Célébrez La Liberté


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Scene Title Célébrez La Liberté
Synopsis Daphne and Alex celebrate le quatorze juillet in Paris and discuss their love of freedom.
Date July 14, 2010


After a long, wet run across the Atlantic ocean, Daphne and Alex arrived in Paris just in time to catch the tail end of the Bastille Day parade. Freshly purchased, yet-to-be-tasted refreshments were snatched from the hands of cafe patrons before they could blink an eye, and the speedster and the madman found a stoop to sit on to enjoy the croissants, gafres and coffee while watching the red, white and blue bedecked soldiers, horses, floats and the like parading down Champs-Élysées.

Daphne's made the most of the trip with a few stops to shopping boutiques along the way — some of her new possessions were paid for and others merely "borrowed." The determining factor on whether she pays or not does not seem to be based on money but rather on whether or not she likes the salespeople.

Now past sunset, Daphne has found them a spot on the brick-lain "banks" on the Seine just across from the Eiffel tower to watch the fireworks. The towheaded speedster leans her head back against the wall where the two sit on a picnic blanket (stolen, of course) with a picnic basket of wine and cheese and chocolate. It'd be very romantic — if she had any inclination to date the man. "So how's that for a day?" she says, perhaps a touch smugly.

"Best day since I've been out." Alex easily admits, though he doesn't say out of where. He's still wearing his suit, watching the fireworks with his legs crossed, occasionally looking over at her. "I almost envy your ability, you can go anywhere and do anything, the ultimate freedom. My entire goal in life is the freedom to do whatever I want. Being an inventor and a thrill seeker all in one, it's not the easiest thing to express myself without getting arrested."

She arches a brow at that, pouring a bit of champagne into a paper cup. The people she stole it from apparently didn't believe in crystal flutes. "Yeah, I like my freedom. Part of me thinks I should just move over here full time, since every second over there, it's like more and more freedoms are getting not just stepped on but, like, scuffed into the dust." This is said with a scowl as she brings the cup to her lips and takes a swallow. "How long have you been out of where was it you were?" Two questions rolled into one grammatically-inaccurate question.

Alex grabs his paper cup, taking small sips as the bright lights reflect on his now completely mercurial eyes, like two metallic spheres. "I don't care a whole lot about fighting the government, I'll leave that to the terrorists. I just want to make money and whatever freedom it'll afford me when I have it. But as soon as the government decides, they'll probably try to lock me in a lab and force me to build things." That's his deduction at least. "You saw there were two of me, in that dream. Well, I'm the third me. Except I was trapped in the dreams, for a long time. I've only been out for a few weeks, experiencing all of these things I have memories of but have never done. The other two are in the dreams now, well, most of the time. It's complicated."

The speedster listens and tilts her head curiously. She doesn't understand what he says about being a third him and the two being caught in the dreams, but there's a lot she doesn't understand about those dreams. All she knows is that she wants to put them behind her, along with the lingering issues that still haunt Corbin.

"So your power lets you build these machines? Or like, the shoes you're going to make me? Don't make them ugly. I won't wear them if they're ugly," she warns him, picking up a bit of brie spread on green apple and crunching it. "The fireworks should start soon. I should probably head back after that unless you don't think you can make it without sleeping," she says, watching the Eiffel's golden reflection on the water.

"They won't be ugly, aesthetics are important. But yeah, with my ability I can make anything I want, with some limitations. I really really hate computers, so I try to stick to traditional methods." Alex holds his cup over for a refill, sighing with a content look on his face. "We're in the most romantic city in the world, let's crash a ballroom dance or something."

"Well, there's a garden party for the President and stuff at the Palais de l'Élysée, but we'd have to go get black-tie-affair clothes," Daphne says, though it's not like she can't steal those in 30 seconds or less. But suddenly the Eiffel Tower is sparkling, little white lights twinkling up and down the iconic structure. The crowd oohs and ahs, and suddenly fireworks in the hues of red, white, and blue shoot off the sides of the tower. Daphne pulls out her cell phone and snaps pictures.

Alex reaches down and holds up his black tie, snickering, then just watches, not having a camera himself. "It's amazing, the engineering, and just how dangerous this all is, I don't think they even comprehend. But it's beautiful too…" He seems drawn into it, unable to look away. "I can see it all, how everything works, it's amazing on an entirely different level."

Daphne pulls her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around her legs and resting her chin on top. "Maybe. I think over-analyzing things for me makes them less beautiful, but I guess with a power like yours, it's probably different. Einstein said, 'The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.'" She tilts her head, watching the lights flash, squinting her eyes a little against the glare. "I'm more an art person, myself. Wanna know a secret?"

"Without my sight, it's like seeing one layer of a masterpiece, but when I'm really seeing, I can see it all, like some masterfully orchestrated chorus. For me, even a lightbulb is complex. A scientist or an engineer can't see like I see, I can take in the complexities but they're all so simple to me, so I can appreciate them." Alex turns his head to watch her, intrigued enough to be taken away from the display for a moment. "What is it?"

"The Mona Lisa in the Louvre is a counterfeit. Me and a friend stole the original. A long time ago now, so don't turn me in, I don't know what happened to it, so it's pointless. You won't get a reward for me or anything." She doesn't know what happened to the friend, for that matter — he went missing, back before the bomb went off in NYC. "Now that I'm pretty much set, I don't steal art, unless it's something I want for myself. Depends on the payment, of course."

She's not sure why she's telling him this, except that he probably won't repeat it to anyone. He seems to have his own dark past, which makes her trust him to a degree. "So you know, if you go to the Louvre the next time you're here, you can skip that room. Don't waste your time," Daphne adds. Nothing, in her mind, is worse than a waste of time.

"You stole the Mona Lisa? That really is freedom. I've committed a lot of crimes, but I've never gone for grand theft… at least not in the strict sense of the word. It sounds like something I'd want to experience, but I don't know anything about even selling stolen goods." Alex seems to be taking the confession in stride, still just enjoying the atmosphere of it all. "I'm legally dead, the police think I died in an explosion, but I don't make a large effort to hide the fact that I'm not dead. I have a secret underground base, and an entire gang of men I lead, but I'm still trying to find a direction in this life I've been given. The real world."

"I could probably go underground and no one would know the difference, but I like to exist legally. Kinda paradoxical, maybe, 'cause that ties me to certain things, but, I donno. I like to look at my state ID card and see my name and know I exist and people know I exist — even people I don't know. That I am an entity and that I live somewhere other than in my own flesh." It's one of the reasons she doesn't have five or six aliases. She can get in and out of any locale with her ability — there's no reason to hide, most of the time, when you move too fast to be caught, even by camera. Except now there's such thing as negation gas.

"But freedom — it's probably about the most important thing to me, in my life. It's why I like to come here, on this day. And I'm a sap and I love Independence Day, too. Most people'd probably think I'm a total anarchist or something, but people fighting for their freedom from those who are unjust and then trying to make a better world? That's my kind of holiday," she says, as the fireworks finally finish, leaving a smoky halo around the Eiffel Tower.

"I didn't become legally dead on purpose, I'd like to somehow have an identity, but that's probably not possible. I wouldn't know where to start, and I don't like the idea of being the government's tool to make weapons. Not that I mind making weapons." Alex looks down into his cup, swirling it around a few times, and cranes his head to look at her. "I don't know how, but, I want to be as free as you. I wish I could have your life."

"I know people who can get you an identity if you want one," Daphne says with a shrug. At least on paper. "And I'm really good at running, but the rest of life is more complicated when I stop, so I don't know how great it really is. I still feel trapped sometimes. I'm afraid of what's going on in New York — I wanted to leave it, but there's someone there I'm staying for. That makes me nervous. I feel caged at times, but then I can always run off for a day or two like now, and go back again, I guess."

She stares up at the sky, a hand reaching up to push a lock of blonde hair out of her face. "I'm just afraid one day I'll stay too long, and… everything will be lost. I'm not Registered, and they're cracking down on that. And they say that flu was designed to kill people like us — I almost died, you know? And even if I hadn't died… some people lost their powers for good. If that happens…" she trails off, and jumps to her feet. Too long in one place. "Let's go."

"But once you're legally dead, I don't know, it feels like you're a ghost walking around, a ghost with robots that follow him around." Alex stands and reaches for Daphne's hand, taking a deep breath while they're standing still. "I hope we can hang out again, you're possibly the funnest person I've met since I've been out. Everyone else still talks to me like I'm those other two I used to be."

She reaches down to pick up the cup of champagne, taking another couple of swallows to empty it, then grabs the food to shove n her courier bag for mid-trip refreshments on the Daphne Express. "Well, sure. After all, you're making my Air Daphnes, right? Maybe instead of a swoosh I can have a cool stylized 'D.'" She gives him an impish grin, and then the bricked sidewalk and the Eiffel tower and the picnickers and patriots of Paris become nothing more than blurs, the only thing in his vision that's clear and in focus Daphne herself for the next several hours until they reach the Empire State.

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