It Builds Character


delilah_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title It Builds Characters.
Synopsis LOTS OF THINGS, actually. Shoveling snow, rescuing pastors, getting your face cut open, saving the world… Paused.
Date December 29, 2009


Before the bomb, Chelsea was most known for being "gay-friendly," home of the stereotypical "Chelsea Boy." It was a place of culture and art, of eclectic ethnic restaurants and cutting-edge performing arts studios.

One of the last places in Manhattan to be reopened to the public, the streets of Chelsea almost give the impression of an urban ghost town. Many buildings are dark, inhabited only by the homeless, if by anyone at all. Their walls have been tagged with graffiti, the windows broken; forgotten cars line the streets, slowly rusting away. Close inspection reveals that their interiors have already been gutted of anything valuable or useful.

Housing in Chelsea is quite cheap; it therefore doesn't stay on the market long, despite the potential threat of residual radiation. The population has become a mixture of all ethnicities, desperation being their thread in common; those who have the money to live elsewhere do. Culture seems to have been washed out entirely on the neighborhood scale, survival taking vast precedence over art.

They're going to send in the reinforcements annnny moment now.

About seven intervals in, Teo stopped looking up to check the edge of the Chelsea lot to see when and who. Someone had had the stupid idea of leaving the truck under a roof with a maliciously deliberate slant on it; too many subzero days after the blizzard ended, and the passage of time has done little to the mountainous white mass of frozens tuff except toooo. You know. Move it. Down the slope of corrugated metal, off the machined edge, and drop it summarily onto the mess already sieging the truck that Teodoro Laudani was assigned to drive to Point B. When he called to report the situation, he was straightforwardly instructed of where the nearest shovels were stashed and that they would see who was available in the afternoon.

Teo suspects, though there was no actual verbalization to this effect, that the unspoken punctuation was: Some of us have jobs, you know.

Bizarrely, his nose still gets colder and faster than the new hole in his cheek. Creepy. Gross. At least it reduces his drooling, however, and he is just vain enough to pause and check, sporadically, with a sleeve pressed against the ruptured side of his face, half-hidden by now by a carefully maintained beard. His sleeve comes away dry.

Ergo, he was given him more excuse, unhelpfully enough, to continuously look up and check the perimeter, in vague and flagging hope, his gloved hands knotted glumly around the shovel. There's an unhelpful little moat of space around the vehicle, now, but the way ahead remains barricaded fiercely by a fat serving from Old Father Winter.

There is the soft crunch of snow under boots that heralds the arrival of someone. Bundled up tight, the vaguely female shape, makes it's way through the snow angled straight for him. A thick winter jacket, a dark blue scarf wound around her head and a matching blue beaning pulled far on her head keeps her identity a secret. Gloved hands, are wrapped around a shovel that rests across her shoulders.

"I heard you needed a hand." Blue eyes sparkle with amusement over the top of the scarf. The voice may or may not be familiar to Teo, but as one hand lets go of the shovel, it moves to pull the scarf off the lower half, the speakers identity is revealed. Cheeks flushed and no longer sunken and ashen, though there are still bags under her eyes from her recent lack of sleep.

"Long time no see." Says the young telepath brightly, smile tugged to one side.

The dramatic entrance of Kaylee to the Rescue is tailed by one that is less obviously mysterious; whether KAylee was followed or not, a second vaguely female shape toddles out of the white flecks with a black and yellow shovel in one hand, wagging to and fro as snow-covered boots tromp up after the blonde telepath bundled up. Delilah is similarly bundled up, her colorful scarf already tugged down. The hat on her head is threatening to eat her eyebrows whole, the earflaps mashing damp curls of red on her face where the snowflakes land. There is the light huff-puff-puff of Kaylee's name being called as Dee hops through the mush and fluff after her, but any of that is cut short with an abrupt sniff and fishy gasp of december air.

"Kay, wait, wait, I almost f- hupp- Teo! Oh, gosh! You really are back-" Dee's puffy winter coat obscures the details, but the redhead rambles right up to the Italian to wrap her arms and mittens- plus one shovel bumping his shoulder- around him.

If Delilah is a stick figure drawn in childish Crayolas, Teodoro is a far more somber, graphite suit with his dark jacket, jeans.

And his surprise. Oh. He's cut off in the middle of whatever Italian salutation he'd been about to fizzle out in Kaylee's direction by the sudden embrace, his arms hiccuping up at his sides, windmilling faintly under the brunt of tactile affection, and his eyes swiveling and turning a little like his response to Pastor Sumter's big Southern hello, once. Yes, Italians are supposed to do hugs, but Teo misses out on supposed-to's, sometimes.

And it's not like Delilah's your frostiest Limey ever. His left hand wingbeats a gentle flutter of salutation against Lilah's shoulder. The shovel hangs awkward in his other hand. Somehow, the lift of his torso manages to raise her boot-heels a quarter an inch off the snow anyway. "Buongiorno, buongiorno, ciao. Hey.

"You guys— seem to be doing well," he decides is the safe salutation. Teo's initial option had been a compliment about rosey cheeks, hale beauty, and bright colors, and he foregoes it for the obvious reasons though it's true: they look great. Kaylee with all her wellbeing back, Delilah perpetually expansive in her enthusiasm. "'M glad of it. Feels like I've been gone for-fuckin'-ever. I take it you two are the muscle, this afternoon."

Glancing behind her, Kaylee grins at Dee, a flash of teeth and a puff of steaming breath. "Sorry Dee." She deftly steps out of the young woman's way so that she can get to the man, being that she doesn't know him well enough to greet him like that. Swinging the shovel off her shoulder, the telepath lets the spade end of the shovel sink into the snow as she watches.

The shovel a lifted in a bit of a salute, grinning with totally amusement. "Yes, sir. Ferrymen Shoveling at your service." Kaylee steps past the pair shovel at ready to eyes the snow bound… what is that in there? Brows drop a bit, "Lucky you, I've been getting a lot of exercise out at Summer Meadow. Amazing what manual labor will do for a person…." The words trail off as she looks back at him, turnings slightly back towards him,"Where you want us to start?" A blonde brow lifts with the question. "Where have you been, anyhow? It's been crazy busy around here."

Bundled up, Dee still lets out a puff of air when she manages to feel herself shifted that little bit off of the snowy asphalt. When she lets go she doesn't so much let go as she does lean back with one mitten still crabclawed on his arm. "You missed Thanksgiving and Christmas- Doyle was Santa Claus. And we're always the muscle." Lilah says this last part with a certain tone that suggests a teasing moment, head tilting in the meantime to investigate Teo more closely.

There's still a smile on her face, but a slight glint in her eye that is now suddenly taking notes. Since when did you have a beard like that? What's on your face? The shovel Dee has grinds against the ground near her boot, and the smile falters just a little, that glint in her eye being replaced with something more …protective, actually.

"And dare no man stand in your way." Teo's eyeballs are doing that thing in their sockets that people do when they are focusing on nothing particular or the middle distance in favor of making eye-contact. It's a little furtive, a little neutral, and over quickly enough, a blink of pale eyes, head swiveled deliberately away, and he's crafting an answer to Kaylee in brusquely abrupt fashion. "Some shit with Phoenix and old enemies. I went to Russia with a few people— Catherine, who's also part of the Ferry. I don't know if you know her.

"I'll probably have to take off again in a couple weeks, but for now…" Teo lifts a gloved hand, folds three fingers out of the way to make a rough pointer at the snow clumped around the truck's fore. "Figure our priority is to make sure this thing can get out of here. I hear some area heaters need moving; they say it's going to be a rough winter." He lifts an eloquent brow.

"Cathrine? Oh.. Yeah, I know her. Came to me shortly after I got to McRae's asking questions." Kaylee comments, before falling thoughtful, shifting where he points so that she can start shoveling. "I've become rather aware of other people being AWOL.. Eileen for one.. She disappeared after a pulling me in to help with sick kids. Ethan…" She adds, naming off people she remembers that night in the hotel room. "Gone.. shortly after his first weapons training lesson with me… I figured it was cause I suck at it."

"Though the most disturbing.. is Pastor Sumter. Pretty sure he was possibly kidnapped by some one…. again." That last added after a moment of hesitation. "Disappeared without a trace.. not one clue.. and left his dog behind, without arranging care." The shovel is shoved into the snow roughly as Kaylee begins her work.

"I still think he went off for quiet time." And figured someone would take care of Alicia anyway. It could happen! But frankly the reasoning is just so she can stay in denial. Delilah answers to what Kaylee says as the blonde begins her own digging; on the redhead's end, she is still sort of being concerned about Teo. She's gotten a fairly good look at him only because she took a sidestep to do so. Her mitten lets go of Teo's arm to wrap around the back of his neck, and offer a tug to bring his face closer. A kiss is made to plant on his cheek nearby, on that puckered area to the left of his mouth where the new scar sits decorating his features.

That is the only real thing that Delilah has to say about that for now, chin lifting in a proud little gesture towards Teo as she turns to begin helping Kaylee with the drift in front of the vehicle. Hi-ho, hi-ho.

Ethan training little girl mutants at firing guns. Ethan apparently has some kind of modus operandi. It's almost charming, until supposed necessity compels him to smash his boot through somebody's ankle and beat them about the head. Teo's expression flattens into a froggy smile, almost ghosts into mute, dissociative alarm when her smile slants his cheek precariously close to the punctured ruin at the side of his face. His eyes close and open with self-consciousness once.

"Sumter?" He's all too glad to latch onto the nearest distraction, alternative subject of conversation. Comes scuffing around, his ears tinged sanguine underneath the fold of his hat, shovel blurring a vicious arc with spade poised and pointed down to tok the lumpy weight of snow before the vehicle. Helping out. "Abby thinks he might've gone off for a vacation down South with Deckard. No word to that effect?"

"Yeah… I might have bought that.. but I dunno. If it wasn't for one thing…. " Kaylee shoves the shovel into the snow with the loud grating sound of metal on asphalt. "What bothers me the most is when I talk to Robin… If Joseph is gonna be gone for an extended time, he asks Robin or Neil to take care of his dog. He loves that dog, she was found with no food and water. So call it paranoia.. but I am not convinced." Her tone is firm and unbudging on that matter. Of course, the fact she knows so much, when the last time he talked to her she was half dead and being hidden within a safe house.

The mention of Deckard causes some unease in the young woman, Kaylee fidgets a bit and covers it with shoveling. The fact she had a rather… disturbing nightmare about him, bothers her a bit. "So… Flint went south? Well.." Her brows drop, "That explains where he went." There is a small frustrated sigh, another person her and Colette have looked for and not found.

"Either way.. Just in case, I'm looking for clues. Well… me and Colette.. dunno if you've met her." Seems like the tenn knows about everyone. She chips at some hard snow with the tip of her shovel. "I've got a plan of having a guy who can read the past of an item see what he can learn from some of Joseph's things. Only need a clue."

The telepath stops shoveling, turning to Teo, eyes narrowing a bit as she catches something from him. "Something…. is different." She shifts closer, head tilting to the side as she studies him trying to glimpse something, blue eyes intense as they look over his face. He can see her eyes widen and then sadden. "Oh.. Teo." His name spoken softly her breath misting in the cold, so much said with it's utterance.

Delilah absorbs some things better than others, making a slightly sad noise when Kaylee finally notices Teo's new feature; the background noise is her now chomping the edge of her shovel into the frozen bottom of the snow pile. The redhead seems set on working while she listens. "I hope someone figures it out, in any case." Dee isn't sure what to say, as Kaylee is so convinced of Joe's unwillingness to disappear. Maybe he didn't want to. Doubts have been sewn already. She looks up to Kaylee, then to Teo, her face adopting a look to match Kaylee's tone of voice.

Pale eyes dart away from the girls's speculation and their sympathy, compelled as much by the self-consciousness that's carefully kept his head turnnned at that angle this while as by some gut-twiddling pang of obscure gratitude. Validation. Of course, intellectually, Teo's well-aware that his face is just a face, when the world could go nuclear and Joseph's gone missing. He clears his throat.

"I didn't know Cole knew any psychometers," he offers, hands tightening on the shaft of his shovel. His voice has gone gruff, but his demeanor doesn't shut down any further. The flattened metal sinks deep into fluffy crystallized white. He levers it up, hurls it into the growing pile a few yards off Kaylee's shoulder. Psychometers. Colette. Either name and term seems familiar to him. "That's— people who can see the histories of other individuals or objects with just a touch. You figured out who saw Sumter last, yet? Abby spoke to him on the phone just a few weeks ago."

There is no flinching away from the new feature, just the acceptance and understanding that it doesn't really change the man, these Kaylee can convey in a non-verbal way at least. She does however let Teo deflect attention back to the subject on hand. "She doesn't, Grace gave us the name and I went and talked to him. He's an associate.. a courier if I remember right. I go back to see him in a few days…. I hate waiting." There is a soft sigh when she says it.

The telepath also goes back to the work at hand, chiping loose the snow and scooping it to be tossed aside."As for who last spoke to him.. Only one we can figure is Robin did talk to him shortly before."

While Dee is knocking away at icy bits, she pays a little too much attention to the snow now. Dig dig dug- Snow gets frothed about from where Delilah really has no plan, other than getting it out of a pile. She may be the help, but that doesn't mean she's very good at it. Yeah, some of it ends up where the others are digging, but she's trying! "Psychometry? That sounds so badass." Mmm, power envy. "That'd be pretty cool if you could do it in a museum- go around touching artifacts."

'Toxic pore emissions' sounds kind of cool too. Telepathy, definitely. 'Astral projection' just sounds fruity, if you ask Teo. "I knew a girl who did exactly that, actually," Teo tells Miss Toad, sidelong. "She— passed away, though. But it was badass. She helped us figure out what happened to Beauchamp, one time she got into a fuckload of trouble. You should figure out when you want to bring the police into it, too," he adds, after a beat's hesitation.

He hates the Popo, as a general rule, but. "Sumter's as law-abiding as they come. The government owes him that much." The lip of his shovel grates into asphalt. He wiggles the wooden pole in his hands, loosing off a little extra powder runoff from Delilah's portion of the dig. He doesn't mind the spill, of course; it took him a few minutes to strike the balance between shifting the snow far enough, and not wasting unnecessary effort building Everest at the other end of the lot. Fortunately, between the three of them (and two far less generally cold-phobic and disgruntled by the climate than he is), the work's far faster. "I'll ask around the Ferry, try to… fuckin'… retrace his steps.

"Let us know if you need the cavalry? Or turn up leads?"

"I think it depends on what we find as to whether I want to bother the police with it." Kaylee's tone pretty much says her thoughts on Police and the government. "But yeah, I'll let you know if there is anything important that comes up." The young woman works steadily, she'll feel it in the morning, but for now she pushes herself past the burn in her muscles.

"It could be nothing. He could be getting shit faced down in Mexico with Flint.. of course, if that's true… I will not let him live it down." A small smile touches her lips briefly, "He told me he doesn't drink."

Toxic pore emissions also means Things Die. She thinks it even if she doesn't voice she'd rather have something else. Fruity or not. "Yeah. It's starting to actually sound serious- if you're going to be hunting him down like this." Delilah speaks softly, another way of saying she was probably wrong. "If you get a trail or anything, I have no doubt we'll all want in on it." Joe got snatched once already- and by now he has a place in everybody's subconscious. "I kinda hope he is. Or that I'm at least half right and he went walkabout."

The edge of her shovel gets lodged under a chunk of ice it has smashed into; she lets out a hrk when it doesn't immediately come loose. A valiant YANK later, it comes out, but so does a shower of white clumps on all of the diggers.

Joseph is the fondest-remembered of all the teetotallers that Teo's ever met, even if he, even more than most of the teetotallers that Teo's ever met, trends toward agonizing his conscience about the fact that he isn't one. He grunts, laconic caveman agreement to the girls' assessments of the situation, before he abruptly cops a fist-sized clod of snow on the top of his head.

Cold sinks straight down the overgrown threads of his hair, chills into his scalp, and sprinkles a sugary frosting along the parallel symmetry of his eyebrows and moustache. Manages to stay out of the hole in his cheek, though, probably partially because he instinctively, automatically, tips his head over that way to protect the gap. He stops mid-dig, blinking moisture out of his eyelashes, implement hanging storkishly poised in his hands.

For two protracted seconds, Teo neither says nor does anything.

On the third, the shovel takes a ringing flop into the ground, and he makes a two-handed assault on Delilah's scarf, shortly thereafter to be appropriated to huddling protectively around his head as soon as he's done shaking himself like a retriever fresh out of the lake. HhhhhHHcold

There is a bit of a squeak from Kaylee as she snow gets her as well, her head ducking trying to keep it out of her face. Even so a chuckle spills forth from the woman as she glances over at Teo and then Delilah, a grin splitting her face. "Your lucky Eric isn't here, Dee…" Kaylee comments brightly, as she dips down to pick up Teo's shovel while he winds that scarf around his face, "I accidentally pelted him with snow one day.. and me made me smash snow in my face." The young telepath doesn't seem too disturbed about the fact, the portly man puppeted her. The shovel is offered back when he's done.

But then she's done similar to others herself… just not in the same way.

Course what she did had involved an automatic weapon…. moving on! "Should come help in Summers Meadow, Teo. I can always use another on paint crew!" Kaylee states brightly, pimping out the Ferrymen's project. Busy bee this one. "At least while your in town and all."

Luckily Delilah hadn't so much tied the scarf on as she just wound it around her neck. She lets out a small grunt of protest when Teo grabs onto one end to warm his head. Only because the tugging takes her along with it, and she bumps him arm-to-elbow, shovel wagging out of her hand without snow to hold it down. "Ah- hey, I'm attached to this." The girl's verbal protest isn't very convincing; she's laughing, and soon she is lifting her mitten'd hands to help brush off remaining snow and pat his hair dry. "Sorry about that- I'm not very good with the hardcore shovelling I guess."

"Yeah! Plus now the holiday is over and they need to get rid of the trees we got." Teo versus ex-Christmas trees.

Not much of a woodsman: the trees would probably win that one. Teo sweeps the girls with a single pale eye from over the fluffy horizon of the scarf.

He manages to do more to shift the snow and grit off his head than merely push it around, which is good, but it still leaves something to be desired in terms of that his WHOLE HEAD IS NOW COLD and actually parts of his neck too. "I don't know," he says, blinking under the gentle bap-bap of Dee's hand on top of his head, the growing birds'-nest disorganization of his hair, "if you're paying your people in fuckin' snowball fights; I might prefer to work for free.

"Who's Eric?"

"The snowball was a total accident.. I was aiming for a kid that got me with one, but he ducked in the wrong place as I threw.." Kaylee gives roll of her eyes and a grin. Pulling off her dark blue beanie cap, she moves to try and pull it on his head. "Here… don't want you to catch your death out here." She murmurs.

"As for Eric? He's a buddy of mine." Kaylee explains brightly, as she manages to get another shover full. "He was under Adam Monroe's thumb as well." The name of the man alone brings that sickly twist to her stomach, making Kaylee grimace. "I… ah… he ended up at McRae's through a misunderstanding shortly after I got there. He's been a wonder around the kids with his puppet shows and such."

Dee's mitten plucks at a piece of ice that is threatening to fall down the back of Teo's collar, flicking it off into the snow. If she had her way she would probably just keep petting at him, but instead she helps Kaylee pull the cap over his head. Girls like to fuss over boys, it's true. "Eric's pretty cool. He was the one that was Santa. He was really good at it. The kids like him." Doyle seems to get along better with them than adults, actually. Hm. "We pay our people with cookies and various types of fuzzy feelings." Delilah pokes Teo in the middle like the Pillsbury boy, re-gripping her shovel and peering thoughtfully back at the pile.

The poke to Teo's midsection does not elicit a giggle, but instead a slight inversion of his tall frame, his shoulders heaping forward and his newly-dusted and capped head packing down between them. He delivers her a hairy eyeball, sidelong, before his features smooth slightly settling his attention on Kaylee, listening.

Her health— and its ailment at Adam's hands was one thing; she's come a long way in many other areas of her life, and he likes that both she and Delilah, whose own Evolved misadventures had confined her movements before, both seem a little less alone for it. THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS that you can't win 'em all, but you can't lose 'em all either.

Right, OK. "I could use some fuzzy," he mumbles, distractedly. A half-beat. Teo turns red all the way to his ears, clears his throat, and begins to demonstrate the proper technique. Scoop, throw. This angle. Like this. Scoop.


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