Knowledge Is Pain


delilah_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Knowledge Is Pain
Synopsis Aka, Quid Pro Quo. Lilah finds out a bit about Magnes' lost parents, while he finds out about why she is now American in the first place. He also sort-of meets her family.
Date September 14, 2009

Village Renaissance Building - 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 an almost retro-looking television off on the other side, but the things hooked up to it show that it is not as old as it seems. Nothing is, really.

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. The bathroom is also squeaky clean, and it seems as if anyone coming out smells significantly nicer than when they had gone in; there is a closet within where the washer and dryer stay. There are two bedrooms, but one is emptied and instead made into a big rainbow-colored sewing and storage 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 half a dozen stuffed animals peek out from various points.

Showing up some time later in the afternoon, Magnes, wearing his black denim vest with the Superman symbol on the back, an orange shirt with black writing that says Hey There, Delilah, a pair of black jeans and black sneakers, and of course his usual grocery bag he brings whenever he arrives at her place. There's also a cake dish with a lid on it in his other hand.

Today, she was expecting him, though she wasn't entirely sure at what time; there is music coming from inside the apartment through the door, though not particularly loud enough for Samson not to hear someone coming to the door. As always, he is there on the other side rumbling up a storm before Delilah can be heard pushing him away to open the way in. "Hey th- you look like you stepped out of the nineties." The girl remarks while taking in the Halloween color scheme, and she nods her head to the side for him to come in.

Now that the door is open, the ambient music is picked out as something that was recorded a good sixty or seventy years ago. Bless reproduction CDs.

"I should have probably asked Claire about this outfit before actually wearing it, but I thought it looked cool, Superboy wore a denim jacket with an S on the back, I just thought I'd try the same thing, but in vest form…" Magnes follows her inside, laughing lightly to himself. "But Superboy sort've got rid of that look in the 90s."

It's getting chill enough for leggings now- and Dee is wearing black ones under a dress of tan and brown plaid, white lace around the lower hem. She hasn't even taken her boots off, which come to mid-calf, though thankfully have short heels. Overall, Delilah is dressed… well, not so much like usual, nor does her mood seem to be quite as excited as it tends to be. There is something sobering about her, but at least it is still her.

"Hah, yeah. You see?" And now she actually reads his shirt, peering at him momentarily with an expression that can only come with a small snort. "You want a drink or anything?"

"Yeah, that'd be cool. Everything alright with you?" Magnes asks, just a general question as he walks to the kitchen to sit his bag and the cake dish on the table. "I think I had my first fight with Claire. She said we're alright, but I still feel stupid for not knowing how to make her feel better. I think the whole thing might be my fault anyway, I don't know, this boyfriend thing is hard."

"Thanks." Dee mutters when she sees him put down the cake dish, sidling over to root around in the fridge for a moment. She pointedly doesn't answer his question. "It's not supposed to be easy the first few times. Or the first few months, depending." She stands straight again, sloshing around half a container of lemonade in question of whether that is fine.

"If you're convinced you're in the wrong, or if you still feel so bad about whatever it was- buy her flowers or take her out for something special?" Her tone almost wants to add an exasperated 'I don't know' to the end, but her face says it for her.

Magnes nods when she grabs the lemonade, then removes the cake dish to reveal a white cake with yellow flowers all over it. Smells like banana cream. "Yeah, I could try that. I'm kind of understanding why you didn't wanna be my first girlfriend. I mean, I'm really bad at this, just the idea of fighting makes me think we're about to break up."

Delilah can't help a chuckle as she finds a pair of tall glasses. "Don't think like that, or it will come true. You'll jinx it." As she is pouring, Samson wanders in to sniff at the edge of the table, though that is all he dares to do. "If she wanted to break up with you over it, she probably wouldn't have stuck around to say it was alright."

"She kissed me before she left too, so I'm guessing that's a good sign." Magnes sits at the table, watching her grab the glasses as he speaks. "I know you said you, uh, well, shenanigans, but have you ever had an actual boyfriend? And if you did, are there some mistakes I should be watching myself for? By the way, I made that cake, I think banana cream is about all I'm able to do so far."

"If I bite into eggshells, that's fifty points off." Delilah goes over to hand him the glass of lemonade and put her own down, shooing Samson's nose away in the process. There's a big binder on the table, pinning all of her stray letters and magazines to the table. It's obvious that it is a photo album, from the plastic pages visible between the covers. "Should we try it now then?" She asks as she wanders back towards the cupboards, Samson deciding to generally be in the way by following her.

"I have, yeah. But nothing that lasted more than five months or so. Through no fault of my own, hopefully. There aren't very good pickings over in East Harlem. At least if there are, they weren't where I was. Mistakes? Don't be a jerk. You've got that down. And if she looks like she doesn't want to talk, shut up."

"So that's where I messed up…" Magnes groans, plopping his forehead down on the table in defeat. "I suck." he says from his prone position, staring at the floor. "Let's eat cake."
"Alrighty. So, you kept talking, did you? Oh, Magnet." She got to the bottom of that one! Delilah comes back to sit down with a pair of plates and forks, and a cake cutter which she hands to Magnes. "Your cake?"

"I thought I could fix it." Magnes defends in a rather futile tone, taking the cutter and cutting them both a pretty large piece, carefully placing one in each of their plates. "You know, a few weeks ago I asked her what her other boyfriends were like, but she said I didn't need to worry about it. What's that mean? Is it bad?"

"It means she probably just doesn't want to talk about it." Delilah says this plainly. "Men think we're more complex than we really are. You're overthinking it, Magnes." She smiles and wags her fork at him. "Sometimes we'd just rather forget old boyfriends. Not that they were necessarily bad, just that it probably has nothing to do with the ones asking about them."

Magnes digs into his cake, taking a fork full. It doesn't taste too bad, he's made a few banana cream cakes already… other flavors are a different matter altogether. "My first thought was that her last boyfriends were so amazing, she didn't wanna make me insecure about it. I bet you're thinking 'I really dodged a bullet here'." he half-jokes, staring down at his cake.

"If that was the case, she probably would have kept seeing them…" Well, unless there was something else. But that is up in the air. Delilah takes a bite of the cake while Samson looks up intently. The response is a well-mannered 'mmm' and a nod past the tip of her fork. "Good job."

"Thanks, I'd been meaning to make you a cake, but I always forget, or sometimes I think 'Is a cake and a dress too much'? So I brought the cake when I didn't have a dress." Magnes laughs with the fork inbetween his fingers, idling licking the icing from it. "So, have you had any luck learning to control your ability?"

"Quite a bit." Delilah plays with some icing with her fork before another bite. "I can stop it if I know its coming, and start it if I can get my adrenaline up enough. It's the the point where I'm mostly harmless without thinking about it…but there's still some times where it gets the better of me, of course."

"Good, I was worried you might accidentally drug yourself in your sleep or something." Magnes laughs, taking another bite of cake as he watches her. "You wanna go to the comic shop with me? And uh, are you immune to drugs?"

"My own stuff doesn't work on me. Other drugs do." Dee leans her elbow on the table, peering over at the question and smirking. "I guess I can go. Why did dyou think I'd be immune to things? I'd be sick all the time, I bet. Medicines are drugs too."

"Was just wondering, I mean, lots of people are immune to whatever their ability is. I mean, I'm not even sure if Earth's gravity is holding me down, why else would I float when I sleep?" Magnes stands, quickly finishing off his cake and walks over to offer her a hand.

Delilah takes a bit longer to finish, but only just in time to stand and bump past him to put the dishes in the sink and smirk at him over a shoulder. "Maybe so. I just know I'm immune to my own- I've tried it, just to see." She admits that with a bit of a glance aside, eyeing the kitchen wall. "I secretly hoped it would work, for some reason."

"That'd be a strange anti-drug commercial." Magnes teases, placing a brief hand on her shouder when she stops at the sink. "Just say no to licking yourself. Licking yourself is not the answer. When I feel the urge to lick myself, I call the lick-free hotline."

"Magnes, stop talking." Delilah turns around when it seems like he is almost done, looking at him with a mix of incredulity and amusement. Stop talking about licking oneself, you goober.

Magnes has a wide smile when she turns around, removing his hand to start heading out of the kitchen. "Sorry. But y'know, I'm glad it didn't work. You don't need drugs or anything, I think you're a strong person. I still have trouble believing you're five years younger than me."

Delilah puts her hands on her hips. "I should have just lied when you asked. I should just lie to anyone after this." She scoffs, moving to the living room to turn off the stereo. "Everyone acts like I'm some weirdo because I'm not even eighteen and I'm doing all of what I'm doing. But soon I will be!" Though it is an exclamation, she doesn't sound that excited about it.

"Delilah, you know I don't care about your age anymore." Magnes turns around to face her a bit seriously now. "I mean, yeah, you're younger than me, but I'm usually not thinking that. I mean you're about ten times more mature than me, that's why it's so hard to believe you're seventeen and why it's so easy to forget. Don't worry about it, I'm not judging you for it, and anyone who does is, well, a jerk. Don't lie about your age just because some people, like me, are stupid and sometimes say the wrong thing."

"I'll always be the baby though." Because all of her friends already know. Delilah sighs through her nose. "Less than a month and maybe I'll get some slack…" A shrug is next, followed by the noise of Samson clambering onto the couch. "I know you're not. Just a sore spot."

"Well, I mean, 'between you and me, we both know I don't see you as the baby." Magnes awkwardly rubs the back of his neck, cheeks flushing. "But you'll get out of it soon. It's not like I'm in a better position, almost everyone thinks I'm generally not very useful, immature, usually not worth including in important things, and I guess they just assume I sit around reading comics all day."

"It's funny you say that after you ask me to go to a comic shop with you." Dee snickers. "Well, we can be the little ones together. Forget them, we're cool anyway." Her arm links under his as she moves closer, the other hand patting at his shoulder. "And you're utterly useful, even if someone says otherwise."

"Maybe one day all my friends will realize it." Magnes starts heading for the door with her, smiling wider when she seems to be in a better mood. "And hey, don't point out my hypocrisy when I'm opening up!" he playfully defends, snickering. "We're like the Buckey and Dazzler of our world. If you don't know who they are, you already get my point."

"I don't know if I'd say Dazzler." Dee looks back one more time towards the kitchen table before they move off, and then she looks back a second time- but only to make sure that Samson is going to stay lazing about. "One day, yes. I heartily agree with that."

"Hey, it's better than calling you Lady Toad or something." Magnes playfully taps her nose, then opens the door. "And one day I'm sure people will see you differently too, but y'know? You're always gonna be Delilah to me, and that's all I'm ever gonna expect." he reassuringly offers as they finally slip out of the door.


It is not too much later then they get back, just starting to trail into the late afternoon. A comic shop or two later, they also happen to have some treasures when they return. The door clicks unlocked and Delilah leads the way inside, met by Samson, who has literally dragged himself out of his sleep to come see them and try to stick his face into any of their bags that happen to be low enough. Considering he is very tall, that is any bag.

"I'm just saying, they should have had Northstar come out years before he actually did." Delilah wrenches her plastic bag away from Samson's digging nose. Did you bring me something!?

"I think for the time, it was still a pretty progressive and bold move. But you know, it really surprised me that they made Anole come out. I mean, how many gay teenagers do you see in comics?" Magnes asks, not being able to think of many himself, closing and locking the door behind him. He smiles down at Samson and reaches into his bag, having bought something while Delilah wasn't looking, then rips open the top of a bag of Beggin' Strips, the dog treat. He takes one out, then holds it up. "Sit, Samson." he gently commands the dog, the treat will be the reward if he sits!

"They should have done it earlier, while the topic was hot. In the early nineties it was just simmering down…" Delilah totes her back to the kitchen, where she can be heard setting it down just as Magnes sneaks out the dog treats. His command to the dog causes the redhead to lean back out of the kitchen doorway, a frown on her face for a split second.

If dogs could gasp, Samson probably would. Instead, his mouth opens and closes, and after some deciding time wherein he backpedals a step- decides that Magnes is worth listening to and sits down, tail wagging against the carpet.

"Good boy." Magnes smiles and bends down to offer the treat, then holds the bag up for Delilah to see. "I hope you don't mind, I got him treats. I never had a pet or anything before, so, I just thought it'd be cool." he says in a semi-apologetic tone, in case he has done something wrong. He is a pet noob.

"As long as he does something to get it, I suppose it's fine if you give him things. But don't hide them from me, that was silly. Do you think I'd say no?" She tilts her head in defeat, and raises her eyebrows. "But I don't want to spoil him. Not too much, anyway." Delilah laughs. She spoils the dog sometimes. Samson, against his sizable mouth's purpose, leans forward to carefully take the strip between his front teeth and promptly carry it off, brown eyes turned up on Magnes before he turns.

"I feel like a six year old who snuck the sugary cereal into the cart." Magnes chuckles and sits his bag on the coffee table, then follows her into the kitchen to offer the treats for safe out-of-dogs-paws storage. "Hey, Delilah, where are you from anyway? I mean, you've got that whole accent thing… or does it seem like I have the accent?"

The dog treats go on top of the refrigerator. Well out of reach, but where Samson can see them so he is reminded in behaving. It works better than it sounds. Delilah peers over the shoulder lifting the bag of treats out of reach when he asks the question. "Hm? Oh. When I came it was like that- everyone else had an accent. Not much anymore, I'm used to it, but under it all you're still the ones that sound different." She leans her shoulder on the front of the fridge when she looks at Magnes next. "I was born in Manchester."

"I really like your accent, it compliments your personality." Magnes says, whatever that means. Lifting his legs to cross them in the air as he listens intently, he decides to ask, "Why'd you come to America anyway? England always seemed pretty cool, they have Doctor Who…"

"Doctor Who does not a home make." Delilah mutters, lips thinning as she moves past him again, lingering indecisively near the kitchen doorway. "I had to come. Nobody over there could take care of me, so I came to live with my aunt and cousins here."

"How'd you end up living on your own?" Magnes wonders, conveniently floating behind her as she walks, as if he were stuck in her orbit. "I didn't start living on my own until the bomb, and I lost contact with my parents. Though technically Mister Panucci took me in, so I wasn't quite on my own."

"Living here? Well, I met people. Found this place, got the hell out of Dodge, as in the trailer farm." Delilah can guess that he meant the other way around- when she was alone before coming to her aunt- but for that moment she plays dumb, internally debating whether or not she is in the proper mood. Brown eyes flick towards the album on the table, but only just for a second.

"Ah, trailer life was that bad?" Magnes sympathetically asks, following her eyes to the album, then curiously floats to take a seat in a chair. "What's that?" He slowly reaches for it, but doesn't open it yet.

"I came over the pond because my family was dead." Is still dead? There, he got what he wanted in the first place, albeit somewhat curtly and with a sparse little glower at the air. Delilah sinks into the next chair, gauging him, and she does not stop him while he reaches out for the album. "You ever read Potter? When Hagrid collected all the photos everyone had of his family and handed it over?" Yeah. That. Even if the parallel is a bit worn.

"I— All of them?" Magnes asks, clearly surprised. A girl as happy as Delilah… one wouldn't expect such tragedy. But, it's rude to stare, in fact he's not sure if staring might upset her or something, so he carefully opens the album and starts to slowly comb through it. "Yeah, I remember." he softly answers as he shifts into listening mode.

Delilah doesn't flinch at his surprise, nor does she seem about to crack into waterworks. It somehow fits her, the reaction(or technically lack of) of not falling over into a puddly mess. "Yeah. All of them. My grandfathers died the first week of October, around my ninth birthday. In a week or so, it'll be six years since the fire." And now she seems to get into a specific, though somewhat reluctantly, and with a certain spaced quality that comes with roving thought. "It was on the first floor, everyone was on the second. I was at school. I even remember when they pulled me out of writing."

The album is rather full, some pages with large pictures, some with small; the first part is primarily two people- her parents. Magnes is likely the first one to even see them. Her father is tall and handsome, with dark, short hair, and happy blue eyes, always seeming to be smiling from cheek to cheek. In that, Delilah got Daniel's smile and his freckles, though he only has a smidgen of those.

She has her mother's brown eyes- and strong facial features. Janet carries Dee' maternal air, but there is something there that also speaks of where Dee got her inner steel; her hair is mixed browns, and it is unclear where the teenager's red hair came from. Perhaps recessive in that case?

"That's so…" Magnes doesn't seem to know what to say, though his tone would suggest sad. He lingering on the photographs of her parents for a while, then slowly turns the page. He looks up from the album and over into her eyes. "If you don't wanna talk about this or anything, I'll understand…"

"Unfortunate." Delilah finishes for him, with what is probably the best word right now. She sits there on the chair, hands on the sides of the seat and shoulders leaning forward to now look over things with Magnes. "It's alright. It's not like I turn into a mess at the very mention of it- and I'm grateful for that. Lucky, even."

Eventually, the pictures of only parents cede into some now of parents and a brown-eyed baby. There's even one of those tacky baby photos with the border on it, which Dee smiles and points at. "Aren't I cute?" And soon after that, there are some of her over the younger years as well- short red hair to around her chin, bangs, the same old fashion sense- yep, that's Lilah.

Magnes moves a hand to playfully pinch her cheek. "It's nice to know it's not a new development." he remarks with a laugh, continuing to turn the pages. "I can't imagine what it's like for you though. I mean, I can't contact my parents, and I'm not sure why they haven't come out since I've been on TV three times, but I can't imagine what it's like… You're a lot stronger than I thought."

"I was taught differently, I think. Nobody's really ever gone, is what I grew up knowing." She smiles at the pinch, fingers going up to brush over that same cheek. "If you miss your parents though- don't wait for them. Find them. I would do it if I could. You never know what there is til it's gone. We all should know that."

Little Delilah cedes into some with an older woman- with Daniel's dark hair- that seems to fill the role of grandmother, though there are not many of Vittoria. The next 'chapter', as it were, is much more prolific. Two men, around the same generation as the dark-haired woman. The slightly shorter of the two has blue-green eyes, and short brown hair, though it peppers in the more recent photos. Jonathan has the look that one would expect of a passive, yet patient teacher- and that is what he was, to a degree. Piano.

The second older man is much less forgettable, if one were to meet all of them off the street; he is in a great many pictures with Delilah- more than any of the others, in fact. That becomes clear as they turn pages. Gaining in handsomeness as he ages, he possesses a pair of piercing blue eyes, the most intent of stares, a small, knowing smile and his own peppered hair, inclining to a premature gray and white. But it is those eyes that catch the camera every single time, without fail. Somehow, they even follow the world outside, much like centuries-old paintings.

Delilah is now rather close beside Magnes, almost leaning on him, yet refraining from it as they look on. "Those are all my grandparents. Gramma, my papa-" Jon. "And my grandfather, Walter."

"You have a large family, I don't know much of mine, just my grandmother, maybe some cousins I wouldn't know how to find if I tried." Magnes moves a hand to gently stroke her back as he uses the other hand to turn the page again. "I really wish my parents raised me to believe anything like that. It's not that I don't, I went to Abby's church a few times, read some stuff in the bible, but above at else I at least think I believe in God, I think."

Surmised strength be damned- Delilah leans onto Magnes' shoulder when his hand lands on her back. Her jaw comes to lean on his upper arm, so it puts her in a prime viewing position of the book too. "Not that big, I think. Average. My aunt is my mum's sister. Da was the only kid. That also makes me the last Trafford." Well, as long as she doesn't have a bastard child… yet the thought isn't as shameful to her as it might be to someone else.

"I still think you should find them. They might be scared to find you first."

"You don't have to be the last Trafford, just make your husband take your name." Magnes throws the idea out there as if it's no big deal, suggesting that he'd probably take a girl's name if asked. "Yeah, I should find my parents, I mean I'm a cop now, can't be that hard…" He keeps a hand on her back, sighing peacefully.

Delilah sighs at the same time, but only because she has tugged the album closer while it is still in the midst of Walter Trafford. "Mmm." She says back, noncommittal and not so keen on the idea of the name thing. "Exactly. You're a man in uniform, pull on some strings…" By now, she is treating him as a partial pillow, holding the binder in her hands and observing its pictures for the thousandth time over.

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