Upon A Loom


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Scene Title Upon A Loom
Synopsis The truth is always so much more complicated than the lie, and so things don't get simpler when it comes out. But maybe a little better.
Date April 15, 2011


Visiting dreamwalkers is always a little different than visiting the average sleeping person. For one thing, they might not be home. For another, they might make a decision.

But when Delia reaches out for the now familiar mindscape of Jasmine — the scent of a hidden closet, mingled with summer fragrance of her namesake, the shape of a mask — she is welcomed, drawn into it, like a hand finding her own reaching fingers and tugging her the rest of the way. There's a cool breeze that slides against Delia's skin and tugs at her hair, her clothing, and it's coming through the broke window — an immense shattering of glass that glitters on the ground on either side. But there's a lot of ground with which to avoid the shards. The ballroom plays the ghost-memory of music, the same setting she had pulled from Calvin's mind once, but Calvin isn't here. A string orchestra sounds like it plays from a long distance away, oddly slow, more echo than firsthand sound.

Which would be because the place is entirely empty, save for the two dreamwalkers that inhabit it. Jasmine doesn't look over, however, her back to the other woman and unresponsive as if lost in thought. She is dressed for the occasion, in a red satin gown with a bustle like folding origami, revealing an expanse of back that is in turn obscured by curls of rich black, that only glints familiar auburn in the light. Masked in lace, blue eyes focused on nothing in particular.

She also isn't wearing the necklace with the pendant on the end. She is instead holding it in a loose, gloved hand at her side, the token glimmering silver like bait in the water.

Generally, picking through glass shards with bare toes is a difficult and time consuming endeavour that's usually avoided at all costs. Feet hurt when they've got something embedded in them, they also bleed like stuck pigs when they've been cut. Being a dream, it's rather unnecessary to make a slow progression but to be polite, Delia plays with the facade and tip toes through the glittering minefield with the utmost caution.

Her clothing never changes from one setting to another, the same white cotton dress that's grown soft with age. Lace tatting at the bottom mingled with eyelets along the lower hem, the pearlescent spaghetti straps shimmer though one is a little worn at one corner where it attaches to the front of the dress. It's a borrowed dress, one that she stole from her mother's closet years ago when the woman died. For the first time in over a half a year, it belongs to her and resides with her under the same roof.

"You look gorgeous," the dreamwalker utters in greeting, her eyes falling to the medallion almost immediately. If Jasmine were fishing, Delia is the minnow caught by the glittering lure. "How have you been?" I've been looking for you, is something that runs through the more inexperienced woman's mind.

A shoulder goes up shyly at compliment — there's no affectation of surprise, because it's impossible to sneak up — and she backs up a step with a click of a heel that goes obscured under the rich hem of her skirt. "Busy," Jasmine admits, her gaze dropped to the ground between them rather than looking Delia in the eye, before turning her hand to observe the dangling medallion, as if unsure as to why she isn't wearing it. But she doesn't put it on, nor does she offer it, even as she moves to stand closer, the tail of her dress dragging along caught up errant glass shards that shift and scrape on marble.

"Did— "

She hesitates, a hand wandering up to push gloved fingers against the edge of her mask, a nervous sort of gesture. "I thought you were angry at me," Jasmine goes with instead, with a hesitant flash of a painted smile.

"Angry? No… not angry," the honest answer tummbles from Delia's mouth in a slow progression, like the somersault of a child. "Jealous," she adds as her blue eyes drop to the floor as well, her face red with shame. "The day before, it was the first time I'd ever kissed him. It hurt to see it around your neck, because he ran." Because that's what he always does.

"I'm sorry," she offers quietly, "I shouldn't have ever acted like that. It didn't even occur to me that you could have seen him wearing it when we were having tea and sandwiches. I just— I never know how he feels. It's always so mixed up." A quick breath leaves her like a soft laugh, more of a scoff really. "I think it would be easier if I could read his mind but I don't want to. He's already in enough pain in his dreams."

Reaching out, Delia balances the pendant on the pads of her forefingers and stares at the face of the Saint. "It means Red in Polish, he was learning Polish in a book store." She lets it fall again, watching it swing back down and twirl. The flash of the metal as it refracts the light causes a small smile to form on her lips but it drops almost as quickly as it appears. "Sorry, I get a little boring sometimes."

There's a pull at Jasmine's mouth around the words he ran, and no resistance when she touches the pendant. She hesitates, before exchanging the necklace from one hand to the other, but it turns out to be a magic trick because in the time it takes to blink, it's back around her neck, the St Jude icon cool against pale skin above the dark red satin hem. "No you don't," she says, with a very concrete certainty, her hands smoothing down the fabric at her hips even if it needs none in particular, the focus of her pale blue eyes on Delia through the almond gaps of black lace mask.

"Please don't be jealous. There's nothing about me you should be." A pause lingers over those words, before Jasmine shakes her head, a small and quick gesture. "I want to say sorry. Because I've— I lied to you." Hands grip together and wring fingers, but she manages to maintain eye contact. "When parents bring up their children, they teach them not to lie. Logic and— threats. Punishment. But then there's you, and you believe things so easily…"

Her shoulders droop a little. "And I hate tricking you. About the dreams of the future."

Delia's eyes follow the pendant for a few moments after the medallion is laid to rest against Jasmine's throat. "It doesn't matter anymore, I hurt him again," she says quietly, pressing her lips together and looking down at her bare feet. "I don't think he'll talk to me again for a very long time." Years, if her dreams have much truth in them. "Have you seen his thoughts? Do you know what's there? M-maybe.. can you— Can you tell me what he thinks of me? Am I just a bother or does he actually care?" There's a piece of her that feels somewhat ill, like maybe she doesn't actually want to know.

"The memories that don't belong… The ones that Mister Gataullin and Hokuto felt," but Delia didn't. Her voice wavers a little as her upper lip curls into a grimace, "Is— is that you?" Her expression drops and her mouth hangs open for a moment before she closes it with a click of teeth and puckers her lips into a small knot. "Punishment.." and then there's Delia and she's so gullible.

"It's alright, it's easy to do…"

"He loves you."

This also spoken with concrete certainty, but there's a hint of regret in it too, a weariness. Jasmine drags her stare from Delia to regard the broken window, the glass like candied sugar in the frames. "But I don't— I don't want to talk about Nick. Please." There's a tremor through the fabric of the dreamworld, some strong emotion that runs through each thread, but from what Delia can sense, it isn't a lover's jealousy or resentment, none of the negative or positive feelings that run through when it comes to those kinds of relationships, and Jasmine splays a hand as if a gesture could somehow banish it.

Or apologise on her own behalf. "The memories that don't belong," she agrees instead, that hand moving to clasp around the pendant. "They're not my future, but they're— my past. Not just my past. The past of many. It's my ability — I can weave together memories from dreams, shape them, or replay them exactly how they once were. Sometimes by accident. Um."

Her voice wavers, before a hand lifts, and she carefully takes the mask off her face. It doesn't expose anything as telling as her words, an unfamiliar face and configuration of bone structure of a stranger. "I couldn't tell you, because I'd have to tell you about me."

…Loves her.


"Alright we won't," Delia agrees as she tries to process that bit of information. A deep breath swells in her chest and she looks off to the side at the same time that Jasmine tears her eyes away, only Delia's blue eyes find the little shards of glass around her feet. Her head angles down to the right as she listens, her eyes flicking toward Jasmine's face every once in a while, freezing there when the mask is lifted.

It's a face she's seen a glimpse of a time or two before. Just a piece here and there, not enough to put together what the woman actually looks like. She squints as she sees the other woman's face in its entirety for the first time and takes a short breath inward. "You're— from the future?" Not entirely unbelieveable, considering Vietnam. "Is it— Can you— I have so many questions… I just, don't know where to start."

Instead, she stops entirely and lifts one shoulder in a shrug. "Can you tell me about you now?"

There's only the slightest of nods at that first question, but it's enough, all things considered. How much yes does one need, when they admit they're from the future? The music continues to play, orchestral music for dance, but Jasmine remains unmoving, as if paralysed with— something. Shame, guilt, hands gripping her mask as the cold late winter wind continues to spill into the large dance hall. Shoulders square some in preparation for all those questions—

And relax again at the one that's chosen. She glances down at herself, and the elaborate spill of red satin. She swallows.

"Can we meet?"

"Sure. Where?"

Presumably not where Delia lives, that's a given, all things considered. "I work in Greenwich Village, at an Apothecary… Or I still have keys to— " To a few places actually. Almost everywhere she's been living since her 'accident'. It's a flaw. Really. Once the redhead gets a key, she never gives it back and whoever it is that gave it is stuck with changing the locks or living with the knowledge that she might show up at any time.

It's also fairly handy.

"You pick the place, I'll be there." She says finally, giving the other woman a crooked lift of her lips. "I have money now, I can buy breakfast or whatever you want." The offer is made, just in case the woman from the future doesn't have any. It's possible, future money might not be good back here.

The smile she gets back is similarly crooked — a little relieved, maybe, before she nods slowly. "Um… I know Greenwich Village." The ballroom reshapes, suddenly, melts away and melts into the street outside the Apothecary, just as Delia might recall it — it's in the later half of an afternoon but only because it's the time of the memory selected, pulled out from Delia's own experiences, wrapped around them in three dimensional painting. Jasmine and her elaborate dress seem out of place upon the rundown little New York City street.

"Give me some time," she says, her voice taking on an echoed quality, her image becoming translucent — maybe leaving, before she can change her mind, or rousing herself from the trappings of sleep. "But I'll be there, while it's still morning."

"I'll bring the— "

The rest is cut off as Delia's eyes open to the dark bedroom and Tania sleeping beside her. Easing herself out from under the covers, the redhead pads toward the closet and pulls open. With hands that are trembling from a combination of chill and excitement, she pulls together an outfit that looks like she got dressed in the dark. Long sleeved striped t-shirt in navy and white, a long grey cardigan, old and faded jeans, and a pair of running shoes salvaged from one of the boxes she brought from the bookstore. Generic everything else, like socks… white tubes from a ten pack.

Throwing her hair up into a bun at the top of her head, she scrawls a small note and leaves it on the dresser for Tania to find when she wakes up. Sorry, had to leave. Back when I can. — D Nothing more for explanation than that. The Apothecary will have its opening much earlier than usual. Complete with muffins.

Greenwich Village, Old Apothecary

It's still early, by some standards, by the time someone is making their way to the store.

But Delia has also been up and about for some time before she gains any company. Moving down the sidewalk, she keeps to herself, bundled into a coat of black wool, a little mannish but warm. The click click of heels have a mincing, self-conscious pace to them, shiny black and maybe chosen for virtue of them being all she has that might go with the rest of what she wears. Legs are clad in stokings of charcoal grey, woolen and pragmatic against the cool of the morning, and skinny legs disappear up into a skirt's hem of paler grey, zipped up the sides with a soft cotton shirt of black tucked into the waist.

A hand goes out to tentatively test the door of the store, hesitates, and then gently pushes it open. More nervous than any one person should healthily be, she slips inside, dark hair windblown despite the shortness. Short in comparison to its length in dreams, a conservative length to near-black locks. The freckles aren't dusted out with makeup either, but a token attempt at eyeliner, conservative colour at her mouth are minor touches.

And probably a little starker, considering that Benji is biologically male, something seen in telling details such as hands, the slightness of her hips and flat chest. She still resembles herself as Jasmine knows her — but not as sleek. Not as petite. Not as ideal. She starts to speak, but sound halts dry in her throat, pale eyes darting around the space.

She's been keeping herself busy, nervously turning the pages of a book while trying to concentrate on the words printed on its pages while glancing at the door every time a shadow passes by. A visitor from the future isn't something one receives every day, at least knowingly. When the woman enters, the old copy of Jane Eyre is slapped shut and the redhead is craning to see who might have walked into the shop.

A gulp of air is swallowed as Delia faintly recognizes the face she saw at a meeting on Pollepel once and an uncertain smile finds itself on her features. "Jasmine?" It's a hopeful tone, one that's a little timid. When Delia shoves herself from the stool, she winds around the counter to greet the other dream walker. "I— uhm… Hi," is breathed out in awe at the sight of Benji in all of his finery.

"I have muffins, blueberry— I hope you like those, they're my favorites."

Taking a breath, Benji freezes when Delia gets to her feet, attention locked upon the redhead and seeming on the brink of running away, but it's far too late to back out now. And that smile that climbs into Delia's expression does something to hook her into staying, and even stepping foward with the click of a heel. And again. The magnetic propulsion has shifted from wanting to leave to wanting to be closer, but she isn't dragging Delia into an embrace, hands locked on the hems of her coat, bitten nails digging into the thick fabric. Pale eyed stare shifts towards the muffins, and her own smile occurs, just as uncertain.

"They look fine," she says, in a voice a lot quieter than the one used in dreams, some effort to disguise its own quality in near-whisper and fleeting lightness. "Thank you." Farther into the store, she moves off at an angle rather than being direct, gaze ducking. "For this. Too."

In an effort to make Benji feel more at home or as much as she can in a store full of oddities that go well past macabre, Delia's arm winds around his shoulders as she leads him toward the counter. "Wait here, I'm going to lock the door so no one interrupts us." It's a bad habit that she keeps repeating, Constantine would understand.

It only takes a few seconds before she's racing back to the counter and plugging in the kettle to heat the water. "I have tea and coffee, which do you like better? I think my boss has some milk or cream in the back— It should be still good." She babbles, of course, through nervousness and lack of anything substantial to say.

When she finally settles enough to pay attention to any answers Jasmine/Benji gives, she's staring. Not in a bad way, not disgusted or horrified, more along the lines of disbelief. "I can't believe that you're here. Here in real life, not just a dream."

There is certainly attention paid, towards seeking anything that resembles horror or disgust. One of those inevitable things.

Benji sits, after shrinking a little from the touch without actual recoil, following guidence and waiting patiently, steadying the rate of breathing. "I know," she says, gently, gaze dropping to hands folded together. "But I've— been wanting to, so I made do, with the dreaming. It just wasn't the right time, for a while… Tea." Suddenly remembering that hey, Delia asked her a question, and she snaps her attention back up in abrupt apology, and a brief, encouraging smile. Just as fascinated, if less in disbelief, Delia finds herself under study with each look. The dreamwalker must be in his, her twenties.

It's a long time. She hesitates, before ducking a hand into a pocket, but she doesn't extract it again, hesitating instead. "I— " She watches Delia putting together the tea as she speaks. "I'm from 2040. It's a lot different, everything is, I mean. You— you aren't different. Much."

Two cups are laid on the counter, one with a puppy and one with a kitten on it. Both are equal distance between Benji and Delia, allowing the guest to decide which she likes best. The tea is herbal (rose hip), the special stock that's saved for special people, not plain black or orange pekoe. Muffins are placed on paper napkins and one pushed toward Benji. Once the food and drink is somewhat distributed, she seats herself on one of the two stools, nodding toward the second for Benji to take.

"Don't tell me about me, not yet, I want to hear about you first." She's already seen a little of her future and the glimpse didn't give her much but a bleak outlook. A dead baby. Her voice cracks as she tries to start again, only coming out with a strangled, "Please?"

Guilt weighs down pale eyed stare, looking at the surface of the tea and declining to touch it just yet, letting it cool. There's a minor quirk of a regretful smile at the corner of her mouth, and static silence weighs heavy upon the conversation as she tries to figure out. Where to start. And how.

"I'm… I'm a Ferryman," she says, still not looking at Delia. "I have a kind family, and good friends. I manifested when I was seventeen. I've never been to any real school, but I was taught things. Reading, writing. I can play the violin, and fix engines." Free hand goes out, then, to hook fingers around the handle of the cup and lift it, sipping carefully and slowly, brow wrinkling some when its set back down. Shifting where she sits, the other hand comes up, silver glinting off her knuckles where the chain wraps around her fingers.

The St Jude pendant looks older, but good jewelry doesn't show such things very much. A little scuffed, chipped, but whole and shining. She keeps it close, even as she adds, "My name— my name is Benji." There's a huff of a chuckle, bitter and small, voice wavering: "It's short for Benjamin. Benjamin Ryans, Junior.

"My mom is Delia Ryans. My father— like I said to you, earlier. I don't want to talk about him. Not yet."

"Benjamin Ryans, Junior… I named you after my dad— " Delia stops herself and looks down at the counter, wrapping her hands around the mug and looking into the steaming liquid, letting it cool just like Benji. She doesn't seem exactly happy about it though, neither of them do at this point. The St. Jude's medallion around her visitor's neck gives indication of who Benji's father might be and the redhead reaches over and places her hand on the raven haired woman's forearm.

"Are you happy? Do you— Uhm… I guess I just, what are you doing here?" Finally, she lifts her mug to take a little sip, letting the tea burn down her throat with nothing more than a wince. Putting it down quickly, she unconsciously squeezes Benji's forearm lightly before releases it. "Did I— Did I do a good job? With you, I mean. Are you disappointed in me?" Her blue eyes flit down to the counter for a little while before they creep up to Benji's face and she presses her lips together again.

"The dreams— Why did you show me that one? Who was Beth?" Aside from her first child, the one in the ground rather than the one sitting with her now.

"No," Benji breathes, happily latching to the easy questions. No, she isn't disappointed. Hand twitches like she'd like to touch Delia's hand back, but ultimately stills, especially as that next question comes to surface, and she swallows around her hesitation, sitting smaller under the weight of her coat. Takes the time, then, to wind the necklace back around her neck, attach it, and allow the medallion to disguise itself beneath the cotton hem of her blouse, fingers placing it.

A shoulder rises. "It wasn't to hurt you. But some of us chose to bring back proof, and I wanted you to see it— it's important. And it's not like Beth can come back in any other way, and it was something you— suggested that I— "

She takes a breath, visibly upset quite suddenly. What are you doing here. Months of stress seems to break a dam, and though she doesn't cry— well maybe a little— she does give a somewhat helpless, wordless sound of dismay, gaze sinking low and head dipping. Takes a second, and when she next speaks, her quiet voice is a little steadier; "Beth was your child with— with Jaiden. She got the flu and died too young, and you were so sad, even after me. I can show you different dreams, and you can decide what kind of job you did."

"I'm— I'm so sorry," Delia ekes out as she slips off her stool and wraps her arms around Benji's thin frame to wrap her into a hug. Squeezing her eyes shut, she tightens her hold for a moment before pulling back just enough to look closely at the other dreamer's face. "I should've been— happier."

Eyebrows curve upward in worry as she lets one hand drop. Her eyes fall to the hand on the medallion and she takes a large breath, staring at Benji's hand for a long while before she's able to form the thought into words. "Beth— she's not— I can't do it. Not with Jaiden, it's just— It's too late. I did too much damage, there's no way it'll ever happen." It's a hard thing to do, denying life before it starts, sort of like putting a condom on an idea.

"But you," she smiles a little bit and gives off a little jerk of a nod. "I just have a lot of grovelling to do. If he'll ever forgive me."

Hugs. At last. Benji relaxes into it, hands coming to grip onto the fabric of Delia's clothing for its duration and attempting to settle herself so as not to break into pieces, longing hitting at the speed of a train. "It's okay," Benji promises, edging back as Delia does, eye contact fleeting, shifting. "About Beth. Even me. There's still so much to see. To decide for yourself." There's discomfort, there, unsure about the notion of encouraging Delia to Nick York, or saying anything that might dissuade her. No one wants to be unmade — well, Benji doesn't. But happiness is important too. And she thinks things through so much more when in the flesh.

All motion, suddenly, she slips off the stool, standing at the other side of it to Delia, tension as strung as a hunted gazelle, the clackclack of shoes too loud before standing, balanced. "I was going to say you must have a lot to think about," she murmurs, "but I think I— do too."

She hesitates, before reaching to take a muffin, for it's the least she can do. "Don't tell— the Council. I have to handle that."

"I won't, I promise," Delia says with a crooked grin, one hand coming up to tuck a bit of Benji's hair behind an ear. Her blue eyes sweep over the little freckles that dot his nose and sprinkle across his cheeks and she leans in to grip thin shoulders in another hug. "I always try to keep my promises. Besides, I can't talk to them about anything anyway… Because… Eltingville."

This time she doesn't let go before whispering, "Be good, I'll be waiting to see more. Thank you for everything, for telling me, for coming and.." She pauses and buries her face into Benji's shoulder, "thank you for being here and giving me a little bit of hope."

A hug in return loops firmly around his mother. Her mother. But Benji couldn't say that she doesn't feel young again, back before things were less confusing and complicated, and being a son being hugged by mom. Tucking her head on Delia' shoulder, she takes her time with the embrace, heels of her feet coming a little loose from the heels of her pumps to go onto her toes. "Thank you," she says in return. "I'll— I will. I'll come back.

"And be good." In dreams, Benji, or Jasmine, can disappear at will. Here, it's a little more physical, the slow detangling of a hug, a squeeze of a hand, before Benji breaks away and moves for the door in long strides that are swift but not hurried. The heel of a palm swipes to fix makeup, and the door creaks on its hinges when the future leaves the present.

But never for very long.

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