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A Curious Case of Possession, Ghouls, and How Nightmares Can Come True

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Dream and Nightmare had been in tune with the macabre and the afterlife since they were children. 

Their first real encounter happened after they had moved into their new home, their mother wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and take refuge in a small town. Unfortunately, Nim was only able to afford one of the older houses, where faucets leaked and wallpaper peeled. But it was home and the twins grew up with the smell of must and mildew in their noses. 

When they first moved in, the house was cold, both physically and metaphorically. 

Dream hated it. 

He cried and begged his mother to let them go back to their tiny, cramped apartment in the city. But she didn’t budge and Nightmare was left to console his younger twin. Dream clung to his brother, following him everywhere, not wanting to be alone in their house for any amount of time, no matter how miniscule. He even had a bed of his own but preferred to sleep in Nightmare’s, the two growing boys cramped and tangling in each other every single night. 

They learned quickly Dream was the one more tuned to spirits. He would later in life become a practicing medium. 

But at the time, all he knew was there was something in that house. Something scary… Something… 

He jolted awake one night, covered in a cold sweat and heart racing. He gasped and threw his head side to side, looking for something… looking for… 

His eyes landed on a figure at the foot of his bed. 

It was a tall skeleton, about the size of a grown man. Small, red lights shined in the backs of his eye sockets and blood splattered his monochrome, almost Victorian clothing. 

He had been dead for some time. 

Dream opened his mouth to shriek, to cry, to call him mommy and have the horrific apparition disappear. But the skeleton raised a finger to his mouth, signaling for him to become quiet. Dream, in his frightened stupor, snapped his mouth shut and kept his gaze steady on the spirit before him. The skeleton nodded, a silent praise for the boy’s bravery. Then he turned towards Nightmare’s open closet door. 

The small boy’s eyes followed him, finding something much more frightening hiding in the closet. 

It was a tall figure, much taller than the skeleton standing between the bed and it, like a guard. Its shoulders were pointed, its smile horrific. It tried to reach for the bed, but the skeleton summoned a giant knife, slicing at its ravenous phalanges. It snarled, though Dream could not hear it, and withdrew its hand. It was at this time it dawned on the kindergartener that the terrifying skeleton was trying to protect him - them - from whatever was residing in his brother’s closet. 

Though, they would soon find, it wasn’t just confined to the closet. 

For the rest of the night, this same song and dance continued, Dream silently trying to send power to his protector, oblivious to the fact that it was working. Sometime around dawn, the figure decided it would give up for one more night, receding into the recesses of clothes. When the skeleton was sure it wouldn’t come back, he turned back to the bed to find a much calmer child. 

They stared at each other before unceremoniously, the skeleton faded away. 

Dream pounced on Nightmare. 

“Wake up! Wake up!” 

The older twin groaned, tried to shake his brother off him. 

“What, Dream?” 

“There was a skeleton that was here all night!” 

After a skeptical looked from his darker haired version, he launched into the tale of what happened the night before. Nightmare, to his credit, didn’t entirely dismiss his brother’s fantasy. They made up their minds to stay awake the following night and wait for the battle to begin anew. 

And when it did, they were in for a shock. 

At midnight, the skeleton appeared at their beside once more, lifting his finger and having them nod. Dream wanted to speak. He wanted to know if the spirit could talk. But he knew better. 

It was best to follow the commands of an elder spirit. 

Tonight, the figure crept underneath the bedroom door, spilling itself between the door and the carpet. The skeleton raised his knife and sliced down, causing the figure to shriek and recoil. Dream didn’t hear a thing, but Nightmare… 

Nightmare found at that time he was more privy to the darker spirits. The ones meant to harm, not protect, and when he heard the piercing, demonic cry the figure gave out, he yelled out himself. Dream and the skeleton turned to him in surprise as he clutched his head. 

“He knows…” Nightmare sobbed. “He knows I can hear him. He-” 

The skeleton let out a feral growl and turned back to the door. 

“He’s laughing.” Nightmare continued. “He says he’s going to use me. Dream I’m scared!” 

“I won’t let him.” The skeleton spoke, surprising the twins. His voice was lilted with the accent of a country across the ocean, one of green and shamrocks and luck, almost putting the two of them in a trance. His fingers tightened their grip on his knife. “Dream!” 

“Y-yeah?” The blond one asked without questioning how the spirit knew his name. If he had been protecting them, it only stood to reason that he knew their names. 

“Hold onto him and pray.” 

Dream nodded, though he knew the protector couldn’t see him. He gathered Nightmare’s hands into his own and began reciting the only prayer he knew: 

“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.”

Slowly, Nightmare began to join him, their young voices beginning to fill the still night. Nightmare tried to ignore the voice in his head and continued the prayer, the two of them repeating it until the sun came up the next morning. 

Nightmare stopped abruptly when the voice left his head, blinking. 

“We did it!” He cried happily. 

“For now.” The skeleton turned to them. He looked at the window. He didn’t have much time left for the night. “Can you do something for me?” 

“Yeah.” Dream said breathlessly. 

“Today, can you practice reciting that prayer and focusing your energy on me? I think I know how to defeat him.” 

“Who is he?” Nightmare asked. 

“Someone once kind… Now evil.” 

“Who are you ?” Dream questioned. The skeleton studied him. 

“I’m his end.” 

With such an unsatisfying answer, the skeleton faded away as sunlight trickled into the window. 

Dream pouted. 

He had wanted a name, not an occupation. 

For the rest of the day, the two children dutifully practiced their mantra, pretending to send the power to each other, and they thought they might have felt it. Their mother looked on, trying not to stop the kids in their play but deciding to stop it if it began to weird her out too much. 

When night came once more, they pretended to snuggle up to each other, the bags under Dream’s eyes concerning their mother. But once she was gone, the two sprang awake, sitting up in bed and practicing once more. 

It was one minute past ten o’clock when the skeleton appeared. 

“Mr. Skeleton!” Dream cried happily. The skeleton looked at his hands, frowning. 

“I guess you summoned me…” He murmured. 

“Can we know your name? Please?” Dream asked, eyes wide with pleading. 

“Dream…” Nightmare said slowly. “I don’t think now’s the time.” 

“He won’t show for a while.” The skeleton said, studying them. The twins were powerful, it seemed. “And I don’t have a name.” 

“You don’t have a name?” Dream asked sadly. The skeleton shook his head. 

“I don’t remember. I just…” He frowned, looking at them. “I just remember what led me here.” 

“Oh?” Nightmare tilted his head, ready for a story. The skeleton sighed and shook his skull. 

“You’re too young. Maybe when you’re older.” 

“Cross.” Dream piped up. 

“What?” Nightmare and the skeleton asked. 

“His name can be Cross. You know how, in scary movies, the priest is always holding a cross up to the demon?” Dream asked, his grin wide. Nightmare frowned, but nodded. The skeleton looked on blankly. 

“He stood between us and the thing like the priests do with the cross. He’s our Cross!” 

“Ohhhh.” Nightmare’s eyes sparkled when the realization hit him. He looked back to the skeleton. “Do you like it?” 

The skeleton frowned in thought, then slowly nodded. 

“It’s better than not having a name at all.” 

Cross would go on to become the twins’ greatest protection, and their most powerful tool, against the forces of darkness. 

“He’s here.” Cross said sharply. 

“You said-” Nightmare huffed. 

“He must have sensed me... “ Cross whispered, drawing his blade and taking his stance at the twins’ bed. “Begin.” 

The two of them clasped their hands together and began reciting the Lord’s Prayer, focusing their energy on the skeleton they had just befriended and even named. Cross let their power pull into him, feeling himself becoming filled with the strength of their energy. More powerful than he had ever been when he had tried to protect the residents of this old house for so many decades. It was as if by fate he had met these children, the ones who so easily accepted him and called out to him. 

He gritted his teeth. 

He would rid the house of this demon once and for all. 

The one who had tortured him and the rest of their family in life. 

Then Cross could be at peace. 

The swirling smoke began billowing under the bedroom door once more, and Cross let it in. He started channeling the power being generously given to him by the two humans into his blade. One fell cut and he could rid the world of this man-turned-demon once and for all. He lifted his knife. 

Towering over him was the person who had made his life a living hell life and now, in death, Cross would seal his fate. 

Nightmare flinched as the voice entered his mind, trying to confuse him while he recited the mantra. He shook his head, ignoring him. 

“Finally,” Cross began, “You’ll be banished.” 

There should have been more of a fight. The demon should have gone out with a flash. But instead, when Cross sent his knife right through him, the figure’s eyes widened, his mouth caught in a surprised ‘o’, and with a “pop!” he left the realm of the living. 

“That was anticlimactic.” Nightmare huffed. Dream pouted at him, not understanding some of the big words his brother sometimes used. 

Cross frowned. 

“I don’t feel him anymore.” He turned back to the twins, his eyes focusing on Nightmare. “Do you?” 

Nightmare thought for a moment before shaking his head. 

“No.” He said flatly. Dream smiled brightly. 

“That means we can all play together now!” He cried happily. 

“Dream…” Cross looked at him sadly. “I was tied to him. I was only here to stop him, I-” 

“Cross?” Dream asked, concerned at the look Cross was giving him. 

The skeleton apparition had had the brief flash of a golden, heart shaped locket and the memory of him, in life, bent over it, sobbing. 

“No… I’m not tied to him.” Cross snarled. The boys flinched. “There’s a stupid locket somewhere in here that I’m tied to.” 

“Oh, I know where that is.” Nightmare said. Both of the others turned to him. “What? It’s in the attic. I play there a lot.” 

“...” Cross frowned. 

“What’s wrong, Cross?” Dream asked, tilting his head. 

“If the locket is destroyed, I can rest in peace.” 

“...Do you want us to destroy it?” The blond twin asked. “I’ll miss playing with you… but if it’ll make you happy...” 

“...” Cross frowned. If he was correct, there’d be pictures of his family in there… As they were… Before… Before… 

“No.” He sighed. “But one of you should wear it.” 

“Wear it?” Nightmare spat. 

“Then I’ll be tied to you, in a way.” He looked between the two of them. “I have a feeling you two are going to be in a lot of trouble in your lives.” 

“Oh…” Dream blinked, then grinned. “Let’s play rock paper scissors for it!” 

 

{17 Years Later}

Dream stood in front of the bathroom, tying his long hair back into a ponytail, even after he had just finished blow drying it. He tucked a few hairpins into it, turning his head to see how they caught the light. His eyes drifted down to his collarbone, where the golden, heart-shaped locket had rested since that day so long ago. He smiled at the memory. 

He hadn’t won the rock paper scissors tourney for Cross’s heart (locket), but he had cried so much upon losing that Nightmare thrust the locket at him, telling him to shut up before their mom woke up. 

From then on, Cross had been tied to him, going everywhere with him, and Dream never once took the locket off except to polish it. He sighed, smiling at himself in the mirror. 

Cross had been a near constant in his life, except when asked to return to the locket so Dream could have some privacy. Otherwise, the spirit hung around him. It had been fun to watch Cross while Dream had still been in school. The skeleton would watch the science lessons with awe and wonder, taking in everything. A lot of new information must have been found by the scientific community since Cross’s passing, and he didn’t waste a moment in trying to absorb the new information. In fact, he probably learned more than Dream or Nightmare did in those days. 

Dream was much more interested in cultivating his talent for speaking with the dead and Nightmare wanted to try and summon demons - which thankfully Cross had put an end to early. Neither of the twins seemed to have too much trepidation about working with things of the occult nature. In fact, it had only led them to the underground, where they learned that the occult was far reaching and they weren’t the only ones with strange gifts. They had even made some great friends from it. 

Dream took a stick of lip balm and popped the cap off before sliding it over his lips. 

“Someday.” He whispered to himself, giving his reflection a stern look. “Someday, we’ll get him.” 

His eyes narrowed, golden irises almost seeming to glow in the morning light coming through the clouded window above the shower. He smacked his lips and puckered them, as if amping himself up for a marathon in which his lips ran rather than his feet. 

“‘Oh Dream,’” He mocked, his voice warbling into a stiff accent that was vaguely British. “‘You look so ravishing tonight, with your long, silky hair and your velvety soft lips. I could kiss them all night.’” 

He changed his position in the mirror. 

“Oh! Cross!” He gasped in mock surprise. “You’re being so forward! Have you had too much to drink? You should lie down.” 

He turned the other way and picked up his accent once more. 

“‘My dear, alcohol only allows a man’s darkest desires to slip through his lips. And I shall set mine upon yours, giving you what I’ve denied myself for so long-” 

“I don’t sound like that.” 

“AH!” Dream yelled, quickly turning around to face the spirit he had been mimicking only seconds before. 

It was always harder to see Cross in the daytime, the sun messing with his image projection. But Dream was accustomed to seeing him and could train his eyes on him without much work. He tended to always be on the lookout for him. 

“We had a deal you wouldn’t follow me into the bathroom!” The young man gasped, leaning against the sink, the porcelain jutting into the small of his back. 

“And you were taking too long. You need to go to the shop soon or you’re going to be running late all day. You two have a seance tonight, remember?” Cross crossed his arms, single red eye glowering at him. 

That was the thing about Cross. When they had first met, he had two red eyes. Since he didn’t have to be hyper vigilant anymore, one of his eyes had turned into a small, white pin prick. Dream couldn’t say it was an unwelcome change. But he would like Cross no matter what he looked like. 

“Yes, I remember!” He gasped. “But you promised to just knock over some stuff if you needed my attention.”

“I did. Several of them, actually. You have a lot of soda to clean up.” The spirit sighed. 

Dream pouted. 

“I still need to brush my teeth.” He turned back around. “Give me a minute.” 

“To finish your fantasy?” Now Cross smirked, trying to hide a laugh. “I still don’t know why you’re so fascinated with a dead man.” 

Dream watched his cheeks redden in the mirror, only earning soft snickers from the ghost behind him. 

“You should be flattered.” He huffed. Cross’s eyes softened. 

“I am…” He said quietly. “But, my dear, I am dead and you are alive and your affections are wasted. You should focus on finding someone you can live with.” 

Dream made a sound low in his throat. 

“I live everyday with you!” He spun around. “I want you. I’ve always wanted you.” 

“And you’re very strange for that. From what you tell me, I must look horrific.” Cross studied him for a moment. “Dream… dear… I’m still dead, no matter what.” 

“Not forever.” Dream crossed his arms. Cross let out a merry laugh. 

“Yes, forever. People don’t come back.” Cross reached a hand towards his cheek, but when he caught sight of the exposed phalanges his hand recoiled, moving back to his side. 

“What do you want, Cross?” Dream asked, frowning rather melancholy. 

“...” Cross looked away. “I want… you to be safe. And happy. But more importantly, safe.” 

“And that goes for your brother as well.” He added, almost as an afterthought. 

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.” 

“Dream, please. We’re going to be late. It’s almost Halloween…” Cross tilted his head. “It’s your favorite time of the year… A frown doesn’t suit you this season.”

Dream allowed the smallest of grins to grace his lips. 

“You’re right. We’ve only got seven days until Halloween! We need to make the most of it!” He paused. “If we hurry at Ink’s, we can go pumpkin picking before meeting up with Nightmare!”

“We’ve already been five times this month.” 

“Six won’t hurt!” 


 

Ink wasn’t much of a traditional witch, but he thought himself to be apt at his job. So much so that he had his own New Age book shop, where he sold a variety of goods for both the casual consumer and those “in the know”. He infused candles with spells for luck and love, books on how to summon Archangels straight into your living room, and a table filled with different crystals that could cure various ailments. In the windows hung stained glass wind chimes that tinkled even though there wasn’t a draft. 

It was homey, always with herbal tea being brewed for his patrons, and was one of Dream’s favorite places on Earth. 

When he stepped inside that Friday and smelled the scent of cinnamon tea, he smiled and sighed happily to himself. Cross lifted his nose and tried to take in the scent as well, though Dream had been getting much too overboard with Fall-themed items, all of which smelled at least vaguely of the spice. He was honestly quite tired of it. 

“Dream!” The shop owner cried as he came from the back of the store. “Come on over! I’ll get you a mug of tea.” 

Dream grinned, following his friend around the counter and through a door into the back. Ink would already have his order ready, but he would stay around for a bit to chat. Which was why Cross had been so insistent earlier about leaving. 

“Hi, Error.” Dream greeted the man sitting at a long, workshop table, piecing together a necklace of what looked like a small animal’s bones. 

Where Ink was a witch, his boyfriend was an occultist. At least, that’s was Error said he was. 

“Hey.” Error didn’t look up from his work, instead choosing to keep his concentration tight. 

That was until Ink exploded back into the room, a mug in hand and yelling. 

“Dream! You have to try my new tea! It’s a special blend of ginger and sage. It’s perfect for spiritual cleansing before you go into work tonight.” The witch thrust the mug into Dream’s hands. 

It smelled terrible, but the medium took a sip anyway. 

He did his best not to grimace. 

“Ink, he hates it.” Error called, setting the necklace down and leaning his cheek into one of his hands. He knew he wasn’t going to be allowed to work in peace while Ink’s friend was there.

“I know it doesn’t taste good.” Ink rolled his eyes. “It’s not meant to taste good. It’s meant to help protect him.” 

“You better drink a lot of that.” Cross whispered into his friend’s ear. “He may be an idiot but he knows his stuff when it comes to this.” 

Dream groaned slightly and took another drink. Ink watched him, a happy smile on his face. 

“See, Cross knows what I mean!” 

“You can’t even see him.” Dream sighed, trying to take another drink. 

“I know well enough you wouldn’t be forcing that stuff down your throat unless he told you to.” 

Dream didn’t have any special retort for that and finished his cup off, setting it down on one of the free tables. His eyes scanned the room, trying to find something else to put in his mouth to cover the taste. He would prefer a throat lozenge over having the residue linger on his taste buds for a second more.

“At least give him another tea.” Error sighed. “I can’t watch this poor bastard suffer any longer.” 

“Ah,” Ink turned to the door leading back to the front. “I’ll get him some of the other tea.” 

After he left, Dream expected Error to continue his work, but instead the occultist gave him a level gaze. 

“Tonight’s a pretty big job, right?” He asked, slowly and considerately. 

“Yeah…” Dream grinned awkwardly. He was trying not to feel nervous about it, but he couldn’t help but let the unease creep up his spine. “We’re pretty sure it’s a poltergeist. An old, powerful one too. It’s attacked the residents of the home, even the children.” 

Cross let out a low growl at the mention of the kids. 

“Do you want me to make a charm for you? Ink’s pretty worried about you guys, he hasn’t shut up-” 

“What are you talking about charms for? You can stop the occultist act, Error. Everyone knows you’re a baby necromancer.” Ink came back into the room, carrying two mugs of the cinnamon tea. He handed one to Dream, then set the second one down on the table next to him. “For Cross.” 

“Why do you keep telling people I’m a necromancer?” Error sighed heavily. “I’m an occultist. I practice dark magic!” 

“You’re a baby necromancer that dabbles in occultism.” Ink shook his head. 

“Stop calling me a necromancer!” 

“If you’re not a necromancer, explain that.” Ink pointed to the skeletal remains of a raven, posed atop a Victorian birdcage. As if sensing that it was the subject of conversation, it opened its beak wide in a yawn and stretched his wings before tucking its head under its wing. 

“...” Error frowned. “Just because I reanimated the corpse of my childhood pet raven-” 

“He had a pet raven!” Ink turned to Dream as if saying, ‘can you believe?’ before looking back to Error. “Only necromancers have pet ravens!” 

“It was one time! I’ve left the family business behind.” Error sighed. 

Cross, tired of hearing the same argument for the fortieth time, summoned spiritual energy to his fingertips and knocked his mug of cinnamon tea over. Everyone stopped talking when it hit the floor, splitting into several large pieces. Dream blinked. 

“Ink, I’m so-” He began to apologize. 

“He loves my tea!” Ink cried happily. “I’ll get him another!” 

“Er… maybe don’t.” Dream quickly stopped him. “We don’t have much time before we have to go meet Nightmare.”    

“Oh…” Ink nodded in understanding. “Got it. Let me go get your sage.” 

“It’s on the counter. Right there. Where you left it.” Error began, but Ink was already out the door to retrieve it. The occultist sighed and rolled his eyes. “Archimedes?” 

The raven perked up instantly. 

“Can you get Dream’s package?” 

Archimedes stretched his wings out before flying into the air and to the far wall of the workshop, plucking a package beautifully wrapped in paper and tied together in twine in his claws before moving and dropped it into the medium’s arms. 

Ink came back just as Archimedes took his place on top of his cage once more. 

“Oh, I see you found it!” Ink laughed. “Because I forgot where I put it.” 

“We can tell.” Error sighed, then turned back to Dream and smiled. “Good luck tonight. Tell your brother I said hi.” 

“Yeah, good luck! You’re going to do amazing!” Ink flung himself onto Dream’s shoulders, holding him tightly. 

“Thanks you guys.” Dream grinned. “We’ll need it.” 


Dream had been right, and the two of them did end up having enough time to stop by the faux pumpkin patch set on a church’s front lawn. Children and their parents milled about, trying to find the perfect pumpkin for carving. 

“Ah… We should roast the seeds of this one, Cross.” Dream sighed happily as they walked back down the street, the pumpkin nestled in the living young man’s arms while the skeleton spirit floated next to him. 

“You’ve roasted the seeds of every pumpkin so far, dear.” Cross replied. 

“I meant we should find a new recipe.” Dream shrugged. “We’ve tried them so many different ways…” 

“You could try sharing some of them, too.” Cross crossed his arms. 

“You can’t eat.” Dream laughed, skipping a few steps ahead. They were almost to the coffee shop he and Nightmare agreed to meet at before heading to the house they were going to work on for the night. 

“I meant with other living people…” The skeleton sighed. “You just sit there with a big bowl of them and watch those cheesy horror films that even I wouldn’t be scared of, and movies hadn’t even been invented when I was alive.” 

“What, you don’t like ‘The Blob’?” 

“You’re missing the point. You should… get out more.” 

“I’m perfectly happy where I am.” The blond laughed. “I know you think all of my friends are weird, but-” 

“They are. But I don’t mind. You just… never see them outside your work.” 

“That’s… because our business is almost off the ground. If we can nail this seance tonight, everything will be set!” Dream nearly tripped, but Cross reached out and stopped him with his arm, focusing enough of his energy so he could. 

“Thanks.” The human laughed. He watched the spirit open his mouth and quickly continued, “I’ll be more careful, I promise.” 

Cross rolled his eyes but shut his mouth once more. He glowered at Dream, refusing to be outdone and hoping his point got across that the other needed to watch where he was stepping. It took a lot out of him to summon a physical manifestation as big as a forearm. 

“If you keep giving me that look, I won’t make a deal with The Reaper for your physical form.” Dream teased. 

“I told you not to do it. The Reaper can’t be trusted and his deals always have a twisted meaning. You’ll be in his debt for life for such a thing as a body.” 

“But I’d get to spend the rest of my life with you. Wouldn’t it be worth it?” Dream grinned and Cross sighed. 

“You’re impossible!” He cried, throwing his arms into the air. 

“I’ll never give up. You should know that by now.” Dream smiled just as they came to the glass doors of the cafe. He shifted the pumpkin into one arm and opened the door with other, pushing into the cozy cafe. 

Cats hung about everywhere, playing with toys or seeking out catnip. It was one of Nightmare’s favorite places, not only because he had an affinity for animals, but because of the cafe’s owner, a short man who could brew a magnificent cup of coffee with his eyes closed. 

The owner was also a werecat, which made him all the more attractive to the exorcist and the multitude of cats that just seemed to wander into the cafe. Often, Nightmare came into the cafe simply to see if he could tease the barista. 

And it looked like he was doing his best the moment the other two came up to the counter. 

Nightmare had taken one of the cats’ toys, a long, cloth ribbon on a thin plastic pole, and was waving it in front of Ccino’s eyes. He smirked as Ccino’s pupils enlarged, his eyes following the ribbon’s every movement. 

“Nightmare!” Dream called, causing the two of them to break their concentration on their object of interest and turn it on him. 

“Hey, Dream.” Nightmare cooly pulled his hand away from the toy, as if trying to hide the fact he had been teasing one of his boyfriends with it. He caught the pointed glare Cross was giving him and shrugged. “Hey, Cross.” 

“Nightmare, it’s not nice to treat someone you’re courting this way, you know.” The skeleton sighed. Even now, when the boys were adults, he still felt the need to scold them. 

“Cross, it’s not nice to continue to talk like you’re trapped in the 1800s.” He sassed back, causing the skeleton to scowl. He laughed. “I’m just saying you’ve lived with us long enough you can drop the weird speech.” 

Dream puffed up, almost as if he were a puffer fish that had been pricked. 

“I like it.” He huffed before turning to Ccino. “Hi, Ccino. How are you doing today?” 

“Oh, you know,” Ccino waved a hand, “Serving coffee, getting teased by my own boyfriend.” 

“I was not teasing.” Nightmare sighed. “It’s just kind of cute.” 

“And do you throw tennis balls for your other boyfriend?” Cross sighed. 

“Actually, yes.” Nightmare perked up. “He needs his exercise. He’s very lazy otherwise.” 

“Oh yeah, how’s it going with Killer?” Dream asked just as Ccino set down a large mug in front of him, a pumpkin spice latte made to order. He could see Ccino’s fingers tensing at the name of one of his worst enemies. 

Nightmare paused, seeing Ccino’s hesitation as well before deciding to continue. 

“It’s going well…” He murmured, taking a drink of his coffee. “And the truce is going well, too.” 

“As well as it can.” Ccino sighed. “I’m not really part of my pride any longer, but the cats still keep me up to date with what’s going on.”

“They don’t necessarily approve of both a werecat and a werewolf dating the same person, but they’ve called off attacks because of it.” Nightmare shrugged and flashed a smirk. “Who knew polyamory would be the way to absolve a 2,000 year old feud? I should be crowned king of both clans.” 

“We don’t have kings…” Ccino sighed, then smiled sadly. “I hope someday I’m allowed to meet him… Killer, that is. Right now they’re barely tolerating this.” 

Dream let out a long, wistful sigh. 

“It’ll happen. True love always finds a way.” He gave a sidelong look at Cross, who simply rolled his eyes. Ccino smiled and laughed. 

“I guess you’re right. But I think the day I’m allowed to finally meet Killer is the day Cross comes back from the dead.” 

“Then it’ll happen soon enough!” Dream grinned. He refused to let a small hurdle such as his one true love being dead and have lived over two hundred years ago stop him.   

“You got ‘em?” Nightmare asked the barista, who nodded and handed his boyfriend a paper bag. 

“Scones? Again?” Dream asked. 

“There’s three of them.” Nightmare explained, as if it were rudimentary science. “The spirit won’t be able to say no. No one can resist Ccino’s cranberry scones.” 


 

After finishing their coffees and bidding Ccino farewell, the two brothers headed off to their biggest seance yet. 

“You got everything?” Nightmare asked as they waited by the curb for their Uber driver. Dream nodded, motioning towards the backpack placed on his shoulders. 

“It’s all here!” He chirped happily. “I even packed it all last night, too!” 

“Because Cross told you to?” 

“...Because Cross told me to.” 

The spirit of the same name was currently residing in the locket, resting until they arrived at the house. He was an integral part of their seances; not only did he help protect them in case there was a malicious spirit about, he could also speak with them and relay any information Dream wasn’t able to glean on his own. Sometimes the spirits preferred speaking with Cross since they felt the same deadness in his energy as their own, even the ones who didn’t know they were dead.

“Dream…” Nightmare started. 

“Please, Nightmare…” Dream sighed. “I get it enough from Cross; I don’t want to hear it from you too.” 

“But he’s right! You shouldn’t hold onto the hope that by some miracle he’ll come back to life and you can live happily ever after. You shouldn’t deny yourself for him.” 

“I’m not denying myself for him… He… He’s what I want. Even if I die without ever being married, as long as he’s by my side I don’t care. We can go into the afterlife together.” Dream looked down at his feet. 

There was a long pause between the two. 

“Nightmare…” Dream picked up once more in a somber whisper. “Do you think he loves me?” 

Nightmare crossed his arms, studying his twin brother who looked the same yet so different. Where Dream was fair, Nightmare was dark. Dream kept his blond, thick hair long and Nightmare’s dark hair was in a curly, messy mop on the top of his head, never reaching past the lobes of his ears. And at that moment, Dream’s pretty golden eyes held so much sadness that Nightmare wanted to turn and kick a trash can as if that would make it better. 

“Dream…” He began, his voice heavy. “It doesn’t matter-” 

“He’s dead.” 


 

As soon as they stepped up to the cute, two story house, Dream gently tapped on the heart shaped locket resting against his collarbone. Cross appeared next to him, pretending to yawn and rub at his eyes like a sleepy child. 

“What’d I miss?” He asked. 

A long, awkward car ride… Dream thought, frowning. 

He had gotten upset with his brother for not giving him the hope he was so desperately searching for and refused to speak to him the rest of the way there. 

The first mistake they made of the evening.  

Cross looked between Dream and his brother and sighed. He wanted to ask and to try and make it better, but from the pointed glare Nightmare was giving him, he knew it was better if he didn’t ask. 

Nightmare turned away and rang the doorbell, stepping back to wait for their hosts to invite them in. 

“Hello!” A happy seeming woman answered the door, her husband not far behind. “You must be Dream and Nightmare.” 

“Yes.” Dream smiled warmly, extending his hand to greet them with. “And you’re Toriel and Asgore?” 

“Yes.” Asgore moved aside to let them in. Looking curiously at them from the living room, glasses of lemonade in their hands, was another lovely couple. “And these are our friends, Undyne and Alphys. Alphys here is a bit of a skeptic, but we couldn’t find anyone else in time.” 

The second mistake of the evening.

“Oh, that should be fine.” Dream smiled warmly at them, giving them a small wave. “Your children are taken care of for the evening?” 

“Yes, they’re over at some other friend’s of our’s house. One of them would have rather been here, but he didn’t trust his brother with them on his own…” Toriel laughed. “But please, come in.” 

She ushered them into the living room, having them sit down on her plush couches. 

“Before we begin, can we go over the activity you’ve been experiencing?” Nightmare asked. Undyne and Alphys sat on the edges of their seats, eager to see a medium and exorcist at work. 

Dream glanced up at Cross and blinked twice, their signal for Cross to begin his own duties. 

The spirit moved about the room, never wanting to explore the entire house as that would leave him too far from the twins in case anything were to happen. 

“Well, it started when we moved in.” Asgore began. “About three days after we did, to be exact. Our youngest, Frisk, they were seeing a shadow move around their bedroom at night. Then Asriel began hearing noises, like someone walking up and down the stairs.” 

Dream smiled knowingly and nodded. 

“Children are often the first to spot paranormal activity. They're more receptive to it because of their age.” He explained. Sometimes children grew out of it.

Others didn’t. 

“It stayed that way for years.” Toriel continued. “We thought if it was a spirit, it wasn’t being very malicious and if that was the case we didn’t mind it being here so much... But…”   

“But, starting a couple of weeks ago there’s been a drastic change in its behavior. It’s started throwing things off the shelves and attacking us…” Asgore offered his own forearm where there were three scratches that were beginning to heal. “Even Asriel had some on his back. They weren’t as deep…” 

“Can spirits change suddenly, like that?” Toriel asked. 

“It’s not common, but it can happen if there’s been negative energy in the house.” Now it was Nightmare’s turn to weigh in. He looked up at Cross, who was just coming back from the other side of the room, carrying the spirit of a child clad in green and yellow stripes with rosey cheeks. 

“We’ll need to check for portals before we start.” Nightmare hesitated. 

“P-portals?” Alphys spoke up. Nightmare studied her. 

“Portals to the afterlife. They can open at times and lead other spirits into your home. I want to make sure there aren’t any so we can be sure it isn’t something new.” 

“‘Something’?” Undyne gaped. 

“Not everything going thump in the night is a ghost.” The darker twin calmly explained. 

Dream looked at Cross, blinking. The skeleton shook his head. 

“It’s not them.” He explained, looking to the child who whimpered and pushed their head into Cross’s shoulder. It was as if they were scared, no, terrified at what else was in this house. “Dream, I don’t have a good feeling about this.” 

Dream blinked three times. 

They would be staying. They needed to help these poor people and their well-mannered ghoul who just wanted to play with their children. He blinked once. 

“There’s a portal here.” Cross sighed long and loud. “In the basement. Of course .”

“Do you mind if we check the basement first?” Nightmare asked. The couple nodded. 

“Of course!” Toriel stood up, quickly followed by the rest of their guests. 

Cross gently set the child spirit down on the couch. 

“Stay here.” He told them. They nodded, covering their face in their hands. 

“Be careful…” They whispered. “ He’s scary.” 

“I’ve seen a lot of scary things.” Cross gently patted their head before following after his charges. 

As they descended the creaking stairs into the basement, Nightmare pulled his dousing pendulum from underneath his shirt. It was something Ink had made especially for him. A crystal of staurolyte, beautifully cut, was attached to a silver chain. It not only helped him with his work, but it provided him with extra protection when he was searching for dark auras, such as a portal. 

“Nightmare…” Cross growled as soon as they were in the small space. “I don’t like this. Be careful.” 

Nightmare blinked, acknowledging him. 

He dropped the pendulum down so it dangled from his fingers. He stayed as still as he could, watching it closely and making sure it hung neutrally before beginning to search for the portal. 

He moved about the room, following the pendulum’s swings until… 

He didn’t even have to get confirmation from the pendulum that he was in the right spot. The sudden coldness and feeling of dread that overwhelmed him was enough to tell him he had the right spot. 

“I’ve found it.” Nightmare announced. “Please step back. I’m going to begin sewing it closed.” 

The others did as they were told except for the guardian spirit who moved next to him. Cross pulled out his handy knife, which had luckily not disappeared when he vanquished the evil that had been in his childhood home. He stood at the ready, though he knew Nightmare was perfectly capable. He had closed many portals, though sometimes the angry, or evil spirit would become agitated in the process. That’s when Cross would step in. 

Nightmare closed his eyes. In his mind’s eye he was able to picture the portal, perfectly, and with his spiritual energy he summoned a metaphorical needle and thread. Slowly, with the care of a seamstress, he began moving the needle in one side of the portal and out the other, muttering a prayer of protection under his breath as he did so. He sealed the portal, feeling it melt away. 

Nothing would be getting through there again. 

A low, mutated but familiar chuckle echoed in his mind. 

I’ve found you again, Nightmare. 

Nightmare cried out, eye flinging open and his pendulum dropping to the floor with a soft clink. 

That was the third mistake of the night.  

A deafening noise surrounded the entire party, a mix of nails on chalkboard and the sound of an oncoming train. A wind picked up, moving them around in 70mph winds in the small confines of the basement. 

“Nightmare!” Dream cried, trying to keep his eyes open against the swirling dust in his eyes. He could hear the shrieks and yells of the family they had been trying to protect but there was no one he was worried about more than his brother at that moment. 

Through the slits in his eyes he was able to make out Nightmare clutching his head, his own scream of agony being lost in the symphony of other noises around them. Cross was moving about in a circle, trying to find the source and vanquish it. 

As if in slow motion, he watched Cross as his eye sockets widened and he snarled at something behind Dream, launching himself towards him. Dream slowly turned, trying to find what Cross had seen. His eyes widened. 

It was the figure that had stood in his brother’s bedroom closet all those years ago. But it seemed taller, stronger. It was laughing. No, cackling. Dream could see the victory in the slits that served as eyes. 

“You thought you could get rid of me?!” It hissed into Nightmare’s head, echoing into his guardian spirit’s and brother’s minds as well. “I’ll take what’s most precious to you as payment.” 

Cross jumped in front of Dream at the exact wrong moment. 

The figure howled in glee as his trick worked. It was able to move past Cross and Dream and head straight for Nightmare, moving into his open mouth and down his exposed throat. 

“Nightmare!” Dream screamed. 

Nightmare’s body went through a series of convulsions, as the entity got used to inhabiting a physical form once more. As soon as he was ready, he laughed, cackling, bringing his head up. Nightmare’s eyes now glowed a bright cyan, and when his mouth moved, another’s voice came out. 

“This is your punishment, ____. You killed me. YOU DESERVE THIS!” He screeched, his words pointed at Cross. 

The cry was so shrill and inhuman, Dream swayed on his feet. 

“C-Cross?” He asked, staring at his spirit through blurry eyes. 

But Cross wasn’t looking at him. 

He was staring at Nightmare, horrified. 

That’s when Dream lost consciousness.

Chapter Text

Nightmare only became aware of his situation when he woke up behind a dumpster the following morning at dawn, his head pounding so much that he rolled over and emptied the scarce contents of his stomach onto the pavement next to him. 

The memories of the night before slowly came drifting back while he blinked and stared blearily up at the brightening sky. 

He had been possessed. 

A fact. 

He didn’t know what happened once the entity had taken control of his body. 

This was a fairly likely situation for anyone being possessed when the demon was in control. 

The only thing was, 

He was still possessed. 

He could feel the thing, swirling within his mana. His douse was gone and he felt sick. The thing about being an exorcist is that you know everything about getting demons and evil spirits out of other people. Getting one out of yourself was another problem all together. 

He needed to find Dream and Cross. They could help him. 

You don’t need them. 

The disembodied voice echoed in his mind. 

Nightmare laughed sourly. 

“So you can talk? Strong enough to possess someone and speak with them but scared of the sun? What kind of demon are you?” 

The voice snarled and made Nightmare’s entire body writhe before settling down again. 

I’ll be stronger soon enough. With your life force and my strength, we can do anything together.

“Oh shove off.” Nightmare sighed. “You’re that thing that Cross was protecting us from when we were kids. What’d he do to piss you off so much?” 

He killed me. 

“Yeah, I got that. But only one of you turned into an evil spirit, so I think you were the one who fucked up.” Nightmare rolled over, slowly beginning to try and get to his feet. He needed to get back as soon as he could. He needed this thing out of his system. 

Cross was supposed to be yours. 

That got Nightmare to stop. 

“What?” 

The demon cackled. 

I can see your memories. You were supposed to win the necklace. But you gave it over to Dream. 

“Because I didn’t care. It turned out better anyway. Except that-” 

That your brother would rather spend his time with a dead man than with living creatures. Cross ruined your brother’s life. 

Nightmare sighed and laughed, pulling himself up. His legs shook from exertion. 

“You’re not going to get to me. I know how entities like you work. You want to feed on negative energy, but you’re talking out of your ass without knowing anything.” He started to walk, his feet feeling like lead. Had he ran all night? Where was he? 

He took out his cell phone, finding it to be at a lowly five percent. He shook his head, opening the GPS to find his own location. 

“You fucking ran to the next town over? That’s forty miles away!” 

I couldn’t have you so easily found by your brother. 

Nightmare rolled his eyes. 

“This is the modern age, old man. I have a cell phone.” He quickly called Dream, letting it ring until it went to voicemail. That made him worry, since if it was as bad as Nightmare thought it was, Dream should have been hanging onto his phone, waiting for him to call. 

“Hey, Dream. So I got possessed by a demon and he ran my body to the next town over. I’ll be headed back as soon as I find a bus station. My phone might be dead but I’ll be there soon. We’ll figure this out.” 

He hung up his phone. 

“Alright…” He began patting his pockets, hoping to find his wallet. “Goddamn it!” 

The voice laughed. 

“You fucking threw my wallet out!” 


 

It was his wedding day. 

He was coming up to the altar, watching all of his friends and family from the corners of his eyes. But all he really had eyes for was the man standing next to the preacher. The man’s head was angled so that the light shining through the window behind him nearly blacked out his face. 

Dream knew this man, but at the same time he didn’t recognize him. It was like having the essence of a word sitting on the tip of your tongue but you couldn’t quite taste it. 

In his confusion he turned around, finding that all of his loved ones had turned into piles of dust, their clothes buried haphazardly within it. 

He screamed, turning back to the altar. 

The preacher had turned into the shadow in his brother’s childhood bedroom, and the man now only had two glowing red eyes. On the other side of the evil entity was his brother with those piercing cyan eyes that could have lit the night sky. 

“They’re mine now, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” The creature hissed, laughing as if he had just won the final battle between good and evil. 

Dream, wake up. 

“N-No! I can’t! He has them!” Dream cried out. 

Dream!

“I can’t leave them!” 

I need you! 

As soon as Dream recognized that voice, his eyes flung open. 

He was lying in a hospital bed, an IV tube stuck into the back of his left hand. Cross had been sitting on his chest, staring at him with two red pin pricks in his eye sockets. It almost killed the medium to see him like that. After all those years of being able to relax, he had reverted to this state after one night… 

 “Nightmare?!” He cried, looking around the room. He found Ink and Error on one side of his bed, the only contacts in his phone the nurses could reach. 

The two looked at each other before shaking their heads. 

“We don’t know where he is. No one knows.” Ink sighed. 

“Cross?!” Dream wasn’t ready to give up. The skeleton moved back to give room for Dream to breathe. But only a little bit.

“I don’t know what happened to him. The energy he put out was so strong it even knocked me and the family’s child spirit out. When I came to, they were gone. The family called an ambulance for you.” He explained. 

“No one else has seen him.” Error tried again. “We made sure to ask Killer and Ccino. But-” 

“I’ll call him.” Dream wiggled about in bed until he could reach the bedside tray where his phone rested. “Look! He’s already called me!” 

He listened to the voicemail, then returned the call only for it to straight to voicemail itself. He pulled the phone away and hung up, sighing. 

“Good news, I know where he is. Bad news, it’s the neighboring town and his battery is dead. He said he was going to get on a bus as soon as he could… What?” 

Dream had caught the cringe that had come over Ink. 

“They found his wallet next to you… It’s right there.” The witch pointed once more to the bedside tray. 

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Dream cried and when Cross didn’t reprimand him for his language he knew the situation is dire. “How are we going to get my brother back?!” 

Ink’s face softened at bit as he smiled. 

“Well, luckily for your brother, he’s dating someone with an extremely keen sense of smell, and another who can transform into the fastest large cat on the planet. Together-” 

“No, no, no…” Dream’s eyes widened in horror and he began shaking his head. “We can NOT ask them to do that! It’ll break the code and they’re already on thin ice because of Nightmare!” 

“We didn’t ask them to,” Error sighed, “They decided to do it themselves.” 

 


 

Killer was hunched over what looked to be an extremely overgrown tiger that was yet as lithe as a leopard and faster than a cheetah, holding onto its fur as he lifted his nose into the air. He could tell the path Nightmare had gone and it seemed the spirit possessing him had taken extra care to avoid busy roads and street lamps altogether. They bumbled through brush, his clothes snagging on remiss twigs. 

“His scent’s getting stronger.” Killer relayed into the other’s rounded ears. The giant cat nodded. “And we’re getting close to a city so we’ll need to stop soon.” 

It was a few more miles before they stopped, Ccino’s fur slick with sweat. They paused in a rather discreet part of the woods just outside the city’s limits. The werecat transformed into his human form while Killer turned his back, handing a backpack with clothes in it to the other over his shoulder. 

After dressing, Ccino and the werewolf walked into the city, Killer’s nostrils flared as he tried to catch Nightmare’s scent. Luckily, there weren’t many people out at this hour, since they had begun searching almost immediately after receiving word that Nightmare couldn’t be located or contacted. 

Ccino, though tense and apprehensive, hadn’t thought much about risking his life to go after his boyfriend. Simply being in this close of proximity to Killer was treason, but nothing mattered more than getting Nightmare back, and the two of them needed each other to get the task done. 

“Is he still here?” He asked quietly. 

“Yeah… The scent’s getting really strong now. I think he’s pretty close.” Killer turned down a street, then into the alley where Nightmare had spent the rest of the night. “He was here recently.” 

“Wow… You’re so amazing, Killer.” Ccino smiled softly. All he could do was continue with him, following behind. His part was finished and now it was up to Killer to find their boyfriend. 

“Heh.” Killer shook his head. “It’s just what I was born with. Any ol’ wolf could do this.” 

Ccino shook his head. 

“You’re more than what you were born with.” He shrugged. “I just want to find him safe.” 

“Me too, kitty.” Killer frowned and took a deep breath in through his nose. “This way.” 

He led them out the opposite end of the alley and onto the sidewalk, turning to the right. 

Nightmare hadn’t gotten far. 

In fact, he had just gotten to a bus stop and sat on the bench, staring out into the mess of buildings. 

“Nightmare!” Ccino cried and ran forward. Nightmare turned his head, blinking several times at them before grinning and doing his best to stand up. 

“Guys?!” He cried, quickly wrapping his arms around them in a group hug. Then he pushed them back, staring at them horrified. “You guys can’t be here like this!” 

“Yeah, we know.” Killer sighed, shrugging. “But you kinda disappeared without a trace and-” 

“And you’re so much more important than some kind of war that no one knows the reason for anymore.” Ccino finished. “We love you too much to just let you run around with a spirit inside of you.” 

Nightmare laughed, embarrassed. 

“I’m terrified for the two of you, but I’m so glad to see you. The spirit made me come all the way out here on my own. Like, it made me run all the way here. It wants me to be isolated.” He explained.

Killer threw an arm around his shoulder and Ccino wrapped an arm around his waist. 

“You’ll always have us.” Ccino said, smiling. “Now come on, we have to catch a bus.” 

“...You didn’t drive here?” Nightmare frowned. 

“No.” Killer sighed. “I can’t exactly sniff you out from a car window.” 

“Though, the image is kind of humorous.” Ccino shrugged. “But come on. We need to get back soon. Dream’s in the hospital.” 

“Dream’s in the hospital?!” Nightmare cried. 

“He passed out after…” Killer gave Nightmare a sideways glance while they began to walk down the sidewalk. “You know.” 

“But Ink and Error are taking care of him. Error said that Ink said that he’ll be fine. The doctors just wanted to hold him overnight to monitor him because they couldn’t find anything wrong. Ink said his chakra was off, so he balanced it. He should be waking up any minute now.” 

Nightmare sighed in relief. 

“I guess no one knows how Cross is?” 

Ccino shook his head sadly. 

“Unfortunately, only the two of you can see him. Ink did say there was an aura hovering above Dream.” 

“Sounds like him.” Nightmare laughed. “Cross wouldn’t leave my brother open while there’s a literal demon residing in me.” 

“Are you jealous?” Killer quirked an eyebrow. 

“I’m scared.” Nightmare admitted. “Terrified, actually.” 

“I think Cross is too.” 


 

Dream laid on his bed, wet hair splayed around him. He felt clean after his shower once he had been discharged from the hospital, yet he still felt so vulgar. 

Killer had let Nightmare use his phone to call him and let him know they were on their way back. He was so relieved he had cried on the phone and he could almost hear Nightmare rolling his eyes. 

He was relieved Nightmare was safe. 

But it was only a temporary safety. 

Nightmare told him he believed the entity was weak against daylight, so once nighttime came he would take control of his body once more and use that time to try and get stronger. They needed to start making preparations for the night. Hopefully they would be able to find some way to keep him indisposed where he couldn’t get stronger.

 Ink was going to talk to his fathers, who both would probably have pretty good ideas on how best to combat the spirit. Unfortunately, they were out of the country at the moment, performing other works of magic in Europe as Halloween drew nearer. It was en vogue to go abroad for the holiday, as of late. They wouldn’t be able to perform the expulsion ceremony, but at least they could give advice on how to make it more successful. 

Now that Dream had some downtime, he decided to try and mull the events of the night before. 

He knew they had made mistakes. His and Nightmare’s connection hadn’t been as strong as it could have, seeing as how Dream had gotten pissy right before the seance. There was a skeptic in the house, which was never good, but they hadn’t even had time to do the ceremony. Nightmare had dropped his pendulum, which Dream had gotten back, but he had lost the protection it had provided. 

But the final mistake had been made by Cross. 

Dream opened his eyes just enough so he could see Cross at the foot of his bed, staring at him with those glowing red eyes. He hadn’t let himself put his guard down since the attack. He had been tricked, and the medium knew the spirit blamed himself for Nightmare’s possession. If he hadn’t… 

If he hadn’t moved towards Dream and instead went to Nightmare, the most logical target, he could have fended off the attack. 

“I’ll take what’s most precious to you as payment.” 

That’s what the entity had said. 

Then Cross had pounced on him to block the oncoming attack. 

He slowly opened his eyes all the way. 

“Cross?” He asked. 

The skeleton didn’t move nor speak. 

“Cross…” Dream sighed and slowly sat up so he could look the skeleton in eyes properly. “Cross, it’s not your fault.” 

“It is my fault.” Cross simply stated, his Irish accent even thicker now that he was distressed. “I should have known he would go after Nightmare. Nightmare is more in tune with the dark. He’s an easier target.”

“It’s okay, Cross. We’ll work it out.” Dream tried to smile for him. 

“I’ll get your brother back.” Cross agreed. “No matter what.” 

“Cross…” Dream sighed. “You don’t have to be so sacrificial. We’ll get Nightmare back. Exorcisms are pretty easy nowadays.” 

Cross’s mouth grew into a snarl. 

“But it shouldn’t have happened!” Cross growled. “And I murdered whoever it was when I was alive! It has a personal vendetta against me for something I can’t remember doing!” 

Dream looked at him sadly, waiting for him to continue. He was glad Cross was finally letting it out, but he hated to see him in so much distress. 

“It knew me. It knew my name!” Cross cried out. “But it’s like I’m not allowed to know! I can’t even remember it! That must be my punishment for killing someone in cold blood. If I had never done that in life, this wouldn’t be happening when I was dead.” 

Dream quickly scrambled over to him, wanting to be near though he knew he couldn’t offer Cross any form of physical comfort. But he sat beside him anyway, giving him the physical closeness. 

“Cross, you’re not, and you weren’t, a bad person.” He said quietly. Cross glowered at him, but he wasn’t deterred in the slightest. “You don’t have that energy in you. You became a protective spirit in death; bad people don’t become those. If anything, you might have killed him to protect someone else. You’re not bad, Cross.” 

Cross looked away. He was silent for several moments before he looked back to the human, seeming defeated. 

“What if I am a bad person and I’ve just fooled you?” He asked. Dream smiled. 

“Then you wouldn’t be asking yourself that question.” 

“...Dream, I still know him from somewhere. I’m still going to put you in danger. You should throw the locket away.” 

Dream instinctively reached up, cupping the locket in his hand. 

“Never. Never in a hundred years. Never in a thousand!” 

Cross had to laugh at that. 

“You’ve always been a little on the silly side. I guess that’s why…” 

“Why…?” Dream tilted his head. Cross sighed and turned away. 

“Why I latched onto you more than him.” 

Dream laughed. 

“You think that’s it? And not that I monopolized you our entire childhood and forced you to like me more?” 

That earned a laugh out of the skeleton. He shook his head. 

“I get the feeling my life was very somber and serious. I imagine it must be nice to spend my death next to someone who is so positive and delightful.” 

Dream blushed and fidgeted. 

“It’s nice being around you too... “ He offered, unsure of what to say to such an enormous compliment from the usually serious spirit. “Do you… when this is all over, want to find out who you are?” 

Cross studied him. 

“I think we’re going to find out before that.” 

“...” Dream sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t think to look sooner.” 

“It’s fine, my dear.” Cross smiled at him. “It didn’t matter until now.” 

“What do you mean?” 

“It didn’t matter because I knew I was supposed to be with you. And that’s all I needed.” 

Dream laughed sadly. 

“Yeah… That’s all I need too.” 

 


 

Everyone met  at Ink’s shop, which closed early so they could have a war meeting in the back room. They timed it so Error could go and pick up the bus-traveling trio when they came into town, as Dream didn’t know how to drive and couldn’t do it himself, though he was dying to see his brother again. 

He sat in the room, after drinking another cup of Ink’s atrocious energy cleansing tea and now had another type of tea in front of him, wondering and worrying about his brother. 

Ink hadn’t looked exactly hopeful when he showed up, and he chattered on for much too long about nothing, alerting Dream to the fact he was nervous. The witch had bad news, and Dream didn’t want to hear it. 

He felt pressure on his shoulder and looked up, seeing Cross looking down at him worriedly. He smiled slightly. 

“Thanks…” He whispered, knowing that it took a lot of energy to summon a hand. 

“They’re here!” Ink called, coming back into the room. “Oh, you look like shit. Is it cold in here? Like a sudden chill…” 

“Thanks, and that’s just Cross.” Dream sighed as he stood up. “He’s on high alert right now, so his energy is getting oppressive.” 

After a pointed look from Cross he quickly added, 

“For others. I’m fine.” He assured the spirit, smiling. “You’re never too much for me.” 

Cross simply shook his head and the two followed Ink back out of the room. Dream didn’t wait for the others to come in; as soon as he saw the car doors open, he ran out through the front door, the chime tinkling behind him. 

“Nightmare!” He cried, arms outstretched to embrace his twin. 

“Dream, wait!” Cross yelled, but it was too late. 

Dream flung himself into his brother’s arms, only to cry out and jump back. 

“You shocked me.” He said, rubbing his arms with his hands. Nightmare frowned and looked to Killer and Ccino. 

“It didn’t hurt you guys to hug me, did it?” He asked. Ccino shook his head. 

“Not at all.” Killer frowned. 

“It must be our energies.” Nightmare said through gritted teeth. “I’m too dark, and you’re too light.” 

Dream crossed his arms and pouted, almost wanting to blame Ink’s tea for not being able to hug his own brother, but he knew a simple tea wouldn’t have been able to do that. 

“It’s for the best.” Cross said softly. “You need to be…” 

“Pure?” Dream huffed. Cross shook his head. 

“As strong as you can.” The spirit turned to Nightmare. “I’m so sorry, for not protecting you. It’s my duty and I failed. Nightmare, I… I’ll make sure it gets out of you. I promise.” 

Nightmare smiled softly. 

“It’s okay, Cross. But you should know this thing is extremely pissed at you. It’s trying to turn me against you, and I’m sure it’ll turn on Dream as soon as it realizes…” He stopped, frowning. He couldn’t think it. That would only let the demon know. It had been quiet since Ccino and Killer had found him, but he knew it was still lurking in the back of his mind. He could feel it. 

“Realizes what?” Dream asked, tilting his head. Cross shook his head. 

“It doesn’t matter. It only matters that we need to be vigilant.” Cross sighed, thankful that Nightmare hadn’t allowed himself to say it. If Dream heard it, Cross would never be able to kick the poor guy’s fascination with him. 

“Come on, let’s go inside.” Error gently commanded, trying to get the small crowd into his boyfriend’s shop rather than out on the sidewalk where the entire town could just eavesdrop. 

Once they were inside, Ink locking the door and dimming the lights behind them, they went into the back room and settled down, Archimedes cawed as if calling the meeting to order. 

“Alright, I spoke to my dads,” Ink started. “And there’s good news and bad news.” 

“Can we have the good news?” Dream asked. 

“The good news is it seems like the demon can be expelled.” Ink grinned and clasped his hands. 

“The bad news is that it’s going to take a shit load of work. But, I have a list of things we need to do. The first thing is we need its name. It said Cross killed it, so it was once human and has a name. Then we need to figure out what it’s hanging onto in this world. Cross seems to be part of it, so we probably have to figure out who Cross was.” 

The witch who also called himself an artist stopped to take a breath. 

“Then we need to find a priest learned in the ways of exorcism that is as powerful as Geno was, if not stronger.” 

“So we basically have to do the impossible.” Nightmare stated. 

Error looked at his shoes.

They all knew Geno was the strongest exorcising priest for five hundred miles. The best they were going to be able to do in the meantime was to try to find someone to fly out to their small town. 

Considering Geno was indisposed of at the moment.

“At least there’s no deadline.” Dream smiled. “We need to do it as quickly as possible, but we know we’ve got some time.” 

“That’s the other bad news.” Ink tried to ease his way in. 

“You didn’t say there was a second bad news!” Killer snarled, almost jumping out of his seat. Nightmare gently stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. Ccino simply clutched onto his hand and squeezed tightly. 

“How long do we have?” The barista asked. 

“Exactly until midnight on Halloween.” Ink sighed, rubbing his cheek. “It has to possess the host successfully for seven days, which it can then fully take over. But the thing is, if it did it on Halloween, it would be even stronger.” 

“So it waited.” Cross growled. 

“So it waited?” Dream voiced for him. 

“Waited, maybe. It definitely knew enough to target a house to summon you there.” Ink grimaced. “It’s powerful. And pissed. We’ve got our work cut out for us.” 

“What can we do right now?” Ccino asked, trying to keep his voice even. 

“It’s already mid-afternoon…” Error flicked his eyes up to the clock. “There’s only so much we can do before nighttime hits. What we need to focus on today is making sure Nightmare’s secure for the night.” 

“Yeah, we don’t want him running off again.” Killer scowled. “What do you suggest?” 

“I’m… Suggesting the three of us,” Error looked from Ccino to Killer, “Find a place to tie him up for the night.” 

“I’m not tying my boyfriend up.” Killer huffed. “Unless he asks to be.” 

“I’m asking you now, tie me up.” Nightmare huffed. “I’m a danger to myself and others if I lose control, and I’ll try not to let myself, but if the spirit gains control and I’m free… I can probably get away from you two. Even in your other forms.” 

“...” Ccino looked at him sadly. “I don’t like the idea of seeing you all tied up, but it’s better than not knowing where you are, if you’re hurt, or worse…” 

“I don’t like to admit it, but the kitty has a point.” Killer sighed. “I guess we’ll tie you up tonight.” 

“We can use the basement at the cafe.” Ccino added. “It’s soundproof.” 

“Why is it sound proof?” Dream asked. Ccino laughed. 

“I’m a healer, too, when there’s no one else for the other cats to go to. Healing isn’t exactly peaceful for us.” He shrugged. 

“Okay, so it’s settled then.” Ink sighed. “Error, Killer, and Ccino will help set up Nightmare for the night. Killer and Ccino, will you watch him? There’s only so much Error can do.” 

“Of course.” Killer nodded. “We’re also the only ones who can track him down if he gets loose.” 

“Me and Cross will start the research.” Dream decided. 

“I can help you.” Ink grinned. “I was going to suggest that we three go to town hall…” 

Dream shook his head, smiling sadly. 

“I think this is something Cross and I should do alone, but thank you Ink. You’ve already done so much.” 

Ink studied him, frowning, before nodding slowly. 

“Okay, but don’t get any weird ideas without talking to me first. We’ll meet back here first thing in the morning.” Ink decided, unusually taking on a leadership role. 

“Got it.” Dream nodded. 

“We’ll be here.” Killer confirmed, moving out of his seat and helping both Nightmare and Ccino out of theirs. 

“Good luck, everyone.” Ink waved them off. 

It was going to be a long night. 

 


 

“What’s at town hall?” Cross asked, floating beside Dream as he raced towards the building. Their town was old, but rather small, so he knew he wouldn’t have to go too far to get to the building. But running was hard, seeing as how he wasn’t one for exercising unnecessarily. 

“Records of everyone that’s ever lived in any house!” Dream panted, trying to keep his quick pace. “We’ll at least be able to narrow it down to some names. Then we can go to the library and look at the old newspapers.” 

“...” Cross frowned. “But we don’t even know who I am. What if I didn’t live in the house? Just killed the person who lived there?” 

“Then we should find a story about you, killing whoever our spirit is now. I know you’re worried, but it’ll be okay!” Dream was starting to slow down, his legs unable to carry him all the way. 

“How are you remaining so positive during this?” Cross asked. 

“The alternative is worse.” Dream took in deep gulps of air as he walked, his heart beginning to slow down. “You should think positively too. It’ll take some years out of those bones.” 

Cross sighed and rolled his eye lights, following the peppy human up the steps to the front doors. Once inside, Dream asked for directions to the records department, using the elevator to head to the basement floor. 

“Hi, I’m needing records of people who lived in my house? Or who lived on the land before the house was built?” He asked as he approached the front desk. 

“Sure, just fill out this form.” The woman handed him a clipboard and once the paperwork was done, asked him to have a seat while she prepared the files. 

While she was gone, Dream looked to Cross. 

“Do you have any idea when you died?” 

The skeleton shook his head. 

“None.” 

“Hm… Your clothes look like they’re from the 1800s… I guess we can start there.” Dream nodded to himself just as the woman came back with a stack of printed pages.

“Alright, sweetie.” She called him over and he jumped up, going back to the desk. “It’s a bit of a long one; the property’s pretty old. Now, the only names listed here are the property owners, not any children or other relatives who lived in the house.” 

Dream gingerly took the stack of heavy papers held together with several binder clips and one strained rubberband, holding it close to his chest. 

“Thank you so much! And this goes back all the way to the 1800s?” He asked. 

She looked at him for a moment, unsure of him before nodding. 

“All the way back to when the town started keeping records. Which was about… 1782, I believe.” She nodded to herself. Dream grinned. 

“Thank you so much!” He said, turning to walk back out. 

“Be careful,” The receptionist called after him. “Most people don’t like what they see when they get the papers for the house. Lots of moving in and out.” 

Dream looked over his shoulder and gave her a calming smile. 

“Don’t worry, I’ve already solved that problem.” 

 


 

Dream had decided to take an Uber back home, not wanting to carry the huge packet in his arms for miles. He hadn’t been paying attention when the car pulled up to get him, for he had been busy leafing through the pages. He didn’t want to waste a spare minute. 

“Dream?” The driver called through his open window. 

“Oh, yes!” He quickly looked up, then took a step back in fright when he saw the driver. 

“Sorry, Fresh! I wasn’t expecting you.” He laughed nervously, opening the door and sliding into the backseat. “They’re letting you drive now?” 

“No one has ta let me do anythin’.” Fresh reminded him, changing gears and starting on their way back to Dream’s home. 

“Right…” Dream averted his gaze. 

Fresh was Error’s youngest brother who had died in unfortunate circumstances at the age of three. Error and Geno had decided to practice their necromancy skills on their darling little brother. 

Some things should stay dead. 

When Fresh woke up, he wasn’t Fresh. In fact, his body had started to live once more, but his spirit had already wandered off to the light, leaving the body to sit there without rotting. Necromancy was a tricky business, and animals are generally a much safer bet at reanimating rather than bringing a human being back to life. If a human spirit has already crossed over, all the spells will do is reanimate the body, letting it sit until something came along to take control of it. 

In Fresh’s case, it turned out to be a parasite that had lost its way home, eating out one of the body’s eyeballs and taking up residence in its eye socket. It was able to connect to the brain of its host and thus began controlling it. It knew enough about the human world to know that a multi-limbed individual residing in an eye socket of a toddler wasn’t something quite normal, so it outfitted itself with a pair of peculiar sunglasses that it had grown rather attached to over the years. 

The family didn’t notice anything was wrong until reports of neighborhood pets missing only to be found with their bodies horribly mutilated in something’s raucous feeding frenzy. The dots weren’t entirely connected until the day the family found Error’s pet raven hanging in the body’s mouth. 

The brothers swore off necromancy for the rest of their lives, then taught the creature hiding in their brother how to act. Their mother began serving Fresh raw meat rather than cooked, solving the problem of the missing pets for good. 

“What have you been up to?” Dream asked, trying to fill the air between them. 

“Jus’ workin’. Gotta make a livin’, yo.” Fresh nodded. 

To be quite honest, Dream hardly ever understood a single word the parasite said. 

“How’s Geno?” 

“Under da care of Da Reaper.” Fresh’s smile faltered. 

“Still?” Dream sighed. 

“Da Reaper won’t give ‘im up ta no one.” 

They sat in silence for the rest of the way, Dream having kicked up wounds Fresh would have rather not thought about. Fresh may have not been the brother they meant to conjure, but he became part of the family all the same and had grown close to Geno. Error still didn’t quite forgive him for killing Archimedes, though he resurrected the raven shortly after his death.

The fact that The Reaper had control over Geno was unsettling for everyone who cared for him. They weren’t even allowed to know what happened to him. Simply that he was unconscious. 

It had been that way for two years now. 

Fresh pulled up to the twins’ childhood home. Nightmare had moved out, but Dream had stayed until their mother passed. They agreed Dream would keep the title to the home, with Nightmare able to come and go as he pleased. 

“Thanks, Fresh.” He said as he opened the door and hopped onto the street. 

“No problemo, bro.” Fresh gave him a small wave as Dream closed the door before driving off. 

“He speaks in tongues.” Cross frowned. 

“I think he watched a lot of Fresh Prince when he was a kid… I think.” Dream sighed and moved to the door, unlocking it and tossing his backpack down. “Alright, now we can get down to business.” 

He sat at the long dining room table, papers spread before him. 

“Wow… She wasn’t kidding when she said there were a lot of people moving in and out… About every six months…” 

Cross looked at the pages over his shoulder. 

“I remember them… Those families. It was always worse when there were children.” 

“Why was it so obsessed with children?” Dream frowned. 

“Children usually see spirits much easier… Though you two were the only ones who could see me.” 

“What do you mean? I was sure the others saw you.” 

Cross shook his head. 

“No… They could see the other one, but never me.” 

“That’s so weird.” Dream’s frown deepened. “I know that we’re special, but we’re not that special. Kids can usually see all the spirits in the house.” 

“It must be something to do with the other spirit. We must be more connected than I thought.” 

“Yeah…” Dream sighed and quickly began shuffling through the papers, a newfound sense of urgency pulsing through him. “Hah! Here’s the 1800s!” 

He splayed the short pages before them, looking down it. 

“Huh, that’s strange… No one lived in it for almost fifty years, just after…” He paused, squinting. 

“Just after Dr. W. D. Gaster vacated it.” 

The sound of the name sent chills down Cross’s spine and a ringing picked up in his ears. Images began flashing through his mind: first, the imagine of a kind-looking man with glasses smiling at him, then one of himself gripping a large kitchen knife in one hand and a golden locket in the other. 

He gasped. 

“That’s him. That’s the man I murdered.” 

“Are you sure?” Dream asked. 

“Yes… I saw… memories. I must have stabbed him to death… Dream, he looked so kind. He wasn’t bad before I made him that way.” He spilled, stumbling over himself as he spoke. 

“Cross, no.” Dream quickly refuted. “Remember, you’re not bad. You only have a few memories. We don’t know everything.” 

“I know… I know I killed a gentle man, Dream!” 

“Cross… You didn’t.” 

“Dream, you are blinded by love. I’m evil. I only have forgotten.” 

“CROSS!” Dream screamed, letting the sound echo off the rafters. “I would never fall in love with someone like that! I don’t have to know your history to know you are, and were, a good person.” 

Cross frowned, but seemed defeated. 

“Dream…” 

“If you’re going to say you’re a terrible person again, I’m gonna make you stand in the corner and repeat, ‘I’m a good little spirit.’” 

Cross laughed, shaking his head. 

“I wasn’t going to… I trust your judgement…” He sighed. “I suppose this is quite scary for me… Figuring out who I was after centuries of not knowing.” 

Dream smiled softly, aching to pull Cross close and hold him tightly. 

“I’m sure it is… I’ll be here with you. I promise.” 

Cross settled in, reaching forward and gently covering Dream’s hand with his, summoning energy to make sure the other felt it. Dream could have cried. 

It was the first time Cross had touched his skin. 

“Thank you, Dream.” He whispered. 

“Of course, Cross…” He let himself fantasize about kissing a dead man who was presenting himself as a skeleton for the briefest of moments before adding, 

“Tomorrow, we’ll go to the library and figure out who he is. And hopefully, you too.” 

“I can’t wait, dearest.” 


Error, Killer, and Ccino worked tirelessly to secure Nightmare for the night. 

Ccino had found a sturdy chair to strap him to, and when Error brought out the chain, Killer snarled, 

“Are those really necessary?” 

To which Error shrugged. 

“Not if you don’t mind trying to find him again.” 

Killer shut his mouth. 

Error went about his business, burning sage and beginning to cleanse the basement, corner to corner. Then he lined the top of the door frame with salt Ink had blessed just that day. 

“That’s about all I can do for you…” Error sighed. 

“Can’t you cast a spell of protection?” Ccino asked. 

“My magic doesn’t work like that. It’s much darker, and it would probably only strengthen him.” 

“Then why didn’t Ink come?” Killer frowned. Error gave him a pointed look. 

“His magic doesn’t work like that, either. He may be the son of two of the most powerful magic wielders in the Western hemisphere, but he’s adopted. Nothing he could spell would be able to keep that thing put.” 

“Right.” Ccino gently put a hand on Killer’s arm, hoping to calm him. It seemed to work, if only slightly. “So now, it’s up to us.” 

“Now it’s up to you.” Error confirmed. “Sunset is soon… Will you be okay here all night?” 

Ccino nodded. 

“We’ve got everything we could ever need in the building, but I’ll make sure to grab some things from upstairs before sundown.” 

“Good. And call us if anything happens, not Dream.” 

“Why not Dream?” Nightmare frowned. 

“Do you want him to see you like that?” Error scowled. Nightmare simmered. “Thought so. Besides, if Cross missteps again, that thing might try to take him instead, if it’s stronger.” 

“Because of his white magic?” Nightmare asked. 

“Because it’d piss Cross off more.” Error shrugged, and Nightmare tried not to recoil from the sting in his words. “You know what I meant.” 

“I know…” Nightmare sighed. “I think this thing is trying to make me jealous of them.” 

“We know you’re not…” Ccino started. “But it makes sense why it would try. It’s probably pumping you full of negative energy.” 

“Just know we’ll be here for you.” Killer gently ruffled his hair. 

“Alright, I’m going to head out.” Error began to back away. “Remember, as soon as he’s himself again, get him to the shop. Ink and I are going to stay there tonight, in case anything happens.” 

“Got it.” Ccino chimed. “I’ll follow you out so I can lock doors and get some things.” 

After the two of them had ascended the steps back into the cafe, Killer turned to Nightmare. 

“Are you okay?” He asked. 

“What do you think?” Nightmare huffed. 

“Dumb question, I get it.” 

“Does your pack know you’re here…?”

“...” Killer sighed. “Horror and Dust know I’m helping you. They don’t know…” 

“About Ccino?” 

“About… kitty.” Killer frowned and exasperatedly ran his hand through his hair. “Look, Nightmare, you really need to be less concerned about my wellbeing and more about yours.” 

“They’ll kill you, Killer.” 

“Only if they find out.” Ccino said as he stepped back to the room with a tray of water bottles and snacks in his hands. “I know this isn’t the best situation, but considering the circumstances…” 

“It’s still dumb as hell, you guys.” Nightmare growled. Ccino smiled. 

“It’s because we love you, you know?” He set his things down before going back to the human, cupping his cheek in his hand. “Just trust us, okay?” 

Nightmare grumbled and pouted, but slowly nodded. 

“There’s no one I’d rather have by my side.” He said softly. 

“Alright, everyone. Let’s get settled in. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long night.” Killer clapped his hands together. 

“Let me get the snacks.” Ccino said cheerily. 


 

 The night was slow to begin, but as the clock got closer to midnight, the fun began. 

The two predators watched their boyfriend, almost without blinking, for hours on end. The conversation had stalled when Nightmare had drifted off to sleep, as uncomfortable as his bindings were. Ccino’s pupils had become large discs even though the light remained on. They felt that their vigilance might help keep the spirit at bay, though neither were really sure. The two of them were creatures, not necessarily of magic. 

“Ugh…” Nightmare groaned his head lolling to one side before he began coughing. “I don’t feel so good, you guys…” 

“What is it?” Killer asked. 

Nightmare didn’t have time to answer before his stomach heaved and out of his mouth came gushing black liquid. It came out fast and hard, like a bath’s faucet on its highest setting. 

“What the fuck?!” The werewolf cried, jumping to his feet, his body already beginning to change without his consent, hair rising quickly on his forearms.  

“Killer!” Ccino cried, also standing, but hoping he would calm down before taking his true form. 

Killer’s transformation only paused, as Nightmare coughed one last time, letting the last of the sludge fall out. 

“Oh God…” The human groaned. “What the hell is it?” 

“It’s not blood, but it smells fucking disgusting…” Killer’s nose scrunched and he shook his head as if trying to get the scent out. 

“It’s moving!” Ccino yelped, pointing to the puddle as it began moving up Nightmare’s chair’s legs. 

“Get it off!” Nightmare shrieked, trying to jump back in his chair, only serving to knock it unsteady until he fell into the puddle, his head hitting the slime with a resounding ‘smack.’ 

“Nightmare!” Killer cried, diving forward and trying to pull the sludge off his boyfriend, but it clung to him like an attacking dog with a locked jaw. 

“Fuck! Nightmare!” That didn’t stop Killer from trying. 

“Killer! You’re making it worse!” Ccino his side into Killer’s, throwing him off their boyfriend. “Nightmare…”

He looked down at him, writhing as the slime crawled over his body, claiming him. He was gasping like a fish thrown onto the floor of a boat, writhing just the same. 

“Ccino,,,. Killer…” Nightmare gasped, defeat in his voice. “It’s going to be okay… You’re going to figure this out…” 

“Nightmare, no…” Ccino’s eyes began filling with tears, 

“I love you guys.” Nightmare sighed. “And tell Dream I love him too.” 

And with a final, piercing cry that was neither human nor animal, Nightmare was fully enveloped in the liquid. 

“Nightmare!” Killer cried. 

Nightmare’s eyes opened, revealing the glowing cyan irises from the night before. He grinned up at them, laughing. 

“He’s mine now.”

Chapter Text

Nightmare was put through a night of attempted emotional torture. 

The problem was, the exorcist clung to snippets of his life that he remembered while he was thrust into memory after memory, the spirit residing inside of him wanting to turn him into a source of power. 

He was only mildly aware of his body moving, but he knew he wasn’t the one controlling it. This must have been what the demon saw all day long, and Nightmare tried to muddle through the wispy energy surrounding himself and trying to pull him deeper into the blackness. 

The first memory the spirit put him through was when he gave Dream the locket Cross was attached to. Unfortunately for the spirit, it went a little too far back and Nightmare was able to catch a glimpse of the spirit they had helped Cross send away, only to realize they hadn’t sent it away. It was residing in him, in the present moment. 

He laughed. 

“You’re pathetic.” He mused. “How far are you going to take this to get revenge on Cross?” 

He heard a snarl and then it felt like he had been physically tugged into the next memory, the spirit not wanting to continue with something so personal for it. It seemed the spirit had a bit more control now, and plopped him down into a memory Nightmare was always fond of. 

He was still a child but older, and he was playing video games while Cross watched. But something about the memory moving around him was off, like he was looking through it with fogged glass lenses.

He and Cross were having fun, then Dream walked in and called for Cross, ending their time together. Cross always chose Dream, hadn’t he?

Nightmare shook his head. 

That hadn’t been his own thought.

He could feel panic rising in his stomach. What other distorted memories would the spirit throw at him? What if he got him? What if he provided the spirit with enough energy to completely take over his body?

He paused, trying to calm down. He couldn’t let himself get worked up and afraid, for that was only another way to fuel the spirit. He pulled up the memory the spirit had shown him, only from the beginning this time. 

“What is that, there?” Cross asked as he came into the room. 

Nightmare was sitting in front of a spare TV their mother had let him hook up a video game system to. 

“It’s a video game.” Nightmare explained. Cross took a seat next to him. 

“And what does that mean?” 

“This thing,” The child pointed to the gray box. “Goes into there,” He moved his finger to the TV, which Cross did know about, “And then,” 

He held up his controller. 

“I press the buttons on here and the characters on the screen move! I can fight bad guys and make them pay for all the bad things they did!” 

Cross tilted his head, watching the screen as Nightmare demonstrated. 

“The little man does kind of look like you.” The ghost admitted with a soft smile. 

“Wanna try? I’ll help you!” Nightmare grinned, putting the controller down on the carpet before him. 

Cross studied it, then felt Nightmare pushing his energy into him without him asking and laughed. 

“Okay, I’ll try it.” He conceded, summoning energy to his fingertips and pressing a button. Then another. Then he was moving the joystick and laughing, finding the whole scenario absurd and whimsical, but magical all the same. Nightmare laughed with him, egging him on. 

“Punch that guy! Faster!” He coached. 

“Cross!” Dream called from another room before appearing in the doorway. “I need some help with my math-” 

He stopped and gasped. 

“Oh my gosh!” He grinned, running up to them. “Go Cross, go!”  

Nightmare could feel the spirit recoiling at the happy memory he had tried to taint.     

“You won’t get me.” He called out into the void. 

He felt a clenching in his chest. He would have vomited if he were in control of his body. 

“No, you sick fuck!” He yelled. “I’m not jealous of them!” 

He thought about his boyfriends, who were probably going apeshit at the moment, and let those thoughts carry him into serenity. The moments they met, their first dates, the way Killer could make him laugh no matter what and Ccino’s sweet disposition, always willing to help him. 

He was once again wracked with sickness trying to pull him into despair. 

“Yeah it’s fucking weird my brother’s in love with a dead man.” He laughed bitterly. “He doesn’t listen to me. Too bad Cross protected him instead of me. You might have had better luck, idiot.” 

Not the wisest words, but Nightmare wasn’t one for caring about what an evil spirit possessing his body cared. If anything, he wished to rile it up so it would make a mistake and slip. He could feel the spirit was on the cusp of becoming enraged because the next wave of illness took him to another memory, this one the first time he realized Dream’s affections were returned. 

The negative emotions filling him up weren’t made by the spirit. But he could tell the spirit had brought him to this moment because it thought Nightmare had been jealous. 

It was at their twentieth birthday party, the two of them surrounded by their friends and other loved ones. 

“Oh! I forgot to get Nightmare’s gift! Hang on!” Dream spun around, a bit too quickly, but Cross was able to catch him just in time. “Thanks, Cross.” 

Dream went on to his bedroom, while the ghost lingered behind, watching after him with such longing and adoration, tinged with grief at being dead and his love alive. Cross turned his head, catching Nightmare staring at him, shock and sorrow etched into the crevices of his frown. The spirit had quickly looked away, and Nightmare closed his mouth, but the rest of the night had been ruined. 

The two most important people to him were destined for a life built on the loneliness of knowing the person you loved was right next to you but not being able to reach them. 

Negative emotions began filling Nightmare and before he realized it, he was drowning in them. He tried to swim back, to get back to the plane he had been on only seconds before. As he reached, he came to the stark realization that he wouldn’t be getting back and he snarled. 

“You’re not getting away so easily, either.” He growled and reached out with his powers, imagining stringing around the spirit and pulling it with him. 

“We go down together.” 

A shriek echoed in his mind, and he briefly wondered if that was happening in the real world, before he was enveloped in the darkness. 

In the physical realm, his body jolted upright, then fell into himself. 

It was now a shell whose soul was locked away. 

Almost as if it were Sleeping Beauty. 


 

Cross watched Dream sleep the entire night. 

He was vigilant, always on high alert and ready to pounce on any spiritual intruder into their home. He had messed up once because he decided to protect Dream, and he wasn’t going to mess up again because he had faltered. 

But the thing of being left to protect Dream as he fitfully slumbered was that Cross was allowed the rare opportunity of watching him. It was the only time the skeleton felt comfortable drinking in his features for long periods of time. Unfortunately, times like these were when he became most full of yearning, knowing that he would never be able to run his fingers through Dream’s hair, or caress his cheek in the middle of winter, just as snow started falling and the young man’s cheeks began to turn pink from the cold. 

Most of all, he wanted to kiss him and whisper sweet nothings into his ear. He wanted everything Dream threw tantrums at him for, complete with pouting lips and a stomping foot. He wanted to give in, but he was dead and Dream was so beautifully alive that sometimes he found it painful to gaze upon him for too long. 

Yet, at night it was safe to watch. 

The darkness covered him, though Dream always said he could see him better than in the light. But that was only if he were awake to see. 

While Cross took him in, he thought about his brother, who he had failed so miserably. Nightmare was strong and hard headed, but Cross had very fond memories with him. Nightmare never strayed away from introducing him to the ways of modern life. While Cross had no idea what music he liked when he was living, he certainly knew that he didn’t care much for Marilyn Manson or Ozzy Osbourne. 

He remembered one time when teenaged Nightmare called him into the family’s computer room, grinning mischievously. 

“Look, Cross.” He pointed to the screen where an image of a serene pasture quickly turned into that of a scream ghoul’s face, the speakers screeching at them. 

Cross jumped, then summoned enough energy to his hand to give Nightmare a whack on the back of his head. 

“What was that for?!” The teen cried. 

“For showing me something like that without warning me!” Cross huffed.

This was the first time Cross gave Nightmare a lecture on boundaries and the magic that was in consent. It had taken so long, Dream had come looking for them and nearly shrieked at what he found on the computer screen. That’s when Nightmare hastily clicked out of the browser tab and promised to never show anyone they didn’t want to see without asking first.  

Oh, Nightmare… 

Cross could have snarled with how frustrated he was. He killed someone, and that someone had come back as a vengeful spirit bent on taking away anything he cared for. Dr. W. D. Gaster was starting with someone Cross considered a close friend, almost like a brother, and would be moving on to the person Cross had fallen in love with, and the only person who would probably proclaim Cross’s goodness. 

But if Dream thought he was good, then it must have been so. If someone as good as Dream thought he was good, then there was no denying it. 

He slowly reached out, summoning energy to his fingers and gently began to stroke the troubled sleeper’s cheek. 

Dream made a sound, almost like a whine, before smiling and settling down into his pillow. He sighed, mouth falling open slightly. Cross’s features softened as he watched. Even in his sleep, Dream knew it was him. 

If Cross believed in such a thing, he might say they were soulmates. 

But before he could travel down that path much longer, Dream’s phone began vibrating and blaring music, jolting him awake. Cross pulled his hand back quickly, but not quick enough for it to go unnoticed. Dream scowled in confusion before turning to his phone. 

Ccino. 

He quickly pressed the button. 

“Hello?” 

“DREAM!” Ccino cried so loudly that even Cross could hear. “Something happened! We think it’s taken Nightmare! Or it was trying to take Nightmare, then Nightmare fought back and now he’s unconscious. We called Ink and Error and they’re on their way. You should get here too.” 

Even bleary and shocked, Dream managed to ask, 

“Did you untie him?” 

“Not yet.” 

“Good. I’ll be there soon.” He hung up, glancing at the clock. 

6am, almost exactly sunrise. 

Dream sat in bed, frowning at the far wall and bunching the sheets in his fists. He didn’t even get to revel in the fact that Cross had been touching his cheek. His brother was unconscious with a vengeful spirit residing in him, causing who knows what kind of mind torture for the eldest twin. 

“Dream?” Cross asked, moving closer. 

Dream didn’t reply, but only opened his mouth and screamed in frustration. 

“Dream…” Cross summoned all the energy he could muster and took the living man’s face in his hands, holding him still as he sobbed. 

“N-Nightmare… What if… What if…” 

“Don’t talk in what ifs. He’ll be okay, even if I have to dive in there and pull him out myself.” Cross promised. Dream shook his head. 

“Y-you can’t… You know...that… Y-You could be… You could be…” 

Obliterated. Expunged from any known plane and into the realm of nonexistence. For all intents and purposes, it could kill him. 

“Then we better hope it doesn’t come to that.” Cross gave him a soft smile as his energy faded and he was no longer able to touch him. “Now, get dressed and let’s go see what’s going on.” 

Dream tried to smile, but failed. 

“Okay.” 


 

Ink and Error were the first ones to arrive at the cafe, seeing as how they had a car and had forgotten Dream probably could have used a ride. Killer met them outside, unable to stand the somber air in the basement, and quite frankly, he needed a cigarette to calm his nerves. 

“Good, you’re here.” He huffed as they walked up to the sidewalk. 

“How bad was it?” Ink gently prompted, knowing none of it could have been exactly good. 

“It’d probably be easier to wait until Dream gets here, but…” The werewolf took a deep drag of the cigarette, blowing out the smoke through his nostrils. “It’s not good. That thing must feed on negativity. It kept trying to say things that would make us turn on each other… Turn on Nightmare.”  

“...” Ink frowned. 

“Did it work?” Error asked bluntly. 

“...” Killer slowly shook his head. “Not in the way it hoped.” 

“What does that mean?” Ink scowled. 

“Instead of it making us turn on each other, we only got more worried. It still got its dose of negativity.” Killer through the cigarette butt on the ground and stepped on, rubbing it into the ground with his boot. 

“Those things will kill you, you know?” Ink quirked a brow. 

Killer only laughed. 

“They won’t,” He assured them. “Werewolf lungs only take in the nicotine, nothing else. We’re lucky that way.” 

“Who’s lucky?” A voice called as the owner ran towards them. 

“Ah, there’s the little ray of sunshine.” The werewolf turned to him and without pause, opened his arms. 

Dream wasted no time in wrapping his arms around Killer’s waist and burying his head into his chest. Killer knowingly wrapped his arms around him, holding him like the dear brother-in-law he practically was. 

“It’s bad, isn’t it?” Dream asked, his voice muffled by Killer’s flannel button-up. 

“It’s pretty bad.” Killer admitted before pulling back. “Let’s go see him.” 

The werewolf led the way in, descending the stairs as slowly as he could. He wanted to make sure Nightmare wasn’t in a particularly wretched position that would take Dream too much by surprised. But he was just as he had left him; slumped over with his chin tucked into his chest. It looked like he would have a major crick in his neck, but other than that and sludge that still covered him, he looked normal. 

“So uh, fair warning,” Killer turned backward to the face the trio on the stairs. “He also kind of vomited all over the place and now his vomit is kind of all over his body.” 

“You waited until NOW to tell us that?!” Error cried. 

“Sorry, but in my defense, him falling unconscious after some kind of fight happened seemed more important at the time.” Killer shrugged and turned back around. “Alright, here he is-” 

“Nightmare!” Dream cried, pushing passed the werewolf and running to the chair Nightmare was tied to and where Ccino sat on a stool, watching over him faithfully. 

Dream fell to his knees, knowing Cross was close at hand. He didn’t hesitate and reached forward, wiping some of the substance onto his index finger and lifting it to his nose and sniffing it. 

“What is it?” He asked quietly. 

“Ectoplasm.” Cross answered. “I’ve never seen it this color, though…” 

“Is that a bad thing?!” Dream gasped. 

“Of course it’s a bad thing.” Cross sighed. 

“What’re you talking about?” Ccino asked, knowing Dream was conferring with his guardian spirit. 

“This is ectoplasm.” Dream relayed. “And Cross says he’s never seen anything like that, so that means it’s pretty bad.” 

“Is it black because the spirit feeds of negative energy?” Killer asked. Dream looked to Cross. 

“It could be.” He admitted. “Would explain the dreary color.” 

“It’s possible.” Dream repeated for the rest of them. 

“Let’s take a sample.” Error moved forward now, opening his kit and taking out a small vial. He unscrewed the cap and lifted it to Nightmare’s sleeve, scooping some of the substance into it before plugging it back up. “I’ll be able to run some tests back at the shop.” 

Dream looked into his brother’s face, wishing for him to wake up but not wanting him in any other state than the brother he had been before this awful incident. The ectoplasm had slid down one side of his face, covering one of his eyes completely. The other was still coated, but in such a thin layer that he would be able to open it if he so wished. 

“Nightmare…” He sighed, and Cross tried to place a hand on his shoulder but he had no energy left from earlier. Instead his hand moved through, sending a chill down Dream’s spine. It was comforting all the same. 

“I guess we can have our meeting here…” Ink trailed off, getting the other’s attention. Dream stood up again, turning to look at him. 

“Okay.” He nodded. “I have something to say. Cross and I found the name of the spirit residing in Nightmare.” 

There was a stillness that settled over the room. 

“His name was Dr. W. D. Gaster. He owned the house back in the 1800s. Cross and I are going to the library today to look through old newspapers to find out more about what happened.” 

“Great.” Ink nodded. “The more we know about the thing… About Dr. Gaster, the better.”

“He goes by Gaster.” Cross said without really knowing where the information came from. 

“Gaster.” Dream repeated. “Cross said to call him just Gaster.” 

“Gaster.” Ink confirmed. 

“So what can we do about this?” Killer growled, slowly beginning to pace the room as if he were stalking prey. “What happens to Nightmare now?” 

“Okay, I’ve got some good news on that.” Ink grinned. “Since our situation can now be called a ‘shit show’, my parents have decided to end their European tour early so they can come deal with this. The bad news is that they couldn’t get out of everything right away, so they’ll be here on the morning of Halloween.”

“Okay…” Ccino frowned. “What does that mean we have to do in the meantime?” 

“Constant supervision of Nightmare, for starters.” Error jumped in. “Me and Ink-” 

“Mostly him.” Ink interjected. 

“Came up with a plan. The two weres can switch off with me and Ink, watching him in teams of two. Dream, on the other hand, will be out and about trying to find ways to… alleviate Nightmare’s issues. Does that sound good?” 

Killer and Ccino looked to each other, a knowing gaze passing between them. Of course it sounded good to them. They would do anything for Nightmare.  

“Only if we get the night shift.” Killer crossed his arms, coming to a stop. “We’re naturally nocturnal. It only makes sense.” 

Error nodded. 

“Of course. We can take over now, so you guys can sleep.” He commented. “And we’ll let everyone know if there’s any changes. 

“So… I’m supposed to be the only one looking for a solution?” Dream asked, obviously nervous. Ink gave him a gentle smile. 

“You’re not alone, right? And Cross is way better help than any of us. He was there.” 

Dream nodded, filling a bit of determination seeping back into him. 

“You’re right.” He grinned. 

“Okay, so, are we good for now? We can meet up again an hour before sunset and discuss any of our findings.” Error looked at each of them. 

“We’re good.” Killer commented. 

“Yeah, I think me and Killer will go rest… As much as we can.” Ccino gave an apologetic smile. “You’re welcome to any of the coffee. I won’t be opening up the cafe today.” 

“Thanks.” Ink smiled. 

“I guess we’ll be going.” Dream adjusted his backpack. “See you guys an hour before sunset.” 


 

Ccino led Killer up into the loft above the coffee shop where he spent his nights now that he was more of a diurnal critter. 

“Sorry if it’s a little messy.” He apologized over his shoulder. 

Killer saw not a trace of a mess, but he did see lace doilies with empty flower vases placed on top of them. The couch was old and worn, something a human grandmother would have. His nose wrinkled, feeling completely out of place in such a cozy looking set up. 

“Why do you have so many empty vases?” He commented. 

Ccino laughed. 

“Nightmare’s always sending me flowers. I don’t really know what to do with the vases once the flowers die, but I want to remember the gift anyway.” He shrugged. “I know it’s silly, but I just…” 

He halted, his smile crumbling. 

“I just want to be reminded of him.” 

Killer awkwardly moved forward, snaking an arm around the werecat’s shoulders and pulling him into his torso. 

“We’ll get him back. We have to.” 

Ccino smiled sadly. 

“Yeah, we have to. I’m… actually really happy to have met you, Killer. I always wanted to. When Nightmare talked about you… His whole face lit up… It was the first time I thought about werewolves as anything but bloodthirsty murderers.” 

Killer laughed at that. 

“You know? I feel the same way. Though we talk about werecats like they’re tree huggers.” 

“We don’t actually hug trees. We just want the forest here to be able to survive. The magic’s ancient and-” 

“Yeah, yeah…” Killer waved him off. “You got any blankets and extra pillows? That couch is calling my name.” 

“Couch? We could just share my bed?” 

“We kind of just met each other…” 

“Killer, we’ve slept with the same human. I think it’s okay if we share a bed for a day. Besides, I’ve got black out curtains.” 

Killer tried to think of another excuse, but when he found none, he let the barista take his hand and lead him into his bedroom. 

“Besides,” Ccino added, “We might as well spend what little time we have together.” 

“Yeah…” Killer sighed. He didn’t want to think about their feud. Not when someone as important as Nightmare was on the line. 

“It’ll be a nice memory to have once this is all over.” He added. 

“When we can’t see each other again…” 


 

Ccino had made sure that Dream was sent off with a pumpkin muffin and a to-go pumpkin spice latte, double shot of espresso. He ate and drank the goodies on his walk to the library. 

“Do you think we’ll find anything?” Cross asked slowly. 

“Thew’ll bwe sumfink.” Dream said around a mouthful. He swallowed before continuing. “I don’t know how in-depth it’ll be, but there has to be something.” 

“...” Cross frowned, thinking. “If we can’t find anything-” 

“I’m going to The Reaper.” Dream finished matter-of-factly. 

“What?” 

“I’ll go to The Reaper. I’m not letting my brother wither away under fucking ectoplasm. I know Ink said his dads were coming, but I don’t think we should wait that long. It’ll only get worse. Every night, it gets worse.” 

“...Then let me be the one to make the deal.” Cross slowly whispered. 

“I can’t let you do that. The only thing you have left is your soul. I’m not letting you literally sell your soul.” 

“Dream, it’s my fault-” 

“Not this again.” Dream sighed. “You’re going to give me a headache, Cross. We all made mistakes that night. No one should take the blame… We just need to focus on finding a way out.” 

“I suppose you’re right.” Cross frowned. “You have a pumpkin seed stuck to your cheek.” 

“Ah!” Dream floundered to wipe it off while Cross snickered. “Why are you always laughing at me?” 

“I’m not laughing at you, dear.” Cross continued to laugh. 

“Okay, then why are you always laughing?!” 

“Because you’re adorable.” 

Dream stopped in his tracks, staring wide eyed at the spirit. 

“You think I’m cute?” He asked. Cross tried to look anywhere but at him. 

“Technically, I said you’re adorable…” 

“Aww! Cross!” Dream sprung at him, arms wide and trying to envelope him in a hug. He simply had to settle for holding loosely onto the air where his spirit was. “I knew you liked me.” 

“Of course I like you, you doofus.” 

Dream laughed with delight. 

“You said a slang word! I’m so proud of you!” 

“There was no better term for what you are.” 

“Call me a doofus again.” 

“Dream, you are a doofus.” 

“Aw, I love it!” 

“Sir?” Someone coughed next to him. 

Dream immediately pulled away from his invisible-to-most friend and turned to find the librarian trying to get passed him to open the doors. 

“Sorry!” Dream hopped back. 

“Are you alright?” The man asked him with a steady gaze. 

“Right as rain!” He chirped. 

“Alright…” The librarian turned the key in the door. “Are you here for personal business?”

“He thinks you’re homeless…” Cross laughed once more. 

“Yes, actually!” Dream quickly brightened his smile, ignoring the spirit. “I want to look at the newspapers from two hundred years ago.” 

“How peculiar. We just received the digital copies of them yesterday. I can get you set up on one of the computers.” 

“Thank you so much!” 

 


 

Dream had totally and utterly forgotten to write down the year that Gaster had last owned the home, so he had the unfortunate task of going through each of the years, starting with 1800. Cross had never seen the paper, so he was useless as well. Sifting through them for hours was not exactly how Dream had wanted to spend his morning, and he was getting antsy at the thought that he could be doing more. 

But then, they struck gold. 

‘GASTER HOUSEHOLD SLAIN’ the headline read. 

“Cross!” Dream whispered excitedly. Cross squinted, then groaned.

“Oh mother Mary, I killed everyone!” He cried. 

“We don’t know that.” Dream looked back at the screen, reading the story while Cross looked over his shoulder. 

‘The residents at Dr. W. D. Gaster’s country home were all found dead Monday morning by their one servant who did not live on the premises. Each of them were slain in varying degrees of brutality. Mister Asgore, the gardener, and his wife, the cook, were found with their throats slit. Their son seemed to be beaten on the back of the head with a blunt object. The two maids, Undyne and Alphys were found in the pond, tied together in chairs, made to sink to the bottom. They were only half a foot from the surface. The person they considered to be their security, Mettaton, died from blood loss after having his legs removed. Dr. Gaster’s youngest son was beheaded. Authorities have yet to find his head.’

“Damn…” Dream whispered, frowning. Cross said nothing, only letting the sinking feeling in his stomach settle. 

‘One other body was found, but has yet to be identified. This body received the worst of the brutish acts. The skin was found peeled from the bone and tossed to the side with evidence that the scalp had been burned before being skinned. The eyes had been removed, but were found partially digested in the man’s stomach upon autopsy. A deep mark was scratched into the bone under the corpse’s right eye.’

Dream’s eyes flicked up to Cross, who was a bit slower at reading than him, looking at the jagged mark under his eye. His heart began to race, but he didn’t want to believe it. 

‘Authorities believe it to be Dr. Gaster’s eldest son, who has been missing since the incident.

‘Dr. W. D. Gaster was found with multiple stab wounds and a slit throat. There are no leads at this time.’ 

The article ended without giving the son’s name, but Dream knew who it was all the same. 

“Cross…” He said softly. The spirit didn’t move. 

“I don’t understand.” Was all Cross could muster to say. 

Dream frowned, finding the story puzzling as well. He studied Cross. If he had killed Gaster, then who had killed him? And why would he look like his corpse if he had been skinned after- 

His eyes widened and he was overcome with a wave nausea, quickly standing from his seat and rushing to the bathroom, Cross following after him. He threw open a stall and bent over the toilet, emptying his morning pastry and anything else he had left in him into the bowl. 

“Dream?” Cross asked softly, unable to do much more than settle next to him. “What is it?” 

“Cross…” Dream sighed as he flushed the toilet, trying not to look at the skeleton. “Cross…” 

He took a deep breath, trying to steady himself. His throat tightened and he could feel tears springing into his eyes. 

“Cross, you were the one brutally desecrated… And you were alive when it happened.” 

Cross blinked at him before shaking his head sadly. 

“I guess it’s good I don’t remember that part…” He laughed bitterly. “How do you know? And why?” 

“For starters, it has to be you. The mark is the same… I know you haven’t see it.” Dream arbitrarily reached up and ran a thumb over the scratch in Cross’s skull. “I can only imagine someone did that to you so you’d come back like this… Like a proper ghoul!” 

“But… why ?” Cross tried again. Dream paused to think. 

“Most spirits take the form they had when they died, right? They would still look like themselves, if they had a clean death. Maybe… whoever… whatever killed you knew you would come back. That you had that strong of a spirit. But they didn’t want you to know yourself. Because knowledge is power.” Dream was proud of himself for that, though he wasn’t certain any of it was true. 

Cross frowned. 

“That could only mean I was killed by someone or something truly horrific…” 

“But, that thing killed Gaster too! Maybe for some reason he thinks it’s you!” Dream grinned. While it wasn’t the best, it was all they had to go on, and it felt better than knowing nothing. 

“Then why can I summon a literal giant knife?” Cross quirked an eyebrow. “It would make sense I killed him, if he was riddled with knife wounds.” 

“Hm…” That put a bit of a damper on things. “C’mon, lets go look at the other newspapers. There’s gotta be a follow up in there somewhere.” 

There wasn’t. 

The most information that was reported after the event was funeral services, estate matters, and a brief mention of the badly destroyed corpse being stored in the coroner’s office. 

“Oh, we could go get you.” Dream whispered, only half teasing. 

“We’re not breaking into the coroner’s office… Besides, they probably got rid of them long ago.” Cross shook his head. 

Dream felt like they were at a loss. It was now mid-afternoon and he was hungry and frustrated, which was never a good combination. 

“Well, let’s at least go break into a vending machine…” Dream huffed and stood. He was glad they had found some answers, but he honestly felt more lost than before. Added onto that, they hadn’t found anything that would help Nightmare. 

He pulled on his backpack and left the library, thanking the librarian on his way out for his help. As he descended the concrete steps leading to the front doors, he noticed a strange man standing at the foot of them. His eyes were trained on Dream, knowing who he was without the blond returning the feeling. He was wearing glasses and a lab coat out in the middle of town.  

“Dream.” He stated.  

“Yes?” The young man perked up. 

“The Reaper wishes to speak with you.” 

“Huh?” Dream faltered. The man didn’t even blink. 

“The Reaper says he finally knows of something with enough value to offer you for your services.” 

“That doesn’t sound good.” Cross huffed. 

“The deal is very good.” The man slowly looked at Cross. “But my master is desperate. He wishes to see the both of you right away.” 

“I don’t know…” Dream wanted to back away, but that would mean trying to walk up the steps backwards and… Cross was too spent to catch him again. 

“It’s to get your brother back. The Reaper knows time is ticking. Will you at least speak with him?” The man asked. 

“Yes.” Dream said before Cross could protest. “Um… what’s your name?” 

“You can call me Sci.” The man smiled slightly. “Now follow me.” 

 


 

Sci led them through so many winding alleys and twisting streets that Dream lost track of where they were, which he supposed was the point. He knew Cross had kept track of each and every turn, knowing how to get them back to the library. 

They went in through a back door painted red with large black wings spray painted on it. When they stepped in, Sci immediately ushered them into a room with a large desk and two chairs seated before it. Sitting at the desk was a hooded figure, face obscured by shadows. 

“Thank you, Sci. You may get back to your lab.” The Reaper dismissed his loyal servant. The man bowed and exited. “You two, please, take a seat.” 

“Oh, um,” Dream slowly shuffled into the room while Cross floated next to him, snarling. “Cross can’t sit.” 

“I know. He’s a ghost. It’s simply a gesture of goodwill.” The figure grinned, teeth glinting in the lamplight. 

Dream obediently sat down and Cross looked at his offered chair. No one had offered him one before, and frankly, he wasn’t sure how to feel about The Reaper’s offering.

“Welcome, Dream, Cross, to my humble abode.” The figure reached up and pushed his hood off, revealing an attractive face with messy black hair and bottomless eyes. “I need to tell you now that I can’t see or sense Cross, so I’ll need you to translate for me.” 

“Really? I thought of all people, you’d be able to.” Dream thought aloud. “I mean, Sci could.” 

“Sci is a normal man who started reanimating corpses for fun using science. I gave him the gift of sight so long as he did something for me.” The Reaper explained. “And I can’t see him, because as I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors, I’m neither alive nor dead. I can see all of either realm, but things that exist in between are imperceptible to me.” 

“Oh.” Dream nodded, as if he truly understood and wasn’t getting an overwhelming urge to flee. If that rumor was true, then the rumor that The Reaper was old and full of ancient magic were true as well. 

“Dream, Cross, I’ve had my eye on you for a while now. You two have a very special bond, and I think it could help me with a certain predicament I’ve been having.” The Reaper frowned. “But I haven’t had anything to offer you until now.” 

“You wanted to offer us something? Not us come to you?” Dream gasped. 

The Reaper laughed. 

“Well, yes. That’s why I asked you here, isn’t it?” He looked to the empty chair. “He’s quite cute, isn’t he Cross?” 

Cross vaguely murmured an assent. 

“You see, the thing I want you to do has no earthly value to me. When I learned of your predicament, I knew that I could offer you something a small fraction of what this would mean to me.” The Reaper steepled his hands. 

“A small fraction? That’s not a very fair trade.” Cross growled. 

“Cross says that’s not a fair deal.” Dream repeated. The Reaper laughed. 

“No, it’s not.” He agreed. “That’s why I would offer you that, and then be forever in both of your debts.” 

That gave the two of them pause. They had never heard about The Reaper being indebted to anyone. They looked at each other before Dream looked back to the man before them. 

“What do you want us to do?” He asked. 

“It’s very simple to say, but very hard to do.” The Reaper grinned lazily. “I want you to wake up Geno.” 

“Wake up Geno?” Dream looked stunned. “I thought it was impossible?” 

“It’s impossible for most. Not for you two.” The Reaper looked between them, or where he assumed Cross to be and Dream. 

“Why us?” Dream asked. 

The Reaper leaned his cheek in his hand. 

“I see. You don’t realize it. Then how about I tell you about me and Geno, then? Maybe something will stick.” 

“Why would…?” Cross began, but didn’t get very far. 

“Let me introduce you to someone very special to me. He can help with the story.” The Reaper waved his hand and the doors they came in opened. Sci was waiting there, a bundle of cloth in his arms. 

He walked in and placed it in The Reaper’s arms before leaving the room once again. The Reaper’s face softened as he undid the blankets, revealing a small baby nestled in them. 

“This is Goth. Mine and Geno’s son.” He explained. 

Dream sputtered. 

“I-I didn’t know you two were… involved.” He tried not to let his surprise leech through into his tone. 

The Reaper only grinned. 

“No one knew. In fact, I think Geno’s brothers believe I must have him under lock and key because he owed me something. No… He owed me nothing but loved me anyway.” He gently stroked the child’s cheek. Goth made a soft, happy noise. 

Dream smiled. 

“He is really cute…” He paused. “But how…?” 

“Sci.” The Reaper slowly looked up at him. “To give him the gift of sight and a place for him to build his corpses, I asked for a child in return. Geno and I used our magic to create a soul. Unfortunately, it exhausted Geno. As a result, he is now sleeping and Goth hasn’t grown since the day he was born.” 

Dream looked at him softly. He could understand the feeling of wanting someone who was right in front of you. But Geno and The Reaper had something he didn’t have; the loss of a love. 

“I need you to wake him up. For the sake of our child.” The Reaper calmly explained. “We didn’t create him so he couldn’t grow. I want him to experience life. I know Geno feels the same.” 

“How would… this work? I don’t know anything about waking up sleeping people.” Dream sighed. 

“There would be a few steps to the process.” The Reaper noted. “But I think by the end you would be able to do it.” 

“Could you explain the steps?” Cross asked. 

“Cross would like to ask for an explanation of the steps.” Dream said. 

“If I told you them, you would want the reasoning behind them. And for this… It’s better to only explain a bit at a time. I will explain it all at the end if you agree.” The Reaper smiled. 

“We don’t have time for this.” Cross huffed. 

“Cross says we don’t have the time.” Dream echoed. 

“That’s very humorous.” The Reaper laughed before continuing. 

“Because the first step would be sending you back in time.” 

Chapter Text

Dream sat with his mouth open and his eyes wide. Cross simply crossed his arms and glowered at the ancient being before them. 

“Go back in time?!” The human finally gasped. The Reaper grinned. 

“Doesn’t it sound fun?” He asked, sitting back in his chair, clutching Goth to his chest. “Does it help if I said I would send you back to see Cross?” 

Now it was Cross’s turn to be confused. 

“We don’t even know who I am.” Cross whispered. 

“We don’t know who Cross is.” Dream repeated. 

“We have a good idea.” The Reaper’s smile didn’t falter. “You figured out a lot today, didn’t you?” 

Dream slowly nodded. 

“Not enough, though…” He pouted. 

“Ah, yes. That’s a bit troubling isn’t it?” The Reaper sighed. 

“How does he know all of this?” Cross’s eyes narrowed. 

“I don’t know…” Dream replied, and it went without saying that they didn’t want to know. 

“There’s power in knowing.” The Reaper continued, ignoring them. “So much power. That’s why I want to send you back. To know who Cross really is. But you’ll have to figure it out when you get there, and you’ll be on limited time. It’s something you’ll have to figure out on your own.” 

The Reaper looked between them again. 

“And if you play your cards right, you’ll get your first payment at the end of it.” 

“Our first payment?” Dream asked. 

“The body you read about was desecrated alive. If you want to know what happened to it, you’ll need to figure out how long before a spirit realizes it can roam free.” 

“Oh!” Dream’s eyes widened once more. He felt like a schoolboy again. “About one to two hours, depending.” 

“Dream, what he’s trying to say is that whatever killed that person wasn’t alive.” Cross added. 

“Oooh.” Dream nodded to himself. “So we have one to two hours to figure everything out?” 

“You have half a day.” The Reaper corrected. “But those deductions will help you out.” 

“What if we can’t wake up Geno? What happens to our payment then?” Cross growled. 

“Cross wants to know what happens to this offer if we can’t wake up Geno.” Dream repeated. 

“Ah, see, this is very unconventional, but I’m desperate.” The Reaper slowly explained. “You’ll be paid whether or not you wake up Geno, for I'll be sending you back before you attempt it.” 

“Deal.” Dream declared immediately. 

“Dream!” Cross hissed. “He never said what ill would befall us if we don’t wake Geno.” 

“Doesn’t matter.” Dream furrowed his brow, but looked into The Reaper’s eyes, then smiled slowly. “No ill will come to us. If anything, he’s happy we’re trying.” 

The Reaper smiled, a genuine one, soft and fatherly. He looked down at Goth, letting the chubby baby hold onto one of his fingers. 

“Geno taught me what it is to love and be loved in return. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still swindle men and women no matter what… But as I said, you two are special. Your bond is unique , and that in itself is enough to inspire confidence in you two.” He paused, looking back to them. “But I do have other motivations and I’m pretty sure you two are the answer. I need you to go back just as much as you want to.” 

“...” Dream frowned softly. “Will we see Cross?” 

The Reaper laughed. 

“You’ll have to see… Are you ready to go now?” The Reaper asked. “As Cross said earlier, we don’t have time to waste.”

“We’re ready.” Dream confirmed, though Cross was a bit less certain. But For Dream, he’d go to the ends of the world. 

“Wonderful.” The Reaper stood and moved to another part of the room and laid his son in a bassinet that hadn’t been there before. 

“You mean this second?” Dream asked, standing. “What if I have to go to the bathroom?” 

“You don’t.” The Reaper said matter-of-factly. “And what better time than the present?” 

“Okay…” Dream huffed. 

“Cross, you’ll need to go back into the locket for the travel. We don’t want you getting lost in the time-space continuum.” 

“Fine…” Cross grumbled and turned to Dream. “Summon me as soon as you’re there.” 

“Of course.” Dream smiled at him. Cross moved to go in, then stopped. 

“Dream…” He began. 

“Yes?” Dream smiled. 

“Be careful. I’ll be with you the whole way.” 

“I know. You always are.” It was times like these Dream wished he could touch Cross. Just a simple touch on the arm would have been better than the distance between them. 

“See you in the 1800s?” Cross asked. 

“See you.” Dream returned, watching as Cross sent himself into the locket. He knew it was just his imagination, but he always thought the locket got warmer when Cross was inside. He turned back to The Reaper. 

“I’m ready.” He announced. 

“Perfect.” The Reaper reached up, summoning a giant scythe into his hands and black wings sprouting from his back. “Time to go to Cross’s death day.” 

“Wait, what?!” Dream cried just as The Reaper lifted his arms, then cut a portal into the air before them. 

“Go, now! You don’t have much time before it closes! I’ll open another one when it’s time for you to return!” The Reaper yelled over the noise the hole in time and space was causing. Tiny Goth began to wail. 

Dream didn’t think twice and ran in, hearing it close behind him. When he stepped out, he was in a forest. The forest surrounding his small, old town. But it didn’t feel the same. He reached up to touch the locket when a voice halted him. 

“Hello?” Came the call. 

Dream spun around, seeing a figure in the distance. He wanted to run away, but where would he go? He was in the middle of a forest he didn’t entirely recognize, and it’s not like his phone’s GPS would work two hundred years in the past. He stepped backwards and instinctively reached for the locket again-

“Wait!” The figure began to jog towards him, and at that moment he realized he faintly recognized the voice. Dream frowned, puzzled, until the figure was within seeing distance. 

“Sorry to scare you!” The man called. He looked to be about twenty five, with shaggy black hair and a white streak running through it. His clothes were familiar, though Dream chalked it up to having seen photographs of something similar in textbooks. 

He had never seen this man before in his life, but his stomach was doing somersaults just by looking at him. His eyes were pale, almost grey, and he was handsome and clean shaven. Dream felt like he was betraying Cross, until he realized-

“Wait, you’re,” He gasped as the man took the final steps towards him. 

“I assume you’re Dream?” The man asked, tilting his head. Dream nodded dumbly. “I saw that you were coming.” 

“You saw ?” He asked. The man grinned. 

“I’m what most people would call a mystic. I’ve been able to… See things coming, or remember things that aren’t mine, for all of my life.” He explained. “My name is Sans Gaster, eldest son of Dr. W. D. Gaster.” 

Dream balked, letting him continue. 

“And you’ve come just in time for my death.” 

“So you’re Sans? That’s your name?” Dream asked slowly. He wanted to summon Cross, but he found himself too taken aback to move. 

“Yes, but I think you know me by something else.” Sans’s eyes drifted to the locket around Dream’s neck. His own hand gently reached up, touching a replica of it that was much nicer around his own neck. He smiled. 

“How quaint. You literally have my heart around your neck.” Sans laughed, and Dream could have melted. It sounded just like Cross’s, only better coming from actual vocal chords. 

“So you knew I was coming…” Dream frowned slightly. “Do you know why I came?” 

“That bit is a little fuzzy. I know it has something to do with me, and the spirit in your locket, who is me, dead for some hundred years.” 

“About two hundred, give or take…” 

“Splendid.” Sans laughed once more and ran a hand through his hair, mussing it as he was wont to do. 

“You’re in an awfully good mood for someone who said they’re dying today…” 

“I’ll only be dead a bit, yes?” Sans grinned. “I suppose by the time you came here, this would seem like my second death. But quite really, it’ll be my first. But only for a bit.” 

“What do you mean by ‘a bit’?” Dream was not only confused, but he wished Cross was there so he could tell him what his living self meant. But he understood that he was meant to do this part alone. 

“You don’t know what you’re supposed to do?” Sans asked, then laughed again. “I suppose it is… unconventional.” 

He paused, staring at Dream’s locket once more. 

“In his time, he had to die to stop our father. Now, that is coming to fruition. Today, all of the horrible events that happened will repeat, except for one. I will die so he may live.” Sans’s face softened before he looked back to Dream. “That’s why I will be dead only for a bit.” 

“How does that even work?” Dream whispered. 

“First, you must understand the theory of timelines. It’s a bit of a puzzle to me, as well, but there are many of them. Every time someone chooses another choice, it creates a new timeline. Your spirit created his by deciding that murdering the body that was once his father was the only way to destroy him. I’m choosing a different choice to help end this once and for all. To create the new timeline, you will steal my body before it can be desecrated.” Sans grimaced. “I was really not looking forward to the part where my skin would be ripped from my bones while I was alive. I find this timeline much better” 

“And then The Reaper will reanimate it for him?” Dream wasn’t sure if he understood the part about the timelines, but he did understand what Sans was trying to get at. 

“I don’t know.” Sans admitted. “I can’t see that. It happens after my death but once his timeline begins anew. I’m not allowed to know.” 

“Is it scary? Knowing you’ll die?” Dream wanted to take his hand but restrained himself. This wasn’t Cross. Not yet, anyway. 

“A bit.” Sans turned. “Come on, we must return to mine and your future home and it’s a fair distance from here. Most of the carnage will be done by the time we arrive.” 

They began walking, at first quiet, but Dream couldn’t keep the questions from bubbling out. 

“So if you’re not really scared, aren’t you sad?” He asked. 

“Of course. But there’s nothing I can do. Well, there’s one thing. But it’ll be too late once we get there to do anything.” Sans frowned. 

“Are you ready? To kill your own father?” Dream asked in a whisper. 

“Yes.” Sans sighed. “But the reason isn’t so simple.” 

“Cross said he looked like a kind man.”

“He was.” Sans admitted. “That was before… everything.” 

“Everything?” 

“I suppose I should tell you my life’s story, considering it’s of vital importance.” Sans turned to smile at him. “And even more so, since you become very dear to me.” 

“You see, Dream, my father was a kind man. Our home was open to misfits and anyone who needed a place to escape to or be protected. We have a family living with us, Miss Toriel’s bunch. People never really liked them because the two wanted to be seen as equal partners in everything. Then there were Miss Undyne and Miss Alphys, who simply fell in love with each other instead of a man. Sir Mettaton… Sir Mettaton always stood out. I think if he had been born in your time, he would have been well received. Here… Not so much.” 

He took a breath. 

“There’s Papyrus, my younger brother and the cause of my mother’s death through his birth. He’s a wonderful soul, always believing in the good in everyone. He inspired that in me, though I suppose I’m a bit more judgemental. But his birth and the death of my mother started a change in my father. It wasn’t a quick change and happened over the years. He slowly began… experimenting with things he shouldn’t have. Summoning, for example. That was… The worst of it.” 

“He invited a bad spirit into your home.” Dream frowned.

“Yes. And it stayed. It fed off negativity, loving every second of someone’s misery. Father didn’t really care. He said it was going to bring back our mother, but we all knew an evil spirit couldn’t do that. We were on edge. Then the children came.” 

“The children?” Dream gasped. 

“Two of them. Urchin males, about eight. One brunette and the other so blond his hair was almost white. At first, we thought it was another charity act. We all bonded with them.” Sans’s voice took on a sharp edge. “We loved them. They were our family. Then father began torturing them, trying to pit them against each other, then us.”   

“What happened to them?” 

“I helped them escape.” Sans sighed. “I was always the one who stood up to father. It always has to be me.” 

“Why not anyone else?” 

“That’s not how he designed our family.” Sans gave him a small but tight smile. “The others felt too indebted to him to strike back. Papyrus is kept chained because he feels responsible for mother’s death and father’s subsequent descent into madness.” 

He gently tapped his own temple. 

“But I was able to keep a clear head, thanks to my gift. Or my curse. I saw him for what he was; what he did to those children. Nothing makes me angrier than seeing children suffer.” 

“Yeah, I’ve seen that in person.” Dream muttered. 

“Helping those children leave is what caused the end. The spirit no longer had a good source of negativity, so it took hold of my father and tried to punish everyone. Today, it succeeds.” 

“That’s terrible…” Dream whispered. “I’m so sorry.” 

“Thank you, but there’s nothing to do about it, now. Or, here. You can certainly do something about it.” Sans smiled at him. “I do have one request for you, if you’ll humor me.” 

“What is it?” 

Sans ran a hand through his hair. 

“Can you tell him that it wasn’t his fault?” He asked. “Can you tell your spirit that? There’s no timeline where this doesn’t happen. Where these choices aren’t forced.”

“Of course…” Dream whispered.

“Wonderful…” Sans smiled at him, albeit sadly. “We’re here.” 

They came out of the forest and onto the lush lawn of Dream’s future property. The house was definitely not the one he lived in now,  but it made sense that they destroyed it to build something new after what happened. It was a large home, with three floors and painted white. 

It scared him. 

Sans looked up at it and sighed. 

“It’s almost time.” He said. 

Dream reached for his hand, but Sans quickly pulled it away. 

“No.” Sans said sternly, turning to face him. “Wait until Cross has this body. It’ll feel much better to hold his hand than mine.” 

“...” Dream wanted to pout, but it didn’t seem the time for one of his tantrums. “Okay.” 

“You’ll know when it’s time to come in. I’ll be in the top bedroom.” He pointed to the window. “You have to be fast.” 

“One to two hours.” Dream repeated. “That’s how long we have before your desecration by the spirit.” 

Sans nodded. 

“Come as soon as you feel it.” He whispered. 

“I’ll feel it?” 

Sans laughed for the final time in his life. 

“Of course.” He looked to Dream’s chest again, though this time looking passed locket and into what was a deeper plane than just physical. “But it’s not my place to tell you why.”  

And with that, he jogged off to the house, ready to collect the knife that would become the weapon he slayed his father with and would take into the afterlife with him. Dream could only watch him go, bewildered but fearful. 

He gently touched the locket. 

“Cross…” He whispered and the spirit came tumbling out. 

“Dream, that was longer.” Cross frowned at him, looking around, then up at the house. 

“Sorry, it’s just…” Dream bit his lip. “It’s just... I met you.” 

“You met me?” Cross blinked. Dream nodded. 

“It’s a long story, but he came to get me. Now he’s just gone to kill your father, who is actually pretty evil.” Dream looked up at the third floor window. “We’re going to go get his body after he dies. Then we’re going to take it back to the future.” 

“That’s madness, Dream. We’re stealing my body?” Cross huffed. 

“Is it stealing if it’s yours?” 

Cross grumbled something but fell silent. 

After what felt like an hour had passed, Dream felt a pain run through his body, and even Cross cried out. 

“Alright,” Dream panted after it had passed. “It’s time to go meet him.” 

They ran in through the front door, then up the stairs. Cross’s ingrained memory allowing him to lead the way. When they got to the top floor they weren’t greeted by Sans. 

They were greeted by his hanging corpse, to which Cross immediately summoned his knife and put enough energy into it to cut the rope. 

Dream looked at the body, at Sans who had been alive only what felt like moments before. 

“Only for a bit.” His words echoed in the medium’s mind.

Cross frowned as Dream tried to work the noose from Sans’s neck. The spirit peered down at him. “At least I’m pretty good looking.” 

“You should… be sad or something. You just died.” Dream huffed. 

“I’ve been dead for quite a bit, to me, dear.” Cross sighed as Dream set the noose aside. 

“Okay, so we should be able to go back to the future right-” 

A tear appeared in the fabric of time. 

“Now.” Dream grinned, trying to load Cross’s body onto his back. 

“Here.” Cross summoned the rest of his energy and grabbed the corpse as well. 

“Phew. Okay, let’s go.” Dream headed towards and then into the portal. 

At the midpoint through the portal, Dream could feel the body suddenly get heavier, almost dragging him down onto the ground. If there was a ground. 

“Cross?” He called, but heard no answer. He gritted his teeth and continued through, hoping with all his might that Cross was somewhere around. 

He spilled out onto the floor of The Reaper’s study, tripping over his own feet and sending himself and Cross’s body to the ground. 

“I didn’t expect you to come back with a trophy.” The Reaper mused. 

Looking around blearily, Dream realized they must have only been gone a few minutes. 

“Cross?” He called, looking around but not seeing him. When he looked down at the corpse, he nearly shrieked. 

The body’s colors had become almost completely inverted, starting with the hair becoming white with a black streak, and the clothes were more white than black now. He did notice a jagged scar underneath the right eye.  

“Mm… I guess time travel’s just not good for a deadman.” The Reaper mused. 

“Where’s Cross?” Dream asked, looking around. 

“Was he in your locket when you came through?” The Reaper grinned. 

“No… SHIT! NO!” Dream looked around frantically. “I have to go get him!” 

“No need.” The Reaper waved his concern away. “The time-space continuum simply did my job for me.” 

“What do you mean?” Dream gasped. 

“Dream…?” A gravelly voice, as if he had slept for centuries, asked. Dream spun around, finding the body’s eyes open and searching, looking confused. 

“Cross?!” Dream cried, crawling over to him on all fours. The body looked up at him, one red eye and one gray. Dream gasped, almost frantic with disbelief. 

“Dream? What’s with that look for?” Cross asked. He slowly reached up, his arm heavier than usual. But then he made contact with the other’s cheek - real contact, where he could tell how supple and soft the skin was. His eyes widened, and he looked to his hand, pulling it from Dream and holding it up in front of his face. 

“Cross!” Dream gasped, his face exploding into a grin. “You’re in a body! You’re alive!” 

“But it’s impossible!” Cross quickly sat up, inspecting the rest of his body with not-so-gentle pats. 

“Not impossible. It happened just as I suspected it would.” The Reaper grinned. “And there’s your first payment. For Cross to come back from the dead.” 

“But-” Dream began but stopped. He wasn’t sure how it happened, but he decided he didn’t quite care. Instead, he turned back to Cross and threw his arms around his neck, burying his head into the crook of his neck. 

He couldn’t hold back the sobs that spilled out of him, soaking the shoulder of Cross’s only shirt. 

“You’re here…” He whispered through his cries. “You’re really here…” 

Cross wrapped his arms around him, pulling the smaller man into him. 

“I’m here…” He returned. “I’m really here… Oh, Dream…” 

“This is beautiful, but we need to keep moving.” The Reaper smiled, bringing their attention back to him. 

“S-Sorry…” Dream hiccuped. 

“For your second task, I need you two to go home and rest.” The Reaper instructed. “We’ll meet back here in the morning. I suspect we’ll be able to wake up Geno tomorrow. Or we can at least try an attempt.” 

“That’s it? You just want us to go home?” Cross asked. 

“Very much so. You quite literally just came back from the dead. You won’t have the energy for anything like this. So, please.” The Reaper waved them away. “Go home. Geno will be the same tomorrow.” 

Dream slowly stood, then helped Cross onto his shaking legs. The muscles were still strong but the spirit was unused to having a physical form. But any excuse to touch one another was a welcome one. Dream wasn’t sure he’d live through the elation of his wildest fantasy coming true. Cross, on the other hand, was struggling with what it meant to be alive. To be able to hold Dream’s hand if he wished. 

And oh, he wished for that more than anything else. 

“Thank you… The Reaper.” Dream grinned as they made their way towards the door. 

“Please, just call me Reaper.” He called after them, giving them a lazy salute. 

Cross was slow and bumbling, but once outside he turned to Dream. 

“Dream…” He whispered. 

“Yeah?” Dream looked back at him after checking his phone. They needed to start heading to the cafe for their meeting with their friends. At least they had something quite monumentous to show them.

“I…” Cross started, but wasn’t sure how to finish. “I’m going…” 

He decided it was best to simply put his wants into actions, and he took Dream’s face into his hands, staring down at him. Down into those beautiful golden eyes surrounded by thick eyelashes that gave him a bit of a heavy-lidded look. Dream was beautiful, and perfect, and Cross could no longer deny what both of them wished for. 

He bent down and pressed his lips to Dream’s, startling the shorter of the two. But Dream’s shock cascaded off him as quickly as it came, and he returned the kiss, pressing greedily into Cross. He even wrapped his arms around Cross’s neck again, tugging him down so he could get a better angle. But unfortunately for living creatures, they had to part to breathe, both of their cheeks flushed. 

“Dream…” Cross whispered again. “I’m sorry.” 

“You’re sorry? For kissing me?” Dream gasped. Cross laughed and shook his head. 

“No, I will never apologize for that.” He paused. “I’m sorry, for always waving you off. You knew this would happen someday. And I always brushed off your optimism.” 

Dream smiled and shook his head. 

“You were trying to get me to live a little.” He laughed at the irony. “But it didn’t work because I’m stubborn, and I’ve only wanted you…” 

Dream tried to count the years on his fingers. Then he decided to hell with it and shrugged. 

“For a really long time.” He finished. Cross laughed again and it was even more beautiful than hearing Sans’s. 

“You’re so…” The only up until recently dead man shook his head, as if exacerbated. “You’re so wonderful. And beautiful ...” 

He pulled Dream into him, wrapping his arms protectively around him. 

“And adorable, and everything any man could ever want.” He sighed, burying his face into the top of Dream’s hair. “Thank you for choosing me.” 

Dream flushed and slowly wrapped his arms around Cross’s waist. 

“I would choose you, again and again. No matter what.” He squeezed his arms tighter, trying not to cry again at the absurd wonderful and whimsical creation the universe was. “I love you, Cross.” 

He didn’t expect anything from his guardian. He didn’t care if Cross said anything in return. He had been telling the spirit he had loved him since the day he realized he had fallen in love with a macabre ghost. But then Cross kissed the top of his head and pulled back only enough to look Dream in the eyes. 

“I love you too, Dream. I’ve loved you.” Cross’s hand bunched in the back of Dream’s sweater. “I will always love you.” 

Now Dream really couldn’t hold back, letting a single tear slip down his cheek, to which Cross smiled and leaned down, letting his lips kiss it away. And then he kissed Dream again, leaving the taste of salt and absolute euphoria lingering on their tongues. Slowly they parted, but not before moving to meet each other a few more times as they tried to make up for lost time. 

Now they had what felt like forever, but their dearest Nightmare only had a little over four days left. 

They needed to go see him. 

 


 

It was only now that Cross realized how much of a burden Dream’s refusal to get his driver’s license was. He was bumbling and awkward and relied on Dream to help him walk. He cursed a few times as he almost fell over and some teenagers snickered behind them. 

“It’s too early for Halloween.” One of them remarked. 

“How much time did you waste on putting fake blood on your clothes?” The other one laughed. 

Cross moved to turn around, but Dream jerked him back into place. 

“Don’t worry about it.” He whispered loudly. “They don’t have to know about the ritual we just performed in the woods, where you murdered a feral hog on top of our pentagram and then bathed in the blood.” 

“Ugh, weirdos…” The first huffed and the two quickly passed around them. 

“Did you just use one of Error’s stories against them?” Cross asked. 

“It sounds ridiculous, but he did end up meeting Ink after that ritual so…” He shrugged. “Wait, Cross!” 

He stopped in the middle of the sidewalk with only a few more steps until they reached the cafe. 

“Yes?” Cross asked, his brow furrowed. 

“I just realized I get to talk to you in public!” Dream squealed, then threw his arms around Cross again. Cross laughed and held him close. 

“Okay, settle down a bit. It is really amazing, but you’re going to knock me off my feet.” 

“Oh! Sorry!” Dream took a step back. “I forgot you just got a body again.” 

“I think I’m almost used to it.” Cross offered. “Come on, they must already be ready.” 

Hand in hand, they took the last of the steps to the cafe. Dream peeked inside, spotting Ccino who perked up when the saw him and began to rush to the door to let him in. It was only when he was unlocking the door that the werecat stopped, eyes wide as he noticed Cross for the first time. He tried to plaster a smile on his face again as he opened the door. 

“Hey, Dream.” Ccino greeted, his voice tight with politeness. “Who’s your friend?” 

“Uh…” Dream glanced up at Cross. “It might be better if I introduced him to everyone.” 

“Okay…” Ccino eyed him suspiciously before moving aside and letting the two of them in. Cross wanted to say something, anything, to one of the most important people in Nightmare’s life whom he couldn’t even make eye contact with before.

“Do you guys want something to drink?” Ccino turned, trying to be a hospitable host. Dream looked to Cross, a pout on his lips as he tapped them in thought before turning back to the barista. 

“Maybe just a large pumpkin spice latte?” The medium asked. 

“Sure.” Ccino grinned, moving behind the counter. He looked to Cross. “And you?”   

“Uh…” Cross had never thought he might get to drink one of Ccino’s concoctions, so he faltered. “Coffee.” 

“Well,” Dream gently looked from Cross to Ccino. “Um… We’ll just share the pumpkin spice?” 

Ccino’s brows furrowed and he looked from one to the other before deciding not to question it. The two looked too guilty and awkward for him to really want to know why they’d be sharing a drink if they had only just met. And he knew they must have, since Dream didn’t have any friends outside of the ones gathered and Cross-

He dropped the paper cup. 

“Cross!?” He gasped, spinning around. 

“As charged…” Cross grumbled. Ccino’s face went through a variety of expressions, from excitement to confusion, to questioning and then to bewilderment. 

“You’ll explain downstairs, I’m guessing?” Ccino went back to making their latte. 

“Yeah… It’d kind of be easier to just repeat the story once. Because it’s a pretty crazy one, let me assure you.” Dream laughed. 

“It’s nice to really meet you, though, Ccino.” Cross said, watching his back as he moved. He could see Ccino’s shoulders move up and down as he let out a soundless laugh. 

“It’s nice to meet you too.” He turned back and slid the latte into Dream’s hand. “Honestly, this is some real crazy shit.” 

“Ccino!” Dream gasped, then laughed. “You used a swear word… Nightmare would be so proud.” 

Ccino laughed again. 

“What else can I say when faced with,” He gestured to the two of them. “Anyway, come on.” 

He led them downstairs, Dream trying to take a sip and instead spilling a bit down his chin. 

“You need to be careful…” Cross huffed, slowly reaching forward and wiping the spill with his thumb, angling himself just so on the stairs so he could reach him. “I’ve heard of people who spill it all over them and have to go to the hospital for treatment.” 

“You watch too much morning news.” Dream huffed. 

“Who the hell is that, Dream?” Killer growled. Dream blinked and stopped, realizing that everyone except Nightmare was watching them, and Nightmare looked to have stayed much the same over the course of the day. 

“Uh… Hi everyone.” Dream waved and continued down the stairs, jumping off into the room and Cross stepping up behind him, looking each of them in the eyes. “This is Cross.” 

“That’s bullshit and you know it.” Error scoffed, rolling his eyes. “Don’t mess with us.” 

“Yeah, that’s pretty cruel, Dream.” Ink echoed, though he was quite curious about who the mystery man really was. 

“This really is Cross.” Dream tried again. “You see, we went to the library to find stuff out, and we found that Gaster’s family was brutally murdered and there was this one corpse…” He shook his head. 

“Anyway, when we came out, a guy from Reaper was waiting for us. Reaper promised us some stuff if we help wake up Geno and-” 

“You’re going to wake up Geno?” Error gasped. 

“You’re on a first name basis with The Reaper?” Ink inquired. 

“You made a deal with The Reaper?” Killer hissed. 

“Kind of, but not really.” Dream quickly tried to answer their questions. “We’re going to try to wake up Geno. He told us to call him Reaper, and the deal isn’t contingent on if we wake up Geno or not. Either way, Cross gets to keep his body.” 

“You mean the body The Reaper made for him?” Ccino tried to clarify. 

“No! This is actually his body.” Dream grinned. “Reaper sent us back in time and-” 

“You went back in time?!” Ink cried. 

“Yes! We had to go collect Cross’s body before whatever’s in my brother killed him. Really brutally.” Dream shrugged. “Anyway, we’re here now, and Cross has a body.” 

“Uh… Hello, everyone.” Cross smiled awkwardly. “I’ve known you all for a long time, without you knowing me. So this is kind of strange.” 

“Oooh, I love his voice.” Ink chirped. Error glared at him. 

“Okay, but if you’re really Cross, then tell us something only the real Cross would know.” Killer huffed, not quite convinced. 

“You met Nightmare in the third grade and haven’t left him alone since.” Cross repeated. 

“Oh yeah,” Ink sighed. “I can see why Dream fell in love.” 

“Ink…” Error growled. Ink shrugged apologetically at him. 

“Anyone could know that.” Killer’s eyes narrowed. 

“You’ve been in love with him since he gave you a small, purple alien pencil topper.” Cross finished. 

Killer’s cheeks flushed. 

“Nightmare doesn’t even know that!” 

“But I was watching.” Cross smirked softly. Killer frowned, then sighed. 

“Alright. You’re Cross.” He smiled. “It’s nice to meet you.” 

“It’s nice to meet you as well.” Cross nodded, giving him a small smile. 

“Well, I guess I need to get out another chair.” Ccino chirped merrily, moving to the far side of the room and taking out another folding chair, setting it next to the chair that had been reserved for Dream. The two latecomers took their seats and Dream handed the latte to Cross, urging him to try it.

“How is he?” Dream asked, looking to his brother. 

“No outward change.” Error sighed. Cross took a sip and grimaced. 

“Did he stir at all?” Cross asked. Ink shook his head. 

“No, but if the other days were any indication, something’ll happen tonight. We’re going to purify the room once more before leaving.” The witch crossed his arms. 

“So,” Ccino began slowly, “Why does The Reaper want your help?” 

“Well, he promised something for Nightmare in return.” Dream took his coffee back. “But he said we had a special bond that could help wake up Geno-” 

“The thing that’ll help us is Geno.” Error frowned. “He’s not going to give you anything more.” 

“He said he’d be forever indebted to us because, you see-” Dream started but Cross quickly cut him off. 

“I don’t believe it’s our place to repeat Reaper’s personal interests in waking Geno up.” He gave a side look at Dream, then looked back to Error. “But I’m sure Geno will be happy to tell you when he’s awake.” 

“You have that much confidence?” Error sighed. 

“Not really…” Cross ran his hands through his hair. “It’s like I can feel that you’ll get to see Geno again. It’s more than just a gut feeling… Like…” 

“Like knowing something you never learned?” Dream asked. Cross slowly nodded. “Maybe it’s your powers coming back! Then Reaper sending us home for the night makes sense. He wants to wait and see if they’ll return.” 

Cross simply nodded and frowned. 

“Okay, so…” Killer leaned forward, balancing his elbows on his knees and placing his head in his hands. “Tomorrow morning, you guys should go straight to The Reaper as long as there isn’t any change. You can text one of us to check in. When you’re done with The Reaper, you can check in again and let us know what happened.” 

“Of course!” Dream smiled. Ccino smiled sadly and looked away. 

“I wish there was more we could do here.” The barista sighed. 

“You’re doing a lot, Ccino!” Dream quickly gave him a pat on the back. “Trust me, if he wakes up there’s no one he’d rather see more than the two of you. I’m sure he knows you’re watching over him. He’s got to.” 

“Thanks, Dream.” Ccino didn’t feel terribly relieved, but he was happy to hear the younger twin’s speech all the same. 

“Killer?” Dream asked. The werewolf perked up. 

“Yeah?” 

“Is there anyway we can borrow some of your clothes?” The blonde asked timidly. “Just until… Nightmare’s better and we can spare some time to go shopping. You look to be about Cross’s size.” 

The wolf turned his eyes on the former dead man, running his eyes over him. 

“Yeah, he looks like my size. I’ll ask one of my roommates to drop it off at your place.” 

“Um…” Dream cringed. “Could it not be Horror?” 

Killer laughed. 

“I’ll tell them to just leave it at the door.” He shrugged. “Besides, I think you guys won’t want to be disturbed tonight.” 

“You’re right, we do need our rest for Reaper tomorrow…” Dream thought aloud. Error visibly facepalmed and Ink hid a snicker behind his hand. 

“Okay, well, I guess we should get started on purifying.” Ink slowly stood. “You guys should go on home… I’m sure time traveling and getting a body is really tiring.” 

“Oh yeah, it really is.” Dream agreed, standing as well. “I just realized we’ve been going for a lot longer than just eight hours.” 

Cross stood, bracing himself for sea legs but finding them rather steady. He smiled at himself. 

“Aw, Error!” Ink gasped, pointing to Cross. “Look at that smile! He’s so cute!” 

“You realize that not only are you treating him like a kid, but you’re telling your boyfriend to look at a man you’re thirsting after?” Error sighed. 

“Well, when you put it like that…” Ink sighed, turning to get his pack of supplies. They were going to adding extra measures that evening. He didn’t have total confidence in his boyfriend, and quite frankly he felt like he had failed by sending him instead the night before. He trusted Error, but they practiced different kinds of magic that didn’t really mix well. He would be the one doing it tonight. 

“Thank you, everyone. Tomorrow, we’ll bring pizza or something, I promise!” Dream said, leading Cross back over to the stairs. 

“Thank you, all.” Cross called as well. “It’s was a pleasure.” 

“Same.” Ink sighed, earning himself a jab in the ribs from Error. 

“Be safe.” Ccino told them. 

“We’ll let you know if there’s any change.” Killer affirmed. 

And with a wave they ascended the stairs and spilled back into the world of the normal. 


 

On their way home they stopped at a grocery store for a few items, namely a frozen pizza for dinner and some ice cream to wash it down with. Everything had a new intensity to Cross, finding that places he had seen and gone to before now were new and exotic. But the best part of their journey home was their hands linked with each others and sneaking kisses under the streetlights. 

They were tired and hungry, but once they had the pizza they found themselves abuzz with renewed energy. How amazing was it to be with the one you loved when you never thought it possible? 

Their soft kissing started in the living room, Dream placing himself upon Cross’s lap and gently easing their kisses to become deeper. Cross ran his fingers through Dream’s hair, unable to stop himself after years of imagining how it felt. He pressed Dream into him as their kissing became more heated, more needy. Dream, as much as he viscerally needed Cross’s taste on his tongue, pulled back and began to lead Cross to the staircase. 

“Are you sure?” Cross asked, letting Dream lead him into his bedroom where the bed was still left unmade and clothes strung haphazardly around the space. 

“I’m sure. I’ve always been sure.” Dream smiled as he sat down on his bed, pulling Cross into him until he fell back, looking up at the man he waited for his whole life. Cross smiled, then kissed him again. 

Dream might have felt bad for engaging in his most carnal desires while his own brother was fighting for his soul, but that was precisely the reason he had been so hasty. If things turned out for the absolute and utter worst, at least he would be able to remember this night with Cross and the feeling of his hot mouth caressing his cold skin, kissing and teasing the tension and trepidation out of him. 

Being wrapped in Cross, moving as one with him and letting his thoughts fade away from the troubles of his brother was welcome. Cross became drunk on his lover, giving in and pleasuring Dream is all the ways he had fantasized about before. But Dream wasn’t one to simply bask in Cross’s sun, and his mouth and plump lips worked just as hard as Cross, if not harder, finding beauty and mutual pleasure in being able to touch him and give him everything he could. 

If resting was what they needed to be doing, then they had failed miserably and hadn’t been able to stop themselves until well after midnight. Tangled in each other’s limbs, they settled in for sleep, Cross holding Dream tightly into his body and his face pressed into his hair made of sunshine. Dream thought he might have heard a whimper, a sound of utter disbelief and gratitude, and he felt his own chest heave. He sucked in a breath just as he realized what Reaper had meant that he hadn’t thought of. 

“Cross…” he said softly. 

“Yes, dearest?” The other breathed onto the back of his neck before placing a tender kiss there. 

“We’re soulmates.” 

Cross paused. 

“How do you know?” 

“Reaper… He said we had a special bond… when Sans died, we both felt it at that exact moment.” He turned around in his lover’s arms so that he was facing him. 

“We’re special because we’re soulmates. But… you died over two hundred years ago.” Dream laughed softly, finding the truth of their situation absurd. “The fact we found each other is so… crazy and statistics would say we had like… a negative percent chance of meeting, let alone being together. That’s why he’s so desperate for us.” 

Cross smiled gently at him, moving a piece of hair out of his face before kissing his cheek. 

“You never cease to amaze me…” he murmured against the other’s skin, refusing to pull his lips away. “How would that help him?” 

“We’ll find out tomorrow… I’m sure figuring that out was the second task.” Dream laughed, giddy with his realization. 

“Now we need to sleep…” Cross sighed, pulling back. “Having a body really is strange. I feel exhausted.” 

“That’s normal…” Dream buried his head into his lover’s chest. “Goodnight, Cross… I love you.” 

“Goodnight, my dearest Dream… I love you too.” Cross kissed the top of Dream’s head before settling back down for his first night of rest as one of the living. 

Chapter Text

Gaster felt himself to be at a bit of an impasse. He was stuck, down in the deepest parts of the human he had possessed and not even able to see what was going on. Nightmare, on the other hand, had disappeared from his sight but he knew he was around or else the demonic entity would have been able to have complete control over the body. All those years he had spent getting rebuffed by Sans, or as he was known now, Cross, had really diminished his powers. But he could feel them starting to grow. He just needed… 

More. 

More negativity. 

The human had an immense amount of untapped power, and Gaster made up his mind to see if he could siphon it into his own. 

He couldn’t. 

But he could meld it with his own, creating something new and something he could use. 

He could infiltrate people’s dreams. 

It was absurd. Something he hadn’t thought possible until he reached out with feelers, trying to find an easy mind to test his powers on. The first dream he found was simple, and when he began to manipulate it into something dark and creepy, something where the energy given off by the man could fuel him, he found the man to be quite the idiot. 

He never screamed, and simply repeated “bruh” over and over again, stringing sentences together with things that Gaster felt were barely words. 

“Will you SHUT. UP?!” He cried, nearly knocking the guy over. 

“Woah, bruh. No need to be so rude!” 

“You’re stupid and useless.” Gaster snarled and with tendrils of inky blackness, reached out and slashed him across the chest. 

The man cried out, and Gaster felt it. A surge of power coming from the negativity he had instilled in this buffoon. With a jolt, he immediately left that dream and let the power propel him into the next one. 

He hadn’t been planning to find such a wonderful ally at random, but he couldn’t have been happier. 

What he found was a dream completely devoid of light, and sitting in the middle of it was a multi-tentacled parasitic creature. 

“Who are you?” The creature asked, his voice echoing around them. It was strange, and almost stressed, but the critter didn’t seem to care too much that he was there. 

“I’m…” Gaster thought for a moment. He looked down at himself and realized he had taken the form of the human, so he decided he might as well keep up the costume. “I’m Nightmare.” 

“You’re not. I’ve met him.” 

Gaster scowled, searching Nightmare’s memories as quickly as possible. 

“Fresh?” He asked. 

“That is the name I chose for myself.” 

Gaster looked around, as if he were taking in the scenery. 

“Why do you sleep if you’re so clearly awake?” 

“The body must sleep. I do not.” 

“Isn’t it tiring? To be trapped in such a form?”  

“Yes, but there is no other way. I am not of this world. Without this mortal form, I will perish.” 

“Hm…” Gaster looked through the human’s memories again. “Aren’t you hungry?” 

“What do you mean?” 

“You started out eating living creatures, but now you’re reduced to eating something that’s been dead for a while. Wouldn’t you like to go back to that?” 

“...I do not understand. You sound like you’re telling me to eat what I want, but Geno told me to only eat the dead things, and Error still hates me for eating his pet.” 

“Why do you care what they think?” 

This gave Fresh a pause. 

“They were kind to me.” 

“Were they both?” 

Again, Fresh took a moment to think. 

“Geno was.” 

“And where’s Geno now?” 

“Basically dead.” 

“So who cares? Error doesn’t. You should do what you want.” 

“...” Now the small creature moved its arms as it thought. Gaster just smiled down at it. 

“I’ll think about it.” Fresh muttered. But Gaster knew. 

He could practically feel the starvation surrounding them, heightened by the thought of eating once more. 

“You do that…” He let his body dissolve into liquid, going back to Nightmare’s inert form. 

If he had read the room right, 

He wouldn’t have to wait much longer for a strong enough power source. 


 

“Do you think he’s hungry?” 

Killer looked up from his phone to where Ccino sat, a loyal guard in front of Nightmare’s chair. It was almost sunrise and there hadn’t been a peep out of the possessed body. But they were still trying to vigilant, though Ccino was much better at it than him. 

“...Probably. It’s been a while since he ate.” Killer sighed. The permanent shadow under Ccino’s eyes deepened. “Er, I mean…” 

Ccino sighed. 

“I just… I’m worried. I know we can’t take him to a hospital and we have no way to get nutrients into him… I want him to be healthy when he wakes up.” 

“Halloween will be here before he’d starve to death so… Either way, I don’t think that’s something we need to worry about.” Killer tried again, earning a scowl from the other. “Look, I‘m worried about him too, but we have to look at this more logically.”

“I know you’re right, but I just can’t stop myself.” 

“That’s the werecat in you.” Killer sighed. “Werewolves don’t care enough, and werecats care too much. That’s why we can’t ever get along.” 

Ccino had to laugh at that. 

“We’re getting along just fine. Better than that, really.” 

“It’s because of Nightmare.” Killer sighed, gently running a hand through his hair. The barista gently shook his head. 

“I don’t think it’s just that. We make a pretty good team.” He slowly yawned. “What time is it?” 

“A few minutes before sunrise.” Killer sighed just as his phone rang. “Ink?” 

Ccino could only hear one side of the conversation, but from the look on the wolf’s face he could tell something had happened on their end. 

“Okay… Do what you need to. We’ll be here.” Killer pulled the phone away and hung up. “That was Ink… He said there’s an emergency at the store. Some guy had a really bad nightmare and now he needs some stuff to keep it away. Ink said he sounded pretty upset on the store’s voicemail. He said they’re gonna meet him there then come over.” 

“Wow, I can’t imagine having a nightmare so bad I’d want to purify my room…” Ccino sighed and shook his head. “I’ll go get some coffee started, then.” 

“I’ll keep an eye on him.” Killer promised. 

Ccino smiled. 

“He’s in good hands.” 


 

Cross slept like a rock through the night. 

A rock that was reliving its entire life through the lens of a dream. 

Now that his body hadn’t been desecrated when he died, there was nothing stopping him from remembering who he was. He remembered growing up in a fairly well off family in Ireland, and then at the age of ten, his father decided it was time for a change. Papyrus was old enough then to make the voyage, and his father felt it was better to move to America. Life wasn’t the best, and Cross, with his strange power that Catholicism definitely didn’t approve of, continued telling his father that something bad was coming. Something that would change their home, but more importantly something that would kill their entire family if they didn’t leave. 

So, Dr. W.D. Gaster packed up their things, sold their home, and left for the New World. 

He had much of the same life that the Sans that Dream had met had. But, there was a major difference. Cross had only known that his family was going to die at the hands of whatever possessed his father, and that he was the only one who could stop him. He had no visions of Dream or a life beyond the terror he would live through. 

And somehow, he had known he needed to make sure he became a spirit. He remembered clutching the locket in his hands, praying over it and sending his will into it. He left it under a floorboard, to not be disturbed. Yet, Dream told him that the house he had lived in had been destroyed and a new one built on the land. 

How had the locket gotten into the attic and left there? 

He didn’t have much time to dwell on such frivolities, for then he was launched into the brutal murder of his father’s body, Cross wielding a knife and crying the entire time. He knew Dr. W. D. Gaster, as he had been, was no longer in there. It was simply a body that had slowly been corrupted by the evil force that preyed on the doctor’s sorrows. But it was still hard to stab, and stab, and stab, until he realized it wasn’t working and he slit his own father’s throat to finish him off. 

Cross had thought he had time. Time to breathe, time to realize what he had done. But the demon came for him before he was ready and reached a claw straight into his eye socket and-

He woke up with a shout, sitting up in bed, covered in a cold sweat and panting. He quickly looked around, seeing nothing except soft light coming in through the window and an empty place beside him. He panicked, trying to summon his knife but finding it didn’t work the same in a body, but as the smell of bacon hit his nose he realized he didn’t need it. 

He slipped out of the sheets and pulled on the barest of clothes, not feeling a real desire to put on the blood crusted ones again. He found his body more sure that morning as he went down the stairs, one hand clinging to the railing for dear life, but found that his legs were strong and able. 

“Cross!” Dream called from the kitchen as soon as he heard him. “I’m in here!” 

“Thought so.” Cross said, though Dream didn’t seem to hear him. He moved into the kitchen, feeling only marginally better after beginning to relive the wonderful memory of feeling his eyes plucked from their sockets and shoved down his throat and-

“Cross? Are you okay? You’re really pale.” Dream had turned away from the stove to look at him, his brow creased in worry. 

“I…” Cross could lie, but he decided not to. He shook his head. “All night, I was remembering my life before death, and… right before I woke up I got to the… death part.” 

“Oh, Cross…” Dream quickly put the spatula down and went to him, snaking his arms around Cross’s middle. “I’m sorry…” 

Cross sighed, and wrapped his own arms around the smaller man, burying his face in his hair for a moment and remembering that this was real, that he was there, with Dream, and that his death had happened so long ago it shouldn’t even matter. 

But the feeling of his eyeballs, one after the other, sliding down his throat made him want to gag, but instead he settled for holding onto his lover tighter. 

“Thanks, Dream…” He whispered and pulled away, not wanting to keep Dream from his cooking too long. He didn’t want the house to burn down. 

“Of course, Cross. I’ll always be here for you.” Dream gave him a soft smile. “I’m making pancakes… Maybe that’ll take your mind off things.” 

Cross watched as Dream scuttled back to the stove, and he slowly followed, now having a reason to pay attention to the new technology when Dream used it. He would have to use it, eventually, so he might as well start really trying to learn. 

“Did you sleep well?” He asked after a moment. 

“Yeah…” Dream blushed and looked at him shyly. “Better than I have since this all started…” 

Cross slowly moved behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist, setting his chin on top of his head. 

“I’m happy, for that…” He sighed softly. “It smells really good.” 

That seemed to perk the smaller of the two up. 

“I’ve always dreamed of making breakfast for you! And packing your lunch! And cooking your dinner…” Dream sighed wistfully. 

“You’ve wanted to be my housewife, then?” Cross laughed. 

“Not housewife, house spouse. But no, I just… Wanted to do things for you. Even the smallest of things…” Dream scooped the last of the bacon out of the frying pan. “Isn’t that what love is?” 

Cross paused, then moved to give him a kiss on the cheek. 

“Yes, that’s what love is.” 

“Okay, then sit down and I’ll bring breakfast over!” Dream chirped merrily and began gathering their breakfast while Cross went to the dining table and sat down. 

“Do you need help?” He asked, watching Dream struggled with the plates and silverware. 

“Nah! I’ve got it.” Dream grinned and started heading over, arms full. His tongue poked out of his mouth as he concentrated on balancing everything, his steps careful. 

But not careful enough. 

He tripped and began to fall forward. 

“Dream!” Cross was out of his seat, but he knew he wouldn’t make it in time. He thrust his hands out in front of him as if he were going to catch him, his instincts trying to send energy to his hands so he could touch him and-

Energy caught the blonde by the shoulders and pushed him upright once more. 

“That was weird.” Dream laughed. Cross sighed and moved to him, taking a few of the plates from his hands. 

“I did something, but I don’t know what.” He frowned, going back to the table and setting things down. 

“We can ask Reaper today when we go back and see him.” Dream nodded to himself and set the rest of the plates down. “You remember how to get there, right?”

“Of course.” Cross slowly added a few pancakes to his plate and a couple of slices of bacon. “But it’s not to where we were yesterday.”

“What does that even mean?” Dream asked as he sat down next to Cross rather than across from him. He felt like sitting across the table would put too much distance between them, and he wasn’t ready for that again. 

“The door moves.” Cross explained. “But I know where it is today.”

“Ooooh!” Dream bounced in his seat. “Is that your power?” 

“I think so.” Cross grinned and took a bite. 

“How do you like it?” The other whispered, watching him instead of eating his own food. Cross turned to face him and smiled. 

“Better than I had ever imagined it.” 

“That’s so sweet-”

“You didn’t burn any of it.”

“Cross!”

 


 

Ink was a witch. 

A witch with some natural talent and a lot of good instruction coming from his parents. At a young age he had been adopted by the prestigious warlocks Aster and Gaster, who had decided to become partners instead of marrying women in their coven, resulting in them not having an heir. But when they found Ink, and saw that he had potential and more importantly, he was the son they had always dreamed of, they adopted him. 

But Ink had never been accepted by the coven as a legitimate heir, since he was neither genetically related nor possessed a significant amount of power. Even his fathers could only teach him so much before he had to settle for peddling crystals and sage to normals who thought they were witches. 

It was all a bit off-putting, to say the least.  

But he had Error, he had his parents, and he was content. 

Mostly. 

So when the chance to help the poor fellow with his nightmares came up, even amidst crisis, he was eager to help.

“So…” Ink set a cup of freshly made tea into the man’s hands. The poor guy looked to still be shaken, and a fresh cut ran down the length from his eyebrow to his jaw, barely missing his eye. “Can you repeat what you said on the phone?” 

“Bruh,” The guy wrapped his arms around himself. “It was terrible! My dream kept changin’ like some sort of TV flippin’ channels! It got worse and worse until this guy came out and told me I was being an idiot!” 

“What’d he look like?” Error asked. 

“He was like, all black with sticky stuff, bruh.” 

“Sticky stuff?” Ink asked. 

“Yeah, bruh! Like goo, or some shit…” The guy shook his head. Ink and Error gave each other a look before turning back to him. 

“Did he say anything else?” Error inquired. 

“Yeah, bruh! He said I was too stupid to produce enough negativity for him. Can you believe that? I was straight terrified!” 

“...” Ink gently scratched his head. “Okay, um… The best we can do is send you off with some sage and a dreamcatcher. Nightmares are tricky, sometimes.” 

“It ain’t no nightmare, bruh!” The man cried, pointing to the cut on his face. “He scratched me in the dream, and now it’s on my face!” 

Error leaned in, inspecting the cut. 

“It is pretty clean…” He sighed. “Ink, do you think it’s-”

“It’s just a nightmare!” Ink cried, trying to stop him.

“I’m not that stupid, bruh. You know somethin’ you’re not telling me.”

“We don’t even know…” Error sighed. “But it targeted you for some reason. We’ll give you the sage and dreamcatcher for free, so long as we can count on you for anything else. We may have questions or need you again.” 

The man nodded. 

“Okay, but what about if it comes back?”

“Then you call us again… Here,” Ink took out his phone and handed it to him. “Put your number in and I’ll give you mine.” 

“You got it, bruh.” The man quickly typed his name in. 

“Epic?” Ink asked before texting the number. 

“Tha one an’ only!” Epic grinned. 

“Alright, Epic… We need to get working on some stuff. We’ll let you know if we need you, and let us know if you experience anything else.” Error stood as a dismissal. 

Epic took the hint and got up.

“Thank you, bruhs. I’ll let ya know if I see anythin’.” 

“And nothing’s too small!” Ink hopped up as well, following him to the front door. 

“Got it.” Epic gave them a set of finger guns before leaving, Ink locking the door behind him. 

“It was Nightmare.” Ink sighed, turning around. 

“No, it was Gaster. Somehow he can get into other people’s dreams.” Error sighed. 

“And hurt them.” 

“And he wants negativity. Do you think he went to other dreams or just Epic’s?” 

“I don’t know, but we should be vigilant. Let’s go meet Killer and Ccino. They might know something.” 

“Doubt it.” Error sighed. “If he was dream hopping last night, he probably didn’t do much outwardly.” 

“Well, come on.” Ink started to lead him out the back. “We better go find out.” 

 


 

After eating, showering, and dressing, Cross and Dream headed out to find Reaper’s hiding place. As promised, Horror had left a trash bag of clothes on their doorstep the night before with a note saying they were old and Killer decided he didn’t need them back. Which was good, because Dream decided he very much enjoyed Cross in tight jeans and a fitted jacket with a faux fur hood. In fact, he thought about slipping his hand into one of Cross’s back pockets as they walked, but decided against it. He would have to let go of Cross’s hand to do so. 

“This is an antique store.” Dream stated as Cross stopped them. 

“Yes.” Cross agreed. “But it’s where we need to be.” 

“Okay…” Dream frowned, but followed Cross inside anyway. 

“Welcome to my shop of horrors!” Called Reaper from the counter where an antique cash register sat. He was leaning on his elbows, cradling his face in his hands. “I see your gift is back, Cross, otherwise you wouldn’t have found me.” 

“You knew I would.” Cross shrugged. 

“Oh!” Dream cried happily. “We also figured out another part of your tasks.” 

“Oh?” Reaper looked amused but not surprised. 

“It was him, really.” Cross murmured. 

“We figured out we’re soulmates, born in different times, destined to never meet but did anyway.” Dream grinned. 

“Congrats, you did figure part of it out.” Reaper laughed. 

“Part?” Cross asked. 

“You don’t really think I care too much about the fact you’re soulmates, do you?” Reaper looked between them. “It’s sweet, but more than that, it gives you two an advantage, paired with the fact Cross is your protective spirit and you’ve been funneling your own energy into him for almost two decades now.”  

“Oh…” Dream looked away, and Cross gave his hand a gentle squeeze. Reaper chuckled and waved the blonde’s sadness off. 

“It definitely gives you more power, don’t worry about that.” He looked to Cross. “Why don’t you take a look around. I think you’ve figured out something doesn’t quite work for you anymore, and we should find a replacement.” 

“What doesn’t work…?” Cross’s voice trailed off as he realized what Reaper meant. He looked around at the piles of different items, thrown around haphazardly. “I’ll find something in this?” 

“What are you guys talking about?” Dream asked. The other two simply ignored him. 

“Of course there’s something here.” Reaper grinned. “Why do you think I brought my stores with me today? Consider it your second payment for completing the second task.” 

“Cross?” Dream tried again. 

“It’s my knife.” Cross finally explained, letting go of his hand to peruse the piles. “It doesn’t work anymore.” 

“That makes sense…” Dream decided to look around as well. “You’re not a being of energy anymore. You need…” 

His eyes widened. 

“You need something to channel it through!” He gasped, grinning. “That’s what he wants you to look for.” 

“Hm…” Cross glanced at the piles before looking back to Dream. “I think I know…” 

“Pick anything in the store.” Reaper grinned lazily. 

“This…” Cross reached up and pulled one of Dream’s hair pins out, specifically the one with a jewel in the shape of the sun. 

“That?” Dream asked, frowning. “It’s old, and a little rusted…” 

“It’s what I want.” Cross grinned at him. “Reaper said I could have anything…” 

Dream laughed. 

“Fine… Have the shitty old thing.” 

“Wonderful.” Cross pinned back a piece of his own hair. 

“Dream… You should look for one too.” Reaper said. Dream frowned, then looked down at the locket still around his neck. 

“I’ve got what I need.” He smiled.

Reaper shrugged.

“Whatever you guys want. Are you ready to try waking up Geno?” He asked. 

“...” Cross frowned. “Do you think we’re ready?” 

“There’s only one way to find out.” Reaper shrugged once more. “I think we have a good shot, so long as you trust each other.” 

“We trust each other.” They said at the same time. 

“Great. Follow me.” Reaper stood up straight, then turned and walked through a doorway leading into the back.

The two followed him obediently, and as soon as they stepped through the doorway they felt themselves to be somewhere completely different. A place that existed while simultaneously not existing. 

The perfect place to put a man caught between living and dying.

They walked down a long hall, there shoes clattering over the linoleum floor. Cross wasn’t so sure if a hall was necessary, but he tried not to dwell on it for too long. Instead, he slid his hand into Dream’s, the mere fact of them being able to share this simple act almost overwhelming him. 

As Dream’s fingers closed around his own, he had a sudden moment of clarity of what they needed to do.

“Reaper?” He asked slowly. Reaper looked over his shoulder at him, his mouth still twisted in a lazy grin. 

“Yes?” He asked. 

“Is… Goth around?” 

Reaper’s smile slid off his face and his eyes narrowed at him. 

“Why?” He demanded, jaw tense. 

“Er…” Cross sighed. “I know how to wake Geno up. But it won’t work if…” 

He paused, feeling Reaper’s gaze only becoming more intense, the desire to keep his only child, the only reminder of Geno he had left, safe. Cross almost stumbled at the ferocity in his eyes, but he wouldn’t back down. 

“It won’t work unless we have enough love.” He finished. 

“Love?” Reaper stopped, turning to face him. Cross nodded tentatively. 

“Love… It can be extremely powerful. As you said, you love Geno-” 

“Then I should be enough.” Reaper hissed. Cross’s mouth set in a hard line as he stared at the ancient creature before him. 

“You haven’t brought Goth here, have you?” Cross asked, though he already knew the answer.

“No. He shouldn’t be in a place like this.” 

“Then he hasn’t met Geno.” The once apparition stated. 

“You can’t meet someone who isn’t there.” 

“He’s here.” Dream piped up, smiling softly up at Reaper. “I can feel him.”

Reaper’s eyes searched him for any ill intent, for any reason to distrust the two of them. But he knew there was no reason to. That was why he had decided it must be them in the first place. But to bring Goth to this… place was not something he had ever wanted for the small infant. But his son deserved his father, and Reaper’s face crumpled with the realization that he would have to come to terms with his greatest fear: 

Putting Goth’s safety at risk for the one they both needed so desperately. 

“Why does Goth have to be here?” He asked, his voice tired and strained.

“Your love for Geno will only be partially enough.” Cross slowly explained, eyes looking towards the ceiling as he recounted his vision. “But combined with Geno’s love for you, his love for Goth, and Goth’s love for Geno, it’ll be enough to break the seal.” 

“The seal?” Reaper frowned. 

“If he’s here but not taking his body back, then there must be a seal.” Dream picked up where Cross left off. 

“And love is the ultimate weapon.” Cross added. 

“...” Reaper continued to frown. “Will any harm come to him?” 

“I think we’ll need to see Geno, first,” Dream said thoughtfully, “But I wouldn’t think so. I can’t feel anything evil here, or bad magic… It’s really possible that an accident happened, with no foul intent behind it.” 

Reaper sighed. 

“Okay, I’ll bring Goth here if you deem it safe. If not, we’re not continuing this route.”

“Of course.” Dream quickly assured him. “We would never want to hurt your child.” 

“Alright… Come on, there’s not much longer left.” 

They walked the rest of the way in silence, Reaper feeling the coming tension rising inside of him while the new lovers found themselves calm. Cross was sure of himself, as sure as he could be of something that had no proof to it but of which he was certain. And Dream fed off his lover’s energy, walking with the same confidence the other was.  

“Here we are…” Reaper stopped in front of the only door they had seen, slowly turning to face them. His easy grin had yet to be replenished, and for the first time since meeting him, he looked exhausted. 

Dream looked to the door, eyeing the ornate handle handle and the intricate designs etched into the wood. Reaper had gone through a lot of trouble to make sure even the door to the room his lover was in was perfect. 

“Why… Did you keep him here?” He asked slowly. Reaper laughed, though it sounded more like a fatigued grunt. 

“They would pull the plug on him, wouldn’t they? For all intents and purposes he’s brain dead.” His lips pulled back in the amused snarl of a wolf. “Humans are so quick to kill. It’s disgusting.” 

“But you’re-” Cross started. 

“The Reaper?” Now he let out a genuine laugh. “Just because I’m death personified doesn’t mean I enjoy it.” 

He turned back to the door, signalling that their conversation was finished and he wished to answer no further questions. Reaper moved his hands to the doorknob but hesitated. He wanted this. He wanted this so badly. But what if they failed? He took a deep breath. They wouldn’t. He wouldn’t allow it. 

Reaper twisted the knob and let the door open, its creaking sending shivers down the two humans’ spines. They stepped inside anyway. 

The room was beautiful with a large four poster bed, lush carpets and various paintings on the walls. Dream sucked in a breath. It was perfect and homey, kept in immaculate condition. The loving care put into its design and upkeep was apparent. His heart ached. 

Then his eyes flicked up into a dark corner of the ceiling. 

Crouched in the uppermost corner, as far away from his body as possible, was Geno’s soul. It had taken the form of his body, only his eyes were wild and nearly feral. His white blonde hair was skewed and pushed everywhere. When he realized Dream was looking directly at him, his mouth turned down and his brows knitted together. 

“Please. Please kill me.” Geno begged. Dream’s frown turned sad. 

“Geno…” He whispered, earning the quick looks of Cross and Reaper. Cross quickly followed Dream’s gaze, latching onto the spiritual projection of Error’s brother. Reaper tried to see what they were, but found he couldn’t. 

“Please. Just let this be over. He won’t let me go. He won’t.” Geno’s eyes began filling with tears. Cross looked to Reaper. 

“Have you ever… talked about… you know who, in here?” He asked slowly. Reaper shook his head. “Then I think it’s time you get him.” 

“Get who?” Geno asked. 

“...” Reaper looked to the two humans before his shoulders sagged in defeat. “Okay.” 

He disappeared. 

“Who?!” Geno demanded a second time. 

“It’s not our place to say.” Dream tried to smile. “Do you want to come down from there? We’re here to help you.” 

Geno studied them, then shook his head. 

“That’s okay.” Dream whispered. 

Cross looked at the man trying so desperately depart for the world of the dead. He remembered… feeling like that, at times. But mostly, he had just felt the nagging rage and fury that kept him glued to the house to protect its inhabitants. What must it be like, to be a spirit who wanted to move on but wasn’t being allowed to? 

Reaper appeared once more, a bundle of blankets in his arms. He looked tortured; like a man at the end of his wits and emotional stamina. If this didn’t work… If it… 

“What’s that?” Geno asked, the tension in his voice noticeably less. 

“Reaper, can you bring him here…?” Dream asked, giving the spirit a knowing smile. 

Reaper slowly shuffled forward, looking up at the corner he knew his one and only to be in but unable to see him. 

“Geno…” He started, clutching the bundle to his chest. He slowly uncovered the babe, whose eyes were open and bright, locking onto Geno immediately. “I’m sorry I didn’t… I didn’t bring him here before… But… We did it, Geno. We made our child. This is Goth, our son.” 

Geno was paralyzed by shock and overwhelm, unable to move even an inch closer to see his own son. But Goth didn’t quite mind; he cooed and laughed and stretched his chubby hands out towards him, begging him to come closer. To tell his second father that he knew him, and he wanted him without reservations. 

Slowly, Geno peeled himself away, still stunned but unable to resist his child’s cries. 

“H-Hi, Goth…” He whispered as he came so close he could have taken one of his hands in his if he was corporeal. But it didn’t much matter. Just looking at his son, the one born of his and Reaper’s love was enough. “He’s beautiful…” 

“So… How do we do it?” Reaper asked. “How do get Geno back?” 

“Well, first…” Dream looked to Geno, who couldn’t be bothered to gaze at anything but his infant son. “Geno, do you want to go back into your body?” 

“Yes.” He said without hesitation and without looking up. “I want… I want to hold him. I want to be with him…” 

Sensing his father’s distress, Goth’s eyes became teary and he began to wail. 

“Then come here…” Cross led them to bed. He gently handed one of Geno’s  body’s hands to Reaper, then politely gestured for Goth to at least touch the other one. The baby didn’t quite understand, especially when his real father was hovering over him, but Reaper set him into the crook of Geno’s arm, laying his lover’s hand onto his well fed stomach. 

Cross pulled the hairpin out, looking at it before looking back to the small, broken family. 

“Okay… If you can, try to project your feelings of love and hope towards me and Dream.” He looked to his own lover and smiled. Dream returned it, and gently took Cross’s hand in one of his own, then moving his free hand to clutch the locket around his neck. “We’ll use our… love to help.” 

“Please… Just…” Reaper sighed. “Please… I need him.” 

Geno looked at his lover, crestfallen that he had thought Reaper was only keeping him for his own selfish reasons. But he loved Geno, and he wanted their son to have two parents and above all, he wanted him to experience the life they had wanted with him. He couldn’t be upset at that. Not anymore. 

“Okay… Start.” Cross gently coaxed. 

Everyone closed their eyes, save Goth, who was still staring up at Geno, but the power was still there. As the family collected their positive feelings, letting them swirl between the crude circle they had formed, Reaper directed them to the two others. 

Dream and Cross breathed in sync with one another, letting their powers combine with the family’s, then with each others. Cross focused it towards Dream’s old hairpin, the energy pulsating in his palm. He couldn’t see it, but he could feel a weapon full of mana and essence forming in his hand. He knew that if he were to open his eyes and look, the weapon would no longer be there. But he didn’t need his sight for this fight. 

“There…” Dream whispered beside him, directing his attention to the bed, or what he assumed was the bed. Cross could see energy signatures of everyone except Geno’s body, but from the others’ positions, he could guess. 

The most telling sign was the look of a spiritual set of chains wrapped around Geno’s core, a padlock set firmly in place. 

It was child’s play. 

He raised his arm, then slashed down. The locked succumbed to the combined wondrous and miraculous feelings of warmth and bliss flowing through him. 

They were jolted out of their collective trance as Geno screamed back into the world of the living. 

“Geno?!” Reaper cried, though instead of launching himself at his partner, he scooped Goth up just before Geno began to thrash. 

“Am I dead?! Where is he?!” Geno’s eyes were wide and he looked around wildly before realizing everyone was staring at him, and that he was once inhabiting a body again. “Oh my God.” 

“Tsk, tsk,” Reaper slowly shook his head. “You need to repent for that little sin, mister priest.” 

“Reap…” Geno looked at him slowly, then to the baby in his arms. He slowly sat up, leaning against the headboard of the bed. He didn’t care to waste time marveling over his own miracle. He wanted to hold theirs. 

“Reaper… Can I?” Geno asked slowly, just as Goth made a small noise and reached out for him. 

“Sure… Just, let me do something first.” Reaper smiled, then looked to the two onlookers. “Thank you. I can’t tell you how indebted I am to you, but I will be forever.” 

“Of course…” Dream slowly smiled, feeling lightheaded. Sensing his lover’s unease, Cross wrapped an arm around his shoulders, protectively tucking him into his side. 

“When do we get-” He started. Reaper shook his head. 

“Your next payment will come once Geno’s recovered, but before the time limit on Nightmare is up. I promise you that.” Reaper grinned. “But for now, we need our privacy.” 

He snapped, and the two found themselves in front of a closed store front.

“Damn it…” Cross sighed. 

“Watch your words…” Dream said tiredly. “I don’t feel so good…” 

“...That was the first time you’ve taken energy in, right?” Cross turned to look at him. Dream slowly nodded. “Well, come on. I’ll take you home.” 

He scooped the smaller man into his arms, bridal style, Dream happily wrapping his arms around his neck and gently laying his head against his shoulder. 

“I always wanted you to carry me like this…” He murmured, closing his eyes to savor the moment. 

“You’re a very simple creature, you know that?” Cross laughed and began walking. “What time is it? It looks like it might rain…” 

Dream checked his phone. 

“Almost four in the afternoon. Time really flies when you’re… Between planes of existence.” 

“We better go straight to the cafe before we go home, then. We need to check on Nightmare.” 

“Oooh, that’s better than going home! Ccino can make me a pumpkin spice latte!”

“I don’t know why you’re so obsessed with something so vile.” 

“You take that back right now!” 

 


 

Fresh crept through the forest surrounding the town, his mind at war with himself as he followed the delicious scent of herd animals. Geno would be disappointed, wouldn’t he? That he had taken a few of the neighbors family pets and devoured them unsympathetically. Feeling them writhe in his hands as he slowly chewed the life out of them was thrilling and he rode the high to the next unattended animal. 

But it hadn’t been enough. 

He grew bored of them, tired of how easy they were to kill. Now he made his way to one of the cattle ranches on the outskirts of town, something in the back of his mind trying to remind him that it was strictly off limits, and not even because Geno would be angry. There was another reason, but he his mind was quite fuzzy with hunger and he didn’t much care anymore. 

And if Geno was too dead to care, he supposed he shouldn’t either. 

It started raining as he approached his first bovine victim. He slunk towards it, body moving almost inhumanely as he moved through the mud. His mouth hung open and he panted, his human tongue lolling out. 

He left three of them mutilated beyond recognition. 

He drank their blood like fine wine and suckled on the fat clinging to their meat… 

But it still wasn’t enough. 

As he went back into the city limits, covered in blood and filth of his hunt, he realized what he was missing. His nostrils flared and part of him rebelled against just the thought of it that it sent him rocking back on the heels of his feet. He wanted it. He had always wanted it. But it was vulgar and vile and he had pushed it back but… 

Geno was basically dead.  

And he decided he couldn’t be bothered any longer. 

He wasn’t human. He would stop pretending. There was no one left to put a performance on for. 

And so, he descended into the sewers underneath the town, finding the dark and odorous dwelling fitting for him. 

His reign of terror would begin soon.

 


 

It had started raining by the time the two of them had reached Ccino’s cafe. The barista himself opened the door just in time for the raging downpour, Cross and Dream slipping inside in record time. 

“Bridal style, that’s cute.” Ccino laughed as Cross set the smaller man down. 

“We’ve had a long day.” Dream yawned. He knew as soon as they got home he was going to curl into Cross’s lap and fall asleep. Maybe he could ask Ink to brew him some of that atrocious tea to restore his energy. 

“Has there been any change?” Cross asked. Ccino shook his head. 

“Not exactly… Ink and Error caught his eyes moving under his eyelids.” 

“That can’t be good…” Dream mumbled, taking the pumpkin spice latte Ccino handed him. 

“Probably not.” Ccino agreed, taking another drink off the counter and placing it in Cross’s hands. “Try this one today.” 

Cross took the cup and took a tentative sip. 

“Much better.” He smiled. “Thank you.” 

“No problem… It’s a mocha, just so you know.” Ccino led them down the stairs to the basement. He seemed tired, shoulders down and feet heavy. Dream felt a sudden pang of sadness and guilt, feeling as if he left the care of his brother completely up to others when he should have been the one to tend to him. 

But he knew he was working towards a solution. He just felt like he should have been doing more. 

And not prancing off with Cross. 

The others were once again seated in a semi-circle in front of Nightmare, who was still slumped over. 

“Hi, Nightmare.” Dream said, going towards him. He wasn’t sure if he could hear him, but he wanted to say something anyway. He reached out to a place a hand on his brother’s shoulder, but stopped short. He couldn’t risk it. 

He backed up and went to take his seat between Cross and Ink. 

“Ccino said you guys saw his eyes move?” Dream asked his witch friend. 

“Yeah… It was like, rapid eye movement when you’re in that one deep phase of sleep.” Ink began to explain. 

“Like something agitated him?” Cross asked. 

“Yeah… It was about mid-afternoon… Just before Ccino and Killer came back down.” Error added. 

“That’s been the only update…” Ink sighed. “So? What about you guys? How’d it go for you?” 

“We…” Dream looked to Error. “We did it. We woke Geno up.” 

“Geno’s awake?” Error’s breath hitched. Dream smiled and nodded. 

“Yeah… We can’t really say much, because I think a lot of it Geno will want to tell you himself. I’m sure he’s going to contact you and Fresh soon. We pretty much got kicked out saying we’ll be alerted when they’re ready for us again.” He explained. 

Error crossed his arms and sat back in his chair, obviously disgruntled by the fact that his brother, who he had written off as dead for years, was awake and not speaking to him. Yet, anyway. 

“It’ll be soon, probably.” Ink tried to assure his boyfriend. 

As if on cue, a loud siren sound came from Error’s phone. He frowned and pulled out his phone. 

“Just an Amber Alert…” He sighed. Then the others’ phones began going off. 

“Kid that goes by PJ went missing after playing in the rain…” Ccino frowned. 

“Who lets their kid play in a storm like this?” Killer growled. “That’s totally irresponsible.” 

“Still, it’s sad.” Ccino read the description of the child before setting his phone away. “Is that all the news we have? I’m sure Error and Ink are ready to go home.” 

“I think so…” Dream slowly stood. “We’ll meet up tomorrow morning again?” 

“Yeah.” Killer stood as well as a polite gesture. “As always, we’ll let you know if anything happens.” 

“Thanks.” Dream smiled and they headed up the stairs, led by Ccino once more so he could unlock the door for them. 

Luckily, the rain had lulled into a soft mist, though the sky threatened to break again. 

“We’ll see you tomorrow.” Dream smiled at his friends. “I’m sure Geno’s going to call you soon, Error.” 

“...” Error continued to frown, to which Ink gently slid his hand into his boyfriend’s, giving it a soft squeeze. 

“Goodnight, Dream, Cross.” Ink smiled and steered Error, who wasn’t feeling much like speaking, towards where they had parked their car. 

“Thank you, Ccino…” Dream whispered. “I don’t know what I’d do without you and Killer during this.” 

“It’s the least we can do for him.” Ccino smiled. “We love him.” 

“And I’m thankful for that.” Dream grinned. “Have a goodnight, Ccino.” 

“Goodnight, Dream, Cross.”

“Goodnight.” Cross echoed back. He scooped Dream into his arms once more. 

“Why?” Dream asked, though he wrapped his arms around Cross’s neck anyway. He heard Ccino laugh as he shut the door behind them, twisting the key in the lock. 

“Because you can’t make it home.” Cross stated, beginning to walk. 

“I was feeling energized after that coffee.” The other noted. 

“You’d make it two steps before needing me to carry you. I just took the initiative.” Cross shrugged. 

“...You just wanted to carry me, didn’t you?” 

“...Would that be wrong?” 

“No.” Dream laughed and pressed his face into Cross’s neck. 

“Not at all.” 

Chapter Text

It was well after midnight and the two two were-creatures settled in close to their beloved, both watching to see if there was any more activity with his eyes, when the loud buzz of the front door ringing made them jump. 

“Who could be here?” Ccino wondered aloud when his nerves had calmed down after the initial scare. The button was pressed again, and then once more for urgency. “That doesn’t sound good…” 

“Who do you think it is?” Killer asked as he watched Ccino stand. He wanted to follow the barista up the stairs to make sure he was okay. There was a heaviness in the air and it made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He didn’t think he was going to like whoever was out there. 

“Unsure… If it was one of our friends, they’d text or call before coming. I’ll see who it is.” Ccino moved towards the stairs. 

“Be careful…” Killer growled. The werecat laughed, the sound making Killer’s ears twitch delightfully. 

“I will… It’s like you forget I can turn into a giant monster. I’ll be fine.” The barista pounded up the stairs, leaving Killer to watch over Nightmare. 

But when Ccino approached the front doors, he stopped in his tracks. He wanted to rush down and warn Killer, but the reflective lights in the eyes of the person on the other side of the glass had already spotted him. Ccino swallowed and moved to the door with purpose, as if he were completely unbothered, and unlocked the door for the leader of his pride. 

“H-Hi, Blue, it’s kind of late, don’t you think?” He asked, opening the door and moving aside so Blue could step in from the rain that had picked up once more. 

Blue shook himself off, wiping his feet on the doormat. 

“Ccino, something’s not right.” Blue’s face was solemn, and he had uncharacteristically not returned Ccino’s greeting. 

“What do you mean?” Ccino took in a deep, quiet breath through his nose to steady himself. He couldn’t let Blue know what was in the basement. 

“For starters, your shop has been closed for three days and no one can get a hold of you.” Blue huffed. Ccino slowly inched towards the counter, realizing he should be making his superior some tea or coffee, by the looks of it. He slipped behind and began making his special brew. 

“I didn’t know anyone was looking for me.” Ccino admitted. 

“The cats can’t find you because your shop’s closed and I’m assuming you haven’t left it, either.” Blue hopped up onto one of the stools. Ccino grimaced. 

“I hadn’t even realized…” He mumbled, turning back around to face his leader. 

“And today…” Blue continued, “Today… well, yesterday, technically, there have been livestock mutilations. I’m talking chupacabra level.” 

“But no chupacabras live in the area.” Ccino tilted his head. 

“Exactly! We would know… Some of the cows were even turned inside out. The ranchers are confused and angry; there was a whole story about it on the news. They even showed some footage. Not only that, but a child has gone missing. And in such strange circumstances!” Blue sighed. 

“Strange circumstances?” The barista asked, pouring a mug of coffee for the pride leader, placing it down in front of him. Ccino made up his mind to take some down to Killer when Blue left. Which would hopefully be soon. 

“The kid was jumping in puddles and his mom looked away for two seconds and he was gone. There was nowhere he could have wandered off to. He simply disappeared, leaving his little paper boat behind.” 

“Are they sure his mom didn’t look away for longer?” Ccino tried. Blue nodded. 

“She was snapping pictures of him, changed the filter, and snapped a picture just as she realized he was nowhere to be found.” The pride leader took a sip of his coffee, knowing it was going to be an even longer night. 

The thing about werecats was that they could communicate with, and sort of command, the stray cats of the town. In exchange for information, the strays were given food, shelter, or treats. This turned out to be handy for the pride, as they could get news and details faster than even the media in the town. They could also send cats to deliver secure messages, seeing as no one else could communicate with them. 

“That’s awful… Where could he have gone?” Ccino frowned. “Was there a drain nearby?” 

“What?” 

“It’s just… If he was out when it was raining really hard… And he’s what… four? Then he could have been swept into the sewers.” 

“...I think the police would have checked.” Blue shook his head. “Nice try, though.” 

Ccino looked away. He hoped Killer wasn’t getting anxious, but that was like hoping the sky wasn’t blue. He needed to get Blue out. And fast. 

“So… Why’d you come to me?” He asked slowly, deliberately. 

“Because you’ve basically isolated yourself… You’ve been on the outskirts of the pride since… Nightmare happened, but this isn’t like you. I needed to check on you.” 

Ccino smiled. 

“Thanks, Blue. But I’m okay… I just… Have something private to deal with.” 

Blue squinted at him. 

“Private?” 

“Yeah… It’s pretty personal. I’ve been having to keep a close eye on someone. Monitoring an illness, you know?” 

“Yeah…” Blue relaxed slightly. “It’s Nightmare, isn’t it?” 

Ccino jerked and the pride leader laughed. 

“That’s another weird thing. No one’s seen him either, and the cats saw his brother talking to The Reaper’s henchman. I’m glad you’re looking out for Nightmare, whatever weirdness is going on.” 

Ccino sighed in relief and smiled. 

“Thanks, Blue… I’ve been really worried about him. I just… I can’t leave him right now.” 

Blue placed a hand on his shoulder. 

“I get it. You’re a fool in lo-” 

“Ccino?!” 

Both of the cats’ heads whipped towards the basement door that Killer had suddenly burst through. Killer paled when he saw exactly who was sitting at the bar. 

Blue was quick to his feet, his body already beginning to transform. He snarled, looking over his shoulder at Ccino. 

“Why is he here?!” He growled, nostrils flared and claws growing out of his fingers. “WHY CCINO?!” 

Ccino quickly rounded the counter, eyes moving to Killer whose body was beginning to hunch over in his own transformation. 

“It’s not what you think! Blue please! Please calm down!” The barista cried. 

“You’re a traitor, Ccino! A filthy traitor! You couldn’t just accept the gift we gave you! I knew it would end like this! I knew-” 

Ccino jumped between the two of them, bursting through his clothes in transformation and rounding on his own pride leader, lips turned into a snarl of his own. Blue paused at Ccino’s utter lack of restraint, having turned his true form on his leader like a human would a gun. 

All for a werewolf. 

“Stop.” Ccino breathed in their language. “He’s here for Nightmare.” 

“He doesn’t need to be.” Blue growled, not giving any leeway. “Now move!” 

“No!” Ccino’s mouth opened wide, letting out a roar. He began moving towards Blue. “I won’t let you hurt him! He’s not bad, Blue! He cares about Nightmare just as much as I do! He’s helping!” 

“How can a werewolf help in healing someone?!” Blue refused to change on one of his own. He stepped back as he was advanced upon. “All they do is kill and destroy! They’re probably the ones behind the livestock and that boy!” 

“They aren’t!” Ccino continued his purposeful prowl, pushing Blue towards the door. He knew Blue’s weaknesses, and he planned to exploit them. At least for now. 

“How do you know?” Blue realized he was almost to the door and that he would have to leave. He could see the intent in Ccino’s eyes. If he didn’t leave, he wouldn’t hesitate to pounce, and he knew Killer would be there to help. 

“Because Killer isn’t like that! He’s not like that at all! He would never do that to someone’s child, and I assume the other wolves are the same.” Ccino stopped, his eyes on fire with anger. “Now get the fuck out of my store!” 

Blue gave him a hard stare for a few brief seconds before turning and pushing his way out. Killer moved forward, locking the doors behind him and turning to face the giant cat. 

“I have no idea what either of you said, but that was awesome!” He was grinning, and his body looked human again. 

Ccino slid his eyes towards him, panting from the adrenaline and shock of turning on his own kind. He crumpled, de-transforming into a pale, naked mess on the door. He wrapped his arms around himself, body beginning to rock with sobs and chokes. 

“Woah, woah there!” Killer quickly kneeled down in front of him, placing a hand on each of Ccino’s shoulders. 

“I-I’m sorry, Killer…” Ccino sobbed. “I-I shouldn’t have… Y-You’re in danger… Y-You need to go…” 

“Ccino… Ccino, I’m not leaving Nightmare. I’m not leaving you . You did what you needed to protect me and Nightmare. That was fucking awesome, man.” Killer gave him a toothy grin. 

Ccino shook his head. 

“Y-You’ll be killed… I didn’t help you at all… I messed up… I messed up so bad… I always do…” Ccino covered his face in his hands. 

Killer sat down properly, pulling Ccino into his lap. 

“Hey…” He said softly. “You gotta stop crying…” 

“Y-you’re right… I-I shouldn’t be crying at a time like this…” Ccino sniffed. Killer laughed quietly, gently pressing his face into Ccino’s hair. It smelled of vanilla and lavender. 

“That’s not what I meant… If that thing in Nightmare really does feed off negativity, what if it can feed on your sadness? We can’t worry about what’ll happen to us right now… Just… try to calm down.” He whispered. Ccino closed his eyes, letting his words sink in. 

“O-Okay…” He breathed deeply. “I’m sorry for breaking down like this, Killer.” 

“And you have to stop apologizing to me. You literally just saved me from being disemboweled. I should be apologizing for putting you in that situation.” 

“But you’re not.” 

Killer laughed. 

“You’re right, I’m not.” He pulled back, looking down just as Ccino looked up at him. “Ccino?” 

“Yeah?” 

“I’m going to kiss you now.” 

“What-” 

But Killer didn’t wait, pressing his lips to Ccino’s. They tasted like salt and vaguely of the cherry lip balm he had applied earlier. The wolf remembered because the scent had nearly driven him crazy. Ccino was slow to respond, but when he kissed back, Killer wasted no time in parting his lips with his tongue, dipping into the werecat’s mouth. The barista made a soft, pleased sound, only serving to fuel Killer’s desire. He reached up and cupped the back of Ccino’s head, fingers tangled in his hair. 

Ccino slid his tongue against Killer’s, his body curling into the werewolf’s. He was going to have his head chopped off anyway, he might as well make out with his mortal enemy. But it felt good. It felt right. The only thing that was missing was a conscious and healthy Nightmare. How many times had he listened to Nightmare rant about how wonderful it would be if he could even live under the same roof as the two of them? What would he think about the two of them, like this? The thought made him press down into Killer, up against him. 

Nightmare would be ecstatic. 

Ccino slowly pulled back, looking up at the werewolf whose arms were cradling him so delicately. 

“Still really sad?” Killer asked, a loose grin on his lips. Ccino laughed and shook his head. 

“No… You’re really good at kissing the despair out of people.” He laughed again and Killer could feel a phantom tail wagging. 

“It’s one of my better assets.” He shrugged. 

“Most of your assets are your better assets.” Ccino assured. 

“You haven’t heard my singing voice yet.” 

“I thought you and your roommates were in a band?” 

“Do you ever hear of us getting gigs?” 

“Fair…” Ccino glanced around them. “I should probably get dressed… And we need to get out of here. They’re going to come back.” 

“Yeah…” Killer sighed in agreement. “We can go to my place. They won’t know where it is.” 

“But your roommates are also werewolves.” Ccino frowned. 

“I trust them.” 

“With bringing a werecat into the house?” 

“I trust them more than you trust your pride.” 

“...Okay.” Ccino moved out of Killer’s lap, feeling the werewolf’s hands trailing down his thighs, as if he were trying to memorize them before they had to part ways for good. The barista turned to face him, smiling sadly down at him. “I’ll pack some things and bribe the neighborhood cats not to say anything while you get everything squared away.” 

Killer studied him before standing as well. 

“Got it.” He nodded slowly, still giving the werecat a puzzled look. 

“What?” Ccino frowned. The other laughed, sounding almost like a bark. 

“I was just thinking about how right Nightmare was.” 

Ccino tilted his head. 

“You really are beautiful in the moonlight.” 

 


 

The townspeople were fraught with worry over the mutilations and the alleged kidnapping. 

Gaster was growing stronger. 

Nightmare was beginning to fade. 

 


 

“Why would you do this to me, Dream?” 

Dream turned around. He was in the forest once more, right in the spot Sans had come to collect him during his time traveling escapades. Only now the one who was waiting for him was Nightmare, but as he was when they were children. 

“Night?” Dream breathed, moving to take a step towards him but found his feet glued to the ground. 

“Why would you leave me to suffer? Why don’t you love me as much as you love Cross?” Nightmare’s face screwed up in that hideous scowl he always had before throwing a tantrum. Dream could even hear the threat of it in his voice. 

“That’s not true! I love you just as much as him!” 

“Why not more?! I’m your brother, aren’t I?!” Nightmare screamed, his voice shaking the trees so furiously that they shed all of their leaves. 

“Nightmare, I love you! What’s gotten into you?” Dream lurched forward and ended up falling, catching himself on his hands and knees. He tried to pick himself back up, but the forest floor claimed his hands and knees as well, refusing to let Dream move them. 

“Nightmare, help me!” Dream sobbed, looking up at his brother who had now turned from child to adult and was stalking towards him. 

“I won’t. You chose him over me. I’m fighting for my life and soul right now and you’re fucking the family ghost. I can’t believe you, Dream! The minute you got him was the moment you decided to forsake me. I hate you, brother. I hate you so damn much and I always have.” Nightmare raised his hand and shadows peeled away from the trees, forming spikey tendrils that were pointing down at the immobile twin. 

“Nightmare, don’t do this! This isn’t you!” Dream was crying in earnest now, almost howling. 

“Goodbye, brother. I won’t miss you-” 

“Stay away from him!” A familiar voice yelled, jumping in front of Dream and slicing through the tendrils of darkness just as they fell down on him. 

“Cross?!” Dream cried, looking up. Cross was as he had been as a ghost, a skeleton with burning red eyes. 

“You have to wake up, now, Dream!” Cross growled before turning back to the Nightmare who really wasn’t Nightmare. 

“I can’t get up, Cross… I can’t… I can’t do anything…” Dream’s voice wavered. 

“It doesn’t matter if you can, you must, Dream! He’s trying to feed off you.” Cross deflected another attack from Gaster. 

“But he’s right… I… I forgot about Nightmare and spent my time with you. I could have been using that time trying to find a way to help him… I failed… I always fail… Night was the stronger twin…” 

“That is nonsense and you know it! You’re just under his affect right now. You must wake up, Dream!” 

Gaster laughed, sounding even more hideous and perverted through Nightmare’s voice. 

“That’s right, Dream. You can’t do anything. You can only feed Cross your energy and hope he can take care of everything for you. You’re nothing without him, Dream.” Gaster stalked the edge of the circle Cross had established around Dream, refusing to let the demon get any closer. 

Dream stared at the forest floor, feeling a sudden heaviness and urge to lay down. His body began moving towards the ground, knowing it couldn’t resist the siren call of rest. 

“He’s right… I’m nothing without you. I’m worthless. Useless…” He mumbled. 

Cross couldn’t take it any longer. He spun on Dream. 

“You’re not worthless! Or useless! You’re the only thing that’s kept me going. When I’m with you, the world is full of light and hope. Dream!” Cross yelled and the other’s amber eyes looked up to see bright purple tears spilling out of his eye sockets. 

“I need you, Dream! Don’t leave me. Please, Dream. I can’t do this without you. Wake up. You have to wake up!” 

Dream’s eyes opened just as a tear splashed his cheek. 

Cross was hovering over him, eyes open now that his spirit was back in his body and not frolicking off to Dream’s nightmares. 

“Cross?” Dream slowly croaked, to which Cross grinned and bent over him, practically laying on top of him as he wrapped his arms around him and pulled him into him tightly. “What’s wrong? What happened?” 

“You wouldn’t wake up, but you were crying and yelling…” Cross’s voice was muffled by the pillow his face was pressed into. “I didn’t know what to do… I somehow projected myself into your dream and Gaster was there…” 

“That was Gaster?” Dream asked, though he already knew the answer. It certainly hadn’t been Nightmare. 

“Yes…” Cross muttered, slowly lowering himself back to the side of his lover, knowing he was safe for now but not quite ready to let go of him. “He’s stronger, if he’s coming into your dream.” 

“Thanks for coming to my rescue, Cross…” Dream turned on his side, burying his head into the other’s chest. “What would have happened?” 

“I… don’t know. But he’s getting confident, too, if he even tried.” 

Dream’s phone began ringing and he twisted in Cross’s arms to grab it. 

“Hi, Ccino. What’s up?” He asked, heart sinking. It couldn’t be good. He pulled the phone back and put it on speaker. 

“Killer and I had to flee the cafe. My pride’s leader… Blue, he saw Killer. We had to pack up and leave as quickly as we could. We’re at Killer’s place now. He thinks we’ll be safe here, since the pride won’t come to check and see if we’re here. I’m so sorry, Dream. I know this isn’t ideal-” 

“Ccino! You shouldn’t be apologizing for this! Are you okay? Is Killer okay?” Dream gasped. 

“Yeah, we’re all okay, even Nightmare. Well… No worse off than he was, anyway. But I can’t get ahold of Ink or Error.” 

“You can’t?” 

“No… When I call, instead of ringing it just goes straight to a static sound. For both of their phones.” 

“They might be with Reaper and Geno… In Reaper’s domain. Electromagnetic signals didn’t work right in there.” Cross said. 

“How could you tell?” Dream asked. 

“Ghost knowledge?” Cross shrugged. “It doesn’t always work like the real world.” 

“That’s true…” The blond muttered. “They’ll get in contact with us when they’re out, I’m guessing.” 

“Dust and Horror have offered to watch over Nightmare during the day if we can’t get Ink and Error here, so we’re covered.” Ccino sighed softly. “It also might be best if we don’t have meetings today.” 

“Why?” Dream frowned. 

“My pride will be following everyone they might think are involved. I don’t want them to follow you here... “ 

“Ah… Good point.” Dream sighed. “Okay. I don’t think there’s much else to talk about…” 

“Actually,” Ccino began, “There is. Blue was saying that some weird stuff happened last night. Do you remember the Amber Alert we got?” 

Dream nodded. 

“Yes.” Cross answered for him. 

“Apparently the kid just disappeared. The mom changed a filter on her phone while taking pictures of him, and he just went missing between the time she looked down and back up.” 

“How does a child disappear into thin air?” Cross huffed. 

“I don’t know.” Ccino admitted. “But that’s not all. There were livestock that had been mutilated on the ranches on the outskirts of town. Like, pulled inside out and drained of blood.” 

“Like a chupacabra.” Dream whispered. 

“But not exactly like one. I watched the news casts and it’s messy. Really messy. Whatever did it isn’t as experienced. And as I said, the news aired actual footage of the carnage. People are getting nervous. Then the kid went missing under weird circumstances. I can’t help but wonder…” 

“Wonder if Gaster has something to do with this.” Cross growled. 

“Yes. If he lives off of negativity, wouldn’t it make sense that he would try to do something that would cause the whole town to panic?” Ccino asked. 

“And he can go into dreams. What if he can manipulate people into doing stuff for him?” Dream thought aloud, thinking about how Gaster had so easily made him believe Nightmare hated him. 

“Are there any werewolves or werecats that have gone AWOL?” Cross asked. 

“Only me and Killer.” Ccino laughed softly. “It makes sense to think that it would have to be one of us, since we’re the only predators in town.” 

Dream started. 

“You’re not the only ones.” 

[line] 

It was cold and dark and wet down in the entrails of the sewer system underneath the city. Water was rushing through the wipes, crashing around and emptying into one of the caverns. 

Fresh had brought the child into a deep place where the water wouldn’t get them. The boy was tiny, which was why he had targeted him in the first place. It had been easy to just grab his feet and tug him into the drain. Too easy. Fresh could have laughed. 

He had planned to take a bite of the forbidden fruit. To sink his teeth into human flesh, but he found he could not do it. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. He was still hungry, but looking at the child through his dark glasses as he stared up at him with big, curious eyes made him recoil. 

For hours they just watched each other. Fresh could feel the uncomfortable feeling rising in the form of bile in his body. He swallowed, pushing it down. Then, the child spoke. 

“Why do you look so funny?” He asked. Fresh frowned, tilting his head. 

“Tha firs’ thing ya wanna say ta me is why I look funny?” He asked. “Ya not scared?” 

“Should I be?” The kid paused. “It smells really bad down here. Can I go home?” 

“Nah, lil bro. Ya can’t go home.” Fresh still hadn’t quite decided what he should do with the kid. He certainly couldn’t just dump him back above ground. Not without his memories being erased. 

“Why not?” The boy frowned. “What are you going to do with me?” 

“Ya jus’ gotta wait a lil bit, fam. Till I figure things out, okay?” 

“...No.” The boy began looking around. “I’m going home. It’s gross here.” 

Fresh took off his hat, rubbing his head. What to do… What to do… 

“I know what to do.” Gaster’s voice came from the shadows. Fresh whipped his head around. There was a shadow and nothing more. He wasn’t powerful enough yet but that would soon change. 

“How did ya do tha’? I thought ya were just a dream thingie.” Fresh turned to face him properly. The child cried out. 

“Wh-what’s that?!” PJ gasped, taking a step back and his foot splashing down into sewage water. 

“It’s okay, child. I’m here to help. You want your parents, don’t you? Your friends?” Gaster asked. The kid whimpered again and took another step back as the shadow began to spread. 

Fresh watched, amused at first then his smile faltering at the pure look of horror on the child’s face. He hadn’t looked at him with those eyes, and he had been the one to kidnap him into a putrid sewer. Fresh moved between Gaster and the child. 

“I’ll take ‘im back.” Fresh promised. “Jus’ stop scarin’ ‘im.” 

Gaster laughed. 

“Oh? Have you calmed down, Fresh? You did well stirring up trouble in the town. But I need more. More panic. More terror. This child will do nicely. You picked well.” Gaster grinned, the shadow parting in a toothy mouth. 

“Wh-what’s he talking about?” The kid gripped onto the bottom of Fresh’s jacket, peeking out from behind him. Fresh snarled. 

“I don’t know, lil bro… But I won’t let ‘im touch ya.” 

“I don’t need to touch him.” Gaster laughed once more. “Thanks to you, Fresh, I’m powerful enough to start building my army.” 

Fresh widened his stance. Why had he done this? He could tell he had only been manipulated. That this creature of the shadows had toyed with him. Fresh wasn’t a human but he wasn’t a monster. 

That’s what Geno told him. That’s what Geno had believed. 

He gritted his teeth. 

“You can’t fight me, Fresh. You’re an animal, nothing more. And PJ… Say goodbye to life as you knew it.” Gaster’s shadow spread over the walls, blacking out the lights hanging on them. 

“When I’m done with you, you won’t be human anymore.” 

 


 

“I can’t get a hold of Fresh.” Geno frowned, looking down at the phone in his hand. 

Error was sitting in one of the seats of The Reaper’s lounge, the tiny infant that he was told was his nephew in his arms. Goth wasn’t sure what to make of him, and the feeling was mutual. He had been barraged with information that night; Geno was awake, he was in love with someone who could be considered a lesser god, and they had a child together with the help of a mad scientist. 

He was a bit overwhelmed. 

Ink, on the other hand, had been overjoyed and scooped the baby into his arms as soon as Goth was offered to him. Nothing seemed to faze the witch, and Error supposed that was one of the things he loved him for. Now Ink was curled into one of the larger chairs, head on the armrest and sleeping as soundly as he could. 

“He might be sleeping.” Reaper offered, his eyes always moving from watching Geno to watching Goth, the two most important people in his life. Or, un-life, as it were. 

“But he’d wake up for this…” Geno checked the time. It was mid-morning. Fresh would have been up by seven, at the latest. Unless something had changed while the exorcising priest had been suspended. 

“Something’s wrong.” Geno surmised, slipping his old phone back into his pocket. He would need to get a new one, as it had been outdated when he got it. “Have you heard from him lately, Error?” 

“No… We don’t really talk.” Error shrugged. Goth took part of his scarf into his mouth and began sucking. The occultist didn’t have the heart to take it away from him. 

“Of course you don’t…” Geno huffed. “Well, we have to go find him. If weird shit is happening, like you just spent the entire night telling me it has, this can’t be a coincidence. Come on let’s-” 

“Stopping you there, darling.” Reaper grinned lazily at him. “You still need to recover your strength. I know you want to go and drag that demon right on out of Nightmare, but you’re not even as strong as he is, and he’s possessed. Just a little longer.” 

Geno glared at him, but knew he was right. 

“Oh shit, I should probably call Dream or Killer.” Error frowned. 

“Your phone won’t work in here. You can do it when you leave.” Reaper shrugged. 

“How come Geno’s works?” Error huffed. 

“Because I love him.” Reaper grinned. Error glared, but knew it was useless to fight. 

“Ink and I can go check on Fresh and talk to our friends to see what’s going on.” Error slowly stood, watching Goth’s face change into a look of concern as he was jostled. But soon enough he was back to chewing on his uncle’s scarf. “I can still call you, right?” 

Geno nodded. 

“You can call me, and I can call you, but you can’t call when you’re here. That’s just how it works.” He explained, taking his child back. “It good seeing you two again…” 

Geno’s eyes moved to the man laying on that chair. 

“Why haven’t you tied the knot yet? It’s been a while.” 

“That’s rich coming from someone who didn’t even tell me he was dating anyone.” Error rolled his eyes and Geno sighed. 

“I deserve that.” He shrugged and Goth giggled, taking a lock of his father’s hair in his hand and gently tugging. “Let us know what’s going on. And good luck.” 

Error smiled. 

“Thanks.” He looked to Goth and gently placed his hand on his head, gently rubbing it. “See you later, little guy.” 

Goth grinned and cooed happily. 

 


 

“Where are you? Are you okay?” Dream gasped into the phone as soon as Ink called him. 

“Yeah? We were visiting Geno. He and The Reaper are together and they have a kid! Did you know that? Oh wait,” Ink laughed, “Of course you did. But it’s crazy, right?” 

“Ink, do you know where Fresh is?” Dream continued. 

“Fresh? I- Error wants the phone. Let me put you on speaker.” There was jostling on the other end as the witch switched the audio around. “So what about Fresh?” 

“I just… Have you heard from him? Was he there when you went to visit Geno?” 

“No, and Geno couldn’t get a hold of him.” Dream could practically hear Error frowning into the receiver. “Why? What’s going on?” 

“...” Dream paused before relaying what Ccino had told him about the cattle and the missing child. “Neither the werewolves nor the werecats did it, and there’s really only one other creature that could turn that many cows inside out in that short of time.” 

“No. No way.” Error growled. 

“Error-” Ink tried. 

“The cows, maybe. But he wouldn’t steal a kid. He knows humans are off limits. And he’s never tried for a child. Fresh isn’t human or a creature with human-like values, but he would never go after a kid.” 

“Error…” Ink whispered. Normally he’d make fun of Error for so vehemently defending Fresh’s honor, but this was serious. 

“Okay…” Dream sighed, dropping it. “But can you check on him? Even so, he might be in danger.” 

“We’re on our way to his apartment.” Error grunted. 

“Are we meeting tonight?” Ink asked. 

“No. We can’t risk Ccino and Killer’s safety, and until we have new information there’s really no reason to. Text me what you find out about Fresh.” 

“Can do.” Ink chimed. 

“This’ll give me time to run some tests on that sample of ectoplasm I took.” Error noted. “I’m not sure any results would help us, but it’s worth a shot.” 

“Thanks, Error. I really do hope Fresh is okay.” 

“Me too.” Error sighed. 

“We’ll talk to you later, Dream.” Ink almost hung up the phone before bringing it back to his ear. “Wait! Can you get Cross on the phone?” 

“Why? ...You know what, I don’t care. Here, Cross.” 

Cross took to the cell phone, holding it delicately in his hand. He held it to his ear. 

“Hello?” 

“That accent’s still crisp.” Ink sighed. “Can you do something for me?” 

“What do you need?” 

“Can you read to me from the dictionary? I just really need to hear every word in your voice-” 

Error hung up the phone. 

Cross pulled the phone back. 

“What’d Ink want to ask you?” Dream asked, tilting his head. 

“He wanted me to read the dictionary to him.” Cross blinked, handing him back the phone. Dream laughed.

“If I didn’t know he was hopelessly in love with Error, I might be a little jealous.” Dream set the phone down, making sure to turn up the volume on it just in case. 

“Why would him wanting me to read him the dictionary make you jealous? Seems like a terribly boring time.” 

Dream laughed again before tugging Cross into him and wrapping his arms around his waist. 

“It’s because your accent is hot. It’s all smooth and silky.” 

“You’ve never said anything about it before.” Cross grinned lazily as he watched Dream’s cheeks turn pink. “Is it only because your friend likes it that you’ve noticed? Because you are jealous, even if you say you’re not?” 

Now Dream was pouting, his rounded cheeks red and hot. 

“No! I’m not jealous… Well, maybe just a little.” He admitted, looking away to avoid seeing that smug look on Cross’s face. 

“You know I’d read you the dictionary if you asked, right?”

Dream’s arms tightened around him. 

“Y-Yeah…” 

Cross laughed, then tilted Dream’s chin up so their eyes met. 

“I love you, Dream.” He said gently before placing a delicate kiss on his lover’s waiting lips. 

“I love you too, Cross.” Dream smiled when they pulled apart. “What are we going to do all day?” 

“That’s up to you. What do you think we should do?” Cross wrapped his arms around his shoulders. 

“We should go bother Reaper and Geno… But there’s not much Geno can do until he’s fully recovered. We can’t even go help Ccino and Killer with Nightmare. We don’t have the know how to help Error and Ink. We’re useless.” 

“We’re not useless.” Cross protested, tugging gently on Dream’s ponytail to pull some sense into him. “We’re just in the reserve at the moment.” 

Dream let out a lengthy sigh. 

“I still feel like we could be doing something.” 

“What would help?” 

“...” Dream was at a loss. He couldn’t think of what to do. But he didn’t just want to sit around while everyone else was working hard. “I could practice using my energy. Like we did to wake up Geno. If we have to use it soon, I want to be better prepared.” 

Cross smiled. 

“Alright. Let’s go out to the garden.” 

 


 

Ink was sitting across from restaurant’s table from Error. He was fingering a velvet box in his coat pocket, a stupid grin on his face. It was time, wasn’t it? They had been together for so long and hell, Error had performed some weird ritual to bring the love of his life to him, so they had to be made for each other, right? 

“Error…” He broke whatever conversation they were having. “I’ve got something to ask you.” 

“Alright? If it’s asking for a pet parakeet, the answer is still no.” Error frowned. 

“It’s not! I’m over that already. I’m a changed man! I want an iguana now.” Ink grinned. “But that’s not what I want to ask you.” 

“Alright.” Now Error looked at him curiously. 

“Error…” Ink pulled the little box out. “Will you marry me?” 

Error looked from him to the ring, then back. 

“No.” 

Ink’s face fell. 

“No?” 

“No.” 

“Can you tell me why at least?” 

“You’re weak, Ink.” Error was calm, voice even. “You can barely use magic; you’re barely a witch. My family is an old line of necromancers, even if me and my brother left that behind. My magic is old, and strong. If I’m going to partner with someone for the rest of my life, they need to be strong. I thought you understood that.” 

“I… I didn’t…” Ink could feel his face heating up and his stomach hollowing it out. When he looked up, he was sitting across the table from his fathers. 

“Ink… We’re afraid… We have to denounce you as our son. The Coven just won’t allow it anymore. You’re a drain on the magic in the area, Ink.” Aster slowly said, steepling his hands. 

“And we must always do what the Coven says. We’re already the laughing stock amongst the witches and warlocks because of you. Two powerful warlocks such as us with a weak witch like you for a son? We shame the Coven just by tolerating you.” Gaster added. 

“B-But… Why would you… All of a sudden…?” Ink gasped for air. 

“This whole thing with Nightmare’s your fault, isn’t? If you had only been stronger you could have at least made sure it didn’t get worse. But look at the state of the town. A child is missing, cattle are mutilated, and the townspeople are terrified. You’re a disappointment, Ink. We expected you to watch over things while we were gone. You’ve just made them worse.” Aster sighed heavily. 

“I-Is there anything I can do? I don’t want to be alone! Please! I didn’t mean to! I didn’t-” Ink choked on his sob. 

“There’s one thing.” Gaster slowly reached into his jacket and pulled out a ripe, juicy apple, its skin such a dark purple that it looked almost black. “If you eat this, you’ll be granted the powers you’ve always desired.” 

Gaster set the fruit down on the table. 

Ink studied it, unsure of it and himself. He took a slow, steadying breath before reaching forward and grabbing the apple. He brought it to his lips and without a moment’s hesitation, and sunk his teeth into it. It melted into bile on his tongue, but he swallowed it anyway. He ate and ate until not even the core was left. 

“I’m yours, Master Gaster.” He said, looking into the shadows of his dream where the Nightmare-bodied apparition was hiding. 

“Good. Come to the sewers.” Gaster snapped his fingers and Ink’s eyes flew open. 

He was in his and Error’s bed, having crawled into it once they got home. He stood, putting on his clothing before going to the window and slipping out, not even leaving a note behind.

 


 

Gaster was a happy demon. 

His two minions, that one strange parasite and the child Gaster had manipulated into a shape shifter, had been out stealing people away all day. It was causing chaos and turmoil amongst the townspeople. In the late afternoon, he was able to wake up the sleeping body. 

“H-Hello?” He gasped, looking around him. He was still tied to the chair, but it was a different location now. And when he looked up, he saw faces he didn’t recognize staring back at him with wide eyes. 

“I gotta go get Kill-” The one in the dark hoodie began to stand. 

“No, wait!” Gaster cried in Nightmare’s voice. “Please don’t get him. Not yet.” 

“Why?” The other’s voice was harsh and his eyes were narrowed. This one would be harder to crack. Nightmare’s memories told him this was Horror, and the one who had stood was Dust. Both were Killer’s roommates and also fellow werewolves. 

They were perfect. 

“I don’t want him to see me like this. Can you cut the rope?” He asked, almost pleadingly. 

“No way.” Horror shook his head, sitting back and calculating. “We’re not supposed to untie you. Killer would be the one to, but you have to see him for him to do that.” 

“I’ll go-” Dust started for the door again. 

Gaster slammed it shut with one of his shadow tendrils. He used the shadows to slice through the ropes himself, standing and dusting himself off. 

“This would have been easier if you had just obeyed me.” Gaster huffed. 

Horror stood, beginning to shift into his wolf form. 

“We’re not letting you out.” He growled, Dust moving into a position beside him. 

“Oh, boys… You don’t get to let me do anything.” Gaster tsked before shooting shadows straight through their chests. He withdrew them, watching their faces move from defiant to passive. 

“Now come. We have a meeting to get to in the sewers.” Gaster started up the stairs, passing through the living room and out into the fresh air. It was still cloudy, and rain threatened in the distance. He took in a deep breath through his nose. 

“Oh look, another glorious storm on the rise. Makes me delighted.” He grinned and moved down the porch steps, his two werewolf minions behind him. He moved to a manhole cover, waving his hand and flicking it off. 

Without hesitation he started down the rail. Dust and Horror followed behind him, Dust closing the cover after them. 

A cat watched from the bushes, eyes wide before it hopped out, racing to the house. 

It needed to warn Ccino.

 


 

The town had fallen into complete and utter disarray in the time it took for the sun to rise and set. Ccino had called Dream, panicked and sputtering, unable to even get out full sentencs. Error, on the other hand, called Dream and simply yelled into the phone about his missing boyfriend. It took Cross, in both instances, to snap each of the callers back to reality as Dream couldn’t handle the fact that his brother’s body had woken up and left and Cross didn’t want someone yelling at Dream, even if Error was only relaying the information at a high volume. 

Once calm, they decided to meet up at Error’s place as soon as they could, and Dream ordered pizza to be delivered. And considering that the townspeople continued to disappear at random, he was surprised they were even open. But he supposed that was capitalism for you. 

“Error, it’s a mess in here. What happened?” Dream asked as soon as he stepped inside Error and Ink’s small rental house. Drawers were open, papers flung around. It wasn’t like the occultist to leave things so messy. Even Ink wasn’t quite this bad, since he tried to have a nice, warm home to welcome people into. 

“Ink’s gone and I have to find him!” Error shouted, but with a glare from Cross he was reminded of how to speak to his friend. 

“You’ve been looking in the drawers?” Dream tilted his head. Error sighed. 

“I don’t know what else to do. He has to be one of the people who went missing, which means he’s with Nightma- Gaster, which means there’s nothing I can do.” Error growled, tugging at one of his braids. 

“There’s nothing we can do, yet.” Dream reminded him, trying to be optimistic. The doorbell rang and Cross peeled away to answer it. A harried Ccino and a stoic Killer came into the living room, neither seeming to care too much about the chaos all over the house. 

“So Ink’s missing…” Killer grumbled. “How could this get out of hand so fast? It was only just a few cow killings and one missing kid. Why are people so sensitive?” 

“It’s because nothing bad happens here. Not since…” Dream paused. 

“Not since the werewolves and the werecats both settled here. Everyone’s scared of us.” Ccino sighed. 

“Not Gaster.” Cross growled. “Doesn’t look like he thinks too much of your clans.” 

Killer fought the urge to throw one of the already fallen kitchen chairs at the wall. 

“It’s because-” He paused, eyes widening. “Fuck, how could I not see it?” 

“See what?” Ccino asked, gently grabbing onto his arm. Dream watched him with curiosity. 

“It’s obvious, Ccino.” Killer looked down at him before looking back to the others. “Gaster isn’t scared of messing with us because he’s stronger than either of our clans.” 

“Obviously.” Ccino frowned. “Or he wouldn’t be so bold.” 

“He’s stronger than us apart . If we could… If we can…” Killer looked to the floor. Ccino blinked. 

“What? You want to get your pack and his pride together to defeat the ‘great evil’ plaguing our town?” Error growled. “It’s not gonna work and you’re just trying to look for a reason to break the feud for good.” 

“Error!” Dream cried. “I think you’re the one looking for a reason to get mad at someone.” 

“It’s… fantasy, yeah…” Ccino frowned. “But I spoke with the cats earlier… Some of our kittens have gone missing, and we know at least two werewolves are gone. Even if the feud isn’t stopped forever, I think there’s a good chance for them to at least speak with each other.” 

Dream’s eyes lit up. 

“Can you do that? Can you arrange a meeting?” He asked. The two exchanged glances. 

“We can make a petition. I think Blue would be willing to listen to me.” Ccino bit his bottom lip. 

“And I’ll talk to Red. He’s not actually the one in charge, but we have to go through him. I think he’d be receptive, but his brother…” Killer shook his head. “Whatever, we’ll make it happen. We have to.” 

“Good luck.” Dream smiled. “Do whatever you need to do. We’ll come with you, too.” 

“Thanks, Dream.” Killer tried to smile. “But it would be best if no humans were there. Having the other clan close by is enough to set some of them off. Humans will only make it worse.” 

“Well, let us know if we can help.” Dream looked back to Error. “Where’s Archimedes?” 

“He’s out looking for Ink, what else?” Error rolled his eyes. 

“Is it safe for him to be out there?” Cross frowned. 

“It’s fine. He’s dead, so it’s not like he can die again, and he’s connected to my life force so he won’t stop… Being unless I die.” Error shrugged. “Besides, I can feel him. If he does get into trouble I’ll be able to figure out where he is and go get him.” 

“Wait.” Dream blinked. “You can feel where he is?” 

“Basically. It’s not always exact, and I have to hone my energy in on him in order to find him. But if I wanted to, I could.” 

Cross watched Dream’s face twist into a thoughtful scowl as he started putting two and two together. The guardian spirit tried not to stare, but it was quite a cute look on the blonde and he was resisting the urge to gently squish his cheeks between his hands. 

“And…” Dream looked back to Error. “This would happen with everything you’ve reanimated?” 

“Yeah. I haven’t exactly done a lot, though.” 

“And you and Geno reanimated Fresh’s body…?” 

“Yes… I think I see where you’re going with this.” 

“You couldn’t find him all day; he must be with Gaster too. If you could find him, we might figure out where he is.” Dream nodded.

“His signature has always been weak for me. It’s a long shot, but it’s worth a try. Since my little brother’s soul isn’t the one inhabiting the body, it makes it a bit harder. But if it helps me find Ink, I’ll do it.” Error looked exhausted. 

“Okay. I think we’re ready to part ways.” Dream looked back to his brother’s boyfriends. “I don’t want to keep you two much longer. We need to start working right away.” 

Ccino nodded and smiled. 

“Good luck to you guys. We’ll keep you updated on our end.” 

“And we’ll do the same.” Cross promised. “I’ve almost gotten the hang of text messaging.” 

“We’ll talk to you as soon as we figure something out.” Killer promised, wrapping his arm around Ccino’s shoulders and guiding him towards the door. 

“Bye! Good luck!” Dream happily followed them to the door to let them out. “I’m sorry you guys didn’t get to have any pizza.” 

“We’re not really hungry anyway.” Ccino laughed. “Bye, guys.” 

Dream shut the door behind them, smiling as he turned around. 

“I think there’s something going on there.” He grinned. “Nightmare would be so happy.” 

“I can just hear him talking about how he’s going to need to get a bigger bed so they can all sleep together.” Cross sighed as Dream’s phone began to ring. 

“Hello?” He asked, then his face fell as he listened to the person on the end. “Oh, okay. That’s fine. I’m… sorry.” 

“What was that?” Error asked. Dream hung up the phone and slid it back into his pocket. 

“That was the pizza place.” He frowned. “The delivery driver disappeared on the way over. They found her car crashed into a tree but she was nowhere to be found.” 

 


 

“Never thought we’d see this shit hole again.” A hooded figure growled as he and his companion stepped onto the sidewalk. 

“It’s kind of nice to be back, right?” His companion asked. 

“No, Frisk! This is where we got tortured. I could have lived the rest of my life without ever even thinking about this place.” 

“But we’re here anyway.” Frisk shrugged, also keeping his head tucked under a hood. 

“We’re only here because he’s back.”   

“We’ll finish him this time. We’re not kids anymore.” 

“No, we’re not. Thank God.” 

“Don’t take God’s name in vain, Chara.” 

“I can’t believe you’re still on that. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just get our stuff to the hotel.” 

The two made their way towards the town’s one, small inn, their golden heart-shaped lockets glinting in the light from the streetlamps.