Time Is of the Essence


daphne_icon.gif francois_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Time Is of the Essence
Synopsis Daphne seeks information from Francois and Teo on the Cat and the Nightingale foreseen by Else.
Date April 24, 2010

West Village: Maison d'Allegre

The door shuts, a blessing against the plummeting climate, Francois hurrying to seal off the winter overstaying its welcome of months ago once Daphne is inside — not that she likely needs much urging to do so, with consideration to the snow and her own super power. Of which Francois has none, and so it's with a harmless, slightly envious curiousity that he asks her, "Is it colder or warmer when you are going super fast?" as he leads her into the main of the first floor, where he already has a fire going in the hearth despite both the time of day and the thermostat.

A laptop lies open on the coffeetable, next to a half-downed mug of milkless tea, and a few loose sheaths of paper covering the surface. Between the table and the open fire is a pillow that Francois was clearly sitting on as he perused whatever information was on the slender, silver computer, which he snaps shut as he sets about clearing up the space in a lazy kind of home maker's tidying.

He's still healing from the scratches and bruises one gets from a caved in building, but no longer moves with particular caution, and the worst of it is hidden beneath his ash grey sweater and faded blue jeans, his feet bare and white against the hardwood floor and rug.

"Both," the speedster says with a smirk. "My core stays pretty warm but my cheeks and nose are frozen," she adds in explanation, rubbing her nose with gloved fingers as she enters the house and looks around. She moves over to the fire like a moth to flame, to warm herself, pulling off her gloves and shoving them in the pocket of her cyan-hued coat. She is still a touch underweight, but the shadows have left the areas beneath her eyes and her eyes are brighter — there is a spark there that had been missing when she was at the Den and the Brick House.

"Aside from coming to see my favorite docteuer and his handsome Sicilian friend, I actually have a favor to ask," she says, jumping to her point. She pulls from her coat the memo pad Else had given her, scowling down at the scrawled words again. "Else Kjelstrom contacted me. Hiro Nakamura — my Hiro, the one I kept yammering at you to help me save? He's in that Cofer-Goldwater Hospital. They — Else and Dee — saw him there and he's really really bad. Like, the nurses said he might not survive."

She hands him the memo. "I asked her to look and see what would happen if we tried to get him out — 'cause I wouldn't wanna go kidnap him and have him die, if he was that badly off, you know? — and this is what came of it." She taps a phrase. "The corn allusion — I'm pretty sure that's me, but somehow I'm supposed to find these two other girls. And the title, she added later — 'The Countrywoman, the Nightingale and the Cat.'"

With loose printouts in one hand and half-finished tea in the other, Francois hesitates, then stops bothering attempting to make the room more guest friendly, setting these things back down and straightening his back. His better hand takes the memo when it's offered, coming to stand near the radius of firewarmth that Daphne's planted herself in. Vague suspicion darts a green-eyed look over her features, before his brow crinkles as he reads the written text.

"May I ask why you wish to get him out? Not to sound heartless but if a manis very sick, rarely the hospital is the worst place for him to be, concerns of Registration or not."

Her brows knit together and she lifts her chin, a slightly defiant look in her eyes as she notes his suspicion. "It sounds like he might be dying anyway," she says, with another lift of her chin as her eyes narrow. "And he is a time traveller. If they figure out what he can do — you think they're just gonna Register and let him out again? Because personally, I don't."

The petite speedster turns away, arms crossing and her cold hands tucking around her sides. "Else and Delilah seemed to think getting him out was maybe better than leaving him in. Given the fact that the hospital treated them fine and let them out, you'd think they'd assume that was the best place for him." She pauses, to let that sink in. "But they don't. I don't know — I don't know what I'm supposed to do here, but that's what Else's power said. Find this Cat and this Nightingale, someone who lives in a snowglobe and someone stuck behind glass or something, and … I don't even know. It looks like it still doesn't work, right? It says we can't find a way out — I don't understand." She actually stomps a foot with frustration.

"If it makes you feel any better, I read it that you cannot find a way out on your own," Francois offers, coming to rest his back against the wall as he scans the text over a few more times. "'No, not on your own,' see. Perhaps together— your powers or knowledge will assist Nakamura." The edge of doubt in his voice doesn't seem directed at the sentiment written on the page, but for the name, muttered though it may be. "If there is anything I could do to help, also— I have, ah. A friend in a highish place, who may not be able to interfere directly but may allow me to do so."

He glances up at her again, and shrugs. "I know Hiro Nakamura and I— do not feel as though I owe him, but… we have assisted each other before. This prophecy does very well at telling you all the unhelpful things, doesn't it?" His finger traces a line curiously.

"'S a guy have to come down here to find out who you let into the house?" Teo's voice comes bounding off the walls and the ceiling, loud with a facetious sort of complaint. He assumes, perhaps— too assumingly, that the lack of anybody screaming urgently for his immediate presence means that this is nothing too urgent, if apparently significantly distracting. His socked feet thump audibly against lacquered wood, and it isn't too many more seconds before his tall frame ropes around the corner and into view, clad in a hoodie and rumpled jeans. "Hey.

"Should I put the kettle on? Oh— hey." He brakes noisily on the hallway floor, sliding a few inches. Stops, stares at Daphne with an expression of worrisomely acute recognition. The puckered scar in his cheek ripples slightly as he exhales, inhales, and then raises a palm to cup the side of his own neck, an indiscreet prognostic for fever. Pale eyes cut to Francois, then, curiosity in earnest. "Quel est ceci?"

"I guess that's better… it's… you know, I asked her to use her power in a way that she doesn't normally, so it's not like — as good as the stuff that just comes to her, I think," Daphne says, brow wrinkling as she looks at the paper in question, the frustration subsiding enough that her chin drops and her eyes stop flashing in her pale face.

At Teo's voice she turns, full lips curving instantly into a smile at the sight of the man. "Hey, Sicily. You look like you're feeling better. I'm sorry if you got the cooties from me. It's the only time you'll catch anything of mine, I'm sure," she offers teasingly.

Her dark eyes flicker back to Francois. "I owe him. He saved my life — and I almost killed him — clearly he lived, but if he dies now, it'll still be something I might've been able to stop, ya know? I need to help, if it's possible at all. That doesn't mean anything to you? Nightingale or Cat or … this part, about she comes from snow and all these cities and states and places?" She's been to most of those places, but the connection is lost on her.

"I understand," Francois assures Daphne, a slight shake of his head, before he's glancing up towards Teo and offering him an everything's fine smile — because it is. In their world, anyway, the one with Russian murderers and the like, and his fingers nervously wrinkle the edge of the page he's holding. "Ah, Hiro Nakamura is in danger, and I'm reading riddles that Else wrote about how to help him. Although I think," and he looks to Daphne to include her in this sentiment, "I think it may be worth looking outside this also. I don't know of any Nightengale, although I know a Catherine — I don't think…"

Aaand he trails off, attention snagged on words enough that he's oblivious to talk of Sicilian's catching things, whether or not he wants the kettle on, or otherwise. "Mm," is a thoughtful sound, and then abruptly he's drifting towards the flat laptop set on the table, moving to kneel in front of it as he hands the page back to Daphne. Carefully cracking the device open to shine its screen up, he goes to open up a browser and types like this:

w w w w backspace backspace w dot dot backspace g o o g l e dot c o m

And a moment of hesitation and doublechecking before hitting enter, labourious hunter-peckering sounding loud with each click of a key.

A dark eyebrow goes up on Teo's forehead, and he glances at the speedster again, doubly surprised, before finishing his leggy stride toward the kitchen.

Not to be rude. It's just a bit difficult— he's retroactively coming to grips with the probability that the peroxide blond he'd seen flitting around hummingbird in the house back the other week had, in fact, been the genuine article rather than a fabrication of his imagination. "I don't think that was cooties," he calls back, amiably enough. It's too far to hear the kettle filling from the living room, but there's a crisp click-clack when the stove comes on beneath it. He doesn't know how he feels about prophesies.

Time-traveler: go figure. "Don't press on the keys so hard," he reminds, pitching his voice out of the doorway at an angle at the unseen laptop user, before he tips the long axis of his torso the other way to squint at Daphne. "Let me guess. Decaf?"

The s l o w typing of Francois' fingers on the keyboard has Daphne practically hopping from foot to foot in agitation. "I can do that faster you know," she offers — not saying that he's slow, but… "Like a zillion times faster, but then my dead grandma probably could, too." Apparently she's feeling better as she's not even trying to be polite. There is a smirk on her face that suggests she's not trying to be mean.

Daphne arcs a brow at Teo in return, not knowing why he's quite so surprised to see her. "Why would I need decaf? Something warm, I don't care what, would be nice, though, merci." Her hands are still cold, especially standing around at normal speed. She moves closer to Francois to peer over his shoulder at the screen.

Still typing. Really? She glances back at Teo, chewing her lower lip for a moment. "You seen Ayers at all?" Non-chalant and casual, right? She tries to sound like she doesn't care.

"Va te faire foutre," is good naturedly tossed back towards the kitchen and just over his shoulder to boyfriend and pixie girl both, without Francois looking up from the screen as Google blinks into appearance, but when he does go to input words into the search field, inevitably, the CLACK CLACK CLACK has dulled to a clack clack clack. "I can do it, merci. Here, you may make yourself useful by listing the locations for me while I 'search' for them." He doesn't make quotation marks around that word, but you can hear it in his voice.

Whether she does or not, he at least has memorised enough to input them, and there's a common pattern that even Daphne can pick out in the midst of slow typing.

n e w y y backspace o r k dash o d e s s a

t e x a s dash o d e s a backspace s a

m i s s s backspace o u r i dash o d e s s a a backspace

"It is the line about places. States and things. They all have the same thing in common — a place called Odessa." At least 'USSR' is not difficult to type, and once he does, he glances back to her as he points to the first search listing about a Ukraine seaport by the same name.

Sicily lurches into the doorframe to rest one shoulder against the planed wood, his arms crossing casually over his chest. The corner of his mouth tics thoughtfully downward, perhaps more for the speedster and her question than for what mess Hiro Nakamura's gotten himself into this time. "Just briefly," he says, after a moment. "He's working on some things. Through some other things, 'course— girlfriend dying is always a tremendous bitch. I think he's going to be okay, though.

"Took a step back from the metaphorical cliff the other week. Has a new project." What with the not shooting Deckard in the face in a poignant moment of cold-blooded murder. Of course, Deckard might be one of the most avid proponents of the argument that the fate that lies ahead of him is a dozen times worse than copping a bullet to brain executioner-style. That information would be a bit of a downer, though. For now, Teo's lifting the good corner of his mouth, giving Daphne a little something good to hope for.

He glances over at Francois, but his words are still for the speedster. "Next time you see him, he should be a little better."

"Ooh," Daphne says with a shake of her head. "I didn't even think to do that. But that's why you're a doctor, right? Smarter than the average bear." She frowns, chewing that lower lip when Teo distracts her with words that don't do much for her faux-non-chalant demeanor. Stepped back from a metaphorical cliff? There's a little wince around her eyes at the word 'girlfriend' prior to that, as well — she knows what Hokuto was and wasn't, but it still hurts.

"Don't know when — or if — that will be, but it'd be hard for him to be worse, I think," she says, her voice flat, more like it was when Teo first met her than it was just moments ago. Daphne turns back to Francois and the screen.

"You think Odessa is the name for one of these two girls? Do you know any Odessas?" she asks Francois first, then looks back at Teo. "You?"

Closing off the laptop, Francois climbs to his feet once more, tucking his hands into the pockets of his sweater and glancing off towards Teo as he confirms, "Oui, we both know an Odessa. She even knows who Hiro Nakamura is, which is mostly why I made the connection, I think. And I have been to every part of America," is obvious exaggeration, if not necessarily far off the point he's claiming and why geography in general makes sense to him, delivered with a brisk smile before he lets out a sigh along with a shrug.

"It is complicated, Daphne — Odessa may not necessarily be a dangerous woman," and a slight pause begs him to reconsider those words, but he continues on with what he knows, which is, "but she is involved with dangerous people, at this time."

There's mumbled scatology under Teo's breath, even as he leans away from the doorway. He couldn't have missed Daphne's reaction to the reminder that her pretty-boy Agent used to be somebody else's pretty-boy Agent, and that he's worse for wear after the fact, but they're talking about other things. Probably, because Daphne would rather talk about other things.

Maybe later, there will be time for him to talk to Ayers about Daphne. "She's involved with dangerous people all the fucking time," he says aloud, a faint echo ringing his voice against the tiles. "Back in the— other future, she killed Hiro with his own sword, once. Was ordered to. What's your prophesy say?" Ceramic clicks on plastic, and he's bringing out a teapot, sufficient trio of mugs, and a small accumulation of neatly bagged herbal options the next moment. Earl Grey, green, oolong. He pauses by Daphne to set the tray down on the low table befor eher.

"So this Odessa tried to kill him in some other future?" Daphne says, brows knitting as she looks from Frenchman to Sicilian as both explain how very complicated this is. "Do you think she'd want to help him in this future?" She picks up the memo pad with Else's scribbled words and hands it to Teo before sitting down finally to select a packet of tea. Green. She tears the packet open and drops the bag into the steaming water. "Thanks," she adds, an afterthought.

"Do you have a way to contact her? You can give her my information, and I can take it from there, out of your hands. The only thing I'd ask…" her dark eyes move back to Francois', "if we do go and rescue him and he needs help, would you help take care of him? I think the other Doc in question is busy with other business."

Picking up a mug of boiled water and a bag of Earl Grey, Francois keeps his eyes on the task of setting up the beverage for himself, only looking up as Daphne trails her words off and direct some towards him. Briefly guarded and his mouth set in a small line, he sends a look to Teo not so much for the younger man's ability to fill in the what to do, but as if trying to scry his own in the time it takes to look away. Squishing the tea bag against the side of the mug with a silver spoon, Francois briefly regards the patterns of tea clouding water.

And gives another shrug. "Of course. As I said, we've helped each other before. Odessa might not be a terrible idea — Hiro seemed to desire to keep her safe before, to our detriment at one point, so perhaps she does have value." Giving up details is something he flicks to Teo with a glance, what with the younger man's knowledge of possible futures, and Francois brings up his tea to sip.

Pensive quiet masks Teo's scarred and bearded features for a moment. The next, he lifts his shoulders briefly and drops them again, an eloquently minimalistic shrug. "I don't think she had a livid fucking hate on for him or anything. Nothing that stemmed from this time, at least." A beat. More certainty when he clarifies: "If you can convince her it's the right thing to do, she'll probably help you.

"I'm still short on context." And not altogether nosy enough to demand to see whatever it is Francois and Daphne are basing this investigation off of. It's slightly out of character for him, but it's been a long month, and he's careful not to make too much ceremony out of it. The fact that he isn't as interested as, perhaps, he should be. He makes his You're welcome with a slight motion of fingers, and then selects a slight packet of green tea, too. "Yeah," with a glance at Francois. "I think we could pass your number along."

"There isn't a helluva lot of context, to be honest," Daphne says, nodding toward the memo pad. "Else Kjelstrom contacted me about Hiro being in the hospital. She remembered me waking up the whole damn house when I thought he was bleeding all over the place when I was sick," she explains, watching peridot-green seep downward from the tea bag into the clear water.

"He's in that hospital they took people to, but they don't know who he is — have him as a John Doe. She thought I could help — but if he's near death, then I don't know if taking him is right or wrong, you know? So she used her power and came up with that crazy tangle of words, saying I need to find a cat and a nightingale. It seems this Odessa's one of 'em. I donno what to make of the other."

Francois' fingers fan out from where he has the tea mug clamped between his palms, shoulders curling inwards. "That is all the, ah, Sherlocking I can do for you, I'm afraid. I know not if Odessa is Else's cat or nightingale, and I don't know why you, her and this one other are the key to making sure Hiro is safe, or what he needs, exactly. Like I said to you, mon amie, a hospital seems a correct place for him. If Registration is a danger, there are ways we could handle such a thing.

"But you should at least talk to Odessa, if you intend to talk at all. Perhaps she knows things we do not," and he says this with a tone that communicates he's not so convinced.

Teo is not too convinced either, but he gives other people some credit sometimes. Of course, 'sometimes' periodically results in violent betrayals that then snowball into nuclear bombs going off, narrowly averting drowning the world and ninety-five percent of the human life in it.

He's too Catholic to think that having faith is a bad thing, though. Some things are too deeply ingrained, too fundamental to the architecture of a man's brain for excision, and even pushing them away is a further admission of how deep those roots or rivets go. So it is. "The cat might be Catherine Chesterfield. I know she and Hiro had a certain connection, because of a woman he used to know. She gets a little mad these days he doesn't come around, I think, but I think that's part of it.

"You know— shit being painful." He lowers his mouth to the rim of his mug, holds it off to the side opposite the open gash in his cheek. Takes a long draw of tea, careful not to let it sizzle out and drip saliva-thickened from his bad side. Exhales briefly, the next moment, wiping his lips with the heel of his hand. "Not a big hospital fan, myself. Hope he's going to be okay, though."

Daphne takes a few sips of tea, using it more to warm her hands than anything. She looks from one to the other, her brows knitting together at the skepticism and uncertainty that comes from both — she has those in spades, and was hoping, clearly, for the opposite. "Thanks," she says with a sigh — she does mean it, but it's clear that she's disappointed from the way she exhales through the corner of her mouth, the puff of air making a lock of too-long hair flutter up from her eyes.

"I'll get out of your hair, but can I just emphasize that time is of the essence, you know? So if," her dark eyes fall on the docteur, "you're planning on sending any emails to get in contact with this Odessa, can I beg of you to let Teo type?" She doesn't wait to see the reaction from her joke, and instead there is the rush and rustle of wind meeting paper and fabric, a clatter of a mug being set down, and a second later, the front door being opened and closed, as the blur that was Daphne leaves them to their business.

A hand goes out to still the papers rustling from the rush of wind the speedster creates, squinting as finger-brushed hair is rearranged and the dust settles in her wake. "Petit démon espiegle," Francois mutters in deliberate syllables once she's gone, sitting back to slice an inquiring glance— to banish smirks or otherwise— towards Teo over his cup of tea.

Teo's smirk vanishes quickly, but not quickly enough to reverse the passage of time with the brutal magnitude of sheer velocity. Alas, that would take a woman of Daphne's talent as well as, perhaps, some variety of augmentor. Lacking the grace to look guilty, the Sicilian merely glances down at the surface of his drink, the teabag steeping color into it. A beat, and then he's looking up, his brows in a twist. Wait a minute. "Did you recruit me a fuckin' babysitter, the other week?"

Blinkablink. Glass green eyes look open and innocent, now, which mostly proves to look guilty until Francois rearranges his expression back into neutrality, sitting back and shaking his head. "Daphne offered to check in on you for company," he phrases, after a hesitation, leaning forward to impose order on the ruffled pages on the coffeetable. "I said you might enjoy the company. Do you need a babysitter?"

"No." Miffed, or a playful facsimile thereof, Teo stands up, his knees popping faintly as he straightens them to their fullest extension. "I'm heading back out in a couple hours. Maybe you should spend them sleeping. You look rough." Petty young people today, circling Francois like so many biting flies. The Sicilian quirks the older man a half-grin over his shoulder, from his good side, even as he angles an inquisitive stare out the foyer. The door doesn't seem to have moved to allow Daphne's passage, appears neither unlocked nor buckled at the hinges. Weird.

"Mmhm. Petit démon espiegle," Francois repeats with even more deliberation at Teo's retreating back with a hand of ruffling papers chasing the back of Teo's legs as he goes in a swat. But effectively nipped into not retorting that Teo goes out too much or anything that sounds— old. Hn.

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