nick_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Poetic
Synopsis Nick's feverish dreams allow one of his private demons some poetic justice — if only in his own mind.
Date May 23, 2011

In Dreams

The body is a cruel trickster; when the very thing a man needs most is rest, it is what he wants least — at least when high fevers bring delirious nightmares, and when the sleeper is what one might call a tortured soul. Nick has resisted sleep all day, but eventually exhaustion takes its toll, and the sandman claims his prize; the man drifts into unconsciousness, tossing and turning on sweat-drenched sheets.

The small plain room fades from view, and the world he steps into is painted with a palette similar to that of his waking moments: black, white and blood red. He finds himself walking along a black-tiled hallway, the walls stark white and narrow — the corridor seems to go forever, with red-painted doors all locked to him. He tries each to no avail, and with each locked door, his panic wells up higher within him. Something is following him. Something is chasing him, and he knows if he doesn't find shelter, it will find him and kill him.

The scent of sulfur seems to follow him as well, wafting in on a chilly wind. Nick finally comes to a door that is not red but white, and his hand falls on the door knob, turning it slowly.

"Hurry!" calls a woman's voice from inside the room. Fingers close on Nick's wrist as he pushes the door inward, dragging him in. The world seems to whirl and tip dizzyingly as he's pulled somewhat off-balance, but that's what a fever does to a man. "You won't be found in here."

The voice is familiar, and when Nick focuses again, the face is familiar as well. He knew her as Gale. White hair worn long and cut unevenly as he remembers. A white nurse's uniform hugs her frame, skirt shorter than it should be if we're thinking reasonably. (We aren't.) Sparkling ruby slippers match the trim on the dress, and the red crosses that adorn the hat pinned to her head and the patch over her eye. A stethoscope hangs from her neck and the woman plucks at it once before looking back up at him. Similarly ruby-painted lips curve upward in a wicked smile.

"Hello, Nick."

"Cheers," Nick says, in true British gratitude, before his red-shot eyes focus and he takes a step backward, only to find the door closed somehow behind him. One hand reaches down to the door knob to turn it behind his back — but it doesn't so much as budge. He rattles it, then jerks harder in hopes the door will open, but no such luck.

"Wrong door. My apologies," he says with a crooked smile. "I'll just be on my way…" He glances around the room to seek another exit, but it's as claustrophobic and stark in colors as the hallway outside, with no windows and no doors.


Odessa's hands slam against the door on either side of Nick's head. "Where are you going? You can't go back out there." Leaning in, she drops a kiss on his neck. "We have so much to catch up on," she purrs in his ear, rather than withdraw.

Her body presses to his, intimate at first, but then with too much pressure to be comfortable. More strength than Nick remembers the Nightingale to possess. "Didn't you miss me?" He can feel her grin against the side of his face. "I've missed you."

Nick flinches when those hands come down, and he shudders out a sigh when he feels her lips on his neck. His eyes close and he takes a shaky breath, released again in a low chuckle.

"Sure," he murmurs easily, dipping his head to breathe in the scent of her hair, nosing the soft white locks in the way he often did the times they were together. "You forgive me for the little prank I pulled on you that last time? Bygones and all that, yeah?" He casts an appreciative glance at the nursing get-up. The devil he knows is definitely more attractive than the one he doesn't out in the hallway. If it weren't for that scent of sulfur that taints the familiar scent of her shampoo, or that heavy way she presses into him…

Odessa chuckles darkly and slides one hand down the door to rest on Nick's shoulder, then slide over his heart. "I've thought so much about what I could do to get back at you for that…"

Nails dig into fabric and flesh, just a little sting at first.

"Little prank." She's not amused. "Do you think Eileen even appreciates what you've done for her? Do you think she would even care?" Odessa draws back then, tangling the fingers of her other hand in the man's hair. "I would have been so good to you. But you had to throw it all away for that ungrateful little bitch."

Her expression softens from anger to hurt, confusion. "Why would you do that to us, Nicky? I thought we had something. I thought you liked me. I liked you."

Nick's eyes narrow when Odessa mentions Eileen, and his posture grows more taut and tense, head tipping to look down into her face with wariness. This he expects — the hurt he doesn't, and he looks away, leaning his head back against the door.

"I liked you," he admits. "You were something simple, something I didn't have to think about. You're the one who complicated it, Gale. And then I found out what you'd done in the past," he says, voice flat even as his heart pounds beneath his hand.

"If I didn't like you," he adds, turning to raise a brow at her, "I'da killed you."

"It was complicated before you ever met me," she snaps. "Don't you dare pin this on me. You were looking for any excuse. Any way to try and win back her favour. It was never about you or about me. It was all about her." Cobalt blue narrows and she drags herself back in again, a hair's breadth away from noses touching. "It wasn't even about what I did to her. She got me back for that, didn't she?"

Odessa shakes her head, smirk ticking one corner of her scarred mouth upward. "It was about what you did to her. It's always been about your sins. You're just a fucking coward and you took it out on someone who trusted you." Then her eyes grow wide again as though she'd just thought of something, mouth forming a soft little 'o' in tandem with a mock gasp. "Just like Lee trusted you! How absolutely poetic!"

Grabbing one of her wrists and jerking it away, Nick steps away from Odessa before flinging her hand away from him like it burns him. "Shut your fuckin' mouth!" he growls, voice low and cold. "You don't know a bloody thing. It's not the same at all — you didn't trust me. You didn't even know me. You're not 't'all like her. Don't you fucking compare yourself to her ever again."

He steps further away from her, hands moving to his waistband for the gun that's almost always there — but isn't in this dream. "Just let me out of here." He turns back to the door, grabbing the door knob and pulling on it futilely. "Let me out, you bitch!"

The girl steps back, and she pouts. "If I didn't trust you, I would never have let you know where I live. I'd never have let you into my bed. I'd never have given you that face when you gave me this." Odessa's fingers slide under the necklace, the nightingale at her breast, and hold it up enough to catch his attention. The white gold and emerald glitter more than they probably should, but they're meant to be the focal point. They should sparkle.

"I'm not keeping you here, Nick," Odessa assures, looking suddenly sullen as her hand wraps around the pendant she's obviously cherished enough to keep. "You poor, poor man. It's so sad just to look at you. Here, let me kiss it better."

Odessa lunges forward to capture his face in her hands and lock lips with him, intent on backing him up against the door that won't budge again. "Trust me," she muses against his mouth when she comes up for air, "I'm a doctor."

"If you trusted me, you're more stupid than I took you for," he growls beneath his breath, but he doesn't fight when she backs him up to the door. He accepts the kiss, his own lips parting though he doesn't offer more of himself — something nags him as a reason he shouldn't, but before he can put quite wrap his fevered mind around it, he's coughing, the reddest of red splashing too easily onto Odessa's white nurse's frock.

Somewhere in a real world, the pillowcase is stained as Nick coughs into it.

Blue eyes surrounded by red stare at the stained white fabric, and again it reminds him of something, something important, but all Nick can do is reach to touch the sanguine spot, and whisper, "I'm sorry… I'm sorry. Don't let it get me… I'm not done fixing things…"

Odessa looks down at the blood on her otherwise pristine top and then back up at Nick, as though shocked. She plugs her ears with the buds of the stethoscope and breathes gently on the metal before she puts it to his chest. This is what doctors do when a sick person enters their office, after all. She meets and holds his gaze, expression serious for all the vitriol and saccharine she's been spewing at him in equal measure.

"The only one standing in the way of fixing things is you."

"I'm fixing things! I'm getting better…" more coughing from Nick seems to contradict the sentiment, though he means as a person, not his physical health. "I'm trying… but maybe it's pointless. Every time I try, I just fuck it up more," he mutters fatalistically, slumping against the door and raking his hand through his too-long hair. "Maybe I should just…"

His hand reaches for the door knob again, but he seems to lack the energy or the courage to try to turn it this time.

The stethoscope is draped around the doctor's neck again. "Ssshhh…" Odessa drops a soft kiss on Nick's fevered brow and whispers, "I forgive you." She rests one hand over his own on the knob and slowly it begins to turn.

"Wake up."

When the door opens, it swings out into the hallway, now darkened, and Nick tumbles backwards. Something grabs him, dragging him into the darkness, cold and bony fingers curling around his neck and then his mouth, stifling him until he can't breathe. He sinks into the inky blackness, leaving Odessa surrounded by the white doorframe.

Somewhere he falls into a deeper, stirless sleep that those keeping vigil over him know will not last long — either the nightmares will claim Nick again, or the nightmare that is his waking reality will.

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