Reason Enough


delia2_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title Reason Enough
Synopsis Following some sage advice, Delia searches out Nick to give him something to fight for.
Date June 3, 2011

In Dreams

The palette of this dream is still bleak, gray, white, black — but it is no landscape. Instead, it is a gray cement chamber, cold and growing colder.

The white and black brushstrokes of this nightmarish canvas come from the bodies curled on the floor, pale and thin bodies, black unseeing eyes staring into nothing. Crimson, hints here and there, come from the blood streaking the walls where they tried to claw to get out, or raked red welts on one another where their anguished grips clung to anything in the effort to live.

Though there are a hundred corpses in the chamber, there is one survivor, curled as far away as he can from the outstretched hands and tormented dead gazes. Nick huddles in the corner, arms wrapped around his too-thin and naked form. Blood drips, brackish and thick, from a cut on his temple.

In reality, he didn’t have to endure the scene; unconsciousness has its benefits.

In dreams, he relives it in a hundred different ways.

She's been watching, trying to keep up with her promises.

The face that appears in the scorched pattern of the wall is pained in expression. There's a curl to her lips and angle of eyebrows that dip low in the center before giving a slight upturn at the inner edges. The face drifts closer, tilting her head and closing her eyes as she arcs her chin in an attempt to nuzzle and comfort him. It's futile at best, he can't feel her and it's doubtful that he can even see her in the way he's huddled against himself.

A drop of blood splashes against the concrete at his feet, causing a ripple in the cement. Another ripple appears by his right shoulder before a pale hand dips through the wall to grip him. Yet another forms near his side and another white limb hugs around his waist.

"I can't let you do this to yourself…" The whisper near his ear is familiar and the sweet minty scent of her breath so much different than the pungent aroma of death surrounding him. "I love you too much."

The air around Nick wavers just slightly and turns gray as he's pulled into the concrete. It suspends him for only a moment before he's hugged tightly to another form, a much warmer one. Then they both fall.

Żaden. Urlop. To jest niebezpieczne z mną,” Nick murmurs, voice raspy and damaged from breathing the dream fumes of Zyklon B.

But his breath is lost as they fall, and he clings to her despite his words, burrowing his head against her throat. “Zasługuję iść do piekła,” he whispers, and she can feel his dream reassert itself in the scent of sulfur rising up toward them.

"No, Nick, you're coming with me. I can't hold you for long but I can do it for a little while, at least long enough for you to rest." He can feel the movement of Delia's lips against his skin as they finally pull away from the overwhelming stench of rotting eggs, the sulphur that his mind allows to creep everywhere, poisoning his every thought.

The air around them gains the aroma that she carries with her, wiping away the foul odor from them completely. When she opens her eyes, they're laying together on a bed inside a room filled with books. The high wooden shelves are absent but the tomes they contained are piled around the two of them as she pulls the sheet up over his chest. She is clothed in her usual white sundress and laying on top of the thin cover, half covering him protectively. "You're safe here… It can't get you when you're inside me."

Were she anyone else, that might sound so wrong.

Nick’s eyes open, and here they are not surrounded by the demonic red sclera, simply their pale and weary blue. He takes a tentative and shaky breath, then releases it through his nose, an exasperated and familiar sound.

“I hate that you had to see that,” he mumbles into her hair, turning to breathe in the red curls as his hand slides around her waist. “I’m not trying to …” His mind can’t find the right words, the memory of their metaphors too dampened by fever and delirium. Something about shards. Something about mushrooms. It makes no sense.

“I’m sorry,” Nick tries again, more simply.

"I didn't have to," Delia whispers against his shoulder. The scar left by the bullet receives a kiss before she lifts her head to look up at his chin. "I've been trying to find you whenever I can. Sometimes I just watch and I try not to interfere but it hurts. Nick, I couldn't leave you like that. I'm sorry."

Her arm tightens around his waist and the one under his neck pulls her own form a little closer against his. Her hand rests against the pillow and she attempts a smile for his benefit. "What would you like to do? We can do anything you want— go anywhere." It's not real but it's a holiday from the plague that's slowly killing him. "Be anything."

His black brows dip and he glances away. It hurts — that she has to see him in the dark abyss his dreams have sunk him into, but he nods. It would hurt her more, something tells him, to deny her that vigil. “‘Sokay,” he whispers into her hair. “But if you can’t take it… I won’t blame you. I won’t blame you for anything you need to do, if it’s too much.”

The words take effort and his eyes close rather than watching her face for reactions. Nick leans to brush his lips across hers softly, up and then down. His hand moves to her face to tip it toward his, and Nick kisses her more deeply, more earnestly. “I just wanna be with you,” he whispers, lips brushing against hers with each syllable.

“It’s just a dream, I know, but I might not…”

He lets those words trail away.

Sparks of light flare up and explode when Nick's lips touch hers, sending floral bursts of fire and shrapnel through the inside of the book store. There's no debris that strikes either of them, instead it hits the books, singing fabric covers and sending a fragrant smoke into the air. The musk of roses mixes with her own lavender as Delia presses closer, responding to the kiss without hesitation.

He breaks it, to give her his wish.

Her answer? A simple nod before she rises, pulling away from him to reach for the back of her dress. The fireworks around them dull to the roar of an ocean. It sounds so much like the crashing of the waves against the cliffs she dove from, once upon a dream. She pauses, staring down at him with a slight tilt to her head as her eyes sweep over his form. Not the one that she stole from Treblinka, the one that she remembers.

"Anything…" she whispers, there's no caveat or condition that she gives before relenting.

A soft sigh whispers back against her neck as his fingers curl and tighten in her hair at the promise of her words. His other hand slides down the curve of her spine before he rolls with her so she looks down at him, his pale eyes searching hers. His lips twitch into a half smile that is neither sad nor sardonic, a rare thing.

“‘Is’t funny that I’m nervous?” Nick says almost shyly. “Donno if it’s because it’s a dream or … because you’re the first woman I’ve loved…” He frowns at those words — perhaps too honest to be truly romantic — and tips his head upward to kiss her again, to silence his own ramblings and speak without words.

A thrumming in the background, almost deafening in nature, sounds out. Muted at first, more of an annoyance than anything, it grows louder until it rings in Delia’s ears too loud for her to hear the words coming from Nick’s mouth. Still, whatever his message, it’s delivered when his lips meet hers and she sinks down to meet him halfway.

“I love you…” is meant as a whisper but the heartbeat pounding in her head causes her to speak at a normal cadence. It’s not a secret, she’s told him before, not here. Never in her own mind, always in his. As her eyelids slide shut, the scenery around them changes from the bookstore to a beach. Not tropical. Rocky in places and were they really there to feel the water rushing over their feet it would be ice cold. The gray skies above them churn with clouds of worry and doubt. She’s never been there, but he brought her once, to the cliffs above.

Arching a brow at the change of location, Nick parts his lips to comment on it, to address her worries — unless they’re his — but thinks better of it; time is short, even (sometimes) in dreaming. He gathers white fabric with one hand, revealing white skin beneath to caress with the other. His heart seems to fall into the same cadence as hers, a rapid tattoo that sounds like drums in the unnatural world of the dream.

“I won’t wanna wake.” Growled into her neck, his words are warm.

Delia eyes open to blue slivers and she graces Nick with a small smile. One hand draws down his chest until it reaches the sheet that covers him as she begins to peel it from between them. "You don't have to, not right now," she murmurs against his rapid pulse. "Stay with me for as long as you can." Then she closes her eyes again, pressing her lips against his neck and drawing them down to his shoulder.

From the beach, back to the bed in the middle of the room it doesn't belong. Delia doesn't open her eyes again until Nick falls back onto his pillow, splitting her concentration between pleasure and keeping him with her.

Though her muscles don't ache as they should, she stretches and rolls up in the tangle of sheets, finally landing half on top of him with a smile. "Promise me something.." she whispers, the pounding of her heart finally subsiding to a dull hammer. "Fight to live… Don't give up. Come back to me?"

Nick lies back on the pillow with a dazed smile on his face; sweat beading his brow not born of fever but of (dream) exertion. Low-lidded eyes gaze up at her, and he arches forward to kiss her full mouth once more.

Falling back on the pillow, his lips quirk into that half smile again. “For once I feel like I want to,” he breathes out, reaching up to touch her cheek.

“Promise me,” she repeats, resting her chin on his chest as she looks up at him. Delia cornflower blue eyes seem a little brighter here, perhaps because the rest of her looks so pale. “There’s no cure, you have to fight it. I talked to someone, one of Benji’s friends… She said you have to have a reason to fight.”

Leaning up her lips graze Nick’s cheek and then his lips before she pauses, her nose a fraction of an inch from his. “I’m not going to say if you love me, I can’t do that to you. Just please please please remember that I love you when things get really bad. I’ll be there, you just have to call me but I won’t interfere unless you ask me to.” By the look on her face, what she saw already has been painful enough.

His smile fades, his expression growing more thoughtful and somber as he listens to her words. “You’re reason enough,” Nick murmurs, shifting with her in his arms to lie on his side, cradling her as if he could protect her instead of the other way around.

Light, instead of darkness, seems to creep around the edges of the room. Nick’s arm tightens around Delia’s waist, but consciousness asserts its claim on him once more.

Holding onto him tightly, Delia fights against his consciousness with a steely glare at the light. “I have to bring you back, I can’t hold you here.” Choosing to escort Nick back to where she stole him from rather than letting him fall by himself. She closes her eyes and like someone pulled the shutter in her mind, everything goes black.

When she opens them again, they’re back inside the concrete room. The smell of sulphur mixed with Zyklon B making its presence known, almost overpowering the smell of lavender that she leaves on him. There are no bodies, she cleaned them up before their arrival, just the bare room with the scorch marks and the two of them wrapped in the same sheet. Back here, she’s left to support him.

“Fight it, please Nick,” she whispers as she dots kisses like freckles across his fevered brow. Gently lowering him back into his corner, she curls up with him, cradling his head against her breast as she watches the darkness infiltrate the edges of the room.

When he smells the sulfur and gas, Nick keeps his eyes closed, brow furrowing into a grimace. It’s a short stay; when the scent fades, his eyes open to find himself in the gray-lit room of the Dispensary.

His hand goes to his neck, curling around the silver at his neck.

“St. Jude, Hope of the Hopeless, pray for us.”

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