A Mind Like A Broken Vase


delilah_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title A Mind Like A Broken Vase
Synopsis Richard stops by to ask Dee about another Trafford, and both finds and doesn't find what he was looking for.
Date October 6, 2018

The Trafford House

A sparse few pumpkins smile toothy from windows in this part of town, and here or there a witch's hat and broom might be seen as decorations, but few images of skeletons or ghosts despite the encroaching time of Halloween. This city has seen too much of death to easily make light of it, anymore.

The last block from his destination, Richard chose to walk; dressed in nice civilian clothes, black slacks and a button-up shirt in dark red, hands clasped loosely behind his back as he notices the sparse decoration, a smile crooking to his lips. "Should do a trick-or-treating thing at Raytech," he comments to himself as he comes up in front of the house he's heading for, double-checking the number before stepping up to rap knuckles on the door.

The Trafford house is just like its inhabitants; more cheer than sobriety, with character more than finery. There is a cottony web on the porch, and a giant paper mache spider. It's got way too many eyeballs for a spider.

These days there isn't a bounding, barking dog, but there is a minor ruckus. Someone is upstairs, because Richard can hear the feet thumping on steps. Something drops and bumps down the stairwell, and there's a familiar voice issuing a bit of a cuss.

"Hold on! I'm coming… shit…" Delilah has gathered up whatever it was by the time she answers the door, bound hair with some fly-aways and cheeks flushed from a moment of frustration. Her jeans have patches and her sweater seems hand-knit. Whoever she was guessing, it clearly wasn't Richard. She blinks those big doe-eyes a moment, staring out at him before remembering to say something. "Oh- Richard. What a- " The redhead steps forward to peek out the door onto the street, half searching for a posse. "-surprise."

"Hey, Dee." Richard flashes a grin as she opens the door, and then he cranes his neck to look back over one shoulder and then the other, "…what, did you expect me to roll with a gang or something?" It's a bit of a tease as he looks back to her, eyebrows raising just a little, "Sorry if you were expecting someone else— you, uh, sorry, phones are shit these days or I would've called ahead."

"You got some time? I can come back another time if not."

"Honestly? Yes, yes I did." Delilah answers the first question with the lift of a brow and a crooked smile. "No, not expecting someone, but my son is sleeping over down the block. Traffords are habitual troublemakers. Don't get me started on Laudanis." She accidentally echoes her father there.

"Come in, I'm just in here making a mess." Delilah kicks some small shoes aside to open the door for Richard, waving him in. For her mess, she has a tidy enough house. A mom and her son clearly live here, though.

"I've got twins of my own, I get you," Richard breathes out a low chuckle at the comment, stepping along inside at the offer, "And this isn't a mess. A mess is when Harmony's at school and I have to watch the kids for a day, I have no idea how you women manage. I'd say you deserve a raise, but in a criminal twist of culture, mothers don't get paid for the privledge."

A casual look around, and then to her, a brow lifting, "You doing well, first off? You and Walter, everything goin' well with you both?"

"A few hundred years of housewives gave us an expertise." Delilah remarks with a laugh, smoothing down the hair that frames her head and the bits that have escaped her braid. She closes and locks the door behind her guest, looking away from her intended course of the kitchen to Richard for his question.

"Well as can be expected, if that's a fair answer. He hasn't gone to the headmaster's office, and I haven't run out of work." She smiles a touch more seriously now, opening her hands. "Do you want something to drink? We've got plenty here."

"Just water, if you've got it," Richard replies easily as he follows her towards the kitchen, "And 'as well as can be expected' isn't a bad answer. God knows it's most peoples' these days. Maybe you should put in a bid to design the new NYPD's uniforms, if you're still doing clothes…"

He leans against the kitchen's entranceway with a shoulder, flashing a grin, "I could put in a good word with the new Chief of Police for you."

"What an easy guest." Delilah chuckles. She's got a stash of refillable bottles in the fridge, and what seems to be a filtration system— so he definitely probably won't get sick from tap water. If he's picky she has bottled. But he gets his water either way.

"I heard about all that, yeah… didn't know if they were gonna go the old route or a new one, but that's not a bad idea at all… hm." Delilah pulls a water for herself, tapping the cap against her chin. "They could at the least do uniform shirts, you know? And somehow I'm not surprised you're in it with Donovan. But that would be a great reference, Richard." Anyway, Elephant:

"So what can I do for you? I know you're not here to chat about police uniforms…"

"Donovan and I go way back," Richard admits, accepting a cup of water. He's not picky, it seems. A sip's taken, and he dithers for a moment before nodding once to admit, "No, it's not. I… well, some of the Company's old bullshit has started to resurface, and I've been following up on it." He may be an executive, but it seems that spies and conspirators never really retire, do they?

He slips a hand into a pocket to pull out his phone, pausing, "Mind if I show you someone, and you tell me if you recognize them at all?"

"Shit, the Company? Frady wanted to rail on about them too. Why can't that corpse stay a corpse, seriously…" Delilah sighs, waving it off and giving Richard a weary but curious look. "I shouldn't be surprised." This comment is more for herself. She sidles on up to Richard with a, "Sure. Hit me."

"The sins of the past always come back to haunt us in the end…" Richard shakes his head, thumb tapping over the screen of his phone as he pulls up an image and then offers it screen-out towards her. It looks like a screencapture from a video; a wiry teenager in a tweed jacket, a shock of red hair on his head. He could easily be mistaken for the adult version of Delilah's son. He's also pushing a cart upon which is perched a blonde toddler, no older than two, with electrodes attached. "I believe his name is Daniel Trafford… he'd be quite a bit older now, of course," he admits, "Worked closely with the Founders back in the eighties."

Delilah has never been one for masking. She looks to Richard with a narrow of her eyes once she pulls them away from the photo on the phone. And for measure, she reaches out to pull it closer, features tightening.

"Is this some kind of fucking joke?" It's not angry, but tense, and defiant. Easy to see where Walter gets it. "Where the hell did you get this?"

If Richard expected a particular reaction, this clearly wasn't it, from the startled look on his face— the phone even given up to her as she reaches out to pull it closer.

"Uh.. no? No, it's not," he says, brow furrowing, "As for where, I got it off some old Company tapes that'd been smuggled out before everything went to hell— that's, uh, that's Elle with him in the picture. I forget if you ever met her."

"Once or twice." Delilah answers, tersely. She steps aside to look back at the phone again, brow knit harder. "Richard, you're sure they were Company tapes?" Contrasted to a moment ago, she looks up, wary and stressed at the same time.

"Christ." It quickly goes to ill.

"The video that came from was this guy talking with Bob Bishop in what I'm pretty sure was Fort Hero, so yeah," Richard says, before his tone gentles, "Guessing you know who this is…?"

Delilah gives back the phone before she has the temptation to throw it out a window. She rubs her hand against her forehead, fingertips kneading at temple. She prefaces with a "Sorry."

"That's my dad." Time for that water. She picks hers up again and downs half of it, palm wiping at her mouth. It's not a beer, but it brings her around. "He'd be a teenager, about. In that."

The phone's taken, and Richard taps it off before sliding it back into a pocket. "No, no, you don't have anything to apologize for," he says with a shake of his head, bringing the glass up to his lips to take a sip, "And— yeah, that tracks with how he looks. Is he— I mean, is he still around? I'm tracking down information about certain events he was involved in, almost everyone else is dead. Well. Aside from Adam, but." Try interviewing Adam about things.

Delilah runs her hand over her mouth again, scanning Richard from head to toe and back up. "He died when I was a girl."

"And then he came back to me. This summer. Not of his own accord, though…" There is a caveat coming, and Richard can sense it. "He won't be able to answer any of your questions, Richard."

Of course there is. There always is. Richard's brow knits a little at that. "Oh…? Did something happen, I mean— " A pause, "Did he actually come back from the dead? I know that's usually pretty— traumatizing…" Only in their circles can someone ask that question.

"No. He- I'm not sure what happened back then. All I know is that he was kept from me and then he was in camps during the war." Delilah breathes out. "When it ended and people needed to find their families… The Deveaux Society came to me. With him." That also says a lot, for Richard. "But he's not- - you can't see him. You can't get what you want out of him."

"Christ. He was in the camps…?" Richard's eyes widen slightly in horror, brow crinkling then in sympathy, "Poor bastard. And— they would've known exactly who he was, so that tracks." He glances across the room, then looks back, "Are you sure? I don't— this is important, Dee, or I'd happily leave him in peace. The Company, they locked something away a long time ago, something they couldn't handle and he helped— but it's coming back."

"I am absolutely sure." Delilah breathes through a moment of grief that tests her, and it passes. She puts a hand to her hip, the other propped against the kitchen counter. "If I thought he could help you, you know that I would see what I could do." Altruism tends to run in the family, in some regards. "Whatever he did back then, he doesn't remember. It's in the past, besides. But he's- -"

"He's fractured." The redhead is a tad more gentle when she tries to explain this, hand gestures calming but emphasizing. "His mind is like someone smashed a vase and taped it back together. He's been making so much progress the last few months, but… Hell. I only just recently decided to explain my own past to him. There's no way he'll know what you hope he does."

"Damn." Richard grimaces, one hand coming up to rub against the back of his head, "His memory of the event would've been redacted anyway, but… I was hoping that maybe he'd have some sort of lead. If he's that fragile, I wouldn't want to risk doing any further damage by pushing it. If he happens to— say anything, I know how memories can sometimes surface like that, let me know?"

A faint, sympathetic smile is offered over, "I'm sorry, Dee. At least he's alive, that's— something."

"There are times where things sort of come back to him, but he can never seem to hold on for long. He gets events messed up, people, places… But not me, and God am I thankful for that." Delilah nods just once, a frown creasing her lips, brown eyes warm despite her wariness on the topic. "If he says anything like that I'll tell you. He's spoken about living over here before, and it must have been before I was born. Or maybe just when I was tiny, cause I don't remember at all."

Now and again there are other things, and yet, she doesn't want to link them right now. After some thinking. "I… if you want to meet him, I think we could do that much, keeping in mind what I've said."

"I don't want to stress him too much," admits Richard, "You're protective, and you should be, and I— well." He crooks a brief, wry smile, "I can be a bit much sometimes, I know. Family's important, I'm not going to risk damaging yours if I don't have to, and I don't see any reason I would."

Still, he hesitates before asking, "Does he still have his ability?"

"We'll see, then. Regardless of all else he does like to meet people. He hasn't disliked anyone I've introduced him to, anyway." Delilah gets back to a smile here, though a sigh still lingers. "He knows that he has one, and he sort of knows what it is, but I have never seen him use it. I don't know that I want to, because if it is some sort of amplifier… I do not want him to accidentally use it on me. Or Walter." The last gets a bit of a grimace. They both know why, of course.

"If you decide he's up for it, could always have lunch sometime," Richard crooks a smile, though it fades slightly at the latter, and he nods once, expression serious. "He's a power augmentor, and a strong one— he could easily force Walter to manifest his ability immediately if he used it on him." A glance down to the pocket where he'd put the phone away, then back up, "It's why Elle's power manifested at two and— well, I suspect it's why it took her so long to really control it at all. It, ah, manifests as sort of a rainbow effect when he uses it, so— you can recognize it if it happens." A pre-teen time traveller is the last thing any of them want.

A wry smile, "Anyway. Sorry, I didn't mean to drop a bomb on you like that, ah— he seemed like a nice kid back then, at least from the tape. I should probably let you get back to whatever you were doing before I stopped by…"

Delilah files what Richard tells her into the back of her mind, and at least he knows full well that she does understand the potential for danger. She does her damndest to keep her son out of so much as it is.

"It's okay, you had no way of knowing what I'd say.. just that we shared a name." Dee rubs one hand in the palm of the other, thoughtful. "He was. Nice. He still is. Troublemaking runs in the family, but so do big hearts." She smiles, freckles crinkling at her nose briefly. "I'm sorry I couldn't be more help, Richard."
Richard finishes off the water, then leans over to set it down beside. "It wasn't a wasted trip," he opins as he offers over a smile, one brow lifting, "At least you know a little more about him, even if he doesn't remember. So maybe I didn't get what I was looking for, but if I helped a friend learn a little more about their family, then…" A spread of his hands as he steps over towards the door, "It was worth the trip. Besides, got me out of that office. Felt like I was starting to grow roots…"

As Richard heads for the door, Delilah rests a hand on his back and follows. It's a friendly touch, reassuring. "I know how you are about family secrets. I get it. So for that, thanks." Context is not a bad thing. "If you're in the neighborhood again, feel free to say hello? Wouldn't want you to take root and all."

"Christ, you have no idea," Richard breathes out a low chuckle, offering her a warm smile at the touch as they head for the door, "Every time I think I know everything about my family, something even weirder than the last shows up… and will do. Maybe I can bring the kids by sometime to play with Walter sometime, too." At the door, he adds, "Let me know if you need anything, too— or if you decide to steal my idea about the NYPD uniforms."

He grins, "I'll even waive my ten percent consultation fee in your case."

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