NiGHTS lay in his lair for the remainder of the night. When the sun came up, NiGHTS noted it dully in the back of his mind, but his war against the sun was at an end, courtesy of Wizeman.
At least the itching was beginning to subside, though. NiGHTS never wanted to experience that sensation again.
GillWing was loosely curled around NiGHTS, his head hovering protectively back and forth over the smaller Nightmaren.
NiGHTS looked up at the enormous yellow green jaw passing back and forth overhead, finding it strangely soothing. GillWing's body was like a twisted crib, with his swaying head a sinister mobile. NiGHTS was lulled by it and found his eyes sliding closed once more.
GillWing unfurled a purple webbed wing, covering NiGHTS. The dragon grunted in satisfaction and rested his head, confident that NiGHTS was happy again. GillWing liked it when NiGHTS was happy.

It was some time later when GillWing's growl roused NiGHTS to full alertness. It was hard not to tense up with his "bed" rumbling like that. NiGHTS pushed himself up, then recognized the horned figure peering down at him, and calmly smacked GillWing in the neck, provoking a sheepish yelp. "It's Reala, idiot."
Reala stepped closer, folding his arms. "Am I interrupting something?" NiGHTS growled in response. "You're as annoying as GillWing! What do you want?" Reala placed a clawed hand over his chest, feigning hurt. "Your words wound me, NiGHTS!" Reala grinned, well aware that NiGHTS didn't mean a word of it. "Can't I check in on my poor ill sibling?"
NiGHTS looked away, grumpy. "Since when do you check in? Why are you really here, to rub it in again?" Reala blinked. "I've already done that, I prefer not to repeat myself. None of the others can keep up with me like you can, NiGHTS. I eagerly await your full recovery."
NiGHTS blinked, was Reala being . . . nice? There was a first time for everything, he supposed.
NiGHTS sighed. "Keep up with you? Ree, I leave you in the dust! Are you so impatient to be left behind?" Reala grinned. "That sounds more like the NiGHTS I know! And if you're so cocky, just get better and prove it!"
NiGHTS pushed himself up, wincing. He wobbled from the discomfort and would have fallen if not for Reala grabbing ahold of him. Reala smirked. "Aren't you getting a little ahead of yourself? Never get yourself involved in anything that you can't handle! I'll just have to teach you a lesson!"
NiGHTS' eyes widened as he saw the fist approaching. "No! NO! Not that! No, Ree!"
Reala happily ground his fist into NiGHTS' head. "NoogieNoogieNoogie!"

NiGHTS jerked upright in alarm. He narrowed his eyes as the faint hollars reached him. "No, Renee! Not the noogie! Quit it, why are you always so mean!"
The Nightmaren groaned and rolled over. "Idiot dreamers and their corny excuses for nightmares. If not for US they'd never have anything worth remembering. . ."
GillWing rumbled in agreement. GillWing would agree with just about anything as long as NiGHTS or Reala said it. NiGHTS closed his eyes again. "That was weird though, can Nightmaren hallucinate?" GillWing nodded his head. NiGHTS scowled at the dragon's mindless agreement, sensing the motion as it rippled through GillWing's body.
The purple Nightmaren sighed sadly. "Stupid Dreamers . . . I really don't like them. . ." He flipped onto his back, glad for something to distract him from what remained of his sunburn. "Can't fly, can't control the elements here, can't even figure out where they are. . ." He smirked. "They're just one level above those stupid Nightopians. . ."
NiGHTS quieted, recalling the sapling trees and mindless Nightopians happily gardening there. Pointless. They'd just grow and die, and the sun would pass overhead, unchallenged.
"It's just not fair. . ." NiGHTS huffed disappointedly.

NiGHTS yelped as Reala let himself in. NiGHTS glared. "Oh sure, I'm decent, thanks for knocking!"
Reala smirked calmly. "You have never been decent, NiGHTS, and you never will be."
NiGHTS sighed. "You're one to talk, Ree. . ." Reala chuckled, siting down next to NiGHTS. "Perhaps, but that only explains how I am able to tolerate you." He smiled. NiGHTS was a little flustered by the expression, so out of place on Reala's icy face. He looked away to avoid reacting. "So why are you here?" He tried to sound as bored as possible, no hard feat considering how bored he actually was.
NiGHTS was an active Nightmaren, and being forced to recline like this was infuriatingly dull.
Reala refused to take offense, shrugging. "I felt like it." NiGHTS frowned at that, Reala never seemed to need any reason beyond that. Still, NiGHTS was secretly glad. Reala would listen to his frustrations and maybe even help. Indeed, the red and black horned Nightmaren seemed to be waiting for something.
NiGHTS sighed. "Wizeman says I have to stay inside, no exploring. . ."
Reala blinked, apparently expecting more. NiGHTS frowned. "That's dull, Ree! I know that it ended badly, but I was having so much fun out there. . ."
Reala made a rude noise out of the corner of his mouth. "You knew that Wizeman wouldn't like you shirking your duties to go chasing nonsense. You got what you deserved, NiGHTS. I'm glad that you're finally being restricted, it will keep you out of trouble."

NiGHTS winced, feeling a dull ache in his hide at the movement. "I'll suffocate like this!"
Reala made a face. "You're as bad as the Dreamers, NiGHTS. A little responsibility won't kill you." NiGHTS hissed. "Don't compare me to those brats! I'm nothing like them."
Reala chuckled, always amused to get a reaction out of his companion. "But you are. Didn't you ever notice? The ones that are aware are always exploring the realm, just like you did. You're more alike than you realize, NiGHTS. In the night, you're finding delight in behaving just like they do in their dreams. Just don't forget who you are, NiGHTS. The night that you leave us to be with THEM is the night that I lose all faith in you."
NiGHTS gaped, astonished by Reala's accusation. "R-Reala! Quit insulting me, I would rather fly INTO the sun than have anything to do with those poor, brainless brats!" He snarled at the thought. "I'm Wizeman's the same as you!"
Reala blinked at that. "Even thought Wizeman won't let you explore?" He was testing, and NiGHTS knew it. NiGHTS dropped his gaze. "I . . . I don't have to like Wizeman's orders . . . I just have to obey. . ." he closed his eyes. "No matter what. . ."
NiGHTS jerked at a cool touch on his shoulder. Reala smiled, giving him a reassuring squeeze that managed to convey his sentiment without irritating NiGHTS' sunburn.
Reala nodded. "I'm glad to hear you say it, NiGHTS. I worry that you'll forget." He rose and flew for the door. "I'll leave you to recuperate then. Remember you owe me some competition, so you'd better recover quickly."

NiGHTS stared at the door long after Reala had passed through and closed it once more.
The purple Nightmaren patted GillWing's sleek hide gently. "I'll never forget. How could I?"

To Be Continued. . .