A Great Girlfriend


delia_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title A Great Girlfriend
Synopsis What else would you call him?
Date February 26, 2011

Fort Greene — Nickelioru's Apartment

The smell of cleaning products permeate the air of the apartment. For the better part of two days, Delia has been cleaning, presumably to feel like she's earning her keep. While she usually has Toru for company, he's been off doing whatever Torus do during the day and as the sun sinks below the skyline of buildings and shadows grow longer inside the apartment, the redhead waits by the window. The entire place is spotless from top to bottom, even the corners have been scrubbed.

Noticeably, the place is silent. The television isn't on, neither is the radio. The woman's iPad, which had been a constant fixture in her hands for the better part of her time awake, hasn't been unpacked from the duffel bags that are tucked neatly under the bed. Instead, she has a book in her hand, one of the ones the bodice rippers that Nick had brought her as a gift a while ago. She's already read it a few times but every word hasn't been memorized yet, so another read isn't completely insane. Except if she was looking for a different ending.

When the door unlocks, the creak of it opening is accompanied by a low rumble of a cough as Nick enters the apartment. His face is a bit pale, dark circles beneath his eyes. The week spent mostly underground in the cold and damp subway tunnels has apparently taken its toll in the form of a cold. If he were Evolved, he might worry it was H5N10, but being who he is, it's nothing more exotic than the common cold.

Bleary eyes scan the apartment to take stock — empty kitchen, open bathroom door with the light out, one Delia and no Toru. This is the first time that's happened, and he looks a little surprised as he returns his eyes to Delia.

"Hey," he says quietly, tugging his coat off and tossing it on the hook on the back of a small closet.

Delia's head swivels toward the door and she opens her mouth, taking a breath to give a good reprimand to the absent Asian. When Nick walks through the door her teeth click together and an easy smile spreads across her face. "Hey, you— "

Her eyebrows furrow as she takes him in, giving a little shake of her head to display the dismay of his state. "You look tired." Of all the words she quickly tucked away, that was the best she could come up with. She pushes herself to a stand and crosses the apartment to the kitchen and pulls a cup from the cupboard. "Sit, I'll make you some tea or something to help out your throat." The deep cough sounded horrible but she doesn't voice the worry, her expression states as much for her.

"I'm okay," he says, though there's a hoarseness to his voice that suggests otherwise, but then a cold isn't going to be anything than a mild inconvenience for a few days. He does sit, however, moving to the kitchen table and sinking into one of the chairs.

"Don't get too close, though; I don't want you catchin' what I got, if you're goin' to take care of other sick people." Nick leans an elbow on the table, and his head on the hand as he watches her move around the kitchen.

"You're not okay," Delia interjects quickly, giving the man a scolding look. She even goes so far as to cant her head to the side and point a finger at him, almost daring him to claim otherwise again. When she turns, the faucet is opened up and the mug filled before it's popped into the microwave. "Yeah," she murmurs in agreement to his warning and leans against the counter rather than moving to sit with him.

That lasts only as long as it takes the microwave to beep, then a teabag is procured from somewhere and dipped into the scalding water. Placing the cup in front of him, she moves back to the kitchen and grabs him a spoon and a small plastic single serve of honey. It can be safely assumed that the young woman has been collecting single serve items from different venues in the neighborhood, especially if you look at the counter which contains a bowl full of jams and jellies.

"I'll be going on Monday."

Brows arch at the single serve packet of honey and he glances at the refrigerator all the way on the other side of the kitchen (all five feet of it) a bit longingly before pushing off from his seat rather than to ask her for the milk he wants inside.

A few steps get him there and he brings the carton to the table, opening it to sniff it rather than to check the date, and pours a dollop inside, before striding back. "Cheers," he says by way of thanks, before tearing the honey packet and squeezing it in.

He watches the amber liquid drip by drip, his brows knitting as if in concentration, before lifting his gaze once more to her. "It's nice of you. To go and help. I'll bring you to the boat if you want, and bring some supplies to take with you. Books and blankets and soap an' stuff, yeah?"

"It's not nice," she says quietly, watching his calloused hands as the honey streams into the tea. "I— I'm scared to death." Delia's shoulders hang as she laces her fingers together and tucks them between her knees. The helpless expression on her face is possibly one of the more honest ones that he's seen since she came. Still, she tries to mask it with a weak smile. "But maybe my dad is there, now that the dome's down, I'll get to see him. Right?"

The redhead's smile widens at the offer and she nods once, "I'd like that. If you took me— I mean, you don't have to if you're busy. It's not far, I can manage, but— but I think we do need supplies. Masks are probably the most important thing, and gloves." Her eyes widen a little bit as she looks up from her fingers to meet his gaze and the smile wanes a little. "I don't want to catch it."

Stirring the honey and milk into the tea, Nick frowns, eyes down. He's not going to argue with her again about whether she should go or not. "You shouldn't work in the infirmary unless you get a vaccine first," he mutters, before lifting the mug to his lips and taking a sip.

As he swallows, his brow creases as if it pains him. "If you get sick, you're just one more person to take care of, you know? They don't got enough non-Evolved types to help in the infirmary? I'd help but … I don't know any first aid. Nothin' more than common sense, anyway." The kind of knowledge you pick up having to tend your own wounds as a child, by those inflicted by your mother. One hand says as much about his lack of first-aid expertise; the scabs there from smashing the lock to free Eileen are inflamed around the edges; his other hand is finally healing from the glass of the Volvo window he broke.

"I don't think they do," in regards to non-evolveds in the infirmary. "At least not trained, Nurse Young and I were the only ones there after the riots. I don't know if anyone else made it there to help her, Lee— Eileen didn't really say." Delia blushes a bit from the slip of the tongue and she stares down at the table, her eyes finally drifting to the angry looking scabs.

She reaches out and takes his hand in both of hers, letting loose a tch of tongue against teeth. Brushing her thumb lightly over the sores might seem as a gesture of affection at first, until it's replaced by the tips of four fingers. It becomes obvious then; the light, almost tickling touch, is nothing more than the young woman searching for hot spots among the wounds. "Wait here," she murmurs before getting up and taking the few steps toward the bathroom.

His eyes narrow a little at the nickname for Eileen, and he shakes his head when she moves toward the bathroom. "She doesn't…" he begins, his voice too rough and needing to be cleared, which brings a bit of a coughing fit. After coughing into his sleeve for a few moments, he leans back against the wall, tired from the effort.

"She doesn't like that name anymore," Nick says quietly. "You might not wanna call her that. It'll remind her of…"

Of him.

"She doesn't go by that anymore," he reiterates.

When Delia comes out of the bathroom with her hands full of antiseptic, antibacterial ointment, cotton balls, and gauze, there's a confused frown on her face. "Really?" Blinking her blue eyes a few times, she finds her chair and retakes the infected hand. "I— " all of her breath is let out in a small huff that's directed by her lower lip to blow a spiral of copper hair out of the way. It flops back to where it was the moment the breath is gone.

"She told me…" pausing, her gaze flutters up to meet his for a brief moment before lowering again. "She told me she liked it the best." Her voice is nothing more than a slight whisper as she opens the bottle with her free hand and presses a cotton ball over the top. Tipping it, she soaks the puff and then begins to gently dab at the meaner spots on Nick's knuckles.

His hand twitches in hers even before she dabs it with the cold, sharp alcohol. He stares down at the injury, his jaw set but twitching with tension. Nothing else is said about Eileen's name or preferences.

"So you takin' the night boat? If you give me a list, I'll go get whatever I can during the day," he offers, changing the subject rather pointedly, flinching now and then as the alcohols seeps into the cracked scab, the wound apparently open here and there, thanks to being across several knuckles. "Y'know you're gonna get sick before you even leave. You shoulda made me wash my hands first," he points out, before picking up the mug to take another sip of the hot tea.

"I'll be fine," she murmurs, one knee coming up shoulders height as she rests a foot on her seat. Hunching over his hand, she continues to dab at the redder spots. The clear liquid fizzes as it kills the bacteria there and when a rather large white puff of bubbles sprouts from one of the wounds, she lifts her head to watch him. "Probably, there's a few things I wanted to do during the day. Since I'm in Brooklyn… I just haven't— "

She issues him a slight smile again and dabs at the edge of the scab a little more. Each time the little mushroom of bubbles gets a bit smaller. "Don't want me getting sick, you'd never be rid of me." The sudden smile that she greets him with is wide and accompanied by a breathy laugh. "I'll be okay, I'll wash my hands."

The chemical reaction is watched as if it's fascinating, and Nick gives a half smile in response to her wider one. "Can't protect you from all the germs in the world, I guess. And it's probably safer for you there than around here." Here, with him, or Logan, or other such dangers, goes unsaid.

"I'll drive you 'round on your errands if you need. You're doin' great, but you shouldn't wear yourself out, especially if you're gonna be around sick people, right? I mean, wearing yourself out, it wears down your immune system, yeah?" Like he's worn his own down, without enough rest in the past week.

"I'm stronger, Nick," gentle reassurance that matches the touch of the cotton ball against his skin. Only the words don't carry a stinging after effect. "I've been keeping up with exercising, I can walk all the way up to the top floor from the bottom without stopping. I bet you and Toru have to take a break halfway." The teasing statement masks the other question begged, how long she can walk.

The growing mountain of little white puffs soaked with antiseptic and stained with yellow and red grows into a small mountain on the table before she finally stands and jerks her chin upward to urge him to do the same. "Come on, Mister Worry Wart, hand washing time." Delia leads the way, turning the water on for Nick when she reaches the bathroom and stepping out before ushering him in.

There is a soft huff of a laugh at the teasing challenge. "Toru probably would, anyway," he replies, not willing to be cast in the same lot. He stands when she bids, and wrinkles his nose and reaches for the pile of cotton balls so she doesn't have to touch them again, moving into the bathroom and tossing them in the waste can there.

Once there, he washes his hands, ducking his head to cough into his shirt, the rumble low in his chest, before reaching up to rub his eyes. He takes the towel and gingerly dries the injured hand. "I do wash my hands you know," he says, lest she think he got infected due to bad hygiene. "That thing was rusty."

He lifts one hand to stop her. "I had my shots." There's a crooked smirk and he glances down at his cleaned hand. "Thanks."

Her eyebrows knit together at the sound of the cough and she takes a breath to say something but changes her mind on taking an argumentative train. "I know you do, but we're not done yet." Delia spins on her heel and skips back to the kitchen table to grab the tube of ointment and waggle it in his direction. "Come on, sit, it won't take long. Thanks for giving me practice… I haven't done much since I woke up."

She could say more, instead she waits for Nick to take a seat before taking his hand again and spreading a thick layer of the ointment across his knuckles. "It'll help keep infection away and stop the gauze from sticking to your hand," she explains as she smooths the ointment only enough not to leave peaks. The gauze is unraveled around his hand and woven between his fingers to keep the bandage in place. In the end, it's a nice fit that allows him to curl his fingers into a fist. In case he needs to use them again.

"I— " she pauses and bites her lip, uncertain whether or not to ask before she finally does. "Can I listen to your cough?" The implication is there that she just just want to hear him barking into his shirt.

"Oh." Not done yet. You'd think he'd been in hospitals and medical wards enough to know that there'd be more. He sits and watches her, eyes narrowing a little at the gauze around his hand. It doesn't look very smuggler-spy-chic to have his hand bandaged for a minor wound, but he'll humor her for at least the next day.

And then take it off.

"Listen to my cough?" he says, raising his brows, but he shrugs. "It's just a cold," he protests, not planning on coughing for her, apparently, but his shoulders shake as a cough overtakes him anyway, and he turns away, lifting his left arm to cough into the fabric of his upper arm.

"I know, that's the point. I'm going to have to listen to a lot of coughing, I want to know what just a cold sounds like instead of something more. Besides, your coughing isn't going to give me a flu… so it's safer, right?" Her chin raises as she looks up at him, her lips pursing a little as she waits for the answer.

The outer edges of Delia's lips raise along with her eyebrows as she attempts to make a pleasantly convincing expression. A little flutter of her eyelashes can either make or break the deal, in the end she settles for a couple of bats that can easily be blamed on a bit of dust in the eye.

Nick finishes the coughing fit and rests his head back against the wall, eyes half-lidding. "So, what's the prognosis, Doc?" he says teasingly, one foot pulling up in front of him so he can start to unlace his boot, kicking it to the floor and then repeating with the other. Apparently he's in for the evening. He doesn't have the energy to go back out.

His hand moves to curl around the mug again, and lifts it to his lips for another sip. "Glad I can be a guinea pig for ya."

Wandering back into the kitchen, a cupboard is opened and a glass taken out. "I haven't listened yet," she smiles widely, "but thanks for saying yes." It's left empty as Delia carries it in one hand and points to the middle of the floor with the other. "Drag your chair out there? I need to listen to your back." With a glass. Like she's eavesdropping on his innards. Or something. At least she's letting him be macho and carry his own chair instead of doing it for him.

She starts humming a little song off-key, mostly to herself, and every once in a while a word is interjected. It's all about lungs and quadrants, at least that's what can be gleaned from the bits said out loud.

"Oh." He thought he was done again. Silly him. He pulls his chair over with the good hand, not being macho and carrying it but rather dragging it — he's on the first floor so at least there's no one below him, before moving to sit — thinking, at least, this time, as he sits facing the front of the chair, straddling it, so that is back is free.

He doesn't look particularly happy, but he gives a nod. "Say when." He'll cough at her command.

There isn't a lot he can do that will make her happy. This is a compromise.

Placing the glass on his back, she places her ear next to it and virtually sings. "Deep breath in and hold~" There's a small pause before she says, "Okay let it out." This is repeated four or five times in different locations before she finally stands and moves to the kitchen to place the glass in the sink. She doesn't wash it yet, she's done enough cleaning.

"You sir, are a smoker." The statement of the obvious is made with a little bit of a smile as she squints her eyes. "I could hear it all rattly in there. I'd love to get a stethoscope on you someday," a hand is held out to help him up. Of course it's a gamble on whether or not he'll take it but she's done torturing him with makeshift medical equipment for a bit. "You're going to need to be careful, you could get a chronic cough."

"I bet you tell that to all the blokes," is said lightly, as he takes her hand for a brief moment to stand, then moves to drag the chair back to the table. "I tried to quit. After the 8th." After his lungs were filled with Zyklon B, then healed by a Frenchman that is somehow still alive, somehow still connected to his life.

"Didn't take." He runs a hand through the back of his hair for a moment, nervously, then pads on his stocking feet toward the sofa. Since Delia came to crash, he kicked Toru into the bed with her and has taken the couch for the few nights he's actually slept there. "Haven't today, though," he adds, looking back at her as if that should earn him points, brows raised. "I used to do worse. I figure cigarettes, at least they're legal, right?"

"You could," she agrees with a little smirk. Glancing between the bed and the couch, she shakes her head and points to it. "Toru's not here, why don't you take the bed and I'll sleep here?" She follows to the sofa and lands with a heavy whump on the opposite side, curling her feet up to tuck underneath her.

A serious expression washes over her features as she looks around the small apartment and then back to him looking to meet his eyes for at least a moment. "Nick? Thanks for letting me stay here. It means a lot to me, you know, that you're my friend and everything. I didn't mean to just invade and not leave."

"He'll be back before curfew," Nick argues. "And I slept here last night, so my germs are on the cushions. You take the bed." He leans his head back on the cushion, eyes closing and his brows arching as she grows more serious.

His eyes open again, and he tips his head toward her on her end of the couch. "You didn't invade. And I'd rather you be safe. If it's here, than it's here, yeah? I mean — long term, it wouldn't work, but a couple of days is fine," he says, choosing his words carefully.

He closes his eyes again. "Look after Eileen for me, will you? When you get back."

At first, Nick just receives a silent nod as an answer but then, while his eyes are closed, Delia tips over. Her head lands against his chest while her arms pin around him in a tight hug. "I will," she murmurs with a slight grin. He really should know better, at least know her better, she's always been a fairly huggy person in dreams. Even once in real life. "I couldn't think of not taking care of her."

It's fairly easy for him to get out of and she doesn't resist should he push away but while it lasts, the redhead is content. Mostly because she thinks he's more interested in Toru than he could ever be in her. That just makes him a great girlfriend.

When she suddenly hugs him, his eyes dart to the window, half expecting a bird to be there, to scold him for their proximity. He pats her shoulder, awkwardly, then squeezes it in something closer to a hug.

His brows twitch, but he doesn't move for a long moment, letting her rest against him, letting her hold him. Holding her — lightly and tentatively — with one hand.

Slowly one foot raises to rest on the coffee table, and then the other, crossing over it. He breathes in, and out, the breath shallow and stuffed up in his congested throat and nose.

He doesn't let go.

And after a few moments, he's asleep.

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