Enter Toad Girl


cat_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif

Scene Title Enter Toad-Girl
Synopsis Cat visits Delilah in order to brush up on what she can understand about the girl's ability.
Date March 14, 2009

Delilah's Apartment

= Just entering the apartment, it gives of a feeling of comfortable homeliness; light colors, pastel shades, floral designs, clean and sweet smells, and only accents of dark where it most fits. The front room leads to a den further on, with a large sofa in a coffee cream color sitting opposite a similar chair, and a wooden table in between. There is only a small, almost retro television off on the other side.

To the far end is the kitchen, which always seems to smell like something recently cooked there; the appliances and counters are squeaky clean, but obviously used on a regular basis, and the leftover anything in the fridge can attest to that, as can a perpetual dish of cookies on the table. There are two bedrooms, but one is emptied and instead made into a big, rainbow-colored sewing room, complete with fabric bolts and racks on wheels centered around a masterfully ordered sewing machine and table.

= The actual bedroom is based in those mainly soft colors, yet the lower walls have at least two long, cluttered tackboards home to pictures, clippings, seemingly random crafts, and generally quirky things. A desk in a similar state sits in the far corner by the closet, opposite a low, wide, fluffy-looking bed swamped in pillows and comforters. At least a dozen stuffed animals peek out from various points.

It's a Saturday morning, and Delilah is a teen, so Cat anticipates she might have slept until ten or later. For this reason, she delays her trip to the safehouse floor until just before noon so as not to be overly early. But she does come.

Dressed in sweats and a t-shirt from some long ago musical tour by U2, carrying a small plastic container with sealer lid, she approaches the door and raises one hand to knock on it. Sure, she has the keycard for all of them, but she did invite Delilah to reside her, and so respects her privacy by not just entering.

One thing that everyone around her is bound to realize sooner or later, is that Delilah isn't the usual teenager. Sure, it's a number, but most of the time she does present herself as older; if she believes it, she is confident other people will start believing it too. In that vein, ten o'clock is already almost midday. Up early, sleep early. That is, on a day where nothing else is bound to happen.

The door opens not long after Cat knocks, revealing Delilah with her hair down and wearing a dark blue shirt-dress that contrasts with the post-winter lightness of her skin. "Hullo, Cat." There is an immediate smile, though it quickly subdues and leaves the redhead at a momentary loss. "You want to come in?" There's a container in her hand, so maybe it's not 'I changed my mind' news, right?

"Thanks," Cat replies with a minor smile, and steps in. The container is indeed in hand, but isn't mentioned or offered yet. She perhaps feels it would be cold to just launch into that business, but she doesn have curiosity. "You never did tell me your full name, Delilah," the nine years older woman muses.

The door closes after Cat is inside. "I didn't tell Teo either, but somehow he already knows half of my life story. Maybe he found something in my coat. Trafford." Dee's answer comes eventually, after a small string of thought that escapes her lips. She smiles a little, almost wistful as she wanders back into the front of the apartment. "The last one of'em, too."

"The last of the Traffords?" she asks, to verify she's thinking along the right track. Cat's backside rests against a wall, eyes resting on the slightly taller redhead. The smile broadens a bit. "How long ago did you take your citizenship oath?

"Yes. I don't have any real siblings. My parents died before I turned twelve, and my grandfathers died when I was nine." The redhead waves a hand to invite Cat further inside if she wants, stepping over to where she had apparently been cutting fabric at the den's coffee table, leaning down to pick up some of the stray pieces. "I got adopted in two-thousand-three, and I got in under a child citizenship act. So, it would be that year. I can't really remember all of it, it was such a mess."

"You don't have to be the last," Cat replies. "When you have children, they can still carry the Trafford name if you want. I'm not in favor of this thing that says women are second class, their family names die out if they don't have brothers to carry it forward." Moving further into the apartment, she sets the container down.

"If I ever get married and have children, I won't be a Trafford. Call me old fashioned if you want, but it's just…how it is. For me." Delilah laughs, but it is a bit nervous. She doesn't want to offend, of course. "If I have a bastard, it'll luck out." The nervousness lessens. "And by all means, it shoulda died with my grandfather. He was- well- a big ol'poof. Had a husband before he got a wife too. He had a public reputation to keep, y'know?" The clump of fabric in her hands finds the garbage in a few steps, and Dee stops to pry some rogue strings from the front of her dress.

A slow nod follows. "I get it," Cat answers. On both fronts, she thinks wistfully. She herself is bisexual, though she's turned away from other women now. Dani died, and no other female compares. It's not a thing she wants to dwell on or discuss, and her goal is getting to know the redhead better, to put her at ease before addressing her ability further. "You plan to attend University, or hope to?"

"I've got to get my diploma first. I have test dates in April for it- so I hope I'll have it before next month is out. I haven't thought about what to do after. Maybe business." Which really, encompasses many things. "Or just maybe. I'll get lucky and become a celebrity." Delilah laughs to herself, and motions to that container Cat has sat down. "Whassat?"

She nods, listening, as Miss Trafford speaks of her plans. "I think you'll not have any trouble with the testing," Cat opines. Thoughts which might form about colleges the redhead could attend don't as her attention is drawn to the container. "It's for putting a sample in to test," she supplies, her voice making it seem like nothing at all.

Delilah feels like wincing, having forgot mostly about the whole thing where- y'know- she told them. "Oh. That." Which leaves her to wonder. "Do you want me to just …carry it around? I can't really guess when it's going to happen. Unless someone plans on like, shooting me in the foot in the next couple days, eh?" Her lips pull back in a laugh, eyes roving to Cat and back to the container.

"I thought we'd just talk and handle that when the time comes, if it comes," Cat replies with a quiet chuckle. But now that the subject's been raised, there are things other than collecting that sample she can tend to regarding the power. Such as… "It comes from your skin when you're under stress, excited, injured, threatened, yes? Basically, any emotion other than calm triggers the substance?"

"Um. No, not excited. Depends on your definition. If someone surprises me, technically that is shock. I think it's just the bad things. Scared, sad, angry? I've never done it when I get too wired." Dee wanders over to the sofa to sit herself down, with a glance up to Cat that says she can sit down if she wants. "It's like a defense mechanism. Like amphibians have sometimes. Not really the poison dart frogs, but …toads. The kinds that started all those 'toad-licking' stories. Back when it all started, I read Activating Evolution. In there it talked about abilities drawing from nature. Lizards that regenerate, you know? So I tried to find out what sorts of things made people …kooky." See 'toxic toads'.

As she listens, Cat nods. "I read through Activating Evolution once," she informs the younger one with a grin. Her mystery is retained, she doesn't share that she only needs to read anything once. "I was thinking along the same lines, of a defense mechanism, but also of other things skin secretes. Like sweat. It would seem to come from the same glands. Have you exerted yourself physically and perspired without producing the substance?"

Lilah, perspire? That's unladylike! Scoff, scoff. The thought does not cross her mind, instead, her eyebrows simply squeeze together as she concentrates at the air. "I suppose so." Oh, yeah- "And the thing about the toads, I remember, was when a dog would try and eat them, all their organs and veins would start pumping the stuff out too, and the dog would kick the bucket. Do you think it might be the same as that too?" Not just sweat glands- fluids. Blood, especially.

She'll need to see about testing that too, potentially, to see if it's present in her sweat as well as at other times. "It's possible," Cat admits. "The most important thing is you know when it happens, and this gives you the chance to get in control." Her mind is working ahead, and she realizes Delilah may not like the method she's cooking up, because it basically involves Claude tactics. Tap her with something, piss her off, intimidate… Basically present triggers and challenge her to restrain it at will.

But that path isn't spoken of yet.

"What, should I study breathing exercises?" Delilah almost snorts, but does put an elbow on her knee, resting her chin in her hand. "Get an early start on managing my labor?" Her smile is weak, and her eyes look a bit depressed. The young woman waits a few seconds before muttering. "I hate it being there. But I like it too, cause that's why I feel okay if I go out to a shady part of town. That's how I met Teo. I knew if someone came after me, they'd get a mess of that poison. Is that horrible of me? Stupid? People did stay way, but maybe they thought I was crazy anyway."

"Everyone needs defenses, Delilah," Cat states quietly and calmly. "Many of us have to use weapons. Clubs, knives, guns. You don't. You carry yours around with you, and it can serve you well. It isn't entirely bad. The thing is to get the handle so it doesn't happen unless you want it to. I have an idea how control can be gained, but it won't be pleasant for you, this much I can assure." She goes quiet there, letting the younger one follow by asking.

Delilah leans back in her seat, eyeing Cat suspiciously. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"The best way," she explains, "is to trigger it, and challenge you to make it stop while the hostility continues." Cat shows a sympathetic face, but she's also serious. "Few worthwhile things are ever easy."

The redhead stares. "So you want to make me freak out on purpose?" Delilah sounds disbelieving, tempted to stand up and skitter away before Cat decides to whack her in the face. "H- wh- how do you think you're going to provoke me?" Brown eyes look Cat over, debating on 'if I could take her' status. Dee knows she didn't mean right now, but what does she mean, exactly?

"I don't know yet," she admits. Cat is calm as she speaks, continuing along that thread. "It would only be enough for you to feel the effect begin and keep it going while you work at stopping it while under duress, Delilah. It isn't pleasant, I know, and your reluctance is expected. But the question remains do you want to get control, or not? The choice is yours."

After a few moments more to ponder, she states "It need only be enough to make you feel under threat."

"What if someone does something and gets some of it on them? It works fast, sometimes. Depends on how much and where." Delilah considers the safety of whoever is helping with that situation, frowning slightly. "I don't want to make anyone I know have an attack and not get back up. The whole situation sounds like it's the only option I've got."

"We don't have to do it now, of course. I can give it more thought," Cat assures, "and for your comfort as well as mine get my hands on some simple biohazard clothing for protection. Maybe a better way can be thought up with more consideration. Can you concentrate and turn it on right now, then turn it off, Delilah?"

"I've tried. I just get dizzy. I can't seem to convince my body." Meanwhile, Lilah is picturing people in yellow plastic suits and helmets chasing her with sticks. Absurd, right? "I almost wish it were as easy as the toad-milkers make it look." Hrrhrrhrr.

"We'll get there," Cat assures. Confidence is exuded. She feels this, like so many things, depends on belief. If a person expects to fail, it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. "Time and practice, in small amounts, to avoid overtaxing you. No one has to even get close, really, to trigger things."

"I'm not going to get prank phone calls telling me my cousins were in a horrible car crash, am I?" Just testing all avenues. Delilah therefore is trying to think of ways that Cat- and whoever else- might try to one up her soon.

"No," Cat replies, "I think I'll just poke you with a stick. It lets me stand away and work without touching, and should trigger enough to let you work at stopping the reaction even while being poked."

"I think- I think I might laugh instead. I can't see you poking me ending in anything but." And then, Delilah does laugh- a bright sort of giggle. "What if I can't take it seriously?"

She grins. "Trust me, Delilah, when I'm working this, I'll not be so nice. I can be fairly mean. If it's something not taken seriously, it'll ramp up some. It's not something I enjoy, and when it comes to that I hope you understand. I'm really not a cast iron bitch I sometimes get labeled with being. But," Cat pauses, "when I need to, I can be. It isn't personal. It just is."

Delilah raises her eyebrows, then lowers them as her chin rises instead. "I see." She will have to ask someone about such a thing being true. Cat seems too calm and collected to turn into an angry bitch. She can be a cold one- Dee can see that in her head- but not so much other kinds.

In fact, she's killed people before, and will kill again if the situation calls for it. No way will her friends rot away in Moab forever. That is tapped into, and the grief which still lingers over having failed to save Dani. Cat's features lose their sympathetic tack, and she takes a single step toward the redhead. "So, let's see what you've got, Delilah. Are you exuding chemicals now? I'm going to…" She reaches for something throwable and acts as if about to do so. "hit you with this."

Delilah furrows her eyebrows further, tensing and watching Cat pick up an empty metal candleholder from a nearby endtable. Shit, I thought she wasn't going to do it now? Is this another lesson? Crap! "…Wait, what?"

She doesn't throw it. The object is set down, and Cat's features turn to calm. Her voice also eases. It wasn't so much angry as cold and focused when she was brandishing, perhaps confirming Delilah's thought process. She doesn't press for the redhead to say if she triggered or not. "Something like that," she states quietly. "I've suffered not so long ago, and if I need to I can tap into the emotions tied to it all. Like I just did. You can maybe do the same to trigger yourself. Think of dark times, when you've been scared, under threat, then think of happier times soon after. Let your memories work for you."

Her face is studied to see if she's taken as making sense.

Delilah looks down, studying her feet and letting a pause speak further. "…What if I don't really have any?"

"Maybe you do, maybe you don't," Cat gently replies. "All in good time. Nothing's going to happen overnight." She takes a few steps and settles into a seat, there resting her eyes on the redhead again. "What do you think my ability is?"

"I can't think of any that stick. The only times I was ever heartbroken, I just remember remembering the good stuff instead. I was raised a little bit differently. And nothing that bad has happened to me lately. Just business as usual." Delilah sighs, smoothing the hem of her dress down. "Um." Her brown eyes draw up to Cat's. "Were you Yoda in a past life?"

Chuckling, Cat opts to answer the question mysteriously. "I'll remember you asked that, Delilah."

It takes a few seconds for Lilah to recall the first time she met Cat. You're a right wikipedia, aren't you? It brings a knowing smile to her lips. "Nature again. You're no elephant, Cat. Memory?"

"That's me," Cat confirms. "I've had it nearly seven years ago. It saved me from drowning academically, I rather like it." A few steps are taken toward the door, and she opens it. "Enjoy your day. We'll pick this up again soon." An envelope of money is pulled out and set on a surface. Delilah's weekly pay.

Delilah grins widely. "That's the sort of thing I wish I had gotten. But I bet that sometimes it's hard on your head, isn't it?" The redhead follows Cat to the door, watching the envelope go to rest on the foyer's little table- but it is the last thing she is concerned about. A friendly spark is back in Delilah's eyes when she looks to the older woman. "Thank you for coming."

"You're very welcome," Cat offers. Then she's out the door and on to other things.

March 14th: Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
March 14th: Welcome Home
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License