Selfishness And Charity


cardinal_icon.gif delphine_icon.gif

Scene Title Selfishness And Charity
Synopsis Cardinal sees a woman about his lost powers, and they discuss favors, and being used.
Date July 28, 2009

She'd never thought she'd be one for the gypsy lifestyle, but it becomes addictive. Never staying in the one place. Even when you're tired, or longing for consistency, whatever it is she might need to feel content in these ways are not in the interchangeable rooms of the Ferrymen safehouses. So, she moves. Even after they told her Pinehearst is over with. Even after the threat has been vanquished. She's not sure she can stop running.

Which, you know. Could be a sign of insanity. But at least she has a direction this time.

It's a warm day to be in New York City. The tenements she's been staying in for the last several days loom up behind her, the woman seated on the stoop outside. At this corner of the city, there's very little in the way of traffic, on wheel or on foot, and so she watches for anything that moves. A patchwork, pillowing skirt is tented by her bent knees, arms curled around them, feet hidden beneath the hem. In contrast, the industrial black tank top exposes her arms and bared shoulders. Long, wavy brunette curls are clipped up, and a pair of sunglasses rests atop her head.

Beside her, an almost militant duffle bag of kinds. She looks more like she's waiting for a taxi than a another Phoenix friend sent her way.

"You know, I never thought to ask… is Delphine your first name, or surname?"

One can't really blame him. It's a rather unusual first name.

Cardinal moves fairly quietly even without his power, and this part of town's his native territory; he blends in with the scenery, he knows how to move without standing out from the rest of the people that move up and down the block. He's dressed in his usual clothes; jacket, t-shirt underneath, jeans, worn boots. The thief stops not far from the stoop, glancing out across the road, a faint smile curving to his lips.

Delphine's gaze tips up, hands moving to tilt the sunglasses back over her eyes as she regards the man coming to stand nearby. "First," she offers, and rather than stand up, she scootches over a few inches, a hand coming to patpat the concrete step just beside her in invitation before pushing the glasses back up into place, fingertips rubbing just beside her eye. "How's life treating you— Richard, wasn't it?" She stretches out her legs in front of her, feet sandal-clad and showing a hint of her daisy tattoo, toes curling.

As the invitation's made, Cardinal steps over to the stoop, easing himself down to sit upon the stone steps and folding both arms atop his knees. "I'd say 'better now that I've killed Arthur'," he replies, his tone painted with rue, "Although I seem to've fallen into the hero role, now, and a dozen more things've come up that need to be dealt with. Things were a lot simpler when I was just a second story man." A sidelong look, "I daresay your life was probably simpler once too, though."

As is her habit, Delphine fidgets with the ends of her hair, one tendril thats come loose, fingernails clean of paint with a twist of a mark-bought ring around one finger. "Dunno. It was plenty complicated. Bills, taxes," she says, lilting voice mild in its sarcasm. "I used to be a nurse. Didn't get much in the way of sleep back then, either. But aye. Things used to make sense, at the very last. Like I wouldn't've thought killin' a man would be a good thing, but."

But. There you go. "So did he mess with your— you know. What you can do, too?"

"The world'll always send you places you never thought you'd be, if you're not paying attention…" Cardinal's right hand opens, motorcycle gloves sheathing his fingers in black leather, and he stares at it for a long moment before slanting his gaze back over to her, lips twitching into a wry half-smile. "Yeah. He took my power and my hand— got the one back, but not the other, not yet, anyway."

A pause, then: "What exactly do you do, anyway?"

She draws in a breath, holds onto it before letting it go again, not quite a sigh. "Been thinking about that a while," Delphine says, looking more out at the street than at Cardinal. "Longest time, I couldn't explain it. But I think I know, now. I put things back the way they were before they get… touched." A fleeting glance his way, a curl of a smile. "I suppose it doesn't matter. You all know me an' how y'can help me. Started when— the Bomb, when it went off." A splayed hand in the general direction of Midtown, it's scarred presence not so far from where they sit. "When it went off. I found I could lay my hands on anyone who got hurt by it and fix 'em."

A wider smile is shared with Cardinal, and she shakes her head. "So I thought I was a healer. So'd the government. It's what 'm Registered as and everything. But it ain't true. I make things right again, before an ability touches it. I think that's it. If somethin's been ruined by somethin' someone like us can do, I fix it. Buildings, people. Radiation. I think— that Pinehearst wanted me to fix the city."


Cardinal tilts his head a little, looking at her in thoughtful consideration before observing, thinking mostly out loud, "That's why they wanted Gillian. To augment you, to… repair the city's heart. That's why Ray made sure that was the one power she didn't have, anymore." He scratches under his chin, asking curiously, "Why didn't you?"

Tanned, bare shoulders come up in a shrug - as if curing the poisoned soul of New York City were a trivial thing. By the set of her expression, however, it's clear Delphine knows it isn't. "I think it'd kill me," Delphine states. No smile this time. "It's why, I figure, Arthur didn't just take it from me. It's why they tested it so much. To make sure. And yeah, I know, it's fuckin' selfish of me but I didn't ask— " Her voice goes scratchy at the end, as if perhaps breaking - but no, more like anger, a temper she tries to ease out with a restless sigh. "I'm takin' off after I make sure things are okay with your people, for what you did for me. But Pinehearst won't be the last."

It's an answer that he expected, and a tactic that he'd expect from Arthur. Cardinal's chin dips in a slight nod to that, a faint smile curling to his lips as he admits, "Kind've rude of him, admittedly, so I don't blame you. They're not my people, though." He pauses, "I work with them, sometimes, but I'm no firebird. They're political. I just take care of what needs taking care of." It's an answer that's changed, ever so subtly, since he started working with them. Once, it was money. That time seems so long ago.

"I'll give you my number, 'fore you go, in case you need help sometime. Don't recommend telling anyone where you're going, though. You're right. Someone'll be after you sooner or later, for this or something else."

"Yeah, well." Delphine straightens her back. "You killed the bastard. I guess that makes you people enough." She looks at him, now, assessing his profile beneath a furrowed brow, before twisting her mouth into a smile. "Thanks. I'll keep that in mind." It doesn't sound dismissing - the offer is accepted, taken, filed away in a practical mind. "Now, though, I'm supposed to be helpin' you."

"S'pose you are." A chuckle stirs on Cardinal's lips, the glove pulled free of his hand to let his fingers wriggle briefly in the open air. "I'm assuming it won't be quite as traumatic as when you fixed Claire. I'm not about to keel over dead or anything."

"We'll see," Delphine says. "Arthur's lot put me through my paces. I get a bitch of a headache for whatever it is I do for you lot, but— 's alright, for the most part. Helena and all them've been very liberal with the painkillers." This is stated somewhat wryly, before she moves her hand to clasp on to Cardinal's. "Any last words?"

As her hand clasps his, so does his in return, fingers curling to grip her hand firmly. "No," he replies, a grin flashed briefly across his lips, "I don't even plan to stop talking."

A whisper of a chuckle accompanies the sudden pulse of white light from their joined hands - ashy, in many ways, as if perhaps smoke could be made from ambient light, condensed into purity, and it forms tendrils that begin to curl around their linked hands. The glow spreads over Cardinal's skin, clothing, hair, engulfing him for a moment, two beats of a heart, before dimming into nothing. It's a tingle, like a mist-warm ghost had just passed through him, invasive but not unpleasant.

Delphine's hand has grown clammy in his, her eyes sliding shut through the brief duration. "Just like that," she murmurs, because they often ask— was that all?

"Just like that? That's not—"

Those hazel eyes dilate sharply as he looks to her, and then snap shut suddenly, Richard's hand pulling from hers abruptly to cover his face as a stabbing pain shoots through his head that has absolutely nothing to do with her power… and everything to do with his. "Ffffghg— yeah, yeah, that worked. Shit. I forgot my sunglasses. Great plan, Richard. Great plan."

He doesn't sound entirely displeased, though, despite the headache that's resonating briefly in his skull. His eyes'll take a little bit to adjust to their altered state again.

"Y'can't have mine," Delphine says, rubbing the bridge of her nose, and flicking the sunglasses back down over her eyes. Her voice sounds tight, but good humoured, all things considered, head coming to rest against her bent knees as she draws them up again. She peers at him through the tinted glass. "Gettin' a hangover before the booze is lame as fuck, did you know. Where're you headin' now?"

"Thanks, babe. Seriously. I appreciate it, even if I'm now blind as a fuckin' bat until my eyes adjust," Cardinal observes in rather wry tones, "I owe you one. I'm prob'ly heading home now, I couldn't get in without my ability. My plants're all dead, probably." He must have a rather odd home. "You?"

Her brow creases above her sunglasses in vague amusement, back straightening once more, letting out a pent up breath. "Just add water," Delphine advises. "I was gonna head for Staten Island. I got word— there's someone there I'd like to see again. Figure out what I'm doin' after I do. I can get around alright but I figure I could leech off've you if you were goin' the same direction. Or guilt y'into gettin' me there, I ain't picky."

At that, a chuckle tumbles past Cardinal's lips. "Sure. I know some people, maybe ol' Smed's making a run I can get us on. You'll just have to wait until I remember how to fucking see again, it'll just be a few minutes." He rubs his hand against the back of his neck, rueful, "Who're you going to see?"

A hand patpat's on Cardinal's shoulder, an indication that waiting is all good by her, before her arms are curling around her knees comfortably. "Just someone who saved me once," Delphine states, chin resting on her knees. "If y'know much about Staten Island, you'll know its not so hard t'get into trouble there. He helped me out've a bad place. Been searchin' for 'im for a while."

"I spend a lot've time there," admits the ex-con, "If you can't find the guy, just let me know. I might be able to." His eyes still closed, he turns his face towards her, asking quietly, "Any chance I can ask you for another favor? A quiet one."

Tucking a few threads of hair behind her ear, Delphine, more out of curiousity than anything else, simply responds with, "Aye. A quiet one? Do we have t'whisper?"

A faint snort of good humor answers that. "No, it… there was someone else there, at the end," he says, his voice growing both more serious and more quiet, "Someone who's lost everything. They even took his memory away. He almost died stopping something that… could've been bad. He burnt his power out in the process. He deserves better." He hesitates, before adding, "The quiet part is… I'm pretty sure Phoenix'd use him if they knew he still had his ability. I'd rather he have the chance to start over."

"I can relate," Delphine says, with an arch of an eyebrow. There's a pause, hand coming around to rub the nape of her neck, before she nods. "Should still be in town long enough to tie up a few loose ends. How about in a coupla days, I give you a call and we can arrange a place?"

"Sounds good." Cardinal tries to open his eyes, squinting a bit. Okay. That's better. He can deal with that, so long as he doesn't look directly at the streetlights. One hand grabs the rail of the steps, and he hauls himself up to his feet, reaching for his phone, "Okay. Let me make some calls to get us a ride over the Hudson, then— what part you headin' for?"

"I know my way around once'm at the Fresh Kills harbor," Delphine states, getting to her feet and swinging the duffle bag up on to her shoulder. A hand drifts up to rub at her forehead again, although the wince is diguised as she steps down off the steps. "That far will do me fine. Thank you, much. Movin' around's harder'n it should be, in this city."

"We'll stop by the package store'n grab you a beer on the way," Cardinal offers, thumb scrolling down through his contact list before tapping the number of a likely privateer, "Fresh Kills it is."

"A beer?" Delphine repeats, before letting out a chuckle, folding her arms and casting a look down towards the street, where the ruined skyline of Midtown makes the horizon break. Her teeth set against her bottom lip for a moment, before she only offers a smile, and takes a step in the direction away from the Ferryplace tenements. "You're a good man."

At that, Cardinal exhales a rough snort of breath, dismissive of the compliment. "Just a man."

"Hey. Joe. I need a favor…"

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