Unpaid Debts


nick_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Unpaid Debts
Synopsis Odessa comes through for Nick with medical supplies, and the two discover they have increasingly more in common.
Date November 24, 2010

The Octagon - #108

The apartments of the Octagon are among some of the most prime pieces of rental real-estate in New York City. Bright, open, and clean, these apartments are all painted an eggshell white and feature floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a sweeping, unobstructed view of the East River and Manhattan skyline. Hardwood floors spread from wall to wall and through the spacious bedrooms and private laundry rooms complete with washer/dryer utilities.

The open-concept kitchen in the apartment features stainless steel appliances, polished granite countertops, cherry finished cabinets and ceramic floor tile with all the convenience of a modern kitchen. The bathrooms are finished with classic subway wall tile and porcelain floor tile in bathrooms with elegantly designed corner-set curved showers providing more spacious shower area along with porcelain pedestal sinks.

Each apartment comes in two or three bedroom designs, each with spacious walk-in closets with individually controlled heating and cooling. The apartment is also set up with free Cable TV and Internet hook-ups in multiple locations.

On another supply run, Nick checked his various drops and message points, including his voice mail — getting one from Odessa was a little surprising, but not unwelcome. He'd rather head to her place than spend a lonely night in the Brooklyn apartment tormented by bad dreams. And he'd certainly spend another night with her than head to the Rookery motel room with the cockroaches for company.

She's never questioned yet how he manages to get past the patrol — an Interpol badge does wonders for getting through checkpoints. Never leave home without, screw American Express.

Luckily for Nick, he had left home without it the day Samuel Sullivan pulled him from his dock last month, so it was still in his belongings in Brooklyn, along with a few other IDs. Nick York, the name he's going by, is not an ID he actually has proof of, ironically enough.

Since he saw her a week before, he looks no less tired, but a little less gaunt — even the meager food on Pollepel is more than he'd had in his time travels. His cheeks have some color from working outside; the hair is presumably growing back beneath the black tuque.

"Hey," Nick says with a half smile when she opens the door to him, immediately reaching for her waist to draw her close to him, head ducking to breathe in her neck and hair.

"Hey," Odessa murmurs with a pleased smile, allowing herself to be drawn into Nick's arms. Once he's had his fill of her scent - roses and soap - she greets him properly with a kiss. "You're looking a little better already," she observes.

Perhaps unfortunately, Odessa is dressed better than the last time they saw each other. That is, she's actually dressed for company in a grey wool skirt and a blue sweater that complements her visible eye. The patch she wears over her left eye is a darker, rich blue, like a night sky, embroidered with silver stars. "I didn't know how much I should say on the phone, but I got you those supplies you asked for."

Nick's gaze is directed toward a faded black duffel with a peeling New York Yankees logo in white. "There's some morphine, antibiotics, some of the more mundane first aid supplies… It should be enough to get whatever field hospital you're trying to supply up and running for a while. If you need anything more specific, just let me know and I'll try and get it for you." Odessa smiles, pleased with herself, and tucks a strand of her white hair behind her ear. "I should be able to give you a fairly regular flow of supplies like this, so long as you don't need too much at once."

When she says she has the medical supplies, his smile becomes more sincere, and he wraps her in a hug that is grateful and warm rather than sensual for the moment.

"Thanks, Gale. That's … I appreciate it. What d'I owe you?" he asks, shutting the door behind them as he leads her into her own apartment. "And you look nice. That's a good color on you," Nick adds, a little stilted, as if he's not used to giving a woman compliments, as if he's trying to do the right thing.

"Nothing," Odessa assures her lover, wrapping an arm around his waist as they move into her living area, her silver sequinned stripper heels sound on the floor as she meanders. "I didn't pay anything for them, neither do you."

A blush creeps into Odessa's cheeks at the compliment and she lowers herself down onto her couch, peering up at Nick with a genuine smile. "Thank you." He may be saying it because he feel like he has to be nice to her for doing him a favour, but she won't say as much. "Really, though… We're not in any traditional relationship. No flowers or meeting parents. So it's only fitting that I'm the one giving you gifts, right?"

"Right. No flowers or parents. I don't know shit about the first, and I don't have the last, so you're in luck," he says, bringing a calloused hand up to her face, cupping it and stroking her cheek with his thumb. "Unless you like the first. But then you're out of luck."

Lowering his head, Nick kisses her, first softly, then less so. "But you know. Quid pro quo. It's not a traditional relationship, but that doesn't mean you gotta give me anything. And there's no strings attached, but you're putting your neck out on the line to give me your supplies. So it's only fair if there's any favors you need — and no, those kind don't count, you get them anyway, yeah? — that I can try and repay you. Somehow. So just… keep it in mind. I do owe you. Somethin'."

"I like daisies," Gale murmurs, "and I'm an orphan." Simple. She tips her head into his hand for a moment, letting her gaze lid. "I don't feel deprived by not receiving flowers, so don't worry about remembering what I like." With her eyes closed like that, she doesn't realise Nick is leaning in to kiss her until his lips are over hers. She answers back eagerly, reaching up to mould her palm against the side of his neck, letting her fingers rest against his nape.

When he pulls away, Odessa's tongue darts between her lips, tasting him on her - Capstans mostly. She sighs softly before she looks up at him again. "I put my neck on the line for good causes because I want to, not because I think I'm going to get something in return." It's a lie. Or it used to be. She does somewhat wonder what happened to her enterprising and opportunistic nature. "But I'll give it some thought," she promises. "You don't like feeling like you're indebted to me, do you?"

He shakes his head, blue eyes dropping. "Don't like feeling indebted to no one, Gale. It's nothing personal. I just try not to welsh on shit like that, and you know I don't know how long I'll be around. My line of work — what's it they say, here today, gone tomorrow, right? If I owe people something, and have to close up shop so to speak…" he shrugs. The shrug is still that one shoulder, though the other is healed.

Nick reaches up to tuck a strand of white hair behind her ear, brows twitching just a little, the question on his lips for a moment — what happened to you? — but it's bitten back. "You ever feel you owe someone for something that … you didn't want in the first place? Like, you should repay them for doing something for you, even though it wasn't what you wanted?" He shakes his head, exasperated with the lack of words to explain what he means. "Fuck, never mind. I ain't making sense."

Another kiss — so much simpler than talking.

"If that happens, it happens," Odessa dismisses with a shrug. "If you have to leave, that's just how things go. I'm not about to hold a grudge. People… move on. It's what they do. Everyone moves one." It sounds more like everyone leaves. This nightingale is a wounded bird, to be sure. It's nothing Nick didn't already suspect.

She doesn't dwell on the thought. Kisses are much simpler than talking, but she doesn't let it go quite so easily. "I understand things much better than I think you might want to give me credit for," Odessa insists gently. "I didn't ask to be given the life I was given, the opportunities I was given. I gave up a lot of things for the life I live, because I didn't… really know there was another way."

One scarred hand reaches up to cup Nick's face, bracketing with the hand against his neck. "Is this… about living? Surviving? You… shouldn't feel like you owe anyone for that. And even if you do… Then the best way to repay that debt is to not waste your second chance." Odessa winces. "Of course, if this isn't about that, then I've just made an ass of myself, and I'm sorry."

He shakes his head, moving to sit in the couch and pulling her into his lap with him. Once more his face burrows into her hair, hooking his chin on her shoulder. "Not … not exactly that, no. I guess I may not have thanked the people who saved me in any proper sort of way, but no, I ain't really all that worried about thanking Nazis, even if they saved my life. Go figure, it was an Ally spy who threw me to the wolves, to use his words, and a Nazi who saved my life. Fuckin' ironies."

His hands move up and down over her arms, as if to take the warmth from her body to transfer to his own, still chilly from the night outside. "Somethin' else. I went back in time to change somethin', not as far back as 1941, ya know, but in my own life. Someone stopped me." He swallows, leaning his head back on the back of the sofa. "I donno if he did it for selfish reasons or to actually help me. I didn't see it as help. Not sure I still do. But from an outside perspective, he mighta been helping me. Maybe."

He reaches up to pull his tuque off his head, tossing it on the coffee table. "Don't like debts," he mutters. Just to reiterate.

Odessa shifts so she can rest a knee on either side of Nick's legs, and kisses his lips hungrily after he's finished speaking. Her skirt stretches a little awkwardly, so she balls the fabric in one fist and tugs it up enough to keep it from restricting her movements. She runs her other hand over his head, the hair slowly growing back.

"I… tried to change something, too," she admits. "And I…" Odessa starts to laugh quietly, breathy and rueful. "What does it say about me that I don't bat an eye when you say you went into the past to purposefully change something, and just trade stories? You must think I'm so strange."

"Did you?" he says softly, reaching up to trace the edge of her eyepatch, then trailing his fingers down the line of her jaw. He's spiralling again in that wave of despair, though it's a quieter descent this time.

He brings his lips to her cheek, tracing the sharp line of one scar. "I pulled a gun on myself," he murmurs, lips moving against her skin followed by a low huff of a humorless laugh. "A few years ago, I'd have thought I was insane if I heard myself talking. How do you pull a fucking gun on yourself in a train? How do you end up in a gas chamber and live? How do people talk to you through animals?"

Nick's lips move on to her neck, following the curve of her throat. "Did you know they knew about abilities then? In 1941?"

"I tried," Odessa confirms. "There was someone there to save me from my own misguided desires." Believing that attempting to save her parents was misguided makes her failure easier to swallow. "I thought about going to visit myself as a baby. There's something very strange about the notion of holding yourself as an infant. I… resisted that temptation. Not quite the same as pulling a gun on yourself, I know."

A heavy sigh. For all the sorrowful nightingale has endured, she can't bring herself to try and compete with Nick. And it isn't a competition to see who's more broken, really. And even then, the prize for winning isn't exactly a good one.

When his lips find her neck, Odessa tilts her head to give him better access, allowing her breath to catch in her throat for a moment. "I knew they knew about abilities in 1945," she responds to his question in a soft voice. "I knew we knew about abilities in the sixties, but I never… really paid attention to the proper implications of Project Icarus when I was younger. I took the information I was given for granted…" She dismisses the idea, running her hands over his shoulders and arms to banish some of the chill lingering in his limbs.

"Project Icarus?" he repeats, with a shake of his head, stretching out into a more supine position as he looks up at her face. "Sounds doomed to fail, whatever that was." He may not have more than the equivalent of a high school diploma, but mythology was something that he and Eileen devoured as children — Celtic, Greek, Egyptian.

He gives a chuckle and shakes his head. "I used to think it'd be easier to go back in time, before powers were known, but looks like there's no gettin' away from them." His hands slide up one leg, and he tips his head to catch her mouth with his once more. "Let's forget 1941. 1945. The fuckin' '80s and '90s. We're here, you and me, right now. Let's just focus on now, Gale."

"It was." Every incarnation and reincarnation of Project Icarus has essentially failed like the over-eager and over-reaching boy it's named for. Odessa has to question the wisdom of the naming, though perhaps it was merely apt rather than unfortunate.

"I'm glad you're here," the woman in Nick's lap assures him, dropping another kiss on his lips. "You looked… at me earlier." She pauses and frowns at herself, her wording. "I mean, like you had something you wanted to say." Now it's her turn to let her lips roam his skin, dropping small kisses along Nick's jaw until she's murmuring against his ear in a hush, "What was it?"

Nick's lids lower and he grins lazily, shaking his head. "Like I fuckin' remember when you're doing that?" he murmurs, hand gathering her hair at the back of her head, and tugging her face to his so he can kiss her, pushing her back up a moment later so he can wriggle out of the jacket he still wears — clearly he's not leaving any time soon.

"Nothin' that matters right now," he says.

Odessa's gaze goes wide when Nick grabs her hair, but she grins once the surprise has worn off, even as she kisses him back. "Good," she tells him, helping him shrug off his coat with no small amount of enthusiasm. "Words just get in the way."

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