Six More Weeks Of Winter


corbin_icon.gif daphne_icon.gif

Scene Title Six More Weeks of Winter
Synopsis Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicts a long winter. Corbin and Daphne discuss the Nightmare Man and the dream they'd had a few days before.
Date February 2, 2010

Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island, formerly known as Welfare Island and before that Blackwell's Island, is a narrow island in the East River of New York City. It lies between the island of Manhattan to its west and the borough of Queens to its east. Running from Manhattan's East 46th to East 85th streets, it is about two miles long, with a maximum width of 800 feet, and a total area of 147 acres.

The island is part of the Borough of Manhattan and New York County. Together with Mill Rock Island, Roosevelt Island once had a population of about 12,000 prior to the bomb. The land is owned by the city, but was leased to the State of New York's Urban Development Corporation for 99 years in 1969. Most of the residential buildings on Roosevelt Island are rental buildings.

Following the bomb, Roosevelt Island suffered a great deal of damage from the throw debris from the explosion of Midtown Manhattan. The tram service connecting Roosevelt Island to Midtown was destroyed on the midtown end, leaving one small bridge connecting to Long Island City in Queens as the only means out of the city. Subsequent fires, looting and food riots on the island left what was once a prosperous neighborhood in ruins in the aftermath of the bomb. Business began to close one by one, residence left for the outskirts of New York City, and now Roosevelt Island is like a shell of its former self, a proverbial ghost-town with a population of only 700 on the island. Streets are untended, cracked and dusty, weeds growing up between the broken pavement. It is not an uncommon sight to see old newspapers blowing across the street and the boarded up windows of shops and apartments.

A story on the most famous groundhog in the world predicting the long winter gets cut out of a copy of the New York Times, and put up on the wall of Hokuto's upstair's bedroom. The dreamer may not be there to recieve it, but it doesn't mean he won't put it up there anyway. The little guy, held in an old man's arms while another old man reads from a scroll looks oddly content. There are better ways to measure the weather now… But Corbin thinks old traditions never really go away.

And no tradition will bring a smile like one involving cute critters.

Moving down the stair to the main part of the store, he checks Gabriel's bowls, the litter boxes, and begins turning off lights to close down. The sign still reads open, but no one's stopped in for over an hour. He makes his way to the door, turns the sign to closed, and moves to step outside, preparing to do the final lock up while he huddles in his coat against cold wind.

Six more weeks of winter. Wonderful.

Leaning on his car, though she might not have been there a second ago, is Daphne, bundled up against the chill in a coat, scarf and hat, the scarf red and black stripes that clash with those neon pink snow boots of hers. "Friday," she says, tilting her head a bit. There's a smirk that suggests she's not entirely unhappy to see him, and yet the way her arms are crossed suggests she might just have a bone to pick with him. "Or I suppose today it's Books again. How's Gabriel the Cat?"

For a change, as he comes into sight in the low light outside the bookstore, his clothes are drab in comparison. Almost all grays and blacks and dark blues. Corbin doesn't seem to be having the best day— but maybe it's getting better when his eyebrows raise, his expression changes a fraction, and he suddenly smiles. "Daphne— Hi." The door is pulled shut, before all the warm air escapes and Gabriel throws a fit, and he walks closer to his car. "A brat, still. Misses the woman who gave him a home." Just like, it seems, the man who's feeding him is feeling too. "Everything okay?"

The speedster screws her lips to one side as he sees the change in his demeanor — there is something so boyishly sweet about him that she doesn't often see in the men she works with, the few who know her power. She watches him for a moment, looking like for a second she forgot what she was going to say.

"Was … was I in your dream again, or were you in mine the other day?" She frowns at the uncertainty, the weak tone of her voice that this whole Nightmare Man situation — or maybe it's Corbin — brings out in her.

"I'm not entirely sure, to be honest," Corbin says quietly, scratching at his dimpled and beard-covered chin. That dream left him all young looking and beardless, but he still had many of the same features. Especially the eyes, and the pointed eyebrows. "I think we were in either Hokuto's dream, or a place between dreams. I didn't recognize half the people there, but a few I did. You especially."

Sticking his keys back into his coat pocket, he makes a gesture at her hair. "I liked how your hair looked."

She reaches up a hand to the edges of her hair sticking out from beneath her knit cap. "Yeah? You seem to always be complimenting my hair. Actually I was thinking of cutting it short again." Wait a minute. He's side tracking her from what she came to say! "So… like, I was out and running all free and happy, and I don't think I was in a nightmare but in a really good dream and then suddenly I got pulled into that school for the sleep challenged or something," she says with a shake of her head at the memory of the other teenagers, none of whom she recognized except Corbin. "Did you do that?" she asks, jutting her chin at him.

That distracting menace! How dare he change subjects and make her need to change them again. Corbin might be about to comment on her hair, but she's fast enough to run over him. With her voice, not literally. "Oh— I— I might have? I'm still learning this whole On— ononer The whole Dream Walking thing." One would think a Company Agent paired with a dreamwalker would remember the correct name for it. It's a complicated word okay! "Hokuto might have brought you in too. Maybe she thought you could help."

"I can't help. It was a one-time thing, helping you, Friday. In my own dream? Before yours? I … they took my power away and I can't help even myself if that happens in someone's dream. And what happens if they kill you in a dream? Do you die in real life?" She didn't mean to say so much, but maybe he won't hate her if he knows she can't do it, rather than she won't. She doesn't voice the fear that if they manage to take away her power in a dream, she might wake up without it — she managed to run away in the end of that nightmare, but what if she wasn't so lucky another time? What if she woke up crippled again? "She's … pretty bad off, huh. I'm sorry," she adds softly. Then, in a softer voice, "She's really pretty."

"Just cause that was your nightmare, it doesn't mean it would— wait, I thought you hadn't mad a nightmare before you saved me?" Corbin asks, catching iup after a moment, and skipping over the comment about his friend. She really is bad off, and she is really pretty, even with a blind fold over her eyes, but… "What happened in your dream was your nightmare— But that doesn't mean you can't still be strong and fight it if he attacks you again." He. The voice they heard at the end. Part of him hopes, if he did drag her into this, he didn't get her in worse trouble by doing it.

She frowns. Did she tell him she hadn't had a nightmare before? She doesn't remember. "I … yeah, one. And lots of nightmares after that one, but I don't think they were him, just… aftermath," she says quietly, pulling her feet up to rest on the fender and staring at them instead of at him. "It was bad. And I woke up… in an unsafe place." She doesn't want to explain any more than she has to about that, especially as she isn't sure where Hiro went after he left the hospital. For all she knows, he might have died. "How is it possible he doesn't have a body anymore?" she asks, frowning suddenly, and looking up. Clearly, she knows nothing of technopaths in the same boat.

It may not have been said, but he must have inferred it, by the looks of things. Damn Reporters and their conclusions. Corbin frowns at her question, looking out to the crisp somewhat deserted island as he answers. "I'm not sure. Maybe he died and had an ability that allowed him to touch other people's dreams and… just cause his body died, didn't mean he did. I've never heard of anything like that before, though." Has he? A mental note tells him to consult the archives and see if there's ever been a mention. It might be helpful.

"I don't care much for Hokuto's plan, though. Even if it makes sense when you think of how many he's killed already." One life to save hundreds? It works in numbers. But…

She nods. "If it means saving people like those kids in the future…" Daphne says, then hops off his car. "I don't think I'd be willing to do it, but maybe there's someone who is. Or can be convinced to." She knows he didn't like her idea of using telepathy to convince someone to do it, but it's better than everyone in Manhattan and beyond being forced to kill themselves by a madman. "All right. I just needed to figure out if it was just … my nightmare, or if those other people were really there. Otherwise, I was beginning to worry about my sanity, you know?"

No, he did not like that idea at all. Corbin keeps his eyes at a distance, watching the lights flicker and fade in the background. It's cold, and probably not the best place to keep up a conversation, but here he is, not even making a move toward the car to leave. "You're not insane. The dream was real, and… there's probably going to end up being some sacrifices soon." There's just a couple people closely involved he really doesn't want to be the sacrifice.

"Sorry I dragged you into that," he finally looks back at her as he says that.

Daphne came to tell him to keep her out of it. To yell at him for pulling her into it, after she told him to find someone else. That it's best if they just forget that they met, and maybe the Nightmare Man won't come for her again. But when he looks so solemn and apologetic, she finds herself feeling bad for him.

There's a blur, and a rustle of his clothing as she moves the distance from the car to him, coming back into clear sight once more. "It's not your fault," she says softly, touching his arm, then standing on tip toe to kiss his cheek.

And then, there is another rush of wind, his coat fluttering about him, as she speeds away.

Left blinking at the kiss and sudden departure, Corbin's unusually serious expression finally breaks into a small smile. "So that's what you do," he says to the wind trail she leaves behind, hand running through blow hair to knock it back into place.

"I didn't get to tell her I thought she should get the short haircut…" He shakes his head, knowing that he won't get the chance for a while now. A second cheek kiss did brighten his dark mood, though.

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