Chess Date


Ami and Takashi have a complicated relationship.

Date: 2016-03-26
Pose Count: 60
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 02:42:42 35804
Takashi realized he never cared so much about what he was wearing in his life as when he was scheduled to meet Ami. For anything. Even just an afternoon at the Crown. But eventually he settled on something... well, semi-casual, with a pair of black slacks, a belt, and a blue button down shirt. And then he made sure that his hair was in something of a sort.

And then he went to the Crown. Being Takashi, he was there a few minutes early, and secured the same table he'd actually first met her at. And then he waited, tapping his shoes against the floor quietly in a sort of contained excitement-slash-nervousness that only she seemed to be able to pull out of him.

It hadn't always been like this, and he was trying to figure out when it'd changed - when he went from metting her as a chess partner to seeing her for something more. He couldn't help but pin it down to the night they met at the Verde 22. Not, as some might assume, because she looked stunning - though she did.

It was the conversation they had, the way she'd gone from an also-smart to a magically intellectual peer - and then taking care of him after he went through a building probably sealed the deal, he mused.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 03:05:31 35810
Ami Mizuno, decidedly, hasn't taken to dressing for Takashi, per se. This is less about whether she is concerned how she looks around him, and more that she just doesn't know how to dress for a person. Dressing for the destination is easy. Dressing for the person is ... yipe.

So, when Ami arrives at the crown, she isn't dressed for Takashi, per se. She has on a pair of short red jean shorts, beneath a lacy white blouse and a lace-trimmed bluejean hoodie (unzipped). A wholly unecessary red bow in her hair, ankle socks and black-and-white classic sneaker complete the outfit.

She has a backpack on her back, and it looks a little larger than shoudl be strictly necessary for the chessboard alone. It's not the usual leather pack she carries her books to school in, either. Confusing.

Setting the backpack down, Ami slides into the seat across from Takashi and smiles. "Hi," she says, before leaning down to dig into the bag. "How'd your tests go?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 03:34:06 35819
Takashi notices... well, everything, from the bow to the backpack down to the sneakers. He just has the good sense not to comment on every little aspect of her - because he doesn't trust himself not to stumble over his words anymore around her.

He does, however, brighten noticably when she slides into the seat across from him. "Hey, Ami-chan. I'm pretty sure they went well." he says. "Not all of them are graded digitally, of course, so I'm still waiting for some. And there was that business with my test this morning. Professor couldn't make it to administer it, so the headmistress had to." he comments. "It went late, too."

Then he leans in and whispers. "Youma attack." he says, almost rolling his eyes. "It got dealt with, though." He doesn't need to mention his professor /became/ the youma.

"How'd yours go? And how are you? I'm glad to hear everything went well with Kunzite." he says. It's only slightly a lie, and only because Ayana mentioned him the other day in a way that made him bristle.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 03:46:50 35820
"Aced them," Ami says quietly, a little frown on her features. "It actually bothers me that they were that trivial this year," she says. "I missed a lot of school. It shouldn't have been that easy to get a perfect grade on every test."

She sighs at this, then pulls a big heavy blue jacket out of her bag, before placing it on the table. "Thank you for letting me borrow this for so long," she says to him. "It was very warm. But with winter over, I don't think I really need it any longer."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 04:11:54 35830
Takashi smiles. "Well, those tests really aren't designed to challenge people like you and I." he says, calmly. "If they challenged you - even after a long absence - the failure rate would probably approach 100 percent." he adds. "You're more intelligent, compared to the average person, than I think you know." he offers, a hubristic compement, perhaps.

Then he looks over. "I was happy to let you borrow it." he says, honestly, without going into any further detail - perhaps there's no need to.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 04:24:59 35839
Ami pulls the chess board out, next. It's not the expensive one he bought her; just a travel set, because that one should definitely not be loafed around too often. Setting it out on the table, she asks, "You okay?" curiously as she studies him. "I feel like you're holding back a lot of things you want to say right now."

It's pretty meaningful when Ami notices these things. It means you're being obvious.

"I'm not mad about the chocolates, if that's what it is," Ami notes as she starts setting up the board, leaving white for herself as usual. "I mean, I was a little irritated when I first found out, but then I figured out why you did it, and I think it's very sweet that you were trying so hard to make it a magical experience for me."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 04:48:02 35844
Takashi watches her set out the chess set. In a way he's both happy and disappointed it's not the nice one, but he just smiles at her. And then when she asks, he visibly takes an emotional backstep, cloaking himself in a defensive look that, once again, even the bluenette can see. He doesn't /want/ to tell her about so much right now. Everything seems tense and fraught for a second, and then she offers him a way out. And he visibly eases as he takes it.

"...I apologize if it felt..." he stops, reaching for the words. It also gives him a moment to think, that he so desperately needs. "...deceptive." he finally settles on. "Sometimes it's easy to forget people can't notice these things instantly, like I can."

"But... I'm glad you liked them." he says, and that much is evident and clear on his face in an honest way. "I promise you, I tested them extremly meticulously. I think they're safer than if I'd gotten you alcoholic chocolates - not that I would've, but..."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 04:52:50 35845
Ami sighs and leans forward to peer at Takashi, meeting his eyes directly. "Assume," she says quietly, "that it is always unacceptable to use dark energy on someone unless it is to save their life, or they have given you permission." She smiles at him. "It will be so much less problematic that way. I know it's a part of who you are, but for most of us it's dangerous. Probably deadly."

She leans away again, then asks, "So who told you I knew, anyways? You're acting like someone already beat you up over th is."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 04:57:54 35848
"I will in the future." he says, looking into her eyes. It makes him uncomfortable to lie to her so directly on the one hand - but on the other hand he's so well practiced at lying - it's actually easier for him than telling people the truth, and if it was anyone else, it wouldn't even give him the limited concerns it does. Still, he has to keep lying to her - to protect her from the truth. And that thought sends a chill at him.

"I'm sure it was safe for you." he reiterates. "I tested. I'd never do anything that puts you at risk." he says. And at least that part isn't a lie. Or maybe less of a lie.

"Kino-san did. I went to apologize to her yesterday, like I said I needed to. We don't see eye to eye on everything, but I did apologize for the manner in which I tried to make my point."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 05:08:53 35852
That earns a broad smile from Ami; that little admission is more than she expected from him. Sure he said he'd apologize, but that he actually did so without her having to remind him is a big deal. "I'm so glad to hear that," she tells him honestly. And the fact that Makoto did not come screaming to her about what a jackass Takashi is speaks volumes to how thatr conversation must hav egone.

"So I believe you promised to buy me pizza and a milkshake," Ami suggests with a grin as she finally moves a piece on the board, "in exchange, of course, for whooping your butt at chess again."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 05:22:45 35858
While Takashi didn't want to apologize, and indeed, wouldn't have without Makoto's connection to Ami, the reaction he recieved from her now made it all worth it, and he smiles back, and maybe down deep somewhere within him there's just a moment of real lightness in his spirit there. It's a genuine smile from her, and that makes things very much worth a little bit of trouble on his part.

"Hey, whatever I need to do in order to spend time with you. But don't think I haven't been practicing - I enjoy your company far too much to just be a quick win for you." he says, smiling. As Takashi moves his peice in a surprisingly defensive (for him) opening, the waitress comes up. "Order whatever you like, it's on me, of course." he says, before getting a vanilla milkshake of his own.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 05:31:02 35863
That earns a little blush, but she pushes past it, for the most part. When the waitress arrives, Ami twists and smiles. "Gimme a medium works and a coca cola, please," she orders for herself, then turns back to the table. So much for a milkshake.

Studying his move, Ami arches her brow, then continues her own play, setting up one of her standard defensive gambits. "So what're your plans for the spring? Anything special in mind?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 05:39:03 35866
Takashi is... strangely careful, today, once again. He doesn't move quickly, and when he does, it's another defensive play. He might be settling in for the long game, here.

"Well. You mean aside from finding clever ways to convince you to spend as much time with me as possible?" he says, though he tries to push that one through with a bit of a smirk-smile. "I've got some experiments to test, and some... concerns to address. I don't want to sit on my hands just because one threat got knocked out." Takashi admits, without going into detail.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 05:47:32 35869
Ami sniffs amusedly, but her cheeks are still burning with a faint blush. "Well, that was kind of the point of me asking," she points out bluntly as she moves a piece forward in an aggressiv ebait, just to test his resolve to this defensive strategy. It's a ploy. He'll lose more than he takes if he comes out of his huddle to attack. But he's going to lose something if he doesn't take it, too.

"I've got a few experiments, as well," Ami admits as she looks up to study him curiously. "I've actually been thinking of how best to begin working on my own AI. I don't suppose I can get access to the interiors of your device again?" she suggests. "And maybe the other one, too."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 05:56:33 35874
It takes a lot of resistance for him to not take the bait, to be fair - aggression, to Takashi, is a bit more than a chess strategy. But, since he's got an ulterior motive to draw the game out, he's able to resist. He'll lose something, take something, and keep the field as level as possible while building up his wall.

"Well, I don't mind letting you have a look at Eisz again, but I'm sure you understand still wanting to keep a little bit to myself. Unless you've decided to take me on a field trip to your Moon." he says with a grin.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 05:59:12 35877
"Ah," Ami says amusedly at his defensive maneuver. She takes the promised piece, but of course sets up an equal sacrifice in return. "You've been practicing," she observes. It's a compliment. But is it also a mind game? Hard to say, with her.

"I'm afraid I can't just take you to the moon," she notes as she sits back to thoughtfully study the board. "My ability to translocate is limited to only a few kilometers," she reminds. "Getting to the moon requires the combined power of the Senshi combined. So unless you want to ask my girlfriends for their permission, that's probably not going to be on the table."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 06:03:05 35879
Takashi smirks a bit - both at the discussion and at the move. The conversation and the game mirror themselves quite well - Ami's press for more information on Axion countered with a trade offer he knows in some way would be untenable. Which will keep his secret safe for a while longer, or at least until he's developed another solution to this question. But, he keeps up the talk. "I'm sure I could come up with something." he muses. "But I'd need your help to get there - I figure it's not something where I can go relax up there with the rover and wander around until I find it. That said, I'm not sure your friends are quite ready for it in any case, regardless of how I got there." he says, tilting in a bit as he takes the expected sacrifice.

He expects Ami to win on both counts, the game and the track of the conversation, and in both cases he's stalling for some other reason.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 06:13:34 35886
"You'd probably suffocate before you found it," Ami agrees quietly as she studies the board a little more. She's interrupted from her study by the arrival of her works pizza and coke, and she smiles excitedly at them both.

Reaching for the drink first, she pops the top and takes a long drink before setting it back down.

"So what experiments are you working on?" Ami asks as she leans forward to continue her own defensive posturing.
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 06:48:07 35902
Takashi smiles, and begins. "Remember when I mentioned about the strange dimensions in Mitakihara?" he asks, leaning over the table a bit. "That's what I'm working on. I want to be able to emulate that... my house doesn't exactly make the best place to keep experiments safe." he says. Of course, he has the lab, but the lab is owned by Eclipse more than anything, and Takashi really wants his own space.

His milkshake is brought, and he drinks into it happily. "And there's all sorts of other interesting things going on in Tokyo. Little energy signatures, anomalies I'd like to know more about. The way energy flows here... it's unique to this city, you know. I've been other places in the world, and Tokyo has an entirely different background energy signature."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 07:01:20 35910
"Mmm, I can't argue with that," Ami replies quietly, thoughtfully. "Paris was beautiful, but it lacked the sort of ... energetic feel this place has. I feel like we're drawn here, all of us. Someday I'd like to study why." A pause, and then she notes, "You know, you're probably goign to need my help if you're going to make your own subspace layers."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 07:28:53 35921
Takashi nods. "I want to find out why. Magic is pretty much dead in the rest of the world. Even in most of Japan. But the closer you get to the center of this town, the more it beats. Once you've been away for a while, you can feel it. You get used to it while you're here, like a constant noise or smell. But it's missing from everywhere else."

And then Takashi smiles. "Well, I was hoping to get your help on that. It is your area of expertise, after all." he says with a grin.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 07:33:51 35924
"I could be convinced," Ami agrees with a smile over her can of coke. That smile grows a little wicked as she takes a drink, then says, "Maybe in exchange for a peek inside of Axion." She winks at him, then grabs a plate and slides some pizza onto it.

With her food acquired and cooling, Ami turns back to their game of chess. "So any theories on why we're a nexus of magical energies? Think it's a random convergence, or something more sinister?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 07:36:34 35926
Takashi's eyebrows raise a bit. "We'll see what can be arranged, then." he says with a smile. Inside, he thinks a calculated and controlled look at Axion - after some parts have been temporarily sidelined - might be okay. Might be. He might have to rebuild the AI for it, though. Definantly a tightly controlled look.

He leans back and sips on the milkshake. "Who says it's random or malevolent? It could be benevolent. Maybe having all of the magical folks here in one place increases the chances that, when bad things happen, there's enough of us to stop them. Like Walpurgisnacht. It takes a lot of condensed, combined magical power to stop it like you did." he says, perhaps revealing he knows a lot about a fight he wasn't in."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 07:39:40 35928
"Not me," Ami says with a faint smirk. "Though I'm flattered you think I contributed." She's considering his words nonetheless. "Still, interesting theory. Actually it's a better one than mine. Mine is way to anime."

Ami finally makes another move; this one seemingly neutral in posture. "So is that your actual running theory, or are you just spewing amusing ideas that break the conventional stereotypes presented in popular media?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 07:57:43 35934
Takashi laughs. "Well, I just like to consider all of the perspectives. It's something I've developed from my own... self." He nearly said 'time on both sides of the line' but thought better of it. "You miss out on too much otherwise."

He keeps to his defensive posture, but is now slowly marching up. It's not completly a turtle strategy. But it is, for him. "I'm not sure which theory the evidence supports right now, really. Just want to keep my ideas open."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 08:22:51 35941
"Spoken like a true scientist," Ami says. Except when she says it, it's a compliment. After all, good scientists don't theorize, they simply test and test and let the data decide what the truth is for them.

Carefully, she picks off a piece with one of her own, but she knows how this game is going to wind up. Either a draw, or a narrow win with a careful ploy. He really has improved. Or at least learned to play with thought rather than arrogance. That's a helpful sign. "So I do have one more thing coming up this weekend," she notes quietly as she reaches for the pizza. Taking a bite, she mumbles around it, "One last swim meet for the season. Wanna come watch?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 08:25:08 35942
Takashi, indeed, takes it as a compliment of the highest order. "Well you know, if you keep saying nice things like that to me, I'm going to get the idea you're at least a tiny bit fond of me." he says with a grin, in response to the scientist comment.

There's a lot to be said for having time to practice on a hobby like chess - time that Ami's spent trying to bring ghost rocks back from the dead, for example. But, he's still Takashi, and seeing an opening, he makes an aggressive move that's probably still to early, but may likely prove fatal in a few turns by leaving an opening.

"I'd love to, actually. Just tell me when and where, and I'll be there." he says, leaning back.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 08:38:21 35947
Ami didn't actually expect him to be interested. She chews and swallows, then leans forward, "It's at Seishou, of course," she says. "Tomorrow afternoon at three. Just come to the pool in the back," she explains. "Wow you'll really come?"

It legitimately never ocurred to her that he would want to. She just didn't know what else to say. "Well ... that's great! I'm swimming the one hundred and the two hundred meter butterfly."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 08:46:16 35950
Takashi tilts his head. "Of course I'll come. You're competing. I should be there." he says, simply. As though this is the most natural thing in the world. "On that list of all of the things I should be doing, cheering you on? That's on there." he says, before he finishes the last of his milkshake.

"Besides, you're swimming. That means swims-" he catches himself, but it's probably too late. "I'm sure you're just as majestic a swimmer as you are an amazing chess player."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 08:59:35 35953
Perhaps surprisingly, Ami doesn't blush at him realizing she'll be in a swimsuit. She just leans forward and punishes his aggressive move by taking an important piece. Then she sits back to consume the rest of her first slice of pizza. Once it's gone, she asks, "Do you do any sports?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 09:36:00 35957
Takashi lets out a sigh of relief that she either didn't notice, didn't call him out, or perhaps most unlikely, wasn't bothered by his near miss, and then goes on. He winces as he sees his flaw, but tries to play conservatively in order to make the least of the mistake, now. It's part of why Ami beats him over and over, though - patience and care is her style and less so his.

"No, not... really. I mean, I skate, but that's something I picked up because if I'm going to spend so much time on ice, I should probably not make a fool out of myself. Especially not... in a fight."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 09:44:00 35958
"Really?" Ami asks, a little surprised at what he does do. "I actually did a little ice skating, myself, this winter. Makoto and I had a lot of fun dancing together. I'm not great, but I can do a little bit of performance skating; spins, jumps, that sort of thing. Nothing great, but .." she trails off. "Well, I like to stay active, anyways," she says, laughing nervously at her own exuberance.

Leaning forward, she makes another move. He doesn't know it, but that one uncalculated aggressive move has given her the game. It's still several moves away; he could salvage it. But it's going to be a very hard-fought battle, from here.

"Maybe I can get Makoto to teach you what she was doing," Ami suggests as she reaches for another slice. "It requires a lot of strength, but you could probably manage it as Iceni, at least."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 09:50:57 35960
Takashi smiles. "I'm stronger than I have any business being, with actual muscle mass." he says, winking. "You know. Unique heritage, and all that." he says, not going any deeper into it. "But I guess all you've ever seen of me as Iceni is getting between you and things which are hostile to your existence." he says with a grin. "Not so much the fighting and such. But where I walk, the ground turns to ice, so it'd be a bit humiliating to not be agile on it, don't you think?"

His smile turns to a frown, though, as she continues to punish him for that one mistake. He's trying to salvage it, but he's no grandmaster - just a quick study - and it doesn't seem like he'll be doing more than delaying the inevitable. Not that he doesn't continue to do just that as they talk.

"I am not entirely sure Kino-san is ready to teach me much yet. I think you'd have to convince her." he says, shrugging a bit. "But maybe it'd be something we could try. I do have to admit though, given the choice, you'd be the one I'd rather be skating and dancing with."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 09:55:47 35961
"Well, that's the idea," Ami says with a smirk. "But I can't teach you to do what she does," she notes amusedly. "I mean, I know the basics of it, but Mako-chan's much better at it. And anyways, I thought it was something fun we could do that isn't just science, math, pizza, or chess." Pause. "I mean, not that those aren't fun, but ... " she trails off, then coughs. "Err. Anyways," she moves a piece. "Check." It's not mate. Not yet.

Ami downs the second slice of pizza much faster than the first, then digs in for a third.
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 09:59:43 35962
Takashi smiles and then quickly frowns as she puts him in check. He looks at the board and wonders if maybe he can stalemate. No, no, he can't - not unless she makes a mistake here too - but still, he draws it out a little longer. "Well, maybe put in a good word for me, we'll go the three of us. Or more, if there's anyone else you'd like to bring." he muses.

He leans over and snags one of the peices of pizza for himself, perhaps finally. "Well, I'm not entirely lab-chained." he says with a laugh. "I'll try most things once - more if you're along."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 10:02:45 35964
That one earns a blush, but Ami hastily hinds it behind scarfing down on her third slice. She practically inhales this one. How does she manage to fit that much food in her mouth without goign all puffy-cheek!? She chews, swallows, then moves another piece. "Mate in three," she declares.

"I think it'd be great," she says with a smile. "All three of us could go, Mako-chan could teach you. I can skate with both of you!"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 10:09:39 35967
Takashi looks at the board and smiles, flicking over his King. "Nah, I'll call it now." he says, with a smile. "Once again I am bested." he adds with a bit of a bow, but not an overly fake one. "I'll get you again someday. Even if I have to distract you to do it!" he says, with a bit of mischeviousness in his tone that he quickly covers up by changing subjects.

"Hey, if you want to schedule it, and she buys in, just text me with a where. My schedule itself is pretty mutable outside of school - I just need to know ahead of time so that I can plan experiments around it." he says, finishing his peice now too.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 10:12:54 35968
"Actually," Ami notes, "This was your best game, yet. You were on even footing until," and she reaches up, hastily rearranges the board back ten moves, then shows him the setup, "You took my knight, here, but it was greedy and it exposed your rook and bishop to my takes. If you'd done this," she shows an alternative, more defensive strategy, "The game would have still been even for another four moves. Patience and risk assessment," she points out. "You kinda suck at both."

A faint grin, then she nods to him. "Okay! I'll see if she's up for it. And see if I can find a rink that's still open; it's not exactly winter anymore." Hence the jacket sitting on the table like a big white elephant.
Takashi Agera 2016-03-26 10:18:29 35970
Takashi looks at her, watching her more than the board as she plays it back. "Yeah, it was when you countered I realized I made my mistake..." he admits. Admitting he made a mistake - even in chess - is a big step for him, in a little way. "No, patience has never been my strong suit. Theory either. I like to see results, and then compare those results to other results. I like experimentation, rather than documentation and theorizing." he says. "And... sometimes that means you need to take risks. This one, though, was a poor choice of risk to take." he says, with a smile and nod.

He reaches over and pulls the coat back over to him. "To be terribly honest, I'd almost started to consider this your coat as much as anything." he says, looking at the very-not-Ami-sized coat. "But thank you for returning it to me."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-26 10:44:04 35973
Ami starts setting up the board for another game, then shrugs. "I know," she tells him. "You're more willing to take risks than I am. But as you can see, risk-taking is a long shot. If you'd just be less risky, you'd have a higher success rate," she assures him quietly.

But then they're talking about the coat, which she glances at subconsciously. "Ah .. I almost started thinking of it that way, too," she admits. "It's a nice coat. Very warm. Too warm for the coming months," she explains. "And ... I don't know, there's something off about it. It just doesn't feel right wearing it anymore. Maybe I'll borrow it again next winter, though. When it gets cold enough." If they're still in this place.
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 04:39:48 36284
Takashi nods a bit as he pulls the coat back to him, and as Ami starts to set up the chessboard for another round. "Well, you're welcome to it if you ever decide you need it back, for whatever reason." he says, with a smile.

Then he looks at her. "Well, risk-taking can be dangerous, and a long-shot. But sometimes you have to be willing to take bigger risks to get bigger rewards. Maybe I just prefer the excitement of big loss and big rewards to slow progress, though." he muses, and then looks across the table at her.

"On that note..." he says, gesturing for Ami to move her peices first "...how do you think your little experiment is going. You know. The 'us' experiment."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 04:42:39 36285
"Wear it again before I borrow it," Ami tells him thoughtfully. "See whether you really do want to give it to me. I mean, it's a nice coat. I'm sure you'd look good in it."

Weird.

"Ah ... the 'us' experiment?" Ami asks, as if she doesn't know what he means. But she does, and she really can't keep up any pretense to the contrary. "Ah ... well ... kinda bumpy so far," she admits thoughtfully. "I have no idea what normal people do on dates, and I feel terribly awkward asking you to do things, and there was that whole ... darkness in the chocolate thing." She wobbles her hand, then asks, "Why? Are you misliking the results so far?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 04:55:08 36287
Takashi, meanwhile, is happy to just take the idea of Ami saying he 'looks good' in anything and run with it, so he smiles and nods. It's a little strange, but what's he going to do with that?

"You know, I'm perhaps a bad barometer for normal, but our dates don't seem that abnormal from what I've experienced and witnessed." he says, calmly, after collecting himself for a moment. "You didn't seem awkward asking me to come watch your swim meet." he adds, thoughtfully. "Is it just the drama and finality and big capital letters of a 'Date'?"

Takashi visibly winces about the darkness in the chocolate bit, but he doesn't spend too much time on it, instead opting to answer her question. "...No. I hope I haven't given you the impression I'm not. It's been very positive for me, even with the bumps... I mean, I always enjoy spending time with you. I'm asking because... I care about you, and how you feel. Because I want to figure out how to do this all... right?" he says, ending it in a question because he's unsure if he's found the correct words.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 05:02:08 36288
"I don't know," Ami half-whines uncertainly as she sits back in her chair. "It's not ... I'm nota fraid of the date itself, I just ... there's so many social expectations, and you have so much experience, and I'm worried I'm going to screw up or move too fast or move too slow or something else upsetting."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 05:09:30 36290
Takashi smiles a bit. "I don't expect anything other than to spend time with you, Ami-chan." he assures her, leaning forwards. "Now, expectations aren't the same as things I'd like, but a lot of those are somewhat pie-in-the-sky and I know that." he says with a smile.

"All in all, I consider myself pretty lucky already." he adds, looking into her eyes. "You're still great - I've said that before, and I stand by that. I will probably always wish we were moving faster than you are, but that's different than expecting, or worse, wanting to rush into anything." he says.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 05:16:43 36292
The intensity of that stare--meeting eyes and leaning forwards--draws Ami's attention. She quiets down, settling as he talks, then smiles and breaks the connection nervously when he admits to his feelings. "Well," she says quietly, "It's hard for me to know what's too fast or not fast enough. I'm sorry. I don't even know what all the steps are. I feel like I'm trying to navigate a maze with no map, no compass, and nothing to get my bearings by."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 05:27:16 36295
Takashi smiles a bit. "The only steps you need to worry about, really, are forward ones." he adds, after a moment. "I guess maybe I asked you the wrong question, but I don't know how to ask the right one... and maybe the fact that you asked me here is evidence enough of the answer."

"You don't have to worry about how fast we're going, just that we're going." he adds, and then there's a little bit more of a smugness to his smile. "If it comes down to it, though, you can always err on the side of faster..." he says, in an obviously joking manner.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 05:30:23 36296
Ami rolls her eyes at Takashi, then sighs and leans forward over the board. "'Faster' would require me to know my destination, though," Ami points out as she moves her piece. "Or at least to know what the next step is. Right now all I've got is this nebulous 'we're supposed to go on dates' concept, and I don't know what that means."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 05:38:31 36298
Takashi watches her and makes almost the same move he did last time, trying to settle back into that defensive mindset. "Well, we go on dates... to figure out if we should be doing more than going on dates." he points out, looking at the board, at her, and the board. "I mean, that's the endgame. It's like the opening moves of chess. So until you can figure out the answer to that, more dates are a fine concept. Until you decide if we should attach more to it."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 05:41:24 36299
"Or less," Ami points out, since that really is a possibility. "But I guess that makes sense," she considers. "Does that mean the dating period is one of exploration and discovery, then? Should I be finding out if I like this thing or that thing about you? Probing you for details you probably don't have?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 05:45:41 36300
For obvious reasons, Takashi did not mention the less possibility. Ah, one can hope. And then have those hopes dashed. But, back to the matter at hand. "Pretty much, yeah. Determining wether you can put up with me in smaller doses and enjoy my company now before making a longer-term commitment. That I am, in some way, a valuable enough use of your time. You're on the right track... does that help you understand the purpose, at least?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 05:52:04 36301
"Alright," Ami says thuoghtfully, wrinkling her nose a little. "So then I guess I need to figure out what that specific next objective is," she observes, "so that I can decide whether you're um ... valuable enough for it? I guess? So what do you think the next step would be, for us?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 05:58:05 36302
Takashi shrugs a bit. "I don't know. If I knew, I'd try to help you find the answer. But I don't know what your questions are, I don't know what you're looking for." he says, honestly. "I don't know if there's anything I can do other than spend time with you, either - just give you more opprotunities to find answers."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 06:10:04 36303
Ami blinks at Takashi, then sighs and leans forward over the chess board. For a while, she plays in silence, moving her pieces in her typical defensive 'watch and wait' manner against Takashi.

Eventually, she tries again, "I don't mean ... what should we be doing to earn that trust. I am trying to figure out what the next objective is if I do decide to take it. Like ..." flail. "Obviously not marriage. That would be way too far. But ... what?"
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 06:17:52 36304
Takashi continues to try, once again, to play defensively. His approach is still notably the more aggressive of the two, but it's a careful sort of advance.

As he places a piece down, he looks intently at her. "Well, technically you kissed me already - special circumstances, I know, you don't have to defend it - but physical contact would be the next step... but that comes from something else." He pauses. "It comes from you making the decision to consider us a couple. So... does that answer your question?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 06:27:38 36305
Ami blinks just a little at his answer, then moves her pieces in silence for a few more moments. "Yeah, I guess it does," she says. "You want to be kissing me. But ... that does seem awfully fast to me," she admits quietly. "I read a magazine once that said the true test of a relationship was whether it could last at least three months. But ... on the other hand, three months with no real growth also feels weird. There are other forms of physical contact, I suppose. Hugging, shaking hands, fistbumps, secret handshakes, boxing. Hm. I'll think about it, I suppose."
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 06:33:22 36306
Takashi listens to her, and nods. "Yeah, not the first time I've heard that number thrown around." he says, quietly. He moves his peices around and admits, after a while. "I'm probably always going to be more forward about timing than you are. And that's okay. And it doesn't make the speed you want us to move at wrong, either." he clarifies.

Then, he laughs a little bit. "Just be careful with boxing as physical contact - I'm pretty good friends with Infinity's kickboxing champ." he says, with a wink. "We probably don't want to get into an escalation about boxing."
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 06:36:22 36307
"Last I checked," Ami notes amusedly, "You don't want to get in an Escalation at all." She grins at him, pleased at her own joke, then moves a piece in a very sudden aggressive move that takes his bishop. "Mate in five," she says haughtily.
Takashi Agera 2016-03-29 06:38:45 36308
Takashi's face is suddenly a very strange mixture of flatfacing at her joke and trying not to laugh at it, and eventually he settles for turning away so he can sort hismelf out. "Okay, fine, I'll give you that one." Then he scowls at the chessboard like it's offended him. "Really?" Then he glares at it a little more. "...yeah, crap. Oh well, the relationship talk was more important to me than the chess game..." and those grapes are sour anyways.
Ami Mizuno 2016-03-29 06:42:31 36309
Ami looks pleased as punch with herself, as she reaches up and tips over her own king. "I yield," she says, even though the game was practically hers. "And don't be grumpy, Takashi-kun," she says to him, smiling brightly. "I'm pretty sure some of those activities are the kind of thing that can happen before three months."