Using Time Wisely


delilah2_icon.gif rasheed_icon.gif



Scene Title Using Time Wisely
Synopsis Delilah and Rasheed squeak out some time for an easy afternoon together.
Date May 30, 2018

Red Hook Market, Add-a-Ball

As ever, text messages tend to be the most common form of quick communication around town, barring abilities- while there has likely been some casual exchanges between Delilah and Rasheed already, most of it seemed to be the sort of proprietary chatter of setting up a meet for coffee. He seemed interesting, and Delilah really had no reason to say no, so here she is. Granted, it is nearly where he stumbled upon her the first time- she isn’t hard to find. Eleanor and her coffee cart tend to be ubiquitous here, and Delilah has found a seat at a table set at the corner of the main square, in the midst of other mismatched tables. It’s not quite cafe quality- more like a food court, what with the vendors at the square. She seems unbothered by it, though-

-she feels at home here. And if he tries anything funny, well- Delilah has plenty of friends here. She need only walk away. Red hair is drawn back from her shoulders, and her navy dress is a simple style with a flared skirt tucked under her legs. Just a simple necklace paired with it, the pendant a brightly colored enamel bumblebee. There’s a cup of coffee cooling some in front of her, and it smells fresh enough to not have been there for long.

Timely, not too early, but not late either, Rasheed immediately slips into the table, not giving her much of a chance to process his arrival before he's just suddenly sitting in front of her. "Hey." he says with a soft smile, looking her current outfit over with measured appraisal. He himself is in a nicely fitting white shirt with a thin black vest over that, and perfectly fitting blue black jeans. "Nice to see you when neither of us is procrastinating from our work."

Delilah startles slightly when she looks back to him sliding into the seat across from her. She didn’t even hear him! Must be the secret agent thing. A particular set of skills. Despite her startle, she’s grinning ear to ear, brown eyes bright.

“Hey.” She returns, passively examining his style choices; she does that a lot more than she ever did. Delilah has to watch for trends, as far as they go around here. They exist, in spurts! “Amen to that.” Her lilt is as disarming as ever, smile going a tide crooked. “How’ve you been? Get all that paperwork sorted? Any new developments? Sorry, is that considered work talk?”

"Hey, don't worry, we don't need any superficial rules. We'll talk about whatever you want." Rasheed assures, taking it relaxed and easy. "Paperwork sorted. I've moved onto a particularly… complicated case. I'm not even sure if it's a case yet. Ever met a guy who everyone talks about like some kind of god who they're terrified of? It's one of those things."

"I'm not too afraid, I'll kick this guy's door down if he's a real threat." He shrugs, looking fairly confident. "Not to downplay the danger, but no one's a god, no matter how powerful their ability is, or how much they scare someone. I've seen things most people can't even imagine. Half my cases are people who didn't quite win the genetic lottery and their abilities went out of control."

No rules sounds like it’s right up her alley. While she won’t get crazy, it’s clear that she’s fascinated by the cases that SESA handles.
“Eleanor has her coffee cart up if you want something, by the way.” Dee turns her head towards the corner of the square, marking the old woman out. “Some kind of god? Well, not quite like that…” Her brow knits as she listens.

“I’ve been around people abused into thinking that someone has power over them, maybe that’s similar? Sounds rough. I suppose you’ll find out what he’s capable of eventually? If you keep looking. Maybe he’s just a guy that’s really good at being an arsehole.” As for her coffee, it’s cooled enough that she sips at it, brows arching higher on her face when he mentions what sort of cases he often gets. Right. “I have a lot of experience with seeing crazy shite. And the whole… flunking out of the genetic lottery thing, too.” Delilah’s smile is half a grimace, bashful at worst. “Betcha I used to be the type you meet.”

"You couldn't be worse than the guy who made ants fall in love with him." Rasheed considers, but, well… you never know. "I've seen a lot of cases of abuse like that, that's kind of what I think it is. But the time travel parts are what throw me off… anyway, I don't mean to get boring." he laughs, holding up a finger for her to hold on so he can head to the cart.

It only takes him a few minutes, then he's back with a cup of coffee with a bit of cream and sugar added. "Sorry, I was saying. Well, you were saying. What's your ability? Being the most fine thing in here?"

It’s a good thing that Rasheed steps away for the moments following his mention of time travel. Delilah swallows a too-big mouthful of coffee, eyes following the older man in his trek. What was that supposed to mean? This guy he’s talking about is a traveler?

Concern dissipates as Rasheed sits himself back down, and for a moment more her smile is a reassuring thing. Mainly for herself.

“It’s not ant pheromones, I’m afraid. I’ll never be that cool.” Delilah exaggerates, because she expects that poor guy had a lot of pest problems. That is Not Cool. “I can secrete a psychoactive substance through my bodily fluids… like… toxic toads.”

Rasheed holds his coffee in between both hands, watching her for a long moment. It's as if the gears are spinning, trying to make sense of those words, and why this might be a curse.

Then he just sort of looks down, staring at the table, but, well, the angle of his eyes should betray the thought he's having.

Psychoactive bodily fluids.

"Well, that's a step up from other things I've been told people have on a first date." is his helpfully reassuring answer.

When she tells people about it, one of the first thoughts tends to be ‘all of it?’. Delilah has heard it all, really. She just chuckles at his intense stare into the table, lifting a hand to wave it between the two. Focus!

“Is it? Haha!” Delilah’s laugh turns into a bark, her nose scrunching up with it. “God, I can only imagine-” At least his attempt at being soothing seems to work- it could be worse. “I have to actually engage it, so you’re not going to get dosed if I touch you.” Also helpfully reassuring. Sort of. “It used to be really bad. It would turn on all the time, I’d cause all sorts of accidents. I’d have to stay at home in the bathtub if I couldn’t get it to stop. Fight or flight was the most common trigger. Anger. Fear. I’m literally a defense mechanism!” There’s a grin for that addendum.

“I also maaay have sold some of it to make a few bucks here and there when I was a teenager.”

"I've also heard worse ways of selling your body." Rasheed non-judgmentally reassures again, and reaches out to gently take her hand, as if to show his lack of fear. "I manipulate time. Not in a way that I can easily demonstrate, it's a little dangerous to use frivolously. But, since you told me, I thought I'd tell you."

"I should be upfront about myself. I'm a bit… married to my job." he admits, as if sort of waiting for a shoe to drop. "I'm a workaholic and that doesn't work for a lot of people. I usually don't put myself into these situations, but…" He nods to her. "I saw you and I said fuck all that."

His reassurances that there are worse things just get a bit of a laugh and a dip of chin. Her hand is lean-fingered but slender all the same, giving a small twitch of response to his though not shying away. It’s his admittance of what he does that has her hand shifting away, at least an inch, unsure. The same uncertainty lingers in the study she gives him, but she listens all the same. She doesn’t immediately clarify why she does it, and there seems to be a mixture of curiosity and apprehension.

“Workaholics must be connected on some level, then…” Delilah smiles, brushing a bit of hair from her brow. “Between the tailoring and Walter and the co-op, I usually have a full plate. But it’s nice to stay occupied… even if it makes things like this rare, yeah?”

"Yeah, I just like to be honest about my life. I'm not saying go away or anything like that, just that if we're getting to know each other, that's a big one to know upfront." Rasheed smiles, staring down at the hand she pulled away. "If we're both workaholics, I think we can find a compromise in how to use our time, if you want to hang or go somewhere. Maybe I'll give you a ride along, I don't exactly ride in an old police car."

“It’s okay, I’d rather you stay honest.” Workaholic, or the ability makes people pull away? They are both sort of big, but to Delilah, one is much bigger a deal than the other. “I’ve met your type before, it’s cool.” Her hand settles back against the surface of the table, mouth curving in a smile, tinted lips betraying her feeling of irony.

“A ride along? Do they allow those with SESA?” Delilah laughs more softly, browline lifting in inquiry. “No police cruiser? Damn, it’s been so long since I got to sit in one of those.” She snaps her fingers and forces an exaggerated frown. Bummer!

"I drive a Mustang, because what else would Agent Mustang drive?" Rasheed asks, laughing and carefully reaching out to rest his hand onto her's. "So what else do you do? Tell me about your life."

“What year?” Delilah’s question about the car seems to indicate some previous knowledge. “Well… I’ve got all this-” She lifts her other hand to gesture to the market. “-but you already know that. I work with the SZC and I sit on the council. If you ever go to a meeting I’ll probably be there. We had another agent stop into the last one.”

“I’m doing the single mom thing, but it’s not like he’s lacking for family- still have a good relationship with his father, which is nice…” As far as fathers go, Teo isn’t terrible- but there is more than one of him. Things get strange. “I’ve got a big not-family, you know the kind? Friends that qualify. We’ve all been through too much for Walter not to have a thousand aunts and uncles-” Delilah rubs at the back of her neck before taking up her coffee again. “I had a stint as a ‘freedom fighter’, so there’s that too… Phoenix, Ferrymen, just like a big happy fam.”

"2016, a GT." Rasheed answers, before he hunches down, sipping his coffee while listening to her. His hand closes around hers as she speaks, seeming genuinely interested in her explanation of her life. "You've definitely lived a life, I almost feel like I didn't do much at all." he laughs, and smiles, shaking his head. "I worked for a long time to become FBI, went to college for investigation. I spent some time as a licensed bounty hunter to get some experience, went to protect my family during the war, then I ended up in SESA when it got formed."

"Doing the things you did, it's much harder than anything I can imagine." He leans in a little, locking eyes. "You really are something interesting."

It makes sense that he got where he is through something like the bureau- it also tells Delilah a lot about his dedication, that he would go back to something like it. Her thumb brushes over the close of his hand, friendly in her own way.

“I never really got the chance to go to school for much of anything. Barely got a GED- the first midtown bomb went off when I was in high school.” Delilah’s free hand fiddles with her cup. “It spiraled out from there. Manifested a couple years later.” She rolls a shoulder in a slight shrug. Shit happens.

“After I was at Cambridge… I helped the Ferry start moving people west, north. I didn’t do a lot of fighting in the war, but… saw a lot anyway. Came back eventually. Thought about staying out west, but I can’t seem to not want to help people.”

So here she is.

"I just always wanted some way to give back to the community, to be someone who would be there if corruption was happening, and then say no to it. I grew up around a lot of police corruption, so I thought, okay, if I become a fed, I've got authority over them. Well, that was my logic as a kid." Rasheed shrugs, his lips upturning in a very helpless sort of smirk. "I love helping people, and I'm probably one of if not the only person in the world who can do what I do, so I'm particularly suited to investigation."

"I can investigate a crime scene, but I can't sew." he says for no immediately apparent reason, unless one thinks about the fact that they compared educations a bit. "Sewing is a lot harder, at least in my opinion." His coffee is nearly empty, so he slides it to the side and moves his free hand to join the other. "Delilah, you're free, I'm free. There anywhere you wanna go? I'll take you."

There is a deliberate sort of intensity to his offer, and Delilah can’t help but wonder if this is how he always does this. So far he is a tactile person, but not at all in a bad way.

“You are definitely not the only one.” She prefaces the rest with this and a canted smile. “Known a couple.” Delilah shakes her head and seems to think on his question now. “Hmm. day school isn’t out til later,” She checks an invisible watch, then taps at her chin, a thoughtful emote. “Maybe you can show me that GT of yours? And if you like books, I know a place that keeps some interesting finds… Found a paperback volume of 9th Wonders, once.”

It doesn't take much to into Rasheed Mustang's car, at least not for Delilah. They soon find themselves driving around. He does stop at the bookstore with her, but as time flies, it's near time for Walter to get out of school, so as he's driving, he looks over at her and asks, "You need to pick your kid up? I don't mind driving. I mean, I'm pretty confident that I'm cool as hell, so I think I'll make a good impression."

The drive serves them well enough; the pair hangs out to browse the bookshelves, find a few things worth a laugh, chit-chat between rows of hand-me-down romances and well-loved novels- and by the end of the visit they seem to keep that mood going as they head back to the car. Much as she did the first time, Delilah practically sinks into the passenger seat, grinning ear to ear over it. She really digs the car.

“It’s almost time, yeah-” Dee checks the dash, brows lifting at Rasheed’s offer. She laughs softly for his assertions. He’s not wrong. He’s pretty cool. “I wouldn’t want to impose- usually I just walk there and then home with him. But if you’re sure you’re okay with it, I absolutely don’t mind a ride.”

"I don't mind at all. I'm not on duty, and kids are cool as hell! They still appreciate dinosaurs." Rasheed starts messing with his GPS, waiting for the name of the school. "So, is this stuff," he motions his head around to sort of… indicate what they're doing right now. "Harder with a kid? I haven't dated in a while, so much work. But it's a question I never thought to ask."

Delilah relays the address of the school building when prompted; it’s in a relatively quiet part of town, and blended with kids of all ages. She sits back, head tilting towards the driver’s seat as he starts a new line of questions. The investigative mind, and all that jazz.

“Sometimes? I guess it can be.” Delilah rolls the window down a crack, wind puffing at the front of her hair. “I put him first, and sometimes people don’t understand that.” Her smile softens, eyes on the road. “I don’t get to go out at normal ‘going out’ times unless I get a sitter, for instance. If I can’t, I don’t go.”

But from the sound of it, she is okay with that.

"That's understandable. There are times with me when a serious investigation has to come first. It's not the same as a kid, but there are families and victims who depend on me to get results, or the victims who can no longer say or do anything, but deserve justice. Solving cases as soon as possible… it's essential."

He's already on the way to the school, no hesitation in his driving, his turns. "And I particularly do a lot of investigating abilities that go batshit crazy, people who have no idea what's happening to them, and that can put their lives in danger. Killed by a frightened neighbor, by their own ability, themselves. And because of my ability, I'm in a unique position to handle certain dangerous situations."

Though her experiences with law enforcement have been all over the chart, Delilah knows that it’s people like Rasheed that get the good work done. The ones that are devoted to right. Justice can be a foggy thing- but generally speaking there tends to be better ideas and worse ones. Dee errs towards a light gray, but they all need the white knights sometimes. She listens as he drives, watching his profile and the road ahead while she mulls his words over.

“I mentioned it a little before, but that was definitely me. Manifested around people, had no idea what it was. It was bad.” Delilah seems to escape into the blurry memory of it, just for a second. “I’m glad that these days there are people like you around in government… People that give a damn about what happens, even moreso.” Something in her voice has that maternal quality, almost as if it were anyone’s mom saying, ‘I’m proud of you’.

Because she is. Someone has to be Good.
“So… I know you mentioned something about time… but can you tell me about yours?” Delilah tilts her head, curious but cautious. “Or is that one of those ‘I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you’ things?”

"The simple answer is that I can reverse time. The complicated answer is that reversing time has… consequences, depending on how you do it, and what you do it to. There are…" Rasheed speaks with extreme caution about his ability, but his tone doesn't suggest it's a secret, his tone suggests a certain level of fear, of the ability itself. "I don't tell people about certain aspects of it, because it tempts them to ask me to do things that I absolutely have to refuse. People just don't understand the extreme consequences. Not to me, but to them. They think the consequences are worth it, and they never are."

He says all of this very seriously, but then he smiles as they get closer to the school. "But of more public record, I usually use it to reverse crime scenes, and collect new evidence that's been cleaned up or lost. I've literally seen walls bleed"

“You don’t need to worry about me asking for stupid things. I’ve- dealt with space-time and all of that fun shit.” Delilah smiles sadly, brow lifted in a knit of concern. Walls that bleed? Is that the kind of thing that her son has ahead of him? “Long story short, Rasheed- I’ve practically committed things like Bradbury’s Sound of Thunder and Lorenz papers to memory.” Something about saying it makes it sound like- some strange reading. “Chaos theory, string theory, multiverse theory- I kind of had to learn it.”

She does not say why. Instead, she focuses on the street outside of the car, and the asphalt ahead, brown eyes worried in silence.

“SESA is lucky to have someone like you.” Delilah settles on that much, nodding with certainty. The school is just ahead, marked out by parked cars, a bus, and milling kids and parents at the gate.

The window on Dee’s side rolls down as they slide up. She sticks her head out, hands cupped around her mouth when she yells, a laugh following.

“Oy, check the ride!”

She is skilled at picking out the very faint groan of her seven year old as Rasheed parks. He’s hiding behind a sixth grader, debating whether or not to pretend he didn’t see his mother trying to embarass him in front of his friends.

Though admittedly, said friends seem more interested in the car.

Perceived embarrassment, okay?

"Sounds like you've been through a lot. I can tell that you haven't time traveled recently, if you ever have before." Rasheed says as if it's just something that he'd just know, and then gently nudges her arm. "You've gotta get out so he can get into the back." he explains, smiling.

"Why don't we go hang out in that old school arcade that opened? I hear they're good about keeping the electricity up." he suggests, since it's a potentially fun child activity. "Or, whatever you want. I don't know what you get up to after school." he defers to Delilah, as she is the mother, after all.

Not her, specifically. That additional fact earns a momentary squint.

“I’m gettin’ there! And they aren’t getting much homework at this time of year, so not much of late… a change of pace would be nice.” Delilah laughs when he nudges her, angling around to undo her seatbelt and slide out of the passenger seat. There are some kids bellying up to the car, though they don’t get touchy over it- just cooing about it. They don’t see these kinds of fancy cars often. Usually, rightfully, they belong to someone important.

“Hey, squirt.” One of them is a slim, red-haired boy- whom Delilah tugs into her arms, one hand ruffling at his hair. He’s easier to pick out once you know what to look for, all freckles and ginger and vulpine features.

“Moooooommmm-” Walter’s hands press at the invading one on his head, even as she pulls him close to the car and leans down to look at the driver inside, hand popping the door open and sliding the seat forward.

“Rasheed, Walter. Walter, Rasheed. He’s giving us a ride today.” Despite the natural almond shape of his features, Walter’s eyes still grow like saucers. He gets to ride in it? Delilah just ushers him into the back without fanfare.

“Hi, Rasheed! Oh man-! This is way cooler than walking .” The best compliments come from kids.

Rasheed tilts his head at Walter for a moment, then looks to Delilah, but he doesn't say anything, even though it's clear there's something in his eyes. "Hey, Walter! You know, some people call me Agent Mustang." because kids love secret agents in secret agent cars.

"So, we're going to the arcade!" he announces, waiting for Delilah to get settled in.

He does, however, take a moment to honk at the other kids, to acknowledge them.

“Haha- really?! The arcade?” There’s a look at Delilah, who just gives him a nod. “An agent of what? Is your name really Mustang, or is that cause of your car?” Walter is oblivious to any sort of silent exchange between the adults; if this were less of an exciting event, he might see something in his mother that seems to re-gauge Rasheed. Delilah meets Rasheed’s gaze with a level, neutral look as she slides back into the car.

The only thing that gives her away is the crease of brow above her nose, meaningful but short-lived, questioning him without words. There was something to that look, but she doesn’t know what- she can only guess. Soon, the look is replaced by a smile, which Dee aims back into the rear seat.

“Seatbelt, sir.”

"I'm an agent of SESA, my name is Rasheed Mustang, I have the car because of my name." Rasheed answers all of his questions pretty easily, waiting for Walter to strap in his seatbelt before he starts to move.

He shifts a subtle eye in Walter's direction, so that only Delilah can really see it. Then he mouths the word 'time', with a raise of an eyebrow, as if the word is actually a question.


“SESA? Cool… that’s primal.” Slang these days. Walter listens well enough, judging by the zip-click of his seatbelt, backpack on the seat next to him. He watches Rasheed as much in the rear view as he does over the shoulder, looking between his mother and the man driving “Mum…? Um. Uh. Nevermind.” Whatever he was going to ask, he doesn’t, looking at his lap and then out the windows.

Delilah catches Rasheed’s more purposeful mouthing of a short question, of course; her mouth tightens at the edges, tinted lips and dark eyes adopting a resigned expression.

“One day.” She whispers back, keeping it in the front seat. It explains a lot. Even why she shied the first time he told her about his own. Delilah glances back to her son when he calls out, and gives him a squint when he brushes it off. Okay then.

Rasheed raises an eyebrow, but then just nods and keeps driving. "I DJ a little, on the side. Mostly for fun, but I think I'm pretty good at it." he says, always confident with his little comments. It doesn't take them long to get to the arcade, a place that tries to keep the power going with the help of donated generators and someone who was clever enough to use an acid manipulation ability to recharge old batteries.

He steps out, helping Delilah and Walter as well, ruffling the kid's red head a few times. "This is all on me, so go nuts."

Delilah is silently glad that he doesn’t press- at least right now. There is a time for everything. She nods with gratitude in return, checking once more on Walter in the back as they pull off again.

“Looks like things are bumpin’ here, huh?” Dee says this as they pile out of the mustang, grinning when Rasheed tousles the seven year old’s hair. Walter doesn’t seem to mind, only giving a small noise of protest(that turns into a giggle) but no effort made to stop it. Dee holds out her hand by second nature, and Walter is still at the age to grab it without a second thought. “We haven’t been here in a while, have we?” She turns her head to him, getting a shake of the head and a laugh.

“It was someone’s birthday I think…” Walter can’t recall whose it was, but he remembers pizza and video games. He turns a widened look at Rasheed, which honestly will probably happen several more times without the kid realizing. “Whoa, really? Mom, where’d you find this guy? He’s awesome! The last one was such a jerk…” Kids and the lack of filters, right?

"A jerk, huh?" Rasheed asks with a slight snicker, holding the door for them as they all head inside. "Lot of old school games, stuff before even our time. Not that we're all that old." He pulls out a five, looking to Delilah for permission first, then moves to hand it to Walter. "Go get some quarters."

Turning his attention back to Delilah, he asks, "It's been a while since I could go out like this. My cases become very consuming, like I was saying earlier. But you seem chill, and cool."

When Walter goes on about the last one, Dee just rubs at her forehead, smiling sheepishly. The five gets a nod, and once the boy is told to get quarters- he practically grows wings on his shoes. His mother keeps him in sight, watching as he heads to the counter.

“It's nice to get out.” Delilah saves her peripheral vision for her son, brown eyes tipping up to Rasheed’s. “Thank you. And thank you for this. You're not so bad either, you know.” Her expression brightens and she gives him a little elbowing. It's somewhere on the same level as if she'd gone for fingerguns- a feeling of silliness- but it is honest, and comes with that wide smiling. “And I definitely judge people on how they treat my scamp. So you're already ahead.”

"Hey, I might not know a lot about kids, but I did used to be one." Rasheed smiles, reachiing to take her hand and lead her to the counter. "Let's go get some change and play a few games ourselves. It's about time we got to waste some time outside of work."

And that's pretty much what they'll end up doing for the next few hours, playing a ridiculous amount of vintage arcade games.

Especially Ninja Turtles and the Simpsons.

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