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20 November 2009 @ 05:32 pm
100 Writer's Choice; Perchance to Dream  
Title: Darkness Overwhelming
Fandom: Mystic Force
Pairing: N/A
Rating: 15
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary/Warnings: Somewhere, all wishes come true. Nick forces the truth out of Claire.
Word Count: 690 / 52 682
Author's notes: My table is here.

100 Writer’s Choice: Perchance to Dream

Clare had trained herself not to make noise when she woke. The others slept so little, she didn’t want to disturb them. So when the nightmares came, three or four times a week, she just opened her eyes and closed them again, lying without sleeping for the rest of the night.

Nick knew. Nick always knew, even though she’d swear he didn’t wake up with her. He’d learned very quickly that she wouldn’t talk about it, though, so he paid her a little more attention, telling her through his actions that he was worried about her and wanted to help.

She thought Maddie might know as well. If she did, she never spoke of it either, but she never complained when Clare’s attention drifted away. She just took over the cooking duties with a smile, letting Clare sit and think.

The others didn’t know, she was pretty sure. Xander wouldn’t have let it go, and Chip would have been more awkward around her. Vida would have bluntly asked her what was wrong. If anyone was going to know, she was glad it was Nick and Maddie; they at least understood that she didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to admit to the fear.

Eventually, though, Nick got tired of tiptoeing around it. He waited patiently until Xander and Chip had gone to the field; Vida was sleeping, curled up by the fire, and Maddie was very carefully ignoring them to study a book she’d read at least five times before.

“Clare,” he started, sitting beside her.

“Yes, Nick.”

Nick hadn’t actually planned beyond that. “You alright?”

“Yes, Nick.”

“Clare,” he protested.

“What? Nick, I’m fine.”

“You haven’t slept a night through for a week.”

“Hands up anyone who has,” she retorted. “Nick, I’m fine.”

He studied her for a moment. “What happens if Necrolai finds you?”


“No.” He caught her arm. “Tell me.”

“Why, you want nightmares too?”

Nick shook his head. “Tell me. Who’s the Gatekeeper?”

“My mother was.”

“Clare, c’mon. Don’t make me drag this out of you.”

“It helps,” Maddie offered, laying her book aside. “Makes it easier.”

Clare shook her head, biting her lip. “It’s not…”

“We will drag it out of you,” Nick threatened mildly.

“It’s not as bad as you think,” she said carefully. “My mother raised the gates the Master is trapped behind. They still have magic, but we don’t. He can use me to raise the gates again and free himself.”

“What happens to you?” Nick asked.

At the same time, Maddie said, “Your mother died.”

“Yes,” she told Maddie. To Nick, she added, “I don’t know. Maybe nothing. It’s never been done.”

“This spell killed your mother?” Nick repeated. “With stronger magic, and actual experience, it killed her?”

“Yes. But they won’t want to kill me, in case…”

“They need to try again,” Maddie completed, one hand pressed against her mouth. “Clare…”

“I’m alright,” Clare said again. “Slannen and the others are facing worse if they got caught. And it’s a big city, and no one knows where I am or who I’m with. They won’t find me if I stay inside.”

“That’s not going to work forever,” Nick pointed out.

“It doesn’t need to work forever. It needs to work for today.” She smiled faintly, looking from one to the other. “I’m alright.”

“The nightmares?”

“Well, I know I’m alright. My subconscious is not so sure. I’m sorry I wake you.”

“I’m surprised you don’t wake the others,” Maddie said, deliberately lightening her voice. “How come you don’t scream?”

“Because I don’t want to wake the others. They have enough problems of their own.”

“Doesn’t work like that. We’re friends. Your problems are our problems.” Maddie nodded firmly. “You should tell them.”

“No,” Clare said immediately, almost tripping over Maddie’s words. “None of us are telling them.”

“Maddie’s right,” Nick said quietly. “Share the burden, make it lighter. Tell the others, Clare.”

Clare studied her hands for a moment before nodding. “Alright. Tonight.”

“We’ll help,” Maddie promised.

“Good, cos the magic thing? I’m not sure the others are going to take it so well.”