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You think you have time.

You don't.

It's the greatest man-made illusion we ever pulled on ourselves. Measuring things by the minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years. Man made those things. Nature made seasons and moon phases. We're the dumbasses that decided we needed to boil our universe down to seconds just so we could accurately measure each agonizing moment we've dragged out in a half-assed existence.

Man made a lot of things it shouldn't have. Mostly rules. Who the fuck decided it was okay to have other people tell us what to do all the fucking time? And for stupid fucking reasons. I mean, come on, you can't collect drinking water or drink raw milk without risking a fine!

On a less cynical side of things, rules enforce order, and when you've got about seven billion assholes in the world that are capable of unimaginable destruction, order is a nice illusion to have. Problem is, everyone forgets it's an illusion. Because we let ourselves forget that if we decided not to live by the rules anymore, no one could really stop us.

What would happen if we decided the rules no longer applied to us? How fast would society crumble? How much of that pretend humanity would be shed in an instant?

Truth is, we're animals just like the rest. We only pretend we're something more. The illusion helps, but it won't last.

I've already begun to tear it down.

I threw myself into the dreaming. To spite her. To prove that I could still take care of my stupid body back in that trailer, but that I could also transform now that she wasn't an impediment. Without O, I lost my grip on the waking world. Why shouldn't I spend countless hours perfecting the only consistent thing in my life?

"You're sulking again," he murmured, brushing my hair off my shoulder.

"I'm not sulking," I snapped.

"Now you're pouting."

I didn't answer him that time. Instead, I leaned into the touch as he continued to linger behind me, playing with my hair. It had been too long since our last visit.

That was the problem with working on the projections and trying to enhance all of my abilities: it meant I couldn't spend as much time as I wanted in the gray place. Dreams were where I was strongest and I'd had to spend more time there rather than in his arms.

"What all are you capable of?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I know you can send a solid projection. I know that you can take certain things out of the nightmares. I know you can make other people take things out of them." I rubbed my wrists automatically.

"I'm not as talented as you think." While his voice was even, one glance at his expression and I knew the thought bothered him. As it did me. "All I can take from the dreams are things that happen to me. Wounds, mostly. If I choose to. Or tattoos, sometimes. Nothing ... foreign. And ... I wasn't the one that gave you those wounds. It was not I to take them out of that nightmare."

It took a minute for my brain to catch up to the implication. Once it did, my jaw dropped. He was saying... "I took the wounds out? I did that? Without help from you?"

He shook his head. Then a wry smile pulled at his lips. "I practiced for years to be able to take anything out of the nightmares. Wounds. Scars. Tattoos. And in your first nightmare, you go ahead and take your own wounds into the waking world. It pissed me off."

It's like he didn't even notice the magic words. Fucking idiots. Both of us.

According to him, the legend said that the nightmares and legends had to be separated to keep their purity. If they lost their purity, it altered reality.

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