Nowhere I'd Rather Be


Ami is starting to feel better, but is still staying at Takashi's house.

Date: 2016-02-15
Pose Count: 55
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 02:49:12 28841
It's the early afternoon on Sunday when Ami wakes up to see Takashi, with his homework spralwed all over the table, scribbling answers down on paper, flipping it over, and starting with the next one. Usually it's one after another, and only occasionally does he stop to actually think about an answer.

He looks over though, when Ami makes enough noise or movement to make him acknowledge her conscious presence. "Feeling any better, genius-girl?" he asks with a smile, already starting to stack papers and books.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 02:53:21 28845
Ami's schedule has been entirely ruined, living on Takashi's couch. She's not normally the late-to-bed, late-to-rise sort of girl, but between the discomfort of living in a room with a boy, the discomfort of her lingering malady, and his light snoring, it's become nearly impossible for her to keep her usual schedule. So when she awakens Sunday afternoon, it is already late enough for her to be somewhat grossed out by the lingering weight of afternoon air. At least it's not late afternoon, yet.

Ami covers a yawn with her hand, then smiles at Takashi. "A bit," she admits quietly. "Mako-chan's food has been really helpful, I think," Ami admits, then stretches a bit before swinging her legs out from under the blankets. She huddles up with the blanket wrapped around her torso, still, and stifles another yawn, then leans forward to peer at his work. "Whatcha working on?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 03:12:45 28850
Takashi, on the other hand, has no such thing as a sleep schedule besides 'fall asleep at his desk in the lab' and 'try to be awake during class and fights'.

"Just my homework. Math, chemistry, psychology." A not-insubstantial portion of it is University level - Takashi spends a substantial portion of time not in his homeroom with the rest of his class, but in the upper levels of coursework Infinity provides that earns it the University title.

"I've been out of class for longer than you have. I was going to go back on Monday buuuuut." he smiles and gestures at the couch. "Hoping to get it out of the way so I can work on more interesting projects, like ours."

"Do you need anything? Drink, snack, whatever?" he asks, as he closes the last book and sets it on top of the others in a neat stack.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 03:24:18 28857
Ami points out one of the equation's he's worked on previously. "Think you forgot to carry the one, here," she notes with a frown. "Isn't this differential calc?" she asks, squinting up at him. She pushes up from the couch and wanders around behind him, peering over Takashi's shoulder to examine his homework.

This is a world she knows all too well, and yet rather than reaching beyond herself into college courses, Ami has instead simply focused on being the absolute top of her own grade level. Every time.

It rankles with Ami that he is taking these classes, and yet she's certain he's not actually smarter than her. He's just taken different opportunities. But he's learning things she won't be allowed to for another three or four years at her current rate. And that? That is frustrating enough for the weakened Senshi to be irritated.

"I need a shower," Ami admits to him quietly as she gives up trying to fully understand everything on the page. Sure, she could figure it out quickly. But she doesn't instantly understand it. And that is legitimately upsetting. "I'm gonna go do that while you finish your homework, okay? I think I'm doing well enough I can do this alone, this time."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 03:34:29 28860
Takashi looks down where she's pointed. He makes a noise of disgust. Not at her, but at himself for making a mistake like that. "That's what I get for trying to do a week's worth in an hour. More mistakes." he grumbles. "Thank you, though. I'd have been really upset to ge this back after it was graded this way."

She's got a tone of irritation in her voice, but he doesn't press it. This is not the time to be chiding her about her schoolwork. This is a time to tease her about other things with more of a distance to her, and he can save the rest for later.

"Alright. There's a fresh towel and all in there. Shouldn't need anything, but you know. I'll be right here." he says.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 03:43:02 28863
"I'd rather die than let you help me with a shower," Ami jokes to Takashi morbidly. Then she gives his shoulder a gentle squeeze before bending past him to grab her phone. Then, thumbing through her texts and such, Ami makes her way towards the bathroom. "Oh, today," she mumbles, before closing the door behind her.

A few minutes later, her voice drifts out, "Really Usagi-chan? This is what you put in here?" But then she falls silent again until the sound of running water drowns out all hope of Takashi hearing her.
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 04:08:03 28872
Takashi looks up. He doesn't EVEN have the decency to blush. "I wasnt referring to helping you shower, Ami-chan. But I mean if you start passing out or something. Or if you need me to throw something through the door. Jeeze. You didn't have to go there with it."

He goes back to his homework until she returns, though he occasionally casts a glance at the bathroom door.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 04:22:03 28876
Ami takes a goodly long time in the bathroom. Not quite enough that he might worry she's fallen unconscious or anything, but it's definitely more than a quick shower. She takes another long while after turning off the water, too. This may well be the culmination of needing to conserve her energy so that she can finish doing things like dressing.

It may also have something to do with what she comes out wearing. For a week, now, Ami has been confined to (1) Takashi's oversized teeshirt, and then (2) a pair of silk pajamas. So long has she been lazing around that it might be easy to forget that she actually does like to wear nice things. Apparently today she has decided to remember that.

Ami emerges dressed in an empire-waisted dress the colour of the midnight sky on a moonlit night. It reaches just to her mid-thighs. The dress is sleeveless, and the chest-panel is sheer and straps to her neck front and back. Ami has put in customary trio of blue earings back into her left ear, and the matching fourth in the right.

She's even put on just a dab of makeup; lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow in only the tiniest amounts. Enough to enhance but not stand out. To the casual observer it's little enough they might not even notice she's done it.

Ami leans against the doorframe of the bathroom for a moment, then begins padding, barefoot, towards the livingroom again. She looks exhausted, but there's a subtle smile on her face. "I don't know why Usagi-chan put this in there," she says. "But it's nice to feel like a girl again."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 04:42:33 28882
Takashi actually doesn't really notice how much time Ami takes - writing a paper at the time to type up later - but he notices when she emerges from the bathroom. Oh does he notice.

His pen drops. It rolls to the floor. He does not make an attempt to grab it. He mumbles something before he shakes it off, visibly, wills his mouth to shut, and somehow manages to do it without actually having to bring a hand up to shut it manually.

Once his speech centers in his brain re-wire themselves and actually turn on, he manages to get out "well, its very flattering." he says, and actively fidgits for a moment. Takashi does not fidgit at all. It's just the shock of seeing the girl he's been taking care of for a week come out looking like that.

After a moment or two, he adds. "I mean. You look really good in it." Saying anything other than compliments would probably go against his survival mechanisms at this point.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 04:47:44 28883
Ami blushes just a little at the compliment, then lowers herself down onto the couch. "Yeah, well, I'd better," she says. "The point was to make me feel better, but the net result is I'm exhausted as heck. But at least I look good?" She sighs and hugs her arms a little, then glances past him towards the kitchen. "And I'm hungry. Do we have any of those little quiches left?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 04:52:14 28884
Takashi gets up. His brain has recovered from the shock... mostly. "Well, you look good all the time. You look amazing right now." he corrects. And then his mind catches up with his mouth and he's walking past the table somewhat quickly. "Yeah I'm pretty sure we have some of those quiches left I'm going to go get you a few." he says in a rapid string of words, heading for the fridge, the kitchen, to berate himself for just saying that so bluntly while getting them on a plate for her.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 04:58:53 28885
Ami blushes even more, and rubs at her arms. "Okay," she mumbles, glad he's leaving. Right now, there is so much regret for putting this outfit on. What was she thinking? She should have known better than to wear it with him around. She should have expected this reaction from him.

And now she has to make it worse. Ami grimaces and picks up the little box of chocolates Makoto gave her, then counts them. There are only six left. But they're so very special. With a little whimper, Ami picks two out and places them on a napkin, then slides it over in front of Takashi's seat. Then, she closes the box again and places it down on the table beside her. Sitting back, Ami rubs her arms again, then sighs and pulls out her tablet to start reading over the day's news.
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 05:07:57 28886
If he could actually see her blushing right now he might feel better. It's not the fact that he complimented her - Takashi has complimented girls all the time! It's that the compliments slip unbidden out of his mouth, they're not calculated things to tease or get a reaction. In a sense, it's the fact that these compliments are real, honest, truthful things, rather than tools in a social kit.

He returns with the quiches on a plate and sets them in front of her, not sure if he should apologize or not, so in his lack of defined responses, he simply says nothing. But then he sits down and there's something in front of him. And unless his house has ghosts... or ghost youma, do those exist?... she put them there.

"What's this?" he asks, as he points at the very-obviously-chocolates.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 06:08:40 28898
Decidedly uncomfortable, Ami rubs her arms impatiently while she waits for him to return with her food. When he sets the quiches down she offers him a smile, then reaches out for the first with wiggling fingers. But before she can quite pick it up he's asking about the chocolates, and her whole face turns a certain shade of scarlet

"W-well it's Valentines' Day," Ami expalins quietly. "And I don't have anything else to give you. I know it's fancy, but it's all I've got. I'm sorry. You don't need to think anything special about it, it's just all I have and you're my friend and I owe you a lot so I didn't want you to think I'd missed the day and wasn't going to get you anything."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 06:28:08 28906
"Oh, I... suppose it is Valentine's day." Finally she manages to get a blush out of him, through sheer combination of the date, her awkwardness, the chocolate, and her outfit. It doesn't stick around long, but it's pretty clearly there.

"You really don't have to apologize for giving me chocolate, Ami-chan." he says, smiling, managing to find his gently needling attitude in all of this. "In fact, I appreciate it a lot." he says. "I guess given the circumstances you'll be the only girl I get chocolates from on the day itself, and I'll be the only boy you give any to." he muses, in a calm way like he's just laying out facts, even if someone might draw inferences from him doing so.

Then he puts one into his mouth, and his first thought is 'a month from now I'm going to be in real trouble'.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 06:32:05 28909
Ami doesn't know what to tell him at all, and he's once again pointing out the uncomfortable truth of their situation. So instead of responding, she merely puts the quiche in her mouth. The better to prevent her sticking her foot there. Or worse, his. Ew.

Still, she's watching him curiously as he eats the chocolate, wondering whether he will be affected by them the same way she is. Makoto never intended these to be given away, but with no alternatives, this is what she has resorted to.

She is so not disappointed by the look on his face.
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 06:41:52 28913
So it's one thing to praise Makoto's cooking - all of that praise was honest, and her fingerfoods were great. But the chocolate? The chocolate was made carefully by Makoto as a project of love. It wasn't just something she slapped together - this is Makoto's confectionary skill distilled into a peice of little chocolate heaven.

"I almost don't want to eat the other one... because then they'll all be gone." he says, blinking a bit. "This is probably the best candy I've ever eaten." Of course, it's not like Takashi eats much homemade chocolate, so this might not be the highest bar to set, but... "You know you've really set me up for no small degree of difficulty in a month, right?" he says with a grin.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 06:50:31 28919
Here, Ami's blush returns full force. "I didn't mean to," she stammers out hastily. "It's just all I had! Mako-chan brought them over to me when she brought the foods, and I don't think she realised I would need to give you chocolate at all, but I don't feel like I can not do so. But they're really good so I gave you two of them, because I wanted you to know how much I really appreciate everything you've done. You d-d-don't have to give me anything on White Day. I don't mean to still be living here, then, and it's a stupid tradition. But um. I'm glad you like it."

Then she reaches for the other quiche he's brought her to stuff her face further. She's so deep down into no idea what to say right now.
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 06:59:52 28927
"Well, for someone who didn't mean to, you sure put them on a seperate napkin and gave them to me." he says with a smirk. A kindhearted one, but it's there. "But no. I understand. But you can't tell me that you'd feel obligated to give me chocolate, and then tell me not to feel obligated to give you chocolate back, Ami-chan." he points out.

"You don't have to be living here in a month for me to give you a gift back." he adds, looking at her. "You can try to hide, too, but I know your friends." he adds, with a faux-evil grin on his face. "I'm sure they'll help me find you. You're doomed! Doomed to recieve your White Day Chocolate now!" he says, managing to hold onto his snickering until after the comment is made.

"And you know I'd do it all again if I needed to." then there's a beat of a pause before he says, quickly. "But don't go getting yourself hurt again!"
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 07:06:48 28929
Ami's eyes widen as she realises that not only is Takashi grandstanding about chocolate delivery, he's doing it in the most terrifying way she can imagine. If this were any other topic, she's pretty sure she'd be afraid right now. How does a hero manage to be so nefarious?

As is, though, Takashi's evil villainspeech actually does much to break the ice, and Ami hides a giggle behind her hand as she watches him. Once she recovers, she notes, "But Takashi-kun, don't you know that the villain's demise is always the speech? Because you have told me your plans, I now know what I must do to foil them. You shall never deliver White Day chocolate for me! Never! But you could get me a Coke and I won't complain."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 07:12:42 28931
Takashi leans in a bit. "Well you know now, you're making it sound like some sort of challenge." he says, bemusedly. "That's not a good thing for you - you know how I like puzzles and challenges. The more difficult, the better." he adds with a wink. "The last thing you want to do is making giving you that chocolate INTERESTING."

He leaves that there as he gets up, getting a soda for both of them, putting hers right into her hands when he returns rather than sitting it on the table itself. He does still sit in the chair away from her despite a quiet yet distinct desire to want to acquire space on the couch with her.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 07:22:33 28935
Ami manages to giggle again as Takashi gets up to fetch her coke. Little does she know, he's being serious. This is possibly going to come back to bite her in about twenty-eight days.

When Takashi places the coke in her hand, Ami holds it with almost trembling fingers of excitement. "Thanks," she says, then reaches up to pop the top. Within a few moments, she chugs half the drink, then sets it back down and has to stifle a little burp. "Erf. Sorry. It's just been so long since I've had one and I'm used to drinking like five a day. Annnnyways, so um. I should probably ... do some laundry after I've gotten a little of my strength back. Do you have a washer and dryer here, or do I need to stagger brokenly to a laundromat?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 07:30:00 28938
Takashi actually looks askance at her. "One, yes I have a washer and dryer here. Two, if you were ready to stagger brokenly to a laundromat I'd probably send you home with my cellphone number." Then, after a moment. "In case anything goes wrong, that's why you'd have my number." he clarifies. "And you don't have to leave until you're ready, I'm not trying to say I want you gone..." okay now It's Takashi's turn to stammer a bit, drink a bit of the soda, and center himself.

"Hey if you want one just let me know. There's a case in the fridge. You're not the only person who goes through them like that here." he says, nodding. And then, well, he's at it again a little bit. "So, does that mean I'm going to get my shirt back, or were you planning on keeping it to remind you of your time here with me?" he asks with that now-standard smirk. Because the best way to resolve his own awkwardness from before is to make her feel awkward. Or something. Okay, lets not pretend he thought this comment through at all, because he did not.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 07:34:16 28940
Ami rubs her bare arms uncertainly as he explains the washer situation. It's not that she doesn't want to leave--right?--it's that she's not sure she's ready, yet. Sure, she's feeling a little better, today, but what will she feel like tomorrow? Still, she does need to do some laundry so it's convenient that he has the things to do that with in-house.

Ami picks up her coke to continue drinking it as he reminds her that there are more. She will probably go for a second in just a moment. So she has a mouthful of coke when he teases her about the teeshirt, and she almost doesn't manage to keep from spitting it on him. Almost. Ami swallows and glares, then finishes the drink quickly before chucking the can right at his forehead, followed by pushing to her feet. "Go get me another one, then," she says, before stomping back towards the bathroom. A moment later she emerges with a large teeshirt that smells just a little of her sweat. This also gets chucked at his forehead, before Ami staggers and falls back onto the couch.

She's panting again, and grabs the pillow to press her face into. "Ohhhkay too much," she mumbles unhappily. Then remembers to reach back and fix her skirt. "Dizzy."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 07:41:29 28943
Takashi does a completly terrible job in hiding his snickers as she makes that face where she's trying not to reorient the drink in her mouth - but that means he's woefully unprepared for Mercury Aluminum Can Launch! When the can hits him in the forehead both devices - the one still on his wrist as a charm and the one on the end table - actually ping out softly, as if asking if he requires a henshin. This just makes him snicker harder.

He's on his way back with a second set of sodas for the two of them as she chucks the t-shirt - which he dodges much better and ends up on his shoulder. Then she staggers, both sodas are placed on the table as he moves pretty damn fast to try to intercept her, but luckily she falls on the couch instead of the floor or into the table. He looks down at her.

"Yeah, no laundromat trips for you today." he says, quietly, scooting her soda over to her side of the table and opening it for her. "Looks like you're stuck with me for a little while longer."
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 07:55:11 28945
Ami grunts unhappily at that, then sighs and rolls onto her side again. "Yeah, I think you're right," she mumbles quietly. "I'm okay, I just did too much, there." She's still in so much pain, but she's learning to live with it by now. And it is lessening each day.

Quietly, Ami stares up at him for a long moment, searching his face for something while she tries to reorient herself from the dizziness of exhaustion. After about a minute she asks, "Hey Takashi?"

And when he no doubt asks her what, she admits, "It scares me how long I've been out. More than a week already. And it's the worst time in this war Sailor Moon is fighting. I can't afford to be sidelined right now. She needs me."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 08:07:57 28949
"You threw an empty soda can and a shirt." he says, which reminds him the shirt is still on his shoulder, and he looks at it and shrugs. "That wasn't a lot of much. This is why I'm not discharging you." he says with a kind smile. Of course, when she asks her question he tilts his head a little bit and says "what?"

"I'm not sure what to tell you on that. I mean. I've been trying to reverse engineer the process just so I can get a better idea of what you got hit with and..." he has been debating saying it for a little bit. "... this thing is a mixture of some of the most vile stuff." he says, going for a bit of vagueness given the way she's trying to orient herself.

"Look, you can still help out with your mind, with your computer there. But you can't be expected to pop up from the edge of death to go fight back-to-back with Sailor Moon. They were probably investing a lot, given the nature of this stuff, in trying to get you off the field. And I have a sneaking suspicion what they were trying to deprive them of isn't your fist, but your brain."

"So don't let them. If you try to fight too soon, you'll deprive your allies of both by dying and that's the opposite of helpful. If she needs you, give the help it's safe to give. The help you're best at."

A beat pause. "Just because you're not out there fighting alongside them as Sailor Mercury doesn't mean you're not helping." he says, watching her face super-carefully as he says it.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 08:18:56 28951
Ami sticks out her tongue at Takashi, then replies, "I also stood up too fast, stormed off to the bathroom, bent over to retrieve the shirt from the little bag I've kept my dirty clothes in, stood up too fast again, and stormed back. It's not like all I did was throw two things and fall over."

But the rest of his words are less teasing, and she does follow his attention towards her tablet, sitting available on the coffee table. Somehow, she manages not to startle when he accuses her of being Sailor Mercury, though she does blush. "Sailor Mercury!?" she says, then stifles a laugh. "Oh, I wish. She's amazing. But she uses ice powers, and all I've got is dimensional stuff."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 08:27:24 28954
Her reaction seems to molify the part of him that tries to read people for reactions, and he leans back. It does not, however, discount the miryad things that bring him to this point. "Well, I'm sure you can forgive me for getting the difference between you being a fangirl and you being her. Given the symbol on your computer, the fact that I know you're magical, the fact that she was coindicentally there to save me from your friends... ah... confused boyfriend in the nick of time?" he muses.

"But I can be wrong occasionally, I suppose." he adds, leaning back, and returning to the previous topic of conversation. "It would've been convinent. I mean, I've been wanting to ask her a few questions anyways." he muses. And he has the air of someone who is not entirely convinced, but also not pressing the issue since she cleared that hurdle of not reacting.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 08:42:28 28958
"Fangirl?" Ami asks, eyes widening a little. "N..I mean I guess. We're friends," Ami explains with a blush as she reaches up to turn the computer over so the symbol of Mercury isn't visible. "Anyways, I can maybe arrange a meeting for you, if you want. Sometime. Later. When I'm not injured."

Clearing her throat, Ami pulls herself up onto her knees, then slides her feet out from beneath her so she can sit on the couch normally again. She still looks a little dizzy, and her hair is a bit of a mess after the ordeal, but at least her makeup didn't smear. "Anyways, I know I can do research, and I'm not really much of a fighter. I just ... hate feeling useless, you know?" she asks, before reaching for the second can of Coke.
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 08:49:46 28960
"It'd be cool if you could introduce me, yeah." he adds, after a moment of thought. "But yeah, after you're not injured." he adds, mentally throwing that line of thought out a window for now.

"I know what you mean." he says, moving away from her now to sit down again. "You remember when you visited me in the hospital? I know /exactly/ what you mean. Even when you're doing research, it's nice to be able to confirm that sort of thing, be out in the field. It's like knowing your numbers are right versus seeing them pan out in an experiment." he adds, reaching for the soda.

"Believe me, I understand completly. The armor isn't for show. The halberd isn't decorative. As Kunzite discovered." he muses with a self-satisfied smile. "Even with such wonderful company, I am, not exactly hunting him down from here."
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 09:01:26 28963
Ami grimaces, then reminds, "It wasn't his fault. He isn't controlling his actions. Queen Beryl, and her mind-control, is. He's a victim," she reiterates to Takashi. "And victims of such tragic circumstance deserve to be saved, if they can be." Pause. "Which doesn't mean you're not allowed to punch him in the nose on my behalf. Just ... don't stick him with the halberd, okay?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 09:07:37 28964
"I'll meet you halfway. I'll hit him with the other end. I'm not much of a punchy type." he admits. "But I'm gonna make my... displeasure known." he adds, firmly.

But he pauses, musing over the things Ami said, musing over them in a quiet and deep way. "Yeah, I know... that dark energy can change someone's actions, can change how they feel, and what they do. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on that, since you're vouching for him."
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 09:13:35 28967
"Speaking of ..." Ami says to Takashi quietly, thoughtfully. "I've been doing a tiny bit of scanning this thing Kunzite left in me, and I noticed something very peculiar."

Ami reaches for the Mercury Computer again and pulls up a recent scan, then shows it to Takashi. He probably recognizes it: it's a detailed graph of dark energy intermingling with light. "I don't know what's happening, but ... this was yesterday, right after you did another transfusion. Am I really this infested with dark energy right now?" It's not much, really; not much at all. And it's not Kunzite's. "Is this what he did to me?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 09:19:42 28968
Takashi does not like that question. Takashi does not not not like that question. The degree to which Takashi likes that question is plainly visible on his face. Maybe it's something that can be confused with the data on the graph... but maybe not.

"It's part of why you're still weak. Your body is still trying to get back to it's normal balance." he says, after a rather uncomfortable silence in which he thought about how to respond. "It's why you hurt, and why when you expend a lot of your own energy you get woozy and have to sit down. Normally, you'd be fine. Go run, jump, whatever. Spending it throws it off, though, and then your body goes full tilt trying to sort itself out." he adds. Without answering the question yet.

There are selfish fears in the answer to that question, for sure. But also selfless ones, like the fear that she'll resist any further help from him. And so, quietly, he comments. "Sometimes life-saving treatments have side effects." he adds, and his voice is almost only a mumble, though a discernable one. "Like radiation oncology, as an example."
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 09:32:06 28969
That was not anywhere near the answer Ami expected to get. In fact, she was expecting either confirmation that Kunzite is a jerk, or surprise from Takashi that she found something he hadn't. On her list of answers never did 'it's part of your treatment' appear.

Ami opens her mouth tor eply, but no words come out for a moment. She stares at him, then looks down at her own readings, then looks back up at him, and slowly tilts her head. "Wait, so ..." she trails off, then leans forward, "Wait, so this is your energy?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 09:40:45 28970
To be fair, it wasn't a question he was prepared to answer. In retrospect, perhaps it had been something he should've expected, guarded against, planned for. But, perhaps in hubris, perhaps in panic, it wasn't.

So all he has now in his toolkit is an honest, real explanation. "I couldn't pull the poison out of you without killing you. it was... taking over. Your linker core was poisoned. I used the cancer example because that's a lot like what you were dealing with... it had infected you to the point where your own energy was hostile. But obviously I couldn't just drain your energy."

"You were barely holding on. You needed replacement energy and you needed to get the poison out of you, so - we shared out energy. And that had these effects." He's probably not answering the question she wants answered, but... he's avoiding that.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 09:43:44 28971
"I know all that," Ami tells Takashi quietly, leaning forward just a little. She smoothes out the wrinkles in her dress, suddenly wishing it were just a little longer. "I know all that," she reiterates, "but that's not what I'm asking you. Takashi-kun," she says, worriedly, "Is this dark energy yours?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 10:00:10 28972
Takashi sighs. "Well, if I told you no, you'd probably just find out anyways. And to be honest, I'd rather not lie to you." he adds, holding his palm flat in front of her. "Now you know why I don't work closely with everyone else. And please. Don't go around sharing. I really do not need the senshi banging down my door."

Tendrils of black energy snake up his arm, small wispy things that aren't truly hostile in thier own way except the danger being able to control them represents. If Ami watches rather than recoils away, she'll be able to see small shadow-people acting out things Takashi discusses. "My mother... was a scientist. She was experimenting with the energy - before anyone really understood what it did, or what it represented. But she also knew it was powerful." In his hand, there's a small shadow woman looking at two small beakers.

"When she got pregnant, she wanted the best for her child. She wanted him to grow up to do all the things she couldn't. And she knew the way this power worked, the way it reacted with people. So while she was pregnant, she intentionally exposed her child to it." he says, the woman walking inside of some sort of chamber. The little figures are incredibly detailed - there's not any real power here, but there's an incredibly high level of control - even in black and darker black features and shapes can be made out clearly.

"For the strength I have though, my mother paid with her life. The dark energy infected her, too. And it wasn't well understood - the effects it could have - like Marie Curie, her work ended up killing her. She committed suicide not long after I was born." There's a small boy in a graveyard now.

"I was...alone. My whole life I have been alone. I was an orphan, fostered out by the state. Wierd things happened around me, so I wasn't actually adopted. I just moved from place to place. So I spent a lot of time reading, researching. Eventually I just left. I went my own way. I was so much trouble I don't think they ever really bothered to look for me." he says, with a half smile, little boy sneaking out of a house with a backpack in the shadow imagry now.

"If I didn't have this inside of me though, you would've been dead. With no way to pull the poison out of you, you would've died, there would've been nothing I could do." he says, looking up at her now instead of his hand as the imagry shows a small Ami being caught in mid fall by a small Frost Knight before vanishing completly and his the little shadow tendrils vanishing. "I understand if you're concerned. I know the people you fight. I've met Kunzite, I know the power he used to hurt people is the same power I have. But without that power, I'd have lost a beautiful chess partner..."
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 10:18:12 28973
Suspecting Takashi commanded dark energy, and actually seeing that dark energy made manifest, are two entirely different things. It's startling, staring at someone very confidently and competently controlling dark energy.

But on the other hand, Ami has studied a man whose body is completely comprised of the stuff; a man who helped her immensely in studying and advancing her objective in freeing the Generals from Metallia's control. If it weren't for Kunzite, Ami would never have known how to cure Jadeite. She would never have known about the palace in France, nor figured out how to best deal with Endymion's own mind control.

To Ami, Dark Energy is not something to be feared; it is something to be pitied. So as Takashi's story continues, she doesn't look away or recoil; she watches, fascinated, and her face softens to one of understanding and sympathy.

When Takashi concludes his story, Ami looks up to his face, then shrugs faintly and offers a shy smile. "I was concerned," she says, slightly emphasizing the past tense. "For me, when I thought it was Kunzite's power changing me. Now ... well I suppose I'm still concerned, but I trust you Takashi-kun. Now, I'm more concerned for you. But you've lived with this part of you a long time." All his life. Ami can't quite fathom that. "I trust you," she reiterates. "But ... I hope you won't think less of me for wanting to try and help fix this. Dark energy is dangerous. For you, and for your self-control. You know this better than I do, I'm sure. But just as you keep telling me not to rush out and let myself get hurt again, I'm going to express that same sentiment. I don't want you to suffer this darkness within you, Takashi-kun. And if I can find a way to remove it from you, safely, I hope you will let me try."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 10:31:17 28974
"Well..." he admits, quietly. "If my energy can affect you, it stands to reason yours can affect me. So we're at least shared, there." Then, the rest of what he says makes him shake his head and even back off from her for a moment. "No, I don't think less of you, based on your own experiences that makes sense. But..."

He stops. Unsure, concerned, debating how much to tell her, if he's already told her too much. "I'm not brainwashed. I didn't make a raw deal. I didn't have this pushed into me. This is how I've always been, since before I was born. I'm... at this point I'm reasonably sure it's had effects on me, yes. But it's also a source of strength. It's a weapon and a shield. Little shadow friends were what I grew up with. And it saved you." he says, emphasizing that point as hard as he can.

"I'm sure you remember when you visited me in the hospital - when I was there for so long?" he asks, leaning back into a chair. "I can no more act and survive without the energy I was born with than you can. It's not an intrusive presence, it's the presence I was born with. If you freed me from the energy, I would die. So... since that's not an outcome I want, I'm going to have to politely delcine. I'm rather fond of being alive."

"I can sense it on Kunzite, too. I could sense it on Chiba-san and Sakura-san - but it's different when it's not a part of you." he adds, quietly. "And it's a gift from my mother. A gift she died to give me." he says, almost not holding himself together.

He reaches inside his shirt and pulls out the locket Ayana gave him. The combination of his mother /and/ his familiar makes this just a little too much to bear without one or two tears finding ways to sneak away from him. But he opens it and shows her the faded picture inside. "I never knew my mother, but she died to give me this power. And it's helped me. And it's helped you now, too. I can't just turn my back on what she died for."
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 10:41:55 28975
"You didn't listen to me fully," Ami replies quietly. "I didn't say find a way to remove it from you, period. I said to remove it safely." She's almost snippy in the way she says it, as if she's insulted that he didn't bother to hear every word she said. "That means to remove it wihtout hurting you; to remove it without killing you."

Ami picks up her can of Coke and takes a sip, then puts the chill can to her forehead and sighs. "Kunzite is worse than you. Kunzite does not have a body; he is nothing more than concentrated darkness held together by force of will and determination. Yet I'm determined to cleanse him, as well. Somehow, I will give him back his body. You liken your mother to Marie Curie. Well Marie Curie died experimenting with radiation, and now we know that it should be used with incredible care--or not at all if it can be avoided. It's only used to purify the worst of sicknesses. And then, as soon as possible, it is stopped, too."

Ami leans forward and puts the can back down, then says, "I never knew your mother, but she did not die to give you this power. She committed suicide because this power drove her insane. Your words, not mine. So don't turn your back on this power; learn to harness it safely, in a way that does not put you or me or anyone else in danger.

"In the case of radiation," Ami says, "we learned to use powerful machines to harness that energy, and protect the humans who must work near it with thick sheets of lead that the radiation could not penetrate. Now, the only radiation we ever put into a body is controlled, carefully. So your mother was Marie Curie, and she died trying to save the world with her groundbreaking research. Don't let her death be in vain: don't follow in her footsteps, or fail to learn from her example. This darkness will eventually drive you insane, too, Takashi Agera. Unless," Ami notes, "you learn to separate yourself from it safely. Once you do, though," Ami explains, "imagine how much you could do with this power by presenting limited applications under highly controlled circumstances?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 10:57:00 28976
Takashi shakes his head. "I heard what you said. Don't misunderstand. I know you don't want me to die. I'm just saying. You can maybe find out a way to do it without killing me. I can pull it out in small amounts fine. So presumably there's some way to remove it in large amounts without me dying." Takashi says and reveals.

"But I'm just telling you I don't want you to spend your time. There's much bigger threats, concerns, worries that you should be putting your mind to aside from trying to figure out how to pull my birthright from me." he adds, and for a moment, there's a little bit of that innate hostility she might be concerned about before he stuffs it back in a box. It's there, but only for a brief moment - the kind of thing that could be so easily brushed off without the current context.

"My mother was a brilliant woman, but she didn't grow up with it. And she didn't know as much about it as I do. And I would wager I know a little bit more about it - especially about me - than you do. So please do not make assumptions about what would or would not be healthy for me. I can assure you, I've never commited a self-harmful action because of my gift, not even when I was in the depths of depression and running away.

"You're saying things that are correct, in a sense. Things I've worried about, things I've monitored in myself. But if this power was seperated from me, if it wasn't at my fingertips in a literal sense, neither of us would be here right now. So I am loathe to limit it to 'highly controlled circumstances'." he adds with a grin. "I am a highly controlled circumstance. Anytime I actually wield it, as opposed to the time I spend hiding it from the world, it is an incredibly controlled circumstance."
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 11:05:12 28977
"Assumptions?" Ami asks, then sniffs faintly. "I'm not making assumptions, I'm witnessing its negative affects on you first-hand. I don't have to make assumptions, Takashi Agera. The way it has harmed your life are all too apparent. But don't worry, whether you want me to spend my time on it or not, this is my life's work. Solving these exact problems ... that's what I do for Virtue. I will save Kunzite, and Nephrite, Endymion, and even Zoisite." She pauses, then leans forward intently to say, "I will save them, Takashi Agera. And then I will save you."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 11:15:06 28978
"Hmph. From where I'm sitting, it's put me in a better position than not having it would be." And of course, where he's sitting, he can see a lot more of the effects - some of which Ami cannot yet see. Even if he is, admittedly, at several low points, he concludes. That's just a moment of concern. A stitch in time. He's bound for glorious, amazing things, and he cannot do those things without the power. He puts the locket back underneath his shirt where he kept it, looking at her the whole time.

"I appreciate what you're saying. What you want to do for me. Really, it's very nice. I'm glad that you consider me worthy of your time, considering what has to be going on around you." he says, a lot of that momentary small but keen outrage bleeding away. "And look, I'm not going to argue if you want to try. Maybe it'll lead you to something that'll help someone else on the way. Science does that sorta thing a lot."

And he smirks. "Plus, just like you said, you're going to do it with or without my blessing, so..." he trails off a bit. "It does, of course, mean you'll end up spending more time with me..." he says in a bit of a singsong voice.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 11:24:01 28979
Ami is fully prepared for this to turn into a fight. It shows on her face, the way she's set her rounded shoulders, the way she's leaning forward. Every one of her fifty-five kilograms is primed to argue further on this matter.

Not an ounce was prepared for him to turn it around into a smooth, teasing line!

Ami blushes furiously and looks away, straightening immediately. "N...no it doesn't," she protests, crossing her arms. "And if it does, it's just because I like having someone so easy to beat at chess, and a fellow intellect to compare notes with!""
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 11:31:55 28980
Takashi leans forward. "It very much does... but I'm also alright with that." he says, before laughing. "You'd have been safe if you hadn't said I was easy to beat at chess. I know you're lying now, Ami Mizuno, because I know how much you like challenges, and if I was 'so easy' to beat at chess like you tried to make it sound, you wouldn't be interested in the least." he says, wagging his finger. "I'd have bought 'someone I can consistently beat', because that's true. But you're like me, and truly easy things bore you. That's how I know you're deflecting." he says, delivering his opinion before finishing the last of his soda.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 11:39:32 28981
Ami can't seem to stop blushing, now, so she hides her face in her hands and groans. "Shut up," she tells him grumpily. "And go put on something appropriate to wear out with me in this dress. I'm tired of being cooped up in your house, and I have a little energy so we're going to burn it somewhere other than here." She shoos him off with a wave of her hands, then turns her head to the side, still trying to get rid of the blush. "I'll call a cab while you're getting dressed. Go go."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 11:46:18 28982
Takashi blinks, then nods a bit and gets up. "Sure, if you don't mind being seen in a suit with me for the second time. I mean, I'm pretty sure that's not a jeans and a t-shirt dress, nor is it a school uniform thing. My options are sorta limited." Takashi adds, as if she needed another reminder that the boy grew up alone and wings it, to a degree. He heads upstairs, shrugging about the whole idea, but turns before he ascends to his rooms to ask. "Should I put on something red to match the color your cheeks keep turning?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 11:51:28 28983
Ami blushes all the harder and tries to disappear. The problem is, the only thing to disappear into is the somewhat smelly blanket she's been sleeping on, and she's not about to ruin her pretty dress with it. So she just turns even more crimson and points at the hallway. "Go!" she reiterates with a frustated squeak. "Oh my god, you're incorrigable. Go away."
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 11:58:30 28984
The chances that Ami can hear her host just snickering and giggling his way up the stairs are pretty high.

True to her request though, he does come down in a well-tailored suit, midnight blue with a white shirt (and a light blue tie, though the red one was nearly picked soley out of a desire to mess with his guest some more), and on the inner sleeves, little silver butterfly-shaped cufflinks. He debated for a while about grabbing them - still making a sour feeling in his heart, still reminding him of what he could be out there doing. But on the other hand, very pretty, and they also remind him of a very good memory.

He's even managed to get his hair to behave, to an extent. "I'm sorry." he says, still smiling and not looking particularly actually sorry. "I hope you're not too actually mad at me?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 12:13:46 28985
Takashi takes long enough that Ami has time to recover from her embarassment. Barely. While he's busy getting dressed, she heads to the bathroom to hunt for sandals and a warm coat. Usagi did not bring her either. This is going to be a problem, given there's still snow out there.

Ami sighs and hunts through her wardrobe one last time. Thus does Takashi find her, kneeling on the ground in that dress, hunting through her suitcase with a little sigh of resignation. "No, it's okay," Ami says quietly. "But I don't know if we should go out. I don't think Usagi-chan meant to bring me this dress," she notes. "I don't have any shoes to wear with it, nor anything to keep me warm over it in the chill." She sounds almost heartbroken at the realization.
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 12:20:37 28986
Takashi smiles. "Well, you could just wear one of mine." he says, nodding a bit. "it'd be a bit big for you... but warm!" he adds. "And your school shoes. I doubt anybody's gonna be focusing on your feet. And I'm not going to care." he adds, as an aside. "So, unless you're super concerned about what randoms on the street think, I'd just go with it." he says with a wink.

Then he, without asking further, goes upstairs to retrive a blue coat. It's probably big enough for Ami to duck down and hide in. "I'm reasonably sure you can make anything look good, anyways." he adds, as an aside.
Ami Mizuno 2016-02-15 12:24:46 28987
Ami smiles and eyes the coat thoughtfully for a few moments, then takes it and folds it over her arm. "It's perfect," she says, then pulls out her brown school loafers, and a pair of white socks. They won't go perfectly with the dress, but it's better than nothing.

Heading back to the livingroom, Ami takes a seat and starts putting on her socks and shoes. "I'm going to be pretty slow," she promises quietly. "You're going to have to do a lot of supporting. But I'd like to go see my dolphins," she suggests. "So ... maybe we can have takoyaki, again?"
Takashi Agera 2016-02-15 12:30:18 28988
Takashi grins. "Hey, you gave me chocolates. We'll go wherever you'd like. And you can lean on me, too. As much as you need to." he adds, standing near her. "Takoyaki sounds great to me, though." he says, putting out a hand to help her up after she gets her shoes on. "Don't push yourself on my behalf. There's nowhere I'd rather be today, so take all the time you need."