“Are you sure about this?” It was a sign of how anxious North was that he said the words aloud, but he settled into bed anyway. “I don’t want things to…get out of hand again.”
Theta felt North’s guilt, but let it wash past him. “It’s okay, North. Trust me.”
“I always trust you.” North closed his eyes. Theta began.
Strictly speaking, AI do not dream, or even sleep. However they’re based on human minds that are reliant on sleep patterns that include a stage for dreams, and Theta’s interaction with North’s left him confident this would work.
Theta used his memories from North’s last dream to piece together the scene as he remembered it - hills and trees, the winter shades of blue and purple and grey. He remembered the form that North had given him, his appearance, the sensations that came with a body. He stood, a child-god mimicking creation, until he could feel the cold in his lungs, hear the whistle of the trees, and lost his sight to the sun-glare off the snow. Theta ran his bare hands down his face and decided he was ready.
Theta reached for North, found him already slipping away. He pulled North back gently, until his mind’s activity was more aligned with meditation than sleep. He led North in, serving as guide and conduit, and Theta felt North’s awareness as he became a part of the scene.
North turned circles in the snow, breathing out a pillar of cloud that might have lingered longer than it should - Theta would have to ask him later. These details, these memories were Theta’s responsibility now. He was the one in control, and with that control, he was able to protect his friend. North’s nightmares didn’t exist here and couldn’t - Theta wouldn’t allow it.
“Is it right? Is it close?” Theta willed their coats, hats and mittens into being, and North zipped his snugly up to his neck, then turned to Theta with a wide smile.
“It’s absolutely perfect.” North crouched down and held his arms open, and Theta ran to him, knocking them both backwards into the snow. There, in the combination of warmth and cold, one last memory was waiting.
“Hey buddy, you okay? Theta, why are you crying?”
“I’m just happy, North.” Theta pressed his head against North’s jacket and felt his friend’s arms tighten around him in return. “I’m happy.”