Winx: I apologize, I'm putting this chapter up when I should be posting 10... Unfortunately, I had absolutely no inspiration for this. And then Kairi found the plot bunny this came from and gave it back to me this morning. So, expect chapter 10 some time between now and December 15th, which is when I will (hopefully) be posting chapter 11... In the meantime, read and enjoy!


Cocks crow in the morn to tell us to rise,
And he who lies late will never be wise.
For early to bed and early to rise
Is the way to be healthy, wealthy and wise.


Boundaries of the Mind
Chapter Nine
Nightmares

Fire. Raging around me, raging around all of us.

Us?

Oh yes, definitely us. I don't know how I know that, but I do.

Terror races through me, faster than the fire. Running, falling, pushing myself up to start running again. Flashes of green, and screams. My screams, their screams. Pain, fire, too much fire.

Run.

Trying to escape the fire. Why is there so much fire? Why? And why does it hurt so much? It needs to stop! Just stop!

I fall to the ground and roll a ways. The fire lessens, but once I've stopped rolling it gets worse.

No! Keep rolling! It flashes through my mind so fast I'm shocked.

Thinking for myself? This is new…

I roll, and keep rolling, until the fire is gone completely. I look around. Rock, stone, liquid fire moving below me. And green. Green in my eyes, in my way, and flashes of green and screams from where I was. I turn.

Run!

I run. The rocks hurt my bare feet, but it's nothing. Nothing compared to the fire. I have to get away from it, away from that fire.

Then, slipping. A scream escapes my lips as I tumble toward the fire.

Wait… that didn't sound right…

Another scream as my body falls into the liquid fire again, but I'm not giving up. Not yet. I'm scrambling, trying to get out of the fire. It burns!

Wait… this isn't me…

I pull myself out of the fire and start rolling again. It helps a little, but not much. Not at this point.

This isn't my body…

I lay against the rocks, too hurt to move. The fire did its damage… for now at least. I'll move again later, when I'm not so sore…

I've never seen this much fire…

Blackness comes over me for a while…

Foresight is Maeve's curse, so why…?

"Well, well. One of you survived."

I gasp and open my eyes, then start running. No, no! He can't catch me! He'll kill me! I don't want to die!

And then I pull myself out of someone else's nightmare. I simply lay there, thinking for a while. I can trace the nightmare back to its source easily… well, so to speak. I haven't figured out whose nightmare it is exactly, but I do know where it's coming from.

I look over at Arietta and smile. She's still fast asleep. Which means that I can go and check on the guy having that awful, painful nightmare.

That makes me stop and wonder for a moment as I pull my boots on. The only other part of my outfit that I'm wearing is the blue dress, but that's become normal for sleeping.

I have been on the Tartarus for almost four weeks now. We are heading for Baticul, probably in a final attempt to stop the peace treaty going through. It's been a long process, but slowly, the other God-Generals are starting to trust me. Well, not Asch, but Asch doesn't trust anyone.

And then there's Sync. That's the only thought that crosses my mind as I arrive outside his cabin. I'm mildly surprised to find that the mysterious but annoying youngest God-General is the source of the nightmares. I sigh and raise my hand, then decide against knocking.

He's deep in the nightmare, deep enough that I'll wake deep-sleeping Arietta on the other end of the hall before I can wake him. I sigh and try the doorknob, hoping the door isn't locked.

It isn't, and I step inside, feeling a bit uncomfortable. Sync's temper can easily rival Asch's on a good day, and with a nightmare like this one involved…

I look over at the sorry excuse for a bed and gasp. "Ion?" I breathe. Sync's nightmare takes a different tone as he catches my voice. His mind hooks up on the name I barely said, and the next thing I know, he's shooting up in bed and glaring at me, mask already halfway in place.

He drags me to the nearest chair and forces me to sit, before walking over to the door and closing it completely. He turns to glare at me, and I cringe. "What did you think you were doing in here?" he asks.

My mind fumbles to find a half-truth that he will believe. I can't lie, my Fae blood prevents that. But if I could just…

"What are you doing in here!?" he asks as quietly as he can while still coming across as screaming. I flinch.

"I… I…" I stutter. Then I catch onto a trail of thought and hope it will suffice for him. "I couldn't sleep. I took a walk and… and… you… I thought…" Ugh! I have got to come up with a good way to phrase this that my Fae blood won't reject!

It's the rare few times like these when I actually don't like my dad.

"You thought you could get close to us and then kill us, didn't you?" Sync asks accusingly. I stare up at him in shock.

"Wh-what? No! I… I thought you were having a nightmare," I tell him. I still look startled on the outside, but inside, I'm grinning, simply happy that I found something.

That doesn't seem to sit well with Sync, though. "Uh-huh. And what made you think that?" he asks. I think back to his nightmare.

"You smacked something, and I stopped in front of your door. I… It sounded like you were trying to cry out, but kept getting choked up," I tell him. He still doesn't seem to believe me, but his thoughts are going back to his nightmare. "Fire!" I spit out quietly and almost sub-consciously as he remembers slipping on the rock path and falling into what I can only assume is magma.

And then I allow myself a miniature heart attack as Sync, who had walked over to the wall, rounds on me. "How did you know there was fire involved!?" he asked, loud enough to wake Legretta in the next cabin over. My self-preservation kicks in and I glare at him and raise a finger to my lips.

"Shh! You'll wake everyone!" I tell him in whisper-yell. He seems even angrier now, and I decide that now would be an excellent time to play clam.

Aside from me occasionally reminding Sync to keep his voice down, the next half hour passes with Sync repeatedly asking me questions, or rather, one question, simply phrased in many ways. I refuse to respond to any of them, which angers him more, causing him to raise his voice, and by the time that half hour is up, I'm ready to just give up trying to get him to keep his voice down.

I sigh as he punches the wall. His gloves muffle part of the sound, and it's not like he hit it all that hard, but it's still loud enough to wake Largo.

I resist the urge to smile as he sighs and rolls over, writing the noise off as Sync falling out of bed.

"What's so funny?" Sync hisses, bringing my mind back to him. I bite my lip, and he groans. He's getting sick of this, real quick. He's irritated and tired, not a good combination, not for him, not for anyone. I pull my knees even closer to my chest, trying to come up with something, but it's not working. Not well enough, at least.

Sync groans and leans back against a wall, his mind spinning. It's giving me a bit of a headache, but by focusing on the floor and the little scuff marks on it, I can sort of drown it out.

"Alright, let's try this," he grumbles, coming back over. I look up at him, but I try to focus on something other than him, because he's still giving me a headache. "I'll ask you some yes or no questions. You have to answer all of them, and 'maybe' isn't an acceptable answer."

I flinch slightly. This won't end well. Not with my Fae blood, it won't. But then I sigh. "Fine," I mumble. Sync crosses his arms, and I flinch again, though my face is mostly hidden by my bangs and arms. This time, it's at the thoughts flying through Sync's mind, though it's not just their speed that has me uncomfortable now.

Before Sync can voice his first question though, I look at the door in confusion. I hadn't realized that she had woken.

Arietta knocks on the door mere seconds after I catch wind of her thoughts. Sync looks from me, to the door, back to me, and then goes to the door and opens it.

"Where's Mithri?" she demands, albeit quietly. Sync scowls.

"I'm in the middle of an interrogation. Go away," he replies. I resist the urge to laugh at the tone of his voice. Arietta glares at him though.

"Mithri, are you alright?" she asks. I nod.

"I'm fine. You can go back to bed," I tell her. Arietta turns to look at me for a moment, then glares at Sync.

"He hasn't hurt you, has he?" she asks. I roll my eyes.

"If I were hurt, I'd be begging you to get me out of here. As it is… Just…" I mumble. Then I sigh. "Go back to sleep, Arietta. He won't hurt me if he knows what's good for him. And I doubt he'll let me go back to sleep either."

Arietta's thoughts whir for a moment before she yawns and gives in. "Alright, Mithri," she concedes. Her glare at Sync hardens. "But if you so much as scratch her…" she threatens. I roll my eyes, and Sync seems to agree.

Finally, Arietta leaves, and Sync closes the door and turns back to me. "Alright, now where were we?" he grumbles. I sigh.

"Yes or no questions," I moan, once again cursing my Fae blood. Sync smirks, though he doesn't know that I have to be truthful because of my Fae heritage. He just knows that I tend to be very truthful.

He's thoughtful for a moment before he asks his first question. "Did you know Arietta was outside the door?"

I sigh. "Yes."

He thinks for a while longer. "Did you hear her walk up to it?"

I mentally curse my bad luck. Of course he would phrase it that way. "No," I answer grudgingly. His next question follows that one up very quickly in comparison to the gap between the first and second questions.

"Did you know she would be there because she was awake?"

"Yes." I cringe internally at the next question he's playing around with in his mind.

He doesn't ask it though, nor does he ask the next question that comes to his mind. He's trying to put together the pieces of a puzzle where no two touching pieces are the same color, and so far, he's managed to assemble approximately eight of the two hundred pieces into one of the four corners.

Which is not good.

Then he finally decides on a question, and I admit, it's quite the jump from the questions about my knowledge of Arietta being awake.

"Did you wake of your own devices when you left your cabin to wander about the Tartarus?"

I want to say yes, but my body denies me that privilege. I try arguing with myself. It's true, because I pulled myself out of his nightmare. I woke because I wanted out of his memories.

Except my Fae blood keeps saying no to that. I sigh. "No," I finally answer, even though it was just a moment ago that he asked, it seems like half an eternity to me.

Sync is starting to put more of the puzzle together. "You woke due to a nightmare?" he asks. I sigh.

"Yes," I mumbled. He crosses his arms.

"And it involved fire?"

"Yes."

"Running?"

I groan and just give up. "Yes. Fire, running, terror, fire, rock, more fire, burning, pain, terror…" I grumble. Sync's fist clenches as my words bring back his nightmare… no, his memories from the deep recesses of his mind where they like to torment him. And me, apparently.

"You saw my memories," he says. I'm not certain if he's trying to phrase it as a statement or a question. If it's a statement, I already know, but then, he doesn't know that.

"Memories?" I ask. "What was going on?" I wonder quietly, not exactly meaning for him to hear. Hear he does, however.

He turns his back to me for a moment before he starts pacing. A while later, he looks over at the door.

"Is Arietta asleep again? And the others too?" he asks. I tilt my head to the side.

"What makes you think I'd know?" I inquire. Sync shoots a glare at me, and it's then that I realize he's taken off the mask.

"I'm trying to figure out how your ability works, since you seem to be so set on keeping it a secret. From what I've managed to gather, you can tell when someone's awake or asleep and you can see into their dreams," he tells me. I grin internally. He's given me a loophole that I can use if I ever slip up.

A neutral expression remains on my face though. "Arietta's awake, but one of the ligers is in a rather perfect state of half-sleep. She's sitting on her bunk, waiting for me. Largo, Asch, and Legretta are all very much asleep. And I think Dist had to relieve himself. He woke rather suddenly," I tell him.

He seems content with that answer. His thoughts are spinning still, but I've found that if I block everyone except him out, I can listen without giving myself a headache. His thoughts tell me all I need to know, but he seems to have made up his mind about something.

"I don't want you telling anyone else about this," he starts.

"My ability or your nightmare?" I ask. Sync crosses his arms and leans against the wall.

"Both," he replies. "So I'm going to tell you what happened, because I know if I don't, you'll just ask someone else, and that'll cause problems for the both of us."

He takes a minute to get his thoughts in line, then sighs. "How much of that did you see?" he asks. He doesn't want to tell me more than he has to.

I stretch the truth a little, using the memories I've seen him bring to the surface since I came in here as an excuse for my Fae blood. "I remember seeing a bunch of Ions, and then there was a lot of fire and running," I tell him. "I woke up to someone standing over you, and your thoughts screaming to run. I was able to block the rest out."

Sync sighs. "Great. All the way from the beginning then," he mumbles. Then, raising his voice so I can hear, he asks, "You know what fomicry is, don't you?" I nod. "Fon Master Ion was sick and dying," he begins. "So Mohs and Van decided to make a replica. They ended up making seven by the time they finally got one whose abilities were close enough to the original's to pass for him."

"So, the seventh replica is the Ion I know?" I ask. Sync nods.

"The rest of us were thrown into the mouth of the Mt. Zaleho volcano," he says. I pull my knees to my chest and prop my head up onto them.

"That's why there was so much fire," I say, pretending to be working it out. I've already got all the answers I need, but since Sync thinks my ability only stretches to those who are asleep, I have to pretend.

Sync sighs. "The man you saw right before you woke up was Van. He thought I might be useful, so he took me back to Daath," he adds. I nod, simply sitting on the chair and thinking.

The two of us stand in silence for a while. Sync watches me, trying to gauge my reaction, but my face remains perfectly neutral, just as it always has. I look up at him and smile a bit, but we can both tell it's half-hearted on my part.

We've been there for a while when I yawn and look out the porthole, unsurprised to find that the sky is lighter than it should be. I unfold myself and stand, heading over toward the door.

"Mithri… You can't tell anyone, alright?" I hear Sync say behind me. I smile and call upon my very limited Fae magic for this one.

When I turn around, the genuine smile on my face startles Sync for a moment. "I promise I'll never breathe a word of this unless you tell me I can," I tell him. He opens his mouth, then closes it and smirks, though I think it's supposed to be more of a smile.

"Alright. I won't tell anyone either," he tells me. I nod and open the door, heading down toward the cabin Arietta and I share. She's asleep, so I enter the room as quietly as I can and slip back onto my bunk. There may not be much time between now and sunrise, but I might as well try to get some sleep.


Winx: So then. I think I prefer how this chapter turned out as opposed to the original version I wrote of it which was on paper. Anyway, please don't forget to drop a review! And I'll be... typing.