Anchors Away


delia_icon.gif s_hokuto_icon.gif

Scene Title Anchors Away
Synopsis Lesson number two: Dream walkers are like an electrical current, they need to be grounded.
Date September 20, 2010

Gun Hill — Ryans Apartment

It's a little bit of a late start for Delia, but after spending the night away from home she's been in a bit of a dither. Heedless to whomever might live downstairs, she's skipping down the hall of the apartment, from her bedroom to the kitchen. That might be to the chagrin of her father, who has the tendency to take care of everything including the added responsibility of noise complaints.

According to Delia? It's after 9am… learn to deal with it.

She's just popped a toaster strudel into the toaster and waiting for it while skimming over the last few pages of her 'novel'. It's a little light reading to start the day, but now that the redhead has limited experience in the romance department, she's become something of a critic to the writing styles of romantic authors. "Pfff… totally doesn't happen like that… at all." It's a good thing her father isn't in the room to hear the comment, because he probably really doesn't want to know.

Outside of the windows of the apartment, the Bronx skyline looks crystal clear, a soft azure hue to the cloudless canvas of the sky letting in a bright amount of morning sunlight through unshaded windows. From the kitchen, the sounds of busy traffic outside are a bustling backdrop to the sounds of the apartment, the noise of a too-loud television through one wall from a neighbor, the sounds of a shower running in the other adjacent apartment, silence below in the unclaimed apartment, all of them wards of the Ferrymen in some fashion or another.

"Oh, they might not be doing it right," is whispered over Delia's shoulder abruptly, the sound a smooth and silken voice that has no one attached to it. There is nothing over Delia's shoulder at the reflexive jerk of a look to the sound, but instead //right back where she was looking, there is a woman dressed in bright red seated at the breakfast nook in the kitchen, one leg crossed over the other in carnation red track pants with a black series of stripes down the side.

A crimson tank top covers Hokuto Ichihara like relaxed morning wear, one of her bare feet tapping softly on the linoleum tiled floor. "I'd say you scored fair on your first test," the dark-haired dreamwalker notes, from— apparently the comfort of Delia's kitchen, cradling a coffee mug in one hand that reads Sinfully Delicious across the side in caligraphed script with a little devil's tail at the end of delicious.

"Good morning, by the by," Hokuto adds with one brow raised, as if this were perfectly normal.

Delia is stunned, the blink and double take from behind her shoulder to the woman at the table with her paints a picture as clear at the morning sky. Am I dreaming? that's the words passing through her mind as she resists the urge to pinch herself. If she is dreaming, she doesn't want to wake up, not yet. Her self appointed mentor only shows up when there's something important for the young woman to learn. It just wouldn't do to pull herself from sleep just to see if she is or not.

"Fair… is that a B minus or a C? I'd like an A but she's going to take a lot of work… She's so resistant to giving it up that I think she's started to believe a lot of things that just aren't true." The stories that led to the redhead believing that she'd been abducted by the Institute multiple times instead of just one. It could be that she tried to kick her habit while she was there, but Delia just doesn't believe it. "I've been trying to visit her every night that I can… just so she knows that she can only get rid of me if she stops shoving the needles into her arm."

"C," Hokuto notes with a see-saw wobble of her free hand, "maybe a C+ since you've been putting in good effort." One brow lifted, Hokuto lets her lips purse, then pull back into a beaming smile. "My teacher when I was your age graded me far worse on my first attempt at subconscious therapy." Quirking one brow, Hokuto lifts that coffee up to her lips, taking a sip before leaning back into the chair she's seated in, holding that cup firmly in both hands.

"You've been doing distance dreamwalking all on your own too, but today is more about that than it is Lynette Rowan." Lifting up her coffee to sip from it again, Hokuto arches one brow slowly and offers a crooked smile to Delia. "You— don't seem surprised that I'm here," comes with something of surprise on Hokuto's part as well.

"I am, I just… You sort of appear when I don't expect it." The young woman explains, her voice sounding a bit shaky at being caught so unaware. "I'm supposed to be at the clinic, but I'm late." She explains a little further. "Am I still asleep? Is it still night time? Is this just a dream?" Not just a dream, but a lesson. That is the part that she didn't add. The syllabus never mentioned when class would take place, it's just the hubris of the young woman that makes the assumption that it all has to be at night.

"Distance… You mean like Huruma's grandmother? How she can go all over the world? Will I be able to do that someday?" Delia needed it when her father was in Russia, perhaps she should have put away her own hatred and ego for a few months and accepted what is. The toaster pops, the scent of cherry pastries filling the air, but it's ignored and left to go cold. Her mentor is a little more important than what could possibly be dream food.

"Actually, you're wide awake," is the first thing Hokuto notes as she taps one finger against the side of her head. "I'm residing in your subconscious right now, speaking directly to your mind. It's like… a hallucination?" One dark brow rises slowly. "Only you can see and hear me, but to you I'm as real as anything else in this apartment. Admittedly my control over your perceptions while you're awake is limited to this," Hokuto motions to herself, "but that's still better than nothing. Lydia, she… helped me figure this out."

Looking down into her coffee, Hokuto's golden irises stare back at her as she uncrosses her legs, both feet flat ont he tile floor. "I'm not sure who Huruma is, exactly, or her grandmother but traveling across the world likely means she's been practicing all her life. I can only cross from here to the west coast, and even that is a significant strain on me. Going to somewhere like China?" Hokuto cracks a smile and shakes her head, "Unthinkable. Though you— " the dreamwalker raises one finger slowly, "you'll be working on getting across the street before we worry about getting you across the state."

Then, pointedly, she sips at her coffee with eyes lidding shut, then opens them and looks back up to Delia. "I need to teach you how to tether yourself to your own mind, or you might just…" one of Hokuto's hands drifts up fingers wiggling, "fly away."

"You mean…" Delia mimics the action, except she places her hands together in a shadow puppet dove and flaps her finger wings. "What happens to my body? How would I find my way home? Could I find my way home?" Her fear and surprise subside and melt into something a little more depressed as she speaks that last word. Home. "I mean… my body. Could I find my body if I lost it." It's not a question anymore, her mood dampened it into a need to know.

The young woman glances toward the cooling strudels and abruptly gets up to fetch them. She plucks them out, popping them onto a plate and then returns to the table. Unconcerned about being late this morning, she's resigned to allow anyone that might be waiting to just sit tight a little longer. It's not like people are breaking down the door to see her anyway. "Hokuto… will you get better? I mean, you're not dead… Could you occupy another body if you tried?"

Clearing her throat, Hokuto sets down the coffee mug on the table, and as soon as she lets it go, it begins to dissolve and break apart into ephemeral strands of black smoke and shadow, turning into an indistinct blot of darkness, then fading away entirely. "You might be able to," Hokuto completely ignores the question of her own well-being, "find your way back, that is. The problem is in doing that, the last thing you want to do is be stuck like me… some— psychic transient." Alighting her head to the side, Hokuto watches Delia thoughtfully, then slides out from her seat and moves to stand, hands folding behind her back.

"What you need to do, is build yourself a home. It's like a ship setting an anchor, it's…" one hand lifts up, brushing fingers through the air, "it's hard to describe. It's a memory you hold on to, a place you remember with perfect clarity, some place you can memorize every inch of. That becomes your home, your nexus. Whenever you get lost in dreams, or whenever you need to retreat somewhere safe, you return there. Like what you made for Lynette. You fill it with what you want, and only what you want."

Looking askance to the floor, Hokuto quietly intones, "Mine is the bookstore." To those who had traveled through dreams, finding Hokuto's home as a barren nuclear blasted wasteland with a bookstore at the center, re-living the last moments of Midtown's fiery demise helped reveal the damage to her psyche.

"You need to try and find that on your own, while you sleep, delve into your own mind. It's easier than it sounds. Just remember, your own mind can sometimes be more dangerous than someone else's, depending on how much self-control you have, and how heavy your regrets are." From the sounds of it, she speaks from experience.

Regrets. Crap. The sheepish stare that Hokuto receives is heavily laden with guilt, worse than the mule Mary rode in on (virgin Mary not mother Mary). "If… if I'm touching the person I'm visiting, can I still get lost?" All of a sudden things sound a lot more dangerous than they first seemed. Something about rainbows, little dogs, and not being in Kansas anymore runs through her head as she averts her blue eyes from Hokuto's yellow ones.

She looks up suddenly at Hokuto and stares at her for a little while, "The tree… Where Huruma found me, there was a little tree. It was dying. I went there to wait." Her disjointed words are barely put together in a coherent way, Delia's thinking too fast to form a decent thought. Letting loose a rush of air through her nose, she ponders on it a moment, her head tilting to the side as she does.

So caught up in the lesson, the redhead doesn't even realize the strudel she has her hand on is already cold.

Hokuto does, however.

"I'd offer to eat that for you, but I'm afraid I'm not that good at bending perceptions," the dreamwalker notes with a fond, playful smile. "If you have contact with someone," and to that point Hokuto lays a hand on Delia's shoulder, one that feels perfectly real, "you're grounded. You have a direct path back to yourself, you're not… floating like a helium balloon on the wind." Letting her hand move off from Delia's shoulder, Hokuto steps away from the redhead, lifting up both hands and raking back her hair, tugging it into a makeshift ponytail before letting the long tresses fall back down her shoulders.

"If you're in your safe haven, even I might not be able to get to you, not without significant struggle on my part. It's like locking someone out of your apartment, nothing bad can get in, not unless you let it." Which is something of a warning, one about the strength of will, denial and belief. "What happens in your own mind is only as real as you make it."

Looking down at her breakfast, Delia lifts it quickly to her mouth and takes a big bite. Where chewing usually takes a rhythmic motion, hers is anything but. Stopping and starting as she mentally reviews everything. When she finally swallows the bite that's taken nearly half the little tart away, all she can say is, "So not the tree…"

Then there's further thought, a little bit of a more dangerous process going on in her mind. "What would happen if you made your home inside someone else's head?" Though the question is posed as innocently as can be, it's not. "Could you lock them in there?"

"Don't." Golden eyes go cold, and Hokuto's dark brows furrow, a warning look sharper than anything she's ever afforded Delia before. In an instant she's a flicker in Delia's periphery, going from several feet away to too close in a moment's motion, her hair stirring as if she just moved in the blink of an eye. "You absolutely cannot pursue that avenue of thought, don't even pretend, I will not teach you how to use this ability to hurt someone else."

Swallowing tensely, Hokuto takes one bare footed step backwards with a scuff of her heel on the floor. "You have been given a gift to heal and help others, not— not that." Both of Hokuto's brows raise in emphasis of her point, turning around sharply with a whip of her hair thorugh the air, bare arms crossing over her chest.

"Do not go down that path, Delia, the only thing you'll find at the end is misery." In that warning, Hokuto's voice is but a whisper.

But she's already been taught how to build the safe place, all she needs to do is withhold the key. Shaking her head, Delia sighs with frustration and cups her cheeks with her hand. She twirls the last half of the strudel around her plate, the crumbs flying off and skittering across the table. She stands the pastry on one point and spins it around, keeping it upright by pressing another of its corners into her finger.

"Hokuto," she says finally, "What happened to people in comas? Are they locked inside of their own heads? Inside their own dreams?" Then looking over at her, the student's head tilts to the side as she regards the psychic ghost. "I went into someone's head and I almost got stuck in there… if someone was stuck, could I help them out?" Sometimes you have to learn how to destroy things before you can build them up again.

"Sometimes…" is a hushed answer from Hokuto, her eyes shadowed by the dark fringe of lashes. "Sometimes they're just… gone, nothing, no one. But sometimes, sometimes there's enough there, a thread to hold on to, to lead them back out by." Turning to look at Delia, Hokuto slowly arches one brow. "When I was young, Angela took me to the trauma ward of Mount Sinai Hospital, to see the coma patients…"

As she begins this story, Hokuto walks on a meandering path back to where Delia is seated at the table, coming to sit down in front of her, bare arms folded on the table in front of herself. "I helped a man out of a coma he had been in for seven years… and he had to re-learn how to live again. How to walk, how to feed himself…" gold eyes avert to the table, then flick back up to Delia.

"Everything comes with a price, sometimes one that people aren't willing to pay. I— " Hokuto's brows furrow and her head tilts down, chin tucked away. "He didn't want to wake up, his wife had died in the car accident that put him in the coma, and he— he knew she was gone. He didn't want to wake up, but I thought I knew what was right, I thought I knew what was best and I made him wake up."

Closing her eyes, Hokuto lets her head hang down, dark bangs shrouding one side of her face when they slip from behind her ear. "Maybe I did make the right choice, maybe I didn't. I— have to live with that decision." Gold eyes alight to regard Delia. "You will too."

"If people don't want to wake up, there's usually a reason for it. There was a lady in ICU at St. Luke's who'd been in a coma for about a month, it was driving her crazy… She missed all of her soap operas. I had to record them every day and watch them so I could catch her up on the weekends." Delia takes another bite of her strudel, this time chewing quite a bit slower. Gazing out the window, her eyes sort of glaze over and her eyebrows furrow as she eyes an orange leaf fluttering in the wind. "I left way too many people behind. They needed me to talk to, no one else did." One of the hazards of being on the run.

She runs her tongue over her teeth to clean any remaining crumbs off them and darts a look over to Hokuto. "Anyway… you were telling me about making a home…" The redhead's jaw is set with determination as she lifts one eyebrow to Hokuto. If the other woman is residing in her subconscious, how much of her thoughts are a secret.

Looking down at her folded hands, Hokuto is quiet for a few moments even after Delia directs the conversation back to her. Ghosts can be lost in thought too, sometimes more easily than the living. "It's not as complicated as it sounds," she offers in a softly conversational tone across the span of the table, "it just requires some focus, time to let your mind acclimate to what you're telling it to do. It's an exercise, more or less. The actual animism of making a physical place isn't really…" Hokuto's gold eyes alight to the ceiling, trying to find the right words. "It's all a tool. There is no physical place, but you're training your mind through the recollection of familiar sight, smells and sounds to block out sources of intrusion? It's like…" she exhales a sigh through her nose and looks back down to the table with a shake of her head. "It's all about recollection."

Tracing a scratch in the table's Formica surface with one red-painted nail, Hokuto furrowed her dark brows together. "What's most important is choosing a place that was real, somewhere you have strong, positive emotional ties to, and recalling every detail of it before you go to bed. Like counting hseep," she offers with a quirked smile, "but remember how that place felt, how it made you feel, all before you sleep. It will help train your mind to remember that place, ground yourself to it."

There aren't many places that Delia can think of where she's got such strong positive memories. Everything was tainted the day her mother didn't come home. There are people, but they're too portable and not very good to use as anchors… unless you pour concrete over their feet and let it set for a while.

"I.. I don't know any places. Did it always have to be happy?" Her bedroom was a wonderful place until her mid teens, the greatest. "And does it have to have walls?" Lynette chose a rooftop, without walls, but there's no guarantee that the monster in her mind won't find a way in.

Looking around the apartment, her lips twist a little to the side as she ponders. Then looks down at her feet. "I don't know— I'm going to have to think about it for a while."

"Everything is figurative, it could be an open field for all it matters. The walls are your own creation, but when they are physically present in your memory it is easier to convince yourself that they are there. The… the places also don't need to always have been happy," and that much is most certainly from experience, "but the happier they are, the less likely you are to associate a negative memory with the place, and find it poisoning you while you are there."

Lifting up one pale hand, Hokuto threads a long length of dark hair behind one ear, then exhales a sigh through her nose and looks towards the apartment windows. "You have time to think on it, but I would be careful about wandering too far from your own mind before you find yourself that anchor. If you become lost… I may not be able to find you to bring you back."

"And if I get lost… I become like you." Delia confirms, her mind working contrary to what Hokuto likely wishes to teach, yet again. A psychic ghost or construct, she eyes the woman for a long time, trying to weigh the pros and cons while trying to cloud her thoughts from the other woman.

Essentially immortal.

Then there's a thought that causes a deep blush to spread across Delia's face and she shakes her head quickly to erase it. "Okay, home, got it… I'll think about one, but … not right now." The book that's been forgotten is pushed away from herself, her eyes not wandering toward it for a moment.

"No," Hokuto says in a hushed tone of voice, looking up to Delia with one brow raised and head canted to the side, slowly sliding up and out of that chair at the breakfast table, brushing a lock of hair behind one ear again when it spills out. "I didn't become like this, because I got lost…" there's a furrow of Hokuto's brows as she closes her eyes and shakes her head. "I died, but I happened to have just enough training… just enough will to hold on to someone else as an anchor. Someone I care deeply about."

Turning her back to Delia, Hokuto folds her hands in front of herself. "I am not certain you would be strong enough to do the same. What we do," she notes with a quiet voice, "comes with dangers. Do not ever believe otherwise."

And just as easily as she'd appeared as a hallucination in Delia Ryans' waking mind, Hokuto Ichihara disappears like a hasty edit in a reel of film.

Leaving the audience with more questions than they had before.

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