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Scene Title Trickster
Synopsis Hokuto may not realize it, but she's far more of a trickster than she cares to admit.
Date July 15, 2009

Le Rivage, Corbin's Apartment

The thing that makes this apartment a bachelor pad would be in the way it got thrown together. Miss-matched furnature all in dark colors, a rug that's completely out of place on the floor, a table with newspapers opened up and piled all over it, books stacked up on the side. The only thing that could be considered clean would be the desk, with a desktop on one side… and a laptop opened on the other. Both almost always on, with screensavers running when not in active use.

The television, while LCD, wouldn't wow the world into wanting to sit down and watch their favorite movie. A PS3 hooked up for DVD viewing, of which a small collection is stacked on the floor nearby, in no particular order, and a little further away is a storage crate of VHS tapes, and a VCR— the dead medium. That crate seems to be mostly documentaries and old movies.

The kitchen, rarely used as it may be, actually has some activity this evening. Rummaging through a fridge that needs cleaning probably wouldn't be considered much, though. If it weren't for his job calling him in last minute to work on his birthday, Corbin might have planned a much nicer evening for himself. But it looks like microwave dinner and a movie may be it…

Sometimes the apartment is cleaned up, when expecting guests… this is not one of them.

Past eight o'clock on a Wednesday night isn't often a time Corbin Ayers receives guests, especially unannounced ones. The knock that comes at his door is just on the nose of ten past eight, followed by a familiar chirp of a voice on the other side of the door. "Pizza Delivery!" It's a tongue-in-cheek sing-song voice she uses, but finding Hokuto Ichihara out of her shop at any time of the day is highly unusual, let alone cross town without warning.

What could possibly make today any different?

Holding the fridge open with one hand, Corbin looks in the direction of the door, confusion on his face. The voice is familiar. And claiming to have pizza, but the tone of voice and the way it sounds even through the door… He closes the fridge quickly, a banging of ketcup and steak sauce bottles together as he quickly looks around at his apartment. There's so much he could clean up, but he ends up grabbing a book off of the top of the stack of books, and shoving it under some of the newspapers left on the table, in hopes it stays hidden.

A book on flowers, to be specific.

Running a hand through wavy hair as he clears the distance, he tries to peer through the peep hole once, just to make sure— Unlocking sounds follow, and the door opens. "Hokie…" He looks surprised even if he double checked it was her. Leaving the shop? Coming across town? "Did something happen?" Fires! It wouldn't be the first time the last few months.

"Pizza happened!" Hokuto exclaims as the door opens, shoving a piping hot cardboard box gently into Corbin's arms as she puffs her cheeks out and sidles past him into the apartment. Her shoes scuff along the floor as she turns, hands immediately going to her hip as she motions to the pizza with one hand, "Pepperoni and Bacon," she nods with a nod of her head, "you can serve to indulge yourself once in a while!" Nodding her head affirmatively, the dark-haired woman acting twenty years younger than she should saunters past Corbin and towards the kitchen.

"I didn't realize what day it was until it was too late, so I didn't get to pick you up a cake…" she pulls open the refrigerator he just closed, bending down to peer inside with eyes narrowed and nose wrinkled. Looking over her shoulder, one dark brow rises and she straightens up, closing the door with her hip. "Thirty four pieces of pepperoni on it though," she notes with a crooked snile, rocking back and forth on her heels as her chalk white dress swishes back and forth.

"Happy birthday," Hokuto says with a fond smile as her hands fold behind her back, "even if I did almost forget!"

No cake in the fridge. There's drinks, though. Soda. Beer. Bottled water. Touching the milk might not be the best idea in the world, but there is that too. After watching her with pizza, which certainly trumps anything frozen he might have cooked up, Corbin doesn't close the door for a considerably suspicious amount of time. When it does finally close, it's after she admits her nearly forgetting, after making the wish. "Everyone at the office forgot too," he says with a smile, remembering to lock the door against possible hall-stalkers.

"Pizza beats my plans for tonight, and you probably would've ate all the cake and been bouncing off the walls on the bus home," he teases a bit. Moving away, he looks around at the way his apartment looks, catching sight of the jacket and tie he took off when he got home laying on the floor. A few steps over and he picks them up, trying to act casual in his throwing them around a hall that leads to other rooms.

"Thirty four…" he repeats quietly, before laughing a bit with a shake of his head. "We've known each other a long time," he realizes, even if the idea isn't quite funny. "Everyone should just have a birthday on a holiday. It makes yours is easy to remember."

"Those jerks," Hokuto notes with a huff at the thought of everyone at the office forgetting. "Being your partner for as long as I was," she notes in a slightly quieter tone of voice, padding back across the kitchen towards Corbin with her arms folded across her chest, "things like birthdays and anniverssaries tend to stick." She nods her head once, affirmatively, and then flushes a bit as she thinks about the holiday her birthday falls on.

"W— well," her brows rise and eyes wander to the side, "not everyone can be as inherently romantic as I am." She tries her best not to laugh there, but comes up short with a snickering giggle. Swishing past Corbin, Hokuto makes her way around the apartment, wide eyes flitting from one piece of furniture to the next, her hands eventually folding behind her back in the posture someone would when wandering around a museum exhibit.

"You know," she turns to look over her shoulder, "I'd forgotten that you moved out of Siann Hall. I almost took the bus all the way out there, you know." Her nose wrinkles slightly, "this place is kind of dumpy though." That very Hokuto comment comes with a wrinkles of her nose, "at least out in the hall. The elevator doesn't work, and I think your doorman smelled something of whiskey." Dark brown eyes drift back to Corbin with a crooked smile.

"I've been thinking about something, lately…" Her teeth tug at her lower lip gently. "Reminiscing, I guess."

Romantic? Hokuto? Considering the girl's never once gotten flowers from anyone? The usually smiling and jovial nature, settles for a moment on Corbin's face, as she swishes around his not so great apartment. Which— yes, is not what it'd been a while ago. Things change, sometimes faster than he would like. "This is closer to my day job," he explains, using the newspaper as an excuse for the location of the housing. It certainly is closer than the housing that his other job moved to recently. There'd been no desire to live out on the base, and he's not sure he could have told her if he had.

There's a difference between former agents in good standing, and current employees… always has been.

"Place is a mess, I know, but it's better than what a lot of people are stuck with. And at least I'm on the second floor." Only one flight of stairs when the elevator's down. Which would be often. Stepping into the kitchen, he searches for plates, and ends up finding paper ones (less dishes the better) and napkins before… the more she flits around touching things, the more he watches to make sure she's not near the table.


Which is right where she was, hunched over about to lift up the newspaper before he echoed her sentiments. Her eyes shift up to Corbin and her back straightens, a crooked smile on her lips. "Oh, well— you know, back when we worked together we saw each other more. So…" A hesitant smile creeps across her lips, and Hokuto wanders back and away from the table. "I was thinking, since I have Darien to watch the shop these days, that maybe it might not be such a bad idea if…" Hokuto's teeth tug at her lower lip slightly, dark eyes flitting back up to Corbin as she offers her former partner a warm smile. "If we maybe, saw more of each other?"

There's a bit of a grimace, and she practically fights to stumble over her own words and correct herself. "What I mean is— I know you've got a lot of work to do, so— I mean— I can't imagine it would be all the time, but— some times?" Her brows rise slowly, a fleeting smile crossing her lips again. "Maybe— just something small to start? We can even pretend it's an investigation for old time's sake!" She has the most absurd ideas at times.

Whew. So very close. If only she knew! Corbin looks relieved for a moment, but why… that had more to do with where she almost went than where the conversation goes. In his relief, he doesn't quite react how he might to the rest of her words, though they're close to things they'd mentioned before, making her go out and see the things she didn't get to see cooped up on her island all day, every day. But this time— It fits, but at the same time tosses in a new element. "You want to pretend to investigate again?" Eyebrows raise, as he leaves the pizza on the counter so he can get a better glance at her— and her proximity to the book.

"No reason we can't… I wouldn't stop by if I didn't want to see you more often." There's a pause, as if he's trying to decide if he should correct that, or clarify, but nothing of the type comes as it should. "You're going to have to choose the investigation, though. I'm sure there's a lot of things you can come up with to 'pretend' to investigate." Or they could not pretend to, cause there's just something about the way he keeps saying 'pretend' that sounds off.

A moment later there's a touch of a smile, "You must really miss working with me if you came all the way over here with pizza to ask me to do 'pretend' investigations with you." It comes off as a tease, but what follows makes it less so. "I miss you, too."

There's a faint smile that creeps up on Hokuto's lips, teeth tugging at them to still the smile from becoming goofy. "Oh— kay," she has a hard time accepting that her off-the-wall idea panned out. Sweeping in a few steps around the room, Hokuto brushes past corbin and walks over to the box of pizza, huffing out a sigh as she shifts her eyes to regard him side long, and rests her hands down on top of the box.

"Do you remember that reading I did for you?" She stares down at the Panucci's logo on the box top, her hands warming from the temperature of the pizza contained within. "The one I never told you the reading about?" When she turns around, one hand still on the lid of the box, Hokuto's smile is just a touch more awkward; color in her cheeks.

With him, off the wall ideas might not seem so bad. Corbin's not exactly a prankster, but he certainly couldn't be considered a straight laced Company Man with a closet full of guns and more ammo than a Die Hard movie… The research and information aspects of his particular status had always required just a bit less of that sort of attitude— especially considering he had to fake the world into believing that events like an Evolved turning into a ball of fire in their school was a gas leak… That's pretending right there…

A hand reaches up to run through hair as he glances away.

"I remember it," he says, looking at her hands on the pizza, then up at her face. "Wouldn't touch the cards around me again after that." He'd always thought it had something embarrassing for him. Humiliating perhaps, even… Awkward smile. Color in her cheeks. This isn't just a childish joke, is it?

"I was going to give you another reading for your birthday present,' Hokuto notes with a quirk of a smile, stepping over to Corbin and leaning up on her toes, eyes narrowed just a touch and a smile spread across her lips. "But, I forgot my cards back at the shop, so…" her head tilts to the side, dark eyes angling on the pizza box. It's only then Corbin remembers a quirk about her and that particular food; she can't stand it hot. Maybe it was from something in her childhood, or maybe she was just born weird, but she loves her pizza cold.

Creeping up right next to Corbin, Hokuto's dark eyes settle on his, and she offers him a faint smile. "So, I figure… I can just tell you," her head tilts down into a nod, then dark eyes lift up slowly. "But then I figured that's too easy," she raises one hand, lightly tapping her former partner on the tip of his nose with one finger, then sidles past him again towards the sofa. "So you're just going to have to wait until I have my cards again…" she stops halfway, turning towards Corbin with a broad smile and a tilt of her head.

"But that leaves one unanswered question," both of her brows rise slowly, teeth tugging on her lower lip, "what's your present?"

It is a childish joke. Or at least a game. So much like a cat, playing with yarn and getting tangled up, and then looking up like it has no idea how it got that way.

Corbin shakes his head and chuckles softly as he realizes it, watching the way she slowly cools his birthday pizza down more to better fit her appetites— though it also means she's staying to eat it, so that's… "You're a little trickster, you know?" he accuses her, but from his tone of voice he must find it amusing, event inspiring fondness from him. "I don't know anything about your cards, though I'm tempted to find out, I'm sure a quick google search will tell me all I need to know…"

Yet he hasn't yet, couldn't even remember which particular cards she laid out if he tried, much less what they all said. In some ways, this is becoming an investigation all it's own. And he's not entirely sure if she meant it that way.

His present… From the tap on the nose, to the coyness, to the— "This sounds like a trick question, too." No packages in hand— doubtful she'd leave something in his nasty hall. The pizza has topings arranged in a way that could make it a cake.

His mind's going places… And they may not necessarily be the right ones…"You just brought yourself and the pizza— and we won't be eating that for a while." Well. She won't be. He'll heat his slices up.

Curling one fingers towards herself, Hokuto raises both of her brows and cracks a smile. "Come here," she urges Corbin, tilting her head to the side as she leans back against the arm of the sofa in the living room, "because I won't ask you twice." Her eyes close partway, smiling broad as her head tilts subtly to one side.

Mind travels a bunch of places. Corbin suddenly can't help but wonder if there'd been the same kind of ulterior motive to asking him to go on a pretend investigation with her that he had when he invited to drag her to the flower district, which he bought a book to do research on so he didn't look like an idiot— She did say she was romantic, and she is—

She won't ask him again, so he moves closer to her against his mismatched sofa. There's a perplexed expression on his face. Not quite confusion, or surprise…

Smiling impishly, Hokuto takes one of Corbin's hands in hers, turns it upside down, and lays something in his palm as she winds his fingers around it tightly, keeping it closed in his palm. There's a crooked, very wry smile there as she leans up in close and says, "I changed the locks at the store, so I thought you could use another key!" Her brows rise sharply, lips spreading into a broad and toothy smile before wrapping her arms around Corbin in a tight hug, and slipping away to prance across the floor towards the kitchen.

"Pizza's cooled!~" She says in a sing song voice, turning on one foot with her arms held out to either side, that broad and playful smile on her lips. "Happy Birthday, Corbin!" This— that isn't what— he had in mind at—


A new key. As she skips away all happily, Corbin glances down at the key for a long moment. In a way it's a relief. If anything had happened now, it would— he shakes his head, moving over to the endtable where his keys are stashed and puts it down, to be added to the keychain later after he gets used to the shape and color so he doesn't have to switch through them. "I'm glad you stopped by," he says, voice fond and oddly serious for a moment, before he points at the television.

"Why don't you stay for a movie. I'll make sure it's a short one." It's pretty much what his plan had been originally, but he moves to pick up the newspapers on the table, to make room for eating, and… wraps them around a book while he does. He'll dump that on the floor somewhere. Having company makes his birthday better.

"I know you don't watch movies too often."

Or at all.

Looking back over as she lifts the lid up, nose wrinkling in consideration of the pizza's temperature Hokuto offers Corbin a rather immediate smile. "Whatever makes your brithday a good one, Corby," her head tilts to the side, a lock of dark hair falling from behind one ear. "How about Breakfast Club?" She asks with a small smile, brows both raised, "You keep telling me I need to watch it, so…" she paws at one of the pepperoni on the whole pizza, peeling it back before popping it in her mouth with a waggle of her brows.

"It's your day," she says with a firm nod of her head, walking back towards Corbin, leaning up on her toes before very lightly pressing a simple and chaste kiss to one cheek before settling back down on her heels.

"Let's make it a good one."

After depositing the incriminating book on the floor, Corbin goes to dig through stacks and stacks of DVDs. "That's a great idea," he says, as he retrieves the movie he kept telling her she should watch. "I still can't believe you never watched this." There's so much she hasn't done. Sequestered away as she makes herself, there's always got to be something that brings about new experiences.

"It's better than most the movies made for younger people today…" That makes him sound old.

Without anything else, he readies the DVD and adds on, "My day's definitely gotten better in the last half hour." Thanks to her. Even if she's a trickster.

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