Torrential Downpour


daryl_icon.gif koshka_icon.gif

Scene Title Torrential Downpour
Synopsis After three days without contact, Daryl manages to find where Koshka's been hiding.
Date February 21, 2011

Daryl's Home and Bay House

Three days ago

"You finish your homework?"

"Yeah, dad."

"What about that paper for econ—"

"I said I finished, all right? Here, geez." Daryl tosses the remote control to his father, gets up and wanders off to his bedroom. No TV in there, but he's got a stereo, and more importantly he won't get hassled unless his dad also bothers to get up: a dicey prospect, this late at night.

Two days ago

"Eyes on the prize, twenty'll get you forty. You look like a smart fella, how can ya lose, right?" Another day, another handful of tourists and other suckers to fleece. Daryl is among the shills once again, playing up the aww-shucks-I-won angle, but it comes off a little forced; more of the marks than usual wander away without taking a turn.

One day ago

Jesus, Daryl thinks to himself, I'm doing homework on a Sunday. What the hell is wrong with me? The economics paper, far from complete, is driving him nuts. Not so much because it's difficult - he always figured he could muddle through to a C like usual - but he was planning to sluff off on it until the coming week, only to find himself getting ahead of schedule just to relieve the boredom. Even the breaking news story about the collapse of the Dome didn't really hold his interest; he'd go down and gawk, but it was bound to be a clusterfuck the first day. Maybe tomorrow…


You don't really appreciate what you've got until it's gone. And sometimes not even then— but Daryl is all too aware that a certain someone hasn't returned his calls for a few days. It's gone well beyond 'maybe her battery died', beyond even 'maybe she's been busy with family stuff'. Now? Now he's honestly worried about her. One more try, just in case, and if this one doesn't go through then he may just randomly hit the streets and try for some blind luck.

It wasn't so much that she wanted to miss calls, or that she entirely intended it to happen. But Koshka's been grounded and only recently decided to respond to phone calls though she's still not sure if she's even allowed to.

Presently the girl has been busy cleaning, picking up where she'd left off after a conversation with Adisa. Koshka has some small hope to look forward to there, someone who might listen and not give her the full brunt of disappointment she'd been shouldering. When the phone buzzes inside her pocket, the hand busy scrubbing a stubborn spot on the floor pauses. She sits back on her heels and pulls the phone out to look at the display. "Daryl," she says to herself, then thumbs the talk button, the cell raising to her ear.


Oh, good. "Hey," Daryl echoes, quickly enough that Koshka would hear the urgency he's been feeling. "You kind of dropped off the face of the planet for a while. What's been going on?" As he sits up on the bed, his elbow bumps into the pages of the econ paper, sending them scattering - continued boredom has been warring with holiday laziness, and so far losing - and he cradles the phone against his shoulder as he walks around to pick them back up.

Settling back on her heels and casting a glance toward the door, Koshka shrugs. It's not seen on the other end, but maybe notable in the pause. "Yeah," she admits. One hand picks up the rag again, and the scrubbing resumes. Might as well keep working while cleaning. "I… am grounded. Indefinitely. Some guy caught me and made me call my guardians." It's really not a complaint, she knows it could've been much worse. If anything, she sounds ashamed for the act rather than getting caught at all.

What— wait, was that the third page or the fourth? Momentarily frustrated, Daryl sets the pile aside to be sorted later; so much for trying to split his own attention. Girls are better at that stuff, so the story goes. "Well, that sucks. Least he didn't call the cops." He doesn't bother asking what she was caught doing; he knows her typical MO, and she didn't mention deviating from it. "So, what, you gotta stay home all the time now? If you were in school, I could at least come see you there."

Sinking back, legs pulling forward to cross in front, Koshka sighs. "He could've called the cops," she says wearily. Her eyes focus on the spot on the floor, wondering if it will ever come up. She reaches across to pick at it. "I'm… not allowed to go anywhere. Unless I'm with one of the adults here. Daryl… I can't do any of that anymore. It was fun and all but… They… they don't… I can't handle their disappointment."

What. The. Hell. A stunned silence follows, Daryl running his fingers through the back of his moppy hair as he thinks it over. It's not just that she's giving up the whole breaking-the-law thing; it'd be one less thing they have in common, but he could deal with that. If she was giving it up because she wanted to. But— "So you're quitting because they want you to? Look, I get that they take care of you, but that doesn't mean they should control you! You're old enough to control yourself. If they don't get that— then you oughtta get outta there. I would." And he would try, even if it's only teenage bravado suggesting that he'd succeed any time soon.

"I broke my promise to Brian," Koshka answers even more quietly, a small sad edge to her voice. It was fun, but she'd only started pickpocketing again because he'd made her feel like it was an okay thing. There's really no difference in quitting. "One of… one of the things he asked me to do when he took me in was no more stealing. And… Daryl, they're the only family I have. It's important to me… and… I can't lose this."

If Daryl realized the extent to which he'd drawn her back into the habit, then he'd feel more sympathetic. But he doesn't - okay, he said that self-reliance was more important than following rules, but he didn't flat-out tell her to get back into it, did he? - and so he doesn't. "Well… all right, fine, they're important to you. Call me back when these important people decide to let you go out and live your life again, all right? I mean, seriously, house arrest? i'd be punching holes in the wall inside of a week."

It's Koshka's turn to pause, mouth opening slightly and brows knitting in confusing. "What…" she begins, voice catching on the single syllable word. Silence follows, shorter than the first time, still filled with uncertainty. She still can't explain everything to him, even if she hadn't lost Brian and Sam's trust, she wouldn't risk those secrets unless there was something even greater at stake. "…I'm not like that. I… it was fun getting into stealing again but… It's not a game, Daryl. I can't do it anymore."

"Dammit, Koshka, I'm not even talking about that any more!" He's still thinking about it, but not just that. By now, Daryl is up from the bed, pacing back and forth as he talks. "But you should get to go somewhere and do something, even if it's just with—" Just as abruptly, he cuts himself off, lowering his voice when he speaks again. "Wait, you said you could go out if they were with you, right? That's still lame, but it's not as bad."

With a sigh, Koshka lowers the phone but keeps the call connected. She looks toward the door, listening to the sounds that have become normal in the new house. Raising a hand, the girl rubs at her brow, phone lifting again. "…They're really pissed with you, too," she says haltingly. Brian has made his disapproval more than clear, and Samara was quick to follow after the events a couple days ago. "And… they… kind of don't… want me associating with you." She folds that hand at her brow, pressing her forehead against her knuckles.

Like the news could get any worse? Daryl stops pacing, slowly sitting down on the edge of the mattress. Fingers grip the phone tightly. "They— only met me that one time," he replies, as realization dawns. Brian only seemed slightly hacked off the one time that they met, which means— "You told them what I've been up to?" he yells. With his dad getting dragged into the office despite the holiday, there's no one else listening to make him hold back. "What the fuck'd you do that for?"

Well, when it rains it pours, and Koshka herself has been stuck in a torrential downpour. Stunned at the question, she nearly ends the call not once but twice, though never committing to the action either time. "I told them that we'd talked about making our own way… That we went into this together. That… it was all temporary until we could get something better… I couldn't lie to them."

Oh yes you could, but that thought stays safely inside Daryl's head, laving him to seethe quietly as he listens. "I guess," he finally says, pressing the fingers of one hand into his temples as he holds the phone with the other. Exactly how screwed will he be if they manage to blow the whistle to his dad in turn? "I thought we were good for each other. Hell, I thought we were meant for each other, whatever that means… but maybe not, you know? I don't know any more." Anger burned through by now, he just sounds frustrated, backed into a corner.

"They aren't… as far as I know… they aren't going to tell your dad." Koshka offers that small bit in an even smaller voice. She hadn't read his thoughts, but the worry was shared. What would happen if the parents found out? She certainly knows what happens when her's did. "…I'm sorry, Daryl." Her eyes, still watching the doorway yet no longer seeing it begin to mist. Beyond that, she's unsure what else to say, choosing to lapse into silence.

"Yeah, me too." And yet… he doesn't know that they're not good for each other, either. Things changed on him once; they might again. "Call me some time, I guess." Mashing the speaker button, he tosses the phone onto the bed, reaching for his homework again. He'll let her have the last word if she wants it.

Silence continues to spill from Koshka's side of the call, broken by a sniff and then an uneven exhale. Finally, a miserable sounding, "'Bye…" echoes over the speaker, less than a second passing before the call is ended.

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