It Shouldn't Be This Hard


delia2_icon.gif nick2_icon.gif

Scene Title It Shouldn't Be This Hard
Synopsis To just be.
Date April 30, 2011

In Dreams

Dusky colored columns rise up toward the pale moonlight, casting long shadows like dominoes over the landscape. If it weren't so real it would be impossible. Tiny evergreens leaning over the edge high above mirror the tiny everygreens blanketing the ground below. About midway, the miniscule form of a climber can be made out, scaling the vertical slope like an insect. He's never been much of a mountaineer, having grown up in one of the inner districts of London but slowly he picks his ways up toward the copse of trees atop the tall ridge.

The wind is chilly and he's not quite dressed for it. Gray boxer briefs cling to his skin, soaked with a nervous sweat. He has no rope, no climbing gear, just his fingers and toes to keep from falling to his death. His clothes are somewhere, he just can't remember where he put them… Still.

Nick stares up the sheer face of the cliff, then down — that's a mistake. His stomach turns and he closes his eyes, before looking back up, forcing himself only to look up. He can't figure out why he's here, and every inch he makes his way up feels like a mile, his arms heavy and aching with the weight of his body, his hands and feet screaming with pain with every hand hold, with every foot hold.

Doggedly, he continues on, even though it seems pointless. The alternative is to let go — but that would be too easy.

Ochre colored pebbles rain down from some point above him. Likely some sort of animal pacing the shelf overhead, waiting for a traveler such as himself. Tasty. A tickle against his back sends a shiver through his spine, more violent than the ones coaxed by the wind, forcing him to grip just a little harder. When he removes his hand to find a higher grip, a trace of blood from broken skin is left behind, staining the surface of the rock. A bit of dust hits his right eye, causing more pain in yet another area of his body. If he makes it out alive, it'll be a miracle.

"How do you like it?" The whispered words grace the wind near his ear, a familiar enough voice to place easily. The wisp of red hair a bigger clue to where he might be. "I saw this place in a picture book once, I've always wanted to come. Thank you for taking me."

The voice startles him, and his hand slips from its hold, sending the man scrambling to find another grip as the shift in balance makes one bare foot lose its hold as well. "Jesus," he mutters, closing his eyes once he's stable, heart pounding loud enough it seems to echo against the rock. The red hair and voice — once he registers who they belong to — have a calming influence; after all, they mean that he is safe, something in his subconscious mind tells him.

"You won't be offended if I tell you I don't like it, will you?" Nick mutters to the air.

A pair of bare feet come up beside him, the body they're attached to standing at yet another unimaginable angle. They turn to face the ground below him and then she crouches and sits. It suddenly feels as though he's doing a push up, like his gravity has shifted and what was up and down is now just across. "You make everything so much harder than it has to be," Delia murmurs, staring off toward the green wall in front of her. It stretches impossibly high, the ceiling lost in a faraway mist or a cloud, depending on your perspective.

Her blue eyes sweep over his form and she can't hide the little smile that touches her lips, or the blush that creeps into her cheeks. "How are you? Besides not liking the scenery?" She's dressed as per usual, though it's been stained with a splotch of brown at the front where her heart would be.

"Show off," he mutters, gingerly and cautiously shifting his weight so that he sits — making sure he doesn't go careening off the side of the mountain. "Not sure what lesson I'm s'posed to learn from this li'l bit of metaphor of yours, but it's pretty enough," he says sarcastically, lips quirking into a smile.

Facing her now, he studies her form, eyes dropping to the splotch on her gown. His smile fades, and he looks up at her, tipping his head. "Another metaphor?" is asked wryly.

"I don't know what you're talking about," the claim of innocence is made with a high tilt of Delia's chin and her nose in the air. She remains in that state of denial just long enough to make her point before she tips her head down and meets his gaze with a shy one of her own. A one shouldered shrug is the answer to his next question. "No, it's something that happened a while back, sometimes I can't get my mind off of it. It's nothing you need to worry about, I promise.

"I don't want to talk about me though, how are you?" She's almost as good at evading as he is, just without the Houdini expertise.

"Stalemate," he murmurs, eyes dropping back down to her chest and frowning again, worry darkening the pale blue of his eyes in a way only possible in dreams and in purple prose. "I don't want to talk about me." He offers that crooked smile again, apologetic and sweet and self-conscious at once.

"So," Nick says, reaching with bloodied hand to touch one tendril of her red hair lightly, "what do we talk about? The weather? Favorite colors? Sports? What's your favorite animal? How old you were when…" That one trails off and he smirks again, shaking his head. "I kinda suck at small talk, you know?"

"Balmy. Blue. I like soccer— football— I guess, but I'm not good at it.. I like volleyball better because I'm good at it. Almost all animals, dogs and cats— not rats though." Delia's eyebrows raise and she leans forward a little, narrowing her eyes and wrinkling her nose slightly. "How old was I when… I learned to tie my shoes? Four. Lu was trying to learn and I wanted to do it first." It's a small glimpse into her competitive nature when it comes to her older sister.

Reaching up, she takes his hand and laces her fingers through his. His injuries disappear with a thought; fitting, considering it was a thought that put them there. "How are you?" She repeats again, apparently not taking no for an answer, at least for that one. "How's your leg? Are you staying out of trouble? What've you been doing? My television broke."

His eyes drop to study their interlaced fingers and he smiles. "Lee probably learned before me. I don't even remember," he says, regarding shoe tying. It seems so many lifetimes ago.

At the question of how he is, what he's been doing, he shakes his head again, choosing to chase the other conversational mice instead. "My leg's healing. Thanks for the antibiotics. How did your television break?"

"I was watching a movie, falling asleep I guess. There was a bang and this man was smoking and bleeding and my television was sparking, he bumped into it and it fell off my dresser." The story is related like she's telling him how she planted a rose bush but in point form and with less detail. Delia catches her lower lip between her teeth and she looks down. "He's really sick, I can't keep his temperature down. I was going to ask the bogey— Mister Gataullin— to come and see him. He lives in Eltingville too… Do you speak Russian?"

A long sigh is breathed before she leans forward a presses her warm cheek against Nick's colder shoulder. "Maybe when he gets better, he can leave Eltingville the same way he came? I don't know… I just.. If he gets caught, I think he'll be arrested."

The story gets a raised brow until the 'bogey-' makes his eyes widen. "You can't — you're still — What the fuck, Delia, what kind of complex do you have that you're still in contact…" he stands, and the world threatens to turn right-side back up as he almost loses his balance, but the cliff remains "down" after a dizzying moment.

"He took you from me, from my head, where you were safe. Your body was right there, you would have been fine. He lied to you! And you're asking him for help, for some stranger?" He rakes a hand through his shaggy black hair and turns his back to her.

"Ask Logan. I'm sure he'll help you," he offers coolly.

Delia's chin tucks down tight against her collar bone, a self conscious posture. Fresh sticky red seeps into the brown stain, maybe the answer to the metaphor he was asking about earlier. "He was trying to help me," she whispers, "He didn't want to hurt me. He's just— he comes from somewhere different than I do or you do. He asked for my help to protect people in Eltingville." From a threat that doesn't exist anymore but she'd agreed anyway.

The barb about Logan is left unchallenged.

"I'm sorry, Nick, I— I wasn't thinking, I guess. I just thought— " She draws her knees up and hugs them against her chest to hide the growing spot. "I'm sorry."

Back to her, he rakes a hand through his hair, breathing deeply before turning, seeing the fresh blood staining her chest. His eyes narrow and then close, and he shakes his head. "I don't understand," he admits, looking tired from trying to comprehend. "You see the good in people and last I knew he was … I thought he was the enemy. I'm sorry if I was wrong."

With a chin jutted toward her chest, "It's me doing that, then?" he asks tersely. "Everything I say hurts you, doesn't it? This is why — this is why I tried to stay away, Red. If this is me trying, this is me making a bloody effort, and I still hurt you…."

He takes another step back, his hands at his sides curling into fists. "You kick a dog enough times, Delia, no matter how good it would have been, no matter how loyal and affectionate, it loses that part of its nature. Maybe I'm not capable of anything else."

"You weren't wrong, I was afraid of him. Sometimes I'm still afraid of him— But he's not trying to hurt me, not right now. It's the same for a lot of other people too." Her housemates could be included in that parcel. Maybe even Nick at one time. One pale hand is placed over the red stain, the other pressed against the ground to push herself up to join him in standing. "It's not you, it happened before somewhere else."

When she turns her head to face the top of the precipice, the surroundings spin with her until they're both facing the leaning trees. "It's a long way up," her low comment seems out of the blue but she takes a few steps toward it before looking back to see if he's following. "I think that you don't give yourself enough credit. You're not hurting me, it's not you that causes it. It's me." A bleeding heart.

As she looks "up," Nick looks down, surveying the way he presumably came. Difficult and blood-stained, but he knows what's there. He sighs and reaches with one hand to take hers.

"It's always a long way up," he says a little wryly, but he smiles and squeezes her hand in his before starting to pick his way over the rough stony terrain. "You wanna see the top, we'll go." Not that she couldn't magic her way up there, as she's magicked the cliff face to be the ground — but somehow he knows that would be ruining the allegory.

"Kocham was, Mulem," she murmurs, a small smile gracing her lips. She laces her fingers through his again and squeezes back, following a pace behind him. Delia lags a little bit, pausing every few steps to look at a tiny flower growing along the side of the mountain or a pretty design in the sheet of rock they're walking across.

There's one instance where she actually stops dead in her tracks and cants her head to the side to study a few of the swirling patterns in the stone. "Do you think we'll ever make it there?" The idle question could be presumed to mean the top.

He squints upward, sun on his face shadowing his eyes before he looks at her and smiles a little sadly. "I never have before," Nick murmurs — as if he's climbed this mountain many times in his life, despite it coming from her head, not his.

"Do you need to rest?" he asks, turning toward her, bending for a moment to pick one of the tiny flowers, then bringing it to tuck in the thick waves of her hair. His fingers brush past the shell-like curve of her ear and then the arc of her jaw.

"I am resting," Delia gives the literal answer to the question rather than answering in the scope of the dream. Her face flushes hot as his fingers trace along her jawline and she averts her eyes to stare at a crag in the rock at their feet. "You're right though, we're not going to make it all the way there in one night." Still, the redhead takes another step instead of forward it's one closer to him.

"If you need to rest, I can carry you." That she's strong enough is the implication, stubborn enough is given away by her crooked smile. Her eyes drift down to the chain at his neck and she reaches forward to brush it lightly with the tips of her fingers. "Or we can just stay here, everything will be just fine, I promise."

There's a shake of his head, and he lowers his for a moment to rest on top of hers. A moment later, he looks around, eyes picking over the creviced rock until he finds a spot that's smoother. He tugs her by the hands as he makes his way to it, then lets his legs fold until he sits, pulling her down with him.

"Maybe," he suggests, arms wrapping around her as he nestles her so that her back is to his chest, "we can just be for a bit. Maybe we're trying too hard." His chin rests on her shoulder, his lashes fanning her cheek. "It shouldn't be so hard to be." He sounds tired.

Delia angles her head to rest against Nick's and she nods a little. "You're exhausted," she coos, her hand coming up to cup his cheek. It slides up into his shaggy hair and curls around before she actually settles in. "Go back to sleep and dream sweet dreams for me. If— When you wake up, I hope you remember all of this."

She turns her head just enough so that the tip of her nose touches his before she gives him another little smile. "Go home Nick," her voice sounds a little more distant though her body hasn't moved in the slightest. The sky around them darkens with the shadows of the mountains as they stretch across it in a striped pattern. It spreads until they're both blanketed in they inky black of night with no moon or stars to interrupt. "I'll come if you call…"

The form in his arms dissipates until he's all alone.

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