Expression of Pain


delia2_icon.gif nick2_icon.gif

Scene Title Expression of Pain
Synopsis A dreary place is always the best to find a spot of your own to mourn. For once, it's not as desolate as he'd like.
Date March 29, 2011

In Dreams — The Mind of Nick Ruskin

The usual landscape of Nick's mind is obscured by a fog, softening the harsh juxtaposition of blacks and whites into a diffused, fuzzy gray. There is a the smell of something sweet clashing with something pungent in the air — a few more breaths and the scents become clearer: whiskey and marijuana, though in the dream they are just ghosts on the cold breeze that comes from the water.

The snow is gone, but frost crackles underfoot on overgrown grass. The brick building with the smoke is no longer in the distance; instead, the city's jagged and broken skyline rises up, with Nick sitting outside of it. The sky is gray, as is the frosted ground. Everything feels cold but not bitterly and painfully so.

It simply feels numb.

The frost laced grass billows in stiff waves, interrupted only by a jagged trail of bent and broken stems. The fog obscures seeing who or what forged the makeshift path but with the way the weeds are laying whoever or whatever it was, it's leaving the scene, walking or running away from the city and from Nick. The sweet scent does nothing to sooth the wail of the breeze as it echoes over the empty landscape, sounding almost like a person. A person who is crying.

The man pushes up from the log he's perched on, turning toward the sound of crying. He glances behind himself to see if anyone else is pursuing, before he begins to stride, following the path of broken and trampled leaves of grass. Soon, the measured paces quicken, falling into a jog as he follows the crooked trail.

"Who's there? Wait up!" he calls ahead, the fog making it difficult to focus.

It doesn't take Nick long to find the source. Inside a large circle of burnt grass a familiar figure in white that's fallen to her knees. Her white dress is scuffed with streaks of brown dirt, black soot, and dark green grass. Her hair is flying in whatever direction the wind decides to take it, unkempt and wild. Deep shuddering breaths inward are let out in long wails, perhaps it's because of Nick's usual mindset that she chose this place to visit instead of letting her pain out in the place she lives. Or anywhere else.

When he comes to the outer edge of the circle, she lifts her hands to cover her face, marking it along one side with black ash. She doesn't turn to face him, not right away, preferring to tremble alone in the center of the circle. Nick can see the last wisps of dying embers from where it's been singed away, the wind carrying the sparks up and cooling them to floating ash before they blow away.

He slows when he comes to the circle, scowling at the scorched grass for a moment as if considering what damage it might do him to cross it, but then he does, dropping to his knees in front of her.

"Czerwony," he says softly, one hand coming up to touch the side of her face, fingers tracing the trails of soot gently, thumb tracing her lower lip for a moment, where not so many days ago his lips last touched.

"Are you hurt somewhere? Do you need me to come find you?" he whispers, black brows knitting above blue eyes with black pupils.

She takes a long sniffle and wipes her eyes with the heels of her hands, leaving coal colored circles around her eyes. Palid flesh is exposed with the streams of tears that forge through it, two more new rivulets form when she closes her eyes. "No… you can't find me. Don't look." The whispered words are as much a warning as they are a refusal of his offer.

When she opens her eyes again, they're bloodshot, causing the cornflower blue to appear much deeper than they actually are. "I just needed to be sad and I can't do it anywhere, you said I could come here." Her shoulders sag and when she turns her head to the side, his fingers fall away from her face.

The words draw a deeper, darker frown from Nick. "You can come here, yeah," he says, dropping his hand and resting his elbows on his bent knees. He seems at a loss for words, watching her for a moment. One hand reaches to break a twig of frosty white-blue grass, turning it in his fingers before letting it slip through once more.

"Do… you want to talk about it? Or do you want me to leave you alone? I can go…" he looks around, waving a hand into the distance, toward the city. "Is it safe here for you?" The fact it's a dream seems to be a precarious and nebulous concept in his head tonight — a moment ago, he seemed to know she was a dreaming entity, and now, he seems less aware that the world they're in his of his own making.

A white hand marred with grey soot comes up to grip at one side of Nick's shirt, preventing him from following through with leaving. "Don't go, this is your place, I'm just borrowing it for a little while." Because it's the perfect setting for pain goes unsaid. Meeting his eyes, she sniffles once more and blinks rapidly to disperse the last of her tears. Her eyes retain that too watery look, as though they're about to burst again but her cheeks stay dry— ish.

"A little girl died, one of the ones from the Lighthouse, Mala." Delia begins, her voice sounding thick and wavering a little. "I was there until I couldn't stay any more… I brought some people in with me, so they could say goodbye."

When she grips his shirt, he relents, no longer threatening to leave. Instead he grips her hand and stands, then pulls her upward. "Come on. Let's walk," he says quietly, fingers entwining with hers. There's something softer, more mellow and gentle that seems to match the fog and the scent.

"I'm sorry." His voice is low and careful, as if speaking too loud might be too much for her grief. "I … I'm not good at being there for people. I don't know what you say. Is there anything I can do?"

"Not for me, I have everything I need right now. For Brian, Gillian, and Mister Doyle, maybe the other kids…" Delia sniffles again, looking down at their hands as they lace together and offering a weak smile before she turns her head to look down at the ground. Not so long ago wherever she walked in Nick's mind her footprints would sprout fresh shoots of grass. Now with each step taken, the grass is burned away, leaving only cinders and soot.

Tilting her head, the woman rubs her cheek against his shoulder, drying whatever tears are left and marking the leather with the smudge from her face. "You're different," she remarks, the observation finally dawning on her. The scent doesn't quite make itself known to her right away, confusing her more than anything else. "Are you alright?"

Nick listens, leading her away from the city and up a ridge that looks much like the one across from Bannerman, though no castle appears in the distance; the fog makes it hard to know what lies ahead. "I'm not sure," he says with a crooked smile just shy of goofy. "I feel all right."

A few more steps take them to the top of the ridge, though there's no spectacular view, only more gray. He moves to a stone to sit, tugging her down before pulling his jacket off, draping it around her shoulders. "You're at Bannerman? Safe? You got a vaccine, right?" More lucidity finds its way into his words and eyes.

Dropping down to sit beside him, Delia faces him with a curious expression and slight tilt of her head. "I'm safe, yeah, and vaccinated," her murmur doesn't reveal where she is though and what the awake Nick knows about her ability, there's no way she could make it this far without getting lost. The fingers of her free hand curl around one lapel of the jacket, holding it close to her body to warm it.

"Where are you? A-are you safe?" She's always afraid to ask that question, though being here means that he's at least alive. He seems in good spirits as well, something that puts a lump in the pit of her stomach. "Nick, I— " She stops herself and squeezes his hand gently, lowering her eyes to his throat and then down toward his knees.

His arm slides around her waist, and he bends his head to rest against hers, tipping his head to smell the scent of the red waves. "I'm all right," he repeats, a little slow to react to the question. "Czerwony…" He dips his head to try to catch her eyes, brows dipping as well, then suddenly leans forward, lips parting as he draws her close. This time he tastes of whiskey and smoke.

This time he doesn't pull away.

Delia's breath catches and her eyes fly open in surprise at the lack of inhibition that Nick is displaying. But it's only a dream. Her eyes slide closed and her hand comes up to touch the line of his jaw. Where he tastes like whiskey and smoke, she tastes as though she was comprised of ash. It's how she feels. This time it's the small noise at the back of her throat that's catalyst to the break of their lips and the redhead is the one pulling back.

The pain on her face as she turns away is hidding by her hand slipping away from his cheek. "This— I don't know if you really want this," she chokes out, drawing one of her knees up to her chest to put a barrier between them. Her blue eyes settle on his throat again and her fingers move to his neckline to feel for the medallion.

The medallion seems to be there, a raised spot beneath the fabric of the gray t-shirt he wears. His hand falls on top of hers, curling around her fingers and holding them against his chest. "Of course I do," he whispers, lips brushing her ear before the barrier makes him pull away.

The fog seems to be dissipating, blackness eating away the gray, and he lets go of her hand. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done," Nick says in terse apology. The signs of his near waking are there — the barriers of his mindscape starting to grow fainter, even as that fog seems to lift.

"Nick," Delia whispers, dropping the knee again and moving in close to rest her head on his shoulder. "I— " She keeps a firm hold on him, not allowing the dream or him to escape. Her ability battles his fading dreamscape, making it brighter and more vivid in an attempt to fool him into staying asleep. Her arms wind around his waist and she pulls herself closer, the fears she had before, about this being only a dream melted in only the time it took for him to gain a bit of lucidity.

"I saw your necklace around her neck.. I saw the inscription." The redhead's lips press into a tight line and Delia's head pulls back to look up at him. To say it's not accusing is a gross understatement, it is, very much so. Mingled with the pain she'd been feeling earlier, it makes for a rather potent combination. "Did you give Jasmine your necklace?"

He brings a hand up to his chest to touch that small knot beneath the shirt's thin fabric, and he shakes his head. "Who?" he asks, brows knitting in clear confusion. "I donno a Jasmine. And I never take off the necklace, Czerwony."

His eyes are less dilated as he studies her face. "Be careful… I don't like it, if someone's pulling stuff like that out of your head. They might be tryin' to use it against you. How do you know 'er?"

The struggle to think, to apply logic to this dreamscape that should make no sense, begins to pull him farther out of slumber, his consciousness rising in him, pushing back the borders of the imaginary space they share.

One hand slides around and up to his shoulder before Delia tangles her fingers through the shag of black hair. "You know her. She's like me, looks something like me but with a mask. She's probably gorgeous," Delia can't hide the bitter tone to her voice as she thinks about the woman that wears the gift around her neck. "I thought you gave it to her, it was the day after— " She pauses and stares into his eyes with a little bit of a squint. "— the day after we kissed."

Her stare doesn't last so long, the blush of shame coloring her cheeks as she stares down between them and presses her lips together in a small frown. "Please don't be sorry, it's me that should. I keep coming around when you don't really want me." Her hand lifts to stop him from speaking and her eyes lift as her eyebrows furrow low to shadow them. "Don't say you do, I don't want pity."

"No one looks like you," Nick says softly, reaching up to touch her cheek, to rub a smudge of soot away with his thumb. "I don't know a Jasmine. Be careful. I don't like this — if someone's trying to make you angry at me…" His voice trails off as he considers who could do it and why, and he shakes his head again.

"I'll come see you. We can talk about it more then, yeah?" He nods toward the east, a gray light rising.

"You can't," Delia says in a small voice, guilt washing over her features, "you can't come see me." Her eyebrows knit together and she looks down and away from him, one of her hands reaching for his to clasp tightly. "I missed being here, thank you."

It's like goodbye in its own way. The hand in his hair slides down to cup his cheek and she leans in, her eyes closing. Her lips barely brush his in a ghost of a kiss before she's gone, leaving nothing but a smudge of ash against the rock.

"Czer-" he begins, but she is gone, and he is alone, the wind cutting in cold and the sky, despite that gray light, growing darker in her absence, and as his consciousness bleeds back into him, as that foggy high fades.

His eyes open, and he squints at the glaring red lights of an alarm clock that doesn't belong to him. The gray light has filtered into this room, across white sheets. He reaches with one hand to scrub the sleep out of his eyes, wincing a bit when he realizes belatedly its a hand with a cast on it when the fiberglass meats brow.

"What's … chair-vone-ay mean?" says the New Jersey accented blonde in the bed next to him, legs tangling with his as she reaches across him for the pack of cigarettes on the end table. "You said it in your sleep.

Bleary and bloodshot blue eyes blink back at the woman before Nick sits up, reaching for the clothing abandoned at the foot of the bed. One hand moves to touch the silver at his neck, fingers curling around the roughly hewn token there before pulling a shirt over his head. "Nothin'. Thanks for the place to crash."

As if he'd simply slept on the couch.

"I gotta go," he adds, ducking his head to brush against her cheek politely.

When he leaves her apartment, it's still early enough that the scent of jasmine from a nearby garden is in the air, reminding Nick of the dream — of Delia's doubt and hurt, and that flash of guilt before she pulled away. His phone comes out to text her.

6:25 am Are you ok?

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