One of Them


delia_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title One of Them
Synopsis Vincent questions Delia back at DoEA headquarters. Delia has issues. Vincent has decisions to make.
Date August 31, 2010

26 Federal Plaza

A stop for food, a smoke and a long elevator ride into the onset of early morning later, Vincent's voice is finally audible again at a murmur just outside the stainless steel door of the room Delia's been sequestered in. Sam's at his side as they pace the hallway's plush length — fine carpet and white walls around an exchange of files, clipboards and signatures.

Something, "Not yet," something, "it'll be fine," and something that, "can wait until tomorrow." Initials scratched off on a slip of paper with one final flourish, Vincent checks the time on his phone, places it on mute and turns the key to let himself into Delia's corner of the 37th floor.

The room is small and barren, everything laid out in neutral shades of grey and white, with few hard edges and fewer light fixtures. The bench she's been left to sit on is dull and hard, marked only by rings of metal where handcuffs might be latched in instances of more dire restraint. There's also a desk — white — and a pair of rolling black office chairs cushier only by virtue of the fact that they have cushions. Vincent takes a seat at the one behind the desk once he's glanced at her, circles already wearing themselves in deep around his eyes. He gestures for her to do the same opposite him.

The trash bucket is long gone, who knows what Sam might have done with it. It's probably found a new home in a dumpster somewhere. It feels like she's been sitting here forever and a day. When Vincent walks into the room, Delia's nodding head jerks up and turns to him wide eyed. He hasn't spoken and according to what she remembers of the one law course she took back in tenth grade, she shouldn't either. Not until she's being asked questions.

When he motions for her to take one of the more comfortable chairs, she doesn't hesitate to creep across the room and slide into it. Being a rather tall woman, it looks more like she's skulking than anything. Her long and thing fingers are laced together before being tucked between her knees. For some reason, she just can't straighten up, the consequences of everything she's done weigh heavily on her shoulders, causing her to slump.


Indifferent to Delia's slouchy progress into the seat across from him, Vincent pushes one hand coarse through the grain of his carefully-cultured stubble collection and flips a file folder open with the other. It has her name on the tab, and the date.

"Sam already Miranda'd you, correct?"

Comfortable with the answer before she has time to reply, he turns the page and clicks a pen to life, only to think better of it a few seconds later. He click-clicks again.

"Okay. Why don't you start by telling me why you weren't comfortable registering yourself as Evolved."

Her arms actually tremble from the force that she's using to press her hands together. Though her head is tilted downward her eyes are angled up at him. Normally, had she put the effort into proper posture, she would sit taller than he does. As it stands (sits), she is slumped perhaps two inches shorter.

"The visions. If I register, they'll find me." Her answer is blurted out before she even has time to think about it. Her lips are clamped shut and she takes a deep breath through her nose, holding it for a moment before slowly releasing it. "They were shooting at kids… if they shoot at kids, what's going to stop them from killing everyone?"

Conveniently, being two inches shorter brings her just about level with Lazzaro, whose own slouch seems more likely rooted in back pain. Or exhaustion. Or both. He's in decent order for that, though, suit still spotless despite the hour and his having been on the clock for upwards of sixteen hours. He hasn't even loosened his tie.

"Who will find you?" asked in the same (reasonably curious) tone, he watches her without judgment or skepticism, only mildly matter-of-fact in the tilt of his brows. "You realize that the Registration process does not entail any manner of tracking device."

Nodding quickly, Delia licks her lips and then parts them to reply. "I know, but it has your name and picture… like the sex offender list, only for evolved people." Breaking eye contact, she favors looking down at her knees, the left of which is bouncing up and down nervously. "I don't know who is shooting, but everyone on the boat is evolved."

She takes a deep breath and lets it loose slowly, "I— I wouldn't have registered at all, even if it is the law. But I can't work at the hospital if I don't have a card and I can't go to school. I just wanted to wait until I knew the visions weren't going to come true."

Like the sex offender list, gives Vincent legitimate pause. He does that thing where he looks like he isn't sure he heard her correctly or suspects that she didn't mean to say what she's said. But this is an interrogation. Not a political ad brought to her by delinquence and a lack of faith in the government.

Rather than lecture her on the ways in which the Department's registration system is different/safe/superior to extant alternatives, he scratches his nose and looks away, boot black eyes stamping out a distracted rhythm against the far wall. "Okay," comes again after a long pause. Final, in a way. Question answered. "Well. You should know that you will be registered accurately as a result of this interaction. Can you approximate or summarize the nature of your ability for me?"

"I know…" It's a resigned whisper, taking a long breath inward Delia holds it again until her lungs begin to ache and then releases it slowly. "I can talk to people in their sleep, Dad calls it dream walking. Except I can't do much actual walking… I have to be touching them and sleeping too. It doesn't work if I'm all alone."

Her eyebrows twitch together and her lips turn downward in worry as she looks up at him with a furrowed brow. "H-how do you test it? I mean… I don't…" She turns beat red and clears her throat, her blue eyes (which only seem brighter because of the blush) dart around the room as she avoids actually looking at the man. Then she blurts out, "Because I'm Catholic."

Something in that line of answers gets Vincent's attention. His head doesn't turn, but his eyes do, inscrutable interest glittering dull beneath the hardened hood of his brows while he listens.

It may or may not bode ill for her that he declines to touch upon whatever it is immediately, rather. He sets his pen carefully down and opens his hand into a vague gesture at nothing at all. A nothing up his sleeves sort of deal before a roll of his wrist renders the structure of his hand — tendon, bone and all — into sooty black smoke for all of an instant. Biology has returned near before it went missing at all, the fringe of his sleeve still trailing vapor when he splays the rest of his hand solid. Tada. "I turn into smoke," he says, stating the obvious. Also, officially completing a voluntary and otherwise unspoken circuit of You tell me yours I'll tell you mine.

"Different abilities may require specialized testing later on down the line, but for now I can take you at your word. Assuming your father is able to corroborate everything you've told me so far. What makes you certain physical contact is necessary, and how long ago do you believe yourself to have manifested?"

Delia's eyes fixate on his hand, then up to his eyes, this his hand again. Studying it intently for the duration of the 'trick'. "S-so … you're evolved?" She furrows her eyebrows a little in confusion, looking down and off to the side for a little while as she tries to grasp the concept. The wrinkles of worry in her forehead smooth a little bit and she nods again, straightening a little and sliding forward in her chair.

"It doesn't work if I'm not, I— don't know how to explain it except for that. When I'm holding their hands, if my hands slips away, I lose— it?" Her head twitches a little and she shrugs her shoulders helplessly, indicating she just doesn't have any other words. "I don't know how long. I— I don't— I'm Catholic," she repeats herself, with another little shake of her head, as though it's explanation enough. "The first time it happened was a couple of months ago, I thought it was a regular dream. I didn't— Well there was some weird stuff. I thought it was him, because he saved my life. Dad said he was a healer, he died of a brain tumor when I woke up. I thought it was him, I didn't test myself until a couple of weeks ago."

"Okay," says Vincent. He says 'okay' a lot, actually. Easy acceptance. Automatic reassurance while he writes, scribbling answers into blanks. Long into long and short into short. All of that. "And yes. I am."

Repeated reassurance of her Catholicness earn an (only very mild) skeptical twitch at his brows, but again — he's here for a reason, and relevant as it might potentially be, not here to document the precise nature of Delia's sleeping arrangements. Except: "Do you live with your father?" Because that one may be important.

Nodding quickly, she purses her lips and looks down at the desk. "Yessir, I do," she can't be the only twenty year old in the entire world that still lives with her parents (parent). "Sometimes I stay at my sister's apartment though, in SoHo… when she's out of town and I'm too late to get home before curfew." That's happened more than once, not having enough time.

"Uhm.. Sir? H-he's not going to get in trouble, is he? Because he didn't— he told me to register because it was the law." Delia clenches her jaw and looks down at her clenched hands, "He's going to kill me. He really is…"

"He told you to register legally, because it was the law."

Vincent's repetition is flatly skeptical, now — brows level to match, the line of his mouth pulled sidelong. It's a question, despite the absence of anything all that question-mark shaped.

"Your father's level of involvement will be determined by his own behavior as well as yours. I've met him, actually. He seemed honest." Honesty is a bland statement of fact more than it is a compliment. There because it needs to be. "If I ask him whether or not he told you to register after you both became aware of your ability, is he going to tell me the same thing?"

There's no hesitation, Delia gives a very long nod and shrinks down into her chair again. Her expression is entirely downcast and her lower lids brimming with tears. "He did— " she croaks, sniffling once and then rubbing the sleeve of her hoodie against her eyes and nose. "When he confronted me… He told me to register. I— I blamed him, I didn't want to be a f-f-freak."

For the second time since meeting the agent, the redhead starts pouring tears. "I don't want him to lose his job because I messed up. Because I'm— this thing. I hate it, when she— when that woman— she— " Her thoughts are broken until the young woman takes a few deep gulping breaths. "The s-second time it ever happened, I blamed him. But it wasn't me. She was just showing me— I thought it was him. That's when he found out."

Tears, insults, gulping breaths. Trust Lazzaro to sit through it all without flinching, bic pen poised in a pause just above the topmost paper in Delia's file. Distaste is hard to read on his face because it's barely there, but there is a subtle lift under his chin and a sink of his eyes after her hands that betrays at least the barest film of black, arrogant irritation for her extended definition of what it is to be One of Them.

At length, he opens a drawer at his side and mechanically withdraws a box of tissues. So that he can set them at her elbow. Also mechanically. "What woman?"

Plucking up three or four of the tissues from the box, Delia shakes her head and waves her other hand. "S-she was the old owner of Ichihara books, dead…" Another long sniffle is taken before she takes another deep breath and lets it out in a very long sigh. "She tried to get me and dad to talk, to show me that I can help people instead of— Midtown bomber. I didn't want to be a killer. I wanted to be a doctor to help people." She grimaces once and shakes her head, that frizzy red hair flying everywhere.

"Half the time I hate it, because it's— My mom'd be here if it wasn't for the midotwn bomber. And I get it, Dad told me that registration is here because of that, because it's to stop something like that before it ever happens again." Then she takes another deep sniffling breath and looks up at him through her bloodshot eyes. "There's a lady in the hospital that got beat into a coma because she's evolved. She was registered… that just made me more scared."

"She tried to get the two of you to talk, but — she died." With sniffles and kleenex rustles breaking up names and occurrences, Vincent turns his pen over once in his hand, frustration funneled ineffectually through a lace and twist of oily vapor in the bic's wake. Like a hacky-sack filled with flour, only with an infinite special effects budget.

He's not really even writing anymore, even if he should be. A buzz at his cell phone is disregarded. Someone else can take the call. "You're not the Midtown Man. You're not a murderer. The Registry is in place in part to better educate and prepare people such as ourselves to prevent accidents of that nature, but deliberate abuse of an ability is all in individual choice. Are you trying to tell me that you believe you may have accidentally hurt someone, Delia?"

"No, just the one that took my brain tumor. His name was Russell," Delia answers quietly leans back into her chair and slumping down with a long sigh. "She died before, she was murdered outside of the bookstore. I don't know how to explain it— The second time it happened, I got into my dad's dream without touching him. Not just his dream but the thing he feels the most guilty about. But it's never happened since, so it couldn't have been me." She pauses to take a deep breath and looks up at him again. She's a talker when she needs to be.

"I know it couldn't have been me because I started practicing in ICU. You wouldn't believe how much Missus Frederickson misses One Life to Live. I had to DVR them and watch them all last week just so I could show her when I got on shift on Saturday." The redhead stops there and wrinkles her nose a little, her eyes flitting down to the pen and then back up at him. "I'm talking too much, aren't I."

When Delia looks up, Vincent is looking back at her. He's hard to read. You know. While he makes a decision about whether or not to recommend bail and potentially ruin her life for a while by bringing the media into it the way he originally intended to.

The fact that he has some interesting familial issues of his own may or may not be playing into how carefully he looks to be weighing it all out.

Thumb tapped sideways to file and paper and the table through that, Vincent shakes his head absently to the question of whether or not she's going on too long and sweeps her file neatly shut. "I need to speak with Secretary Praeger," doesn't outwardly have anything to do with anything she's just said, which may be slightly unnerving under the circumstances, but. He pushes back his chair anyway, file and pen collected without flourish. "And your father. If you need anything – water, trip to the restroom – knock on the door. Sam's just outside."

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