az: Very short. Because I had other thing occupying my head and those manage to run smoothly. And I had been away a while. Still think too soon for the next major plot point, which was why setting up scenes in between is hard. I got over the fact that I won't be getting much review compared to other bratfics out there... so I always spend idle times seeing the kind of traffic I got from my stories. And the fact I kept getting muses about other Johnny's related fic plot.

So here goes... Chapter might get longer later if what I wrote later fit more to this chapter. Else I'll just continue with 16. My line also was slow lately... so yeah...

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Second Life

Chapter 15: Spell of Hypnos

Written by Izzu alias honou-no-izumi

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Ryosuke turned his head around. Nothing. He thought he heard something. Perhaps not.

Suddenly sounds of flapping wings came from behind him. He turned, as he cocked his head at the empty corridors. Silly. Hospitals did not have magical woods or animals running around, he could not be able to hear any kinds of flapping wings. Or sounds of crickets, or frogs... or anything. Then what? Were his ears playing tricks on him?

He continued walking towards the room in front of him as he turned again, as he could have sworn that he heard someone breath. No, it wasn't himself... he couldn't be making such a silly mistake. His heart started to beat faster... no, he can't be panicking now. He shouldn't start to be afraid... not now. He had promised himself to be strong, he had promised everyone that he'd be strong. He should not let his own fear kill himself for no reason. He shouldn't—!

Ryosuke turned around abruptly as he heard some other movement—and his heart almost stopped. Sawamura Takayuki was standing before him, looking as insane as he had last seen him, a year ago. The man who had shot him on his back, the man who had wanted to kill him over and over again. His heart froze, as the hated man slowly walked towards him.

Run... run for your life! Ryosuke!

Suddenly a familiar voice echoed in his ears as his legs finally could move.

He ran. He ran with all his might. The man behind him had started running towards him as well. His heart started racing. That man would catch up to him soon. He would. He'd definitely would.

A light. He saw some light in front of him!

Ryosuke sped up his pace to head towards the light as he desperately hoped that the man behind him would give up chasing after him. He reached towards the door handle as he ran straight into it—

—before he immediately fell into a warm embrace of a person. Ryosuke gasped. Suddenly the sound of the maddening footsteps chasing him had stopped.

Ryosuke looked up as his father—his real father—smiled at him.

"You're safe now, Ryosuke. There's no need to be afraid now. You're safe."

Ryosuke looked at him longingly as he started to cry.

"Otousan!"

xxx

He opened his eyes to find his brother looking at him in concern. He had been holding his hand tightly, Ryosuke realized—as he slowly released his grip. He smiled weakly at his older brother.

"Did I wake you up? Sorry if I made you worry..." Ryosuke said apologetically as Shinji shook his head.

"Not at all. Did you have a nightmare?" he asked as Ryosuke shrugged.

"As if I never... but at least this time I had not been caught by him. That person almost always haunted my sleep... somehow I'm not comfortable about it."

Ryosuke laughed bitterly as he turned towards Shinji.

"I'm pathetic, right? I still haven't been able to overcome my own fear about that man—yet I had wanted to confront him. Am I mad or something?"

Shinji reached his hand out and held Ryosuke's hand gently.

"You aren't wrong. I guess I had been so hard on you before. But I can't say that you're completely at fault. I have to agree... that you can't keep running away from all of this. Even if you did, as long as Sawamura had that kind of influence over your life, you could never be free from him. And I don't think he'd leave you alone as long as you were alive so confronting him seemed to be the right choice to end this once and for all. But if your mental strength right now was not ready for that kind of confrontation... it's all right. Nagisa also said that she hadn't heard any confirmation about the other party yet, right?"

Ryosuke nodded.

"So that's it then..."

Ryosuke shrugged... before he sighed suddenly.

"Earlier... I saw father in my dreams."

Shinji looked up towards him as Ryosuke fidgeted with himself.

"I had been running... as I had always done in my dreams. As usual, the image of Sawamura had always been chasing me. Most often, those dreams ended with me being caught by him or being caught AND about to be killed. But this time... father appeared to save me."

Ryosuke's features eased from the frown that he had worn before turning his face towards Shinji.

"Wonder if that was a sign?" he asked before continuing. "Right now, I'm still so far from overcoming my fear of that person. But it's a start, isn't it?"

Shinji nodded his head, as Ryosuke appeared to want him to give the reassurance that he wanted to hear. In the end, that was all that he needed now... right?