Catching Dust Bunnies and Roadrunners


corbin2_icon.gif daphne_icon.gif

Scene Title Catching Dust Bunnies and Roadrunners
Synopsis Gabriel the cat catches the former, and Corbin catches the latter when Daphne stops off on her way to Paris.
Date May 31, 2010

Le Rivage: Corbin's Apartment

April in Paris didn't happen, but if she hurries, Daphne Millbrook might just make it for the remaining couple of hours of May in the city of lights. After leaving Odessa at the Nite Owl, she dropped off the file she had stolen, met with her employer for that little gig, and got paid for the fruits of her labor — pretty well, considering that her labor took all of five minutes and she came away with a wad of hundred dollar bills equaling $5,000.

Now in her apartment, she hurries about, packing a large backpack of just the essentials for a trip across the Atlantic. On one dresser, she reaches for a Fossil box that contains her favorite watch, and her sleeve catches on something, knocking it to the floor.

Bending, Daphne picks up the fallen item — a toy motorcycle made of tin, stamped 1943, Munich on the bottom. The little toy has a sidecar and a rider on both car and bike. She had found it in the mud of the camp she had travelled to with Kazimir, after Hiro Nakamura accidentally flung her in time. Her breath catches in her throat. She grabs her bag and becomes a blur, moving across the city in a streak of cream and navy blue and black and red until she gets to Corbin's building.

There, she steals the keys from behind the manager's desk and makes her way to the apartment — her goal simple: leave the motorcyle among Corbin's collection of miniature vehicles, a goodwill gesture, a token of friendship — and leave New York behind — perhaps for good.

Sometimes things don't work out as planned. The apartment only recently got power back, and many people are still moving back in from shelters, and one such person happens to be Corbin Ayers. Moving back in, only to pack up and move out again. As soon as the deadbolt and other locks are all undone, it becomes obvious that the apartment is in a state of moving. Boxes packed up in various places, and even the precious toy car and motorocycle collection on a bookshelf in his bedroom is packed up and missing. A white cat with inquisitive eyebrow-like markings on her face sits in their place, looking up at the speeding blur that just fluffed the fur on his face.

The missing collection may give her enough pause to allow what happens next. The door to the bedroom closes quickly, where a ragged looking Company Agent stands in the dim light of the mostly packed up room. The bed remains, because it's one of the last things. The window escape is in the living room. All the windows in the bedroom don't have easy opening latches.


The speedster, still dressed in her navy blue peacoat and the (new) Olympic tuque, whirls around in a blur before her form coalesces a split second later, her heart pounding as she realizes she can't just run away. Her eyes dart from him to the window to the cat and back to him. Her brows furrow and her mouth screws up in a frown as she considers her options.

There are not that many. And she's the one trespassing.

"Hi," she finally manages, scowling a little more, but it's directed at the ground, like a child caught doing something wrong. "I … was just dropping something off. I didn't think you'd be here. You're moving?"

"Planning on it," Corbin responds in whispered tones, where he keeps his hand down against the door knob to make sure she doesn't zoom out as quickly as she entered. "I moved here to be closer to a job I no longer have, so I'm looking into other options." He leaves out that he might try to take on a roommate, or move into the bookstore. If it survives the eventual flooding…

"It's good to see that you recovered," he says, the speed at which she was moving having the time to process now that she's slowed down again. The breeze had been an indiction, and he just happened to be in the right place to close the door quickly. In a way, he doesn't want to think what would have happened if he hadn't been.

"I've tried to call a few times, Teo mostly, to find out how you've been, but the cellphones don't work very well, and I can't use my work phone for that." The Company issue phones would be too easily tracked and traced. Not something he wants right now. "What were you dropping off?"

Suddenly their conversation gets a new voice, a soft mwrol sound, as Gabriel hops off the shelf and proceeds to pounce on a dust bunny. The apartment has been empty long enough they've multiplied.

The jumping of the cat makes Daphne jump a little, a quick blur of her frame for a split second before she is still again. She nods once and stands rather still, dark eyes glancing down to his hand on the door knob. She isn't afraid of Corbin — she knows he would never harm her, not physically — but every instinct in her says to run.

"I … just something I found and thought you might like," she says, quietly, reaching into her pocket to find the motorcycle toy. She cleaned and polished it, and found on eBay a similar toy that was receiving bids for thousands of dollars. She steps forward and hands him the piece of tin.

"I was on my way out of town and I figured I'd drop it off," she says finally in a feigned cheerful tone.

Not everyone has the ability of lightning reflexes, so Corbin might seem postitively slow in his responses, first reaching away from the doorknob to take the tin motorcycle with sidecar into his hands and hold it. Collecting toy cars had been a hobby of his since he was a kid, which she knew from the sight of his collection in his bedroom. "Where did you get this? These— this should be worth thousands." And perhaps she stole it for him! But even that somehow doesn't make him angry. There's worse reasons to steal something…

"This is— it's probably going to be the most expensive piece in my collection. And the oldest. It doesn't even look old…" But at the same time as his gushing over her present to him, he has something else rubbing at the moment, wearing it down…

"So you were planning to just drop this off and… go out of town." There's a twinge around his eyes and he stops blocking the door, walking over to the bookshelf instead to set it down there. Gabriel looks up with a ball of dust in his teeth as if wondering if he should pounce that instead.

The door is unblocked. Daphne eyes it for a moment, before turning to look at the motorcycle, standing alone in all its glory on the bookshelf. Her brows knit, but then she lifts her chin and gives a little halfway shrug. "It's from Germany," she says, helpfully. "I didn't steal it. It was covered in mud." Little details that he doesn't need help to pile up a like a little wall to protect her.

"I was going to go to Paris, not that the weather's let up. Wasn't safe, you know, with the storm, before," Daphne says with another shrug. "I was talking to this girl earlier today and suddenly it just made sense to go. I mean… everything's a wreck here and it's getting worse. It's going to get worse. Sure, the sun's out and all, but … the flu? The storm? Apparently that's nothing. And I figured if the world's gonna end, I might as well be looking at Notre Dame from the banks of the Seine when it goes."

In many ways, running away seems the easiest, sanest thing to do. Can he blame her for wanting to go across to Paris and live out the days somewhere less… New York. Just like Hollywood knew for decades, everything bad that happens can happen in New York. From terrorist attacks, to natural disasters. Everything can happen in New York. And it's filling the quota the last few years. A few years ago, after her mother's funeral, Hokuto had told him that she was leaving the Company… and he kept his opinion to himself. Corbin knew she wouldn't go far, not like what it sounds like the speedster is planning, but it's not just that…

"Don't," he starts quietly, as the cat flicks his tail around and chases the dust bunny under the bed. His own paws ended up knocking it there, rolling out of sight. "Don't leave," he continues, voice still slow and quiet. "I can't promise the world won't be destroyed, or that anything will get better, but…"

There's a quick blink, and he glances away over his shoulder toward the blank white wall, as if he saw something in the corner of his eye. Blue eyes remain there a moment, before he looks back at her. When he speaks, his voice has changed a bit, becoming more forceful. "I want to know if there was anything to what we had. And I can't do that if you go to Paris."

Daphne glances up at the 'don't.' No one has really in their life told her to stay. For a moment, sure. But not in any way that really mattered. Her eyes are wide as she stares at him, the dark depths glimmering as they grow wet and hot. Her head begins to turn to the left, the beginning of a shake, but it stops before returning.

"I don't know," she finally says, an honest answer to his words, as if they were a question, although they weren't. "We said it wasn't. Anything that is. Friendship, with … benefits." She pauses. "That's what we said." The implication is that what was said isn't necessarily what was, or what, perhaps, could be.

"I liked you," she adds, her voice a whisper, with a shrug of one shoulder. Her eyes flicker to the wall he looked at, then back to him.

As if taking up that implication, Corbin takes a few steps closer to her, "Then I want to know what it could be." There's the sound of a scuffle under the bed. One would think the cat had found something more interesting than a dust bunny to chase, but all cats are a little insane… This one's no different. Perhaps a little more insane than some, even.

"I've done waiting, and distance… We weren't just friends with cheesecake benifits… I know I kept you at a distance because…" Because of the ghost lingering over his shoulder, the painted key close to his heart and the voice haunting his mind every so often.

Because he still thought he had a chance.

"Stay. At least for a little while, long enough to find out… Or if you have to leave, then… come back and visit." Another step closer to her, as he adds on a soft, "I'll even give you a key to my place this time." So she won't have to steal it from whatever manager he has next?

Daphne stares at him, dark eyes shining in her pale face, her heart pounding. For her, this is slow-motion, to be so still for so long, for him to take that step forward, and then another, but come no closer. Her lips press into a thin line and her brow knits again, as if she might cry.

After a painfully long moment — for her at least, even though it is her indecision that makes it so long, she reaches up to one shoulder, pulling the strap of the backpack down one arm, then swapping to the other and letting the backpack fall to the ground with a dull thud. She takes a step — and then another, and then there is a blur and she stands before him, a small hand taking his as she gazes up at him. "I missed you," she whispers.

From the sound of paws and a loud thunk against the wall, the blur of motion made the dust bunny get away. Gabriel recovers from the crash into the wall, with his paws down on top of it, head raised and ears perked up, as if declaring he's not letting it go. Ever! At least not until something else catches his attention.

Corbin's not paying attention to the cat, as he has something closer to grab at his attention. Or his hand, in this case. It doesn't take more than a breath before his free arm wraps around her and pulls her closer, and his scratchy beard covered chin touches her fluffy white hair. "I missed you too."

Mrowl. "I actually have the day off today," he offers, ignoring the cat who wants to get attention. He caught a dust bunny!

The tug into his body finds Daphne's arms wrapping around Corbin and her face getting pressed against his chest. There's a hitch of a breath that makes his hands on her back rise and fall before she exhales, a long slow sigh that exorcises so many hurts and aches. She tilts her head up finally — her pixyish face is all smile, though her dark eyes still sparkle with tears that now no longer need to fall.

"Funny thing… I was going to go to Paris, but I think my flight's cancelled," she whispers, before standing on her toes to press her smiling mouth against his.

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