It comes to him in a dream. With black smoke surrounding him and whispering in his ears. Percy doesn't want to listen to him in the beginning, refuses to even hear him, but it knows how to talk to the weakest part of him.
The part of him that's still grieving, that still refuses to believe that he's the last of his family, that the entire De Rolo clan was wiped out so quickly and with so much brutality.
The voice comes to him in a dream, low and whispering everything Percy wants to hear. It talks to him of revenge, of a weapon that would allow him to destroy his enemies and get back his city.
The smoke whirls around his hands, caresses his skin, and smiles at him.
It doesn't smell like normal smoke, there's nothing of the heat of fire. If Percy had to think about it, the smoke smells more like sulfur and pain.
"Aren't you tired, Percival?" the smoke asks him. And he is, so tired.
When was the last time he ate? And beside now, when had he slept last?
In the cell, probably, while the Briarwood tortured him.
He's free, sure, but what does freedom mean if Percy has nowhere and no one to go to? Will his freedom really consist of him wandering the world searching for something that probably doesn't exist?
"You can have more," the voice in his dream says. The smoke is a comfort on his sensitive skin. "You can have revenge."
His dreams have all been like that lately. Thoughts of revenge, of making the people responsible for his family's murder pay. He's not surprised by it, really.
Percy is only surprised he hasn't given in yet, at least in the dream.
He always tries to resist. Even if it's just a dream, even if no one can see him, only because his parents would want better for him. Have taught him better than this.
But does it really matter when they're dead? Killed by the end of a too sharp blade and a too sneaky betrayal?
Does it really matter what Percy does when there's no one to hold him accountable for it beside himself?
So he closes his eyes in the dream and when the smoke asks him: "Don't you want to make them pay?"
He answers: "Yes."
The smoke whirls around him, agitated. The voice is happy, Percy can sense it, and the next moment the smoke finally enters his lungs.
Percy wakes up then, shooting up and panting. He's looking at the rest of his campfire and at the black smoke emanating from it.
That explains the dream he was having, then. Not too surprising.
He should start moving, now. It's entirely too dangerous for him to stay still. He doesn't know if the Briarwoods have sent someone after him, but he can't take the chance.
And yet... he doesn't want to move. There's something, an idea tickling at the base of his brain. He has to get it out, or it will drive him crazy.
He takes a stick and starts drawing on the dirt. He can see something, a weapon, he's sure.
Percy doesn't know where it comes from, but he knows that it's what he need. If he builds this, then revenge can be his.
And so Percy forgets about dreams and smokes, at least for a little while longer.
The Raven Cycle - I’m taking you - 531
Kavinsky doesn't remember the first time he dreamt. He remembers every single dream after that, but his first has been lost to him in a haze of pills and drugs. It's all right, he doesn't really need to remember it.
It's more of a curiosity. What was he dreaming the first time he discovered this? What was the first time he realized he had powers in his dreams, powers that no one else would ever have?
Impossible to tell now, years after the fact, when he has dreamt so much and stolen everything he can think of stealing and there's still more for him to take.
It's incredible really, the pool of what he has at his disposal.
Kavinsky closes his eyes at night and a door opens in front of him. He can take anything he wants, and Kavinsky wants everything. It works well, really.
Tonight he's sitting down in the forest, trying to come up with something to take outside, when he sees in the distance the usual disturbance. Every once in a while, the forest tries to stop him, like a alarm against thieves that doesn't really work all that well.
There are beasts in the dream, hounds that come after him to try and kill him, or maybe to scare him off. Kavinsky never really cares.
He can make anything appear in the dream. He has a pistol he uses to shoot them with, and just as a precaution, he creates a couple of bodies to keep the dogs occupied. They usually end up bloodied and dead at his feet by the end of the day, but what does he care?
They're just thoughts, dreams he creates that will never see the light of day.
Sometimes they look like some of his classmates, most of the times they're his parents. He enjoys watching them getting eaten the most, it really gives him some form of peace.
Today, one of the bodies he creates is someone he has never seen before.
It's strange, he has no idea where he came from. But his hair are light and his eyes are as green as the forest. Is this boy something of the forest?
Something he can steal?
"Who are you?" he asks, tilting his head in his direction, what he was trying and failing to make appear forgotten.
He can sneak in and steal some drugs whenever he wants, but this is more interesting: this is a mystery.
The boy doesn't answer, looks at him while the dogs circle around them. They don't have a lot of time, Kavinsky can tell it's not more than a minute, but he's interested and that hasn't happened in a while.
"Do you have a name?" he pushes, getting up and holding the chin of the other boy. He's handsome, in a dangerous way. Exactly Kavinsky's type.
"I'm called whatever you want to call me," the boy answers, but Kavinsky has never stolen someone. Didn't even knew it was possible.
This, he thinks, this changes everything.
He smiles, looking at the violent rustling of the forest. "Yeah, I think I'm taking you, Propopenko."
And before the forest can even whisper, Kavinsky wakes up.
The Raven Cycle - What follows you out of a dream - 694
Adam's relationship with sleep has always been complex. Firstly because he never had much time to dedicate to it, even if he knew that it was necessary. Secondly because his dreams were rarely free of nightmares.
The only way to drown them out was going to sleep bone tired from another day of work, school, cabeswater, homework, life. Those nights Adam fell asleep like one fell in death, without control and without even realizing it.
He would wake up hours later (but never enough hours later) and don't even remember how he fell asleep in the first place.
Lately, however, his life had calmed down considerably. He still had three jobs and school and homework, but Cabeswater is nothing but a sleepy murmur in his mind and after everything they have signed off any adventure for a little while.
So, for the first time in his life, Adam has time to spare and time to sleep.
Considering Ronan's relationship with sleep and the various nightmare that plague his nights, it's surprising to see how adamant he is that Adam sleeps enough.
"I'm not going to watch you kill yourself, Parrish, you make me sleepy," he always growls, when Adam starts yawning too much.
Adam doesn't know how to explain why he doesn't want to sleep. Or maybe he knows it far too well, but vulnerability isn't a dress that Adam knows how to fit well. It hugs his chest too close, constricts him too tight. Even in their bed, where nothing but Ronan's nightmares should be able to touch them, Adam doesn't know how to undress all his fears for Ronan to see.
"Just sleep, Adam," Ronan usually tells him, hugging him from behind. It's a promise, an assurance that he will be a silent watcher, that he can protect him.
Adam can never answer him, never stand the thought of letting down such a gentle promise. So he sleeps, when Ronan asks him to, and tries to pretend that he doesn't dream.
It's a lie.
Adam's dream is never the same, but always a repeat of a song he knows all too well.
Tonight, it seems, it's a bottle. Not as terrible as the belt, he thinks a little hysterically.
"You think just because you have a rich boyfriend that you're out of here? You think just because he lets you live with him that you're better than us?" his father asks him, with a terrible smile.
He looks bigger in his dreams, less drunk and more deadly. Adam knows that his father doesn't look like this, but there's nothing he can do to stop his mind.
"Ronan doesn't let me live with him," he tries, desperately, "I..."
"You can tell yourself anything you want boy, but we both know what you're worth, right?" he ask, slashing the bottle in Adam's face and then his arm when Adam tries to protect himself.
"Never forget that you're dirt, and dirt you will always remain."
He knows what happens after this point, he knows that his father doesn't stop there. Hits him and hits him and hits him until there's nothing left of Adam but a bloody mess.
However, before his father can attack him once more, Adam wakes up, Ronan frantically looking at him.
"Are you... are you okay?" Ronan asks him. His voice is wavering, unsure. Adam wonders what he was doing to make him worry that much.
Still, a dress that really doesn't fit him. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"Don't bullshit me, Parrish," Ronan growls. He's not really angry, Adam can tell by now, he's mostly scared. Afraid. Powerless.
There's no comfort that Adam can give him, and that's almost worse than anything else. So he cups the other's face with his hands, and hopes that's enough. "We both knows there's much that can happen in dreams. But unlike yours, mine don't follow him out."
Ronan's movement are slow, careful. He treats Adam like he's precious, like he's breakable.
"We both know that's false," he simply says, but mercifully doesn't force Adam to say anything more. "Let's go eat some shit and watch a movie. Sleep sucks."
Adam laughs. It really does suck.
The Umbrella Academy - Never wrong - 515
"That's not going to work," Five says, looking at the blackboard and the various numbers written on it. He knows it's wrong, that there's a couple of numbers that don't work there, but he doesn't know which one they are and how to fix them.
Dolores looks at him with a disappointing glare in her eyes. She tells him that he has spent too much time looking at those without a break and that he has drunk too much and not eaten enough.
"As if we could even find enough to eat here," he huffs, shaking his head. "I'm tired or rat, Dolores."
She isn't. Of course she isn't. Dolores is much more patient that he is, much more willing to try things that Five refuses. Of course, Five has had to relent on most things if he wanted to survive.
And he wants to. Not only because he still holds hope of one day going back home and stopping this, but also because he doesn't want to make Dolores cry.
Dolores tells him that they could go an find something to do for a while, try and distract themselves from this. She's sure they are close to making it, but it would be useless to just stay here and go crazy looking at the equation.
"What would I do without you, Dolores?" he asks her, smiling in her direction.
She looks sweetly at him and tells him: die in the apocalypse alone like a dog, silly.
The Handler has been watching Five for a while and she's interested in him. he can be an incredible agent, she can feel it in her bones, they just need to nudge him in the right direction and he's almost ready.
Their work, they all understand, is important but it can be taxing to the mind. No one who isn't at least a little crazy can really handle it, and Five... they need him to be broken beyond repair.
She knows that when he is, he'll make her the best Division Head the Council has ever seen. There's nothing she wants more than that.
So she watches as Five starts laughing without rime or reason, looking at that damn mannequin he drags around like a lifeline. He laughs, almost to the point of crying, and then takes a drink out of his cup.
Broken, just like she needs.
The Handler stands up and looks around at her underlings. She smiles. "Mommy is going away for a while, don't wait up for me."
She takes a briefcase and walks, confidently, forward opening it.
The next moment she's in the apocalipse, looking straightforwardly at Five and the barrel of his gun.
Yes, he will do very nicely.
"Why shouldn't I shoot you immediately?" Five asks her, looking between her and his Mannequin. He looks crazed, with his unkept beard and hair.
She will have to work on him a little. But it's okay, she can do it.
"Because I have a proposition for you, Five, and I'm sure you want to hear all about it." After all, she's never wrong.
Avengers - Another day - 585
Tony wakes up and he can already tell it will be a good morning since there's a supersoldier plastered at his side. It's rare that Tony manages to wake up to this. A part of it it's his fault, after all it's not like Tony ever goes to sleep at a normal hour and that means he's usually passed out from the world until at least late morning, another part of it is Steve's fault, because who needs to wake up at the crack of dawn just to go running every single morning? No one, that's who.
Tony doesn't know how the fool does it, nor how it's possible that he likes this fool this much.
Still, he does, and it's something he has made peace with long ago.
Today is a special day, he thinks, he has time to bask in this. No appointment in the morning for him or Steve. A rare day off that they fought very hard to get.
It's not like something like this happens by accident, they're far too busy and far too important to hope that their schedule might ever synch up without a lot of effort.
Still, he thinks now, closing his eyes and soaking in the warmth of Steve's body next to his: it was worth it.
Of course... he has to pee.
It's a terrible side effect of actually being awake. He's sure he can sneak out of the bed and into the bathroom without waking up Steve (if anyone says that Steve is a morning person, they're a liar, which makes Steve's decision to wake up and go running every day even more strange).
He might try and push it a little, remain in the bed for a little while longer, but he knows that he won't be able to regain that comfortable feeling back. He sighs, then, and moves.
Sneaking out from under Steve is the difficult part, since his boyfriend is using him as his personal teddy bear, but he manages with minimal effort. He's not a genius for nothing, after all.
He looks towards the bathroom's door and thinks about asing Jarvis to up the lights just a little, but decides against it. He really wants to go right back to cuddling, and if Steve wakes up, his plans might go to hell.
Tony starts walking in the room in silence then, tiptoeing towards the toilet before he feels his toe impact on something and before he can do anything, he inexorably falls down.
He cracks his face on the floor, feeling his nose collide with the pavement and can't help but scream a loud "Ouch!"
Of course the moment he says that, Steve sits up on the bed, alarmed and ready to punch someone. "What? Tony? Are you okay?"
"Ow. Yes. Ow. I am. I was just attacked by your clothes!" he screams, holding his own nose. It's hurting a lot, but he knows how a broken nose feels and this isn't it.
Steve blinks, or at least Tony thinks so, and then says "Jarvis, lights to 60%."
The room fills with light and Tony can sneak a look at what made him fall. Steve's trousers, of course. "How many times have I told you to fold your clothes?" Tony wonders, annoyed.
Steve, the asshole, just laughs. "I'm sorry. Are you okay?"
"I'll live. Can't promise the same for you," he mumbles, and Steve simply smiles, patting the bed beside him.
Fine, maybe he'll keep him alive for another day.
All for the game - Cruel Words - 584
Neil isn't a stranger to nightmares, of course. He has spent his entire life running from one nightmare to the next and he knows intimately the feel of them.
They're familiar to his skin, that wears the burnt of most of them, but also to his mind, who likes to reply his father's torture to him at night in vivid detail and colors.
It's why Neil doesn't sleep sometimes, looking up at the ceiling and pretending it's all right. It's lucky that, in all his years on the run, he has learned to go on without sleeping.
He can play Exy without a problem even with two hours of sleep at his back, and he doesn't let tiredness stop him.
He has lived through his father or Lola's torture so many times, by now, he remembers every detail very vividly.
It's why he knows that this dream is different. There's no car, no basement, no knives. This dream isn't about his father, or Lola, or any of them.
This might be a worse nightmare than all of them put together.
Neil can see his mother, identical to the last time he saw her: bleeding out in the seat of a car.
He remembers her words that day, the promises he made him say. All the ones he hasn't kept.
"You're really useless, aren't you Nathaniel?" she asks him. She's not accusing him. It never worked that way with his mother. She wasn't angry, she was disappointed.
"My name is Neil," he tells her, but she simply scoffs.
"Another one of our made up names," she reminds him. "It's as worthless as Alex, Chris, Daniel or Damian. Just because we use other names to blend in, doesn't mean they ever become truly ours. You're Abram."
And Abram is a name that belong to him, marked on his skin by trauma and a love he knows he shouldn't feel but can't help himself.
"I'm sorry," he tells her, because he has to, because he can't help it. "I'm sorry I broke all our promises."
"I'm not even surprised," she replies, a bored tone. "I risked everything for you, gave away my life, and you couldn't even do something for me."
Neil's breath catches in his throat. He feels sick and, in front of him, his mother starts burning, her face melting because of the heat. "You left me to die," she accuses him, "burned me and forgotten about me faster than you could run. Is this what I deserve, Adam? I died for you."
He shakes his head, tries to get to her, desperately, but he's stuck in place.
She was never a kind mother, but she gave up everything for him. For them. To give them a chance.
"I'm sorry," he screams, uselessly. "I'm sorry!"
She laughs in his face, while the fire leap at their skin. "And where does that live me, Abram?"
He wakes up with a scream, feel the burnt of the sun on that beach. Feels the warmth of the car, while it burned away. God.
"Calm down, Abram," Andrew says, appearing beside him but Neil recoils.
Andrew seems surprised, but Neil doesn't know how to explain it to him. "I'm Neil," he says, looking Andrew in the eyes. "I'm Neil."
Andrew remains silent for a couple of seconds before nodding. "You're Neil Josten and no one else."
And so Neil Josten closes his eyes and tries to forget the burning sun and the fire and his mother's cruel words.