Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Participants:

s_hokuto_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif nick_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Featuring:

delia_icon.gif

Scene Title Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Synopsis Hope and prayer isn't much of a solution. A ghost comes through with an offer… Deals with the devil the damsel knows seems better than none at all.
Date November 15, 2010

Pollepel Island


The sun is dipping down below the horizon, it's still rather early but the fall days combined with daylight savings time has been seeing earlier and earlier sunsets. Not that most of the people in the castle get to see the sun too often. When they do it's a treat.

Down below, in the bowels of the structure, the infirmary is host to a new resident. This one very recent, only since yesterday. Unfortunately she was one of the two people keeping everyone else there in some semblance of a living form. Megan Young is now alone in her duties, save for the helping hands she's able to scrape up along the way. Her junior, Delia Ryans, is the newest patient to be brought in.

Pale as the white sheet that's covering her, the redhead is still in the bed, the IV dripping into her arm is her only sustenance. The dark circles of fatigue under her eyes still haven't diminished, leaving her nothing close to a sleeping beauty.

She hasn't been alone for more than a few minutes since she was brought in, visitors ranging from the curious to those actually concerned have been filing past the large archway that leads to the sick ward. Some of them even braving to step closer. There hasn't been a single clue as to why, which is possibly one of the most disconcerting things of all.

But even those who have seen the sun today weren't in a position to bask in it's warming rays.

When Wes Smedley found Nick York fishing early this afternoon, he quickly snatched the younger man up and put him to work. But with the list of things needing done in and around the castle getting shorter and shorter, Smedley's desire to get off the island is gaining new strength. Even if he's far from ready or able to make the Ferrymen's first supply run, he can start preparing.

And one young lady had mentioned a list.

Describing the woman needing medical supplies with the bright orangey-red hair has lead him to the infirmary, with Nick York in tow, if only to keep the boy from idleness. He's succumbed in a way to the life here, trading his sweater for a fresh one - boat-necked rather than turtle - so when he strides into the infirmary, it's without his oilskin coat. If anything, it only makes the presence of the revolvers at his hips even more outlandish.

But when he arrives, there's no one here to direct him. Megan, being the only person tasked soley with this particular room, is nowhere to be seen. With a frustrated scowl, Smedley stands just inside the doorway to the infirmary, his hands curled into fists at his sides. It's a wonder anything gets done around here.

One of the constants has been Jaiden, her boyfriend, sitting close by, holding the hand that doesn't have the IV stabbed in the crook of her elbow, looking fairly worse for wear, all things considered. He was the one that found her, that brought her unconscious form to the infirmary at just past six in the morning, and has left a grand total of three times - once to get a bite to eat, the other two to hit up the bathroom. It's there he sits now, holding her right hand in both of his, stroking the skin on the back of her hand gently, like one would stroke a kitten's fur.

"Oh Del…what happened? Are you there or lost…why won't you wake up…why?" One hand runs over his eyes, scrubbing slightly, as if he's trying to hold back any emotion that's threatening to boil over. He's even brought her a blanket - a sleeping bag, actually, that's been draped over her legs and pulled up to just below her armpits, her hands on top of the nylon lining.

The sign of a person in the doorway causes Jaiden to look up slightly, tilting his head toward the entrance. "Hey there." His voice is quiet, but strained. "Come to visit Delia?"

Carrying his own supply box, Nick is less shy about entering the infirmary, having eaten his dinner in here once already. He strides in to put the box on a table, glancing at the bed that wasn't taken up before, giving a nod to Jaiden that is both sympathetic and respectful. But then, just as he's about to turn, he catches sight of that red hair, and frowns, stepping closer.

"Ah, shit, it's Red," he mutters, moving closer and lifting a hand as if he could help her somehow, then dropping it — both out of helplessness and because Jaiden looks like he could be a brawler.

Blue eyes search Delia's pale face and then turn to Jaiden. "What happened?" His voice is just a whisper but strident with anger at seeing Delia hurt.

Smedley is about to repeat the same question he's asked all over the castle to get him here for Jaiden's benefit, but Nick steals the words from his mouth with his discovery. He narrows his eyes and presses his lips together, looking like he might punch the doorframe for a moment. How much time as been wasted with this, and now

Rolling his shoulders back in an effort to ease his ire, Smedley walks into the infirmary, his eyes darting between Jaiden and the girl he's seated next to. "You could say that," he mutters, eyeing her suspiciously. "Wake her up. I need that list."

The man in the chair next to 'Red' gives a shrug. "Hell if I know, and that's all the information I have. Felt her get into bed about three, but when I woke up, she was like this…" Fingertips brush over Delia's cheek lightly. "Told everyone I could think of and got her down here as fast as I could, 'case someone could do something for her. We're gonna try and find a healer or something, but with the way Del dances through dreams, there may not be anything there to heal."

The younger man shoots Smedley a dirty look when he tells Jaiden to wake the patient up. "She's fuckin' in a hospital bed, are you blind?" he mutters, trying to keep his voice low, before turning to Jaiden.

"Dances through dreams?" he echoes, shaking his head. "What d'you mean? That's her ability?" Delia might have told him once, but he's had a few stressful other things on his mind — like trying not to starve to death or get kicked by Nazis overly much. "There anyone on the island with that kinda power? I can go — I'm not wanted, not Evo, not in trouble with the law or anything, I can go and try to find someone. Maybe not in New York, maybe further down the river," he suggests, rambling a little in his eagerness to try to get help for this innocent woman. "Safer for me than most of you," he adds.

The redhead in question simply lays there, silent. Her breathing is slow and steady as though she's simply sleeping. It's quite possible that Wes Smedley is right and that she's really just faking it, it's also possible that she's not. It would all depend how dedicated she was when the IV needle was shoved into her arm.

"Could be she's just nappin'," Smedley says with a shrug, still not convinced that 'Red' can't be woken. "Sick people sleep." Clearing his throat with a soft grunt, Smedley nods to Jaiden, reaching out to tap the man twice on the shoulder with two calloused fingers. "She's supposed to have a list for me, so's I can round up what she needs to keep y'all from becomin' your own little leper colony." Somewhere in the castle, the sound of a dog barking followed by the laughter of children echoes through the halls.

It's not outwardly apparent at first, but the sound tempers Smedley. His brow furrows, and soon a soft sigh escapes him. "Look, I'm sorry for whatever happened, but if y'want there to be more'n a few rolls'uh gauze and whatever I can dig up medkit wise on my boat next month, I need that list. So do whatever y'need t'do to Sleepin' Beauty here to wake 'er up so I can get it, and get y'all what you need."

Sleeping beauty is just that - sleeping, and there's nothing Jaiden can do to wake her up. Lord knows he's tried. Kisses, shaking her, tejano music at full blast from an iPhone - nothing has worked, and that same blank expression on Delia's face is the only thing that's there. The IV stick, she didn't even react.

There's a shake of the Australian's head and a sigh. "She's like a TV tuned to static…there's nothin' there an' no wakin' her up. I did do a little scavenging around the pharmacy they have set up here and found a few notes on what might be needed…" Jaiden bends to rummage through his bag on the floor next to him, a small yellow legal pad coming into view, pages rattling as he flips from one to the other. "Basic first aid stuff. Cold medicines. Tylenol. Decongestants. Band-aids and tape and gauze pads. Antibiotics if you can find any….Vancomycin and the lower-class ones that don't need to be refrigerated. As far as painkillers…that I don't know. Bring some if you can find any, but it's not high on the list. IF you can find a couple of bottles of Everclear for sterilization, that might work." Jaiden and Delia's jaunt through the hospital before it collapsed got a decent supply of stuff…all useful, but not nearly enough.

"You ain't leaving til the 19th at the earliest, anyway, remember, so the list can fucking wait," Nick hisses to Smedley, shaking his head, angry about the man's one-track mind, but Jaiden comes to the rescue with the list anyway. "There, you happy? Jesus, man, have some compassion. The girl's unconscious."

His eyes dart from the pale form of Delia to Jaiden's worried face and shakes his head. "So has this happened before? You said it has something to do with her power, right? She said something about — some mentor who's dead or something, the other day. Is … is that how she died?" He frowns at the thought, his jaw muscles twitching. "Fuck this, I'll go get her help somewhere," he snaps — despite his own words that it's not safe to leave the island, he strides for the door of the infirmary, apparently planning to do just that.

Maybe he'll steal Smedley's boat.

Rather than take the legal pad from Jaiden, Smedley watches Nick out of the corner of his eye, his expression stony. But when the younger man starts to go, the smuggler dips his chin and tucks his thumbs into the wide leather of his holster. "How you thinkin' you're gonna do that, son?" Smedley asks as easily as if he were planning on joining Nick. "Let's assume you get yourself more'n a few miles away from this rock without gettin' stopped or showin' up on somebody's radar so's that they can find where you set off from. When you get to where you're goin', you gonna put an ad in the fuckin' paper?" Giving as compassionate a nod as he can muster to Jaiden, Smedley turns, his eyes narrowing.

"If she's that far gone, then the people that can help here are already here, or else they're on their way. And if I know that little gal with the birds' game, you ain't gonna find 'em till they get here."

"Trust me, man, it's better we hang out here until we can get back to the city. If we're lucky, she'll just snap out of it like it never happened or, while were asleep, might come traipsing through and apologize that she got lost or something…I don't know. I just want her back safe." Jaiden sighs softly, resting his head on the rail of the hospital bed.

Out of Nick's periphery, he sees something for a brief moment, a woman standing right next to him dressed in a deep red suit, dark hair down to the small of her back, too-pale skin. But the moment he looks— gone.

"That, unfortunately, won't be happening…" It's a sibilant whisper in Jaiden's ear, accompanied by hot breath and the abrupt feeling of arms around Jaiden's shoulders and hands on his chest, a woman's frame leaning on him from behind. It's fleeting though, a woman there one moment and then gone the second Jaiden looks, like a hallucination — vivid and tactile but just brief enough to question the reality of.

No one else heard those words, saw what was leaning on Jaiden, what was embracing him. Not until Wes Smedley hears the same thing, a hushed and lilting femening voice whispering in his ear, arms around his shoulders, one hand on his chest and the other placing splayed fingers against his chin with the most subtle of pressure, a ghost's touch.

"She's gone," is whisper huskily into Smedley's ear, just as he sees a woman in red leaning over his shoulder to rest her chin there. Her skin is chalk white and too smooth, like a living porcelain doll replete with the fine hairline cracks beneath the surface when viewed up close. Her eyes are halfway lidded with dark lashes, irises that resemble molten metal more so than flesh; yellow and glowing hot.

"You, gentlemen, have a problem…" Smedley hears in hushed confidence.

The sight of the woman in red makes Nick pause midway to the door, staring at the space to his side, then whirling around, blue eyes darting here and there, confused. His jaw tenses as he stares at the two men suspiciously for a moment — even though he was just talking about Hokuto, that it could be her doesn't enter his mind.

"I'll figure it out," he manages to Smedley with a shake of his head. "I'll ask if I can go — there's someone who I think can get me outta here unseen, and if we haven't been bloody bombed yet, I don't think they know where we are or maybe they're not worried. I mean — really, would you be?"

Nick shoves his hands in his pockets, fumbling for a lighter and pack of cigarettes that aren't there out of frustration. "And it's my business to get here an' there without getting caught. You ain't the only one who moves merch."

The chill that snakes it's way up Smedley's spine easily outdoes any scare he's had in recent history. It's just plain unsettling. He clears his throat again, but instead of a soft grunt, it's a full on cough into a raised fist as his eyes dart this way and that. On an island full of people with extraordinary abilities, not to mention in a castle, nearly anything is possible.

Not quite as white as the sheet that covers Delia but certainly ashen, Smedley shakes his head dismissively at Nick, using the hand that guarded his cough to rub at his chin and jaw in the wake of the ghost.

Then something starts to needle him, far in the back of his mind. Nick had been talking about a dead person - Jaiden had said something about a mentor. Had he heard that wrong? Licking his lips, Smedley looks once more to the man who he might actually owe his life to. "You…said somethin' about Red's ability. Somethin' about some dead teacher? You ever meet this person?"

"Hokuto….Delia had mentioned her a few times - a teacher that helped Delia hone her ability to a fine edge, a woman who was alive but not - existing in some state of between." It was someone Jaiden never thought he'd meet, but it seems that now, he has, albeit briefly. His head darts up at the touches, at the whisper, Jaiden looking around wide-eyed for a moment before relaxing slightly. He does give Nick a bit of a negative shake of the head. Smoking in an infirmary is a bad thing - moreso if they have oxygen going. "She won't snap out of it, you mean…Hokuto, right?" Jaiden gives a cursory look around the room to see if he catches sight of the woman. Probably won't, though. "Any idea where she rn off to?"

"Tell him that's who's here…" is a whisper in Smedley's ear, "I'm Delia's mentor, Hokuto Ichihara."Unwinding her arms from around Smedley's shoulders, she continues to speak in soft tones reserved — not by choice — only for the smuggler. "I like you best, relay to the others what I'm telling you. They can't see or hear me…" dark brows pinch together as Hokuto leans away from Smedley, save for one wandering hand that traces across his shoulder with a single fingertip.

"She's surpassed her limits, gone outside of the boundaries of her practice like I warned her about." Gold eyes consider the unconscious figure on the bed, then flick back up to Wes. "Her mind has wandered further than she can remain tethered to her own subconscious, she is… gone." The dreamwalker's fingers spread slowly as if revealing that Delia is not hidden in either hand like a playing card or a colorful scarf.

"There was someone else here, someone like me, someone who has become more in between than on one side of life or the other. Delia found her mind, wandered into it, and then the drifting dreamer… wandered away like a leaf caught on a flowing river. Now, she can't find her way back to her body, and she is trapped in another's mind." Despite this, the gold-eyed woman seems more amused than worried.

"Hokuto — oh, right, that book store, it was owned by … it had a Japanese name. Ichihara? She worked at some li'l bookshop on Roosevelt. I bet that'd be the woman. I wonder if there's anything over there… not that it's safe in the part of the—" Nick pauses as he sees the other two men look a bit wild-eyed in turn.

"City." He swallows. "Did you see a woman in a red suit by chance? Shit, man, it's not a ghost. These powers — these days, everything can be explained with the whole SLC gene, yeah?"

He's probably trying to reassure himself as much as either Jaiden or Smedley. "Get some fuckin' balls."

Smedley remains stiff even after the woman invisible to the others in the room moves away from him, but once her strange touch is gone, the smuggler is clambering backward until he runs into an empty bed, sending the metal legs scraping against the stone floor for an inch or so before he steadies himself, his eyes glued on something near Delia's bed.

He swallows, looking even paler than before.

"Ffuck you, York," he mutters, shaking his head slightly and blinking.

When the woman doesn't go away, he makes a mental scramble to try and remember what she had said and piecing it with what he heard from Jaiden and Nick. "Mentor, right. And that's 'er name," he chokes out before he gets a better grip on his voice. "She's there," and he nods toward her, stealing glances at the only other conscious and corporeal people present before his eyes lock once more on Hokuto's, looking from wrist, to shoulder, to eyebrow, to elbow. "She's gone to far'r somethin'. Outside… boundaries. And she ain't there. Ain't…in herself, but it's all 'cause someone like Itchy-hara here came 'round and like…stole'r up or something. Like a leaf on the wind."

If he weren't trying to keep from shaking in his boots, Smedley might be proud of his poetics.

That explains it, then. It's just a ghost woman that happened to pick Smedley out of the group to explain what happened. That doesn't, however, help Jaiden figure out exactly how to solve this problem. As a guy, if there is a problem, it needs to be solved, period. There's no halfway with Jaiden. Without experience with SLC positve folk and having Delia run through his dreams nightly….well, one can accept strange things that much easier. "Miss Hokuto," Jaiden's being polite. "Is there any way we can guide her back? Turn on a porch light or something?"

When Jaiden directly addresses Hokuto, Smedley bears witness to a less than instantaneous disappearance as the dreamwalker seems to dissolve like watered-down ink into a thinning cloud of black smoke that whorls around lazily, then reforms in Jaiden's peripheral vision as a stark red silhouette of a smartly cut suit, hair as straight as razors and eyes yellow-gold. When she walks more fully into Jaiden's view, it's with a slow and leisurely pace, eyes lazily lidded part way.

"No," is her succinct answer to his question, turning her stare up to him. "She needs to find her way back, and the only thing that can do that is by proximity. She needs to leave this place, so that she can be properly cared for…" one pale finger lifts as if motioning to some ethereal notion in the air, "and so that she can be closer to other minds. By the time you get her off this island… the woman she is currently residing in could be even further gone, and Delia? She may choose to wander away more…"

Hokuto's eyes cast askance, regarding Smedley with a crooked smile before she slowly blinks and looks back up to Jaiden. "Or… you could go looking for her." The emphasis seems to imply something other than legwork.

It's difficult to not look directly at Hotuko because, if one does, she blinks out of view like someone simply edited her out of the scene with a powerful version of Photoshop, so as Jaiden talks, he's not really facing anyone - more towards the corner where he can 'see' Hotuko and the other two in the room. He's still holding Delia's hand - hasn't let go, to be honest, since this whole thing started except to get the notepad with the list of drugs needed. "We'll get her back to the city as soon as we can. There's a place I can take her that's safe and familiar…that may help. But if there's anything I could do to help find her…even by looking for her, I'll do it." He looks to Hotuko, who promptly vanishes,, causing Jaiden to look back to the corner, trying to re-orient her in the edge of his vision. "I'm probably one of the ones most familiar with this silly redhead's dreams…" And he can't help but smile for a moment. "Whatever you need me to do, Hokuto, you've got me."

"I need nothing," the dreamwalker opines with a Cheshire smile, "Delia, it seems, is the one in need." Changing her focus, Hokuto blurs out of Jaiden's vision in the same inky proliferation before swirling into view for Nick. Red suited, dark-haired and yellow eyed she offers a Cheshire cat smile to Eileen's brother, one dark brow raised.

"Tell them," she demands of Nick in a husky and forceful tone, "tell them that if they want, I can take them to try and find Delia. I can be as a bridge to connect dreamer to dreamer across more vast distances than my student. But know that there are risks. I will not go with you, only lead you into the dream. Once there… you're on your own."

Gold eyes flick to Smedley, then back to Nick. "I cannot assure your safety either… but I will do so for whoever would help Delia. She may have been theo ne to make this mistake, but I'm not cruel enough to make her do it on her own." Mostly because Hokuto isn't certain Delia could do it on her own.

When Hokuto comes back into view, Nick takes a step back, for all his talk of having balls. His pale eyes narrow as he peers into hers of molten gold, and he gives a short nod, before glancing at the others.

"I'll go," he says with a one-shouldered shrug, still favoring a shoulder that's no longer injured. "I don't have anything better to do, and I don't have anyone'll miss me if I go." The words are not self-pitying but resolved and determined to help the redhead on the cot.

He looks at the others — cast as translator, he does his job. "She says that she can help take someone to find her, serve as a bridge to connect to her, but it might be dangerous and she can't assure our safety."

He looks back at Hokuto. "So what do we do — we need to get her away from here to a safe place, and then what do we do?"

Swallowing, Smedley nods to Nick, looking from him to Delia again. Slowly, he steps back toward the girl on the cot in order to retrieve the legal pad, tucking it securely under one arm. His movements are stilted, and his gray=blue eyes dart this way and that, as if he expected Hokuto to become visible again at any moment.

But once he's run out of excuses to move, he looks to Nick again, and his eyes narrow. "So you'll be like her," and he jerks his head sideways to Delia. "Knocked out?"

"Get her to safety, see if she can find her own way back, then… if not, I send you snorkeling." At that comment there's a wry cast of Hokuto's lips into a coy smile. "It will heppen during your regular sleep cycle, unfortunately I can't will you to sleep, though… Delia's sister Lucille might be able to. Once you're asleep, I can try… being a guiding hand, leading you where you need to be, but never more than that."

For all the dreamwalker's professed capability, Hokuto seems to have not offered to directly get Delia herself, despite her position of being a mentor. "Unfortunately, if Delia wanders somewhere that I will not endanger myself by sending you, then you will have only one recourse. Word of mouth, talk… see if anyone has seen Delia in their dreams. I know it isn't optimal, but…"

Hokuto glances back to Delia. "It's a lesson she needs to learn."


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