Always With You


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Scene Title Always With You
Synopsis After the dream he was visiting comes to an end, Corbin gets to speak briefly to the woman who's always there.
Date December 31, 2009

Ichihara Bookstore Dreamscape

Water drips down from soaked clothes, an expanded puddle on the floor boards causing a dripping sound. The books on the floor damp and potentially ruined, but the bookstore it seems like he's standing in isn't really a bookstore. The windows are blank, with nothing visible through them. It's not nearly as cold as it should be. Only a handful of lights are turned on, flickering a little as if the power isn't quite right. There's no sign of the white cat with curious black eyebrow like markings, and the closed sign is turned around.

It's been only seconds since Corbin wished himself here, rather than the garden of before. His hands grip confusedly at the air, unsure what happened to the young woman he'd been holding on to a moment before. All that's left to show he had grabbed her at all is the dampness on his hands, the splash of liquid on his jeans and brightly colored flowery shirt.

"Kaylee?" he asks outloud, looking around the dark bookstore.

"You can't hold on to water with your hands," comes the warm voice from behind Corbin, as thick and feverishly hot arms wrap around him from behind over his shoulders, chalky pale skin and jet black sleeves that are heated like well slept-in blankets. Leaning over one of Corbin's shoulders, her pale face comes to rest cheek to cheek, eyes shrouded by black cloth, inky tendrils of hair flowing watery from her head, drifting in ephemeral grace in the erratically lit air, "don't you know anything?"

Hokuto Ichihara's dream form is different from most other people's, in the way that it is only passingly like her waking self. Far more confident, far more tactile, far more inscrutable. Leaning her weight against Corbin's back, she embraces him tightly, and in that embrace the lights come on in warm orange glow, as if the power kicked back on. Outside, it's snowing dark gray snowflakes, orange lights gleaming between buildings. It's best not to think about what is outside.

"You did as good as I could hope for." Praise comes after comfort, and Hokuto's ash gray lips press to Corbin's cheek tenderly. "It's good to see you again."

"I wasn't holding onto water a minute ago," Corbin complains, grasping his hands into fists as he gives up trying to hold on to something that isn't there. Eyes close for a moment as he leans his cheek against her lips. He knows it's a dream, and he knows that he's here because of her… but for a moment he doesn't really mind as much. If only cause… she's there. It's more than she's been there for a time, now. The closest he's gotten to this is touching her hand while she slept. Which admitedly he did more than a few times…

"Good to see you again too— but what the hell just happened back there?" The dream felt real and unreal at the same time. It's not that she never visited his dreams before, but there's differences. It wasn't his own dream at all, it was someone else's. His hands open, holding onto her tiny arms as if trying to keep them there.

"Was that real? Is Kaylee alright? Are you all right?"

"Dreams are like water, they take the shape of what contains them. Put water in a cup and it becomes the cup; dreams are much the same." Hokuto rests her chin on Corbin's shoulder, and then as she settles back to sit on the floor, she's drawing him into her arms to sit in her lap. Arms change posture, sliding from above to beneath his arms, hands flat against Corbin's chest. "She awoke, I'm blind to her well-being now, that's where you'll be helpful… more so than you already have. You might have saved her." But there's no real certainty in Hokuto's voice.

A kiss is offered to Corbin's temple, it's a bit awkward, she's not nearly this affectionate in her waking form. "I'm…" Her lips creeps up into a smile against his temple, "doing better. People need me here, if I wake up, I break the link between everyone. I'm their… only hope, and they're mine, really." Dark brows furrow behind the fabric of her blindfold. "Did Helena find you?"

"I'll try to give her a call when I wake up," Corbin says, wondering if he'll remember the dream very well. His hands move to clasp hers, holding her hands tighter against his chest. "That's important to know. Kaylee and I were thinking about trying to wake you up— she's a telepath, but if you need to stay asleep, I'll just have to let you sleep." His fingers tighten around her hand, as if he doesn't want to do that. At least they hadn't tried yet.

"Miss Dean said you were sending her in to other people's dreams to save them. She didn't mention you were going to do that to me." Apparently the blonde forgot that little detail, or wanted to surprise him. He doesn't know which it is, but— Surprise.

At least he apparently did well. "Why me? I'm not Evolved."

Corbin can tell from her posture and the cant of her head that Hokuto is rolling her eyes behind that blindfold — assuming she has any behind them — no wait that's a terrible thought, scratch that. "She forgot…" the dream-walker concedes, exhaling a sigh that comes out with a tiny wisp of smoke, like she had just inhaled a cigarette. "Typical Helena." Quirking one brow, Hokuto squeezes Corbin just a little tighter, letting her chin come to rest down on his shoulder again.

"Evolved and not doesn't matter in dreams, Helena should've taught you that too." Her nose brushes gainst Corbin's ear as she talks. "She knows secrets of dreams, knows how to defend herself. You need to ask her about them, about strength, about protection, about shadows." There's a touch of lips to his cheek, and then she breaks apart into smoky whisps off darkness, sending Corbin down a half foot to bump onto the floor, even as she swirls in black shades of darkness flecked with starlight within. The sea of black and stars reforms in her shape again, thin streams of darkness weaving her clothing onto her body after bare and pale flesh forms, beginning at the black mandala tattoo at the center of her chest.

"There are others, Logans and Mortimers." Plural both, which is a bit disconcerting. "You should… look for them," there's a twirl of her fingers in the air, winding a floating lock of hair around her finger as she slowly turns to look back at Corbin. "You're stronger here than anywhere else. Haven't you ever watched any movies?" Hokuto's lips creep up into a smirk, at least she still teases the same.

"Well she is a teenager, they…" Corbin was going to finish talking there, but the woman he was holding onto disappears — drops him and then appears before him naked, clothes forming after everything else. He's left stumbled on the floor again, looking surprised, and lips parted a bit. Um. That. "I've seen more movies than you have," he adds in self defense, scratching at his short beard on his chin in nervousness. No, he didn't look away when she clothed herself, but—

Maybe he didn't have to.

"So basically you're planning to toss me into people's dreams so I can keep them from doing stupid things like letting the Bad Dream Guy drown them in a garden pond… Looks like I have more questions for the little lady of Phoenix than I thought." Things that won't be listed in an article as an interview, certainly.

"Will you be with me while I'm helping people? It felt like I could hear you."

Hokuto turns towards Corbin, looking at him very seriously for a moment, her dark brows furrowing. "I…" there's an emotion in her voice that souns uncharacteristic of her, "am always with you, Corbin." The tone she takes is as if somehow Corbin didn't realize something, like the sky was blue or water is wet. But her tone changes when she turns away, when her hands folds up within her sleeves and that glittering starlight still clinging in her hair dims down to darkness.

"Even when he is near…" there's that emotion in her voice again, "I am there." Nodding her head once, Hokuto shifts her weight to one foot and then begins to walk, moving to the doors of the shop, looking out the glass pane windows to a glowing orange ember drifting down from the sky. She turns again, brows furrowing. "I'm sorry, Corbin…"

A pale hand is held out towards him, and the expression he can see on her face is one of true sadness. "But you need to wake up."

"I'm glad to hear that," Corbin admits, following her a bit towards the edges of the windows. He kicks over a stack of books by accident, much as he often does each day in the stores. Her apology, her words… He needs to wake up. Even then, he reaches out for her, trying to touch her shoulder, her hair, but expecting she can flow through his fingers like she did before.

"But wait, you— how much longer do you think you'll need to do this?" His voice sounds worried, he tries to look past her out the windows to see what she might be seeing.

When he takes Hokuto's hand, Corbin can feel her touch as icy cold now, and over her shoulder, out the smooth and multi-paned windows of the Ichihara bookstore New York City is nothing but a gutted ruin of burning buildings ravaged by fire. Charred paper blows from the gutted skies of skeletal skyscrapers, embers and sparks of glowing fire fall from choking black clouds of ash and smoke, and the horizon burns orange-red in the distance. Cars charred black and stripped by atomic fire are caked with a thick later of dust and grime, and Hokuto knows.

"Long enough to end this…" she says with the finality of someone who thinks she might be saying goodbye; In a way, she is.

Because Corbin wakes up in a cold sweat, reaching out for a hand that is not there.

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