06.30.3013: Parental Issues
Summary: Nitrim crashes at Rook's after the Bonfire Festival. They discuss their addictions, their families, sort of, and how no one is really free. Other stuff happens. (Off camera, don't get excited).
Date: 30 June 2013
Related: Bonfires on the Aerie
Ithaca Nitrim 


Ithaca's Apartment — Blue District, The Ring
The door of this musty, basement apartment bears several chains across the spanalong 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. Rook grabs a beer from the fridge and hands it to him. She has an open one already on her coffee table.

30 June 3013

Fifth World - Ithaca - Sunday, June 30, 2013, 10:18 PM

An hour has passed since Nitrim was left behind at the party. Taking the Ways to get where he wants to go, he opts to a side route not earlier predicted: The Ring. Wrapped in a cloak to conceal his Midsummer's costume, he weaves his way down to Ithaca's basement apartment. He steps quietly down the dirty hallway until he comes to her door. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

There is music blasting from inside, hardcore stuff. But as he's expected, Rook left the mundane locks off her door so he can get it with his keycard. Apparently she missed the memo on the part about him needing to sleep. Go figure.

Patting himself down, Nitrim suddenly remembers the keycard and he reaches into his back pocket for his wallet. Taking out the card, he swipes it through the reader on the door and the main lock on the door clacks loudly and the reader's light turns from red to green. Palming the keycard, he taps the ashes from his cigarillo onto the floor and reaches for the door handle, pushing it open.

Rook isn't immediately visible in the main space, but the door to the bathroom is open, and the music seems to be coming from a source in there. She's in her bathtub, with bubblebath (which might be the biggest shock as she doesn't seem very girly), with a cigarette in her mouth, a bottle of redeye on the sink counter, and a beer dangling from one hand over the side of the old, clawfoot model. She looks like she might be sleeping, or just dozing.

Hey Nitrim sends mentally to her after locking the door behind him. As he moves to lean in the corner of the doorway, he folds his arms across his chest and hooks his mask to hang off of his hip. He pauses for a drag off of his cigarette and looks to the bottle of Red Eye and blinks. Once again, his eye starts to twitch and he presses the heel of his hand into the eye socket to calm it. He turns and heads out to the kitchen to get a beer from the fridge. Leaving Rook to her relaxation, he dumps himself onto the center of her sofa, closes his eyes, and nurses his beer in silence.

Its a good twenty minutes before Rook emerges from her bathroom, clearly not prioritizing hostess duties in her mind. She is in a t-shirt and panties and that's it. Her hair has been washed of the spray holding the mowhawk in place, and her makeup has even been scrubbed off. She looks younger without all the black on her face. She sinks onto the sofa next to him without a word.

Rook's arrival, at least to Nitrim's perceptions, comes in the form of the sudden weight of a body sitting next to him on the sofa. There's no need to flinch, the apartment isn't that large, and the hip pressed against his is body enough to only belong to her. After the latest sip from the beer, he opens his eyes and rolls his head on the old, ratty back cusion of the woven upholstry and looks to her. "So…I'd give tonight a solid fifty percent." He greets audibly, offering her a drag off of his cigarillo. "Did your night pick up after you left?"

"Picked up the drop," Rook replies. "Came home." That exciting, eh? She rolls her own head to look at Nitrim. "Your life is fucked." Very to the point there. She sips her beer with her eyes still red from the drops.

"You're starting to catch on." Nitrim replies, failing to smile at the thought of it. "Being born into the family I was comes with all of these benefits and where you would probably call them drawbacks, we call them duties. Still…" He looks to his beer and takes another sip. "…a top notch education, the freedom to move, a stipend from a rich father. Sometimes it's bad, but when it's good, it's good."

"Sounds like a whore," Rook points out bluntly. "Do what they tell you, because they give you shit." She looks away from him, her aura flickering for a moment as she shuts off the blaring music and puts on something less assaulting, more calming. "Like Nysa."

"I guess sometimes, yeah. Like a whore." He replies, staring off into space. "I read that thousands of years ago daughters used to be sold off to other men for alliances. It's not that way now, at least not so brutal." He pauses, floating the empty beer bottle out to the table, where he sets it down quietly. "Who's Nysa?"

"Mother," Rook admits. Probably for the first time to anyone outside of her keepers. "Whore. Dead." She doesn't seem all that broken up about Nysa having gone to meet the Crone. She drains her beer and leans forward to set it on the table. "Why do you do it?"

"Because I can change things. Just being who I am gives me access to things I don't want to lose, like being heard." Nitrim replies dryly, propping both of his feet up on the table and pinning his arms back behind his head. Rook has had a chance to bathe, he hasn't, and so he smells like smoke, alcohol, and sweat from hours of partying. His lungs are going to ache in the morning. "Because I love my brothers and sisters."

Rook nods, as if she can accept that reasoning. Even if she doesn't entirely understand the love part. She wrinkles her nose, the ring in it gleaming. "You stink." She only has the bathtub with the hand-held shower sprayer, not anything fancy mind you. "Clean up." Not that her mattress and sofa are all that pretty smelling, but they're the only furniture she has. "I'll make pizza."

Leaning forward, Nitrim looks to the bathroom and gives it a long, steely stare. Without so much as another word, he plants his hands on his knees and rises from the sofa. Crossing in front of her, he steps across the floor and into the bathroom, swinging the door closed behind him. It bumps against the lock, and instead of closing all of the way just hangs against the jamb. He moves to the mirror, staring at himself while he undresses. Leaving his clothes in a pile, he steps into the shower, drawing the curtain closed. Seconds later, the roar of water through the pipes in the paper thin walls can be heard.

Rook watches him go, and watches through the crack for a few moments, before she gets up to put a frozen pizza in the zapper. When he comes out, she'll be sitting cross-legged on her mattress, the pizza nearby with two cheap plastic plates, munching on a slice herself. There is a horror movie playing on the largest of her computer screens.

The shower shuts off and a few minutes pass. The door opens and Nitrim steps through wearing the pants that he was wearing while out and a towel over his head. Scrubbing his hair dry, he lets the towel hang over the top of his head like a monk's hood in time to see the horror movie erupt in screams. He stops near the mattress to watch as a tentacled creature pries open the door to an airlock and starts pulling pulling an unsuspecting man into its maw for a bite. Nitrim's stomach rumbles, and he sets down onto the padding and reaches for a slice. "Is this a newer one or an older one?"

"Not out yet," Rook replies. Having a hacker friend has great benefits. She gives him a sniff test, leaning in for a moment, then comments, "Better." The shirt on her is thin, there is clearly no bra underneath, but based on her shape, she really doesn't need one. "Why here? Why not a fancy hotel?" she asks him.

"Because I promised my sister I would head back to some of our noble friends so I wouldn't relapse. I was pissed off and needed company." His reply is clipped, simple, falling into the common parlance that he's learned to use in her presence. As he takes a bite, his glassy, still-drunk eyes drop down to the barely there fabric of her shirt before he leans back on one hand, watching the movie. "Why'd you follow me to the Spine?"

"Wanted to see if you were healed up," Rook replies. "You were moving around a lot. Thought maybe you were hurt worse." She shrugs a little at that and lies on her stomach, propping her head up in her hand and eating with the other one. Her shirt rides up and the dragon tattoo on her back becomes partially visible. "Saw the party, checked to see if you were on the drops."

"Eighteen days, still going strong. You know, not that I'd want you to give a fuck but seeing you with the bottle is a gut check, letting me know whether I still want it or not. I think it's good for me in a masochistic way." Nitrim's eyes move away from a boring, conversational part of the movie about the cellular makeup of the creature called from a dark dimension. They land on the small of Rook's back, tracing over the ink and the craftsmanship. Making a judgment about the status of their working relationship, he reaches out and lifts the back of the shirt enough to see some more of the artwork. It looks as if he's looking under the white sheet in the morgue, just like the grizzled doctor is during on the screen before them. "And I'm all healed up now, too. Thanks for letting me use your tub."

"Sure." The woman doesn't flinch or anything when he lifts the shirt. If she was shy she'd be wearing more clothing at the moment. The tattoo is extensive, and the dragon has red eyes, and black shadowy wings sprouting from her shoulderblades, a parody of her own Psychometric aura. The wings even flap a little, thanks to some sort of crazy tech the tattooist had. "If you want off Red Eye, have to be able to be around it."

"That's the idea. My sister knows, the eldest. She's out for my best interests and wants me to head to the camp of the Ash Legion, because before not long I'm probably going to squire. I'm gonna end up the dirtiest knight there ever was." Nitrim muses, letting her shirt fall back into place so that he doesn't drop a glob of pizza on her ass while inspecting. The mattress shifts as he sticks his legs out alongside her, graciously keeping his bare feet out of her view. "But fuck, Rook, I miss it. All the time."

"Can't go off it," Rook says flatly. "Die, probably. On it m'whole life." Whole life? She looks over at him. "Nysa," she says in explanation. The dead whore. Probably on it while pregnant with her messed up daughter. She finishes the slice of pizza and lights up another cigarette. She lets the fact she was born an addict sink in for her pal.

That gets a thoughtful look from the lordling, who lowers his gaze again to the curve of Rook's shoulder and the back of her ear, which is all he sees while she's watching the movie. Blinking thrice, his eyebrows rise and lower quickly, as if to say wow. Over her shoulder, the sound of fingernails over skin can be heard as he scratches his chest. "Then don't let anyone tell me I should be ashamed of myself for being your dealer. I was only on it three years."

"Not the only one owned," Rook mutters, rolling on her side so she can look at him, cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth. "Debts. Nysa's. Mine." She plucks the cancer stick out and blows a smoke ring. "Not so different." Than him, obviously. She gestures at the crap apartment. "Cept the quality."

"You know, for what you're doing for this effort, whatever it is, I'll float some money your way, or try to put together a fund. You're willing to hack the Infosphere to save lives. You don't deserve to be in debt like that." Nitrim replies, head lulling to the side as he watches her roll over. He bites the last of his pizza down to the crush, which he loves back onto the cardboard-like serving circle the pizza came on. "Least we could do is get you a rolling fridge." He smirks and looks up towards her kitchen. His aura flares out and his eyes cloud over. The image of harmless fire about him sways as a red, hissing serpent of fire and reddish energy starts to swim around his bare torso. The door to the fridge opens and a beer starts to float out towards him. The movie erupts in a blood-curdling scream, and the beer clatters harmlessly to the floor. "FFFfffuckme." Nitrim curses, quickly pushing off of the mattress. It's a short walk to the kitchen, where he grabs two of the beers and returns to the mattress. He looks back to her, offering her one of them. He reaches for her cigarette, stealing it for a drag. "Everyone's owned."

Rook's fingers reach out to touch the serpent aura, looking at it curiously. When he gets up and returns she allows him the drag off her cigarette and takes the offered beer. "Shouldn't be like that. Should be free." She looks serious now, the red almost faded from her eyes, sobering. "Thanks," she adds, meaning both the beer and his offer to help.

"Well, I'll get out of the crawler and give it as hard of a push as I can, but I don't think it'll move much. Still, this goes back to me liking the benefit of being heard when I talk. I've made administrative decisions, not a lot but some, that have been good for the citizens at Volkan." He blows a smoke ring up above them, and turns the cigarette over between pinched fingers to offer it back. "Because the only thing worse than being a citizen in a shit place is being a citizen in a shit place with a shit lord."

Rook takes back the cigarette, holding his fingers against it for a moment. "Daddy issues?" she asks, sitting up and leaning her weight on her other arm. The effects of the Red Eye are ebbing a little, she's less out of it.

After the scrape of their fingertips against each other passes, Nitrim watches her rise up before him for her hard-hitting question. The tattoo of the snake on his shoulder moves against his skin as he brings a hand up to brush through his short, blonde hair. "More like…he owes me more than he'd admit." Glancing to the movie, he leans back until he's laying back on his elbows, stretched out on the mattress. His eyes tilt back to hers, tracing the receding veins of red. "I was complicated in a way he didn't understand. He's not Awakened."

"Dunno how they live," Rook murmurs. She traces black painted nails over the tattoo, watching it move with a clinical look. "Empty. Not seeing." She clearly sees it as a gift, not a punishment. It's also the main reason the Syndicate didn't force her into her mother's job. She had more value with other things.

"They don't understand, but I'm the only one in the line that does. Some shit just doesn't get solved with halberds." Nitrim lowers his voice, lowering his chin to watch her nails trace over the hissing tongue of the serpent on his chest. His eyes pool from her wrist to her knee, grazing up her leg, over her hip, the contours of her shirt, and then finally her eyes once again. "But they're what I've got. They're blind without me to what we see. Some of them listen, some of them don't."

"They will. Proof. Group," Rook says with confidence. She slides down beside him, other tattoos visible in part under the edge of her sleeves, on her stomach, on her legs, her eyes flicking to his, dark, the depths unreadable, like the eyes of a doll, or a shark. She folds her elbow under her head like a makeshift pillow.

"That's part of the idea. The other part is if they don't listen then someone will. If not, then we'll do this on our own." His dark, green eyes are cased behind the slight glass, but they hold onto hers as he reaches out to her hip. Smirking, he lifts up her shirt just enough over her side to reveal another tattoo, which he idly traces with a finger. His gaze lowers, watching it in the dim space between them. "Maybe it's time I get a new tattoo for myself."

"What?" she asks, in reference to the tattoo. "Where?" The pair of rooks, almost in abstract, fly up and down her side, over her rib cage. Her ribs are very visible, her thinness almost disturbing. But with the lifetime of drug addiction, she could probably eat like a Khournas and never gain weight. "Here?" she asks, running fingers over his chest. "Here?" they slide down to his stomach. She's not really looking though, her eyes stay on his face, as if trying to read him.

He brushes a thumb over her ribs, wrapping his fingers around the side of her ribcage as she starts to question placement for the new ink. His jaw tightens, stirring lightly as the conversational line is crossed. She's not suggesting anything about ink anymore, and as his eyes find hers once more he levels a quiet onto her. His belly rises and falls, and the hand on her side squeezes gently. The edge of his lip twitches, revealing a small dimple as he leans his head in towards her lips. Confident and still a bit drunk, there's no slow, nervous approach. He kisses her because he wants to.

Rook returns the kiss with a strange hunger and rush of personal energy. All her reservedness with words is wholly absent in matters of physicality, at least with him. And she clearly wants him as she presses up tight against his body. She's a little drunk, and a little high, but that's really her norm. She has wants, and he's clearly not here for business. He could do that from anywhere. He keeps returning to her, even to her dump of an apartment. It's probably bad for them both, but she doesn't seem to give a flying fuck about the rules or their repercussions.


Fade To Black


The night is long, and the neighbors had to pound on the paper-thin walls twice through the ordeal that leaves them half-covered in an old sheet, a tangle of limbs.

Rook's smile is warm against his chest as she murmurs, "Better than Red Eye?"

From her vantage point, she couldn't see it, but the warm smile across Nitrim's rather exhausted face is evident in his voice. "Better than Red Eye, and I can look at myself in the mirror after." Finally, a hint to the reason for his quitting comes to light. There's personal loss in dosing for the man; it takes him to a place that he doesn't respect himself for. Languidly, he raises a few lazy fingertips to her shoulder, brushing up and down as beat-by-beat his heartbeat returns to normal, as does the rise and fall of his chest. He smiles again. "Better than dancing?"

"Better," Rook agrees. She traces figures on his chest that, if he watches, look like numbers or formulas. No doubt she's of the Hermetic variety of Psychometrics. "Should sleep." It was why he said he came here, wasn't it? She seems like she intends to stay right there, curled up against him, for that bit of downtime.

"Fuck that's right." Nitrim lets out an exhaust, not disappointed sigh. It's the sigh of someone looking at the clock and realizing that they've got an early flight in the morning. His eyes crack open to lift his head, planting a kiss to her sweaty brow as his eyes scan the absolutely destroyed room. Of course, the computer equipment is fine, but the bottles and scattered trash are more akin to an Easter Egg hunt course. His head falls back to a pillow and he laughs against her shoulder, tucking her in closer. Seems he, too, likes the contact comfort of her presence. "I'm going to be black and blue, training up for the next round of fighting. Then I'm off to the Chantry to warn them that the fucking Hostile think our gods are obsolete. They might be a target." He plants another kiss to her shoulder and lets out another exhausted wash of air that cools her skin. "No rest for the wicked, Rook. Not one bit."

"How long?" she asks, meaning the length he'll be gone. She rubs her cheek against him, finding a comfortable position as her eyes drift shut. She doesn't ask him not to go, or tell him to be careful. She doesn't scold him for going to the Chantry. She just asks how long it'll be before he's back around.

"Maybe a day or two. Thanks to the Ways I'm a gate away, so nothing really is too far away. Flint's going to break me hard the first day, so I'll be sore. The Chantry is my own business, so you're welcome to come along. That's not really your thing, though, so if you want to set up shop and work at a bar or something while I go in there, I'd be fine with that." His breathing slows some more, words coming through slower and slower as the pure exhaustion in his bones takes over. Still is good. Comfortable is good. He sniffs in softly, closing his eyes once more. "Do we have to be careful about who sees you with me here, or do they leave you alone? Last thing you need is them thinking you have rich friends, right?"

"Go with you?" she asks, confused, like she doesn't quite get that he'd be willing to be seen with her. Tonight he was wearing a mask, afterall. "They don't care," she says in reference to her keepers. "Long as I work when they say." She gestures with a hand at the computers. She clearly is repaying her debt with her hacking skills.

"I mean be in the area. I'd be in there talking about the Gods at the Chantry, you'd probably be bored out of your mind, but after that's done we coudl grab a beer." Nitrim explains, turning at the hip just a little to find a more comfortable way to tangle his legs with hers. "It'd probably give you an hour or two around Landing to do whatever, buy stuff, get a drink, see a show. I don't know." His fingertips start to trace her shoulder again. Whatever he's thinking, he's not making a big deal out of it. "When our group gets stronger, I have a plan. When this is all over we'll go down in history in name, just not yet."

"Get my tattoo then?" Rook asks. Rather than having the famous artist come to her, she could go there. She frowns a little, not really understanding the things inside her that leap about at being invited to go somewhere with him. Some people call those emotions. "FUNtasia is there," she adds. So she knows where the arcade is at least. Her lips brush against his chest lightly, breathing in his scent, as if cataloging it in her mathematical mind.

"Yeah. I'll call Pryde and until then I'll scout out other pieces, maybe book him for some more work, too. I don't have any new-grade ink, none of the waving stuff like you've got." Another kiss to her brow and then he settles again. His aura simmers softly as he looks to the lightswitch, and the room suddenly douses itself in a wash of black accented by the dull glow of monitors and the horror movie on repeat from the main screen. His index and middle finger swoosh back and forth over her shoulder, hanging onto his consciousness. "Yeah…go to FUNtasia, take some time off." He pauses. "Will you need cash?"

"No," she replies. The $550 he's given her so far is more free money than she's had in ages. It's currently locked up in that coffee table trunk, with the rest of her possessions she puts value to. When the lights go out, she remains awake for a little bit, waiting to be sure he gets to sleep, before she lets herself doze off.

With the lights out, it doesn't take Nitrim long to settle into a steady rhythm. The affectionate brushing against her shoulder slowly dies out until his body is still, packed in comfortably against hers. Minutes later, his breathing slows and he settles in a dark, deep sleep. The room becomes silent, save for the spinning of hard disks and computer chips being accessed, and the two drift off.

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