Donut Party


delia3_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title Donut Party
Synopsis Because sometimes even gingers need a little sprinkle.
Date November 7, 2011

Eltingville Blocks

He doesn't tell her he's coming. Maybe so he can gauge how bad things really are here — her answers are always fairly breezy, downplaying what he knows is the reality of the place. And he knows too that it's worse now than it was even a month ago — more crowded. More hopeless. More of a prison every day.

A month ago, she was there by choice, despite his ongoing pleas for her to leave. Now she's there by executive order — and doesn't even have her mind's escape route.

Nick leans against a fence not far from the address he's been given — he isn't going to knock on the door. Instead he texts her. Meet me on Robinson. It's a couple of block away — if she doesn't come within thirty minutes, he'll consider his options.

He sets the box of doughnuts, minus a few for the gate crew, down by his feet, and shoves his hands into his peacoat's pockets. He really wishes he still smoked, he thinks idly, as his breath plumes in the cold fall air.

Twenty three minutes. That's how long it takes Delia to get the message, slip out of the pajamas she's been wearing for days, get ready, and walk the two blocks to him. Her still wet hair is plaited into a messy braid at the nape of her neck while her head is covered in a slouchy knit hat. THe rest of her ensemble is just as stylish, an old jacket that could have once belonged to a man, an oversized sweater nabbed from somewhere, and a pair of her own jeans. If Eltingville looks hopeless, she fits right in as one of its residents.

"You shouldn't risk coming here," is her greeting. For all the chipper replies via text, she doesn't seem at all like someone who could have sent it. Dark circles have made their homes under her eyes and she looks a sickly pale. Exactly like a person suffering from insomnia. "But I'm glad to see you," and for the donuts. She reaches for the box, just assuming that she's allowed of course. "I hope you got one with sprinkles, I could use some sprinkles."

He straightens from his slouch when she arrives, his blue eyes sliding over her, looking for the telltale signs she's unwell or hurt. He reaches for her, hands moving to her waist as he tugs her to him, one hand moving up to touch the back of her head and then recoiling a little at the cold wetness he finds there. "You're gonna catch your death of cold," he nags a little, bringing his other hand to her cheek, sliding over her pale skin.

"Can't sleep?" he says softly, worriedly, ignoring both her protest and the doughnuts for the moment — but there are a few with sprinkles — fall colors of orange and yellow and brown.

"Wet hair doesn't cause colds, you're like a superstitious old lady," she replies with a bit of a smile, her chipper nature coming to the surface. And there Delia is, even through the pale and tired look. "It was either wet hair or a week's stink, Nick. I decided wet hair is how I'd rather you see me." The smile widens a little and she takes a first bite of one of the sprinkly donuts, crunching the fall colors between her teeth.

After a swallow she replaces the donut back with its unmolested friends and wipes her hand off on her jeans. "I can't dream anymore," she answers the question honestly, obviously after a bit of thought. Worrying Nick needlessly doesn't help anything. "So sleeping doesn't do anything. not even rest."

"I know-" he begins to say. Nick's been aware she's been taking the negation pills because he hasn't seen her in his dreams. It's the safest way to meet — and almost like being together, thanks to her ability. And he's always been a vivid dreamer, even without her help.

But what she means kicks in, and he frowns, dark brows drawing together, his forehead furrowing with worry. "Delia," he says, his voice low, afraid, almost apologetic. "You can't do that. You need REM sleep," he says, bringing his hand up to brush her cheek, his thumb wiping a bit of powdered sugar from the corner of her mouth, stowaway sugar from a nearby doughnut to her sprinkles. "Anyway to fake taking the pills? They shouldn't be able to tell if you cheat a bit. At least once in a while — so you can get some rest, yeah?"


The violent shake of Delia's head and the flare of anger that erupts in his wake may just be a symptom of her sleeplessness, but it's still there. "I can't Nick," she intones through her teeth, almost a whisper in case her paranoia is real. In case someone is listening. "They're killing people here. If I'm not good—" she stops and just shakes her head again ending the discussion there and then.

Then she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath inward, trying to clear that moodiness away with a lung full of crisp autumn air. She leans forward, her forehead resting on his shoulder and she just slumps forward. If they're watching, if they're listening, she doesn't care and right now it doesn't matter. "How is everyone?" the change of subject comes somewhat abruptly. "How is Benji? Is she alright?"

"You should have left earlier," Nick murmurs quietly. Not angrily, but with that edge of frustration, helpless to help her in any way that's real. It's not quite the same as an 'I told you so,' but probably as unwelcome.

"She's good, I think. I don't see her too often. She's safe and nearby," as opposed to other members of Delia's family, but he can't talk about that here. 'At least I think. Hard to keep track of everything right now. She was upstate last I saw." He doesn't use the words Pollepel or Bannerman, just in case.

His arms come more firmly around her, holding her and resting his head on top of hers. "This is bullshit. Next it'll be something else," he mutters into her hair. "Maybe if you go to the medical people and explain… maybe they can do something to downgrade or monitor you. You need to sleep."

Again, Delia just shakes her head, this time not angrily but defeated. "No Nick," she murmurs into the shoulder of his coat, "I can't make a fuss just yet. Now isn't the right time. Please don't worry, there's going to be a right time, it's just not now." She lifts her head and gives him her bravest, most Ryans expression. It's a serious business expression, something she probably inherited from her father. She can last a little while longer, is what it says.

"Lu said she and dad went away for awhile," she says seriously, "but when they come back, she promised she'd come and get me." The enunciated word is coupled with a bit of an eye roll, because Commando Barbie is something to be feared. "If anyone can do it, Dad can, right?" As long as they don't just forget about her.

"How you two are sisters," Nick says quietly, the beginning of a small joke. He actually hasn't met the other Ryans girl, but the picture Delia paints is a sometimes funny, sometimes formidable one. "I guess. Except it's not so easy for any of them to get around, these days, and this place is getting harder to get into, what with the robot defense perimeter, yeah?"

As for when's the right time to make a fuss, he isn't accepting her argument, despite ignoring it for a moment. "You have your resources in here. You should use them. Get Logan to pull some weight or maybe use his own bloody ability to help you, if that's possible." His voice is cool when speaking of Logan, but the fact he's willing to suggest she ask Logan for help shows his desperation. "Maybe he's brave enough to not take the pills even you can't, yeah? I can't imagine him complying all that easily."

A muscle in his jaw tenses, relaxes. Tenses again. His eyes slide in the direction of the street she's come from, as if worried he's accidentally summoned the man by saying his name. Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice.

Maybe, maybe not.

"I don't know if he is or if he isn't," she replies with a bit of a smile, "he's sort of got his hands full keeping us alive, I think. That's enough for now, dead tired is better than just dead." Regardless, the fact that Nick of all people brought him up, it speaks loudly.

Lifting her hand, she drags her fingernail lightly through the scruff on his face. Enough to grab his attention and focus it on her. "I'll try, okay? Next time they give them out, I'll try." Just once, just enough to get a few hours of sleep. "And I'll find you to let you know, okay?"

Nick's eyes slide back to her when she scratches his stubble. He shakes his head. "Don't if they're watching you. You're a rubbish liar. Your face would get all red and it'd be obvious you were cheekin' them or whatever. But if they're not looking, if you have a chance. You can't function without sleep for long. You'll go mental. So it might be worth it — but not if it's live or die."

He reaches up again, to tug her red braid lightly. "I'm sorry. I should've…" his words trail off, catching and fading before he can voice them. He shakes his head. "I shouldn't've let you stay here. Ever." It wasn't his choice; she made that clear. He still blames himself.

"It's not your responsibility, Nick," Delia reminds him, ever so gently, ignoring the comments about her lying abilities or lack thereof. "Besides, I have Tania here and she needs me. All she has is her brother and girls can't always talk to their brothers about everything." Immediately, her eyes brighten and she gives Nick one of her smiles of affirmation.

"You are an absolute genius, Tania!! That's it!!" she squeals and presses a kiss to his lips. Jumping a little too excitedly, she pulls back a little and grips Nick's hands with her cold ones. "She's a redhead, just like me… what if she went and got the pill?" She's not sure if Sasha would let his little sister take a negation drug, but these are things that really don't hurt to ask.

"M'name's not Tania," Nick jokes, his lips curving against hers when she kisses him. But he tips his head curiously, before she tells him the rest of the plan. He shakes his head slightly. "I imagine your picture's in their system, yeah? You gotta show a card? You might both be redheads, but hair color's not all they're gonna be looking for, Del."

He stands back and studies her, then lifts a brow. "You're sort of unmistakable. I don't imagine you've run into your doppelganger in a teenager." He's met the girl in question but isn't aware of that at the moment.

"There's a lot of people here, Nick," she argues, though the tone of her voice betrays a little of her feeling there. He's probably right. "We'll think of something, maybe she can just tell them I'm sick." A few more days and 'sick' might be believable. That's something she doesn't voice out loud. Still. "I've been good, really good, there's no reason they'd suspect anything… right?"

It's that little bit of doubt that always gives her away. The thing that brings a blush to her cheeks, the nagging fear that the lie isn't believable. Looking around them, she tugs on Nick's hand, urging him to join her to sit on the ledge of a low garden wall. "I'll work out the details, it'll be perfect, something you’d be proud of."

Nick sits when she pulls him that way. "I just want you to be okay. You not sleeping… that's almost as bad as anything else," he says quietly. "Only do it if it's safe, though, yeah? If you're one hundred percent sure it'll work. You just… you can't go without REM. It makes you crazy. Hallucinations. Your immune system's a wreck, and…" there's still flu. He doesn't say it. Can't say it.

He lifts a hand to touch her cheek, and leans to kiss her. "I miss you," he says quietly, bumping his forehead against hers. "Sleep sucks." It's not quite as bad for him — but she knows it's bad, without her to chase off his nightmares.

Resting her forehead against his, she gives a slight nod. "I miss you too," she murmurs and gives a little breath of a laugh when he admits why. "I'll be back, if it works, I'll get better at it and I can visit again every once in a while. It's just that— The people who can't take the drugs, they're taken away somewhere. I don't know, I heard to a hospital.. but.." She shrugs. That could also be why she's stubborn enough to suffer through sleeplessness.

"Brian has a plan to get a few people out of here," she reveals with a bit of a worried frown, "I didn't want to do it because he won't take Tania, Sasha, and Mister Logan… but if you want me to, I will."

His scowl deepens when she says the word hospital. "Okay," he murmurs. "It's okay. You don't have to. Don't worry about it," he says softly. The news of the escape plan makes one brow lift, and then he shakes his head, a hand going up to rake through his hair.

"I don't know. I'm not going to tell you what to do. If you feel safer with Sasha, Tania and Logan," he manages to say it without grimacing, "then you should stay, I guess. I trust you to do what you think is right, yeah? I just…" He pulls away, to look around, before looking back at her. "I wish I knew how to fix it."

"It's not about me feeling safer," Delia frowns, letting out a sigh through her nose. "It's about doing the right thing for the people I live with. If I disappear, what do you think will happen to them?" Then she delivers the look then conveys exactly what might happen if she disappeared.

She stares off to a brown mess of a vacant lot across the street. The concrete remnants of a basement are still visible but the house has long since collapsed and fallen through to fill it. "I couldn't live with myself if something happened to them because of me. Tania was already taken once, they did horrible things Nick, terrible things."

"Okay." It's the most neutral answer he has. "I didn't mean it as an insult or anything, honestly. Logan… at least someone's looking after you. And you, them, I guess," he says quietly, his hand scrubbing at his face as he sighs, too, an echo of hers. He takes her hand, folding it in his. "Do you want me to stay here with you? I can probably manage it, volunteer to stay here. I just can't help with supply runs and that shit if I do, you know?" He squeezes her hand in his. "I can, if you want me to."

Giving him a genuine smile, Delia lifts her eyebrows a little and nods, "You know I do."

She squeezes his hand back and leans in to rest her head on his shoulder again, "but supply runs are more important. Don't worry about me Nick. There's bigger things out there right now, a few drugs … maybe they'll come up with something that'll let me dream but just not dream." Because the government would put that much effort into research for one person.

"I’m serious, stay out of here," she says sternly, "I'll manage and if I can't anymore, then I'll go to Brian."

Nick sits for a few moments, letting her words sit unanswered. His arm goes around her, hugging her close to him, trying to keep her warm. Or himself. "Do you want me to give anyone a message for you?" he asks quietly, not arguing with her demand to stay out of Eltingville. "Can't promise anything. Shit's gonna get real pretty quick so I'm not sure who's where, but I can try. If all goes well, maybe this shit'll get better."

"Just tell everyone that I love them and that I miss them."

It's the only message she wants to pass along.

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