Cheesecake Benefits


corbin_icon.gif daphne_icon.gif

Scene Title Cheesecake Benefits
Synopsis Daphne and Corbin come to a tentative understanding about their status.
Date February 22, 2010

Le Rivage Corbin's Apartment

Mingling with the beautiful people and the not-so-beautiful-but-rich people gets old quick, if you're Daphne Millbrook. Of course, there were plenty of people there who also didn't fit in, but when you're busy feeling like you're out of place, you don't notice everyone else who is also out of place. Daphne cut out of the party early, taking a little unpaid-for souvenir to her apartment before heading back out to the rainy night. Seeing other girls in their princess dresses dancing with handsome men in tuxes made her a little … well… cranky! And for some reason stealing the painting didn't take the edge off the bad mood.

Which left only one reason for the bad mood.

Daphne had tried to push away all the issues that she woke up to last Friday. The fact that Corbin was an agent with the secretive Company she's heard about. The fact that Corbin loves the woman that had literally made their lives and the lives of so many others living nightmares. The fact that he had seen her at her weakest — and at her absolute worst, on the day of her mother's death.

But pushing the issues to the side wasn't getting her anywhere. She heads to his apartment, a blur of white, zipping through streets and then lobby and then hallway until she knocks on his door.


That would be the sound of typing. And that's the only thing that the rap on the door happens to be interupting. Fingers moving over the laptop, Corbin Ayers is getting something typed out, when he suddenly stops at the new sound. He'd not been expecting anyone to visit… Pulling the screen down so that the computer goes into Sleep mode, he walks toward the door and peeks outside. Even all done up, the woman is recognized by what's visible of her hair.


The door unlocks, the chain falling to knock against the door as he pulls it open. Hair ruffled, facial hair stubbly and a little thicker than the last time she saw him, and blue eyes widened. Casually dressed, in t-shirt and jeans, he looks younger than he really is, and if he shaved the beard he'd look even younger than that. "Daphne," he says, voice giving away his surprise. "I didn't— I tried to…" He had called. A few times. But just as she'd been running away from her problems…

The white dress, the pinned up hair… He's pretty sure he didn't fall asleep on the keyboard.

"It's okay. I was out of town for the weekend, anyway. Ran over to Paris. Got the dress. Like it?" She does a little pirouette for him. Her feet are even in real heels, rather than a pair of Adidas or Nikes. "Went to Lindergoon's party, but it was a bore. Thought I'd come see if you wanted to share dessert with me." She lifts a bag she'd been holding behind her back — the same little cafe they'd gotten cheesecake at once before. "How are … things?" Awwwwwkward.

"Looking up, I think," Corbin says, despite the awkwardness of the question. Eyes dart down to look at the cafe package. It makes him smile. The door opens wider and he gestures inside, "Come on in." He'll hold the door open for her, and once she's inside, he closes it, only bringing over the chain and locking the doorknob so strangers can't wander inside if they start testing doors in the hall.

Not that that happens too often…

"The dress looks really nice. Even I didn't get an invite there, not even a press pass…" Or a Company one. "Though that's not really my kind of thing. I probably wouldn't pass the dress code."

Her cheeks are rosy from running in icy rain, but she shakes her head. "Just gotta pay. I was curious, and figured it would be fun. It wasn't. Boring, really. Reminds me why I don't dress up more often. A lot of work for nothing, you know?" Maybe he doesn't. Once inside, she winces, standing on one foot to pull off one strappy heel, and then hopping to the other to pull off the second. She drops the heels by the door. Super speed in heels is not something she recommends. She moves into the apartment proper, glancing here and there as if she hadn't been there once before — perhaps just to help keep her eyes occupied by something other than his blue eyes. "Your friend's awake?" she says softly. Her voice doesn't hold any hate for Hokuto, perhaps surprisingly.

"Can imagine it would be pretty dull," Corbin says, shrugging shoulders as he looks around the room, perhaps checking to make sure that it's all cleaned up. It's not. Unlike the last time she was here, he wasn't expecting company. There's a pair of pants on the floor next to the couch, which he moves closer to nudge under with his foot. He'll probably forget it's there and end up losing it for a few months…

"She's awake, yeah— going to spend a while longer in the hospital, but… she's awake." Deep breath, he scratches at his chin. "So you went to Paris?"

She moves to the couch and sits on the arm, rather than the cushion, perching rather precariously and looking ready to flee at any moment. She nods. "I used to live there," she offers. "After I left Kansas." Since he saw her home, she might as well allow him a little insight into her past. "Anyway, I just wanted to run… to go on a trip and not think of anything for a while, you know? It's really like nothing else. Though it was really really cold. Had to dip south and it took a little longer than I'd have liked, to avoid a storm. But… it really clears the head, you know? Salt water and open horizon." She pauses, dark eyes glancing up at him. "You ever been to Paris?"

"You can run on the ocean?" Corbin asks, obviously surprised at this development, despite having been involved with Evolved for years before most people knew they existed, he's still surprised to find some things out. "No, no, I've never been to Paris. I've barely left the country. I've been to Mexico and Canada, but that's the extent of my international travel, and most people wouldn't count that." Until recently, people didn't even need passports to visit those countries.

"I'm glad that you… There's a lot we need to talk about. About the— that last nightmare." Which she'd been running from, and he should probably try to avoid longer, but sometimes running directly into the storm is the only thing that can happen.

Not really smart to tell a Company agent that your power is even more powerful than they thought. Good job, Daphne, the speedster thinks to herself, but then, she isn't here to talk to a Company agent. She's here to talk to Corbin. "Yeah. Sorry I didn't call or come by earlier. I thought you'd be busy with her at first, and like I said, I just needed to get away a little bit," she says quietly. She finally reaches into the bag to pull out the styrofoam container and handing it to him. Inside is a piece of cheesecake with whipped cream — extra big for sharing.

And if Corbin isn't reporting on his best friend, the mass murderer, he probably won't be turning in the speedy little thief he asked out either. Itw ouldn't make sense, in this case. The container is taken, and he carries it into the kitchen, where he hasn't done dishes in a while. It takes a minute to find clean plates, that don't match, and silverwear. He'd done the dishes before she stopped in the last time too.

"I wasn't that busy. She fell asleep soon after she woke up. I still stop in and visit, but— she's usually asleep or resting or with the doctors. She spent so long using her ability that she needs to spend time not…" He trails off, and cuts the cake into two pieces. Not quite half— he saves some for left overs, and then hands her one plate with a fork.

"My second job shouldn't affect you, anymore than my other one did. You're not a job." He could write a article about her just as readily as a Company Report. And he's not planning to do either.

Her dark eyes narrow a little when he brings up his other job, but she accepts the plate. It's cheesecake after all. She won't be leaving until she has her half. "When I got my power," she begins, cutting into the cheesecake with the fork, "some guy wanted me to be a guinea pig or something. He's shown up a couple of times over the years. They must already know who I am … where I am… God, they knew the same day I did. I don't understand how. But if he knows, then I'm sure there's some file somewhere already, so it's not like it'd do you any good to turn me in, anyway."

Knew the same day she did… "You must have made a display of some kind that people could recognize," Corbin says quietly, frowning over at her as he says this. She didn't display her ability in front of him until they'd known each other a while, but he could see how others might notice it, a strange report over a police radio, or a hospital record of types. "They didn't have fancy tests back then, but they have ways of recognizing… it in people." They. We.

He grimaces. It's they either way. He'd never been much of a field agent. He could look in the archives and find what got written on her, but that would possibly draw attention. Someone would notice if he suddenly picked out a file…

Recently, the conflict of job versus life has become more and more difficult. "I first learned about Evolved when I just got out of college. I was … hired to write stories to help cover incidents. Lots and lots of gas leaks." He smiles, as if that's a joke, then starts to eat on his piece of cheesecake.

A display of some kind — the fact she could walk was certainly a display. "I just used it. I didn't flaunt it or anything. I had it for four hours. But it was a small town. News travels fast. Just not as fast as me." She smirks at the dumb joke. "So you only work for them by covering stuff up? That's not … that's not awful. I mean, you're not rounding up people to stick in pens so they can poke and prod and study them, right? I mean… especially before the Midtown thing happened, I guess it makes sense to keep people calm." Though part of her doesn't quite agree, and it shows in her eyes. She may be a thief, but she's a mostly honest thief.

"The way it was explained to me— people weren't ready to know the truth. That our job was to keep the general population from finding out people like you existed," Corbin explains softly, looking down at his cheesecake as he pokes at it with his fork. This is something he never imagined explaining to someone outside of the office, or outside of a job offer. "I think the way that people have reacted in the last three years shows that they weren't wrong. There's always going to be hate and fear when something like that's made public. Even if it would have happened under different circumstances…"

He trails off, shaking his head a bit. They covered up so many Evolved-caused deaths in his time there, that while it doesn't add up to the toll of destruction in midtown, it still had been quite a number. "I still work with them, but my job hasn't really been the same since the Bomb. There will always be stories that need to be covered up, though."

Daphne takes a bite of cheesecake as he talks, chewing slowly. Her brows knit together and she gives a slight shake of her head. "I don't know. I mean, yeah, I wish the world hadn't found out about people like me. So I guess I agree, at least before the bomb, that it was better to keep it classified. But where do you draw the line about what people have a right to know and what is better they don't?" Her reasons for agreeing with the cover-ups are wholly selfish, of course, and she recognizes this.

"Sometimes ignorance is more dangerous than knowledge. People can't protect themselves if they have no clue what’s really going on… And I'll bet for a lot of the scary things that were covered up, good things that Evolved people did were covered up too, back before the Bomb. Some of that might have helped people be less so afraid of us." She frowns, taking another bite of cheesecake. When did life get to freaking serious?

"I— you know I actually never thought of it that way," Corbin says with a shake of his head, amused by the thought that had never really crossed his mind. "It might be better if they'd known the good things that had been done before knowing of the worst possible scenerio first." The bomb wasn't the best way to introduce themselves to the world. Not at all. "Maybe my job wasn't the best, maybe there's other ways we could have done things, but I do think my job was important."

But did he do it right? Does everyone he works with really not take him seriously…

"I really only worked in paperwork. Maybe if my job ever becomes public knowledge I can write a book about all the good things I helped cover up." Well, he doubts they'll let him do that… but it's a nice thought.

"Don't worry. I never did anything that nice for anyone with my power so it's not like I'm offended," Daphne says, finishing her cheesecake. Like everything else, she does it a little faster than most folks! Though she doesn't shove big pieces in her mouth or fail to chew. She just doesn't dawdle over the eating. "Aside from helping you, and this nightmare nonsense, and … well, someone else I had to help," Hiro, but that was because she almost killed him, "I don't think I've really used my power for anything of any value." The last bit is a blatant lie — she's used it for a lot of value — just the monetary kind, but that's not what they're talking about here.

"I think the extent of my good deeds only look good on paper," Corbin says, noticing her slice is all gone, and looking down at his, which he's barely started. "Not everyone has to do good deeds. But there's a large disparity between the good and the bad. At least in what most people see. It's either selfish healer doctors, or it's exploding men in Midtown. It's rarely the person who saves lots of gas by going to Paris without a plane. Which helps the world in it's own way." Just not in the way that most people would consider a save.

"And thanks for the cheesecake," he adds, sticking a fork into his piece, to punctuate his words with a generous bite of the cake he's been ignoring.

Daphne actually smiles at his words. "I never thought about it that way. My carbon footprint is like, non-existant," she says with a laugh, reaching with her bare foot to nudge his leg in a playful kick. "But I'm sure it doesn't offset the less-than-good things I've done. I mean… part of the reason I had the dreams was I tried Refrain. Only a couple of times. I don't like being laid out for hours, you know? Especially when hours are days to me." She will start with one small thing to confess — If Refrain scares him away, if he thinks she's a horrible person for that, what would he think about her less recreational criminal activities?

The mention of Refrain makes him pause. The fork gets placed down on his plate. "I didn't know you used that, but— I'm glad you didn't use it long," Corbin says, obviously concerned by the knowledge that she had used it, but… "So are hours really days to you? Then conversations with me must be really boring sometimes." If she'd expected him to be really upset, the pause was the biggest indication that it did bother him. Pauses usually are. But the lopsided grin and the joke to his voice may help. "Is that an all the time thing?"

"It's a little bit of an exaggeration, I guess, but when you can go places or do things as fast as I can — yeah, anything 'normal' speed seems really slow. Not conversations, though," she adds in a hurry. "You're not boring." Daphne reaches to set down her plate on the coffee table, then moves to sit on the actual sofa instead of the arm of the sofa.

"Yeah, it's an all the time thing," she says in a smaller voice. She was going to lie about what he saw in the dreams — the fact she couldn't walk, the fact that the loss of her power meant the loss of the use of her legs. "My ability's always on, Corbin. Even just sitting here like a normal person, it's on."

"So if someone pulled a gun on you and you were watching them, you could probably dodge and disarm them? I'm not a scientist and you're not a guinea pig, but it's interesting to know how it works," Corbin admits with a grin, taking a break to finish off the last bite of his cheesecake before he moves to follow her to the sofa. "But I guess that means you could have dodged me when I tried to kiss you pretty easily too." And she didn't… "Is that cause you don't think I'm boring?"

"If I reacted fast enough, maybe. I'd like not to have to find out… I could probably beat them to the draw, yeah — I'm not sure if I could beat a weapon that was already out and aimed," Daphne theorizes, though she smirks when he brings up the kiss. "Oh, did you try to kiss me? I thought I kissed you." Technicalities. "I told you, you're not boring. I mean, boring people don't wear bright red snow boots, right?"

"You kissed me, huh?" Corbin says with a laugh, leaning into the couch and glancing off into the distance for a moment. There seems to be a second of wandering, which to her seems much, much longer. "And I'm a secret agent too. That's got to add some non-boring on top of the red snow boots," he casually asides, even as his mind wanders a few moments. When he looks back, his voice is quiet. "I do like you, Daphne," he says, though there's that hesitation for an instant, as if he might add on a clause to the end of that. A but.

It isn't added.

"And I hope that even though there's a lot that I won't be able to tell you about… that you'll still want visit, bring cheese cake and stuff. Maybe you can even drag me to Paris one day." But she probably knows the 'but' already. Part of his affections are elsewhere. Even if he's not doing anything about it.

Daphne glances away as well, waiting for the 'but' that doesn't come. When he's done speaking, she smiles and gives that backwards shrug. "It's fine. Works both ways. If you don't tell me about your job, I won't tell you about mine. It'd be boring, anyway. Temp work always is." Nothing like a relationship built on lies. "So… we can be friends. With cheesecake benefits. Nothing … serious."

Is it possible for her to have something serious? She never has. When she was younger, of course she wanted it — dreamed of it, but ever since her power manifested, she's never tried for anything more than a fling.

"I certainly don't believe you do temp work very often," Corbin says, calling her on the lie, while leaning closet to her so he can knock her in the arm with his elbow. It's just the slighest bump, with his amusement apparent. His job isn't what anyone would think when looking at him, but he seems to believe her job is exactly what someone would think when they look. Plus, people who work temp don't suddenly drop in with fancy clothes straight from a Gala ball which had expensive tickets…

"I think we're already friends, and I definitely want to spend more time with you." Friends with cheesecake benefits. And possibly room for more than cheesecake— but he's not about to push that.

Daphne's head tilts, looking amused as he knocks her with his arm and calls her on her fake job. It was the best she could come up with. She's obviously going to have to come up with something better. "More time might be nice," she says with a half smile. "If you promise not to be boring," she adds, a little challenge in the way she lifts her chin and in the sparkling of her dark eyes as she meets his blue ones.

"I'll try to avoid the horrible fate of boringness," Corbin says with amusement, before he's moving closer to her again. As she looks at him, there's a shift in his gaze, just lower than her eyes. That's the first sign. The second would be the slight lean that happens, then the sudden movement. Sudden to everyone who isn't her, at least. She has more warning than most, but— he's going to kiss her. Just a light touch, for the beginning, but a second kiss— after the cheesecake this time.

The tacit challenge is met by Corbin with grace. Daphne's eyes drop, dark lashes fanning her cheeks, and lifts her chin to help meet the descent of his lips to hers. Hers curve as she smiles into the kiss, leaning forward once he's lightly brushed her lips. She deepens the kiss to give him a little bit of encouragement — something she hasn't given him a lot of, to be honest. There might be more than just cheesecake benefits in store, after all.

Encouragement is well recieved, and for a time, there's no speaking, hands even joining in to cup her face, the neatly pinned up hair— and then Corbin pulls back enough to say, "For the record…" He's a reporter, record is important. "I started that one." And from the grin, he's going to let her continue it.

A little more than cheesecake indeed.

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