The Dreams: Chapter Twenty Two

She managed to get to her therapy appointment without intruding on

the lives of any of her friends. Staying in Corine’s room was enough of a

burden. She got out of her mother’s house to regain some of her

freedom, and she did not want to pile her problems on to someone else

and take away their freedom along with hers.

It took a lot more effort to do it all on her own, but she took a

great deal of pride in making the effort to handle her personal affairs

on her own. She just wished that she did not need to take a train to get

to the bus that would take her to Dr. Charlotte’s office, but doing it

all on her own was better than being more of a burden than was

absolutely necessary. She needed to figure out how to be more

independent. She did not like relying on her friends to give her a place

to stay right now, but she did not have the means to have her own place

at the moment.

She still had to figure out what she was going to do over the winter

break. Staying in the dorms would only work as long as the dorms were

open to her. Winter break was fast approaching and she needed to figure

out where she would live when that time came. She had plenty of time to

think about it on the train ride, and she quickly passed through just

thinking to outright worrying.

She managed to miss out on that natural state of being by occupying

all of her waking hours over the past few days. She did not know if she

had the ability to continue in this state for much longer, and now this

train ride proved that she could not maintain the worry free state of

being for too long. Something always managed to enter her thoughts and

catch in her mind in a way that would not permit it to escape again


So far she could not manage to keep her mind from catching these

stray thoughts in a reliable manner. She had tried to keep her thoughts

better under control, but they always managed to get back out of her

hands again before she had much of a respite.

The distraction of being back on campus and so often in Corine’s

company actually provided her mind with such an overload of silly

thoughts and ideas that nothing had much of a chance of catching hold

and forming into a worry. She liked that aspect of being back on campus


On the other hand, she hated the lack of connectedness she had on

campus. She had only been away for a few weeks. All of her friends were

still there. She saw them and she got to spend time with them. That part

was great. She felt as though she was not losing her place in the

fabric of her college life. That was a relief. Not having any classes of

her own made her feel out of place, though. Everyone else had places

they had to be throughout the day. She was just sort of aimless.

A lot of her time ended up being spent in the library. Corine

insisted she could stay in her room during her classes and her roommate

provided a noncommittal shrug of agreement with the statement, but Rina

still felt as though she was intruding by staying in the room while her

friend was out for most of the day. The library was the perfect place

for her. It was quiet and she always had something to do to occupy her

time there. She also took the opportunity to meet with everyone she

could to make sure she would be able to rejoin her classmates for the

spring semester. Fortunately, none of the classes she ended up not

completing this semester were required prerequisites for her spring

classes. Getting early confirmation that she would be able to get back

to normal and continue on with her studies in the next semester took a

load off her mind.

Getting those worries out of her mind only made more room for other

sorts of concerns to move to the forefront. Those worries were the main

reason she really pushed herself to get over here to see Dr. Charlotte.

Her dreams had gone from strange to terrifying and emotionally

scarring. Even when she could not remember all of the details of the

dream — it was not the sort of thing she tried to remember and she dared

not repeat what she dreamed to her friends — she still found herself

feeling overly anxious.

She needed to talk about it. She realized holding it inside made it

all that much worse. Talking about it with her friends at college seemed

out of the question. They would ask too many questions. She did not

have the answers. What she needed herself was answers. Her friends were

possibly even more in the dark than she was at this point. At least she

had the advantage of having thought about this for hours upon hours

every day and having talked through some of her current issues with Dr.

Charlotte. The friends she had around her to confide in had neither of

those advantages. There would be a lot of questions that would do her no

good. She needed to have her own questions answered rather than

fielding questions when there was no hope of getting greater insight

into her problem.

When she noticed the train was growing close to her stop she tried to

regain her composure. She could hide her distress well enough while

sitting on the train, but in the station and on the walk down to the bus

stop she would be widely visible to the general public and the idea of

an unknown number of strangers seeing her in a visible state of distress

scared her more than just about anything. She would rather hold all of

the stuff that was bother her in than let people know something was

bothering her and have that get to her too.

She knew this would probably end up giving her enough material for a

dozen more appointments with Dr. Charlotte. It was not exactly the

problem she needed to be fixed immediately, but seeing as her fear of

sharing her worries was at least tangentially relate to the things she

worried about she had a feeling they would need to be addressed at some

point. She was just glad she already knew someone who could help her get

through it professionally rather than just relying on her friend who

did not really understand where she was coming from and gave her advice

that really did not apply to her based on her own personality and

personal feelings.

The bus ride was shorter than the train ride. She had an easier time

coping with it now. She could keep her thoughts under control because

she knew she would have the chance to unburden everything that had been

weighing on her mind lately in just a few minutes. That made it all

better to a degree. The parts that were not better were at least put on

hold for the time being because she could see a time when she would be

better able to deal with the troubles on her mind.

As luck would have, her bus managed to be delayed just enough so she

got off at her stop when her appointment was supposed to start. She got

off the bus and ran to the office building. She ran the entire way and

much to her own surprise she ended up being only five minutes late to

her appointment.

She sat down opposite Dr. Charlotte with her heart still racing, out

of breath. As usual, the doctor seemed completely at ease. While still

appearing empathetic and willing to listen she seemed to be less than

concerned by the way Rina entered the office. She behaved in exactly the

way Rina hoped a doctor would act. She was an excellent listener, and

she never gave advice where it was not wanted and needed, and somehow

she knew without being asked when the time for advice had arrived.

After all of the thought she put into what she would say, Rina found

herself stalling and stuttering as she tried to find a way to get those

words from her head and out her mouth. She could practically see her

chance to unburden herself to the one person she could trust to listen

and only provide advice if it was of a sort that could be genuinely

useful slipping through her fingertips.

She heard hear words faltering as her thoughts fell apart on her. It

was all too much happening at once. Even with a plan she could still get

messed up by something as simple as her bus being late. The run had

managed to jostle the order of everything she wanted to say from a well

formed and thought out discussion of her experiences and her dreams to a

jumbled mess of fragmented ideas that would make no sense in their

current state.

She stopped and took a deep breath to clear her thoughts and tried

again. This time she just tried to get herself back to a more orderly

place rather than trying to pretend nothing had gone wrong in the first

place. Getting the thoughts out of her head and finally expressed took

priority over imagining more ideal circumstances for the start of this

appointment. Nothing could change the way things already were, but she

could hopefully gain some peace of mind by finding a way for a better

future to happen.

With a clearer mind, she found a better grip on what she needed to do

to make this appointment worth her time. A lot of terrible, awful

things had been happening inside her own head lately. She needed to know

why, where those sort of ideas were coming from, and how she could make

them go away.

Once she started talking she found details from her dreams that she

had not even recalled before now. That made her feel as though she was

actually making this all up. How could she talk about things she did not

remember unless she was making up as she went along? The things she

found herself saying did not feel like lies, though. They fit right

along with the dreams she had and were more gruesome than she thought

she would be able to ever imagine on her own.

That brought to one of her biggest questions. How could she dream

about something she did not even know existed before the dreams started


Soon enough she found her way back to spilling out the words again.

Charlotte knew everything there was to know about the dreams Rina had

been having lately and the way it had changed the way she thought about

the world. She found herself worrying about the sort of things that

never really concerned her before. She felt as though she was jumping at

her own shadow. It was not the sort of thing she thought she was

capable of doing.

Getting all of her worries out there in the open once and for all at

least left her with a feeling of relief. Somehow without her even

realizing it, these worries and notions had wormed their way into her

brain and worn away at her self-confidence until she felt as though she

was jumping at shadows.

Now she just hoped talking about it would end up making her feel like

she was getting back to normal again. The downward spiral her dreams

had sent her on lately made her wonder if she could even trust her own

judgment about anything. Not trusting herself meant she had to rely

entirely on the opinion of someone she could trust. Right now the only

person who knew enough to be able to help was Dr. Charlotte. She just

hoped that she had enough of her senses remaining to her to make a sound

judgment on the doctor’s character and actual ability to help.

* * *

After sleeping so much over the course of several days bed time

proved to be a rather difficult time for Yuzuki. She surprised herself

by actually feeling tired,b but she could not get herself to fall

asleep. There was just no signal going to her brain that it was time to

stop for the day and let her rest. She hoped that her body had not grown

accustomed to the medication for sleep because she had already vowed

that she was done with the stuff. She needed to deal with things as they

came rather than avoid them.

She just wished she could go to sleep though. She was so tired and

laying in the dark with nothing better to do than think led her mind to

all sorts of dark places. Those places just threw her into a downward

spiral and she could not handle that sort of mental exertion at the

moment. She knew she needed rest to heal and getting herself all worked

up was no way to get that rest.

Tossing and turning only managed to make her wiggle her way out of

her blanket, which she immediately regretted because this night was

particularly chilly. She got her bed back into order as quickly as she

could in the dark, but by the time it was done her bed was quite chilly.

There almost seemed like no point in getting back in bed. It was no

longer warm and she was in no way able to sleep at the moment.

When she closed her eyes and tried to fall asleep she ended up seeing

and feeling half-remembered hands groping at her body. She shuddered at

the thought. Allowing herself to get into that sort of mind space was

not doing her any good. She needed to feel safe so she could get some

real sleep rather than experience any more lucid nightmares.

The worst part was not being sure if she was remembering something

that had really happened or if this was her brain trying to fill in the

blanks for the time she had no way of remembering. She knew she had been

knocked unconscious for a while. She still had a bump on the back of

her head to show for it. She had had a headache for two days straight

thanks to it and that was in part what had started her on her habit of

constantly taking some medicine for the pain.

That pain was gone now. Physically she still ached and her bruises

were still quite tender to the touch, but she could definitely say she

was on the mend and being young was definitely on her side on this one.

She was bouncing back and she was fairly confident that with a bit more

time she could at least put the physical effects of it all in the past.

Her mind drifted to other effects of her assault. She would have to

take more of that disgusting concoction Souma had created tomorrow. She

had hoped at least a bit that there would be almost instantaneous signs

that it had worked, but so far there was no sign of her having her cycle

jump started. She hoped it would happen soon so she could stop worrying

about it, and so she would not have to drink any more of her medicine

for it.

The moon was out and providing at least a bit of light so she could

see around the room. Souma’s bed was against the opposite wall and he

was already sleeping soundly. She could not begrudge him for his sleep.

He had hardly slept at all for days. He should probably sleep all day

tomorrow to make up for it, but she knew he would not do that and would

probably be up before her and work all day again. He was tough like that

and dedicated to his responsibilities. At the same time, he would

probably deny her any responsibility for her usual chores and would

probably try to do them all for her. She promised herself she would try

to do as many of them as she could anyway just to make things a little

bit easier on him.

She knew the sleeping thing was not going to work for her when she

realized she had been sitting on top of her bed all of this time instead

of being nestled inside of her covers where she could at least be warm.

She was afraid to get back into bed. That was where the bad thoughts

had come to her. The bed was tainted, at least for now. She could not

sleep there even if her brain was ready for sleep now.

On top of being tired, now she was cold. This night was just not

going her way. She did not know what else she could do. If she had the

energy she would just go find something productive to do elsewhere at

least so she would stop feeling so cold. She was too cold to sit still,

that was for sure.

Souma’s bed looked warm, and she would not have to be afraid over

there. She would not be alone. He would protect her from anything and

everything that might come to hurt her. She was confident that included

awful, insidious thoughts in her own mind.

Now she just needed to figure out how to bed get into the sanctuary

that was Souma’s bed. He was already there himself so space would be

limited. He himself was the most important part of the equation so close

quarters were not truly a setback. She mostly needed to decide if she

should wake him up first or just go for it and climb into his bed and

explain everything when he woke up, which he most likely would do

instantly because she did not imagine that he was particularly used to

having anyone climbing into his bed while he slept. If she did decide to

just climb in there was a chance that he might react negatively. Then

again, he might react badly if she woke him up as well.

Her feet were too cold for her to keep worrying about this. She

decided to just go for it and get in his bed. At least there she would

be warm and safe from the dark thoughts.

She tiptoed across the room and slipped under the covers as quickly

as possible so she did not disturb him by letting in any more  cold air

than was absolutely necessary. She laid there perfectly still and did

not even dare to breathe at first because she did not know what would

happen next.

Of all the things she had expected she had not anticipated him

putting an arm around her to pull her closer and mumbling in her ear,

“Your feet are cold.”

She had expected a question at least. All she got was a very mildly

worded complaint that was most likely said to her without him even being

fully awake. He was not wrong though. She knew she had been cold, but

in his bed she realized she had been freezing. He was so warm he might

as well be on fire. She hesitantly snuggled closer, just to warm up that

was all it was for, and his arm tightened around her. Of all the places

she had imagined she would end up she had never thought she would end

up pinned tight to Souma’s chest while he continued to sleep as though

there was nothing the least bit strange about what was happening at the


Her heart was pounding so hard she was sure he would feel it and wake

up, but that did not happen either. None of her predictions were coming

true tonight.

He nuzzled his face into her hair. “It’s okay, Yuzu,” he whispered.

“Okay,” she agreed.

“Some nights I don’t want to be alone either.”

She nodded.

His hand slowly started to stroke her hair. She found it very

relaxing and soon her eyelids started to grow heavy. She just had to

wonder how he was able to do and say those things while as far as she

could tell he was still just as asleep as ever. None of it really

mattered though because it worked and she was  able to relax and fall

asleep finally.