Disclaimer: I, as I'm sure you expected, do not in any way own Klonoa or any related characters. The Klonoa series is owned by Namco.

*Looks around* Wow, it's been a long time since I've touched this section. I've been working on a fanfiction within another fandom (to any Crossed Hearts readers, I've got like 30 pages written on the next chapter and will update soon!), but out of boredom and sudden inspiration, I found myself writing this little oneshot. I actually wrote it all in the span of a couple of hours and in one sit-down, so I hope it came out okay. Perhaps it's to help me get over my slight writer's block with my other fic, perhaps it's because I feel guilty for never finishing my other Klonoa fic (The Dark Sapphire), perhaps it's to try my hand at a oneshot (something I've never done before), or maybe it's just nostalgia, but either way, here it is! This is actually an idea I had a long time ago, but never actually wrote. Be aware that this is a bit...different. Essentially, it's a rather dreary imagining of one way I thought the whole 'Dream Traveler' thing could be interpreted. But regardless, I hope you enjoy!

The man looked up from his notepad at the young boy, wiping his wrinkled, sweaty brow with the back of his palm. His eyes scanned the small, silent figure as he stared back at him, the boy's yellowish green eyes making it perfectly clear that he didn't want to be there.

The man tried to smile. "Come on, finish your drawing now so you can show me."

The boy just stared at him for a few moments longer, before slowly moving his gaze back down to the partially colored paper in front of him. All the man could see were the movements of the boy's hands and the bangs of his dark hair as his attention went back to whatever strange images he was drawing today.

It was always like this, every time.

The truth? He never liked doing sessions with this boy. But his mother insisted that the counseling continue. And hey, as long as she had the money, the counselor wasn't going to turn her down.

Still, he hated just sitting here like this with that boy across the table. As far as the man was concerned, a counselor's job was to listen. But this boy never spoke. This boy never gave him anything to listen to aside from the sound of the lead of his pencil scrapping the paper. That, and his slightly raspy breath. Simple noises, but in the silence between these walls, the counselor swore they could drive you mad. You could've heard a pin drop in the cramped, dimly lit room. As it was, he could hear the slight drizzle outside tapping against the roof and the curtained window.

And then finally, the sound of the pencil stopped. The counselor blinked, looking up at the boy again to find him waiting expectantly. "Are you finished?" He asked, his own voice sounding loud in the small, quiet room.

The boy nodded, before holding up his picture so the man could see it.

On it were a collection of figures and objects. There was a girl with long, reddish pink hair. She looked somewhat human, minus the ears and tail that resembled those of a lion. A strange, mostly yellow dog-like creature that was covered in stripes and with green eyes that almost looked like strange glass. A woman who very much resembled the first girl, only taller, with darker skin, and dressed in garb that almost resembled a pirates clothing. This woman was standing by a plane, with what looked like a feline puppet on her shoulder that was exactly half white and half black and with a playful smirk. A tall, wolf-like man with a long ponytail and…was that a gun? And lastly, a small, round creature that was blue and green, floating near what looked like a giant ring with a gold band and bluish gem.

That ring…it looked just like a bigger version of the one he was wearing now. The counselor caught its bluish gem glittering under the dim lighting from its place on the boy's finger. The one that had belonged to his father, before he'd died in that car accident. …That accident…. That same one that had left this boy mute and paralyzed from the waist down.

The man gently gestured for the boy to pass him the drawing, so that he could have a better look. He inspected them more closely as he did. Such strange but life-like looking characters. That boy never did much, but one thing he could do was draw, especially for one so young. Probably because that was almost the only thing he did do during the hours that he was okay. It was one of the only things he could. And he had quite the imagination, too! The man smiled just a bit, but it quickly started to disappear again as he looked back up the boy.

"So…these are your friends?" He asked, trying to keep his voice gentle and straight.

The boy nodded.

"Why don't you tell me a bit about them?" He pressed softly.

The boy hesitated for just a moment, before reaching for another sheet of paper from the supply on the desk. The sound of lead on paper came again as the boy wrote out his answer before passing it to the man. He read it over under the light of the lamp beside his chair.

The girl's name is Lolo. She works as a priestess at a temple, and she's my best friend. The dog's name is Popka. He's a lot nicer than he seems like at first, and he's with her all the time. The woman's name is Leorina. She's a sky pirate, and the cat on her shoulder, Tat, is her sidekick. She was our enemy at first, but I really don't think she's that bad at heart. The wolf's name is Guntz. He was like that, too. I used to be afraid of him, but I think he's a good person deep down. Huepow is the ring spirit who lives in the ring that I carry.

"I see…" The man nodded thoughtfully as he finished reading. These people were so thought out – they really did seem to be real to him. "So, tell me, what do you look like when you visit your friends? Do you look like you do now?"

There was another silence as the boy scribbled something down on a new sheet of paper, passing it once he was finished.

I don't remember. That's the one thing I can never recall once I come back to this world. I don't think so…I think I look different. But the only thing that I know is that I can walk and talk again there. And that I'm important there. I've done things to help their world. …People love me there.

"As opposed to people not loving you here?" A slight frown came to the counselor's lips. Even if he didn't like these sessions, this boy was interesting case. He'd conjured up his own worlds in sleep. World's were he felt important, where he felt loved, and where he could use his feet and tongue once again. The purest form of escapism.

The boy didn't do anything, just looking down and away from the man's gaze.

"You know that people do love you here. Your mother loves you very, very much. She worries about you all the time. People only worry so much about those dearest to them. I know you have many other family members who are worried – your cousins, your grandparents… They all care about you…and I do too." The man tried in vain to catch his eye. "And just because you can't walk or talk, that doesn't make you any less of a whole person. It doesn't mean you can't still make friends here. Real friends. Even if there are certain things you can't do, I'm sure many people would love you if you gave them the chance."

The boy reached for a new sheet of paper, writing down only one, short sentence.

They are real.

The counselor felt a surge of pity as he read the words. The man didn't say anything, but the boy seemed to sense what he was thinking through the expression on his face and in his dark blue gaze.

Tears started to well under the boy's eyes as he quickly wrote down something else.

They are real. They're my friends. I need them. And they need me. Please, don't try to take them away from me like everyone else does.

The man couldn't bring himself to argue, watching as droplets of water began to dampen the boy's cheeks. What could he possibly say?

Everyone used escapism to some degree. But it had started taking over this boy's mind. He visited these 'friends' in his dreams. But because of this, all he ever wanted to do was sleep. And indeed, it was increasingly becoming the case that that was all he did. Sleep was the only thing that interested him. And that was why his mother was so worried. Especially lately – it seemed he was only slipping away into this world of his dreams more and more with time.

And yet…seeing that boy stare up at him with damp, almost pleading eyes. What could he do? How could he help? How could he possibly attempt to shatter the dreams the boy was shedding tears over to defend?

A knock on the door suddenly sounded, distracting them both from their thoughts and the thickness in the air between them.

A woman who he quickly recognized as an office worker cautiously peeked in, carrying some kind of notepad. "The next patient is here, sir. And the boy's mother is waiting."

"Ah, sorry…lost track of time a bit." The counselor answered casually, casting a last glance at the boy who quickly wiped his eyes as his mother entered the room.

The dark-haired woman, the boy's mother, passed the man a grateful nod. "Thanks again for doing this, Dr. John. I'm sure it means a lot to us both." She passed a glance down at her son as she took the handles of the wheel chair he was in. "Come on, Klonoa, let's go home. When we get back, I'll make a nice dinner, and maybe we can play cards for a bit…what do you think?" The woman offered hopefully.

The boy didn't respond as his mother pushed him out of the room. He hardly even noticed when the counselor waved him goodbye.

Klonoa lay stretched out in the grass beneath one of the trees of the island, staring out blankly at the Sea of Tears. It was a beautiful day in Lunatea. The sun felt warm and comfortable against his face, and he could feel the light breeze ruffle his black and white fur just slightly.

He heard movement from beside him as the girl who'd been laying a foot or so away pushed herself part way up. He felt her shadow partially obscure the sun as she leaned over and looked down at him, concern visible on her face. "…Are you okay, Klonoa? …You seem more down that usual. Is something bothering you? You can tell me if there is, you know." Lolo asked gently.

The somewhat cat-like boy didn't answer at first. "…I'm fine. Just a bit tired today, that's all." He spoke, sitting himself completely up. He quickly tried to erase the slight melancholy from his face, passing her a bright smile that he hoped would make her believe his words.

He wasn't sure whether or not she did, but she sat completely up as well, following his gaze out towards the sea. "…This is where we met, isn't it?" She passed him a smile herself. "…How long ago was that, now?"

Klonoa smiled just a bit, but didn't meet her gaze. "About five years, I think." Five years…

"Sometimes it really doesn't feel like it was so long ago, and other times, it feels like it we've been together forever. But…this is also where we said goodbye once. It's funny… I really thought I'd never see you again once you left. But now I see you almost everyday. I don't understand why, but…I'm glad you're here."

The boy turned his gaze towards hers. "I'm…glad to be here, too." This time he did move his gaze to meet hers.

Her eyes were so bright and full of life. And yet, he still saw the doubtful gaze of the counselor from that morning in his mind. But…how could she not be real? The sun. The breeze. The grass. The ocean. It all felt so real. How could it not be? Without really thinking, he subconsciously ran his fingers down one of the girl's arms, as if he half expected his hand to go right through it.

But it didn't. And it earned him a rather surprised look from the girl. He instantly blushed. "Err…sorry!" He wasted no time in pulling his hand away.

He wasn't quite sure what reaction he expected, but what he didn't expect was to suddenly feel her lips against his.

It was brief. Only for a moment, but it left him completely stunned. He just stared at the girl as she pulled away, eyes wide.

She only giggled at his expression, before passing him a more serious glance.

"I…don't know what's bothering you. But you have me, so…you don't have to worry. I promise that I'll always be here." Lolo smiled warmly, slowly getting to her feet.

He just sat there for a moment longer, before finally doing the same. He still couldn't find the right words to say.

The girl just grinned. "C'mon, I should get back for more training. After all, I only just became an official priestess after all this time and I need to make a good impression. I'll race you!" She challenged playfully, already running of.

"H…hey!" Klonoa sputtered, but eventually, just smiled. "Alright, then you asked for it!"

With that, he took off after her, the two of them laughing as they ran towards the temple. He could feel the light wind make his long ears dance behind him as he moved, and taste the salty air pumping through his lungs.

This had to be real.

The boy's mother stared down at his figure as he slept. He was stretched out on the couch again, with his black and white cat curled up comfortably at his feel like always.

She just sighed, picking up the cards left on the coffee table. At least she'd gotten one game out of him before he'd gone back to sleep.

Before going back to work tidying up dinner, she stopped and stared at her son's face. He was completely lost in slumber, but his lips were upturned in a smile. How come that expression only graced his face when he was asleep now days? Was she the only mother in the world who felt melancholy when she saw her son smile? Seeing that grin both stung and felt good at the same time. It was an odd feeling.

Nevertheless, with such a peaceful, contented smile, she didn't have the heart to wake him. She didn't know what she'd do with him in the future. But, for now, she decided, it would be best to let him sleep.

Depressing D: And again, a bit different. But it was fun to throw together and revisit the concept from a different perspective. I hope you enjoyed~

Alright, back to Crossed Hearts!