Chapter 3: Nightmares

'Give them pleasure - the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare' Alfred Hitchcock

Silver eyes snapped open, and his head shot off the pillow it had been resting on, he glanced around before passing a shaky hand over his face. He hadn't been able to get a full nights sleep for the past week, the fog, the addition of Kanji Tatsumi to his investigation team, and the murders (especially the murders), still weighed heavy on his mind. It was like a domino effect, first that female newscaster, then Saki Konishi, and now his former teacher…. Not that that was a bad thing. He massaged his temples, add to that all the strain over upcoming exams and the semi finals of soccer, plus he had to admit he was still anxious...

A rapid knocking came from his door before it opened revealing the tiny silhouette of a tiny, little, girl.

"Big bro are you okay?" She asked her small feet making a soft, nervous, patter against the wood floor. She reached the bed, watching her older cousins head bob in the dim light before she felt him pick her up and place her beside him. "Did you have another nightmare?" She whispered, he glanced at her, letting out a soft laugh, his hand going up to ruffle his own hair.

"No Nanako, I'm fine." He said his gray eyes scanning the room "Where's your dad?"

"At work" He looked at the digital numbers on his alarm clock, digits winking in and out of being, the little red numbers read four o' clock. He moaned and Nanako hugged the small brown teddy bear she had brought with her. The four year old studied the synthetic fur before she sucked in a tiny breath. "You were talking while you were sleeping," she mumbled.

"Really?" The tiny girl nodded gnawing at her bottom lip, he looked at her again, "Are you sure it wasn't you?" She glared at him with sleepy brown eyes, he chuckled as he got up off the bed, "C'mon lets get some milk."

It was fifteen minutes later since he had woke up, and even though he smiled as Nanako told him about her 'Newest, bestest, friend,' he still could not shake the feeling that something was going to happen, something sinister, something odd.

"Souji?" Nanako asked, he looked up and she pointed a tiny, accusing, finger at his glass, which was still half full. "You didn't drink your milk."

His eyes slipped to the clear glass. Souji lifted it up and took a sip so as to humor the child. Another bout of silence followed as he let himself sink back into his thought. The silver headed boy nearly fell out of his chair when her tiny voice resonated from the modest living room.

"Whose Izagni?" Nanako asked strenuously stressing each syllable.

"Who?"

"Izani." She said quickly, her child temper rising.

"Izani?"

"Yes." She paused a moment, "You were saying that word a lot in your sleep."

"Oh you mean Izanagi."

"Yeah," she sighed a little old lady sigh and Souji felt his lips twist into a small smile.

"You never heard the story?" He questioned, his silver eyes smiling as she huffed and stared at him.

"Does Sesame Boulevard cover it?" She asked bluntly, Souji had to choke back a laugh, Dojima really never stressed how grumpy she could be when she was woken up.

"No I don't think it does." He replied, her jaw dropped slightly and he laughed, "Well do you want to hear the story or not?" The child put a finger to her chin as though really contemplating whether she really should or not, finally after talking it over with her stuffed bear,(who was ironically named bear), looked up at her much older much wiser cousin. She nodded. "Erm…well.." In truth he hadn't expected her to actually want to hear it but then again when he compared it to fighting monsters, and going through television screens to destroy said monsters, telling an old ghost story seemed pretty damn mild. "Well…uhm, there was this guy and he loved a very young, very pretty woman very much."

"That's not how you start a story big bro." She interrupted softly, " You are supposed to start a story with once upon a time."

It took every ounce of his self control not to roll his eyes.

"Okay, I'll start over then." He let out a small sigh before clearing his throat. " Once upon a time, there was a man."

"Was his name Izanagi?"

"Can I tell the story?" She nodded and he continued, "A man named Izanagi." He watched slightly amused as she high fived the teddy bear she had propped against the fruit bowl before she turned back to her cousin. "He fell in love with a woman, very beautiful, who was named Izanami, and they lived in harmony for a few years."

"Like you and Yukiko?"

"No," he replied bluntly, "Not like me and her at all. Love is…well, fickle I guess."

"But you're dating her."

"Yes."

"So don't yo-"

"No." Nanako looked down at the table, then at her bear, and then finally back to her cousin.

"Big Bro what does fickle mean?" Souji opened his mouth to respond when the door burst open and Dojima walked in, staggering just slightly before falling onto the couch. Nanako went to him immediately nearly knocking over her chair in the process.

"Dad!" She exclaimed embracing the haggard looking man her tiny fists clenching fistfuls of his crisp gun metal gray shirt. Souji cleaned up thankful for the diversion before following his cousin and starting up the steps.

"Souji?" His uncle called from the couch. Souji turned back around and slipped on a tired smile which only emphasized the dark circles beneath his eyes. The look on Dojima's face mirrored his own, only the shadow beneath his eyes were darker and the smile, albeit tired, was grateful, completely and totally truthful. "Thanks." The words, for watching my daughter were left unsaid.

"You're welcome." He replied letting a yawn escape his lips before he continued to trudge back upstairs, hoping to fill the last three hours of his morning in a beautiful, dreamless, slumber.


A/N: Hello hello, are you mad? I'm back with this lovely chapter. It's one of the only breather chapters I have planned out for this little (ha) story. So take a deep breath because chapter 4? Yeah that'll be up real soon.