A/N: Dreams are a normal human function. Something triggering in your mind, combining all your inner desires, worries, imaginations, passions, everything you are, everything you aspire to be, everything you can't admit to being, in a sequence of images that are beyond our comprehension. Dreams are something that, thank God, scientists still can't find an explanation for. They may not be tangible, but sometimes the best things aren't. A dream is what drives us to live. They keep us sane. They keep us alive. They tell us what our hearts and minds can't alone. And because of this ability, dreams are rare. At least, to your best memory they are.

You dream many times in a single night. You may not know it, because every dream ends. And if you don't wake up soon after that dream comes to a finale, it's locked within your mind forever. It's still there, still inside of you. But you don't know it's there. And so it lies in your mind, inaccessible, unreachable, unnoticed. It fades away.

What if you had a dream every night that you never knew you had? A dream that revealed everything. That brought clarity to your confusion. Understanding to how your inner self works. You might have a dream like that right now, but you'll never know. You might never wake up soon enough to find out.

Silent Fantasy

He crawled into the small open window of his room, pushing off on the trellis and ignoring the loud thud! that came from behind, and the crash that followed- an indication that he had pushed a little too hard. Groaning, the black haired boy peeled the black turtle neck from off of him. A dried blend of sweat, blood, and dirt clung to his body like glue, but right now that was the least of his worries. He took off his utility belt and then fell onto the cold comforter of his bed, not bothering to snuggle into the warmer sheets below.

His arms locked up as he tried to relax his muscles. Moving, now, would result in an incredible agony. There were long, thin cuts decorating his body, and dull pains that indicated indefinite bruises tomorrow. And yet, after ten years of this, he was pretty much used to it all.

He looked like he had gotten into a fight with a weed whacker. He had gotten into a fight, yes, but not with an inanimate object such as a weed whacker. The object was quite animate, and quite dangerous. But he was still alive. And so no matter what the outcome was, a heart still beating meant that he had won again.

Dib turned over in his bed, reaching down to pull his boots off and suddenly realizing that it probably wasn't his brightest idea. A ligament in his back pulled so far as to make him want to scream, but he did his best to keep his mouth shut. His house was entirely silent; his presence, gone unnoticed. Succeeding in shoving the boot off, Dib slumped back into the bed, trying to relax him muscles. The pains and the aching all seemed to melt away as he fell into a deep sleep.

The night outside his window darkened.

Leave your mind

Far behind

Just be free

You will see

There was a soft trickling from far off. He twitched, and then opened his eyelids, immediately regretting doing so. A warm, white light flooded in, bright enough to cause him a momentary blindness while his eyes adjusted. Dib sat up, realizing that his bed of sheets and pillow now consisted of leaves and an overgrown flower, respectively. Grunting, he stood, surveying the scene.

He had been here before.

The sky was purely white. It hurt to look straight up; almost like the entire atmosphere was made of the sun's emanation. To the left side of him were tall trees with thick, brown trunks, and to the right were tall, metallic buildings, violet in color and gleaming brightly in the refection of light from the sky above. The trees Dib could recognize- willow, oak, and even a redwood off in the distance. But the metallic buildings were like nothing he had seen on Earth. And the strangest thing was that the trees and buildings matched each other in height, paralleling one another on their respective sides. Where a building was on one side, a tree was on the other.

Dib stared out in the distance of the strange, divided world. At one point the city and the trees ended abruptly, and were replaced with an endless ocean that did not belong to either side of the world. Blood red in color, it seemed to absorb the light from the sky rather than reflect it.

There was a soft scuffle to the metropolitan side of the world, and Dib shielded his hand against the glare of the sky, squinting to see who it was. A figure, almost like a mirage slowly uncloaking itself, approached him. Wary, Dib took a step back. He winced as his foot found a rock, and looked down to realize he was still wearing the same clothing he had when he fell into bed- no shirt, and no shoes.

The figure was in full view, now. He was a young boy about Dib's age, with olive skin and vibrant eyes that matched the color of the red sea. Zim. Confusion flooded Dib's thoughts as the alien stopped directly in front of him. The two stared at each other for a moment, eye to eye, on their respective sides.

Then Zim reached out and took Dib's hand.

I know now

What I found

It was here

With you near.

Dib was being pulled, now. Away from the trees, and the buildings. Down the hill, towards the endless horizon. Towards the brilliant red ocean. Past every rock, and various machines. No, this was nothing new. He knew the way; he didn't need Zim leading him. But he let him lead anyway.

The world was silent. Dib inhaled deeply, and realized that his muscles and bones felt relaxed. His arm brushed up against the leaf of a tree, and he glanced down. The slit beneath the skin, the dried, cracked blood, the dirt caked into him, they were all still there. But he was numbed to the pains of the battle. A battle that now he could barely remember.

He focused on Zim. They had both been silent during the entire rendezvous; the only sound escaping from their lips were their respective breaths. The sky, as they neared their destination, darkened. At first it toned down to a brightness that no longer had that blinding effect, but then, as the sound of the waves crashing against the beach neared, and the wind blew stronger, chilling the air to a lower degree, the sky darkened into a mass of grey clouds and black atmosphere. An atmosphere so black, in fact, that various stars could be seen beyond the clouds.

Zim did not appear to notice, or even care. He continued showing Dib the way, down toward the ocean until the trees and buildings opened up to a vast expanse of scarlet colored ocean, darker now under the sinister sky. But the beach, filled with an uncountable amount of tiny grains, seemed unaffected. It remained a brilliant cream, glittering as if there were still a sky above to glitter under.

The sands were ignorant to the changing world around them.

Take my hand

To the place.

We can smile

For a while.

The land behind them, divided between incalculable distance, broke away from the beach and drifted away, now insignificant. Dib continued looking forward toward the ocean, knowing that all that was familiar to him was slowly breaking away. His world, his life, everything he knew, was leaving his grasp. He could turn around, and run to catch it.

But why should he?

There was a soft pounding from far away. A dull thumping, beating, beating, beating. Another pulsation joined it, at first beating in an irregular consistency with the other. Zim tightened his grasp on Dib's hand, and the beats joined each other in unified chorus.

Dib glanced at Zim, a questioning look cast on his face. The alien returned the glance, and a small smile crept upon his own visage. Zim nodded down to their two hands, and then lifted Dib's up. He traced his finger along Dib's palm, drawing a horizontal figure 8** along the bruised flesh. Dib frowned, struggling to understand. Zim dropped their hands and drew the same figure in the damp sand. He pointed to the symbol, and then took Dib's hand again and nodded toward the gesture. It was like putting together all the clues of the mystery, and finding the solution. The world, the actions- they all made sense. Dib's breathing grew shallower as he realized what was meant.

The waters of the ocean seethed and boiled.

There are clouds

We can call

Hearts desire

You inspire.

Dib took a step backward and fell, loosening the grip he had on Zim's hand. He lay engulfed in the blinding sands around him, realizing in an earth shattering moment that this couldn't have been real. And it struck him, a sudden realization, that this world was a dream. His own inner envisions of reality. A twisted, impossible reality.

Or maybe not so impossible after all.

Zim regarded Dib for a moment, and then he knelt down and sat next to the human. No sympathy was expressed for the fallen foe. No malicious intent, either. It was merely a gesture of mutual insinuation.

Zim leaned over, and brushed his hand against Dib's arm. The scars he had caused from their most recent battle in the other world. A calm smile spread across Zim's face, and he slowly stroked his hand against Dib's arm again, the wounds disappearing in the places he touched. The arm moved across the three slashes in Dib's chest, and then to the other arm. Zim rested his hand on Dib's, as if grasping the moment, and then removed it. A transient peace began to sweep over Dib, and in the sky he thought the clouds were shifting to a serene dark blue. But the atmosphere slowly darkened to its original color again.

And whatever color it had been, it was no more.

Please believe

All I say

Be with me

For this day.

Dib shook the soothing feeling away as he flinched at Zim's advances. Panicking, he pushed up from the sand and began to run. He could hear the pounding reverberate throughout this head, but this time the two beats were inconstant and irregular. As he ran, the throbbing in his brain only became louder. He covered his ears, crying out as the sound became deafening, but the action seemed to do nothing to stop it from beating like a sledgehammer crushing every nerve in his brain. He was too fixated on the excruciating pain of the pounding to glance back and see if he was being pursued.

That was a mistake.

Zim tackled him from behind, and pushed him into the sand. Dib fell face first into the glittering mass, tasting the grains in his mouth. He spun around, only to be pinned down again by Zim. The two lay there, glaring at each other from their respective positions.

Zim rose. Dib thought at first he was being pushed down, because he slowly began sinking in the sands. Then he realized that he had fallen in quicksand, and was now drowning among the miniscule rocks. The sands, like creatures come alive, grabbed at him, pulling him under to be part of their collective. Dib gasped and choked as he swallowed a mouthful of the sand, and looked up desperately to the sky, struggling to break free. Zim stood directly above him. He was just... standing, watching as Dib thrashed and coughed. There was a look of indifference on his face: no smirk of victory, nor pity, or mercy. He kept his arms crossed and watched silently as Dib was pulled under inch by inch.

What other choice was there to make?

Dib stuck out his arm into the air, blindly and intentionally, offering himself to be helped. His chest heaved, lungs crying out for air, and his legs felt weak as the sand weighed down on him. But Zim's hand clamped around Dib's, and pulled with a strength and vigor Dib rarely seen in him. Slowly Dib's head surfaced, and he began panting, glad to be able to breathe in the sweet air again. Zim continued pulling until Dib's legs were finally free, and Dib collapsed on safer grounds, taking a moment to regain his composure. It wasn't until a few seconds of hacking and breathing again that he realized Zim hadn't let go of his hand.

Dib grabbed it back, clutching it like it had been burned, glaring at Zim from under berating eyes. He looked offended, even hurt. Dib stood, brushing himself off but never taking his eyes off of Zim. He glanced down to the sand to see the horizontal 8 drawn in the sands. Without a second thought, he angrily stomped on in, kicking up sand with his shoe as he removed all sign that the figure had even been there. Satisfied, he glared back up at Zim, unable to smirk or brag triumph. He merely narrowed his eyes in satisfaction. He could hear a soft thumping but chose to ignore it this time. The distance between the two increased as he backed away from the alien, and he spun around to prepare to run. He blinked to find an entirely different setting.

The beach had disappeared.


We can try

Things that you

Never knew.

Panicking, Dib turned back, only to be met face to face with a wall. The beach seemed to have never existed in the first place, having melted away as merely a surreal product of his imagination. Trying to run back now would be an impossibility, so he turned forward again, accepting this change of setting.

This place was his old elementary skool, he knew. The dirty white walls, the musky smell of dirt and who-knows what, the distant sound of kids talking and teachers yelling- they were all indications of the place he despised and hoped to never see again. But he was away from the beach, and away from Zim. He was satisfied.

He slowly made his way to his old classroom, and peeked inside. It was the usual: kids were up and about, catching a few Z's, or drooling from boredom as they stared forward into the great effervescence of nothing. His old (and surprisingly, not yet dead to this day) teacher Ms. Bitters was at the front, ranting about how little patriotic flag-shaped pins would bring about the doom of the world as she knew it. To her extreme right sat a younger Dib, and to her extreme left was Zim, both standing in the corner with their noses pressed against the wall. The current Dib pretended not to be affected by seeing the younger Zim in the room.

He remembered this day well. He and Zim had entered the classroom literally at each other's throats, and he had prepared to smite the alien with a pencil before their fight was broken by the teacher. The two were disposed of, using the kindergarten version of punishment so as to humiliate them.

But something about this scene was off, Dib reflected as he watched. It wasn't... right, somehow. But he continued to watch with amused interest at what his life had been like.

He was soon to be quite the opposite of amused.

All your life

You've gone by

Let me help

Treat yourself.

The kids of his class gathered- Bitters was too busy wrapped up with her own cynical view of the fate of the planet to notice- and talked amongst themselves, glancing every once in awhile at Dib.

Dib, presently, flinched. This was a turn that he did not remember. He continued to watch as the class then approached Dib, cruel smirks on their faces and something glinting within each of their hands...

A shadow fell upon the classroom as Dib, from behind, was stabbed mercilessly with blades and other various sharp objects. By peers, by people who were supposed to be on his side. The faces of his classmates were unrecognizable and indistinguishable. Each and every face was shrouded by darkness, with the exception of the eyes, which all glittered with a strange, golden brilliance, almost like a collective of sand. The younger Dib collapsed to the floor onto a thin sheet of his own blood. The students, the classroom, even the teacher all fell away as all light except that on Dib, Zim, and present Dib, dimmed. The alien was glancing at the young human with an unreadable expression. The younger Dib, congested by his own blood, a look of pain beyond relief, gazed up to Zim with a face that read: 'Of everyone, it wasn't you.'

The present Dib stared at the scene before him. His head, lowered. His breathing, shallow. His eyes, opened. His younger version of himself was not just a few feet in front of him, dying. And Zim stood right beside him, silently watching, fist clenched.

But there was nothing that could be done.

Take my hand.

To the place.

We can smile.

For a while.

Zim knelt next to the fading Dib in a rare consensus among the frayed. His eyes burned like raging, violent waters, but pacified as they met Dib's on level plain. The darkness moved to advance on both of them, but the light pushed it away, knowing that the time had yet to come.

Tears were shed, blood was lost. The dying light was fought with the emanation of stationary fervor. No words, no touch, no movement. Communication only through eyes, and that was enough to understand what was to happen, and what was to begin.

The present Dib turned around, to be met face to face with the beach once more.

There are clouds

We can call

Hearts desire.

You inspire.

The dark red waters splashed from the scintillating sands into his face, and he could taste a mixture of salt and sweet in his mouth. The sky had become translucent, so translucent, in fact, that Dib could see the entire galaxy above. A spinning star system to his left, another planet to his right. Constellations he could recognize, and some that were so strange that they couldn't have been within the Milky Way and gone unnoticed.

Except for the occasional pounding of the ocean against the ground, the air held an indefinite silence. Dib glanced around, realizing that he wasn't alone.

Zim stood a ways off, arms crossed, gazing into waters matching the color of his eyes. His antennae hung down, and his shoulders were stooped, no longer holding that prominent, haughty form that they usually held. The ocean parted slightly away from him, causing there to be an odd indentation in the sea. The only cloud in the sky stood directly above Zim, casting dim light onto the alien.

Dib found himself at Zim's side, his intuition having forced his legs to walk to their current destination. Zim's breathing had grown shallower as Dib approached, but he did not look up to acknowledge Dib's presence. The two thumping sounds were far away, now, and could barely be heard. They slowly neared chorus once more.

Dib reached out and took Zim's hand.

The human and alien were both shocked at the gesture. But neither let go. Zim smiled softly as Dib held up their hands and traced a horizontal figure 8 across the palms, nodding in tacit agreement. The pulsation from far off now beat in perfect harmony.

The seas stirred, and the sky grew clearer. The light of a thousand stars and star systems grew blindingly bright. Dib shielded his eyes against the radiance, tightening his grip on Zim's hand as the light all at once came to a halt, and abruptly reverted to darkness.

Please believe

All I say

Be with me

For this day.


"Dib? What the HELL is this?!"

Dib groaned and sat up, shivering. He had left his window open all night, and realized all too late that it was yet another one of his stupid mistakes. Moaning at the aches and pains that trembled through his nerves, he forced himself to stand and glance out the window, where the voice had come from.

Below, a steaming Gaz sat among a pile of broken wood and tangled ivy. It had fallen down the night before, Dib knew, but he didn't realize that it had fallen right into the step of their front porch. And when Gaz left the house, she tripped right into that pile.

"I... uh... it was an accident?" Dib smiled one of his trademark nervous grins. He pulled his head back into his room as Gaz let out a stream of curses that caused their neighbor's six year-old girl to stare, wide-eyed in shock. It was probably best that he made himself invisible for the rest of the day.

Flopping back onto the bed, he blinked up at the ceiling. There was something biting at the edge of his mind. Something that phased in and out of his memory, that was troubling him. Slowly but surely, fuzzy details of the dream from the night before began to dawn on him. He remembered two worlds, and a beach. The red... the dark red ocean, and... golden sands? No, that couldn't be right. Was there someone else there? Or was he alone? He assumed that he had probably been alone in the dream, pessimistically thinking that it was his fate to be so.

Unconsciously Dib sat up, rubbing his arms and chest to make sure the cuts and bruises were still there. He winced as a fingernail latched onto a deep gash in his arm, drawing blood where was once a scab. Grimacing, Dib forced himself to sit himself up to grab some pain reliever cream from the bathroom cabinet.

He yawned upon his return to his room, and declothed himself further for the purpose of comfort as he fell back onto his bed. He pulled the covers up over him, sighing in their coolness and hoping that his sister wouldn't be home for awhile- she would be sure to strangle him from the previously mentioned trellis incident. Dib sighed, pushing the oddity of the fantasy out of his mind, falling into a deep sleep.

Where he would be sure to dream again.

**In math, a horizontal figure 8 is the Greek word for 'infinity'.

A/N: Many thanks to my two great friends, Tif and Verdi, for beta-reading this for me! If it hadn't been for them and their constant support, this story wouldn't be up here right now. So... please don't flame me. Because I really enjoyed writing this story. And I might have to send my pet poltergeist after you.

Now for the well-known disclaimer. The characters belong to the Almighty that needn't be named, and the song is from the album, 'Trickle', by Olive, a kickass group that receives far less recognition than it should. The song itself has no name because it's a secret song embedded in the last track, 'Beyond The Fray' (and that's a future song fic, too). Oh... ::blushes:: and the beach scene was inspired by my all time favorite movie, 'Contact' (Do not deny 18 hours of static!)