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Headshots and Pillow Fights
connection.doc
Keywords male 601999, female 483346, canine 82863, human 42641, male/female 37414, fantasy 10740, kissing 8405, kiss 6741, romance 4288, interspecies 3570, fanfiction 1319, dreamkeepers 1007, science fiction 630, fanfic 568, alternate reality 61, alternative universe 40, multiple universe 1, multiple reality 1
Connection

Every day, his dream journal spoke of lonely wanderings through wild back country, always moving, keeping well clear of the besieged city-states.  He wrote about feelings of extreme paranoia, stress born of the constant fear that a Snatcher would leap from the shadows and devour him.

This was his explanation for why he suffered a greater fatigue than most others on the base.

It was a lie.

If he told the truth, cold and pragmatic suspicion would immediately fall upon him; Anomalies usually meant one was Snatched.  And it was more prudent to kill someone suspected rather than let a Snatched walk about freely.

Typical manifestations during sleep Cycles consisted of the Dreamer seeing through the eyes of their Avatar, briefly sharing their knowledge and experiencing reality as they saw it.  Deep knowledge - of childhood, of home, their past life - left only a vague aftertaste upon waking while knowledge actively utilized during the Cycle yielded permanent imprints that carry over.

The Dreamer never has any control and believes that they are their Avatar for the duration.  Only after the Cycle can the Dreamer properly reconcile the new memories and analyze them for Anomalies.

The most critical Anomaly is the death of another Avatar by a Snatcher.  In 100% of all recorded cases, the death of the Avatar in this fashion resulted in the Snatching of the corresponding Dreamer.  By some miracle, other Dreamers could always identify a linked Dreamer and Avatar, as long as the Dreamer had seen both individuals at least once before.  This allowed for the quick identification and quarantine of any potential Snatched, so that they could be interrogated and evaluated for further Anomalies.

The accusing Dreamer was quarantined as well; Snatchers have used such ruses in the past to destabilize operations.

While a Snatcher that has invaded a Dreamer has instant access to all knowledge that Dreamer possesses, the individual intelligence of each Snatcher varies wildly.  A competent Snatcher could pose as base personnel for months without notice while others could be tricked by the simplest of personal questions, such as a nickname.

Dream journals were an important part of the verification process - each entry was read by a randomly assigned person under close supervision by no less than two others.  Deviations in entries, including both their content and their writing style, were considered Anomalies.

If anyone discovered his secret, he would be classified as an Anomaly himself.

Because he didn't see through his Avatar's eyes.

He actually went there.

He actually spoke to her.

*******


Maren breathed a sigh of relief as they crested the hill.

Before his eyes a forest painted by the brilliant reds and yellows of autumn nestled within towering alien trees stretched out from the base of a gray-blue mountain, its peak hidden within puffy white cotton balls.

Their destination lay hidden within the mountainside, Keita's encampment safely situated inside a natural cave.

He had spawned next to her just as she was preparing a recent kill for transport back to camp.  He offered to carry the carcass for her; she gladly accepted.

They still had quite the hike ahead of them; hopefully they could reach the cave before he woke.

He glanced to the east, where the remains of Uzabek lay, far too close for his taste.  Every time he visited, he would at least once mention his concerns for her safety and she would in turn remind him that the hordes of Snatchers had long abandoned the city.

Well, she didn't call them `Snatchers' - she had her own word for them.  He preferred it to the name the military gave them.

Seriously, ``Invasion of the Body Snatchers''?

Kudos for the reference, but it sounded ridiculous.

Nightmares - now that sounded terrifying.

*******


``...and it would swell to nearly three times his size and he'd just hop on - wait a sec, this is the good part - and he would bounce from rooftop to rooftop, laughing like a madman!''

Maren guffawed.

``They couldn't catch him?''

Keita waved her hunting knife through the air, a strip of meat skewered at the end.

``Naw - the guards eventually wised up and surrounded him, but it took them half the day to finally corner him.  Spent a full month in jail.  According to him - ``

Maren smirked.

``It was most definitely worth it?''

She threw a charred bone at him.

``Stop finishing my sentences you dick!''

He casually slapped the projectile out of the air.

``As soon as you - ``

`` - stop finishing mine?''

By the time the battle concluded, the animal's skeleton had been redistributed to every corner of the cave.

No clear winner was pronounced as they were laughing too hard to care.

They lay panting on opposite sides of the fire.

``So...'' Maren said.  ``Bubble Power?''

``Yup.''

``What else - ``

`` - could he do with it?  Toss it around, kick it, etcetera.  In fact, if he made it small and dense enough, he could bust right through walls.''

He propped himself on his elbows and looked over at her.

``Really?''

Keita remained supine, smiling at the dancing shadows on the craggy ceiling.

``Really.  Saved my life more than once when...''

The smile started to fade.

He didn't need to finish that one.

Keita continued to stare upwards, jaw set.

Maren pushed himself up and crossed his legs.

``Have you - ``

`` - Awakened my Power?''

He hunched his shoulders and gazed at the dirt floor.  He always had to ask.

``Why do you ask?''

It was the first time she asked why.  He didn't know the `why' of that; she always said `No' and never bothered to ask the `why,' no matter how much he asked.

Has something changed?

He opened his mouth to answer, but she beat him to it.

``If I can come here, if you are my Dreamkeeper, and if you Awaken your Power, maybe I'll have it too and maybe, just maybe, I could bring it back home with me.  Allow me to fight the things destroying my world.''

She framed it as if he was the one speaking.  It felt like an accusation.  It hurt because he once thought that way, back in the beginning.

Dreamers always spoke of their Avatar's Powers, but naturally couldn't use them once they woke.  It was all just a dream, a virtual battlefield representing the subconscious war raging in the minds of Dreamers as the Snatchers attempted to breach their reality.  That's what some believed.

PhD. Blackstone thought differently.  He postulated that there was an actual Dreamworld out there, where our counterparts were dying by the millions unknowingly defending Earth from extraterrestrial invaders.  That maybe we could go there one day.  Or bring them to us.

That's the basis for Project Dreamwalker.  Open a doorway, bring our Dreamkeepers home, deny the Nightmares their only means of entry.  Save the world.

Could he risk telling Blackstone the truth about his dreams?  Maybe the sacrifice would be worth it, to open the door.

But what about...

``Wrong.''

Keita sat up, surprised.  Then surprise turned into a suspicious frown.  She thought he was lying.

He fixed her with a determined glare.

``If you knew your Power, then you could defend yourself, stand a better chance of surviving.''

Dammit, he tried, but a single tear escaped.

``Especially if I don't come back a-anymore.''

He didn't expect her reaction.

She was faster than him.  Her speed was breathtaking.  He guessed that it had to do with her digitigrade legs.

Keita had risen and swiftly strode over to his seated form and embraced him.

``Keita - !``

She squeezed him, choking off his exclamation.

``Look above my head,'' she whispered.

``What..?''

``Please.''

His eyes slid upwards.

``I don't see anything.''

She squeezed him again, but gentler this time.

``Closer...''

He squinted first, then opened his eyes wide, straining to see... nothing.

``Keita, there's nothing.''

Her grip loosened and she backed away a bit to look into his eyes.

She considered him, eyes wet, desperate.  His heart ached for her, but for the first time since he arrived in the Dreamworld, he couldn't understand.

He made to put his hands upon her shoulders, in an attempt to console her.

His hands barely made contact before she snapped forward and planted a kiss on his lips.

It was quick and simple, little more than a peck.

But suddenly he felt something, an unexpected warmth that radiated from the point of contact outwards until his entire body tingled.  It wasn't arousal - he wasn't inexperienced in love.  Instead, it was like she had infused in him some kind of energy, or like he was hooked up to a painless car battery.

Before he could come to grips with the sensation, he saw it.

Above her head was a light blue halo, casting the cave in an eerie light that drowned out the ambience of their cooking fire.

``I just needed to... focus.''

Maren could only stare in shock.

``It was always there, Maren, whenever you were here.  Only... it was too faint for you to see.''

She took hold of his hands, drew him close, holding him with her eyes.

``When you first appeared, that was the exact moment I Awakened.''

She took a deep breath.

``Maren, you are my Power.''

Tears were flowing freely now, on the verge of crying.

``I made you.  You a-aren't - you aren't real! Just a - a fantasy to give me hope, to distract me from the end of the fucking world because everyone else is already dead and it won't be long b-before I am, too!''

Her hands had curled into fists and she was pounding them against his chest, sobbing.

``All of this - bullshit about another world, about Earth and humans and doorways, all just to keep me sane as the world - but no, I am insane!  I spend every day just waiting for you to come back, you're all I think about, because there's nothing left of the world but corpses and monsters.  Spirits, I'm pathetic!  I should've just ended it when Uzabek fell, when t-they all d-died - ``

He snapped forward and grabbed her by the wrists.

``I am real, Keita!''

``N-no, not real - ``

``I am real - we are real!!''

He knew that was the truth now.

She had no one.  But he was surrounded by over three hundred men and women who dreamed the same dream, yet still doubted it.  He listened to their stories, fit the pieces together - too much to be coincidence.  That's how Blackstone figured it out.  But this was the last piece - he made contact.

Everything she said mirrored his own fears, how he felt every waking moment as he walked the base, watching the border, putting down friends after a Nightmare had wormed their way -

He had never stopped to examine his feelings for her.

She had obvious feminine canine features; covered in thick luxurious fur that - despite months of dirt and grime from living in the wilds - never managed to lose its sheen.  Aqua blue, with purple highlights, including a pattern reminiscent of lightning on her arms.  Her ears were tufted and highly animated, prone to flicking about on a whim.  Her figure was lithe, but the legs powerful - she was an excellent climber.  Her tail flowed like a gown, with all the majesty of a monarch.

Was he a freak?

She wasn't human.  And, according to Blackstone's theory, she was him.

Her questioning eyes gazed into his. Soft lilac. Beseeching him. Beckoning him. They were for him. She was for him. There was only her.

He placed his hands on her hips and pulled her to him. Keita's eyes never leaving his, she at first hesitated then surrendered, a soft growl purring from her lips.

Maren's response to Keita's growing Power consumed them both as they joined in a burst of blue light.

Her head nestled on his chest; Keita nuzzled and nipped Maren's neck. He bent to gently kiss her lips.

As they broke the kiss, he reached up to stroke her cheek.

``We are real.''

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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First in pool
Headshots and Pillow Fights
First in pool
Headshots and Pillow Fights
Show 1 More Pool...
First in pool
Headshots and Pillow Fights
Originally submitted to DeviantArt on October 28, 2017.  DeviantArt description below:

" WARNING:  This story contains strong language and sexual themes.

>I was not entirely sure if the brief moment of sexuality warranted a "strict" rating, but better safe than sorry.

NOTE:  While this takes place in the Dreamkeepers universe, the only thing that could count as a proper spoiler is the name of a city mentioned, which is given at the end of Volume 4.  While the story itself is not very spoilerific, the description following this warning will likely contain spoilers.  It is highly recommended that you read the entirety of the Dreamkeepers Graphic Novel Saga, including the entirety of Volume 4, in order to understand this story properly.  Volume 4 has only been partially released to the public, however, so you will either have to wait for the rest of the pages to be released or purchase Volume 4 (if you don't already have a copy).

My fourth submission to the 2017 Dreamkeepers Halloween Fanart Contest, further exploring the concepts introduced in my first short story, Upside Down.
The premise:  Maren, a young human soldier, has somehow managed to travel to the Dreamworld as he sleeps, as opposed to his fellow comrades, whom experience the Dreamworld only as dreams through the eyes of their respective Dreamkeepers.  In the Dreamworld, Maren spends his time with his own Dreamkeeper, Keita, as they try to keep each other sane as both their worlds seem to slide ever closer to the end...

Let me explain what I'm trying to do here:

The only information given about the human world in the Dreamkeepers canon is the blurb at the beginning of Volume 1 that states that the Dreamworld is connected to the human world, and that each human being has their very own Dreamkeepers, who's existence prevents the Nightmares from entering the human's mind and, presumably, killing them.

But given what is known about the Dreamworld so far, especially with the information given at the very end of Volume 4, it is difficult to match up the Dreamworld to any period of known human history.  Factors that contribute to this include population (if Anduruna is truly the largest city in the Dreamworld, does it actually hold billions of people or is the human population devastated after the Nightmare invasion?) and history (the GNS takes place in the early 1200's and there was 700 years of unwritten history before that, making it nearly 2,000 years after the original Nightmare invasion; this doesn't exactly match to any period of Dark Ages or mass death or match any kind of human development at all).  So what is the human world like?  If Dreamkeepers are truly based on our subconscious, then Anduruna in the early 1200's is quite similar to a first-world, 21st-century, western country in terms of culture, but only consists of a single large city.  Does time move differently between worlds?  Is the human world even Earth to begin with?  Hell, Dave could easily make the human world an alternate Earth and save himself quite a bit of trouble.

As for myself, I came up with a theory that the human world is indeed Earth and that the original Nightmare invasion occurred during the 21st century, leading Earth into an apocalypse as the human population was decimated alongside their Dreamkeepers.  Then, after nearly 2,000 years, Earth now features a large city similar to Anduruna, where the people have long forgotten the apocalypse.  This city is the "America" that serves as the setting for Upside Down (hey, Anduruna has the same number of syllables, it's a cultural melting pot, and assuming that the Dreamkeepers actually do speak English and Spanish, it does fit the language demographics of the present United States).

Also, I decided to make it so that when a Dreamkeeper is killed, their human isn't killed outright, but is instead possessed by a Nightmare.  Hey, the GNS never explicitly stated that once a Nightmare enters your mind through your dreams, you die outright.  I find the idea of the Nightmares "snatching" your body and transforming into a Thing-like monster once cornered far more terrifying than people merely dying in their sleep.

I am aware that this concept does not fit perfectly with the available information, but this is fanfiction after all--it does not have to be perfect.

Anyways, constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated.

Also, if there happens to be a canon source that gives more information about the human world relative to the Dreamkeepers universe, one that I somehow missed (I am a relatively new fan after all) and that might contradict my little idea here, please comment about it and provide a link to the source.

A quick note on the development of this story:  I originally intended for this story to be "creepy" rather than "sexy," with quite the downer ending, but the word limit got in the way and, besides, all three of my previous stories are competitors for "creepiest"--I thought that I should make an attempt at one of the other categories.  Perhaps I'll write a part 2 later.

DISCLAIMER:  The Dreamkeepers universe is owned by Dave & Liz Lillie.  Maren, Keita, and Blackstone are my original characters and the concept presented is also my own idea.  If the concept of the story, character descriptions, or any of the Powers depicted resemble those already made by someone else, the similarities are purely coincidental--it is not my intention to steal the work of others.


Note:  "Sexual themes" in the DeviantArt description refers to kissing.  There are no graphic descriptions of sexual activity in this story.

Dreamkeepers owned by
Dreamkeepers
Dreamkeepers
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Keywords
male 601,999, female 483,346, canine 82,863, human 42,641, male/female 37,414, fantasy 10,740, kissing 8,405, kiss 6,741, romance 4,288, interspecies 3,570, fanfiction 1,319, dreamkeepers 1,007, science fiction 630, fanfic 568, alternate reality 61, alternative universe 40, multiple universe 1, multiple reality 1
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Rating: General

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