He hadn't thought about his Dream Lady in years.
Nathan spotted Audrey almost as soon as he stepped into the Grey Gull. She was easy to find, at least for him. She was across the room, out on the deck, her back to him, watching the sunset. A light breeze played with the loose strands of her hair.
Funny, that was how he always remembered her, his Dream Lady, standing in the distance, loose hair flying in chaotic elegance.
The first time she came to him was during the first troubles, long after the books, read by flashlight under the covers, full of long words he couldn't understand, but just before the loneliness and the belief he was being punished by God or the Universe set in. (His faith tended to waver in between the two back then, but it wasn't long before he abandoned both in favour of simple science and reason.)
It had been a particularly scarring day, both physically and mentally. This was just a few weeks after he had been discovered as God's gift to bullies. (They tested the water by placing thumbtacks in his chair.) That day's prank, courtesy of Duke & Co., had been rather cruel, a clever use of those ever useful tacks and the little self confidence he had left. As he climbed into bed, he was sure it would be a very long time before he could forget Carla Rose's screams at the bloody sight of him.
He knew he was dreaming because he could feel the wind against his face. She was standing on a beach, by the water's edge, barefoot, long blonde hair whipping around her. He knew, with strange certainty that they were alone in the world, but he didn't seem to mind. He walked down the beach to stand next to her. They didn't say anything for a while, but Nathan knew that he didn't need to. He just stood there, and he just knew that she was the reason he could feel the warmth of the sun on his face, and the cold water soaking into his shoes. Why he knew all this, he didn't know. Just that he did.
'Isn't it wonderful?' She asked at last. Nathan agreed silently. She was strange, yet familiar. She looked down at him, smiling. 'You've been having a hard time, Nathan.' Her voice was soft and warm, like his mother's. 'You're special. You just don't know it yet.' She touched his cheek with a gentle, maternal hand, and he drew in a sharp breath in surprise. The wind, the water, even the heat of sunlight, he could do without. But not this. Not the human touch, the comforting warmth of skin. He needed that, there was no way he could live without it. Her touch made him realize that he was forgetting what it felt like, and that scared him.
So when she pulled her hand away, he grabbed at it in a mad panic, pressing his palm against hers, burning the sensation into his mind.
She laughed. Not a cruel laugh, or a mocking laugh. A laugh as light as tinkling glass, as gentle as a summer breeze. A laugh that somehow calmed his fears.
'Nathan, you don't have to be afraid.'
'I don't want... I don't want to forget...' He stuttered.
'You won't.' She pushed a strand of hair away from his eyes. 'I'll always come for you, when you need me. When you need to be reminded. I promise.'
And she kept that promise. Through the first wave of troubles, after a cruel prank, a fight with his father, and even after heartbreak. But then the troubles vanished, and so did she. Years went by and Nathan grew up. He forgot about her, his 'invisible friend', his defence mechanism. His dream lady.But now, the troubles were back, and he needed her, he needed to be reminded of how it felt.
Nathan crossed the room towards Audrey. A man like him would never be foolish enough to believe the dream lady and the FBI were one and the same. But he was becoming aware that life was strange, confusing, cruel, incomprehensible and every now and then, magical. At the very least, the rules of science and logic did not apply to Haven.
Audrey glanced over at him as he stood beside her, before turning her attention back to the sunset. Right now, all that mattered to him was that he needed her, and she'd come for him.
'Isn't it wonderful?' She asked him. He placed his hands on the rail next to hers, casually yet meticulously, so that their pinkies were touching.
'Yeah, it is.' For now, it's enough.