Disclaimer: I do not own Code Lyoko.

Dreams

By Zeakari

OoOoO

Dreams. Strange things, they take you into other worlds and show you things never seen in reality. They can show you your deepest desires, your most hidden fears, and your most secret of thoughts. Sometimes, a dream is merely a dream, allowing you to enter a world where any of your wishes may become your own reality. Other times, dreams may show you things that you don't understand, but must. Sometimes, dreams are a message.

OoOoO

Feeling downcast, defeated, and exhausted, Yumi flopped down onto her bed, hugging her large, purple stuffed animal. This week had been quite possibly one of the worst in her life. Days ago, XANA had beaten them. He had destroyed Lyoko and even dealt another blow by taking one of their teammates, as short lived as his membership to their group was. Not only that, but as soon as she had set foot in her own house that day, she was reprimanded for leaving her little brother home by himself. She had made her parents even angrier when she refused to say what she had left for, and was grounded for the remainder of the month. Ever since that day, her life had been a big mess. Her teachers seemed more agitated with her and she couldn't help but mouth back to them a few times, earning her more frustration from her parents.

Troubled thoughts haunted her mind as she finally drifted off into a restless sleep.

OoOoO

Just as she invites me, I guess there's a stink. But if I accept it, the stink will go away and we can relax. Then I can go back to that room with the brown walls and find out what I was doing. Then maybe I can find a way to avoid that dragon that keeps throwing me into the sky to different places.

Yumi blinked as she suddenly became conscious of her strange train of thought, realizing how little sense it made. She glanced around, surprised when she saw a familiar purple mist surrounding her. It reminded her of a time on Lyoko when XANA had hid the Mountain sector from them, leaving only mist. She glanced down at herself, wondering if she were wearing her Lyoko outfit too. She raised an eyebrow when she saw no such thing. Instead, she was in her sleep attire.

It took a few seconds before she became aware of a small sound coming from the distance. At first it seemed to come from all directions, just quiet enough so that she couldn't identify what it was she was hearing. Gradually it increased in volume and she was able to follow it. She strained her eyes to see through the thick fog, but it was like trying to see through a solid wall.

As she came closer to the sound's source, she realized that it was someone crying and muttering softly. She picked up her pace, correcting herself every once in a while when she would realize she was moving away from the sound. Whoever was crying let out a long moan that was clear at first, but then muffled, as if they had covered their face. The girl continued to try and strain her eyes. She was too busy trying to see and follow the sound that she didn't realize that she had reached it until she literally tripped over the source.

She and whomever it was she had disturbed both let out a yelp of surprise. Yumi's arms gyrated, trying to keep balanced, but she failed and ended up landing on her side. She let out a groan of discomfort and pushed herself upright, coming face to face with the big eyes of a very young child. She gasped in surprise and backed off a little, observing him. From his tearstained cheeks and reddened eyes and nose--a bit of snot dribbling from it--she could safely guess that it was he who had been crying.

"Who are you?" Yumi asked, a little surprised at the way her voice echoed all around them. "Why are you crying?" The boy blinked and cocked his head to the side, making her realize quite randomly how adorable he was. He seemed to realize something as well and a fresh tear fell.

"I don't remember…" he shook his head slowly. "I can't remember. I'm scared," his face scrunched up and his head dropped into his hands. He began to sob, shaking his head. "I don't remember… I can't remember…" he muttered repeatedly.

Yumi's heart went out to the boy. Carefully, she sat down next to him and wrapped her arms around him. She was a bit surprised when the boy immediately turned and clung to her, his tears running more freely. She quickly recovered from her surprise and began to rock back and forth, softly shushing the crying child. As she did so, her mind began to wander. What had this child experienced to make him cry so? Why couldn't he even remember his own name? Did this place have something to do with it? Speaking of which, where was she? She couldn't quite recall exactly when she had gotten there. It was almost as if she had been there the whole time, and only noticed when she had stopped her nonsensical thoughts. As if she had been asleep, and couldn't remember exactly when it was when she had awakened and started merely letting her mind wander. Was she even awake?

She was so deep in her thoughts that she hadn't even noticed when the child's crying subsided and he began to stare up at her. He narrowed his eyes at her in thought. "Y…Yumi?" he ventured softly.

"Hmm?" she responded automatically, glancing down at him. It took her a second to realize. "Wait… how do you know my name?"

But the boy's face had brightened up considerably and he practically knocked her over as he gave her a fierce hug, as if he were afraid to let go. "Yumi!" he laughed joyfully.

"How do you know me? I've never seen you before," Yumi said, very confused.

The boy shook his head. "I don't know… I can't remember anything." He looked up at her, smiling. "But I remember you. I don't know why, but I remember you! You're a nice person." His smile seemed to almost brighten up the area around them, despite his cheeks still wet with tears.

The girl was a bit surprised when she realized that it wasn't just the boy's happiness, but the fog surrounding them was actually clearing. She looked around as everything changed from a purplish hue, to one of a reddish-orange. It was almost like the sun had suddenly decided to exist at the time that it was setting. She blinked and she was quite suddenly in a large room, soft piano music playing from nowhere. She glanced around, seeing that the room was shaped like an oval that had been cut in half around the middle. Along most the curved part of the room, the walls were made of almost entirely windows, reaching from floor to ceiling with intricate designs in the framework to hold each pane together. The light of the setting sun passed through the windows, creating a beautiful reddish-orange glow. She turned at the sound of shuffling and saw that there was a man slowly and gracefully waltzing around the room. For some reason, she couldn't make out who his partner was. It was as if she could see the person from the corner of her eyes, but as soon as she tried to focus on it, it just faded into a blurry shadow.

She turned to the boy and was surprised to see that he looked a year or two older, and he had a cold, angered look on his face as he too watched the man and the entity dance.

Together, the two forms swirled around the room, oblivious to their presence. They moved faster when the music swelled, and slowed when the music did the same. Yumi couldn't tell what the thing was that the man was dancing with, but from the corners of her eyes, she could detect a long, sweeping dress twirling behind it. This was all she could make out of it.

"You don't exist anymore!" the boy suddenly bellowed, his voice echoing harshly off the walls.

The piano music stopped and Yumi's heart thumped in her chest. Moments ago, the child sounded like… well… a child. Now, he sounded as if he had aged beyond his years, to times when a soul so young had witnessed things it should never have to witness.

The shadow and man stopped and looked over at the boy, a look of sadness on the latter's face.

"You don't exist!" the boy shouted again as the two beings turned to each other and seemed to melt into each other, disappearing. "Not anymore! Not ever!" Tears began to flow from the boy's eyes. Tears of defeat and sorrow. He quickly began wiping furiously at his eyes, cursing himself under his breath.

He turned to Yumi and frowned at her blank look. She really did not know what to make of this. His eyes flashed with fury and he dropped his hands, clenching them to tight fists at his sides. "I'm not a bad person!" he shouted at her, causing her to involuntarily take a step back. "I am not a bad person!"

The floor beneath him became a pool of black sludge, black smoke seeping out. Clawed hands grabbed at his feet, but he took no notice of it, only continuing to glare at her. Tendrils of the black substance snaked up his body as he began to sink into it. She gasped and tried to grab his hand to help him out of it, but he screamed at her not to touch him, startling and hurting her. He continued to glare at her, even as his face began to sink into the sludge.

He slipped completely through and the dark substance disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. The girl continued to stare at the spot where the child had disappeared as the room began to darken due to the sun passing below the horizon. The silence seemed to almost press against her ears and she glanced around the room for a door. There were none to be seen. She turned and walked over to the windows, her footsteps echoing loudly in the room. She tried to see outside, but it was pitch black. Even placing her hands around her eyes to block out the dim light from the room wouldn't work. She sighed and backed away from the window, dropping her hands to her sides. The light didn't come into view again. All around her was pitch-blackness.

She blinked, there being no difference in sight between open and closed, as the darkness seemed to almost press against her eyeballs, just as the silence had against her ears. She glanced around, despite the fact that she couldn't see anything, frowning in confusion. "What's going on?" she whispered, mostly to try and break the screaming silence. She listened as her voice echoed and echoed into a distance that wasn't previously there.

She tried to reach out to touch the window again, but it was no longer there. She tried to stay calm as she reached out to other directions, all the while listening to the echoes of her last spoken words. She turned, trying to find anything, as long as it would show her she was somewhere. She felt a strange sense, as if she had lost herself. "Hello?" she called out, adding another echo to the continuous others.

She grew quickly frustrated and sat down on the texturless floor. Her scenery had changed before, so she decided to just wait until it happened again. She listened to her echoes as they blended, became louder, and softened. She began to notice her voice was changing. It became a voice she knew she had heard before, but just couldn't remember where. The words melded and warped, twisted and changed, until it was a small phrase repeating over and over again. It was becoming louder and closer, making the girl nervous. Suddenly the voices shouted, causing the girl to cover her ears and shout in surprise. They continued relentlessly, making her head pound. She stood, hands on her ears and eyes shut tight, and tried to run. There was nowhere to run, despite the vast, empty space, the voices always seemed to be right there. She stumbled and fell to her side. She rolled onto her back and sat up screaming "STOP!"

Suddenly, it was very quiet. It wasn't the unsettling silence like before the echoes, but the silence with soft sound. She opened her eyes and dropped her hands when she realized she was sitting up in her own bed, safe in her room.

Yumi sighed and mumbled softly to herself, not really paying attention but merely speaking to make noises. She rubbed at her temples, her head still holding the ghost headache from the dream. After a moment, though, she stopped, her eyebrows furrowing as she suddenly realized what she had trailed off into saying. It was the same phrase spoken within her dream, which was already started to fade away. The message still stuck, though, leaving her unsure.

help me….

"William…?"

The girl never saw the small tendril of white mist dissipating out her window.

End