Dreams By The Fire


s_delia_icon.gif unknown13_icon.gif kincaid_icon.gif


Scene Title Dreams By The Fire
Synopsis Kincaid is lured into a place not his own and someone else follows.
Date January 25, 2011


Fat snowflakes the size of dimes meander through the air, colliding with one another to explode like fireworks or hug until they touch down on the white ground. It could be a Norman Rockwell painting. A picturesque house in the hills surrounded by a low rock wall, its chimney spewing aromatic cedar smoke while any sound is muffled by the blanket of silence that the snow creates.

Behind the house, a small pond covered in a light dusting of the chilly weather's bounty is swept off by a myriad of children playing hockey with an old tennis ball and using straw brooms for sticks. They call it hockey, their caretaker calls it fun. The white door at the back of the house looks inviting enough, with a wreath of green pine and red berries strung within it. The windows are too frosted over to see much of anything except a figure moving around in a brightly lit kitchen.

It's outside that the excitement is happening.

"Over here!! Lu!! Over here!! I'm clear!!" A little redhead with a broom much too big for her is skidding around on her boots while her slimmer and more agile sister skates deftly between their opponents. The little redhead with springy hair is close to the unmanned goal. No one noticed when she slid up to it, not even her dark haired sister.

"Go Lia! Get it!!" The ball is whisked over in the little girl's direction and she screams and ducks rather than catching it, letting it skitter away and into the enemy's clutches. Too late for the little girl to run after it, they're already halfway down the ice by the time she pulls herself back up to a stand.

"Llliiiiaaaaaa……" There's a collective groan of her team mates (all three of them) as they slide up to her, one of them taking her broom. "You should just go in the house, you're too little to play anyway."

"Don't listen to them," a taller boy says, lanky and with brown hair longer and spiky than it might usually be in the waking world. Cade looks younger and with a ready smile on his lips, as he holds up his unscared hand and catches snowflakes, which don't melt right away.

The sky seems to have a blueish tinge, despite the snow. The clouds are there, but they're bluish too. Something about it seems… quieter.

And his eyes are blue as well.

He looks around sixteen, rather than his mid to late twenties.

"There's nothing wrong with worrying about getting hit, either," he says, sliding over on his shoes, rather than skates, and offering her a hand. "I wouldn't want to get hit by it either."

When the little girl turns to look up at him, it seems like her entire torso swivels at the waist to turn, and then bends backwards to look uuuuuuuup. Her round blue eyes only widen when she's talked to and the knit hat on her forehead slips down a little to cover them.

One mitten rises to push it back into place while the wild curls that spring out from all sides, squished between the rolled up rim and her matching thick scarf, like a clown's skullcap. "Lu knocked it too hard, she just doesn't know how strong she is." The child murmurs the excuse as she slides back and forth on the soles of her thick brown boots. She's not too young for skates, it's just not a necessary expense when boots do just as good a job.

"Are you playing too? If you are, you can have my broom." The offer is made without any bitterness, as though the little girl would rather do something else anyway.

To assist with the bending backwards to look up, Cade kneels down, bending his knees until arms covered with a fluffy coat are resting on jeans. He should probably be wearing heavier, something to cover his ears or his head, but he's not. His nose isn't red, his ears don't look sore. He looks more comfortable with snowflakes in his hair than not.

And his eyes are almost the same color as hers.

"No, I don't really want to play. It wouldn't be fair, I'm bigger than the rest of you," he says, touching the broom, but not taking it. There's a sudden flash of a different color along the edges, and there's a line of blood on the broomstick where he touched it.

"If you want to go inside, though, I'll go with you."

"She's making hot chonklit through the door! You should come!! She never comes out anymore, unless I get in trouble, but sometimes when I promise to be good, she lets me out…" Then the girl falls silent and gives the teen a sheepish grin. There's a hole where two front teeth should be, making it more of a sheepish grimace than a grin.

Her eyes fall to the stick and they narrow just a touch as she concentrates on it. The blood disappears almost as quickly as it was smeared on. Two little lips pucker into a tight knot as she eyes Cade warily. "You shouldn't do that… this isn't the place for that." Meaning, this isn't a place for pain. One cool wet mitten slips into the hand that touched the broom, almost icy but not uncomfortably so. Like a bag of peas on a sore muscle.

"You can take me home now, I'm not allowed out for very long." Already the sky is beginning to darken as though sunset is near. With a couple of skips, the little girl is tugging the tall teen up, the broom and playmates are forgotten and disappear in a colorful swirl in a growing fog as the duo makes their way toward the door.

"Open it, you don't have to knock."

The blood may disappear from the broom, but oddly his hand remains a little red, perhaps from the chin and the cold. The icyness of her hands helps, though, from the way he squeezes them back. "You haven't been too bad," Cade says with a smile, moving after her as she tugs him along, and toward the door. The snowflakes are left behind, though some cling to his hair and his shoulders, not wanting to melt away entirely.

"You got here first," he jokes, in referenced to the tugging and the insistance that he can just go inside. But he is bigger, so he steps closer and grabs the door, pulling it open.

"Ladies first," he says with a soft voice, still smiling.

As the door opens, the little girl lets go and races over the threshold. What should be hot air greeting them is merely a comfortable warm. The kitchen is brightly lit by the fire roaring in the fireplace and a few lamps positioned strategically. Walls that should be wood panelling or plaster are instead papered in what seems to be children's drawings plastered on every available surface.

"I like to draw," the little redhead's voice echoes through the air. The feel of her palm is still on Cade's hand but she's no where to be seen. Until he looks toward the figure in the kitchen. The ghostly image of the little girl steps into the woman, who turns to greet him with a crooked smile.

"Oh hi," Delia seems a bit surprised but she has two steaming cups ready both with marshmallows bobbing at the top. "You came. I hope you don't mind hot chocolate instead of coffee."

The further he gets into the house, the more it seems like Cade is growing a little. Not too much, but he looks older, filling out in some places, slendering up in others. "Hot chocolate is fine," he says, looking down at the cup with the marshmallows and reaching out to touch it.

"It's really warm," he says, making no move to drink it right away. At least he doesn't need to kneel down anymore, though he casts a glance around the room, as if expecting something else.

"Was I supposed to come?" he asks, head tilting to the side. His eyes are still blue.

Lifting one shoulder in a shrug, Delia's smile falters a little as she drops it. "Not many people feel comfortable outside their own heads. I suppose it'd be a relief for you, no pain; at least nothing real." Looking around the room, the fireplace flips up at one corner, revealing itself to be just another child's drawing when it falls flat again.

"I try not to leave anymore… At least not all the way." The little girl stayed well within sight of the door, not venturing anywhere she couldn't be seen from a frosted window. "You dream like Nick, only your snow is a happy place… His is a bit— sad."

"Really? I've always liked snow, but— it has some sad points to, I guess," Cade says, moving to sit down at a chair in the kitchen, which seems more familiar to him than it probably is. Dreams always seem to have a familiarity in them. "I knew I was dreaming— one second the pond was empty, the next… instant hockey game," He shakes his head.

"You make a cute kid," he says with a laugh, smelling the chocolate, but not yet testing it. "All those freckles," he finally tries to sample it. The more he slides into awareness and sits here, the darker the blue in his eyes seems to get. Not quite the coffee black she's seen, but… it's there.

At least his scars haven't appeared, and there's no smears of blood on the coffee mug.

"So what are your dreams like?"

There's a crooked half smile that forms on her face as a pink tinge sets in across her cheeks and nose. "Freckles… Never say freckles are cute. They're the bane of my existence and a regular reminder that I'll turn into a lobster if I try to tan."

The answer to his question seems to be in the pictures all around them. As Delia looks from one to the other, they seem to turn three dimensional, as though drawn with those special crayola chalks. "Still trying to figure that out. I used to know but now I just sort of sample everyone else's and draw my own pictures from there." She takes a sip from her mug, not bothering to wipe away the white mustache left behind by the half melted marshmallow. Instead, she slowly curls her tongue over it, first turning it into a Charlie Chaplain stache and then finally licking it fully away. "Sort of sad, huh? It's like I don't have any of my own anymore."

The presence of another is not so simple as a knock in the door, or dramatic manifestations of arrival. It doesn't really have shape or tangibility — Delia will feeling it, however, the way a spider might feel the tremors of something caught in their web, or the way neck hairs tingle on end when someone unseen and unheard steps into the same room. The sense a coming storm might bring, or the stare of something great.

A shadow passes over the world, briefly, throwing the snowy landscape outside into brief darkness. Someone picks up the world created here, and looks in.

"Well in that case, you're welcome in mine while you're staying with me," Cade says with a smile, settling back in the chair, and finally taking a sip from his hot chocolate with marshmallows before he sets it down on the table. That may or may not have been there a moment ago. The room seems to be getting more and more detailed by the moment. Picture frames start appearing on the wall, cracked, but well loved and repaired, but the pictures seem to be foggy, distorted by the glass that covers them.

"I'll try to keep them from being sad. This one's actually one of my favorites, though without the group of kids playing hockey. Usually it's just me and…" his voice trails off as he to notices the darkness coming in one of the window, that doesn't have it's drapes.

Delia's eyebrows furrow together in worry as the shadow passes, leaving her cold. The drawing of the fireplace whips up and when it flatens again, the orange and reds of the firelight are gone. Only the dark brown and black splotches of wood and soot remain.

The air around the redhead turns frosty with fright, enough that her breath can be seen in small clouds. Her pale skin takes on a bluish tinge of frostbite though she doesn't shiver or make any move to try to warm herself. "Where are we?" she whispers to the man across from her, her blue eyes still watching the frosted windows. "You don't live near the bogeyman, do you?"

It's only happened once before, in someone else's mind. That time, her host let a bird in and she let it carry her away.

No birds. No bogeymen, either.

There's a squeak of skin and glass, and a shape writes itself into the frosted over window. A jagged looking but well-meaning heart shape, as if printed out by a child, but by the time it joints at its pointed bottom, finished with a flourish, the arrival of the third is complete. Jasmine removes her hand from the window around when the other two are able to comprehend her. "I didn't mean to frighten you," Jasmine says, her voice small, keeping her profile to them as she, like Delia, studies the window.

Her dress is pragmatic and woolen, a neutral grey, black leggings keeping her legs warm and feet shoved into ankle boots. Her hair is fire red and tamed into a braid that tracks down her back. More elaborate, a black velvet mask covers her face, obscuring cheekbones, the shape of her brow, the bridge of her knows, a feline slant to the eyeholes that frame blue eyes.

As soon as the heart starts to form, Kincaid smiles faintly, perhaps relieved by the sudden appearance after that talk of bogeymen. "No, I don't think this is a bogeyman," he says, actually moving as if to stand up from his chair, perhaps an odd hint of a gentleman rising when a lady enters the room, perhaps, or the sudden realization that… They only have two cups of hot chocolate with marshmallows and now they have a third.

"I'd offer you mine, but I just drank out of it," he says with a gesture to his cup. A third cup doesn't appear, but he seems to be exiting his chair, as if to offer it.

There's a long sigh of relief as Jasmine blossoms from thin air and into view. Following Cade's lead, Delia also rises to a stand but instead, she moves toward the other woman and wraps an arm around her shoulders to lead her toward the table where they'd been sitting. "It's okay, I'm just a little— jumpy. Too scared of my own shadow anymore to go too far." Perhaps the reason why she draws others to her instead of the other way around. "Of course there's a third cup, there's always enough tea for Alice."

Only they're not drinking tea, they're having a spot of chocolate.

Nevertheless there is a third cup, formed just after Kincaid looks away. Perhaps the host is simply being contrary or she wasn't expecting more company. "Have a seat. We were just talking about dreams, you're the expert on the subject." Delia grins toward Jasmine as they reach the table. There's more than enough chairs and now three cups of hot chocolate with melting mallows. "What do I do when I have no dreams of my own anymore?"

Dimples form in suppressed, genuinely pleased smile when Delia greets her warmly, Jasmine gently placing a hand on one on her shoulder and moving for the table as directed. She reaches out to pull out her chair, taking a seat and pulling hot chocolate towards herself, hands wrapping around the warmed porcelain to soak up its temperature. There's a flash of a glance to Kincaid, a slightly broader smile, before she demures with a shake of her head. "Expert is a very strong word for what I am, Miss Ryans," she says.

Her hands splay a little around the cup in gesture, a hand detouring to wave Kincaid to sit down, before she tilts her head up at Delia, concern briefly showing in eyes that are not unlike Delia's in reflection. "There are some dreamwalkers that never dream. They end up going from head to head, like nomadic wanderers. It sounds like you have the reverse problem."

As Kincaid sits back down, slowly, he has a smile on his lips, and each moment he looks older, until he could easily pass for twenty. Age in all the right areas, though none of the stubble or scarring. His eyes are a deeper blue than before, "I never really liked Alice in Wonderland. Through the Looking Glass was better," he comments in an almost aside.

"You don't strike me as an Alice. More of an Ozma. Princess and Queen, ruler of the fairyland of Oz. Course that would make this the fairyland… I don't recall there being a land where it snowed in Oz."

He shakes his head, as if he realizes he's talking fancy. "She's welcome in mine if she needs it, but I think it would be nice for her to have her own dreams. I wouldn't want to not dream at all. I don't sleep enough as it is, I'd certainly want to dream."

"I didn't read those books… The Oz ones. The wicked witch in the movie scared me." Delia's admission comes in combination with a brief flush of her cheeks. Taking her own seat beside Jasmine's, she reaches for her mug and lifts it with both hands to her lips. She blows gently along the surface of the milky mixture before taking a long sip. This time there's no mustache.

With one hand curled through the handle of the mug and the other bracing the cup itself, Delia stares down at the last bit of fluff as it sinks below the surface. A sinking marshmallow ship. "You know what book I liked the best? When I was little, I remember a book called The Secret World of Og. It was about these little green people that lived underground and all they said was og og og… and ate mushrooms. All of the kids in that book had first names that began with the letter P."

There's a soft snort from Jasmine at Kincaid's comparison — obviously flattered even as she gives a small 'oh, you' head toss that swings her braid. A hand goes out to affectionately tug the short locks of brunette above his forehead, before taking a draw of hot chocolate, relishing the taste as she flicks a glance at the snowy outdoors, through the window she marked. Her skin is shock pale against the warm wool of her dress, unnaturally so — there is always something just a little unreal about her. At least, this is so when she is be-masked.

"I liked The Jungle Book," she offers, with a quirk of a smile, after some hesitation wherein she debates offering her own input on book club, or to evasively tackle the query put to her earlier. Takes the cowardly option instead. "And The Little Princess. All the decent, pretensious classics. It was what was on hand, I suppose."

The gentle tugging on the lock of dark hair makes Kincaid smile, touching his lip with his knuckle, and for an instant it looks as if it's wounded. It doesn't stay that way. The pain doesn't stay in this dream, even when the dreamer is distracted. "The Wicked Witch wasn't nearly as scary in the book. She was actually kind of a coward, hiding behind her hat, which gave her control of the Flying Monkeys."

All the talk on childrens' books seems to fit the table, the hot chocolate with marshmallows, and the fact that, not long ago, a little girl had drawn him into this house. "The Nome King always scared me more, forcing people to live in slavery as ornaments in his collections, tricking people to sacrifice themselves on impossible tasks to save their friends. Though even he was bested by a simple talking orange farm hen."

Delai sits quietly, listening to the two and regarding the exchange with a little squint of her eyes. "Do you two know each other from before?" Not an impossible thing, as there are quite a few dream walkers about, by the redhead's own approximation. Even a dream walking cat. "I mean, you know… I've visited a lot of people in their dreams when I was lost. You seem familiar with each other."

She quiets down then giving room for denial or affirmation from either of them. Taking another even longer drink from her own cup, she follows Jasmine's eyes toward the window and the dark sky beyond. "It's cold out there now, like in Nick's dreams… Bleak and snowy instead of fun and snowy."

"Do we? I have one of those faces, I suppose," Jasmine states breezily with a flick of a glance out the eye-holes of her mask, a wry comment only partially muffled by the mug of hot chocolate she brings to her lips, painted dark, near black, though they don't leave marks on the porcelain, as if maybe her make up were her natural colouring. "I've gotten to know Brian too. We were superheroing in his city, together, rescuing two of his girlfriends."

She shrugs. Don't ask her, it wasn't her dream. "If you ever need a dream, and want to give Cade a break, Brian is only a stone's throw away." On the environment outside, she doesn't comment, eyes hooded a little, attention focusing on the beverage in her hands.

Instead, she asks, "What are you going to do now?"

There's a small smile from Kincaid, though it gets hidden by a long drink from his hot chocolate as he watches Jasmine with his eyes. "I imagine the dream is telling us to stay inside for now," is what he says, when he lowers it, waving toward the window, with the gloomier snowfall. He always liked snow, and the snowglobe dream, but snow can be lonely.

And for some reason, there's a clock on the wall that keeps ticking the same minute, over and over. The second hand moving, but the other hands remaining stuck in place.

"We need somewhere safe to keep her. In the physical world. She still hasn't recovered from what happened the last few months, and… there's too much at risk."

"I— don't know what I'm going to do," Delia says, almost drowned by Cade's more lengthy explanation. After a pause to allow him to finish, she smiles and nods in agreement before picking it up again on her own. "I would go with my dad but it's too dangerous. With the new flu outbreak— I'd be a liability if I caught it. I don't have the strength to fight it off, it'd be safer for them just to— let me go, if I did."

She lowers her mug to the table and licks her lips, ending it by chewing on her lower one. "I can barely walk two or three steps, and that's an accomplishment according to the doctor. It's just not fast enough. I need to be with Brad because it's the best place to be… There's a pool, a gym…" She quiets for a moment before turning to Jasmine with a little smile, "Even a dog that I play with in my sleep. Her name is Cheza."

Jasmine's eyes hood, made all the more emphatic with long black eyelashes, as thick as fans or moth wings, hiding eyes save for a sliver of pale blue that directs a gaze more interested in hot chocolate than her companions. Seemingly. The mask makes it difficult to pick out her emotions, but there is a subtle downturn at the corner of her mouth at the news. Remembering, a little, of Brian's invitation. Still: "You'll heal. I know you will. Soon enough, you won't only be walking, but dancing."

Or as much dancing as she is aware Delia is capable of. She forces a smile, one that even has humour, before she looks to Kincaid. "I trust you. And the others." It's said in a tone that is a little like a knife cutting free a fish, allowing the decision to swim free of her, in matters that are physical.

"You're not going to get sick, so don't worry about it," Kincaid says, his voice hiding any worry he may have at the possibility. It's easier to reassure even when there's no grounds to give it, other than simple hope and faith. "And we'll find somewhere safe for you."

The royal we, there, as he reaches across the table and touches the girl's wrist with his hand, and directs his eyes at Jasmine. There's a nod there, smile both soft and grateful.

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