross was clutching his chest and panting, looking up at Dream with only one eye open.
Dream looked to his hand where he still grasped the other’s SOUL. He wanted to let go, to release his friend from this pain. But something told him not to.
He let go of Cross and instead focused on the SOUL. If he was a being made of pure, positive energy, and his touch was causing so much pain, something opposite of him had to be in it. Something that was his absolute negation in the entirety of the Multiverse.
“Something’s wrong.” Dream rushed out. He gripped the SOUL with both of his hands now, steadying himself. Cross cried out again. Dream turned his golden gaze onto him and tried to smile reassuringly. “Stay strong, Cross.”
Cross indeed, stayed strong.
Dream summoned what powers he could think of that would help, and he coaxed. He pleaded. He begged whatever part of Nightmare that was residing inside of Cross’s SOUL to come out.
And it did.
A black SOUL, dripping in Nightmare’s own special sludge, slowly emerged from the SOUL Dream so carefully held in his hands. Before it could make its way back to its boss, Dream reached out grabbed it. Cross gasped in relief while the parasitic SOUL seemed to be hissing in protest.
Dream watched as his own positivity magic moved through the SOUL, sending the corruption dripping to the floor, where it sizzled and evaporated. What was left was a bright orange SOUL, still trying to escape.
“This…” Dream whispered, eyes wide. “It’s… It’s from Dreamtale…”
Finally, Dream let go of the tiny human SOUL.
But, it did not run.
The small SOUL hovered in front of Dream, as if in thanks, before speeding towards his hand and merging once more with Cross’s SOUL.
Dream wanted time to think.
Luckily, taking care of Cross gave him that.
He was able to situate Cross so that his head was lying comfortably in his lap. He rubbed gentle circles into Cross’s temples, sending soothing positive feelings into his body to help him relax and heal.
After what seemed like an eternity, with Dream staring into the blank nothingness that was a (mostly) destroyed world, Cross spoke.
“What was that?” He asked.
Dream looked down at him.
“I think… I think it was one of the human SOULs from Dreamtale, my old world. But it looked like Nightmare had corrupted it somehow. I know it was him; I could feel it. I just.. Don’t know why it was inside your SOUL.” He frowned slightly.
Cross looked thoughtful.
“Which one?” He asked.
“The Bravery SOUL.” Dream looked at him softly. “But it had been corrupted into Cowardice.”
Now, Cross frowned, his brows furrowing together.
“It makes sense.”
“What does?” Dream asked.
“How everyone was able to use my fear of… XGaster against me. I’ve never been a coward. But why would he corrupt a SOUL just to manipulate me? He can do that just with deals.”
“...” Dream didn’t have any answers for him. He was just as confused as the knight was. “I think we need to go see someone who can help us. After you’re rested up, of course.”
Cross sank down further into Dream’s lap, not wanting to give up his comfy cushion, even if he was feeling immensely better already.
“Okay, okay. In a bit, then.”
The Lord of Darkness paced back and forth in his castle, gritting his teeth and tentacles thrashing.
He had felt it.
When Dreamtale’s Bravery SOUL had been freed from his corruption.
That could only mean Dream had purified it.
Dream was the only being in the Multiverse who could.
It wouldn’t take him long to figure out the SOUL’s purpose.
And when he did…
He would come to kill Nightmare.
Small Disclaimer: Some things in this story may not align exactly with canon.
Thanks for reading! I'm quite excited to write something with an overarching plot as well as romance elements. I hope you guys enjoy it!
I have been alone for so long I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have someone by my side.
Lying here with him, in a crumpled mess on the floor of XTale, for once at rest, I sleep.
I think these thoughts, though I know I won’t remember them upon waking.
I know I curl into his warmth, burying my head into the fur of his jacket’s hood. It tickles my face and smells of him. I think I whimper because he wraps one of his arms around me, instinctively pulling me closer.
Did he have someone he pulled close at night?
I’m not allowed to feel jealous, as my foggy mind remembers he had his own brother.
He had a Frisk.
He’s used to having younger brothers who want to bask in the protective aura he provides.
All that strength.
All that power.
And he chose me.
I must make another noise because he murmurs something soothing and gentle fingers stroke the top of my skull.
I finally lose all consciousness, succumbing to my body’s exhaustion although my mind wishes for just… a little bit longer…
Cross woke up much later, though how much later was hard to tell in a place that was almost as empty as the Anti-Void. He stirred slightly, feeling a weight pressing into his side, only to look down and discover Dream curled into him. He would have thought Dream would look peaceful when he slept, but it was just the opposite: he looked haunted.
Cross vaguely remembered holding onto Dream through what had seemed like a nightmare.
The sunshine child didn’t seem so bright anymore.
But who would, after all that Dream had gone through in his life. Cross didn’t know the details, and didn’t want Dream to tell him unless he wanted to, but he knew it wasn’t good. It couldn’t be good. Not with someone like Nightmare as your brother.
He decided to pause and let Dream sleep. He knew the other was exhausted. They were both exhausted. The Multiverse didn’t stop, not even if you saved it… Or even if you simply cleaned up the mess you created with the help of the Multiverse’s kindest inhabitant. Who also was the only one who was willing to give you another chance.
Who, when you told him you wanted to stop XGaster and not go to the Omega Timeline, took you seriously. And decided you could help.
And the only one afterward that didn’t look at you like you were an abomination who should have never been born. (Even though, technically, Cross hadn’t been born and rather, created.)
He looked back down at Dream, wishing there was something he could do just to give him some peace while he slept. The knight gently reached out, dragging the backs of his fingers down Dream’s cheek in a soothing gesture. Frisk would usually relax at this when he was having his own bad dreams.
Dream’s face contorted almost imperceptibly before relaxing, now looking neither upset nor happy, but simply indifferent. Cross frowned slightly.
What was it like, to travel the Multiverse all alone with only a few people to call a “friend” looking after you?
At least Cross had had Chara
He settled back down, deciding to wait for Dream to wake up rather than begin moving on his on. He looked back down at the monster his arms, watching him sleep until his own eyes started closing…
Cross jerked awake, his eyes springing open only to find Dream standing above him, leaning down with a wide grin on his face.
“Dream?” He asked groggily, looking down at his arms, where he could have sworn Dream was laying just a second ago.
“Good morning.” Dream continued to smile, helping Cross sit up. “I think we slept pretty late…”
“How long?” Cross yawned and looked around, wishing a pancake restuarant had survived through XGaster’s torture of XTale. He was starving.
“Maybe twelve hours?” Dream guessed. It was already hard to tell time when you were hopping from universe to universe, but it was even worse when you had to stay in a universe that was devoid of any sense of time.
“That is a lot…” Cross grumbled and stretched before standing. “Are we about to leave?”
Dream smiled and nodded.
“Yes. I think I know exactly the person who can help us. We can also get something to eat there…” Dream tilted his head, watching Cross with a smile.
“Ah. You can tell I’m hungry, can’t you?” Cross grumbled. Dream’s emotion-reading powers could be a bit of a nuisance.
“Only because you’re irritable… Are you ready?” Dream asked, his voice going quiet. This world… XTale… It would cease to exist when they left, with no humans or their Sans tethered to it. It was finally time to say goodbye.
Cross looked around the emptiness, feeling nothing.
His friends weren’t here anymore.
His brother wasn’t here anymore.
The kids weren’t here anymore.
There was no reason for him to mourn the loss of something so empty. What had made this white expanse home was no more.
He turned back to Dream and nodded.
Reaper had been half asleep, lounging in one of his favorite areas of the Underworld, when he suddenly jerked awake, sitting straight up and eyes wide. Two Multiverse travellers had just appeared in Reapertale, one emanating the aura of all that was good, and the other…
The other was the one who nearly destroyed the entire Multiverse with his Gaster’s game.
Not only had they appeared in just any old portion of his world.
No, they appeared right in Life’s garden.
He had to get to her.
Reaper teleported quickly to just outside of the circle, watching from the shadows as he had done during the X-Event. Waiting for that… Cross guy to finally kill someone.
“Oh?” Life turned just as she felt the presence of two others appearing in her garden. “Is that you, Dream?”
Dream smiled up at the goddess towering over him. He could see her look from him to his companion, curious as to where he had picked up this stranger since his last visit.
“Hi Life!” He greeted, still smiling. Cross looked a bit at a loss for words, though he knew he should be used to seeing duplicates of not only himself, but of his friends as well.
But seeing this nice, warm Toriel only made him homesick for the world he had never even really lived in.
“Who’s your friend?” She asked, leaning down to inspect the monochrome skeleton.
“This is Cross… I guess you can say he’s my knight now.” Dream grinned.
“Nice to meet you, Cross.” Life offered her hand, which Cross took and shook gently.
“Nice to meet you too, Tori- Life.” Cross coughed, trying to cover his mistake.
“Well, well, well…” Reaper stepped out of the shadows, deciding to reveal himself. Cross immediately jumped in front of Dream, summoning his large knife.
“Sans!” Life cried, looking from Cross to Reaper. “You scared him! I hope you’re happy with yourself.”
“Looks like I’ve scared him almost half to death. Too bad it was only half.” Reaper grinned and shrugged.
“It’s okay, Cross…” Dream whispered behind him. “That’s just this world’s Sans, Reaper. We actually need him.”
Cross muttered something unintelligible before letting his weapon disappear once more, his eyes never leaving the god.
Life was still scolding Reaper before she lit up, quickly stopping their playful banter and turning back to their guests.
“Are you two hungry? I just pulled a pie out of the oven. You both look like you could use something to eat.” She smiled sweetly at them before leading them away, back towards her sanctuary.
Reaper made a gesture for them to follow after her, but Cross glared, waiting for him to go first. Neither wanted to take their eyes off the other. Not with their… treasured persons close by. Dream looked between them before sighing and walking ahead.
“We’re coming!” He called to their gracious hostess.
“I’m watching you.” Reaper said as he grinned when he and Cross had been left alone. “I know what you did to those worlds. I know-”
“I didn’t kill anyone though, did I?” Cross hissed, his brows furrowing. “I recognized you hiding in the shadows of the various AUs I visited…”
“You might as well have. That little ingrate hiding out in your SOUL almost did.” Reaper continued to grin, even if his tone was turning foul.
“Don’t call him that.” Cross ground out. He opened his mouth again only to have a fork thrust into it. It was a clump of warm, cinnamon butterscotch pie, and he nearly melted right to the floor from the taste.
“Pie!” Dream said happily and cheerily, smiling at him. “Isn’t it good?”
Cross merely nodded before he took the plate from Dream and continued to eat his own piece. Dream had had to come ward off the storm clouds he had felt building around Cross, and what better way to do that than with a slice of a Toriel’s pie? He happily ate his own.
“Life has yours, Reaper.” Dream noted. The grim reaper waved him off.
“Not hungry…” He mused. “Why are you both here?”
“Oh… I was hoping to talk to Gaster. I have some… questions about my brother’s and Dreamtale’s magic. I think he’s up to something worse and I wanted your father’s advice.” Dream explained.
“He’s my creator, not father… I’ll take you to him when you’re ready.” Reaper looked back to Cross. “Just make sure he never comes back to Life’s garden. Okay?”
Dream frowned, looking to Cross.
“He wouldn’t hurt her…” He whispered sadly.
“Don’t care. I’m surprised you’re even letting him tag along.” Reaper spat.
“He’s good! He was just-”
Reaper shook his head, cutting him off.
He didn’t care to hear Dream’s excuses. He just wanted to make sure Life would be okay.
And he knew Cross was listening.
Cross didn’t blame him.
He wouldn’t trust someone like him near Dream, either. It was only natural.
Though, Reaper and Cross were a bit more alike than they seemed to be. They each had someone who understood them, no matter what they had done in the past.
After enjoying their time and pie with Life, the trio needed to make their way to the real reason the pair had come to the world:
Gaster, God of Magic.
Dream was hoping Gaster would have some answers for them. About the SOUL, the corruption, and how in the world he had been able to purify it.
He had so many questions and knew the God wouldn’t be able to answer all of them, but getting a lead was better than where they were starting from now.
“Gaster!” Reaper called out as they entered the workshop of the god. Gaster jumped slightly, hitting his head on his workbench’s light.
“Sans!” He frowned, still rubbing the sore spot on his skull. Then his eyes drifted to the two others with him. “Dream? What are you doing here?”
“I have some questions, Gaster.” Dream explained with a soft smile. “And this is my friend, Cross. He’s part of some of my questions.”
Gaster nodded simply and moved to make tea out of some of his beakers for his guests and moved a few chairs so that there were a total of three gathered around one of the main tables.
“Looks like you’re missing one.” Reaper noted, looking at his companions one by one and ticking them off with his fingers.
“No, I didn’t.” Gaster sighed. “You’re not going to use this as an excuse to skip work. Now go on. Papyrus is waiting for you, probably.” Gaster shooed him.
Reaper grumbled for a moment before teleporting away, only to another place where he could rest quietly.
“Please, sit.” Gaster gestured to the chairs and the guardian and his knight gratefully sat in them.
The God of Magic brought over the mugs of tea and set them down before taking his own seat across from them.
“You have some magical quandary, I’m assuming?” Gaster asked, his tone not unpleasant, but certainly curious. He glanced at Cross, as if sizing him up. Not to fight, but to study.
“It has to do with… SOULs, Gaster.” Dream started before spilling the entire story of his and Cross’s run in with the Bravery SOUL, complete with how it was still hiding in Cross’s own SOUL and its purification.
The God of Magic frowned at the end of their tale in thought, looking at Cross even more curiously.
“I think it’s safe to assume that the SOUL was corrupted… By Nightmare, it seems, and your magic purified it, Dream.” Gaster tapped on his mug of tea, which by now had gone cold. “You’ve brought me more questions than I have answers for, my friend.”
“But, if we can deduce that Nightmare corrupted the SOUL, then placed it in Cross as a means to help control him, then it would stand he would have done the same to others.” Gaster finished, sitting back. Both Dream and Cross looked at the god, Cross with a frown and Dream with worry.
“How would we know if he has?” Dream asked. “Surely-”
“The Bad Sanses.” Cross finished for him. “The Bad Sanses would be the ones he would have used as hosts for the SOULs. It makes sense to, anyway, since I was considered one of them, and he keeps them close.”
“All except…” Dream frowned, remembering the one “Bad Sans” who did whatever he wanted without any regard to others. Who probably wouldn’t have even been able to be controlled by Nightmare, considering how erratic his behavior was.
Dream’s eyes became stars as he was struck with a sudden idea.
“We can go and see if Error has one of the SOULs inside his!” He announced not only to his companion but the wise sage before them.
“Okay, um, if Error has one in his SOUL, how are we even going to get close enough?” Cross asked. Dream seemed to deflate.
“You’re right…” He frowned in thought. Then he perked up again. “We’ll have to have help!” He announced, knowing just the skeleton who could help them. Cross nodded in agreement.
“But…” Gaster frowned, looking between the two of them. “How are you going to be able to purify his SOUL without killing him? You nearly killed Cross-” Dream winced. “So how do you suppose you’re going to purify a SOUL of someone who would rather die?”
“...” The two friends looked at each other, then looked back to Gaster, who was grinning. He had been waiting to make this suggestion, it seemed.
“Dream.” Gaster looked to the smaller of the two. “Your magic is that of positive feelings, and can purify the SOULs Nightmare has corrupted.” He turned to Cross now.
“Cross, it’s probably no surprise that we were watching your… affairs. I saw what your magic can do. When you stab someone with your weapon, you not only gain control of them, but you pull their SOUL outside of their body. What if… What if I were to fuse the two?” Gaster was now reminding them of the Gasters of other worlds who had lost their minds to their scientific research.
“What would that do to them?” Dream asked wearily.
Gaster began writing equations in the air with his finger, tracing numbers no one else could see.
“If my calculations are correct, and they usually are, you would be able to purify their SOUL without killing them or taking control of them… Well, without taking control of their original SOUL.” He sat back, watching them eagerly.
Cross and Dream exchanged a look before Cross turned back to Gaster.
“What do you need?” He asked.
“Give me your knife.”
Cross summoned the weapon and laid it on the table.
“And I’ll need one of your arrow’s Dream.”
Dream frowned, before sighing and deciding to go along with it. He needed for this to work… It just seemed… Like he was finally figuring out something about his brother. He needed to follow this lead wherever it went, and if Cross was willing to help him…
Then that made it even better.
He summoned one of his arrows and handed it to the all powerful being, who set to work immediately.
It didn’t seem like Gaster was doing much from the outside, but fusing magic was no easy task. It took longer than he had anticipated, sweat beading and then pouring down his forehead as he weaved the two very different magics together. Thankfully, Cross had been knighted by Dream’s magic and thus made it easier for him to meld the two.
As the magics took to one another, first flirting and then finally accepting each other and copulating into a bright light which flashed through the workshop, blinding the three of them. When it dissipated, what was left lying on the table was Cross’s knife, though now it only shone the bright blue of Dream’s magic, much as it had when showing the red of Chara’s.
“Go on.” Gaster gestured to Cross, who timidly reached forward, picking up his blade.
“Won’t the magic just disappear when I send it away?” Cross asked.
“Why don’t you try?” Gaster offered.
Cross unsummoned his weapon, then summoned it once more, expecting the worst but finding that Dream’s magic was there to stay. He did this a few more times before deciding he was satisfied with what Gaster had done. All the while, Dream was sitting next to him, beaming.
Cross was going to wield his magic. His magic to help people. Even though Cross was already technically his knight, something akin to massive pride was swelling inside of him. It seemed intimate… Their magics being bonded and fused together… He couldn’t stop himself from blushing at the thought.
“I guess we just have to try it out on someone now…” Cross said, giving the giant knife a few test swings before putting it away for the final time. He looked over at Dream.
“Yeah… We’ll need to figure out how to get to Error.” Dream noted, moving to stand. They couldn’t stay much longer in this universe anyway.
“You said you knew someone…” Cross offered him a hand, pulling him out of his seat, and Dream held onto it afterwards, not wanting their connection to end.
“Thank you, Gaster!” Dream grinned at the God. “But we have to get going now.”
“Yes, yes.” Gaster waved them off. “Just come back eventually to tell me what happened.”
“Of course.” Dream promised and shifted his hand so that his and Cross’s fingers were threaded together. He opened a portal before looking at his companion. “Ready?”
Cross gave him the faintest of smiles before nodding.
I've been feeling a bit of writer's block lately, so I apologize if this chapter seems choppy!
Thanks for reading!
Gripping Dream’s hand, following him blindly through the portal, Cross’s breath caught in his throat as they left Reapertale and stepped into a world of yellow.
He looked around, eyes wide as he tried to take it all in. The sky was a gradient of amber with no light source evident, and hanging in the air were pieces of paper, strings attaching them up and beyond what Cross was able to comprehend. He stared at them, jaw ever so slightly slack, eyes unblinking.
Dream laughed next to him.
“Do you like it?” He asked, having much more fun watching Cross than looking at the all too familiar scenery.
“I don’t even know what it is.” Cross breathed, slowly looking back to his guardian.
“Welcome to the Doodle Sphere. It’s Ink’s home.” Dream explained, watching as Cross visibly flinched, turning Dream’s smile sad. “Up there…” He said, distracting his knight by pointing back up.
“Those are all of the universes in the Multiverse.”
Cross looked back to the sky with a renewed sense of awe.
“All of them?” He asked breathlessly.
“All of them.” Dream confirmed.
They stood for as long as Cross needed, though Dream found it strange that the Doodle Sphere’s sole inhabitant hadn’t noticed they were there yet. But, upon further deduction, Dream realized Ink wasn’t even home, and he wasn’t worried enough about their presence to come running back. Which was fine. They could make themselves at home until he returned.
“His house is this way.” Dream said gently, pulling Cross out of his silent contemplation.
He led his companion down the familiar path and to what looked like a cottage, smoke puffing out of the chimney in fluffy, cookie cutter clouds Ink had drawn and magicked to continue flowing, no matter if there was a fire in the hearth or not.
Once to the cottage, Dream opened the door. It was small and rustic, consisting of a living room, a cramped kitchen, dining table, and two bedrooms. Dream was never quite sure why Ink had decided on two bedrooms rather than just one, seeing as how no one ever stayed with him, but Dream had given up on understanding the other guardian long ago.
“Cozy.” Cross muttered, looking around.
“Quite.” Dream agreed, moving into the kitchen. “He should have some food around here, if you’re still hungry… oh, chocolate milk?”
Cross was in the kitchen faster than a Chara is to genocide.
He plucked the carton from Dream’s hand, opening it and taking a long swig.
“Hey!” Dream cried, albeit playfully. “I wanted that!”
Cross immediately stopped and pulled the carton away, his cheeks flushed.
“S-Sorry…” He held it back out to his friend, wiping his mouth on his sleeve.
Dream took the carton, frowning still as he watched Cross’s all-white jacket collect stains.
“And you stained your jacket. I think Ink has a washing machine… and some bleach.” Dream sighed.
“Sorry…?” Cross offered once more, this time chuckling and rubbing the back of his skull. He began trying to move around Dream, their bodies brushing one another because of how tight the kitchen was.
Dream blushed and looked back to the carton. He had been joking with Cross about wanting it, but now that he had it, it did sound good. He frowned. Did Cross backwash? He looked towards the knight as he unpeeled a banana and decided he most certainly did. But Dream was fatigued and the chocolate milk really did look good…
He took a drink straight from the carton as well.
“Woah.” Cross said, watching him, mouth full.
“Woah?” Dream asked as he pulled back, licking his mouth.
“You drank from the carton.” Cross stated.
“Yeah?” Dream shrugged and set the milk back in the refrigerator.
“I guess I just thought… You were the kind of person to be super strict on manners.” Cross laughed awkwardly.
“I literally lived outside, under a tree, growing up. I don’t what you expected.” Dream smiled.
“I didn’t know you actually lived under the tree. I knew there was a tree…” Cross scratched his head. Dream had filled him in some on his, and other major players in the Multiverse’s, history during the X-Event. He still had some catching up to do, it seemed.
“Yep! Actually!” Dream turned slightly to take the cape into hands, showing Cross the sun insignia that was now embroidered on his clothes as well. “My brother and I made this as a flag for the tree, but one night, there was a thunderstorm, and I got scared… So, Nightmare took the flag down and put it around me. I haven’t taken it off since.”
“Like ever?” Cross asked. “Isn’t it a little smelly?”
“Cross!” Dream cried, though he couldn’t help but laugh. “Of course I take it off to wash it.”
“Just making sure.”
Dream turned back to the cabinets, wanting to make himself something to eat but found his appetite had disappeared with the mention of his dear brother. He wrapped his arms around himself and rotated back to face the knight again, only to find him now in a jar of peanut butter, scooping it out with his finger and licking it off.
“Okay, now I have to call you out on your manners. That’s not your peanut butter.” He scolded, frowning.
“Ink was partially responsible for almost all of my family dying. I’m going to stick my dirty fingers in his peanut butter if I want to.”
The guardian opened his mouth to protest, but found that he really couldn’t argue with Cross’s logic. He turned thoughtful, glancing around at the rest of the cupboards.
“Want to find something else to stick your finger in?”
After finding other food items to subtly destroy, Dream made the two of them hot tea with squeezed lemon and honey, and they sat at Ink’s dining table to wait for him to get home. They had found a set of playing cards while pillaging the cabinets as well and were playing ‘Go Fish’ when the cottage’s owner came through the front door.
“Hello, hello!” Ink greeted them, having known they were already there. He closed the door behind him, loudly, before setting his paintbrush down and grinning at them. “I didn’t think I’d be seeing the two of you again so soon… Especially you.” He looked to Cross, who frowned.
“We came because we need some information.” Dream quickly chirped, trying to defuse the tension he could feel rising in Cross.
Part of him felt guilty for bringing Cross here, but the other part of him knew it was a necessary uncomfortableness, and that Cross would feel better as time wore on.
“Information?” Ink asked, cocking a brow and sliding his bandolier and scarf off, tossing them haphazardly onto the floor.
“About Error.” Dream insisted.
“Error? Why would you want information about Error? You know basically what I do.” Ink paused, blinking as he vaguely recalled his unsteady memory. “Maybe even more.”
“We need to know how to fight him.” Now it was Cross’s turn to speak, forcing the artist to look and truly acknowledge him for the first time that evening.
Ink’s eyes cycled rapidly as he blinked, fully processing what the ex-Royal Guard had just said.
“Sit down.” Dream commanded gently. “I’ll tell you everything.”
And for the second time that day, Dream relayed their tale, though this time he had a few additions for the listener. There were quite a few times he had to stop, snap his fingers to grab Ink’s attention, then continue. Cross, on the other hand, was there to repeat what Dream had just said when Ink forgot what they were talking about and had to ask. At least, if anything, the duo of positive feelings found they worked well as a team with children.
Or others with short attention spans.
“Okay, so, let me get this straight, Nightmare’s controlling Error?” Ink asked, trying to keep his thoughts straight and wishing he had never discarded his scarf so he could take notes.
“No, not exactly.” Dream grimaced.
“More of… he tainted him.” Cross added. “Like… I feel like the same person, but I’m not as angry. I thought all that anger was Chara, but most of it was me. It’s like I was so blinded by… hate, and what gave me that hate was my sadness. Above all, I was scared. Scared I would fail. Scared of losing. Scared of dying… Even scared of Chara dying.” He laughed bitterly. “It was like whatever else I felt was driven by fear.”
Dream looked at him sadly before reaching out and placing his hand tenderly over Cross’s. The knight turned his hand over, letting the guardian’s fingers sink gently into the spaces between his.
Ink, although looking thoughtful, also took note of the small gesture, deciding to have fun once his thoughts were sorted out.
“So… Error has a SOUL in him that’s making him… feel bad?” Ink asked for clarification.
“Basically.” Cross shrugged.
“We need to get close enough to him to get the SOUL.” Dream looked enthusiastic. “I was hoping you could help. You’re the only one who’s gone against him successfully so many times.”
“I wouldn’t say successful…” Ink laughed, rubbing the back of his skull. “I haven’t been able to best him yet.”
“But you haven’t lost.” Cross noted. “We’re not looking to win.”
“You want to get his SOUL. I’d call that wanting to win.” Ink frowned.
“We just need to get close enough for Cross to stab him.” Dream grinned brightly, trying to encourage his friend.
Ink studied them, then sighed.
“Okay, okay. I’ll help.”
After devising a plan, they decided to call it a day and to rest. Ink had so graciously offered for them to stay the night with him.
“Is it night?” Cross asked, looking out one of the windows and into the endless yellow.
“Maybe?” Ink shrugged. “There are curtains…” He looked between his two guests, face lighting up mischievously. “But there are only two beds…”
Another pause, but before anyone could say anything, he continued.
“Dream can have the guest bedroom…” He looked to Cross, his eyes changing to stars. “And Cross… Can sleep with me!”
Dream’s mouth fell open somewhat but it was Cross who loudly snorted.
“Why the hell would I share a bed with you? There’s a couch right here.” He growled.
“Because!” Ink laughed. “It would be like a sleepover! We could hangout, just like old times. We could even draw! You could pose for me, I could pose for you, it’d be so fun!”
“Why would I want to spend any amount of time with you after what you did to me and my family?”
“You’re still going on about that? That’s old news. You have Dreamy now, right? Everything’s okay!” Ink laughed again, obviously enjoying how riled up his former “friend” was becoming.
“No, it’s not! I haven’t forgiven you, Ink. I’ll sleep on the couch.” Cross said with finality.
Ink didn’t really care if Cross forgave him or not. It wasn’t like Cross was the one who died, and Ink had just been doing his job: helping Creators find their creativity. And besides, look at all the new AUs that had been created with inspiration from the X-Event! So, no, Ink wouldn’t be apologizing anytime soon to Cross. To apologize, you had to be sorry.
“Fine, fine. I’ll get the blankets and pillows.” Ink mocked frowned, his eyes lingering over a very disgruntled guardian who was pouting and staring right back at him. He shrugged at Dream, savoring every bit of jealousy he could feel rolling off him.
“No need for blankets.” Dream snapped. “He’ll share a bed with me.”
Cross turned and blinked at his guardian, but didn’t argue. A bed would be nicer than a couch, and sleeping next to Dream last night and the nights before the final showdown of the X-Event had been soothing. He slept well next to the smaller skeleton. It was probably just his aura, but Cross found something comforting in the rest of him as well.
Ink just grinned, pleased with himself.
“Okay, okay. There should be two pillows on the bed. If not you guys can share that too.” He moved towards the hall, where the bedrooms were so that he could retire himself. “I just better not hear anything tonight.” He called liltingly before disappearing into his room with the sound of a closing door.
“Why would he hear something?” Dream asked as Cross bolted back into the kitchen. “Cross? What are you doing?”
Cross flung the fridge’s door open and took the chocolate milk out once more, only this time he didn’t drink and quite literally spit into the contents. He swirled the liquid, making sure his saliva was mixed in well before setting it back in and turning back to Dream.
“That’s for him being an ass.” Cross tried to shrug it off. At least Dream hadn’t caught on to Ink’s joke. It was better that way.
“If that’s the case he should have an entire collection of cartons filled with different monster’s spits.” Dream laughed slightly. “Let’s go to bed.”
Once the were safely in their room, with the curtains drawn, they shed their clothing to a comfortable level before crawling into the bed. It was decently sized and they could sleep on opposite sides if they wanted, but as soon as Cross had turned on his side, Dream sidled up to him, pressing himself into his knight’s back.
“Dream?” Cross asked.
“...Sorry… It’s just… Nice to sleep next to someone again…” He whispered so quietly his bedmate almost didn’t hear him.
Cross gingerly turned onto his opposite side, wrapping his arms around Dream and pressing him into his chest.
“Yeah… It is nice.” He echoed. Dream smiled. “Goodnight, Dream.”
I'm still trying to figure out an upload schedule for this, but I like the idea of Mondays or Tuesdays so it'll probably be one of them.
Thank you for reading!
Sometimes, when he slept, he could hear his brother’s voice.
It was never a cheerful conversation. He was always just yelling, begging and pleading for Dream to help him. To save him. It echoed in his head over and over again so fervently Dream would often startle awake, drenched in a cold sweat.
Tonight was different.
“Dream?” His dear brother’s voice rang out warily.
“Night?!” Dream yelled out.
“Shhhh!” The voice quickly quieted him. “He’ll hear you.”
“I don’t have a lot of time.” He sounded pained. “You have Cross?”
“Cross? He’s with me, yes.”
“Good. Use him.”
“The SOULs. He did it, Dream. He’s the one who did it. He knows you know. Be careful.”
“He knows? Who’s he? Cross?”
“I don’t have time!” Nightmare hissed. “Be. Careful. I have to go.”
“Nightmare please! Is this really you?!”
“It’s me. Goodbye, brother.”
Dream’s eyes flew open and he sat up immediately, breathing heavily. He looked to the other side of the bed, where Cross was splayed, mouth open and spit dribbling out the corner of his mouth. He looked peaceful. Calm. Relaxed.
He reached out a hesitant hand and trailed his knuckles down Cross’s cheek.
Nightmare… If that really was Nightmare and not just the dreams of a madman lonely with grief, told him to use Cross. For the SOULs. What did that mean? Dream didn’t want to use Cross… but he wondered…
He might have already been using him.
Cross eased the icy loneliness he held in his own SOUL since losing his brother. Sleeping next to him… feeling a peculiar serenity when being held in his arms was foreign and wondrous and he never wanted to let it fade away. He wanted to take Cross’s hand and run with him, AU after AU, escaping the tainted beast he had once called kin, never putting him in danger’s way.
He was going to. Cross followed him. Followed his orders. Was that all he was to Cross? All he wanted Dream to be? Someone who commanded him? He considered Cross a friend. A good friend, too. Wasn’t he just hurting him?
Dream felt a tear roll down his cheek and fall onto the knight’s forehead, anointing him with gold. Cross’s visage scrunched up, his mouth closing and his brows knotting together at the sensation. But he simply turned his head to the side and continued sleeping. The guardian smiled and gingerly wiped the stray tear off, letting his touch feather over the sturdy bone of Cross’s skull. He fixated on the spot, his body beginning to move as the yearning to place a kiss on it overwhelmed him…
But, luckily, he heard the crash of a dish being dropped in the kitchen, startling him. He looked to the door, then back at Cross, frowning softly before getting up to investigate the noise.
What he found, however, was just Ink, having accidentally dropped a plate that he was currently painting over the cracks and restoring it back to its former glory.
“Oh, hey Dreamy.” Ink turned and smiled at him. “I was going to cook everyone breakfast before we leave.”
Dream looked passed him to the kitchen counters, where newly created pancake mix, eggs, and uncooked bacon were leisurely waiting for their turn on the stove.
“That’s… nice of you. I’ll help.” He smiled at his friend. Ink perked up and quickly grabbed his brush.
“Let me make you an apron!” Ink didn’t wait for Dream’s agreement before beginning to paint it straight onto him.
Dream was expecting some frilly horror, but instead ended up with a simple apron, yellow apples polka-dotting the fabric and the words, ‘The Pomme-Diggity’ embroidered on the chest. Ink laughed the entire time he was writing the words out, proud of his bilingual pun.
“I’m surprised you remembered we were here.” Dream noted once his friend pulled back.
“I wrote it down after I went into my room.” Ink shrugged, moving back to the stove and beginning to crack eggs. “If I didn’t, I’d forget we were going up against Error today.”
“Do you think he’ll attack an AU today?”
“I think we’re going to have to summon him... He’s been quiet since the X-Event. I think he’s tired.” Ink laughed again. “But don’t worry, I know how to piss him off.”
“You know how to piss everyone off…” Dream grumbled, stirring the pancake batter. “By the way, why were you provoking Cross like that last night? He doesn’t want anything to do with you.”
Ink had to think, then looked to the small journal he had written down last evening’s events in before he could respond.
“Oh? That?” He chuckled. “I wasn’t necessarily trying to provoke him. It was a two-for-one deal.”
“He got mad, you got jealous… I got to make two people upset at once.”
Dream puffed up, his frown deepening.
“I was NOT jealous. Cross can be friends with whoever he wants! You were just making him so mad I had to interject.” He cried.
“You were jealous, Dreamy. I mimic emotions all day, everyday. I can spot jealousy when I see it.” Ink winked at him. “And don’t deny it; you were holding his hand.”
Dream was silenced, thinking back to only twenty minutes ago and his wish to kiss Cross, even if it was simply on the forehead.
“Dream?” Ink blinked, his face showing concern.
“It’s just… Even… if I did… I can’t be with him. Someone… like me… I only hurt people.”
“Wow, I didn’t expect you to be the self deprecating type. Your thinking’s moronic, Dream.”
Dream looked up at him sharply.
“Why would you say that?”
“Because it is.” Ink laughed under his breath. “You’re the only person in the entire Multiverse that’s always thinking about others. I’m surprised you let Cross come with you, anyhow.”
“He insisted…” Dream frowned. “What if I’m just using him to help me get my brother back?”
“I don’t think he minds…” Ink glanced over his shoulder, then back at Dream. “But, I’ll raise you a better question: why are you using a soulless monster as your moral compass when you could have just asked him yourself? He’s been listening for at least half of this conversation.”
Dream’s eyes widened and he spun around, facing a still sleepy Cross standing in the entrance to the kitchen, rubbing one of his eyes.
“Dream, I don’t think you’re using me.” He echoed the artist’s sentiments. “We’ll both get your brother back… And next time, please talk to me about it and not this freak of nature.”
Dream nodded bashfully and Ink grinned manically.
“See, Dream? He gets it!” Ink cackled.
After an awkward breakfast with Cross only eating the items Dream had cooked and completely shunning anything Ink had put effort into, they decided on an AU to visit and a plan of action to follow.
They were going to visit an AU that was average sized yet only contained two people. With only two residents, there was less of a risk of someone getting hurt or seeing them. If Dream’s dream had been a sort of premonition, he wanted to take as many precautions as possible. And… he decided to tell Cross about the strange whisperings of his brother while he had been unconscious. He needed to trust Cross, completely and fully, if they were going to act as a team. But it would have to be after their ordeal with Error. He didn’t want to falter and he didn’t trust Ink after the X-Event. He loved his friend dearly, but with something like this…
He couldn’t trust the artist.
Not with something as important to him as this.
“Ready?” Ink asked, grabbing his brush and getting ready to paint a portal onto the floor.
“Wait!” Dream said quickly and closed his eyes, feeling for the universe. Just as he guessed, the resident Frisk was happy at that exact moment. His eyes flew open and he created a portal himself, knowing full well Cross would rather make another deal with Nightmare than to use one of Ink’s portals.
“Come on!” He grinned at his companions and moved through the portal first, followed by Cross who unceremoniously shoved his way in behind him so Ink was last, and finally Ink crossed through, finding Cross’s annoyance amusing.
Cross looked around at the desolate landscape as he felt his code memorizing the access route to the universe.
“Echotale?” He asked Dream, eyes continuing to roam the scenery, grimacing slightly at the apocalyptic devastation surrounding him. He knew there were only two inhabitants, but he hadn’t expected them to have survived absolute destruction.
“It’s actually rather sweet.” Dream smiled at him. “You see, Frisk and the resident Sans end up falling in love-” He stopped at the absolute look of horror written on his companion’s face. “Frisk is an adult here!” He amended quickly.
“Ah, yes.” Ink chimed in. “A beautiful love story… But it’s also quite tragic… The moral is…” He looked to Dream. “You should tell someone how you feel before it’s too late.” He laughed merrily. “Let’s go set up an Error trap now! I actually have a lot to say to him.”
The trio moved away from their entry point and to an even more secluded part of the alternate universe where Frisk and G were even less likely to find them. Ink was still trying to keep his charade of not interfering in AUs up, and Dream was too tired to fight with him about it.
“Remember, Cross,” Dream started. “You have to be careful. If he gets a hold of your SOUL…”
“I know, I know.” The knight waved him off. “You should be careful too…” He gently put a hand on Dream’s shoulder. “You have a SOUL as well… unlike that bastard.” He threw a glaring look over at Ink, who merely grinned apologetically and shrugged.
“It’s different than yours, though.” Dream frowned.
“Okay, I’m bored!” Ink called. “Let’s start setting up already!”
“How are we going to get Error here?” Cross asked, though he wasn’t sure he wanted to know what the artist was up to.
“By creating of course.” Ink grinned happily.
He relayed to the two just exactly how they were going to call the destroyer to them. Dream wasn’t too excited for it, but Cross had to admit it was genius, considering Error still had to be on edge from the previous time.
And once their preparations had been put into place, they enacted their plan.
Error liked to think of himself as a level-headed monster who enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. He worked an honest, thankless job, and came home to eat, sleep, and watch his programs. After the X-Event, and having to band together with those abominations to restore the Multiverse, he was exhausted and recuperating in the only way he knew how: sweats, Undernovela, and fuzzy slippers.
So, when he felt Ink’s Creation magic, he did not immediately rise from his repose. But when he felt Cross beginning to carve out another slice of an alternate universe right next to the artist, his marrow boiled and he jolted up, screaming the artist's name.
He opened a portal straight to the source.
“Ink!” Error yelled as he, quite literally, swung into Echotale on his strings, gazing down at a horrific scene that promised to be just as troublesome for him as the X-Event had been.
Cross was dragging his large knife into the ground, extracting its code and Ink was following him, using his own magic to bend it into the reality Cross so chose.
“Oh hi Error!” Ink called up at him giving him a small wave since Error showed no signs of coming down.
“And just what the hell are you doing?” The destroyer watched as Cross paid him no mind, like he was just a small spider in an insignificant web. It infuriated him further.
“I’m helping Cross make a new home!” Ink grinned, still weaving the fledgling universe’s code into something manageable. Error’s eyes narrowed.
“You chose for the basis of his new home to be from here? A place already destroyed?” He growled. Ink shrugged.
“This is what Cross said he wanted. I didn’t argue.”
“You have no right to.” Error scoffed, echoing Cross’s own thoughts.
“And what are YOU doing here?” Ink called up, an edge in his voice. He was ready to taunt. To incite his foe. It worked every time.
“I’m about to stop some horseshit from happening is what I’m doing here.” Error laughed.
That’s when the battle started.
Error wasted no time in sending his strings for the two of them, though he was focused on Cross more. If he could control the harbinger of the X-Event, he’d had better leverage in the fight.
Unfortunately for him, his foes had been anticipating that.
With reflexes brisk and agile, Cross cut through them and immediately summoned a Gaster Blaster. He hopped on top of it, speeding toward the destroyer with Ink not far behind on his own.
Error’s body went into motion as he moved to greet them.
“You can’t win Ink! You never have and you won’t this time!” He yelled.
“Not looking to. Now!” Ink shouted.
Dream, as if out of nowhere, appeared behind Error, an arrow notched tightly in his bow.
Error turned, eyes round.
He wasn’t allowed to finish.
Being stabbed through the chest wasn’t the most pleasant thing Error had ever felt. It was like being winded, but worse. He didn’t feel any bones crack or splinter with the blade’s entry or exit. It was a clean wound, and felt somewhat warm. Possibly pleasant. And that’s when his mind went dark.
Cross quickly pulled his knife out, letting Error’s body drop unceremoniously onto his Blaster. Ink sat on his own Blaster and Dream joined Cross on his as they watched Error’s SOUL exit his chest, a bright blue X marking its entirety.
“Woah.” Ink whispered, fascinated by seeing the one thing he was jealous of the destroyer for possessing.
Cross scooped the SOUL into his palms, watching it flicker and glitch uncontrollably, trying to eradicate the positivity magic flowing into it.
“Maybe we were wrong…” Dream whispered, peering down at the SOUL sadly.
With a twitch, as if out of pure stubbornness to prove the guardian wrong, a pure black SOUL seeped out, hanging in midair as it dripped.
The little SOUL flung the rest of the sludge off itself with a pulse, shining brightly for the trio to see.
“Oooohhhh!” Ink gasped, truly fixated now.
The SOUL hovered in the air for a brief pause, and Dream held his breath, wondering just what exactly would happen. The Bravery SOUL Cross had been carrying went back into him, but Dream wasn’t so sure it was a good idea for this one to go back to its host.
The SOUL, without a hint of warning, began ramming itself into Cross’s chest, like a caged dolphin might be wont to do at the wall of a very small tank.
“What?!” Cross yelped, his hands dropping Error’s SOUL into the waiting hands of the artist, who smiled down at his prize gleefully.
Dream blinked, watching the frantic SOUL and was abruptly reminded of his brother’s words in his dream: to use Cross for the SOULs.
“Cross! Take your SOUL out!” Dream quietly commanded.
Cross frowned, hesitated, then summoned his SOUL into his hands.
The small SOUL wasted no time in merging with the knight’s, and Cross placed it back into his chest cavity with a grunt.
“Now that that’s over,” Ink was already pulling Error’s body onto his Blaster. “I need to get this guy home to the Void.”
“He lives in the Anti-Void, Ink.” Dream corrected.
“Whoops! Thanks for reminding me, Dreamy!” Ink laughed playfully, painting a portal on his blaster. “See ya!” He hopped in, Error under one arm and the destroyer’s SOUL in the opposite hand.
“He’s taking him to the Doodle Sphere, isn’t he?” Cross asked.
“...He’s taking him to the Doodle Sphere.” Dream confirmed. “He got what he wanted out of helping us.”
“...” Cross frowned as he began to guide the Blaster back to the foamy soil their battle luckily hadn’t seen. “What’s he going to do with him?”
Dream tilted his head slightly.
“Do you really want to know?”
Cross thought, then nodded.
“I guess it’s a bit hard to explain but… they’re kind of lovers? It’s a game they concocted ever since their truce to keep each other busy. Kind of… whoever gets the other first wins then… Well, you know what happens.”
“I don’t WANT to know what happens… But I can imagine.” The knight sighed, then his eyes widened. “Wait… so that’s why you wanted to go after Error first? Because you knew if Ink was with us it wouldn’t really be a fight?”
Dream laughed softly.
“It did make things easier, didn’t it?” He smiled.
“It did… why didn’t you let me in on the plan?” Cross frowned softly as they reached the ground, sliding off the Blaster then reaching up and helping Dream off.
Dream looked at him sadly.
“Force of habit, probably… But I do have a lot to tell you, when we get somewhere safe.” He sulked, turning away from his friend. “I’m sorry I haven’t been very open with you. I’m just not used to having someone so close… I’m going to be better, I pro-” He turned back around, eyes locking with Cross’s. The electricity he felt between them that was spurred on by the intensity in his knight’s gaze cut him off.
“You don’t need to, if you don’t want to.” Cross said flatly, reaching across and gently taking his hand. “Ink was right - I don’t mind being used.”
“But I don’t want to use you, Cross.” Dream pleaded.
Cross gave him a small, and pleasurably soft, smile.
“Then don’t. I want to be with you Dream. In anyway you’ll let me.”
He raised the guardian’s hand to his mouth, pressing a tender kiss onto its back.
He promptly lost consciousness and fell to the ground in an unceremonious heap.
I just imagined an anime closing sequence at the end of this chapter because of how dramatic it seemed. I'm not used to writing these kinds of things. (By "kinds of things" I suppose I mean "serious things." ._.' )
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 6: Memories of the Omega Timeline
The majority of this chapter takes place in the past.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“You belong here, Cross.” The child’s words rang in his ears.
He was still shell shocked, SOUL pounding in his ribcage and his senses turned on max.
Nightmare had just been in front of him. He was fighting him. With…
He looked to his right where the smaller skeleton was still standing, but just barely.
His body was littered with the scuffs and marks he had incurred during the battle and his clothing was torn. The former royal guard felt guilty. If he had only had been more aware of his surroundings. If only he hadn’t let Nightmare and his gang surprise him…
This young kid wouldn’t have had to pull him out. The other skeleton looked up at him then, giving him a soft smile.
“They’re right, Cross. This is a place where the survivors of destroyed worlds and timelines come. They’re safe here. You will be too.” The other explained.
Cross frowned, shaking his head.
“That’s giving up! I’m not staying here.” He said sharply, turning to the eyeless child. He smirked. “But now I can come back anytime I want to.” His eyes slid to the smaller skeleton. “Thanks, kid.”
“I’m not a kid!” He cried in protest.
“You can’t come back here once you leave.” The Frisk brought their attention back to them. “You may have the access route but I control when it’s open. This is the only time I’m going to offer you sanctuary in the Omega Timeline.”
“You should take their offer.” The young skeleton continued to plead. “You’ll be safe here. You won’t-”
“I won’t what?” Cross hissed and glared, leaning in and staring his companion down. “You think you can fight XGaster on your own? With Ink as his pawn? I’m the only one here who knows what we’re up against. I’m fighting.”
The other’s golden eye lights stared into his, calmly, though his mouth was turned in a soft frown. He was searching Cross. Searching for any sign of faltering. Of wavering. Of turning on them when an opportune moment appeared.
“Okay.” He said quietly. “We’ll fight together.”
Core Frisk sighed deeply.
“I’m not happy with this but… You two can stay here while recovering. Besides, Dream, you need new clothing. Come with me. The residents can probably help you.” Core turned and began to lead them into the Omega Timeline.
Cross walked next to Dream, who was limping from his injuries. Cross could have told him thank you for helping him, or sorry for raising his voice only seconds before. He tried to muster the courage to do both, but instead sighed, recognizing defeat and instead crouched down.
Dream stopped and turned to him.
“What’s wrong, Cross?” He asked, his voice showing no hint of annoyance or dislike for being spoken to so poorly before. In fact, it held infinite patience and kindness, and it seemed so sickly sweet that Cross’s first reaction was to believe he was faking it.
“Get on.” Cross commanded. “My back.” He added, realizing the ambiguity with which he had spoken.
“...I’m fine, I promise.” Dream smiled at him. Cross’s eye twitched.
“Bullshit. And don’t pretend to be. I can carry you.”
Dream’s eyes widened and he blinked several times. At first, Cross thought it must have been because of the harsh language the ex-royal guard used, but he saw the other’s body begin to stiffen. Cross had called him on his bluff, it seemed.
Dream meekly moved to him, then crawled onto his back in defeat, gently wrapping his arms around the other’s neck. Cross hooked his arms under him and together they stepped into the Omega Timeline.
They were almost immediately bombarded by the inhabitants, all of them asking after Dream. Just from their conversations, Cross learned they cared for Dream very much, and he had even helped evacuate most of them.
“Here, let me take him.” A Toriel offered, outstretching her paws. Cross glared at her. “I’ll heal him. I’m one of the best the Omega Timeline has.”
“She’s right, Cross.” Dream said in his ear, and Cross could tell he was smiling again. “I’ll be alright. You probably need to go with Core. I’ll join you when I’m better.”
Cross hesitated a moment more before setting Dream down for the Toriel to scoop up in her arms.
“Oh!” She smiled and gently undid the guardian’s cape. “Is it okay if he holds onto it, Dream? I want to make sure it doesn’t get lost.”
Now it was the golden one’s turn to hesitate. His stare could have bore holes into the already tattered cape. He was horrified by the state it was in and even more so at the thought of parting with it.
“We can just keep it with us. I’m sure someone won’t mind keeping an eye on it.” Toriel said quickly. Dream slowly shook his head.
“No… It’s okay. I trust Cross.” He smiled and held out the cape to the harbinger of the X-Event.
Cross frowned deeply, giving Dream a long, hard look before reaching out and accepting the cloth.
“I’ll guard it with my life.” He promised.
“It’s not that important.” Dream laughed.
“It is to you.”
Dream blinked again, then smiled sadly.
“I’ll see you soon, Cross.”
Toriel turned and took him to one of the clinics the residents had set up, mostly to aid with new intakes but which also helped with the occasional cold and flu or stray injured guardian.
Cross looked down at the cape, frowning. It was torn, almost irreparably in some parts and the edges were beginning to fray from old age and wear. He ran his thumbs over it thoughtfully, almost losing himself when Core snapped him back to reality.
“I know what you’re thinking. Follow me. We’ll go to the seamstress.” They said.
“You want to do it yourself, I know. She’ll only help.” The child promised and led him away.
When Dream returned, Cross had just finished.
His fingers were sore and covered in bandages, but he was satisfied and dare he think it? Proud.
“Hiya, Cross!” Dream entered the sewing studio, dressed in the new clothing the inhabitants of the Omega Timeline had gathered for him. He found it a bit strange when Core asked him to go to the seamstress to meet Cross, thinking perhaps the other was getting new clothes as well, though he hadn’t seemed in need of any.
Cross simply turned to look at him. He wasn’t sure what to say, so instead he thrust his arms out, a bundle of cloth in them.
“I… It… It was… Damaged… And… I… We…” Cross stumbled.
“Mostly you.” The seamstress Muffett called from her place in the back.
“I…” Cross sighed and shook his head. “Just take it.”
Dream tenderly picked it up, finally beginning to recognize the textile.
“It’s….” He started as he let the cloth open up, splaying it before himself with outstretched arms.
“It was pretty bad… I hope you don’t mind.” Cross rubbed one of his arms, looking away.
Dream blinked. It was his cape, the flag he held so dear, but it had become something new. Where it had been singed and mangled, it was now cut and sewn into place, creating an all new cape that matched his new outfit completely.
“Wow…” He breathed, slipping it over his head. It fit perfectly. “Thank you, Cross.”
And then, Dream smiled at him genuinely for the first time.
Cross stood, too stunned to string a coherent sentence together. So, instead, he pulled the hood of his jacket up and hid the majority of his face, giving Dream a simple nod in return.
“Are you two ready? We need to talk strategy.” Core appeared, looking up at the two of them emptily.
They turned to them, Dream nodding happily, running a loving hand over his new cape, and Cross merely grunting in assent.
“Then follow me.”
That was the beginning of their journey together.
The X-Event was not something easy to end, but Cross and Dream worked together with the help of other inhabitants of the Multiverse. They had to flit, AU to AU, fighting XGaster and Cross’s former family. They had become mere shells of themselves, unable to even recognize him, since XGaster had used Overwrite on them to erase the inefficient memories.
There were whispers. Always, there were whispers, of how Cross was “one of them.” Or of how he was the one who had started it all. Couldn’t they see? He was doing it for his family! For his world! Chara had promised…!
Dream was with him through it all.
He weathered Cross’s bouts of insanity with the grace and dignity of a saint. But even saints have a breaking point.
It was during a particularly bad fit when Cross shouted,
“You wouldn’t understand! You’re the golden boy! Everyone loves you! I bet you’ve never had anything bad happen to you.”
That’s when Dream forced him to sit and then told him the story of him and Nightmare. “Told” was a mild way of putting it.
Dream was screaming at him, tears pouring down his cheeks and dripping off his chin. He told him the story - his voice getting quieter as he wore on - of how his brother turned into the hellish creature he was today. How he, himself, had been trapped in stone for a thousand years. How he had been fighting ever since to get his brother back.
He ended in sobs, crying fervently, a thousand years worth of tears spilling from him.
At first, Cross had been dumbfounded; staring at him with his eyes unblinking and his mouth slack.
Then, he exploded into movement, gathering Dream into his arms and crushing him against his chest. Dream’s hands bunched in fabric of his jacket, holding on with a vice grip. Cross eased them to the floor, cradling the guardian in his lap.
“I’m sorry…” He whispered, over and over again, gently running his hand up and down the other’s back.
Dream cried for as long as his body could take, eventually slumping over and pressing his forehead into Cross’s shoulder. He took a deep, steadying breath, gathering the ex-royal guard’s scent into his nose and letting it calmed him.
“I’m sorry…” He echoed Cross’s words to him. “I-I didn’t mean it…”
“You meant it.” Cross corrected gently, his hand still rubbing circles into his back. “And it’s okay to mean it.”
“N-No it’s not… I was yelling-”
“I was yelling first.” Cross let out a sharp laugh. “ You tell me it’s okay to let things out. It’s okay for you too.”
Dream’s hands gently left Cross’s jacket and his arms wrapped around him, hugging him so tightly Cross thought his ribs might crack.
“You’ve always been able to see right through me… Thank you.”
Cross knew he would die for Dream, if he asked.
He would die for him even if he didn’t.
He would follow the guardian to Hell and back time and time again if he so needed to.
The one who had given him a second chance. The one who always believed in his inherent goodness, even when he had been in a murderous state of mind.
The one he had fallen in love with.
Cross would do anything for.
“It’s not your time, Cross. He still needs you.” A voice echoed in his mind.
“I can’t… I can’t wake up…” He whined.
“You have to. You must!” It pleaded.
“Who are you?”
“Just. Wake. UP!”
Cross’s eyes flew open and he gasped, shouting,
Thank you for reading!
Cross was still screaming when he sat up, eyes wild and hand outstretched in an effort to claw his way to the guardian.
“Cross!” A feminine voice snapped, warm paws finding his shoulders and pushing him back down into the bed…
He finally turned his head, beginning to take in his surroundings. Everything was green, and vaguely familiar. He was surrounded by lush crabgrass dotted with wildflowers. His heavy coat had been shed and folded, placed under his skull as a pillow.
“Dream…?” He asked again, weaker this time, his eye lights searching until they landed on the smiling visage of a goat woman. “Life?”
“Welcome back, Cross.” Life was kneeling next to him, looking down at him with a mixture of relief and admiration. “Dream is in a neighboring AU. He’s been hopping between a few of them and here, because he can’t stay long in any one of them.”
“Yeah…” Cross grimaced, feeling a pounding drumbeat beginning in his temples. “How long have I been out?”
“...” Life frowned softly. “Almost three weeks.”
“Three weeks?!” Cross gasped and tried to sit up once more, a wave dizziness sending him laying back down. “What happened to me? Can we call Dream back? I want to see him.”
Life looked at him for a long moment, then sighed.
“I wanted to talk to you before Dream got here.” From the folds of her dress she produced a small, golden sphere with a star on it. A dream capsule. “I can call him if you’d like, but I think you should hear what’s wrong first.”
“...” Cross frowned and then nodded, knowing nothing good was going to come out of this conversation.
“I’ve hypothesized that your SOUL needed time to adjust to holding not one, but two human SOULs. It was already used to one, with your… experiences.” Life smiled gently. “Your code worked so hard to try and accommodate the other one. But it wasn’t fast enough, so Dream brought you here, to my garden.”
“To be surrounded by the power of life.” Cross mumbled. Life nodded.
“And now you’re awake.” She continued to smile, eyes never leaving the knight’s. “But I must advise you, Cross. Should you choose to continue collecting these SOULs and putting them in your own, it might be too much.”
“You mean I might die.” He said flatly. She nodded.
“It’s a possibility, not fate. But there is a chance.”
“That’s why you didn’t want to call Dream… You seem to already know what I’d choose.”
Life laughed softly.
“Sans wouldn’t want me to know, and I suppose I wouldn’t want him to know either.”
“Where is he, by the way? I thought he’d be watching me like a hawk…”
“He’s probably visiting his lover, Geno. He lives in another universe, far from here.” Life giggled girlishly, as if she were telling secrets in the hallways of school.
“I thought you were…?” Cross frowned.
“I am. So is Geno.” Life smiled, offering no further explanation.
“So… what if I want to continue? Will this happen again?” Cross asked, realizing he wasn’t going to get to know anything more about this mysterious second lover of Reaper’s.
“I’m not sure…” Life smiled sadly. “I would assume so, therefore I made you something.”
Again from the folds of her skirts she produced something. This time it was what seemed to be a small, glass bracelet with Queen Anne’s Lace blooms forever frozen within the glass. In the middle was a bright yellow citrine, beautiful and glaring against the shine of the glass.
“This is an armlet. I placed flowers holding my magic into it, so they will be able to give you the gift of life and support you when you need it. Think of it as constant life support.” She smiled. “The jewel, here, I made from one of Dream’s tears. He won’t be able to sense my magic passed his own.”
Cross let out a soft laugh and smiled.
“I guess you also knew he would stop all of this if he knew I was on life support.”
“Of course.” She laughed with him. “It’s what I would do.”
“And yet here you are, helping me lie to someone really important to me.”
“You wouldn’t stop if I tried to make you, would you?”
“...No. He gave me my family back. I can do the same for him.” Cross sighed. “You can put it on.”
Life smiled and gently lifted his arm, fusing the armlet around the middle of his right humerus. He instantly felt better, as if a weight was lifted off his chest.
“Are you ready for him?” She asked, now in a quiet, motherly whisper.
She cracked the dream capsule between her thumb and forefinger, her dreams and hopes swirling around them in moving images. There Life was, dancing merrily with Reaper. Another, with her and a child Cross didn’t recognize. One of the final images he managed to capture was of her, enveloping Reaper and another skeleton with glitches on one side of his face in her arms, kissing the tops of their skulls tenderly.
Cross couldn’t help but smile. Watching these images, it gave him hope for a future. A future with Dream and even his bastard brother. When he looked back to Life, tears were rolling down her cheeks and her mouth was twisted in a smile. She sniffled, wiping them away.
“Sorry… It gets me every time…” She laughed, voice thick.
“Don’t be sorry. You shouldn’t apologize for your dreams.”
“Spoken like the true Knight of Positive Feelings.”
“You should tell someone how you feel before it’s too late.”
Ink’s words echoed through Dream’s mind every minute of every day Cross had been unconscious.
It was already too late, wasn’t it?
He wouldn’t be able to tell Cross how he felt because Cross was dying. Or maybe he was dead. He didn’t know; he hadn’t set foot in Reapertale for the past three days to make sure Nightmare couldn’t find either of them.
What would he tell Cross, anyway? If he miraculously woke up and was all better? Dream didn’t even know how he felt about his knight.
Or, perhaps, he did know.
He just didn’t want to admit it to himself, and certainly not to anyone else.
Dream hopped from AU to AU and back again, keeping himself nearby but not close enough to give away his location. When he stopped to rest, he allowed himself to daydream.
Cross, taking him in his arms and pressing kisses to his forehead, to his cheeks, to his mouth.
Cross, wrapping him up in his warm jacket, zipping the two of them inside to weather a storm.
Cross, moving between his thighs while they-
Dream tried not to let the fantasies go that far.
It wasn’t becoming of the Guardian of Positive Feelings and Multiverse renowned “innocent child.”
He laughed bitterly when he thought of how the others thought of him.
That’s why he kept hanging around Ink, who was a certifiable ass and bastard all rolled into one. He didn’t treat Dream like a kid, or someone who needed to be protected from simple vulgarities. He was always trying to push Dream’s buttons - to see just how far he could drive him. Was it strange, for someone to subject themselves to the absolute torture that was Ink willingly?
Error did it, as well.
He supposed itwas strange.
Cross, on the other hand, was able to see Dream’s inner machinations with little to no effort. He saw through his paper mâché smile immediately, but he didn’t tell him to “cheer up” or “it’ll be alright.” He let Dream be, to simply exist as he was. He knew the guardian was perfectly capable of defending himself but wouldn’t hesitate to jump in front of him or be the first one to bite the bullet if it meant Dream suffered less.
Stars Dream wanted him. He wanted him in ways he had never wanted anyone else before. His body ached for Cross’s touch, for his love, and when its need wasn’t able to be quenched, Dream would have to take care of it himself, even if it felt wrong to fantasize when Cross’s life was in flux.
Dream didn’t sleep much those weeks. He was plagued by nightmares that he was sure were his brother’s doing. They always involved Cross, dying in terrible, horrible ways, and usually being torn apart brutally by Nightmare himself, or one of his flunkies.
It was a clear message Nightmare was sending him: “I know what you’re doing, and he’ll suffer for it.”
He added those brotherly warnings to his long list of reasons not to tell Cross his feelings.
Dream wanted someone to talk to, but the one person he could talk had told him to talk to Cross, not him, since he was a small, soulless being of pent up chaos.
He spent his sleepless nights wishing, hoping, bargainingfor Cross to wake up. He yelled into the sky,
“If he wakes up, I’ll tell him. I’ll tell him everything!”
It seemed fruitless, but he kept up his praying even despite the odds, since he sincerely doubted anyone was listening.
Presently, he was under a lone tree in the middle of a field, his back to the trunk. It was an orange tree, blooming in the middle of the long spring day. One blossom fluttered into his palm, and he smiled down at it.
“Orange blossoms…” He whispered to himself. “Symbols of…”
Before he could finish, a shock ran through his body.
Life’s dream capsule had been crushed.
Cross was awake.
The shock had reverberated through the tree as well, knocking all of the blossoms from their branches, showering the small guardian in them.
Laughing, as if high on medicine, Dream stood and opened a portal. He quickly rushed through it, some of the flowers still clinging to his clothing.
No matter what happened on the other side, he, much like the tree, would be losing something.
When he came out the other side of the portal, he found Cross, laying in the bed of grass Life had weaved for him, but this time with his jacket on and Life crouched beside him.
Their eyes locked together, and Dream immediately felt tears fill his sockets. He sniffed and tried to hold them back as he rushed to Cross’s bedside.
“CROSS!” He cried, flinging himself onto the knight who let out a soft sound but immediately wrapped his arms around the guardian, holding him close.
“Are you crying? That’s not like you.” Cross gave him a tiny, teasing smile.
“Shut up.” Dream whined, pulling back so he could sit next to Cross rather than on top of him. “I was worried about you.”
“I’m okay now…” Cross moved to sit up as well. “Life said it was just my SOUL getting used to having two SOULs in it.”
Life nodded gently.
“It may happen again, but this time we’ll be prepared for it. You just need to bring him back here if it does. My magic will be able to sustain him while his code works to accommodate the new SOUL. Now that we know what’s going on, we should be able to have him conscious more quickly next time.” She smiled.
Dream smiled, relieved.
“That’s great news.” He sighed happily, looking back to his knight. “How are you feeling?”
“Heavy…” Cross groaned. “Tired. But I’m not in pain, if that’s what you were wondering.”
Dream smiled and nodded.
“Good… Do you think you could listen while I tell you everything? Before you passed out… We were talking.” He shook his head. “I want to trust you with everything.”
“I can listen.” Cross confirmed.
“I’ll step out.” Life said softly, standing and moving out of the garden and out of earshot of the two.
First, Dream told him everything about the fall of his brother and his home. How he hadn’t realized just how much of a shit show Nightmare’s life had been because his brother had hidden everything from him. To protect his feelings.
Cross nodded along, a pang of guilt running through him. He still considered himself to be doing the right thing by not telling Dream what exactly was going on with him. He didn’t know he was going to die at the end of it. And who knew? Maybe they would be able to find a better vessel for the human SOULs. For now, telling him didn’t matter.
“And when I came to after being in stone for a thousand years, I realized that only this had survived…” Dream, from a hidden pocket in his clothing, pulled out the last golden apple. “Nightmare wants it. That’s why he continues chasing after me and trying to kill me. If this apple becomes corrupted, all positive feelings in the Multiverse will cease.”
“Wow…” Cross murmured, staring at the apple cradled in Dream’s palms. Part of him wanted to reach out and gently poke it, but he knew better. “And you’ve been alone… all this time?”
“Not entirely… Eventually Ink came along…” Dream said sheepishly.
“Does he count? Can he even remember who you are between visits?” Cross growled, and as per usual when the artist was brought up, his mood soured.
Dream quickly laughed, albeit nervously.
“I don’t… I can’t really call him a friend in a normal sense but… He’s the only person I had.”
“I have you now, don’t I?” Dream smiled sweetly, causing Cross to blush and look away, pulling up the hood of his jacket.
“Y-yeah… You’ve got me now…” He agreed, slowly looking back to the guardian who had a bit of a golden blush of his own. Cross wanted to reach out, to take Dream’s face between his hands and kiss him. He felt his fingers twitch with impatience, but he refrained. He wouldn’t do that to Dream. Not unless he asked.
And Dream did want to ask.
He wanted to lean in himself and kiss him, thankful that Cross was awake, that he was alive, and that he still understood him… Well, understood most of him. No one would really understand why he talked to Ink, after all.
Finally, Cross’s fingers couldn’t sit still any longer and he raised one hand, beginning to pluck flowers off Dream’s shirt.
“Where’d all this come from?” He asked skeptically, raising a blossom to his eyes, inspecting it.
“It happened when I was waiting for Life to call me back. All these orange blossoms just fell on me.” Dream laughed softly, beginning to take some of the blossoms from himself and planting them onto Cross’s clothes instead.
“What are you doing?” Cross tried to shake them off, making Dream laugh.
“You don’t like my gifts? They’re for you!”
Cross grumbled something under his breath and stopped trying to remove the orange blossoms.
“When do we leave?” He asked, sitting back and letting Dream have full access to his flower canvas.
“As soon as you’re ready. I found an AU I think we’ll be able to hide in long enough to strategize. But I want you to be strong enough.”
“Soon.” Cross promised. “We’ll leave soon.”
Killer always swore he could see someone else after he and Nightmare had sex.
He had no real evidence, and he was a raving madman by anyone in the Multiverse’s standards, but there was something different in the way Nightmare conducted himself that gave the murderous Sans pause.
Nothing about him physically changed, but as he panted, still between his top subordinate’s legs, and tired with satisfaction and fulfillment, something shifted. His tentacles no longer thrashed, and he didn’t chastise Killer the way he would under normal circumstances. Sometimes he lay on top of the other, drenching him in the sticky substance covering his own body. They would lay like that, for hours every of often, until Nightmare unceremoniously kicked him out of his bed, back to his usual self.
It was as if the ecstasy of orgasm turned him into another person entirely.
These moments were the only reason Killer hadn’t been able to entirely leave his master.
Color had tried. So many times.
But Killer hung on. Something told him to stay. To help whoever it was trapped under all that sludge.
Of course, that was only when he was thinking clearly, and Nightmare hardly ever let him do such a thing, always manipulating his SOUL into chaos.
Tonight was much like the many others. Nightmare called him to his room that night, but when he arrived, the atmosphere seemed different. The air was hot and sticky, as if the room became humid from Nightmare’s furious stalking back and forth across the room.
“Whatd’ya need, Boss?” Killer asked, closing the door behind him.
Nightmare snapped his head up, turning to face him with a scowl already on his face. Killer knew he wouldn’t be able to walk straight in the morning.
“I need you to tell the others they’re not allowed to leave without my express permission. Not even to visit their home worlds.” Nightmare growled.
“I’ll tell ‘em.” Killer nodded, already feeling the tentacles starting to grope for holds on his clothing.
“Make it clear that anyone who leaves will be punished severely.”
“Will do.” He kept his grin on, feeling a stray appendage weaving in and out of his ribs while another curled possessively around his SOUL. He shook with the sudden shock and let out a strange whimper.
“Excellent. Now make me feel good.”
Killer had been right; he wouldn’t be able to walk very well for a couple of days, at least.
Nightmare had almost immediately flopped down on him after achieving orgasm, but this time he was whimpering into Killer’s neck.
“Please…” He whispered, body shaking. Killer blinked, looking down at him.
“Anything, Boss.” He assured him.
“No… I’m not…” Nightmare shook his head. “Just... Please…”
“Anything…” Killer whispered.
“Help him… Help… Dream…”
“How?” Killer asked, feeling a sudden calm. He could feel his SOUL becoming less chaotic and with a glance down, he found Nightmare’s hand gently holding it. He was confused. Startled, even. Nightmare’s touch should have only made him more chaotic, not the opposite.
Upon closer inspection, he saw the white tips of the thumb and index finger bones holding onto his SOUL.
“You’ll… know how…” Nightmare whispered and released him, just in time for the boss to return to his old self, barely allowing Killer the time he needed to dress before being kicked out of his chambers.
Luckily, Nightmare had left Killer’s SOUL untouched, and the top subordinate went to his own room, cleaned himself off, and laid in bed with a million thoughts racing in his mind.
How was he to help Nightmare?
He didn’t have the audacity to proclaim he was a smart skeleton, but Killer knew something was up with Nightmare.
And he was going to have to get real smart, real quick if he was going to help him.
Anything was possible when you were a love sick fool.
If you would like a bit more meat to the chapter, you can Google the symbolism behind the flowers mentioned. ;)
Thanks for reading!
Cross recovered quickly, thanks to the bangle Life had given him that was still hidden from his guardian. He would have probably woken up sooner had she put it on while he was unconscious, but it was better this way. He would have it for the next time they collected a SOUL and Dream would be none the wiser.
It took him a few days to recover enough to where he could stand and move about without having a dizzy spell and falling over into a disgruntled heap. Dream stayed close, though he did have to keep hopping through the closest AUs to Reapertale. Their nights were spent painfully apart, and Dream hadn’t even gotten the courage to tell Cross how he felt in all that time.
Having a romantic, and admittedly sexual, interest in another person, human or monster, wasn’t something Dream was used to. He had spent over a millennia alone, and part of him scolded himself for throwing himself at the first monster to show him unfiltered kindness and care. He tried to reason that he had not thrown himself at Ink, or even Blue, but instead reserved this swell of awkward, and mildly distressing, emotions for a monochromatic, slightly unhinged skeleton.
Thinking of Blue, he wanted to pay the small skeleton a call. However, he knew he was much too busy rebuilding his world and recovering from the trauma and chaos Cross had caused to have time to visit with him.
He also didn’t really think now was really the time to gush to Blue about the skeleton who was partially responsible for that trauma.
It was the most alone Dream felt since taking Cross in.
Which was probably why he ended up in an AU where almost every single main character from the original was a toddler, knowing he was a magnet for children.
“Are you a princess?” A small Toriel asked, blinking up at him.
“Well-“ he began.
“He can’t be a princess; he’s a boy.” Undyne quickly sneered, rolling her eyes.
“It doesn’t matter if he’s a prince or a princess so long as he rules fairly.” Asgore crossed his arms and nodded nobly to himself.
“M-Mister p-p-p-princess sir?” A tiny Alphys squeaked bravely.
“Yes?” Dream asked, smiling softly and leaning in.
“Wh-where’s y-your kn-knight in-n sh-shining armor?”
“Kn-knight?” He stuttered, only feeling mildly disappointed in himself for sounding as if he were mocking her.
“Y-Yeah…” The young lizard creature’s face lit up at the thought. “E-every p-princess has one…”
“Oh, well…” Dream gently scratched his cheek. “I guess I have one…”
Now, all of the faces of the children lit up as if he had told them a truckload of lollipops were going to show up any second now and smother them in sugar.
“You have a knight?!” Toriel squealed, tugging on his arm until he sat down in the grass just outside of the playground.
“I-I guess?” Dream laughed nervously, feeling his cheeks heating up.
“He’s blushing!” Alphys cried. “H-he really d-does have a kn-knight!”
The quartet crowded around him.
“What’s he like?” Toriel breathed. “Surely nothing like prince Asgore over there.”
“I’m a prince, not a knight!” He corrected, his fur puffing up in indignance.
“T-tell us!” Alphys urged, ignoring the other two.
“Well…” Dream frowned. What part of the story could he tell to children? Not much, but he decided he could spin it in a way they would understand and not be traumatized before their time.
“He was… bad. Some people even called him evil. I had to stop him from hurting people, but when I got close enough to… he wasn’t evil. He was good. I could see it when no one else could…” he looked each of them in the eyes as he recounted the tale. “He had lost his family, you see, and was trying to get them back. So I helped him.”
“You helped him?! You turned evil for him?” Undyne asked.
“No, of course not.” He laughed. “Because, like I said, he wasn’t evil. He was doing bad things for the right reasons. There’s a difference.”
“Bad things for the right reasons?” Toriel tilted her head.
“You’ll understand one day.” Dream assured her. An unfortunate assurance for her and her future husband, sadly. “We weren’t able to get all of his family back, but we got the two most important people to him.”
“W-who?” Alphys was hanging onto every word.
“Hm…” Dream had to think of the best way to explain their relationship. “His sons.”
They all gasped.
“Understandable he would do anything for his kids.” Asgore murmured, and Dream smiled at him in particular.
“Exactly. After they were safe… he told me he wanted to stay with me.” Dream concluded. “Then he became my knight.”
Alphys sighed dreamily.
“I-I w-want a r-romance l-like th-that…” she looked up at the clouds wistfully. Undyne blinked and hopped up.
“I’ll be your knight, Alphys! I’ll train hard everyday so you’ll always be safe with me!” She grinned, her sharp teeth glinting in the sunlight. “Hey Asgore! Let’s train! Now!”
“Now?!” He gasped. “We’re getting a story!”
“Now!” Undyne confirmed and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, beginning to drag him to the monkey bars, most likely for endurance training.
“Where is he now?” Toriel asked after she had watched the two ruffians leave.
“He’s recovering from a fight…” Dream said sadly. The two girls gasped.
“Is he okay?” Toriel frowned worriedly. Dream nodded.
“Yes, thankfully.” He smiled.
“I-is it b-because y-you gave h-him a t-rue love’s k-k-kiss?” Alphys leaned in even more than she already was.
“N-no!” He cried, shaking his head. “It’s not like that.”
Toriel’s face scrunched up as she scrutinized him.
“But you want it to be something else.” She stated.
“W-well…” he looked away, embarrassed these children could read him easier than books without pictures.
“Tell him!” Alphys whispered. “T-tell him! H-he m-must l-love y-you b-back.”
“No one said anything about ‘love.’” He mumbled, looking down at how neatly his hands were folded in his lap.
“Maybe it’s not love, but you want to be more than friends, right?” Toriel started. He nodded. “Then you should tell him. If he doesn’t like you back, you can still be friends, right?”
Dream frowned. Would Cross still be his friend? His mouth morphed into a smile.
He looked back to Toriel, meeting her gaze.
“You’re right; thank you.” He grinned. “You’re very wise for being so young.”
“That’s what everyone says!” She looked over her shoulder towards the play area, then back to Alphys. “C’mon, Alphie! Let’s go throw rocks at Asgore!”
She stood and pulled her friend with her.
“I-I d-don’t kn-know…”
“It’ll be fun!” Toriel assured, starting to drag the other child. “Thanks for the story, mister princess!”
Dream waved them off.
Children were much smarter than their parents gave them credit for.
Dream sat, watching the children for a few moments longer, letting his mind pull his thoughts through its neurons like taffy.
He wanted to tell Cross. And that was truly terrifying. No matter the outcome, Dream could feel existential horror at the prospect. If Cross didn’t return his feelings, it would be mortifying. He would never feel okay sharing a bed with him again. However, if Cross did return them, he was crossing a boundary he never had before. He had had thoughts, feelings… urges . But never had he ever come close to wanting to act on them with someone. What if Cross got close enough to see every part of him? What if his wildest fantasies came true? He supposed he wouldn’t confess and immediately have Cross mounting him.
It would be okay to tell him.
He was still scared.
He knew it would be alright.
He knew Cross.
Dream returned to Reapertale at just the proper time to see a sight worth having an entire playground’s worth of children overrun him for, asking for stories about what it was like to live as a princess.
Cross and Reaper were seated on Cross’s makeshift bed, the grass underneath the God of Death wilting and decaying. Reaper checked a nonexistent watch on his wrist.
“Well, looks like I gotta go see Geno now. I’m gonna take him hotdogs, even though he doesn’t need to eat…” Reaper sighed.
“You kind of sound like his Sugar Dead-ey. ” Cross slipped as the other stood.
Reaper paused, giving him a once over, then doubled over, guffawing.
“ Sugar Dead-ey. ” He repeated the pun, earning a laugh from Cross.
It was the first hearty chuckle Dream had heard from Cross in all of the time knowing him. It was heartwarming to see, especially with Cross and Reaper bonding after the Reapertale inhabitant had been so cold to him at first.
But Dream was jealous.
He wanted Cross to smile and laugh like that with him. His face began to scrunch in a pout, but he smoothed his features back into a smile. He’d just have to try.
“If you’re his Sugar Dead-ey, does that make him your Sugar Skull Baby?” Dream offered as he walked towards the two.
The two looked over, though Dream only had eyes for Cross and his reaction. He got none of the laughter Reaper had, but he did earn himself a small smile from the stoic knight.
A bit disappointing, but the guardian would take it.
“If only he was as sweet as a sugar skull…” Reaper grumbled, then shrugged. “What can you do? You fall for who you fall for.” He looked sideways at Cross. “I feel sorry for whatever idiot falls for you.” He looked back to Dream. “That was the best pun he’s been able to come up with all day.”
Cross scowled up at his new friend, while Dream tried to ignore the sting of Reaper’s unknowing insult.
“Anyway, I’m out. I’ll see you when I see you, then? You’re headed out now, right?”
“Yep! It’s almost evening in the AU I chose for the night, so we’ll be okay there. I even got us a room already.” He smiled.
“Have fun.” Reaper grinned, then looked to Cross. “Try not to die again. You made me a little less excited for your inevitable death.”
And with that, Reaper disappeared into one of his own portals, more than happy to provide for his partner trapped in the Save Screen of his own world despite all of his complaining.
“You two seem like you’re getting along better.” Dream smiled as he took the now empty seat next to Cross.
“I think he’s finally decided I’m not actually going to kill someone.” Cross sighed, his expression sliding back into indifference. Dream silently cursed himself. He should have let Cross enjoy himself longer…
Which somehow made Dream feel like he was the reason Cross didn’t enjoy himself around him. His presence was the only obvious common denominator.
“Ah, yeah. That’s something we should talk about.” Dream’s eyes widened. “I don’t want you to kill anyone… Even if we’re in battle.”
“No killing blows. Got it.” Cross nodded.
“I didn’t really mean it as a command…” Dream sighed, fussing with the belt on his waist. “But I’m glad we’re on the same page.” He let out a soft laugh.
Cross turned slightly towards him, drinking the entirety of his person in.
“Is something bothering you?” He asked after a brief, relishing moment.
“I…” Dream’s cheeks began to heat as he met Cross’s gaze. Now was as good of a time as any, wasn’t it? “I have something to tell you. About myself.”
Cross blinked and only nodded, allowing him the time he needed.
“I…” Dream took in a deep breath, his mandible ready to spew the words with no vigilance laced in the sinews of his jaw.
“Dream!” Life cried as she walked into the garden. He felt the unneeded breath dissipate from his rib cage along with his determination.
The two looked over to her.
“H-Hi, Life.” Dream chirped. “I just got back…”
“Wonderful! Did you see? Cross is practically back to his usual self! You two are right on schedule for your estimated departure time.” She chuckled, standing before the pair. Dream nodded happily.
“Yeah… We should probably be leaving soon. Thank you again for helping Cross. I…” He paused. “ We don’t know what we would have done without you.”
Life gently pat the top of his skull.
“It was no trouble at all. You’ve helped us so much in the past, we’ll always be ready to assist you any way we can.” She looked to Cross. “Try not to get yourself in too much trouble, okay, Crossie?”
Dream did his best to hold his smile in place. When had Cross become so close to people who weren’t him?
“I promise.” Cross gave her a lopsided grin.
Perhaps he was the Multiverse’s child traveller, because he was getting much too envious of Cross showing other people something that somewhat resembled affection. It wasn’t that he didn’t wish for Cross to have friends, rather, it was truly that he wanted those gazes and mouth watering smiles turned on him. He wanted to bathe in Cross’s affection, in his rationed warmth. He thought, or maybe it was more of a mental whine, it would be so much easier if he could control his aura. If he could, he would turn the volume up on Cross the next time they were alone together, forcing him to get drunk on Dream’s magic. Maybe he would giggle like a lunatic. Maybe he would simply stare at Dream and smile. He would gladly take either of those outcomes.
“Oh!” Life pulled a large basket from behind her. “I brought you two something for tonight’s dinner, and tomorrow’s breakfast. You’re going to need to be strong for the road ahead.” She smiled and offered it to Cross, who took it appreciatively.
“Thank you.” He muttered, beginning to lift the green gingham cloth covering the contents when she slapped his hand away.
“It’s a surprise for later.” She scolded, frowning. Cross gave an apologetic shrug and put the cloth back down.
“Are you ready?” Dream asked. His companion nodded and they both stood.
“Thank you.” Cross said, gazing at her with an unintelligible intensity Dream couldn’t decipher. Life, on the other hand, understood and tipped her head regally, acknowledging the knight’s gratitude. His TRUE gratitude.
“Safe travels.” She whispered as Dream opened a gateway to their next destination, one where they’d be safe enough to stay at least two days. Somewhere they could discuss all that had happened in what seemed like a full lifetime. A universe where they would plot the downfall of his brother, or at least whatever current dastardly deeds he had planned in utilizing the SOULs. A place where he could finally tell Cross.
“We’ll see you... hopefully not soon.” Dream whispered with a tight smile. He felt Cross’s hand slide into his own, grabbing on for the journey. He twisted his hand in the other’s so their fingers locked in place.
“Goodbye.” Life smiled, waving to them before she disappeared as they stepped into the portal out of Reapertale and into…
“Haventale?” Cross asked, glancing around once their feet hit solid ground. It seemed that they had arrived in Snowdin, which would make sense as they were to stay at an inn for the night. Dream nodded.
“It’s a pacifist timeline.” He explained. “Everyone here is so happy all the time, my presence shouldn’t be able to be felt as long as we don’t stay too long.”
Without even seeing any of the monsters or buildings yet, Cross could feel the peace inherent in the universe. He took a deep breath, taking the calm in.
“I like it here already.”
I forgot to mention that I'm going to do my best to update on Sundays every week. I may update more than that, considering these chapters seem to be shorter than what I usually write for my chapter fics, but we'll see. You can pretty much always count on an update on Sunday, though. c:
“But I’m telling you, Color! Something’s different about him after sex!”
Color frowned, observing what could be called his friend with a soft frown.
“Killer, I just don’t know. He’s a manipulator. This could just be a ploy to manipulate you into feeling sorry for him. It would keep you loyal, safe. He wouldn’t need to worry about you deserting him if you’re in love with him. It’s a really simple tactic, and it looks like it’s working.”
Killer scowled. “You’re not listening to me on this. Do you even understand what I’m saying?”
“You’re saying Nightmare isn’t Nightmare after fucking you. I understand completely. But how in the world would that even be possible? Nightmare’s Nightmare, no matter how many times you give him head.” Color sighed. “I just want you to be aware of the reality.”
Killer frowned, obviously disgruntled that his advisor was being dismissive of his carefully crafted claims. And after all the sneaking around he had to do to be able to come visit him, too, after Nightmare had banned everyone from leaving the castle. He was beginning to think it was a bad idea coming here after all, but he had been wanting to talk to someone about his theory. It didn’t make sense, he knew, but he couldn’t think of his boss as the same person he ended up with after a round in the sheets. He abruptly remembered a bit of information that may change Color’s mind.
“You know how, when he touches my SOUL, I become erratic? Like, so bad I go on a killing spree almost immediately?” He began.
“Yeah?” Color huffed, still frowning in disbelief.
“When he touched my SOUL last time, I calmed down. It was like he was sucking the negative energy out of me rather than putting it in there. And when I looked down, his bare fingers were touching me. Like, not covered with the goopy shit. I saw the bones, Color. It was weird.”
Now Color’s face looked interested, as if he were pondering just how that could be possible.
“Doesn’t make sense…” He mumbled. “He’s always in the goop…”
“Then, he told me the weirdest thing. He said, ‘Help Dream.’” Killer laughed softly, as if even he couldn’t believe it, though he was the one who heard it. “See? That doesn’t even seem like Nightmare at all. I’m an idiot, but I can figure that out.”
“First, you’re not an idiot; that’s just what he tells you to keep you dependent on him, and second that is pretty strange. You might be onto something there, but there’s no possible way he’s two different people.”
Killer frowned, looking to the floor in thought.
“What if he’s not physically two different people? Could he be split into two monster?” He offered.
“It doesn’t seem to make much sense, either, but we might just not know enough to make any hypotheses yet. But we know he says and does uncharacteristic things after sex. Why would sex be the trigger?” Color sighed softly. This puzzle was quite honestly a very concerning one, and he didn’t think it would be right for Killer to be part of it. “Killer, don’t go back this time. He’s up to something and I don’t want to think about how bad it is.”
“I have to go back, Color. I have to help him. If he really wants me to help Dream, he probably meant while continuing to work within the gang. I can’t leave him.”
Color gritted his teeth, the flames coming out of his skull beginning to flicker agitatedly.
“You’re making it sound like you’re some kind of prince charming and you’re going to fix him with true love’s kiss!
“I wish it were that easy; I would have tried it a long time ago.” Killer laughed bitterly.
“So you love him?” Color hated himself for the spiteful and somewhat jealous venom that sneaked into his voice.
“I love the Nightmare I see when we’re done. The one during the day… I follow him. He helps me raise my LOVE. That’s all. But I’m grateful he invited me to his bed, or I wouldn’t have gotten to know the other Nightmare. If he’s trapped inside, and me helping Dream gets him out, I’ll do it.”
“Fine. But when you realize he’s just using you, you’ll know I’m right.”
“That’s fine. He’ll use me no matter what I do. At least this way, I can feel like I have a chance at helping the other Nightmare.”
“Okay… Just be careful, Killer.”
After setting foot in Haventale, the duo went to check in at the local Snowdin’s hotel, where they were handed a pair of keys and told to enjoy their stay. Instead of heading straight to their room, they decided to go find a mostly secluded spot to enjoy the goodies Life had packed them. Cross was eager to figure out what had been so special that he wasn’t allowed to peek and was continually fighting against his own nature to open the basket as Dream tried to decide on a spot for them.
“Hm…” Dream frowned to himself, glancing around the area while tapping his index finger against his cheek. “Maybe over there? Behind that line of trees?”
“Dream, I’m starving. Please. Just choose somewhere.” Cross grumbled, sweat beginning to bead on his forehead from restraining his curiosity. He was going to lose any willpower he had soon, and at this point, he was starting not to care if he did.
“Okay, okay.” Dream sighed through his nose. “Then we’ll go behind the trees. Come on.”
He led Cross to his chosen location, away from the roaming eyes of the locals, who were unused to seeing more than just the small family of resident skeletons. Hiding away in the trees seemed to be ideal for having more privacy, since Dream didn’t particularly want an audience as they discussed their next moves, and if the opportune moment came up, his confession to Cross.
“Here.” He smiled brightly, gesturing to a small clearing in the middle of a group of trees. Cross glanced around at the area before shrugging and setting the picnic basket down. His fingers gently curled into the fabric of the gingham blanket eagerly before he ripped it away, grinning to himself as he got to look inside.
Life had packed them an assortment of foods from her world: savory dried meats and cheeses, grapes, and a bottle of sweet wine. Tucked away safely was her famous butterscotch cinnamon pie, a full one and all just for them. He smirked, ready to dive in.
“At least put the blanket down before you start eating.” Dream huffed, taking the basket away from him. Cross groaned but did as he was told, flaring the fabric out from him and letting it glide down to cover the snowy grass.
“Now can we eat?” He asked hopefully, moving to sit across from Dream as he sat down, placing the basket to his side. Dream laughed at the whining that laced the knight’s voice.
“Fine, you big baby. Let me just get it out…” Dream fished around in the basket before placing Life’s carefully packed spread out before them, popping one of the crisp purple grapes into his mouth and sighing at it’s sweet taste.
Cross smiled and began to slide pieces of cheese and meat in his mouth, his hunger having only grown at seeing the morsels in Dream’s hands. The only thing that would complete this utterly perfect dinner would be if his head was lying in Dream’s lap and the guardian was feeding him.
He could dream, couldn’t he?
“Slow down!” Dream cried, watching him. “You’re going to get the-”
Cross hiccupped, cheeks becoming slightly tinged with the unmanly spasm’s sound coming out of his throat. Dream snorted and chuckled, unable to help himself. Cross scowled, trying his best to force the hiccups to stop by his sheer power of will, teeth gritted and taking deep breaths through his nose.
“You look like you’re constipated.” Dream’s laughter only grew until he was rocking back and forth on his tailbone, tears beginning to build.
“St-AHP!” Cross began, but ended with a hiccup, jolting him in his own seat. The sudden shock caused Dream to snort during his giggles, a small string of snot leaking out of his nose afterwards. Cross blinked, pointing to it. “You got a little…”
Dream flushed and quickly wiped his nose with the back of his hand.
“Oh…” He frowned, looking back to Cross who had a stern look on his face. Then he hiccuped again, undoing any restraint Dream had built up during his own embarrassing moment and fell into a fit again, snorting deeply.
Now it was Cross’s turn to laugh, his chuckles punctuated by the misplaced hiccup, making his body twitch uncomfortably each and every time. Dream howled and snorted, nearly doubling over in amusement. He couldn’t place what exactly made Cross hiccuping so damn funny, but watching him looking as uncomfortable as a crab at a seafood restaurant stirred something in him. It was nice to see him uncomfortable, and almost unbearably so. Dream wanted to simultaneously comfort him and bully him. Or provoke more hiccups in the future. He wasn’t quite sure yet which he would choose.
As they calmed down, he looked to Cross more, studying him and his cheerful face; eyes crinkling at the sides from humor and his mouth turned up in a wide grin. It was beautiful.
“I like it when you smile.” Dream blurted, trying to settle himself down so they could actually finish eating and begin to discuss their strategy. He watched Cross’s cheeks color into a delicious shade of violet and he looked away, not wanting to meet Dream’s gaze. “I…” Dream fumbled. “I didn’t mean it in a bad way.”
“I know…” Cross said quietly, fingers scratching at the blanket beneath them, frowning slightly. “I just… Sometimes I don’t think I deserve to smile.”
“Why would you think that? You’re a good monster, Cross. You deserve to smile as much as you want to.” Dream tried to give him an encouraging smile. Cross did not return it, but he did look back to him, his scowl softened into neutrality.
“You’re the same, aren’t you?” Cross whispered. “The smile you show most everyone… It’s fake. A lie.” Dream curled in on himself, shoulders hunched.
“You’ve always been really good at seeing right through me, Cross. At first, I thought it was Chara.”
“No, it was just me.” Cross let out a stale laugh. He wanted to reach across them, take Dream’s face in his hands and kiss his forehead. He wanted to crush him against his chest and let him know it was okay not to be the happy-go-lucky creature he showed the rest of the Multiverse. “But… I’m glad you show your real smile to me.”
Dream looked at him softly.
“Thanks, Cross.” He whispered, wrapping his arms around himself. He should have felt cold, but really, he felt a burning heat inside him, and he was unsure of what it was. Passion? Not quite. It wasn’t attraction either. He felt that near constant when he was near Cross, but this felt different. He felt needy, but in a way that wasn’t sexual. He would have been able to pinpoint that. No, he needed to speak. He needed to tell someone how he felt, but what came out was not a confession, but rather a stark and simple truth:
“I made my brother turn into the monster you see.” He whispered. Cross frowned.
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“If I had just paid more attention to him… If I knew he was jealous of me, of all the fake friends I had… I could have done something. We could have done something.” Dream looked down, knowing making eye contact would kill everything in him he had built up to this point.
“Dream…” Cross said quietly. “You couldn’t have known. He didn’t tell you and kept it a secret from you.”
Dream’s face screwed up in an unpleasant expression, a mixture of a scowl and pure agony.
“I knew he wasn’t feeling good! I knew! I just told myself ‘He’ll tell me when he’s ready!’” He clenched his teeth. “He didn’t want to hurt me with his problems, but he didn’t realize this hurts me more more!” He could feel the tears beginning to fill his eyes, but he did his best to ignore them. “He tried to be kind but he hurt me and left me because he’d rather be dead than with me!”
Cross quickly moved to the other side of the blanket, doing his best to not step on any food in his mad dash. He wrapped his coat around Dream’s shoulders, offering him some comfort before pulling the guardian into him and holding him there until he seemed to calm down just a bit.
“But he didn’t die, Dream…” Cross whispered.
“I know…” Dream sniffed, blinking away the remaining tears. He was tired of crying, lately. “But he might as well have.”
“Don’t say that…” Cross gently began to stroke his skull. “We’re going to get him back… I think we’re onto something with the SOULs.”
“You think so?”
“Yeah… There’s gotta be a reason he corrupted them and placed them into Sanses. They come from your world, too… The seven human SOULs are always strongest when they’re together. I don’t know what, but it means something to him. We’ll figure it out.”
“Thanks… Cross.” Dream smiled softly. He didn’t quite want the moment to end, so when Cross went to move away, he clutched the front of Cross’s turtleneck in his fists, stopping him. Then he slid his arms around Cross’s waist, holding him there. “Sorry, I just need a little bit longer.”
“I’m here as long as you need.” Cross whispered, still holding him like a precious pearl.
After they finally separated and packed up what was left of their meal, they went back to the hotel to find their room had only one bed. At this point, it felt quite natural for the two of them to sleep next to each other, and it would have been more awkward for them had their been two beds.
But what did strike them as odd, and a bit awkward, they both admitted to themselves, was the explosion of roses, their petals littering the bed’s comforter, a bottle of champagne on now melted ice, the tower of chocolate truffles on a table in the center of the room, and the giant banner hanging above the heart shaped headboard with “Congratulations” across it in curving script.
“I… I guess I accidentally booked the honeymoon suite.” Dream frowned, swallowing. It was embarrassing, and extremely over the top, and the worst part was he didn’t remember saying anything to the front desk clerk that would have led her to believe he wanted this.
While Dream was busy cursing himself for not paying enough attention, Cross was slowly making his way across the room to the stack of chocolates, his eyes trained on them as if he were a proud lion stalking his prey.
“Cross!” Dream’s sharpy cry had him whirling back around, hand ready to summon his blade. “We need to get that banner down!”
Cross blinked, realizing there was no immediate danger other than Dream’s hurt pride. He frowned and raised a hand, grumbling, “That could wait until after the chocolate…”
He summoned his magic and simply pulled the banner down, crumpling it and tossing it into the trash bin at the other end of the room without lifting one of his own pinkies.
“Done.” He grinned, starting to turn back to his prize.
“Wait! We need to get the flowers in water, and the champagne out of that bucket, and, and…” Dream was grimacing, not a very attractive look on him, as he spun around in a circle, taking in everything they needed to do to get this room into shape for two friends.
Cross let out a low, dramatically long groan.
“Do we? It’s fine the way it is.” He huffed “Kind of cute, actually. We can just pretend we got married. Wouldn’t it be worse if they realized they put all this out for no reason?”
As right as he was, Dream didn’t acknowledge his wisdom and instead blurted,
“I don’t want to pretend!”
Cross squinted at him, trying not to let the sudden melancholy he felt wash over his features and let Dream know just how disappointed he was to hear those words.
“I-I mean…” Dream took a deep breath. “It’s worse to lie to them, right? If we’re not on our honeymoon, we shouldn’t make them think so…”
Cross studied him a moment longer, his feet turning to lead and rooting him to the spot whether he liked it or not. Dream worried the knight would see right through him down to his core where he wished to lay on the bed, letting the scent of rose overwhelm him as he gently fed truffle after truffle to Cross and when they kissed it would taste like cherry cordial. He didn’t need to worry, however, as he watched Cross’s emotions begin to darken and dampen the longer he stared and the small guardian wasn’t sure what he had said to cause such a reaction, but it wasn’t a good one. So he laughed uncomfortably, rubbing the back of his skull.
“No, no… You’re right Cross. We can at least pretend for them. This was a lot of work…” He smiled gently. Cross’s mood didn’t change dramatically, but it did seem to brighten just enough that he would rest easier.
“Can we have chocolates now?” Cross asked, a soft annoyance lacing his voice. Dream pouted, wanting to come up with something to say, anything to say, to help Cross feel better. Then, an idea struck him.
“Yeah! But go stand over there.” He pointed to the other side of the room. Cross made a face before huffing and walking to the assigned spot. Dream beamed and bounced to the table of chocolates.
“Hey!” Cross grumbled. “That’s not fair!”
Dream plucked one of the truffles up and turned to him.
“Open your mouth.” He instructed his knight, rolling the small ball between his thumb and index finger. Cross’s frown grew, but he did as told, feeling perplexed and highly uncomfortable as to just what the guardian was planning. Dream smiled.
“Catch!” He shouted, tossing the chocolate underhandedly towards the other. Cross was struck dumb for a brief second before he lept into action, moving to catch the sweet in his mouth. But that one millisecond of hesitation cost him, and instead of landing neatly into his open maw, the chocolate plunked into his right eye socket.
Cross cried out and quickly bent his head, shaking the snack out of his eye.
“Dream!” He cried. “Give me more warning next time! Chocolate in the eye feels weird…” Nonetheless, he popped it into his mouth and let it melt on his tongue. “Another.”
Dream obliged him, beginning an unfortunate game where instead of Cross eating or throwing the truffles that fell onto the floor into the trash, he would throw them back at Dream, who in turn would either throw them away or eat them depending on the amount of fuzz they had collected on their journey.
By the time they were exhausted, they were also filled to the brim with sugar and nursing severe stomach aches. They decided it was probably time to go to bed at that point so they could wake up the next day fully ready to come up with a plan for tracking down the five remaining SOULs from Dreamtale and freeing them from their corruption.
They pulled off their clothing until they were both in comfortable states of undress. They didn’t get to feel the simple pleasures of laying down in a bed of their own at night, such as changing into fresh pajamas. Instead they had to suffer their usual clothing, but without so many layers.
Dream was grateful to see that the chocolates had put Cross back in a better mood, and as a consequence he felt better himself because of it. But when they crawled under the covers and Cross turned almost immediately on his side, facing away from him, he felt that perhaps he had messed up somehow. So he frowned, and cuddled up to the knight’s back, pressing his forehead into his spine.
“Goodnight, Cross.” He whispered.
“Goodnight, Dream.” Cross murmured. He stayed still until he thought he felt Dream’s chest heaving heavily, a telltale sign of a sleeping guardian, before he turned back around so he could see him.
Dream was beautiful, he knew. Someone he shouldn’t be allowed to touch, to hold, to kiss. It was almost painful, being so close and knowing he could never have him in the way his SOUL ached for. Dream had said as much that night. The guardian hadn’t even wanted to pretend they were lovers. Cross had had no hope of being with him before, but it still felt like a sharp blow to the gut.
So instead, he settled for watching him sleep, looking peaceful but not happy. Was that Dream’s default? Peaceful but not happy? He was expected to be so much. He was supposed to smile and wave while saving universes from his brother, all while forgiving everyone for their shortcomings and past mistakes. But he couldn’t forgive himself. Not for letting down the most important person in his life.
Cross circled his arms around him, pulling him in. He would protect him. He would be there for him when others weren’t… When they didn’t realize that Dream didn’t help too. Dream had given him so much, even in this short time of knowing each other. This was what Dream did for everyone, and not once had he asked for something in return. Cross would give everything to him. Whether he asked for it or not.
He leaned down pressed his mouth to the top of Dream’s skull in a wistful kiss. Then he settled back down, closing his eyes and finally feeling at peace for the night, falling asleep rather quickly after his silent pledge.
What he hadn’t known was Dream had been awake the entire time.
Nightmare chuckled, his laugh quickly turning into a fast maniacal shriek.
“KILLER!” He screamed, his tentacles frantically flinging out in all directions, his excitement showing.
“Yes, Lord Nightmare?” Killer asked, immediately teleporting to his side, having gotten back just in time to hear his lord’s call. Nightmare had to slow down his giddiness, trying to reel it in just long enough for him to give his next instructions to his subordinate. After a few deep breaths and his eyes wide, he turned to him.
“I’ve found him. I’ve found my dear brother.” Nightmare laughed once more, a trill of grating chuckles. Killer grinned, hiding his need to flinch behind it. “I felt a spike in his personal positive energy… In Haventale, just now. I want you to go there and spy on him. We’ll attack when the time is right.”
“Of course, sir.” Killer continued to grin. Perhaps this would help him understand Other Nightmare’s instructions, and even allow him to get a glimpse as to what he might want him to help with.
Nightmare sneered happily, creating a portal and watching his underling disappear through it. Dream was a complete and utter fool! He had let himself feel happy, feel hopeful for the first time since Nightmare had become corrupted. The dark lord laughed again. He was sure the fool was with Cross, and he had to wonder if that was the cause for the sudden spike. Was Dream falling in love? Was Cross returning it?
Suddenly, he felt panicky and he clutched his chest.
“Stop it!” He roared. “Stop it you IDIOT!”
He continued screaming, using all of his concentration on quelling the rising feelings inside him. Happiness for Dream, who might have found someone, but with it the need to be vigilant, to make sure Cross would never hurt him, and finally, the ache of an older brother to meet this man.
Nightmare laughed tiredly.
“You’re a fool if you think you’re going to ever get to even utter a syllable to Cross.” He spat. “You’ll never be free. Once we attack Haventale, they’ll be easily disposed of, I’ll have the SOULs again, and you’ll be insignificant once more. Don’t get cocky with your disgusting powers. You’re still nothing. You’ve always been nothing.”
He lurched forward, bile rising in his throat.
“You want to fight? Good luck. You’re all alone and I have an army. I’ll kill Dream, then I can finally kill you.”
Thanks for reading!