The White Room


delia2_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title The White Room
Synopsis There's no snow, but Nick provides Delia with a white Christmas and he's got a plan to give her the best gift of all. Life.
Date December 25, 2010

The Mind of Nick Ruskin

Autopilot got Nick back to his Brooklyn apartment, out of the tux and into the shower. The steaming hot water pours over his bowed head until the heat runs out and it turns cold, leaving him shivering, teeth chattering and forced to step out. The empty apartment is cold, the steam heat sputtering to life for the first time in weeks as Nick pulls clean clothes on and moves to the bed. There's something he's supposed to do, something he promised someone, but he can't remember what it is.

Sleep overtakes him swiftly, and the cold gray light that permeates his apartment fades and deepens into darkness.

Soon enough the gray light returns, then brightens to stark white, neither a warm nor inviting sort of light — instead it is cold, emanating from a single lightbulb in a concrete room, with Nick sitting a chair in the center of the room. Gagged. Handcuffed. There is no one else present, nor a door nor window for them to enter the room.

What starts out as a little fizzle of what seems to be television static turns into a three dimensional formless blob just off Nick's peripheral vision to his right. It hovers in the air as it takes shape and solidifies into the sleeping form of a redheaded woman, at least she's trying to sleep. Her eyes are slightly open, staring toward Nick but not at him, as though she's seeing right through him.

From the instant she becomes whole, her body hovers in the air for just a split second before her eyes widen in shock and a scream pierces the air. It's cut off by a thud as her body lands on the floor and then eclipsed with a groan as Delia picks herself up off the floor. She's wearing the same clothing she always wears, the bright white sundress. It's the same color as the room, except on her isn't not cold, the color of her skin and hair warm the bleached fabric.

Gathering her bearings for a moment, she looks around and then moves toward the chair in the center of the room. Leaning in front of Nick, her hands reach for his face and she tugs at the gag.

Black lashes flutter past icy blue eyes as Nick blinks, then raises his gaze to her, shaking his head. He can't turn away, bound as he is, but he can turn his head and avert his eyes from hers.

"I didn't mean to wake you," he manages thickly, roughly, as if the gag has made his mouth dry and his throat raw. "Or pull you from your room."

His brows twitch and he peers at his surroundings, so very different from the vast wastelands she's visited him in before. "This ain't good," he adds.

"How long have I been asleep?" It's a strange way of putting whatever it is that happens to her when he wakes up. All she knows is that he's able to carry her somehow. Though the young woman is still thin, she looks much better rested now that she's with him than she has been. Perhaps the lack of trying to stay whole is doing Delia some good rather than all of the worry she's been put through up to invading Nick's brain. "It's okay, waking me up— It means I can talk to you some more."

The redhead has been quite lonely as a drifter.

She doesn't seem bothered by his aversion to looking at her. In fact, it doesn't actually deter her from moving in close enough to untie the gag from around his neck and pulling it away from him completely. Once that is done, she wraps it around her wrist and then crouches to look at the handcuffs. "Where's the key, Nick." She doesn't ask as much as state in accusation, as though she believes he has it.

"Donno. Lost track of time," Nick says with a shake of his head, then glances over his shoulder at her. "The key? I don't have it. Listen, you should go — they must be coming to talk to me, maybe to punish me. You shouldn't be here. You — you shouldn't be near me at all, Czerworny."

He swallows, eyes narrowing as he tries to remember why he feels guilty, why seeing her makes her feel like he's let her down somehow, that it's bad for her to be near him. "You need to go. It's not safe," he whispers urgently.

His whisper is cut off by a solitary finger pressed against his lips. "Don't." Delia whispers back, her blue eyes fix on his, wide and still rather innocent in expression. She doesn't let up on the hold on his lips, instead she presses a little more firmly as to make her point. "Don't tell me it's not safe," she continues, her earnest expression highlighted by the slight furrow of her eyebrows. "This is the safest I've felt in a long time… Knowing that I can just rest and I don't have to keep running or walking. I'm not leaving no matter what you say."

Pulling her finger away, she finally allows him the chance at rebuttal but not before kneeling down beside him and staring up at his face. Reaching forward, she feels along the handcuffs, hoping for some trick catch or switch that will release them. The bright side of him being locked up, he can't physically push or drag her away.

Nick's brows furrow and he closes his eyes, shaking his head as she pulls her hand away. "'m glad you feel safe, Czerwony, but what if it ain't? I think — I think I almost died, last night, and what if you were with me? What would happen to you?"

His eyes open and he drops his gaze to the handcuffs, lifting his palms in a helpless motion. His hands tremble as he stares down at them. "I'm trapped here, but you don't 'ave t'be."

"I— " With that one syllable, Delia's voice trembles and then cracks. She finally drops her gaze from his, in almost a shamed countenance. She stays that way for only a half a moment before she tightens her jaw and looks up at him again. "If you had died last night, then I wouldn't have been alone when I did… I don't want to die but dying alone is the worst thing, I think."

She stops then and places her palm down on his and clasps his hand. "You shouldn't be trapped, Nick… This should be a nice place for you not…" Reluctantly, she tears her eyes off him to looks around the room and wave her other hand at their surroundings. "..not this."

His eyes dart up when she speaks of dying alone and then flit away again. He swallows, closing his eyes and leaning his head back to stare up at that lightbulb.

"I was supposed to help you," he says flatly, shaking his head. "Somehow. I don't remember, and now you're trapped in here with me instead of getting to be where you need to be."

He lets his head fall back to where he can see her. "As much as I like the company, Red, I ain't equipped to have tea parties and the like 'ere. You might wanna go somewhere with better amenities. Friendlier neighbors who ain't gonna put you in handcuffs."

"You are helping me," the young woman says in a rather quiet tone. If it were that easy to dissuade her from anything, she might never have gotten into this sort of a mess. Meeting his eyes again, her face takes on a rather pitiable expression. "Don't make me go, please. You don't know what it's like to be lost and alone… to not know if your next step is going to be your last one." He probably does but she's not exactly the expert on everything Nick…. yet.

"I— I can just hide somewhere, you won't even know I'm here, if that's what you want." It's a concession that's she's willing to give him, though the thought of where she might hide could give him pause. At least when she's pestering him, she's not digging around in his head. She squeezes his hand slightly, perhaps as something of an incentive to letting her have her way.

Nick brings his head down to his hands, raking through the short hair in frustration. "I do know what that's like, Czerwony. My life — it's never been safe."

He lifts his head to look at her. "That's why it ain't safe for you. You've got a body that ain't 'ad every bit of good beaten and burned and shot out of it like mine 'as. You got people what love you waitin' for you to get back to-"

Somehow without thinking too hard about it, the truth he was trying to remember, what he was supposed to be doing, slipped into his words. "If I go to her, you, you can be safe in your self, yeah?"

"Y-yes… " Scrambling to a stand, Delia has a stunned expression on her face, like she can't exactly believe what she's hearing. Her soft hands smooth over his, gliding up to his wrists. The handcuffs spring free and vanish as her eyes search his her eyebrows twitching a little, like she's searching to see if he's telling a lie. "Yeah, you could take me there."

A soft breath of a laugh escapes her just before she practically throws herself at the agent, hugging him tightly. "You know where my body is…" She closes her eyes and rests her head against his shoulder. Her body seems confused, like it can't decide whether it wants to laugh or cry… Maybe a little of both. So the little huffs are accompanied by sniffles (and the redhead wiping her eyes on Nick's shirt).

"I think I do. I can't… I can't remember now but I think I do, when I'm awake," Nick says quietly, brows knitting in concentration to try to grasp at the memories but the mist of slumber keeps them out of reach. He looks uncertain about what to do with the girl crying on his shoulder, but one hand awkwardly pats her shoulder as the other curls around her waist.

"Can you … make it so I remember better, when I wake up? I don't want to forget again," he says a little tentatively.

Lifting her head, Delia licks her lip and chews on the bottom one as she studies Nick. "Maybe? I've never tried." She holds her breath for a moment, trying to capture the sniffles that keep interrupting her when she speaks. One of her hands winds back around to the front and she wipes at her eyes, drying them of her tears. "I can try though, what do you— I guess I'm the one that's supposed to know how to do it, huh?" She smiles again, this time a little wider, her lips quirking a little further to one side forcing it crooked.

She sobers and nods a little, indicating that she's ready and then rests her free hand on her lap. "Uhm… I can uhm… I'm at Redbird, I don't know where. I just know that I'm supposed to look for Brian."

The Brian that was supposed to shoot him last night while he was trying to get away from the building. "Redbird. That's not where I left you last time," Nick murmurs, brows knitting together. "But I'll find it, all right?"

He reaches up to tug one of her red curls. "Not to get rid of you, Czerwony. You're about the only good thing in this place o'mine. But for your own good."

"You left me somewhere?" Delia's confused shake of the head along with a tiny twitch of her eyebrows is indicative of her just not quite understanding. "You had me? Where did you leave me?" Realization dawns on her and she lets out a long drawn out 'oooooooohhhhhhh'. "From the island, to Jaiden's?"

Catching his hand before the tug gets too far, the redhead wrinkled her nose and narrows her eyes. "I knew you liked my company. Faker." She can't help but smile as a little bit of a happy glow spreads over her cheeks. Some might call it a blush but Delia won't claim it if accused.

"Jaiden's. Right, that's the bloke's name," Nick says. "But you're at Redbird now — that's a security place, ain't it? Something… I don't know. I can't think straight 'ere." The stark light above is less garish, growing softer and more diffused as the walls around them seem to fall into shadow. They might still be there, but they're no longer visible, making the room seem less claustrophobic, less closed in. Less trapped.

It also means he's probably starting to slip away.

"I used to think that they sold home alarms and stuff but I guess they do more than that. I met the lady that owned the place a couple of times." Delia admits with a little bit of a smile, her one armed hold on him only tightens as the lights dim in the room. Again, she's unwilling to let him go too easily even though she knows she can't keep him.

With a soft sigh, she rests her forehead against his and nods a little, closing her eyes. "I'll see you again soon?" In his dreams is implied. Her free arm reaches to his hand and she clasps it tightly, squeezing it. "Go to Redbird and find Brian, I'll be able to do the rest."

Nick nods. "I'll try," he murmurs, but is already slipping away into the shadows as he is pulled toward the surface of his consciousness, the room melting away once more — no chair, no table, no lightbulb but just darkness for her to make of her little corner of his mind what she will.

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