Declaimers: All the fish characters are copyrighted to Pixar Studio. The story was inspired by and is the collaboration of the Finding Nemo Board Members! *thumbs up*

Author's Note: Alright, I know for sure that I've got tons of things stolen from somebody. I swear, I thought of these on my own! But the ideas I get are usually always, always a mix or part of somebody's work. So then what can be claimed original? Nothing really. That's what I call influence and motivation. ^_^ The only thing I can claim is that I put this together, unleashing my screwy mind while listening to a pack of sad stricken songs. TT_TT So then, before someone sues my behind and hates me forever, let me give credit and ideas I got from: lol

*Squishy's Blue Water Lilies and Marie's All You Wanted -The little romance scenery/scene above the ocean surface

If you think this chapter is similar to Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King, then go ahead. I did not intend to make it similar. But I thought it was cute of Dory to ask these questions about stars, because it does link together with the story as it goes. Please enjoy this chapter, I know I did ^_~. Thanks Solita and Sa-chan for reviewing *hugs* and don't worry, if the humanoids show up, you'll get plenty of credit.

Although this is a flashback, I'm not going to italicize this.

Chapter 2; Faint Dreams and Memories of You

The Great Barrier Reef never seemed as beautiful as it did now. The frail sun rays shone through the ever rising waves of the ocean, like little angels of light dancing across the ocean floor. But deep down among the lively scenery of the coral reef lay an exhausted Dory against the soft sands she had made inside her crevice. She glanced outside at the illuminated reef from a little opening inside her home. At least, she assumed the lights were little angels, but, "There's nothing!" The voice of Gill reminded her, "IT'S ALL IN YOUR MIND!" Everything was just an illusion. It was night, and there was no heavenly light shimmering across the ocean floor. It was dark outside and quiet as a graveyard while the tall seaweed swayed along with the currents.

Dory just lay there, silently still on her side, dully staring straight at the wall of her little cave. She felt so weak, so extremely tired, and so worthlessly empty. She looked like an emotionless puppet. Ever since her mind went insane and started playing tricks on her, she didn't know what to believe anymore. Who the tang gang was, what predators meant, where and who she was. But it didn't matter. It meant nothing to Dory if life had already disappeared in her when Nemo and Marlin had died.

Her mind swirled and grew heavy from all the fatigue that had been plaguing her soul. Dory was already too tired to carry on conversations with herself. She could've just kept on staring if her body didn't force her to get some rest. Would she actually—could she truly believe that Marlin was still alive? That's what she wanted to believe, but she knew—she knew it couldn't be true after all the blood she saw. She shuddered at the thought and huddled against the sand. That's when Dory noticed a little pearl laying near the center of her cave.

Somehow, in some strange way, that pearl gave her enough strength to touch her memories. It felt awkward, but the longer Dory kept looking at that tiny pearl, the more and more she felt her sorrow ease away. As the moonlight shone through the little circular opening in the ceiling the pearl gave off a brilliant sparkle, the same soft celestial glittering, when Marlin gave this peachy jewel of the sea to her. Maybe that's why she found tranquility in that pearl.

"I'm won't forget this time…." she promised weakly as her sleepy eyelids fell, "that sweet expression you made when I showed you." She wrapped her fins around the pearl, still mumbling Marlin's name as she drifted off into deep sleep.

When darkness surrounded her, she felt her head become hollow, free from all the painful thoughts and anxiety. Her body felt like it was floating, with no weight of misery to drag her down. And in the back of her ear, she could pick up a voice, as memories of the past flooded into her dreams.

~*~*~Dream/Flashback~*~*~

"Dory!" someone called out to her sounding a little upset. She was simply twisting and turning curves as she kept on swimming. "Wait up!" He asked her to slow down. Everyone was already sleeping soundly in their homes. It was already quiet and dark outside, as Dory swam alongside with Marlin. "Slow down." He yawned tiredly, "Where are you taking me at this time of the hour?"

"You'll see," Dory smiled sweetly and eagerly picked up her pace as she swam toward the surface.

"Um…Dory? I don't think—"

"It'll be okay," she assured him. "You have to see it!" Dory jumped with excitement like she was Nemo, who couldn't wait to tell his dad. Marlin sighed and somewhat reluctantly gave in. He just couldn't break that cute smile of hers if he refused to swim to surface. Despite the dangers that might wait ahead, "I guess, I can risk this once."

"Oh come'on. You gotta lighten up more."

"You mean," he quickly stopped, "like this?" Marlin playfully re-acted the event where both of them were trapped in the dark abyss, where a casual Dory leisurely read the mask label as if she had all the time in the world, while he was playing "Catch me if you can, Death!" with some monstrous anglerfish, "I—uh…leave that part about being lightened up to you."

"Heeeeeeey! What's that supposed to mean?" she looked at Marlin skeptically. "It wasn't that bad." She watched him swim past her, "You're pretty fast so—"

"Right!" He grinned, "So, you better hurry before I get to the surface first!" and swam off.

"You wanna bet, old man? " Dory jumped playfully and dashed after him toward the surface.

"So what is it that you want to show me?" he yawned again.

"It will take your breath away!" Indeed it did, quite literally actually. The beautiful scenery that awaited them on the ocean surface did steal his breath away.

"Dory…" he whispered in awe at the millions of tiny sparkling diamonds that flashed behind a translucent curtain of colors known at the northern lights. "How—?" It was quite unusual to see these lights in southern hemisphere, and on top of that still far away from the earth's poles. But for some terrestrial reason, the solar flares were shining with vibrant colors over the ocean surface. He was so amazed, so captivated by their beauty. Dory felt happy to have him showed this.

"Isn't it pretty?" She cheered, clasping her fins together.

"Yeah…." he replied softly while the transparent colors swayed in the sky. "How—how did you know about this, Dory?" She simply shrugged.

"Dunno. I forgot where I was going tonight and here I was." Marlin let out a light chuckle at Dory's famous short term memory issue, and they silently watched nature's beauty for a couple of minutes.

"Say, Marlin?"

"Hmm?"

"What are—" her curious fin pointed toward the sky, "what are those tiny white twinkling things behind the colors?"

"Those are called stars, Dory."

"Stars?"

"Yep, stars," he repeated slowly.

"They' re so…..pretty," she commented, mesmerized by their sparkling beauty.

"Yeah,…" Marlin muttered, letting his subconscious slip though his words, "and somewhere….somewhere above where these stars are, that's where you're watching Nemo from, aren't you?"

"Eh?"

Marlin snapped out of his trance. "Wha-? Oh, sorry, I was talking to myself," he frowned as Dory watched him from the corner of her eye, a little concerned. He was thinking of Coral again. Why out of all times did he think of her now? 'Oh Coral…' He felt so weak without her, so lonely and empty, but he was bound to watch over his son without her. He had to continue living for Nemo and he did. There was never a day when Marlin didn't think of his deceased wife, 'I wish you could see this, Coral...' but it's in the past now and—

"So…umm…what do these stars do?" Dory interrupted unintentionally him through curiosity. Marlin stared at Dory for a while, into those big bright cherry-red, innocent and cute eyes of hers that could drive away any loneliness.

That's right. He met Dory while he journeyed across the vast ocean in search for his dear son. Coral and all the remaining children he could have raised with her had past away a long time ago. She wouldn't want him to be sad or bind himself to dreams that couldn't come true. Coral left Nemo for him. Nemo was with him…..and so was Dory.

"Well….I …I don't really know what stars do, Dory." He spotted a bright star in the distant and remembered the time when he longed for the stars once, on the night where he held the single egg of Nemo in his anxious fins. "I—I look at them for comfort, sometimes even for hope." Dory seemed confused. "Like—" he thought of ways to explain, "it—it's like you're being watched."

She freaked out, "Oh my gosh! We're being watched?!" She nervously spun in every direction, including below and above, and whipped around with her back at him, blushing all of the sudden.

"No-no! It's not like someone is watching us right now! " He hastily explained, trying to calm her jumpy personality. " I mean, " he slowed down, "I mean, it's something like, someone you don't see anymore is watching over you, "and softened his paste, "making sure that you're not alone anymore, "he still felt like he didn't explain well what stars meant, "Som—Sometimes they even grant wishes," Marlin quickly added to change the topic.

"They do?" Dory turned around interested.

"Well, sometimes, "he smiled sheepishly, "but only when you see a shooting star, then-"

"AHH! There's someone out there who's shooting stars?!" she panicked and immediately embraced Marlin in a tight hug, frightened, "Those poor—"

"No, not star shooters, Dory!" He teasingly corrected her, "Shooting stars!" She was still hugging him and that really made him uneasy, "The—they are stars, that shoot across the sky leaving this bright tail of light behind them. It—it's nothing bad, really!"

"But, if they fall, then how do they grant wishes?" Dory let go of Marlin.

"Um….that's a mystery to me too, " he replied embarrassed. "Nemo asked me the same thing and—ah I forgot! Nemo! I—I have to get back and-" She didn't know what came over her, but Dory quickly grabbed Marlin by his dorsal fin before he could swim back down. He looked at her surprised at why she was holding him back—well, actually why she was holding his fin so desperately.

"Uh….Dory?"

"Um…sorry about this, "she apologized and released him. Her voice began to stutter, "I-I-I know you're worried about, "she knew she was going to get his name wrong again, but she wanted Marlin so stay. "I know you're worried about your son. And—and I understand—I do, but—" she stopped again at the end of her sentence. Dory was really nervous now, even blushing in front of him. At first, Marlin was a clueless as he watched Dory struggle for words, even forgetting what she wanted to say. God, did she hate her short term memory problem! "I'm sure he's fine. And, well-"

"You're right, " Marlin complied, "I still worry too much, don't I?" Dory was unable to reply since she was caught up in a fight against the little butterflies that were fluttering in her stomach, but somehow, she was feeling sad now. The northern lights slowly faded into the cool atmosphere until only the countless stars remained shining in the sky as did their mirror reflections on the water surface. It seemed like the whole universe was visible right now. Large groups of random fading and bright twinkling stars were shining across and above the dark-blue horizon.

"I'm sorry, " Marlin noticed the change in Dory's mood, "I'm sorry for dumping everything on you, but—"

"Dory?"

"I—I had always wished…," Dory's voice seemed like it was about to break from the years of sadness trapped inside her, "I had always wished I wasn't so forgetful, "and gradually, one by one, Marlin saw drops of tears fall into the waters. "I can't remember anything anymore! Even if I was next to somebody, I kept forgetting. No matter how hard I try, I always forget! Nobody cares—I don't really mind—really, but I could never be accepted, because of this stupid memory—!

"Dory…."

"I'M ALWAYS ALONE!" She burst out, confessing her sorrow, weeping uncontrollably, "Sometimes—sometimes I just can't stand forgetting things anymore!" She felt so pathetic, so weak and alone, like a little girl who couldn't escape from this forsaken curse. Marlin could only pity her. He wanted to hold her. He wanted to embrace her and comfort her for almost anything in the world right now. Just a comforting hug—just a single hug was enough to tell her that he cared for her, but something told him not to, not yet at least. But was there more he could have done for Dory?

Eventually Dory and Marlin left the celestial scenery and returned to the coral reef. It was still night time and Marlin swam ahead of Dory. While they slowly moved closer to the ocean bottom she was still fighting back the tears of agony. Then, Marlin came to stop, with his back still to her.

"Close your eyes," he muttered. Dory sniffed and wondered what he meant, but she did as she was told. She jerked at first when Marlin gently took her fin, and slowly lead the way for her. What was he doing and where was he leading her? "Don't peek, okay?" She nodded and let herself be guided by Marlin.

They had been swimming for some time, and Dory had her eyes closed for a while now that she grew a little impatient, actually nervous for not being able to see. She was still feeling depressed and thought of striking up a conversation instead to get her mind off of it.

"Hey, Marlin?" She broke the silence, "When—when you said that if you see a shooting star, you can make a wish, right?"

"Not any wish can come true, Dory."

"Did you make a wish? Did—did your wish come true?"

"Star wishes can't be shared with others," she frowned in disappointment, "but mine has come true, so I don't mind telling," Dory smiled a little. She felt Marlin stop somewhere and imagined him facing her, since she still couldn't see anything, but she sensed the sadness in Marlin's voice.
"When my wife, Coral died, I—I wished that nothing would ever happen to Nemo, "he paused. "I also wished that I would have enough strength to face any distress that might befall on me or Nemo. And if I ever was too weak to carry on," Dory felt the pain slowly leaving her heart, "I wished I'd meet a little angel to help me find him." It was silent now, and Dory sensed that Marlin left her side for something. "Now, hold your fins out," she obeyed and something smooth and round was placed onto her fins, "You can open your eyes now."

As soon as Dory traced her eyes towards her fins, she was welcomed by a brilliant shine given off a tiny pearl. But this pearl, it was different from the regular ones. With the moonlight illuminating the jewel, Dory felt like she was seeing the same pretty stars she had seen above the surface, inside the glassy pearl. "Marlin…"

"You're not alone Dory, you'll never be," Marlin whispered lovingly, "You're a very dear friend to me, so no matter what happens from now on, don't forget what I just said."

Dory wiped the tears aside, sniffed and slowly began smiling at the transparent stars that shined within the special pearl.

"Please don't ever be sad, Dory. I'll always be here for you."

~*~*~End of the Dream ~*~*

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Kyuuuuuuhh! This is my best chapter ever! I'm so proud of this chapter! ^_^ Why? Because I was never able to draw out emotions like this before while at the same time having to deal with making sure that the characters don't go out of their personality! *phew* I love this chapter! It's so cute, but somewhere in the back of my skull, I can tell there are plenty of things wrong with this! BAH! I hate writing! _;;; *sulks* I really hate myself now! I never stick to plans or outlines. All of the sudden I just write way out of topic and here I am off promising to others things I was SUPPOSED to write. (sorry, Sa!) _ I don't know anymore…