2010-02-07: FB: Property Exchange

Starring:

Adam_V4Ricon.gifDaphne_V4Ricon.gif

Date Set: August 7, 2009

Summary:

Daphne returns some of Adam's possessions…and gets hired to return an even more important one.


Six Months Ago…

"Property Exchange"

Monroe Estate - Japan

The place has been marked out for her by some trusty intel, and a few questionable locals — but Daphne's always been a natural with directions. Her messenger bag is particularly full tonight as she jogs the way to a hillside mansion, nice and set apart from most things in the general vicinity. It makes for a vaguely scenic route before she passes by the more familiar outpost, set up by some really friendly looking guys with uzis at their sides. After tipping hats of their heads and spoiling a game of betting, she moves on and it gets quieter from there.

Tennis shoes step over the makings of a pretty keen garden before she's inside and surrounded by the four walls of the house proper. A couple of rooms in and she decides this'll do. Swinging the bag over her shoulder, she digs around for what's inside. A casement comes out, a bronze-lock encrusted box. She examines it then puts it carefully on a nearby decorative desk. Then she gets her hands on and draws out two elegantly carved and insanely important golden horse statues.

Before she can set these particulars down, Daphne spots a little post-it note on the flanks of one horse. It reads: "CHINESE. NOT JAPANESE." The speedster's face scrunches in annoyance, "Ahhhg," she sighs, stomping a foot and turning the golden horse over indecisively, "This was so much easier when Samir did this part. And I got paid."

This not the first time someone's broken into his house, and it almost certainly won't be the last. This time, though, it's a special, not just a normal thug out for cash or gunning for his head. And strangely, she seems to be returning things. Things that aren't all his to begin with. Valuable, yes. Familiar, a little. But not his.

Though the guards were unable to stop the woman, they were at least smart enough to realize that something's up. With the alarm sounded, Adam is already up and about, watching on the video screens as she digs around in her bags and sets those treasures back out. To his advantage, he knows the layout of his home, and thus, in sock feet, is quite capable of sneaking up behind her there in his office. Without his sword, not even the fine replacement (but not his), he's selected to use a smaller, stealthier shoto. "Who are you?" he hisses, sliding behind her, doing his best to attempt to get one arm around her body and arms, and the blade to the front of her neck. He's nice enough to use the back of the blade toward her throat though.

Even the world's most prolific thief isn't immune to the first seconds of ambush, when the only warning is silence. Studying her choices, Daphne is innocently eyeballing that antique right up until an arm starts to come into her periphery. A practiced and swift move, she'll give the man that; it's by no general fault of his that time inches by just a little differently for his target. Hearing the hiss, and anticipating the blade, the speedster darts out of the trap just as it's completed. Adam's arms wrap around the rush of air filling the space Daphne once as, even as the girl herself relocates halfway across the room with a wide-eyed inhale.

Her expression hardens a second after. It's not only for show; although she's holding the pair of Chinese horses, she's left behind her messenger bag of other heirlooms at the man's feet where she just was. Thoughts rush behind her eyes, then she pulls her tiny shoulders back arrogantly. "… I'm the Ghost of Christmas Past."

"Going to show me all the things I once loved, hm? I doubt you know just how long that would take," he says with a smirk on his lips. Damn, she's fast though. Fast, and strangely familiar somehow. Sure, there's more than one of these speedy buggers out there, but, it's almost like he's seen this one before. Adam's forgotten an awful lot though, maybe more than some people will ever learn; he can't be expected to remember every face. "Those are Chinese anyway," he says dismissively, quite well-versed in the history of his adopted native country. He did live through a good chunk of it, of course!

The bag doesn't go unnoticed by Adam though, and he slowly bends down to have a look inside. He tries his best to keep one eye on her, and uses the tip of his short sword to lift the flap and have a peek (short though it might be) inside. "Well, well, what do we have here? Have you spent your day visiting the museums in Tokyo then?"

"No," is the retort, "As in, I have a bunch of things from your past. Merry Christmas." Duh. Edginess affects Daphne's tone, though, and it will continue while he paws through her stuff. Despite that she was sort of giving it back anyway. "Yeah, what do ya know, wrong country. No problem for me," she sniffs distractedly, gesturing with the horse but also studying his face. She, on the other hand, has been keeping careful track of faces. And while months without a word of Pinehearst opening its jaw to snatch her up, she's still getting the tingly sensation of paranoia.

Pride helps to ease that when he comments on the bag's contents. "Not today. Like, eons ago, I don't even know." Pride and… sheepishness. "I think Japan got into a tiff with South Korea over stuff missing…" She shrugs it off. "Anyway, friend of mine suggests I do a little spring cleaning, so. Like I said. Merry Christmas."

Adam can only chuckle a bit. "Either you're quite late for Christmas, or quite early. Judging by that you can do, however, I'm leaning more towards the early side of things. Let's have a look at what you've brought, hm?" The sword is stowed away enough as to be less threatening, to allow him to lift the bag and drop it onto the desktop with a thump.

He takes a few steps away from the bag, motioning for her to continue her endeavor of putting things back in place. This allows him some time to look her over a little more carefully, trying to figure out where that familiarity comes from. "We've met before, haven't we?" he finally just blurts out.

"Yeah, well, there was a lot to return." She's only slightly bitter about the idea of replacing it all. Daphne schools the emotion away, anyhow, so she can saunter with as much confidence as possible. Not that Adam sees much of this posturing, since she'll be a blur of electric blonde and blue sweater to him before she's at the desk again. Feeling like he's not going to pull the ninja move a second time — but keeping a sixth sense for her six anyway — she nudges at the bag and plops the Chinese horses in there. In their place, she removes some jewelry that Adam can… eh, wear it, for all she cares. It's very pretty.

At the end of his study of her, she eyes him, sliding a highly ornate sheath and bouncing it idly in her hands before setting it down as well. "I stole your phone," she mentions casually, "Whoops. Seem to have left that one behind."

Adam regards her with squinty eyes for a moment, then finally, he remembers it. From his days post Level 5 but before traveling back to Japan. "Ah…right. You're that speedster. I hope you didn't run up my bill, though." Not like he doesn't have the cash to afford it, afford a new phone, or just buy a cell phone company if he wanted to.

"Been finding much work for…Pinehearst was it? Or since Pinehearst, I suppose I should ask." He's got some connections, and he's not totally out of the loop when it comes to companies like that, and of course, The Company. Already, he's starting to plan and plot in his head. These things were once stolen, now they're being returned. Either way, she's speedy, and clearly a good thief. There's more than one thing he wants stolen back from folks, and Daphne would be a perfect partner.

The bag is empty of everything she owed this household, and full of some Chinese horses, so Daphne turns to fully face the old man and his questions. "Work sure," she voices, though she only shrugs one shoulder of low-confidence in her words. "I'm a busy little bee. I'm so busy I'm returning stuff so I can steal it all over again." Which might seem like an odd thing to confess to his face. But maybe she likes the challenge. Or her sarcasm is evident enough. She glances to the side to poke at the decorative box, an almost affectionate, regretful motion. How long has this stuff been in her apartment?

"Well…how would you like to start stealing some new stuff? Start all over, as it were. There are a few things I imagine you can help me get back…one item in particular." Adam sets the shoto aside, and stands there next to his desk and that decorative box. "I can, of course, pay you handsomely for your time and effort," he offers with a twinkle in his eye and a little waggle of the brows.

When he approaches her, but more specifically that box, Daphne only shifts her weight backwards as a small physical cue of retreat; she holds her ground otherwise. That one there happens to hold old scrolls, delicately illustrated stories— ones Adam might be personally familiar with. A struggle happens for the thief, evident in her glance to the side, a twitch of those lips. The dollar signs that might have appeared in her eyes are delayed by some associated guilt, like someone else pressing down on her shoulders so that she's forced to drop her perky stance to eye Adam more hesitantly. "Yeah. What kind of items, exactly?" A question she wouldn't have asked months ago.

"A weapon more than some generic item. A sword. A very particular sword that was stolen from me to begin with. I'm just looking to even the score, as it were." While he chats, he does unlatch the box and cracks the lid open just a bit, grinning when he sees some scrolls that he's clearly familiar with. "These are…wow…" he mumbles to himself, mostly, before looking back at Daphne. "I can make it well worth you while. And is it really stealing if you're just getting back that which belongs to me to begin with?"

Daphne shamelessly stares at him as he goes through the returned scrolls, noting that matter, the look on his face. When he's back on her, she's got her mouth quirked to the side as she gnaws a bit on the inside of that cheek. "Well," she finally decides, linking her hands together and stretching them out in front of her. "When you put it like that." It's as good as a 'yes' from the thief. She saunters around the side of the desk, drawing her arms back to her chest to cross them. "Must be a pretty neat sword."

"Yes…you could say that. It's…very old. An antique, even. Made by the greatest swordsmith of his day. Someone stole it from me after he double-crossed me. He seems to think, quite incorrectly, that he's the proper owner of such a blade. Perhaps you know him…a short, aggrivatingly-chipper little Japanese man with the annoying ability to freeze time…" he starts, practically monologuing to Daphne. Delusional? Or just appreciative of a good rant?

It isn't hard to see the appreciation in Daphne's eyes as she stops and listens to the description of this great antique. Fingers flex around her arms. But the moment is swiftly shattered. "Pikachu?!" Her casual facade ruined by even the briefest widening of eyes, she… clings to it anyway. "Sure, maybe I do. If I did, I'd imagine once he got an idea, he sticks to it pretty hard. Says he's one of the good guys." Eye-squint, critical study of Adam. As in: what does that make you?

"Good guy is such a subjective term," he says, making sure to air-quote around the phrase 'good guy.' To not bore you with the details? He betrayed me, stole my greatest love, and then to top it off, stole my lifeblood." Adam doesn't exactly make mention of the fact that this happened in the 17th century. That could…ruin the mystique, as well as give away his secret. "Regardless, it belongs to me, and I'm commissioning you to return it. If you do, I can easily provide…hmm. An even million. Cash. American. Non-sequential 20s and 50s."

Daphne keeps up that long study of Adam. The only sign of her thought process is the slow — for her — way she begins to push her lips out for the optimum amount of skepticism needed to ask: "Are you sure that wasn't the movie you watched last night? 'Cause, that's kinda what it sounds like." But a little shake of her blonde head dispels that, as well as the projected amount of income. "Well, alright, Kurosawa. You got yourself a sword. Got a tip where it's stashed, or does a girl gotta do all the work herself?"

"Find the man, find the sword. I've only got a few leads on where he's gotten to, unfortunately. But of course, my information network is open to you…as a new employee…" Adam stands by his desk, cocksure grin on his lips. He's holding out an empty hand, a welcoming hand, to shake, and confirm the business arrangements to obtain his old sword…

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