Rose Walker and Gilbert's relationship. His Establishing Character Moment is he saves her from muggers after politely suggesting she "wants to keep her purse and her body". Then they go on a road trip to find her brother Jed, and he attempts to comfort her when the police find signs that Jed was abused by his relatives, who are now dead. Then when they encounter the Corinthian at the "cereal" convention, Gilbert gives Rose Morpheus's name to recite in case of emergency, while he goes off to rescue Jed. If not for his actions, Rose would have died earlier, and on learning she is the Vortex, Gilbert turns himself in to Dream and offers to die in her place. When that fails, he apologizes to her and says she can stay in his realm, Fiddler's Green, after she dies. Rose afterward refuses to believe that he was just one of Dream's creations, because then it would mean human lives are meaningless, and Gilbert wasn't meaningless.
The issue "Men of Good Fortune": Dream is walking around with Death in 1389, and he meets a guy named Hob who says he's not going to die. Death and Dream share a brief smile, and Dream tells the guy he'll meet him again on this spot in a hundred years time. They do, and they keep meeting every hundred years. At their fifth meeting, Hob says he now has a theory about the real reason Dream gave him immortality: he feels that Dream has no friends, and is so lonely that Hob is the closest thing he has to one. Dream is insulted and leaves in a huff, while Hob yells after him that if he comes back in 100 years it'll be because they're friends, and for no other reason. Cut to a hundred years later. Hob is sitting down at a table and he looks up, and Dream is there.
Hob: I... I wasn't sure you'd be coming.
Dream: Really? I have always heard it was impolite to keep one's friends waiting.
Dream saying he cannot find it in his heart to punish Fiddler's Green aka Gilbert for his disobedience near the end of the arc. While it would have been a major Kick the Dog moment if he had done so (considering Fiddler's Green did nobody any harm through his actions and was a really nice guy), this was before a lot of Dream's Character Development, when viciously punishing an otherwise innocent person for slighting him would have been totally in-character (and comes soon after an ambiguous moment wherein he horribly punished two other rogue dreams, and whether it was for any part they played in the torment of a child or simply because they "wantonly defied" his law during his absence, or he's being pragmatic about the latter leading to the former, is all left highly open to interpretation). While he had shown moments of affection before (mainly to Death and Hob Gadling,) this was the first time he showed mercy and forgiveness.
Pretty much everything that Death does is this (not as strange as it sounds). For example, when she goes to comfort the suicidal Urania Blackwell in "Facades", and the following exchange ensues:
Rainie: You've come for me? Blessed, merciful Death. You've come to make it all stop.
Death: No, I haven't come for you, Rainie. [...] Like I said, I was passing, and I heard you crying, and, well, the door was open...
Season of Mists
At the end, Lucifer has retired as ruler of Hell and is watching a sunset on the west coast of Australia. After a conversation with a dying old man who's also come to watch the sunset, Lucifer glances skyward to address God:
"All right. I admit it. He's got a point. The sunsets are bloody marvelous, you old bastard. Satisfied?"
A Game of You
When Foxglove first finds out that Hazel is pregnant (it obviously isn't hers):
Foxglove: What kind of relationship did we have, for Chrissakes? You're dumb, you know that? Dumb and selfish and, and deceitful, and secretive, and — and — and — dumb. (pause) Oh... shit. (pause) Do you know how much a baby's going to cost us? For a start we have to buy one of those dumb books full of names...
Hazel: Fox? Fox, I do love you.
Foxglove: Damn straight you do. Jerk.
At the end of A Game of You, when Barbie crosses out "Alvin" on Wanda's Gravestone and writes "Wanda" above it. The few pages leading up to that moment count as well.
Also, the very end, when Wanda (in her true form) and Death wave goodbye to Barbie in a dream.
Earlier, Nuala admits she disobeyed Dream and warned Barbie about what was coming. Dream first curtly accepts it and walks away, then comes back and tells her she did the right thing.
The stand-alone issue "Three Septembers and a January" is Based on a True Story: the tale of Joshua Norton, Emperor of the United States (see the Real Life entry in the Crazy Awesome page for more details.) In Sandman's version, Norton is at his lowest point, a poverty-stricken man on the point of suicide. He belongs to Despair now, and she challenges Dream to give Norton the will to live out his natural days without falling victim to Despair, Desire or Delirium. Dream has to be goaded into "playing your game," but he wins effortlessly. Joshua Norton is inspired by a dream that stays with him the rest of his life.
Despair: I hoped that you would come back to me, Joshua. But no. I would seem to have failed. You're a pitiful madman, a Tom O'Bedlam, dying in the gutter, in the rain. But you never despaired.
Death: I've met a lot of kings, and emperors and heads of state in my time, Joshua. I've met them all. And you know something? I think I liked you best. [...] [That's] a great hat. Can I try it on?
Joshua Norton was buried on Sunday, the 10th of January 1880. 10,000 people filed past the body, as it lay in state; and his funeral cortege was over two miles long.
It should be noted that the last line is absolutely true, and the figure of 10,000 is conservative.
The stand-alone The Parliament of Rooks features Abel telling a Disneyfied recount of how he and his brother ended up in the Dreaming, presented in a Super-Deformed art style. The tale shows how much he cares for Cain, even though he keeps murdering him.
Something else that's worth mentioning is that Abel does not stutter at all when he's telling his story. It's nice to see him confident for once.
The entire issue really, since it's inhabitants of the Dreaming telling stories to a dreaming Daniel Hall.
After upsetting her, Dream apologizes to Delirium, when he's hardly ever apologized to anyone in his entire existence. She asks him if he likes her, to which he replies: "Yes, I suppose I must do, Delirium. You entertain me. And it distresses me to see you troubled."
Death kissing Dream on the cheek, giving him comfort and a confidence boost after his most recent romance ended harshly.
Dream's breakdown when he realizes he has to go to Orpheus to find his brother, and the fact that despite his stubbornness, he DOES go, even though he knows it'll probably result in his son's death. Also from that segment we have Delirium being sane to allow Dream a moment, and Destruction giving Delirium his dog.
The Kindly Ones
Matthew refusing to leave Dream's side when he goes to confront the Kindly Ones, and telling him how good it's been working for him.
Death and Dream's exchange right before Dream dies to save his world. Death scolds him for what he's about to do, and he recalls their conversation in "The Sound of Her Wings" (her first appearance in the series), when she capped off a scold by throwing a loaf of bread at him, and reveals he's brought a loaf of bread in case she felt the need to do it again. Seeing their simple, sweet sibling relationship in this situation is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
At the end of The Wake the Endless (sans Daniel-Dream and Destruction) are sitting around a table discussing the new Dream in anticipation of meeting him. Despair recalls how scared she was when she took her mantle, and professes that she will try to be kind. Destiny notes that they all will. Desire protests, saying that they ought to see how he shapes up first, but, well, Destiny has already spoken.
Daniel!Dream ultimately forgiving Alexander Burgess and allowing him to return to the waking world.
Matthew's conversation with the new Dream, in which he decides what to do:
Daniel: Have you decided what you want? Matthew: I don't want to be your raven. I was his raven. It wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be the same. Daniel: As you will. Matthew: But, Jeez. You're just a kid. Well kinda. You're gonna need someone around to offer advice, bail you out when you're in trouble, all that. And ravens... well, we don't grow on trees. Daniel: And what brought about this change of heart? Matthew: You mean, is it because you told me you save my life? No. I had to make a speech about the boss, at the shindig... and while I was talking, I think I figured a few things out for myself... Funeral's over. Time to get on with our lives. Time to grow up.
Hob Gadling, forced to attend a Renaissance Fair where his new girlfriend is working, is going through a depressive funk because he knows from his dreams that his best friend is dead. As he mopes about, he comes across remembrances of his past lives, haunting him and making his mood worse. Confronted by Death, who lets him know the "game" she was playing with Dream to let Hob live as long as he wants is over, and he's free to accept her Gift if he chooses. Tempted by the idea that dying in a make-believe fair would be a funny way to go Hob realizes he still wants to live, something Death is willing to let happen due to Dream's friendship with him. The comic ends with Hob celebrating by making love to his girlfriend in the rain and remembering a recent dream he had of Daniel (now as Dream) and Destruction walking together on the beach, foretelling a future meeting.
Death Talks About Life, an eight-page public awareness pamphlet about AIDS, presented by Death Herself (with some reluctant assistance from John Constantine and a banana).
In Death: The Time of Your Life, when Foxglove confesses to cheating on Hazel and no longer returning Hazel's constant faith and trust. This gives us the following exchange:
Hazel: Well, you always thought I was the stupid one. And I always thought I was the stupid one too. And then you say something like that.
Foxglove: I said I didn't think I loved you...
Hazel: I know. And you followed me into death because I needed you. What do you think love is?
The Video Game
Sophie's relationship with her father. It's obvious that Sophie and her father love each other dearly. Even when everyone is put to sleep, Sophie decides to go look for her father. She was horrified when she thought that he was killed by a dragon.
The good ending when Lullaby puts Sophie to sleep. It chooses to turn into her mother and help her fall asleep.
Speaking of the good ending, how about when the Sandman places Sophie in her bed. Just before he leaves, he tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and then wakes up the world again.
The scene where David and Sophie meet for the first time. David takes time out of his schedule to talk to a distraught teenage girl and be friends with her. Sure it leads to a Precocious Crush on him, but in the good ending, Sophie decides to leave behind her romantic feelings for him and be friends with him.
The Sandman has a few of these himself. When he finds out that people are still awake after he sprinkled the Eternal Sleep Sand all over the world, he creates Lullaby in hopes that he can give them a peaceful rest.
Everything in the bonus chapter. Once Sophie arrives at the Sandman's castle, the Sandman has tried to make Sophie comfortable and put her in a peaceful slumber. However, he wasn't aware that some of his actions could have killed Sophie. The poor guy feels guilty after he realized what he almost did to her.
The fact that the Sandman created a special sleeping dust for Sophie. Admittedly, him trying to force her to sleep would lead to a bad end, but he wanted to help Sophie.