(A/N): Okay, so I don't upload anything for almost a month, and when I do it's not even Kingdom Hearts fic? Blasphemy. But hear me out: I am not planning on switching fandoms. This idea was just too strong to ignore. For those who don't know, Haunting Ground is a survival horror title, and I love it because it freaks me the hell out. And because of Hewie. He makes this game. For those who know what the game is, this fic is set during the Daniella arc of the story - my personal favorite. I find both her character and that point in the story the most disturbing on several levels, and it was while playing through this arc that the idea for this fic pounced and basically...ate my brain. Please don't hesitate to tell me what you think.

Disclaimer: I don't even own the computer I'm uploading this from.

Before I Wake

Fiona curled a little further into the dark corner, pressing forward until the skin of her knees broke and bled against the uneven stone walls. She kept her eyes screwed tightly shut as she pressed her face into the wall. Her position made easy movement an impossibility, but at the moment she didn't care. She didn't want to see any more. She thought she might never stop seeing that writhing…thing in the furnace, twisting in the flames and emitting its shrill cries. She kept her hands clenched against her stomach, struggling not to clap them over her ears like a small child.

She needed to hear.

Hewie shifted beside her, his coarse coat of fur whispering against her thigh. Fiona took a controlled breath and lowered her hand, reaching carefully in the dark to stroke his head, stilling his movement. "Good boy," she whispered, then immediately wished she hadn't when she heard a small sound from the hall. She caught her breath, her hand tensing slightly on Hewie's head. The albino Alsatian whined softly and licked her wrist with a warm tongue. His tail whispered across the stone floor in a measured rythym.

Reassured by Hewie's calm manner, Fiona's stomach muscles unclenched as she ran her hand along the dog's back, searching for the gash Daniella had carved into his rear left flank. The wound had already closed, though Hewie would probably walk with a limp until she could get her hands on any more Esca.

But to do that, they'd have to leave the dubious safety of this small closet, this box of a room that had become both their sanctuary and their prison. With Hewie hurt, Fiona didn't dare move until she was sure Daniella had left the immediate area. Fiona rested her forehead against the wall as she absently fondled Hewie's ears, straining her ears for the slightest sound.

Beneath her hand, Hewie lifted his head and pulled his lips back from his teeth in a silent snarl. Fiona's fingers clenched in his thick fur as she held her breath, listening.

Somewhere, water dripped.

Hewie's chest vibrated with the force of his as-yet unheard growls. Teeth gleaming even in the dark, the Alsatian laid his ears flat against his skull, twisting around to stare at the closed door. It didn't have even the most rudimentary of locks.

Measured footfalls sounded from somewhere beyond that thin barrier. Fiona's fingers tangled themselves even more tightly in Hewie's fur as she braced her other hand against the wall, pushing herself upright enough to look over her shoulder at the door.

Not even the flimsy protection of a door chain.

"Miss?"

Fiona's heart knocked painfully against her ribcage as she struggled to draw a deep breath. Panicking wouldn't help; would most likely get her killed. Still, she couldn't seem to draw enough air into her lungs.

The footsteps kept coming. Closer.

Closer.

Though Hewie wasn't up to it, Fiona tried to tell the Alsatian to stand ready. Her parched throat didn't produce even a croak. She ran a dry tongue over equally dry lips and stared helplessly at the door.

"Miss?"

The footsteps paused outside the door. Fiona pressed herself back into the corner, relinquishing her hold on Hewie to brace both hands against the wall. The suddenly claustrophobic room seemed to pulse in time with her pounding heart. Careful not to make the slightest sound, Fiona pushed herself to her feet, closing her eyes against the dingy walls. Taking a cue from his mistress, Hewie also rose to his feet, face still locked in its silent snarl.

Footsteps again.

Fiona kept her face turned to the wall as she listened, unable to believe it as the psychotic maid's footsteps receded back in the direction they'd come from. Suddenly she needed the wall to keep her upright. She turned on trembling legs and stared at the door, shaking uncontrollably. Hewie's nails clicked against the floor as he advanced, ears still laid flat against his skull.

"It's all right, Hewie," Fiona managed, finally feeling her heartbeat begin to fall back into its normal rythym. "Good dog." Hewie didn't acknowledge her, and Fiona suddenly realized the canine was now growling aloud. "Hewie…"

She was interrupted by a familiar voice from the other side of the door. Cultured. Cold. Empty.

"Miss?"