Rendezvous on Champs Elysees


daphne_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title Rendezvous on Champs Elysees
Synopsis Francois can't fix Daphne, but he listens and comforts the patient, who makes a sanguine promise to bring him to Paris in springtime.
Date March 29, 2010

The Den

Since Tony dropped Daphne off in her bed, she hadn't moved for several hours — her sleep seemed deeper and heavier than in past nights. Normally, with this flu, she tosses and turns, her hot face in a never-ending search for the cooler side of a sweat-drenched pillow. Her pink-flushed cheeks have drained of color, her pale skin much closer to the color of the pale linens she lies upon than peaches and cream or roses that complexions are more often compared to.

Now, it seems, she is beginning to drift into something more like consciousness. A moan slips through her lips and she brings a hand up to rake through her hair, the once-sweaty locks now rumpled into curls of all things. Dark lashes flutter but don't quite open. "Hiro?" she whispers, a hand reaching out to a space where no one stands.

It's on the other side of the bed where there might be someone to see. Not standing, no, Francois resting at a crouch in front of the messenger bag he's set down, the soft rustle of weatherproof fabric at the edges of Daphne's consciousness factoring in around the time she might be realising that Hiro Nakamura is not where her hand is groping for him. Francois pauses and tracks the journey of her arm with an almost cattish attention, regarding the laxness in reaching fingers at the air, before he's pushing himself up to stand.

Rattle, rattle. The plastic, pharmacy bought pill bottle sounds a little like a noise-toy in his hand, subtle, and he moves to invite himself to sit on the edge of her bed, the scent of the outsider winter street still lingering on him and a stark difference to the sweeter, acrid scents of sickness, fever sweat. "«How are you feeling?»" is a gentle question in French, spoken clearly as if not entirely positive that she'll be lucid enough to respond.

Snow still sticks in minute crystals in the weave of his dark blue sweater, free of the scarf and coat he came in with, hands bare of gloves, and there are damp patches at his knees where his coat stopped protecting him. His hair is damp, fingerbrushed back from his face.

There is a slow blink, her brow knitting as those fingers touch nothing. Perhaps Francois' voice made the apparition flit away, though she knows he will return. He's been haunting her in many forms for months now — though none so real as this. Her head turns slowly to the other side of her bed, dark eyes straining to see him in the dim light. She casts another sidelong glance to the far side of the bed, as if to see that her phantom was truly gone, before turning those dark eyes back on Francois.

"I think if I say fine, it would be a lie," Daphne says in a hushed whisper, not realizing Delilah is not in the room to disturb. She doesn't try to speak in French, though she understood it. Speaking it means having to think of what to say first in English and then translating — too much for her fever-addled brain to handle today. She reaches up with her fingers to touch the snow on his shoulder, a slow head shake of wonder. "I can see it — out the window — but I forgot what it feels like already," she murmurs, in explanation. "They told you I'm seeing things, didn't they." It's not a question. She's painfully lucid.

Francois darts a glance down at her hand, but doesn't shift away or protest — the lines that bracket his concerned smile deepen into something more genuine, and he finishes off the job, rushing his hands over blue wool sleeves to discard the rest of the snowflakes to land and melt where they may, and by the time she's saying what they both know—

His mouth goes into a line, forest green eyes going back up to study her face. He reaches, places down the renewed bottle of ibuprofen down at her bedside. Click.

Sucks in a breath, releases it. "Are you?"

Bringing her cool fingers to her own cheek, Daphne smiles back, though it is a sad smile that doesn't reach her eyes. She nods, though the smile turns into a scowl, her pixyish face contorting with anger or fear.

"I keep seeing this man that I accidentally … that I hurt somehow. And he needs help, but I can't help him, not the way I am. He … I saw him die. Not for real. Just in my mind, but it felt real," she explains, shaking her head. "But he'll be back, I know. Clutching his wound, telling me I killed him. He pulled a gun on me — in my head, not in real life. That's when I fell." She remembers it like it was real, and yet she knows it wasn't.

"I know right now it's not real," she says softly. "Why is it sometimes I know what's real and other times I don't?"

"Delirium. You were running a high fever when you had these hallucinations." Were, not now. The greasy smear of sweat gleaming on her forehead is more than enough indication that the fever has since broken, and you don't have to be a doctor, even a fake one, to guess that much. Still, Francois confirms by reaching with his good hand to curl the backs of his fingers against her temple, where the thrum of body heat is absent.

Retracts it easily enough, arms folded on his knees and body angled enough to look at her comfortably. "What you will do now is rest. I will stay for a time. You will take these," and he tilts his head to the very familiar pill bottle, "every four hours or so. Would you like to talk about him?"

She listens, something in her expression childlike as she stares up at him for the answers. Her eyes flicker to the bottle, and she nods as she shows she understands. When he asks that question, though, the trusting look falters, and something flickers in her face as she looks away. Like she might say no, shut him out.

Her eyes on the wall, instead of on Francois' face, she finally nods. "I haven't told anyone. It was months ago — he's either better or he's dead, and there's nothing I can do about it, either way," she begins. "I wouldn't tell anyone but…" But. But she thinks she might die. She doesn't say it, but she feels this is perhaps her last chance at a confession, a last chance to cleanse a guilty conscience before death takes her. "I told you what I can do? My power?" she asks, softly, forgetting if he knew.

There is a patience to his prying. That Francois doesn't expect much, out of anyone— the limits of Abby's friendship, for instance, and whether she would be there at the airport, or how long it might take for Teo to move in, or maybe Dreyfus coming to his sense— and so it's characteristic that if Daphne does shut him out, he's not going to nag. It is, after all, her hallucination. But when she does speak, she has his attention, the slight crease between his brows showing as he listens.

"Non," he responds, with a slight shake of his head. "But I will tell you mine if you tell me yours."

Daphne smiles at the offer of quid pro quo, again that sad smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. "I am a speedster," she says softly. "I don't … I don't know how but it lets me walk, when it's on. I told you that part, I think, but not what I can do." She reaches for her water bottle on the bedside table and takes a drink. "One night I was having a nightmare. I woke up on the side of a building … and somehow I had run into someone. He was trying to stop me, keep me from falling off the building. I don't know how… I don't know why he was up on the building, either. He said he was trying to get me to slow down," she explains, and tears seep out of the corner of each eye. "I brought him to the hospital. But I don't know what happened to him. I went to visit him and he was just gone one day. His name was Hiro. Ironic, right?"

Francois' eyes go slightly crescent as that name is repeated from what was murmured just previously— kind of a smile, as well as a narrowed look of some suspicion before he diverts it away, flitting over her blonde head and back down again. "Oui, deeply."

A hand goes out to lay next to her's on the bedspread, without having the audacity to take it. Instinct says that physical comfort might not be what's required, but the gesture is made all the same, fingers lax, the slight prickle of shifting air but no body warmth — he's cold from the outside and she's quickly cooling from her fever. "There are many theories about hallucinations. Some resembles theories of dreams. Subconscious guilts and desires. If it was a simple thing of letting go of your worry, that is what I would prescribe. As it stands, we can only see about keeping your temperature down."

Daphne glances down at the hand beside hers, and her fingers twitch first, before she moves her hand onto his, the physical comfort appreciated. "Thank you for listening," she whispers, eyes closing as another tear slides down the cheek. "I didn't mean to hurt him, and he was trying to help me, but I never told anyone how it happened. I just dropped him off at the hospital and I … I ran away. It's what I do, you know? I run away from things. But now I can't." She smiles ruefully at that.

"Your power?" She'll keep him to his end of the deal. "I'm sorry you have one — now I'll worry that you will get sick, too." Daphne glances at her hand on his, the contact now perhaps regretted, though she doesn't remove her hand. In fact it squeezes slightly.

His hand squeezes her's in return, palm dry and fingers clean and cool, and the smile he gives her is brighter still, enough to show teeth this time. "It isn't like that," Francois assures, other hand coming around to cover the back of her's in a quick pat and clasp, before both retreat. "My power was different in that I was not born with it — it was passed on from another, on to me. In the end, I passed it along as well — it was the ability to heal.

"It did not work on all sicknesses, but I regret not having it now to try. It granted me longevity and very good health while I had it, and I passed it on to others. Now I must do things the difficult way. But for now, I think I'm safe from the virus."

"That would be nice. If you had it, still," Daphne agrees, her dark lashes fluttering against her pale cheeks as if the lids were too heavy to hold up any longer. "I'm afraid, docteur, that I may not be strong enough to survive this. But if I don't — I want you to know that I was glad to have met you. Thank you for trying." Strange past tense, that. "Thank your friend, too. I don't remember if I ever did." She had, in the car, when Teo drove her away from Corbin, but it seems like so many months ago already.

"Ah, see, non. Not allowed to say such things." Francois' hand goes out to lift blonde strands up off her forehead, more motherhen than anything less appropriate, once again testing the temperature of her skin against his cooler palm. "You have strength, Daphne, and I will be here if ever you do not. I am still trying." There's no plea in his voice, schooled into instruction, and he lets that hand rest on her shoulder. "I will tell Teo so, as well. But I have seen dying people. Many. You are not one of them."

"Merci," she murmurs back, smiling at the touch of his hand on her forehead. The contact, something she often shuns or hides from, feels good, a physical reminder that someone cares what happens to her in this world — even if it's a stranger she's never known. "I'll make a wager with you — if I make it and get my power back, I'll bring you to Paris. I'll buy you crepes somewhere on Champs Elysee, oui?" She doesn't know if he even likes Paris, and it's the most cliche Parisien thing besides perhaps a coffee on top of the Eiffel Tower. "Though I prefer gaufres. Chocolate ones." A pixyish smile, and a hand out for a shake on her deal.

That gets a laugh, quiet, bright smile just as real. Such a high concentration might be what just what the doctor ordered. So to speak. After this amount of time between the last time he walked on French soil and now, anyway. "Une affaire en perspective." It's a deal, in other words, and his hand takes her's to seal it in a gentle shake — Francois makes no words on the gratification he might take from her offer. Perhaps, if it ever happens, he can express it then.

Up on his feet again, smoothing down the denim on his thighs. "Rest well. I'll be here for a little time if you need anything."

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