2009-12-07: Withdrawal Symptoms



Date: December 7, 2009


Tiago withdrawals from Lena…

"Withdrawal Symptoms"

Sydney's Apartment

It has been a very difficult night for the residents in the make-shift shelter that Sydney's apartment had become. For everyone - except for maybe Jade, who quite possibly can sleep through a stampede. But for some, it's harder than others. It's early in the morning. Obscenely early, for the sun is still quite young in the sky, casting its warming light onto the streets of New York city. But in one particular room of the apartment, not even the warm rays of sunshine can dissipate the doom and gloom that hovers in the air.

For Sydney, the situation ought to stick out like a sour thumb. The usually peaceful apartment has been rankled, shattered to the core, and replaced with every designation of negativity almost imagined. Residue of anger still linger in the air, spicing up the copious, extraordinary amounts of pain. And beneath that still, there is hysteria and panic and concern. All radiating from one room - no, one particular bed. And if the emotional factor isn't enough, the sounds of retching can be heard soon afterwards, loud and clear, in the dismal environment.

She's tried to mind her own business through all of the angst. Sydney's kept her head down and even went to work last night in hopes that things would resolve themselves. But she can't leave it alone any longer. She stands outside the door quietly, still unsure, dressed in her yoga pants and grey hoodie while clutching a mug of hot chocolate that she'd made on the stove. After taking a deep breath to clear her own head, she raps gently at the door. "It's Syd," she says gently. "I made you hot chocolate… and not from powder…"

"D-don't," comes the surprisingly weak voice of an exceptionally shaky Brazilian, although the rest of the phrase is drowned out by a sudden bout of dry-heaving, the lad having already expelled the contents of his stomach twice over into the trash barrel he's clinging onto for dear life. Once opened, the hallway ought to cast enough light in the room to bright to light the truth of the matter - how musty, and stale, and almost dead it feels. Tiago himself looks as though he's quite fighting death off at the moment, his usual glow dimmed to an alarming pale whiteness of his skin, his hair plastered on the top of his head, dripping with sweat. He's shaking, too, unable to keeps his limbs completely still.

And thus the true horror of Lena's abilities have been revealed, full force. It has only been roughly 18 hours or so since he was given his last real dose of her, but he has grown so dependent on constantly being showered with her ability that the reaction is exceptionally quick and exceptionally violent.

With his teeth chattering, he is curled around the waste barrel-o'-barf on the floor in his sweatpants, the covers pulled off of the bed to encircle him as though he had been too cold in his position on the floor. Fear spikes through him - as well as shame - as he looks unsteadily to the door of the bedroom.

The door is opened despite the weak words, of course, the alarming noise of someone dry heaving is enough to draw Sydney to open the door. "Hooooly craaap —" her eyes widen as she catches sight of Tiago, causing the hot chocolate in hand to spill in her shock. This time she doesn't bother to try cleaning it up, instead the mug is placed on a bookshelf near the door.

Wide eyed, the therapist clambers into the room quickly as she looks around for extra blankets in the linen closet. "Chi — " Swallowing she takes another blanket and wraps it around her friend. She lifts a hand towards his forehead gently, she had no idea that this is what it would be like to withdrawl from Lena.

"I - dunno where she is," Tiago whispers, clinging to the basket before him as his lowers bloodshot eyes away from Sydney, focussing instead on the floor in front of him. "I du - she left an' I - I dunno…" Gingerly, as if expression shame for his appearance, he uses his forearm to wipe away any residue from his mouth in an attempt to be a bit more presentable. When the blanket is draped around his shoulders, the man sniffs and looks up to the blonde, eyes wide. And in that moment, he isn't Tiago. He's a child - lost, suck, and hurt.

Frowning, Sydney doesn't even know what to say or what she can do. Decidedly, she sits next to Tiago on the bed and embraces him in a one-armed hug. "….shhhh… she can take care of herself… and she'll be back soon…" she soothes. Does Sydney know this to be true? No. She has no idea if Lena will come back or not. Her eyebrows knit tightly into a solid v shape. "… Chi… I'm sorry… I should've come in sooner…" She tightens her arm around his shoulders. "… she'll be back though… she will…" She has to.

Up close, Chi looks even worse to Syd than from the door. Finally, she articulates her thoughts, "We need to get you to a doctor…"

"What?" Alarm shoots through his very core, and automatically the man attempts to wiggle out of Sydney's embrace, panicked. "No!" At least this has more power behind it - and is distressing enough to rip thoughts of Lena out of his mind - for now. "I cant, no! No hospital, no doctor, nothin'! They'll - they'll deport me an' arrest me an'…no!" His eyes shut, and he hunches over slightly, the broad-shouldered man showing every desire to merely double into himself and fall into the defensive fetal position. "I'm - okay, jus' need water…" He can say this. After all, this isn't the first time he's had to deal with withdrawal, although it is the first time he's withdrawing from Lena.

"Chi… you're not well…" Sydney winces as he moves away from her and into the fetal position. "You look terrible…" Her lips frown further (if that's possible) as she shakes her head. "I don't think water is going to fix this…" despite the words, she stands up and pads to the kitchen to retrieve a glass with water. When she returns, she places it on the night table. "Chi, you're a mess. We need to do something for you." Swallow. Pause. "Is there something else I can slip you to help you deal with the symptoms?" There's another pause by even greater furrowed eyebrows. "I don't know where to go to buy drugs in New York…"

"I'm - I'm okay. I look worse'n I feel, I think. I'm good now…" It's true, he feels loads better now that Tiago has managed to vomit out the contents of his stomach. And even through the shivering, he manages to work his lips into a faint, seemingly reassuring smile for Sydney as she returns with the cup of liquid. Weakly, he reaches his arm out for it when she places it on the night table, despite the fact that his arm isn't long enough to grab it. "I - no. I don' wanna fuck me over more. I got…I got shit jus' in case she…she don' come back soon. Bu', bu' I wanna not take it yet." Partially to prove that he /can/ go on without her, to himself. Oh, and partially to make her feel horrible. He's a vindictive little bastard.

A silent nod is given at the notion that he has something already for himself. That at least gives Sydney some reassurance. She reaches out to place a hand on his back, "Chi… what happened? I know … I know things weren't good last night… but…" The words are said gently, not accusingly. She's not angry, but she is distressed, that much is evident.

Tiago continues to reach in vain before finally pushing the barrel away and attempting an award little crawl towards the table. He nearly knocks it over in the process, but eventually succeeds at grabbing the glass of water and he lifts it to drink as greedily as a man dying of thirst might have. The cool water soothes the passages of his throat, if only for the moment, and afterwards he collapses back to sitting on the floor with some satisfaction, his shoulders hunched forward. The question she asks spark a new wave of emotions: anger, rolling in with pain and sorrow and an unbelievable amount of express disappointment and slight concern. If he wasn't feeling all this now, he would have argued that it was /impossible/ to feel it all at once.

"She lied ta me…she's been lyin' ta me, an' I knew it. I knew it was - /we/ was off." It's a very simplistic answer.

And the wave of emotions does its magic on Sydney's psyche. She sniffles as she tries to keep her head clear, choking back Tiago's emotions while staring at the floor. She twitches as she nods, continuing to sniffle, fighting against it as best she can, but they're too intense. All of them are too intense. She blinks hard as she fights the hot tears threatening to leave her eyes. Consciously she pushes Tiago's emotions aside as best she can; she's supposed to be the supportive one right now! But the mental push is futile. Several tears trail down her face as she stands to her feet and turns around to try collecting her composure, drying her cheeks on the hoodie.

While staring at the wall, Syd's jaw tightens as she sniffles once, "Chi." Swallow. "I'm sorry… we've made your lives so… it's not fair… I'm sorry… it's my fault… can I make it better… what can I do?" Sniffle.

Perhaps it's Sydney's influence. After all, having an empath in the room with you while you literally break down is, without a doubt, the worst possible thing to happen. But seeing her cry by virtue of experiencing, first hand, the kind of emotional stress being pressed upon him does something to his wary composure.

It shatters it.

One second, he's comparatively fine. And then the next, he can feel the saltiness of his tears carve down his cheeks, as this sense of hopelessness overwhelms him. Before he knows it, he's talking, his voice choked back with tears as he clutches at his head weakly. "It's not fair! It's not - she made me like this. It's not fair I love 'er more'n she does me, it's…" It's trailed off into gibberish, gibberish that ends with his shoulders rising and falling in time with his silent sobs.

Chi's meltdown causes Syd to turn around and sit down next to him again, replacing her arm around his shoulder. "Awww. Chi…" now they're both sobbing. In between the sobs, Sydney manages to sputter, "She… she … loves… you… I think… just.." With her free hand she wipes her own eyes. Her sobs make it all very nonsensical and somewhat indiscerneable to her listener. "I'm sorry… I know it's our fault… we did this," she finally manages after taking a deep breath with manages to calm her for only a matter of seconds.

"I'm SORRY." Chi's words about wishing he'd never met them got to Syd. They've pricked at her just enough, and now it's coming out in very misplaced guilt.

This time, the shoulder isn't unceremoniously shrugged off. At first, Tiago is stuck - busy trying in vain to regain control of his bodily functions, but soon enough, he resolves himself to this. To the humiliation of having not even his pride to fall back to. And so, emotionally battered and beat - he just gives up, and he leans against the woman for support. He has neither the mental nor the vocal capacity to refute her claiming of the guilt - because, if he's completely honest, he didn't even really hear her words over his inner struggle to keep from crying out loud. He has no idea what she's apologizing for, But in the end, it's alright. Because though he continues in this jag for a while - eventually, in the silence of the early morning, it begins to taper off. Soon enough, the violence of his shakes and sobs begin to lessen, and he is left there, at Sydney's side, the shell of a man drained.

No wonder Sydney's such a good therapist. She /forces/ such emotions out of her patients, just by virtue of being there.

Following the release of her sobs, Sydney just sits, holding Tiago as he leans against. She soothes as best she can, "Just let it out…" she sniffles again as she heaves back the emotion. Nothing like feeling empathy for others to mess with her psyche. "…Chi… it'll be okay… just know that it'll be okay… in the end it'll turn out… you'll see…" Swallow. Sniffle.

Nothing like feeling the kind of existential emptiness and desolation Camus advocates. And though it is uncomfortably hollow, Tiago welcomes it as a welcome change from the utter heartbreak he had been feeling all night. In the end, he is limp against her person, and slowly gathers his strength to pull back from the sniffling therapist. With an odd piece of mind in place, he lifts his hands to wipe at his eyes furiously, before glancing around the room.

"We all say that…but /when does everythin' get alright? 'Cause I've been waitin'…and it's only gotten worse." He's a regular ray of sunshine, isn't he? With a sigh, he fights himself to get onto his feet, still deathly pale, but considerable more still and steady than he was mere moments ago."M'sorry for all this bullshit. I…yeah." He walks towards the nearest bedside table, picking up his phone and sitting at the corner of his bed, fingers flying across the screen to type out a quick message and send it.

"You have nothing to apologize for," Sydney soothes as she tilts her head. "A long time ago … when I was still speaking to them… my nana told me that if things aren't okay, it's not the end. Like at the end of everything it'll turn out fine. And while that's little consolation now, I know things will turn out…"

She peers at him curiously as he moves to the corner of the bed, "Who are you texting?" Her tears are gone but she continues to sniffle.

"Lena," Tiago deadpans back, bloodshot eyes flicking over in Sydney's direction as if to ask: who else? With this task completed, the man proceeds to stare down at his iPhone, breath held as thought the device might hold the answers he needs to hear. When it doesn't immediately ding back a response, he pulls his attention back towards Sydney, resignation in his expression. It is only then that he begins the mechanical process of cleaning up after his messes. The blankets are lifted off of the floor, deposited onto the bed, and he grabs the waste barrel, heading out of the bedroom to clean the foul smelling plastic thing. "I'm okay now. I'm…well. I aint dead." It's in that same monotone, before he's out to go do rudimentary chores.

While he's out, after a couple of minutes, the phone pings. If she were to look at it, she'd see a message from Lena: « im alive. not w/ gene or peter, havent been snatched. ».

"I'm here if you… need to talk…" her lips straighten as much as she can make them before sighing and offering a fleeting wave. As he leaves, Sydney has little to say or do, but she does glance at the phone when it pings. "Don't do it Syd… don't do it…" she tells herself as she picks up the phone to text Lena back.

But then she can't help herself. Quickly she texts Lena: «this is syd. chi isn't ok. v. sick. please come back.» After sending the message, and pursing her lips together she quickly goes to Tiago's sent messages and deletes the one she just sent. No evidence. No harm, no foul. Right? She puts the phone back down on the table and goes to change for her dissertation defence…

«wtf? syd? whys he sick? tell him to use teh goddamn flask i gave him and not be stupid plz? ?:(»

This is the message that immediately pings back onto the phone. This is the message that Tiago walks back to after having decided to take a shower to wash the grossness away. He frowns to it, pursing his lips before grabbing the technology and marching back into the bathroom and slamming the door shut behind him. Oh, Tiago doesn't want to talk. And chances are, he's not going to want for a while now.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License