The Should Haves


corbin2_icon.gif daphne_icon.gif

Scene Title The Should Haves
Synopsis When Corbin helped everyone across on the boats, not everyone went. He's got a dog-guest upstairs, and a poor crippled girl in the basement.
Date April 02, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore

Once, not too long ago, this room had been full of things. And a lot of dust. Now there's boxes stacked against the walls, and a makeshift bed made out of blankets for a certain sick woman to lay on. It's not the warmest room, but it's comfortable, with a furnace in the building above them pumping heated air into the small bookstore.

There's the sounds of movement just up top, footsteps, the bark of a dog, and a cat suddenly runs down the steps and into the room. White with absurd black marks over it's big eyes that look distinctly like large thick eyebrows appears, fleeing into the room and running up onto the top of one of the piles of boxes. A door closes, before those footsteps can be heard coming down the stairs.

Feet first, then pants, then simple brown coat— only once he's all the way down does he become clear. But even then, to some people, it may seem like it's not real at all. "I somehow knew you wouldn't like a dog being a guest," he says in an amused tone, before looking toward the makeshift bed. It's comfortable enough, but only due to how many blankets went into the making. "Are you awake?"

Daphne's eyes were open from the various noises, trying to figure out just where she is — there's the dim thought somewhere in the back of her room that she's been here before and yet not quite knowing where here is. When the feet appear, she closes her eyes, to pretend to be asleep before the voice brings back the disoriented memories of hours earlier. She doesn't move for a moment. She could pretend to be asleep and put off the inevitable — but is it inevitable? If she puts it off long enough, the conversation might not need to happen. Part of her is sure she is dying, after all.

"Where's everyone else?" is her raspy response. A question for a question.

"They should be off the island and safe somewhere," Corbin says, surprised by her lucidness. One of the boxes has been turned into a table of some kind, holding a few things like a towel, a bottle of water, and some bottles of pills. He grabs the bottle of water and the pills and walks over to sit down nearby, crossing his legs a bit. The cat annoyedly looks over at the fresh stairs, as if expecting a beast to come down and try to play. Gabriel doesn't feel like playing!

"I'll get you across to them as soon as it's safe, but— " But he'd wanted to try to take care of her a little. Even if just for a day or two.

She looks up at him, her dark eyes so dark against the pallor of her face. The flush from the fever has faded, which accounts for the lucidity, but she looks weak and frail. "They should have just left me, with that other woman who can't move," she murmurs, her brows furrowing with the memory — not everyone left the safehouse. Delilah and Doc and that singer stayed behind.

"You should just bring me to the hospital or something. There's no reason to risk getting yourself in trouble for me. You can lie, say you found me in the street, so you don't get fired or whatever else."

Those who didn't leave, Corbin has no idea what happened to them. What happened to those who got into the boat is also possibly up in the air. If they suspected that people would use boats, they might have been using the Coast Guard to block the water route and keep them from ferrying across. Maybe that's why he insisted on keeping Daphne with him… He doesn't even know for sure why… "There's plenty of reasons," he says, putting the bottle of water into her hand, and opening the pill bottle to pop two out into his palm.

"There's enough reasons to fire me that they'd hardly just need this too." He's not sure if they know what he did— "I got a warning from someone in the Company. They got wind of the raid of Summer Meadows and the whole island, but focusing on Meadows. Figured I should know if they came into the bookstore. I called Teo to warn him. I wasn't sure if you'd be on the island, but if any of his people were…"

If she was… He holds out the two pills to her. "Take them. You look like your fever is down, but you probably still need them."

She reaches for the pills, holding her hand palm up for him to drop them, then sitting up a little bit so she can take them without choking. "They don't do much. Keep my fever down a little, except when I sleep through my redosing times." Like she had last night. She brings the pills to her mouth, then chases them down with a couple of swallows of water. Her eyes drop away from his, and she scowls at the water bottle. "How do you know they won't come here? I mean — who would think they'd check in a butcher's shop, of all places… a bookstore isn't any less likely," she points out.

"If they do, then they do and I'll deal with it," Corbin says, looking down with his lack of ability to assure her. The last time he tried to assure someone that everything would be okay, she died right in front of him. Everything may not be okay. "But the guy who contacted me didn't think they'd be searching anywhere as thoroughly as Meadows. But he said they'd have a road block on the bridge for at least a few days. Either way I'll deal with it." Somehow. He's just not sure how easy it will be to deal with.

Daphne takes a long drink of water as he speaks, nodding to show she hears him. She caps the water and sets it on the ground beside her and finally looks up. There's a distance in her eyes, even more so than before they became friends or more. The walls are up because he's already hurt her.

"You can get around the roadblock, being Company, I'm sure. You can … I don't know. Hide me in the backseat under some stacks of newspapers or something, and then drop me off wherever it is the Ferry brought the other people. If you're trying to prove something by keeping me here, you don't have to." Her voice is weak but cool — and all very feigned. If she let herself, she would cry. "It doesn't matter. And it's probably better if I'm not here. Because you'll probably blame yourself if I die, and I wouldn't want that on your shoulders. It wouldn't be your fault, but you'd blame yourself anyway."

The words catch something rather raw, a fresh wound getting salt shaken onto it. Salt actually helps wounds, dries them out and allows them to heal more quickly, but it hurts. Suddenly he's standing up, leaving her with the bottle of water, as he moves to set the pill bottle down. With his back to her, she can't see the stricken expression for long. "It does matter." It always mattered. "And you're not going to die. You're…" His voice cuts off. He can't continue, but that's one thing he can be in denial about. He can't promise it will all be okay, but … "You're not going to die," he says, placing the bottle down and moving toward the stairs back up. "But I'll get you to the others as soon as possible."

The sudden movement to stand and turn his back startles her, and she stares at his back for a moment. Her own eyes close and she shakes her head with anger at herself. She's pushing him away because he pushed her away — she knows this. She's hurting him because he hurt her. But she's too sick for this sort of thing. She pulls her legs up until they are bent in front of her, wrapping her arms tightly around them.

"Corbin." The word is quiet, but plaintive. Needful. "I'm sorry. That wasn't … I'm just scared."

Those words at least do their job in stopping him from walking up those stairs. Corbin comes to a hault, looking at one of the steps a little below head level. He's scared too. Whether he says it or not. Instead, he speaks in quiet whispered tones, that carry across the box filled room.

"Hokuto was murdered." Likely not what she might have expected to hear, but it's said, and he doesn't stop, either. A hand reaches up, to touch his chest, or more accurately a small lump of something under his shirt. "The night I didn't come home. I'd stayed late to help her clean out the basement, settle into the store again. Someone broke in, and… she died. The snow made it difficult for the ambulance to get here in time to…" She died, he was right there. He couldn't save her, and maybe he can't save Daphne either.

Daphne's eyes open and widen. She hadn't known, but the words she just said — in retrospect, how hurtful they sound. How callous. "I didn't know," she whispers, and the tears she held at bay a moment ago come, slipping down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry," she murmurs. "You should have told me… I would have understood." More than she did with no explanation. But he did tell her something had happened. She just didn't trust him enough to believe that it was something other than her own body failing her, disgusting him.

"Never mind. No should haves," she says, shaking her head and leaning it against the wall.

"I'm sorry," Daphne whispers again.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you," seems to be all that Corbin can say at first, reaching up to cover his face for a moment with one hand, before twisting to sit down on the staircase instead of walk back up. This is exactly where he'd been while she was being stalked and cut. There'd not been a staircase, then, just a ladder. He wishes she would have ran for the door, and tried to make it out in the snow. He wishes she would have kept a gun behind the counter and not just a box with the velvet imprint of a gun. But— there's no changing what happened. Not without a time traveller.

And he doesn't know any.

"I'll still try to get you to the others when I can. I have a lot of cases and won't be around much…"

It's amazing how lonely one can feel with another person just feet away. Daphne sits curled up in her fetal position, unable to go to him — would she if she could? The divide between them is so great, so chasmic, that the speedster isn't sure it can be bridged.

"Of course," she murmurs. "I understand." She sounds so grown up. It's what people say when they don't get the job they want because it was offered to someone with more experience, or the house they were trying to buy because someone had a better offer. It's what you say when you don't want to show how disappointed you are, when you don't want to show the hurt or anger that's welling beneath the surface.

"You deserve to have someone there all the time," Corbin says, not looking at her as he speaks, looking at his hands, where his arms are resting on his knees. He simply can't be there all the time, and there's no one else here. No one except the cat. "You shouldn't go through this alone."

But that doesn't mean he's going to drop her into a hospital. "Maybe after I helped them get away, they'll let me visit you," he finally adds, moving to stand again. "I hope they do."

Daphne nods, her eyes closing. "Thank you for warning them," she says softly. "They try to do good things. Those kids — they should be all right. You did good." Her words are weak, and it's no accident she uses the third person — she simply thinks it's too late for her. That it won't matter in the long run. "You don't have to visit me. I don't want you to have to see me if…" If she dies. He shouldn't have to watch someone else die, not so soon after Hokuto. Not ever. She slumps a bit, out of energy, in need of sleep.

"I'll visit," Corbin simply says in response, not allowing his train of thought to go down that direction. There'd been hallucinations and delerium last night, and he'd managed to deal with it, he can deal with whatever comes. Though she's right in thinking he won't be able to deal with sitting beside her while she dies.

Not a second time. Not so soon.

"There's a cellphone on the floor next to the bed." The bed of blankets. "If you need anything, my number is programmed into it. So is Teo's." The last one a final just in case. She could also call the police if she needed— And there's no bathroom down here again. But that'll just have to be one of the emergencies that she can call him for. "I'll be back down in a bit, and I won't go too far if I can help it."

But for now, he steps back upstairs, to go into the store. And try to recover from certain things before he goes back down to see to her various needs. One day, she'll be in a place with a bathroom on the same floor as her.

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