"A shape?"

"Yeah, that's what I said."

"Apologies, I meant to ask if you could clarify that statement."

I let out a groan as I let my head settle against the couch, rubbing my eyes tiredly as I heard the shifting of papers.

"I understand that this is a difficult subject to approach, Miss Lovett, but you must do so with patience and the understanding that this will not be solved with minimal effort." Doctor Folbrook offered, seated in his chair beside the couch I was spread out across.

"…I know. I just don't know what to tell you, doc." I let out a breath, staring at the ceiling. "These dreams, I can't make sense of them."

"Well, let us start at the beginning." He suggested, adjusting his thick, round glasses and looking at his notepad. "In one of your dreams, you told me you were running through a forest at night with someone. Do you know who that other individual was?"

I hesitated to answer, instead counting the ticking clock nearby for a few moments before tacitly choosing my words.

"My brother, Theodore." I sighed. "I haven't spoken to him in…God, it's been over five years."

"I see…and tell me, what did you feel in that dream? What state was your brother in?" Scribbling on his notepad, Folbrook leaned forward, prodding me with his eyes to answer.

"…I felt unease. Not fear or terror, I don't really feel…nevermind. Point is, I wasn't scared." I silently cursed at myself, the less that the therapist knew about my true nature, the better. "He looked terrified. All cut up and bleeding."

"I see. You were running through the forest, and then…?"

"I remember hearing from Theodore that it was getting closer." I fidgeted in my seat slightly, feeling my heart beginning to beat faster. "…And…well, I looked back."

"That is when you saw it? This…'shape'?" He asked interestedly.

"Yeah. It was just…the shape of a person. Black and without detail, in the distance. Unnerving maybe, but…the moment I saw it, I woke up." I admitted. "My heart was pounding and I was sweating like crazy."

Writing in silence for a short period, Folbrook finally took a deep breath and stood from his chair. I shifted my eyes to meet him, sitting back up on the couch.

"I can't say what that shape really might be, Miss Lovett, but from what you've told me, you suffer a great deal of regret regarding the loss of contact with your brother. This isn't the first time you've mentioned him in our sessions, particularly in regards to your early life." Folbrook explained, eying his notepad. "You leaned on him emotionally in a difficult point in your life, and perhaps your subconscious still strives to view that relationship as it once was: you and him against the world, or so you may have felt then."

I quietly got to my feet, closing my eyes as he gently placed a hand on my shoulder.

"You cannot run from painful moments in your past, Miss Lovett. If it is at all possible, I urge you to reconnect with your brother. It would be a significant weight taken off your mind, and I would imagine that he would be overjoyed to see you again." He spoke carefully, letting go of me as I walked towards the door, sucking in my breath as I grabbed the door handle.

"…Thanks for your time, doc." I turned, nodding with the best fake smile I could muster up before opening the door and leaving Doctor Folbrook's office before he could answer.

Heading out onto the streets, I kicked the side of a nearby trashcan with a frustrated yell. "Fuck!"

Magic, dimension-hopping abilities, complete immunity to death, and even a cool-ass sword to carry around, and I still couldn't open up emotionally, much less admit out loud that I missed my brother.

Ignoring the looks of passerbys as I stormed down the streets, grumbling to myself, I could feel my eyes burning. Fumbling for the pair of sunglasses in my pocket, I slid them on.

"Last thing I need is for me to end up on the news as that girl with glowing purple eyes." Feeling my breathing heightening as I made my way into a convenience store, I sighed as I picked out a bag of jerky and briefly slid it across the counter towards the bored-looking cashier.

Ignoring whatever he said as I boiled in my own thoughts, I threw a ten dollar bill across the counter and walked out with my purchase, clawing open the jerky and shoveling the first piece I could grip into my mouth.

I made it a short distance from the store before I finally slowed my pace, closing my eyes in despair as I found myself gazing up at a familiar sight, the sign that read 'Mike's Car Repair' and the unmistakable smell of oil and grease that permeated my senses.

Discreetly walking towards the other end of the street, I sat down at a bus stop, staring desperately for any sign…only to feel my grip on the bag of jerky tighten as I saw him.

Theodore Lovett, the mechanic. Taller and far more well-built than I remembered him from years ago, of course, but it was him. His hair was a bit longer, but it remained clean-cut, and he had grown a small beard.

Of course, this wasn't the first time I'd watched him. Nor was it the second, or the third.

I wanted to approach him and say hello. More than anything I'd wanted since I became the Dark Oracle. I wanted to say that I was sorry for disappearing, that I was sorry I took so long to come back.

But how could I ever expect him to understand, much less forgive me?