For Jovianokamigirl, my most persistent Vinnie/Charley shipper.

Disclaimer: Nothing. Nothing at all, peeps.

The Fall of Dreams

Chapter 1

It was one of the strongest memories she had of Vincent, and one that she couldn't help but try to forget. That day when Limburger's thugs had attacked the garage, when they'd finally been beaten back, how she and Vin had celebrated. He'd picked her up in his strong arms, his eyes beautiful like garnets as he'd spun her around in joy. His smile was honest and sweet, buzzing with excitement and happiness, and it was the most gorgeous she'd ever seen him look.

It felt like the earth had moved along with their feet; a dizzy, floating feeling that had nothing to do with spinning. They'd gradually slowed, his arms unconsciously pulling her closer as he set her feet back down on the ground. Her heart had pounded in her chest as his face came closer to hers. She could even smell his unique scent, fur, and leather and some kind of spice. She could admit that she was addicted to his scent, that always made her think of laying in a bed after long hours of lovemaking.

She had felt him start to tremble a bit, a quiet hesitance in his embrace even as he'd moved closer. She sighed in her sleep and waited for the rest of it to unravel: being thrust aside as more explosions had rocked the garage, being captured.

But none of it happened.

He kept holding her.

She tried to pull back, confused--it didn't happen this way, I know it didn't-- but his arms tightened around her, and one hand slid up the back of her neck to run gently, soothingly through her hair. His fur was white velvet beneath her hands. He was warm, warmer than a human, almost warmer than the sun, and she wanted to curl up against him and never move again.

This didn't happen.... Why am I dreaming this?

I don't care....

She slid her hands around him and held on, stroking his back, feeling his trembling subside. I don't want to wake up....

He was murmuring something now, his voice low and hoarse. She turned her head lazily, listening.

"I love you, Charley..."

Charlene jerked awake and stared up at the iron beams of the Scoreboard's roof. What was that? She pressed a hand to her chest, feeling her heart race. I've never dreamed like that.... I've dreamed about Vinnie, but not like that! At least I was quiet. I think I avoided waking anybody else up.

"Charley?" Vincent's voice.

Of course. The only person who doesn't sleep through me waking up is the only person I wish would sleep through it. How am I going to explain this? She rolled over slowly. A storm had knocked out power to the garage in the dead of winter, and her frozen heater had driven the poor girl to seek shelter with her bros at the Scoreboard. They'd stayed up late watching movies, and all four of them had fallen asleep in the living room.

His red eyes almost seemed to glow as he looked at her. "Are you okay?"

Charley swallowed again. I know he's just speaking quietly because he's trying not to wake the others, but does he have to sound like he did in my dream? "I'm fine. I had a really odd dream, that's all."

He frowned as he got up from his spot on the recliner. Charley mildly swore to herself as he crouched next to her, looking concerned. "If you're so fine, why are you shaking like that?"

"I'm a little cold, I guess." Please, stop looking at me like you're actually worried....

He snorted. "Next time, take the extra blanket when Modo offers it to you." Charley opened her mouth to snap back at him, but he was already getting the blanket from his own chari. "Here. No point in you getting sick." He dropped it on top of her.

"Thanks," she whispered. He shrugged and returned to his spot on the recliner. Charley watched him through her lashes until she was sure he was asleep again, and then blew out a breath. She reached out to push the blanket aside, but was swamped with sensory memories the moment her fingers brushed it.

White plush draped over warm, hard muscles, the sweet scent of spice and male....

Charley jerked her hand back. Now I'm never going to get back to sleep. She rolled over, turning her back--no need to make it worse by looking at him--and stared at the wall, prepared to lie awake until morning.

And yet, even as she tried to stay awake, a shockingly large corner of her heart yearned to return to the dream.


The sun filtered down through the windows of the Scoreboard. Charley's eyelids fluttered as her consciousness seeped back like groundwater. I guess I fell asleep again. She pushed several stray strands of hair out of her face. Did I really dream all that last night? I dreamed.... She flushed and shoved the covers aside, noting that her bros were already awake and out of the 'Board. They were most likely on a morning patrol. I can't believe it. Why am I dreaming about him like that? She dug through her overnight pack and found her hairbrush, yanking it hard through her sleep-tangled hair, hoping the pain would clear her head. I know what he wants, and it's not me.

Vincent's eyes looking down at me with warmth and affection....

Charley's heart twisted within her. But, oh, I wish it were. Stop it, girl. She set the brush down. He's still in love with Harley. He loved her first.

Vinnie holding me like he loves me, like I'm not just that girl who reminds him so much of his lost girlfriend....

No! I'm not going to cry!

She pulled a fresh change of clothes out of her pack and began to pull them on with angry movements. There's no point in this. I know he loves her. There's no point in dreaming about something I can't have. Is there? She stopped, jeans pulled halfway up. What... what's so wrong about dreaming about Vinnie sometimes? If sometimes I dreamed that he loved me, just a little? She shivered as the images rushed through her mind: being held, cared for, loved....

Lied to.

"It wouldn't be fair," she said quietly to the silent room. "He's my friend. Whatever else happens, I can't use him like that. It wouldn't be right." She finished putting on her jeans and began to tidy up the living room.

"Charley?" Modo poked his head into the room. "You're finally up!"

"Morning, big guy," Charley said over her shoulder as she folded a thick comforter. "Here, help me stash this."

Modo came across the room and began to help fold the heavy covers. "It's not morning, Charley. It's afternoon," he informed her.

"It's afternoon?"

"Yeah," Modo said. "You gotta start cutting back on your hours in the garage. You're getting exhausted."

"Hey, its work hard or no hot dogs and root beer for my boys," she said with a smile. "Sorry I wasn't awake to make that pancake breakfast I promised you guys."

"Don't worry about it. But so you know, Throttle had us up at six to patrol around that new factory they're building out by the docks. Vinnie's been pouting all morning."

"That mad, huh?"

Modo shrugged. "You know how he gets."

Charley folded the last cover absently. Guess he got over worrying about me pretty quickly. Oh well. "I guess I'll have to apologize about breakfast."

Modo snorted, "He's just being an jerk today. Don't know what bit his tail last night, but he better straighten up or me 'n Throttle'll both sit on him."

Charley bit her lip as she stacked the covers on top of the couch. It was nice to not be at odds with him for a little while, even if it was only a dream. So much for that. She swung her pack onto her back, glancing around the 'Board to make sure she had everything.

Modo smiled at her, offering his arm in an old-fashioned way. "Are we ready to go, milady?" he asked.

She smiled at him and took his arm. "You sir, are far too kind." The sunlight bored into her eyes and made her yelp as she emerged from the room.

"Charley-girl!" Throttle said from down in the stadium's lawn, and he waved up to her.

"I'm really sorry to have kept you all waiting. I can't believe I slept in this late," she called down to him.

"Aw, don't worry. We'll get you back to the garage and then we'll try and get that new generator you ordered from the warehouse," he called back, riding his bike up the stairs to her side.

"So where's Vinnie?" she asked.

"He's out riding around the park, according to the tracker," Throttle said as he checked his bike's display.

"More like he's out sulking," Modo huffed. "If he gives you a hard time, Charley-girl, you let me know and I'll kick his tail."

"He must have really rubbed you the wrong way this morning," she said in some concern to the grey mouse.

"Its nothing," he muttered. "I'll work it out with him later."

"Okay, then. And hey, sorry again about sleeping so late. Its weird, I mean, I really wasn't all that tired last night," she said.

"Aw, sometimes you just sleep hard," Throttle said.

The loud roar of a motor cycle cut off their conversation, and a flying red blur streaked over the stadium walls. A familiar war cry sounded as he turned from landing on the lawn and raced up the concrete stairs. "Hey bros! You gotta come check this out! They're starting a fair in the city park and there are babes everywhere! And there's this circus show with an attraction called the Snake Lady, but she's not really a snake, just really, really flexible." He waggled his eyebrows suggestively, "Know what I mean?"

"Vinnie! Not in front of a lady!" Modo scolded.

"Aw, she knows I'm just havin' fun! Right Charley?"

She felt her cheeks strain in an effort not to yell how much of a jerk he was being. Why am I wasting good dream time on this chauvanistic, womanizing--"Oh, I know. Now can we lay off it so I can get back to work?"

"Man, what's got a bee up your"--


She shook her head as she shouldered past the three mice and walked down toward where Lil' Hoss was parked. Modo followed after a few seconds later, settling in the seat and starting the engine. He didn't ask why he was the one taking her home, and she was grateful for it.

Why does he always have to make it so hard?A memory of ruby-red eyes warm with something other than ego slid through her mind, and, for a moment, a warm exhaustion cradled her body. She leaned against Modo's back, her eyes falling closed.

I know I could've loved you, but you wouldn't let me