Die, Die, My Darling


delia_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title Die, Die, My Darling
Synopsis Just shut your pretty eyes. Nick loses (or thinks he loses) his one reason to fight.
Date June 9, 2011

Old Dispensary

The time of day is of little meaning to Nick, for day and night are spent alike in fitful bouts of sleep interrupted by coughing and nightmares and the moments spent with his caretakers, feeding him, bathing him, trying to bring down his fever.

Trying to keep him alive.

The room is dark, more black than the dull gray than it is in the daytime, when shades are drawn to keep the sun out of the room. Reddened eyes sweep the room and he cocks his head to listen for something that stirred him from his sleep — or maybe it was just his imagination. A moment later, he turns his pillow over to seek a cooler spot, the first hot and drenched in sweat. A groan of pain slips from his lips, and he closes his eyes again. It's a Catch-22. Sleep… rest… is what his body needs most, and yet in sleep he finds so much pain. So many enemies, the worst of which is himself.

A shadow moves in the corner and stills when he looks directly at it. It's too dark to see if anything is actually there and without the full use of his senses and strength, Nick is left helpless. Whatever is hiding there doesn't carry the scent of sulphur or cigarettes to frighten, nor perfume to sooth him.

The shadow cuts a slim figure as it sways just out of his field of vision, almost wavering on whether to come forward or not. What he can see is that it's clothed in fabric that flows like a sheet of silk through the Shanoni river. The material is dark, better to camouflage it in the darkness as though his invader is a burglar.

"Who's there," Nick hisses, sitting up in bed, a motion that nearly makes him collapse back into it; eyes swim, ears ring, and he has to grip the edge of the mattress to keep himself upright. "I told you to leave me alone. I told you they'd kill you if you came back." His words are little more than a whisper, and he coughs into his shoulder as the breath it takes to speak seems to try to strangle him at the same time.

"I'd kill you myself if I had my gun, Gale," he adds, eyes narrowing as he glances to the bedside table where his gun wasn't the last time the white-haired doctor visited him.

But now, a firearm sits there, polished and shiny even in the dim light, as if a beacon, and he lunges for it, turning it toward that corner.

"Seriously? You're going to shoot me?"

A voice all too familiar answers back before Delia melts into view. She sounds and looks a little angry as she drifts closer to the bed. The darkness of the room coupled with the length of her dress renders the movement of her feet invisible. Glossed lips purse in anger and her jaw clenches visibly as she gets close enough to sit at the edge of his bed. "Who is Gale and why is she in your room?"

Her eyebrows dip into a tight vee before she flashes a glare at him. Posture stiff as a board, she places her hands on either side of her to rest against the mattress. "Is that what you've been doing while I thought you were so sick? Having women over?"

The hand holding the gun trembles and the weapon drops onto the bed. "Del… No, I … I didn't invite her. She's someone in the past, someone dangerous. I told her not to come back, and I thought you'ere her," he whispers.

Nick reaches for her, his hand turning upward, waiting for her to take it. "I didn't want you to see me like this," he adds, earnestly, the words an echo of those he'd told Benji hours ago. "I don't want you t'remember me like this…"

Despite his promise to fight for life, despite having her for a reason to fight, the words are cynical. Fatalistic.

"Really Nick— You expect me to believe that you didn't invite her.." The young woman's tone is disbelieving at best. She curls her lip and it turns to an ugly sneer as she lifts her hand, tucking it against her shoulder, away from him. "How would she get all the way out here… How would she know how to find you? Hmm?"

Delia stretches out her arm again and presses it against the mattress, leaning closer to Nick and staring into his eyes. For a moment she almost seems sympathetic but only until her face hardens again and she lifts her chin in a haughty manner.

"Maybe I should just leave… Let you come up with something better, a better excuse as to why you have women in your bedroom. A bedroom that's in the middle of nowhere." She turns her head to give him a tiny smile, the kind that debutantes use when placating the help. "Maybe… I should go visit Johnny's room." Her voice turns harsh and raspy with the smoke of countless cigarettes inhaled over too many years. "That'll teach you to lie to me."

Nick parts his lips to argue, but then the voice and scent have him backing up, reaching for that gun again only to find it gone. He looks confused for a moment, before turning to Delia once again. Labored breathing fills the silence before he finally speaks.

"I donno how she found it; I donno how you found it, but what the fuck, people keep showin' up who shouldn't, so why not, we can have a bloody party here in my room while I fucking die and you can all laugh at me. Invite 'Johnny,' I'm sure he'll be all over seeing me like this," he hisses, rising from the bed only to sink down again, finding that weak legs won't hold him.

"What do you mean you don't know how I found it?" She rolls her eyes, as though the simple action is explanation enough of how she found him. Moving her hand, she traces a serpentine figure into the sheet while risking flirtatious glances in his direction. "Really Nicky," the name slithers from her lips in a whisper and she edges even closer, braver now that his gun is once again missing. Her eyes glass with liquid, unshed tears as she slides next to him for sympathy. "I thought you knew me better than that. You should know that I can find you anywhere, I just have to look hard enough."

Featherlight, her fingers trail across his thigh and then up his chest to end with a small admonishing slap on his shoulder. "You shouldn't be so mean to me, I mean really, what have I ever done to you to deserve it? What have you ever done to deserve someone like me?"

"Del," Nick begins, apology ready on his lips before the last comment registers in his fevered brain, and he stops, hurt flashing in his eyes before he looks away.

"Figured it'd dawn on you sooner or later. Later than I thought it would. If you'd just wait a few more days, you could've saved yourself the trip," he growls, trying again to move away, but this time slipping down to the ground, back sliding against the wall as he draws his knees up to himself. Resting elbows on knees, he lets his sweat-drenched head fall into his hands so he doesn't have to look at the apparition on his bed.

A sparkle of laughter tinkles through the air, loud enough to wake the dead if they were anywhere near the same corridor that Nick inhabits. Delia doesn't care about people who are asleep, apparently. "Oh come on. Wait a few days? And miss all this? It's better than the movies you've never taken me to." She clenches her jaw and flashes him a hard stare before sneering at him again. "You've never given me the time of day, admit it, I was really nothing more than a little waste of time for you."

Lifting herself from the bed, the redhead slides across the floor and crouches in front of him. Her fingers, cold as ice, move to pry his hands away from his face. "You led me on, being nice to me with one breath while pushing me away with the next. You didn't want me until someone else had me. Then you went and ruined it because you knew how much you meant to me."

"Stop it," Nick whispers, turning away as her hands pull at his, avoiding her eyes by turning his face to the corner and closing his eyes. "Just go. Just leave me. Everyone will. Everyone does. I'll die alone, the way I'm s'posed to. It's what I deserve… You just made me think maybe I could deserve more. You made me believe that, because you acted like you did."

He begins to cough, wiping his mouth of the bloody sputum. "Guess we were both wrong." Half-cough, half-sob chokes him, throwing him into another coughing fit that leaves him exhausted, face pale and glossed with sweat when he finally lifts his head again to lean against the wall.

"You must be dumber than I look, Nick," the fingers drop away from his hands and Delia rises to a stand in front of him. From where he sits, she reaches a dizzying height, a half smile gracing her lips as she lords over him. "That's what you think, isn't it? That I'm stupid, right? For ever loving someone like you. Someone so disgusting and weak as you."

She rests her palms on her hips and turns a longing gaze at the curtained window. "What did I see in you? Were you some kind of project? Like one of those money pit houses that people buy because they look pretty on the outside? Maybe I wanted to fix you up… but I can't, isn't that right? You don't want to be fixed. You want to keep doing it."

His jaw sets with anger, muscles beneath pale skin twitching as he lets her rail at him. He doesn't argue. He simply stares down into the ground between them, a thousand-mile stare of dejection, of despair. Of resignation.

"So much for wanting me to fight this, eh?" he mutters, voice flat. "You found your way in. You can find your way out, yeah?" The gun appears in his hands suddenly, cold metal in sweaty palm; he doesn't seem to find this strange. He lifts it, held loosely, to rest his temple against the cool metal side of the weapon, its barrel pointing at an angle to the ceiling.

"Nie masz co trzeba," the tall woman spits venom as she looks down on him. when her lips part again it's to smile, almost daring him to pull the trigger while she watches. "You're so weak…" Again, a voice that should be rich and full of life sounds hollow and spiritless.

When Delia leans in to hold her nose only a hair away from his, her hot breath caresses his already feverish skin. "You could save yourself all this pain," she purrs, reaching out to caress his trigger finger, encouraging it to curl in through the loop. "Just think, Nicky, you could end it all right now and never have to worry again. No more pain, no more hurting, just nothing. Just think, it would be so much faster. So much easier. You wouldn’t have to worry about breaking those promises you’ve made and we both know you will."

His eyes close at her words, face contorted in pain and self-loathing; he knocks the gun against the side of his head twice before his finger slips around the trigger. “No. No. I’m not gonna take the easy way out,” he murmurs, more to himself than to her, before something insinuates itself into his mind.

Jak robi wy poznajecie Język polski?” he asks. Delia doesn’t know Polish — not much more than the few phrases she’s picked up from him. “Who the fuck are you?”

The gun turns on her again. “What are you, a shifter? Ilusionist? Who set you after me?” he growls.

"Nicky," Delia sing songs, her voice sounding oddly melodic. She slides closer, going as far as to wrap her arms around his neck and rest her head against his shoulder. Where the young woman would usually be frozen in fear at the sight of a gun pointed in her direction, she seems comfortable, going as far as pushing it away from her by the barrel with two fingers. He's weak, it doesn't take much effort. "Is this the way you treat the woman you claim to love? Point a gun at her?"

She attempts a distraction by brushing her lips along his neck and jawline, avoiding the blood that's formed a line to his chin or has smeared against his cheek. One hand wraps around the one on the gun and she tugs at it, pulling it back up to his temple. "Enough with the games, Nicky, no more pretend."

Instinct is stronger than reason, or at least it is in Nick Ruskin. Despite his resignation to the virus fighting him, despite his death wish and reckless — sometimes self-destructive — behavior, that will to survive pushes to the surface.

“No!” he yells, and the gun turns from his head toward hers, shaking hand managing to keep a sweaty grip on the handle as he pulls the trigger, the slight recoil of the small weapon enough to make him fall back against the wall in his anemic state.

The shot claps out as loud as a cannon in the small room, shattering the silence in echoes off the cold stone. A splash of blood and grey matter paints an arc across the wall and slides down in thin lines, decorating the natural decor with rustic pin stripes. When the last of the ringing dissolves into the furniture and the smoke from the departing bullet clears from his vision, two drops of squishy material hit the floor to punctuate the mess he just made.

In front of Nick, Delia rises to a stand and calmly sweeps a hand down her filmy dress to clear away any residue. With a flick of her wrist, she throws a few droplets of blood in a dotted line across Nick's face. Revenge, one could call it, but it's really not enough.

"I can't believe you just did that," acidic tones lace the voice that had so recently sounded so sweet as she tried to get him to do the same to himself. "You said you love me. Is this how you love someone?"

Behind Delia, the blood on the wall drips onto the bare floor, pooling there, more than should be possible, until shadowy, blood-tinged figures rise up… Disapproving faces, arms crossed and eyes narrowed, loom above him. The shades bear the features of those he cares most for… the few in this world he would call friends or, at the least, allies.

“Do it,” murmurs the one that bears Benji’s face, pale eyes cold, unfeeling.

Robi to,” agrees the shadowy Eileen in Polish.

“You are already among the damned. What’s another sin on such a head as yours, ragazzo?” Amato says softly.

The gun turns in Nick’s hand; he’s trained well enough to know the killing angle. The smallest tug of a fingertip, and it’s all over.

There is no pain. Only silence.

When he opens his eyes, he expects to be in hell. But it’s simply the same room, clean, quiet. There is no gun. He huddles in the corner, staring at his hands, bloody and empty. Blood drips onto them from a nosebleed and nothing more.

The door opens — someone heard his cry.

His eyes close and unconsciousness claims him in its welcoming darkness.

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