2008-05-06: This Clarity

Starring:

Kory_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Dreams are often foggy and unclear. Especially when the dreamer is currently in a partially drugged state. And not entirely stable for other reasons.

Date It Happened: May 6th, 2008

This Clarity


A Treehouse

Somewhere far away there's a small house in the woods. Or it's not really the woods, but it might as well be. The house itself is up in a tree, surrounded by forest and fog that cuts visibility quite a bit. It's the inside of the treehouse that shows any sign of life, a young man leaning over a chessboard, frowning at it. Unlike in most of his dreams of the past, Peter looks less and less like himself, much younger, possibly even in his late teens, rather than his twenties. Dark hair hangs on his forehead, his face clean shaven. The game is muddled, with pieces in haphazard positions, but he reaches over and moves the white bishop, sliding it at a diagonal until a black pawn is removed from the board.

Is this it? Is this it? Kory's been in the dreams that happen in the Company facility before, but she's never had to fight through waves of bizarre druggedness before. But she figures if anyone has Peter, it's the Company. Because if Pinehearst had him, they'd be … no, no… best not to think about what they'd be doing. (Causing Future Peter to be scarred, probably, or something worse…don't THINK about it, I said!)

Kory decides to winnow her way through the fog to the figure she senses in the center as a little fruit bat. Flitterflutterflapflapflap. Skreek.

There's a flap of wings against the fog that draws Peter's eyes away from the chessboard to one of the windows. The treehouse suddenly goes from rather small and compact, to larger, almost in a matter of moments, gaining more space. The tree does not grow to accomidate, and the outter appearance actually didn't change much, either, just the interior. When he looks back down, the board has changed, he reaches to move the Black Queen across to take out the White Knight.

Flappity-flappity-flap. Squeeeeeek. Bat-Kory flitters backward in startlement as the treehouse seems to take a deep breath. But she shrinks down to a tiny little bat, and clambers between the slats of wood in the floor before flittering up to hang from the ceiling. Is that …? It is. She found him! He looks…younger. She remains hanging where she is for a moment, though, watching him, to see where he's at with his dream. And if it's anything she needs to remember or be concerned about. Plus, her arms are a little achy. Flying like a bat in a dream is a lot of work.

It is him. But there's something about the whole dream that's unstable. One moment there's a bottle of scotch tipped over on it's side nearby, the next there's a hunting rifle. A moment later it's a baseball glove. The chessboard continues to shift around, too. Sides change. One moment the white pieces seem to be on his side, next they're turned away from him. The one constant is the fact that he's sitting in a treehouse, the fog and the only person in the dream. Peter's alone, playing chess against himself on an ever shifting board. Again he moves a piece, a Black Knight shifted to take out the White Rook.

Kory decides the bat thing is not going to accomplish anything. Do bats even have larynxes? This is what she gets for not studying bat-anatomy before going in search of Peter. She ponders for a moment, and drops down from the ceiling, an invisible wisp of a pixie-size Kory, who takes a deep breath and blows. The fog has to go. If at all possible. Or at least for as long as possible if she can't banish it altogether. Between breaths, she calls, "Peter? Can you hear me?" WHOOOOOOSH. "Peter? It's me. Kory." WHOOOOOOOOOOSH.

The fog shifts, as if pushed by a warm wind. Visibility in the forest stays difficult, but the fog disappears a little within the treehouse itself. That's something. The shifting of the dream lessens piece by piece, but flickers still happen as her voice calls out. Peter stops mid-move, holding onto the White Queen, prepared to move her, but looking up at the voice. "…Kory?" The piece remains in his hand, while the whole board shifts around once again.

"It's me, Peter," Kory says, taking an anime leap and landing on Peter's shoulder. "Over here." She clings to his sleeve. "I was worried about you. And I missed you," she admits. "I wanted to be sure you were okay. And that they're treating you all right." She's maintaining a tiny size the better to force him to focus on her.

"Oh— you're a bat," Peter says in a rather obvious fashion, looking at the tiny thing near the window. A bat that happens to be talking to him, and claiming to be Kory. Which makes sense in the grand scheme of things, if his mind were completely together. Unfortunately she did not catch him near the end of his injection cycle, and they'd recently upped his dosage. This makes him even more fuzzy than he would have been days ago. "I… I'm a little lonely, but… I know it's a good thing I'm there… I'm dangerous," he says quietly, looking down at the board again. He puts the queen down, in a place that threatens the other King, but as soon as he lets go of the piece, suddenly all the pieces have vanished, leaving the board blank.

"I was given crayons recently— I drew on my wall."

Kory's eyes widen as Peter speaks. Well, she was a bat. She takes on the more familiar appearance now because she has the feeling clarity is important at the moment. Especially given how he's talking. Like a Lost Boy with no Peter Pan, no Wendy. "You're not dangerous, Peter," she insists. "They just want you to think that so you don't resist them."

"No, I saw it— I killed someone— I'll kill even more people if they let me out of there," Peter says, shaking his head as he looks mournfully down at the blank board. There's nothing there anymore. All the pieces are gone. The rifle on the floor sticks around for a few minutes. "I drew a bus. There was a man too— a bald man. Standing right in front of it."

"What you draw tends to come true, doesn't it?" Kory asks. She knows he's precognitive. Especially if he's dreaming. Being drugged is like dreaming. Isn't it? "Peter, that was an accident. You didn't do it on purpose. You're one of the kindest people in the world. You'd never hurt someone on purpose." Her emotions affect her appearance, and she looks a bit like a forlorn anime girl. All that's missing now is the snow.

"Sometimes," Peter says, putting his hand down against the blank board, as if he might be able to reach through it and find the missing pieces. "I can't actually draw— I mean nothing more than stick figures— but when I draw it's usually… important." The confused tone to his voice slips in, and the longer she's there, the younger he starts to look. Before he might have been in his late teens, now he's deaged to his early teens. The rifle changes back to a baseball glove. But then he looks up at her, finally seeing that she's not a bat. "Do you really think I wouldn't hurt someone on purpose? What if… I hurt Gabriel on purpose…"

Kory's heart breaks, seeing him turn younger, and more unsure. "I don't think you'd ever hurt somebody on purpose," she says, voice firm and sure. "Even Gabriel." She pauses, considers, and adds, "Sometimes when we're angry or scared, we all do things we don't mean because we're confused, or hurt, or just not sure where to turn. That's not the same thing." She sizes up a little bit so she's about the same size he is, sitting beside him now, rather than on his shoulder. "Mistakes happen, but you can learn from them. And you can work to keep from making the same mistake again."

"But I did. I killed him once," Peter says, arguing with her assessment. There's that rifle again, and the treehouses interior grows once again, the walls turning gray, almost giving the illusion of concrete. And the windows suddenly have glass over them, cutting out the wind and the air, locking them inside. "I wanted him to kill me, but I— I hurt him. And I did it on purpose. And I'm going to do it again. I saw it. I dreamed it… I can't— I don't want to become that person." Learn from mistakes… "I don't know if I can make up for what I did… and I don't know if I can do things differently. I don't know what I am supposed to do, Kory…" Now, he's quite young, voice even changing to softer, higher tones as he gets younger, still lost.

"You wanted him to kill you because you didn't want to be the person who kills," Kory says, certain of it. Peter's an altruist. A self-sacrificer. Sometimes even a martyr. Her training tells her he wanted to die because he was horrified at what he'd done. "You're supposed to be strong. For all of us. So you can help make a better world," she says gently. "Because without you, we may not have a better world. The world we do have? You asked me to unmake it. From the future." She reaches to curl her arms around the now-adolescent Peter, protectively, reassuringly. "So that proves you're capable of becoming different if you want it badly enough. And if you let people who love you help."

The more she talks, the more the dream starts to settle. The size of the treehouse interior settles down, shrinking. The wood becomes normal colored. The window rougher but open. In short, it starts to look more and more like a real treehouse, complete with nails and splinters. The bottle of scotch still lays on it's side against the corner, and the baseball glove sits up there worn and aged. And the chessboard has all it's pieces back, the black king knocked over onto his side. Peter pulls his knees up against his body and hugs them, looking away from her as he finally says, "I miss everyone." It's likely he doesn't understand part of what she said, but the important part… "I want to go home…"

"We miss you too, Peter," Kory says, holding him gently, but firmly. To remind him he's not alone. To remind him there's a connection. "Your brother. And Heidi. And me. We all miss you." She brushes his hair back from his face, and rocks him gently, remembering when he did this for her. When she was the little girl lost, and he gave her an anchor to hold onto. "We'll get you out somehow. We'll find the way. And then we'll find the way so you don't have to worry anymore about that." She begins to hum softly to him, a lullabye. Or something her voice is making one. 'You'll Never Walk Alone.' She concentrates on helping the dream hold this new substance. This clarity. But the humming and rocking continues.

"Is Nathan okay?" Peter asks, opening his eyes even as he leans against her, giving a clue about one of the things of top prority to him. Especially considering the age he's reverted to. His brother would have been the only one of those who matter most to him who he'd known at this point. Besides his mother— and he's seen her recently enough to know she's all right. In fact, she's one of the ones who could let him go if she wanted. The lullaby does make his eyes close again, though, and some of the tension fades out of him. It almost seems as if he might fall asleep within his own dream.

"He's …still struggling a little," Kory admits. Struggling with Logan. But she doesn't get into that; no sense worrying this version of Peter needlessly. "But he's okay. He needs his brother, but I will tell him you're thinking of him. I promise." She looks down at him, eyes soft with affection and concern. "You should get some rest. But if you want me to come visit you again, I will. I just wanted you to know you're not forgotten."

"I need my brother too," Peter says quietly, before he looks back up at her, eyes widening as it seems he realizes she's leaving him. For a moment it looks as if he's going to beg her to stay until he gets to sleep— but part of him knows he's already asleep in a sense. That's how she's able to visit him in the first place. She's Kory. The dream muse. "Do— will you come back? Do you promise?"

"I will tell him that, too," Kory amends her promise. She doesn't flinch away from him as he gets that expression of horror that she's about to go. "I promise. You're one of my best friends, Peter. I won't abandon you. Ever." But for the moment, she's content to hold him, rock him, and sing to him, until he does drift off into a dream within the dream. Once certain he's as close to at peace as he can be, she locks the dream away with a codeword so he won't give away her visit while he's awake, and fades back into her own body, grateful he's still alive, if not in perfect condition.

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