A/N: Hello everyone.

Pen: Why did you drag me along to this?

Because you know how angst stories make Sword.

Pen: Oh? We get to make these insipid people cry? To kill their happy-go-lucky attitude? Then I will helm this endeavor despite it being another of your fan fictions. All Star Fox related characters belong to Nintendo and this story was inspired by "Just A Dream" by Nelly. Sword and myself are owned by the author.

I think you're a bit too excited about this. Anyway, this is dedicated to logoleptic, who has been just amazing in beta reading our stories. Please enjoy.

She Was Never There

The jewelry on display was spectacular. Sparkling gemstones of every kind, carefully and expertly placed into golden bands, begged Fox to examine them. Already, he had several choices laid out before him on a plush pillow behind the glass window. He flopped back and forth between each. The multi-colored ring was quite eye-catching, but he could not deny that the large diamond in the one at the end was not just as stunning. Then again, the simple, yet elegant one with a ruby encrusted in its center might be the better choice.

He thought about entering the shop. Krystal had been in the restroom for a few minutes already. He had already passed by the rings enough to know which ones he wanted to study in detail. All he had to do was just walk in.

Yet Fox found that he could not. Not with what he was planning that night. Dinner alone had been insufferable with Krystal throwing longing looks of love his way the whole time. He just knew that he would have to hold onto the memories of those after tonight, for that would be all he had.

His mind revved up its arguments once again about how he could re-think things, how he could just enter the shop and change his entire plan, or about how he just should not do it. He hushed those thoughts as Krystal emerged back onto the sidewalk and sauntered over to him. Even in her flight outfit, Fox could not take his eyes off her. Fox ignored the inner pleas, reminding himself that it was for Krystal's sake and that he could always buy a ring later once things had been patched up.

But Fox severely underestimated how the conversation would go. He expected yelling, sure. That was why he chose the park in the dead of night when no one would be around.

"What do you mean 'off the team'? Why?"

"To protect you."

He expected tears, which was why he offered an embrace to her when they began rolling down. It was also why he fought back his own, holding them until he was back in his own room later.

"Krystal, look-"

"No! I don't want to hear it."

He even expected her to reason and implore him to reconsider, which is why he listed his reasons of fear for her well-being and love to match her list.

"You've said it yourself before. I'm a great pilot. Not as good as you or Falco, but still good. We've all had close calls. What about Slippy and Falco? Or do you think so low of me?"

"They've been in danger many times."

"So have I! Or have you forgotten?"

"No, I haven't. It kills me every time. I don't want to see you get hurt or worse. My mind's made up on this."

He even expected some hate, which is why he stood there solemnly, prepared for a verbal onslaught.

"Fox, you-you-,"

What Fox did not prepare for was her leaving. Not just leaving for a while to cool off or to think things over, but permanently. He had sworn up and down he did it for her, but the tears just rolled down her cheeks all the same as she silently stormed off, save for her hiccupping sobs. That was more heart-breaking than anything else Fox had expected.

"Krystal," he muttered. He collapsed on a nearby bench and suddenly, Corneria seemed darker to him. He shut his eyes, no longer caring about what was happening around him. All he could think of was Krystal's face. Her delicate, soft features; those luminescent, colorful eyes; that flirtatious, but kind-hearted smile; her long bangs and her smooth fur.

Eventually, Fox's head drooped down and his entire body followed onto the bench. He pulled off his flight jacket, using it as a makeshift pillow and curled up, hoping to sleep away his troubles. But as he struggled to fall asleep, all he could continue to see was Krystal and her tears. Those large tears that made him question his decision.

Fox stirred a little. He had no idea how long he had been asleep, but it must have been a while. He heard early morning traffic below him and somewhere nearby, a news anchor was updating viewers with the latest stories.

He opened his weary eyes and spun his head away from the rising sun, pressing his face into the bench. But instead of firm stone, his head sagged into a stretchable material. He opened one squinting eye and saw pure white stripes, each separated by a small bit of space in between. He pushed his entire body up and away from the chair. That was when he received a more jolting shock in the form of Krystal, sleeping peacefully there beside him.

Fox just stared, gaping at her as she moaned and snuggled closer to him. All he could recall was falling asleep on the bench. At no point was there any memory that Krystal and he had patched things up. Or that they had checked into a hotel, as Fox finally noted from their balcony position. From their high altitude, he recognized the hotel.

"That's one question down. What happened?" he asked himself. "Was it all a dream?"

He received his answer from Krystal wrapping an arm around his waist. She pulled herself closer to him and cracked open one eye. "Did we miss the sunrise?"

He looked out over the sprawling city of Corneria, already lit up by the great celestial ball in the sky. "Yeah," he said, nodding and turning back to her. "We did."

"Is something wrong?" she asked, propping her head up on one arm and tracing a finger up and down his shirt. "You look worried."

He checked his surroundings once more. A dream. That had to be what it had been: a glimpse into a possible future if he ever went through with that decision. Only once he had woken from it did he understand how foolish it would be to ever kick Krystal off the team. He still did not know what day it was, as his sleep-addled brain was still dusting away the cobwebs from his mind, but he did know that he must have been considering it. That dream must have manifested from it and he quelled all thoughts of ever going through with it.


He looked down at her questioning eyes; those eyes that he loved so much and never wanted to see tears come from as a result of him. "It's nothing," he said, assuring her with a kiss. "It was only just a dream. A very bad dream."

She accepted the answer. Krystal returned his kiss and lay her head back down on his chest. Fox rested his own on top of her head, running through the dream events once more. There was one particular part that he wanted to dwell on a little longer: the jewelry store. He wondered if he might be able to sneak off there later in the day.

Yet just as he was about to close his eyes, the city grew dark. Fox's eyes snapped open and he saw the sun gone from the sky. All it left was trails of pink on his side of the hotel, vestiges that it had even been there to begin with. The city itself was just a collection of tall shadows and empty streets. No headlights, no billboards lit up in neon, not even a single light in any room anywhere. It was completely silent as if the entire city had been plunged into a cone of silence.

But the part that caused Fox the most worry was Krystal missing from his chair. He blinked several times, rubbing his eyes furiously to make sure that he was not imagining things. He felt the chair, only touching the cold material that he was already sitting on.

Crack! Fox's head whipped toward the noise. It sounded to him like stone breaking apart. Ke-rack! More stone and the entire balcony shook. Fox yelped and dived for the edge, now unable to see anything that the sun had completely set. There were no stars or moon to guide him with their comforting light; just a complete eclipse of the city all around him.

Snap! Crack! The rebars broke like twigs and the stone crumbled around them. Fox could feel gravity doing its best to pull him down. He heard the chair slide by and topple over the edge. He clung to the wall as the entire balcony swung down.

The remaining metal holding him groaned. Fox scrambled up the wall, grabbing the stone as tight as he could. His feet slipped and scratched at it, unable to find any sort of stable holds. Another groan from the remaining rebars and the balcony swung to the side. Fox screamed as it swung back and forth, each time going further and further. He dare not move, fearing he could be thrown off by the force.

Eventually, the metal lost the last of its strength and the entire balcony went into a free fall. Fox kept hold, crying at the top of his lungs as the balcony sailed to the ground. In a matter of seconds, he hit the ground and was instantly crushed by the balcony.

"Rise and shine, ladies! Rise and shine!" A gruff voice was yelling to the tune of trumpets playing in the distance and a trash can being beaten much closer. "I wanted to see you lazy louts in the drill room in ten minutes ago! Up and at 'em!"

Fox instinctively hopped out of bed, finding himself not in a flight jacket, but a simple attire of a tight, white t-shirt and shorts. The floor was extremely frigid to his bare feet, but what was more surprising to his lulling mind was that he was in the Cornerian Academy. He was sure of it by all the bunk beds lined up in straight rows, other recruits running to and fro to the restrooms to prepare for the day, and the head of his quarters whacking a silver garbage can with a wooden spoon.

What sealed the deal was a young face, determined eyes, and floppy ears appearing from his top bunk. "Bill?" Fox asked the dog that hopped down from the bed and quickly fixed the blankets and sheets. "What's going on?"

"New drill instructor, Fox," he said hurriedly, opening his bunk bed and pulling out his toiletries. "Don't you remember? They told us yesterday that everyone's supposed to greet her."

"I swear to Corneria, if I don't see you ladies move faster, I will PT you until you wish you'd never been born!" the badger with the trash can threatened.

"C'mon!" Bill said, beckoning Fox to the restroom.

Fox lingered for a moment, rubbing his chest. The heavy weight in his dream had been so real, as had everything else. It seemed like he had an entire lifetime of dreams in what was only a night. But it had been so real. His team, fighting Andross, and Krystal.

Krystal. Fox's head shot up, but he found no sign of her anywhere. Just more scared recruits dashing around. He shook his head and grabbed his own toiletries. Then he followed Bill to the restroom, where he filled his friend in on both dreams he had and what had amounted to an entire life for him as they both dressed and groomed themselves for the meeting.

"Sounds pretty nice to me," Bill said when they were ordered to form a line with everyone else. "Except dying. And having to fly with Falco."

"I heard that," someone said from up front. Fox leaned his head out to see the blue avian glaring at them. "I'm too good to fly for you anyway, Fox."

"Can it, ladies!" the badger ordered from the front of the line. He walked up and down, inspecting every recruit for anything that he could find out of place.

Fox was still a little shaken up by the images. It had felt so real and his chest was tight, as if the balcony was still on him. He clutched at his chest once more, frowning to himself. Bill must have noticed for he leaned over and whispered in Fox's ear. "Fox? It was only a dream."

Bill had never been great at comforting, but he was right. "It was a dream," Fox agreed. "It was only just a dream."

They filed out of their quarters and down the hall, marching next to other divisions like theirs along the way. All the enlisted men and women were heading for the drill room, which was a wide, spacious building at the other end of the complex. Fox found it curious that everyone would have cleared their schedules just to meet one person. Perhaps the new drill instructor was that important and might even change the balance of the war with his or her tactics.

They entered silently along with their stern leaders and halted in the drill room- much larger than Fox remembered and lit up clear as day. Everyone was ordered to stand at attention and wait. They did not have long to wait, as heavy boot steps could be heard down one of the dark, empty hallways. Fox tried to look at the person out of the corner of his eyes, but could not see anything.

As the drill instructor entered, the lights in the room began to dim, shrouding him or her in shadow. Fox looked up briefly, perplexed by the phenomenon.

"Attention!" the new instructor ordered. Fox abandoned the lights and stood straight with his hands at his side. The drill instructor strode up and down their ranks, staying in the dark that the fading lights kept creating. All he could see were her violet boots that stopped every now and then in front of a recruit, slowly scrutinizing them, before moving on.

"I am your new drill instructor," she finally said, ending her walk at the other end of the hallway and turning around to head back. Her voice sounded familiar to Fox, but he could not place it. "I have been to the far reaches of the galaxy and back. I have witnessed the true terror of Andross. Which is why I'm going to prepare you recruits to face him yourself. Sound good?"

"Yes sir!" everyone shouted at the top of their lungs.

"Of course," she said, pausing front on Fox, "I would still be out there right now if I had not been forcibly removed from my team." The lights all around Fox had completely shut off, plunging the room into darkness except for one solitary bulb casting its glow down on him. No one else even noticed. They just stood ramrod stiff like statues in a museum, unblinking and unaware of what was happening.

"Fortunately, the person responsible for that is here with us today," she said, walking closer to Fox. "Let's all give him a hand." She clapped slowly as her boots appeared in his spotlight. She was not joined by anyone else, but that did not seem to bother her. "Well done."

Fox gasped as her face sprung from the darkness. "Krystal?" he choked. "What are you doing here?"

"Were you not listening? This was all I had after you kicked me off the team!"

"But this is impossible!" he cried, turning from side to side for any support. None of the other recruits moved. "You shouldn't- I shouldn't- Guys, don't you see what's happening?"

"I believe fifty laps are owed for disrespecting an instructor," Krystal said, a devious grin curling onto her lips. "Hop to it, McCloud!" When he stayed still, unable to comprehend it all, her grin became a toothy smile. "Insubordination, huh? Fine, you'll run for your life then!"

The floor around Fox's feet snapped and splintered, throwing him off balance. Fox leapt aside, but the cracks followed him wherever he went. So, following her wishes, he ran, hard and fast. The floor fell away behind him and no matter how fast he ran, it continued to keep up with him just enough to scare him. The room endlessly stretched out for eternity, with no end in sight that Fox could see or tell. All he could do was run.

"Yes, Fox. Run. Run away from all your problems," Krystal taunted. He chanced glancing behind him. She was sailing through the air, her bangs whipping her face and her hands squarely behind her back. "That's all you can do. Never face them. Just run."

"This is a dream," Fox told himself, the breaking floor edging a little too close for comfort and causing a misstep. "It has to be a dream."

He stumbled. A slight error on his part, but all that was needed for the caving ground to find his feet and surround them. Despite knowing it was futile at that point, Fox hurried on, trying to regain his lead. Yet within seconds, he felt himself falling. He scrambled around for any sort of hold, but whatever he latched on to crumbled in his hands. So down he fell, Krystal above him with a broad smile.

"It's just a dream!" he screamed, his conviction in the belief wavering the more he dropped. "It's just a dream!"

Fox jolted awake, lifting his head up quickly. He spun around in all directions, checking for any dangers. There were only trees on either side of him. In front, viridian fauna of some alien world. Behind him, a crudely formed path, littered with broken branches, kicked up dirt, and trampled grass. But there was no sign of any danger in the immediate area, nor above. "It was only just a dream," he said, breathing easier.

He examined the sky, finding it to be a deep shade of pink. Sunset or sunrise, he could not tell. He did not even remember if he finally landed in his dream or if this place had been at the bottom of the drop. "Wherever this is," he muttered.

It was a foreign place, no doubt in his mind about that. It had to be an uncharted planet. He did not recognize anything about it, even the plant life. But he picked himself up from the ground, brushing the dirt off his flight jacket as he did so. Once again, he studied each direction, but was carefully considering which path to follow.

It already seemed like someone had come up the way behind him. Perhaps he did, frantically running from something. He decided to push through the fauna and emerged onto a beaten, barren dirt road that was laid out like a filthy royal carpet. He stepped lightly on it, stepping slowly at first and turning from side to side as he moved along.

He realized too late when one of his feet sunk too low into the ground. Instantly, he was yanked up by a rope and left hanging in a tall tree that rose above the jungle canopy. He swung from side to side, the world turned upside down before him. Fox cursed foolishness and bent his body forward, reaching for the knot that held him captive. He could barely touch it and that was straining his limits. He tried several more times, each one resulting in another failure and leaving him with a lighter head.

Fox saw birds fly off in the distance and the tree tops bobbing around. He gulped, fearing that some large animal was approaching. It was all he needed to will his body to fold further so that he could reach the knot. He grabbed hold of it and quickly loosened it, slipping his foot out. He clung to the rope and used it to leap to the tree. He hugged the trunk and shimmied down, falling to the dirt when he was low enough.

The rustling of the trees neared and he hopped to his feet. Fox picked a direction and took off, hoping that the creature would not follow. Unfortunately, it did and was closing in on him. Yet what struck him as odd was that it did not make any noise nor were its footsteps heavy. In fact, it sounded more like a person was chasing him.

He arrived in an open field with soft, willowy grass that reached his waist. He continued on, racing for the dense jungle again on the other side. But he nearly halted in his tracks when his pursuer called out to him. "I have you now, Fox!"

Fox could scarcely believe it when he glanced over his shoulder and saw Krystal chasing him, armed to the teeth with blasters, mines, knives, and all manner of weaponry that a bounty hunter might carry. He had never seen her leather outfit before and her face had grown cold and ruthless, with vengeful eyes staring back at him. Yet he knew it was the same girl all the same.

"Krystal," he shouted incredulously, stopping short. "What are you doing?"

"Collecting a bounty," she tersely replied, throwing a knife at his heart. Fox dodged it and she reached for her blaster. He did the same, but found his holster empty. "Stand still and I'll make this quick."

Fox took off as the first shot grazed his ear. "Why are you doing this?" he asked, reaching the safety of the trees and ducking into their comfort.

"You have a bounty on your head. I'm here to collect," she said, following him in.

"What did I do?" he asked, hoping the questions would keep her distracted. He slipped through a tight pair of trunks and crouched behind some monstrous flowers.

"How should I know?" she said, laughing as she fired several more blasts. "Betrayed Corneria? Killed a person? Maybe even some jilted lover? In that case, I could sympathize."

"Krystal, please," he begged, tucking his head close to his body and rolling to some dense brush. "I didn't mean for this to happen."

"Yet it did. Save your apologies, Fox. Oh, and one more thing," she said as she materialized from a nearby tree and shoved her gun against his head. He heard her gloved finger flex on the trigger ever so slowly, perhaps enjoying his last moments. "It's Kursed." And after the shot, everything was swallowed by complete black that had no end to its depth.

Fox screamed, and nearly fell out of his command chair. His command chair. Fox twisted around in his seat and realized that he was on the Great Fox. That it had been another nightmare and that they were over. "It was only just a dream," he said, repeating his newfound mantra. He soothingly patted the cushioned arm of his chair and leaned back. "Just a dream."

"Fox!" R.O.B. called urgently from his post behind a console. "Andross is approaching the planet!"

"Andross?" Fox asked, turning to the gold robot. "What planet?" He found that the rest of his team was nowhere to be seen. He wrote it off that they were resting elsewhere or that R.O.B. had told them to head for the hanger.

"Sauria," he replied in his mechanized, monotone voice.

"No," Fox said, turning back to the view screen in front of him. But as the planet's image enlarged on it, he could clearly identify the distinguishing locations and features of it. Each continent brought up memories of treacherous and fascinating adventures.

"I won't let Andross destroy it," he vowed, standing up and marching for the exit. "R.O.B. Tell Krystal, Falco, and Slippy to meet me at the hanger."

"Krystal?" R.O.B. said, tilting his head.

"Yes, Krystal," Fox repeated, stopping at the door. "Blue vixen, came with us from this planet."

"I cannot find any data on her being on the Great Fox," R.O.B. said. "She was last seen on Sauria."

"What?" Fox cried, turning back to the screen.

The enormous head of Andross had appeared and was circling the planet. He may have rubbed his hands together if he did not aim his open palms directly at the planet. Laser rings erupted from the self-made weapons in his hands, striking the planet with such force that it began to crack and break apart, just like it had all those years ago. But what set Fox off was Andross looking up from the destruction and smiling at him.

"No!" Fox shouted, running up to the screen. His face fell as the molten lava burst from the hot core, spilling out over different parts of the planet. Then, it disintegrated before his eyes, causing an explosion that actually rocked the Great Fox.

"Krystal," Fox whispered, still staring at the empty space where the planet had been. There was nothing there now. Nothing at all, except the looming face of Andross, who laughed heartily as he approached the Great Fox's view screen.

"Don't worry, Fox McCloud. You will soon join them," he said boastfully. The weapons in his palms began to glow and charge up their energy. Fox hesitated briefly, still disbelieving that Krystal had been part of the destruction.

"Raising shields," R.O.B. said.

"No," Fox said, holding up a hand. "Divert all power to the weapons. Fire everything we have at that mad man."

"Current plan is not recommended-"

"Just do it," Fox told him, crossing his arms. He faced down Andross as missiles, lasers, bombs, and any other piece of weaponry struck Andross full in his face. Explosion after explosion rocked the Great Fox back and forth, but Fox stood rooted to his spot, waiting for the confirmation that the head was destroyed.

Yet when the fires dyed down and he could clearly see the hands still charging, he dropped his arms to his sides. Unlike a metal endoskeleton that had been underneath Andross' skin the first time, he saw blue fur. By the time the area was clear once more, he gasped in horror at what floated before them. Half of the face had been torn away to reveal more of the same colored fur and a round, turquoise eye that was in stark contrast to Andross' wrinkled, sagging skin and dead-set red eye.

"Goodbye, Fox," Andross chuckled, his voice intermingling with traces of Krystal. The laser rings burst from his hands, striking the ship and destroying the view screen. The window that it appeared on began to crack and break apart. Fox did not even have time to run as he was sucked out into vacuum of space. He gasped and choked, his body trying to gulp down air that just was not there.

Fox jumped in his seat, finding his hands gripped around the control sticks of his Arwing. He looked up, finding the debris and asteroids off in the distance. According to his ships' computer, he was staring at Sauria, or what was left of it. There did not seem to be any sign of Andross or his squad mates at all.

"Was it a dream?" he asked, himself, questioning the previous experience. "Am I still dreaming? Was only part of it a dream? What's going on?"

He pounded the console in exasperation and the Arwing shook violently. At first, he feared that he had hit something delicate. But he soon realized that the cause originated from the floating material outside. Bits of rock and space junk were colliding with his ship. So, Fox did what he did best. He flew, deciding to hold his questions for later until he cleared his way out of the area.

For Fox, flying around, destroying what essentially became moving targets was very cathartic. Asteroids that he blasted into pebbles bounced harmlessly off his Arwing. And for a few short minutes, everything made sense to him once more. He nearly forgot about the past dreams and focused solely on escaping the labyrinth of rocks that threatened to crush his ship.

But he soon forgot about that when he reached a more expansive area that allowed a little more breathing room. He had left the asteroids behind and entered a sea of thin, lengthy debris that he could not recognize from their distance away. Any attempts by his computer to categorize them ended in a cold object, about the length of a person, with no signs of life emanating from them. "Chance of hostility: zero percent," it rambled off.

Fox was still wary to trust the reading. After all, he was still at odds with the computer about his current location being Sauria's atmosphere. He flew closer, feeling more bold now that the crushing asteroids were behind him.

When the objects came into crystal clear view, he regretted his decision. Floating silently past, like a fresh load on the River Styx, were bodies. Still, stiff, and sallow each one was. They did not heed Fox as they continued their endless journey into the stars, but Fox could not take his eyes off them. For each cold, lifeless body was an exact replica of Krystal, down the details of her outfit she had worn upon their first meeting.

"No," he said, shaking his head. He refused to believe it. He could not believe it. Yet when one smacked against the window of his ship and stayed there, he knew that it was her. "This has to be a dream," he told himself. "A dream."

The body's eyes snapped open and spun its firm, creaking neck to stare directly at him. "Is it?" it asked in Krystal's voice. Then it slid away just in time for Fox to notice a large mass of bodies approaching his Arwing. They were zooming in straight for his ship and he saw no way out of the predicament except by plowing through. But doing so would damage his shields, which meant there was only one way around that.

Fox gripped the trigger of his Arwing's guns and shakily took deep breaths, trying and failing to calm his nerves. "I'm sorry," he said, aiming at the heart of the swarm. By then, the bodies were so clumped together that, from a distance, one might mistake them for a giant person floating through space. Fox slowly squeezed the trigger, each bit of resistance from the pins and springs inside felt throughout his body.

The laser zipped away into the darkness, striking the heart perfectly. The adjacent bodies sizzled and caught fire. It spread to the rest and they burned away to ash before his eyes. Fox released his control stick and shut his eyes. Hot tears pricked the corners of his vision and he could only mutter one word. "No."

He pounded his console. "No." Both hands smashed the keyboard and computer screen. "No!" Louder and more violent. "No!" The metal was denting. "No!" His hands were throbbing and aching. "No!" The burning bodies still fresh in his mind. "No!" Her face. "No, no, no!"




Fox's eyes snapped open and he found himself sitting in the comforts of his own bed. Not a bed in the barracks, or in a seat either in space or on a bridge, but his own personal bed on the Great Fox. He grabbed a clump of the white linen beneath him, fingering the coarse fiber between his fingers. It was familiar. It was natural.

He flew out of bed, rushing out of his room and into the hallway, spinning this way and that for any sign of strange happenings. It was empty. Nothing could be heard except his own heavy breathing and boots sliding roughly against the floor.

"Is this real?" he asked aloud. He punched the wall, testing its strength. It certainly felt real and the vibration of the blow ran up and down his arm. But he needed to investigate further. He put more strength behind his next hit, setting off a series of painful throbs in his hand as the wall stood firm. The pain was real and damaging in his fingers.

Yet he was still not convinced. He rushed back into his room and picked up a datapad lying on his night stand. He recalled reading somewhere or other that one could not read in a dream. That the brain jumbled up the words because of some complicated explanation involving the different hemispheres. Fox took a gander at the highlighted blue words on the pad's black background and found them legible. He even recalled the exact place he had been at before dozing off.

Fox tossed the datapad back onto the night stand. He rubbed his eyes and laid back down on his soft mattress.

"Fox!" R.O.B.'s voice was almost comforting after the nightmares, but still managed to shatter the peaceful silence he had. "Are you there, Fox? I have been trying to reach you."

"Yeah, I'm here," Fox spoke up. He rolled over to face the intercom on the far wall. "What is it?" He balled up another fistful of the sheets, testing them once more.

"We will be approaching Corneria soon. The most recent reports state that the Anglars are still on the offensive."

"Okay," Fox said. Then he asked, "Are Krystal, Falco, and Slippy ready to go?"

"Krystal?" R.O.B. echoed uncertainly. "Krystal left months ago, Fox. You are the only one left of Star Fox, remember?"

"Right," he said, turning away from the intercom as the past rushed by him once more at that reminder. He stared and studied the sheet in his hand. The intertwining fabric, their neat rows, and he felt like it was real that time. "It was only just a dream," he mumbled to himself. He could not count how many times he uttered that phrase or how often the endless nightmares occurred. He was only sure that the here and now was reality, with its cold reminder that only R.O.B. and he were the only members of Star Fox left. That no one else was there and that he had to live with his past decision.

"It was only just a dream," he said again, letting the sheet fall from his hand. "Just a dream."

A/N: We're honestly not too satisfied with the end. Just felt like it was missing something. As for the rest, we tried to go with an erratic, short style for the dream sequences since that's what dreams are really. They only last about seven seconds or so. Not sure if we did well on that either. We also had to go through and "correct" some grammatical errors that Word wouldn't shut up about, not taking them into context whatsoever. Anyway, let us know what you think. We rated this K+ just to be safe, but if it needs to be T, let us know.

Sword: Hey guys! What- *reads story and cries*

Pen: You baby.