A Bluebird's Warning


delia_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bluebird's Warning
Synopsis Eileen pays a visit to a sick friend
Date January 6, 2011

Dorchester Towers — Russo's Apartment


After the staff meeting, Russo had come straight home. The door unbolts as the strained looking host shuffles into his normally empty apartment. His suit is disheveled from the cab ride, he'd slid aside to let some other woman share his cab. At the time he didn't know she'd been a crazy after an autograph. On her skin. Such things always made him feel icky. He'd opened the door and essentially rolled out at a light. It left him looking near homeless.


With a sharp whistle, he slides into his living room and slumps in one of the large armchairs, leaning his chin upwards and squeezing his eyes shut tightly.

More than anything he'd like a drink, but with Delia in the house, and her random journey through his head, means she could know more than he'd like her to.

The blandness of the room begs for some woman's touch, but it's remained white since the day Brad moved in, and in a way it means he's the only real thing in the room that stands out, particularly as all of the furniture matches that same cream colour of the carpet and walls. One of these days he'll decorate. Maybe.


In the kitchen, the tap drips irritatingly. It's been doing that all afternoon. Lucky Delia.

The woman he finds in his kitchen, pointedly ignoring the tap, is about nine inches too short to be Delia with hair like ink and milk pale skin only a few shades warmer than white porcelain, and while she isn't someone that he recognizes, there's nothing threatening about her prim appearance or what she's doing, which is fixing a cup of tea at the sink. The only thing more out of place in the apartment than the stranger is the periwinkle bluebird perched on her shoulder, and it swivels around to regard Russo with bright black eyes that glitter.

"You must be Bradley," the woman says, and she isn't American; her voice has a distinctly European quality to it, maybe English judging by the accent that transforms everything she says into a whisper of something like violin strings. She uses two hands to steady the kettle, steam rising from the cup she's selected for the brew: an herbal infusion of dandelion roots and honey spooned from a glass jar on the counter.

That isn't his. Neither is the brown paper bag that looks like it might be filled with groceries of some kind or another.

From down the hallway, muffled behind a closed door, another voice slowly sounds out words from a book that was read to her just the previous night. It seems that whoever the guest is, the young redhead in the bedroom either doesn't know she's here or she doesn't mind the company. "Hhuh- hhheerrre arrre Puh-puh-aul annn-duh Juudeee.." It's been like that for almost as long as the tap has been dripping.

Inside the room, Delia is tucked under the covers, dressed in a comfortable long sleeved white t-shirt and gray sweat pants a little too large for her. Russo was economical in choosing them, knowing she'd eventually grow into them. There are a few books spread out around her and the iPad is on her lap, open to one of her favorite games. Pocket Frog.

"Th-theyyy c-caannn dooo l-lotsuh of…" She knows all of these words, in her mind. It's the sounding out she has trouble with, words are hard.

When he finally realizes there is a woman in his kitchen (she better not plan on cooking!), Brad's mouth gapes open at the comment as his gaze fixes on the woman he doesn't know. "Did you break into my house too?" his eyes narrow expectantly as he glances at the door and then the windows in turn. Everything looks as it should, but everyone and their dog breaks into his home these days. Finally, his gaze returns to her, there is no animation in his features, just that nearly vacant gape of disbelief. This building is supposed to be secure or something.

Of course, he's pulled from his state at the sound Delia's voice. Right. Maybe this woman knows Delia? And she brought groceries. And a bird. She can't be all bad, right. He lifts a single finger as slides down the hall.

"Carrots— " his lips twitch into a very weak smile as he peeks into the guest room. "Do you— " he points out the door, as if down the hall, "— there's a— " the thought is never finished just left to linger with the ex-coma patient.

"Do you often get a lot of people breaking into your home?" the woman wonders from the kitchen, placing the kettle back on the stove. Her spoon tinkles in the cup to help dissolve the honey mixture, and she blows across the tea's amber-coloured surface to reduce its temperature to something that won't scald Delia's tongue when she drinks it. Fortunately for Russo, if the stranger plans on cooking, then she hasn't gotten very far yet; the food is still in the bag, and the snow on the pair of leather boots by the doorway is still melting.

Small feet clad in wool stockings make very little sound as she moves across the kitchen, cup in hand. A cloche hat and wool coat hung over the back of the sofa probably belong to her as well, its navy blend a compliment to the dark floral print of her skirt and frilly ivory blouse. "I'm Eileen, by the way."

Blue eyes that match the television hosts look up from her book and her eyebrows raise expectantly. Eileen's soft voice has Delia tilting to the side just a little and a small close lipped smile slowly forms on her face. Fumbling with her iPad, the redhead clears the screen and begins to eke out a message to her brother.

eileen is a frend
its ok shes not stayin overrnight

Just in case her brother got the wrong idea. As a bonus, the young woman's typing has gotten a little better, thanks to all the practice she's needed to put in to avoid talking. Her eyes flit to the woman's frilly covered forearm, looking for the mark that she'd accidentally left on her.

"People break in more than I'd like," Brad admits before quipping, "And once would be more than I'd like…" It's the sad truth as he twists around to answer her question. The name earns another narrowing of his eyes, particularly as it doesn't seem to mean anything to him until Delia communicates via screen.

And it's at Delia's bidding and apparent friendship with Eileen that he finally extends a hand to her, "I'm Brad. Just… call me Brad. Please." He glances at Eileen and then back Delia as he grins slightly, thanks to Delia's comment about Eileen not staying overnight. He points a finger at Delia, "Is she not staying because of the rules, or because she wouldn't stay anyways?"

The material of Eileen's blouse is thin enough that Delia might be able to make out the gauze wrapping wound around her arm beneath the fabric, which means that the injury is still in the process of healing. Or maybe she just doesn't want the man she shares her bed with to see someone else's name carved into her skin. She takes Russo's hand long enough to encircle her fingers around his, cool the touch despite their proximity to the tea, then squeeze them before she's pulling away to move past him so she can place the cup on the nightstand beside Delia's bed.

She has the courtesy not to look at the words appearing on the screen even though she'd plainly be able to hear them if Delia could speak. "I wasn't aware there were rules," she says, "but I'll do my best to abide by them while I'm here."

A grimace and a twitchy wrinkle of her nose is given to her brother, another one of the many facial expressions that she's been practicing. Her eyes flick to the little streak of orange left by the noodle hours ago, when she's better she'll clean it up. Letting out a small sigh, she pulls back the iPad and types quickly to add on to what she's already communicated.

jk i didnt say n e thing about rules

Using all of her fingers, the redhead curls them in and out, inviting Brad to join them. Her other hand drops the little device to the covers and she begins clearing the books away to give both he and Eileen room to sit. The rather sparse room is in need of chairs for visitors… and places for all of her toys.

The coolness of Eileen's fingers would normally unnerve the host, but the revolving door of guests thanks to Delia's situation (both before and after her timely return to her body) has reintroduced personal flexibility to Russo's life. His pale blue eyes smile reflect his mischievous smile while the rules are considered. "Well, any friend of Delia's— " he shrugs slightly as if to make light of Eileen being in his house.

His eyes turn back to Eileen with slight apology, "Evidently the rules don't actually apply to you" He shuffles atop the covers, allowing himself to sit on the edge of the bed, "I swear I'll get you some chairs for visitors."

A glance is given to Delia and then one back to Eileen, "So… how do you two know each other?" According to the rules, they aren't romantically linked…

"I work with Benjamin," Eileen says, adopting a seat a comfortable distance away from Russo on the bed, careful not to crush Delia's legs under the blankets. Not that Delia is in any danger; the Englishwoman's bone structure is a little like the bird's on her shoulder, and it would take effort for her to hurt Russo's baby sister. "Mr. Fulk as well, but mostly Benjamin these days. Brian's hands are full with his children."

She reaches up and coaxes the bluebird from her shoulder onto her hand with the tips of her fingers, and lowers it to the covers so it can hop nimbly from her wrist onto Delia's foot, claws curling around her big toe through the blanket and barely felt. "I'm not sure how much you've been told."

Delia stares at the bird for a moment before her eyes slide over to her brother. Something of a shamed expression crosses her features, she hasn't told him much of anything. Giving a little bit of a helpless shrug, she begins to type out on the screen again and passes it to Russo, apparently finished with it for the moment.

before i got lost i worked for eileen
she gave me a place to stay

That seems to be about the extent of what the young woman seems to be willing to say at the moment. Not that she's discounting the possibility of a loooong talk after the other young woman's visit is finished. Clearing her throat, she takes a deep breath inward and struggles with a few words. "Sh's niiice."

Russo's lips part into an ah shape. "Benjamin," he repeats near bitterly— his meeting with his father hadn't exactly gone as he'd ever envisioned. Of course, how could it be positive with thirty years of estrangement? He glances at the iPad and nods slightly. Alright, so much for things being straight forward. He clears his throat while his fingers smooth the blanket rest over his sister. His eyes remain on the crinkles he can't seem to get out. "Frankly, I know next to nothing. Aside from Pollepel. And even then I know nothing other than the name. And that people went there on November 8th." Information he only knows because Delia told him about it that day out of concern for him.

Delia's issued a nearly sad smile, but for unrelated reasons. "I'm sure she is." He swallows hard while his gaze flits between the two women, "So… what kind of work were you doing?"

Eileen isn't sure that she agrees with Delia's assessment of her, but she smiles anyway, mouth curving around a subtle expression that's both sad and sincere. Her fondness for the younger woman is what brought her here, what's keeping her here, and softens the edges of the look she gives Russo at the mention of the name Pollepel. The bluebird is staring at him too, though its features are not quite as austere or readable as hers.

"You might say I'm a humanitarian," she tells Russo, "though the word I hear they're tossing around now is partisan. I suspect because they've worn terrorist all to tatters."

The expression on Delia's face is quite readable though, from the jerky nod at humanitarian, to the little grimace of partisan to the all out wince of terrorist. There there's a very liberal shake of her head and flailing of her hands to the last one. A very firm disagreement. "No!"

It's a lucky thing that Eileen has such wonderful rapport with her birds because the violently emphatic gestures would be enough to send a wild one into a panic. Something of an angry huff is let loose before Delia's eyebrows knit together in a frown to glower between the two. Evidently, Delia Ryans is not involved with terrorists.

A wry smile is shot to Delia and her adamant disagreement. "They," whoever they are, "seem to toss around the word terrorist more often then they should. Besides, one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter." Russo may live on the more legal side of the law, but he's spoken to a number of assumed terrorists, none of whom ever seemed particularly terrifying.

"So this… the… Fairies— " he, of course, only heard the word earlier today from Harve Brennan, something he'd never caught wind of before. "They help people. Or something?"

The bluebird gives a flick of its wings at Delia's outburst, not immune to little flutters of nervousness, but Eileen's ability keeps it anchored to the bed the same way a short length of string might. It resettles soon enough, tailfeathers splayed, and dips its head in quiet concession. "Ferrymen," she corrects Russo gently. "As in Charon and the River Styx. And, yes, we do. Or try to. The political climate here in New York is making things more difficult than they were before the eighth, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't so much as breathe the word Pollepel to anyone, in private or otherwise.

"The problem with the Linderman Act is that the Registry allows government bodies like the Department of Evolved Affairs to abuse the information it contains. Those who have been hurt, or those who are afraid of being hurt come to us, and we either see them safely across the border or set them up with new identities here in the United States."

Delia's look of apology to Eileen and the little crinkle of her nose as she dips her head down is the form of admission and apology from the young woman. Reaching for the iPad again, she types out a small message and points it toward the bird, rather than the young woman sitting with her.

i told sorrrry
i was scared
didnt wwant him to get hurrtt

Not deliberately, a couple the criteria for aide with the organization used as reasoning for spilling the secret months ago. Slumping her shoulders, she flits her gaze between the woman and her bird and slowly lowers the communications device.

There's a distinct narrowing of Brad's eyes and idle fidgeting as he processes the information. "The boatman," he returns quietly. "Please restore my faith in humanity, and tell me they don't need to pay you for your services." It's a cynical stance, hissed through clenched teeth. "And I've never mentioned Pollepel in the near two months since I last heard its name… until today. Like… right now. Not earlier." His fingers run over the blanket in unclear patterns with no semblance of anything.

This time Brad makes no effort to read the message. If Delia wants to message birds, who is he to stop her? Instead, he rises from the bed only to sit again, his fidgety-ness perpetuating. "No one has even bothered to tell me what exactly happened. And why Be— " a sharp glance to Delia has Russo holding his tongue on this particular track. He clears his throat, and moves on like nothing was to be said on the subject, "Or how she ended up at Redbird. Or… anything. Except what Lucille told me. Which wasn't much."

Delia is forgiven. Or will be. She can sense it in Eileen's body language, guarded though it is; there's a certain tenderness about her mouth and in her eyes, veiled by her dark lashes and the shadows they create. The bird studies the message and responds with a thin, tittering whistle that goes down at the end instead of up.

Eileen is willing to forgive Delia for what she views as an error in judgement, but that doesn't mean she isn't disappointed in her. "Any money they offer us goes toward procuring their paperwork, but we don't solicit donations if that's what you're asking. As for Delia, I was under the impression that Jaiden Mortlock and my brother Nicholas were looking after her while others sought help, which is probably how she came to be with Cardinal's people. We have loose associations."

"Nnnniiick," is the whispered sound of the sigh that comes from the redhead propped up against the pillows. A frown creases her eyebrows and she sniffles once, turning toward the window. She doesn't even bother typing anything on her iPad for the others to see. Swallowing audibly, Delia sniffles again and shakes her head, letting her eyelids slide halfway down to shade her blue eyes.

She did something horrible and he won't let her apologize.

The rest of the conversation about money and paperwork and solicitation drift through the air but the redhead isn't listening to that. Still caught on the three syllables let loose from Eileen, her hand picks at the comforter, wrinkling it as Bradley tries to smooth it.

"Nicholas… oh, Nick?" Russo repeats after Delia manages the name. His eyebrows arch at her sympathetically as he suppresses a small sigh. His eyebrows narrow slightly as he glances between the two women until his gaze actually falls and remains on the bird. He hmmms quietly. "I just expect family to take care of family," the implication is left to hang, begging questions all its own. A glance is given to Delia's wrinkling, and Brad abandons the futility of his process.

Clearing his throat, Russo presses his hands against the bed, rising to his feet. "So… you have this network of people who help each other avoid the government and government-related activities? Like the Linderman act, I presume?" his eyebrows knit together tightly before he finds himself asking, "Are you avoiding a particular threat or a general one?"

Delia's reaction to her brother's name does not go unnoticed by Eileen, and there's tension in her brow that wasn't there before. Russo's question spares her from asking what's wrong, which is just as well, because she's not sure she'd like the answer if her own experience with Nick is any indication of how he treats other women. She lifts her eyes to Russo, unable to meet his gaze but making the effort for politeness' sake.

"We lost a not insignificant portion of our personnel on the eighth," she says. "An informant working for the Department of Evolved Affairs told them where they could find our safehouses, and the military used the riots as justification for raiding them when the city was still burning. Most of those who weren't killed were arrested, and those of us who were lucky enough to escape, like Delia and myself, ended up sacrificing almost everything. I'm told the man we need to watch out for is a colonel by the name of Leon Heller, but I haven't dealt with him personally."

Pursing her lips, Delia looks up at her brother and raises her eyebrows and then flits her eyes to all of her things and then to Eileen herself. The Ferrymen might not ask for donations but the expression on his sister's face is. Picking up her iPad, she slowly begins to type again. Apparently she wasn't done with it after all.

evry1 helps like commune
i use 2 un clllinc
im givn books 2 kids when dun

Letting out a frustrated huff at her own typing skills, she frowns and turns the screen for all three to see, Russo, Eileen, and her bird. "Nnn— nnn— nneed speak nn sp-sp-sp— " Her eyebrows tighten even further before she blurts out the last word, a little too loudly. "Spell!!"

"Heller," Russo hisses quietly. There's an angry narrowing of Brad's eyes at the name while he paces to the window. He turns back to look at the two women, his jaw clenches while his hands ball into tight fists, and through that clenched jaw, he whispers, "He is dangerous." And this leaves all the more reason for Delia to stay here in his warm apartment rather than go back to some drafty safehouse. With a quiet sigh he shakes his head, "At all costs you need to keep him away from your people— he's exercising martial law in extreme ways. With no consequences to him or his person. There are no checks and balances from what I can tell."

He glances downward when Delia types the words and he sucks in a slow quiet breath, a nearly calming action. Swallowing hard he hmms quietly. "It seems— " he begins "— you've won Carrots' good regard." His hands tuck away into his pockets as he hmmms again, this time letting something roll over his thoughts. "What kind of resources do you need?"

"What I'd appreciate the most are the names of sympathizers who hold government positions," Eileen says, "but if you're willing to present both sides of the issue the next time your show does a piece on domestic terrorism, I'd be in your debt. I don't expect you'll change very many minds, and it would be at great risk to yourself and your colleagues, so I'm hesitant to ask. While we've communicated and coordinated with organizations like Messiah, we aren't interested in civilian targets like Heller would have the public believe."

The bluebird hops from Delia's foot to her knee, then sails all the way up to her shoulder where it perches, rumples its feathers and glances down at the screen with a twitch of its long tailfeathers. Tur-a-lee, it says.

"I won't lie," Eileen continues. "We've killed people, sabotaged government supply lines and taken shipments meant for the military for ourselves, and we'll continue to do so as long as our survival hinges on engaging men like Heller. One of the mistakes Helena Dean's Phoenix made was to portray themselves as completely innocent. They weren't, and neither are we."

Reaching to the nightstand, the redhead tries to grasp at a small bag of cheerios that Brian had left there as dexterity practice. Toss them on a tray, pick them all up and put them in the bag without smashing them. It's hard. Taking one out of the bag between her clumsy fingers, she crunches it into a small pile of crumbs in her palm and holds it up to the bird on her shoulder.

Glancing to Russo, she doesn't say anything but grimaces worriedly. "S-sst— stay! Sss— ssss-ssafe!" She doesn't give Eileen the same advice aside from pointing the same look toward her, she knows better.

A grim smile spreads over Russo's lips, "I'll see what I can do. I have connections, I can fish for information even off the air waves I'm fairly well connected. Try to see who takes a hard line when it comes to activities like yours." His eyebrows escalate high on his forehead and he shoots Delia a soft albeit somewhat smug, smile. "Believe it or not, I can talk to some powerful people. I may be able to give you names of people you need to adamantly avoid. At all costs."

A hand runs over his chin while he twists around again, considering other options, "As far as actual stuff is concerned, is there anything you need desperately?"

"If there's anything else I can do, I would appreciate it." He combs his fingers through his hair and issues both ladies a lopsided grin, "In the meantime… is there any chance your people can set Carrots up with a fake ID? If she's hanging around here and I'm going to maintain any measure of credibility…"

The bluebird snatches a crumb from Delia's palm, stepping out to attach itself to her fingers without pinching skin between its little clawed toes any harder than is strictly necessary. There's a reason Eileen chooses songbirds over their larger, predatory cousins when it comes to visits like this one.

"The offer of assistance is enough," she assures Russo. "If we encounter an unexpected shortage and I think you're in a position to help, then we'll see each other again." Which isn't to say that he won't see her again otherwise, but people aren't the only thing Eileen needs to adamantly avoid; being seen in public with the host of the Advocate also qualifies, regardless of his relation to her brother's Czwerwony. "Any ID I give you won't pass inspection if run through the database, but it should work for cursory inspections. Non-Evolved, I'm assuming?"

Delia freezes as the bird hops out onto her finger and glances nervously at Eileen. She hasn't been to Pollepel for months and at the rate things are going for her, she won't be able to go for much much longer than that. "Ff— fffood?" The words are hard to start but once she gets past the initial few letters, they seem to blurt out at varied volumes. She never realized how hard talking was before.

Her other hand swipes out to grasp at the wrist attached to the hand with the bird and crumbs, causing some of them to spill out onto the comforter. A jerky action that might startle the bird again but it's a slight better than accidentally tossing it into the air.

"Yes, non-evolved please. Carrots will just need to stay out of trouble and away from checkpoints as best she can," the redhead is shot a very pointed look complete with the full weight of Russo's stare. With a brief nod, as if agreeing to these already set out stipulations that haven't exactly been laid out on Delia's behalf, he turns to face Eileen, "I think— if you hear from your brother, Delia would like to see him." He presses his lips together, "Also… if you talk to Mister Ryans— " not Benjamin, not Father, and certainly not 'our Dad' "— please tell him she would like to arrange a meeting. She hasn't the energy to leave yet, but perhaps we can figure something out. She's been without her family for nearly two months, it would be ridiculous to wait longer."

He shoots Delia a flicker of a smile, just enough for her to know that he is indeed there for her.

"I've not seen Benjamin for a few weeks myself, but if he can be tracked down then I will." Eileen rises from the bed, purses her lips and summons the bluebird back to her own shoulder with a whistle she bites off through her teeth. It reluctantly obeys; wherever she's headed next, there aren't likely to be any cheerios. "The soonest I can have an ID made up will be after the weekend, and I'll have one of our operatives with legitimate registration papers deliver it to your apartment so we don't arouse any suspicion in case you're being watched. If you're aware of Colonel Heller, then I'm sure Colonel Heller is aware of you.

"Delilah Trafford will be your point of contact with us. Redhead, just a whisker shorter than Delia here. You can trust her."

Delia parts her lips and opens her mouth to protest Eileen's report about her father. Her eyebrows come knit together and pull up at the inner edges, her breathing turn shallow and quick. Glancing between Russo and Eileen, she deepens her breathing but doesn't slow it down any. The bird leaving has her hand grasping at the air after it, but … it wouldn't stay without Eileen there anyway.

"Ww— Wwwhhuh- Dad?" She wanted to know if he's alright. The fact he might not be tracked down? Not alright.

Brad shoots Delia a slightly pained looked and then manages a more reassuring smile, "He's fine. He's more than capable. I just saw him a few weeks ago." It didn't go well. He doesn't add this. "Besides, if something was wrong, somehow you'd know. A person always knows." It's not a satisfactory answer or response, but it'll have to do because it's all he can give.

He shuffles towards the door quietly, "Heller is more than aware of me and my producer. I'll pass on any info I hear about him." He swallows hard, a small tell around the bright smile he manages for everyone else's sake, a smile that even catches his eyes, although not quite genuinely. "Eileen? Thank you. For stopping by. For caring about Carrots. And for this favour."

"You're welcome," says Eileen, "and you're right. About her father." She drifts after Russo, a look floated over her shoulder at Delia. "We'd have heard something if he'd been hurt or taken into government custody. Chances are he's occupied with an assignment, which is why he hasn't been able to look in himself. If he could be here, he would."

She pauses in the bedroom doorway, trailing the tips of her fingers along the edge of its wooden frame. "It was good to see you," she tells Delia, which is also a goodbye because she's stepping out into the hall a moment later to retrieve her coat and hat from the back of Russo's sofa. "And to meet you," she amends, then. Softer: "She's a lucky girl to have so many devoted men in her life, though I'm not sure how wise it is to be friends with Nicholas. Between us."

A pale and thin hand lifts just higher than shoulder height, fingers slowly curling and unfurling in a semi wave to the petite woman as she makes her way out of the bedroom. Once out of sight, Delia turns her head toward the window and presses her head back against the pillows. The tea's been forgotten, with honey even, its steam stopped snaking into the air long ago.

She couldn't drink it anyway, not the way she is. Not unless it was in a sippy cup.

Who drinks tea from a sippy cup?

Russo sees their guest to the door, "It was good to meet you," his manners winning out against any pretense or perceived state of things with his sister. His jaw tenses at the warning about Nicholas, and his eyebrows turn upwards with obvious concern. His voice becomes no louder than a whisper, "She asked for him. He helped her— do I really need to be concerned? If I do, I can come up with some excuse as to why he can't come here— I really do want to keep her safe."

Eileen pulls on her coat first, then adjusts her hat. "Watching him with the eye of hawk should suffice," she answers Russo in a similarly airy whisper. Her boots are next. "I wouldn’t settle for anything less, and he and I are blood."

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