Matters Of Trust


cat_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Matters of Trust
Synopsis Delilah is caught eavesdropping on Phoenix relevant conversation that just happens to take place in Deckard's temporary digs. Teo and Cat attempt to discern whether or not they can trust her and speculate about her ability. Deckard eats potato chips. Afterwards more awkwardness over Abigail ensues.
Date March 13, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Safehouse Floor

Early evening, and Deckard is starting to get hungry. It's probably for this reason that he's poking his distinctly scruffed out head out the room that's been designated as his for the short term. In the days prior, he's been largely invisible — showing up around meal times, and that's about it. He's an escaped convict, wanted for way too many murders, and he can't remember the last two or three weeks. He has his reasons.

Despite the appropriate tools doubtlessly having been provided him, he hasn't shaved, which means he's looking a little more homeless and insane than usual by virtue of his grizzled beard growth under the electric-shock jut of his hair every which way. He's been showering, at least — maybe even more than is strictly necessary, glad of the warm water, if not so much the soap that makes him smell like Martha Stewart's armpits. Currently he is in a long, passably masculine (if still white and definitely fluffy) bathrobe and his usual eye patch while he peers down the marble hallway for some sign of life. God this place is weird.

And about to get significantly weirder. The door to one of the apartments down the hall clicks open, swinging wide and letting out a flash of color. No, wait, that's Delilah's skirt. At least the small black sweater around her shoulders saves the eye from too much assailing from the floral-print dress, which is as much a rainbow as something yanked out of a Pride Parade.

Delilah is in the process of wheeling a tall, metal hamper backwards out of the room, laden with as much as can be packed down into the cylinder. Bedsheets, mostly- a peek of color here and there where someone has left an old shirt or pair of socks. She sits it in the hall in front of her, picking a stained blue shirt from the top with delicate fingers and holding it out to make an examination. "Oh, gross. That's just nasty… What is that? That's not…" Yes, sir, she's talking to herself again.

The elevator dings to destination and spits its solitary occupant out into the hallway. By now, Teo has his own key into the safehouse and he uses it now with an almost frictionless scrape and grind of tumblers. He sets his shoulder against the doorjamb, pushes his way in with somewhat more force than is strictly necessary, having automatically expected a shoddier make and fit of architecture than there was.

Snagging a sharp halt on the entrance hallway, he cranes his head through. Sees no one. Shutting the door behind him, he wanders the varnished floor with one eyebrow cocked, bag of amorphously-defined Supplies banging into his hip in creaking syncopation to his strides. Deckard's raw-boned and terryclothed shape catches one peripheral, Delilah's colorful explosion of wardrobe, laundry-bound and otherwise, the other.

"Ciao," he calls out, even as he yanks the bag open, unwinds an armload of dark fabric out on his arm. Ought to be familiar to the redhead, at least; it's hers. There is something mornically banal about his query but, frankly, Teo doesn't know what else to say: "W'sup?"

Teo was indeed provided such access methods, consisting of more than just a key. The elevator controls hidden behind that locked panel require both key and keycard. The units on the safehouse floor themselves have just keycards. Delilah has such a thing to let her in for the tasks she performs. And now Deckard, being safed here, has one for the unit he occupies. It's got two bedrooms, washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, tv, furniture. Nothing upscale expensive or shoddily inexpensive, all midrange goods. The unit itself is of a size fairly standard for middle-income apartments in New York City.

And Cat is on her way down from the top floor. She has the place well covered with cameras she can monitor herself, and the security staff in the lobby alert her of certain things. Not long after Teo steps out of the elevator, another one opens and she emerges. Footsteps carry her toward where Flint Deckard is being sheltered.

At the click of an opening door, the turning of wheels, and the shuffling of footsteps, Deckard turns to squint from one end of the hall to the other. Delilah's not an unfamiliar face after however many days he's been here. Unfortunately, the cart she's dragging around appears to be loaded down with disgusting laundry and not food. Brow levelled, he sighs to himself, that one blue eye narrowed down into sidelong speculation after whatever jackass has been staying in that room before the *ding* of the elevator drags his focus back to the elevator.

Through the wall, all the way to Teo's skeleton and all his accompanying baggage. "…Ciao," he echoes, less certainly, only to lean back out of sight through his open door when he sees Cat is approaching as well. Is there some kind of party scheduled that nobody told him about? Gosh, he's so underdressed.

Her back is to the empty side of the hall, but Delilah's vision of the rest is obscured for a few seconds by that shirt, and in those few seconds, people arrive. The shirt in her two fingers drops back into that pile when Teo calls out, and Cat appears soon in the path behind him. She'll not be asking any more questions about that shirt. New distractions to see to. "Hi!" Dee's chirping carries down the hall, even if not on purpose, accompanied by a smile. "Oh- haha! Look at that. I've got yours in my hall closet."

"Laundry day." That is what is up. She even wheels that metal hamper a few paces closer to Teo, so she isn't seeming to need to leave. "How're you?" No party, Deckard- just suddenly- people. Converging in your hallspace! (One is too happy for it.)

Early morning and evening constitute rush hour for safehouses — apparently someone had forgotten to let Flint know how things are done here. "Brought you some clothes.

"No suits," he says. It sounds like an apology; it probably is. "'M sorry things weren't — exactly set up." He swings the handful of women's coat toward Delilah, gently underhand, turns his head toward her. His gaze automatically shifts down to the hamper when it squeaks closer, alloy joints and old nails.

Laundry day. Old man in his bathrobe, Cat clicking through on her heels, and the hamper. It's so domestic in here he's a little tempted to smack his head on the wall, straighten his brain out. He doesn't. "I could use that back." Half a grin, and he glances over his shoulder. "Buona sera, Cat."

Not so much heels as jeans and sneakers, a plain sweatshirt too, for Cat. Dressing formally in heels is a rare thing for Cat. "Buona sera, Teo," she replies calmly. Deckard's presence is only detected by the open door, the man having ducked back inside. Her eyes settle briefly on Delilah, then return to the Sicilian as she heads for the door which conceals a man with x-ray vision. Nothing of business between them is spoken of out here in the hallway.

The lights in Deckard's room are all firmly off, the cooling glow of outdoor light filling the rectangle of the first visible window in an even swath of wan yellow. Flint Deckard and the pieces of furniture inside are all backlit, with a tell-tale sliver of electric blue to distinguish the former from the latter for all his rickety angles and general disinterest in socialization. He hasn't gone far — just three or four steps bac, overlarge feet padding foggy outlines of themselves out against cold marblek. Near enough the hallway to keep track of Teo and Delilah, far away enough to suggest he doesn't want to come out to play. Not that it's likely to stop any of them.

Teo's apology gets kind of a weird look. On both counts. Was it supposed to be set up? Rather than hazard a guess in the wrong direction, he tips his bristled chin up and then down again into an ambiguous nod.

Domestic is where Delilah fits best. A dress, a sweater buttoned at the front, and flat white shoes? Maybe she's the one that gave Deckard the Martha Stewart soap. She accepts the coat with a grin. "I'll just- uh- go get that right now." The redhead makes a motion that she's going down the hall, but her feet aren't moving- not until she looks from Teo's face to Cat's, then back again. True to her word, she does skitter away and to her apartment to fetch Teo's old coat.

There's something awkward when one is around people that know something you don't- and for the first few seconds, Delilah is silently glad to sidle out of that fog. She will come back to the meeting of other minds soon, but for now her own mind wanders while she is off on the quest.

The domesticity is more domestic when Teo realizes that the lawyeress isn't, indeed, wearing heels. The domesticity then gets less domestic when the erstwhile graveirobber scuttles away and the redhead peels off too, dissolving the momentary caricature of a family unit as abruptly as a knife dragged through the canvas. He'd thought it was supposed to be set up.

Prison transport attacks and break-outs are supposed to be 'planned and organized,' or something like that. Y'know. Not that Teodoro has had a lot of practice. Still, the odd look he's given out of Deckard's preternaturally lambent eyes doesn't engender a reaction any more awkward than he had been; he slings the back down from his arm and finds a slab of kitchen counter to ditch it onto, where Flint can get to it, if and when he wants.

"Good to see you're in one piece." That's for Catherine. As is the smaller manila folder he pulls out of his jacket afterward. One corner is mashed down slightly where he'd jammed it into the pocket at a bad angle, but the contents are pristine— at least to the corner of Deckard's vision. "Please look at these? 'M gonna see how much more we can get from this guy who does overflight photography, but this is what we have on-file so far."

She steps into the unit occupied by Deckard and closes the door behind her, letting Delilah continue on with her work outside and ensuring against being overheard, then makes her way into that kitchen. The manila folder draws Cat's curiosity, she pauses to look at whatever can be seen of the photos inside it before moving to the various cabinets to check the status of food in cans and other container types kept on hand. It gives her a potential idea of Deckard's tastes, to make a priority of having Delilah restock anything he seems to prefer more than other things.

If there was any booze in the room, it's gone. If there wasn't any, he probably asked for it. And it's almost gone. Various kinds of cereal are depleted with no real rhyme or reason to indicate that he's been playing favorites. A bag of potato chips is open. A few cans of soup are missing. It might actually be difficult to judge where his tastes lie, because odds are he's gone through and just randomly picked whatever looked palatable, not usually being privy to the luxury of having options when it comes to this kind of thing.

The room overall is pretty clean. The kind of clean that indicates he probably hasn't been touching stuff very much, lest he break it, or corrupt it somehow otherwise. There's a blanket on the couch, with the TV remote jutting out from between the cushions there. Other than that, the place doesn't even really look lived in.

Deckard is slow to make his way around the opposite side of the counter to pry at the bag. Bath robes are nice and all, but he's starting to miss pants.

Somewhere along the line, and easily visible only to Deckard if he were to look, Delilah's shape wanders back down the hall towards the hamper, wavering between said object and the door to Deckard's room.

Curiosity gets the better of her, and huddling the coat to her, the redhead is silent outside, leaning her head just enough to betray that she is trying to hear what might be going on.

There are pants in the bag that Teo had brought in. Pants that are long enough for Flint to wear, though the dimensions of him are off the norm enough that a simple selection of belts had accompanied it. What new clothes there are are cheap; all of them smell clean, some artificial, chemical, but pleasant fabrication of floral horticulture and soap.

Teo scoots out of the way when Catherine eases in through the kitchen door, and doesn't look over her shoulder when she unseals the envelope given to her. Inside, there are photographs, good resolution though the closer magnifications show blur. Satellite imagery of a facility in the midst of a desert's arid stone and parched yellow soil. It probably takes Doctor Chesterfield half a second to ascertain that this is Moab Federal Penitentiary, its roof staring bleakly into Hana's electronic eye in the sky, yard space empty and gray.

The images are timestamped for one o' clock; the shadows thrown across the lifeless terrain are not long.

Deckard had nearly wound up there, but that isn't something Teodoro seems particularly inclined to mention aloud. He doesn't seem particularly inclined to discuss any of it aloud, really, which is probably disappointing to the ginger Englishwoman with her head flattened against the door, but it's terrorist 101.

Speak in Vague until Specifics are necessary. "Abby went to the cops to file a report this morning." Teo has his neck bent around the doorframe. He is watching Deckard root around through the duffel bag. "She's okay. Wants to see you, fix your eye. I can get her here, if you and Catherine don't mind." He bobs his scruffy head between his two companions.

The images are regarded, studied, only as long as Cat needs to commit them into her memory. Details are made note of, her features take on a grim countenance in doing so. Moab. Repository of people who spare Delilah and the rest of the human race from a very nasty death. Intended destination of Flint Deckard, before they forestalled that development. And she listens as Teo speaks, replying only when he's done. "She did? Whatever would she do that for?"

Ponderance is given to the prospect of bringing Abby here, the product of which is a question. "Do there need to be precautions taken so she won't know where she's coming to, or where she's been after leaving?" It would thus seem Cat has no objection, is leaving whatever measures need be taken to Teo's judgment.

Then she addresses the one-eyed man. "I talked over the situation that got you where you were. I had a theory about what happened in that alley, but it has some holes in it."

Mmm. Pants. The eye Deckard still has in his skull flickers sideways after Delilah's movement on the other side of the door, but no alarm is raised accordingly. He's too busy folding everything haphazardly back into the bag in preparation to drag it off into another room so that he can change. Anyway. Tattling isn't high up on his list of priorities lately.

He slows with one escaped pant leg to go though, fingers fumbling over whatever they were in the process of doing when he looks up to drill his good eye into Teo. He looks like he isn't sure he heard right. "…You got her out?" His mouth opens, his mouth closes. Relief is a subtle thing beneath perplexity, a mild slack through the terse lines around his jaw even as the ones over his brow sketch a little deeper. He breathes out, shakes himself a little, tries to focus. In the end, reassurance of her okayness culminates in doubt, and he shoves the pant leg back into the bag without care for how much he manages to wrinkle it in the process. "Is someone with her?" Considering Teo just managed to randomly bust him out of a prison transport a few days ago, trust levels are running a little low.

The clothes bag shouldered off the counter, he takes a step back there, only to hesitate when Cat turns enough to address him directly. He looks right at her, expression nearly a blank, then glances to Teo. Something happened in an alley. O…kay.

"We got her out," Teo confirms with a smile, a glance over that winds up a little too short-lived, compensating for the urge to overanalyze Deckard's expression. An indistinct square of tile on the wall is subject to his attention the next moment. "A few people. Si, I made sure there's somebody with her.

"Do their best not to let anything happen to her." His expression flattens slightly, noting the plague of worst case scenarios and limitations implicit in his choice of words, but he doesn't waste his breath.

Instead, he addresses Cat's concerns with a small frown and understanding without ceremony. "I'll bring her up through the back. Won't let her know where the address. She'll understand," he says, with confidence that probably doesn't seem presumptuous.

Whatever happened in the alley, Teodoro is equally ignorant about it. Or at least, insofar that he didn't know it had happened in an alley. He catches Deckard's quizzical look while he is quizzically looking back and forth between Deckard and Catherine, and his line of sight straightens with an almost audible snap, self-conscious. There's a shrug of one shoulder. A beat's pause. He remem— "Deckard got his fucking memory wiped," he blurts, a forefinger of Realization poking into the air a brief moment. "HomeSec.

"'S why all that bullshit was about to go down without lawyers and shit. You know how it is."

Though Delilah probably doesn't. Fortunately, Teo remains unaware that her eavesdropping might provide an awkward initiation into the dark underbelly of fugitive living; as far as he's concerned, Deckard and Doctor Chesterfield are have been aware for a long time, that the Feds are characterized by a tendency to wave a 'do what you want and get away with it' badge and then do exactly that.

Her features shift into a scowl as Teo explains Deckard's puzzlement, although Cat doesn't seem surprised. "They're covering up," she fumes quietly. "It wasn't enough to send him on the journey, they felt the need to have him not know anything even when on the dark side of the moon." Nothing more is said on that subject; she'll speak or write of it to Teo another time. Abby is instead given brain time. Her eyes close, the mention of her giving a statement to the police coming to the fore. Why, after they went to the trouble of springing her, would she go to the cops? Grrrr.

But she just nods understanding of Teo's plan to bring her up the back and limit her knowledge. Cat places a hand near a spot under her ribcage on the left side. Still sore.

Deckard doesn't smile. Then again, it's not something he does with any kind of frequency when he hasn't been arrested and brainwashed and a dozen other shitty things that do wonders in the way of reminding a person they don't actually have any control over the way their life goes. None. For better or for worse.

His skepticism persists through reassurance that there is someone with her and they plan on doing 'their best' (which is a sore subject anyway) but he doesn't press the issue. Not with this other thing about his memories being wiped floating on the conversational horizon. His brow knits against the blurt, self-conscious irritation taking his attention back to Delilah at the door rather than Cat or Teo. Flint Deckard the brainless government sock puppet. He gets more heroic every day.

There's a prescription painkiller brand or six that Teo keeps forgetting to offer the young lawyer. Good to be dating a doctor, when you're as accident-prone as they are. Teo rubs his fingers on the side of his face, marking his winter pallor with fading red lines.

"Don't be mad at her, Cat," he requests, more in the tone of a child placating a disgruntled friend than the kind you might imagine terrorist operations would take place in. "She needs to get her name struck off from the Registry and some closure. I think that's it."

She is probably right about Deckard, though. And Teo's more than a little mad about that, too, so he doesn't ask her not to be. He doesn't go back to staring at the old man either, realizing that the man probably would not enjoy the weight of speculation. He flicks a humorless eyebrow. "Them and the fucking Company, if you'd rather be specific."

"They're all the same, DHS and Primatech," Cat replies with her scowl remaining. "Since they climbed into bed together. That outfit walks around, their agents show Federal badges, the whole bit." Her desire to tear that whole thing down, expose it to the light of day is unmistakable, though unspoken. Nor will she comment on the things she knows or believes them to be messing around with. After their virus had been stolen and nearly let loose, save for their efforts which destroyed it, nothing could constitute saving graces for Primatech.

And again she brings her mind around to Abby. There's a nod. "I hope they'll cooperate with her in that regard."

Then she walks slowly and quietly to the door, made curious by Deckard looking at it. Not a word is spoken. Maybe she's going to step outside and pay the redhead from England. Or, maybe…

She quickly jerks the door open.

When Cat starts moving for the door, Deckard takes a step back in the opposite direction, for one of the bedrooms. He goes quietly, bare feet tracking along into a room he hasn't spent much time in. The door is hooked most of the way shut behind him with his heel — left cracked enough for him to overhear what's inevitably going to go on just outside while he tugs the belt holding his robe closed loose and tosses the bag of clothes over on the bed to do the whole getting dressed thing.

Memory wipes, HomeSec, the Registry- there is quite a lot to process and just as much to try and put into context when it comes to what Delilah can hear through the door. Should she be doing it? Probably not. But the moment the door jerks open, everything comes to a screeching halt.

The redhead outside has leaned herself silently to the wood, tottering on her toes as if having whole feet down would give her away. When her extra support goes, so does she. Unless Cat feels like playing catch with an arm-flailing teenager- Lilah teeters for a split second, face aghast and equally surprised about two seconds before she falls forward; likely, right there on the floor of the doorway.

The sound she makes isn't really a word, it is more of a squeak and a gasp at the same time, followed by a frightened muttering from the carpet.

"Oh shit. Shitshitshit."

Teo's balance still skewed so that the hallway wall takes most of his weight, leaving his posture looking peculiarly casual. This lasts through Deckard's decidedly furtive retreat, as well as Catherine's militant march toward the door through which Delilah had disappeared. When she's popped out into view, he's about as surprised as he'd've been by a stripper from the roof of a human-sized cake. Not overmuch. Delilah warrants open staring, though. His brow creases, features going motionless with study.

Then, blankly, "Any questions, signorina?"

She stands there with her hand on the door, looking down at a sprawled redhead. Cat is not very amused. She was already not very amused, now she's gone about a shade darker. "Stand up and come inside," she instructs, "so I can close the door, and we can have a conversation." A false smile is shown her for a moment.

And a question is asked of Teo, quietly; "Is there anything unusual about her we should know of?"

Delilah lets out a squeaky groan as she brings herself to her knees, knuckles finding the floor so that she can push herself up again, in the process taking a step off to the side. Meanwhile, her eyes are flickering between the two there, watching them as she shifts away to keep them in her view. Her brown eyes rest on Teo, finally, then to the carpet, guilty stamped all over her face. She still has his coat in hand, muttering. Listening was a bad idea- lesson only partially learned. "Nno- no. Nope."

"I don't know anything about Lilah that the NYPD doesn't." Teo glances over at Cat, holds her gaze with a blank sort of frankness. "American citizen, Manchester-born, seventeen years old, not a lot of family left around. Can keep a secret, but she probably wouldn't mind if we didn't give her too many t' have to.

"We're not that close." His gaze shifts up, back to the red-haired girl, before it falls automatically down to the garment in her hands. He doesn't yell; isn't disappointed, accusatory, or much of anything, really. Hana's been rubbing off on him. Either her ironclad nerves or philosophy on safehouses — wouldn't be the first we've lost, won't be the last, maybe both. If they aren't the sort to take risks, they are employed in the wrong industry.

He finally stops making the wall hold him up. Leans into a long stride toward Delilah, offering two hands up, palms out, request for his property mingled with a tentative gesture of soothing. Please.

"Interesting," Cat replies, her eyes shifting back over to Delilah. "Do you have an evolved ability, Delilah?" she asks. Because if there's going to be trouble, maybe, that would be a very good thing to know about. "This is disappointing, it really is. I gave you work as a kindness, and now you try to spy on me." A slow breath is drawn in, and released. "Was I less than clear about saying I value my privacy?"

She hasn't said so yet and may not, at least not until only she and Teo are speaking with no ears around, but Cat has no concerns this has become a lost safehouse. There is, after all, Kinson and his talent for compulsion.

"I gave it to you because you know Teo, you needed safe harbor after the event out on Staten Island, where you were in front of a brothel run by someone I doubt has any trouble forcing women to work against their will, and you could perhaps use a break. You already knew about the place, so…"

"But then, I find you spying on us. So I'll ask you, straight up: Is it safe to have you continue working here?" Her features shift to something calm. Neutral.

Delilah looks up to Teo when he recites what he knows about her. The girl's expression is startled, however, not enough to make her seem frightened. Just confused. She never told him any of that. What does this have to do with the police…? Lilah meets the look she gets before he turns it down to his coat. Confusion has melted in with slight embarrassment. They aren't close- so few times having met and all- but is that a reason to make it sound like she's just another face? Young women have such fluttering feelings. This one will probably go away soon, but right now it brings a frown to Delilah's lips.

And now he wants the coat, and Cat is going on in her own reprimanding tone- the girl holds out the coat at arms length, elbows jittery and eyebrows mashing together at Cat, then the floor. The situation and possibly impending eviction is making her nervous, and it's apparent by the squareness of her shoulders, and the unnaturally flushed tone on freckled cheeks. "I'm sorry. It's safe, I just- that was a mistake. It won't happen again. I promise. I have nowhere else to go." A reason if she ever knew one, to behave. "I'm sorry." And if it all means slapping herself on the wrists every time something is right there, she will. Delilah has done well for a couple of weeks, and really, she's technically still a teenager, right? They need to learn lessons sometime or another.

As for the first question, Delilah can't seem to answer it; Cat knows that she does, even if she has no idea of what Cat figured out. The tracker mark is practically a beacon to those well-versed.

ROOT UNTIL SPARROWFART. That's what is stamped green across the faded blue of the t-shirt Deckard has deigned to pull over his head. His jeans are long enough, so that's a bonus, but held up largely by virtue of one of the belts Teo included in the bundle with everything else. His feet are socked. The rest of him still smells like froofy bath soap, and he's still in dire need of a shave. No big changes beyond the fact that he's dressed a little better.

Rather than engage himself in the current conversation, he reappears back in 'his' kitchen fairly soundlessly until he reaches his open bag of potato chips. At that point, there is a conspicuous foil-crusted rustling at the backs of all involved, followed by crunching while the one-eyed six foot two pirate man in the room watches.

Catherine's apparent conviction in her ability to take a sharp tone and verbally squeeze an honest answer out of a potential security threat draws a narrow-eyed glance from Teo, but his attention rotates back around when he feels his coat fold into his hands. He pulls it back toward his person with a half-grin that doesn't lack for sincerity. Teo's good nature has never hinged on perfect confidence in his safety or invincibility in the face of betrayal or anything else.

It's his curse. There should be a clause about faith in here, somewhere. The look on Delilah's face makes him think his hasn't been poorly placed. "Grazie."

He isn't about to accept her apology on Catherine's behalf, however. This is, after all, the lawyeress' home and what the tiny Englishwoman did was rude according to every standard of behavior he can think of. Teo flaps his coat out in one hand and sticks his arm into a sleeve. His gaze jigs toward the kitchen when the crunch-crunch of Deckard's molars on potato chips reverberates audibly through the air.

Delilah is studied for some moments in silence, Cat taking an assessment of her honesty by the expression to her face and the way she speaks. It's her assessment the lack of answer regarding an ability suggests one may be present. The non-evolved, she presumes, would've been likely to deny it outright. The poker face shifts to something softer. "Well enough. I'll explain it like this: Teo says you can keep a secret, and I believe in him saying that. I think you may have some understanding of need to keep certain things contained. Maybe you've an ability, maybe you don't. That's your business to share about, or not. If you have one, and it's new to you, something you struggle with managing, we can help you there."

Her tone becomes one intended to promote calm. "It can be scary when they begin. Exciting, but also frightening." Cat likewise neither confirms nor denies having one, but the way she speaks suggests such may be present.

"People who come here are like you, often. They need shelter, and have no place else to go. We can't have their safety compromised. Understanding that, Delilah, your presence here may continue."

If Teo searches his pockets, he is probably liable to find a leftover grocery list in there somewhere, complete with awkward girl-things on it. She might have worn your coat, but it was only fair.

"Thank you." Comes first. And then, even being unsure and nervous still- she feels as if she has to put the truth on the table for Cat. She is going to trust Delilah again, and give her another chance, and it must mean that she could trust Cat in return. Teo, the same, if he is still listening. Deckard? She doesn't know him- but if he's around the other two, he can't be all bad. Right?

"It's not exciting. It scares me." In the bad way. This response is louder than her begging was, but it quiets down quickly, like said 'ability' might hear her more- and finally, it's at a hushed tone, the paled color of her cheeks contrasting with those big brown eyes. "It's happening right now."

Deckard does not look all that threatening, really, with his potato chips and everything. A little like an asylum escapee with the long, gaunt face and the failure to groom and the missing eye, but peaceable enough for all of that. "Don't touch her," offered as a caution just vague enough to be unhelpful, he tilts his head a little, but fails to see any major difference to verify that anything is happening. Internally, at least.

A deep drawn breath lifts at his chest. Rather than continue on with the chips, he drops the bag aside and leans to snap a paper towel off a nearby roll, crumbs and grease roughed off his fingers while he glances over her in Technicolor.

It was probably good the old man had called out that warning, because Teodoro had been just about to do that. His hand stops mid-air, hovering above her shoulder like a bird in a paused documentary arrested in landing. Fingers curl back into his long palm, a motion too mechanical to be mistaken for an organic reflex of disgust or fear.

He's never been the paragon of appropriate reactions when it comes to terrifying new Evolved discoveries, and he isn't about to shout out alarm when his young friend slogs her way through an explanation. His eyes open and close. Failing to find the right words, he simply meets Deckard's eyes through the doorway. How did—?

There's a consideration taking place, as Delilah says her ability is happening now, Deckard recommends not touching the formerly English woman, and Teo's hand hovers above her shoulder. Perhaps Deckard saw or felt it in action once before. Unknown, a thing to be considered later. The present situation calls for analysis and being methodical, while trying to calm Delilah. She was other than calm from the whole encounter, and this isn't the first time Cat's observed abilities triggering under such conditions. Her mind's eye flashes with Oleander Thespuda grabbing Elisabeth and turning her upper arm to stone, the change being stopped when Cat unhesitantly riflebutted him. They were able later to teach him control, get the arm fixed, and now the man may well be able to reverse what he did to his family.

Step One: Identify the ability. Soothingly she states "It's okay. What exactly does your body produce, Delilah?"

Delilah almost feels like shrinking away from everyone in the room, Deckard included. Wait, does she know him from somewhere? She's never done it to him- but soon, in her mind's eye, the eyepatch disappears, to be replaced with a real eye. He was there. Those months ago. The realization dawns, and all Delilah can think to do is look up at Teo to see his reaction- or in this case, his lack thereof- to the warning and her own news.

Brown eyes move to Deckard, close for a few seconds, and open again on Cat. "I don't know. I can feel myself get… flushed. Like a flu." The girl takes a breath, trying to relax again, despite the pressure. Her hands hover, flexing near her sides. "And whatever it is- it does weird things to people. It's never the same. Just- just this week, a woman stepped on my foot on the market, and the next thing that I know, she is pulling her gun on something in the sky. Her friends grabbed her, but I just …I ran away."

Teo came close. Close enough that Deckard's eye shutters its undead focus over onto him in search of anything to hint at what could end in a trip to the hospital at the very least.

Even so, there's a kind of grim detachment about the state of his interest that doesn't offer much in the way of answer or explanation when Teo turns to meet his stare.

"Something about your… skin," Teo offers, finally, in a voice that falls in the neutral territory between certainty and educated speculation.

He swerves his head away from Deckard's lanky coil in the kitchen to face Delilah again, circling the shape of her face with a pallid eye gone sharp with concern. "I— it's okay," assures the least reliable source on the planet. "My best friend has trouble controlling over his ability when he gets really scared or angry and shit, and I know another girl about your age who does too.

"You can work on controlling it. It's good you're here. Safer." His gaze slants at Catherine, unreadable for no other reason than he has no specific sentiment he needs to convey. He isn't the one who needs something from her.

"So," Cat replies in perfect calm, "it's some variety of drug you secrete." She looks at Delilah's hands, her skin, checking to see if there's any coloration to the chemical being exuded there. "You can tell when it's starting, you feel your body producing the substance. It'll take you some practice to reach a point where you can stop it when you feel the start, and avoid producing any. But you can get there."

She attempts eye contact, her own showing perfect confidence in what she's saying. "The most important thing is believing you can. You can, and will, reach a spot where you can turn it on and off just as easily as you close your fingers and relax them again."

"How long does it usually take after a triggering to get calm and feel the effect stop, Delilah? It'll also help you if we collect a sample and get it analyzed so we know exactly what it is. It sounds like a hallucinogen."

The redhead's face is watched to see if her words are registering as making sense. "When you understand, it can only help you."

Speculate as much as you see fit, because that is all Dee has had to go on, by her lonesome. The fact that she leaks something nasty is about as far as she has gotten on her own. At this point, something else seems to silently click. Maybe Teo's right, and here is safer; nobody has freaked out yet, and it sounds like this is not something new. The girl just nods quietly in response to the confident words on control.

Delilah's skin shows no real signs or colorations giving away the presence of anything other than only skin. She seems a little clammy, if something at all. That is one of the big problems with what she does- nobody can see it. "Depends on what's going on." Right now, Delilah has calmed considerably since being ousted as a Dirty Little Sneak, but with the talk about her problems, it has not gone away from her completely. "I'm still nervous right now, but this is helping." The redhead tilts her head, the gesture to herself. "But when I'm really pushing it, it takes a long time to stop the whole way. There was- one day it got really bad, it …dried on me. I looked like something from Madam Tussauds. I peeled it off in chunks." Her lip curls in mild disgust, hands lifting to opposite arms in a phantom brush of the idea. Ew. Ew. Ew. Just remembering it is icky. "But I kept one." That's even more gross to her. But it was for the sake of observation that she did it! Not because she's that weird.

A strip of light glances warm across the dark kitchen back in the region of Deckard's post, followed shortly by the crack and hiss of an unremarkable brand of beer. He's still listening. Probably. There's a roll of his eye ceilingwards at their various reassurances, and his lean shape passes benignly from kitchen to living room so that he can flop down on the couch in there.

For all that Teo is helping to run a pro-Evolved terrorist faction, he doesn't honestly have a lot of experience in this department. Any department. He's seen what his people can do, however, and Catherine's matter-of-fact verbal approach reminds him of the bond that Conrad and Colette had forged. That reassures him, after a fashion, because it is probably reassuring for Delilah, as well.

"Cool." He grins at her, absurdly, shows white teeth. "We can find someone to analyze that— sample, if you want. We should be able to find someone." There's a quizzical tilt to his eyebrows there, fully acknowledging that that probably wasn't on her diary under 'Goals,' far as wanting something goes, but yeah. Totally. Shit happens every day. Brainwashed government sockpuppets, little girls who slough psychoactive chemistry off their skins, jail breaks and safehouses.

There's nothing wrong with their reassurances. As demonstrated, no one would be better off if Delilah were to freak out, anyway. "Fff. I have to head out soon," he notes, quietly. He finishes pulling his coat even across his shoulders and flits an eye down at the manila envelope clasped in Catherine's hand.

She still has the photos indeed, perhaps intending to keep and scan them for a computer file, unless Teo asks for their return. Delilah has Cat's focus now. Her eyes drift briefly to Teo and she directs him a nod. "Take care, and I'll see you again soon." Then she faces the former Englishwoman again, stating "We can pick this up tomorrow in the morning, Delilah. We should let the man staying here have his place back, and Teo needs to be on his way too."

That said, Cat pulls an envelope from her pocket and gives it to the girl. It's one week's pay.

"Good night," she offers to all three, and out she goes.

Long fingers lifted and resettled around the overcold base of his beer, Deckard listens to the last threads of exuent-related dialogue unwinding at his back. He waits until they and an uncertain number of paired footfalls track their way for and through the door before he reaches to dig the remote control out from the cushions next to him, but never actually gets around to turning the TV on. Various buttons, circuits, and batteries are glanced over, and he tosses the device aside again, apparently content to sit there and sip his beer in the relative quiet.

Teo relinquishes the satellite photos into the lawyer's care without much protest. That kind of thing, he can get photos of pretty easily. His sensei is the world's most powerful cyberpath. It's a convenient arrangement, really; Teodoro never ends up in the queues at Kinko's. He is ever mannered enough to wait and watch the women thump away before he starts to set up the remaining phases of his departure.

One inevitable part of it comes addressed to Deckard, as he does undertakes a beer check, more thoughtless if no less rote than the query. "There anything else, uomo?" The electronic light highlights his features yellow. No beer left. No real wonder why. There's a clap of air pressure as he hauls the door shut, flicks his hoodie string out of his way.

Well aware that he has the last beer around in hand, Deckard makes no apologies. Which…is one of those things that separates him from Teo. Most of the time. He doesn't even turn around, blind to Teo's shadow browsing through the spread of light across the wall.

"When can I see Abigail?" It's a mild matter of curiosity, delivered at a remove too carefully casual to pass convincingly as whatever it's supposed to be. When's that new movie coming out? When's the next game? It's also asked of the blank television screen rather than Teo. Fortunately his voice carries well enough despite his apparent directional disability. "Ju…hh." That's not a word. He frowns dimly at himself. "My eye's been bothering me, so."

"Soon. Maybe tomorrow? Tomorrow seems good." His words seem to turn inward, grow obscure, squinty around the edges as Teo tries to remember the when and what of things. The lines that map the space around his eyes deepen briefly, go taut and hard when he blinks his back into focus. "Tomorrow," he says. "I'll see if she's free.

"I should talk to both of you about what you want to do after all this shit, anyway. I don't fucking know how much of a life either of you have to go back to." At its current trajectory, his voice seems to be bouncing ineffectually off the peppered brown back of the older man's head. After a moment, he thinks to lift his scruffy head on its axis, shift his attention instead to the dim reflection on the television screen.

His expression is carefully blank. "She said she'd fix that. Put it right back how it was. She thinks she can, anyway."

"Sure." Tomorrow. Deckard'll…get with his people and see if he can find an opening in his schedule. Brows lifted when the conversation takes a turn in that unspoken direction, he crosses one foot over the other onto the coffee table and sips his beer. The back of his head has even less to say on the subject than his expression, only the most basic of distracted shadows and highlights played back in the black screen for Teo's consumption.

A turn of his rumpled head a few degrees to the window is apparently supposed to qualify as acknowledgement. He sure as hell doesn't say anything, which may well insinuate that he's already given the matter some thought. Who knows.

"Depends on how it works." Zero optimism, there. All the better to avoid disappointment. Bottle mouth traced idly up against the grain at his sideburn, it noses at the narrow band that holds the eyepatch in place before it retreats again. "Guess we'll find out."

She'd said it. It isn't Teo's fault, it was the thing she wanted him to say. It's the predictable direction to turn the conversation toward. The easy one. He looks at the dim, faintly convex mirror of Deckard's profile on the television, then at the beer. The other man's acknowledgment elicits an automatic smile that fails entirely to be plastic. Just a small one. "Be nice to her, okay?

"I figure some part of you has the arithmetic down, how it's her own damn fault for Registering or whatever the fuck, but I think it's better if you're not— an asshole about it, this time." He doesn't say please, because please would probably break ground in the opposite direction of the desired effect the way that trying to hard tends to, but there is distinct weight to Teo's request. He starts to zip his jacket back up again. "I mean, don't hurt yourself or anything."

Be nice to her. Deckard has to work to keep tension from seeping into the muscle in his back. The majority seems to be relayed into the work of his jaw instead, and maybe into his grip on the beer bottle, which he's suddenly squeezing as one might seek to wring the neck of a particularly venomous and foamy snake. Wiry cords stand out from veined hand to elbow pushed against the arm rest, and he swallows. And nods. Again in acknowledgement that starts out silent, if for an altogether different reason this time.

When he finally does reply, it's on a delay that's managed to stretch into awkward territory with minimal effort. "No…yeah. You're right. I mean," he scratches at his neck, nails grating over the bristle making fortifications there, "I'll see what I can do."

Teo has had enough bottles smashed over his head to have a slightly over-developed sense of the next one coming. He's left with a twitch of unrealized motion in his nerves, action potentials and neuronfire that results in nothing than a slight new sway to his standing axis. He probably said too much. It happens. Teo gets away from himself, sometimes.

Understandably, Deckard's reply surprises him.

He isn't sure what to say to that, so he says, "Okay. Thanks." The last button has been popped into place. He rubs at his the bristly shadow on his jaw, and angles a glance out of the doorway and the next one, shrunk down toward the vanishing point, that lays beyond that. "'S it, then. You'll be… you're a'right for now?"

"Yep." The y drags a little long, deliberate emphasis upon his alrightness. Less direct but no less intense emphasis on the suggestion that Teo should probably not ask for more elaboration unless he wants it in the form of broken glass stuck all in his head and face.

The bottle's brown base tilts at an angle away from the arm rest, the corner still in contact slowly driving down into what might soon be a permanent dent. His awayward facing passive aggression is maintained unfalteringly all the way to the end of the conversation.

The corner of Teo's mouth extrudes out toward his ear so far it could be either a smile or a grimace. It probably allows his ear the minute relief of a pop of internal pressure, too. He has enough grace to apologize, and to mean it, and to decide to try not to do it again, and not to mention it aloud.

He just gives this tiny duck of his head and studies his feet. His cheeks puff up, purging a big sigh of air down the front of himself. Deckard could probably tell he was doing that, or something like that, even without the external locus of the TV unit to bounce the image back for his perusal's sake. Sometimes, Teo is vain enough to forget that other people care, too. "A domani.

"See you." His shoe squeaks on the floor. He picks his way down the hallway, empty-handed now, slightly light-headed.

Beer, beer, beer. Not nearly enough proof, or there might be more left in the fridge. Deckard regards the bottle without feeling once Teo's shoes have set to squeaking quietly away, paired fingers dropped out of his relaxed grip to smooth at the divot he's left in the couch. A held breath is expelled around the same time. Once he's sure he's heard the front door click closed, he stretches out along the couch's length, remote control picked out from under his middle back and dropped lazily onto the floor with a plastic clatter. Whoever's responsible for that kind of thing is going to have a hell of a time fishing the batteries out from underneath the couch later.

March 13th: A Real Sweetheart
March 13th: Yes, Higher
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