Bearing Gifts


nick_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Bearing Gifts
Synopsis Nick isn't Greek, but the old adage would have been fitting. Odessa doesn't heed the warning, and is left with a threat and a headache for past wrongs.
Date December 22, 2010

The Octagon Odessa's Apartment

Theirs may not be a conventional relationship — but there's something to be said for Nick York: he's full of surprises.

This time, it might be simply because he lives.

When he knocks on Odessa's door, however, there's more than just the gift of his physical presence and vivacity. He comes bearing gifts. Red roses surrounded by evergreen branches in an artful array that certainly didn't come from the grocery store, a bottle of champagne, and a green-foil wrapped box burden his arms as he waits outside in the hall. It wouldn't be Nick if there wasn't some sign of injury — this time it's a blackened cheekbone and temple sporting a cut, but he's a little more filled out in both hair and weight since the last time he was here.

When Odessa opens the door, it's in her pyjamas and a fuzzy yellow bathrobe with her black marabou mules. If she'd known he was coming to call, she'd have worn something… Well… Maybe she'd have ditched the robe. Or left the robe and ditched what's underneath. She'd be wearing something different at least.

Slightly damp white hair, still drying from the shower, clings around her shoulders and neck in places. She's still adjusting her eye patch as she stares incredulously at the man in the hall. "Nick," Odessa breathes out. A shake of her head doesn't quite clear away the shock. "Hi."


Another shake bring some sense back and Odessa opens the door wider to allow him entrance. "Come in. I… That's for me? God, Nick. I thought you were dead, and you show up with gifts?"
Odessa has reconnected.

"Gale," he says, smirking a bit and shaking his head as he steps in, ducking his head to kiss her cheek, nosing her damp hair. "Champagne's for drinking — that don't count. Flowers'll be dead by New Year's — they don't count either. Only one gift."

He pushes the box into her hands and leads her into the living room. "You sit. I'll put the flowers in a vase, and get the glasses?" The champagne is set on the coffee table in front of the couch. "Open the present. You know you want to."

Pushing her down gently, Nick brushes his lips across hers, then bumps his head lightly against hers. "Everything's fine. I delivered the message. We did our part."

Not waiting for more questions on that, he takes the flowers to the kitchen to start poking around cabinets for a vase and for the champagne flutes.

Odessa blushes and tips her head back against Nick's when he leans in to drop that first kiss on her cheek. Her slender and scarred fingers wrap around the box when he passes it to her, and she's led to her sofa to sit down. "I don't have to wait for Christmas?" she teases, scratching at the foil wrapping with a nail.

Her restraint doesn't last long before she's tearing it away and prying at flaps to find out what's in the box. "Shelf above the stove," Odessa tells him. "And there should be a vase on top of the fridge."

Water can be heard running, the flowers brought back to set in front of her, the redolent scents of pine and roses mixing pungent and sweet floral in a pleasant mix. He picks up the champagne bottle and glances down at it warily. "I … am gonna open this in the kitchen so I don't end up pouring it all over the carpet," Nick says, glancing at the bottle as if it's a loaded weapon.

He doesn't wait, however and heads back into the kitchen — a moment later a pop can be heard, and a "Shit" followed by a "It's okay, just a little spill!"

The box holds a necklace — a white gold chain with a white gold pendant of a nightingale, wings spread, with an emerald eye.

At least he didn't say so I don't put your eye out, in regards to opening the champagne. That would have been an unfortunate choice of words. Odessa lifts her head at the sound of the pop and the curse, but only spares him a brief glance, sure he's got it under control. "Paper towels are by the toaster," she murmurs absently.

Then the sight of the necklace in the box takes her breath away. Odessa lifts the necklace out of the box and manages a gasp when she finally relearns how to breathe. "Oh, Nick. It's beautiful." And here she didn't get him anything! Mostly on account of thinking he was dead.

Nick comes out holding the two glasses, smiling as he sees her holding the necklace. He moves to put the glasses down and takes the necklace from her hands to bring it to her neck, the chilly touch of the metal kissing her throat. It's almost a choker, the birds' wings arching out right in the hollow of her throat.

Clasping it behind, Nick bends to kiss her neck, drawing his lips up from her shoulder toward the nape and just behind her ear. "I'm glad you like it," he breathes out.

He moves to sit beside her, picking up one of the glasses, and handing her the other. "I missed you," he says, clinking his glass against hers lightly, as if that were some sort of toast.

Odessa's eyes (visible and not) lid as Nick assists her with the necklace. She holds her hair out of the way which consequently just gives him easier access to her neck and her ear, leaving her feeling weak in the knees with a breathy sigh.

When he settles in next to her, Odessa sets the empty box aside with the torn wrapping and takes the champagne instead, clinking her glass lightly to his. "You shouldn't have," she tells him, bringing the champagne to her lips for a sip. "But I'm glad you did."

Nick's lips curve up into a smile and he runs a hand along her arm, taking a swallow — less dainty — of his own glass. "It suits you, as much as something can. Pretty and all, but not as pretty as you are."

He leans back, one arm moving over the back of the sofa. "So it's been a bit. Anything new with you? Work going well? No one as handsome as I am coming in with broken knees, are they?"

Odessa laughs, shaking her head. "There was a coworker. He showed up here drunk just before curfew." And she took him into her bed, but she'll leave him to infer that. The mirth fades after a moment of thinking over what really has happened since the last time they spoke. She points to the ceiling above them, "I did get nailed to my ceiling by the man that has me so scared… But hey. He hasn't been back since, so…" She plays it off, dismisses it quickly.

"What's gotten into you?" Odessa asks softly. "That's not a complaint or anything, I just…" Fingers come up to brush over the new pendant at her throat fondly. "This feels distinctly like courtship. And I thought you didn't want any of that."

"Nailed to your ceiling?" Nick repeats, either choosing to ignore the bit about the coworker or perhaps not catching on to the implications. "Jesus, Gale, are you all right?" he says, reaching to touch her face, brows knitting together as he peers into her eyes.

All right, Odessa is not. The normal ebb and wane and push and pull of time weaving its way around her has slipped away, leaving her in a vacuum, an ache that makes her itch and writhe.

Should she feel restless, antsy, however, the urge to move is one that is harder and harder to give in to, as her muscles feel heavier, her limbs refusing to respond to her.

The glass of champagne begins to slip from lax fingertips, and Nick reaches for it quickly, arching a brow at the full amount still in it. "Oopsie daisy," he says lightly, setting it on the table and smiling. "You all right?"

Odessa realises just what's happening to her a little too late. Recognises the loss of her ability only after it's completely taken leave of her. And even if she had caught it, she wouldn't get far before it was robbed of her. "Nick what have you done," she manages to whisper before finding herself unable to will her body to move. The fact that she doesn't //fall unconscious is more disconcerting than if she had.

A paralytic. Why didn't she think of that when she went after that Ruskin bitch?

(Oh, the irony.)

"It's not so much what I've done but what you've done, Gale," Nick says smoothly, setting down his own glass of champagne as he reaches down to pull a knife from his boot.

His pale eyes are cold as he reaches to cup her cheek in his hand, shifting her head to rest on the arm of the sofa, the handle of the knife cold against her cheek, the point dangerously close to her ear.

He stands, moving to lift her legs from behind the knees, so that she lies along the length of the couch.

"There, more comfortable?" he asks, before resting a knee on either side of her hips.

"It's a pity, you know. I liked you. Quite a lot, really. You didn't ask questions. You were a good lay."

The knife's point is cold as he trails it lightly along the scars across her mouth. "But I think our time together is done." The edge trails lightly over her skin to her throat. "Does this still feel like courtship?"

The pace of Odessa's breathing quickens. She tries desperately to move. To twitch her fingers and twine the threads of time around them and bring this all to a halt. To escape.


Laying across the couch, Odessa's eye follows Nick's movements. Follows the path of his blade. Only when he drags it across her mouth do the tears start to fall, feeling hot against her skin. "Please don't do this," Odessa begs. She has no idea what she's done to provoke this from him. There's no connection made yet between the man and his little sister. To her, he's Nick York.

"What do you think I'm here to do?" Nick whispers, glancing at her hand when he catches a slight movement that is much more slight than she'd like; the paralytic he'd dumped into her champagne is a little less of a sure thing than the adynomine. "And what is it you can't do, I wonder."

The left corner of his mouth tics upward in a humorless smirk. "Besides move much, of course."

He touches her scars with his fingertips of the free hand this time, the blade still at her neck, pressing just a little bit until a bead of blood wells up on her pale skin. It runs down in a rivulet over the whitish silver of the bird at her throat.

Nick leans closer, bringing his lips close to her ear.

"If you fuckin' try to hurt Eileen Spurling ever again," he whispers, breath hot on her throat, "I will cut out your other eye and feed it to the fuckin' birds."

The knife relents, and Nick draws back to look in Odessa's face. "Do you understand me?"


"That was a mistake," Odessa insists. Pleads. Maybe he understands why she never asked questions. Asking questions could only serve to get her in trouble. She wants to be angry with him. Furious for making her powerless. For doing this to her.

She can't be. Not when she understands so acutely the emotions that have spurred him into action like this. If Odessa believed in karma, she might think this counts. "I understand."

"Mistake." Nick's echo is quiet, flat. The anger is still there, but it's accompanied by something less understandable, perhaps — hurt. As if she's hurt him by trying to kill Eileen, though it was long before they'd met.

"Make sure you don't make that mistake again, Gale, or you won't get off with a warning and a fuckin' headache tomorrow."

He pushes off from her suddenly, a violence in the energy perhaps absorbed from what he didn't do to her. He moves toward the door without another word.

It's long, long after Nick's gone that Odessa finally regains control of her limbs. The first thing she does once she can walk — the first attempt left her sprawled out on the floor and dragging herself back up again — is lock her front door.

Then, she scrabbles for the necklace at her throat, tearing at it to the point that her nails scratch her skin and exacerbate the nick (pun unintended) left behind there. Digits dig under the chain and tug at it sharply, snapping the soft gold, and throwing what she thought was a token of affection hard across the room, letting it hit the window pane with a sound not quite unlike that of a bird flying into it from the other side. Appropriately.

Then, despite having just come from there, Odessa runs the shower. She scrubs herself almost raw. Lays naked in the bottom of the tub until long after the water has run cold. Crying.

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