A/N: It doesn't make any sense, but oh well, it's about as crack as some of the other pairings out there. I figure….why not? xP

Title: Nocturne

Rating: T for some swearing, adult themes, suggestive dialogue, that sort of thing.

Pairing(s) Berzerker (Ray Crisp)/ X-23 (Laura Kinney)

Summary: A terrible nightmare, an unexpected rescuer, and a little quality bonding time. Ray/Laura.

It was all happening in slow motion, that was how she knew it was a dream. Her mother slowly collapsing, her horrified screams, the guilt washing over her at the realization of what she'd done. Oh yes, it had all happened much too quickly to be anything less than reality, but now she was reliving it in a horrible frame by frame recap. She could smell the blood, she could hear the last gasping breaths as the only person who had ever loved her begged her to find someone that could help her. To find Charles Xavier.

X-23 stumbled backwards away from the corpse that she had created, her fingers clutched in her hair as she howled in fury and pain. It was too much, her body trembled violently, her claws unsheathed and ready for another assault. She was all too aware that any minute she would be rushed by those who wished to return her to her prison, the one she'd lived in her entire life. She wouldn't let that happen, she couldn't. No matter how strong her grief, no matter that she had no where to go and no one to turn to, she would not go back there.

Things grabbed at her, people shouted, everywhere around her were specters reaching for her freedom, ready to shut her off before she could even breathe fresh air. Shadows that wanted knew she would never be their weapon, that knew she would die rather than go back. These people, she could smell their fear and their frustration, they would murder her as soon as she let down her guard. They could not risk exposure if she should escape.

Run, she pushed herself, looking for gaps in the offense, looking for escape routes. Her mind calculating a hundred different scenarios and not one of them ending well for her. Dashing to the left and right, slashing out at whatever threat stood in her way, she felt it, a hand on her shoulder, and needles in her arm. Her vision blurred and she let out a ferocious growl, hoping to drive off the attacker, her arms felt weak at her sides. And then her eyes opened.

"Woah! Hey!" A thump as a body toppled backwards, that startled her into complete awareness. Her eyes adjusting to the dark immediately, horrible memories replayed in her head as she imagined the worst yet again. She was still tense from the nightmare, but slowly the realization of her situation came to her. She was in the Xavier Institute. The mutant school, the place her mother had sent her. She was safe.

Her eyes shifted toward the edge of the bed where the sound had come from. Leaning over she studied the shape sprawled out across the floor, one hand rubbing the back of its head tenderly. "Who are you?!" She shrieked out, her nose wrinkling as she bared her teeth, she looked dangerous and wild. "What are you doing in here?!"

The dark shape began to clear and she was able to recognize a fellow classmate through the haze of red. Ray Crisp, she thought to herself, her hands still posed to strike out should the need arise. The boy stared up at her, pulling himself to his knees slowly, making no attempts to move fast or to rise anymore than that. "Relax, okay? You were screaming…I just came to quiet you down before you woke up everyone else in this place."

She mumbled something that wasn't quite an apology, always a notable lack of that with her, she'd taken after Logan in that aspect as well. She shrugged aside the thin sheet that covered her and rested her feet against the floor, the relaxed action inviting the boy to stand at last. He was tall and it made her nervous to have him standing over her, her eyes looking up at him. She could only envision how helpless she must look, her eyes red rimmed from crying, her hair disarranged from tossing and turning, a small sniffle escaping before she could stop it.

"Are you okay?" She narrowed her eyes warily as the teenage boy settled himself down on her bed next to her.

"I had a bad dream, Ray." She could hear only the slightest tremor in her words, and considering how shaken she felt, that was an accomplishment.

"Do you want to talk about it?" What was he looking for? She studied the way his body inclined towards her and although she knew he wasn't a threat, she still felt her heart rate increase.

X-23 shook her head violently, her arms wrapping around herself in an effort to ward off the onslaught that came with the invitation to talk about her past. "All right, it's okay. You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to." He smiled and leaned back a bit, stretching out on his back, his face tilted upward toward the invisible sky. "I have them too, you know? I think it comes with the whole mutant thing. Everyone has something in their past to give them nasty dreams."

She raised her eyebrow at him, it wasn't possible that a carefree boy of his sort could even begin to visualize the things that she'd had to do. Still, she didn't offer to tell him that, the effort that he was making to soothe her was appreciated far more than the actual words. She reached up and wiped the back of her hand across her cheeks, effectively ridding her face of the evidence of her weakness. "What do you have nightmares about?"

His eyes found hers for a moment, and even in the dark she could make out the electricity that crackled behind them, like some crazed forest fire, something that could be deadly if not controlled. Now, however, it just made him look hurt and tired. His smile wavered for a moment, and he let his eyes drift away toward some distant memory. "Let's just say I had some nasty run ins with the Anti-Mutant crowd." He said no more, and she knew better than to ask.

"You know what you should do the next time you have a nightmare?" He turned toward her and she could see on his face an expression very closely matching her own. He understood, maybe not exactly what she had gone through, but in some form or another he knew how it felt. He shrugged and she continued, "The next time you're having a nightmare, you should just dream me up. Just tell yourself that I'm there too."

Ray cracked a smile at last, his mouth turning up at the corner as he tried to understand her line of reasoning. "You know…I'm more than capable of handling just about anything. You just have to dream me up and I'll make sure that everything turns out okay."

"Are you saying that you'll protect me?"

Laura nodded, her expression so serious that it forbade him to take it as any less than perfectly real. Looking at her hardened frown and her tensed fingers, he didn't doubt her. "Isn't that my line though? I'm supposed to offer to be the knight in shining armor here."

She shook her head, trying not to let the image of herself dressed in tin foil lessen her determination to come off strong. "Look, I'll tell you what, I'm not like you. I'm not sure I can just pop in and whisk you away from whatever is going wrong in your dreams, but I'll make you a promise."

He sat up and moved just a tiny bit closer to her, his hand testing the distance between them as it came to rest on hers. She had the distinct feeling that he was not only pledging his sincerity, that there was some far deeper meaning behind the contact. Wasn't he afraid that her claws might come out? Wasn't he nervous at touching her skin? The flesh tingled where his hand rested, and her spine could feel the after shocks of some small earthquake going on inside of her. Still she tried to remain perfectly still.

"Laura, no matter how bad it seems, you should just keep in mind that I'll come and wake you up soon. Just tell yourself that it won't be long and I'll be there to bring you out of it. I'll always wake you up, okay?"

A steady burning started behind her eyes and she was forced to close them to contain the tears that started to build up. She hadn't felt warm for a very long time, but suddenly she did. She felt warm and for once she didn't feel particularly afraid.

Ray rose to his feet and started toward the door, letting the promise linger between them, almost as if they were both afraid to spoil the moment, it was allowed to end there. He turned as he shut the door behind him, "Sweet dreams, okay?" She nodded and mouthed, "You too," but her voice had left her and the door was shut between them anyway.