For the Price of a Ramune

Ariel reaches out to Kokoro to meet. They talk business, surprising Ariel with how intense the thunderous girl is and how deep her convictions run.

Date: 2017-06-03
Pose Count: 20
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-03 23:48:37 77793
    Ariel... Does not have Kokoro's phone number. In fact, on her own, she doesn't quite know how to reach the thunderous teen titan on her on her own. But what Ariel does have is connections. And among her contacts is bound to be someone who DOES know how to reach Kokoro. And there are a few of those people who she can reach out to who do have the older girl's contact information.
    Rather than text her out of the blue from a number she wouldn't recognize, it is probably a number familiar to Kokoro passing the message along as a favor to Ariel. It's a simple request. Just a meeting somewhere that isn't a chaotic nightmare. Midori-ya has nice food and drinks, so Ariel figured it was as good a choice as any.
    Lucky is curled up outside the cafe, and because he and his tiny ward are nigh inseperable short of a disaster, this means Ariel is at an outdoor table, waiting while slowly sipping a sweetened drink.
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 00:00:12 77794
    Getting a message from Norie that Ariel wanted to meet with her was... unexpected, to say the least. She'd been half-tempted to go meet with the little unicorn at some point herself, but having it come from the other direction has left her a bit wrong-footed, unsure of what to expect. Aside from that, she's never been to the Midori-ya before; since coming back 'home' to Tokyo, the only place other than fast food she's gone to visit is Korma Chameleon. Which probably explains why she looks as if she's checking to make sure it's the right place.

    Then she spots Ariel, and, oh hey, guess so. Adjusting the denim vest she's wearing, the brown-haired girl ambles up and pulls out a chair across from the younger girl, plops into it, then leans back and folds her arms. There's no greeting - just a silent 'I'm listening' look on her face.
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 00:15:17 77796
    And there she is. Lucky lifts his head first, and her dog coming to attention pulls the smaller girl out of her own zoned-out looking internal universe. To be faced with Kokoro settled in front of her. This is the right place, yes, as evidenced from the silver-haired 'foriegn' girl's awkward fidget.
    She is not unaware of custom though, and as she invited Kokoro along, she slides the menu over in offering. Ariel does not have much money to her name but she can spare snack expenses when she pulls someone away from anything else they could have been for the day.
    "Eheh... Sorry. I'm not exactly good at this. You must have a lot of questions right now. I can try to answer as many of them as I can, but I'm not sure where to begin."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 00:21:45 77798
    Kokoro takes the menu, letting her eyes wander over the menu for a few moments. When the waitress finally comes by, she just sets it down and says, "I'll have a Ramune. Nothing else." While she waits for that, she seems to consider Ariel for a moment. Ariel, and her dog, and the entire situation while she's pondering. Finally, she opens her mouth and asks simply, "That knight. That was... what, a mom? A sister? And what's the deal with this Prince of Nightmares guy?" Apparently, she's already done a little homework on her own.
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 00:40:55 77802
    A ramune, then. That much is easy enough on Ariel's wallet; though she would have been willing to splurge a little, this too is okay. So once that order is placed, it's down to business, and Kokoro comes swinging with the tough questions.
    To bring up the knight first makes the girl's lips purse tightly. The result has Lucky's head on her lap in an instant, and a slow stroke of fingers through the massive dog's fur allows her to rally.
    "My mom." She answers, at length. "--She wasn't always like that. She's... Not herself lately." Added quite fast.
    "That prince... Actually he's kind of responsible for that. Among other things. But I don't know why, and a lot of others are still trying to figure that out too."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 00:50:26 77803
    So the answer is ultimately 'dunno'. Well, that and 'yeah that's my mom that tried to kill us'. Kokoro's brow furrows, and she seems to consider this for a little while. Finally, though, the ramune arrives, and she reaches out, peels off the plastic, takes out the opener, and pops the glass bead out of place with a quick 'thunk'.

    After a drink, she sets it down again, and stares into the bottle. "...only other question I got is, 'how do we stop him'?"
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 01:03:16 77806
    Kokoro is certainly taking this very well. Though Ariel seems surprised at how fast the older girl asked that and not the multitude of other questions anyone else would have asked. But this is where she stops scritching Lucky.
    "I don't know." She admits honestly. "But I'm getting an idea of what he's doing." While that sounds hopeful her next expression isn't the brightest. "It's not good, so. It has to be done fast." Stopping him, she means.
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 01:14:23 77809
    Kokoro, it turns out, is a very focused person. There is a threat to be taken out, and all her attention goes to that. She's taking the Ramune nice and slow, seeming to consider what to ask as if she didn't want to waste a single syllable. Fortunately, Ariel has given her a very easy next question to ask. "So what is he doing? Seems like it's messing with peoples' sleep. Seemed like that Nightmare was gonna crawl into the real world."
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 01:26:14 77812
    It doesn't matter how slow Kokoro takes to her drink. Now Ariel is staring. Topaz eyes wide, pale lips parted as though to speak. But nothing comes out. She already had glimpses... Not of Kokoro's fighting capability, she's seen that full well, but maybe- just maybe a bit of that conviction hidden away in the older girl. And for all that reason and that reason alone, to Ariel, that simple focus is intense.
    The simple truth is, she had called Kokoro over for an entirely different reason than telling her all this, but now she has the sense that the other girl will not brook any change in the line of conversation.
    A thin smile actually starts to form on the girl's lips once she regains her footing.
    "That world was real, too." She notes. "It was someone's dream, but that doesn't make it any less real." To her, anyway but she clarifies. "I'd never seen one that big before, but that's what it was trying, yes. Moreso than that, though, I think he's been eliminating the guardians of those dreams, to make it easier."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 01:32:33 77815
    " he wants to invade, then," Kokoro muses. "Sounds like he's getting closer and closer. Gonna have to cover the ones that're left. Maybe we'll catch a break and figure out how to find him. If we don't have anything else to go on, that's just about our only option. Unless we can find a Nightmare that'll run back with its tail between its legs, instead of fighting until it keels over. We find one like that, we can track it back to the big guy, but that doesn't seem likely." Shrug. "So call me if some dream guardian comes under attack or whatever, I guess."

    She settles back in her seat, and takes a drink of her soda. And then another. ...and then another.

    The pause gets awkward.

    "Did, uh... did you call me out here for anything else?"
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 01:44:34 77818
    And now Ariel is openly flabbergasted. A flutter of mixed emotions crosses her face for the briefest second, before she purses her lips into a thin line as Kokoro actually lays out a plan. Not a bad one either. She takes a breath. So DID she call the older girl out for anything else?
    "A-actually... I really just wanted to thank you." She admits. "... Eheh. I didn't expect you to jump into asking about all of that, you're kind of really intense!" She then adds with a sheepish smile.
    "It says a lot about you."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 01:49:36 77820
    Kokoro blinks. There's a few seconds of quiet. And then the eye not hidden behind her hair darts off to one side. "...When someone need their backside kicked up between their ears, I don't sit around and waffle over it. I got suspended a couple weeks ago for beating up a bully a year older'n me. You gotta fight, you commit. 's just how I work." Is she blushing a little? Naaaaaah.
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 02:08:25 77824
    It's funny. Lucky's head was on Ariel's lap a moment ago. Now where did he disappear off to? Well wherever he went we can get back to that. As Ariel tucks an errant strand of silvery hair behind an ear she pauses long enough for a sip of her own drink.
    "When we met on the train, you said you were not worth my time." Ariel says, harkening back. She does not say what she thinks though. No, she lets the thought carry her in another direction. "From the stories I used to hear when I was very little... Actually I think mom was kind of like that."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 02:12:54 77825
    "It's..." Kokoro almost sounds as if she's going to correct Ariel, or explain something further, or... something. Something elucidating. But she catches herself, stops for a moment, then utters a soft, "Nevermind," and settles back in her chair. "...what do you mean?" she finally asks.
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 02:21:28 77827
    Ariel sets her glass down. There is a brief pause when pressed on what she means, as though looking back on an old memory. "Mom- the one you... Met. Used to tell me stories before bed, every night, when she was around. When she wasn't, I'd ask my other mother to tell me stories. One night I asked her how they met."
    She halts there, fingertips circling the rim of her glass before continuing. "She said mom didn't think very highly of herself. But she was very driven, and had kind of a fierce demeanor. But under that she just wanted to do the right thing."
    Oh hey, there's Lucky. He's under the table. Nudging to nestle his chin on Kokoro's lap.
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 02:33:43 77830
    Kokoro listens, quietly. There's one last slug of her Ramune - which is now more or less empty, and thus is set on the table - and then she listens, quietly. Her expression grows... perhaps just a little distant, before a certain sort of faint tension slips in. It's hard for most people to spot, but someone as in tune with those around her as Ariel will probably be able to catch it. Something about the story bothers her... or perhaps it just got her thinking about something that bothers her.

    It is then that a dog attempts to occupy lap space with his head. The reaction to this is probably not as desired.

    Kokoro goes stiff as a board, tense, her arms lifting just off her chair slightly in that manner of anyone who's had something drop into their lap that they aren't terribly keen on. It's not just a moment of surprise, either; once she sees it's Lucky, she remains stiff, the expression on her face one of mixed irritation and... distress? "Wh-?!"
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 02:42:28 77833
    Ariel notices. Oh yes, Ariel notices. Though now she bites on her lower lip, she leaves the story at that. "Sorry if I overstepped."
    Thankfully any further potentially awkward silence is interrupted by Lucky. The massive hound stares up with vivid and intelligent eyes, tail slowly wagging under the table.
    "He's not actually a dog." Ariel says. He sure looks like a massive specimen of canine. "-You can pet hi, if you'd like? Otherwise he'll get off, if you want."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 02:46:26 77835
    "I want," is about all Kokoro can say. It comes out just as tense as she looks, as if she's having a hard time reining in her natural response. Even once he's backed off, she remains much less relaxed than she looked a few moments ago. "Look, I- I'm gonna go unless there's something else you desperately need."
Ariel Theodore 2017-06-04 02:56:29 77837
    If Kokoro wants to go, Ariel will not stop her. Lucky will tug his head off lap as well, but the moment is not without Ariel getting to say what she wanted.
    "You joined a fight that wasn't yours. You defended me when you didn't have to. And... Showed mercy when I begged you to. I just wanted to say thank you for that."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-06-04 03:08:52 77839
    And like that, Kokoro is out of her chair, some of that tension melting away as she feels less trapped. She still takes a step or two back before she stops, though. And Ariel says something to her that has the brown-haired girl pausing where she stands, looking... conflicted. Confused. Not really sure how to respond. Finally she settles for a quiet, "Yeah," and turns. There's a few seconds before she actually starts walking, though. "...yeah."