The Serpent's Lesson


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Scene Title The Serpent's Lesson
Synopsis Kaylee finds a missing piece to her puzzle while Delia's exploration land her in a heap of trouble.
Date August 29, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore

Nestled in the heart of the main street marketplace, the Ichihara Bookstore is an old and crooked structure pressed between two newer high-rise tenement buildings. The old glass windows and creaking wooden door on the shop's front give it a rustic and old-world feel. Catering to both antique books and newer prints, the narrow aisles and tall shelves are packed full of literature. A single shelf for periodicals lies near the front counter, while signage both out front by the register and in the back of the store indicates that tarot card reading is done on-site at request for ten dollars per reading.

Behind the old and weathered wooden counter that contains the register and a small stack of reserved books, a narrow wooden staircase leads upwards to a black wooden door with peeling paint, revealing red paint in narrow strips beneath, a rope crossing in front of that door hangs with a small sign that reads, "Private".

The morning light streams into the tiny bookstore, making the dust particles in the air glitter and glow, like minuscule fireflies. It's quiet there, the sign turned to say 'Closed,' since technically, this was a day off for the bookstores employee's.

Kaylee Thatcher missed a whole week of work, thanks to Hiro Nakamura dropping her back in a bit later then they planned. That meant she was a week behind in her work on the inventory and getting on the laptop. To make up for it, she decided to come in Early on Sunday and make up for the lost time.

What she didn't plan on, was a sleepless night spent tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep without jerking awake scared out of her wits. Recent events have left her a little jumpy.

Perched behind the counter, laptop in front of her, the telepath had been working diligently for a few hours, before the first might yawn hit her. Each yawn made her eyes water and drug her down, making it hard for her to concentrate on the letters on the screen. Maybe she could just lay her head on the counter for a few moments.

It was sound logic for Kaylee, leaning forward on the counter, resting her head on her arm. The screen is studied from this new perspective, mind turning over everything she still needs to do. That is until her mind decides to just… stop working and her eyes flutter shut.

That's where Delia will find her, napping.

It's been a long night for Delia, working at the hospital to catch up on her clinicals and getting a few more signed off. After a short nap of her own at home, she's back at the book store in a pair of old jeans and a ratty t-shirt. Having Lydia's trust, she's gotten a key to the back door for the sole purpose of getting the basement cleaned, like she promised. It's while before the noontime bell rings, so the young redhead is quite confident that she'll be able to put some major dents in the overstuffed dungeon before it's time to eat.

Letting herself in quietly, she walks up to the front to grab the baby monitor that she uses to listen in, just in case someone needs her. Being Sunday, the book store is closed so the sight of a blonde woman at the counter gives the redhead a little bit of a start. The blonde is sleeping, which is too much of a temptation for the redhead to resist.

Sidling up to her, she props up a stool of her own and places her hand on the other woman's arm and will herself to sleep.

The world around Delia, when she first slides into the blonde sleeping mind, is foggy though she can make out the hints of trees around her, a few leafs hang about her before the rest disappear into the thick white mist.

To her left comes a rustle of something moving through the plants. A shuffle of feet on rotting leaves on the ground. What could that be?

Delia only has a moment to ponder this, before an arm slides around her neck and jerking her back. The mist slides away, revealing an post-apocalyptic New York landscape, with trees thrusting up out of the ground spreading their limbs as they reach for the sky. They look a lot like oak trees, but apples hang from the branches.

"What are you doing here?" The words are whispered fiercely in her ear. "Are you with the woman with the eyepatch?" She can't see the woman holding her with an arm firmly around her neck, only a hint of blonde hair out of the corner of her eye.

"Maybe we shhhouldn't risssk it." A voice as smooth as silk caresses Delia's ears, before the head of a black snake comes into view. The slick black scales shine in the light that filters through the trees, while eyes glow a bloody red. "Sssshe will ssshow the woman where we are. We will die."

If Delia decided to leave, she'll find out…

She can't leave.

Woman with an eyepatch? What? Delia is caught by surprise and freezes, her eyes darting in every direction as she tries to figure out something to do. "No.. No I won't show anyone… I promise. Please don't kill me…" Dying inside of a dream is an unknown place that the redhead really doesn't want to explore.

After a moment's panic, the redhead looks at the snake and concentrates. Try as she might, she can't seem to control the serpent, something that has never happened before. She's always had the control. Her eyes flit to the ground and then to the sky, a crease forming between her eyebrows.

"Why is New York all burned? And… apple trees? What's going on?" Her confused questions come in a whisper as she tries to turn her head to look at the blonde woman.

That diamond shaped black head moves closer to the redhead's face and it cocks a little to one side. The thin forked tongue flickers out for a moment, before it hisses out. "There issss a woman. Sssshe almost killed usss." Us? "Sssshe travels through time. Ssshe may find usss."

"Dad said not to trust Hiro, only Sullivan. Maybe that's why." There is frightened uncertainty there.

"Ssshe is a danger to usss." The black snake hisses out, Delia can feel the belly scales slide along her shoulder and out of sight. "But you are the bosss."

"I- I don't think she's knows. So it's fine." The arm around Delia's throat loosen just a little, but she isn't let go of just yet. The next word out of the blonde's mouth are directed to the redhead again. "You shouldn't be here." There is a touch of accusation to those words.

"Who are you?" The arm lets the dream walker go, with a little push to her back to put distance between them. The black snake drapes lazily about Kaylee's shoulders, head weaving back and forth subtly. The blond herself stands wearing a tattered and worn summer dress, bu her feet are bare and smudged with dirt.

Delia stumbles forward as she's pushed away. Nearly collapsing onto her knees, she manages to regain her footing and she jerks her head around to face her. Her blue eyes immediately go wide at the sight of the blonde. "It's you…" she breathes out in her shock. "I… " There's fear in the dreamwalker's eyes as her breathing turns shallow and quick.

Immediately their surrounding swirl and change, the ground drops from underneath them and they are floating above a boat. The redhead is sitting among a group of people, crying and huddling together. She seems bewildered, lost, detached, alone. And quite hopeless.

There's shouting, arguing among the people controlling the boat. They need to leave, now. The other wants the to wait, there's more. There's so many more… but they wait for two. One of them is an unconscious blonde. The one floating beside the dreamwalker. She's been shot.

The blonde stares at Delia as the world changes and the world smells of salt water and people. Her head tilts back to watch a helicopter fly past with the heavy whomp whomp of the rotors. "What the…" She looks at the Delia now for the first time, before she fades from view…. but not for the reason she thinks. The world around the redhead shifts til she's standing on the docks.

People suddenly rush past her towards a where Kaylee fades back into view, behind held up by an unknown woman. "Oh god! What happened?" Someone asks, spotting Kaylee practicality hanging from the person supporting her. One hand is clutched to her side, covered in thick and sticky blood.

The blonde woman's vision plays out before the redhead. The call to get the woman on the boat… to hurry.

She gets to watch as with a cry of dispair, Kaylee pushes people away, shouting that she won't go anywhere til she know's where Peter is. When woman takes a step forward, her legs give out from under her and she crumples to the ground.

It's like the pieces of a puzzle coming together as Kaylee is caught from cracking her head on the dock, and scooped up by the man that Delia saw. He hurries toward the boat.

This is where Delia looses control of her side of the dream, unknown to her the telepath is drawing that memory to the forefront. The world is a blur as it shifts back to where it started, the boat. Again Kaylee stands wearing that dress watching the vision play out, almost like a ghost watching over her body. Tears glisten in her eyes as the man shouts about her being shot while helping kids.

Slowly people fade away, leaving to two woman on the boat. "Well…" She says after a long moment. "Now I know why." The words whispered.

"Sssaving the children." There is the same soft tone in those silken words. "It's a noble reassson."

"Right." Kaylee grumbles softly, not completely convinced, as she sits heavily on one of the benches. Blue eyes lift to focus on the redhead across from her. "Who are you?" The question is a demand now, brows furrowing a little. "I can pull it out of you, but I'd rather not do that."

"Delia," is the simple answer and the redhead fades out of sight, though the blonde can still feel her there. The world around Kaylee swirls to a blur that lightens and turns brown before steadying to a mangled version of the bookstore. It's the view of the store that the redhead has, a happy and relaxing place. The rich brown wood fleck with gold highlights and deep walnut undertones, the smell of aged texts fills the air, and the sunlight that filters through the windows gives the place a somewhat ethereal glow.

Kaylee can see the redhead now, sitting in a corner with a romance novel in her hand. Her hair is bound up at the crown just like the woman on the cover of her book. The customers milling around her are the men painted on the fronts of each of the covers.

That's when the real redhead fades into view beside Kaylee, she's smiling at the vision in front of them. "I work at the book store, I guess you do too. What's your name?"

"Kaylee." Comes the answer from the blonde, her clothes taking on the look of the jeans and t-shirt she wore today. "I worked here when Hokuto owned it still." She says it like she somehow knows Delia would know the other person who sits in peoples dreams. "Lydia was nice enough to hire me back."

She pulls her eyes from the reading redhead, to the real one, brows furrowing. The black head of the snake watched Delia as well, he hasn't slipped away. The top of that shiny black head rubs along the jaw of the telepath like a cat would. "Ssshe must be one of them." It observes softly, tongue flicking out to taste the air in Delia's direction.

"I kinda figured." Kaylee says blandly, fingers lifting to pet the snake who seems to lavish the attention. "The last time I felt so in control, Hokuto was using me and other to fight a nightmare being." The telepath doesn't come right out and say that the bad guy was Hokuto herself. "So I can only think one reason. Your one… cause Hokuto's dead."

"Hokuto," Delia frowns a little in confusion and shakes her head, "She's the lady that owned this place before Lydia?" She peers at Kaylee for a few minutes before pursing her lips a little and shaking her head. "She's… not dead, not really."

Rather than explaining the how and the why of the former owner's status among the living or dead, the redhead turns her head toward the blonde and quirks an eyebrow up. "What do you mean, felt so in control?" This is the first time I've felt so out of control. A silent addition to the Dreamwalker's thoughts, something she doesn't like.

Turning sideways on her stool, Kaylee leans against it, propped up by an elbow. "You should really pick who's dreams you invade a bit more carefully." Finger tap the side of blondes head slowly. "I am a telepath." No use holding that bit of information back. "You'll find your unable to leave my dreams."

"Sssshe can trap you here. Keep you here." The black snake hissed those words softly as it slithers down the telepath's arm to the counter, it's body coiling there to watch Delia.

"He's right." The young woman nods slowly. "In fact, til I know your not going to go blabbering who I am, I'm tempted to keep you here. Especially since I'm not registered Telepath.. only directional. Only able to put my thoughts into other's heads." A smile touches Kaylee's lips, eyes peering out from under long lashes. "And you don't want to be here when my nightmares come around. "I've been shot at too many times lately, I've haven't been sleeping well cause of it."

There is no real substance to the threat, Kaylee isn't going to hold Delia there, not without incurring Lydia's wrath. So call it a bluff.

There's a deep frown on Delia's face as Kaylee makes her threat, bluff or not. In an instant, the redhead winks out of view, though she's still there somewhere, the blonde can feel her. There's pressure in various spots in the blind's mind, like a headache trying to form. The dreamwalker is testing the barriers of the woman's mind and finding that she is quite unable to get free.

But Delia is a Ryans, somewhere in her makeup is a tenacity that doesn't die. The world whirls around and around, fading in and out of view as the scenes change, faster and faster until all Kaylee can see is a strobed version of both of their memories combined into a disjointed movie.

"Let me out!" a disembodied voice demands. The black flicks between memories fade to nothing the stream is constant and smooth. Then it stops and the redhead appears in front of the blonde. They are now floating in a black void, a comfortable medium that Delia could find in Kaylee's visions. "I'm not going to tell anyone," she says quietly, "I'm not registered at all… I'm too scared to get tested."

There is no fear in the blonde's expression as Delia tries to find a way out, to escape her little cage. If Kaylee really wanted to, she could stop it all easily, instead, she let's the woman flail around in her dreaming mind.

When Delia fades in, Kaylee is already watching that spot, her and the creepy snake. "Quite done?" She asks softly. "Not that I blame you. I was pretty freaked out about all this when Hotuko dragged me and others into a mental battle that killed a lot of people." There is a thoughtful look on the blonde's face as she studies the redhead.

She can feel it the moment that Kaylee unlocks the door, giving the younger woman a chance to escape. "Consider it a lesson on being careful, besides… " The memory starts to flicker again, frame by frame, like a slide show. The telepath turns her back to Delia to view the scene again. "You… gave me an important piece of the puzzle."

That memory, while filled in a little more, isn't quite complete, not yet. Stepping up beside Kaylee, Delia concentrates on exerting her own control and extending it for a few more frames. At the end, the blonde is unconscious, pale, and being held in place by the man she's with. It's the redhead that slides into view and looks up at him, "Excuse me, Mister? …I can help."

The dreamwalker fixes her gaze on the telepath for a long while and flattens her lips into a thin line. "If— If the visions come true," she starts slowly, blinking rapidly to avoid the collection of tears. "I promise that I'm going to do everything I can. I'll fix it, but you have to promise to hang on." She hopes they don't, the flash from the future has been the stuff of her nightmares for weeks. "Promise me, you're going to hang on."

"I can't make any promises." Kaylee says sadly, watching what's left of the scene. "I've already cheated death too many times… sooner or later, my warranty is going to expire. I'm not a cat." Her ticks up just a little with that bit of dark humor.

"I… just wish I knew, why I said the name Peter." Brows furrow and she sighs, "At least, I know why I was shot, but the mysteries remain of why and where… and why Peter. Why the ex and not…" Lips purse in her confusion. "… not someone else." She doesn't let Joseph's name pass her lips.

Her head turns a little, so that Kaylee can looks at Delia. "You won't tell a soul? Lydia knows what I am, since she's my boss, I feel she needed to know." She swallows and looks back to the scene. "Telepaths get discriminated on. One girl was kicked out of her University when it was found out that she was one." Her head shakes and her hand goes out giving a dismissive flick. "Oh they made it into a different issue, but the truth deep down was who she was… it's why I lied on my registration."

Giving the blonde a crooked grin, Delia nods a little and takes a sniffling breath. "I'm not going to tell a soul, it's not my business what you are. Besides, what kind of a person would that make me?" It's a rhetorical question, indicated by the fact that Delia turns her head to freeze the picture show. Turning to Kaylee, the room begins to whirl again and the pair drop.

When they finally land, they're in a meadow that isn't anywhere in particular. On the horizon there's deep blue mountains with snow white peaks, it's hilly with long green grass that ripples like water under the cool breeze. "This is where I like to think, you can use it… It's a nice place. You look like you need the sleep, so stay here… I'll take care of the store." In the blink of an eye, she's gone, completely.

Delia rouses from the dream and gives Kaylee a quick glance. "That… was creeptastic…" It's a good lesson though, for the first time, the redhead actually realized the danger of walking around in a random stranger's head.

By the time Kaylee wakes up, her counterpart is already in the basement, digging through a mountain of boxes. It's after lunchtime, she didn't get as much done as she hoped she would. There's always tomorrow… or the next day. If Delia's really lucky, there will be the day after that too.

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