Define "Share"


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Scene Title Define "Share"
Synopsis Delia Ryans makes a tempting offer to her mentor.
Date February 5, 2011

Delia Ryans' Mind

One more time…

Circles of light sweep and spot in colors through inky air, landing against black floors, black walls, black ceiling. Silhouettes drift in rhythm to the sweet sound of silence. Shadows that absorb the gelled spotlights, creating an eerie cacaphony of bodies that melt together and drift apart. There's nothing there.

One more time…

Skating down the beam of one light the sprite figurine dressed in white jumps through the air in a twirl before landing on yet another, this time blue. She is careful to avoid the shadow, not wishing to be swallowed into oblivion. There was a time, not long ago, there was noise and laughter of a child… and a dog. Now the dog is too far away and a child has been grounded. Too much trouble. Now there is nothing.

Except the chaos of her own broken mind.

One more time…

This time it's louder, the bass beat becomes stronger, and the colored shafts of light seems to illuminate the shadows moving to the throbbing rhythm more. The voice singing sounds digital, a synthesized thing impressed upon by as many ones and zeroes as it is sharp and flat notes. Delia can feel glass under her feet. Not the kind that's broken and cuts, but smooth and cold to the touch, each square of it lightning up with a flash of color when she steps on it.

One more time…

A colored beam of light crosses her field of vision, and in its wake shadows have volume and definition, and she can tell that the stage she's standing on is at the center of the club, its high and vaulted ceilings containing mechanical lights swiveling and pivoting under the control of a DJ. The music pulses to the beat, bodies press together and teeth flash in smile and more predatory baring. Through the sea of dancers, Delia can see a pale figure in brief view. Revealed when one dancer moves, only to be obscured by another.

We're gonna celebrate

Down stairs that descend off of the stage, circular booths surround the raised platform. Seated with a clear view of Delia when the dancers part, Hokuto Ichihara looks expectant. Black hair is swept back from her face, pinned up by chromed hair clips. Her black dress is simple and revealing, a plunging v-neck line that cuts down the center of her chest to just above her navel, revealing a circular black mandala tattoo on her breastbone.

Oh yeah, all right

The dancers continue to part, like a curtain catching a breeze, revealing more of the club. Tables in rows behind the booths, a bar beyond that. Hokuto slouches back against the leather upholstered seat of the booth, lifting a cigarette up to her lips, a snaking tendril of ink coming from it where smoke should be. Goldene yes are halfway lidded, watching Delia's white-clad form on the dance floor, charcoal painted lips parting around the end of the cigarette. Cat-like, lazy eyes focused on her red-headed student. Her red-headed fascination.

Don't stop the dancing

The cigarette is lowered down to an ash tray, perched in a notch on the black glass. A pale hand raises, one finger curling as Hokuto invites Delia over to her booth. The elder dreamalker crosses one leg over the other, the slit up the side of her dress imparting some freedom of movement to her slinking posture. That they are both barefoot isn't the only commonality between them.

Oh yeah, all right

Delia Ryans has never been to Rapture and neither has Hokuto Ichihara. But that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of dreamwalking.

Don't stop the dancing

They're there now.

Body rigid, arms held out at an acute angle, fingers splayed down by her sides, Delia's legs don't move as the club shifts and the floor moved beneath her feet, drawing the booth closer. It isn't until she's a few paces away that she deigns to take a step forward to meet her mentor. She doesn't say anything at first, preferring to settle herself into the booth and arrange the filmy fabric of her sundress.

She's not quite dressed for the occasion, then again, she wasn't expecting the visit. Her lips stretch into a straight line, an unhappy smile. Hokuto, the word isn't so much spoken as thought, the younger woman's lips don't move. Assuming they are still in her own mind, she holds to none of the conventions imparted to her by the Russian who held her as guest. How are you?

"Worried," isn't a Hokuto-like answer, usually, though when offered through painted lips and with a halfway-lidded stare it's slightly more accessable. It almost comes off as dismissive, despite the context of the word itself. One of Hokuto's bare arms raises up to the back of the booth, black fabric smooths across the leather seat, and the elder of the dreamwalkers insinuates herself to Delia's side, letting that raised arm come down around her shoulders.

Dark brows furrow on Hokuto's face, and an errant lock of black hair falls down across her temple. When her head tilts to the side, that lock sweeps across her face, hooking on the end of her nose. "I watched everything that happened, from a distance… I'm sorry things went as they did for you, but in the end I knew you could count on the people that cared about you to save you." Gray lips make the barest shape of a smile, then settle back down again.

"I…" Hokuto rests one hand on Delia's shoulder, her thumb brushing down the curve to her bicep. "I hope you're not angry with me, for everything I did…" Gold eyes look away, slowly, down to the smooth surface of the table. "Everything I did."

Shaking her head, Delia stares down at the table. "It didn't actually occur to me to be angry with you." She has a propensity to blame herself. "Until recently, I wanted to come back… to live like you do. I hate being awake." She doesn't mention what it was that somewhat changed her mind about it. Her blue eyes shift toward her elder as an expression of despair sets itself firmly on her face. There's a slight twitch of lips at one corner, lifting them into the bitter half of a Mona Lisa smile.

"Do you ever miss— Out there?" The question is posed innocently enough, though an undertone of something unmentioned is heavily betrayed by the way she studies the dark haired woman. "Half the time I'm too scared to leave my own head. I made a promise that I would stay awake but I hate it there."

Sadness crosses Hokuto's face, empathetic in ways that few people normally see her. Gone is the typical veil of nonchallance, replaced by the uncertainty and softness of the woman she was before she passed away. Teeth toy at her bottom lip, and Hokuto looks down to the table again, gold eyes wandering her own muted reflection in the glossy surface.

"Imagine…" Hokuto's voice hitches in the back of her throat. "Imagine never being able to touch the person you love, ever again. Imagine knowing that you can never be enough for him, that there will always be someone… more real, someone— " Hokuto's eyes fall shut, her head bows and a sigh slips out her nose.

"I miss it, every day." Hokuto's fingers curl at Delia's shoulder, nails lightly tracking their way up her arm. "I miss— living. I miss my friends. I miss my book store. I— " there's a quaver in her voice, a flutter in her breathing, and Hokuto closes her eyes again and looks away. Not quick enough to still the fact that she's crying, which elicits a bitter laugh from her.

Even in dreams, she can still be hurt.

"Tell me how— How to do it. To go far away and come back, to live without waking up." There's a certain amount of desperation in her own words, a pale hand coming up to grip at the one on her shoulder. Her blue eyes almost pierce the other woman's as she presses her lips together.

Delia's hold on Hokuto's hand only tightens as she witnesses the other woman's tears and subsequent laugh. "I want to go farther, tell me how and— " There's a long pause as her red hair shifts to follow the angling of her chin toward the dance floor. "Richard Cardinal, the other one, said that he would find me a body. Not my body but a body. That means, if I leave… you could share mine. I wouldn't be breaking my promise. Not exactly."

A shuddering breath escapes Hokuto as her eyes open, followed by a tense swallow and a shake of her head. "No," is a hoarse whisper, even as Hokuto's fingers curl around Delia's. "It's too dangerous… you're too young. I— " gold eyes shut again, brows tense, and she shakes her head once more. "I won't live my life as a parasite." Dema's words, not hers, but still ones that have managed to haunt her since their initial encounter. Dema wasn't wrong about Hokuto, but her pride refused to allow her to acknowledge it.

Hokuto Ichihara is a cautionary tale for all dreamwalkers. A worst-case scenario.

"You have a life. You— you have people who care about you. You have family." Gold eyes open, watery and wet. Dark eyeliner runs in rivulets down Hokuto's cheeks, as if she were crying ink. A wan smile faintly acknowledges Delia, and those golden eyes alight to her.

"It's a sweet…" One corner of Hokuto's lips creep upwards, "tempting offer. But… no, Delia."

The spark of hope that was in the young woman's eyes fades like an ember in a dying fire. "It's not being a parasite if I offer. It's a symbiotic existence, not parasitic. I just… I want to see Nick. He won't come visit, not as long as I'm living here." Where exactly that is, isn't explained. "I can't go visit. He said I can visit his dreams whenever I want— but I can't find him. He lives too far away."

Furrowing her eyebrows, Delia lets loose Hokuto's hand and folds both of hers on top of the glass table. Her thumbs rotate around one another as she contemplates her next course of action, or her next appeal. "Don't cry, Hokuto, there has to be something you can do. What about someone that doesn't want their body anymore? Like someone in a coma?" Like she used to be. It's not exactly leading the other woman toward the same direction, just skirting the issue. "Richard Cardinal said it could be done. Was he lying?"

Love, especially unrequited, is one of Hokuto Ichihara's most vulnerable weaknesses.

"Nick?" The sound of the name elicits a look out of the corner of Hokuto's eye to the redheaded dreamwalker. There's uncertainty, wariness, and a small bit of fright in hokuto at the prospect of she and Delia sharing so many commonalities. The only difference is, Delia is still in a position to have her love, and to have her life. Those gold eyes square down on Hokuto's lap again, close slowly, and her arm around Delia draws the younger dreamwalker in.

A cheek is laid down against the top of Delia's head, and Hokuto's hand squeezes the one in hers. "You already have the strength to…" is an admission she never wanted to make to Delia. "You just need to lack the fear. It's like… skydiving. There is a natural fear reaction to falling. Dreamwalking outside of the safety of your own body, it's… it's like falling. You want to catch yourself, but you can't find a way to."

Turning her face enough that her nose brushes against the curl of Delia's hair at her scalp, Hokuto shuts her eyes and breathes in the imaginary scent of the young woman's hair. "You have to learn to break through that fear, and to fall. But before you can travel like that… before you can go for vast distances in your mind's eye, you're going to need to put your own mind back together again. You'll need a more stable home, a more stable core to return to."

Hokuto's eyes open, narrow strips of gold irises visible between dark lashes and mascara trim. "That's something you have to do for yourself. Clean your own house, before venturing out to the homes of others. There's only so much I can do for you, save for hold your hand on your first few trips. I owe you that much, at least, for letting you struggle so hard the last time…"

Therein lies the problem. How does one build a home when one does not have one. When there's no where that feels like a home to build around. "I don't have a home," Delia admits honestly, "My home is with people… I don't have a place anymore." She once felt safe inside of her bedroom, but that was stolen.

"How do you build a strong core when the things you equate with a home move all the time? Or they aren't really a home at all?" Her blue eyes search out the gold ones and she presses her lips into a thin line, letting loose a soft sigh as her shoulders roll forward and slump. "I don't have anything stable anymore, that's mostly my own fault. But— when everything around you is always crumbling, how can you build something that's permanent? I thought I had a new home with my brother but I had to leave there. I've moved twice since then."

Leaning her head up against her mentor's, hers shifts a little and she lets loose a soft sigh. "Hokuto, I was thinking about registering.. So I can get a job and an apartment on my own. So I can actually have something out there."

It's a lot to process at once, and the more pertinent — to Hokuto — is what matters most and what is addressed first. "Home is what you make of it," Hokuto opines thoughtfully. "It's easiest to make when it's something you can see with your own two eyes, feel with your hands…" In that, Hokuto looks around the club. The music becomes muted, muffled sounding and soon the dancers, the stage, and the intoxicating rhythm begin to drift away as if the booth were on a conveyor belt.

Rapidly, rows of bookshelves rush in from all around, followed by walls that snap into place in a blur of speed. Old newspapers stack up on a worn countertop, one that Hokuto and Delia now sit on together. It's a bookstore, it smells of old paper and glue. Most of the books are used, hand-me-downs, old and memorable by the character of their damage.

Sitting on the front counter, Hokut and Delia both are beside a tall window made up from many smaller panes of glass. Out the window, the cityscape of Roosevelt Island is sunny and bright. Leaves on trees shine a goldenrod color, highlighted with leaves of red and orange, a beautiful autumn. "This… is my home," and Hokuto has recreated it inside of Delia's own consciousness.

"Ichihara Bookstore… where I lived, and where I died." Day turns instantly to night outside, moon rotating in to replace the sun, and snow begins falling under the glow of street lamps. "It's home to me because it is where all of the most important moments in my life happened. Good…"

There's a flash in the distance, bright light floods in through the windows, and when the light fades, the cityscape outside looks to have been demolished by a blastwave. The sky is a fiery orange and embers rain like snow once did from the sky along with choking ash. "…and bad."

Golden eyes turn to meet Delia's far paler ones. One of Hokuto's hands lift, cupping the redhead's cheek and brushing a thumb across her lips, a show of tenderness and affection unusual for the dreamwalker. "You need to find this, before you can spread your wings."

"It burned down…" Delia says softly, turning her head at first to nestle her cheek into Hokuto's palm and then turn away to study her surroundings. "I used to work here, after you sent me to find Lydia. I worked here until we had to run." It was only a few months but she'd formed an attachment to the shop that surpassed her other jobs. "I used to sit in the corner of the romance section and read all day. I met Nick here, he came to buy a bible."

Twitching her eyebrows together somewhat, she chances a peripheral glance at the older woman and chews on her lower lip. "Does it have to be a real place?" Reaching out, she grabs a hold of a bit of the air and pulls until she tears a hole in it. Underneath the bookstore scenery is something else entirely and that hole spreads, like a collection of locusts is eating away at the edges, until what is left is something else.

It's a room, much like the one that was her old home, only this one is filled with papered walled. The loose sheets each carry a child's drawing or fingerpainting. The stick figures gain volume when looked at directly, turning into realistic three dimensional holograms. Each drawing is something or someone significant in her life.

"I've been using this lately, the room I had… I built it in Nick's head while I was lost… but then Dema picked it up and brought it to his home."

"It doesn't need to be, but typically— in my experiences— it's easier to find your body when your core is rooted in a place of strong emotional contact." Hokuto's brows furrow together, lips downturn as she looks to the drawings on the walls, remembering a younger and more harrowing Delia in the fringes of the younger woman's mind. "If you root yourself somewhere that has no grounding in reality, it becomes harder to find your way back to it. It… it becomes easier to let yourself drift among the other unrealities of the mind."

Squeezing her arm around Delia tighter, Hokuto exhales a sigh and presses her nose down int the redhead's hair again, looking up over the top of her head to the pictures on the walls. "Maybe…" sounds muffled, is muffled, but Delia feels the words in her scalp and hears them all the same.

"You've mentioned Nick a few times now…" It's a name of vague familiarity to Hokuto, but not one that she's latched on to. "He's… important to you?" Gold eyes drift along the images on the walls, and then as Hokuto leans away, those eyes settle down on Delia's. That hand rests on her cheek again, thumb stroking gently beneath one eye.

"If you truly… felt at home there, in that place— my home. You're welcome to use it, maybe the memories there— maybe it will make it easier for you to find your way back to where you belong." Crows feet crinkle at the corners of Hokuto's eyes when she smiles, the only tell-tale sign of her age.

"I doubt you'll ever be able to go back there, though. If you Register, they'll find you again." Hokuto needn't invoke Dema's name for Delia to understand.

"I lived in his mind while I was lost, we spent Christmas together… and New Year's, sort of." There's a slight smile on the young woman's lips as she glances to one of the pictures and seems to invoke the face of the young man in question. The white sheet of paper flutters up and drifts toward the pair only to be caught by the redhead and smoothed out. A stickman with black hair and blue eyes. "He kept me alive, I didn't know that people could be awake and I could stay until him."

Taking a small breath inward and letting it loose in a sigh, Delia folds up the picture and tucks it into her palm. "He's complicated, tragic, and probably one of my best friends now. But because Mister Logan is my new— caretaker— he won't come and visit. Before that, my brother didn't want him around. I need a place of my own, in real life, or else he'll never visit."

There's a wrinkle of her nose as she puckers her lips to the side in a grimace, "If I register, they'll be able to find me… but I can get a job and a home. Right now I'm living off the charity and favors, I don't know how to make money that isn't legitimate."

"…and if you Register, they'll take you from that job and from your life, and then how will you ever see him again?" One of Hokuto's dark brows lift slowly, her voice patient as she considers Delia's predicament. "Maybe," Hokuto tilts her head to the side, "you should find this Nick. Maybe you should tell him how it is you feel, and what it is he means to you…" It's easier to say than it is to do, and Hokuto is the worst hypocrite when it comes to hearts.

She realizes this, though, and silence comes for a few moments as Hokuto reconsiders. Ultimately, the advice is sound, even if hypocritical. Perhaps more a cautionary tale, than anything. "If you need somewhere to be, be with him. But you need to focus on getting yourself better before you can do that." One of Hokuto's fingers comes to press against Delia's forehead. "I'll… help you, for now, cross the distance between yourself and Nick. Once you recover more from what happened to you, once your mind and your body are stronger, I'll give you lessons on how best to bridge the gap. But you need to heal… inside and out, before I'll help you."

"He said he doesn't want to ruin me by being around me," There's a bitter quality to Delia's voice as she imparts that bit of information but she shrugs her shoulders and gives Hokuto a mirrored version of one of her own catlike looks, only in blue. "But he's not the reason I want to register and do all of that. I have a brother, Brad, I was living with him before he manifested… Only he was on television when he manifested and he got arrested. When I was living with Brad, it felt like a home. You know? I want to feel like that again. Just, I want it to be mine."

Chewing on her bottom lip, she stares down at her feet and nods. "I'll get better, then I'll find smoething to do. I just thought if I went legitimate, I could find a way that they wouldn't make me disappear. Brad hasn't disappeared, but he's a celebrity. I just thought maybe being his sister, it'd— I dunno— give me a little bit of protection."

Hokuto's eyes fall shut, then open looking away from Delia. "No one is protected," is am ominous portend of things to come, "not celebreties, not politicians, not scientists…" those golden eyes track back to Delia. "Especially not dreamwalkers." There's a playful attempt at levity there, and Hokuto manages something of a crooked smile before leaning forward and knocking her forehead against Delia's.

"Don't be in such a rush to find a home, that you miss one that might be finding you. I promise I'll help you see Nick, and we can start from there. Don't go rushing to Register, though, it will only end up in problems for you down the road. Even if things are harder now, it's for the better in the end. Trust me… I— " Hokuto shakes her head, slowly. "I know what the people who are looking for you are like. They won't stop… don't ever stop. Relentless."

Letting her head sink to a crooked angle, Hokuto lifts a hand to brush red hair back from Delia's face. "If I can help it though, I won't let anything hurt you. If I can manage that much, than I'm doing something very right. I owe that much to your father…"

"I owe that much to you."

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