delia2_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title Adrift
Synopsis Nick finds himself unwilling host to one of those guests that doesn't know when to leave, in fact, she's invited herself for an extended stay.
Date December 21, 2010

The Mind of Nick Ruskin

Gone is the snow. Gone is the smoke. But this mindscape is no more colorful than the last dream, but in reverse.

The water that Nick Ruskin's boat rests on, black and glossy as a sheet of obsidian, stretches out indefinitely in all directions. There is nothing in sight, no promise of land anywhere to be found. The horizon is fogged over, shrouded in white mist — Nick isn't even sure which way he is supposed to row, which direction holds his destination — nor is he even sure what his destination is.

It's hard to think, in a dream — harder perhaps when nerve synapses fire off pain signals to muddy even the subconscious's ability to reason. And reasoning isn't one of Nick's strongpoints, or he wouldn't be here.

The boat carries only one oar, which makes it all the more difficult to get anywhere. He begins to pull it through the water before he realizes that that will only have him going in circles. Alternating sides will take longer, tire him more quickly. He does this a few moments but the hopelessness settles in like the mist, cold and numbing. It's simpler to just drift — to not care.

What starts as a wisp of a lavender scented warm breeze is then mingled with flecks of gold dust and weaves in curlequeues through the air. The veins colored in pale reds and blues wind around Nick, twisting around his body before conglomerating into a whirlwind of color and glitter in front of his very eyes.

Slowly, as though pieced molecule by molecule, the colored strands form into the body of a kneeling young woman. Her features are indescernible at first, but as the dervish solidifies he can recognize Delia as he last left her. Her eyes are closed, her head angled toward something, arms hugging the air. When the last fleck of gold melts into her pale skin, she takes a deep breath and opens her eyes, as though being born.

An expression of confusion paints itself on her face as she lowers her arms and gazes at her surroundings, then at Nick. "H-ho— Where are we? What…"

He startles backward from that maelstrom, bringing a hand up to protect his face. In the dream, the skin is unbroken, unbruised along the temple and cheek. His eyes narrow as the blur begins to coalesce into Delia and he shakes his head, fear in those pale eyes as he stares at her.

"I told you to leave my head, Czerwony," he says, tone almost angry as his brows knit and forehead furrows. "It ain't no place for you, yeah? Find someone's head that's more fit."

His eyes slide away to the glossy black water that surrounds them, and he gives a shake of his head. "I donno where we are. Lost, I guess. And nice as you are, forgiving me ain't getting us any closer to anything."

"You did, then you…" Delia's voice drifts as she averts her eyes from his and looks into the inky water. She adjusts herself until she is no longer on her knees, instead she sits on the bench opposite Nick's with her knees pressed tightly together and her feet pointed toward each other. Her toes curl and shoulders hunch in a manner that suggests she might be a bit self conscious of the impotence of her own ability. "There's no one else."

She dips her hand into the water and swishes it around. When she brings it up, the clear liquid spills from her palm and drops back into the shadowy depths they're currently stranded in. "Why do you do that? Why do you want me to leave when I have nowhere to go?"

Privacy doesn't seem to be a concern for her at all, his lack of it at least.

"Don't-" he starts, leaning forward and jostling the boat a little as she dips her hand in the water, as if afraid the water contains something dangerous, virulent, evil. But then it's clear and pure as it drips from her hand and Nick settles back. One hand comes up to the side of his head, as if it hurts him, though there's no injury to be seen.

"Because it's my mine and I don't want you to see it," he says earnestly, rawly, his eyes shying away from her gaze as he stares down into the water. "Because it's bad in here. You might not have anywhere else to go, but anywhere'd be better'n 'ere."

He swallows and shakes his head. "Trust me. I live here."

"No." Her voice trembles when she finds herself uninvited from his presence, her eyebrows crease in the middle as a deep vee forms into a frown. As he stares into the water on one side of the boat, she turns her head to glare down at the other side. Away from his. "If I leave right now, I'll die."

Her lips press into a thin line, she's made up her mind it seems. Refusing to look at him, she dips her hand into the water again, using her hand as an oar. The boat moves perhaps a fraction of an inch, if only a twist in one direction. If she keeps it up, they'll eventually go in a circle. Eventually.

"You're so selfish!" Delia erupts all of a sudden, flicking a splash of water in his direction. It's not a friendly water fight as much as she's looking for a way to grab his attention that won't hurt him. "You'd rather see me die than just let me stay for a little while, until I can find somewhere to go. Your secrets… just to keep your secrets." She doesn't mention that she's probably picked through his mind and knows the worst of them anyway.

Nick is about to ask why she'll die when the icy water splatters the side of his face, and he turns to stare at her, mouth agape and eyes wide.

"I didn't say I'd rather you die, you daft cow!" he rages back. "It's not good for anyone to be here — it's not a healthy place, and I didn't want it to 'urt you, all right? Something about it — it's infected. Rotten."

He's less lucid than in the last dream, less aware for some reason of why she's there, of how she's there.

"And stop stickin' your hand in the water. You're likely to freeze that way," Nick snipes irritably but a little more calmly. If she wants the boat to move, he'll row, thank you very much — he begins to do so, then swaps sides before the small row boat can turn too far in one direction.

It's slow going, torturously slow, and it seems to bring them no closer to any sign of civilization.

Another splash of water get flicked in his direction and Delia's face contorts into a mix of anger, hurt, and frustration. "I can't believe you just called me a cow! You… you… jerk!!" Her voice quivers again and her eyes glisten with a sheen of unspilled tears. Folding her arms over her chest, she curls her body, trying to make herself smaller, less noticeable. Not that it works most of the time, but the ostrich approach to conflict is always her fallback.

Luckily for Nick, her tirade stops there and the young redhead falls silent allowing only a sniffle to escape every once in a while. Maybe an audible gulp or two as well. Her head angles to stare down at the water and one hand unfurls to wipe at her eye, grabbing the teardrops before they have a chance to slide down her cheeks. Delia is not about to let Nick see her cry.

The man's eyes narrow and he closes his eyes — it's not like he needs to worry about running into anything; there's nothing here — throwing himself into his rowing full force. "Fine. Stay. I'm not gonna kick you out if you think you're gonna die out there, but this is not a nice place for nice girls, Red."

After a pause, he adds, "I'm not a nice guy."

His eyes open and he seems no further than where he began, though with no landmarks there's no way to tell. He looks behind himself to be sure there's a wake, to be sure they're moving.

If they are, it's too slow.

He shakes his head, muttering curses beneath his breath as he sets the row down and tugs off shoes and shirt and jeans until he's just in his shorts. There is no tree to untangle this time — he just wants out of here.

Holding onto the sides of the boat he stands slowly to avoid capsizing, and hops smoothly into the water, hand coming up to steady the small dinghy before it turns too far to the side.

Teeth chattering, Nick barks, "Stay," to Delia, and begins to swim with one arm, dragging the boat behind him.

Moving up to the bow to be closer to Nick, Delia leans against the nose and stares at his back as he pulls her along behind him. "You say you're not… then you do things like this. If you weren't nice, you'd throw me in and make me swim." She speaks just loudly enough for him to hear her, some of the inflections in her voice carry out over the water causing her to lower it slightly.

Pressing her lip together tightly, she reaches out and clasps her hand over his, holding onto it tightly. "Why don't you let me help? You've got this… Hero complex or something." It didn't occur to her until now that she could help. At least in one way.

Closing her eyes, the young woman keeps her hand over Nicks and begins to concentrate. What Nick might feel as a pressure against his body, isn't the water growing viscous or anything touching him at all. Delia is battling for control, control that she used to have. Her warm hands keep a hold on the surly man, forcing him to stay near. The scenery flickers and shifts, between the black water and something much brighter. Something very alien and foreign to the Englishman.

"Not a hero," Nick says through clenched teeth, shifting hands now and then when one gets tired of plowing through the water. When the water shifts he looks a it skeptically, pausing to tread for a moment, one hand still on the boat, still held by Delia's.

He rises a little out of the water to look around, confusion in his pale eyes that now look more the color of the water than the icy sky. "This isn't where I live," he says quietly, looking a little lost.

The strobe of scenery change grows faster until the boat falls away completely and Delia's feet touch a soft white carpet. Nick is already standing on the floor, possibly feeling warmer now. The room is walled on four sides, the window along one wall completely curtained over. The dome light overhead is the kind seen in cookie cutter houses all over the country, it sheds enough light that it seems like day in the room. The pink walls are decorated with white daisies with bright yellow centers. The queen sized bed that overwhelms the little room is covered in a patchwork quilt and embroidered pillows.

Delia's face brightens up when she looks around and both of her hands close over Nick's. "No… I do…" her voice is breathy and happy, much happier than she's felt in a long while. If Nick was looking for a place that was hers before, they've found it now. "This is my room."

"Pink and posies, hm? And here I'd have pegged you for a tomboy or somethin', Czerwony," Nick says with some amusement. "But it's better for you 'ere. Are you tired? Do you wanna lie down?" He juts a chin toward the bed, one hand coming up to scrub over his temple and cheek as if it hurts, wincing slightly.

He looks around, moving to the door and opening it, to peek down the hallway for any signs of any one else, any dangers that might lurk outside of the pastel and pretty asylum.

There is no hallway, just the harsh terrain of Nick's mind. When he opens the door, a gust of freezing wind blows in snow and splashes of sleet. She shivers and rushes toward it, slamming it closed and keeping her back to it. Her eyebrows knit in concern and she reaches toward Nick's hands, pulling him close enough for inspection. Tilting her head, Delia lets loose one to reach up and brush back some of Nick's hair, trying to find what it is he keeps rubbing at.

"I sort of was both… I guess," she explains, her blue eyes searching his clear skin for any visible blemish. Finding none, she looks into his eyes and presses her lips together. "I'd like to lie down, promise me you won't open the door again?" This is her place now, her tiny mark in his mind.

Nick's brows twitch at the slam of the door, as if it pains him. The carpet beneath them seems less stable, as if they were still on a boat, rocky and wavy, much more so than the little dinghy on that glossy black sheet of water of moments ago.

His eyes drop and his jaw tenses when she runs a hand over his temple, but he nods to her words. "Sleep. I won't open it," he says tersely. "I promise."

Delia's hand drops from his temple and an apologetic expression crosses her features. Lips twitching as she attempts to smile and her eyebrows tweaking up at the inner edges in worry. When the carpet beneath them shifts, she shakes her head and places that hand on his shoulder, steadying him. "Stop, Nick, stop." A gentle reminder that he's the one with the control of the environment, as much as she would like it to be hers.

She doesn't let go of his hand as she slips toward the bed, sitting on the edge to look up at him. It's almost like she's unwilling to allow him to wake up, by keeping contact with him that he'll stay. "I'm sorry, you're hurting and I don't know why…"

The room seems to blur; somewhere in the distance the name Nicky is spat in a taunting British voice, a man's voice, and Nick glances over his shoulder before turning back to Delia. "I'll be okay. You rest. Then try'n go somewhere safer — if you can. I donno what'd 'appen to you if sommat happens t'me."

His speech grows a little lazier, as if he's growing sleepier; his eye lids droop as if he's falling asleep rather than waking up as his consciousness pulls him upward — and into a haze of pain that's somehow less lucid than this dreamland.

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