How She'll Be Remembered


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Scene Title How She'll Be Remembered
Synopsis Veronica comes to tell Corbin news he already knows — and promises him secrecy and at least one person remembering his former partner the way he wants her to be remembered.
Date March 31, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore

Nestled in the heart of the main street marketplace, the Ichihara Bookstore is an old and crooked structure pressed between two newer high-rise tenement buildings. The old glass windows and creaking wooden door on the shop's front give it a rustic and old-world feel. Catering to both antique books and newer prints, the narrow aisles and tall shelves are packed full of literature. A single shelf for periodicals lies near the front counter, while signage both out front by the register and in the back of the store indicates that tarot card reading is done on-site at request for ten dollars per reading.

Behind the old and weathered wooden counter that contains the register and a small stack of reserved books, a narrow wooden staircase leads upwards to a black wooden door with peeling paint, revealing red paint in narrow strips beneath, a rope crossing in front of that door hangs with a small sign that reads, "Private".

Despite the closed sign and bandaged over windows, the bookstore has sound and movement visible on the inside. The feeling of some residual heat can be felt on the door. The bookshelves are mostly empty at the moment, everything put into boxes and stacked up with markers depicting what's inside, by authors last name and genre, how they were on the shelves. The damaged ones had been thrown away, and inventory kept in the laptop that sits open on the counter.

All in all, it barely looks like a bookstore. The basement has even been gone through and cleaned out, everything placed into new boxes, a wooden staircase added in for easy movement to and from. People needed money right now, and the now would be owner needed something to do besides track down various murderers.

And Corbin's not even sure he's going to keep the store, or sell it.

The door's locks are fixed, with the window the only thing visibly needing repairs. A bowl of catfoot sits next to the door, but the cat— no, he found his way back, but is hanging out on the stairs up to the bedroom loft. The privacy sign is hanging down. No need for it anymore.

Veronica trudges from her car through the snow to the door, noting the closed sign, and knocking lightly to announce herself to anyone inside, but then trying the door anyway. She'd called ahead, so he knows she's coming — hopefully recent events won't make him too trigger happy to shoot at someone entering a door after knocking, especially when he's expecting someone.

She enters the store, dark eyes sweeping the store, taking in the boxes of books. It's a sad sight. She didn't know Hokuto at all really — the woman had retired before Veronica started at the New York branch, and she only saw her at the one meeting. She'd never been to this store when the oneiromancer was alive, but she feels the sorrow of unrealized dreams and loneliness the store seems to symbolize. "Corbin?" she calls softly.

The glow of the laptop screen catches Corbin's pale as as he looks toward the door, which still rings with the bell on it. For an instant, it looks like he's reaching behind the counter, but then he relaxes and straightens. It's probably too much to hope the person responsible would come back to take care of him. But if he knew someone was asking about him— it could change things.

"Hey Sawyer," he says, pushing the laptop down and letting the light go out. The room itself is sparcly lit, almost dreary, and the furnace can't quite keep up with the cold outside. But it's comfortable by comparison. "What brings you all the way out to Roosevelt? I hope no one's been murdered." Cause it seems murder is around every corner.

"I wouldn't be me if I wasn't tromping all over the goddamn city, would I? Staten, Midtown, Roosevelt…" she says lightly. "Actually that little microwave boy might be around somewhere here. Keep an eye out for him while you're out here, would you? It's even more important we find him now." She can't say why. Can never say why.

She moves toward the counter, and her face grows more solemn. "I actually came to talk to you about Agent Ichihara," she says softly, dropping her eyes as if out of respect for the dead, and out of respect for the mourning. "I … just learned some information that might help explain why she was targeted, besides being just … one of us." Like that's not enough for most people to want to kill Company agents. Her eyes lift, and she surveys his face cautiously.

From the look in his eyes for a moment, Corbin isn't surprised by the news the microwave kid might be around. No doubt he got the memo, though not why it's even more important. Since that part is secretive as can be. But so is what she mentions next, cause almost as soon as she mentions another reason someone might want to kill Hokuto— his hand tightens on the laptop.

It's brief, before he stops. Might just have been the mention of it. Meeting her eyes, he has his own style of caution, but it also seems to be tempered with a kind of anxiety. "What did you find out?"

Veronica watches him and she sighs a little. "I'm probably not supposed to know — and you either know or you're not supposed to know either, if the Company didn't tell us. Or they don't know. Whatever, that probably doesn't matter anymore, because…" well, because Hokuto is dead and it's not like they have to worry about her endangering anyone else.

"I was told," she says slowly, watching his face carefully — grieving people can become violent when the dead are spoken of in anything of a less-than-favourable light — "I was told that she was the oneiromancer behind the various nightmare incidents." She selects her words carefully. No mentions of suicides or murder or deaths. Just incidents.

Of all the things she could have heard… Corbin slouches slightly over the top of the counter, leaning over the laptop and looking down. No surprise crosses his face, no look of horror and disgust. Instead there's something far more anxious when he looks up at her. "If the Company knows, they didn't slap me for issuing a false report." Maybe that was part of the deal Crowley made with her to get her back. He doesn't know. Maybe they did know. The Company is supposed to know everything, right?

Do they know about the other person he's been trying to protect.

"I don't want people to remember her for— that wasn't really her. It— " What she did and what he did in response goes against Company training. But he's probably facing one person in the Company who would understand that… "Who told you?"

False report. So he knew. Veronica shakes her head in response to his words. "I won't tell them. There's no point now," she says quietly, looking around the empty shelves before back into his sad eyes. "I can't give you a name, but someone who's been a pretty reliable source. Someone I trust. Not in the Company," she explains.

"I only came to tell you because I thought it might help with both the case and with … but you already know, so I guess it doesn't do either." She gives him a sad, humorless smile. "At any rate, I'd guess it might be someone who thinks they are getting revenge for anything that happened as a result of the nightmares, but how many people know it was her? I suppose it's not really much help at all, even if you didn't already know."

She sighs and turns toward the door. "I won't tell anyone though. We all have our secrets."

A reliable source. There are a few people who would know— anyone who was at the finale moments when the Hermit became the World. And anyone told by those who witnessed it. It wasn't something he was about to tell people, Abby didn't seem to know, but Teo had. Corbin shakes his head a bit, "I don't think it was because of that. It may have played a part in it, but the leads I've found connect it to a group in the city, of former Vanguard. From Russia. They've been attacking and hurting people who wronged them, and one of those people considered Hokuto a friend. I'm not even sure they meant to kill her."

His voice has softened as he explains, giving more of the truth then he's given anyone else. "She might not have died if the ambulance could have gotten here faster. She bled to death— it was slow." And the one thing he knows for sure, is at least… she didn't go alone. He'd been there, holding her hand in the cold, trying to slow the bleeding— and watching her fade away.

"But I think that it was because of them, not because of… what she did. Though what she did and the Company may have played a factor too." The would-be name dropper had been there, stabbed him with a sword. The would-be assassin might have a grudge against the Company.

"The Russians? Skoll?" Veronica says with a shake of her head. "That group seems intent on harming the people and their friends, yes." She's glad she wasn't very close with most of the people on the Russian team, for that keeps her from being a target, even if Kozlow and Daiyu already managed to hurt her — that was only in the line of work, and they didn't seem intent on killing her. "If you are still investigating Flint Deckard, I don't think he is a part of that group, is he? If anything, he'd be working against that group — I would think." If he was in fact a friend of Brian Fulk's — she can see the connections that he might have had.

"One of the group they're targetting was in love with him, though they seem to be apart now, for various reasons," Corbin says quietly, looking down at the laptop he's been threatening to lean on and break a little too often. "There's nothing quite as heartbreaking as finding out someone you love is capable of murder. Especially of someone you know and respect. Someone you care for."

And that's why he hadn't wanted to tell the young woman, cause it's a heartbreak he understands…

"It could be he was blackmailed. Attack Hokuto or they would kill someone else. But there could be other reasons. I don't have any evidence for certain to say it was him." But… His hunch tells him it was.

Veronica's usually stoic face is sympathetic — empathetic. "I understand," she says softly. "I … someone I'm involved with, I thought they murdered someone … not so long ago. He didn't," she adds, lest he think she's covering something up. "But… I mean, I've killed people, I've had to kill people, but not murder." There's a slight frown, as she debates the truth of that. Goodman didn't expect a bullet to the head, but she wasn't the one who pulled the trigger — she was the one who gave the signal.

"I'm sorry, Corbin. I'll try to keep an ear out and let you know if I hear anything pertinent. It's why I came to you with this information, rather than Crowley," she adds quietly.

"Thanks," Corbin says softly, looking back up to meet her eyes where she is near the door. "You were right, though, about how it doesn't matter anymore. If it's justice, then it's justice, but it won't change what happened, and it won't bring back all the people who killed themselves because of that piece of her. It also won't let her make amends for what she'd done, like she wanted to. So I'll just… hope that few people find out about it, so they can remember her how she wanted to be remembered." And how he wants to remember her. Even if the memory that doesn't go away happens to be of her bleeding to death in the cold.

The other agent pauses near the door, dark eyes sad as she watches her fellow agent's heart break. "I didn't know her well, but I respected the little I knew. And the first and last I saw of her, she was vibrant. Beautiful." She smiles. "If it helps, that's how I will remember her." She opens the door and slips back out into the snow.

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