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Nightmares of a clone

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Dio ran through the dark hallway, only one thought ringing in his mind: Where's Luna?

All of the doors were open, a safety precaution of the Rhizomes so that people wouldn't be trapped or suffocate in case of a prolonged power outage.

But Dio didn't care about the doors. A small part of his mind was aware of it and silently glad, but his main focus was finding Luna.

Where’s Luna? Where’s Luna? Where’s Luna?

The only sounds were of Dio's echoing footsteps and his panting.

Where's Luna?

Dio ran through curves in the hallway, nearly crashing into the wall in his blind panic to find Luna.

Where is she?

Eventually, the hallway opened up into one of the warehouses. Dio wasn't sure which one it was and didn't bother checking, because there was someone on the floor on the other side of the room, and he could immediately tell who it was.

"Luna!"

He dashed over to her and dropped to his knees, sliding along the floor. Aside from a few pieces, most of Luna's ABT skin had fallen off, along with her hair. Her dress was in tatters, revealing much of her broken robotic body. Her red eyes were flickering and electric sparks occasionally came out of the broken parts. Her blue bird necklace still hung around her neck, the cage wires bent and the bird's perch snapped.

"Luna..."

Luna's head turned slowly to look at Dio. "Di...o..."

It sounded more like a mechanical noise than anything human, but Dio recognized it all the same. He carefully put his arms around her and pulled her up to lean against him. It was all he could do for her.

Dio held onto her tightly, as though it could keep her from slipping away. He tried to ignore the small zaps he kept getting, but occasionally he couldn't help but flinch.

He felt Luna's right arm (the other one was gone) slowly wrap around his waist and tighten.

"Luna..."

"Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..."

Dio's breath began shuddering. It pained him to see her like this, and there was nothing he could do to help her.

The robot in his arms went limp.

"Luna..." Dio said, his voice cracking. She was gone.

Dio held onto her tighter, this time unable to keep the tears from leaking out of his eyes.

And then she disappeared and he fell forward, barely catching himself in time to avoid hitting the floor.

He didn't try to get up. He searched the floor but there was no sign of Luna. Not even a strand of hair.

Tears flowed freely from Dio's face and landed on the cold, hard floor. His whole body shook with his sobs.

He waited for the inevitable pain in his body that would signal a wound he would bleed out of, or the needle prick in his neck that would cause him to stop breathing from a lethal tubocurarine dose.

The lance in his abdomen that he would try in vain to remove.

The scalpel he dragged across his throat in the grip of Radical-6-induced hysteria.

The bloody foam in his mouth caused by a cyanide suicide pill.

But there was nothing. No pain except in his clenched fists and the emptiness in his chest.

Alone...

He wasn't going to die. But he didn't want to live like this.

Alone...

Not without allies. Not without Luna.

His hands tightened around his hair and he clenched his teeth. He wanted to scream, but his vocal chords wouldn't move.

You are all alone.

0~*~0

Luna "awoke" to the sensation of nails digging into her skin. Alarmed, she opened her eyes to see Dio curled up against her front, his face pressed into her shoulder, trembling and making short, quick breaths. Worried, Luna slid her arms over and under him as best as she could, considering they were lying down, and brought him closer to her. Dio stiffened at her touch, and didn't relax even after she had fully embraced him.

Luna frowned a bit. It had been a long time since he had reacted like that to her touch.

"Luna..." he moaned hoarsely.

"...Nightmare?" she asked.

She felt him nod against her shoulder.

Luna began to stroke Dio's hair and whispered soothing words to him. It was the first time she had done something like this, so she wasn't sure if it would work.

Dio's breath started catching in his throat as though he was about to cry, and Luna stopped.

Before she could try anything else, Dio said, "Keep talking. Please."

Luna felt slightly confused, but resumed her whispering anyway. Dio continued to cling to her as though holding on for dear life.

They stayed like that until Dio's grip relaxed, his breathing became steady, and he stopped trembling.

Nightmares were nothing new for Dio, but he had never reacted like this. Granted, he had never had a nightmare since they had started sharing Dio's room, but even before that...

"I saw you die."

Luna froze. "Huh?"

"I...It wasn't just your body... You were..."

"...Deleted?" Luna was stunned. Dio had never openly talked about his nightmares before.

"...Yeah. I think so."

Luna wasn't sure how to respond. Under natural circumstances, she would outlive Dio by years, potentially decades. While she had yet to outlive anyone (in this timeline, at least), she had long since accepted that she likely would. The possibility of Dio outliving her had honestly not crossed her mind (or perhaps she hadn't wanted to think about it). She wasn't even sure how such a scenario would come about. ...Well, now that she was thinking about it, a few came to mind, but that wasn't important.

She was startled out of her thoughts by the sensation of fingers combing through her hair. At Dio's suggestion, Luna had tried wearing her hair down, but Dr. Klim and Phi had seemed upset when they saw her, so she only wore it down at night when she was with Dio.

Dio had only combed his fingers through her hair a few times before, and never this many times in a row. It felt...disquieting.

"Are... Is this the first time you've...had a nightmare about me...uh, dying?" Luna asked.

"No," Dio said in an almost casual tone. "But... I...usually die too. This time, I didn't."

Luna's grip tightened. Had he been having nightmares all this time and she simply didn't know about it?

"Dio..."

"D-Don't get the wrong idea. They don't happen often, I just..." He sighed. "Sorry."

"No, it's okay."

They lied there for a few minutes, an awkward silence between them.

Dio had pulled away enough for Luna to see his face. His expression was neutral and his eyes were unfocused. She began to wonder if he had fallen asleep.

"Do you remember the first time we started sleeping like this?" Dio asked.

Luna was confused by the apparent randomness of the question, but answered regardless. "Yes."

They hadn't started sleeping in the same bed up until a few months prior, but Luna had been "sleeping" in Dio's room for a while beforehand at his (embarrassed) request after Dio had a particularly bad nightmare, one that had left him hysterical even after he woke up. It had surprised Luna when he had asked her if she would mind sleeping in bed with him, particularly how flustered he was when he asked her and when she actually got in bed with him. Dio's bed was a bit small for two people, so they had had to lie rather close to each other. Luna didn't have any problems with it. As a GAULEM, she wasn't very concerned about how physically comfortable something was, at least to the extent of most humans. Dio, however...

"You didn't sleep well that night," Luna said.

Dio gave a light chuckle. "Not at first, for sure."

He stayed quiet for a moment before circling his arms around Luna and pulling her towards him, closing the small gap between them.

"This feels kinda weird to say, but... I don't wanna live without you," he said.

Luna's only reply was, "Hopefully you won't have to."

They were silent for a few seconds before Dio gave a derisive snort. "This got morbid fast."

"I'm not sure I would say 'morbid'..."

"Whatever. But, for now, can we just..." Dio snuggled his face into her, "...stay like this for a little longer?"

"Of course."

Luna brushed some of her hair out of her face as she felt Dio settle against her. She waited until his breathing became slow and steady before going to sleep herself.