Chapter 2:


The Night is Ours

Three days had passed since I faced my own nightmare, as I like to call it. Despite still having the dagger, and despite wearing the watch at all times as a precaution, I still didn't understand the reasoning behind why I was given them. Surely, it wasn't just for that fight.
However, it had solidified the notion that I wanted to do something about my scores, and how I overworked for them. As a result, I decided to take a couple of days off of studying at home just to relax, recover and get myself ready.
Yet, despite how I was feeling for the time being, the thought struggled to leave my mind. I still had no idea who this man is, or why I hadn't met him again. I still had almost no idea what my power was, despite using it for a brief moment the other day. The mysteries kept eating away at my concentration.
The thing is, I didn't even have anyone to talk about it with. I couldn't tell Saki or Kazuto; I didn't want to involve them in something potentially dangerous. Although, I somehow doubt they'd even believe me in the first place.
"Jin? You okay, man?"
The call of my name brought me back out of my own thoughts. It was lunchtime, and I was sitting on the roof of the school with Kazuto and Saki. Normally, we wouldn't be allowed up here, but Saki was part of the astronomy club and had special access. The warm early June air made the atmosphere feel comforting, and we could hear the sound of other students messing around.
"O-oh yeah, I'm okay. I was just thinking about something." I replied, almost tripping on my words.
"Jin, you've seemed kind of out of it recently. Are you sure you're okay?" Saki asked with a concerned tone.
I couldn't tell them about what actually happened, but I didn't want them to be too worried about me.
"Yeah, I'm fine. My results kind of just got to my head, you know?"
I guess that isn't a total lie.
"Yeah, I feel you, but you've got next time." reassured Kazuto, with a gentle smile that looked almost out of nature for him.
"Thanks." I replied, with a small smile.
The atmosphere felt somewhat heavy, but judging on how the others were acting, it was probably just in my head.
Maybe I should just forget about it. It seems like I've been good at pushing my problems back recently.
There was a sudden loud 'ding', and Saki swiftly pulled out her phone. With a sudden change in expression, she quickly jumped up.
"Is everything okay, Saki?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah, I just remembered my friend needed help with something. Homework or something." Saki let out an awkward laugh.
"You need help with it?"
"I'm okay, but thanks, Jin. I'll see you guys later then, I guess. I'll lock the door myself later."
With a small smile and wave, Saki energetically walked into the door back into the school.
"She doesn't know how to say no, huh." Kazuto said.
"Yeah, I guess it's part of her nature. She's too kind."
"Yeah. Anyway, about her, when are you gonna ask her out? I swear she's into you, man."
"I doubt it."
More accurately, I wasn't sure. I did doubt she liked me, because her bright personality and kindness were just things that made her.
However, in a way, I did want to believe Kazuto, because he isn't the type to lie about something like this.
That being said, I don't think I'd ever asked him if he felt that way towards anyone.
"Kazuto, do you have anyone on your mind?"
Kazuto took a moment to think.
"Kinda, yeah. Some girl in our year from the archery club, her name's Horikawa-san." he said, with a small smile.
"What's she like?"
"She's cool. She helps boxing club out sometimes. She's pretty as hell, too."
I felt myself blushing slightly. Not because of the thought of Horikawa; I didn't even know whst she looked like.
"Man, I bring up some other chick and you forget about Saki-chan." assumed Kazuto. 
"Actually, what you said reminded me of Saki."
"You really like her, huh. Even other girls make you think of her?"
"Yeah, she's just the sort of person I couldn't replace, you know?" I replied with a smile and a blush.
"I get it. Things'll work out between you guys, trust me, man."
"Yeah, same for you and Horikawa-san."
"Excuse me, but I believe I heard my name."
An unfamiliar voice travelled through the air from the doorway. It was as smooth as silk, but as equally cold as ice.
I looked over to the roof entrance, to see the stunning figure of a girl standing in the sun. Her stern red eyes were pointed in our direction, and her straight dark brown hair flew with the breeze. She was also fairly tall for a girl, although a little shorter than me.
"Oh, what's up, Horikawa-san?" said Kazuto, completely unconcerned about how she came at such a perfect time.
"Good afternoon, Nakano-kun." Horikawa said with a small, almost completely unnoticeable smile. "It would be nice to talk, but I'm here for other reasons."
Horikawa swiftly pointed a finger directly towards me. "You must be Yamaoka-san, correct?"
"Uh, yeah. Do you need me for anything?" I asked while standing up.
"Well, I do have some things I would like to discuss with you. Nakano-kun, would you mind if we had a moment alone?"
"A moment alone...?" Kazuto was perplexed. "Jin, have you even met Horikawa-san before!?"
"I assure you that we haven't met previously, Nakano-kun. In fact, I don't believe I've actually introduced myself."
Horikawa bowed politely. "My name is Futaba Horikawa. It's a pleasure to meet you."
The formality was somewhat difficult to react to, and I found myself even struggling how to introduce myself. She was basically the opposite of Kazuto, but I guess opposites attract.
"Y-yeah. I'm Jin Yamaoka, but you can call me Jin, if you like. It's nice to meet you too, Horikawa-san."
"In that case, feel free to call me Futaba, Jin-kun." Futaba smiled politely at me, but I could feel Kazuto's mind getting even more fried by the second.
"G-g-given names already..!?" he said, surprised. Futaba seemed somewhat confused.
"Oh, you may call me Futaba as well, if you would like to, Nakano-kun."
"Y-yeah... you can call me Kazuto, I guess..." Kazuto didn't know how to react anymore. "I-I'll just go..."
Kazuto slowly got up, and with an awkward laugh through a tired face, he slowly walked out of the roof, leaving me and Futaba alone.
In a way, I was confused myself, but I had a feeling that talking to Futaba may be for a reason. Futaba walked up to me, her eyes fixated on my wrist.
"Jin-kun, may I ask you a question about your watch?" she asked suddenly.
"Yeah, what about it?"
"Do you happen to know it's brand?"
I didn't really understand why she was asking, although in hindsight, it was kind of obvious. Of course, I was being put on the spot, though.
That being said, I didn't know myself, but it probably wouldn't be wise to tell her the truth.
"I'm not sure, actually. I was given it as a gift." I lied, while taking off the watch. I flipped it around to read the brand name, but if anything, it just made me more confused.
"Dream Catchers...?" I read out loud. It sounded like a knock off brand you'd see at a market somewhere.
However, to my surprise, Futaba sighed in relief. "It's comforting to hear I'm not alone, then." she said.
"Not alone...?" I asked.
"Jin-kun, am I correct in thinking that you met the man in your dreams as well?"
That's when it clicked. Futaba was also part of this. 
Part of me felt relieved that someone my age was part of this, but at the same time, I barely knew Futaba.
"Y-yeah. I had to fight some crazy thing, as well."
"Indeed. It was of a large fear or insecurity of yours, correct?"
Futaba sighed again in relief, and wore a small smile on her face.
"Jin-kun, I don't believe you would understand how this makes me feel. The other members are of a slightly older age than us, and in addition, you're a friend of Kazuto-kun, who is a very kind person. I have faith that you will be a valuable member of Dream Catchers." she said, with a less cold tone.
A member of Dream Catchers? This was the first I was hearing of this.
"Futaba-san, what did you mean by me being a member?" I asked, confused.
"I apologise, it seems that it hasn't been explained to you yet. In that case, would you be able to join us in a meeting tonight?"
"I still don't understand..."
Futaba took a short moment to think. "I have an idea, but could you please trust me, Jin-kun?"
"Sure...?" Futaba's wording was making me feel slightly skeptical.
"If you could meet me by the school gates at ten-o-clock, I will take you to the meeting. You may need to inform your parents that you'll be staying over at Kazuto-kun's house."
In my mind, this seemed kind of sketchy, but did I really have any choice? I still don't understand this power, I have a strange watch and I don't understand what other use I'd need of a dagger.
This may be the only opportunity I have to understand. Whether it was sketchy or not, I wanted to go anyway.
"Yeah, I'll sort it out, I guess." I replied, after a moment of thought.
"I'm glad to hear that, Jin-kun." Futaba stood up and bowed politely, with a small smile. I smiled back, but I realised something.
"By the way, Futaba-san, how did you know I was up here. It's not like you knew I was friends with Kazuto, or... wait."
I looked down at Futaba's wrist, and saw she was also wearing a watch, similar to mine; the only difference being the hands were red on hers, rather than light blue on mine.
"Does this watch have a GPS or something?"
Futaba smiled. "Indeed, as well as... actually, why don't we keep that part a secret until later?"
"Uh, sure." I replied, slightly confused.
Futaba bowed once more. "Thank you, Jin-kun. Now, before I go back to class, may I ask what you were talking about with Kazuto-kun?"
Should I tell her? Or should I lie?
You know what, Kazuto is my best friend. I should help him out a little.
"Futaba-san, what do you think of Kazuto?"
She seemed to be a little taken aback by my question, and took a moment to think.
"Kazuto-kun is very kind, and I will admit, if I was to have a 'type', as people say, I figure he would fit it." Futaba replied, a very slight blush on her face. "Why do you ask?"
"Don't worry about it. I think you might find out soon, anyway." I said, with a smile.
I should message Kazuto later. He owes me for this.

The time was exactly nine fifty-seven. I managed to convince my parents to let me 'have a sleepover'.
In all honesty, I was terrified. I didn't know what to expect. Despite how Futaba came across as earlier, I still felt somewhat uneasy. 
However, the dagger and the watch had been on my mind for days. If there was any opportunity for me to take, this would be the one.
In addition, it was interesting seeing the school at this hour. With only the street lighting, it gave off a completely different vibe to that of the daytime, amplified by the music in my earphones.
A gentle tap on my shoulder snapped me out of my thoughts, making me jump slightly. I pulled out my earphones.
"Good evening, Jin-kun. Thank you for being able to join me." said Futaba, a small smile on her face. Dressed with a dark red jumper and black jeans to fit, I felt somewhat underdressed with my white hoodie.
"Hey, Futaba-san. And it's okay." I replied with an awkward smile.
"You seem somewhat nervous. Do you want to save this for another time?" she asked, with a concerned tone.
"No, don't worry. Let's just do this now."
I had practically no other choice now that I'm this far in.
"I see. Well, I believe you already know that the watch's main functions only work when 'the sun isn't visible', as Kouji says."
"Yeah, I remember that."
Flashbacks played in my mind about that dream. That man must be called Kouji, then.
"It would be more accurate to say that the watch's main functions only work after dusk." Futaba explained. "To go to our headquarters, you will have to do this. Follow me please, Jin-kun."
Futaba's eyes darted around the street, presumably to ensure nobody else was around. Then, she spun the watch until it clicked, like how I did it the other day. The only difference being, Futaba seemed much more experienced.
The world around us, once again, started to flicker. Objects once again began to disappear.
Wait a moment, this was way too familiar. A sudden fear rushed through me.
"Futaba-san... won't we have to fight something now?" I asked with a worried tone.
"No, no. This is different, Jin-kun."
The flickering stopped, and this time, I managed to take a moment to process the world around me.
The world itself looked the same. The buildings were all in the same place. Even the road markings were there.
But, it felt strange. It was almost like there was a filter affecting the entire world. Everything was slightly brighter and easier to see, but it sounded way too quiet.
"Futaba-san, where are we?" I asked. This new look was so weird to me, it was still processing in my mind.
Futaba repeated the watch action before answering.
"This is the world where you would fight those nightmares. Kouji calls it Somnus. He tells us that it's a Latin word, meaning slumber."
A new world?
My heart started to race. I had no idea what was happening. Futaba, on the other hand, seemed normal.
"This... this is crazy." I trembled.
"Don't worry, Jin-kun. This world is perfectly safe when you're out of battle, as long as you stay away from nightmares during your time here." Futaba reassured.
I took a deep breath, before letting out a heavy sigh.
Am I worrying too much?
Whatever my answer was, I was slightly calmer.
"I should explain one more thing, Jin-kun."
"What is it?"
"When you turn your watch once, it places you in this world temporarily. As a result, you can only stay in here for five minutes if you use that, because it runs off of collected solar power to keep you connected to the real world. If you turn your watch once more, you will be disconnected from that world. This uses some of your solar power, so make sure you have a sufficient amount before you come to Somnus."
"... I see. It probably works the other way too, right?"
"Correct. If your watch has at least fifty percent of it's solar power remaining, you should be able to make a return trip to Somnus."
"Right. How do I check how much power I have left?"
"Your watch is touch screen, Jin-kun. But, I believe you should experiment with that at another time."
Futaba swiftly turned and headed through the school gates, which were apparently open. I quickly followed her, still trying to process just how much power this watch had.

Walking through the school at this hour, let alone in a different dimension, was absolutely terrifying. Everything felt so wrong about the situation. No loud chatting, no sound of teaching, no club activities. It just felt wrong.
From following Futaba, we found ourself in a classroom in the far end of the top floor. From how it looked, I doubted any class even used it. It seemed strangely deserted, and while a few chairs were set out, there were no resources anywhere.
Besides that, however, the link between here and the real world felt oddly weak. While I still didn't understand Somnus well, this room gave off an aura that felt more like it didn't even exist between the two worlds.
When I entered, there was one thing I noticed. The shadow that had occupied my mind for days was standing in front of me, at the class podium. This time, I could see him clearly.
'Kouji' was quite a lot older than me and Futaba; he must have been in his thrities. While he was dressed smartly with a suit and tie, he was a tall, skinny man and his messy black hair resembled that of a mad scientist. His slightly empty grey eyes didn't help this case much either.
"I see we have met yet again, Yamaoka-san." he spoke with a smirk, as I entered. "I take it that Futaba-san has explained to you the meaning of this world."
"Yes, she did. Are you Kouji?"
"Indeed I am, Yamaoka-san. Kouji Kotemori is my name, but the others often call me 'Leader'." Kouji replied, with a chuckle.
"With all due respect, Kouji, nobody calls you that." Futaba stated coolly.
"Futaba-san, you're as serious as ever." Kouji said.
"What is this room?" I asked.
"Ah, I see you have noticed. It doesn't feel the same, does it?" Kouji chuckled. "This is a rare place where Somnus has an 'error', as I like to call it. A place that does not exist in our world, yet does here."
"... is that good, or bad?"
"Yamaoka-san, think of this room like a secret. This place is unknown to anyone, yet we can keep ourselves safe because it's existence is unknown."
"I don't know if I understand..."
"Don't worry, Jin-kun. Everyone struggles in some way at first." Futaba said with a reassuring smile.
She was right. Whatever this is, I'm still new to it.
I took another deep breath. As I did so, two of the manliest looking people I'd ever seen walked into the room.
Both of these guys were really tall, but also very well built. If I were to guess, they were probably in their mid 20s. They were dressed the same and looked the same, too, with straight blonde hair that sat on top of both of their heads, and emerald green eyes. There was no way they weren't twins.
However, what I instantly noticed was their different demeanours. The guy on the left looked almost as if he got a kick out of this. He seemed pumped up and ready for anything that could come his way.
On the other hand, the guy on the right seemed much calmer, and possibly even worried. Maybe he was a rookie to this, but the way he acted seemed more like he was dragged into this situation.
"Well, it seems you two have arrived." Kouji remarked.
Futaba tapped me lightly on the shoulder, and gestured to talk quietly.
"What's up?" I asked.
"These people are the Honjo twins. On the left is Ken, whereas the man on the right is Gen. Please be careful not to get them mixed up, they are quite sensitive to this." she replied.
I nodded, and looked over at them. Ken was enthusiastically talking to Kouji, who was now away from the podium, about something which I couldn't quite make out, whereas Gen was sitting down in one of the chairs, watching them in a slight anxiousness.
I decided to take a seat, and Kouji soon made his way back up to the podium. "Okay, I believe now may be a good time to start this meeting."
When I heard those words, I remembered the fight from the other day again.
The mysteries surrounding it were finally about to be solved.
I may be nervous, but right now, I want to understand.Bookmark here


The Night is Ours

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