Promises Promises


delia_icon.gif russo2_icon.gif

Scene Title Promises Promises
Synopsis Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible. ~Hannah Arendt
Date February 21, 2011

Dorchester Towers — Russo's Apartment

Having Toru Lawrence as a girlfriend has already proved beneficial for Delia Ryans. Sneaking out of the hotel has never been easier, why sneak when you can just walk? Plausible deniability in regards to her benefactor and the person she's visiting. Cloak and dagger is a dangerous business, especially when you have no idea when to use it and when not to. Dorchester Towers is a much more secure building; having a doorman, lobby security guard, cameras all over… among other things. She certainly felt safe when she was living there.

This isn't a visit that she's looking forward to. Not because she doesn't want to see her brother but because she's afraid. He has cannon hands, true, they're fairly destructive when he loses his temper and she's proven that she's no real help in that regard. Nevertheless, she's there pressing the buttons that will let him know that she's there. Hoping that he'll at least talk to her without calling the police.

A small mercy, someone else is visiting another resident and the door is opened for them. He, in turn, hold the door open for her and she gives him a grateful smile. Moments later finds her knocking on Bradley Russo's door, hands in her pockets, ballcap tilted down to the floor as she glances sheepishly between her feet and the jam.

"…no… I'm not— how many times do I have— " there's a flicker of a smile from Brad as he presses the phone tighter to his ear. Russo's shoulder holds the cell in place as he scribbles down several notes from his conversation. "Look. I appreciate the call. I know I gave you some business, and now I think.. it's not.. this isn't… " there's another break in the conversation. "I don't.. you c— sh— just keep it open, okay? I'll pay any— yes, that's right."

The knock at his door leaves him in want as he steps towards it. "I just think sell the place. It's more.. I don't— " he doesn't bother to look through the peephole. Distraction prevents him from taking the kind of care it warrants. There are several distinct clicks as he unbolts it; he's been cautious, trying to keep Devon feeling safe in this place. Feeling secure is nearly as important as being secure.

And then he sees her. That flash of red hair that familiar smile leave that heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach. His mouth gapes as the buzzy voice on the other end of the phone urges him to pay attention— the words themselves indiscernible to anyone but the host, but even then, he can't hone in on what the voice is saying to him.

With several hard blinks, Brad reanimates, "Listen— yeah, Bonnie, I'm gonna have to call you back." That said, he hits the red button, hanging up his phone before backing up to let Delia in. His eyebrows furrow as he does so, but the space is left just the same. His hands shove into his khaki pockets as he turns around, trailing further into his living room. It's not a verbal invitation, but he didn't close the door on her either.

She doesn't linger in the hallway. Not knowing exactly how long the invitation will last, Delia slips quietly into the entrance of Brad's apartment and hovers there, uncertain. Her lips are pressed together in a thin and unhappy line as her blue eyes lift up to him. They're watery, like she's about to burst, giving them the appearance of an anime kitten or something.

"I'm sorry, you were right." They're the first words out of her mouth and hopefully toward a new tenuous peace between them. "I— " Her voice stops a with a crack and she shrugs one shoulder, shaking her head. "There's— " The halting words can't even begin to form a coherent sentence.

Lifting her chin, the redhead tries to look him in the eye but fails, her gaze falling on his lips. "I wanted to believe that everyone could be good. That there's a chance for everyone." The way it's worded, it's almost as if she's lost hope.

The phone is haphazardly tossed on the ottoman of the living room— a new addition since Delia had been gone. Maybe he's nesting. Or maybe he's just rearranging his furniture metaphorically and literally. His eyes aren't watery; they're semi-cold, withdrawn, perhaps, but there's something else— his lips they curl slightly, a hint of some continued concern, even as he hardens himself, reminding himself chromosomes don't make family.

There's a slight tick of his eyebrows as his blue grey eyes turn towards the kitchen and then flick down the hall. Devon is tucked away somewhere. He shrugs slightly, the victory of being right isn't sweet, not now, anyways.

He sighs lightly as his jaw silently works to form some language. Some word. Something.

When he finds his voice, there's a hollowness to his tone, "I know." He was right. "I know monsters."

Dipping her hands into the pockets of her jeans, she simply nods in acknowledgment to his agreement of her original apology. Silently, she eyes the ottoman in the livingroom, still making no attempt to venture further into the house that used to be her home. It's new, he must be finally moving in.

"I just— I wanted to say sorry and goodbye. I'm going… uhm.. back— soon." She doesn't say where, she doesn't give a time limit. The tilt of her eyebrows gives her a worried expression. "I just wanted to make things right, if— you know— I never see you again." She doesn't say why but it's clear that whatever has her worried has something to do with it.

There's a lighter tick of Brad's eyebrows, his words are failing him again while that numbness overtakes his outer extremities. With a slow, concentrated breath, he halts his actions, just lingering where he is, unsure, even in his own spaces; the beast's sanctuary, his place of solace.

His blue eyes watch her, with apt interest as his throat tightens. "I thought we said goodbye," it's an unusual honesty, even if it's emptier than he'd admit. His cheeks flush a pale pink at his own emotional constipation. He swallows hard before attempting to find her eyes, "To the island?" the pit of his stomach has that same feeling, that sinking feeling.

"Not— Not this kind of goodbye," Delia begins quickly, shaking her head to dispute the finality of their last reunion. "Not the kind of goodbye where you know that— Even though I was stupid and … stubborn— " She sniffles once and turns her head to look down at the corner nearest the door. "That I.. I never wanted to make you think that it— "

Delicate like eggshells, that is exactly how she's feeling and treating the situation. A fact that she hates. Furrowing her eyebrows, she meets his eyes and presses her lips into a firm, thin line before letting loose a burst of air. "There's— there's a lot of things that I know, that I can't tell anyone. Anyone.. I wish I could. I wish I could explain every reason I've ever had for doing anythig since I woke up. But I can't. Because I've made promises and I've done some horrible things.

"What— what I saw.. " The tears spring right then and she looks away, wiping the back of her arms against her face to clear them away before he can react. "It— it was horrible. I didn't want to believe that anyone could— if they said they cared about someone, you know? It just— ." Shaking her head she hide her face by ducking it down, the bill of her ballcap covering what the simple action can't.

"Wasn't it?" Brad asks quietly as he retrieves his phone from the ottoman to tuck it into his pocket, an action to keep his hands busy— he doesn't really need to be holding his phone. His head tilts a little at her admission of promises, of horrible things, but no vocal response aside from a sigh.

The tears, however, draw different response. He takes a step towards her only to stop, a knee jerk reaction that has him raking his fingers through his hair. There's something unusual in his expression. Pain. And not of the physical kind. Tears are not his friends.

His lips part in an effort to speak some measure of comfort, but years of avoidance, years of deterrence and defence mechanisms hold him back, but he does reach out a single hand. Almost an invitation. Until he drops it. "What.. what do you want me to say?" he asks quietly. "I.. I tried so hard," his voice is raw, scratchy in his throat while he roots himself in place. His eyebrows furrow tightly.

The hand, the invitation, it's enough that Delia launches herself at the host, wrapping her arms around him tightly. For a little while, she doesn't say a word. She just stands there hugging Russo.

When she finally does speak it's at the same time she's pulling back with a bittersweet twitch upward to one half of her lips. "You don't have to say anything, Brad. I just wanted you to know that I love you before I go." The hug made it all easier for her. "You made a home— the best one I've had since mom died."

Taking a deep breath she looks down at her feet and hunches her shoulders a little, dropping her hands and tucking them into her pocket. "There's a flu outbreak, I'm going to help. I needed you to know that before I go."

The initial touch has Brad stiffening. His gaze slides down to her and after a few beats he lets himself melt under it. His defences fade some, but not entirely. Even his arms raise to return the embrace. But it's not tight, it's not wholly committed.

Unlike Delia, he doesn't cry, although his eyes become somewhat watery with tears he doesn't dare shed. "You shouldn't go." The answer is short. He doesn't make any grand please, just the simple truth uttered as plainly as he can offer it. "There will always be something. Don't turn into your father." Her father. Not his.

"I wouldn't go," she admits honestly, "I wasn't going to. I was scared to death of it, the flu." The pause and breath Delia takes in between reveals the unspoken but at the end of that. The caveat that makes all of the rest of her words an untruth. "There's kids… Lots of families. It's not the smartest thing, it's just what I have to do right now. Eileen asked me to help, I'll never say no to Eileen."

Lifting her shoulder only to let it drop, the redhead gives him something of a helpless look. "I wish I was registered, I wish I could get vaccinated." There's another but on the end of that, instead she just shakes her head. "Someday, someday I'll make Mister Lazzaro and you proud. I'll do the right thing." It's another weak smile that she offers before looking towards the door.

Brad's hands drop. She'll never say no to Eileen. He slides back a single step, trying to pry himself away from his half-sister. He coughs. It's easier than any other emotion he could display or portray. He twists at the waist, another odd way to pry himself from her. He issues her a tight-lipped near-smile. Not happy. Not joyful. Just enacted. Made a smile through constant reshaping.

"You don't need my approval. You do what you want with or without it. You seek Nick's. Logan's. Eileen's. Never mine." The words are flatly delivered as he backs up again, but the non-smile dwells continuously on his lips as his hands shove uncomfortably into his pockets. "Be true to thine own self, Delia. Let it serve you well. Be honest to your own soul."

"You're wrong." She fires back all too quickly. His near-smile is greeted with a pained expression that's hidden again when she lowers her head. "I'm not looking for Nick or his approval." There's no Mister Logan, no mention of his name. Something has changed. A light sigh and the slump of her shoulders lend to the effect of a pitiful appearance for a tall woman who is still too thin. Much stronger than when he last saw her but still frail.

Turning toward the door, she takes a step, letting the man have his space. "I'm not looking for approval, I just want acceptance. From you and Eileen. There's a lot of things that I can't tell anyone and they're weighed into almost every decision I make. I was wrong when I didn't listen to you. I thought because he liked me that nothing would happen to you." After placing a hand on the doorknob, she looks back to study his face again.

"Now I'm just scared."

"Acceptance of what exactly, Delia? I don't understand how I could've been more accepting. I opened my wallet. I took you to my grandparents when no one else would claim you. I opened my own home. I opened my hear— " Brad can't bring himself to finish the word. He sniffs instead. It's not liquidy or overly pained like a true sniffle, but it's an indication of something. He's not made of stone. "I asked for little in return. We— you and I— we're of a different make up. What I needed, what I wanted, wasn't— I'm not…" he frowns.

"I'm not afraid of him. Not for me. I was never afraid for me aside from the first when he caught me off-guard. I'm not without my own defences. I can throw a punch. I can shoot a gun. And now… " his eyebrows furrow as he balls one hand into a fist. "I am capable, believe it or not." He sighs. "But you. You had no business under his power. Your father had no business putting you there."

"What are you scared of? The flu? You should be scared. Register. Get yourself protected. Do what you can to maintain and preserve your own life. If you want my acceptance recognize your own value. Please."

A quick shake of Delia's head when Russo utters the word flu is something of an answer. Pressing her lips into a thin line, she hunches her shoulders and lets loose a shaky sigh. "I never wanted your wallet, I'm sorry that no one else would claim me— . I'm sorry for being a problem. When you read me Pat the Bunny, that's— " She sniffles too, a longer and less subtle one. "That's one of the best times. Spaghetti in the kitchen, I like hearing you sing." Even if no one else does.

"I used to think he was practically perfect in every way." Not letting go of the doorknob, Delia leans against the heavy panel instead. "He did everything right, said all the right things. He made me feel like I wasn't just a helpless person in a wheelchair. I made him a promise, I'm going to keep it. Dad owes him a favor… but he can handle it." She's not offering to take it on for her father any more. "Part of me still wants to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I don't know if I can look at him without seeing— what I saw."

Brad's jaw tightens, his lips pressing together firmly as he wraps his arms around himself. He tightens his entire body in turn, letting the position linger. He coughs again. A gentle reminder to himself of Kristen and Kincaid's words. Loyalty. Trust. Truth. That's family. Loyalty. Trust. Truth. Choice.

"Your father does owe him a favour," Brad concurs while he shifts positions, turning to the side to face the door a little easier. "And what did you see, Delia? What changed overnight?" His chin lifts ruefully. "You wouldn't listen to any of us, giving faith and true credence to your father instead of the rest…"

"Memories." It's all she's willing to part with. Turning her head to look over at Brad, she issues him a sad smile but can't get her eyes to meet his. "Please don't ask for more than that, I can't tell you. And my reason for not telling is that I made a promise to someone that I wouldn't. Ever." The smile widens a little bit and she lowers her gaze to the carpet halfway in between them.

"I met a friend today, he asked me to come stay with him and his room mate." A slight change of topic, though it seems miles away from the original. "I would have said yes, I would have been gone in a heartbeat but I need to stay where I am until…" She swallows, it looks painful by the expression on her face. "— Until we find Eileen. She went missing but I can reach her in dreams. She's hurt and— " Pressing her lips together, her face screws up like she's about to cry but no tears fall, not yet. "— Promise me you'll never tell anyone?"

Concern tugs at Brad's eyebrows, but the distance he's built, that emotional rift, holds him in place, gluing his feet to the floor. "Who would I tell?" the question is genuine. "Who do I trust? Who can I trust? I have maybe two friends in the world and one of them I would scarcely trust with my refrigerator let alone a secret. The world doesn't open itself to trust when everyone refuses to give it or deserve to have it."

There's a regretful pull of his lips, weighty, undecided. There's something on his mind, something tugging on his heartstrings. Finally he can't fight it any longer. He shakes his head, "Delia. You don't have to live like this. I know— I know he insists that you live as you do. That somehow all of these cloaks and daggers are better for you, but have you ever thought that maybe maybe they just might be better for him? What have you done that was so illegal? Avoided registration? Opposed the Linderman act? We can negotiate something— you could make a choice. There's no reason to be afraid anymore. I registered. I have a shiny new card and got a vaccination to boot… please…"

"Promise me that you will never tell… this is important Brad." Delia's voice cracks again, thick with unspent emotion. It seems that the she isn't budging on her stance, she needs to hear the words from his lips before saying anything else.

A slight shake of her head is his answer to his request. "You blamed me when you got caught. You said that you threw everything away and sold your credibility to keep me safe. What will they do to me to get dad? I know— I know that you don't care, he hasn't been the best dad on earth. He's always gone and there's always someone more important to save than his own family. But I'm not him. Until I know that I can't be used to find him or used against him, I'm going to stay away from the registry." Looking down at the floor, she chews on her lip and blinks a few times. "Mister Lazzaro arrested me on August thirtieth. He saved me on November eighth. Why would he take me to the boats instead of the DEoA building?"

"I tried to keep you safe because you were recovering," Brad corrects quietly as he scoots back to the ottoman to extract a bottle of scotch. It's furniture and a stash it seems. His fingers clasp the bottle, giving it deeply holy regard. "You could do this. You could make a decision not to live that way. To be better. Be legitimate. Live in a way that will ensure your safety. Standing in the light takes more courage than skulking in the dark."

He sighs as he examines the bottle, turning it comfortably in his wrist. "And fine. I promise." The only person he'll tell is this bottle of scotch. When Delia's gone. And Devon's asleep.

"I've been thinking about this all day… since I woke up. I can't. No." Gritting her teeth, Delia looks up at Brad and wrinkles her nose at the bottle. "Eileen— Her life's in danger, Brad. There's someone else down there with her and we have to find her before he does."

Taking a deep breath, she crosses the room and sits heavily on the couch. Placing her hands to her face like she's seen him do so many times, she rubs and then glances over at him while they're still pressed firmly to her lips. When they move, she's reduced to a whisper. A frightened and tear filled whisper. "It's Sylar. The Midtown Man. The government lied Brad, he's not dead… He's down there with Eileen and she's scared."

Brad's eyebrows knit together tighter as his fingers tightens around the bottle. When he speaks his own voice is reduced to a whisper, faint and raspy, "Don't.. don't.. don't go after him. That man is dangerous. FInd him in dreams. Help Eileen from a distance— you couldn't… you couldn't do anything if faced with him. You shouldn't…" He shakes his head emphatically. "No," he manages. "If you ever cared a lick about my good opinion, making me proud, my approval, or my— what did you call it? Oh! My acceptance— don't do this. Not up close. Not face to face.. you have power and control in people's minds, but not.. not like this.."

"I'm not going down Brad, don't worry, they won't let me because I can't run from the robots. But I have to stay at the Corinthian until Nick and Brian can find her. They won't chase Nick. And Brian… he doesn't mind dying." The last bit is said with a small laugh that reduces Delia to sniffles. Her stomach contracts as she tries to keep her sobs in, there are no spilled tears. Gazing at the floor, her eyes unfocus and she seems so very far away. "I should go, I should get back to sleep— to make sure she's still alive. I promise when we find her, I'll find a new place to live. Okay? It's just— we're so close."

Brad's eyes narrow as he shrugs, he's defeated. Everything about his being appears defeated. He sighs softly while his steps drive him further into his home. He sighs heavily while he faces the wall, reaching out a hand to lean against it, propping himself up in the process. His head turns to face her, but he has no words, nothing easily to spout. Just a look, silence, words unuttered zipped deeply inside, hidden from all hearing. His thoughts stir uncomfortably as he leans a little harder.

"I— I'll get out of your hair." Silence generally means that she's no longer welcome, at least that's been her personal experience for years. Fumbling over herself, she trips off the couch rather than getting up and walking. It seems she's just not used to the size of her own feet yet. When she finally stumbles to a stand, Delia raises her chin and smooths out the hoodie that she's wearing over her jeans.

When she makes it to the door again, her eyes drift toward Brad and he's issued another sad smile. "Love you, and I—… I'll make you proud of me someday. You'll see."

He pushes off the wall again to spin around and face Delia as she leaves. He struggles to find his voice again, straining to produce some measure of thought. The fumble is noted and addressed with little more than a frown playing at his lips. He releases a quiet breath as he turns back to the wall, letting his forehead rest against it, but it's not until the door is closed that he find any words at all. "Love you too," he whispers.

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