In Personam


young-abby2_icon.gif young-angela_icon.gif young-bao-wei_icon.gif young-cat_icon.gif young-corbin_icon.gif young-daphne_icon.gif young-helena_icon.gif hokuto2_icon.gif young-kaylee_icon.gif young-logan_icon.gif young-lola_icon.gif young-molly_icon.gif young-mortimer_icon.gif

Also Featuring


Scene Title In Personam
Synopsis Class is in session, Oneiromancy 101!
Date January 29, 2010

Shared Dreamscape

Once upon a time…

There's a chime going off, a melodic noise that cuts loudly over the susurrus of so many voices all mingling in conversation together.

There was a young witch…

The metal feet of chair legs scrape and scuff against a tile floor, adjusted desks and chairs make a symphony of predictable noises thorugh the brightly lit classroom. On cue with the chiming of the first bell, one of the sliding doors to the classroom opens with a rush of the runners. Stepping inside, a thin and darkly dressed woman with inky black hair wound up into a bun at the back of her head and a completely out of place blindfold over her eyes comes walking in, carrying textbooks at her chest.

The witch lived in a land of wizards and magic…

"Ohayou gozaimasu!" The teacher greets with a cheerful smile of pearly white teeth and a crook of her blindfolded head towards the students gathering in their chairs. She lays down the books on the desktop, looking over the crowd of teenagers settlingd own at their desks, then out towards the large windows on the left side of the classroom, letting in bright rays of golden light, a view of the Okinawa skyline little more than a muddy haze on the warm summer morning.

For a time, the little witch lived happily among the magical peoples, until one day…

Turning around to offer her back to the classroom, the blindfolded teaches approaches the green chalkboard at the head of the class, picking up a piece of chalk from the tray, beginning to quickly stroke out the Kanji of her name in a vertical line down the middle of the board. ""Watashi no namae wa Ichihara desu!" She's remarkably chipper for this eaely in the morning.

A warlock came to the land of glass towers… and destroyed everything.

Turning around with her back to the board, Ms.Ichihara offers a firm nod and a smile, "Chesterfield-Chan," Dark brows rise as she motions to the youngest girl in the class, a tiny little brunette thing that looks just maybe nine or ten years old, seated front and center. "Yo wa— " Ms.Ichihara's voice cuts out for a moment, the color drains out of the room, and everything turns black and white. "— take attendance for the class please?"

When the dust settled, the little witch was crushed, and her world of magic lie in ruins all around her.

Scattered through this classroom are the teenage faces of so many dreaming minds. They are dawning to awareness now, some of them slouched forward against their desk, some of them confusedly looking from classmate to classmate. The one real constant, is that they recognize someone in the crowd. Even if years have been shaved off of all of them— and for Cat decades— they look familiar. Only the classroom teacher, Ms.Ichihara, seems to be of the proper age for those that have met Hokuto directly. But this…

So she made a world all her own, and started over.

…this is weird.

Is it hard to imagine that there's a girl in the back of the classroom with long, stringy dark hair, a tank-top and jeans. She has her belly button pierced and her ears pierced from bottom to top. Lola the rebel teenager. Really, did no one see this coming? She has her sneakered feet up on the desk, chair tilted back as she removes a cigarette from her pocket. It's worn almost down to the filter. Using a match, she lights it quickly takes a deep drag, eyes on the teacher. Then she snuffs it out quickly on the bottom of the desk, before - she hopes - the smoke can be too noticed.

It's funny to suddenly blink and find oneself dressed up like the preppy geek that he'd been in high school. Good short, close cropped hair, clean shaven. Corbin's face hasn't changed all that much, and especially his eyes are the same. So light a blue they rival the sky in some ways as he peers around. There's an open notepad on his desk, a pencil in his hand. He's scribbled a bunch of notes, story ideas for the school paper. Just like he'd do every single day.

But since when did he write 'Miss Ichihara is so pretty.' on his notebooks? He quickly flips it over in hopes no one saw it.

Being called upon to take attendance, this seventeen years younger version of Cat stands and lets her eyes wander around the room. Attempts are made to match faces with their perfectly remembered older selves, even as she asks the teacher in English "Do you have a sheet to take attendance from, Miss?"

After asking the question, she looks at her own hand, then other visible parts of her body. "This is weirder than being under negation and feeling like I'm nineteen again with seven years missing," she mutters. Her face? It just looks puzzled. "But not as confusing as Tamara."

The window is what John is focusing on, as if wishing to be out there instead of in here. His chin rests in his hand, ignoring the events of the front of the classroom as his other hand fidgets with a pen, spinning it around against the surface of his desk. Dirt lines beneath his fingernails, hair bleached a shocking platinum blonde that only a teenage boy can properly fuck up, and a rosy smear of bruising lines down the side of his nose from god knows what. He breathes in, breathes out in an exaggerated sigh and leans back in his chair.

And that's about when he wakes up. Not literally. Icy green eyes flick down to his hands - not dirty, but not manicured, his T-shirt loose over jeans stained with grass at the knees. He blinks once, twice, and when Logan speaks, it's with a South London drawl he couldn't knock if he tried. "'ang on…"

As the world suddenly comes into view, a young girl with long blond hair, pulled up into a tight pony tail on the back of her head. Wide blues eyes, turns from one side of the room to the other. Wearing slightly over sided blue jeans with holes in the knees, a black t-shirt with a dark red long sleeved shirt under it, Kaylee looks confused. Her tennis shoes scuff a bit on the floor as she sits up a bit more, her back catching on the leather jacket on the back of her chair.

The sixteen year old telepath, glances around the room, noticing familiar faces. With a light frown she looks at the front of the class, head tilting some to get a look at the teacher, who she has no idea is her boss in the waking world as well.

This isn't right. This isn't right and she shouldn't be a coltish fourteen year old again. Helena looks down at her tiny, gawky frame with what for her has been only some recent upper protuberances that just get in her damn way, and with a grimace, she knows that this just isn't right. She takes stock of those around her, though Cat's so young it takes her a few minutes to figure out who she actually is. "Cat!" she half rises from her seat at her desk, and then peers at the teacher…who is Hokuto. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot? One of her braids hits her in the face and she bats it away.

If there's someone so opposite of Lola in this strange classroom with all the younger versions of themselves, it's Abigail. Even from way way down in Mexico she got the call and the pull. Front of the class, right in the center. All simple white cotton blouse with that ever present, unchanging gold cross strung across it's chain resting at her collar. A blue skirt that fall below the knee's, golden hair up in a ponytail and black mary-janes with toes pointed inward.

More conservative than even now, golden hair pinned back with a barrette and dark circles under blue eyes that have that vibrant blue that she lost half a year ago. Not that you can see them because her head is laying on her arms, eyes closed and she seems to have fallen asleep. She's not though, just listening to the people in the room. This was Abby, fourteen, healing often in the name of god and sometimes just because people touched her and she didn't know then how to turn it off, falling asleep in class for no public good reason.

Seated at the side of the room nearer the windows, there's a vaguely familiar person sitting in front of John taking notes very diligently, even before class has actually started. There is a library book open on the corner of the desktop, being pored over by a rather chubby teenage boy with one of the most awful bowl haircuts; he's Chinese, if anyone looks back to him, sitting in silence with the scraping of pencil to match. He also gives a jolt out of nowhere, sending the yellow pencil in his hand flying across the room, pinging off a desk.

"«What!?»" The awkward teenage Bao-Wei turns his head to glance around, shoulders turning as he checks behind him- only to come seat-to-desk with John. His eyes, though always a mismatched pair, seem far less so in his younger face, round and otherwise filling the role of both the Chinese kid and the fat kid. It was terrible doing both. Really.

With his hair neatly cut, wearing a navy blue school uniform with a backpack on, a young 13 year old Mortimer walks into the room, cheeks red, sitting an apple on Hokuto's table. "I read that book you recommended, Miss Ichihara!" he proudly announces like a good teacher's pet, then heads to his desk and takes a seat.

Then, his twin enters, wearing the same clothing, with his hair a little messy, and hands dripping blood. "I fell down and both my hands fell in buckets of red paint, Miss Ichihara. And Billy said he couldn't make it today." He' s grinning widely, then heads to his desk as he leaves a trail of small read drops from his fingers, sitting at the desk next to Mortimer's.

"He had a scalpel!" Mortimer suddenly exclaims.

"Snitch!" Jack yells right back.

Arching one brow, Ms.Ichihara offers a crooked smile to cat and a waggle of the stick of chalk in her direction. "Bonus points for playing along at the theme as long as you did, Cat. That— would also go for Mortimer and Jack but— well— " Hokuto offers a lopsided grimace as she sets the chalk back down in the tray and comes to stand in front of the podium at the fore of the classroom, directly opposite of Cat's seat. "Good morning, class!" Hokuto adds with chirping amusement as she looks around at the students settled in their chairs.

"I'm sorry for bringing you all here unannounced, but I thought this might be the best way for all of us to get together and share a little… creativity." Quirking her head to the side, the blindfolded teacher folds her hands together and leans forward on the podium. "This is Oneorimancy 101." Straightening her back a little, Hokuto seems considerably amused at the perceptions of those students and the forms they'd taken.

"You're here, either beause we've met directly, at my little bookstore, or because you've met one of my helpers." There's a motion of her hand to Corbin, to Logan, to Mortimer, and then it settles back down on the podium. "You're here, because you have a problem with… "

Leaning away from where she was just resting, Hokuto turns her back to the class, picks up the piece of chalk again, and begins scrawling out a name on the board.

The Nightmare Man.

"The Nightmare Man," she echoes after writing it, underlining his name and turning back to the students. "Right now, I've pulled each and every one of you from your sleep and drawn you into my own personal dreamscape. These forms you see here, are something I'll… get to explaining in a little bit. I've been watching you all, watching my helpers, watching how— how the Nightmare Man has affected you all."

Wrinkling her nose, Hokuto twirls the piece of chalk around in her fingers and writes out a bulleted list beneath the Nightmare Man's name. "There's some key points we need to go over, if you're going to understand the plan that— Helena— " Hokuto points to the blonde who's excitedly up from her seat, "inspired."

Beneath the Nightmare Man's name, hokuto makes some asterix and starts listing terms:

* Persona
* Anima/Animus
* Shadow

"Now, Bao-Wei here," Hokuto waggles her chalk towards the chubby kid by the window with the bowl cut, "is a bt ahead of the class as far as this is concerned. As is Helena, they've been studying up, and Helena's been helping some of you realize this. I… I have something of a plan, to stop the Nightmare Man, permanently, but I'm going to need all of your help— and whoever else you can muster— to do it."

The young girl in the back of class, materializes in a black smoke. Her eyes wide and her breathing hard. "Sylar! No!" she screams out and throws her hands out in front of her! Then she sees.. "Tuku..?" her head tilts and then the little girl is racing out of her desk and hurling herself towards Hokutu. Burying her face in her stomach, "He said.. he said I couldn't find you. That you would never wake up. Just like last time.. all like last time."

Molly Walker is sobbing now and her blonde hair covers her face, the young girl hasn't used her ability to find the asian woman, no.. she was afraid too. But now that she's found her. "The Nightmare Man, I told Matt about him. I know he couldn't help me, so I ran.. and I ran again.. and again." A idea seems to strike Molly. "What if we ran away!? Let's go to China, to Japan, Australia? Germany? He won't reach us there.. will he?"

And then with a jolt, Molly realizes that she isn't in this room alone with Hokutu and that.. she just cried in front of all of them. Her back stiffens and her hands curl up on the sides of her black and red pleated skirt and the high black socks and the white blouse that she is wearing.

She can't believe that.. she just did that. It's before she turns her head to face the rest of the students that a electric blue sweat jacket appears on her body and she pulls the hood up and then pulls it down, covering her face. She doesn't want anyone to see her, not her face or anything. She just cried in front of them.

With a sigh, she puts one hand behind her back as she clings to Hokutu's leg from there and looks down at the floor. She's not leaving Hokutu's side it doesn't look like. "Poor Billy." Molly says softly, now she really doesn't want to go back there and sit next to these people. Head still down, she clings tighter to Hokutu's leg. Black and white sneakers scuffing on the floor as she drags it back and forth. When Hokutu moves, Molly moves with her, she looks up towards the board shyly and then she's back to the floor again. Listening to what she has to say.

Hey, when did Hokuto get a kid? Corbin almost starts to stand up from his chair, perhaps a paternal instinct that he never really formed, or the desire to assist his old partner with crying child… But then he settles back down and sheepishly looks around, scratching at his chin— but finding no stubble. That's just weird. There's a couple people in the room he recognizes, others he doesn't, but a few of them get a small wave, before he looks forward and flips over his pad to take notes … and quickly flip pages to get rid of all those 'Miss Ichihara' talk. Oh hey, he drew a motorcycle on a page too. "You know me, I'll do what I can."

Ahhh is there any pages without something about Hokuto, Hokie or Miss Ichihara? Furious page flipping.

The young woman with the dark brown hair and eyes lit gold by the sunlight streaming in through the nearest window sits with her hands in her lap, back straight and chin lifted to give her posture an almost regal bearing. Although her face is as pink and smooth as anyone's in the room, but the style of her clothes — smart black dress fitted through the waist with a wide skirt and crinoline worn beneath to lend it shape — gives her true age away.

Sixteen-year-old Angela Petrelli doesn't appear bored by Hokuto's lecture, but wears an expression on her face that's probably more suited to Sunday school than the classroom. Her fingers tease the petals of the vintage daisy pin attached to the black felt hat she holds in her lap, mesh veil sewn in.

John narrows his eyes at Bao-Wei, but if he can see the dragon residing in there better than he can see the Triad member— well confusion is currently defining his features too bruised to be considered elegant, in these years. Either he got punched in the face recently or he landed face first after a decent fall. Both are very possible. He starts a look towards where the twins are moving on in, recognition making his eyes widen. There's more where that comes from too — familiar faces are sought and dismissed for the next, including Helena, the teacher herself, and the snoozing Abigail. That there are strangers here too is almost more worrying, because this is different.

He relaxes slowly, resting his elbows against the desk and watching Hokuto as she talks. The kid is a distraction, a mocking kind of half-smile writing across his face, before he warily takes a glance at Abby again. "The fuck does she get to sleep?" he mutters, enough for Bao-Wei and anyone close enough to hear.

The pen is picked up, angled in his long fingers, and expertly flicked. Whock! It hits the dozing girl's blonde head and bounces across the way, amusement brightening John's smile before it— dims again. What is he doing?!

"Helena?" she queries, eyes coming to rest on the girl who called her name. Cat's head tilts, then her eyes wander around again to take another look at all the people. Apparently roll doesn't really need to be called, she's got no sheet to call it from. And things are remembered. People, faces. The girl who screamed about Sylar and mentioned Matt. Matt who? There's a British guy who looks like a young Billy Idol. Other people she doesn't recognize so much.

Attention in due course shifts from all of them to Hokuto and what she wrote on the board, terms Helena didn't use when she briefed on this entity being recorded and added to the mental file. The second of those three terms sparks a memory to the fore, Cat's lips move along with quiet words. "Welcome home. I've been missing you. We're insuperable."

Uhhhh. Lola's not exactly paying attention. This may be a dream, but that doesn't mean one can't practice their trade. Like thieving, petty as it is. Poor Logan seems to be the victim this time, as Lola suddenly has his wallet in her hands, flipping through it. She pockets the cash, then pulls out something and twirls it between her fingers.

"Hey," she says, looking over at Logan. "Ya there, surfer dude." Cause his hair, ya know. She holds up the thing from his wallet between her fingers. "Ya do know they stopped makin this brand in like, 1982. How long ya been carryin' this shit round? Teenaged you didn't get laid often enough ta use up yer mama's old rubbers?" Yes, rubbers indeed. And it's not that Lola's being mocking - she seems genuinely interested in the answer. Speaking of interested, she raises her hand. "Uh, so Ah think ya'll got the wrong girl here. Ah don' got a clue in hell what ya'll're talkin' bout."

Brows drop as she watches the woman at the front of the class, Kaylee's hands curl into fists on her thighs as she watches. It's confusing to be in a classroom with familiar and unfamiliar… Eyes move to look at Logan briefly frowning a bit. Though only one of these bodies were in her own Nightmares, Kaylee stares at the younger Corbin with a small frown.

Of course, the most surprising person there was Mrs. Petrelli, brows shoot up on Kaylee's head. See… now she knows she's just in a dream. Glancing up at the front of the class, the young telepath ducks to the side leaning over to whisper at teenage Angela. "Pssst… You know about this?" She knew she should have asked Peter's mom about the Nightmare Man.. but wasn't sure…. now… they are in class together. Oh.. wait til Peter hears about this.

Oh. Huh. Helena sits back down, a bit awkwardly, and mutters something under her breath to the tune, "But why teenagers?" plaintively as she turns her attention to the board. There's a flush to her cheeks as Hokuto accords her efforts, which she then stifles with a self-directed scowl. Stop it, Helena. It's not like you're going to get a gold star sticker for it!

"One day, I'm gonna marry Miss Ichihara, you'll see!" Mortimer goes quiet for a moment, eye twitching a bit, then holds his forehead as his mind slips into lucidity. "Oh shit, I'm dreaming. What the hell?" He looks around, at familiar and not-so-familiar faces, then focuses back on Hokuto.

Jack, meanwhile, is looking back at both Lola and Angela, then tosses a note to each of them. "We're all in a dream, so I say we just go into a locker and do it, which ever one of you wants to. I mean, that Nightmare guy isn't here, so we can do whatever we want, right?" He reaches into his desk, grabs a pencil, then stabs it down into his desk, which is inexplicably Linderman's face. "I never get to cut people anymore. I say everyone takes a vote and I gut the least liked person in the room."

"Just what the hell is going on?" Mortimer has no idea, rubbing his eyes as he still tries to get a handle on things.
Flip. Flip. Flip.

Corbin finally gets to a page that doesn't have anything at all about Hokuto scribbled on it. Instead it's got that motorcycle again, badly drawn, with a note about how 'This is my favorite!' and then a scribble about 'Daphne. She said maybe! A lot better than Hell, no! But I still don't know her last name. :(' Complete with small frownyface.

For a moment, he smiles, something seeming to tug outward for a moment. Oh, it's probably Hokuto's fault as much as his own, but…
"Do you have to hurt me in here too Logan? I Do know where you live. Don't make me send Robert after you when I get back from Mexico" This is growled out after the pen bounces off a pink cheek and clatters to the floor. Abby cranks open an eye to go with the scowl on her face. "Or burn down your bar"

It has the desired effect though and reluctantly, Abigail unfolds herself to sit up straight in her seat. Logan had stumbled through a dream, but it wasn't the nightmare man. That she's here confuses her a bit but she's been running around in the waking world connecting the helpers to one another. She's here to listen at least.

Exasperated as she angles a look down at Molly, Hokuto breathes out a patient sigh and crouches down, ruffling the girl's hair, then rests a hand on top of her head. "In your seat." She adds emphatically, causing the young girl to break apart in a whorl of stringy black vapor like what she appeared in, and then reappear back at her desk in much the same fashion. "It's… good to see you again, Molly. It's been a while." There's a furrow of Hokuto's brows, the blindfolded teacher's voice just a touch guilty sounding when she brings up the girl's name

Clearing her throat, Hokuto slams both of her hands down on the podium, the noise sound a striking bit like a gunshot over the sound of everyone talking. "Everyone get in your seats!" The dark-haired teacher very suddenly and sharply proclaims, and for a moment the room just falls— uncomfortably silent. Rolling her tongue over the inside of her cheek, Hokuto's dark hair seems to be squirming where it's wound up into a bun at the back of her head, tendrils of inky locks moving as if on their own accord.

"N— Now then." The dark-haired teacher comments with a feigned smile. "Mortimer," she doesn't address Jack, "keep him in check?" There it is, a nod towards Jack, then a vocal indication her attention is back to Mortimer again. "You are dreaming, and they are too," she waves a hand to the rest of the class. "Now, shh."

Folding her hands together, drawing in a slow breath, and wondering how a real teacher ever manages this many wild and unruly people at once, Hokuto grimaces— she did bring that on herself. "Helena," one dark brow rises, "There's surprisingly a point to the teenagers bit. We'll… get to that when we cover Persona. But for now," Hokuto explains with a wave of one hand. "I think it's fair enough that you all ask some questions. I know some of you… aren't quite full up on everything, and I know you might have something to ask, something you want clarified. I— I'll do it as best as I can."

Turning her head to face to Lola, Hokuto immedately appends, "But so we're all on the same page, in case there was ever any doubt, you're here because I need your help, and because you need mine. Without each other, the Nightmare Man is going to do to us… what he did to those thirty-five children last year."

"Convince you that death is the only answer."

Elsewhere, Daphne is having a lovely dream about running on the beach, the ocean spray in her face, the scent of salt water in her nose, and the skyline of some yet-to-be-explored city in the distance. There is a tug, something pulling her to that city that is like none that she's ever seen before; it's certainly not Manhattan or any port city she has seen in pictures or visited in person. She frowns, trying to continue on her chosen path, but the tug can't be denied.

She turns and heads to the city, running through unfamiliar streets as if she knows the way instinctively, coming to a school of sorts. Stepping across the threshold, something feels different. A glance downward reveals clothing from her past — her favorite black and red LA Gear high tops, jeans, and a Ramones t-shirt. Well, that's just weird. A glance in a darkened window reveals short cropped hair and far too much eyeliner. What's missing? Her braces and crutches.

She continues on her way, frowning as she pauses in the doorway of a classroom — the only classroom that seems to have any activity in it. She glances at the clock. Clearly she's late for whatever she is here for. She looks like the typical new kid, uncertain and awkward but trying to look too tough to care a whit about it all.

The young blonde girl looks back over the board and then out of the corner of her eye.. that girl there. She looks familiar, in the sense that she has the same mannerisms as Angela would. She just looks.. younger.. and no beehive! Molly's eyes widen and she looks up to Hokuto and then she looks back over to Angela. Then her hair is ruffled and she's sent back to her seat. But that's fine with her, she closes her eyes and then she's pulling a chair in to sit next to Angela. And nowww, everyone knows her real name. Well.. Kaylee knows her real name now. Opps, yeah she lied to you.

The little girl, sits in the chair next to Angela and facepalms as the hood falls back to reveal her face. "Thanks Kuto." She says softly and then she's looking straight ahead at the board. Eyes front and not looking at anyone else, except for the glance at Angela every once and a while. The effects from the nightmare that she was just having still bring slight tears to her eyes and she wipes them with the sleeve of her jacket.

"You have got to be joking." Such a snideness coming out of Bao-Wei is awkward, mostly as he appears to be so baby-faced. His eyes stick on John for a few moments longer before jumping off, and now he stops to listen to what Hokuto has to say. The lines on his face aren't there anymore, so the twitches of muscle in his face are not oft visible unless one is looking for them. The boy's face blanches at the mention of why they are here- and how they've all been getting attacked in sleep. It gets a little more personal there, and Bao-Wei sinks back into his chair.

"Well, Ichihara-" Not calling her Miss, thank you. He is old enough to be her father. "-I'm still listening. You know that." It was not that long ago that she helped him, however- so in that she does get respect out of Bao-Wei's tone.

Surfer— wh— John twists in his seat to look at Lola, and he does something he hasn't done since he was— well. About this age. He blushes. "Give me tha'!" is hissed, making a grab for his wallet— before their teacher's palms crack down on her desk and Hokuto's words manage to jerk him back into reality, somewhat. Kind of. Either way, he's quick to sit back down, though he deals Lola a glare. Settles, rather than tackles her for a wallet that has no bearing on what counts as real life. "Share wiv' me one've those smokes and I won't find you in the waking world and put you through a window," he near-whispers to the girl.

And then— "Cry 'arder, Sandra Dee," he sneers at Abby, before he's properly focusing. He doesn't have any questions, but at Hokuto's claim that she needs them, he sends a look again to the Southern Baptist as if to silently say I told you so. This round, he chooses to pick dirt from under his nails, and listen.

"She isn't lying," John states, quietly, as if maybe some people would think so. He sure would. "I woke up stabbed 'cept I was the one doing the stabbing."

Helena's eyes narrow at all the antics. "Will you all shut up?" she hisses, and turns her attention more pointedly back to the board. She already knows it's all true, and that it's not a lie. At the revelation of the thirty-five, her already anime-huge eyes (even huger as a younger person) turn into saucers and she nods, yes, this also makes sense. Seriously, are all these people in highschool or something? Oh…wait. Yeah. Moving on.

The mention of death, Kaylee cringes and tries to hide behind whoever is sitting in front of her, much like a little kid. She glances at Angela and focuses on Molly as she sits near the Petrelli head of the family. Eyes narrow slightly at the young girl, "Matilda, huh?" Her voice a touch flat even with a small smile for the little girl. Logan's threat to Lola gets an amused look, but then when she was younger she did fancy the bad boys.

Frowning, she glances back at the front of the room, trying to pay attention to the front of the class, but as it was in high school, she tends to be distracted by the hum of mental voices, her head tilting slightly. Eyes refocus on Logan and she nods a bit. "I tried to drown myself to escape." Her voice sounds a touch distant.. "I woke up in the bay.. was really cold." Comments with a little lift of her brown and a smirk.

Now Lola's grinning. This is way more fun than listening to what's going on! The slap gets her attention for a moment, and she looks back toward the front. Then she leans toward Logan to hiss back at him in response. "Bring it, Nancy bitch." She's mostly just grinning because screwing with a skinny English guy's head is fun. But she has a heart! She throws him a cigarette, trying to peg him in the back of the head. "Consider it a pity smoke," she says, lighting up a full one of her own. Cause if this is a dream - why not? She's still listening, honest!

Large parts of this were already relayed to her by Helena, and what was shared then is in her mind, being ruminated over for a short time, before Cat's brain shifts back to Else Kjelstrom's tunes. Anima/Animus. Welcome to the end. Inseparable sides, of that same coin, yet shades of gray. Shadows and Patroni? Fuuuuck. Way to be obscure, Else, and not say in your song it was all about nightmares.

Where she sits, Car's thought process causes her eyes to roll in some semblance of minor annoyance. Then, heedless of Hokuto's command to stay seated, she's moving to take another next to Helena and concentrating on something she was told, about perhaps being able to alter her form in dreams. To make herself manifest as a woman of twenty-seven years. With a decent rack, because she detests this flat ten year old shape.

"The douchebag of the room is revealed!" Jack stands up dramatically, then pulls a bloody sword from his uniform jacket, pointing it back at Logan with one foot up on his chair. "Now, I'll demonstrate for you all, a public service! In this public service, I will be gutting and beheading the bothersome British boy!"

Mortimer frowns slightly, and when Hokuto says to keep him in line, he pulls out a golden Desert Eagle and points it in Lola's direction now. "Sit down and shut up or I shoot the only Cajun sounding girl in the room, who I assume is your precious Southern Belle."

"You suck, I can't do anything fun. I'll be glad when you're gone, goddamned figment of my imagination." He stabs the sword into his stomach, which seems to vanish into a puddle of blood, then Jack simply sits, crossing his fingers in annoyance. All is quiet, and the golden gun in Mortimer's hand is lowered.

Oh, hey. Late commer! Corbin suddenly sits up, then looks around, until he sees a seat near him and waves her over. Over here, over here! He looks young and rather friendly, if nerdy. And his badly chosen shirts seem to have gone back to his teenager years. His nice shirt? It's pink. Or as he would say rose. But it definitely passes as pink. Was it pink before? Who really knows! Suddenly on his desk the notebook has changed into a toy motorcycle. He hasn't been very good at coming up with a Patronus. If he hadn't met her when he woke up, he might think Daphne was it.

Even if Hokuto would be a more likely canidate. "They're totally acting like a bunch of teenagers."

Leaning in the doorway, Daphne's kohl-lined eyes skim the crowd, listening to the dire news with a rather petulant look on her face. She is in her teenage body and yet she has her legs and her speed and instead it's more doom and gloom? Major bummer. Then there's some dorky looking guy waving her over. She squints. There's something about the eyes. Her eyes flick to the front of the room and take in the board. She sighs and pushes off the wall to zoom across the room in a blur, taking a seat near Corbin. "I told you to find someone else," she hisses out of the side of her mouth. She turns to look around the room at everyone else, not really recognizing — well, anyone.

"No questions? I find that suspicious…" Hokuto notes with a twinge of a smile creeping up at the corner of her lips. Breathing in a deep breath, she shakes her head and folds her hands, leaning forward against the podium again. "I guess, what would help you all best, is if I started from the beginning. What you're dealing with here— what I've been having difficulty trying to express when he's already got his fingers around you— is just what the Nightmare Man is." Hokuto tilts her head down, staring at the top of the podium. She was watching Angela when she said that— now? Not so much.

"The… Nightmare Man is a dream-manipulator, just like I am. He's stronger than me, always has been. Three years ago, he started troubling the dreams of a handful of people in the city, and thanks to the help of Angela— we were able to stop him. But— it was only temporary."

Swallowing noisily, Hokuto straightens up and moves to look back at the chalkboard. "The Nightmare Man exploits the connections between the waking and sleeping mind, ferrets his way in, and finds what hurts you most, what troubles you most, and…" Dark brows crease together, and Hokuto rolls her shoulders forward. "And he exploits that. Years ago, all he would do is torment people. Last year— last year he found his way into the dreams of children made terrified by the attack on Washington-Irvine High School… and coerced them to take their own lives by tormenting their sleep with— visions."

Teeth worrying at her lower lip, Hokuto rolls her head to one side, then the other. "Those thirty-five children created a suicide pact, because they were so horrified by what the Nightmare Man had shown them, unknowing that— that they were being manipulated. I had no idea, I— I didn't see what he was doing until it was too late. I've always been blind to the Nightmare Man, always been unable to see him— to feel him— it's like…" Hokuto shakes her head.

"Refrain, the drug, has been strengthing his grasp over things. Refrain does something to a portion of the mind responsible for memories and dreams, it serve like a doorway for the Nightmare Man, like brightly colored beacons illuminating unconscious minds. I can see it too— feel it too— and with Refrain I can more easily influence those who are asleep. Even one dose of the drug, makes someone a victim for him, and force them to move and walk in the waking world while asleep…" Swallowing tensely, Hokuto shakes her head. "I thought it would stop at Refrain, and it didn't."

Looking up to Kaylee, the blonde can tell Hokuto's expression is troubled behind her blindfold from the way her brows crease. "He's growing stronger, and I don't know how. He's becoming more adept at controlling sleeping people, and he seems able to convince others to harm themselves even if they've never touched Refrain before. I worry— how long it will take for him to influence someone in a conscious state. That is why we're here… because the Nightmare Man is not someone you can confront physically. He— he exists only here in dreams. Which means, you're all going to have to face him, at some point."

Drumming her fingers on the podium top, Hokuto straightens out and looks back to that list, then out to the crowd of students. "That's why you're here right now. Why I need you all to focus, because so many more lives than your own are hanging in the balance."

Much of the scared little girl that the room just saw has disappeared and now the young, but strong female that Kaylee first met has shown her face. Blue eyes glittering but hard as she stares ahead. Molly's hands are placed in her lap and her ankles crossed. Kaylee is received a sidelong glance, "It's for my protection, it's better nobody knows who I really am." She says softly and then she's quiet again. Waiting for Hokuto to continue. Then.. a statement is said. "You can use me." A quick glance around the room.

"The Nightmare Man.. he.." she looks down at her hands. "He visits me.. every night it seems like. We can.. trap him in my dreamscape." She offers to Hokuto and then she sits back again, done talking. Sure her idea won't be taken seriously.

Angela is attentive if silent. Her eyes do not stray from Hokuto behind the podium — if it wasn't for the black blindfold covering her eyes, she would be meeting the other woman's gaze and steadily holding it, her attention on her mouth rather than the delicate words that it's weaving. She's heard this all before.

When Molly makes her suggestion, her attention finally shifts, settling on the wee slip of a thing with both her dark eyebrows raised, and for once the gesture does not create crow's feet around her eyes or wrinkles where she wishes there were none. The girl is right about her idea not being taken seriously, of course. "Absolutely not."

Helena doesn't say a word to this. Helena is no stranger to self-sacrifice, and isn't sure of what to think of the child's lack of self-preservation at her age. It also shows a great deal of gravitas. She says aloud, "I'm sure Hoktuo already has a plan for that, too." There's an abrupt shimmering of the air behind her guest, and the form of a young man, almost like a djinn with a coiled tennis ball sized flame in his hand, looks grimly around the room and snorts vaguely in Mortimer and Jack's direction.

"You are not the only one that he visits every night." Until now, Bao-Wei has been quite intent on listening; when Hokuto makes clear the connection to Refrain, however, his posture stiffens greatly and the notebook still under his hands rumples as one set of fingers bunches it into his fist. "Did I make him this powerful?" He addresses her directly now, eyes on her blindfold. "They brought that drug to me, and I copied it."

While a confession at this point does nothing, it feels to him as if it had to escape at some point. "We put it there for him to use."

Pity smoke or not, John is certainly taking it, searching a pocket that Lola didn't steal from and securing a plastic lighter to touch the flame to the tip. He glances up from his task to look at Jack, motions pausing as if to assess where that sword is about to go, before relaxing once more and dealing the twin a thin smile. Both 'brothers' get silent study through a haze of fresh cigarette smoke for as long as it takes until Hokuto can reclaim his attention.

"Why not?" he asks in response to Angela's words, looking down towards the young girl, a hard kind of look in his eyes. "If it works, then it solves our problems. Not her's, but, that's her decision." His voice is coy, as if he doesn't think Molly means her sincerity, a sneer fixing on his face before he's taking another drag of cigarette smoke. As for the topic of Refrain—

Well. He's not volunteering any guilt, looking back towards Hokuto.

"Better yet, Mortimer…" Speaks up the young Kaylee, leaning forward in her seat eyes on Jack, who is only another seat ahead of her, "Jack… behave… act up again.. I'll make you shut up.. and sleep. Don't think I won't." Her voice hisses at him, reminding him the of the late time they met up. She sits up again, still glaring at him, before giving Hotuko a sheepish look, before her eyes drop to her desk top again.

Of course, they raise again as she senses Hokuto looking at her. There is a guilty expression her own face, Refrain is something that keeps coming up.. it's something she always feels guilty about it. The mention of how strong the Nightmare man, brings a pained look from the telepath. A look goes to Bao-Wen, brows dropping some and then widening as she tries not to draw attention to herself. She was there that night.

At Molly's offer, Kaylee's head snaps over to tell her no, but Angela beats her to it. But then she glances at John, "Because… unlike the rest of us, she's actually a kid." The blonde telepath snaps at him, irritably.

Lola sticks out her tongue at Logan once more, turning her attention to the front of the class, even as Mortimer threatens her with a gun. "Don' think Ah can' hurt ya, little shit," she grumbles at Mortimer's direction, looking back to the front of the class. Refrain comes up, and she glances down at her hand that holds the cigarette. It's not a thin syringe full of blue liquid. Damn dreams knowing her damn vices. She just stares at it, hidden from most view unless someone's really looking.

Her form shifts briefly with the attempt to display her true self, lasting just a few seconds before reverting to her ten year old appearance. "Damn," Cat mutters, "got to put more behind it." But she doesn't try again right away. Instead Molly is glanced at, then Angela, and Billy Idol. The gaze moves to Helena next to her. "Long time no see, Harvard," she greets calmly enough. Then she's looking over Kaylee and moving to Hokuto.

"I've got a question," Cat declares, "actually a few. You're saying the Nightmare Man is a disembodied spirit without a physical body we can somehow hunt down and subdue while it's out assaulting minds? Is that known to be a fact, or simply a likelihood, a speculation? Can it be trapped within its own mind?"

"Sorry, I didn't intentionally call you in," Corbin says with a sheepish look, eyes diverting down to his desk as he picks up the little motorcycle and looks ait it a moment. Then he directs his very light eyes toward the front, obviously paying attention to teacher. Not sure who most of the young people here are, though he has suspicions on some, he doesn't have half the experience with the nightmares that they seem to. "I don't think anyone needs to be sacrificed to face this. There's more of us then there are of him— or her. Or it. If we all work together, and bring in more people…" He casts a glance at Daphne, kind of a 'sorry, that means you too,' "Then we can work together. This isn't a 'sign up to become a sacrifice' meeting. If it was I don't think it would be shaped like a classroom."

The speedster leans back in the student desk, her legs stretching out to hook the empty one in front of her, pulling it closer and then propping both feet in their high tops on the seat. She frowns at the serious nature of the discussion. People dying is not okay. "See, I told you there were other deaths that no one attributed to this dream asshat," she tells Corbin, looking smug in her correct guess even if it means past tragedies. She watches the teacher at the front, quieting a bit to listen more properly. She finds a notebook and pencil on the desk beside her, and opens it to pen a note to the preppy boy beside her: "I'm not sacrificing myself. And what happened to ninja and pirate get ups? Awkward teenage years, not inspiring confidence!"

She'd have to tell Liz about that. The teenagers who all committed suicide. She knew that the woman had been on the case and it was still something that haunted the audio kinetic. For the most part, the rest of the group is ignored, those who are acting out, or the unfamiliar faces.

"Where's the best place to ambush him then? If not her dream space, is there some place were we can have the upper hand, take him by surprise?"

"Molly…" Hokuto shakes her head slowly, "I think after you hear what I have planned, you may not wish to volunteer for that." Rubbing a hand across her cheek, Hokuto shakes her head once and offers up a look to Angela thorugh the muslin fabric of her blindfold. There's a silence that hangs over her for a brief moment, then quickly clears her throat and moves around in front of the podium, beginning to walk down the aisles between the desks. "Helena gave me a plan, and I think it's largely our only option. Molly's… right on the idea, but I'm not going to suggest her."

"It's— I know for certain that he's bodiless. He's just dreams and nightmares, that's all he ever has been. We've looked, Molly's looked, and there was nothing to find but his horrible power. There's no way, as far as I understand our abilties, to trap him inside of himself. He's… he's too powerful to trap. This plan is— it's a bit more final than that." Looking up and around the classroom, she offers a mild smile to the people gathered, standing beside Lola at the moment. "Corbin…" She breathes out a sigh, looking away from her former partner. "We… We are going to trap the Nightmare Man inside of someone, but… But I'm sorry, I just— I can't think of a better way to handle this. If we can trap the Nightmare Man inside of someone, and then… then they die, he will perish with them. It's how it would work for me, and I have a body all my own. Whether— whether they die by their own hand or someone else's— it doesn't matter. I— I can't think of another way to stop him other than this. I'd volunteer myself, but I can't seem to be in the same place as him, he— he shuts me out. I'm always trapped watching the dream from the outside, or pushed out when he arrives. I tried, tried to force myself once to stay but— "

Abby's question makes Hokuto consider a bit more thoughtfully, teeth toying at her lower lip. "Someone who hasn't used Refrain, he'll be weaker there than he would anywhere else. I— I'd say someone with a strong mind as well, telepaths can trap me in their minds. It's— not something I like to advertise, and it's why I try and avoid dream-walking to telepaths. Their minds are their fortresses, so— it could easily be converted into a jail. The problem is, all that does is keep him in. It's like locking yourself in a room with a wild bear. It's not going to hurt anyone else, but— it'll maul you." Hokuto shakes her head, seeming— off. Corbin and Angela and several other people here have seen her in this dream form before, with the blindfold. She's always assertive and sure of herself, not as unassuming and mild as she seems now. "If we can trap him in the mind of a telepath, then— then they could— " Hokuto clears her throat. "I'm— getting ahead of everything. I— there's some more background things you all need to be aware of. Some… Some of you already know what I'm about to discuss, and— I think Helena like to call it Patronus?" There's a quirk of one brow up at the term.

"Carl Jung called calls it Persona, an aspect of yourself that is a mask or appearance put forth to the world that appears in dreams. The Persona is like an avatar, a part of yourself that can exist externally in your mind," Hokuto waves a hand towards Mr.Jack, and then then begins walking again between the aisles of desks. "The Persona is the self as self-construed, and can change according to situation and context. Sometimes it appears like a shell around you," as Hokuto motions towards Cat and her changed appearance, "sometimes it appears as something precious to you. It is a defensive mechanism of the mind, and it's… part of the plan. If you can do this, construct this Persona, the Nightmare Man will have to confront it if he attempts to persuade you. The Persona is— in Freudian terminology, represented by the Super Ego, an idealization of one's self and dreams. It is all your strengths, all your hopes for who you are. But— your Persona can also be twisted by the Nightmare Man, and manifest as something alltogether different."

By now she's back at the fore of the room, moving behind the podium. "That thing, is called a Shadow." Folding her hands and looking towards Angela for a moment, then Bao-Wei, Hokuto collects her thoughts before continuing. "Most of you who have been confronted by the Nightmare Man have seen what a Shadow is. It's not something he makes up, it's… it's a part of you. It's an unconscious representation of your repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, instincts. It's everything that you force yourself to not face, and the longer this goes on, the more terrible it becomes. The Nightmare Man will exploit your Shadows. Some of you have faced them, defeated them, and pushed the Nightmare Man out. There's really no surefire way to do this… just be true to yourself, accept your shortcomings, but do not let them define you? I— I know that's not the best advice. The point of knowing this, will be if comes for any of you who haven't already stopped him, and also for those of you who have, to help others."

Folding her arms and sliding into her seat, the girl grumbles something about not being fair or something. Then she's quiet again and looking back at Angela and then to Hokuto. These two women.. are like older aunts to her. The best female role models she's had since her mother was murdered. Though the two most likely do not know about her feelings for them. "We'd all be strapped to the rack."" She says to Corbin's observation.

"I'm sure, he was torturing me, long before he even knew you existed." Is Molly actually trying to sound jealous about Bao.. um.. not really but she's in a pissy mood now. With that, John gets the finger from the fourteen year old who again folds her arms and sinks lower into her chair. "Dick." She mutters to herself, though she's sure everyone else can hear her say it.

"Have Kaylee pull a Psylocke." And then she thinks about what she just said. "But without the whole losing her ability, unless she can get cool telekinetic powers after." She nods seriously, she's still a kid! Deep down inside.When Hokuto mentions the guardian like spirits, a man that looks much like Matt Parkman materializes behind Molly. "You mean, this is why my dad keeps turning up in my dreams?"

Cameron, who has since manifested to stand at Helena's shoulder, fiddles with his tennis-ball sized sphere of flame, and continues to eye the others. He says nothing, at first, but a slow grin spreads across his face. "You hear that, kid? I'm your superego." Helena rolls her eyes, but her smile suddenly matches Cameron's. She does note, "Confronting your Shadow isn't always easy. But knowing it for what it is, and being conscious of your patronus," "Really," interjects Cameron, "Like she thinks I'm Harry Potter," "Shut up," Helena chimes in cheerfully and continues, "Can help you. Your ability too, is something you can access in dreams, and often with more in both your capacity to wield it and in sheer power." She pauses a moment and nods apologetically in Hokuto's direction. Cameron puts a hand on her shoulder.

There's no shimmering of people coming into being beside John, though if he's trying, then he's putting on a good show of not. Kaylee only gets a glance, no particular response to the sentiment over children, Molly evaluated as evenly as she would be had she not be gesturing at him so. Setting his teeth against the cigarette filter, doubt obviously plagueing the teenager of sixteen. If looking at him, though, something strange happens—

Kind of like double vision, or in this case, tripple. There's a teenager, but there's also a pristinely dressed businessman a decade older than he is with his hand set upon a cane, as well as a princely young man that could have stepped out of a fairytale story inspecting his nails and with a sword at his hip, all gleaming gold and silk. They occupy the same space, layering over the other, weakens and dims back to the uncertain youth slouched behind his desk.

From afar, Molly dies. It's Eve! XD
Molly pages: They will be the sunny nice versions of themeselves and the cat will be alive.. I think.
From afar, Cat ponders. Actually… The panther is a constant, speaks with her voice. But it can also utilize her memory to make images of other people as situationally appropriate pop up. Like historical figures or musicians.

"A… a telepath?" Kaylee asks looking at the woman behind the podium, she swallows nervously, glancing over at Angela briefly. The young woman doesn't say anymore then that, it's apparent it bothers the young blonde who, hunker down in her desk some, with a small frown.

One thing that Kaylee has never had was a patronus… or whatever it is. Unlike others, nothing forms near the telepath, her eyes stay on the desk in front of her, thoughts somewhat distant. But the shadow… that Kaylee knows well, her shadow torments her nightmares nightly. Her head twists a bit on her neck as she can almost hear that silken hiss of that black snake, eyes closing tightly as she tries not to think about it.

Suddenly, pacing beside Cat, is a large feline. A panther with shiny black fur, to wit. She raises up on hind legs and places paws on her shoulders. Words are spoken in a growly version of Cat's own voice. "I've got your back. We're a fierce jungle cat, but the Nightmare Man, it's just a pussy. You've faced far worse than him." What follows is something of a feral snarl, then something of a feral smile on the feline's face. Or as close to it as such facial structure can manage.

Cat herself doesn't say anything for the moment, she simply displays an expression of unflappable confidence. The panther, however, isn't quiet. "Hey, Harvard," she addresses to Cameron with a laugh/growl, "you don't speak?"

Then Cat breaks her silence. "If we need a person to die and trap the Nightmare Man, and this person doesn't have to have the SLC, I recommend Emile Danko."

Like Kaylee, there's no sign of anything patronus like with Corbin, though the more he focuses on things, the more he seems to look like himself, rather than a teenager. Stubble grows out. And he's frowning. At the teacher. No, he's not liking the sound of what little bit of the plan he's hearing. He avoids glancing at Kaylee, just barely, and instead looks at Daphne. She was right. And it doesn't make him pleased. "I think you can put the pirate get up on yourself, if you think about it," he mutters, before he looks back at the blind folded woman. All of his worry is projected toward her. No, he is not liking where this may go. She is getting grumpy ex-partner face right at her.

Even if Cat's out of left field suggestion attracts his eyes and raises eyebrows.

Daphne arches an eyebrow, looking around at the sudden manifestations of various forms that were not there before. Nothing changes in her. "I'd guess whoever's mind we trap it in has to be willing? Or else we could find some sad sap of a comatose person who's gonna die like tomorrow anyway and lead the asshat there, and leave him there to kick the bucket." She frowns, screwing her mouth to one side as she thinks. "But maybe… if we can't find a Tele that's willing to trap the nightmare guy, maybe we can get a Tele to convince someone with their mojo to play martyr for us. Someone who's going to die anyway, or someone we'd rather see dead anyway, you know?" Yes, her moral compass faces northwest.

"Do they have to die? They just have to be strong enough to trap them yes? Have the strength to keep them there. Telepaths for sure, could do it. What about someone who's not a Telepath. You taught me how to make that place, that room in my mind, in my dreams, that is locked against anything that I don't want. Nothing can come in unless I let it, I control the room. I made Louisiana with your help, in my mind and i've gone there, stayed there when I've needed" Logan's been there, Deckard as well. The white farmhouse in the middle of the bayou with it's perpetual summer. Abby's blue eyes focus on the blindfolded woman. "We have the manpower, patrinus's" She doesn't say the word right. "We have the telepath to help, Hokuto, you're stronger than you think, and with help, what if we can trap him in my home" She taps her head. "And I lock that door and I never go back, I sacrifice my safe haven. I've never taken refrain, I've never been visited by him. Logan here came in to ad ream I was having but by virtue of looking for someone. You said it yourself Hokuto, i'm strong, so strong that even I don't know my own strength at times."

"I'm…" Hokuto looks a bit lost at Cat's suggestion, one brow twitching, "not entirely familiar with whoever that is, but fromt he context it doesn't sound like he'd be willing. Daphne's entirely correct, it will be hard enough to imprison someone as powerful as the Nightmare Man alone, but forcing him into an unwilling mind will be even harder, and qite likely impossible at the rate he's growing in strength. There's… I'm just worried there's going to be no other way. I'm going to hopefully find a telepath, or someone with a similar power, willing to— end this."

When Abby speaks up, Hokuto is blissfully distracted from the grim commentary of Daphne's suggestion. "We tried that last time, keeping him… temprarially trapped in someone, and look where it got us." There's a dark expression on Hokuto's face, one of uncertainty and nervousness. "I— I can't say for certain that he won't get out again. Your own mental refuge is one thing, but trapping yourself in there with him it— it would be a fate worse than death. I— " Hokuto doesn't seem willing to entertain Abby's suggestion, though her focus does settle once more on the speedster before she looks back at the board, realizing she's forgotten something in this mix of conversational bits. "Right— right… Let's— Let's discuss this one last bit before we… before we diverge any further. Anima and Animus are important facets of Jungian philosophy too, and I think in regards to the Nightmare Man, it— it might be the most relevant."

Looking up nervously to Angela, Hokuto seems to pause briefly, before opening her mouth, only to hear a staticy crackle come over the school's PA system.

"She lies."

The booming voice comes with the horrible sound of metal shrieking, followed by a flash out the windows of the classroom that is bright enough to burn shadows into the walls of the opposite side of the classroom, blinding those who were looking out. The terror and shock of the moment is only allowed for a second longer, as in the dimming glow a mushroom cloud can be seen rising up from the heart of what was once Okinawa, and now more closely resembles New York. Hokuto barely has time to let out a terrified scream, before the rolling wave of dust, flames and some comes crashing towards the school from the blast.

Once upon a time, there was a witch…

The shockwave hits, but no one feels it. What is there instead, is a terrible sense of fatigue that hangs like weights down on the dreamers minds, like the veil of approaching sleep threatening to strangle them all to quiet unconsciousness. There is no mushroom cloud here, no blinding flash, no classroom and no quirky sunny disposition to Hokuto Ichihara. This room is cold, it is impersonal, and it is where she resides. There is just an ergomonically designed metal hospital table, bent at the legs with the back raised for comfort. Hokuto lays upon the padded bedding there, withered away to skin and bone like an Auschwitz prisoner. Her cheeks are sunken in, arms pencil thin and frail, eyes closed and chapped lips parted. She looks like a skeletal corpse hooked up to life support.

And her kingdom burned to the ground…

Around her ina full circle, are tall mirrors some eight feet high, each of them framed with dark wood richly stained a walnut shade. These mirrors do not reflect Hokuto, though they should, they reflect the many dreaming minds across New York City. Hokuto twitches on that bed, her blindfolded eyes moving behind that black muslin covering. "He's… he's nearby." Hokuto rasps in a parch, dry voice, her illusion to hide this horrifying truth of the state of her mind shattered by the Nightmare Man's one pounding on her mental cage.

So in her lonliness, she built herself a new one, and for a time it was good…

"Let— let me fend him, for now… go back," she lifts that emaciated arm, the weight of her voluminous dark sleeves seeming to almost keep her arm weighed down. "Go back to your own dreams… go back and— and help people." She didn't want anyone to see her like this, she didn't want anyone to see how badly stretching herself thin over so many dreams, so many minds, so many mirrors is breaking her apart.

But the world outside this kingdom, the reality, was a cold and harsh place with a burned core…

"Go." It's a simple enough order, and that strangling weight of sleep comes suffocatingly back to them, no longer drawn insie the confines of her own weary mind, but instead placed within their own bodies once more. The doorways will remain, but the illusion of that house of mirrors is pulled back now, and she too weak to reinforce it.

…and dreams are only so fleeting a paradise, when built on a house of ash and bone.

She didn't want them to see her like this.

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