Turned Upside Down


delilah_icon.gif howard_icon.gif kitty_icon.gif koshka_icon.gif

Scene Title Turned Upside Down
Synopsis Koshka and Delilah return the items they "borrowed" to the one who collected them.
Date July 9, 2011

Just outside Eltingville Blocks

A late summer rain means that there are more noises to account for in the forest than one would care to deal with. Every now and then, cold liquid will splatter a fat droplet on to Koshka's skull, Delilah's cheek, gathered in the leaves until they give way like fairy buckets. It isn't raining right now, with streaky cloud in the evening sky, but moisture and humidity seem to turn the woodlands into a temporary jungle in the cooling warmth and the wetness squelching under ground. Moisture gathers on the windows of the shed just off from the house, where copious amounts of marijuana is grown and the heat of it turns humidity into water on the cooler glass. The house itself is dark.

Mostly. A dim light glows faint in one of the upper windows. The cat chime twinkles a welcome, or so it could be made to sound like.

Thus far, they have encountered nothing terrible — the robots have not roamed this way, and Koshka's anklet fails to send out the all important signal that brings them running when it leaves the bounds of the fences. And of course, Delilah does not have one of them, herself. The patio of the house is quiet and empty, or at least, from their approach, they haven't seen any life apart from that beacon of a lamp switched on on the upper floor.

Delilah wasn't very educated about espionage when she fell into this world, and she still isn't; not in the sense that others are, anyhow. She knows enough- how to be quiet, how to be purposeful, how to be defensive, like a deer sidestepping over leaf litter. As they approach through the woods, Dee cannot help but be unable to shake that adventurous feeling bubbling up. It has been so long, considering, since she has been into something. Mitts in the cookie jar.

Or mitts in the marijuana shed. She gets stuck for a passing moment, peering down the bottom length of one of the shed windows, face pulled into a most perplexed expression. Oh, right. They came for a reason! The redhead, in jeans, sneakers, and a long-sleeved henley, doesn't look all too menacing, for a trespasser. She peels her nose away from the shed, and makes her way closer to the porch, casting a look over her shoulder to make sure that Koshka has kept up. After they saw the house, Delilah kind of- got a bit excited, and stepped ahead. Not terribly far, though.

"This is it, right?" Making sure. Brown eyes turn up to inspect the windows, and she pauses to stare up at the dim light in one.

This isn't the first trip outside the fence that Koshka's ever made. There've been many, more often since the deal had been struck between herself and a strange man in the yellowish glow of a streetlamp. She'd been reluctant to stray too far from the so-called route assigned to her, unsure and unwilling to assume how far the technopath's jamming of the device encircling her ankle would reach. But as time went on and no harm came to her, the decision had been made to make another attempt through the woods with the items pilfered so long ago. And with further proof for the naysayers, she'd gone 'round asking for Miss Trafford to accompany her on this journey.

Relieved that the woods, even so far from the ghetto, held no surprises for them, Koshka pauses just at the treeline. Her eyes lift, taking in the face of the house as hands pat at the pockets of her second-hand jacket and jeans. Nondescript things found at the community center or youth facilities, most likely. Delilah's voice draws her back and returns her to motion, leaning into a jog that catches her up with the woman and then up onto the porch.

"This is it," the girl announces. There's a moment of hesitation, knuckles poising to knock. She glances over her shoulder, looking as though she might care to say something more, then turns back to let her fist drum against the door.

Usually ("usually" — this isn't that common a practice for Koshka, but at least the last time she came here, this is how it was), it takes a while for steps to emerge audibly behind the door. This time, they don't come at all — but reaction is swift. A window— not the one that had been lit— up above swings open wide, and someone leans over the barren window box circled in wrought iron. Two hands grip onto the ledge, and the expression set into the face of the woman up above is both serious and neutral, studious of who has arrived at the unlikely residence. She has dark hair, dark eyes, lines set into her expression that put her roughly around the fifty mark of age, or maybe even a little more.

She smiles, then, a little serenely. "'I don't think she meant any harm'," she says, in a voice of recitation, maybe taking on some affect that Koshka might recall of Ted. "'But it seems like you live in a small world'." Her gaze switches to Delilah, whom she studies without commentary for now, head at a tilt.

Delilah was more than ready to present herself at the door. The window, not so much. She hears it, open, and there is a delay in her taking a half step back to look up there. It isn't the lit one, no, but the duskiness of the lot is at least letting Dee get a glimpse of the woman there. A glance goes off to the front lawn, and back between Koshka and the woman in the window, who is presumably still looking down upon them.

"Wot?" Brusque, of course. Eloquent, not at all. Delilah stuffs one hand into her back pocket, the other one straightening her shirt hem as she reciprocates the inspection. "Well, then. Hello." The redhead's voice has a faint question in it, which mirrors on her face- unsure of if a greeting like that is really necessary now, given the avenue.

The delay might seem expected, Koshka doesn't seem too rushed to leave when there's no immediate answer. The face from above? Not so much expected, especially in its abruptness. Her head tilts back, and she takes a step toward the edge of the porch to gaze up at the woman hanging out of the window. Nervous when the dark haired woman speaks, the girl's eyes flick toward Delilah then back up again.

"Um…" The teenager dabs at her lips with her tongue, glancing again toward the red headed woman. "Hi?" The greeting is directed upward, and likewise Koshka's focus returns to the woman in the window. "I… 've been here before. Don't know if you… Um… I talked to Ted? He… I brought some things that we took." Not that she offers them, the items still tucked away in various pockets. With brows knitting together, she chews briefly on her lip.

"Yes," the woman says, simply, and pauses there. Then, without a word, she disappears from the window once more, quick but not urgent, leaving the door hanging wide open to the cool summer evening and the sounds of the seasonal insects chirping and squeaking beneath the loose bark of trees and in the thick brush on the ground. It doesn't take long until the clomp clomp clomp of footsteps comes down the staircase within, up to the door, and eases the portal open with that peer outside. She says something, then. Something, because it is in a different language — and nothing, really, that Delilah and Koshka can readily identify.

Vaguely German, but maybe prettier. European, but not identifiably so. She doesn't look particularly ethnic, fair skin accompanying other dark features, and American syllables and vowels in her quote just prior. They can probably guess that it's a question, at least. An age appropriate blouse is loosely worn and a little grimy with dirt at the sleeves, loose over jeans, her feet in sandals.

When the woman opens the door and bequeaths a mouthful of- something European?- Delilah is able to note in silence that perhaps, that she is not a native speaker of English. Not that there is any accent to back that part up. "I don't think we speak that." Whatever it was. Dee tries to be gentle about it, though does not hide her curiosity when the door opens- she sidesteps and tries to surreptitiously peek past without getting caught. "Want to run it past us in English?"

"Is there anyone else home with you?" If this lady can't communicate well with them, it will prove to be more of a problem. "If there's someone, can you tell them we're here?"

Uncertainty passes when the woman disappears from the window, causing Koshka to look in askance at Delilah. The question is stayed when the door opens, and she tries for a smile while her 'chaperone' asks the more obvious questions. Tries for a smile, it falls somewhat short though not in an unfriendly way. She's just not sure. Like Delilah, the girl's eyes tick past the woman, hoping maybe for a glance of Ted or explanations showing in a flickering neon marque.

"I'm Koshka," she says as she looks to the woman again. "And this is Delilah. Are you… are you Kitty? —Do you understand what we're saying? Or…do you know any other languages?" Her fingers curl to grip the cuffs of her coat sleeves, feet shuffle against the porch while she studies the dark haired woman.

"Zdravstvuy, Koshka," the woman greets, with a wider smile, fluently sliding into Russian at the mention of the girl's name. "Dobro pozhalovat. Menia zovut Kitty. Produce the things you took. But I hope you kept yours." She turns that look to Delilah, now, a dip of a glance down towards the redhead's midriff, then back up again, and adds, apropos of very little. "The young historically are asked to fight. He'll only be a year in four months. How big is he now? Can you measure with your hands, remember?"

She steps back from the door, but remains standing within its general proximity. "Produce the things you took," is repeated, in the same phrasing. "There'll be more as time goes by."

Delilah nods along and lifts her hand in a small wave when Koshka introduces her. It sinks, fingers curling, as she listens, and abruptly finishes falling when Kitty seems to hit the right- wrong?- note. There's something below the surface of her polite expression, flickering between dark and lit, like the pop of a match-head. Lips drawing together, Dee watches the older woman for some passing moments, not giving an answer as to whether or not things were kept, or whether all of it was brought.

The redhead stares impassively for a moment longer. "Three and a half. Hands. My hands, anyway." She tucks her chin, though the secret smile does not last long, as it warps into something more guarded. While Koshka does or does not produce the items, as it were, Delilah has other ideas, as her arms cross and her face creases into determination. "Too much mystery has made me paranoid, excuse me… who are you? Really?"

"Rad nashyei vstreche, Kitty," Koshka replies, Russian quite literally a second language for her. From one pocket a folder is produced, folded in half though well cared for otherwise. Not all the items enclosed within are originals, a number are copies, the originals elsewhere and beyond her reach. Her eyes linger on the pale tan coloring of the folder, then slant toward Delilah when the red head voices a question. It's a good question, one she herself has been wondering and trying to find answers to. Hugging the folder to her chest, she lifts her eyes to Kitty, intently interested in the answer.

"«Are you from the future,»" the girl supplements to Dee's own question, sticking to Russian for now. Besides, Koshka can translate for Delilah's benefit. "«…Forgive me,»" she adds, "«the things we took. They are… they might have been things from our future.»" With an emphasis on 'our', the teenager motions to herself and Delilah. "«We… I think we would like to know about them. And how you came to have them.»" Glancing toward the folder again, she smooths fingers over the crease from folding, then offers it to Kitty, her gaze lifting to the woman's.

A hand wandering up to her own neck in an almost shy gesture, although the avid attention she pays both women is anything but, Kitty listens with her chin up and posture stiff, dark eyes fixing on the folder as she parses both English and Russian. A glance from Koshka, to Delilah. "I've collected some knowledge of many things here and there." She holds that phrase as it is for a few seconds, then startles, a disconnect going on behind her eyes. "Good to meet you, Delilah. We're both, I sense, women who prefer to be careful about giving out details. Now you've been told the basics," an accusing finger towards the young mother, "and I'm sure you've no illusions about risks. There'll be more as time goes by.

"Right now, let's enjoy lunch." Her hands clap sharply together, and she moves then as if they weren't there, headed for the kitchen and leaving the two behind freely should they not follow. Despite the fact that the hour is well passed dinner time. Her shoulder clips the edge of the doorway, turns her body, but she doesn't stop or give minor injury much hesitation.

Arms knit snugly across her ribcage, Delilah tries her best to mask the slight shiver that is still working its way around her spine. While Koshka slips into Russian, presumably, she is left to look between the two that speak it. A collector, then? When Kitty finally goes back to English, Dee is at first disappointed in the response. It does not last long; Delilah furrows her brows when the finger goes out at her, feeling all of a sudden more spotlit. Not in a terrible sense, but there's something boiling in her belly when the older woman speaks to her again.

It stays there like a small rock, sitting in her gut. Delilah looks down to Koshka when they are nearly abandoned at the doorway, and then back up to watch as the woman steps further inside the house. There is some hesitation, naturally, as the state of this stranger's words are very odd indeed. Dee has more curiosity than caution, however, and tentatively steps inside to follow Kitty. Maybe there's more of a reason for this lady to be off-center like this. An ability, a disorder, a syndrome?

In a moment of self-preservation, Dee also begins to note the surroundings to herself. She can't quite trust Kitty, so it may be wise to mask looking for things that fit in her grip under the guise of straightening her long hair behind her shoulders

Glancing aside to Delilah, Koshka gives a small nod to the hesitant steps the red head takes. While she also has no reason to trust Kitty, she also has no reason not to. The folder is, again, hugged against her chest as she follows Dee into the house. A quick, almost guilty look follows, recalling the damage that had been left behind during her first misadventure into the house, the hunterbot that stalked and eventually attacked in the room just off the entryway. "Please don't let them know I'm out here now," she whispers, though there's no way for Logan to actually hear the request. It's all on faith at this point.

The girl slips past Dee, eyes lifting to follow the staircase up then slanting away toward the kitchen. Koshka's feet take off after her gaze, moving slowly as though the girl were suddenly turned shy. "Why do you live all the way out here," she calls after Kitty, glancing back to see if Delilah is following.

In the moments after Koshka's observes the stairway winding up into the second floor, Delilah will catch the fall of a shadow retracting in the time it takes to blink, and then stillness once more. If there's anything up there beyond the shift of a tree branch's silhouette through the window, it doesn't make its presence known immediately.

"Because the time will come when I have to be here," Kitty says, choosing to be straight forward without actually— being quite so. "And it will be my turn again to help people. The weather man keeps the cats and sentries away. The summer rains and its current, makes them drunk. Thank god it's the east coast." Her hands reach out for the kitchen table, hovering over where there is only a couple of books, loose sheets of paper. Certainly no food on the table. She freezes as if lost, confusion hooking her fingers to dig fingernails into her palms.

Koshka seems to have a penchant for asking the questions that Delilah hasn't thought of yet. This thought is disturbed by movement, and the young mother barely lifts her eyes to look, avoiding the jerky movement of turning her head. She knows that she saw something move up there- but nothing that actually reveals itself. The floor cannot be completely silent- she will listen carefully for anyone upstairs in the coming minutes, as she trails after the others.

Delilah watches the woman as she too observes the table, and there is a pang of pity for her. There is most certainly something wrong- something that Dee probably cannot fix. It is also clear that 'lunch' had nothing to do with what she may have actually been doing.

"May we make some tea?" Delilah hovers closer, her tone gentle, and her presence near to Kitty like one she would use with a far more elderly person than Kitty actually is; her hand hovers behind the woman's lower back, and she frames the left side of Kitty's vision, leaning in just-so, with a faint smile.

Stepping closer to the table, Koshka casts a casual look at the papers and books. Curious to be sure, interested in what the woman could possibly be reading or writing, but not so rude as to do more than look. The pause is more sensed than actually seen, causing the teen's head to lift and eyes to seek out Kitty. Her brows knit together in concern, flicking toward Delilah and then back to the stranger.

"«Are you well,»" Koshka asks, reverting again to Russian. It might be a thing of comfort, and Kitty seems comfortable with the language, moreso at times than English. She doesn't draw much nearer, but stands, poised, to assist in tea-making or food fetching.

Kitty seems to relax a little as Delilah draws near, peering at the younger woman with an intent that likely has little to do with tea making, and a glance dealt in turn to Koshka at her question. Bringing her own hands up, she observes the backs of them for a few moments, before she opens her mouth to speak—

And there's a thud of a footstep from the staircase, preceded only a moment before the squeak of the stressed floorboards up above. "Hey," barks the voice of a young man, charged with bravado as if suddenly realising he's been heard, and only moving forward and speaking out when he knows he has no choice to. Whud-thud go following steps, and the young man that comes down them is not especially tall, nor especially slight. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and strong features — all of them configured into the more or less recognisable face of Howard Phillips, as he goes by. He pauses when he sees Delilah, but not for long, taking in her presence before he sends that glare to the marginally older girl's companion.

"Well ain't this a fuckin' coincidence. You're the thieves the ol' man was talkin' about?"

Delilah has trouble with forceful personalities as a rule- they clash with her own, plain and simple. She turns her head to fix the source of the voice with a mildly venomous look, for intruding on her attempt to smooth out the kinks in Kitty's thought processes. He has a familiarity that niggles at the back of her head, though little more than that. The boy's pause can't be ignored, when he does it, and reassigns his glare to Koshka. "Koshka here is just one of them.

"She wanted to come back to straighten some things out, and I thought she needed someone with her. You can't be this 'Ted' character, and I've not been told how many other people are staying here. Judging by how much marijuana is in the shed-" Delilah gives a sudden and greatly comical grimace, somehow grinning through it- "I hope that number is fluid." It also occurs to her that maybe this Kitty woman is high. Delilah seems content to treat this male interloper with little concern for the time being, turning her head back down to the older woman, who had been ready to speak. "Would you like to help me make some?" Because she can find herself at home in anyone's kitchen, regardless of size or shape or status.

The sound of approach from behind has Koshka turning, the folder disappearing behind her back and under her jacket. She fixes the boy with a guarded look, shoulders squaring as she stands as tall as possible. Adults, by default, generally receive a much more amenable demeanor. Her peers, on the other hand, are treated initially with distance. "We didn't mean to be thieves," she counters evenly, "it just sort of happened. And I don't think it's your business anyway." Though it very well could be, she knows.

Casual as can be, the girl takes a small step, placing herself at somewhat more of an angle to the others in the room. Delilah and Kitty are at a place where Koshka can see them peripherally while leaving the majority of her focus on the newcomer. "Besides, I'm working on returning what I can. Promised Ted I'd try. Not that you need to know."

"Don't act like you know what I need to know, little girl." Howard's temper is as electric as his ability, and once cautious study of Delilah and whether or not she recognises him is over with, he can focus on the teenager. "You dunno who I am. And stealing doesn't just happen. It's somethin' you fuckin' well do. So leave your shit and get out."

Kitty clears her throat at that point, moving around the table and towards Howard without directly approaching him or necessarily moving away from the two women in the room. "It belongs to them," she says, her voice finding a more neutral and even place and tone than the slight wander and disconnect of before. Howard glances at her, a little surprised — whether by her assertion, or her apparent moment of lucidity. "They can and should keep it. That's what I told Ted to tell them if they came back.

"It's what Sullivan would have done. I don't remember anything that is happening. I don't remember this place at all." Lucidity branching off into warmly spoken tangent, anyway, even as she looks back towards Delilah, and offers a smile. "You were going to make tea, miss?"

"No, they're leaving you alone," Howard asserts.

"If you don't like it, you leave her alone." Delilah's been absorbing most of this, without fail, but Howard being rude to a woman in Kitty's state, and her age, seems to strike a sore spot. Maybe it is his similarity to her cousin Joshua, or maybe she is unwilling to bend when it comes to getting this close. Possibly both. What she does next is run on the gas of presumption and something that she has not determined the facts of.

"I'm going to operate on the assumption that you know I have every." Delilah opens a couple cupboards, searching for the teapot. "Bloody." They close, and she pops open some other ones, the staccato sounds punctuating the parental tone she's been working on. "Right." She hoists out a copper teapot from where she finds it, her pivot towards the sink allowing her a small glower to the young man. She fills the pot with water, the sink sputtering to life. "To be here."

The resulting clang is enough to ping through at least the first floor of the house, and probably the room above the kitchen; it doesn't reach outside, which is possibly Delilah's intention. The redhead finally cracks her drawn expression with a smile; it is an honest one, too. "I'm going to help make this gracious, troubled woman some tea, and if you feel like joining us, you are more than welcome to."

"Sometimes things just happen," Koshka retorts, chin coming up just a fraction. No, she's not afraid of Howard, even if she doesn't know who he is. "It wasn't planned when we got here, it wasn't even planned when we did it. We recognized things and we took them before we realized people lived here." Which is mostly true, as far as the girl is concerned.

A glance goes toward Kitty, and the look to the older woman's along with Delilah's assertion of belonging seem to solidify Koshka's convictions for remaining as well. Her eyes slant toward Howard again, a brow raising in challenge of his assumption. "We're not bothering her, just trying to help. And get answers for things before you interrupted. So if anyone should get out of here, it's you."

Howard shows his teeth in a grimace at Delilah's actions and words, his hands bunching into fists, and so by the time Koshka gets to him, his temper has already frayed like faulty wiring. "That's why I ain't going nowhere," is snarled back at Koshka. "'cause you're gonna be all up on her, asking questions that ain't meant t'be answered like this. She's got enough fuckin' problems without— "

"You're scared, the world's turned upside down." Kitty moves to sit down after he sharp interruption, picking up a book without opening it, as if just to touch, something to hold. None of the things on the table are remarkable, save for where her special langauge is scribbled on a few peices of paper. It isn't clear who she's talking to. "Life is like that. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people." And then, more to Howard than to the others, she makes a statement — and it's in that same language scribed upon the loose leaf pieces of paper.

And Howard replies in the same strange dialect, at a mutter, shooting Koshka and Delilah both a scowl before folding his arms and turning his back. He doesn't leave, but does seem to pretend they're simply not in the room anymore as he studies the window.

It does not take much looking for Dee to find the tea-bags, considering- she makes an educated guess from the location of things on the counter, whereas the pot was a mystery. Delilah does not look back at the two strangers in the room, only listening to them. Her head tilts somewhat when they use that tongue she can't even fathom. It has to be a code- or maybe just a language she's never heard, nor seen. Whatever the case, she misses Howard's further scowling in favor of finding mugs, even if they are not the nicest things.

"I'm not going to make her tell me anything that she thinks I ought'nt know." Delilah finally says this a little bit after she feels Howard scrunching up to look at the window. The redhead looks over, and sure enough, he's doing what she though he might; being that young men like to huff, and to puff, and be derailed by young women.

"I'm scared, and my world's turned upside down." Delilah parrots the woman soberly, softly putting down four- not three- cups with tea-bags at the tabletop, being careful to avoid putting them on any of the papers or books. "I think that I deserve a little bit of credit for having not gotten up in any grills." Even if Howard ignores her, Delilah's words are mostly for his benefit.

"Damn right we're gonna be asking questions," Koshka snaps back, Delilah's response echoing the teen's like thoughts. Her eyes follow Howard's movements, lips pressing together, thinning when Kitty speaks up. After tucking the folder into the waist of her jeans, keeping it still concealed beneath her jacket, she folds her arms over her chest. She looks between the young man and older woman as that strange language is used again.

"What is that you're saying," the girl asks, temper temporarily pushed aside for curiosity. "What language is that? Is… is it like those notes that were in the comic books? I couldn't understand those either. It's nothing I've ever seen or heard." The questions, though directed toward Kitty, are set to include Howard and Dee.

Fingers extend, tensely, electricity snapping quietly between each digit until Howard can curl his hand back into a fist. He doesn't respond to Koshka, this time, but he does listen intently, as if waiting for the opportunity to interrupt. Despite himself, he sneaks a glance back at them, mouth twisted as if to say: this oughta be good.

"It's the language you know if you know it. It can be taught. Passed down." Kitty reaches out to take the tea, the lines at her eyes all deepening in the impression of a smile towards Delilah. "Some of the answers you want are of secrets that don't belong solely to me. There was a time when I felt that information should be spread from mouth to ear to mouth, and then the world started working— differently. Some memories belong to others. Some truths belong to few."

"See?" Howard blurts, twisting around towards the three at the table. "That's what she does, she just goes off an'— "

"I am doing no such thing, Robert Bishop Junior. I am having a cup of tea with friends. Old and new. Here you go." Having not sipped yet from her own, she extends the cuppa out for Howard to take.

Of course, the young man doesn't. He sneers. "Naw. I'll just go check to see if they brought back any friends tailin' 'em. Just don't— " And he pauses, conflicted on how to say this to the two women with whom he has traded nothing but barbs. "Don't push her." And with that, he stomps off, to go and roam through the wet summer evening, and leave the three to discuss, if not the future and the present and the strange languages, the leaves in the tea, the weather in the sky.

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