The Red Boy


alexander_icon.gif f_delilah_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif f_teo_icon.gif trask_icon.gif

Also featuring:

Walter Trafford

Scene Title The Red Boy
Synopsis Walter Trafford's father is back in town, much to the delight of his mother, while his dad's equally ginger-topped boyfriend and former comrade in arms look on and his grandmother recognizes him for exactly who he is.
Date April 20, 2019

The Dancing Boar

Friday evening is prime time for most pubs, bars, and taverns; many people have been coming and going from The Dancing Boar tonight, though at this particular moment, the tavern is relatively calm, and the steady trickle has come to a lull. Just after dinner hour, yet just before happy hour. The atmosphere of the already quaint establishment is as cozy as always, with the lighting at a warm yellow, and voices mingling with the sounds of a television up on the wall are low enough in volume that even those closest to any speakers do not need to raise their own volume.

Milling around from table to table is at first glance a tiny person- but anyone that comes to the Boar on a regular basis knows the little red-head as Walter; he is at one booth with a cleaning towel in his hand, doing his very best to scrub off the tabletop and seats. While his mother has plenty of adults to do such things, a job here gives the nigh-six year old something to be doing instead of popping up under the tables, or bothering the patrons from behind the bar. Delilah is nowhere to be seen at the moment, but chances are that she is simply somewhere back behind the double doors that lead into the tavern's kitchen.

"I don't think you knew Delilah well, but she was under Cat's umbrella of protection since 2009. Ferry kind of thing: she's Evolved. We've been friends since." That's about as much of an introduction as Teodoro thought to give the time-travelers, both the redhead he's dragging along bodily and the few disposable cellphones he had dropped voicemail onto. He has no real idea of who will show up.

Still, it was worth trying. The beer flows freer and cheaper here than most places, and the establishment seems like the natural place to converge, with its history, reputation, purpose and, of course, its inimitable manageress.

As of 2019, Teo has finally foresworn the sweaters and ragged jeans that had characterized his wardrobe a decade ago. His shirts frequently have buttons, and his pants have inherent creases. There isn't a lot of color to it, but that might well be camouflage: few residents to New York do, even in the age of verdant renewal. He still walks into doors with considerable force to open them, though.

Walter hears a familiar bang of wood off wood, a creak of hinges, a conspicuous absence of footfalls. Teo lets go of Al's hand long enough to lift the six-year-old off his feet and swivel his nose out of the way when the wiping cloth flits dangerously close to his face. "Walter, Jesse. Jesse, Walter. «Where's your mother?»" he asks the child, the cadence of Italian easier on the boy's pale ears than to the man after which he was named.

Al still looks….beat. Poor. Not so much underfed, since Teo's been keeping watch on him. But he's got that haunted look to his eyes, despite the faint smile he's wearing. He offers a hand to the little one. "Hey, Walter. I'm Jesse. Friend of Teo's," Presumably he knows Teo. Al's almost literally in the Sicilian's shadow, and seems to like it like that.

Trask comes along whistling to himself, he seems in a rather good mood for a man with no future. But then it's been an …eventful… week for him. He pops his head into the tavern he had directions too and looks around for anyone he knows.

Teo knows the kid a bit too well, because the first thing that Walt does is swing the damp cloth playfully at Teo's nearby face, little sneakers dangling below. Rats! Missed! The boy squirms in Teo's grasp, but only enough to look straight at him.

"Whossa? Okay. Hi!" Walter grins, seeming to have an automatic reaction to new people- be nice, say hello. He peers back at Teo's face from his perch in the man's arms, nose crinkling and freckles dull in the gold light. "«In the back. I think she was getting bottles.»" Though the boy's Italian is haphazard, childishly pronounced, and generally not as practiced as it could be- he is still able to get a point across.

So. This is purgatory. Hell's waiting room. Ever since the would-be time travelers — dead souls all — had arrived a decade ahead of their time, one of them has chosen to remain isolated from the rest; waiting out her sentence of suffering without trafficking too frequently with the shades of those yet living.

It's pretty safe to say that even if Lucrezia thought she was alive, she wouldn't be otherwise caught dead in a place like this — and yet, here she is, seated off to the side with a strictly decorational glass of wine, watching Walter be Walter through the remarkably translucent that separates the misplaced from the doomed, all while daring to wear a slim smile.

A quirk of thought, and Teo finds himself turning, first to the doorway to the backroom with an eyebrow lowering in concentration. Second, abruptly, a glance over his shoulder. His eyes lock on Trask with what greater acuity and further awareness than one might have expected from mundane senses— primarily because he wasn't using those. "Sergei," he calls out, raising the arm that isn't supporting Walter's featherweight. "Hey. Thanks for showing up.

"Our table." He jerks a thumb across his shoulder, again, though this time he's aiming unerringly for the corner: Lucrezia's corner perch, previously espied, though Teo had not turned to look until now. With a smile that remains inimitable, despite the distinguishing progress of age. "«Your Italian is better.»"

Oh, Lucrezia. Al doesn't drool. That'd be uncouth. But there's no doubt where his attention is - it's locked on to her with that laser-like focus. Not quite smitten, but still dazzled. And then, a little smear of guilt.

Trask makes his way to the bar and orders a drink his eyes catch the other people who are not supposed to be there, and Teo as well, nodding to any who meet his gaze.

It was a bit late, but Walter is able to lean over enough to grasp onto Jesse's hand before he withdraws it. After, his first manner of business is punching Teo twice in the shoulder with bony little knuckles, one eyebrow lowering in a short moment of mimicry. "It'd be better, 'cept I don't have anyone to practice with." Which is obviously Teo's fault all the way.

The boy's eyes, somewhat darker in the low light, travel after Teo's thumb to the woman at the corner, and then to the pair of men that had come with Teo himself. If there is something clouding around in his head, Walt does not make it clear.

The sudden influx of familiar faces as well as attention seems to somehow set the older woman on edge, though she lies with her lips and wordlessly affects a slightly brighter smile before adjusting her posture and scooting all the way over on the bench of the booth she's occupying in order to accommodate company.

Whoever Teo is now, he—

—isn't exactly who he was then. A broad hand claps against Al's posterior, and he angles his head toward the beauty and the Phoenix operative drifting over to join her. "G'wan. Tell her I'm coming right over. «She's family, Walt. From Italy,»" he explains to the diminutive, registering some subtle change in the child's demeanor. His gaze drifts back toward the forming knot of ghosts, jostles back when punched, his eyebrows shooting upward.

He forgets to chastise the boy, of course. Teo has never been good at that. Instead, distraction comes abrupt, shifts his gaze back to the backroom. "«Your mother needs help. You can introduce yourself,»" he proposes, setting the tyke down on the floor with a twinned thump-thump of shoes on floorboards. Scooting the boy's small shoulders with his hands, he then ducks agilely under the bar's ingress plank.


Al doesn't quite slink. But it's close, as he makes his way over to Lucrezia. Honestly, it's about all he can do not to genuflect. Teo may be his one true love, but he doesn't exactly argue with the Sicilian's command to go wait on his aunt. "How've you been keeping, ma'am?" he says, quietly, as he comes up within speaking range.

Trask moves and with him as always moves that zone where people with powers just turn off, super senses hear nothing, telepaths suddenly are silent, and other powers just vanish. He settles into a seat near Lucretia and Alex and looks over at Teo. "So do we know what this is all about?"

Thump-thump go his shoes, and with that small scoot, Walter is off shortly after Alexander, coming up beside the much taller redhead with a face barely able to look above the tabletop. They all get a squinty-eyed examination, but soon the boy is smiling, happily oblivious to anything uncomfortable going on over here. "I can't get you guys drinks m'self but if you want somethin', just tell me." And leave him a tip.

Over yonder where the back of the bar meets double doors, and Teo's voice is able to carry through those cracks, Delilah is bounced out of her self-absorbed time in the back- where she is, in fact, not getting any bottles. Instead, she is already getting ready to come back out through the doors empty handed, but with a considerably lighter worry. As far as Teo and his little trick could tell, Lilah was in the back getting a breather of some kind. For what, is mot immediately clear.

Beating Teo to open the doors by around 0.2 seconds, the woman slips out through them at the all too familiar voice. "Teo?" Delilah's re-entrance is not Grand, but it'll be hard to miss her coming out from those doors in her dress and apron, only to try to grab onto the Sicilian and hug as hard as human arms will let her. Missed you, you big oaf!

It's the younger redhead who earns Lucrezia's attention first as she smiles politely at wee Walter and informs him, "Grazie, carino, I am fine." In regards to her libation situation, at any rate. Before she can wager something a little closer akin to honesty in Alexander's direction, she's distracted by the suffocatingly sweet salutation taking place between her long-lost nephew and his other auburn-haired fling. The Bennati blood brings with it a weakness akin to proclivity — with Lucrezia it was blue eyes, with Teo's it's obviously ginger kids.

"I'm fine," she echoes a bit absently to Alex. "«…for a dead woman.»"

Delilah, apron, and dress, all, is a familiar fit for Teo's arms, threaded around her waist with strength better restrained than her own, if not by much. Up close, he's a smile against her ear, buzzcut blurred watercolor by her peripheral vision and his reply a growled mumble of… something perfunctory. He sets her down on his feet, the heavy armor of his boots at odds with the minimalistic, urban chic of the rest of his garb and more than enough to carry the pressure of her heels, even if she is wearing heels.

There's always a little room for suffocatingly sweet, when he comes back to New York City. In Israel, he keeps none.

Nevertheless, there's nothing particularly facetious about the look in his eyes, pointed at Delilah's face now with all the hair-raising acuity of a sniper's scope. "Something wrong?" It's the sort of question he asks when he's hoping for the truth, with a study of sincere interest that indicates he's nevertheless expecting her to lie. Deception is as often the noble thing, these days.

Alexander settles by Lucrezia, still with that canine unease, like a dog fairly sure it's erred in carrying out some order of its master's. He fixes that pale gaze on Lucrezia's face. "I didn't understand that last," he admits. Apparently Teo hasn't brought him up to speed, yet.

Trask settles back in his seat just watching and listening so far, starting to sip his beer.

"Oh yeah. I'm Walter. If you din'catch it." He blurts it out to Lucrezia next, fulfilling Teo's order to introduce himself to her properly. Walt peers at the woman, then at the two men, and then once more at his Great Auntie. "I dunno, you look pretty alive to me. Are you a zombie? Or a vampire?" Clearly, these are the only things that are dead, yet still sitting there at the table. "I know you're not a ghost. Ghosts float." He fixes Trask with a sudden and almost dire gaze. "You'd tell me if she was a vampire, right?"

Meanwhile, the little scenelet across the tavern keeps playing out with no vampires or zombies. Delilah's shoes are flat, and her feet balance expertly on the top edge of Teo's boots. Up close, there is definitely an unsettled quality still on Lilah's face. She stares back when he meets her gaze, determined to not allow whatever it was to come back full force, at the very least. "No, no. Thinking, that's all. About something Abby and I have been talking over lately. 'S not important." A lie, yes, but thankfully more than half of it isn't. "You haven't been back for awhile. I was starting to think all that globetrotting wore off your legs."

"You are very observant," notes the Sicilian woman with an absence of both sincerity and sarcasm, her words spoken while slumping her shoulders ever so slightly to make unerring eye contact with the little lad peeking over the edge of the table. She very carefully reaches out to hook a finger underneath the child's chin and appraises his freckled face unapologetically before she wonders aloud, "Quanti anni hai, il mio nipote?"

Bemused concern etches into Teo's brow, redefining his features into lines more austere even than the clean-shaven jaw and shorn head default to. "When Abby talks about shit that chases you into the back room to be by yourself on the busiest night of the week, it's hard to plea not important. I'll ask again.

"Believe it or not, I was trying to give Eve some room. She's back here, I think. It's a pretty fucking big city, but our circles still overlap. It's good to see you, Li." There's a quick show of teeth, a smile too wide to leave room for doubt of sincerity on his face, and some kind of horribly morbid irony in Teo seguing from that subject to cocking his head back at the table over where Walter is accompanying the guests and saying, "I have family here tonight.

"She's liable to kick my ass if I don't get over there soon. Want to meet her?

"I'd imagine Abby and the others told you about the other travelers, si?" Abigail would, inevitably. Teo steps backward, one stick-legged stride, careful, keeping the woman balanced on his shoes carried with, toward the table clotted with revenants. Don't say No.

Alexander's back to lurking at Lucrezia's side, blue gaze now turned to the little one. Redheads. Hm. And those genes were supposed to be recessive. At least he can be sure the mite isn't his.

Trask smiles at the kid and shakes his head, "Well she doesn't seem like a vampire, but honestly, I've met some vampires in my time, and I can't swear I have seen her in the day light…so I would be careful if I was you.

Walter doesn't really freeze when Lucrezia goes about her appraisal, but he doesn't move away either. "«Five and a half.»" Hi, lady. You're kinda weird. The boy whispers up at her. "«You don't seem old enough to be my gramma.»" He glances over at Trask and Al. "Hmmmm. Maybe you're all vampires." But wait a second- Al gets a second look from the little boy. "Have I seen you somplace before?" Squint.

"Walt got a red spot." Fine, you want to hear it? There it is. Delilah bares what she sees as Bad News, but soon she is being distracted by Teo using one of few F-Words that she actually never hears coming out of his mouth. "Well, yeah, I- travelers? She said something about people that were gone being back, and not to take Walt over, but not-"

As Teo moves the both of them in a turn to go over, it is now that the redhead's brown eyes land on who Walt is talking to, and who he must have brought into the tavern. It's almost like a record jumping to a halt- Lilah slips off the edges of Teo's feet, mouth agape even half a room away. "Teo what the hell." There are dead people in my place of business. Dead people that Walter is talking to. There's a part of her that wants to summon him away from the three, but- she does not.

Lucrezia has always possessed a certain degree of dark beauty but the real irony of wee Walter's inquiry may yet lie in the fact that some years ago — a date that may just as well have been defined in centuries instead of decades, at this rate — she did once pretend to be a mythical, blood-sucking bride of an immortal Transylvanian prince on the silver screen.

By the time her aged nephew and his borrowed barmaid find their way over to the table, the older Italian woman has shifted enough in her seat so as to put considerable space between her and Teo's other red lover so as to make room for the following invitation extended to the child in English: "Come here. Sit next to me and your uncle Alex, hm."

Alexander offers a faint smile that's meant to be welcoming but mostly only comes off as wan. But he beckons the child up to a seat, before looking mutely to Lucrezia again. He seems more than a little subdued, expression turning inward, though he glances around, as if in search of Teo.

Teodoro is coming, already. Bringing Delilah with him. "These ones haven't died," he answers the unspoken criticism, simply, walking both himself and the aproned woman over to the table. "And if anybody's prepared to show a kid how to deal with his genetic blessing," his voice lowered now, stooped in Delilah's ear in the interest of privacy, "it's gonna be you, and Abby, and Eileen, Gabe, and any of the other dozens of crazy mutants in the knitting circle teaching him his way around the needles.

"He couldn't be in better hands." Apparently unaware that he had sort of left his own hands out of that considerable list, Teo uses his right instead to yank a stool out for Delilah to sit in, should she deign to. He slides onto the one adjacent, catches Al's eye long enough to smile. His attention is on Lucrezia the next instant, a kiss fastened to her cheek.

"I thought your name was Jesse?" Walter fits right under the edge of the table when he ducks, popping up again between the time travelers(despite his mother's wary look). "My middle name is Alex too, but only halfway. My initials spell 'WAT'. Like 'what?' but not." The little boy is quick to situate himself and get comfortable, while Delilah is considerably more hesitant to take the stool pulled up for her.

She looks from face to face, then to Teo, and then gives a new, unsure look to Al. There may or may not be a little burn of jealousy behind her eyes, but it is swift to disappear and seems to be taken over by confusion. "So what is going on?"

But wait, Walter was not done talking to Alex and Lucrezia just yet. After a word or three about the possible connotations of 'wat', he suddenly blurts something new out, turning to face Al as he does so. "Oh, wait, so you're Teo's brother?"


Under any other set of circumstances, Lucrezia would likely be inclined to return the affection of Teo's greeting three hundred fold with all the usual noise of European pleasantries thrown in for fun and frills if sheerly for eliciting a few raised eyebrows from the small gaggle of American heathens present. However, this is not precisely the most pleasant nor joyous of occasions and so she accepts the peck with nary a noise before almost immediately passing the affection on to Walter with a pair of lips drawn up next to his temple while a pair of fingers fuss gently with his hair. "//Non, carino," she chides mildly before falling silent again in order for one of the boys in question to take the reins and provide a more accurate answer as to the nature of their relationship.

In the ensuing moment of silence, she quietly allows her unpainted eyelids to lift enough so as to afford Delilah the whole of her heavy-eyed gaze.

"Jesse is my first name, and Alexander is my middle,too, like yours," Alex explains, though not without a fractional tightening around his eyes. "I'm not Teo's brother. Just a very good friend," he adds, after a moment, looking to Delilah and Teo with questions in his eyes. He nods politely to Delilah, but there's no real recognition there, not yet.

That works. Why not? "'Very good friend," Teo seconds, drolly, leaning his chin on his fist and his elbow on the table. His gaze swivels between Walter's combusting good humor and then back to his aunt's peculiar absence thereof.

He is not especially perturbed. He would have been moreso if she were any of his other various loved ones, likely, but the link between nephew and aunt was never dependent on physical displays of affection— those were merely one anchor among many. Something's amiss. They'll discuss it; likely in private. "Like you're supposed to call Deckard 'Uncle Deckard,' but nobody calls Deckard 'Uncle Deckard' unless they're making a terrible joke.

"Not a lot is going on. Yet." The line of Teo's mouth straightens, tightens, pales fractionally. "I've heard that some of the more powerful precogs are beginning to get static and blank reads. Funny coincidence, if you also like terrible jokes."

Walter likes being doted upon, even if he will not say so. "Oh. I see." He doesn't seem to have realized that his poor mother is suddenly clutching onto the sides of the stool, rather rigid and in some ways- teetering- when Lucrezia meets her gaze. The older woman will easily see the brunt of Walter's misstep written all over Lilah's face; her mouth is tight, and the muscles in her neck are already twitching. Nope, your nephew doesn't know.

And fails to be cashing in his cluepons once more. Delilah tests this by looking over at him with the same face she just gave Lucrezia, but not for as long. Walter peers over at Teo, though his own little face is nervous. Maybe he just now realized? "Oh- I do call him that. Sometimes. But I'm not joking." The boy glances at his mother for no more than a second, but Delilah has enough time to bristle at him through both surprise and anger. He knew? God, does everyone except Mister Donor know?

While it's unlikely that anyone has ever accused Lucrezia's most favored boy-child of being the sharpest pencil in the pack, she is nursing neither the spare time nor the whimsical inclination to suss out precisely why Teo appears to be playing the fool for the sake of some elaborate charade meant to confuse or confound the shades of the dead he's now pressed with entertaining. Instead, after sweeping Walter up into her lap and seating him sideways so that she might once again share some physical contact — if only barely brushing fingertips over en-denimed knee — with the other dead soul occupying her side of the booth, she asks unabashedly, "How long have you been married?"

At least, she assumes they're married because while she may have raised Teo to be something of a promiscuous whore — hey, she's a role model, dammit! — she knows that he knows not to leave a woman in a family way if he was the one who had the balls enough to knock her up in the first place. That's just how (hypocritically) Roman Catholics roll, yo.

Al's pale. It's built in. But he blanches at that, which is a hell of an impressive feat, and gives Walter a far more thorough-looking over. Oh. Uh. Really? And then he looks to Teo, and then Delilah, and then Teo again, clearly waiting on an explanation. How about that homosexual adultery, big guy.

You'd think that the word of apocalyptic omens, the implosion of time, the yawning vicissitudes of vast nothing that awaits the world ahead of them would have made more of an impression. Heat death and universal destruction, yes? No?

No: instead, everybody's talking about… what? The dullest pencil in the pack sits up, his hand falling to the top of the table and eyes rotating through the row of available faces, his jaws popped open around some irritable denial that never makes it to words.

He stares at Walter for the duration of a silence stretched thin over too many seconds.

By the end of that, Teo's gone as white as Alexander and scraping his chair back, a monotone Scusa gruffed into the black fold of his collar. Apparently, he needs time to think; apparently, he can't unless he has enough time.

The accident was one thing- but Lucrezia's purposeful and deliberate question is a bit much for Delilah. Women are far more likely to save those cluepons than men. Plus, being Catholic, any soul in Teo's family has a moral obligation to ask such a thing. And it finally seems to do the trick.

Apocalyptic omens have nothing on the little ginger boy sitting in Lucrezia's lap, who she will feel holding his breath the moments that his father watches him in silence. Walter has no better reaction than to stare back, his bottom lip pulling inward as a gesture of uncertainty.

It is funny that Teo needs time, really- since that is what made him come here in the first place. No 'Scusa' for you, Teo, because before he gets a very good chance to stand up or move away, Delilah has sunken half a step off the stool she was on in order to grab at the Sicilian's wrist. Whether the redhead aims to stop him or follow him remains to be seen, but for now this is the only move that she makes.

Was it something she said? Lucrezia blinks in an almost audible fashion at the social debacle about the unfold before her eyes like a toddler's sorry (but still somehow cute) attempts at origami. The dead woman compels her sister's son to return to his seat with a placid but firm, "Seiditi!" The tone of her voice is probably not unakin to that which her exoskeletal minions are so often and subtly manipulated with — had they the proper organs to hear or the spare synapses required to process sound like these foolish fleshlings do.

Alexander is more or less frozen in place, as if that little revelation had turned him into a figurine made out of copper and ivory. He's biting his lips with near sufficient force to draw blood, and by his expression, literally doesn't know what to think. So he's not. He just peers at Walter, as if trying to divine some sign of Teo's genotype in the boy's features.

The boy's too young to be able to read anything of his father's face in his features, for now. The clash of genes recessive and dominant have planted his mother's coloring squarely in him, from the dark eyes to sanguine hair. Probably, the real connection between man and offspring lies in behavior that Walter's been taught better than to display while the Dancing Boar is in business. Fighting, a propensity for languages, and moods, when his small person and young mind is so beset by them.

A different man would probably be demanding after Delilah's degree of certainty. Paternity test, something-something. Teo does not. He's seen Walter outside the Boar; remembers the timeline of his relationship with the boy's mother. On some level, he must have known.

On all others, he was hilariously, wilfully ignorant, and is suffering the consequences for it now. Irritation brings his eyebrows down into lines harsher than anything he's going to actually do or so. He simply frees himself of the woman's grasp with a twist of his arm that creaks pressure into her elbow the wrong way, not painful, but too difficult to counterbalance real pressure against. "Later," he tells her, neither disingenuous nor gentle. He flicks a glance over his shoulder at aunt, lover, comrade, son, and then he leaves.

The only thing in Walter's face that seems to only belong between his father and himself is that straight, masculine browline- even in his youth, Walter is able to fix anyone with a deep stare just like Teo is able, as well as the rest of those intricate eyebrow gestures. If Al will see anything of Teo in the boy, that would be it.

The little boy just watches as everything sinks in, and Delilah pulls her hand away when Teo wrenches away from her grasp. She stays seated on the stool, hands moving to knot in her apron; all that the mother can do now is watch him disappear.

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