A Quiet Corner


delilah_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title A Quiet Corner
Synopsis Delilah and Elisabeth find themselves in one.
Date March 2, 2019

Brooklyn College, Winslow-Crawford Academy

With the social event finally winding to a close, Elisabeth is taking a few minutes to stand outside even though it's cold. She can see through the doorway to the main room where Aurora seems to be doing fine now — the early incident was minor and quickly forgotten in the excitement of meeting Carl and all the other kids. It's the mother who is having the more difficult time managing her reactions to being here, being out in the open and identifiable. Her blue eyes have been following a particular redheaded boy all evening, when she catches sight of him. There's a subtle worry to her expression, mostly hidden, as she wonders what's become of those they haven't located yet. Knowing that Lynette and Mateo have actually resurfaced, however, gives her faith that everyone else did in fact land somewhere in this world — even if they're choosing to lay low and not make contact.

That little redheaded boy has more or less stuck with the other kids or a couple of adults he knows; the features of his face are of course uncanny, and Liz will have no problem seeing the older's face in it. He hasn't noticed the attention. Delilah has, though.

She's trained herself to look for it by now.

"Bit cold to be out here for no reason." So Liz must have one. Delilah has popped the door open while the older woman is facing away, probably having waited for that moment. Liz can't avoid her if she doesn't see her! Her voice still has that playful cadence, and that red hair down her shoulders remains unforgettable. It's more the eyes that have aged, and it sits there behind the glint of doe brown.

"Should come back in. We can, you know, have a chat." The implication is there. I've seen you looking. It doesn't feel like a negative reaction, just… maternal and familiar.

Glancing to the door when the other woman pops out, Elisabeth offers a faint smile. "Sure," she replies quietly. "Just… can we stay off to the side? There's a lot of people." It might help explain what it was she was looking for out here. Enclosed space with that many people is a little overwhelming.

When she comes back inside, her blue eyes automatically seek and find certain heads. Aurora. Kaylee, then Carl. Luther. Walter. It's almost as if she's doing a head count. Easing when everyone is accounted for, Elisabeth leans back against the wall. "It's really good to see you, Delilah." She searches the other woman's face thoughtfully, aware from the reaction that she at least was warned ahead of time. It makes things easier.

"Course. Plenty of room for it." Delilah answers with a crooked smile, herding Liz back in from the cold. They can find a bit of privacy easily enough against a far corner, and it lets them keep the gaggle of kids in sight. They seem to be having a good old time now that everything is normal.

"First things first, I think you deserve this -" No small talk yet! Lilah steps in to give Liz a hug, not too tight and not too long. Just right. "You had a rough ride home, after all…" When she leans back again, her hands linger on shoulders and the smaller smile she gives is reassuring- - especially so considering Liz's uncertainty.

"It's good to have you home again… I can tell everything is overwhelming." Dee pauses to glance over her shoulder, one last check to make sure that they stay unbothered. "I know… a lot more than I should. Magnes came to stay with me when he got here… And then there was Eve and her awkward buddy Miles." A more mischievous smile comes along, brief as it is.

The hug is more than a little welcome. Elisabeth wraps her arms around the redhead and just breathes for a long moment, absorbing the affection readily — she's missed so many years. As Delilah draws back, the blonde reaches up to wipe tears that sprang out of nowhere and laughs softly. "Overwhelming is definitely the word," she agrees softly. Her blue eyes brighten at the mention of Eve and Miles, though, and relief bleeds through. "Oh God… that's good news." Another one of her lost ones is accounted for, and Eve's not dead! That's the first she's heard of that as well, so it's fantastic news all the way around.

Leaning back against the wall, Elisabeth blows out a slow breath. "Well, I should have known that non-disclosure agreement wouldn't hold him long," she chuckles ruefully about Magnes. The worries in her expression have eased considerably, but there's one she's reluctant to bring up to Delilah. "Has Walter… the elder one… turned up?" Finding him in the flooded world had been a surprise, a delight in some ways, and a horror all its own. Losing him in the portal was devastating for her.

"To his credit, I did know a few things. People talked. I wasn't sure what to think so I tucked it away… " Delilah leans companionably against the wall beside Liz, close enough to share a warmth. She seems to have also known this next question was coming, mouth flattening and chin down thoughtfully. "Not yet."

"Eve brought me a lot to think about and a lot of guessing. She brought me his sword, for one. She tried to imply he was dead but I know better than to say those things anymore." A brow lifts to the blonde. "You seemed surprised to hear about those two, which tells me a little more. If anyone has told you about the visions, this Walter had one. Of him. Things about storms, pirates, boats, falling. Something punching him out of the sky. Scared him to death." So she knows also what kind of dangerous place they got out of. "I have no idea how he got there. He stayed through the war and then told me he'd be back. That was years ago."

Elisabeth nods very slowly, thinking about what Delilah has said. "He took one of his friends home… and when he got there…" She pauses. "Time doesn't work the way they thought. When he got home, he found out that despite changing the way things happened here, it didn't actually change their timeline." A grimace twists Liz's features, grief evident. "He had a hard time. And he was coming back here when … even he doesn't quite know what happened. Something threw him sideways. He landed in the flooded world that was our last stop. I had him, Delilah…" She chokes for a moment, and whispers, "I had him. He was with us right up to the last portal. And then … people tumbled. They were shunted out into other places." The memory of seeing several people tumble out through the portal walls is enough to make her have to stop talking for long moments.

When she finally resumes, her voice is husky. "Some have turned up — Eve and Miles are the most recent. Others have landed in different places. So… don't lose hope." They haven't found everyone who tumbled, but… at least it's a positive sign.

"A friend? Did he say who? Some of them have been… missing." Delilah asks this first, though once Liz seems to struggle she holds anything else and instead puts a hand against her arm, waiting for her to finish. "I wondered if it had changed anything… but maybe it did, once he got back. We knew how to fight the mechs after that. And weak points with Mayes, Mitchell, all of it." Sometimes intel is just as valuable.

"Don't beat yourself up, got it? You can't control everything." Dee looks out over the room, eyes picking out the children's faces. "I won't lose hope til someone dumps him at my feet." Her features set in a somewhat fiercer expression than a moment ago. "The throwing him sideways sounds a lot like what mine told me he saw. Felt, anyway. Something had to have caused that. He doesn't… miss. Not really. It's like firing a bullet."

She doesn't say how she knows that, but chances are that she got a crash course for the sake of the little boy over there getting paint on his face. "I guess we'll have to be looking out for anything weird…er than usual." Delilah squints a touch as she adds the last.

The snort that comes from Elisabeth is a clear response to the weirder than usual comment. "That phrase has no meaning in my life anymore. Usual is just plain weird," she quips quietly. Being able to laugh just that small amount steadies her, though, and she lets out a slow sigh. "Kincaid," is the answer she finally gives to the initial question. "He said Kincaid was struggling badly here — that his meeting with his parents didn't go as he'd hoped and he just wanted to go home. But… I think he felt like they'd failed. They didn't. Time just… doesn't work the way they thought. Everything that happened here… just spawned a slightly different wasteland."

It's a long story. Rubbing her forehead a little bit, Elisabeth's blue eyes seek out Aurora once more and she visibly relaxes to see the tiny girl chattering away with Carl and even Walter. Her mind turns over what Delilah just offered, and a faint frown causes lines between her brows because it brings up other questions. Why did Walter go off course? It's not an answer she has, though, and not one she's likely to get.

"Are you … doing okay?" Liz finally asks, looking toward the redhead. "I haven't had a lot of news yet… just the basics of the past seven years." She bites her lip. "Teo's… doing all right?" She is afraid to ask about certain people who had a tendency to get into lots of trouble. "Are he and Francois still together?"

A whole other Wasteland? That figures. Delilah rolls with it well enough, nodding at the confirmation of one of the kids getting back. "I'll have to tell Jolene or one of the others about Kincaid. Maybe Gillian instead. I'm sure they'd want to hear it either way."

When Liz looks up from her frowning, Dee has a small smile watching the kids. It hangs around during the questioning, which at least says that it's not a taboo topic.

"I've been fantastic. We've gotten a lot done the last few years, which helps. I'm thinking about a second job, but other than that… we're happy. Comfortable, yeah? No running, no fighting, we're able to open places like this. Walter goes here now and he is just in love. If I have complaints about anything- - small potatoes."

"There are three, you know. Teos." Delilah flashes a stupid grin, stifling a laugh but keeping a honeyed curve of lips. A tint touches along her cheeks, faint but rosy. "The one with Francois, well… they're separated, not sure how else to put it. Not in a bad way, I think? Just. Apart. The one that came from the other world, he's still lurking around here. I think that he thinks I don't know that he checks on us." She taps at her temple. Oh, she knows.

"'Dad' is in Italy." Her eyes dart over to Walter and back. Only one gets the title, the rest are by name. "He came to visit over the holidays." Lilah tugs on her bottom lip with her teeth, a more sheepish expression winning out, that rosy look turning more intensely into a blush. "He still wants us to go over too."

Amusement colors Elisabeth's expression and her brows shoot up. "Oh really?" The tease is gentle — she is genuinely happy at the idea that Teo, ALL of the Teos, are at least alive and doing okay in whatever capacity they can be. Silly little Italian boys. "I guess I'll have to find a way to make sure they all know that we're back — I really don't want Ghost to lose his shit." That would not be good.

She nods toward Aurora and her grin is still present. "She seems taken with Walter… but I think she really liked him when she met him before, too. She doesn't really differentiate between them, I don't think… it's hard to tell. But she'll join them here at the school once I can get her enrolled. I wanted a few weeks to get settled, but she's seriously chomping at the bit to get to come to school." There's a subtle worry there that she simply verbalizes with, "I'm afraid she'll be really far behind and feel weird."

"I can give you some contacts later?" Delilah is sure they'd want to know too, so she offers it up freely. Her brow knits, considering Liz's next words. "Differentiate? How would she know it's him? Well, another Him?" Curiosity colors the question. "I think she'll love it here. We went to the local school before Peyton opened this, and it was as crowded as you'd expect it to be. They do what they can, I can't fault that."

"I have no idea how much you've been able to teach her so far, but there are tutors here too. Some of the older kids are missing chunks of school. Luckily, we can relate. Teachers are forgiving and do what they can to make it less intimidating." She can only hope that she is easing some of the worries. "Socially, it's clear she's perfectly fine in that department." Dee nudges Liz and laughs. "She is so cute."

There's a softening of her expression when Delilah compliments Aurora, and Elisabeth can't help but laugh. "Richard is beside himself," she comments quietly. "Being able to finally hold her. And she's… getting used to finally having her father in the picture. He hasn't lost superhero status yet — it'll come at some point when he has to tell her 'no' for something." She shrugs slightly. "Socially she does well. We lived in a peaceful world, if you can call it that, for her early years. And then between Lynette and Elaine and me, we were able to teach her the basics — her letters, her numbers, a few sight words, things like that. But… not much," Elisabeth admits. "The past two years were somewhat hellish in their franticness." And bloodshed, though she doesn't say that aloud.

She looks at Delilah and explains, "She can tell he's still Walter. The way I understand synesthesia, it's wires crossed in the brain's perception centers. She sees sound as colors. Voices and music, in particular, have specific and individual differences to her mind's eye, from what I can really gather. As far as her original doctors were able to tell, it's not necessarily SLC-E related… some small percentage of people just get hardwired differently." She shrugs a little. "But she's very clear on identifying people. It's actually pretty uncanny sometimes."

The idea that Aurora can somehow tell that the elder and the younger are the same person is fascinating; it's a tad worrisome, all things considered, but maybe this just means she'll have a friend right away.

"Synesthesia? I think I've heard about that before. So she sees all the same things from him?" Fascinating. Delilah answers, eyes following off towards the little girl. "Do you think she realizes they're separate people? I don't know how much she knows about all this… multiverse stuff, just I'd hate for her to think he's forgetting her or something." She knows that her son would hate to make her sad too- - he's too kindhearted for that.

"When the fighting stopped a lot of kids had to play catch up. Luckily… kids are kids, and their little brains are still soft. I'm sure she'll be able to catch up."

"Heh," Elisabeth retorts lightly. "I think she has a better handle on it than some adults do," is the rueful reply. "She's lived through three timelines — three separate worlds where she's met some of the same people. She knows Kaylee isn't the Aunt Kaylee she grew up with… but she's still Aunt Kaylee." Glancing at Delilah, she shrugs a little. "I think that what she sees is… just that his voice is the same color. Like a fingerprint or eye color is unique and she just has an innate ability to identify it maybe? That's the best way I can really explain what I understand of it. It's not exactly the most studied phenomenon, I guess. But no, she won't be hurt or anything. I spent a good bit of time helping her understand that they're not exactly the same person. Or at least… I tried to. We'll see if it gets mixed up over time, I guess."

Leaning a little against Delilah's shoulder, she says quietly, "She's adapting way better than I am. It's really hard to be here sometimes. To see how much everything's changed. Daily therapy is so much fun right now." There's a cheeky grin as Liz rolls her eyes.

Delilah gives a nod of understanding for the information, clearly relieved that it appears Elisabeth has done her best to make doppelgangers normal. There's a comforting smile for Liz when she leans in, and Dee hooks her arm around the older woman's shoulders for a short squeeze.

"I can only imagine how hard it is to be back. But I know how hard it was to get here. It's gotta be one hell of a change .." Delilah's eyes glimmer with a quirk of her lips. "Don't push yourself into things if you're not ready. God knows people are probably yanking you in every direction."

"There are a lot of things I'm not ready for," Elisabeth agrees softly. "Not the least of which is dealing with everything I learned. But… some things just have to be done whether you're ready or not. I sure as hell wasn't ready to have a baby." She grins at Delilah and leans her head on the woman's shoulder. "That turned out pretty okay, I think. So I'll just keep winging it." If you can't laugh at your own crazy bullshit, you've already lost, right?

"People have actually been … pretty damn compassionate about the whole thing. I think I broke the therapist that first week, though." Elisabeth finds that damn amusing, actually. "You'd think with all the crazy in the world, mine wouldn't even be a blip, but I guess alternate dimensions still has the power to blow people's minds." Now she's just fucking with the therapist, it's clear. "Aside from that… honestly, I'm not used to so much time on my hands. I'm going to have to get my ass back to work soon. Richard's all like 'oh my god, you just got back, settle in!' but … I don't know how to just sit around. You know?"

"Trust me, I know all about surprise parenthood." Delilah snorts softly. "Hell, I had him in the back of a car. Talk about unprepared. I winged it and maybe I still am."

"Yeah, I know. I don't usually like to be idle either. Luckily I don't have a shortage of things to do. Might tone down on my business and try for a steadier job now that Walter's in a better school." Dee purses her lips and shrugs the opposite shoulder. "Some people are just wired that way. I'm not surprised you're one of them. To hell with Richard trying to baby you. You're a big girl and can do it when you're ready. And if he gives you guff tell him I said that."

The chuckle is quiet. "It's… a little bit nice to let him baby me just a smidge." Elisabeth indicates with an itty bitty space between her thumb and forefinger as she laughs. "I'll sit it out just a little while longer — Aurora needs the stability of having me around fulltime right yet. The past couple years were hard, and the last place we were … she thought I was dead for a little bit. So, she's still a little shaky." As evidenced by the earlier hide-under-the-chair panic, which Kaylee managed brilliantly. "I doubt it will take long, though. She's incredibly independent anyway, so I expect once she's convinced we're really not going anywhere this time, it'll be no-holds-barred with her."

She goes quiet for a long few moments and then starts to say something but aborts the words before they pass her lips. "You don't happen to know anyone who needs a singer, do you?" is what she asks instead.

"I think you're right. She'll be herself in no time." Delilah watches Aurora from where they stand, and how the others seem to absorb her right into the fold. Liz gets a grin. "I'm sure donuts with sprinkles help."

Though the other woman gets a curious look, there's a clear refraining from pressing for whatever she was about to say. Delilah definitely wants to know, but.

"A singer? Who? You?" It's nothing derisive, of course; Lilah can't remember ever hearing Liz sing is all. Her brows lift a bit and then knit together in thought. "Well, I mean, Eve's place has bands. But it hasn't been as lively lately. Not as much nightlife, got to make your own more often than not. Bars here and there, couple clubs… . Fundraisers and things are popular." Makes sense.

There's a slight shrug. "I made my living doing it for five years," Elisabeth admits. "I couldn't be a cop there, after all… there was already somebody living that life." Something passes through her eyes as she thinks of the other Liz and what happened to her. Of her son and of her Felix… and the sorrow at leaving them behind. Then she shakes it off. "Maybe I'll see if I can put my toe in the water somewhere for a little while until I figure out what I do want to do."

There's another long moment of pause and she says softly, "I'm thinking about going back into teaching. Richard's mentioned that they're potentially reopening the NYPD. I might… think about going back there as a trainer or something… get my years in for retirement." It's the first time she's actually said the words out loud. "I don't want to be on the streets anymore, though. I can't… I really can't do that job anymore."

As she listens in on Elisabeth's career dreams, Delilah seems quite intent on really hearing them. If she catches the look that Liz shakes off, she doesn't mention it. She can tell when certain things are no-go, and maybe talking about other versions is one. There's no comment on the inability to do her old beats, only- -

"Donovan's going to head the NYPD front, so I'm sure he's familiar with how awesome you are." Liz gets a small wink and a one-handed finger-gunning. "They'd be lucky to have you show some rookies the ropes. As for teaching…" Delilah steps away from the wall and holds her arms out a la Vanna to gesture at the dwindling event. "Elisabeth, School. School, Elisabeth."

There's an immediate negative reaction to the school suggestion. "No." Elisabeth swallows hard, looking out over the kids for a long time. "The last time I was teaching kids, the Vanguard killed a couple hundred of them." Washington Irving casts a long shadow for her. Not to mention the fact that she watched cages full of kids burn in front of her eyes. "I couldn't save them. And I don't want to be personally responsible for any more classrooms full of children. Adults… that's different."

She reaches up and rubs her forehead. "Sorry," she murmurs to Delilah for her vehemence. "I didn't mean to bark at you."

Definitely not the reaction she was going for. There's a small wince at the 'no', and a more guilted look when Liz explains. She can remember the school too- - The Vanguard, moreso, but it was a dark kind of time regardless of what she can recall.

"The Vanguard did a lot of things that nobody could have stopped… Not at the time. Sorry for hitting something I shouldn't have." It's Dee's own way of trying to console; the bad guys couldn't always be stopped. But eventually they were. "It's okay, I just- I wanted you to feel like you were welcome here too. These kids need good people around, yeah?" And she considers Liz one. "You've at least gotta join the PTA." Trying to steer clear of more negative thoughts, Delilah's smile is an easy one.

"No, no one could have stopped it. Just like I doubt any of us could have stopped the 36 from what they did… But it hits too close to home now." Elisabeth's gaze is on the smaller children, a lot of them clustered together near Carl and Walter and Aurora. Her expression is soft despite the haunted look that momentarily flashes there. "I can consult or something if Peyton wants that. I just…" Yeah. She's had such responsibility for people's lives in recent years — whether it's a responsibility that she took on of her own accord or not, there is a sense that she just doesn't want to be responsible for anyone but her own small circle for a while.

"And of course I'll be stuck joining the PTA," she scoffs in a deliberate attempt to be lighter of mood. "Because it's either me and Harmony or Richard here — which do you think Peyton would rather?"

"Oof. I shouldn't give my opinion." The redhead laughs quietly, reaching out to take Liz's hands up in her own; they and the rest of her are notably leaner than years ago, but the same soft feeling of being a bird tucked under a wing remains. "You'll figure it out. Wherever you end up, I have faith you'll be great at it."

"Now, what do you say about going over to terrorize some small children?" Also known as, Delilah can show off how embarrassing she can be, and Aura can get a load of Walter's mom. So sue her, she delights in it sometimes.

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