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"We bring the subject into the dream, and they populate it with their subconscious. You can even talk to my subconscious; that's one of the ways we extract information...."
—Dom Cobb, Inception
You're asleep, you're dreaming -- you're really talking with someone else. Or fighting them. Or --
Dreams that are secretly (or openly) a form of two-way interaction. Harm can only come to the dreamer through psycho-somatic effects, or as mental damage.
May shade into Dreaming of Things to Come, if the other person tells of or shows the future, or Dreaming of Times Gone By, for the past. Dream Spying is particularly likely to overlap, letting the dreamer see the present with the other as a guide. May be mistaken for Dreaming the Truth, or if a Dead Person Conversation, be indistinguishable.
Not to be confused with Talking in Your Sleep, which may or may not share similarities with this trope.
- In several of CLAMP's works, dreamseeing and dreamseers are important elements of the plot and can speak with the dead, especially in X 1999, XxxHolic and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, in the latter two cases allowing people to communicate across dimensions.
- The second Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As has Hayate falling asleep during her medical treatment and finding herself having a chat with her Book of Darkness in her dreams.
- In Teen Titans, Raven formed the new team by appearing in the dreams of former members and some new young heroes to help her fight her father, after the Justice League wouldn't trust her.
- In Iron Man # 20 "Haunted-part one", Tony talks to the then-dead Captain America in his dreams.
- In the first known version of Beauty and The Beast, Beauty has repeated dreams of a handsome young man begging her to save him. Only after she agrees to marry the Beast does she realize that he and the man in her dreams are one and the same.
- The Urusei Yatsura story "Just A Dream" used this to justify a Transplanted Character Fic; the series was explained as a dream shared by the AU Ataru and Lum, featuring "distorted" versions of themselves and their respective friends.
- In the Dangerverse by Anne Walsh aka Whodoyouneedtoknow aka the PAGE, a very long series of Harry Potter fics, the Pack and the Pride can do this. Develops as the stories progress so to do the ways in which various characters are able to meet up.
- In Death and Ker, Minako has recurring dream-conversations with several keres and people whose Personas are keres. The ones with Jin and Takaya could simply be normal dreams (considering that both of them are presumably dead), but the ones with Souji, Ryoji, and Ker herself fall under this trope - particularly the one with Souji, as a later chapter confirms.
- In With Strings Attached, the Fans (specifically Varx) first contact the four (though we only see his contact with Paul) through dreams, or “hypnogogic telepathic contact.” Most of their subsequent interactions are plain old telepathy. However, much later, after Jeft leaves and the other Fans lose their easy computer access to the four, they manage to contact George and Ringo this way.
- The researchers in Dreamscape initially trained psychics to project themselves into others' dreams and help them confront their fears. Then the plot got hijacked by an assassinate-the-President-in-his-sleep scheme.
- The Golden Child. The Big Bad communicates with Eddie Murphy's character in a dream. After he wakes up, his attractive female assistant informs him that while what the villain said was actually happening, the parts where she suggested they get together and "let nature take its course" actually was a dream.
- In the Chronicles of the Kencyrath Jame and Torisen frequently interact and talk with each other in their dreams. This is especially the case when one of them is knocked out, or someone else interferes with their dreams. Some shanir have the ability to visit the dreams of others.
- Warhammer 40000 novels:
- In Sandy Mitchell's Warhammer 40000 novel Scourge the Heretic, the sleeping Carolus is attacked by a demon. (Disguised as an Erotic Dream, no less.)
- In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40000 novel Ravenor Returned, Ravenor contacts members of his team in their dreams to confirm that they want to go on working with him.
- In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40000 novel Brothers of the Snake, the comatose Petrok sends a psychopomp to conduct the dreaming Priad into his own dreams. He warns Priad to flee, because he himself is under dream attack from Dark Eldar.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, Fulgrim hears voices nagging at him every night. He convinces himself that it's his subconscious. He's wrong.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40000 Ultramarines novel The Killing Ground, both the Space Marines and the Unfleshed suffered horrible dreams while on the Chaos-tainted space ship.
- In Sandy Mitchell's Warhammer 40000 Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitor's Hand, Cain thinks he's just having yet another Flashback Nightmare about a Slaaneshi cultist he killed after she tried to suck out his soul. Turns out she's Back From the Dead and can "caress your mind"...
- In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40000 Space Wolf novel Wolf's Honour, Ragnor confides in Gabriella that he think his enemy Madox is in his dreams. Gabriella dismisses it as Bad Dreams; he feels guilty about what went awry in an previous encounter. In reality, he is Dreaming of Things to Come.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Honour Guard, the wounded Ghosts, left behind, received repeated messages, apparently from the dead, to desert and join the honour guard.
- In Only In Death, the dreams plaguing various Ghosts are revealed to be Soric attempting to reach and help them.
- In Andre Norton's Sorceress of Witch World, Kaththea's first real communication with Hilarion is in her dreams. (When she had stumbled into his prison, he had tried to take over her mind first, but then, he was desperate.)
- In fact, this trope happens fairly often in her works. The Key of the Keplian contains another example.
- In Horn Crown the hero dreams of himselfat a long-ago banquet -- where a woman talks with him and realizes he's from the future and gives him some aid.
- In Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Tel'aran'hriod - the world of dreams - is an alternate reality. People can enter it unwittingly in sleep; dreamwalkers can enter it deliberately.
- In later books, Elayne invites a device that allows non-dreamwalkers to enter Tel'aran'hriod so dreamwalkers and nondreamwalkers can meet there and exchange information.
- In a notable example from Mercedes Lackey's work, Kerowyn, the protagonist of By the Sword, spends ten years having dream-conversations with Eldan before finally learning that they'd actually been communicating telepathically the whole time.
- Anne Bishop has used this.
- In Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites, Esk dreams about the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions and interacts with them. They even tell her the word "psychosomatic" and assure her she can die because of her dreams.
- Malta gets a shared-dream-in-a-box as a present from her fiancee in Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy.
- And in the later Tawny Man trilogy, Nettle's Skill manifests itself as the ability to control dreams, and she and Fitz interact in dreams before they actually meet.
- In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos the children receive repeated dream messages from their parents, who can reach them no other way.
- In Robin McKinley's Beauty, a retelling of Beauty and The Beast, the Beast sends Beauty's father dreams of how she is faring in his castle.
- In Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny's dreams let him talk with Kirsty -- and find her afterward, when they are awake.
- In Lois McMaster Bujold's The Paladin of Souls, a god appears to Ista in her dreams while looking like his priest, dy Cabon. After the god has finished speaking with her, he leaves and dy Cabon's awareness fills the dream body. Sadly, as soon as Ista figures out that this is a true dream, each the other's, she wakes up. Thus she learns that dy Cabon is alive, but not where he is or whether anyone else has survived.
- This is how the cats of StarClan generally communicate with living cats in Warrior Cats, although the cat must believe that StarClan exists for them to be able to do it. Blind Seer Jayfeather can also do this, which is a huge deal because, well, he's still alive. Indeed, he often gets exasperated when the dreams he has frequently do not turn out to be his dreams at all.
- Cats in the Place of No Stars can also communicate like this, but it is somewhat vague as to what the rules are for who they can and cannot speak to. The books have also shown that any injuries sustained in The Place of No Stars is inflicted on the cat in the real world too, possibly to the extent where you can be killed in a dream.
- In Anne McCaffrey's Talents series, the Mrdini have a limited ability to manipulate human dreams. This works out quite well for first contact betweeen humanity and Mrdini: they're able to communicate through dreams until they learn enough of each other's language to do so verbally.
- In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Harry does this repeatedly.
- Jonathan Stroud's "The Leap" covers this trope in spades.
- In CS Lewis's The Great Divorce, the narrator meets with George MacDonald -- who solemnly warns him that it is All Just a Dream and he must make it clear when he tells the story in Real Life.
- Angels in The Bible use dreams to communicate with humans: for example, an angel comes to Joseph in a dream to explain to him the circumstances of Mary's immaculate conception, and later returns to warn Joseph that Herod wants to kill the child.
- The Five in The Power of Five books can do this. They all meet in their dreams before any of them meet in real life.
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Cardassian Fates communicate like this. Non-corporeal creatures inhabiting a mysterious dimensional plane that intersects with our own, they can telepathically influence mortals. In particular, with individuals of the right genetic makeup (or whose minds have been altered by particular artifacts), they can appear in dreams and hold "conversations" - or alternatively just plant images and desires. In the Terok Nor books, their apparent leader, Oralius, uses it to find the next Astraea so as to keep the Oralian Way religion and the compassionate, noble aspect of Cardassian society alive. Her Evil Counterpart Uramtali uses it to telepathically rape young boys.
- Also the Lipul Dreamships from Star Trek Gemworld.
- In Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, Nobody can do this with Dreamwalking to deal with bullies.
- In Neil Gaiman's Stardust, Tristan is asked, in his dream, to keep down the noisiness of his dream.
- In Patricia A. McKillip's The Book of Atrix Wolfe, the woman in the woods communicates with both Atrix Wolfe and Burne this way. Later, so does Talis.
- In the Anita Blake series, Anita starts the process of becoming Jean-Claude's human servant in the first book (Guilty Pleasures), which means he can get in her dreams. At first, he shows up in a coffin overflowing with blood. In later books, this comes up again, and the dreams span from seduction to sex.
- In Robert E. Howard's "The Phoenix on the Sword" Conan the Barbarian is warned in his dream, by the long-dead Epemitreus.
- In Robert E. Howard's Kull/Bran Mak Morn story "Kings of the Night," Gonar claims to be visited in his dreams by the first Gonar.
- In Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon, Finist appears in Alexi's dreams, posing as a Bad Dreams.
- In Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night and sequels, vampires can communicate with people's dreams.
- In JRR Tolkien's The Return Of The King, Frodo's dreams are filled with the Eye of Sauron, who fortunately has less ability to reach him than in most instances of this trope.
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, all the hobbits except Sam felt the Old Forest trying to get into their dreams at Tom Bombadil's.
- In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Empire In Black And Gold, how Acheous contacts Cheerwell.
- In Jasper Fforde's Lost In A Good Book, the eradicated Landen talks with Thursday in her dream.
- In Rick Riordan's The Throne of Fire, Carter realizes that Zia is getting this in her Faux Death.
- In Eleanor Cameron's The Court of the Stone Children, Nina dreams of a time when her home is taken apart and sent to a museum. Her dead father appears to tell her something.
- Solaris subverts this; while on the space station, the asleep protagonist is seemingly visited by a dead crewmember in his dreams. The visitor states that he's fine with being dead, then warns the protagonist about a secret plot perpetrated by the other people on the space station. It would suggest that there is an afterlife, unusually for Stanislaw Lem's atheistic views (and the atheistic setting.) But it all turns out to be just a dream, born from the protagonist's internal concerns; there's no secret plot at all.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy and Angel do this in "Amends", though it's more like "Screwing In Your Dreams".
- In season eight "The Long Way Home" Buffy has a long talk with Ethan Rayne in her dreams, who gives her valuable clues into who's attacking her, and why.
- Restless is an episode of this trope, with the primeval doing the communicating.
- In "Graduation Day" after Buffy puts Faith in a coma, then ends up in hospital herself, she has a dream in which Faith appears to reconcile with her, giving a clue on how to defeat the Mayor.
Buffy: (with a half smile) "Is this your mind or mine?"
- In Heroes, Angela wakes up Sylar through this while they're both comatose.
- This is season 1 character Sanjog Iyer's power.
- Star Trek: Voyager. The Borg Queen communicates with Seven of Nine while she's dreaming in "Dark Frontier" and "Endgame."
- Star Trek: Enterprise. Trip Tucker and T'Pol find themselves communicating in a daydream, despite being on seperate starships, a sign that their brief "intimate relationship" has led to a somewhat more permanent connection.
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation "Night Terrors" has the ship trapped in a Negative Space Wedgie, with most of the crew hallucinating and slowly going insane due to lack of REM sleep, while Troi, The Empath, is going just as mad from nightmares about twin moons and voices whispering "eyes in the dark, one moon circling". It turns out there's an alien ship trapped in the same wedgie, and they're using telepathy to try to communicate through the crew's dreams and suggest an escape plan.
- As in The Bible, angels on Supernatural use dreams to communicate with humans.
- Dream Sending and Dream Projection from GURPS: Magic.
- One possible use of Oneiromancy in Changeling: The Lost.
- Cyan's haunted castle in Final Fantasy VI.
- Talking to Planet in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is done like this.
- Shiki has lots of dreams in Tsukihime but as you get into the farther routes, at one point SHIKI becomes aware he is being watched and starts screaming for Shiki to leave. Throughout lots of the dreams there's also a sort of not-quite communication going on. This is exclusive to these two characters (and maybe Akiha) apparently as the two of them each have one quarter the life of Akiha and therefore are linked, sharing energy, some traits, dreams and mental influence.
- Aerith has a conversation with Cloud in his dream in Final Fantasy VII after she's left the party, to tell him about her plan to stop Sephiroth and to reassure him that everything will be okay. Unfortunately, Sephiroth was also in the dream and, after she's left, he pops in to remark to Cloud that that's interesting to know. Cloud immediately wakes up, and the race for the heroes to find her first is on.
- Paula uses her psychic abilities to call Ness, and later Jeff in Earthbound.
- In the Warden's Keep DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, the mage/Grey Warden Avernus reached out to Levi Dryden in his dreams, encouraging him to explore the haunted fortress that was the resting place of his great-great-grandmother, Sophia Dryden. Fearful of the danger (and rightfully so), Levi contacted the Grey Wardens to help him search the keep for evidence that would
- In-game, viewing the dreams of others and actually entering them is stated to be one of the powers granted by Blood Magic.
- While they don't exactly have a conversation with it, both the Warden and Alistair wake up from a nightmare involving the Archdemon with the feeling that it actually "saw" them somehow. It's a prelude to an attack by a squad of shrieks.
- A Warden's dreams will always be filled with the whispers of the Old Gods after the Joining though he/she can eventually suppress them. The return of the dreams is the first sign that the Taint will soon overwhelm a Warden turning him/her into just another ghoul.
- In-game, viewing the dreams of others and actually entering them is stated to be one of the powers granted by Blood Magic.
- In Dragon Age II Feynriel is a somniari (dreamer), a very rare kind of mage who can manipulate the Fade and enter the dreams of others without resorting to Blood Magic or piles of lyrium. If Hawke helps him survive the demons constantly assaulting him (a dreamer is a very appealing target to demons), Feynriel will go to Tevinter and learn to control his powers. In Act III he saves the young noblewoman Orlanna from a gang of rapists by entering their dreams and forcing them to kill each other, then comforts the girl by speaking to her in her dreams. Orlanna becomes smitten with Feynriel and looks forward to when she falls asleep again so she can be with him in her dreams.
- In a deleted Parallel Dementia/Emergency Exit mini-crossover, Eddie does this in order to talk to Fall after he's been forbidden to visit her dimension in real life.
- In The Dreamer, this occurs in Beatrice's dreams.
- Pibgorn: Dru with the governor
- Wooden Rose: Aidan to Nessa
- The Phoenix Requiem: Jonas-- then he convinces himself otherwise.
- Footloose: She gets her scolding
- In Bardsworth, Fitzpot uses this as a method to giving Mike private tutoring lessons.
- In Sinfest, the cat and the dog.
- Andrew Hussie's brilliant Problem Sleuth, and his other comic Homestuck both contain dream worlds that can be accessed by the protagonists.
- In Our Little Adventure, the messages that drive the adventure are received through dreams.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Zimmy does this when Antimony passes out.
- Rose and Jake on American Dragon Jake Long communicate via dream charms because it's too dangerous for them to be seen together due to Dating Catwoman and the fact that Rose's Heel Face Turn is a secret from the Big Bad.
- The Powerpuff Girls discover they have the power to communicate with each other in their dreams.
- In Adventure Time Jake gets a vision of his dead father, along with his brother Jermaine. Jake asks Jermaine if he's dead too, but no, it turns out he's just taking a nap at the time.
- Ribbon the telepathic unicorn from My Little Pony could talk to people in their dreams.