Blindly Grasping


delilah_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jenn_icon.gif nightmare_icon.gif rickham_icon.gif

In Shadows:

cameron_icon.gif mason_icon.gif f_rickham_icon.gif steve_icon.gif

Scene Title Blindly Grasping
Synopsis When Helena Dean opts to take Delilah Trafford on a journey through the Hall of Mirrors, they wind up taking a far more convoluted journey than they had expected to.
Date February 11, 2010

Allen Rickham's Dreamscape

It's dark, whatever's on the other side of this mirror is dark.

Dream logic operates on so many different levels, and each dreamer's mind tends to be different than the last. Some are easier to manifest a Persona in, some are far more difficult, and typically that difficulty is tied to the presence of the Nightmare Man, and the dreamer's willingness to allow his influence to subvert their will, and how strong that subverted will can be when imposed on others.

It's the first time that Delilah Trafford has ever been inside of another person's head, and admittedly this isn't what Helena Dean had in mind when she suggested showing Delilah the ropes about helping her understand how to combat presences in dreams. A complete realm of blackness isn't what the mirror showed before they headed in, it showed a living room and a cake and streamers and— Helena bumps head first into someone. A muffled noise is made, and both she and Delilah can feel people around them, warm bodies, then the noise of a door handle turning and—


All the lights come on in a quick flash, revealing a living room and connected dining room filled with unfamiliar people. A stunned Allen Rickham stands in the doorway of a house, coat slung over one arm and hand on the doorknob, eyes wide as he looks around the faces greeting him from behind furniture and doorways.


Someone has a noise maker, it sounds like an out of tune kazoo. The noise of conversation floods in to the house, and people start making their way to the doors to green the much younger looking Senator Rickham. Loosening his tie, he offers an amiable smile to a young brunette woman that approaches him, rising up on her toes to offer him a kiss to his cheek before settling down on her heels. She looks strikingly like Colette Nichols, but a few years older.

"Alright everyone, alright, let the poor old man get to his cake before the candles catch the house on fire!" Comes the greeting from a blonde woman in her late forties standing by a large sheet cake flooded with fifty candles all burning around the edges. Happy 50th is written in cursive forsting on the cake's surface.

"Oh God, Marie, tell me you didn't put fifty candles on the…" Rickham's awkwardly trying not to show too much affection to the brunette as he smiles and nods and weaves his way through the crowd of some hundred people crammed into his house.

"Happy Birthday Dad," comes a firm tone of voice from a young man in a Navy officer's dress uniform standing behind the table, his short blonde hair cropped close to his head, smile proud on his face. Allen starts to weave towards his son, before pausing as he catches sight of Helena out of the corner of his eyes.

Deja-Vu sets in.

This is weird.

Allen Rickham's son? Is kinda cute. Just saying. And all in Rickham's head, so that's kinda ewww of Helena and she knows it. She tugs Delilah by the elbow, murmuring, "You see how everything's so clear? If he'd used Refrain before, it'd be like…like if we were watching a tv and they used a blue lens on the camera. Maybe not an obvious one, but there'd be a blue-ish tint to things." She frowns, looking around noting, "We wouldn't have gotten pulled in if he wasn't going to strike. Maybe we can beat him to the punch." If Dee doesn't otherwise object, she'll find herself pulled along by the hand, but regardless of whether she comes or not, Helena's going to go right on up to Rickham.

"You know this is a dream, right?" she says, earnestly and urgently. "It means he's here. You've got to be prepared, Rickham. You can't let him get to you."

This isn't what Delilah had in mind when she was proposed with an adventure the day she came back from Italy; then again, she isn't sure what she was expecting, even up until she could feel being crowded into a dark room with a bunch of strangers. She tries to grope a hand around to keep track of Helena, but it might not be as helpful as she'd hope. Helena finds her when the lights come on, and she feels a wash of relief as she tries to listen carefully.

Delilah goes with Helena when she starts bumping past people, absent-mindedly offering 'pardon' and 'sorry' only to remember that they aren't actually real people! Well- they are, just not here. The redhead just smiles past her friend when she rambles right up to Allen, looking somewhat wary of the people in the room. What Helena said.

"Whh— "Allen glances over to his son, "Vincent, these some friends of yours?" One dark brow is arched and there's a crooked smile from the senator. "Look girls, I appreciate the thought of trying to pull a fast one on the old man, but why don't you let me cut the cake and then we can all get back to making fun of how over the hill I am." Scratching the back of his head and laughing awkwardly, Allen pats a hand on Helena's shoulder and moves over to the table, looking down to the cake and then reaching out for the large knife his wife hands him.

"Hey there…" Comes the voice from behind Helena, a hand on her shoulder and a smile afforded by the dark-haired young woman with large black sunglasses. "Do I know you two?" There's a crack of the brunette's smile as she adjusts her overly large sunglasses and looks over to Delilah, then to Rickham. "Try not to big him, big man's got a speech to make tonight. He never likes to be one-upped by surprises."

Stephanie Ciati. Helena recognizes her from the form Sylar had taken when the attempt on then President-Elect Rickham's life had been made. She also recognizes the resemblance from that burned photograph that Colette was always carrying around, recognizes her as Nicole Nichols.

"Should be quite a show tonight, you two could sit down, take a load off…" Nicole's smile is broad, offering a wave to both Delilah and Helena. "Name's Stephanie, by the way, but everyone kinda' calls me Steve." Which is honestly pretty weird.

Helena all but rolls her eyes. Oh, is this how it's going to be? She frowns and looks across at Dee. "God, I hate to do this." she says, and manages to squirm her way back to Rickham's side. "Listen to me." she says urgently. "He's coming. He's going to try and make you do awful things, try to play your guilt, your fear…right now, this moment - it was before you revealed the truth about yourself, wasn't it? You lied to everyone, so they wouldn't know the truth about you. That's what he's going to use. You can't allow that."

Delilah debates following Helena at first, as she goes to try and convince Allen to come to his senses. But he won't do that if he doesn't want to, right? Oh, bugger. It takes about three whole seconds for Delilah to make a decision on what to do about this. It won't be her most shining moment, but, she has to do something to disrupt Rickham- dream or not. And she recalls him not entirely being fond of her degree of vivacity- that also makes her act seemingly at random. Dee finds a chair in the dining room, hops up onto it, lifts her arms to the ceiling-

"Everyone! I have a bomb in my knickers. Nobody move, or I'll blow this shit to pieces!" At least she sounds serious. Right?

Allen's eyes immediately go wide, his breath sucks in and hitches at the back of his throat and he shoots a nervous look over to Marie, whos eems to have caught a corner of what Allen was being told. "Allen?" She asks a bit defensively, "Is everything alright?" The blonde begins circling around the kitchen table, moving to come up behind her husband and lay a hand on his shoulder, while looking back out towards Helena, and then Delilah, and finally back to Allen again.

"Allen what's this girl talking about you hiding something from — " Before Marie can finish her sentence, Delilah is climbing up on a chair with arms outstretched talking about her explosive undies. It elicits a riot of laughter from the room and clapping, among the clapping figures, Nicole seems most amused, a smile crackes as she leans back against the wall between two windows, pale hands slapping together.

"Boy Allen sure knows how to throw a party?"

"Who is that girl anyway?"

"Didn't you hear her, she's got a bomb in her knickers, she's gotta be a stripper."

"Oh Allen you dog."

"Who ordered her Marie's gonna kill him."

"I bet his son did it, revenge for West Point."

As the crowd speculates on just what fire is in Delilah's pants — and incidentially now if the curtains match the drapes as an aside — Marie is turning Allen around and giving him a stern stare. "Allen," her green eyes angle over Allen's shoulder to Helena, then back to her husband. "What have you been hiding from us?"

"N— Nothing, Marie I— these— these are some of Vincent's friends, he must've…" Vincent, who's standing across the table from his father, shakes his head slowly and offers a puzzled, if not somewhat disapproving look.

"Dad what's going on? What's she talking about?" Sweat beads on Allen's forehead, and he tucks his hands into his pockets, the floorboards creaking a little as he steps back and away from both Marie and Helena. "Dad? Come on what's going on?" Rickham exhales a shuddering breath, head shaking from side to side slowly.

"It— It's nothing." Hazel eyes drift to Helena, and Rickham's expression is a pleading and confused one, as if to say, please, not in front of my family.

Helena puts a hand to her mouth. Aww man, that's - well, it's kind of funny. And it is distracting people so she hisses to him, "Listen to me, you think this is surreal? It's surreal because it's a dream. It's 2010, and you're already outed. This is a memory, and he's coming, and he's going to play on this fear and shame. You can keep him from doing it if you hold to what a great man you can be. He'll come as your Shadow, you have to be prepared for that. Do you understand? This time, I can't leave you to your Ragnarok. Not when we can stop it."

"Oy! I'm not kiddin'!" Damn! Delilah had a plan, and it seems to have- er- bombed. "Oy, I ain't a stripper either." The girl hops down off the chair, giving that guy a glare before crossing her arms and taking a look around. What else? Her brown eyes zero in on the cake, then up to the memories playing out across the table. And then her eyes go back to the cake a second time, then up to Helena. Please? Pleasepleaseplease? It will totally help to make a mess, she can tell(Accuracy pending)!

"Outed?" Marie clasps one hand downo n Rickham's shoulder, "Allen what in god'sa name is this girl talking about?" The more Marie snips and snaps at Allen, the more his expression pales and he shakes at the shoulders. Looking for all his worth like a child caught between two arguing parents, it's a remarkably vulnerable presence to the man Helena and Delilah have ever only known as being indestructible. Swallowing awkwardly, Allen lifts up a hand to lay on his wife's, but she shrieks when a cold metal hand of dark iron lays down on her palm.

The blonde staggers back, bumping the table and shrieking again as she looks down at her husband's pitted metal hand. "Oh— Oh my /God// oh my God! Allen, what happened to your hand!?" Vincent looks likewise shocked, eyes wide and jaw agape, head shaking from side to side as he backs up and away from his father. The crowd turns at Marie's shriek, and when all eyes fall on Allen, he loses composure and contril, and the //fear of exposure runs through his veins like ice, as his skin betgins to mottle and blocks a slate gray color, his eyes turn black and his hair becomes razor-thin strings of corded metal.

"No." Rickham rattles out in a mechanical voice, like someone talking into a tin can, "No— No please. Marie— it's— I'll explain." Confusion turns to horror as she watches her husband transform before herself, and Vincent reaches out to grab his mother and pull her away from Rickham.

"Who are you!?" The young man shouts, "What did you do with my father!?" Those words cut Rickham to the core, like a knife into his heart as he reaches out like the Frankenstein's monster towards his son, dark eyes wide and mouth agape, horrified.

"I am your father." Comes the rattling metallic response from Rickham, even as it sounds like his voice is hitching, and were he not made of living metal tears would well in his eyes. Instead, he's just trembling, creaking metallic joints curling pitted fingers towards his palms. At the back of the room, Stephanie Caiati pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose and smirks to herself.

The lights flicker, sputter, and everything goes dark again.

Dark, silent, alone.

"Well… that went over spectacularly." Comes a smirking voice in the darkness, followed by a flicker of flame and the glow of a ball of fire hovering over an open palm. Crouching in a damp concrete tunnel, the youthful expression of Cameron Spalding is revealed to both Helena and Delilah as he rolls that ball of fire — and their only light — over in one hand. "Guess we jumped ship. I had a dream like this once," he admits, "woke up naked at work, and then it shifted to being on a pirate ship. It was awesome." Admittedly that was a dream Helena had, but the point is still there.

As Cameron stands from a crouch, he looks over to Delilah, then up to the pipes and the ceiling, then around to power conduits on the walls. "Looks like we're under the New York Public Library…" one of Cameron's brows kick up. "Seems like the Nightmare Man's changing his plan of attack. This is way different from the other dreams…" He turns a look over to Delilah. "Hey there, Cutie." Helena's subconscious is hitting on Delilah.

This is still weird.

"Would you cut that out," Helena says sheepishly to Cameron. "Did he move us? Surely if we tried, we could get back. What if he gets to Rickham?" Helena knows how it's going to go down, and she hadn't had time to give Rickham the key. Of course, she also hadn't convinced him it was a dream yet. "And if we're not in Rickham's anymore, who's dream are we in?" She lets out a sigh. "Come on," she beckons to them both, "It's not like we don't know our way around." With that, she marches resolutely the length of dark, smelly way. "There's a way out somewhere."

It's lucky that the lights go out, or Delilah would be verbally referencing Star Wars. When the firelight reaches her, she is quick to turn and look; the young man with the fire in his hand is completely unfamiliar to her, but she gives him her best smirk anyway.

"Do I look like a stripper to you guys? Seriously?" Delilah scoffs and follows Helena, taking a lot of good looks around at the darkness, here and there peering back over her shoulder as if something will simply leap up out of it.

Cameron just offers a goofy smile and shrugs his shoulders, lifting one hand up to hide his moutooc ((logan would agreh from Helena while he mouths the words call me to Delilah before briskly stepping forward and lighting the way with that sphere of crackling flames held out in front of him. "From the looks of it we're not too far from the stacks…" Of course that's exactly what Helena was thinking too, probably because the pair share more of a brain now than they seemed to in life.

Every time I lie down at night.

The voice echoes through the concrete tunnels, causing Cameron to abruptly come to a stop and look over his shoulder, just to check and make sure everybody else heard that. He looks back, down towards the end of the tunnel and takes a few steps forward. There, where there should be a doorway to the stairs up to the stacks, there's a slightly ajar wooden door with pale light coming through. Cameron clenches his fist, glancing back over his shoulder to Helena and Delilah in the diffuse gray light, brows raised in silent question of what to do next.

I think about those kids; Phoenix.

The voice is coming through the wooden door, rumbling in the deep tone of Allen Rickham's voice in solemn conversational tone. Cameron glances back to the door, then moves aside in the corridor so Helena can pass by him if she wants.

I think of just how much they represent the best and worst of us, what it's come to. I shouldn't have left them behind.
Helena puts her hand to the door and nudges it very gently. Normally she'd barge right on in like she normally does, but for some reason, she's prompted to pause, curious to see what this conversation's all about - and maybe who Rickham is talking to. Are they still in Allen's head after all? She can only hope.

"We're not in him-in him, are we?" Delilah asks this when it seems they are getting nowhere, only to be tailed by the voice echoing in the corridor. It makes her jump, but neither of the others seem to have that reaction. Helena moves forward to investigate very quietly, and Delilah is virtually right behind her, using the few inches she has on the blonde to peek over her.

When Helena nudges the door open, it's not the library beyond, but someone's private office. Tall multi-pane windows much like in the oval office of the White House decorate this warm and comfortable room. It's not the White House, but the similarities in design; from the book cases against the walls and the desk wooden desk at the middle seem intentionally evocative of that iconic chamber. Beyond the windows, heavy snow dapplies the branches of blue spruce pine trees, and a slow snowfall of large flakes fills the air.

Seated behind the desk, with a glass of brandy in one hand, Allen Rickham looks tired. His expression is a distant, thoughtful one. Hazel eyes are angled out towards one of the snowy windows, while seated across from him at his desk, filling a glass from a crystal decanter, Matt Parkman is an unexpected sounding board for this meeting.

"What makes you think they've be left behind, sir?" Matt's nigh-rhetorical answer comes as he tilts the decanter upward again, slowing and then stopping the pour of the rich liquid. He settles the stopper back in, crystal clinking against crystal for a moment. In a matter of heartbeats, Matt has the drink neatly on the desk in front of the politician. "The department is using many different resources in order to address our current situation." There is a wryness in Matt's voice which matches the conspiratorial smile he allows his lips to curl into. It's strained, sure, but it is there.

"Holy shit." Cameron hisses from behind Helena in the doorway, the third head on the Helena, Delilah Cameron totem pole peeking through the doorway. "It's the fuzz." Cameron has a remarkably juvenile way of putting things sometimes as he glances down towards Delilah.

Eyeing the glass, then eyeing the man delivering it, Rickham manages a crooked smile as he reachs for the glass, picking it up to cradle in one hand. "They haven't been left behind, but I left them behind." His head tilts to the side, imperceptibly, "It's a personal difference. I could have— " There's a bit of a strained sigh, and Allen brings the glass up to his lips, silencing his words with a sip of liquor.

"It's hard to think about them, about kids doing what we should be doing. I mean, in some way… It's not legal, but at the same time, it's right." The notion is accompanied by a snorted laugh, "The press would have a field-day if they got that sound byte out of me. I'd be the next Nixon."

Agent Parkman keeps his steady gaze on Rickham as he moves around the desk to sit in a chair before it, letting himself become only momentarily distracted by the comforting embrace it offers. It feels good to sit down and actually relax to some degree. "They've been through a lot, sir," he offers with a furrowing of his brows. After a moment, he shifts in his seat and sighs with thought. "There is a young woman who was a PARIAH operative named Claire Bennet. She was in high school when the bomb-" There's a hesitant pause from Matt, "…happened. But she's not a kid, not anymore… poor girl."

Matt shakes his head, settling back in the chair and filling it like a bear in a burrow. "I wouldn't worry about them, sir. They're smart, and they're quick. In the end, we're going to need them more than they're going to need us."

"What the hell is this? Where's the freakin' Nightmare Man?" Cameron murmurs frustratedly, looking back over his shoulder as if that was a great cue for some spooky monster to jump out behind them. Much to his disappointment, it's just a dark hallway.

"Be quiet! Stop being so impatient!" Except Helena's really yelling at herse— yeah, let's not get into that. "Either we're bounced back into my brain, or we're still in Rickham's. Probably his, I've never seen this, never dreamed it, but you never know." She keeps her voice soft. "Maybe he's waiting for us to show ourselves. Maybe he's going to use us as the springboard for his whole attempt to get to Allen. I don't know, we have to wait and see." Is the Nightmare Man trying to flush them out?

"This is stupid, you guys." Flushing them out is just making them impatient, looks like. Delilah glances down at Helena and back through the peephole they are using. "But I wish I did have a tape recorder. How nice of these dream people to be on our side. Springboard what? Breaking into the oval office? Assassins!" Ninja Walrus! Wait, what was she supposed to be doing again? Oh, yes, listening.

Settling his head against one hand, Allen rolls his glass around, yes transfixed on the swirling amber within, "That's what I keep thinking about." His eyes drift from the contents of the glass to Parkman, "We need them, and… I guess it's a part of the nervousness I'm feeling. People expect me to change the world, Day 1." He grimaces, after the long and drawn out campaign, the last thing he wants to hear anymore is the term from day one again. Mitchell's slogan of readiness and preparedness.

"I want to. I want to make the world a better place, but those kids, for my own kid." There's a nervous sound there, knowing, anxious. "What if he's like me, Matt? What if he's keeping it a secret, because he's afraid? What kind of father am I to let that happen?"

"Don't listen to those people," Matt adds after a moment, shaking his head again. "If they really expect results that fast, they're idiots. It doesn't work that way. They're only letting themselves down."

Matt's lips tighten as they near the borders of a frown, and he squints in both thought and concentration. "You need to tell them." Matt's tone is as firm and definite. "They aren't the press. They aren't the nation - or at least the rest of it. They're your family, and they're the ones who can give you the most strength."

It's only now that Hokuto can see a faint reflection in the glass of the window behind Rickham, a young brunette woman in dark sunglasses, as if she were standing in the office looking out the window, but only her muted reflection is seen. Neither Rickham nor Parkman seem to notice her, or even more unusually notice the three peeping Toms staring thorugh the crack in the door.

"This is weird, the other nightmares were all— pow and stuff." Cameron squints, brows furrowed and voice low. "You think he's tryin' to make us screw up? Make this our fault or something? God this guy is such a pain in the ass."

Turning his face into the hand that cradles his head, Allen seems to have forgotten about his drink, sav that he still cradles it carefully in his othr hand. I've kept this from them for years, Matt. Marie, how do I tell her this? How do I tell her I've been lying to her for this long? The words in Allen's mind bare no resemblance to the ones he speaks, save for that his spoken words have long and awkward pauses which are filled by the unspoken things, things that cannot be said. "The country doesn't know what it wants, and now I have all eyes on me. The media is hounding my press core about the explosion. No one knows about the assassination attempt yet, but if that got out — Between that, and the scandal with my secretary of the interior, it feels like…" He sighs into his palm.

"It feels like everything is coming apart at the seams."

The moment those words leave Rickham's mouth, there's a flicker in the scene, like someone changed the channel, but didn't change the scenery around. It's still snowing, but Rickham is now standing hwere Parkman was sitting, and he's looking to that brunette woman that was — up until a moment ago — reflected in the glass. Dark glasses still hide her eyes, and she's standing uncomfortable close to Allen; or at least uncomfortably for him. "Woah what the ff— " Cameron breathes out, looking around, "what the hell is going on with this guy's head?"

"It's funny," Allen's voice is low and hushed, "A few days before the election results, I — I met Nathan Petrelli's brother. He just — right up out of the blue came up to me and asked if he could shake my hand." There's a smile that creeps up his lips. "He's a good kid, nothing like his brother really."

"He told me I was going to win, that he knew I was going to win." His head crooks to the side, "There was this look of hops in his eyes, just… really something genuine about it, like he was putting his faith in me." Smiling faintly, Allen looks away and down to his glass at his reflection. "He wanted me to know that he thought I was a good man, and that I'd do great things if I just… believed in myself, and had faith that I could make anything work."

The admiring tone of Allen's voice turns to something bitter. Even if he doesn't like the topic of conversation, it keeps him from having to face what he doesn't want to think about at the moment. "If it wasn't for his words, I probably wouldn't have had the courage to talk to Marie and Vincent about…" Allen closes his eyes, shaking his head slowly, "It doesn't matter now."

"Hel." Cameron figets and squirms, looking back and forth between the blonde and the office. "The crap's going on, what do we do?"

"I don't know." Helena says, but well, it's time to take some action. "C'mon, Dee. This could be a trap, but." She pushes the door open further and steps into the room. "Allen?" she says. "This - these are dreams. Memories. You've got to listen to me. He's here, and he's trying to get to you, but you can stop him. He's going to make you confront the worst of yourself, you've got to remember the best." She looks over her shoulder toward Dee and Cameron.

Helena opens the door, so Dee has no choice but to follow her. That Steve woman was there in the first one, acting all smug- and she was sort of there in the second- and now is hawking around Allen in the third. Is that the sort of thing she should notice?

"You! Get away from him before I make you choke on your teeth!" Delilah points an accusing finger at Rickham's ever present assistant, completely unknowing of if she's even right in doing so. It's not like she can get offended anyway- Steve's just a figment of his mind. Even if she is totally wrong- it serves as a distraction for both the fake Matt and the fake Steve, while Helena tries her hand with Allen again.

There's a look of pause of Allen's face as Helena interrupts whatever was playing out. His eyes settle on her, recognition hazy as he looks between his assistant — Stephanie — and Helena. "I…" Turning around before Allen can finish the rest of his abortive sentence, Stephanie cranes her head back and furrows her brows behind the lenses of her oversized sunglasses.

"You again." She states in a flat and accusatory tone of voice. "Haven't you done enough damage to this poor man's life yet? Why do you keep insisting on butting in to things where you don't belong, playing this game like you know what's happening? Like you know things."

"You're trusting that little liar, just because she looks all sweet and innocent." Stephanie spits on the floor of Rickham's office, and when she jerks her head back up, her glasses have slid down the bridge of her nose, revealing her irises as oversized and bright yellow-gold in coloration. Good intuition, Delilah. "Allen had a normal life before you brought him in to your weird little club, before he got the idiot notion in his head that you people were good for him. He's an old man, he's tired, you need to leave him alone."

Allen just angles his head down, lips pressed into a frown. His eyes avert from Helena and Delilah, down to the floor as he slouches back and sits on his desk. "It— She's right, Helena. Stephanie's always right…" he smiles, faintly, "she's the best assistant a guy could hope for. I— don't really deserve her."

"Oh screw you google-glasses," Cameron spits out, both hands becoming awash in flames, "I've had about — " And then there's just a huff of air, and Cameron's disappeared into a thin wisp of smoke. Stephanie furrows her brows, nose wrinkling slightly.

"I don't recall /any// of you having any appointment with the President," she notes with an incline of her head, "so why don't you get lost." There's an overwhelming sense of vertigo and disorientation that comes next, followed by the world turning black again. Darkness fills Delilah and Helena's surroundings, suffocating out all visible light.

Jennifer Chesterfield's Dreamscape

This time, they feet rather cramped and when the sense of vertigo fades, it's clear they're lying shoulder to shoulder on their stomachs on a hard wood floor. There's something above them, feels like a ceiling, but it's just barely a foot or so off the ground. Is that a shoe?

"Rebel's going to be upset at this… it wasn't a part of his plan."

That voice. Even in the dark, it's easy to recognize as Cat's mom. She's been on television so much lately that it'd be hard to ever forget what she sounds like, even if there's a decidedly guarded tone to Jennifer Chesterfield's voice.

"He'll have to deal with a few amendments to our agreement…" Allen Rickham's voice echoes from not far away, and as Helena and Delilah's eyes become adjusted to the darkness, it's clear they're under a bed in a dark bedroom, where there is a door open revealing only a sliver of light. From beyond it, the pair of voices come. Unfortunately, now Cameron's nowhere in sight. The Nightmare Man is playing dirty.

"I'm not going to sit idly by and just let this happen." Rickham adds in a gruff rumble, "Our time's coming, don't you worry. Soon, the whole world will know what we're planning…"

This is still weird.

Helena lets out a soft curse. "Cam…" she hisses, and starts shuffling herself out from under the bed. She has to buy herself time, and remembers her powers. More powerful in the dreamworld, right? She crab-crawls as much as she can to peep out from under the bed, and turns her face to whisper, "Dee - whoever that is with Rickham - if you can grab them - that's him. Can you poison him?"

Delilah is about to start yelling something about old people needing friends too, but the very thought is cut off and they are whirling off again. This is exciting, actually. Maybe Dee does not understand the gravity. Or maybe she does, and finds the best way to face things is to just start kicking. Besides- this is Allen! She really likes Rickham, and he doesn't deserve to be an unhappy guy.

"At least they weren't on the bed." The whisper in Helena's ear probably tickles- perhaps her funny bone too. Lilah can't help it. She follows Helena out from under the bed, dusting invisible dust bunnies. At first she wants to say 'that's Cat's mom', but- wait- no it isn't. "Does that work here? I can do it."

"Soon…" Jennifer offers in quiet explanation to Rickham on the other side of the door, "but hopefully soon enough. Otherwise, they'll be coming for us." There's a hesitant pause between those words, and her voice drops down to a more quieter, grim tone, "Every last one of us." For a time, the bedroom is silent save for the sounds of movement out on the other side of that door.

"I'm not going to let that happen… not to you, not to my country. You just have to trust me, Jenn. You have to trust Nicole… I know things are looking bad right now, but they're going to get a lot worse if we don't try and make something of a difference. I'm not going to force those kids to keep fighting our wars for us, they deserve better than this."

There's silence on the other side of the door for a moment, then the hushed sounds of Jenn's voice. "I hate that Catherine doesn't trust me…" Jenn practically breathes out the words. "God I wish I could tell her what's going on." The shushing sound from Allen that comes next seems genuine, concerned.

"If she only trusts you because of Rebel, than she doesn't really trust you. We can't afford to have one weak link… not right now, not when it sounds like they're planning to come down on all our heads."

"Oh god, that would be gross," Helena hisses, and does her best to help pull Delilah out. "Maybe I can knock 'em both down…make it easier for you to go for the grab. It's not really Cat's mom." She straightens, lifts her hands, letting power gather into a cold rush of air meant to knock the two off their feet. She wishes Cam were here, but as much as she tries, she can't make him appear.

The conversation itself puts quite a lot of curiosity into Delilah; while she wants to help him right now, she can't resist listening to this. If it is a memory, Allen might find himself with some nipping questions in the real world. "So we can't use your handsome friend? I need something like that-" While she ponders the lack of having proper dream-combat equipment, the redhead has to ready herself and try to bring up a layer of concentration so that when Helena is able to surprise them, she can go in.

With both Blonde and Redhead secured near the door, ready for operation choke out Cat's mom, the conversation in the adjacent room continues. "Come on, you should go get some rest." Allen's voice is a quiet one, gentle and caring, but what Jenn asks of him next seems to be indicative of something less than platonic between the two on the surface.

"You're going to stay in the guest room still, aren't you?" That tone in Jenn's voice is reluctant, trying to pick at Allen's subconscious. "I told you… you don't have to keep putting yourself at a dis— "

"Jenn." Allen's voice rises back up, "I still have a wife out there, and— you're still grieving your husband. If the world were a different place, maybe, I— You need to get some rest, you have a big day at the campaign office tomorrow, and I have to go meet with Knox and see what the reformation of Pariah is up to."

Jenn's sigh is a hushed one, and the floorboards creak as it's evident she's backing away from Allen. "Maybe one of these days the world will be kinder to the people who deserve a little kindness… and we all won't be blindly grasping at threads of happiness."

"Maybe." Rickham responds, quietly.

Helena steps in through the door - her finesse and power are heightened in the dream world, and the funnel of wind snakes toward Jenn. "You leave him alone." she says. "We know what you're doing, and it won't be allowed." She looks at him. "Rickham, look at me. This isn't real! You're making changes, and there's hope, and this isn't Jenn Chesterfield!" Hopefully she's making enough fuss that Dee can skirt in and at least knock The Nightmare Man out. "Stop wallowing, you're a strong man, and if you never believed it about yourself before, believe it now."

Maybe it's the air from Helena, or maybe Delilah's sheer force of will- but when the redhead darts out into the hall and goes for Nega-Jenn, she is leaping with considerably more energy than she might in the real world. And in the real world, she goes all out when it comes to tackles. This is going to hurt(technically, if this was real) Jenn more than it will Delilah, as the girl's arms are also visibly coated in something that makes the lines that create her seem hazy, almost blurred in the translucence.

"Hele— " The immediate response from Jenn comes with a horrified gasp of breath as her brown eyes go wide at the wind tunnel that sends her staggering back. Her arms are thrown up, hands covering her face as a scream escapes her lips. "Helena what are you doing!?" Paper and books fly off shelves, folders and documents Jenn had left on her coffee table are sent cyclonic into the air, and as Allen Rickham takes a slow step back and away from Jenn, just like he was instructed, Delilah catches something in mid-pounce about his expression as he turns his head away…

…his eyes are gold.

Jenn and Delilah come crashing to the floor, and Jenn lets out a pained yelp when her back slams against the hardwood floor. There's a tightness in her eyes, a confused and struggling sound as she tries to force Delilah off of her, only for her hands to come planting on the psychoactive secretion on the toadgirl's skin. Jenn's lips part, eyes go wide, and she exhales a sharp breath. "Nnn— No!"

Immediately, a colorless glow emanates from Jenn's palms, followed by a scintillating pattern of amber-gold light, and the filmy liquid of Delilah's arms loses its tacky quality, and becomes something more akin to sweat. Delilah can feel it inside of herself, she can feel — and smell considering Jenn's last-moment choice of transfer — the change of what her poison secretion is producing. She's been devenomed.

"Look at you girls." Rickham breathes out, lips crooked into a smile as his body begins to turn to cold and hardened steel beneath his brown pinstripe suit. His eyes do not turn that normal hematite coloration, instead becoming black orbs with bright gold irises. "Doing untold harm to a defenseless old woman. You really are ambitious aren't you?"

"A— Allen!?" Jenn breathes out in a pained breath, "What— What the hell is going on!?" The iron figure takes a step forward, countenance shifting to become a different figure entirely, a tall and sleek man in a dark suit with swept back silver hair and narrowed eyes behind oval lensed glasses. His wingtip shoes come to a stop as he holds out his hand, revealing a Tarot card against his palm, an inverted image of a man carrying a stick and bag over one shoulder, with a dog nipping at his heels. Upside down, Delilah and Helena can see it reads 0 and below that THE FOOL.

The moment the card appears, Helena feels her powers sapped, wind siphoning outward towards Mason Chesterfield's outstretched hand, swirling into a cloud-like ball in his palm before he crushes it between his weathered fingers.

"Who do you think is in charge of these dreamscapes, my dears?" Comes the cultured accent of the old man. "That witch and her little puppet? No. Not them."

The power being sucked out of Helena has her gasping. "What are you - " The Fool, Reversed. Contradicted. Trapped. She tries to reach for her ability again, feels like it's dripping down her fingertips and draining away. "Dee, I was wrong - it's not - " No kidding, Helena. She can't seem to summon her abilities at all, and it drains her so much it has her falling to her knees. Her helpless silence, head bowed, and air of defear might seem the moment when the Nightmare Man might feel his victory over them, except slowly, Helena raises head, a few blonde hairs half strung across her face. "You know what your problem is?" she hisses at their antagonist.

"You don't look behind you." says the pyrokinetic standing in the noted location.

The fireball Cameron's got snapping and crackling between his palms is then thrust with force in the direction of the Nightmare Man.

There is a lot to take in after this, and frankly, Delilah is scared that she will not get it all. "Sorry, Jennie." She breathes an obvious apology to Jennifer before clambering to her feet to scowl at Mason, once Allen, once someone else. Barring any other ideas, she puts up a pair of fists and fixes him with her best threatening glare past a now watery brow. "Leave them alone." The best thing that Delilah has on her side is in some ways, her purity- there is not much that he was able to use against her in her own nightmares.

Helena beings up Dee's threat with a taunt, and then there is fire barreling at the Nightmare man, courtesy of Cameron. Lilah doesn't move, herself, still braced to keep her promise and make him choke on teeth, mind searching for something that will actually affect him. Helena explained it a few times, but only now is she understanding that explanation.

The hallway booms. Nothing explosive, but a vibration that seems to even touch at metaphysical bones. WOOF. And another. WOOF.

As Mason is turning towards the brilliant orange glow, he's sliding a card out of his sleeve, changing from the Fool to what looks like another Tarot card entirely, but he's not quick enough. When the paper is raised, a massive wall of flames comes rolling over him, and as Mason raises his arms up there is a howling scream as the fire blasts his clothing off of his body, then flesh from his bones, and then sends his bones into ashes.

Reaching up from the floor with her body twisted to try and contort a grasp at Mason's incincerated silhouette, Jennifer's scream is a pained one; "Mason, no!" Her voice cracks at the end, tears well up in her eyes and once more Jennifer Chesterfield is forced to have her husband burned to death with her powerless to do anything about it.

When the flames subside and ashes are falling down, a half burned tarot card depicting a red-clothed sovereign on a throne flutters down to the ground, emgers glowing orange on the edges, where it reads JUSTICE in partly charred quality.

Cameron lowers his hands, sweat running down his forehead as one forearm sweeps across his brow. "Man, just in the nick of…" then he sees Jennifer slouching down against the floor, her forehead resting against her arms, a ragged sob coming from her as shoulders rise and fall, "…time." Somehow, the defeated expression on Cameron's face isn't what he was hoping to show Helena.

Brows furrowed, Cameron rubs his forefingers and thumbs together, frowning as he spots Jenn in a heap on the floor and starts to make a few barefooted steps towards her. He drops into a crouch at her side, then alight his eyes to look up to Delilah, smiling sadly. "Did… anyone else just hear a really big dog?"

A few sparks of fire seem to emit from that burned Tarot card, unnaturally so.

Helena walks over to Jenn and grips her arms. "Jenn, listen to me. That was not Mason. Your husband died saving you, saving all of us, at Pinehearst. That was the Nightmare Man, and he was gonna suck you dry. You've gotta fight. You've got to lift yourself out of this, or he'll have won." She doesn't notice the burning card, but then her head lifts, and her eyes go wide as she looks over at Delilah. "Is that…Samson?"
Delilah's foot stamps down on the burning parts of the card, gentle enough to only put them out. Cameron and Helena see to Jenn, but only when they ask into the sounds does the redhead realize what it must have been. By the time she looks up, however- the far end of the hall is half filled with a great furry beast. The dog has a muscular frame just like Samson, but at the size of a small horse. His fur is strangely mottled, though, and his head like that of a large wolf. Samson's eyes are in its face.

"…Kind of?" Delilah sounds unsure, even as the dog lowers its head and triangle ears, stepping on dinner plate paws to lower his nose to the fallen card.

"Night— " The name resonates with Jennifer, and her eyes go wide. The tear-factory stops almost immediately as she starts trying to pull herself together. "Oh God it's happening again isn't it?" Dusting herself off, Jennifer extricates herself from the floor with a very careful hand to Helena's. "Good mercy I'm sorry dear, are you alright?" There's a gentle squeeze of that hand, and for how quickly she seems to be collecting herself, this might not be Jenn's first time at this particular rodeo. "I— " Jennifer looks back up to Helena, eyes wide. "Why didn't any of you come to me when this started? I— I told you I was willing to help you with anything, I— "

Jenn raises a hand, cuts herself off, she's being too mothering. "This all happened years ago, it started back in the mid eighties and only got progressively worse. Mason and I left the Company before we discovered what was actually going on, but I'm relatively certain that Angela and the others had an idea." Swallowing tensely, she looks down at the tarot card sputtering with sparks on the living room floor.

As Jenn stands up, she's offering a gentle hand to Delilah to assist the girl up to a standing position. "Back when the Company was still mostly whole, Maury Parkman and my husband were part of the investigation team along with Angela trying to figure out the Nightmare Man's origins… I— I can't believe he's still out there."

Swallowing awkwardly, Jenn looks to Delilah, then out to the gigantic wolf-hound stalking forward and nosing at the stamped out card. Samson's ear quirks up again when the card dissipates into motes of silvery light that rise up into the air, and in the middle of Jenn's condominium's living room, forms into a tall full-body mirror with a wrought wooden frame. Inside the mirror, there is a depiction of Allen Rickham walking through the ruins of Midtown, looking lost and alone, covered in soot and ash.

"I— I think you're… Delilah? You were one of the waitresses at my daughter's club, right?" Jenn asks after the redhead. "Are you alright? I— I'm sorry about what I did to you I— " there's a tight swallow, nervous, and Jenn looks back to Helena. "Do you know about the mirrors, about— " She looks to Cameron, who's wiggling fingers at the older woman. "How did you figure out all this? Li's been dead for years…"

"Hokuto." Helena says simply. "And we didn't come to you because we don't trust you. But that doesn't mean we'd allow him to get you. Either of you. He was in Rickham's head - I don't know if he's alright or not." Her gaze keeps straying over to the gigantic dog. "Dee, that's just…" she trails off, "Kinda awesome, actually."

"Hey!" Cameron protests, scowling.

"Yeah. We've only met a few times- I'm okay, I'm just kinda-" Sweaty. She moves forward to put a hand on the dog, who edges into her palm silently. The wolfishness of him is somewhat strange, but there is something else about Samson now that is decidedly not only him, aside from the physically obvious. Dee's eyes lift up towards the mirror that appears through the next doorway that is just at Samson's hindquarters, then looking back to Helena. Delilah stoops to try and pick up the charred tarot card. "What now? What's this card for?"

The notion that she isn't trusted causes Jennifer to clam up, jaws clenched shut and her stare angled towards the mirror, then back to Helena. "Hopefully you won't mind a little company then?" One of Jennifer's brows quirk up. "If that thing is attempting to hurt Allen, it suddenly became my business." There's a sharp stare of Jennifer's eyes over to the massive wolf that Delilah has conjured from her mind, then a look over to Cameron, and Jenn just folds her hands behind her back as she turns and walks across the floor over to the mirror, then down to the card that has expellled all that light to form the mirror.

Jenn considers silence as an answer, but as she looks from the card, to Helena, to the reflection of Rickham's wandering and alone form on the other side of that glass, and then finally Delilah there's resignation in her tone of voice. "I'm… not entirely sure. When all of this started, for us at least, there was a woman named Li Ichihara, I presume Hokuto's mother if we're thinking about the same girl. She was a fortune teller, owned a bookstore on Roosevelt Island here in the city. Her husband, Akado, was a member of the Company and he'd recommended we go to her for advice about the investigation into the Nightmare Man. Li had a degree in psychology and was… a sharp woman."

Looking to the card and then to Helena, Jenn's eyes narrow. "Li explained to us a great deal about iconic psychological figures; Persona, Shadow, Anima and Animus. But she also related portions of the psyche to the depictions of the major and minor arcana of the Tarot. It— I figure Hokuto must take after her mother…"

Looking ot the mirror, Jenn's eyes narrow. "I'm not sure what it means here, why the Nightmare Man was using it. Maybe… some psychological warfare against you all? I— I just don't know." Jenn's bare fingers brush over the surface of the mirror, and it ripples like water. "If Allen is in danger, we should go after him."

The mirror reacted to her, which means… Hokuto must be helping her like the rest now.

"She's been helping us." Helena agrees. To Dee, "I don't know what it means, but I know Hokuto uses 'em." Her voice raises, "Hokuto? Are you listening, somehow? We need to get back to Allen Rickham. All three of us. We think he might be who the Man has gone for, and he needs our help. Can you open a door?" She pauses a moment, while Cameron gives her a Really? mug of his face.

Delilah's hands wind into the fur of the dog's hackles. The mottled patterns in his fur actually shift when she does, and the colors melt and seperate on his hide. A section of gray seeps up from around his belly, fluttering past the fur of his skull; the shape is vaguely that of a little bird, before it flaps away into the rest of the colors, dissipating in a blink. The redheaded girl is both puzzled and curious, but she cannot ask a dog what that was.

"We can't leave Allen alone. He said it before, kind of. Didn't he? He needs us?"

"The mirrors are doors…" Jenn offers with a crook of her brow, as if wondering if Helena was just testing her. "I'm not waiting to see if Li's daughter answers you." The older woman states, taking a step through the tall mirror and out into the ashen ruins of Midtown. Helena and Delilah both can see Jenn walk thorugh the watery surface of the mirror and into the crumbling streets, looking around, her hands cups around her mouth, as if trying to call out to Rickham.

"She's fiesty, I like her." Cameron notes with a smirk, walking up to the mirror but not entering, he can't really, not until Helena goes through. Though he does offer a look down towards Samson, lips crooked up into a smile. "Man remind me to bring you a big beef bone next time I show up, 'cause I'd really like to keep all my arms and legs intact, know what I mean?" Cameron turns, looking over his shoulder to Helena. "Come on slowpoke, go!"

Helena snorts at Cameron. "Don't you worry, Firebug. I' protect you." It's said in almost the same cocky tone, and then she's racing toward the mirror after Jenn.

Samson responds to Cameron with a downward tilt of his muzzle, peering past his doggie-brows and twitching one ear sideways. The expression is vaguely familiar, but not one that Samson has ever made. The pony metaphor is not too far off when the canine lowers his forelegs, like a dog wanting to play- though it is obvious what he wants when his shoulder knocks into Delilah's knees and she is knocked onto his spine. So to save time, she just latches onto the thick mottled fur when he lifts off of the floor, trotting fast after Helena and Cameron and leaving Dee to try and not fall off.

Thorugh the looking glass, as it were, Helena's bound to be thrilled to tears with the Alice in Wonderland reference in her life once more. Save for that when she emerges on the other side of the mirror, it's in a foggy, ash-strewn ruin of Midtown's head, choked with so much smoke and mist that the shattered tops of skyscrapers and the distant living city seems impossible to find. The fog is thick, oppressive, and the terrain is just as hazardous as any other parts of Midtown in the waking world are. But— at the very least— she can feel her atmokinesis returning to herself here.

Samson's gigantic paws touch down on the ash and stone, his gigantic snout snuffling at the ash and kicking up clouds of it as he noses through them. Cameron walks quietly at Helena's side, his bare feet sinking into the deceptively safe cushion of an inch of powdery ash — almost like snow — on the ground. "Man… I forgot how sad this place looks." He looks down to his hands, turning his palms over, and lets out a tiny puff of flame from each hand just to make sure everything's working right.

Distantly, the pair and their personas can hear the sound of conversation, and on this side of the mirror Jenn's nowhere in sight. As they make their approach, through the thick and choking fog, they can hear the conversation a bit more clearly, the sound of voices, subtle at first, and then a sharp shout and a thunderous clap of what clearly sounds like thunder and lightning.

Hastened by the noise, Helena and Delilah hear the crash of metal, the creaking groan of bending steel, and a strange mechanical roar that fills the air of the ruins, along with the shattering sound of splitting stone. Eventually, silhouettes come into view in the smoky fog, silhouettes moving at rapid pace, one low to the ground and four-legged, the other hulking and gigantic, with lumbering footfalls that shake the ground.

When the depictions finally become clear, Helena and Delilah are emergeing to the edge of the radioactive crater of Midtown's heart, at the edge of which sits Allen Rickham on a tall pile of rubble, his suit dusted with ash and his face sullen and saddened. At his side, Stephanie Ciati sits with an arm around his shoulders, sunglasses tipped down to reveal golden eyes to Helena and Delilah as they approach.

"Allen!" It's Jenn's voice they hear next, as she stumbles back and away from what looks like a footprint in the concrete. Then, slowly up towards a twelve foot tall behemoth of a man made of living iron, his rounded shoulders studded with the broken ruins of Midtown, black hematite eyes hollow and lifeless, and a scar of molten metal down one side of his face. It's some wild personification of Allen's fear of his own ability, bearing the weight of New York on its shoulders like abstract art.

Swatted away from it, like an angry child playing with toys, a mechanical dog bounces, skids and slides across the ground, before getting back up onto its larrow metal legs, sparks of lightning crackling and popping through the body. It's head quirks to the side, gears spinning inside of the exposed interior of its form, and it heels at Jenn's side, looking something like a clockwork collie.

"Oh, look… you're all here." Stephanie comments with a crooked smile. "Allen, look, Phoenix is here to drag you back into trouble again. They're never going to let you be normal." The gigantic behemoth of Allen's metallic form turns, an echoing steel growl coming from it, while his flesh and blood counterpart slouches against the siren-like form of Stephanie, placating him and telling him what he wants to hear.

"Helena, this— I need your help!" Jenn's clockwork dog sputters and sparks, letting out a mechanical growl back at the gigantic metal creature. Cameron just sort've stands there, hands in his pockets, head going up, up, up, up until he makes eye contact with Rickham's gigantic head.

"Well shit."

"Allen. Rickham, I - " Helena's eyes also go up and up as she stares at the gargantuan man, "Do you remember that day? The day I came to see you, to ask you if you'd help me learn how to deal with people? To talk to them, to be a public figure? You were playing some Wagner in your apartment, do you remember?" Cameron's probably staring at her like she's nuts. Hell, the others might be, too.

Mononoke references aside, this is actually starting to turn into something out of Miyazaki. Strange, wondrous, and dangerous things. Delilah stays astride the canine, who seems to take the same demeanor as Cameron, peering up and around with blatant, though lightly toned awe. The mottled fur shifts again, a flash of white slipping like a harness down his head before disappearing again. Delilah, on the other hand, lets herself zero in on Rickham himself. "Normal is as normal does. We're here for his sake, not for trouble's sake.

"Allen, don't listen to h— " Stephanie is cut off from her speaking as Jenn's mechanical hound goes racing between the colossus' legs and bounding up the rubble pile, leaping at her with saw-toothed mouth open. The Shadow shrieks and falls backwards over the rubble pile, hands grasping at the mechanical dog's throat to try and keep the spinning chainsaw teeth inside of its mouth from fully grasping down on her. Jenn, having instructed whatever her Persona is supposed to represent to distract the Nightmare Man, nods to Helena.

"We'll keep them occupied." Jenn infers, waving her hands in front of the gigantic metal monstrosity. "Over here!" A low rumbling growl rises up from the creature's throat as it turns towards Jenn, and Cameron's running barefoot in the ash to interpose himself between Jenn and the construct, throwing his hand out to create a rolling wall of fire between its iron fist and himself.

That black hand goes crashing thorugh the flames, strikes Cameron full on and lifts him straight up off of his feet and sends him crashing into the side of a freestanding brick wall. Choking, Cameron lands on his hands and knees, thin rivulets of blood running from his nostrils and mouth to contrast stark red on the ground under himself. "Hel— I got this."

As the colossus lumbers towards Jenn and Cameron's distraction, Allen sits forward on his rubble pile, brows furrowed and a sad expression offered to Helena. "I— I remember…" He says this as if Clash of the Titans were not happening just feet away, his authoratative voice carrying over the sounds of crackling flame and bending steel. "I… I thought you were too young for the fight you were in, for the— the hardships you had to face. I told you to go back to school…" He manages something of a rueful smile.

"You didn't seem too thrilled with the idea."

Helena makes a small sound in her throat at the sight of Cameron bleeding - he is her, remember - but the fact he just keeps on going is also the fact that she does to. She nods to him resolutely and continues to address the man of metal. "I had to keep going, you know I couldn't stop - but I've been given a chance. I get to go back to school. And I am…I'm going to Columbia. I'm going to be a poli sci major. You know who made me think of that, don't you? Don't you?"

Delilah dismounts from the dog quickly, stumbling and sending up a small cloud of ashes. Her bright-eyed steed tenses, and lunges forward into a run at the metal giant's back. Samson leaps at the last moment, trying to come down on its torso and force it downward by gravity and his own weight. The bob of red hair that jumped from him is heading for where Helena is, offering no words, and instead casting a look over her shoulder to see what is now happening.

The stone wall behind Cameron shatters as he's kicked through it by Rickham's gigantic metallic Persona, bound into some rampaging servitude by the Nightmare Man. It brings up its club-like arms and lets out a throaty roar. What is nearly the end of Jennifer Chesterfield is prevented by the form of a gigantic wolf-hound in the form of Samson leaping at the metal man's back, claws raking into steel and creation curls of rolled metal in their wake. Samson's massive jaws open, biting down on the behemoth's neck as he staggers to the side from the weight. Jenn staggers backwards, away from the colossus, falling on her backside on the broken rocks with a pained yelp. That behemoth lumbers forward with a heavy footfall, depressing the silhouette of its foot into the concrete that breaks under its weight.

Down on the rubble pile, the image of Allen Rickham's Shadow — strangely a female and not himself, either — barely manages to keep the mechanical hound's head away from herself. With a flick of one hand, she produces a card from the rolled cuff at her wrist, bearing the image of a man in a robe holding up a wand, an infinity symbol hovering over his head. Her eyes turn silver, like liquid mercury instead of gold, "Aha." She breathes out, before lunging her hand inside the mechanical dog's mouth and grabbing a series of wires, yanking them out along with a crackling globe of electricity the size of a heart.

Jenn screams, clutching at her head where she lays on the broken stone, back arching and eyes wrenching shut, before she disappears in a puff of black smoke from the dream. Her Persona crumbles to smoke and embers, and the Shadow shakes off her hand, silvery eyes turnign to gold rings again.

Reaching up and behind himself, the colossus form of Rickham grabs at Samson's thick neck fur and swings him off and down to the ground with a thunderous crash. The concrete buckles up under the gigantic dog's weight, and Delilah feels a pins and needles twinge of pain go through her back and the side of her head. Samson gets back up, ears folded back and teeth bared with a low, throaty hrowl that shudders the ground, as if he were the mytic Cerberus fighting Herculese.

"Shit, shit— " Cameron pulls himself up out of the rubble, one arm lacerated form the sharp edges of broken rock, blood running in a thick line down his sleeve. The same cut is visible now on Helena's arm, where blood darkens the fabric of her sleeve as well. "Hel… whatever you're doing— do it fast…" Fire appears in a pair of spheres in Cameron's hands again, his eyes steadied ont he behemoth making its way up the mountain of rubble towards him slowly.

"Helena…" Allen murmurs, head shaking slowly, "I— I thought you— " Confusion lays into his features as he finally stands. "I… I thought you weren't even listening to me that day. I— No matter how hard I tried to get through to you, to Cat, to anyone, no one seemed to listen to what I had to say… I…" Stepping down to rubble pile, Allen's brows crease together. "You— I inspired you?"

Slinking back and away from the fight, Stephanie's Shadow isn't fighting Rickham's revelation. Instead she's nursing scratches on her hand, brows lowered and lips crooked up into an oddly pleased smile. Her gold eyes flick over to Helena and the others, and she exhales a snorted breath.

"Took you long enough, Allen." The Shadow whispers to herself, before discorporating into a haze of blue lights, and just when massive iron fists are barreling down at Cameron, they halt, metal creaking and groaning, and the colossus of Rickham comes to a standstill. Eyes wide, his face inches from a metallic fist the size of a volkswagon, Cameron clears his throat, and looks over to Helena with a nervous expression, as if to say thank you.

Helena lets out a weak laugh. "I'm stubborn and I'm stupid and I do crazy things because I believe they're the right thing to do…but that doesn't mean I don't listen. Of course I listened to you that day. And now you need to listen to me. The Nightmare Man almost got you, but he didn't, because you've managed to find your Patr - " she hesitates, "Your avatar. But Jenn got hurt in the process, so when you wake up, you'll remember this - get to Jenn, as quickly as you can, and make sure she's alright. As long as you remember what makes you the man I listened to, the Nightmare Man can't take you." She looks over her shoulder and breathes a huuuuuge sigh of relief at the sight of Cameron's unbroken body.

Delilah flinches at the needles of pain that come when Samson is tossed aside. That was unpleasant as hell. Samson, still keeping his dagger-like teeth bared, and his ears pinned, sidles up nearer to Cameron, wary of the now still metal giant. His tail is arched high, muscles tensed like wire under the thick layer of fur. The pattern shifts again, and a coil of white moves up across his leg, splashing over his side and branching off into what seems to be a tree. It too disappears in a moment, leaving Samson to open his mouth in a long, deep bark.

"Helena? This is the craziest field trip that you have ever taken me on." Just so she knows. "And I'm glad you did." Dee has done her part, and it feels good.

"I never thought I was anything but a disappointment to everyone who'd put their faith in me…" Rickham quietly offers to Helena. "It— It's refreshing to— to know otherwise…" Walking up to one of the legs of the twelve foot tall colossus, Allen's brows furrow and his eyes narrow at the creature as he lays a hand on it, and the construct turns slowly, rolling its shoulders and shedding the weight of the rubble of Midtown from its back, losing the miniature crumbling skyscrapers and some size, until it slowly turns into a faceless iron statue of a man, chin held high. Allen looks at it, puzzled for a moment, before the colossus glows brightly and then disappears into silvery motes of light under his palm.

"I— " Allen's forefingers and thumb roll together, brows furrowed. "Nightmare Man?" He looks down to his feet, then over to the holy shit huge dog then up to Cameron, who's limping down off of the rubble pile, covered head to toe in ash and dust. "This is strange…" he murmurs, then turns to look over to Delilah.

"I know you…" Allen seems to be recalling the trip he and Delilah took down the abandoned highways of Staten Island after the attack on the Ferrymen safehouse. The notion could be heartwarming, until he clarifies, "weren't you that crazy stripper from earlier?"

Deilah's eyes snap open, sweat beading on her forehead and breathing somewhat hastened. Her arm's sore, back a little too, but the weight of a gigantic snout laying across her legs at least explains for why her toes are asleep. Samson must have shifted, waking her up, or maybe Allen woke up, or— who knows. But right now, laying with Samson's protective head making sure her legs are both warm and safe, the ceiling looks far less interesting than the dream world she was just a part of.

Outside her window, she can see street lights illumination falling snow.

It reminds her of ash.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License