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the dead don't dream

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The first time Tommy passes out, his nightmare is familiar.  Wilbur, grinning with feverish mania, pacing and rambling cruel words without hesitation or nuance.

Old words ringing in his ears: let’s be the bad guys.

Then it changed.  The nightmares had never changed before.  Wilbur stopped pacing this dark void, vengeful monologue exchanged for a split second of confusion.

“Tommy..?–”

And then he wakes up, to a white mask and a painted smile leering over him.  Far more terrifying than a nightmare.

“Fuck…” Tommy coughs hoarsely.  “Ow, my… everything.”  His whole body aches, he looks down at his hands to see shining burns marring his skin, healed over enough that it won’t get infected, but nothing more.  His neck throbs painfully as he moves his head.

“Tommy?  Can you hear me?” Dream sounds different.  Almost giddy.  “You’re back with me?”

“Never fuckin’ left, what’d’y’mean?” Tommy grumbles, struggling get off the ground, head spinning.

“Right, right,” Dream reaches down and grabs onto his wrist and Tommy thinks for a moment he’s giving him a hand up.  He’s far more puzzled when instead Dream holds on tightly to his wrist, hand digging in harsh enough Tommy can feel his own pulse.  Before he can question this, Dream lets go, offering him no help up.

“What happened?” Tommy manages to at least stay sitting up, closing his eyes as waves of nausea collide with dizziness.

“You, uh.  You stood too close to the blast.  Don’t do that next time,” Dream speaks slowly, carefully.  “You knocked yourself out.”

“Great…” Tommy sighs, hand going to his throbbing head, wincing as his neck still twinges painfully.  “Of course I did… fuckin’ idiot…”

“Yeah,” Dream agrees.  Tommy can’t see Dream’s eyes, but from that slight tilt of his head, it seems like Dream is assessing him.  “How do you feel?” Dream’s voice is calm, but there’s something strange there, he’s holding back agitation.  Tommy really hopes it isn’t anger, he already feels like he’s got a full body bruise, like he hurt his neck in the fall and the burns still itch sharply as magically induced scabbing is irritated by its host moving.  He needs to think of the answer that means the least amount of pain.

“I’m okay, Dream.  Sorry I stood too close, that was stupid of me.”

“No,” from the way Dream shifts irritatedly Tommy already knows he’s failed some test.  “I mean how do you feel?  When you were… knocked out?”

Tommy, through a spark of anxiety, scrambles for the answer Dream seems to be looking for.  “I had… I think I had a nightmare,” Tommy's eyebrows crinkle together as he grasps at hazy memories.

“A nightmare?” Dream grows worse at hiding his excitement.  “Did you see Schlatt?  What’d he say to you?”

“No– it was… it was an old nightmare.  One I’ve had before,” Tommy is too weary to question any of this.  The safe thing is to answer Dream as best he can to avoid any more harm.

“An old one?” Dream’s excitement wanes into something more suspicious.  “You mean you’ve experienced something like this before?”

“Wot, you mean nightmares?  Yeah I’ve had nightmares before,” Tommy scoffs.

“Don’t patronize me, Tommy,” Dream says coldly.  “The only reason you’re alive is because I– because I gave you a health potion after the explosion.”

“Sorry,” Tommy mutters.

“What was your nightmare about?” Dream turns to face the shoreline, arms folded over his chest, full enchanted netherite shining in the sun so Tommy has to squint at him.

“…why do you care?”

Dream turns back to face him, and when he steps closer, Tommy flinches.  Dream does not hit him, he crouches down in front of him so they’re eye to eye.  Tommy feels dread rise from the pit of his stomach.

“Because we’re friends.”

“You’re…” Tommy’s mouth feels dry. He’s already in pain, so fuck it, this is worth whatever it earns.  “You’re not my friend, Dream.”

Dream says nothing for a moment, expression unreadable behind that stupid mask, and Tommy prepares for the worst.  Dream laughs, and Tommy is not put at ease.

“Of course we’re friends, Tommy.  I’m the only one who visits you, I wouldn’t do that if we weren’t friends.”

“Yeah… you do visit me…” Tommy has to grudgingly agree, bitter melancholy growing louder at the thought of home.

Can you call it home?

“So what was your nightmare, Tommy?” Dream asks and Tommy knows it’s not a request.

“I saw… I saw Wilbur.”

Dream turns back to face him at this and Tommy immediately knows he did something right.  He doesn’t understand why at all but if Dream thinks this is good then it’s good enough for him.

“Did he talk to you?”

“Talk to me..?” Tommy grew puzzled again.  “Not really, I don’t think?  It wasn’t a very long dream, and they sort of grow fuzzy after you wake up, right?  It was… I think something from Pogtopia?” Tommy scrunches up his face, trying to remember.  His head still aches along with the rest of him.  “I’ve had that kind of nightmare a lot.  Wilbur…” Tommy doesn’t want to tell him.  Let’s be the bad guys.  That’s not for Dream.  It’s his and it’s Wilbur’s and it’s theirs alone, cruel and bloody words or not.  “He was repeating stuff he’d said to me at Pogtopia.”

“Was it like a memory was playing or was it like he was repeating himself, Tommy?” Dream pushes on, stepping closer, his patience waning.  A bad sign.

“I– I don’t really know,” Tommy stammered.  Dream bearing down on him definitely wasn’t making it easier to remember.  “He– He sounded the same, sort of off his rocker, inne?  But– It wasn’t– It wasn’t in Pogtopia, it was just in a void, but he looked like he did that day, on the 16th.”

Dream nods slowly, assuaged for now.  “Hm.  Sorry about the nightmares, Tommy.  They’re no fun,” he ruffles Tommy’s hair and Tommy can’t decide if he wants to lean into something gentle for a change or shudder away.  The affection is withdrawn before he can decide.  Still, it seems like he’s done something right.  Tommy wants to ask why Dream is so interested in his dreams, but he doesn’t want to push it.

“It’s alright, Dream.  You don’t got to say sorry like you caused them or something, dreams are just dreams… Dream,” Tommy laughs hoarsely, feeling this irritating sense of relief– relief, not pride or eagerness like somehow Dream’s praise is good, it’s just necessary– as Dream exhales a laugh as well.

“Either way, that got the armor out of the way for us, what do you want to do today?”  Dream changes on a dime, his cautious analytical demands exchanged for friendship.  Tommy knows better than to relax.

Tommy doesn’t pass out again for a while.  Hungry, dehydrated, exhausted, but he stays conscious.  Wilbur stays confined to his usual nightmares, echoing a past long since dead.  He doesn’t long for those days, only wishes he were living a life different to this dark place he finds himself trapped in.

Dream helps.  At least he’s not alone.

“I’m so fucking bored I’ve started fishing– fishing, Dream!  The boring-est activity there is.”  Tommy continues felling the tree in front of him, chattering over his shoulder, Dream follows, standing around while Tommy does his work, struggling with an iron axe.  At least Dream offers some protection.  Tommy has no armor, so Dream’s job will be to kill any creepers that stumble into them.  He collects the fallen logs and keeps walking.  “You’ve got to come out here more before I really lose my mind,” Tommy looks back to Dream, but he can’t see him.  “Dream–?”

Before Tommy can shout his name any louder, the ground gives out beneath him.  Or that’s what it feels like as he steps over open air and falls into a pit.  In a split second he sees rocks coming up to meet him, then pain, blinding and sharp as he struggles to catch his breath.  He’s lucky he didn’t break his neck.

That becomes harder to take solace in as he looks down at his left leg and sees bone.

“F-Fuck...” Tommy chokes back a sob, trembling hands reaching towards the wound.  It doesn’t feel real.  His arms are scraped from dragging against the side of the pit on the way down, blood dripping down them.  No head wounds.  That’s something.  But even with two good legs climbing out of here wouldn’t be easy.  He squints up at the sunlight above him, too far above.  “D-Dream?”  He shouts hoarsely.

Tommy is trembling so hard it’s a struggle to keep ahold of his axe.  He looks further down the pit, which slants away into a cave, extending deeper into darkness.  Tommy feels sick with dread.  He looks back up.

“Dream!” He tries shouting louder, hating how unsteady he sounds, he sounds like he’s crying, he is crying, but he doesn’t want Dream to know that.  There’s no reply.

“Oh shit, oh shit, ” Tommy stutters out through desperate gasps for air, sobs turning to panic.  He watches as blood begins to drip down the rocks, deeper and deeper.  If the mobs don’t get him, bleeding out will.  “ Dream!” He screams again, desperate and frantic.  He swore the man had been right behind him, when he’d looked back, though…

He can’t have lost him.  Dream is his only hope right now.

“D-Dream, please!  Please, I’m trapped down here!  Someone help me!  Please!” He screams himself hoarse, tears marring his face just as blood smears his arms, bits of gravel and rock digging in from impact and he cannot look at his leg, he cannot see bone and blood–

“Anyone!” Tommy screams like he’s in agony, which he is.  Which he will be more whenever this wave of adrenaline dies.  “Okay, Tommy. Okay, you’re g-gonna be okay,” Tommy takes a deep breath and pretends he isn’t still shaking.  “Dream isn’t coming, so y-you gotta do this bit on your own.”  He looks at his leg and gags.  “F-Fuck–”

Tommy takes a few more precious seconds to try and catch his breath.  He hears the gentle tick tick tick of his blood dripping deeper into the cave.  It echoes.

“Y-You can do this, you’ve bandaged wounds before, you can do this,” Tommy steadies his hands enough to tear a strip of fabric from his shirt.  “F-Fuck why’d– Why’d it have to be this fucking bad?” He grimaces.  Step one, straighten out the leg.  Tommy moves so carefully but the moment he touches the wounded leg, shifts it even a fraction of an inch, a blinding bolt of pain shoots through him.  Tommy wishes he weren’t crying, but if there’s ever a time to break down, now would be it.  He lays back against the rocks, almost wishing he would black out.

He’s still bleeding.

Tommy stares up at the blue sky, just out of reach, and for a split second he thinks he sees a flash of white over the edge.

“Dream?” He shouts more halfheartedly above.  No reply.  Not the first time he’d seen shit out here that wasn’t real.

He needs to wrap his leg.  If he wants any chance of surviving this he needs to at least stop the bleeding.

Or don’t.  What’s the point?  We should let go now.  No more fighting or struggling or starving or taking hits.  Just nothing.

Tommy grits his teeth, some bitter defiance still clawing its way to the surface.  Tommy gasps, unable to scream as he forces himself to wrap the wound and try and straighten the bone.  This won’t work.  What he really needs is a tourniquet.

Tommy feels like he might be sick, but he fishes a stick out of his inventory and ties the cloth just above the wound.  Then he begins to tighten it.  Even when it hurts he keeps winding tighter, until the bleeding stops and his leg goes numb.  Maybe now he’ll survive long enough to regret that decision.  It’s not a long term solution, but he won’t bleed out.  Just as Tommy manages to cling to some petty modicum of relief, he hears a distant groan from the darkness.

No no no no not this not now–

Tommy doesn’t speak.  He doesn’t dare to breathe, instead he fights to stand on his one good leg.

He doesn’t have a sword.  Or armor.  He has a shield and he has his worn iron axe.  It won’t be enough.  He can’t even keep upright let alone fight off a mob.

He sees it, rotted flesh limping from the darkness, clawing hands outstretched.  Tommy wants to die fighting.  He lets out a hoarse shout and brings the axe down on its head, the creature persists, hitting his shield, reaching around it to try and grab at him.  Tommy stumbles back, but he doesn’t fall, it takes two more good hits for the corpse to stop moving.

Tommy has never been more exhausted, but the thing is dead.  He shoves the rotting flesh away with the end of his axe, the scent already mixing with the smell of his own blood.

He just needs to hold on.

Hold on until what?

Until Dream comes to rescue him?

Tommy just doesn’t want to die out of his own control.  He’s stared over that edge plenty of times, but this is different.  It is one thing to walk into death, another to lay down and die.

He sits there, in and out of consciousness for how long he doesn’t know.  The pain has not lessened.  He’s damp with sweat and so thirsty.  He’d finished his water already.  Nothing to do about it now.

He stopped shouting for Dream hours ago, but sometimes some foolish, desperate part of him thinks he sees a glimpse of a white mask over the edge, but when he shouts, there’s nothing.

Tommy must have fallen asleep, but he wakes to the dull thud of an arrow piercing his shield.

He jolts to his feet, forgetting himself for a moment and crying out as weight was put on his dead leg, he barely keeps on his good leg, clinging to the wall before he collapses.  It’s gotten darker.  He has to snap out of it quick. He does not have time to wallow in pain.  Another arrow landed in the stone a few inches away from his head.  He braces his shield just as the next arrow lands.

Tommy can’t hide.  He needs to face it.  The skeleton won’t be coming any closer.  Tommy limps forward, one hand clinging to the wall.  The leg didn’t hurt as much, but that’s because he couldn’t feel anything in it at all.  Another arrow lands.  Tommy takes the moment it’s reloading to swing his axe at it, bones clatter but do not break.  He braces behind the shield, the impact of the next arrow almost toppling him.  Another hit from the axe.  Two more, exhausting and frantic, and the bones collapse.  Tommy is ready to fall back against the rocks, to pass out, and then that familiar sound returns– groaning, low and eerie.  Tommy cannot stop.  He cannot sit back or stumble away, if he moves any way but to swing his axe forward he will not get back up.

Tommy swings first the moment the zombie is in reach.  Then he staggers.  And it’s on top of him, sending him to the ground with only his shield to keep its clawing hands and rotted teeth at bay.  He gags at the scent of rotting meat, struggling to lift his axe around the shield.  It keeps going, filthy nails claw into scrapes already on his arm.  The weight bearing down on him, already weak and injured, he can barely breathe.  One more hit knocks it to the side.  Easier to reach, but he no longer has a shield between them.  Tommy pins it with the side of his shield, struggling to sit up and hold it down.  He cannot reach it with his axe, it’s still brushing against him with rotted hands.

Stop stop stop stop–” He bashes it into the ground with the edge of his shield until its head rolls back into the dark of the cave.  Tommy shudders, fighting not to be sick.  Surely he’s too dehydrated for tears, but they well up anyway.  He pushes himself back into the light, dimmer now as the sun has set, but moonlight is better than nothing.  Better than the dark and clawing hands and arrows and teeth–

Tommy lets out a strangled scream as another body falls beside him.  The zombie does not die on impact, but its legs shatter more easily than Tommy’s.  It goes down in one hit, the fear worse than the pain.  Tommy has collected a small pile of bodies.  In such a small space, the smell is overwhelming.  If more come he almost hopes the other bodies will slow their approach.  His right arm is bleeding more heavily from where the zombie had dug its nails in.  His leg is still dead weight.

It’s been too long.  You’re going to lose the leg.  If you survive at all.  How are you going to survive with one leg?  Expect Dream to take care of you?

“F-Fuck…” Tommy brushes away tears, rocking slightly against the back wall.  He’s just so tired.

Tommy struggles to stay conscious.  It hurts, everything hurts, but if he passes out now, he doesn’t think he’ll wake up.

He should’ve payed better attention, he should’ve heard the rough clatter of bones before an arrow landed in his shoulder.  Tommy doesn’t even scream as the arrow pins his arm to the wall.  He rips it out, fighting to breathe.  He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to stand, he puts his bleeding left arm back through the shield and uses it as a crutch.  This time the arrow hits the shield.  Then he hears groaning.  From more than one echoing, undead mouth.

Tommy dares to look over his shield and sees three shadows clawing out of the dark.

You’re gonna go down fighting.  It hurts but you’re not gonna die easy, not to someone else.  You were supposed to choose when you died, so at least die fighting.

Tommy braces the shield as the zombies reach him, three of them shove him back against the rocks, but he’s still standing enough to swing his axe.  He targets the one to his right, if he gets it down, that’s one less threat.  He manages to kill the one, but that’s the last bit of fight he has left in him, as the zombie to his left gets around his shield and before Tommy can even try to fight its teeth are sunk into his bloody arm.  The third zombie tugs at his shield, bending the already wounded arm until he fears that bone will break too.  Tommy swings his axe one more time.  It barely grazes the one currently tearing into him.  Tommy abandons his axe, his good arm clawing at the stone above him, looking up at the moonlight through blurry eyes.  He doesn’t know if he wants something to save him anymore.

It doesn’t hurt.  That should scare him more but he only has the consciousness left for relief.  His vision feels spotted and he doesn’t feel himself collapse against the rocks, he just keeps staring up at distant stars.  There’s something tugging on his arm but that’s such quiet background noise.  He doesn’t scream, he doesn’t fight, Tommy doesn’t even see the last arrow hit its mark before he blacks out…

“I’ll make them pay.  I will not be fucking abandoned out here.  I died a bad guy?  I deserved this?  We’ll fucking see about that, I will destroy–”  Wilbur stops his pacing.  He turns around, manic look fading to further bafflement.  “Tommy?!  How did you– How are you here?!”

Tommy cannot bring himself to speak.  Everything hurts.  He feels like he’s falling.

“Hold on, Tommy!  You– You shouldn’t be here–” Wilbur reaches out to him, a bloody bandage around his arm.  Tommy reaches out to him, but no matter how close he gets it’s like Wilbur stays just out of reach.

It hurts.  Whatever this nightmare is, it feels like he’s being torn apart.  Or maybe that’s some echo from the waking world, where he’s surely dying painfully.  Wilbur no longer looks vengeful, he looks worried.  Even in that bloody coat, that face almost looks like his brother’s again.

“We’ll figure this out, it is– it is good to see you, man,” Wilbur’s concern is exchanged for relief, frantic and unsettling, but maybe better than rage.

“Wil, I don’t underst–”

“Wake up.”

Tommy jolts awake, gasping for breath, whole and safe in Logstedshire.  Dream sits beside his bed, a book loose at his side.

Just as before, Tommy’s whole body aches, he feels echoes of brutal scrapes and bruises.  His left leg feels heavy and numb, his left arm itches painfully,  Tommy struggles to sit up.  He can’t move, he manages to look down, with an eerie confusion.  There are no wounds.  Only half healed scabs and an unbroken bone remains.  He lays back down, head throbbing.  Which would make sense, because just before he blacked out he hit his head…

None of this made sense.

“What… What happened?” His voice is hoarse and his mouth dry.

“You passed out for a while, what do you remember?” Dream asks.  He’s curious, but unconcerned.

“I was… I fell.  A-And I shouted for you and I–”

“No,” Dream sounds sharp.  Tommy falls silent immediately.  “Not before.  When you passed out.”

“D-Did I..?” Tommy is struggling to focus, it blurs.  What happened in that pit, it can’t have been real, he shouldn’t have survived that– “W-What the fuck, I shouldn’t– How did I– I should– How am I here?”

Dream says nothing for a moment but Tommy can tell he’s irritated.  He waits with bated breath, for Dream to scold him or hurt him or give answers.

“I heard you screaming.  Finally found you.  You were being overrun with mobs.  I got you out,” Dream says flatly.

It was real.  It was real and Dream got you out.  You’re not dead.

“F-Fuck–”

“Hey,” Dream sounds more startled.  “Stop crying.”

“Sorry, sorry– just, thank you.  Fuck, man– thank you.  It was so dark, it fucking hurt– T-Thought I was a goner–” Before any logic can take over, Tommy is clinging to Dream, burying his face in his shoulder, hugging on tight.  He can’t stop shaking.

Dream tenses, but he doesn’t immediately shove him away, instead he pats his back, stilted and awkward and unfamiliar, but it’s something Tommy can hold on to.  Eventually, Dream grabs onto his arms and pries him off.  “Yeah, you’re welcome, Tommy.”  He stands.  “So, what do you remember?  Any more nightmares?”

Tommy looks up at him, taller and stronger and his savior.  Tommy wants to ask why.  Fear and reverence force him to stay silent.

“I… L-Let me think, I-I’ll try, I’ll–” Tommy scrambles for anything.

Nothing but dark and hurt and it feels like hours in agony until finally a familiar face–

“I saw Wilbur again.  Another nightmare, but– this one was different, it hurt,” Tommy winced.

“The last time– after the explosion,” Dream paces with that book he was carrying open.  “Did that hurt?”

“I… I dunno, that time it was not as long?  I think.  Time doesn’t act right in dreams.  Didn’t have enough time to think on if it hurt, this one… felt longer.  Felt like hours and hours,” Tommy really wants some water, but he’s scared if he asks Dream for some he’ll say he’s not allowed.  Better to answer his questions and get some himself.

“Hm.  What kind of hurt?” Dream stops.  He’s been writing in that book.

“What’d you… What’d you mean?” Tommy doesn’t follow.

Dream seems irritated for a moment.  “There are a lot of kinds of pain, Tommy.  Was it like being hit, crushed, drowned, bitten, what?”

“O-Oh,” Tommy doesn’t like Dream’s tone.  “I-It’s hard to describe, I– I think, like, like being torn apart?”

“Hm,” Dream takes note of that.

Tommy is relieved to be here and safe and not in that hellhole anymore, but curiosity is persistent.  “Why’re you…” He swallows thickly, rethinking his choice of words.  “Can I ask you something?”

“What?” Dream’s annoyance feels less sharp now that Tommy has given an adequate answer.

Tommy feels brave enough to ask.  “Why’re you writing this down?”

Dream says nothing for a moment and Tommy’s shoulders hunch forward, making himself smaller, waiting for consequence.

Dream laughs lightly and it doesn’t make Tommy feel any more at ease.  “Nothing you need to worry about, Tommy.  You want my help figuring out what’s happening to you, right?”

Tommy feels anxiety swirl in his gut.  “What’d you mean what’s happening to me?  Is… something happening?”  He’s imploring.  Like Dream knows him better than he knows himself.  After he’d started seeing shit out in the woods, visions of Tubbo, and just before, Dream’s mask above him when he was trapped.  He must be losing it.

“It’s gonna be okay, Tommy,” Dream puts a hand on his shoulder, his hold firm but not painful.  “I’ll keep an eye on you.”

Tommy manages a nod, but his dread does not relent.

“Don’t go wandering off so far without me next time.  It’s dangerous out there.”

On the list of things wrong with him, waking up underwater is one of the more terrifying.  He wakes up already drowning, clawing to the surface in a panic, his lungs burning.  He barely makes it to shore before he collapses.

He doesn’t tell Dream.

He doesn’t want Dream to think he’s really off his rocker, he might not trust him to do anything alone if he thinks he’s actually insane.

The drowning was terrifying enough.  Then there were days where Tommy woke up, struggling to the surface, but he couldn’t make it.  No matter what he did, kicking towards air, he couldn’t get to the surface.  It almost felt like there were hands pressing down on his shoulders, keeping him under.  Tommy tries to scream, choking on salt, his lungs are burning, begging for air, tearing him apart from the inside, he can taste blood.  His vision grows dark around the edges, then…

Tommy vomits up water on the beach, coughing and sputtering and eyes streaming tears through the sea water.

A hand slams into his back and he ejects more water from his lungs.

“Tommy!” Dream’s voice reaches him through the fog in his head.  “What the hell were you doing out there?!”

Tommy just shakes his head, fighting for breath.

“Answer me– That’s the third time I’ve dragged you out of the fucking ocean!” Dream grabbed him by the collar of his wet and tattered shirt, shaking him roughly.

Tommy sputters, unable to speak or get any air, one more frantic cough and he manages.  “I– I don’t know, I don’t know!” Tommy chokes out, his throat burning from the salt.

Dream holds him there for another moment, Tommy holds onto his hand, like he can somehow stop Dream from taking it a step further and wrapping it around his throat.  A moment of silence except for the slow lull of the waves and Tommy whimpering.  Dream drops him, shoving him back into the sand.

Tommy continues coughing, his lungs still feel sore and waterlogged, out of the corner of his eye sees Dream pick up a book from the ground and stashed it back in his inventory.

“You’re playing a dangerous game there, Tommy,” Dream sounds cold, less anger but no less terrifying.

“I- I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Dream, I dunno what’s happening to me, I– I don’t understand!” Tommy sputters out hoarsely as Dream paces the beach.

Dream doesn’t reply.  He stops, hand reaching to his belt and Tommy covers his face, expecting him to draw a weapon and punish him for his stupidity.  Dream retrieves his book.

“What’d you dream about?”

“W-What?”

Dream sounds cold and harsh and isn’t facing him, quill poised in one hand.  “You’ve been having nightmares, Tommy.  What about this time?”

It’s not a request.

Tommy desperately looks for an answer, he knows if he fucks this up Dream will have a lot worse for him than a book.  “I-It was nothing, this time it was just dark, no Wil, no nothing.  And before, I w-was in the water, and…” Tommy hesitates.  The cost of not giving anything to Dream outweighs his fear of Dream thinking he’s lost it.  “I swore someone was holding me under.”

“What?” There’s something dangerous there.

Tommy grabs onto fistfuls of wet sand, anything to ground himself outside his waiting horror.  “I-I dunno, I’ve been ‘allucinating shit, so, might’ve been… it felt like someone was holding me under.”

“Don’t be stupid, Tommy.  When I dragged you out there was nothing there.” Dream’s voice is cool, but he snaps the journal shut with too much sharpness.  Tommy cowers when he turns back to him, but Dream just grabs him by the arm and drags him to his feet.

“I…” Tommy knows the conversation is over, or maybe is supposed to be, but he has to ask.  “I dunno w-what’s happening to me, Dream.  Every time shit gets bad I-I black out and I have these dreams and I’m seeing shit.  I d-don’t understand–”

Dream turns to face him and puts a hand on either shoulder.  Tommy bites back a whimper and tries not to flinch.  “Hey, you don’t need to understand it.  Okay?  I’ve saved you.  Every time I’ve saved you.  You’re fine, Tommy.  You have me.”  Tommy manages a nod.  Dream speaks more softly now.  “It’s okay, Tommy.  Don’t you worry.  I’m gonna figure it out.”

It almost scares Tommy more that he feels relief.