2008-05-29: Enlightening Dreams


Cass_icon.gif FuturePeter_icon.gif

Summary: A dream recon for information leads a student to try to become a mentor for once.

Date It Happened: May 29, 2008

Enlightening Dreams

Enlightenment Books

In a situation such as the one that Cass finds herself in, it might be assumed that her dreams would be just as troubled, as fitful, as terrifying. However, that's not quite true. Instead of the sterile, white room that she's been kept in after testing and horrors her mind brings her back to some place much more comfortable. Enlightenment Books is open again, the sweet smell of sandalwood permeating every corner. The bookstore owner has dressed down, in her more comfortable clothing and for some reason she's curled up on the floor in the middle of the store. People are bustling around outside the store and a blanket of street noise and other pleasantly easy to ignore sounds that make up the wilderness of Manhattan outside the door. Her eyes are closed, but she seems content. People browse through the bookshelves, coming and going, without stepping on Cass, merely stepping around her as if it's perfectly normal for the owner of a bookstore to be curled up on the floor of her store, ignoring customers and social norms both.

Some people sleep in their dreams. It sometimes leads to endless loops of waking up within the dream. Hopefully that won't happen here. The bell rings as Peter steps into the dream, opening the front door to the familiar store and stepping inside, spotting the dreamer. The customers pay him no mind, even in his attire that looks like he stepped out of the Matrix and the scar across his face. If they walk around the sleeping woman, he must fit right into the dream— even as he approaches her and kneels in front of her, rather than moving around her. "Cass? It took me a while to find you— and here you are… sleeping on the floor?" If only he could sound amused. He does sound somewhat fond, though.

"Very comfortable," Cass murmurs. "Not asleep. I'm just so tired." She's just enjoying the comfort, but she's not sleeping. "You're not supposed to be in for your shift for a few hours." Having not opened her eyes, she doesn't seem to realize that this isn't the past. This Peter isn't here to work, he hasn't worked in her store for years. Maybe the tone of his voice should tip her off of that, but this is a dream and she's more accepting of whatever may come. There's a slight pause and she turns over, facing Peter without opening her eyes again, reaching out a hand to take his. "Why'd it take you so long to find me? This is where I always am. You know that."

In another situation, Peter might try to be more patient with her. This is after all, a dream, and she's asleep. Her mind is peaceful when it could be unrested. But there's something else about this that makes him impatient. "This is always where you are," he says quietly, glancing around the room. He could change the scenery piece by piece, but he chooses not to. Instead he looks back. "Cass, listen to me. This isn't where you actually are. You're in the Pinehearst building somewhere. My father attacked you. You're dreaming and I'm inside your dream."

And while Enlightenment Books is still peaceful, the shadows darken, as if the day has already passed in the span of a few mere moments and it's now closer to dark. The customers dwindle only to a few, just suddenly gone like people do in dreams. Peter's words fall on Cass like cold stones and she keeps her eyes closed even tighter, not willing to believe Peter, or at least not wanting to. "No, it's safe here." This is her dream and she doesn't want it to slip away. "You don't know how to dreamwalk." Her voice is soft and almost petulant. Like a child trying to be woken up for school.

"Yes, I do, Cass," Peter says, putting his hand on her arm again, squeezing fingers where he is. It's not quite the same as slapping her out of it, but he needs her to realize this. "I can do a lot of things you don't know about any more. I'll prove it." She may have darkened the dream subconsciously, but he exerts actual control over it, twisting it, changing it. It's hard to alter the location entirely, so instead he strips out the books, he makes it look how it would before stocking. No costumers. Nothing.

The change in the room hits Cass very much like a slap on the face. Even with her eyes closed, she could feel it happen. It is her dream, after all. Snapping her eyes open, she looks at Peter for the first time and notices his scar, the sudden cold of the bookstore. "Stop it," she tells him, scared now. Not wanting to remember it all. Not wanting to go back to the waking world. "You're not the Peter I know." It's all a bit muddled in her head. The mixture of dream and reality. Where she is as opposed to where she should be. "What happened to you?"

The shelves remain empty, and the room is almost darker. There's hints of scortch marks on the walls and bookshelves, a cracking on the glass in the front door. Peter doesn't pay much mind to the changes he made beyond that. "No, I'm not the Peter you know… but you're the Cass I knew," he says thickly, keeping his hand on her. "This isn't about me. Do you know what's going on, Cass? Why I couldn't find you?"

The changes, though, they scare Cass. Enough that she scrambles up from the floor. This isn't the bookstore she feels safe and comfortable in. It's like a warzone now. "How do I know you're Peter?" Wrapping her arms around herself, her face turns paler and she looks around her, at what this store is like now. She doesn't look at this strange Peter quite yet. Flashes are coming back to her. Unpleasant ones. "He could read minds. Take what he wanted from them. You could be some other way he's found to make me pay."

"There's no way I can assure you in this, Cass," Peter admits even if he doesn't really want to even think of himself compared to his father. "But I'm not my father. I can do everything that he can do— but I would never… I'm not here to hurt you, or make you pay. I'm here to help you, the way you helped me in the past." She's pulling away from him, and he can tell she's not comfortable, so he tries to change the dream back as much as he can. Books reappear in boxes, the walls paint over— the cracked window fixes. "I just want to help you."

Even if the paint and the books are back, Cass can still see they way they were in her head. He's shaken her out of her stupor, for sure, but it's also rattled her. Her hand reaches up and touches the cool glass where the crack used to be and frowns. "Is that how my store looks for you?" It's a question that really has no bearing on their conversation, but she's curious now. "In the future?" She's silent for a few minutes before adding, "You tried to warn me."

Eyes cast downwards, and for an instant the room strobes mildly. Flickering. The cracks reappear. Peter takes in a slow breath and closes his eyes, and it stabilizes enough so that he can look back up at her. "I should have warned you more than I did— it wasn't supposed to happen yet. I should have had another month, maybe two— something I did must have sped things up for you. Must have… I'm sorry. I came back to stop all of this from happening and I… We can fix it, Cass. Somehow we can fix it, I promise you. I just… do you know where in the building they're keeping you?"

The crack reforms under Cass fingertips and she pulls her hand away from it as if stung. "Just coming back in time would have changed things. You can't predict what any one event will mean for everyone." When the store's appearance stabilizes, she turns around to face him again. "It's not your fault. I'm the one who stayed there. I didn't think I had a choice." It's not a happy conclusion, but one that she's come to. "I'm in the testing labs." And it's not exactly a pleasant place. "Don't come for me. He knows about you. He knows about Niki. You've got to keep her away from here. He—-he just took the thoughts out of my head. I couldn't stop him."

"I know— the point was to change things, but this is something that…" Peter trails off quietly, keeping a partial distance, but looking tempted to reach out and touch her again. The testing labs. That's a start. "I already got Niki out— don't worry about her. But we are not going to leave you in there. My father has to be stopped, and we're going to stop him. Listen to me… this is why I came back— they'll stop him. And then they'll find a way to fix what happened to you…" He takes in a slow breath. "I never really thought I'd offer this, but… if— did they inject you? Have you started to show… signs of anything yet?"

"This is something that couldn't be changed, I guess." Cass sighs and looks down at the floor. A part of her destiny that she just couldn't steer clear from. "It took some sort of magical Formula to make this drug. And it wasn't made to have an antidote." She should know, she was one of the people working on it. "It's too late for me, Peter. I don't know what's happening to me. Everything just…hurts. I can just feel everything hurting. Everyone who's manifested a power from this drug has been a danger, has hurt people. I can't do that…it may just be safer for everyone if I stay in here."

"No, listen to me…" Peter winces at her words, but there's understanding from him. It's how he felt. It's why everything got to be the way it is. Now he does reach out and touch her. "Just because it doesn't have an antidote yet, doesn't mean it won't have one. It's not magic. There are ways to strip people of their powers. Trust me on this, I've seen it." And he had almost been one of them in the timeline she knows of. "I know what you have— I know why you're in pain… and maybe… maybe I can teach you. So that you can use it, so that you can learn to shut it off before it… before things get bad. Control it long enough for this to be fixed."

This is upsetting. And everything that's happening to her is finally catching up. The touch on Cass' shoulder unleashes the emotions she's been trying to keep under wraps. It's like she's just feeling too much and can't stop. Collapsing onto him, she starts to cry. "I don't know if I can do this, Peter. This is unnatural. It hurts." Control, shutting down her emotions. It's the cruelest thing anyone could do to her. Her emotions guide her, help her tell right from wrong. Without them, what will she be?

As she collapses against him, Peter's arms wrap around her, eyes closing. The ability that she has made him even more prone to noticing her emotional responses. He pulls her in close, trying to give her some sense of comfort. Messing with his emotions in a dream aren't half as dangerous as they would be in person… but he can still try to keep her under control. "I know— believe me— I know what you're going through. My powers are emotions… so is yours. You can control it, Cass. You taught me… Maybe you taught me so that I could teach you."

Still crying, Cass tries to quiet herself. She simply has little control over herself at the moment. Not just because of the new power she's acquired, but because of the situation that she's found herself in. She's terrified and upset, rightly so. "Emotions? What I'm feeling—-it's enhancing my emotions?" Then, she sniffles and shakes her head. "I didn't know I was going to have this. I taught you because you needed help."

"After the last five years… I believe in fate and destiny, Cass," Peter says with a hint of a smile, which looks out of place on his current face. He's trying to use her own ability to feed more soothing emotions into her. Something to keep her calm, to hold onto. A balance. He's worried… but he has enough grasp over trying to control her power the last few months… he projects what he wants her to feel. The fact that he cares about her. "You're much stronger than me. You don't have to be ruled by what happened to you… just— hold on to that. Think of the place you're most safe— is it here?" The room starts to take on a more natural feel, like it had when he first stepped in, forced there.

"I don't know what I believe in," Cass tells Peter softly. His attempts to clam her down, send her soothing emotions is working and she takes deep breaths, the tears finally stating to slow. Wiping at her face with her sleeve, she sighs. "I don't know about that. I think you were the strong one." As for where she feels safe, the store is certainly it. She nods. The store has always been constant to her. It may have gone through some bad times, but it's always come out in the end. With her helped at the end of it.

"I'm only as strong as the people around me," Peter says, giving her a strong hug before forcing himself away, to the self-help section, where he grabs a book he knows quite well, one from his own memory. A memory he can recreate in a dream. "Here— this will help. Whenever you dream… read this book. It helped me find focus— find control over my emotions and my abilities. Until we can see each other in person… remember this book. Learn from this book… And I'll visit you as often as I can to help you along. You can do this, Cass."

There's a hint of desperation in his voice, rather than determination, or faith. She has to be able to do this.

Following along with Peter, Cass takes the dream book out of Peter's hands and gives him a bit of a wry smile when she sees what it is. "A meditation book?" That sounds familiar. Though, of course, this is her store (even if it's only in her head at the moment) and she knows most of the books in here. "I know a bit about meditation." And, in fact, she used it in order to help Peter, too. "I'll remember it, though. I can't really control where I go when I dream…but hopefully it will be back here." She hears the desperation in his voice, maybe even feels it slightly and she gives him a confused look. The tone makes it hard for her to think of what to say in response. "I'll try, Peter."

"No matter where you go in your dreams— I'll try to find you, Cass," Peter says, touching her arm again gently, moving in close enough to press his cheek against hers. "We'll get you out of there— and we'll help you. I promise." Another promise. One he's not sure he can keep. But she doesn't need to no that. "Sleep well— and remember this." Within moments, he disappears from the store, his touch lingering behind, as the dream reshapes itself to her own wishes. Only one thing stays solid. The book. He pushed that as deep into her dream as he could. No matter where she goes… a piece of him will be with her in her dreams.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License