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dreams and demons

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Shaolin sits on the edge of the table overlooking the two lawn chairs. As Dizzee and Zeke settle down in them, he says:

“You two go under and take a look at the layout. I’ll come in later with our new team member.”

Dizzee nods and sticks the needle into his arm, wrapping the bracelet holding it in around his wrist. He lies down and quickly drifts off.

He wakes up in a maze, with ivy covered stone walls. Zeke stands next to him, grinning proudly at his work. He’s the best architect in the world, and it shows. Dizzee has been Shao’s point man almost as long as zeke has been their architect. They’re missing a forger, which is the position Dizzee presumes this new person will fill. Boo acts as their chemist, under Ra Ra’s tutelage, but only rarely goes into the field, as his brothers worry about his safety.

Dizzee looks around at the maze, at the gloomy, overcast sky and the crows peering down at him from the walls.

“Trying to scare our mark, are we?”

Zeke nods.

“Let’s put it this way, the man has a nervous disposition.”

Before Dizzee can respond, there’s the swooshing noise that means new people have entered the dream space. He turns to face Shao, and another man. This man is white and wrinkled, with grey hair. He doesn’t look like the type of person who should be out in the field. Shao turns to look at the man, grinning like there’s something entertaining about him. Then he turns back to
Dizzee and Zeke and says:

“Zeke, Dizzee, meet Thor.”

Nice name, thinks Dizzee. The old man smiles and reaches out to shake Dizzee’s hand. As their hands meet, the man’s form flickers and suddenly dizzee Is shaking hands with a beautiful blonde woman in a red dress. He jumps slightly but quickly understands what’s happened.

“You’re our forger.”

The woman smiles earnestly and says:

“And you’re the point man, if I’ve heard correctly?”

Dizzee nods.

“So Thor, is this your true form?”

Thor flickers again, become a small child. Shao laughs and says:

“Thor likes to show off his prowess before you see his true form. It’s a good first impression.”

The child shrugs and says:

“I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic. But…”

He transforms again, this time into a young man with long blond hair falling about his shoulders.

“Here I am.”

Dizzee hasn’t expected him to be quite so handsome, somehow. Thor steps past Dizzee to shake Zeke’s hand as well. He says to zeke:

“Nice maze! Quite an aesthetic going on.”

Zeke smiles at the compliment and replies:

“Thanks. It’s one of my favorites!”

Shao steps into the middle of the group and raises his voice to address them.

“Alright. Let’s talk over the plan. Dizzee and Thor you’ll distract the mark in the maze. Do your best to be horrifying, Thor! And meanwhile zeke and I will get into the safe room in the middle of the maze to find the information.”

Everyone nods; the plan isn’t exactly hard to remember. Shao takes Zeke aside for a moment to discuss some minor changes to the maze, leaving Dizzee alone with Thor. Dizzee looks the man over, taking in the soft coat he’s wearing and the dependable workboots on his feet. Then Dizzee asks:

“So I hear you’re going to be some sort of nightmare creature for this? I didn’t know you could forge something nonhuman.”

Thor smiles and answers the question happily:

“It takes more prep work and concentration for sure, but it is doable. Would you like to see the creature?”

Dizzee nods and Thor’s form flickers, growing to be seven feet tall with shaggy hair all over his body, much like a bigfoot but with glowing eyes and massive fangs. Dizzee must admit, it takes his breath away for a moment. He says:

“I see you’re putting my research to good use. Figures he’d be afraid of bigfoot, after claiming to have seen one.”

Thor transforms back and nods.

“Your research is impressive, dizzee. It’s what will make this whole thing work.”

Dizzee smiles at the compliment and replies:

“Your work is equally impressive, Thor.”

They smile at each other for a moment. Then thor asks:

“So you know what your role is?”

Dizzee nods.

“I’ll appear to direct the creature and say some suitably terrifying stuff about how this is his dark fate and he can’t escape it.”

Thor laughs.

“Perfect.”

Then Shao returns with Zeke, who says:

“You guys ready for the tour?”

Both Thor and Dizzee nod and follow Zeke as he shows them through the maze.

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They’ve broken into the mark’s hotel room and set up their PASIV, pumping a mild sedative into the mark to make sure he stays asleep. Then they all lie down on the floor and press the needles into their arms, falling into the dream space.

Dizzee arrives next to Thor, who still appears normal, but an instant later he transforms into the creature. They give each other a “im ready” nod and then head towards where the mark should be. They peer around a corner and see him, shivering in the cold and looking up at the imposing walls around him. He already looks afraid, which bodes well for them. Dizzee gives Thor another nod and Thor begins to stomp, making it clear he’s headed towards the mark. Dizzee walks next to him, readying his evil speech. They round the corner and the mark jumps, breath stuttering as he sees them. Thor’s eyes blaze orange and he lets out a loud roar, which has the man scurrying back, arms held up protectively.

Dizzee smirks at the man and raises an arm, pointing at the mark, as he crows:

“Forwards, my creature!”

Thor takes a looming step forward and the mark screams:

“No!”

Dizzee almost laughs; this is too easy. But he focuses and begins his speech.

“Alex Williams, I have come for you. My beast will rip you limb from limb, and there is no escape. This is your dark, deserved fate!”

The mark is cowering, sobbing weakly, but suddenly he bolts, running down the hallway without looking where he’s going. Thor instantly pursues and with his much longer legs, quickly catches up to the mark. He grabs him and lifts him into the air. The man goes limp and Thor pauses, before looking back at Dizzee to say:

“He fainted.”

Dizzee does laugh, now. Then he says to Thor:

“Well, that makes our job easy. Set him down and loom over him, that way if he wakes up you’ll be the first thing he sees.”

Thor does so, and they sit a moment in silence before Dizzee blurts out:

“Will you go out on a date with me?”

Thor stares with those flaming eyes, obviously shocked, before slowly saying:

“You saw me just terrify a man into unconsciousness and that’s when you decided I was dateable material?”

Dizzee facepalms.

“I have bad timing, I know. It’s just that you’re really cute and I'd like to get to know you better.”

Thor grins a fang filled grin and rumbles:

“I would love to go on a date with you, Dizzee.”

Dizzee is grinning like a madman as shao and Zeke run around the corner, papers in their hands. They skid to a stop and Shao, always a sharp one, instantly asks Dizzee:

“What?”

Dizzee hesitates and Thor cuts in, saying:

“We’re going on a date.”

Shao laughs and says:

“Great timing, guys.”

Dizzee rolls his eyes and changes the subject:

“Did you guys get the information?”

Zeke holds up a handful of papers and says:

“Yep, all here. All we have to do now is wait.”

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Shao and Zeke stand in the small room that acts as Shao’s office, back in the real world. Thor and Dizzee have gone home, leaving them alone together. Shao is pouring a pair of drinks, one of which he then hands to Zeke. He says:

“To a successful mission.”

Zeke toasts, the glasses clinking together, and drinks. Then he speaks:

“And to a successful matchmaking.”

Shao smirks.

“I knew he was just Dizzee’s type.”

Zeke puts his glass down and pushes forward, until he’s leaning into Shao’s chest.

“As always, you were right.”

Shao hums and sets his glass down as well, before leaning in to kiss Zeke softly. Zeke melts into the touch, which despite touching Shao quite often, it feels like he can never get enough. When they pull apart, Shao asks:

“Would you like to dream together?”

Zeke smiles and nods.

“Of course.”

They leave the half full glasses behind and go to dream.

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