The Cell


dante_icon.gif delia2_icon.gif

Scene Title The Cell
Synopsis Dante dreams of being on the other side of the law, or is it someone dreaming for him?
Date November 20, 2010

The Dungeon

The constant drip of water splashing against the stone floor of the cell is enough to drive a man insane. The simple scattering of straw along the floor is all the bedding allowed for criminals here. They have no rights, once thrown in there's nothing for them to do but sit and wait out their sentences.

Moonlight pours through the barred window, illuminating the small room enough to introduce the faces of each of the guests within. In one corner, a young woman with bright red curls that extend past her shoulders hugs a fur bundle to her chest. The opposite wall is host to a man with dark hair, one that she should be quite familiar with but her eyes carry no memory of him whatsoever. The expression on her face is something akin to fear as she awaits his next action.

What he did to get thrown in the cell with Delia Ryans, Dante may never know. What he does know is that he has nothing but the clothes on his back. She is wearing the same white dress that she seems to wear in almost all of his dreams, though now it's dirty and a little ragged. She also has that roll of fur that she's clinging to as though her very life depended on it. Perhaps it does.

There hasn't been a guard to visit them since they were thrown in together. How long that was, neither of them could begin to guess. Time is fleeting and has no meaning, not in prison.

Dante carries the marks of many, many long days of isolation. His linen pants are tattered and stained all over with ground in dirt. His shirt is threadbare, worn through at the back and elbows, becoming transparent with time and no longer a protection against the cold of the walls. He stares blankly at Delia, his pale eyes unfocused. He's slumped back against the wall, elbows resting on his upraised knees. Slowly, he sniffs and drops his gaze down to the tray of food sitting in the middle of the cell, halfway between them.

The silence lingers on, the surly man seeming unmoved by the fear in Delia's eyes.

"So…what are you in for?" Dante's voice is gravelly and hoarse from disuse, sounding like a millstone grinding his words together.

"I'm — I… " Her crime is a defiance of taboo, something made clear to Dante when she lifts her eyes to him again and he can see the forbidden color, dull as it may be. Though her eyes have turned nearly grey, there's still enough blue in them to mark her as a witch. "I have bad eyes," she says quietly, admitting the crime to him.

They lower again, shaded by her lashes as she hunches over the bundle of fur even more, trying to become as small as she possibly can. "Wh-what are you here for? Are you a witch too?" Her question is rather innocent, he could be here for any number of crimes ranging from theft to murder. Obviously not witchcraft since his eyes are quite dark.

Dante's eyebrows raise when he sees the color of Delia's eyes, and he looks baffled for a moment. Something about her eyes is important…something… oh right. He sneers in disgust, more out of propriety than any real emotion.

"Hmm…" Dante thinks for a moment, head tilting to the side as he quietly inspects Delia. "I harbored a witch," he says quietly, lacking any kind of remorse in his voice. If anything, he sounds a little distracted. His eyes narrow. "How old are you?"

"I— I don't know," old enough to know how old she is, most definitely, but her answer claims against it. The distant rumble of thunder through the window catches her attention and she actually stands, carrying the bundle toward the window with her. Peeking out through the bars, her chin barely makes it to the sill of the chiseled opening to peer out.

"Do you know what they're going to do to you?" Delia asks quietly before turning and angling her to one side. She regards him with a mix of curiosity and caution. Should he get up and attack her, she doesn't look as though she could put up much of a fight. On the contrary, she looks exhausted, like she hasn't slept in days. "They're going to cut my eyes out."

Well, witches are known for being forgetful. … aren't they? Dante gives his head a shake, not going to bother with that train of thought right now. "Kill me, I think. Or cut my hands off."

As Delia stands, Dante's eyes follow like they were linked to her by a chain. As she looks back, he tilts his head up and rolls it from side to side, slowly and loudly cracking his neck with a few grunts. "Rrrrgh… That'll be a damn shame. I like blue eyes m'self. I wonder if that's why I kept the witch quiet?" Another thought, and another shake of his head. Instead, he nods to the plate in the middle of the floor.

"Y'should eat before it gets too cold."

"I'm not hungry," she answers quietly, possibly a lie, witches are known to do that too. That and poison food. Which could be a reason why she hasn't eaten a thing since she got here. Sliding down the wall, she sits back down, this time a little closer to Dante.

The young redhead stays where she is for only the span of a moment or two before she shifts even closer and closer still. Until she's within distance to whisper to him. "I need to leave here, will you help me get out?" Resting her chin on the fur she's carring, she watches him carefully. Oddly enough, even though her dress is stained with dirt and grass, she still smells like a combination of lavender and mint. Normally, the smell would be used to lull a baby to sleep.

As she sits closer to him, Dante's expression changes for the first time to something resembling surprise. He glances over at this…admittedly pretty girl, wrapped up and vulnerable-looking. "You know… When they catch you escaping, it will make your punishment worse," he says, coolly and flatly, his gaze on her calculating yet unthreatening, "The ones who run always get the worst of it."

Her scent slowly starts to fill the room, and Dante's nostrils flare, eyes widening just a little as it tugs at hidden, hazy memories. He's as far from a baby as one could imagine, and it's stirring up different feelings in him.

"I can't stay, I have to find something or else I'll never get to leave here." The honest admission comes with the heavy weight that Delia's trapped somewhere that isn't the cell. "Will you help me?" The roll of fur is held even tighter to her chest as she awaits the answer from her fellow prisoner. The redhead watches Dante curiously as his brown eyes widen and she tilts her head a little as she tries to decipher exactly what's going on in his mind.

Once again, she pushes herself to a standing position and tiptoes toward the window. The rumbling thunder getting a little closer as she peers up at the sky, unable to see down simply because she's just not tall enough. "I could fit through the window if we could get the bars off…"

Dante blinks, and narrows his eyes at Delia, tilting his chin down when hers go up. Defensive, cautious, observant. A tightening of his jaw is the only response to her plea, and he stays still and silent until she stands and turns away.

The wind from outside ruffles Delia's hair, and though she tries, the world below the window is just beyond her view. Until a shadow falls over her from behind, and the redhead's hips are taken in two strong hands, and she's lifted ponderously off her feet, letting her see more outside the window.

"The top of the rightmost bar is loose. If we have something to dig with, we can work the stone loose and get a hole big enough for you to fit through." A tiny redhead, but not a strong male like Dante.

Placing a hand on Dante's shoulder to steady herself, Delia peers out of the window to see what lays beyond the walls of their prison. Her eyes turn to glance at him out of the corner of her eye and then down at the top of his head. "What about you? If we take all of the bars out, will you be able to get out too?"

Slipping from his grip, she slides back down to her bare feet and turns to face him. From his vantage over her, the inside of the bundle is open and the gleaming hilt of a sword can be seen. With one pale hand, she reaches into it and pulls out an obsidian chess piece. A king with his pointed at twirls between her fingertips as she gazes up at him. Whether the stone piece is strong enough to burrow through the rock is uncertain, the sill doesn't seem to look very sturdy at all.

"I don't want to leave you behind if I go… you might get in trouble."

Dante just makes a noncommital noise, looking past Delia as he keeps her lifted up, eyeing the landscape beyond with a neutral scowl. His eyes turn up to her as she slides down again, and he leans over the much shorter girl to peer down past the bars. This close, she can smell the scent of many, many days living in one place, without much in the way of bathing. Yet, he smells musky more than anything. Like earth and life, mixed together and formed out of wet clay.

After many long moment of thought, Dante glances down to the redhead before him, and he quietly takes the chess piece from her hand. "If I stay behind, I can buy you time. Otherwise, you won't have any chance to escape." Gently, hand on her shoulder, he nudges her aside so he can get to work on bars. "Keep watch. Let me know if the guard is coming."

Delia's head goes to the side as Dante begins his work. "I can get away…" she murmurs, mostly for her own benefit. Her doubts as to how fast she's able to go without adequate distraction aren't voiced. Instead she reaches into the bundle again and pulls out the gleaming sword with a jewel encrusted hilt, readying it against attack.

Her stance is nothing greater than novice, not practiced holding a weapon, she doesn't align herself to her stance or the blade properly. It would take anyone with an amateur's level of expertise three seconds to disarm her, at the most. Still, she eyes the door and waits while the careful scratching of the stone against stone whittles her path to safety.

Dante glances back at the telltale sound of a metal blade slipping out into the open, and his eyes widen. "What are you doing with that?" he asks, his voice lowering to a hiss before looking around the dungeon they're in. Thankfully, there are no other nearby prisoners to spy on them. "Are you going to kill the guard when he comes by?" Still, he keeps up chipping at the stone, making each sharp chiseling motion forceful and deliberate.

"I-if I have to… yes I will." Delia's voice trembles, not exactly confidence inspiring but it's all she has right now. Staring at the locked door, she concentrates on the sound of the chiseling behind her, trying to block out all of the fear in her. Softly, the off-key humming of a slow jazz song can be heard just under the scratching of Dante's efforts. The redhead's eyes brighten even more before she stops and turns to gaze at the man working on the window.

The tip of the sword lands with a heavy clink against the slab floor and the huming stops as she stares at him with narrowed eyes. "What's your name?" The question is so soft that it's barely above a whisper. Her lips form an 'o' as tries to mouth what she finally remembers but all that is is a hushed 'Loo'.

"You'll get yourself killed," Dante mutters under his breath, shaking his head and going back to the window, chipping slowly and purposefully away.

The clink of metal chipping at stone makes him jump, and he half-turns towards Delia, frowning and looking about to say something. Her question catches him by surprise, and he answers without thinking, "Dante." There's a blink, and he shakes his head. "What's yours?" He turns a little more towards her, the king still held in his upraised hand.

"Dante," she repeats slowly as she balances the sword on its tip and then leans heavily against it. "I thought maybe it was something else." Her head cants to the side as she considers him for a brief moment before lifting one corner of her mouth into a minute half smile. "I'm… uhm… D—"

She pauses for a little while and closes her eyes, squeezing them up at the corners as she concentrates. "I'm…" After a moment or two, her eyes open and she shakes her head, not quite certain of the answer. "I think.. maybe Delia?"

"Delia?" Something about that name sparks sleepy memories, and Dante's eyes unfocus. Images of a chase go through his head. Flashes of red and striking blue eyes filter through his mind's eye. He shakes his head again, stopping at his chipping as he puts a palm to his temple. "Delia…You are… I know you! How do I…?"

Without warning, he feels dizzy. Dante stumbles in place, having to put one hand out to the wall. The chess piece falls from his grasp, clattering loudly against the stone floor.

When Dante drops the chess piece, Delia is all too quick to snatch it up like a precious heirloom. Even though he'd been using it as a tool and it could have broken, she is loathe to lose it. She can handle a chip, she can't handle forgetting where it came from.

She places the sword back into the fur bundle carefully and hitches it to her back. Then, gripping the black king carefully between both of her hands, she watches the dizzy man silently. She's torn between edging closer and giving him a hand to hold and running to the opposite side of the cell to cower and hide.

Dante's wobbling is surprising and disturbing to the man, and he gives a shake of his head. The world spins and jerks in his vision, and it looks like he might topple over. Until his gaze unfocuses, head slowly tilting to the side…and he looks up at Delia, frowning like he'd just noticed her. "We were doing something. What were we doing?" He seems confused, as he stoops towards the floor, hand closing around…empty space, where the chess piece used to be.

"Y-you… you should sit, maybe…" Decision made, Delia reaches forward and wraps one arm around Dante's shoulder while curling the other around the front of the one closest to her. Insistently, she ushers him down to the floor, kneeling beside him. One hand slips to his forehead, feeling it for temperature while the other keeps the large man steady. "How are you feeling? You seemed… I don't know.. You seemed strange for a minute…"

The redhead's eyes brighten to a soft blue hue as she stares down at him, a worried expression painted over her features. "Do you want some water? I can… I can collect some… or food?" The water might not be so tasty, the food is likely cold, but it's something.

"I…started to remember something, and the world got weird." Dante lets himself be lowered to the ground, still blinking as he puts a hand idly on Delia's knee. She's an anchor, something to keep him steady for the moment. He looks down at his other hand in a closed fist, opens it, and seems perturbed to find there's nothing in it. "No…no, I'm good. We…what were we doing? It was important, before the guards get back." Seems he has something of a one-track mind, now.

The young redhead's eyes drift from the large man's face to the warm hand on her knee. There's an audible gulp as she slowly extracates herself from under his grip and crawls backward a few feet away from him to lean against the wall. "It's alright, I can wait…" she murmurs, watching the moon through the barred window. It's large pasty face seems to smile down at her, mocking her, as she sits in the pile of straw.

Drawing her knees up to her chest, she hugs them tightly. Her eyelids slide down halfway, covering her blue irises and masking the truth in her expression. "If I could have any kind of dessert I wanted, I think I would want some pie." It's random conversation, but the train of her though is leaning toward 'last meal'.

Dante blinks as Delia moves away from him, her knee slipping out from under his tough hand. Watching her slip away, his eyes finally focus…and the man looks sad for a moment. Interminably sad, though a tightening of his jaw pushes it away. "What kind of pie?" he asks, rising to his feet and, like he was doing it in his sleep (ha ha), he turns to tug at the bar on the window, trying to get it loose.

"Cherry is my favorite… then pumpkin…" Delia is silent for a moment as she watches the large man wrestle with the barred window. Her eyes drift over his form for a long while, until he almost has the bar freed from its mooring. Then, she takes a deep breath inward and breathes a single name. "Lupinetti…" the name she knows him by.

The flood of memories isn't much more than the trickle of a mountain spring, different dreams that he's been a part of. That she's been a part of in his mind. Perhaps in the beginning her construct, but that might be what the large Russian was talking about. "Peach pie is my third favorite… the cream kind not the plain fruit one."

"Hmmm?" Dante glances over at Delia in mild surprise at the mention of his last name, though he frowns again. "Have we worked together or something?" he asks, in bafflement, still idly working at that bar, his arms stretched above his head to make his shirt rise up his back a little. His feet are bare and dirty. "What about chocolate?"

"Worked together? No… I…" reluctant to divulge anything else, the young redhead falls silent and lowers her gaze to the floor. She chews on her lower lip and shakes her head, "I've never met you before… Not really." It's a partial truth, but in such close quarters, there's nowhere for her to run. Except for breaking the spell, which might leave her stranded somewhere even less pleasant.

"But you knew my name…" Dante's attention is fully on Delia now, and his forehead furrows with deep, worried thought. "I swear, I know you from somewhere…" He starts to tilt again, that dizziness returning…and he stumbles to the side, that bar on the window coming off in his hand.

"Dreams are not trifles. They are games with high stakes."

The large Russian's words echo through Delia's head as she squints at Dante. The man is obviously in distress and it pains the young woman to see him like this. Gritting her teeth, she pushes up off the floor and rushes over to him, taking the bar from his hand and placing the other on his shoulder to steady him.

"We haven't met… really…" she begins, the remorseful expression as she takes a large breath isn't enough. "We've met in your dreams." Hoping she won't have to give him more reason beyond that, she stares up at him. The corners of her lips downturned with worry over his demeanor. "You— you chased me."

Dante blinks slowly, his eyelids suddenly feeling heavy as his head fills with helium. He's almost too much for her to hold up, but Dante gets his feet under him, to look down at redhead with the stunning blue eyes before him. When she takes his shoulder, he straightens again, head clearing a little.

"Did I?" Two hands come up to rest on her shoulders…and hold tight. One side of his mouth slowly curls upwards.

"Caught you," he says, dreamily.

Her shoulders being held a little too tight is something of a worry to the young woman. Her wide blue eyes, light up with fear as his fingers dig into her skin to hold her in place. Removing her hands from his shoulder, she tries to twist out of his grip but he's just a bit too strong.

"Y-you can't catch me…" she realizes and glances up to meet his gaze. "Y-you're…" He's what. "You just can't catch me." Her worry isn't being caught, it's what happens afterward. As Delia sets her jaw defiantly, she puts a false expression of bravado on her visage and narrows her eyes up at Dante. "And what are you going to do? Keep me here forever?"

Dante's gaze is still distant, distracted, as if focused on something beyond Delia. Something that's not her… The tight grip doesn't last for long, however, as his hands loosen until he's just holding her by the shoulders, looking down at where his strong fingers curl over her dainty shoulders.

"I caught you already," he says with a chuckle, patting her shoulder, "Can't really remember why I wanted to… What, here?" Dante looks up past Delia's shoulders, around all the dreary dungeon, and he frowns. "No, probably not. Why? Did you do something wrong, where you should be here?" Apparently, the "witch" thing has been forgotten.

Giving the man something of a dubious stare, Delia tilts her head somewhat and purses her lips in thought. "No, I don't belong here…" Pulling her pack to her chest, she slips the bar into it and hugs it tightly against herself. "You should help me to get out." The offer to take him with her no longer stands, apparently. The young woman's wild red hair blows forward from the breeze coming through the window and she turns to look behind her at the large moon.

Her profile, outlined by the silvery light is set into a frown before she shifts her attention back to Dante. "Help me get out, I can't stay here. I need my eyes to finish my quest so I can go home."

Dante turns a quick glance up to the window, his attention focusing finally away from some distant thoughts, and the man comes back to reality. He looks urgently from the window to the far door, and back to Delia. There's a setting of his jaw, and a determined nod to her request before he steps around behind her. "Quest?" he asks, curiously, "Is that what that sword is for?" One day, it will occur to him to wonder why the guards let her keep it.

Whatever reality is…

"Yes," even the young woman doesn't know how she was able to keep all of her belongings. Perhaps because events shifted and she was suddenly just there. With one final look at him, she swings the pack onto her back and places her hands up on the window ledge to start pulling herself up. Without his help, she manages to scramble halfway up the wall, her bare feet using the crevices between the stones as footholds.

"I need a lift…" she whispers hurriedly, kicking her legs a little to give herself some wiggle room. Snaking out the window, she manages to get caught up at the waist, unable to edge any further.

Delia is just starting to make that request, when Dante's hands close on her hips, and she finds herself being lifted easily up towards the window. And when she gets her waist through the window, he cups his hands underneath her feet, giving her a pushoff surface.

"How far is it down on the other side?" he asks, sounding suddenly worried.

A worried gaze down to the ground far below proves it to be too long of a stretch for her height. It would be a dangerous fall, especially with the rocks at the bottom. "Uhm… Not bad?" The squeak at the end of her answer might be construed as lying, which would be the absolutely correct assumption to make. "I can do it.." With another grunt, she pulls herself up to sit on the ledge, holding herself upright by hanging onto the remaining bar.

The window is too small to stay there for long, with a glimpse behind her, she gives Dante a soft and sad smile. "Dante… it was nice meeting you here…" Then with a deep swelling breath, she closes her eyes. "I can't visit you again, you're nowhere near where I need to go." The simple explanation seems to be more than enough for her, possibly nothing to him. "You should wake up now…" she breathes, blowing a wisp of sweet scented air into his face.

The squeak in her voice is impossible to miss, even if Dante didn't have his Ability. When she rises up, he takes hold of her waist, keeping her steady as he stretches up to look down as well, frowning. "If it's too far, don't jump yet. Let me help you." And with that vaguely prophetic comment, Dante looks up, in time to catch the puff of breath against his face.

"What?" Dante asks to the ceiling of his bedroom. He blinks in the dark of the early morning before sitting upright, the covers falling away from his body as he looks around quickly. Frowning, he scans slowly around the room, the gears turning… and he curses, leaping out of bed and crossing over to the window in two quick steps, throwing it open to the frigid winter air. His head pokes out and he scans the streets, muttering under his breath. "Goddammit, Ryans…where are you??"

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