Wolf Cub Dreaming

Summary:
February 27, 2015: Lydia helps Wolf Cub through a bad dream…

New York

hardwire wolf_cub


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


It's been… odd for Nicholas these last several days. Odd in the way things are different. Odd in the ways they're not. It's kind of uncomfortable to think about… but not something he can really escape since it literally follows him around. On the back of his neck. Invisible all.

The werewolf-mutant has been putting in some late hours at the office, working out the more business-y details of the joint venture while simultaneously working on some contracts that'll at least get the company off the ground, pun not intended.

Now that there's more furniture in the office, there have been a few times when the big, fuzzy guy has been too tired to go home and just crashed on the couch in the newly added upstaris area that will eventually serve as crew quarters. Beds haven't arrived yet… and there's no reason to staff like that just yet. Crews have been training instead. At any rate, that's where he is at present. Though, as is sometimess the case for him, his sleep tonight is far from restful.

***

Like Nicholas, Lydia has a lot on her plate. She's not only heavily involved in the design of the vehicles they're trying to get fabricated and assembled she's also doing the systems integration. The 'ambulances' they're looking to field have a lot more to keep track of than the standard ones. Half hovercraft, half jet, half mobile hospital… that's a lot of halves and a lot of systems to talk to each other.

On the upside, it means that Lydia's intrusion is… not terribly intrusive. He's likely started to get used to that sense of having a window open in his mind.

Nicholas' restless sleep however, pulls Lydia out of her work. She heads upstairs, watching him quietly for a bit. Both from without and within, dipping into his dreams before she comes over to perch on the edge of the couch, reaching out to comb her fingers through the thick fur along the crown of his head.

***

Fire. That's what Nicholas is dreaming of. Fire, and smoke and the scent of petroleum jelly and burning fur and charred flesh. Woodsmoke mingled with the echoy, indistinct voices of teenage boys and girls, running, shouting, screaming. Like all dreams much is muddled but the terror is quite real. And in the fire, a mask. A man in a suit wreathed in flames. Unstoppable. Inexorable. Nicholas twitches and wimpers, turning slightly toward the touch.

***

Lydia can feel the way the telepathic patchwork that keeps Nicholas' mind intact strains under the dream. Her brow furrows, mouth pulling down into a frown. While normally she might easily mold the nightmare into a dream, Nichola's mind is… delicate. Much moreso than the mutant himself. Instead of trying to guide his mind, she scoots closer so that her side presses against him, her arm tugging him closer as she leans down to one of those expressive ears. "I'm here, Nicky." She lets her mindvoice whisper into his dream as well.

***

Nicholas turns onto his side as Lydia leans down and the voice intrudes upon his consciousness at two levels. It's… out of place. It doesn't fit in the context of the desperate horror of the dream. The telepath can feel his consciousness jolt, like a car slipping a gear… or well… perhaps she wouldn't make quite that analogy. The werewolf snorts, and shivers a little, blinking slowly as his mind pulls itself sharply out of terrified sleep and into drowsy wakefullness. "Mmmmmmmph…" He blinks again, looking up groggily.

***

Lydia's hands continue to stroke him, fingers sliding through the thick fur. She gets the feeling that she'll need to dive into the nightmares that are likely a reoccuring issue, but right now she's still one of the things that worry him. As delicate as his mind is, she doesn't want his night terrors compounded by his anger and fear and betrayl of her own presence.

Lydia's blue-grey eyes fill his sleepy vision, her blonde hair a loose, golden halo around her. "It's alright, Nicky. You're safe. You're right here with me." Probably not a way he would normally define 'safe'…

***

Not really, no. Safe may be a somewhat relative term (ask a soldier or a firefighter what 'safe' is sometime) but it doesn't usually include the presence of telepaths with a permanent, unasked for presence in one's head. Still, the words seem to soothe some part of him as he shakes free of the last vestiges of the dream and gets his bearings.

Work… Rescue. He's at the Rescue Office… in the quarters… on a couch. And Lydia's standing… no… kneeling next to him? Or… actually he's kind of already sitting up. And she's… really, really close. Closer certainly than people tend to get.

"Lydia?" Nick's normally rough voice is even rougher right now. He clears his throat, still a bit confused. He can remember the dream, then Lydia's voice in the dream before it all fell apart. There's another long pause. Several questions flit through his mind. What happened? What time is it? Is everyone sa- wait… no. Of course everyone's safe. Er… safe-ish.

"How… did you know?" Still not used to having someone inside his head.

***

Lydia leans in and presses a brief kiss to the tip of his cold nose, and the shifts positions so he can lean on her as she keeps her touch to slow, soothing strokes. Yes, she's closer than most people get, but she's always far, far closer than mere touch.

"Yes. Lydia." She says, confirming that for him and not at all upset he might need to ask. She turns his head in towards her, so he can breathe in the scent of her laundry detergent, electronics, and, well, her, to try and chase away the lingering scent of smoke.

"You're at Rescue. Everyone is fine." Lydia says, answering those unasked questions. As to the one he actually asked? "I could feel your distress."

***

"Oh…" Nicholas does lean, though not too heavily since he is, after all large and not all that light. There's a long silence as he just breathes, reminding himself where he is. Mostly, indeed, what he smells is Lydia. The soap she used to wash her hands, the odd… metallic smell about her, the dust from cracking open computer cases and doing whatever is she does with them. The stroking helps too. Just another reminder that someone is nearby who doesn't want to hurt him. Helps that it feels nice, to be sure. Not many people touch him, really. Well, almost no one, actually.

"You… may have to get used to that." Nicholas says, his voice more or less normal now, if somewhat subdued. "Happens now, from time to time." He glances over at her, still close. She can probably feel the hurt and betrayal warring with the simple relief to not be caught 'there' anymore and the attendant gratefulness at her presence.

***

Lydia leans back against him to take the weight he leans on her. "Get used to petting you?" She asks, her tone pitched to be lightly teasing. Her stroking trails off as she wraps both arms around him, holding him against her. "It's alright, Nikcy." She says as he, well, doesn't really apologize. "Just now? Or since?" Her tone is a soft murmur, her breath warm against his ear.

***

Nick takes a deep breath. Lydia… makes him deeply uncomfortable. She's in his head, he can't get her out and she can make him do things. But she's also… he's not sure. Strange. He hadn't expected her to care much about his nightmares. Since she hadn't cared much about taking away his ability to let anyone know she had a direct line to his mind.

His ear flicks a little, at her breath. Uncomfortable as she makes him, he's grateful for the presence, for the touch, for the comfort. It's been rare. "For a long time now. Since it happened."

***

Lydia gives a slight nod, her cheek rubbing against him. "How do you like to deal with them?" She doesn't just start offering suggestions, or tell him how to address them. Instead she asks him how he prefers to come back to himself.

Of course, she should be able to follow his thoughts. That confusion. But she doesn't comment on it. "Do you want to tell me? What happened?"

***

Nick shifts to straighten a little and lean back against the couch, the movement likely taking Lydia with him. Why… is she still touching him? And… the choice to tell her or not. She could just dig for the information. He has no idea how much the act might damage him. And while he knows his psyche is patched together, he's not quite aware of the sheer scale on which that's true.

"Five years ago… almost, I was with some friends in the woods north of New York. Good friends." He pauses and clears his throat. "Best friends, really. Mutants… all of us. Graduation exercise. We got caught out by some people who… really don't like us. Mutants, that is." He shakes his head. "I… it was bad. Four of my friends died."

***

Lydia doesn't seem to mind getting drug along with him. She finally does let him go, tucking her feet under her as she leans against him. She doesn't need to ask for the details on how it happened. She got more than enough pieces from his dream. "Four of your friends were murdered." She says, almost correcting him. Her hand rests on his thigh as she watches him. He should at least, be used to the way she watches him.

***

Four of his pack was murdered. Nicholas doesn't say it but that is the truth of the matter. No one who has ever seen the inside of his mind could mistake his thought processes for normal. Feral instinct plays a significant role in how he functions and how he's put together. Pack is beyond friendship. Closer to family. Worse, the ones that did survive he lost anyway. The 'pack', the training squad, was disbanded and its members eventually went their separate ways. He's hears from them every now and again… but it's not the same. And won't ever be, he's sure.

He is at least, used to being watched like that. His ears lay back and he nods slowly. "Yes." It's barely a whisper.

***

Lydia doesn't watch him the way most people do. Not with that 'oh my god, what is that thing?' Instead it's more in how she gives him her attention, and works on taking in the nuances of him. It's at once less onerous as well as more invasive. She's watching him.

She didn't say Pack, but even if she couldn't tell before, riding his thoughts, his emotions, as he answers speaks so much louder than the whispered word. Her hand moves to cover his, still there but not crowding his space like she was when he was coming out of the nightmare.

"You haven't reformed those bonds." Lydia says, her words a quiet murmur. "Lack of opportunity?" She pauses. "Or fear?"

***

"Both." Again his thoughts speak louder than his words. Moving from everything he knew was an opportunity for Nicholas, but also cost him many of his connections. And people are afraid of him. It's the fangs and the claws and the ability to toss a grown man over his shoulder as if he were a pillow. So yes. Fear. His fear to reach out. Others fear to be near him. Silly things. Is his Lycanthropy catching? Can he be trusted? What does he really want? A part of him needs those kinds of friendships. Much like being starved of touch (ever since leaving the school anyway, not that he had a whole lot before then) being starved of those kinds of connections doesn't do his psyche any favors.

"Why…?" He doesn't finish the sentence but it's there. Why does she want to know? Why does she ask? Why does she care?

***

Lydia's smile is almost… sad. "I know that you don't believe me. Don't trust me, but I'm here to help. It's alright. I understand. You've grown up in a culture where individualism is… everything." There's a hint of wry amusement. "Which is a bit odd, really. Given your nature." He's wired to be part of a group. Sadly, his last 'group' wasn't wired the same way or else those that lived would have never walked away from him.

"I don't know much about the telepaths that you've encountered." And clearly he has, since she can pick up on their fingerprints from the psychic surgery. "But making a mental connection to someone isn't like picking up the telephone. It's much more personal. Intimate. And they normally connect with you briefly, and then are gone.

"I am always with you, Nicky." Lydia says, blue-grey eyes meeting his. "Do you think I could maintain that kind of oonnection and not care?"

***

Human enough to want to be distinct. Wolf enough to need to be part of something. It's bit him a few times and it's never easy for Nicholas, walking that line. Whomever said that mutants were superior never got a look at Nicholas. If this is evolution, evolution goofed. What could come of putting those kinds of internal stresses on someone.

Nicholas holds Lydia's gaze. His eyes are solid grey. No hint of a pupil, nor a white. It unnerves a lot of people. It's always kind of hard to tell whom he's looking at and makes him appear either distracted or horrifyingly intense. "I hadn't thought of that…" He admits. And it's true. What it must be like on her end simply hadn't occured to him. Though now that it does it explains why she's s comfortable being so close. Well, also that and she can be certain that he won't hurt her in ways most people can't.

***

"Not entirely." Lydia admits, the words coming a bit slowly. Given that he said little, and none of it a question or statement that her answer would make sense to, it's not hard to figure out that she's definitely wired in enough to him to pick up some of his cascading thoughts. "I have a trigger to keep you from trying to hurt me." She admits. "If you think of trying to hurt me, it doesn't let you act on it. Most people aren't afraid of you making a choice to hurt them. They're afraid you won't be able to control yourself. That the 'beast' side of you will harm them." Something that, were it to occur, her pre-programming wouldn't be affected by.

***

Even if it did it's not like Nicholas is trained to 'unleash his beast'. The Institute is big on making use of mutant powers, but controlling them is just as important to the instructors. That the use of superhuman ability be a conscious choice is behind much of what they teach early students. Which means it'd take an odd combination of circumstances for that to come about. "That's why I couldn't throw you across the room when you invaded my head." Nicholas says. In another situation, there might have been some heat to it. There's not now. Nor even a tensing in the muscles underneath the fur. She doesn't deserve it. Well… she does, but he can't even bring himself to want to act on it right now. She came up to comfort him, and didn't have to. And what she's just told him about maintaining the connection… …

"Why would you choose to do that?" Connect to another person in that manner. Someone who will almost certainly not approve, and then subject herself to the constant heat of their anger and hurt.

***

Lydia doesn't even need to be a telepath to know how full Nicholas' head likely is, trying to puzzle out so many things. Come to grips with others. All while still reeling from his nightmare. So she doesn't try to offer him any more food for thought, instead inwardly amused and wondering if he realizes he just wished his 'captor' safe travels. After all, his freedom should be easily attained if something were to happen to her. "Goodnight, Nicholas." She says, folding her hands before her and watching him leave.


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