Mercurial Gifts

The effort Takashi put into Ami's birthday present proves to be literally out of this world.

Date: 2016-10-12
Pose Count: 26
Takashi Agera 2016-10-12 19:57:11 57553
Takashi had figured that either parents, friends, or who-knows-what would occupy a fair amount of Ami's time on her birthday proper, and decided that offering to schedule his own intended celebration a day later would 1) ensure he had her more to himself, a high priority and 2) make him seem considerate. So he'd offered to take her the next day to Verde 45 - and he'd been overjoyed when she agreed.

And so Takashi was, for once, in a suit and not his school uniform - Verde 45 wasn't the Crown, and Ami wasn't just any girl - though he'd swapped out the cufflinks from his last interaction with her. The distance between himself and Ayana had grown too far for him to want to be reminded of it in glances the entire night, by now.

He's standing, idling and waiting and trying not to look impatient and trying not to let the gift in his pocket drag too much of his attention away from Ami's arrival as he looks for her to arrive on the ground floor of Clover Tower.
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-12 20:11:04 57557
Ami's birthday went exactly as she expected it: a full day of being stood up by her father, but with distractions from the gaggle of girls she has come to know and love as her best friends. She tried her very best not to let her pressing thoughts overshadow the fun her friends were trying to provide.

It almost worked.

But by the time Usagi fell asleep on the couch, and Makoto and Rei left, Ami hadn't quite managed to fully forget.

She couldn't ever fully forget.

The next day went by much quicker. School, research, and then private flailing because she didn't buy a dress all happened in a heartbeat. She'd almost forgotten about her date with Takashi! But she wasn't about to stand him up the way she got stood up. Not even Takashi deserves that.

So she's a little late; the limousine that delivers her to the front door of Verde is a fu ll ten minutes later than she should have been here.

But she has on a dress: a cap-sleeved mesh over an A-line bodice and skirt; the cut's a bit retro, but for Ami that's just par for the course. It matches her hair, and the flats she wears on her feet. Maybe it's not as formal as Takashi had hoped, but it's certainly formal enough for Verde.

"Thanks," Ami says to her driver as she gets out. He promises to be nearby should she need, then gets back in and drives away, leaving Ami on the curb, clutching a small purse, looking at Takashi quietly. SHe isn't smiling, but she isn't frowning, either; the expression's almost unreadable.
Takashi Agera 2016-10-12 20:22:08 57558
Takashi spots Ami, and he does note her... pensive expression. And, being Takashi, he handles it with all the subtlety of a tank driving around on a golf course. He rushes over to her and his happiness at seeing her is pretty evident - maybe even moreso than normal the lingering effects of taking a bunch of positive energy to the face letting him feel that sort of thing more openly.

"I'm really glad to see you... you look great, as you always do." he says, and huge her from the side without really any warning. It's not a long hug, but it happens.

"Is everything okay? Do I need to punch somebody?" he says, looking at the face which might be unreadable, but is absolutely not happy, much less as happy as he is to see her. "Is that someone me?" he asks after a pause.
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-12 20:26:19 57559
Ami's expression goes from unreadable to alarmed as Takashi's overwhelming positivity threatens her personal space. She weathers the hug anyways, then shies away from him just a tiny bit. "You probably should punch yourself," Ami notes, "but I understand Sailor Moon already took care of that to some degree."

She frowns at him, then says, "Honestly, what were you thinking? I thought we were going to solve the orange problem together." But then she shakes her head. "Nevermind, at least it's fixed itself, now."

Ami clears her throat, then offers Takashi her arm. "Let's just go up. I'm sure your reservations are being strained with how late I am. I'm sorry."
Takashi Agera 2016-10-12 20:34:20 57561
"To some degree." Takashi agrees, making a face. "We did solve it together." he says, a bit perplexed by that response. "You helped me make a lot of progress" he says, after a moment. "Which means you're involved. Credit on the research paper if I was going to write one, and all of that." But he takes her arm and shakes his head. "It's fixed now, anyways."

"But really, the last time we were here it was about business. That's kinda why I wanted to take you here - on an actual date - though I figure with us it's bound to go that way eventually. But maybe sometime after we've at least gotten drinks?" he asks with a smile, walking her into the elevator that travels its way up the tower.
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-12 21:10:50 57566
"Yes, we did," Ami agrees quietly as she allows herself to be guided towards the front door. "And we could have made more progress if you hadn't insisted on testing your ideas in an uncontrolled environment outside of the lab. Every time you skip the testing phase, you risk your work blowing up in your face." Beat. "Or Sailor Moon blowing up in your face."

Inside the lobby, she glances over her shoulder thoughtfully. Last time they were here, Mamoru--as Dark Endymion--attacked them on their way out, destroying several windows and causing quite a lot of damage. Was that the day this relationship started? Dragging Takashi to a ship to recover for several days certainly contributed to kindling Ami's interest. But he was dating someone else back then. So complicated.

"Anyways," Ami says, forcibly redirecting herself from the subject, "How have you been? Did Sailor Moon break anything?"
Takashi Agera 2016-10-12 22:23:29 57577
"Actually, I feel pretty good." Takashi says, intentionally avoiding Ami's criticism of his 'do active experiments in dangerous circumstances whenever he feels like it' methods. "I mean. I wasn't well for a little bit. But I think I got a blast of it before and so I prepared so I wouldn't be laid up. Last time I was pretty unwell."

"All the same I'd rather not experience it again. Kinda feels like my soul's being torn in two. Zero star experience, no tip."
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-12 22:35:26 57580
"Well," Ami says, amusedly, "I can guarantee that you will not have to experience it again, if you stop using the world as your petri dish." She offers him a tight smile, then presses the elevator button for the floor they are heading to.
Takashi Agera 2016-10-12 22:53:11 57583
"Soooo that's a no then." Takashi says, half jokingly as he steps away from her to speak with the hostess at the front, still smiling a bit as he re-attaches himself to her arm and walks with her to the table, pulling her chair out.

"Anyways, how have things been with you?" Takashi is, after all, mostly unaware of Ami's birthday difficulties. "I'd ask how your grades are going but I know the answer to that, so... how's the competitions - swimming, chess?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-12 23:42:45 57593
Ami waits patiently, allowing Takashi to play the role of gentleman as long as he wants. In truth, she finds it amusing, rather than endearing or offensive. She's spent so much of her life with a woman in charge that allowing the traditional male lead is almost cute, in a pitiable kind of way.

Taking her seat, Ami picks up the menu to consider it for a moment. "Things have been ... okay," she says. "I've been putting in a lot of extra time studying. The swim season is over, and won't pick up again until December, but we are practicing for it already. Chess ... well, I haven't had much real competition in town in a long time. I should attend one of the nation-wide competitions soon, just to see how I stack up against the current masters."
Takashi Agera 2016-10-12 23:54:25 57596
Takashi feels a bit off playing the role of 'gentleman' to be terribly honest, but in some way it feeds into his own ego - the idea that he should be the best at everything, and that means that, in as long as he has a girlfriend, he should be the best boyfriend, which sometimes leads him to be equally as over-the-top there as he is in any other part of his life, and often acts with the same obviously overgrand flourish there as he might say, standing underneath a giant ball of tainted color energy.

Takashi leans down a little bit, elbows on the table, head resting on his hands, a little at-odds with his dress code. It's obvious he finds what Ami is saying interesting - or at least, the girl herself. "You should. You're terrifically good. I always feel like I'm a step behind you." he says, as though he didn't beat her last time - since mentally he knows he didn't.

"Oh. Important question. Do you want your present before or after we eat?" he asks, picking up the menu and looking over the top of it at her.
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-13 00:53:46 57603
Ami looks vaguely uncomfortable at the look Takashi is giving her. Especially with the compliments. It's not that she doesn't appreciate all of it; it's that it's so far from normal in her life to have anyone paying that much intense attention to her; let alone a boy she might actually like.

"Well, I've been playing the game my whole life," Ami explains to him quietly. "You shouldn't expect to keep up with me in chess after less than a year. The fact that you can play it with any modicum of skill is really impressive. You really are a genius," Ami reminds him. As if he didn't know.

But then he's asking an important question, and Ami perks up to listen. But the quesetion is unexpected, and her eyes widen. "P-present?" she asks, confusedly. "I didn't ... but I thought ... you didn't have to do that!"
Takashi Agera 2016-10-13 00:59:44 57604
Takashi smiles - in an odd, but nonhostile way, he's somewhat used to her looking a little uncomfortable with his attentions. Not in a way that indicates she feels that she's being creeped on - that would chase him off - but more in an adorably not used to it way. "Well, of course." Takashi says, leaning back in his chair, humility a foreign concept to him much like ethics. "But the gulf between where I am and where you are isn't just time - you're a genius, too."

He sits back up, sitting up straight (which means he's looking down at her a bit.) "Of course I did. Not only did I get you a present but I made sure to make it something nobody else could get you - something truly unique." Because those words aren't worrying. "Anyways, you didn't answer my question. Now, or later?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-13 01:05:35 57606
Unique. That sends Ami's mind racing in a particular (unflattering) direction, and kicks her nervousness enough that she's able to concentrate on an answer instead of on being nervous. She frowns, just briefly, and asks, "It isn't dark en--"

But she's interrupted by their waiter, who gets a brief but panicked smile, before Ami flailingly orders herself a coke to drink and no she is not yet ready to order.

When the waitress has gotten both drink orders and gone to place them, Ami leans forward and asks, "What is it?" Apparently that means now.
Takashi Agera 2016-10-13 01:24:55 57611
Takashi shakes his head. "It's not Dark Energy or chocolate, no. Though I did take some of the components through the Dusk Zone, so full disclosure, you might want to scan it. I'm pretty sure I got it all cleansed out though. Just wanted to fairly warn you in case."

Takashi pulls a jewelery box out of his pocket, sets it on the table, opens it and scoots it over towards her.

Inside is a little ring - though it's a darker color than standard silver - because the silver is admixed with iron. The band grows to enclose a small but brilliant sapphire - on either sides of the bands top there's careful inscriptions of her birth flower, the begonia on the right, and her birth sign, virgo, on the left. The sapphire (also her birth stone) is pale blue like ice, and underneath it the planetary symbol of Mercury is visible underneath the stone - though it lacks the heart shape common to her henshin symbol.

"I had to stop learning to play chess so I could learn how to do this." he says, grinning in the self-serving and yet also outwardly proud way only he can, like someone who's just awarded themselves a Nobel Prize For Being Awesome. "Can you tell what's really special about it, though?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-13 01:37:00 57614
Ami's cheeks flush even further when she realises it's a ring. And for a moment she doesn't even want to really look at it. But it's beautiful enough that she doesn't have much choice but to at least look, and once she starts looking she can't really look away.

Leaning forward, Ami inspects it closely as he smugly asks her to identify its specialness. She shakes her head, mouth agape, then looks up at him. "Takashi ..." she says, trailing off into uncertainty.

"... I can't ... you didn't have to do this," she notes. She doesn't touch it. It's terrifying to her. A ring?! Rings have meaning. Rings have value. Rings have implications and expectations.

"Is it ... meteoric iron?" Ami asks, trying to focus on something other than how terrified the object on the table makes her feel. Oh god, wait, people might get the wrong idea. Ami reaches up and snaps the box shut, then carefully slides the box into her lap, clutching it with both hands. It won't fit in her meager purse. But this is not a proposal. They are not getting married. Not even engaged. Not until he works out his issues.
Takashi Agera 2016-10-13 01:46:10 57616
Takashi, for once, has a bit of an insightful moment - which of course, causes him to laugh. But only a little bit. "Don't worry, Ami. No ring of my own to match or anything." he says, softly. "That ring is yours, and every bit of it is designed to speak to you." he clarifies, in an intent to press the idea that it's not explicitly about an 'us' except in the sense of being a gift.

"No, it's not meteoric iron. You're close though." he says, making a bit of a dramatic pause about getting a drink of his soda. "But the iron in it comes from a place special to you. You take your Sailor Soldier name from it, in fact. You know, Mercury's mostly iron. Also, the part that faces the sun is really hot. Doesn't suit your powers. But the part that faces AWAY from the sun is crazy cold."
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-13 03:54:12 57631
Ami's clutches the box. "Engagement rings don't usually come with a mail counterpart," she hisses at him. "And I don't want people getting the wrong idea. But it is very beautiful," she notes thumbing the box open and eyeing it in her lap. She studies it a moment, then slips it out and tries it on her right hand.

Of course it fits. He had so much time to study her that there's no question his device would have the measurement of her hands.

She's not going to think about how creepy that is right now.

"It's beautiful," she notes. Okay it's a little gaudy, but it's beautiful anyways. "How did you get to Mercury?" she asks confusedly.
Takashi Agera 2016-10-13 06:52:26 57632
Takashi grins. "Well, shows what I know about human courtship rituals." he admits. "I guess if you prefer to think about it that way..." he grins, and then fakes getting the idea. "Oh, unless that's the wrong idea you mean."

But he shifts back. "Well, just file that under the list of things that someone told me was a bad idea and-or impossible." He notes as the food is brought out. "That is why I warned you some peices may have been through the Dusk Zone. Turns out you can get really interesting places if you invest the effort to find the coordinates and don't get sidetracked."

"I've been putting in the effort to make a sort of shield-suit for you to go into the Dusk Zone with so space is, relatively speaking, less of an issue."
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-13 07:02:09 57633
Ami squeezes her hand once, twice, to double check the fit of the ring. Then, she closes the box and offers it back to Takashi. She doesn't have a jacket pocket to hide it in. But at least she kept the ring on her finger. "That seems so dangerous," she notes. "And like it would take an astronomical amount of energy. The teleportation we can do requires four of us, and it's already a lot of energy."

She shakes her head, then leans forward in answer to him shifting back. "Shield suit?" Ami asks curiously. "Do you have my measurements, now, too? Or is it going to be all big and bulky?"
Takashi Agera 2016-10-13 07:05:50 57634
Takashi laughs. "I'm sure I could ask Axion, but don't think space suit. Think magical aura. Mostly. I mean. It's still a little bulky. Just not that bulky." He reaches out and takes the box back and stuffs it in his jacket pocket.

"But really. I hope you like it. I did go to a small amount of trouble. Just you know. I have to brush it off or you'll tell me some ridiculous nonsense about how you aren't worth it and then we'll have THAT discussion again."
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-13 07:09:25 57635
"Like ... it?" Ami asks confusedly, "It the ring or it the suit? Because I'm definitely worth the suit; if I die in there you're going to think an Escalation is a nice warm cuddle compared to what they'll do to you."
Takashi Agera 2016-10-13 07:11:10 57636
Takashi frowns a bit "It the ring!" he says, before catching himself and calming down. Which, in and of itself, might be notable.

"The suit, I don't care if you like, you're wearing it."
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-13 07:19:11 57637
Ami starts to laugh, then covers her mouth with the hand that ring is on. She's still giggling behind her hand, but at least she's keeping herself from making a scene. After a moment, Ami is only mostly over the amusement. She leans forward to start on her food, but she's still biting her lip to avoid laughing aloud. Not a word does she say.
Takashi Agera 2016-10-13 07:24:23 57638
Takashi doesn't say much for a moment, sort of snarkily digging into his fish and looking at her. But eventually the lip biting, barely resisted laughing digs at him too much, and he just looks at her a little exasperatedly. "What. What's so funny."
Ami Mizuno 2016-10-13 07:34:42 57639
Ami almost laughs again, but controls it just barely. She finishes swallowing, wipes her mouth, then gives him an amused look before explaining, "You." Because that's going to explain ever ything. "You just have this really amusing way of closing up when someone says something you think is offensive, even if it isn't. It's ... it's ... adorable," she explains.