Hot Cocoa and Honey
Dark Pit has his first experience with nightmares. Luckily, Lady Palutena is there for him.
Characters: Dark Pit, Lady Palutena
Genre: hurt/comfort, family
Length: ~1,500 words
Takes place about a month after the events of KI:U, Dark Pit goes by the nickname 'Dart' and lives in Skyworld. Also this goes off my headcanon that Dark Pit wasn't created with as much worldly knowledge as Pit has, hence why he's unfamiliar with nightmares.
Dart bolted upright with a scream.
For a moment, he could only breathe, heart clattering against his ribs as his lungs heaved for air. He shivered as sensations of whatever he had just experienced flashed through his mind: burning heat, splashes of red, the glint of blades and talons.
A pleading voice, cut off by a gurgle.
The dark angel felt something warm and wet spilling from his eyes, and he drew his knees to his chest and hugged them in the dark.
This was the third time in his existence he had cried. The first time had been his very first night alive, after his fight with Pit in the ruins. That night had been spent crying for a number of reasons: exhaustion, anger, hunger, pain, fear of the unknown. He hadn't been created with the worldly knowledge to understand why the sun had seemingly been swallowed up by the horizon to plunge the world into darkness. The second time had been when Pit sacrificed himself to save him; the sight of the light angel's wings turned to bloody, charred stumps had been too much for him.
Now, the third time he had ever cried, it was because of the horrific sequence that had just played out across his mind. It hadn't been like any train of thought; he had been there, seen and felt and heard things.
He never wanted to experience that again.
The door to his room opened suddenly and he hid his face in the blanket.
"Dart?" It was Lady Palutena "Is everything okay?"
"I'm fine," he muttered, but the way his voice quavered said otherwise.
A weight settled on the bed next to him, and the goddess very gently pulled him into an embrace. "Tell me what's wrong," she coaxed carefully.
There was no point in hiding his tears anymore, so Dart held onto her like a lifeline and let himself cry freely. She held him tighter and rubbed circles between his wings.
"I s-saw the Chaos Kin," he hiccupped. "It-It came back, it came back and po-possessed me and-" he broke off with a sob. "It made me kill Pit."
He dissolved into tears as she cradled him to her chest and ran her fingers through his dark hair. "You're okay, Dart. You're okay. I know it was scary, but it was only a nightmare."
He blubbered something that was supposed to make sense, and she shushed him gently.
"The Chaos Kin can't get us now," she told him. 'You helped us lock it away, remember?"
He gave her a shaky nod. "I-It could still get out."
The goddess nodded after a moment. "It could," she started gently, "but that would be a long time from now. We'll be ready for it. But for now, you're safe, Pit's safe, and I'm safe too."
Dart nodded but he didn't seem very sure.
Lady Palutena offered, "We could go check on Pit, if it would make you feel better?"
After a moment's consideration, Dart nodded. The goddess lifted one of the soft blankets and draped it over his shoulders, and he pulled it tighter around himself as he got up and followed her into the hallway. It was a short walk to Pit's room: all three of their rooms were very close, to quickly reach each other at a moment's notice. Especially important considering Pit's position as her guard and captain.
At Pit's door, Lady Palutena opened it a crack and peeked in, and Dart watched a smile touch her lips. "Fell asleep gaming again, did you?" she whispered, before moving so Dart could see in.
Sure enough he could hear faint music coming from the active 3DS—the Colony 9 theme?—in his relaxed hands, though his head was buried face-first in his pillow. He snuffled slightly, white-feathered wings fluffling a bit before settling.
Dart listened to the faint, familiar guitar chords from the music before he stepped away from the door, shifting his own black-feathered wings under the blanket as Lady Palutena quietly closed the door.
"See?" she said. "Pit's fine. You have nothing to worry about."
Dart nodded, but the image of Pit dying by his own hand clung to his thoughts like a stain that refused to come out. It didn't matter how hard he scrubbed, it was still there.
There was a moment's pause before Lady Palutena asked, "Will you be able to get back to sleep?"
Dart sighed, dipping his head a bit as he looked away. "I dunno."
The goddess looked at him with a sympathetic sort of look, before it changed slightly, like a thought crossed her mind. "I think I know something that will help." With a motion to follow, she lead him through some of the temple hallways, passing some of the Centurion night guard, before they entered the kitchen.
"I'll be a minute, sit down," she said, flitting about to get various things together. Dart sat down at the island table and watched her get out a mug, pouring in a helping of hot cocoa powder and some milk before heating it with a touch of her magic. Then, she added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the drink, heated it again, then gave it a dollop of honey and a thorough stirring before handing him the drink.
"Whenever Pit or I have a nightmare, we'll make this drink to help us calm down and get back to sleep," she explained, sitting down next to him. "I figured, if it works on Pit, it'll work on you as well."
Dart accepted the drink with a small "Thanks," before blowing on it and taking a small sip.
The taste that hit his tongue was heavenly. It was rich, creamy, sugar-sweet, and it warmed him from the inside out.
"You like it?"
He nodded enthusiastically and took another larger sip, savoring the flavor and aroma. It was such a simple gesture, making special hot cocoa to ward off these 'nightmares.' It shouldn't surprise him that Lady Palutena was willing to stay awake in the middle of the night to comfort him, but it did. And, it felt nice to be included in this little ritual of hers.
After a minute of comfortable silence, he asked, "Why do nightmares happen?"
The goddess looked up in thought for a moment before responding. "Nightmares are your brain's way of addressing your fears."
"I think I already know what I'm afraid of," he huffed, and took a long sip.
She smiled and rubbed his back between his wings. "It doesn't hurt to have a reminder every once in a while, does it?"
"I guess not." He paused before asking, "Does everyone get nightmares?"
"Of course. It's just another part of life."
"... Even you?"
"Of course, Dart. Even deities such as myself get nightmares from time to time."
Dart took another sip, and leaned his head on her shoulder He blinked slowly, eyelids feeling heavy. "What are your nightmares about?"
She played with his feathers as she answered. "I have nightmares about the Underworld doing terrible things, stealing souls and unleashing monsters on the world. I have nightmares about calamity befalling the humans, destroying what they've built and wiping them out. And I have nightmares about losing you and Pit."
Dart blinked in surprise. "Me, too?"
Lady Palutena nodded. "Before you came along it was just Pit who I cared for, so I only lost him. But last time, I lost you as well." She sighed softly and rubbed his back. "Nightmares are scary to think about, and they can hold some truth, but in the end they're not real. You've got nothing to worry about, okay?"
Dart nodded and opened his mouth to respond, but broke off with a yawn.
The goddess giggled softly. "Tired?"
His eyelids drooped as he nodded. She smiled, and took his empty cocoa mug to the sink. He really liked that cocoa. It filled him up and made him feel warm and good. No wonder she only saved this stuff for bad nights.
Dart scooted himself off his chair and readjusted his blanket, declining Palutena's offer to carry him back to his room. Maybe if he was a little sleepier. She kept pace as he shuffled back to his room, journey punctuated with the occasional yawn. Once back, he felt like he could barely keep his eyelids open and climbed into bed, pulling the sheets up to his chin as she tucked him in. He felt warm and safe as she wished him goodnight before turning to leave. Dart snuggled into the blankets, but a thought occurred to him and he lifted his head before she could leave.
"Lady Palutena?" he mumbled.
She paused and glanced back to him, looking worried as though she hadn't done enough.
He told her, "Thank you."
She smiled and replied, "I'll be here any time you need it," before shutting the door. Content, Dart buried himself in the blankets, feeling himself drift off to sleep once again.
He didn't have any more nightmares that night.