Down Such Familiar Paths


delia2_icon.gif s_hokuto_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

young-delia_icon.gif young-maryryans_icon.gif

Scene Title Down Such Familiar Paths
Synopsis Venturing in to the subconscious mind of her student, Hokuto Ichihara makes a horrifying discovery and sets to do right what should have been done long ago to her.
Date October 1, 2010


The sound of a music box rings through the darkness, slightly out of tune and accompanied in its second verse of a little girl's singing, "La la la.. La la la…" It's like looking through a sooted windowpane, the gray image of a child's bedroom appears. For a split second it seems as though everything goes black and slowly, pink bleeds into the picture, coloring the walls, the bedspread and bit of the furniture until everything is as it should be. Or would be.

Movement in the corner precedes the form of a little girl with springy red hair as she rummages around in the mess. There are piles of clothing, pieces of paper, crayons, and toys everywhere. She's wearing a pair of tiny jeans, a white t-shirt with little pink hearts on the front, a pair of adult sized high heels, a white feather boa, and a white straw hat with silk flowers stuck inside the brim. Shuffling over to a little table, she sets out some plastic dishes and sets a pink stuffed rabbit upright in its own chair. "Would you like some tea Mister Peacock? It's candy cane flared, just the way you like it!"

Her little hand stretches out and drops a few bits of sticky candy into the cup before the plastic teapot is lifted and imaginary water is poured out with a bit of sound effect. "Blublublublub? One lump or two?" She's smiling and being as gracious as she possibly can.

This is demeaning.

It's the first thought to cross Ms.Peacock's mind as she stares down at the empty teacup, dark brows furrowed and golden eyes narrowed. Looking much the part of her title, Hokuto Ichihara is dressed in a silken black dress with a mantle of black feathers, several long peacock feathers rising up behind her head like a collar, shimmering irridescent green and blue. Her dark hair is tied up behind her head, held fast in place by a pair of glossy, black sticks with copper charms in the shape of crescent moons dangling from the end.

"Tea is not meant to have sugar in it," is Hokuto's level answer as she looks away from the cup and into the room, one brow slowly lifted in examination of her surroundings. There is a decidedly curious expression on the dreamwalker's face as she takes in her environment, head tilted up just so and brows neatly creased together.

"Is this where you grew up?" Sounds doubtful when Hokuto asks it of the air, as if rhetorical. Sometimes, delving into the minds of others reveals secrets not meant to be uncovered. This cat's curiosity wasn't the death of her, but it certainly hasn't helped matters.

There's a shrill scream when the pink rabbit is replaced by an Asian lady dressed in feathers like a bird. The little girl tumbles backward in her chair and gives off another ear splitting scream and another, raising the alarm in the room.

But no one comes to save her.

No one.

When the redhead stops, she simply looks up at the woman sitting in the place of her best friend. Little lips are pressed together and turned down into a sad face that could make the Grinch's heart break… or Hokuto's. Tentatively, the redhead picks herself up off the floor and arranges the boa around her neck as she tips the chair upright. She takes a seat across from the Peacock lady and lifts her own little cup that is empty, save a few pieces of broken candy cane. "This is my room. This is where I stay."

Like a wax sculpture, Hokuto maintains the expression of lips pursed and one brow raised inquisitively as she watches the redhead. Hokuto Ichihara may not have a heart of stone, but she does have a remarkable poker face. When the comment about the room is stated, however, those pursed lips part and gold eyes close as Hokuto exhales a soft aha of discovery. This is the anchor.

"It's nice," is said as if she were speaking to an adult, "confusing, but nice." Golden eyes flick towards Delia, one brow raised again. "Do you remember me?" It's a suddenly suggested question, one only then realized to be asked. There's something wrong about the little girl's mannerisms, about this whole place. It feels like cardboard and plastic, wax and paper.

It feels fake, in as much as a dream can feel real.

The question is answered by nothing audible, no sound at all. Instead, the little girl simply stares at her with her head canting slightly to the side and keeps staring at her. The little plastic cup makes its way to the little girl's lips and she takes a long sluuuuuuurp of air as she empties the bits of cane into her mouth. There, they're crunched down and swallowed and the redhead grinds her teeth until there's nothing left, not even between her teeth.

Hokuto's 'tea' is eyed with a yearning glance cast between the plastic cup in hand and her golden eyes. "You don't like your tea? I made it all by myself." Like it's a giant accomplishment to break a stick of candy and drop it into a bit of molded plastic. Cornflower blue eyes flit down inside the bird lady's cup and the little girl leans forward. "I would like some more tea, please… If you don't want yours, Mister Peacock."

She doesn't know the Asian woman at all. Not apart from the pink rabbit that she replaced.

Mischevious as she is, and always enjoying something of a game, Hokuto smiles in a feline manner with a squint of her eyes, reaching down for the tea kettle. "Are you alone here, Delia?" As Hokuto lifts the kettle, there seems to be a palpable weight to it, and when he brows raise suggestively, as if to indicate that she needs Delia's cup, her golden eyes meet with the young girl's cornflower blue ones.

"It's awful lonely, to be in a big room like this with just— " she glances down at the seat she's in and back up again, "Mister Peacock to keep you company." When the plastic cup is offered out, Hokuto tips the teacup to spill warm tea out of the spout and into the plastic cup, her lips spreading into a more amused smile.

"Mister Peacock keeps the mean lady away," Little Delia answers softly, when the tea is poured, she brings it up to her lips and tips the whole thing back. There's no tea in it now. Two striped crumbles tumble out and land on her red tongue, proudly displayed before she crunches her second helping down.

Hokuto's cup is full of warm tea.

"Mister Peacock is my best friend… are you my best friend now?" In the child's mind, Hokuto has replaced the beloved stuffed toy. She's not as huggable, but… "You look like you could scare the mean lady away, just like Mister Peacock." Delia explains as she reaches into the pocket of her child sized jeans. She doesn't have any candy cane left, but she does have a few lint covered jelly beans. Half of those are offered to the bird lady that smiles like a cat.

All of this now is too unsettling, and it makes Hokuto bristle as she rises up from the table with her tea left behind. There's a stiffness to her jaw at the familiarity of all of this, familiarity that had been haunting her for some time since the dream began. "The scary woman?" It's tolerant of the young woman, even if her presence is beginning to border on spooky doll more so than young girl with each passing moment. "I'm not particularly scared of most things, except centipedes, but I'm fairly certain she's not one of those…"

Stepping away from the table, Hokuto's golden eyes begin to sweep from one wall to the next, first noting the presence of windows, and then as she brushes an errant lock of black hair from her face, she wonders on the notion of doors.

"How scary?" is the next, perhaps more important question.

Delia's eyes widen and her lips purse together in a frightened little pout. She runs to the bird lady and hugs her leg, "Don'tgodon'tgodon'tgodon'tgodon'tgo… PLEASE Mister Peacock don't go!" The miniature version of Delia falls to the floor and grips at Hokuto's ankles, anchoring her in the room. Unless she feels the need to drag a six year old little girl from her left ankle everywhere she goes.

There is one window on the wall between the bed and the closet. Shielded from the outside world by a thin gauze curtain and a roll-up vinyl shade. There is one door, kind of. Where there should be a door, the blank wall has nothing but a child sized rectangular outline in dark purple crayon.

Tensing at the physical contact, Hokuto looks down to Delia's tiny form, her brows twitching. There's an exhalation of breath, a slow crouch, and then a pale hand offered down into red hair. Eyes fall shut, lips purse and Hokuto exhales a tired breath into a soft sigh. "You poor thing…" Hokuto whispers as her eyes lid partway, then turn to look at the crayon-scrawled outline. It's almost a challenge, mostly a warning, here be dragons in the dreaming sense of the word.

"He's right here," Hokuto offers, withdrawing from behind herself a tattered pink rabbit of remarkably familiar construction to Delia. Worried brows furrow as she considers the rabbit, then offers a slow shake of her head as she sets Mister Peacock down beside tiny Delia's pleading form.

"No one is going to hurt you here…" sounds worried, anxious, and when Hokuto looks back up to that purple-scribbled door. It may not be a tower, and it may not be a bookstore, but that there is a scary woman beyond it sends a chill down the dreamwalker's spine.

Hokuto lied, earlier. She is afraid of something; truly afraid.

"Delia," she whispers with her fingers gently stroking through the young girl's hair, "who is the scary woman?"

She's afraid of history repeating itself.

When the rabbit is offered, the little girl casts an uncertain glance at Hokuto before reaching out for it. The moment she touches it, her blue eyes close and its hugged tight to her chest like she hasn't seen it for years. The soft plushie lets out a sigh of air as its squeezed, at one time, it might have had a squeaker inside of it, but it's been broken for a long time.

"Ssshhhh! She'll here you!" Delia whispers, reaching one hand out to try to cover Hokuto's lips.

Then the whole room shakes. Not once and not just a little tremor, but a violent shake that sends the little girl falling toward her bed like a discarded die. She screams again, that same shrill shriek that was first let out when Hokuto appeared. Only this time it isn't stopping. Whatever her mentor invoked by asking questions, it's much bigger than the two of them.

Size, thankfully, is a relative thing in the scape of minds. So is perspective, presence, being.

A gold eye stares in through the bedroom window, blinking once in slow motion like a shuttering window. Leaning back and away from the window, Hokuto Ichihara both disappears and appears all in one, no longer inside the bedroom but outside, looking in, as if Delia's anchored safe-haven were but one room in a plastic child's dollhouse, made of white and pink, like the one seated in front of her on the dusty floorboards of an old attic.

The attic is more symbolic than representative, vague shapes of lamps and coat racks, armoires and boxes all shadow and silhouette where the light from a tall and octagonal window shines, casting light directly on the dollhouse. Footprints disturb the dust around it's plastic frame, and Hokuto tilts her chin up slowly.

"You can come out," is defiant, if only to boost her own confidence. This shouldn't be rattling her as much as it is. "I'd like to talk… face to face?" The scary woman rattling the dollhouse, somewhere in the shadows of an old attic. It's a little fairy tale, a little cautionary tale.

The little girl crawls out from under the bed, scrambling to a stand and running to the window to peer out at Hokuto. She is indeed inside a dollhouse, her room is an exact replica of the room that spins into Hokuto's view, the construct of the attic shedding like a false curtain.

The bedroom is much the same, except the child drawings loveingly framed by her parents have been replaced by posters. A teenager's bedroom would normally have rock bands or movie star hearthrobs, this one is much different. The dark images covering the walls are propaganda posters, hero worship of Humanis First. Some of them depicting the clear image of Danko, his proud chin tilted up and haughty.

"Who told you that you could come into my room?" The snarling voice is all too familiar. Yet this one doesn't recognize the mentor either. This one's eyes are framed red by tear stains that won't fade away.

There's a wary glance around at the posters hanging on the wall, Hokuto's back tensing when attic swiftly becomes bedroom, fingers curling against her palms, nails pressing soft against her skin. "You've invited me in before, I helped you make this place…" Hokuto's brows furrow, bare feet scuffing along the floor as she makes progress towards the sound of Delia's voice, one dark brow raised.

"You're confused," the dreamwalker notes with a swallow, "I know how that is. Wanting to lock yourself away… shut everyone else out." Gold eyes divert down to the floor, then track back up to the posters on the walls, then back to Delia. "It's hard, being who we are. We both lost family in the explosion… your mother, my father."

Wrinkling her nose, Hokuto's brows tense slightly. She doesn't recognize Danko. "I've been where you are," she admits in a hushed tone of voice, "it doesn't end well."

Hokuto's words release a torrent of teenage rage from the girl and she races at the door in the wall of the room, pounding on it. "I don't want to lock myself away!! I want EVERYONE OUT!!" But the door, like the little girl's, isn't real. Instead of a crayon outline, this one is made of wallpaper, glued onto the wall to mimic an escape. This isn't a haven for Delia, it's a prison.

The young teen, stalks over to the dollhouse and grips it up between both hands, shaking it violently. "TELL HER TO LET ME OUT!! YOU TELL HER TO LET ME OUT OR I WILL CRUSH YOU LIKE A BUG!!"

The child inside the house is screaming and crying. The image playing itself in Hokuto's mind is the little girl, frightened out of her wits and hiding under the bed. She's hugging the pink stuffed rabbit and the shrieks of terror pouring out of her are like daggers to the heart of anything with a touch of sympathy.

Hokuto's back straightens, brows furrow and chin lifts up. Perhaps not as imperious or bald as Emile Danko, but equal parts confidence and haughtiness. Dark brows twitch, gold eyes narrow, and Hokuto raises one hand towards the teenaged Delia, her perspective changed, no longer hunched over the dollhouse and shaking it, but instead standing in front of Hokuto, the way dreams transition from one idea to the next seeming fluid but being anything but.

Hokuto's raised hand presses a finger to Delia's lips, brows furrowed and gold eyes sympathetic. "Shh," isn't so much a request but a demand, one that robs the violent Id of the young woman from speech. This must have been how Angela felt, this must have been the pain that she went through when she saw what Hokuto had become as a child, what dwelled inside of her. Were all dreamwalkers so divided?

Where Angela kept the beast's reality secret, where she covered up the truth and locked away an evil inside of Hokuto's mind, Hokuto Ichihara refuses to allow the same mistake to come to pass. It feels like a split second, but in reality an hour passes in the time it takes to create a bridge from this place in Delia's mind to that of Benjamin Ryans'. Not a two-way passage, no, just enough of an opening to bring something in.

It begins with a rush of emotions, a tidal surge of memories and experiences viewed in the brief that crash on the young Delia's mind like a typhoon reaching distant shores. Flashes of poignent memories from Benjamin Ryans' career in the Company, the pride of his daughters' birth, the sorrow at the loss of his wife, guilt, pain, happiness, wrath. The fall of the Company seen only in clips and phrases, enough to convey a basic understanding in transient manner. She knows but she doesn't know.

Enough to create what Hokuto Ichihara had perverted for herself.


Her Persona.

The voice echoes softly in the bedroom, along with the creak of a door that is not there. Mary Ryans steps into the bedroom with all the veracity and reality as Delia and Ryans' combined memories know of her. Maybe it's real, maybe she's not, but the facsimilie is close enough.

"Lia, why're you shouting?" There is a mother's expression of worry, of disappointment. Not disappointment in Delia, but in herself. Where had she gone wrong?

Hokuto isn't in the room any more. The dollhouse is, but it has grown quiet. Right now, the Id needs to learn temperance.

The dollhouse slips from the teenager's fingers and crashes to the floor, fracturing into large segments and springing the child and the stuffed rabbit trapped inside. The moment her feet alight on the floor, the room begins to shift and change, unable to make up its mind whether to take the form of the one inside the dollhouse or the teenager's own room.

"Mommy!!" Squeals the little girl who rushes at the woman and hugs her legs tightly, like she hasn't seen her in years. In reality, it's been as long as the child's lifetime, maybe more. Tight red curls press into the woman's legs as they're pinned together by two strong little arms. "Mommy!! Mommy!! You came!!"

The teenager just stands there, stunned, her hands still in the same position that they were when the dollhouse first slipped from their grip. She's staring wide eyed at the middle aged woman, almost unable to believe that she's there. "Mom!! You came back!!"

And she too races toward the woman, her arms encircling her at the shoulders in a tight hug. The little girl effectively pinned between them. "I knew you weren't dead, they kept telling me that you were… You didn't come home. I'm sorry, it's all my fault!"

With Hokuto gone, Mary reaches out to wrap her arms around Delia, eyes closed and chin pressed down gently into her hair. There's a kiss placed to the top of her head, a stroke of hands along her back, then a slow shake of her head. "Sweetheart… nothing's your fault. You didn't do anything to me an' you know that right well young lady." There's that gentle, loving strenness that had always been in Mary's words and heart. "Girl, you have got yourself all up in a funk, haven't you?" Mary leans back, lifting a hand to Delia's cheek, pressing her palm there and stroking one thumb beneath the redhead's eye.

"Sweetheart… do you want to explain all this?" One of Mary's brows lift slowly as she looks to one wall of the room, static in the depiction and idolization of Emile Danko, his chin tilted up and brows furrowed, eyes deep-set and scowl strong. "What that man is doing up on your wall? Don't you know the horrible things he's done?"

Mary leans forward, brushing her palm over Delia's cheek. "Is this you were ging remember me? By spreading all of that hate? Making the world a worse place? That's how you were going to be a Ryans?"

The room shifts and distorts, as the little girl peeks from between the teen and her mother. "I'm telling! I'm telling! Momma! She made me stay in my room! She locked me inside it for a long long long long time! She stole all my pictures and put them in the garbage!! Even the unicorns!!" The little girl doesn't have a qualm about making certain their mother knows everything that's been going on.

"Shut up brat!" The teen says as she grabs the little girl's face and shoves her backward, out of the way. The walls in the room and the furniture keep twisting and bending, trying to find some sort of happy medium between the two girls. "Mom, tell her to be quiet!"

"Momma! Tell her to be quiet! Tell her to give me my room back!" Even though the little girl had fallen down on her rear when she was pushed away, she's up again and racing back toward the other two redheads. "Momma, are you going to stay with us?"

"Delia Marie Ryans," full names always mean more trouble, "you will not use that tone of voice around me and you will not snap like that are we understood?" One of Mary's brows lifts, a hand still on the teenage daughter's cheek, her brows furrowed and head angled to the side. "I am going to stay here, because here's where I belong. I'm going to stay here," she dips her head down into a nod, "and protect you," she's just talking to one of the Delias, as if trying to focus three seperate points of view to one.

"We may not be much've a family, right here in this situation, but that doesn't mean we can't be. I'm a part of you, sweetie, just like she is," there's a look down to the younger Delia, then back up again. "You know deep down in your heart what's real and what isn't. This is a dream, sweetie… this is all in your head, all because you're hurting."

Her smile is patient, understanding, tempered with the gentleness of age. "But this isn't the anwer. You know that, because you know me and your father are both proud of you… proud of what you are, who you are. Because deep down inside, when you get past all that anger, all that frustration. You're a good person. You help people, it's your whole life."

Mary's brows crease together, and she lifts both hands up, one to wach of Delia's cheeks. "I'm here to keep you safe, sweetheart. But you have to be willing to listen to me, to yourself, and we can all— " she looks down and offers a hand to the younger Delia now, "get on out of here. A family can't work as individual parts, can't shut itself out. You three need to learn how to get along, accept each other. I'm gonna' be here to help… every step of the way."

With that said, Mary's attention turns from the girls, looking to the fake wallpaper door, the door marked in crayon, neither of those things now. It opens, a real, true door, from the depths of subconsciousness to the forefront of the waking mind. A light sheds through the opening, bright enough to silhouette Mary and her girls; the Persona, the Id an the Superego.

They're going to join the remaining consciousness and maybe, if things work out, put the broken pieces back together again.

When the light fades and the door shuts, Mary and the girls are gone, leaving one shadow cast against the bedroom walls of this empty place. Cradling a pink, stuffed rabbit to her chest, Hokuto Ichihara looks down at the fuzzy token, releasing it and letting it lay down on the bed she stands near, one fabric ear flopping over its eye.

She's gone, after that, to wherever ghosts go when they're done with their task.

Somewhere, Angela Petrelli is smiling.

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