Just Us


corbin_icon.gif daphne_icon.gif

Scene Title Just Us
Synopsis Taking some time alone before the possible end of the world (for one of them), Corbin and Daphne share some secrets they've been hiding.
Date August 11, 2010

Corbin's Apartment


That's what seeing Francois the other day gave Daphne. That life is short and fleeting, even for someone such as herself, for whom five minutes seems like an hour, has become more and more apparent to the pixyish speedster. Her agreement to help Francois and Melissa in their effort to free Teo from the Institute's clutches sits in the back of her mind, and she knows that there is a chance that she might be hurt, or even killed in the attempt. Tomorrow night might be her last night on this world.

She hasn't seen Corbin for a few days, and today, the fear that she might not see him ever again woke her from her sleep, her pillow wet with tears. Their romance is still not an easy one — they still have too many secrets and too many ghosts (literally) between them. But as Shakespeare said, the course to true love never did run smooth. She's not sure if it's "true love," but it's the closest thing she has.

Armed with this new perspective, she sent him a text that she'd get them dinner and to meet at his place. When he enters, the apartment seems empty, but a breeze from the window alerts him to the fact that she's out on the fire escape-slash-balcony. A tiny little table and chairs (stolen from a balcony across the way) is set with candles and linens and champagne and Thai food.

Daphne stands at the railing, a white dress swirling around her legs, her feet bare — she won't be running away too swiftly, if that is any indication, tonight.

As usual, there's a delay in response from Corbin. Too long a delay for her super-sped lifestyle. Digging around the archives, even while pretending to be "sick" takes up a lot of his time, and he'd missed the last day setting up the bookstore for changing hands. But respond he did, and in the positive. He'd be there. But as usual for someone without super speed… he's not entirely on time.

The bag drops from his arm and falls onto the couch, as he passes by it toward the open window, where he sees something that surprises a smile onto his face. "I wasn't expecting it to be a candle light dinner. Or you to be dressed up… do you want me to go inside and get changed?" He doesn't wait for an answer, cause he already starts to step outside, one foot at a time.

He knows how much waiting can upset her, more than normal people. When minutes seem like hours, and all.

"You look good."

She turns away from the railing to smile at his voice, stepping closer to him and taking both of his hands in hers. Her dark eyes shine as she tips her head, looking up into his pale gaze. "No. I didn't expect you to be dressed up. It's just … I thought I'd try to look like a girl for once, for you," Daphne murmurs, letting go of his hand to touch his cheek, grazing the back of her hand along the perpetual stubble there.

"I got Thai. I hope that's okay. If it's not, I can go get something else in a jiffy," she offers, standing on her tiptoes to offer him a soft kiss. She's strangely affectionate tonight. Soft-spoken. Sweet.

"You always look like a girl to me," Corbin says with a smile, leaning down and into the kiss, to make it a little less soft than she might have wanted. It is sweet and strange, but at the same time… It's been so long since they've had a chance to be alone. Really alone. Whether she knows or not. Always a ghost in the background, but not tonight. With her new found freedom, the spirit that haunted him has started to travel. He knows she'll come back again sometime, but right now… Even the mewling cat had been gone when she came into his apartment, which probably made leaving the window open easier.

"Though the dress does look very good on you," he admits, hand trailing up to touch her shoulder. "And Thai sounds perfect," he adds, pressing a kiss of his own on the top of her head. "I'll probably have some more time to go out soon. Maybe we could go on a trip, you could show me Paris finally."

"I'd like that," Daphne murmurs, her voice soft before she slips her hands around his waist, hugging him suddenly tightly and dipping her head against his neck. The dress, unfortunately, shows her still-healing scars from the shrapnel, though Francois did a good job of stitching her up. She'd told him about the bomb, but not the doubts that plagued her after — not that she could have stopped the bomb from going off, saving more lives than the three she saved with the action she did take.

There's so much she hasn't told him.

She sighs, and breaks the hug to nod to the seats, moving to one of them to sit down. "I needed to tell you something," Daphne murmurs. "It's not about us," she adds in a hurry. "Just something I need to do, that you might or might not like."

There's been a lot of things unsaid between them, from the beginning. And a lot of things that need to be said. Perhaps tonight's the night, while she's barefoot, and he's out on his porch with candle light and Thai food. "There's something I need to tell you to, that— yeah, doesn't involve us, but involves some things that… I probably should have told you a while ago."

Just like he'd kept his job secret, he still hasn't revealed much of what he does. The cases he worked on, or the files he's been smuggling to somewhere safe.

Or even… the reason that he winces a little as he sits down, where his shirt drags against a bandage covered the joining of his neck and shoulder on one side.

"But you should go first."

Her dark brows knit together as she studies him, wondering what it is he has to tell her — after all, the last thing he didn't tell her almost broke them apart. Did break them apart, for a time. "Okay-yy," Daphne murmurs, drawing out the 'ay' a little skeptically. She reaches for the takeout boxes to fork out food onto each of their plates. The food comes from boxes, but the plates are nice — China, and not his.

She uses the doling out of food as an excuse not to look at him. "Remember Teo? I guess he was kidnapped, along with some other people, by some organization, a government one, I guess, and they're keeping him in some crazy insane mad scientist lab kinda place and a buncha people are going to go try to break him and the other people out, and they thought they could use my speed and I owe him and Francois a lot, especially Francois, so I said I would." It's all breathed out in one breath, her mile-a-minute stye of talking, before her eyes finally move from the coconut lime chicken to his eyes.

"The Institute," Corbin says carefully, leaning toward as he considers this. That they've grabbed Teo doesn't seem to surprise him. He doesn't tell her he tried to contact him, and was unable to. But he'd assumed the man had just disappeared off the grid. That he's in the Institute's hands worries him. A lot more than he'd admit. Maybe the bookstore is cursed.

There's a slow inhale. This is probably the part where she expects him to protest.

"They might have a gas that negates your ability. If the people your helping can give you a gas mask, it may protect you from it. I don't know for sure, because we don't use that gas." That's not saying she shouldn't go, but there's obvious concern in his expression. He's not even starting to eat on the food she's forked out.

"Hiding your face is a good idea, either way, as is wearing some kind of bullet proof protection. I know it's bulky, but… When are you doing this?"

"Francois warned me," Daphne says, though the shiver that runs visibly through her body doesn't quite match the confidence of her tone. It's obviously a frightening prospect, and one that worries her. "A gas mask — can I find that at like an army-suppy store or something? And the bullet-proof stuff?" She's not a fighter — her skills lie mostly in speed and a little bit in stealth.

She reaches for his hand, squeezing his fingers lightly. "I think tomorrow, but I haven't gotten confirmation. I told 'em I'd be around until I heard otherwise, so you know. It's not like they need to give me more than a few moments notice."

"I have a vest you can wear," Corbin admits quietly, not wanting to think about the times he's worn it just in case someone ever decided to shoot him. Sometimes it was necessary. Sometimes more than others. "It'll be big on you, but better big then small, in that case. But I don't have a gas mask. I'd recommend, if you can, getting one out of country. I know you can, but I don't know if you can find the right places." She could be in Europe before he could make it back to the office. And back, probably. If his other roommate hadn't left, he might ask him. Deckard knew where to find something gas-mask-like when… better not to think on that too much.

"If it wasn't so soon, I'd try to get information for you. Not that I could get much, but… I could try." The Institute and the Company aren't on great terms, unfortunately. No where near.

"Thanks. I hadn't thought about a gas mask, actually — stupid, huh? No mad skills in tactical strategy, or bo staff, either for that matter. I'm hoping not to have to fight at all, just grab and run — that's about as far as I thought. I'll see if I can find something, 'cause you're right, if I get negated, then my ass is grass." She says it lightly, but obviously the very idea is terrifying — she had run away the last time she knew she was losing her ability.

Daphne picks up the champagne bottle to pour into the two glasses, letting the fizzy pale wine bubble up near the top of the flutes, threatening to overflow. She sets the bottle back down. "Thanks for being okay with it. I have to … I have to help them. I'm scared shitless, I am, but I probably owe Francois my life." It seems a strange declaration — yes, he helped her during the flu, but basically that consisted of trying to keep her fever down and keep her comfortable.

"I owe them a lot too, for helping keep you safe," Corbin admits, though there's more to his agreement than that. "The Institute is doing a lot of bad things, and I don't even know the half of it. They have people that they shouldn't have, and we've tried to break rules to keep some of them out of their grasp, but it doesn't always work out how it should. And if they somehow got their hands on you…"

His voice trails off, because that's not something he really wants to think about. The worst part is, no matter how much paper pushing he can do, he couldn't get her back if they got their claws into her. "I know you want to help them, and you should, but if things look really bad— you should run. You do not want to be caught by these people. I don't want you caught by these people. The reason I've been spending so much extra time at the office is to make sure that everything we've collected over the last fourty years, identities of Evolved, what their abilities are, everything… I've been trying to make sure the really sensitive stuff is safe from them. Which pretty much means copying, moving and destroying a lot of our files."

That at least explains how distant Corbin has been, and Daphne nods; her brows furrowed, her lips screwed to one side, she is the picture of worry and concern. He's trying to protect all of the Evolved at his own personal peril. "Be careful. If I run, if I get out of this country, I can take you with me. If I … if I run tomorrow, I'll be back to get you, okay? I'm not going to leave you here if that group is going to be in charge. It's horrible. We'll go somewhere… Paris, Canada, Fiji… I'll text you as soon as it's done tomorrow so you know I'm safe, no matter what, but if I'm far away, I promise I'll come back."

"I can't leave until I know most of our paperwork is safe," Corbin says quietly, glancing away and down, his hand drifting up to touch the back of his neck and shoulder, where he winces again. If they tag him, like they want to, he wouldn't be able to leave with her at all… But he could now. More than before. "I sold Hokuto's store yesterday. To a woman— I need to try and help her get non-evolved registered too, but that's one less thing to keep me here." At least.

That's one of the things he needed to tell her, but not…

"If things get as bad as I expect they might, then I'll go with you." Be ruled by his heart, the cards had said. "But until they do, I need to stay as long as I can." When his hand comes away, there's that grimace again. He's not good with pain, and it's still sore.

"Okay. Just make sure it's not too late. Gotta get when the going's good, you know? First rule of a thief." Her worried expression is replaced with a quick flash of a smile before she frowns again. "Oh — you sold the bookstore? That's good, I guess," she says, quietly, glancing down. It's not a place of happy memories for her, and she can't help but be happy it's out of his hands. She's not about to show that, however. Instead, she lifts her gaze again and her chin juts to indicate his hand rubbing at his neck and shoulder. "What's wrong?"

"I got a tattoo," Corbin explains, gesturing at his neck. "Though it's not anything fancy. It's— one of the things I needed to tell you about. The Company used to tag Evolved with this isotope, basically a fancy radioactive injection. They use it to track via satelittes. Someone decided to order all employees, Evolved or not, to get injected with it. I decided to try to get around it by getting a tattoo that looks like the injection scars, and forging paper work. I don't know if it'll work yet…" But if it doesn't, and he gets tagged…

But he shakes his head. "But that isn't all. I also need to— Hokuto isn't completely dead," he finally says, looking back at her now, and putting his hands down on the table. There's a pause, as if waiting for something, but then he keeps going. "Must have been something with her ability, she— transfered a part of herself into me as she died. At first I thought I was seeing things, flickers in the corner of my eye, a ghost sitting in the chair where she used to be, a voice whispering in my ear, a dream that seemed out of place, or exceptionally vivid. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I found out she was there. She's not here right now, though, she found a way to go somewhere else, so this actually the first time we've really been… alone for a while. Which is part of why…"

They haven't been exceptionally intimate since he found out? Well, with a voyuer around, could she blame him?

The first is listened to curiously, and Daphne nods, a hand going to rub her own neck subconsciously. To be tagged — like an animal, so they can keep track of them like they're some sort of wildlife. It makes her itchy to run far, far away. The second bit of news brings that worry back to her face, and the speedster grows a little pale, setting down the glass she'd just picked up to sip. The food, the wine — it's all still untouched. The information they are sharing is too heavy to weigh down the conversation even more with food, apparently.

"I … she's…" Daphne stands up, stepping away from the table, shaking her head. She's felt like she's been in competition with a ghost for so long, but she didn't literally think there was actually a ghost. "You're like… being haunted?"

Not the time to eat, and when she stands up, Corbin can't help but look down, hesitating and inhaling slightly. The fact that she got up tells him that she's getting ready to run, and with what she's planning to do tomorrow— He stands up too, trying to step around the table to reach out to her, "Daphne, wait. Yes, it's like I'm being haunted, but she's not here right now and… and you are. I know I should have told you, but it never really seemed…" The right time's never the right time…

"It's just you and me tonight, I promise," he says, keeping his hand held out towards her, but not actually grabbing her like he wants to. It's more of an offer, then a demand.

"But she's been there, all this time… and she'll come back…" Daphne whispers. It's obvious she believes him, that she doesn't think he's going crazy. It's hard to discount anything as impossible when you live in New York City and have seen the things they've seen. She's seen Hokuto's power in dreams, and she doesn't doubt that the woman could exist as a ghost in someone's subconscious. That it's Corbin's, well — not a surprise, there, either, really.

She gives a glance behind her, the apartment close enough to step into, to grab her shoes and run, but this might be their last night together. And Hokuto isn't here.

"You have to tell me when she's back," she says in a fierce whisper, taking his hand. It's just tonight. There may not be a day after tomorrow.

"I will," Corbin says, squeezing her hand and moving another step closer, so that he can pull her into a half hug, closing his eyes rather than look out at the strange city that's been the source of so much pain and happiness all at the same time. Though for her, he's starting to think more of it's been pain than not.

"The two of you might even be able to talk finally." Not in person, but— it's as close to in person as they'll ever get, since she died before they could really meet. "The food's probably getting cold," he finally adds, after he starts to release her from the hold, even if he wants to hold onto her.

Talk? To Hokuto? The look Daphne throws Corbin is one that might suggest she now thinks he's crazy. She forgave her to an extent for the nightmares, willing to give her mercy because it would kill Corbin otherwise. But now, to know she's been lingering around haunting him for the past several months? She just shakes her head, moving back to her seat and picking up a fork.

"Just us tonight," she murmurs, closing that discussion down. She's not running, not literally, but she's still hiding. Tonight, she plans to pretend that Hokuto doesn't exist. IF there's a day after tomorrow, then she'll figure out what she thinks about the ghost.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License