Time had passed by.
Vic had got used to Nancy living with him.
He had even got used to the thought that, although Trish had been killed in the bathroom, he could bear to live in his own house again.
He didn't have the main bedroom any more; he had moved out to the other bedroom and let Nancy have his old room and the hated en suite bathroom that went with it.
Nancy was seven months pregnant now and sometimes, he actually liked the situation, especially when they went out shopping together and did normal stuff that made him so happy simply to be with Nancy.
But it wasn't just him and Nancy.
It was him and Nancy and the baby...and Freddie.
Back when he had first thought about Freddy and Nancy together, after Freddy had been brought through to the real world, Vic had felt sick to the pit of his stomach to think of Krueger and Nancy together.
The thought still sickened him but he was learning to live with it now... he was learning to live with it because he had to:
He still loved Nancy.
He couldn't have turned his back and walked away if he'd tried.
And when he had thought about leaving, all he had to was remember Harvey was just across the street - he would never be able to live this close to him and see so much of him again if he moved away.
He wasn't about to lose Harvey any more than he would lose Nancy, because although he couldn't be with either of them, he loved them both.
He was still uneasy around Freddy. He was sure that he always would be, even though, true to Nancy's friend's prediction, he was a threat to no one any more.
The first time he had seen Freddy after the burning, Nancy had been sobbing at his bedside. Freddy had burns all over his body, his right hand had been amputated and as Vic had looked at him he had calmly reasoned that at least he would never be able to put on that glove again...
But Freddy was home now.
Before Freddy had come home, Vic had spent cozy evenings with Nancy, talking about plans for when the baby arrived. He had gone along with her for her baby scans and been surprised to see a very human and tiny, perfect little boy inside her, shown clearly by 3D imagery.
He had, for a brief time, imagined what it would have been like if the baby had been his, if Nancy had been his wife...
And then Freddy had started to recover and suddenly he was here in the house, spending most of his time upstairs in the room he shared with Nancy.
And he was still here:
Freddy Krueger was in his house.
That thought ran through his mind as he sat down stairs and watched the TV flicker and wondered what Nancy was doing up there.
He had, on occasion, heard sounds coming from that bedroom and by the way Freddy had given a deep sigh and Nancy had said she loved him, he had understood what was going on and once again fought a wave of nausea.
It wasn't the kind of thing he wanted to wake up to in the morning; hearing Nancy making love with Freddy though the wall...
He stopped thinking about what Nancy might be doing up there and turned his attention back to the TV, but his thoughts stayed on Krueger because having that former monster under his roof was driving him slowly insane...
Eventually Vic got up and quietly made his way up the stairs.
The bedroom door was ajar and he peered in, remaining silent as Nancy sat at Freddy's bedside and gently wound the bandage around a healing burn that covered the back of his left hand.
"You're almost healed up now." Nancy said quietly and she secured the bandage.
And Freddy, whose burns were not as severe as the dream demon but all the same had left white, uneven skin covering his face that resembled spider webs, looked into her eyes.
"Thank you Nancy." He whispered, and they looked at each other for a moment, then emotion overwhelmed Nancy as she gently put her arms around him.
"I love you, Freddy." She said tenderly.
And Freddy, who had made no move to respond to this, finally gave in and showed his true feelings as his lips brushed against hers and they shared a kiss.
As he pulled back she smiled.
"It's about time you remembered you're human again. It's okay to show your feelings now, Freddy. I'm going to make sure you do. I'm going to tell you that I love you every single day."
And Freddy's hand moved slowly, reaching out and briefly touching her swollen stomach, then he smiled back at her.
"I didn't think I could tolerate living like this." He said in a hoarse voice as he spoke using scorched vocal chords, "But you make it all worthwhile."
And Nancy leaned closer and whispered softly to him.
Vic didn't catch what she said but it sounded sweet and tender and it made him want to throw up.
He went back downstairs again and pretended to watch TV while he waited for Nancy to finally leave Freddy's side, because he hated it when she left him alone too long – it just made him loathe Krueger even more...
Finally, Nancy came back downstairs.
She sat beside him on the sofa and Vic felt a little better; there was not much he looked forward to with each new day but spending time with Nancy was something that always felt special – and Freddy being laid up in bed while he suffered the long process of recovering from his burns meant that they would have many evenings alone together like this.
He hadn't thought much past the next few months; he knew when Freddy was able to get out of bed and became more active, he would want to keep out of his way.
Vic knew it would hurt him, break his heart all over again to even think of leaving Nancy, especially as it sickened him to think of her starting a family with Krueger - but there was nothing he could do about it.
He had spent a lot of time over at Harvey's house and he was thinking about perhaps moving in with him and Mel, using the excuse that Nancy and Freddy and the baby needed their own time together, to get used to being a family - that was his excuse and once he used it he knew he could always extend his stay at Harvey's and simply never go back – but his heart would still ache for Nancy. He couldn't deny it and every time he thought about a way out he felt ripped in two painfully different directions and neither direction really offered him a life with someone he loved:
It was true that Harvey would certainly welcome him closer in his life.
But Harvey loved his wife.
And if he stayed where he was, he would always be close to Nancy...
Nancy and Freddie...
There was no way out of this situation without winding up sad and alone and pining for Harvey or pining for Nancy.
Losing both of them was unbearable to think about.
And so he decided to do nothing, even if it would drive him crazy in the end.
But the strange thing about going crazy was, he didn't actually know he was crazy until he finally snapped...
Nancy hadn't been sitting next to him on the sofa for no more than twenty minutes.
She had leaned back and given a tired sigh and closed her eyes briefly, and then opened them again as she remembered something.
"Oh no, I forgot to give Freddy an extra pillow...he's going to need that when he falls asleep, he can't lie flat at night because of his burns.."
Vic got up from the sofa.
He heard Nancy thank him but he said nothing in reply as he left the room.
Vic went up the stairs and along the hall and opened the bedroom door.
Freddy was in bed and looked drowsy, he guessed he was already half asleep from the pain relief he had been on ever since he'd come out of the hospital; as he turned his head and looked at him, Vic could still see he was the same man who had once been the dream demon even though his features were now human and this man was very much alive.
"Nancy said you wanted another pillow."
"Thanks Vic." Freddy said quietly, avoiding the gaze of the man who looked at him so often as if he wished he had died from his burns.
Vic turned his back and lifted a pillow from the top of a blanket box at the foot of the bed.
"I can't pretend I like you." He admitted, "But I know Nancy loves you. And I saw what her friends did to you... it's not for me to decide if any of this is right or wrong."
And he fluffed up the pillow and stood next to Krueger.
"But I do know one thing." Vic said to him in a low voice, "I know you've got no right to a second chance."
And he shoved the pillow onto Freddy's face, holding it firm as he weakly struggled.
As he struggled and Vic smothered him, Vic smiled, recalling the freaky nightmare where Freddy had tricked him into thinking he had killed Trish:
It was his own fault - Freddy had turned him on to killing...
As Freddy's body went limp, Vic put the pillow on top of the others and straightened up the covers.
Then he left the room and closed the door behind him.
Nancy was still watching the TV when he went back downstairs and sat beside her.
She glanced at him and briefly smiled and he smiled too and he was still looking at her after she looked away.
Nancy frowned as she turned back to him, feeling a little uncomfortable because there was something about the way her cousin was looking at her and it was making her feel weird...
"Why do you keep looking at me?" She asked him.
Vic had been relaxing with his arm over the back of the chair and he lowered it now, stroking a lock of her hair as he looked into her eyes.
"I hope you and me can still get along okay after what I've done." He said, "Because we both know you need a man in your life and it's not Freddy, not that burned up cripple who used to be a dream demon."
And Nancy's eyes grew wider as she stared at him in horror, seeing something cold in his eyes that she wished she had seen before; it was almost as if the mask had slipped and now she was seeing the real Vic Fox for the first time...
Her voice dropped to a whisper.
"What do you mean, Vic? What have you done?"
Vic didn't even blink.
"I've just killed your boyfriend." He said calmly, "I put a pillow over Freddy's face."
Nancy stared at him in horror.
And then Vic was thrown forward and landed hard on the floor as Freddy burst through the sofa, plunging his sharpened blades through Vic's chest.
The dream demon was back.
Vic was fighting him even as Freddy Krueger was twisting his blades deep inside him and ripping out his guts.
"VIC!" Nancy yelled.
And Vic took in a gasp of air and snapped his eyes open.
He was pinned to the sofa by his wrists and Nancy was holding him.
He breathed heavily, looking at her with terrified eyes.
"He's...he's dead...he's killing me..."
And then he looked down at his unmarked shirt:
No blood stains, no rips or tears...
Nancy let go of him.
"It's okay now." She said quietly, "I never should have let you fall asleep in front of the TV like that; we both noticed you were getting drowsy – I'll get your meds and then I think you should go to bed."
Vic's heart was still racing as he nodded and took in another breath.
As Nancy left the room he sat up straight and looked around: it was early evening, the lamp was on and the soft glow of it had made him feel too comfortable sitting here next to Nancy...
Nancy and Freddy.
Fred Krueger was very much alive, of course he was:
He was sitting in the armchair near the TV and he turned and his scarred face twisted into a smile and Vic was sure the malice he saw in his eyes had nothing to do with the way that dream freaked him out; he knew, he knew all about his nightmares...
"What's the matter Vic?" He said darkly, "Bad dreams?"
And Vic nodded and said nothing in reply.
Nancy came back with his meds and a glass of water and Vic took the pill and went upstairs to his room, where he closed the door and locked it and then lay back on his bed with the light on.
Vic couldn't sleep the dark any more.
As he lay there he closed his eyes and gave a weary sigh as he thought about how he was stuck in an impossible situation:
If he left, he would miss Nancy.
If he moved away, he would miss Harvey.
To lose them both was unthinkable, and so he had stayed, even though living under the same roof as Krueger gave him bad dreams every time he slept without his meds - and because of his sleep problem, he never knew when he would fall asleep...
He guessed those nightmares would always be there even though Freddy wasn't the dream demon any more; in Vic's dreams that demon would always be there, Freddy would always get him, even though now it was only a dream.
And that was how it would always be:
Even though the demon was gone, as long as bad dreams existed, at least in the mind of Vic Fox, there would always be a boogeyman called Freddy Krueger...