We're Not in Karakura Anymore, Magnes


delia2_icon.gif dema_icon.gif s_hokuto_icon.gif unknown13_icon.gif lynette2_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif ghost_icon.gif

Scene Title We're Not in Karakura Anymore, Magnes
Synopsis It's a meeting of the minds inside one with a little wiggle room.
Date December 3, 2010

xxxHolic — The Opium Den

Wind chimes report soft, melodic tones thorugh a smoke-hazed tea room.

The sickly sweet smoke that wafts through the air and creates a cloudy haze has a sedating effect, a calming and warm feeling like a paternal embrace or a comfortable pillow. The opiate of the mind may not be anything tangible but the distinct saccarine scent of opium clinging to the air certainly fits the bill in this environment. The pipe she carries in one pale hand is more suited to smoke opium out of than tobacco, though this is the first time that sweet scent has ever wafted from within that long-handled piece of pariphenalia.

Seated as she is on the floor upon a single velvety cushion, that acrid smoke wafts into her nose, followed by the flick of a chromed lighter held by a boy at least ten years Lynette Rowan's junior, if not more.

"Magnes is remarkably handy, isn't he?" The hostess across the table murmurs, shrouded half in shadow, half in the burning orange sunlight filtering in through one lattice-covered window beside their shared table. The way she carries herself is different in dream than when she was a red-clad hallucination; cultured and refined grace, but at the same time distant and casual about everything she did, whether it was as much of an act was hard to tell. Her hair is so long that it hangs down behind her where she sits in silken threads, it looks like a pool of spilled ink at this angle, and the sharp cut of her bangs shadows her eyes slightly when she inclines her head just right, "But you didn't come here to admire my servants…" She cracks an amused smile, a feline smile, "Or did you miss Rowan?"

The lighter is for her, its flickering and dancing flame wavering to and fro in the mottled room, beyond which only towering book cases filled with colorfully printed spines are on display. Magnes Varlane isn't fully aware of his dreaming status right now, certainly he'll remember the dream in the morning, but his role in this dream is as much as Hokuto Ichihara's is — a scripted part in a play. Or rather, given that this is Magnes Varlane's dreamscape they are all residing in, a few pages from a manga.

Perhaps that is why Magnes is dressed like a Japanese schoolboy.

Just perhaps.

Padded cushions surround the long table that Lynette and Hokuto sit at, and while that lighter continues to glow brightly beside Lynette, the dreamwalker across the table turns molten gold eyes towards a sliding, wooden door that scuttles along its runners, revealing a tall, broad-shouldered gentleman standing silhouette in the orange glow of setting sunlight behind him. "…and we're almost all here," Hokuto notes in a sing-song voice to the apparition of Dema looming on the periphery of Ichihara's shop.

Slouching back against the piled pillows behind her, serving as buffer between wall and back, Hokuto reaches down with her free hand to pull the slouched collar of her kimono up over her bare shoulder, pulling the front closed to hide the black ink tattoo at the center of her chest, gold eyes flicking side-long to the window, looking out into the hazy and indistinct city skyline beyond with brows furrowed.

Lifting her pipe to her lips, Hokuto draws in a deep breath, exhaling twin tendrils of smoke out her nose while expectantly watching Lynette as she comes to awareness mid-dream, keeping Dema's silhouette warily in her peripheral vision.

Just a few more left to show.

"Not this servant, anyway," Lynette says, her tone wry and her lips curved into a crooked smile. And with a closer look over Magnes' attire, her eyebrow arches and she adds, "…Definitely not this one." And she squints her eyes closed and looks back to Hokuto after a moment. "I'm not dressed like a geisha or something, am I?" She can't bare to look herself.

"All?" Lynette blinks there, she'd only intended to see this one, after all, but she still can't help the smile that comes to her face when she recognizes that silhouette. "I really just want to help Delia. Everyone's… worried."

When the letter of introduction changed into an invitation, that's when Dema knew he was dealing with something else entirely. One can't read in dreams, which really just means one can read anything, regardless of what it's written in, the contents of the page being simply understood, under the conditions of the particular dream. There is no way he could have, otherwise, interpreted the kanji, however beautiful the script and however tastefully framed by gold leaf. Since the invitation, address and key are all really the same thing in Dreams, there was no way for him to know, at first, that he wasn't visiting the elusive calligrapher's own mind.

He figures out that isn't the case pretty quickly, however.

Emotion doesn't register very strongly or even very often on Dema's features. He is a stoic in more than just affect, but in affect still, so when he displays strong emotion… it's a sight to see. Or would be, if he had a full face. Dema is not heavy handed, and he does not make himself appear as himself to those who have never seen him. He assembles himself from borrowed glimpses, cobbling together an image that seems 'familiar' but cannot be placed. It is his unique presence that makes it clear who he is, and the shift in his emotions distorts the very space around him, causing the fishbowl of verging nightmare as his emotions inflect the dreamscape.

"How dare you?" Dema says, stepping over to the table. His shape is hazy, indistinct, not fully manifested. He's clothed, but what he wears is impossible to describe - the mind hasn't elaborated on it yet. There is a nimbus that crackles around his thunderhead shoulders. "This," he gestures, without motion, at the whole space, though a concentration of the indicational energy is directed towards the Varlane manifestation, "is disgusting. End this now or I will yank it apart. You do not play in the minds of others, set your own rules. Who do you think you are, Blyadischa?"

Taking the lighter back, if Lynette uses it or not, Magnes runs fingers through his suddenly orange hair, crossing his legs with furrowing brows. "Hokuto? I didn't know you were a Shinigami now." he says with a perfectly straight face, very much in the haze of his dream role. "Shouldn't we be in Fake Karakura town fighting Aizen? Why are we here now? And why aren't you guys beat up anymore?" He feels around his uniform, then reaches around to his back. "Where'd my zanpakuto go? If Aizen comes I'll need it! Wait, oh god, did I look at his sword? I'm caught in an illusion!" He closes his eyes really tight, then just sits quietly. "Shh, I'm concentrating, I'll break out of the illusion by raising my reiatsu really high…"

There's a wrinkle in the gauzey satin of the wall, and then a throb of movement going all the way up to the invisible fastenings on the ceiling. The disruption focuses down near the floor, though, onto a little rounded bulge of intrusion, not much bigger than a man's fist, assuming size matters at all in here. The bump twists left, then right, flicks once or twice, and abruptly pitches forward in a madcap scrabble of movement.

The satin slides off, revealing a cat. A tom, tortoiseshell, orange mingled patchily as a koi's gilded parts with the marbled black and brown nearly dark enough to be same. He has four paws and a long tail, a somewhat baleful yellow-eyed stare, and the reek of smoke unraveling into his lungs makes him sneeze once, an irritable shake of his felt-textured head whipping his small axis left and right once. His whiskers fluff outward, and his body elongates into a silent forward step, then a second, and he winds in under the hostess' table.

In the gloom, he studies Magnes' shoes for a long moment, a row of pretty white claws easing out. The uproar of coarse foreigner-voice is enough to divert his attention, though, and though the paws stay prickly, the cat winds its head out toward the edge to look up at Dema.

As free flowing as the smoke from Hokuto's pipe, there is music beginning to wind through the room. Violin strings contained an echoed quality, as if the playing itself were not quite real and well, in dream world, pimps can ride unicorns and wield broadswords, drug lords can turn into dragons, and so what qualifies as real is sort of a twisted debate in the first place. There is a mournful, and distinctly untuneful quality to the violin, a laboured quality as if it took muscle to drag the bow across the strings.

The musician stands off to the corner, dressed in golds and reds and blacks, as if to fade into the setting of the shop. A shimmering evening gown of autumnal colours clings to a willowy figure, with a slit up to the waist and a plunging back to show off an expanse of white skin. Auburn curls do something to obscure it anyway, messily brushed in loose waves.

And of course, a mask. A golden, sequined mask that covers half of her face and throws shadow over her jaw. Dema's interruption probably does something to stop conversation. But the masked musician doesn't quit playing. Eyes darkened with kohl are shut.

Everything always happens at once, that's just how it goes.

Hokuto exhales a breath of smoke, letting herself recline back as the sudden weight of other conscious minds presses down atop her like the unlucky fellow at the bottom of a pig-pile. The cat, of all things, earns a look of equally feline eyes and fleeting recognition, the way an ordinary dreamer remembers a dream. But, of course, thi sisn't that, and the memories of the Nightmare Man are just as insubstantial as Magnes' unfiltered mental self-control.

"Sweetheart," Hokuto whispers as she leans towards Magnes, resting one pale arm around his shoulders, the sweet smell of opium on her breath clinging to her words. "Shhh." Gold eyes lid partway as she whispers that sibilant hiss into his ear, looking around the room before beginning to lean away from Magnes, lifting one hand up to rake pale fingers through his hair.

"Now then," gold eyes close slowly, then open with equal window-shutting slowness as she squares her attention on Dema's boastful form. "Aren't you pepper and spice?" The dreamwalker seems undeterred from her choice of psychic playground, motioning to one of the velvety, floral-print patterned pillows around the table.

"Sit, join us. Be civil, we can all do that, no?" Golden eyes flick warily to the masked entrant, her silent yellow stare less unwelcome than it was in Logan's mind. "Speak up like that again, though," Hokuto warns with her attention drifting back to Dema, waving the smoking pipe towards him in one pale hand, "and I'll make certain you don't a third time."

You must understand, this isn't something Dema can let slide. There is a single crescendo of emotional force, and then Dema lifts his leg and drives it down onto the table, cracking it in two. "This is not civil, what you do. This is abuse of your host, the… basest sin. And it will not pass before me." His fury manifested in a thousand snatched remembrances of rage recognized, Dema looks about ready to hurt the golden eyed woman. But in the next moment, he's turned to Magnes. A hand descends before his face and snaps, the sound ringing like metal striking metal.

"You dream," the Russian dreamwalker informs the dreamer, whose words are about as garbled in meaning to Dema as the kanji would have been in waking, "this thing crept into your mind, brought others. You should know this," a flickering collage of narrows eyes directs itself at Hokuto, "and you may wake if you wish."

A scream with the pitch of a Chinese opera keens through the background to accompany the music before the subject of the blonde woman's favor smashes through the ceiling. She falls into the pillows with an 'oof' and bounces out (still screaming) like a rubber ball. Skipping like a stone on the water across the room, she skids to a halt, ass over tea kettle in a crumpled heap.

Little bits of plaster and dust sprinkle down on nearly everyone in the room, except Hokuto, for some odd reason. Even the scenery seems afraid of what the woman could do, so it bypasses her completely, as though she were protected by an invisible barrier.

Delia doesn't fit the scenery.

The bruised and bloodied form of fledgling dreamwalker groans as she places her palms flat on the floor, trying to push herself up. With an exhausted sigh, she gives up and just drops back down, laying there, just weathering out the aches and pains. Her white sundress, something usually so crisp and cheerful is torn, dirty, stained with blood, and ragged around the edges. Her curly red mane is tangled and matted, for some odd reason a rhinestone and wire tiara is mangled in its depths. On her back, a fur pack that spills out with all sorts of knick knacks… and a stuffed elephant.

"You called me?" she ekes weakly from her place on the floor.

Lynette gives a little sigh before she looks between hazy dreamwalker and Hokuto, "Come on now, you're both pretty." Spoken like she has any sort of say in what's going on here. But hey, she's just one of those privileged princesses. It's natural. She stands up to her feet, which reveals that she's really got more of a Queen of Naboo look going on than anything really authentic. Such is Lynette's deep understanding of other cultures. But it is pretty, at least. "Please. I do so hate meetings that start with the yelling. I need her help," she says, mostly to Dema, but likely for Magnes' benefit as well. An argument to please not wake up right now. "And I went through lengths to get her attention. So please."

And then Delia comes falling in, and frankly, Lynette is glad to see her. So glad. But, never one to betray such things outwardly, the woman just lets out a heavier, more dramatic sigh this time. "Delia. You look a fright, darling." But still, heavy clothes and all, she moves over to come help her get up. "Come on, let's get you to a seat before you fall over."

Magnes calms down… at least until Dema is snapping and being alert! He doesn't know what to make of the knowledge, and then his dreaming mind is snapped back into a haze when Delia suddenly falls. He stands up and rushes over to her, crouching down. "Orihime! You're supposed to be in Hueco Mundo! What happened to you? Oh god, this means the others are dead…"

Teo the cat— for it is Teo, as a cat— weaves his tail into a brief, rather skeptical looking S shape in the air, before straightening it out to bob and weave near the carpeted floor. His small fuzzy body elongates again, elastic-banding into a single stride, then a second, and he presses his cheek briefly to the leg of Magnes' uniform pants before passing elegantly onward to have a sniff at Dema's ponderously large feet. He finds the man's rage something of a curiosity, it seems, skimming the fabric of the giant's leg with ivory whisker-tips, before he stretches his head to look around the back of Dema's calves to look at the recentmost arrival.


A raspy croak squeezes out of the cat's slight body, the kind of noise that suits a toad better than it does a cat. Swivelling a quizzical ear, Teo inhales at blood— or whatever the blood is supposed to mean, and leans a hip against Dema's ankle, peering curiously at the exchange between women.

At one stage, the whining violin music falters. It's around when Delia comes plunging through the ceiling in a cloud of building debris, and the bow comes away from violin in gentle, quizzical retraction, the last of the notes taking a lingering time to fade. Gently, the masked dreamwalker swipes a palm down the front of her fine dress, cleaning herself of the thin dust that had drifted to cling on chiffon, and then a squeak of the pad of her thumb grooming the wooden edge of instrument.

Hokuto's golden eyed glanced got a wary look in return, cornflower blues judging and a little spacey. Mask betrays nothing of expression, and she doesn't immediately return to playing. Bow and violin dangle loosely from her hands, but she maintains some distance for now, as opposed to her outright attack— invasion— thing that occurred last she was in Hokuto and Delia's presence.

There are a lot of people here, she realises.

Impeccably demure, Hokuto glances down to a fleck of broken plaster on the sundered table, slowly following the length of Dema's leg up to to trunk of his body with a hooded stare. That Lynette is helping Delia is fortuitous, that Magnes is clearly wrapped up in his own incomprehensible fantasy is likewise so, Hokuto can count on him to behave heroically when needed, which is exactly why this — of all places — was chosen.

"Strike two," Hokuto admits as she brings the opium pipe to her mouth, black painted lips drawing in an ashen breath before exhaling the smoke as a pair of gray tendrils out her nostrils. "Maybe you're mistaken, about who I am, or what it is I do. I understand you've been looking for me, and that's adorable. But here," she looks to Magnes, then back to Dema's broad-shouldered frame, "here you are not where you are at your most advantageous, or where your suggestions are most likely to be observed."

Grinding stone slides on itself, a curious sound from the room beyond the opium den, where thorugh a curtained door there is only the suggestion of space beyond, ambiguous in size as things unseen in dreams tend to be. It sounds like too much stone for such a space; wet granite slabs sliding together. Teo, Delia and Jasmine recognize it, each in different ways.

"You might notice, at present, you're feeling a touch short of breath…" Hokuto admits to Dema, her eyes closing as she lays her opium pipe down in her lap, flinders of shattered wood splintered between she and Lynette starting to fold back together, like some sort of living Jenga puzzle. "Pressure on your chest, weight. It's anxiety, and it's reflexive." Gold eyes slowly open, and the sliding sound of moving stone abates. "It's your body, reacting to an increased level of adrenaline in your system. Subconsciously, you might be aware that you can't wake up right now…"

Hokuto's dark brows furrow, effort visible in the way her brows pinch together, a wholly vestigial expression these days. "You won't like strike number three. So you can have your principles," is said so flippantly as if to be almost dismissive, "or you can cooperate. They're mutually exclusive, one lends itself to a happy and safe awakening more so than the other."

Then, as if hoping Dema's response will be a foregone conclusion, Hokuto finally angles her golden stare at Delia. "Looks like I got you just in time," couples the sound of amusement with a hint of concern.

That Dema cannot feel two ways about Delia's arrival is maddening. For most of his life, Dema has been under someone's foot. His father, the party, the bratva, the Company. For all that he was called a comrade, a brother, he knew where he stood. He is meek for a man his size because he knows to keep his head down. Real power lies elsewhere, in the scratching of pens and the deals made in rooms with lacquered wood floors. He's wanted to stand up for something. This was his chance. He could have made a choice, however foolish.

But when Delia crashes through the ceiling, it robs him of his chance to find out. And while this may well have saved his life, he can't just let himself be relieved… because now he must back down. Has an excuse.

Dema needs to insist on this much. He jabs a finger in Hokuto's direction, great hands looking strong, composite mostly of what look like comic book hero fists, beefy and clenched. "Not while she is here," he says, insisting only that he has other, higher principles, though he now can't prove it either way, "but you go too far. I will remember you."

He's about to go over to Delia himself, perhaps to try and grab hold of her, cart her back to charted terrain, to begin to end all this madness. But when trying, he almost trips over a cat. Which is odd, since if he didn't notice it, he should have just slipped through it, if it were a figment.

Which means, necessarily, that the cat is not a figment.

Dema is too surprised and frankly a little too embarrassed to continue his bold stride towards Delia. Another dreamwalker, and he hadn't even noticed. Too caught up in his outrage, blinkered blackly by indignation. Which is a slap in the face, considering his own insistence on the value of discretion. A cat. Fairly subtle. And quiet.

He doesn't say it aloud, but to think a thing is to reveal it, somehow, in dreams. 'Who are you?' is inflected with interest, if just a little wariness. Dema addressing the fuzzball at his foot.

Magnes suddenly beside her has Delia scrambling to maintain what is left of her shattered dignity. As though in strobe motion, she is suddenly standing when just a moment ago she was down on the floor with her rear end sticking up in the air. Primly raising her hands to straighten the bit of wire on her head, the redhead raises her chin and curls her cut lip into a rather haughty expression that falls a bit short due to the state she's in. "I'm fine," she grouches, though she does look a little tired. "I had everything under control. In fact… I was.. uhm… on my way to find my body! I think I found it somewhere in New Jersey."

Using both of her hands, she brushes down the front of her tattered sundress, finally noticing all of the items her fall had scattered around. Holding one of her hands toward the floor, the little treasures zip back up to her one by one. In turn, they are dropped back into the pack with a few plinks and jingles topped off with the multicolored stuffed elephant.

With her mess cleaned up, the young woman strides over to the pillows and drops down with a huff. "Like I was saying… New Jersey… Now I just have to find a sleeping mafia wife to carry me there."

"Oh yes, I can see that," Lynette says to Delia having it under control, her smile crooked. Lynette can't correct her as far as the location of her body, but that's how she wanted it. So she couldn't let the information slip in her dreams.

This time, when she returns to her seat, she does take the pipe, lighting it for herself this time around. But she looks to Hokuto at that odd noise from the other room. "What's that?" She has, perhaps, gotten herself distracted from her original purpose here. Curiosity is responsible for far more than just the unfortunate demise of the feline.

Magnes' brain seems to rattle a little, just a bit, and he takes a seat at the table. Enter Eileen, or at least, a dream figment of Eileen, wearing a matching school uniform with a very short haircut. She sits into his lap, and he seems to ignore everyone else. "So, I'm gonna make out with Rukia now…"

And then the enthusiastic making out begins.

There's a brief show of feline canines, a squeaky grunt when the LUMMOX here steps on Teo! What a jackass. The diminutive creature twists a brief circle around the trunk of the man's leg and then spirals to a lazy halt, casting Hokuto a glance askance that either looks sly because the man behind it means to be, or because he's wearing the face of a cat. There's no verbal answer, which is— no doubt a conceit of his people, but the animal folds its tail into an anatomically unlikely right-angle, and jabs Dema's knee with the tip of it. You first, buster.

At the same time, its yellow eyes are shifting back to study Delia with the unmistakable weight of interest. What she said has his interest. That's not terribly odd, one would suppose; all oneiromancers are familiar with the looseness of anchor between body and— whatever this thing they've sent out to meet each other is. The loss of a body is terrifying and, of course, dangerous business, but rather private as well. It's like seeing someone yell at their divorce lawyer in the middle of the office, dirty laundry aired out for 'everybody' to see.

It's difficult to tell whether the masked intruder is listening keenly or simply just standing there. Her long limbed body is relaxed, her mask thorough, and her demeanor that of wallpaper for all that she seems to have nothing to say, and no inclination to approach the group. It's Delia's last words, though, that maybe remind the masked dreamer might have wanted to come here for, remembrance making her start. The bow comes up, quivers, and then, she once more begins to play.

It's the musical equivalent of collapsing infrastructure, electrical storms, chaotic and more a summoning than a production of art. The table that the group is more or less gathered around shifts along the ground an inch. Hair begins to sway in a leftwards direction, and Teo might feel suddenly inclined to dig his claws into the ground as—

The entire floor begins to gently tilt.

It's the same uneasiness one may feel of a boat beginning to capsize, and there's a point of gravity to it — the masked musician, and she continues to play, her eyes set on Hokuto in challenge as the golden-eyed dreamwalker finds herself at the centre of that summoning pull. The ground begins to crack and shudder even as it tilts.

At the same time, a message is conveyed. The letter of introduction clenched in Dema's fist suddenly feels hot, for all that feeling is an abstract idea, and it doesn't necessarily hurt him, even as fine tendrils of smoke begin to lift off the page like it were burning. It circles around him, carrying with it the scent of, well, jasmine, and a voice as welll, as hearing and smell were combined. It sounds a little like the violin still mournfully playing.

You best work quickly.

This is what Hokuto Ichihara gets for being nice. Thankfully, in a swiss-cheese playland like is Magnes Varlane's mind, Hokuto finds herself with vast fields of flat and empty land blocked away by the scarred lesions that the Haitian's ability has left on his memory. It isn't to say that magnes' mind is an empty canvas, but it certainly leaves Hokuto room to work with. This, though, isn't just a shift of the dream, some harmless fantasy like the skirt-clad Eileen Ruskin settled in Magnes' lap, suddenly clinging to him as the room threatens to fold inward in some impossible geometry onto itself.

This is what Hokuto Ichihara gets for playing fair.

She is caught off guard, startled by what she didn't expect was either coming or possible, it isn't certain, but it isn't prolonged either. Jasmine's gambit here to trap the dreamwalker is met with unflattering resistance, but not from Hokuto herself, but the sudden weight of half of the people in the room beginning to tilt towards Jasmine further. Being the bridge that tethers some of these minds together means that — much like a table-cloth laden with silverware slowly pulled along, all of the flatware is coming with her.

Wood splinters behind the violinist before that can happen, before the entire situation can go upside down and topsy turvy. Jasmine's good-intending but ill-planned attack has Hokuto unable to focus on Delia's admittedly good news and unfortunately has her focus on the gigantic, greenish-brown stone hand reaching in through one exploding window, marble fingers curling around the musician like King Kong to Anne Darrow.

Disappearing behind stone fingers, Jasmine finds herself drawn back out of the room, which in turn has it swinging back towards its proper orientation violently, books clattering off of the shelves to topple onto the floor, volumes of incomprehensibly-written manga spread open — some scandalously so — with their text an arcane jumble of squiggles not meant to be interpreted by the dreaming mind.

From the look of furious frustration beginning to dawn on Hokuto's face as she braces herself from the movement, it is becoming abundantly clear that she is rapidly losing her patience with her guests.

You can stand with perfect safety at the banks of a raging river, provided you keep just enough distance. However mighty, it has a path, a vector, and to be clear of it is to be clear of its power entirely. At least until its banks overflow or it suddenly changed direction. Such mythical feats aren't out of the question.

So Dema does work quickly, as bidden, asking no more out of an ally, right now, than that most basic of bonds, the common foe. For the moment when the heavy footed nightmare maker is occupied with Jasmine, Dema extends a series of spidersilk thin filaments. One to Lynette, one to Delia. The non-dream walker, and the lost dream walker. Tenuous connections, each of them, and only offered, not insured. For all his shouting and table stomping, it is, in fact, civility that Dema is so insistent upon. He won't drag them (though, of course, he's alos not sure if he could). He needs their permission.

You see, this is the main point of difference. It's Dema's opinion that Hokuto is the guest here. And she is being much, much too broad with her liberties. Magnes, on the other hand, can and evidently does take whatever lap-perched liberties he chooses. He gets to do that. It's his brain.

The imperative to Lynette is not quite as strong as the one to Delia. Delia is, after all, his objective. And Lynette, as it happens, is much easier to tug at. Dema does not waste time being upset over the telltale tang of Refrain. He can hate himself about it later.

A single strand dangles above the cat's head, invitingly yarnlike but much too thin. He can come too, if he'd like. Courtesy extended. But don't take too long deciding. They need to get out while they can.

Satin pillows, the weight of a woman almost six feet tall, and a wooden floor makes for the perfect combination of winter fun. Back when she was a little girl, the youngest of the dreamwalkers was an ace at indoor crazy carpet and this is just too good an opportunity to miss. No matter where they are now, it has to be closer to New Jersey than where she was.

Without even a glance to Hokuto, the threads that Dema provides, the cat, or Lynette… Though the violinist and the giant hand receive something of a gaping stare… Delia fixes a lion cub skull over her face and jumps onto one of the overly large satin pillows. A warwhoop worthy of one of Peter Pan's Lost Boys emits from the young woman and with a fist pumped into the air, she begins her slide toward the gaping hole.

Just before the room rights itself, the pillow and the woman riding it vault out after the other dreamwalker like an Olympic ski jumper. The last thing anyone hears of Delia is a Sport Goofy style "Waahooohooo-eee!" before there's nothing at all.

Since it is Lynette's instinct to reach toward Dema when things start going wonky, it isn't hard to get the woman's permission. Her hand catches onto the thin thread, fingers tangling as she hangs on. She glances between the collection of dreamwalkers — except the cat, who seems to have evaded her notice — a frown on her face. She came for Hokuto's help… and maybe she'll give it, maybe she won't, but with Delia's reaction to it all… Lynette's having a hard time telling which one is the bad guy.

Except Dema, who she knows is a bad guy in general, but has the odd dichotomy of being a good guy to her. And when the floor writes itself so suddenly and violently, the woman goes scrambling over his way. To hang onto. The trust is there for her own case, but when a glance is spared for Delia's disappearing form, a frown comes to her face. "You can't let them have her." And she doesn't mean the other dreamwalkers. She means the shadowy, threatening Them. The them that is so often haunting her own dreams, Refrain-aided or not.

There is little doubt it is not a pleasant memory the drug was putting her through before she was brought here. And no doubt that's what she'll be going back to when she's sent back. The real question is… did it go any good?

Of course, the other question is why is this girl so crazy.

Magnes holds Eileen close to him, never moving from the floor. He's a gravity manipulator, a shift on the ground isn't something he's going to be alarmed about. And he has no idea what's going on anyway. "The Espada are going to keep attacking unless I return to Fake Karakura, so I hope there's a good reason for us being here."

But it's almost as if his dream persona doesn't hold on to its motivations for very long, since when the room rights itself, it's looking down at Eileen. "Whatever you're all doing here, you should hurry up, I need privacy soon. But you, you, and… no just you two can join." He looks down at Eileen, who doesn't seem to be speaking with her head buried into his shoulder. Rubbing his chin, he nods to Hokuto. "I'll use gravity to strap your legs in the air, and you," this is offered to Lynette. "I'll need you to provide your own garter belt, Eileen is the main event here." Who is apparently not called Rukia anymore.

The cat doesn't screech; that would be unbecoming for a cat of his caliber. He makes a lily-pad leap, eerily light on his feet even for a cat, to latch briefly onto the gauzy stuff that drapes the wall— and the next step of its course seems to be Jazz's hair, judging from the rigid curl of its spine, but distraction diverts it. With a liquid hiss, the tortoiseshell accepts the thread that's sent out to him, latches on with an outward pitch of a paw that's far too dexterous and multiply jointed to be the limb of a true feline.

It abruptly begins to unravel, from the tip of its perfect black toes, up its arm, toward its slim, fuzzy shoulder. It stays hanging off the wall as it does so, lips curled back and whiskers fluffed, slit-pupiled eyes malevolent (-ly curious) on Jasmine. It twists its head to swing a brief glance at Delia, however, the moment before its face pixellates, vanishes into nothing and its body sucks inward like the mass of a dying star.

The masked intruder gives a sort of screech, one that is certainly a human vocalisation but comes out in multiple notes, as if a voice can be played as easily as her instrument of choice. She manages to drop neither bow nor violin, maybe out a lifeline-like desperation, and for all that she clearly has power— it doesn't seem to be made of the same stuff of Hokuto's, or Dema's. Protest against the giant, stone-like hand crushing around her is respond to thrashing, a black pump coming loose off her foot and mask sitting askew on her face.


That's a little Disney, admittedly, the rage of a supreme witch villainess or something, but that's her remaining cry as she's dragged so brutally out of the room, and her tenuous bonds of influence over it snapped like proximity matters. There is nothing left for her here, anyway. Delia is gone.

The colossal stone hand withdraws entirely through the shattered window, dragging with it Jasmine's screaming form. The fist is familiar to Teo's feline eyes before the Ghost was gone, that very rocky countenance of the djinn he unwittingly unleashed on the world in the search for Emile Danko over a year ago now. Far more enslaved, these days, the Nightmare Man's rocky countenance is, but no less without impact.

With Delia bounding out of the dream on her own, Hokuto can't help but offer a proud — and smug — smile, but the interlopers that have invited themselves into this shared dreamscape seem to have not the same appreciation for her psychic dictatorship as her disciple does. Affixing Lynette with a look, Hokuto slowly begins to rise up from behind the table in one fluid motion, her golden eyes leveling on Magnes and his psychic construct with a moment of fleeting recognition of something, and perhaps worry flashing across her expressive face.

When golden eyes angle back to Dema, Hokuto's brows clench furrowed, trying to tune out the unfiltered raw Magnes flowing through the dreamscape with all the virulent infectiousness of a catchy tune with a dancable beat.

"I believe negotiations," Hokuto lifts one pale hand, threading fine tendrils of silken shadow from her hand much in the same way Dema has produced threads of his own. These, however, seem to be inexorably linked to the constructed dreamscape in Magnes' mind, "have come to a close." Whatever it was Lynette sought here, Hokuto has misconstrued it as a trap, a glowing blue lure designed to draw her into some crossifre between Dema and Jasmine.

Had they actually planned that it might have been a remarkable feat of coordination. Instead, it's just unfortunate serendipity.

The lash image that Dema and Lynette see are the threads of black rolling up like a snapped carpet from the ground, tethered to Hokuto's fingertips the way spider-silk is tethered to an arachnid's thorax. Then darkness.

Then waking.


One leg tangled up in his blankets, Magnes Varlane is staring up at his… floor. His bed hovers at a crooked angle in the air, tilting weightlessly along with several loose magazines and a book on particle physics with a She Hulk bookmark sticking out of it.

The blanket wound around his leg twists slowly, like a snake trying to slither free of him, and out the window of his bedroom, Magnes can see the nighttime cityscape upside down.

That was an awesome dream.

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