Private Finished Stories About the Boogeyman

Keen

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Empathy was something Sprinkles struggled with. It wasn't that he couldn't empathize. It was that his empathy was very selective and tended to be something he had to focus on to understand. That was why he forced himself to understand what Ganymede was going through. He was a child that suffered in a way Sprinkles couldn't imagine. Him not being able to properly imagine it was precisely why he felt so disconnected.

That didn't excuse the callous way he was treating Gany. Unable to truly understand how much pain Gany was in, Sprinkles did what he felt was best: he went to hug the young NEK0 to soothe his fears.

"It's okay. Your fears are completely justified. Because he's not doing anything now doesn't mean what he did before is okay. It doesn't mean you have to pretend it's okay and that you're okay. I'm happy you told me how you feel."
 

Kait

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Ganymede was just coming to terms with the idea that he shouldn't worry, that it was fine, when Sprinkles came in for the hug. And after all that effort spent convincing Ganymede otherwise, Sprinkles told him that his fears were justified.

The idea that he shouldn't worry wouldn't have sit right with him. This didn't sit right with him either. He still returned the hug, his arms wrapping around Sprinkles, feeling distressed and confused. And maybe a little better?

"...I won't pretend. Even if everyone else kind of has to." It was occurring to Ganymede that Tieragoran had been pardoned. That was sort of like pretending it was okay.

"B-but... If my fears are justified, then, shouldn't we do something about it? Like warning the others?"
 

Keen

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This was awkward for Sprinkles. He was trying to calm Ganymede down about something he wasn't too concerned about, while also not outright lying to him or belittling his feelings. Why were children so hard to understand? Why were people so hard to understand?

"Warning the others that Tieragoran is on the island and he might be seen once in a while? I wouldn't want to cause unnecessary fear, but..." Sprinkles and Natsuki were certainly caught off guard when they learned who he was, "it might be a good idea. Give them a rundown of his relationships with the NEK0s and let them decide on how to handle things."
 

Kait

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"Okay..." Ganymede said. Sprinkles calling his fear 'unnecessary' was the real answer to his question.

He realized he was pretty much in Sprinkles' face right now, and it was getting uncomfortable sitting on the desk part of this desk. He disappeared for a moment, and when he reappeared, he was sitting in the chair part of a desk, letting out a long breath. Deflating. "I'll tell any of the ones I meet, then..."

He didn't feel good about this, and it bothered him. If anything, he should be happy, or relieved, because Tieragoran wasn't the threat Ganymede thought he was. But instead, he felt horrible.
 

Keen

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Ganymede still didn't look satisfied with Sprinkles' advice. Sprinkles wondered if he said something wrong, but even if he said every right thing, the subject was always going to be grim. Ganymede would always have memories of what Tieragoran did to the past NEK0s. That wasn't going to change.

"Hey, it looks like you still got some stuff on your mind. Do you want to talk about it? If not, we could, uh, always go get something to eat. I don't mind paying." He definitely minded, but he didn't feel right leaving Gany to sulk by himself.
 

Kait

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"I'm not hungry," he answered.

He was silent for a moment, and then he let it out:

"I sleep sometimes. And... sometimes I get nightmares. The one I get the most is where I'm back at the trading post, and they make me clean up after him again." He took a breath, and it shook. "But when I get there, I can tell it was someone I know. From the... hair, and parts he leaves behind, or the other things left in the room. Sometimes in the dream it was you. It'd be easy to tell, from your hair..."

He swallowed.
 

Keen

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Why did Ganymede have to be a child? If he was older, Sprinkles would have had no trouble showing his discomfort and walking away. But children needed to be handled carefully. Traumatized children moreso. They needed care Sprinkles did not have.

But what was he going to do? Panic?

No. He was going to work through this.

Initially, Sprinkles looked horrified. His mouth hung open as he searched for the proper words to respond with. Then he realized his expression might add to Ganymede's fear. First, he shut his mouth, then he forced his body to relax and gave Ganymede a sympathetic look

"Ganymede that's... that's awful... I wish I knew what to say..." He really didn't, and an awkward silence began to linger. After a while, Sprinkles suggested Ganymede talk to his therapist about his nightmares, his fears, his... everything. All of this needed to be discussed by someone much smarter than him.
 
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