A/N: Mkay, first fic here!! Okay, just so everyone's aware, Chapter One takes place a few months after the movie. Chapter Two and all the rest are set much later. Okay, so enjoy!

Chapter One: The Nightmare.

Nobody is fearless.

Even the most hardened, cynical people are afraid sometimes.

In Barrel's case, it was when the candy supply ran out.

In Lock's, it was when harmless fun turned hazardous.

For Shock, it was nightmares.

The little witch girl tip-toed along the dark, dusty hallways of the tree house the trio resided in.

It had been a bad one this time. She had dreamt that she had been wandering aimlessly through a dense fog, so thick she had to squint to see more than a foot in front of her face. She was searching for something, something hidden, but she didn't know what.

Every so often murky shapes could be seen, moving towards her. Or was it moving away from her? She really couldn't tell. On one occasion, one of the said creatures came close, so close it must have been inches away. And it began to drift away once more.

"Come back!!" Shock had cried. She was confused and frightened. She didn't know whether the obscure shape was a friend or a foe, but all the same, she began to stumble after it through the mist.

"Stop! Wait, please wait!" To Shock's surprise, the being obeyed.

Shock staggered clumsily onwards until she was close enough to peer into its face.

And suddenly the haze was gone, and all was dark, sinister and icy cold.

Oogie Boogie leaned down to leer at her under the brim of her witches' hat.

"Think you're safe now that I'm gone, huh?" he sneered. "Think you and your little friends are safe, Witchy?"

Shock couldn't breath. She felt as though her heart was trapped in an icy vice.

"Well, you know what?" Boogie's grin widened. "You'll never be safe from me."

Shock had woken, drenched in cold sweat, her heart aflutter. She had left her bedroom, dragging a scruffy vampire doll in her wake.

Slowly, gently, she pushed open the door of the room Lock and Barrel shared. The trio had shared this room up until a few months ago, and it still bore signs of Shock's presence. A spell book here, a hair ribbon there. What stood out most, however, was the triple bunk-bed the boys were currently slumbering in.

Shock smiled weakly to herself as she remembered when they first argued over who slept where on it.

She herself had suggested Barrel took the top bunk, considering he barely ever got first choice in anything. Barrel had been immensely pleased, not to mention surprised at Shock's uncommon display of kindness.

Lock had grudgingly agreed, on the grounds that he could have the middle bunk. Shock had been in an unusually placid mood that day, and was perfectly happy with the ground bunk. These arrangements had stood after Shock had taken her own room down the hall.

Shock peeked into the darkness, straining to see the boys above. She could just make out Barrel's round, pale face, his eyes closed and mouth slightly open. Below him, Lock was almost entirely invisible beneath the charcoal-grey blankets. Only his red devil's tail could be seen, hanging over the bed frame, swaying slightly every few minutes.

Shock silently crossed the large bedroom and clambered into the ground bunk, carrying her doll with her. And so was Shock's custom after a night of nightmares.

"Lock?" she whispered in a tiny voice. "Lock, are you awake?"



In response, Barrel snored like a foghorn.

Shock didn't mind that they were asleep. She was content to let her friends' gentle, rhythmic breathing relax her, carrying her thoughts away from that of foggy plains and Oogie Boogie to the blissful peace of a dreamless slumber.