||Five Months Since||

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When I was ten, I became the youngest member of the Specialties. Before then, children weren't necessarily the most desired demographic. I mean, how many of them were capable of facing and killing adults on the daily? But apparently I was the exception, and from there, the sick leaders of my county realized that although kids weren't the most efficient at the time, they were moldable and were easily more compliant than adults.

However, I didn't get my first friend until I was twelve. All the people I worked with before then were well into their twenties and couldn't exactly relate to a ten year old who had no education past second grade at the time. My first friend ended up being this raggedy boy from the Slums. His hair was an overgrown mess, and his smile was wild and crooked. He looked like a natural disaster, but not in a bad way. More of a purposeful way. Like he wasn't just in the tornados, but the one creating them.

Before meeting him, I never found myself in Wilbur or Techno's offices. I usually just did my missions and went back home where I'd sit in my lonely apartment waiting for my roommate of the time and his friends to come back and drown out the many loud thoughts inside my head.

But I could already tell this kid was going to change that.

"Dream, meet your new partner," Wilbur had said to me. I had been slumped in the lobby counting the seconds away when he nudged the boy closer to me. "His code name's Pandas."

"Pandas?" I gave them both a sideways look. "That's a crappy name."

"Dream!"

"Hey! I happen to like pandas," The boy interrupted. "They're my favorite animal."

"You don't look like a panda. You look like the exact opposite of one, actually. Pandas are soft and cuddly. You look like you try to kill people when you hug them."

He scoffed with a grin and he crossed his arms. "Alright then. How about Sadnap then? Pandas but backwards. Better?"

"Yes, actually."

Wilbur laughed, "Show Sadnap to your room then. He's your new roommate."

I got up off the couch and led the boy up the stairs. Wilbur watched us until we were out of sight. I didn't say anything. I always found silence comfortable. The boy next to me, however, did not.

"My real name's Nick, by the way," He said.

"Cool."

"This is usually the time you tell me your real name."

"Uhhh no."

"No?" He laughed, "Your parents must've hated you to name you No."

"Wow, you're so funny," I remarked sarcastically.

"Now come on, what's your name? Dream's too cool of a name to be your real one."

"You don't need to know. I don't like my name."

"Why not?"

I shrugged, "It's stupid. It sounds gross."

"It can't be that bad. Unless your name's Cannibalism or Dick or something." He laughed at his own joke.

"Hey, what's this?" He asked a few moments later as he pointed to the nailed on boards that covered the windows as we passed by.

"Boarded up windows."

He rolled his eyes, "Thank you, Captain Obvious. Oh wait, hold on." He stopped in front of the window and dug around through his baggy jean pockets.

"What are you doing?"

"We have to make our presence known, man. Wilbur told me we're the youngest ones here. We have to assert our dominance!" He pulled out a small pocket knife and handed it to me.

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