A/N: I don't own the Cal Leandros series.

I just started writing fanfiction a few days ago, and if you guys have any tips (grammar, characters, whatever), that would be amazing. :D thanks.

When I was a kid I had a nightmare that scared the crap out of me. It was about home, my human one, the cradle where my nightmares were born and where at one point I thought—a stupid wish that I fed to the freaking vultures after Auphe daddy dragged me away—that the nightmares would stop.

Before I knew much about the Auphe, I used to think the sick dreams were all Sophia's fault. I won't bother to think up a half-decent word to describe her. Whore. Bitch. If I had to choose now between mother dearest and my Auphe father for which bastard I wanted to grow up to be, I would choose the Auphe, no bribe necessary. Damn, that's some twisted decision. I wouldn't have made it a year ago, but there was some freaky shit between then and now. At least the Auphe had some fun, while they lived. But Sophia, she was one unhappy bitch. She was broke and didn't have much to work with, but she still tried to be happy. Sex? Drugs? Money? Fucking the weirder things in life? Yeah, she tried it all.

During a boring afternoon, year I-am-nine-now in my calendar, I had one helluva death wish, or something close to it. I walked past Sophia when she was high. Hell, I made a show of stomping and even gave her the finger.

"Fucking monster" was all she said. Didn't even yell or hit me. I smirked back at her, saw she was drunk enough for it to kill her—nothing new—and I realized it. Fuck, she was a monster, but she wasn't a first class one. Not even second rate. She was last-rate, just a human screw-up. She was just some kid who ran away as a brat and started up a system of only-one-in-this-house-matters. She had her own sorry story, her own list of issues that she probably repeated to herself in her head and she blamed them on me and Nik. Maybe she wondered whether or not she could pull her crap-pile life together and forget about the two little brats who kept reminding her she wasn't on the plane she wanted to be flying on.

Who gives a fuck, anyways? I didn't then and I still don't. But it was enough to give me the creeps when I was nine. Picture an old fashioned butcher sawing up cows and shit with his big old knife. Then the knife grows eyes and a mouth and says to him "Fucking monster. I have feelings too, you know." The stuff of nightmares.

I jumped in bed that night before Nik and pretended I was asleep. It was a game we played ever night, a game he had told me kids my age liked to play, and I never doubted the bastard. I fell asleep quickly—check that off of Niko's list. Of course, nightmares weren't supposed to be a part of the sleep package deal, but that was something my guardian ninja couldn't fix. My nightmare? Perfectville, home of the Stepfords. Sophia was one of them—maternal, a suck-up, whatever I wanted her to be. Shit, it should have felt great. I was king of world-impossible. But I was forgetting something and I knew it. I missed something and everything was fucked up and it killed me, but I couldn't guess what the hell was wrong. Whatever was missing, my world had forgotten it. In dreams, what your world forgets, you forget.

I couldn't remember what it was when I woke up, either. I turned to my side, breathing heavily, straining my ears for some constant sound I was supposed to hear. Zen-calm breathing, coming from the colorless bulge of blankets just a hand away from me


I had forgotten him. In a world like that, I didn't need him. My dream had taken him away.

"Cal." I swear I had been quiet. Not quiet enough for a ninja. I didn't even know what a real ninja was, back then, but I knew he was one of them. He searched me with his eyes like I was some traumatized puppy. There went my dignity.

But I was glad, just for a moment. If Mother Whore had been Mother Teresa, maybe Niko wouldn't have needed to be so damn protective of me. No threats in the world, nothing to be protected from, but…

"Cal? Is something wrong?"

I gave him a winning grin, nine and adorable.

"Nothing, Cyrano. Did you have a nighmare?"

Nothing to be protected from, but I wouldn't want it any other way than how it was. And I thought that in no freaking way would I ever want life without him. But that was nine, not now. Damn, back then—wasn't it perfect?