Russian Bear Blues


delia2_icon.gif dema_icon.gif lynette2_icon.gif

Scene Title Russian Bear Blues
Synopsis It's Lynette's assessment that Delia needs a new teacher, one that has a rather checkered past.
Date October 11, 2010

Gun Hill & Dreamland

Dreams really can be such odd places, but Lynette's tonight happens to be very focused on one particular moment in her life, thanks to the Refrain. While the woman herself lies unmoving in her bed at home, her dreams have carried her back to a much younger time. The smell of fresh air and hay hang strong in the air, even though the teenaged Lynette sits indoors at the moment. She is in view of the window, though, and sips on a soda as she watches her father and a few hands work with the horses on the family's ranch.

It seems this is a good memory, as a sense of warmth and even love seems to seep right into it, adding a golden glow to the scene. There must be a stereo somewhere in the house, even though one isn't visible, because The Beatles Across the Universe is playing ambiently. Lynette even hums quietly along. It appears she's supposed to be doing homework, as there is a textbook open in front of her, but she's putting it off. Her notebook paper is quite blank.

On the wall, a framed poster of Picasso's The Dream blinks its almond eyes awake before a pained grimace appears on its mouth. How the hell does she keep her neck like this all the time Delia thinks to herself as she twists the heart shaped head upright and flares her eyelashes a little to see through the blue haze.

It takes a few minutes before the young redhead gets her bearings to figure out where she is, Lynette, this time she hit the right place. After nights of missing and finding others by accident, she finally hit the mark. She takes a few minutes to adjust herself moving just a little to sit in a more comfortable position. Though the print would look vastly different in real life, in dreams, Delia can control how its always looked in the woman's memory. She's been practicing.

Cornflower blue eyes follow the trail of the soda can, narrowing ever so slightly in concentration just before a sip is taken from it.

It's true, Lynette doesn't seem to notice anything different about the painting. And there isn't a hitch in her soda sipping, although Delia might notice a twitch of her hand as she lowers the can back to the table. And after a momentary pause, the girl starts to sit up straighter, her attention turning back to her book and that empty paper in front of her. And the reason why becomes clear, as the imposing form of her father can be seen passing the window. Coming inside in the middle of her procrastination.

And it's just as the man walks into the room that the girl covers by flipping that paper over to the back and quickly jotting down 10. on the top line. See, she's half way through! And as for Jeremy Rowan, in her memory, the man is handsome in the classic sense, square jawed and brown haired with broad shoulders. Strong. Invincible. How so many young girls see their fathers.

"Working hard, Peanut?" His voice echoes that strength, too.

"Working hard, dad," she replies with a much lighter voice and an oh so innocent smile. "Half way done!"

"Hmm, you know… I know you're a smart girl, Lynnie, but to be able to do problems that aren't even on the page…" he says as he reaches over to turn to the next one, where question ten is, and taps the book. "Come on." It's a gentle admonishment, but it does seem to work, as the girl turns her work back over and flips the page back, sighing dramatically. Which gets a chuckle from the man before he reaches over to ruffle her hair.

"Dad! My hair!" So some things never change.

Beda (nikogda) ne prikhodit odna.

Translation: Trouble never comes alone.

Upshot: Delia is not Lynette's only visitor.

Out in the fields, Lynette can see her father has hired a bull of a hand to help. The worker - tall, broad, with a great bald head covered by a cap - is leading a young colt out of the stables. As Lynette's father leaves the grounds, and Lynette's attention fades from that spot, the other hands get hazy, start to disappear. But not this one. Too substantial, perhaps.

Or perhaps not merely part of the dream.

The lone hand draws off his cap and wipes his brow, eyes moving to the house, gazing briefly into the window with deep set blue eyes.

The other visitor goes unnoticed by the painting who is still concentrating on that hand. This time, to swat at her own nose. There's a reflexive twitch ofa finger and the painting smiles before closing her eyes a little to turn up the color in the room.

Make the dream vivid and you can control them.

The lesson from Hokuto hasn't quite been forgotten, just laid to the wayside as Delia learns to navigate through minds. With the discovery that her father might be interested in the woman, she's had to step up her lessons. As the other hands fade into the background, the young student opens her eyes again and frowns a little. Then, as though pushing through into water, the face of the portrait becomes three dimensional just before it fades back. Another self test.

As of yet unaware that her dreaming is the playground for a pair of dreamwalkers, Lynette can only follow the flow of the dream. Which means she doesn't notice the hands fading away, or the one that stays, or the painting going three dimensional for a moment. She can only hop up out of her chair as he father turns to leave the room, catching his arm before he makes it.

"Hey dad… we can go to LA this weekend, right? Sandy's party is Saturday… her mom is taking us all to her movie studio! We're gonna meet Denzel Washington!" The girl gives him a big, bright, hopeful smile as she hangs there on his arm. "Pleeeeeease, dad?"

"If I remember correctly, our verbal contract stated that you had to do all your homework and pass your history test this week," the man says, using his lawyer talk as a tease for the girl. And, with a grooooan, she lets go of his arm and slinks back over to her chair to sit and stare at the textbook a while longer.

The hand in the field makes his steady, plodding way up towards the house, his hand held in his hand, seeming more like a rag or handkerchief in those thick fingers. His strides are long but unhurried, and he looks about the surroundings like one enjoying the scenery - though with an investigative eye, more like a naturalist than an itinerant or even a local. He moves up, not to the door, but to the window. He pauses there for a moment, his bulk blocking some of the sunlight that streams in. His free hand lifts up and gently taps on the windowpane.

Tock tock.

A few rapid blinks from the painting as the man taps on the window, and a frown before it rapidly flicks back to its natural position. Perhaps too fast for the teen to notice, but for the man in the window, it's quite possible that he did. By then, Delia is gone. At least from there.

From around the corner of a cabinet, the sprite sized figure of the redhead skirts along the baseboards of the room and underneath the window where he might not be able to see her. From there, she ducks behind a large piece of furniture, line of sight to both the window and the teen doing homework. She feels a little safer, though, at least she's out of reach.

The knocking Lynette does notice, and she looks away from her textbook in what seems like slow motion… as if fighting against the memory to look that direction. And when she sees that face there, her brow furrows. It doesn't fit with this moment.

And in a blink, the scenery changes. The ranch hand finds himself standing outside of Lynette Rowan's cell back and the Staten Island hospital, window replaced by a slot in the door. The sprite is there, too, perched in the shadow of a pile of books. And Lynette is there, too. Only she's in a terribly fitting jumpsuit as she lays out on a cot, shaking as if she were cold with her arm flopped over her eyes. She's her current age, but her hair's all been shaved off at this point, only just growing back.

This should be shocking to an intruder, or absolutely unnoticeable to a dream entity. The hand (though a hand no longer, now dressed in the crisp scrubs of medical staff, complete with ID tag) should be surprised if he's an interloping walker, or he should adopt his role with seamless ease, being simply recast in another sequence. But he does neither. There is a quick glance down at himself, a recognition of change impossible for a dream figment… but then, then he falls into his role.

He slides the slot in the door open, bending down a little so that he can get a clear line of sight into the room.

"Lynette," is the first word the big man speaks, her name sounded out with a heavy tinge of what is some sort of Eastern European accent. Russian, maybe, or one of the USSR's many satellite nations. Hard to say in a single word. But some few more are to follow. "Sorry I have not visited in so long. I may come in?"

The little sprite cowers behind the tower of books. The abrupt change of scenery isn't something she'd planned at all, in fact, it's unnerving enough for the young dream walker to flee. Curiosity rules with a stronger fist than precaution though, and Delia sits down on the cold floor, hugging her knees to her chest.

A worrid glance is cast in Lynette's direction as the young woman tries to decide whether to scare her awake or let her whether the torture of the moment. She knows enough about the older woman to know that this time in her life was torturous enough to make her want to kill herself with drugs. Delia's vivid blue eyes, ones that match the hue of the shaven woman's favorite drug, peer toward the slot. Studying the other set, the deep blue ones, contained in the frame.

Lynette lifts her arm to look over toward that voice. She's been crying, apparently. but this is Lynette, so she sits up and wipes her face and tries to sound normal as she speaks to the man. "I thought you were gone." Dead is what she really means, but it's convoluted in the conflict of present knowledge and past timeline. "Please, come in," she remembers to add, running a shaky hand over that blonde fuzz on her head. Self conscious.

The ID badge taps against the maglock outside, and the bolt comes free. The big orderly slides the door - heavy, reinforced - to the side and steps into the room. For just a moment his gaze slips right over to the books… and Delia can feel his attention like a spotlight, pouring over and around the obstacle to his vision.

"I did not know you were here," he replies, "I did not know this…" he gestures at the interior of the cell, "was yours. I thought… familiar. But I was not sure. I have been looking. Maybe… you can help me?"

Closing her eyes, the young dream walker wills herself invisible to the man. Taking the ostrich approach, she ducks on the opposite side of the books from where he is and cringes into a tiny little ball. If she can't see him, maybe he can't see her. But she can feel him, like the pull of a magnet or some other force.

When they begin speaking again, Delia opens her eyes and peeks out from behind the books, spying on the pair. Lynette doesn't seem afraid of him, at least from first impression. Slowly, the tiny figure creeps up, climbing the stack of books like a mountainous ladder. Only so high up that she can peek over the top. From their vantage point all that could be seen is the top of her head, her eyes, and her fingers as she holds herself up.

Fear is there, of course, but no, not for this man in particular. For whatever reason, Lynette seems to feel friendship for him, despite the fact that he seems, for all intents and purposes, to be guard to her captive.

"You were looking?" That notion makes Lynette smile, even. But after a moment, she remembers to quirk it into a crooked expression. "What do you need help with?" She starts to stand up, but it seems she's not steady enough to hold herself upright and ends up crashing back down to her cot.

"Looking, yes," the orderly agrees, and as he says it, his eyes cut back over to the books once more. For the barest instant, it's possible that he sees that shock of red before Delia quite has the chance to disappear again, just as he had the chance to see her through the window, in the poster. But, just as quickly, he returns his gaze to Lynette. His stony features shift into a small smile, an expression that seems labored, not because it is forced, but because it is not enough used. "I need to find someone. Important to me. Gone… like you think maybe I was gone. I looked for what is familiar. And I find you. Here…"

He extends his arm, his big hand offered to Lynette. "Come. We walk."

There's a worried crease to Delia's eyebrows as she looks for enough cover to keep concealed as she eavesdrops on the pair. The man is shrewd, she has to give him that much. Glancing around the room, the young woman scurries from her hidden place among the books. Shrinking even further as she runs, she manages to catch hold of one of Lynette's pantlegs to hitch a ride. Should the man spot her, he would have to strike at the blonde woman to get her. At the very least, he would have to reach up into her pants, unless the prisoner actually did it for him.

The size of a flea now, Delia crawls into the weave of the fabric and climbs with all her energy to get up to Lynette's shoulder. It's a good perch for her, though it might take forever to get there.

Lynette furrows her brow a little, giving Dema a skeptical look. "I'm not sure how I can help you find anyone… but," the but is that she takes that hand, because she'll at least try. She doesn't seem to notice the tiny fle-lia making her climb up to her shoulder, but her trembles and shaking are sure to make that quite the climb for the girl.

"Who are we looking for?" The blonde says up to Dema, her head tilted curiously. It may be interesting to Delia, that other dreams about the Institute Lynette has had centered around escape attempts and experiments and horrible things, but this time, even with the door open and inviting, she's not even thinking about making a dash for it.

There's a sudden shift in perspective as Lynette take's Dema's hand. A focusing, like a deep focus lens centering it focal on Lynette. An effect visible, really, only to the interlopers of the dream. Lynette, being at the distortion's center, can notice little if anything, save for a look of sudden - and uncharacteristic - alarm. Short lived, though. An Dema speaks, covering up the moment.

"You ran through the woods, yes? I was with you, as stone. And in the fire, I came to your window. As I came to this door," Dema is retracing the path of the dreams they have shared, all hers, but changed in some way by the Russian dreamwalker, "I need to walk with you through another fire. The one that shook this place. That brought it down. You remember? You were saved, yes? Taken from here? I need to see what you saw. Remember for me."

No answer to 'who'. Maybe he will tell her later. Maybe he is keeping his peace.

As her entire world fish eyes, Delia pauses and glances up at the man. A swallow that is only audible to her (hopefully) is gulped down before she carefully starts picking her way up the fabric again. When she finally makes it up to Lynette's shoulder, she crawls through the giant weave and settles into a square of thread on the shoulder closest to Dema.

Not as practiced in the fine art of remaining hidden, Delia has to concentrate to distort the dream herself. This time, to make their voices less booming to her, though it ends with the effect of being a little quieter to the people speaking to each other. A fact that, had she known, Delia would have tried to compensate for.

That distortion, Lynette doesn't notice, but that looks of alarm… she does notice and she tilts her head a bit to give him a quizzical look. When he does speak, she can only blink in confusion at first. But as it settles in what he's asking, she stops him and gives him a more apologetic look. "I don't know how it happened. I… There was Gregor," a name that still sends a shiver through her, in a bad way, "And he gave me a shot and the next thing I knew… I woke up in a field hospital and the hospital was gone. I… I'm sorry, I don't think I can help. It's just… empty."

Dema's face falls, a touch of melancholy further hooding his deep set eyes. "Best for you, I think," he says, tone one of apology, tacitly requesting forgiveness for his disappointment, "to not remember a terrible day. I am ashamed that I asked. I…" he falters, the frowns, "…we are not whispering. Why..?" And then his eyes turn down to Lynette's shoulder, and Delia feels the weight of Dema's gaze upon her, his brow set, seeming like a thundercloud at this scale. "Mal klop, da vonyuch," he states, gravely, "you have… what do you call it? A bedbug." Dema's fingers descend, thumb and index finger poised like tweezers, towards Delia.

An insect pitched squeal might be heard by Lynette as Delia dives under the fabric and tumbles what seems like forever, though in reality only an inch or two. Unfortunately, the Liliputin isn't fast enough to avoid the dextrous fingers of the Russian Gulliver and she's plucked up by the seat of her dress on his second attempt at capture.

She hangs by the bit of fabric, glaring at him before she narrows her eyes and grows to the size of a sprite again. "Put me down! You… you… YOU!!" Not having a sharp enough mind for thinking up quick insults, she settles for the obvious. Him.

In her anger, Delia is able to focus and in that one moment, Lynette's hand raises up swiftly and strikes the large Russian across the face once. Surprised by the blonde's action, Delia's slow swirls brings her face to face with the other woman and all the while a gaping expression of 'ididntdoit' is plastered on the redhead's face.

"No, no. Don't be ashamed. I would help, if I had the answers for you," Lynette says, and she would probably go on, but he mentions the bed bug, and there's this little Delia, and then she gets to watch her own hand slap Dema across the face all in quick succession. When her hand is her own again, she yanks it back as if she were touching a hot stove and clutches it against her chest.

"Dema, I'm sorry, I don't know-" Oooh, but that innocent look. Lynette's eyes narrow as she looks over at Delia, and her hands drop to her hips. "I was beginning to wonder if you'd gotten bored with me, darling." Her wry tone far more familiar than the more open, vulnerable voice she addressed Dema with moments ago.

The blow of a woman's hand causes a pain derived not wholly from its force. It is a blow to one's sense of self respect - to earn such a slap is to have done some offense worth being struck over. Of course, Dema really isn't sure what that might be, and the slap to his stoney features leaves him both shocked and confused, causing his grip on the fire-headed sprite to loosen. He steps back one lumbering pace and frowns with befuddlement, first at Lynette and her own confusion, then at her recognition of the erstwhile bedbug.

Dema's shape flickers, goes translucent for a moment. An instinct, a moment of near-flight. But then he brings himself back, manifesting fully again. "This is..?" he says, brows lifting very slightly. Introductions, please.

Where there was once a tight grip keeping her safe, Delia can suddenly only feel void. Tumbling through the air like Alice down the rabbit hole, she bends into a little bit of a skydive, trying to resist as much of the air as possible.

There's a rather painful sounding splat as the redhead lands on the concrete floor in a belly flop and rolls onto her back with a groan. Whether or not that was real, she's definitely going to feel the residual in the morning. Unlike Dema, Delia isn't as brave. She picks herself up and begins to run.

The entire world swirls around the trio, the strips of blurred color wheeling around them turning from gray to browns, oranges, reds, and yellows. The further the little sprite sprints from the pair, the slower the world turns. Until she is out of sight and the prisoner and her guard find themselves in the middle of a forest in autumn. Painted leaves cover the floor and float through the air, leaving their summer homes in favor of insulating the earth.

"She's…" an annoyance "…a friend sort of." The splat is heard and Lynette turns to see Delia running off. She doesn't chase. She does whip back around to Dema, her hand reaching for his arm. "Don't go yet. Please. It's okay, she doesn't mean any harm…" But.

Keeping her hold on Dema as she looks back at her cell, only to find a forest instead. Which seems to make Lynette panic for a moment. Her forest dreams aren't good ones and Delia and Dema both can sense a something out there in the woods. A predator. Dema, of course, has seen it already before.

But, forcing herself to breathe easier, she calls out to the girl, "It's alright! He's a friend." She's trying to be reassuring. Although, lord knows why. Probably because she likes the girl. It would all be so much easier if she didn't, of course.

Dema does remember the forest, and on instinct he draws in a deep breath. In the same instant, a wind rustles through the trees, parting their boughs and letting sunlight stream in from overhead, better illuminating the forest… and chasing away darkness in which a creature might lurk.

By then Delia is gone. Dema glances around, then frowns. "Do not play around with dreams, not in memory like this," his tone is actually reproving, scolding Delia with what is less anger and more parental disapproval, "you should no trample delicate ground."

Only way, what did Lynette refer to him as? He looks down at her, brow dipping low.

"Friend?" Dema repeats, a little wryly, then adds, lapsing into what is most definitely Russian, "Druzhba druzhboy, a sluzhba sluzhboy. I do not know that I have earned enough for friendship. Not… I am not ungrateful, yes? But I cannot say I did to you as I would do to a friend. Small kindnesses, great evils. Not balanced."

The sprite may be out of sight, but that doesn't mean she's completely gone. This forest, is not Lynette's forest. This forest is Delia's forest. A brightly sunlit place of color and memories of two little girls lying on their backs laughing as they wave their arms and legs to create angels as one would in the snow.

The giggles echo through the woods.

From one direction, the ghost images of a little brunette and a little redhead bound through the clearing only to disappear on the other side. Still Delia's memories continue to pollute Lynette's. It's the redhead's fear that's overshadowing the former prisoner's. More and more those ghost images appear, the two little girls in various stages of play. From leaf fights, to hide and seek, to burying each other in mounds of fallen color.

There isn't really an argument for Dema's reply. Lynette just pats his hand softly and shakes her head some. "Friend. Deal with it," she says with a smirk before she turns her attention back to the woods. And as Delia and Dema both work to reinforce that this isn't her forest, she even relaxes some. The ghostly girls play and run and all, but Lynette just puts her hand on her hip, fingers tapping a bit. "I don't know, this really isn't my forte," she says, possibly to no one in particular, but after a pause, she looks up at Dema. "She's just learning. The… She tells me the Refrain makes it easy for her to get in here."

"Yes…" Dema says, with a touch of distraction to his voice as his eyes try to follow the many ghosts… a brunette? Is that a figment… or maybe a fragment? The ecology of dreams is a hard thing to taxonomize. "I felt. I can feel. Also… it is different than dreams. Dreams create, yes? Memories are just memories. They all have been.

"Girl! Please stop!" Dema calls out, his voice gaining a certain boom to it. He's usually a quiet man, but he's calling out into a big forest, "you cannot know what this is doing. You cannot fall back into yourself. This is not your dream."

"Eto piz‘dets," the big man growls, with the force of what sounds like a cuss, "I am sorry. My fault that you use this - mine and the Madame’s. You should not. It does more harm than you can know."

Always Underfoot, if Delia was a halfling or a hobbit, that's what her name would be. A rustle of leaves near Dema's feet gives way to the sprite springing up to her natural height of nearly six feet. She leaps to a stand only a few feet away from the man, obviously having backed up from her original spot.

"Who are you?" Delia's voice is low as though she's trying to be menacing, a failure of an attempt at protecting herself and the other woman from harm.

"But you all can still fiddle around all the same. I mean, this isn't my memory," Lynette says with a wave of her hand to the forest in general. And frankly, she's glad that Dema calls out for her, because it's all a bit over Lynette's head. And just like that, she's glad she doesn't have a mental-based ability.

When he turns his attention back to her, though, Lynette blinks and then rubs a hand over her face. "I know. I know I shouldn't. And I'm beginning to figure the side effects out, too." That she can't stop, she doesn't voice, as the source of her budding knowledge pops up again. "Hun, please," she says toward Delia, not giving the girl's name away just yet, though, "It's okay. Honestly. I trust him."

Dema is able to contain his wince. Trust? The light he brought through the canopy of the forest dims somewhat in sympathy with his feelings, expressing what his manifestation will not. "I do not 'fiddle',' Dema states, rather gravely, "I am careful with things that are not mine."

Unlike some people, is at least somewhat implied, as he turns his attention to the sprouting sprite, become tall woman. Not so tall as to match him, but the change in scale is quite something all the same. Dema frowns. He does not approve. "Lighter footed than you," is his answer, which is not so much an answer as another chance at reprove, "you do not have discipline. You may do harm, to yourself, to others."

Crossing her arms over her chest, Delia's expression isn't a very happy one but it's not quite a frown. His scolding of her behavior earns the tweak of eyebrows that catches in the middle to form a vee complete with the indentation of skin. "I haven't done any harm to anyone…" The yet might be implied, but not by her, certainly from the older Dreamwalker.

A quick glance toward Lynette for confirmation of no harm done is given before all of her attention is focused squarely on the giant man in front of her. Her lips are pursed into an angry little pucker that's half defensive and half incensed. It's obvious that she's fairly territorial over the mind she's visiting tonight, the admission of guilt in the blonde woman's bad habit only furthers the animosity toward the Russian man.

"It's just an expression, darling," Lynette says to Dema, complete with a pat on his arm. But she looks over at Delia, her hands on her hips in reply to the other's folded arms. That bit of territorialism doesn't go unnoticed, but it does get an amused smirk. And then she looks between the two of them for a moment.

"So teach her, then," she eventually says to Dema with a gesture to Delia. "She hasn't done any harm beyond some nagging, but I would appreciate the prevention of possible future harm, since she's going to be tapdancing all over my dreams and all." And Lynette seems to find this the perfect solution. She dusts her hands and steps over to a tree with a branch low enough for her to pull herself up on. All she needs is popcorn.

"You know this, how?" Dema inquires of Delia, a lingering touch of scold in his voice, "I see your memories, running here and there. A forest, too - so easy to lose yourself. One thing, too, to act in dreams. Another to act in Refrain dreams. You feel this difference, yes?"

He's already acting like a stern teacher, but Lynette's suggestion takes Dema off guard. He frowns, checking to see if maybe Lynette's expression will convey some nuance of expression, some irony or sarcasm, he failed to take note of in her words. When he finds none, he returns his gaze to Delia, a new consideration there. "I am maybe not the best teacher…" he says, hesitantly.

There's an expression of fear that crosses over the redhead's features as her host figuratively throws her at the Russian Bear. The wave of panic has her glaring at Lynette and the other woman can feel something heavy hit her cheek. It's not hard enough to hurt and there's nothing there… not here anyway… but she definitely felt something.

"I have a teacher," Delia emits with a low mumble. Now Lynette can feel a small tug at her shoulder. Still nothing there.

The forest begins to slowly wheel around the trio, like a lazily turning merry go round. The revolution of landmarks begins to repeat itself faster and faster until the whirl of colors blends into colorful ribbons around them.

The tug at Lynette's shoulder happens again, this time actually jerking her bodily in dream.

Host is a bit of a stretch. But she doesn't get to reassure Delia at her fears, since things begin hitting and tugging at her. She spying back at the spinning forest, but doesn't see an assailant, which just makes her frown. However, the force of the last tug takes her by surprise and she tumbles right off her branch.

When she hits the ground, she pushes herself right back up and dusts herself off and strides back over to the other two as if nothing ever happened. "So you do. But I don't know her. And frankly? She's creepy." Because the Russian totally isn't? "And Dema is familiar with my head and since it is my head, I feel like I should have some of the voting shares here."

Oh no, this is just the last straw. Inattention and incaution are one thing, but discourtesy is another. Dema spreads his arms, hands flat, then closes his fists, gripping hard as if gripping something finicky. At once the spinning stops, as if in freeze frame, the ribbons of color halted in mid-spin, the distortion due to speed retained, caught as if by a long-exposure camera shot. He brings his arms together, and the fall colors ripple and meld and gather to one side of them, leaving a leeched out grey in the places they depart, building up into bolder and brighter red and yellow in the one space where they accumulate.

When his fists meet, the whole world around them snaps into focus, hard lines drawn across the formerly abstractly frozen world. Grey has become the dingy grey of old, ill maintained tenement buildings, lining the dirty grey of city street and pavement. Red and yellow have merged to form the single shock of color in this tableaux - a great hanging banner, crimson, with the luminous mark of the star, hammer and sickle.

No points for guessing whose dream or memory this is. Dema reaches out to lightly touch Lynette's shoulder, and the air around her shimmers before going crisp and clear. Stabilizing. All this done, Dema's severe blue gaze returns to Delia.

"I am better than whoever came before," he amends, on the matter of teaching, "you are wild. For the good of others, I will teach you."

As the world snaps back into focus, the redhead's blue eyes widen at the scenery and then turn a fearful gaze in the direction of the Russian and Lynette. The landlady might trust this large interloper, but all Delia knows is that he is the one that gave out the Refrain. The fact that he seems to regret it? It doesn't change the fact that Lynette is unwilling to give it up, and that makes her judgment suspect.

"No. No. I don't want to get hooked on Refrain like her." The nurse's voice quivers a little bit, there's underlying tones of bravery in the face of terror, but it's so watered down it might as well belong in the gutters of the Russian scenery. The young woman pivots quickly on one bare foot and sprints a few steps before jumping up into the air and disappearing.


A sheaf of red hair waves across the cityscape. Crimson as the Soviet flag itself, it wriggles like a sheet of silk across the skyline while its owner searches for the exit. The zip of the swath as it zig zags in a blurry line bounces once, twice, before winking out of existence entirely. Wherever the young dream walker went, Dema can't feel her anymore.

Zapping things really is a lot easier.

Lynette can only watch as the world turns and twists and becomes a whole new place, glancing between the two dreamwalkers. She doesn't seem particularly worried about what all this means for her poor, drug-addled mind, but then, that may just be from lack of knowledge.

When Delia makes her dash out of the dream, Lynette just sighs a bit before she turns toward Dema a little bit. "I'll explain things to her. She's… scared. And fresh. But I'm really not sure about this teacher she has. Weird vibes, you know? Sometimes, you can just pick up on it. Plus, different teachers allow for different outlooks, and the lesson that there's more than one school of thought." Babblebabble.

This is a tough thing to hear, honestly. A young woman calling you, in effect, 'the Refrain Boogeyman', is not something even a man with as morally gray a past as Dema's can take easily. The overcast day above them, the clouds the same gunmetal gray as the rest of the world, besides the flag, darkens into a starless night. A knee-jerk emotional response. Snow begins to descend, gathering with unnatural quickness. Dema's eyes flick, automatically, towards the end of one street. Out there is a floodlit space of snow covered road ends in a fenced in area… and a figure, distant, is standing out there.

"This is maybe true," Dema admits, as Lynette holds forth on the matter of diverse pedagogy, "I move by sliding along the chain. It is… hard to explain. But it is about… closeness. Not… eh…" he searches for the word, the right word, that means what he wants it to mean… "meaning," is just that word, it happens.

His eyes remain on the figure in the floodlit snow even while speaking. After a long pause he says: "I am sorry. We are in my memory now. But not clear… memory like clear dream. More real. Too real."

Lynette notices that figure, too, and she tilts her head a bit to peer at it, before she looks back to Dema. "I think I understand. However much this ability of yours goes over my head." …so to speak… "I just think of college, when you'd hear the students paraphrasing whatever professor they had that semester, only to spout the opposite the year after… instead of finding their own thoughts. You never know what you can find out, coming at a thing from a new direction."

She steps over to hook her arm through his at his apology, and she looks back toward that figure. "Is it a bad memory? It doesn't look too cheery, darling." Her gaze slides up to him again, just a hint of a crooked smile there on her face.

Dema isn't happy to be here, but he doesn't seem scared. He knows, after all, what it is - not something that is really happening but, sadly, something that has happened and always will have. He lifts his finger and points at the distant figure. The space between them and the figure shrinks, like a trick mirror is at work. "The thought of Refrain… and memory of the old country… they make me think of this meeting. With her. The Madame." The closing figure is redheaded woman, with some dark cap and a coat - and both her hands are held before her, extended to lean on what looks like a cane or walking stick.

His point becomes a lifted hand, a 'stop', and the distance ceases to close. The woman with the cane halts her progress, held back. "I am sorry. We should return to your memories… or I should go. I thank you for your help, but I believe you have done all you can for me. I don't wish to… overstay my welcome."

Oh and doesn't that make Lynette curious. She's almost disappointed when he halts the moment, but she shakes it off and looks back to him. "Look… I'm… I'm glad you're alive. I know you don't think I should, but I was… upset thinking that you didn't make it out of there before the place exploded or… whatever they did to it. And I don't know what made you go into this," she pauses just a moment to glance toward that figure, "But you did me a few kindnesses in there. It meant a lot. Maybe it didn't from your side, but… I'd never been through something like that before and it was good to feel like someone thought of me as something more than just an experiment. And if you ever want to get out of there, if I can help… just drop in."

"I was kind in a way I knew was large to you," Dema agrees, tone still grave, still dour, "but I was wicked to you in ways far greater. I said, the scales are not balanced. But know, I will always work towards balance, even if it is impossible," he gives a hollow chuckle, "I do not know why I say this. It's true, but sounds so grand. I do not mean it that way." He pauses, actually hearing what amounts to her offer. He dips his head. "They would follow me somehow. I have been with people like for too long. I do not wish to bring them to you. Too much risk."

"Well, work toward balance if you must," Lynette says with an indulgent, but gentle chuckle. His grandness, it amuses, apparently. "But it doesn't stop me from being grateful."

However, at his last words, there's an almost sad little smile. "Well. I know people. So if you ever change your mind… But in the meantime, just… take care of yourself. I worried about you already and if I end up having to do it again, I'll be very upset," she says, her tone teasing, but it's a true enough statement.

"I take your gratitude as charity, but will feel no shame in it," Dema states, solemnly, "and I will stay well. This I do well." But he doesn't quite have the self pity to openly add 'too well'. A guilty conscience weighs heavy, but confession is a way of shoving some of the burden onto others.

Dema closes his eyes, takes another deep breath, and the dream images fade away, plunging Lynette into total darkness. "I will let you sleep," he says, voice coming from what sounds like all directions, "maybe we will speak again. But do not let me in so easily. If you want to show me gratitude… lessen my crime by stopping." Stopping what should be obvious. Be he doesn't repeat the name, itself a word for repetition.

As that darkness settles in, Lynette can only listen to the voice, and close her eyes against that particular request. "Damnit," she voices more to herself than anything, since she's not even sure he's still around. "I… really wish I could…" She admits to the dark, a sense of regret settling over the dream.

And it colors her sleep, as her own dreams fade back in, with an all too familiar forest already smelling of fire.

It is possible this won't be peaceful sleep.

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