Eight was once again in the metro, she could see nothing but the faint glow of the screen her CQ-80 gave off. She looked over the map and spotted the several stations she still needed to complete, challenges that would no doubt test her very sanity. But the promise of freedom was too sweet, so she pressed onwards.
The train took off as she selected a station, lights seemed to flicker as they passed by the windows of the subway train. The train was oddly empty for once, not even the Cap’n was on board with her. It was just her and C.Q. Cumber. After a few brief moments of waiting, the train arrives at her selected station. She doesn’t remember what weapon options she had, she just wanted to get the test over with quick so she grabbed the “Recommended” one. It was an Octo Shot with the splat bomb sub weapon. She tapped her C.Q. 80 to the terminal and it withdrew her C.Q. points and the doors opened as she flew through them. She looked around and she was inside what seemed to be a small square room, with minimal cover. A cylinder on one side and some kind of power box on the other. The whole station felt quiet, there was no music like there usually was, though that music was usually distant and coming from very old speakers.
She raised her weapon in anticipation, but then she spotted something, something that made her ink run cold. There, standing across from her, was Agent 3. Fully geared for a battle to the bitter end. Her face was determined and she her eyes were fixed on Eight, her Hero Shot in her hands and ready to fight.
“No this can’t be right.” Eight thought. “This was never one of the tests!”
Agent 3 dove to the side and threw a splat bomb at her, Eight had to think quick and move quicker. Three is inking the ground and the walls, her standing space is quickly running out. Eight turns to fire, spreading her own ink across the ground and trying to get any advantage she could. She swims through her ink to flank Three, but Three cuts her off by firing her own ink on the ground in front of her path causing Eight to have to come out from the ink and fight.
Three was too fast for her, every time she thought she’d inked enough turf to escape, somehow her path was blocked again. Any time she thought she could ink Three up enough to slow her down, she’d roll to the side and roll out a splat bomb. Eight was running out of space and options, Three was merciless and kept up her assault. She was covered in her orange ink which stung, it felt like it was burning her skin, she wanted this fight to end. She tried using her CQ-80 to cancel the test and return her to the Metro, but Three knocked it out of her hands as soon as she pulled it out. The CQ-80 skittered across the ground away from Eight, she had to dodge backwards quickly as Three had her hero shot aimed right at her face as soon as the device was out of her hands. Eight swept Three’s feet out from under her, but she couldn’t bring herself to shoot her. She inked up the turf around Three and quickly swam away, popping out to ink more ground as needed.
Eight was tired, she was covered in enemy ink that was eating away at her form, and she didn’t know what to do. Pearl and Marina weren’t able to help her because she didn’t have her CQ-80 anymore. Eight spotted Three diving out from behind cover and making her way towards her. Eight couldn’t fight anymore, her body wouldn’t let her. Eight just slumped to her knees as Three somehow pulled out a roller and brings it crashing down on to Eight’s head.
Eight awoke with a yelp. She was sweating, her breaths were shallow and rapid, her hearts were racing. She closed her eyes and slowly breathed in through her nose, held it for a moment, then released, allowing her hearts rate to slow down. She grounded herself in the moment, she was on the surface, she was safe. Pearl and Marina were taking care of her. Then she noticed something, her room didn’t smell normal. She took in another smell. She smelled, old ink and body odor? It wasn’t strong, but it was definitely there.
She opened her eyes again and tried to figure out where she was. She couldn’t see much in the darkened room, but what she could see was a small room, a dresser to her left that looks like it’d been torn apart in search of clothes, to the left of it there was a mirror, and then she was looking at the wall that the headboard of the bed was on, there was a window near the dresser, and then to the other side of the room, she spotted a closet. Then, looking to the opposite end of the room from the bed, she could make out an overflowing clothes hamper, and a slightly ajar door she assumed lead to a bathroom. Oh, and to the right of the dresser was what she assumed to be the door that lead out of the bedroom.
Suddenly memories came flooding back to her. She remembered being up on the roof watching the sunset with Three, she remembered Three seeming happy, much happier than when she saw her in Octo Canyon. She remembered how nicely Three’s hand seemed to fit with her own. But most importantly, she remembered just how comfortable Three’s shoulder was as the night faded in and overtook the day.
“Shit! I fell asleep!” Eight murmurs under her breath, unsure of where Three is at the moment and not wanting to wake her. Especially after that nightmare, the last thing she wanted was to give Three a reason to make it a reality.
“Pearl and Marina are gonna kill me!” Eight whipped out her phone, fully expecting it to be plastered with notifications of missed calls, tons of messages, and the promise of a lecture. But instead, when the screen lit up, it somehow said she only had one message from Marina.
Reluctantly, Eight swiped open the message, fully prepared for a five hundred word essay on how in trouble she was for not coming home. To her relief however, the message was short.
Marina: Hey just checking in, Marie called and said you had fallen asleep over at Three’s place. Message me back when you read this, I just want to make sure you’re okay. We hope you had fun and stayed safe! If you need anything be sure to message us!
Eight smiled, Three had made sure Pearl and Marina knew she’d passed out, and she couldn’t be more thankful. Quickly she jotted out a reply, though her brain was still slightly foggy from having just woken up.
TheGr8agent8: Hey Marina, just got your message. I’m okay, I had a great time with Three. I’ll be home sometime in the morning probably.
Eight smiled and locked her phone, setting it down on the bed beside her. She noticed, with the faint light of the city coming in through the window, that the side of the bed opposite to where she was laying seemed to have a little dip in it, almost like that was where Three always laid. Had Three intentionally put her on the other side of where she normally lays? Maybe Three intended to sleep in her own bed as well but felt awkward with Eight there. Actually, speaking of Three, where was she?
Three was in the midst of her own dreams.
She could see everything around her, the battlefield was small but plenty large for a 1v1. Slowly she realized that rising up through the floor was her . It was Eight! Three wanted to call out to her but her face burned and her body shifted in ways that made her teeth hurt. She saw her Hero Shot rising into view and she tried to stop herself, but she couldn’t. Three watched in horror as her own body fought and tried to end Eight. The battlefield was a mess of aqua and magenta, her body felt like it had been dragged through hell and every motion it makes causes her agony.
Eight was losing, she was covered in ink and Three knew it was only a matter of moments before it was over. She fought to try and take back control of her own body, but all she could do was watch as she knocked the Octo Shot out of Eight’s hands and backed her into a corner. Three wanted to end this nightmare, she didn’t want to hurt Eight. But she felt her finger slowly start to squeeze the trigger and she silently screamed, but just before she could pull the trigger all the way, she felt her legs get swept out from under her, her head slamming against the ground hard. She spotted eight grabbing her OctoShot off the ground and turning towards Three, aiming it right at her. Three practically begged her to do it, she couldn’t live with herself if she hurt her. In a flash she saw a torrent of Magenta ink flung at her face, and just like that, she was awake again.
Three sat up on her couch, and looked around. She wasn’t screaming, but her body was sweaty and she felt like shit. She knew Eight was likely still asleep in her room, and she didn’t want to bother her. So she stands up and walks over to the kitchen, snags a cup out of the cupboard and fills it with water from the tap before downing it in one second. Setting the cup back in the sink, Three makes her way back over to the couch and lays back down. She sighs quietly to herself. This dream wasn’t the worst dream she’d had since Kamabo, but it was certainly the most… real.
It felt less like a dream and more like a hazy partial memory. Had that been what happened? They had only told her that she tried to splat Eight while under Tartar’s control, but if that dream was what really happened, Eight was lucky to have won. But she decided not to dwell on it, if that is what happened then she’s glad it did. She just wishes she could’ve avoided getting her mind taken over all together, but she has long since learned not to dwell on things that can’t be changed.
Three then heard something that made her heart flutter a little, she heard her own bedroom door click open. Then she heard quiet footsteps making their way closer and closer towards her. With the faint light of the clocks on her oven and microwave, as well as the gentle glow of the city coming in through the window, Three could just barely make out the form of Eight standing just behind the couch.
“Psst, hey Three, you awake?” Eight spoke softly but with purpose, her voice sounded shaky almost like she’d seen a demon.
“Yeah” Three sat up slightly to get a better look at Eight as she rounded the couch and sat down next to Three’s feet.
Eight’s breaths were still shallow, with Eight now sitting closer Three could see the small tentacles that flanked her face were curled up tightly and she was practically shaking.
“Eight… are you okay?” Three sits up all the way and moves closer to Eight so they’re sitting right next to each other. Eight glances at Three but then looks away before finally speaking.
“I-I had a nightmare.” Eight curls up into a ball beside Three, her feet on the couch cushion she sat on and her knees against her face. Three could hear faint sobs coming from her.
Three, without even thinking, wraps her arms around the poor girl. She holds Eight’s head gently and subconsciously she gently rubs her head as well. Slowly Three feels Eight’s body relax, everything beginning to loosen up. She feels Eight turn slightly to wrap her own arms around Three’s chest, and she holds tightly. Three is more than happy to let her, especially because she knows that Eight needs the solace right now. Though she’d never admit it, Three needed it as well.
“You’re okay Eight, your dreams can’t get you here. Nothing will. I promise.” Three tightens her grip on Eight, letting out a gentle sigh, not wanting to let go ever. “I’ve got you, I promise I’ll never let anything like that happen to you again.”
Eight sniffled as she pressed her face into Three’s chest harder. Three didn’t dare move, she only wanted the girl in her arms to be okay. Three could hear Eight’s breaths slowly become more normal. She slowly stopped shaking as well. Soon Eight only had faint signs of a sob every so often as she held tightly to Three. Three could tell Eight was starting to feel better, but she’d continue to hold her for as long as Eight needed.
“Th-thank you.” Eight choked out between muffled sobs, her breathing almost back to normal but a few stray tears linger in her eyes.
“Any time, I’m here for you.” Three didn’t smile, but she did mean her words. This was such a stark difference from what Eight had been like during the day. Three has no problems holding Eight and helping her get back to not feeling distressed.
Eight didn’t want to move, and she didn’t for a very long time. Eventually however Eight started feeling herself want to sleep again. She let out a quiet yawn which caught the attention of Three.
“It’s still late, you should go back to sleep Eight.” Three sighed, brushing Eight’s face gently to clear away any stray tears that haven’t dried.
Eight nodded. It was only 3am, even if she wanted to go home there’d be really no safe way there. So she’d stay. Not that she wanted to leave at all. Three had been so kind to her and this moment was nice, even though it was caused by a horrible nightmare.
“I don’t want to take your bed from you though. You’ve done so much for me already I-” Three cut her off by placing her finger over her mouth.
“It’s no problem. I am happy to give up my bed for you.” Three smiled at Eight which causes her to blush, and quietly Three gets up and leads Eight back to the bedroom.
“Sleep well Eight, if you have another nightmare, you know where I am.” Three said as she stood in the doorway to what was usually her own room.
Eight nodded. “Thank you Three, for everything.”
“Y-you’re welcome.” Three blushed lightly as she switched off the light and closed the door. Once again Three makes her way over to the couch so she can go back to sleep. She hopes Eight has a much more restful rest of the night.
Finally laying down and covering herself, Three feels sleep begin to take her quickly, she needed a lot more rest and her body wasn’t about to pass it up.
Neither Eight nor Three had any more nightmares that night.