07.10.3013: Everybody Hurts
Summary: Nitrim checks in on Rook, who has finally compiled her search data on Awakened Dreams, and Father Tommas. Then they have a reality check and it all goes to hell.
Date: 10 July 2013
Related: None
Ithaca Nitrim 

Ithaca's Apartment — Blue District, The Ring
The door of this musty, basement apartment bears several chains across the span along with multiple locks, electronic and mundane. Inside it is almost empty, Spartan to an extreme. There's just one, windowless, main room serving as the entire living space, and a small bathroom. The bedroom consists of a mattress on the floor in one corner. The kitchen is nothing but a counter with a small sink, microwave, mini fridge/freezer, hot plate, and electric crockpot

Along one wall rests a small tattered loveseat and a coffee table which looks to be an old trunk of some sort. The rest of the space is taken up by computer equipment, resting on scratched up Plexiglas sheets propped on rusted old filing cabinets, stools, chairs, anything that could be used to support the flat surfaces. The walls are plastered with page upon page of code and mathematical calculations.

10 July 3013

Nitrim keeps the cowl that he wears low over his head as he stalks through the alleys towards Ithaca's shitty basement apartment. Carrying a bag of groceries in one arm, he comes to a stop before her door and lifts his keycard up to the reader and slides it through. The light switches to green and he toes the door open, using his good shoulder for leverage while pushing through. Looking rather tired with his right arm dangling in a sling, he kicks the door closed behind him so that the electronic locks can engage.

Rook is seated in front of her computer workstation, typing away at a keyboard while a printer spits out page after page of data into a basket. She has a cigarette in her lips and her hair looks wet, fresh from a shower. A tank top and shorts are a testament to the crappy heating and cooling in this area of the Ring, it's a bit warm in there, especially with all the computers humming away. She doesn't look away from the screen when the door opens, as only one person has a key to her place besides her. "Hey," she greets.

"Hey." Nitrim replies with a grunt as he hefts the bag of groceries in his arm. Fresh beer, some food for her fridge and freezer, and cigarettes are the packages this time, which he travels over to a kitchen counter and begins to put them away with his working left arm. He looks over to her with a little smirk, eyes to her printer, then closes the fridge door to fumble in his pocket one-handed for a cigarette. "Thanks for the care package, by the way, it was very thoughtful. I know things have been very up and down lately, but things are moving fast and I'm rushing from one place to the next." He pauses to light his cigarette. "How are you doing, Rook?"

"Fine," is Rook's reply, which is about as useful as most of her conversations. The thin little hacker tips her head towards a pair of data chips on her desk. "One is yours. Data finally compiled," she explains. She eyes the sling and her eyes move over him as if to check for other injuries. "How bad?" she asks, turning around in her chair to address him. She hands him her mostly fresh cigarette to put an end to the fumbling.

Her cigarettes are better than his anyway. Nitrim stubs out what he has of a cigarette and lights hers in favor. "Collarbone, ribs, and an arm. I'm on pain meds right now so it's keeping the arm-hate to a minimum, but I'll live." Nitrim reports, grabbing a pair of the beers. Setting one down on her desk beside her, he slips the chip into his pocket and heads over to her sofa. "Thanks, so is this the dream data or the priest data? Because, I've gotta tell you, there's something going on in the Chantry and we need to get to that priest fast."

A few last key taps and Rook gets up from her desk chair, stretching with a resultant popping noise that indicates she may have been sitting there a while. She scratches at her still damp hair, which just won't seem to dry in today's humid air. Her beer is opened and she takes a sip, before pressing the cold bottle to the side of her face. "Dream data. Priest is a ghost. " She moves to one of the piles of papers on the floor near the printer and pulls out a few sheets, handing them over. "Not much out there."

Nitrim tips back his beer for a long pull and then sets the bottle aside. One-handed, he has to be careful with how he manages his papers, cigarettes, and beer in a masterful game of trading off. Cigarette in lip, he sets the papers down before him and starts to read. "Father Tommas wrote me before he disappeared, just a day before the battle at Primus-Val." Nitrim replies, one eye squinted to avoid getting smoke in it while the cigarette bobbles in his lip. "The higher ups in the Chantry thanked me for my concern, but Father Tommas wanted to meet with me alone because something seemed to be off inside of the Chantry. Now he's gone missing, which means he's either dead or he's on the run. If he's the latter, then he might know something that we'd rather not wait for a surprise to figure out." He looks up to Rook, leaning back on the sofa and plucking the cigarette from his lip. "This is something we'll have to bring up to the crew."

Rook nods her head, sitting gingerly next to him so as not to aggravate his injuries. "Agreed." She puzzles over his information a little. "He was doing the same thing as me." She gestures to the notation about him researching Awakened Dreams and the Chantry. "Only with religion in there."

"Then we fucking really need to find him if he's alive. So I figure all of us, Soleil, Talayla, Helena, You, Me, the others we're bringing in like Lyrienne, we'll have to make an effort to find him and use our combined resources to keep him on the move." Nitrim sighs a cloud of smoke and rubs his thumbnail over his brow. "And then these reports of Chantry priests that weren't reported missing and then were found on Hostile ships? Fuck us all if the bloody Chantry is in bed with the Hostile on some level. Let's hope Sextus is just a paranoid fool."

Rook scowls as that doesn't sound good at all. She digs out another cigarette and lights it up, sucking the hot smoke into her lungs and gritting her teeth. "Told you, religion is bad." She shrugs a bit. "Not sure where to look. Could see if any cams near Primus waygates saw him. If not, might still be there." She gestures at his arm, indicating his condition. "What did it?"

"Waygates, any travel records, any funds, rumors, cab cameras, street cameras. Maybe if you could try to retrace his logical steps from the Chantry to the Waygates, and then use that to build a path to find out where he went. Start with two days before the attack? This is far more your specialty than mine." Nitrim laughs softly, flashing a bright-toothed smile to her as he settles in with his slung-arm to get comfortable. One boot up on the coffee table, he sighs out another lung capacity of blue-gray smoke. "A cybernetic abomination thing threw a hover cart at us. I was the only one that didn't have the room to get out of its way. Nearly flattened me."

"Next time, duck better," Rook advises, wisely, as she leans back against the sofa cushions, which are about as comfortable as bedrock. Her bare feet go up on the trunk as well. "I killed sharks." He may have noticed some frozen fish in the freezer, real ones wrapped up, not the processed crap that usually makes its way down to the Boroughs.

"Yeah you mentioned that. What was that like?" Nitrim cracks a grin, looking over to her on the other side of the sofa. "We should swap itineraries, you know? You go off for sun and water and blowing up sharks and I go off to a mostly uninhabitable rock to go through a chamber of horrors probably worth selling to a movie producer."

You say, "Weird," is Rook's reply. "Boss sent me. Half naked men. Bad jokes. Lots of blood. Didn't blow them up. Drowned them." She used her telekinesis to block water from entering their gills. "They lets us eat food, much as we wanted." She binged like a sailor on shoreleave. "Should have got pictures," she chastises him, of the scary place of course."

"Why take pictures when you can record it in your helmet's camera?" Nitrim replies, leaving the cigarette in his lip long enough to pull out a disk of his own, which he offers to her. "There's no half-naked men or bad jokes, but there's a hard degree of gore, the lot of us chasing shadows, me getting royally fucked by a thing, and plenty of Soleil and I fighting it out."

"Cool." Rook takes the chip and gets up to put it into her system, letting it compile for play. "Still fighting with her?" she asks, looking a little exasperated at him. She rejoins him and starts the recording.

"Not so much anymore after what you see in this vid." He shakes his head, planting his boot back to the coffee table and leaning back, beer in hand. He scowls, realizing that he's left his cigarette in his lip. The trading-off will take some getting used to again. The beer is set back down. "Her and I have been talking since I got into the hospital and I think we're on the right track to getting along again, so long as I don't say something stupid."

"Good luck," Rook quips, flitting that almost smile of hers at the idea of him not saying anything stupid. Her eyes roll over white and she telekinetically takes the cigarette out of his mouth so he can sip his beer. "See? Stupid. Don't need words for that." Duh Nitrim, you're awakened. You don't need hands.

"Thanks, but the doctor said I should try to stay off of the arm for another day or two since the rods capping my collarbone together are still sore. I'm a little nervous to mix painkillers and power, but…" Nitrim blinks, as if a lightbulb has gone off over his head. "…I guess the Red didn't stop me back then either, did it? Fuck it." His eyes wash over in white and he floats the beer over to his hand, where it takes a sip. "But stupid or not I think things are going to be okay from now on with Soleil. The next meeting should go alot more copacetically."

Rook grins and she gives him back his smoke, before her eyes go back to normal. "Better. Both things." Use of power and Soleil. "Things want to kill us. Shouldn't want to kill each other too." She glances aside at him, a little uneasy maybe. "Training good?" she asks. It's been lonely here without him.

Catching her uneasy look, Nitrim's eyes wash back over to green and he focuses on her, reading her expression. His eyebrow twitches and he shakes his head over his beer. "Training is…exhausting. Sir Flint's been beating me like a rented mule, which is what I need, but…for now I'm going to bed about as exhausted as I can get. I…take it it's been pretty quiet here?"

"Quiet," Rook agrees, but it's her eyes that tell him she's missed him. He's really her first friend, and she'd gotten used to seeing him often. This loneliness thing is new to her. She's not sure how to cope with it. There are more than her usual empty bottles of drops around, and clearly she's been working a lot on their research. She sits back on the sofa to focus on the vid and keep her eyes away from him.

Slowly, Nitrim nods his head off into oblivion as the hacker turns her attention back to the screen. He turns to watch it, remembering well the way he became spooked and kept looking over his shoulder, blasting his floodlamp over all of that dried blood. He frowns toward the screen and goes back to his cigarette. "Yeah…I can understand quiet." He replies, nodding softly. "Did you like getting out at all? You should, more often, you know? Go see Zakk, go bug Lorelei, Jane, or someone. All of this ghosting away's gotta wear on you, right?"

"Not good at it," Rook mumbles. Mostly she doesn't feel brave when he isn't with her. She's working on it, but it's a slow process. "Will try," she gives in, looking unhappy about it. Her cigarette smoulders in her hand slowly, as she watches the screen, trying to parse what's happening from the restricted viewpoint.

"It's okay, don't push yourself. You don't have to be pushing yourself out there. I just can't promise Flint or family or Cabal won't keep me running all over the place, and you deserve some freedom, too." Nitrim points out, eyes on the screen for the first time him and Soleil are told to knock it off. There's blood and bodies everywhere, and every bit of it is movie quality, primarily because it's very, very real. Chewing on the edge of his thumb, Nitrim looks over to her. "While I was down there, I kept hearing a voice telling me to burn them all alive."

Rook watches the argument keenly, with a dark expressions. "I'm not free," she notes. She may never be. "They watch me. If I move too much, questions." She shrugs, fully expecting that being seen with Nitrim in the tabloids resulted in her being sent shark hunting, despite being ill-suited to that task. At the mention of the burning she looks back at him. "Whose voice?"

"Mine? My father's? Someone else's? I couldn't really tell, Rook. It came and went so fast and it was so distorted at times. I almost burned Lyrienne down when I turned around because I could have swore whoever's voice it was had creeped up on me." Nitrim shakes his head bitterly, pausing for a sip from his beer. "Everyone else was hearing something, too. I don't know exactly what they were hearing, but the audio sensors didn't pick up shit."

Rook ponders the explanation, and her eyes slide over to her drug stash near the bed. "Drugged?" she asks, because that sort of thing sounds like hallucinations she's had now and then. "Place you were, air bad?"

"That's what was explained to me. There was something in the air, some kind of toxin. Gods know what, of course, or why it was there or what it was doing. It's out of my system now. The worst part of all of it is that if that's the case the hallucinations came from within." He tilts his head to emphasize the point. "We all have our sins to bear, I guess." It's no sweat. "Old dreams kind of shit."

"Happens down here, sometimes," Rook notes. "Where we met first." Down in the Oubliette, where sometimes the air cleaners fail, or can't keep up with what's being shunted down into the bowels of the ring. "People go crazy." She shrugs. "Just dreams," she tells him, reaching a hand to place it on his leg, since he only has one hand to work with at the moment. "Deep things. We don't do them. That makes us good people."

Nodding softly, whatever Nitrim's spooks are about the dreams and his internal voices on the video before them don't stay long. He leans out to stub his cigarette into the ashtray and comes back with his half-empty beer. "I know, hells, everyone has thoughts they don't act on. There's been plenty of times I've wanted to shove my sisters off of the Blackspyre and didn't do it. I wouldn't but my brain would remember those thoughts as relevant. I'm okay, really." He smirks back to her, shaking his head. "It'll take me a few days, but I'll be fine, trust me. I'm just anxious to fine Tommas."

Rook looks at him worriedly and she reaches a hand to cup his cheek for a moment. "You are good. Don't forget." Her words are more a command than anything. She tries to hold his gaze until he believes what she says.

Nitrim's shoulder moves, normally he would clamp the hand to his cheek, but his arm is lost to him, so he reaches in with his left arm to pat the inside of her wrist with a nod of his head. "I am. I know. I've taken myself to some bad places, but I'm pulling out of them." He admits, winking and flashing a cocky little smile. "So what did you think of Lyrienne? She came to the D-4 station with us. Do you think she'd be good for the Cabal?"

"Yes," comes Rook's answer. "Kind. Smart." All the things she wishes she was, but she leaves that bit off. She draws back her hand and gets up to cross to the fridge and rummage in it to see what he brought her for groceries. "Hungry?" she calls back. She'd ask if he wanted other things, but she's afraid she's break him in his injured condition.

"No, thank you. I hit one of the restaurants before the Ways from Ignis and I'm kind of stuffed, but I brought back a sample of Ignan food for you. It's pretty good actually, really meaty." Nitrim notes, settling back against the sofa to relax and watch her dig for food. "Maybe another beer, if you're willing to spare." He pauses, chewing his lip in silence. "Is everything okay?"

Rook takes the leftovers out of the fridge and opens them, sniffing curiously. She pops them into the microwave and brings him over another beer while the food heats up. Her expression is a little hard to read, but the chewing of her own lip isn't. "Just missed you."

"Missed me?" Nitrim replies, nodding softly to her. He leans forward on the sofa to watch her closely as he sets his beer down. Coughing softly, he reaches for another cigarette. He hasn't had many in days and seems to be getting back up to speed. He smiles quietly and slips the cigarette between his lips. Eyes washing over, he lights it with a flare from the palm of his hand. "I'd have thought after that tabloid nonsense you would have preferred to not spend so much time around me, Rook. They're always chasing us nobles around trying to figure out who we're set to marry."

"They aren't here," Rook notes, meaning her apartment. She cocks her head to one side. "You are my friend." And he can tell that in those words, he's her only one. She shrugs. "Was it bad?" she asks, glancing over at the bed, with a pointed look.

Nitrim follows Rook's eyes towards her bed, his attention falling on it in a moment lost in thought. He chews his lip quietly and with a bitter frown, he shakes his head and lowers his eyes to the floor. A little laugh escapes him. "No, no it wasn't bad, you didn't do anything wrong. I don't have a lot of friends either, Rook, and you're definitely one of them." He looks back to her, eyes a little confused, as if he's been thinking lately. "Can I ask you a question, Rook? You don't fuck around with words, and you're a pretty good judge of character. The girls, the tabloids, the scandals, all of that shit. That's makes me look bad to the outside, doesn't it?"

"To some. Not important," Rook says calmly. She sits on the trunk in front of the couch, crosslegged, in front of him. She grimaces and tries to string together the words to explain, which is never an easy task for someone who spent most of her life not talking much at all. She scrubs a hand through her hair again, mussing it before she looks back at him. "You are you. People understand who matter. Like you as you. Outside not worth shit. Inside matters." She taps her chest, then his.

The edge of Nitrim's cheek rises at her vote of confidence, ending in a slight flash of his teeth to her. He leans forward with his elbow on his knee and lulls his head down, speaking towards their knees. "Well, there aren't a lot of people who understand just yet. There's a few. There's my sisters, you, Helena, Soleil, maybe Talayla, Lorelei Quellton. It's just…it's occurred to me with how much of a hermit I have been, doing what I do, it's harder for people to trust me. I've toyed with peoples' hearts, I've made a mockery of myself in some places." He raises his head, eyebrows hopeful that she'll understand. "Being a noble can be a pain in the absolute ass, you know."

Rook leans forward as well, resting her head against his for a moment. When he draws back, she looks at him and smirks. "Irritant. Not pain." Her eyes roll over white and she sends him a memory of hers, being a child, peeking out of the closet she was made to wait in as her mother gets beaten by a John. He leaves and she rushes out to help her, only to be pushed away for a dose of Red Eye. "Never fall in love, baby. Never do it," her mother tells her. "Pain," she murmurs.

Forehead to forehead, Nitrim blinks through the memory and an audible sigh crosses his lips. It's a painful memory, something he wouldn't wish on most of his enemies. He frowns and reaches up to the top of her head, pulling her forehead to his for a soft press of his lips. Sighing, he leans back against the cushions of the sofa and shakes his head, tsking at the memory. "Rook, don't ever let that stop you from going forward. We're both owned on our own terms but that doesn't mean you're sentenced to it. We make our own path in life, and we're Awakened. What doesn't work out for us we can immolate." He laughs.

Rook looks at him as her eyes fade back to that depthless blackness. It must have been from her father, her mother had lighter eyes and reddish brown hair. Mind you, the hair color could be anything under the dye Rook uses. "I feel things," she murmurs, looking strained. "Scare me a little. I know we can't be." She gestures between them, "me and you, always. But for a little while?" Something nice in her life, a shelter from the storm. "Until they tell you who you marry."

"No we can't, can we? But for the now I'm in a sick amount of pain and am trying to undue playing with messy things such as hearts and minds. I've hurt enough people, Rook, so please don't let me shovel you onto that list, aye?" He reaches in to pull her into a hug, wrapping his arm around her shoulder in a one-armed grip. When you have an arm in a sling, everything is a bro-hug. "Until then, from this point forward, we're the most honest friends each other have got."

Rook swallows, hard. It hurts somewhere in her sternum behind all the walls she had built up. She doesn't respond, just lets him hold her even as she feels him slipping further away.

Leaning back from the hug, Nitrim's eyes furrow curiously on Rook's and he reaches out to brush her hair back into place. Something has affected the man, perhaps his conscience, but he seems to be wanting to put everything back into place where it should be on an emotional level. "You know what we need to do, right?" He murmurs, letting a pause sift between them for station identification purposes. "We need to remember to take breaks between all of this gravity, horror, war, and trouble to have fun. YOU should be having far more fun than you seem."

Rook thought what they'd been doing was plenty fun, but she nods at him, her expression going a touch closed off, covering carefully any hurt. "I play games," she notes with a shrug. She gets up as the microwave dings and saves her from having to cloak her expression for a few minutes. She busies herself in the kitchen, dishing up her food onto an actual play, which she usually doesn't bother with, buying herself time to get those feelings shoved deep down.

From his perch on the sofa, Nitrim watches her walk away. The smiles and the bites to her lip has faded, and she's retreated, which the man picks up on. He breathes in deeply and places his fist before his lips to cough dryly, a seasoned smoker. He rises from the sofa and looks around the room, not quite sure what to do with himself or her. "Rook." He starts, looking back to her. "I need you to understand something. Any time between now and when I'm wed will form a web that will be harder to undo as the days go by."

There is the clattering of utensils in the kitchen as she scoops stuff out of the box onto the dish. Her forearm swipes across her nose as she banishes any sniffles to the damned Devil. "I'm fine," she lies in a clipped tone. She can make herself fine. She did when her mother died, she can do it again. Just more pieces of her to cut out and lock away. "Easier this way," she agrees.

The Khourni lordling stands in place, watching the way the hacker moves. His eyes soften and his features slack just a little, a sense of dread falling over him. He closes his eyes and brushes a hand through his hair. "Right now, Rook, I need to stay away from sex to get myself sorted. Down the line if we screw around, then…okay, but I can't know that when I get married that I'm tearing your soul out like it appears from here. If we can't be simple, Rook, then…I can't. I won't be careless anymore." He tells her quietly, his voice drenched with hope that she'll understand.

"Your call," Rook replies, her shoulders tense and her body curled in just a little bit, protecting herself. She digs through the few cabinets she has, looking for stuff to add to the meal, to buy time to finish processing things. She puts it all into mathematical equations in her head, sorting, moving, subtracting.

Quieted, Nitrim's lips curl into a frown. He's gone and done it again, something he never intended. Like a storm leaving behind debris, he watches her back from across the room, falling into a long, uncomfortable silence. He's pierced right through a shadow and bitten deeply into a heart. "Blame me, if anyone." Nitrim says finally, reaching for his coat. "I didn't understand that you felt this way."

She doesn't have the words to explain to him. She loved her mother, her mother choose drugs over her, and left her. She opened up to Nitrim and he chose his nobility over her. "Not your fault," she states, her voice calm and controlled. "I knew better." Don't ever fall in love baby girl. "It'll be ok." She gathers up her food and brings it to her desk to eat.

Stopping near the door, Nitrim looks back to Ithaca and pauses. He shakes his head bitterly. "That's where you're wrong. This is my fault, and I'm sorry." He turns to the door and with one arm, he thumbs the lock open. "I'm not going to hurt anyone anymore, Rook, and prolonging everything is just a path that'll lead to disaster. I'm trying to protect you."

That tweaks her hard. Rook slams down her plate, sending leftovers flying as she stands up and glares at him in fury. "NOT. YOUR. DECISION!" she snaps out. "Not some child to protect! Taking away choice is worse than a bad choice!" She throws her spoon at his head angrily.

The spoon sails across the room and hits Nitrim directly in the eyebrow, just hovering near his eyelid. A surprised gah! sounds from the man and he turns his side to her, cupping his palm over his eye. "FUCK you threw a SPOON at me!" Hellooooo Commander Obvious. His palm comes away from his eye and he blinks twice. "I'm not protecting you like some child, Rook, I swear, and I'm not trying to take away your choice I was trying to tell you what I felt would, I dunno, KEEP THINGS FROM FUCKING EXPLODING?" He calls back out to her, reaching down for the spoon. He laughs just a little and lobs it back towards her, but not enough to risk hitting her computers. "Fuck, Rook. Come on."

"HARD doesn't mean BAD." Rook stalks to her bathroom and slams the door shut, locking it behind her. "Go. Be Nitrim Khournas," she bites out through the thin partition. "Whoever he is." She leans her head on the door for a moment, listening for his departure.

Eyes locked onto the thin, wooden door that separates the two of them, the Khourni lordling stands there, dumbfounded. Her door doesn't open and then close again. She doesn't hear him running away. Instead, after a lengthy silence, he speaks to her. "I'm sorry, Rook. Most nobles they…just wait for their parents to marry them off because, sooner or later, they leave people they care about hurt. They hurt friends. Fuck…" He sighs under his breath and then turns to the door. Quietly, he unlatches the door and then steps out into the hall.

She doesn't come out, and lets him have the last word. Rook has a long night ahead, with a Red Eye flight to nowhere to help close down her feelings again. Numb, it's the only way to live without pain.

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