A Pleasant And Reasonable Conversation

Lacrima meets Hiroshi Takeba. Not, in fact, for the first time. Somehow Hiroshi manages to turn "hello, you drained my energy" into complaints about the government's distinct lack of vigilante-related health regulations.

Date: 2017-10-11
Pose Count: 23
Lacrima 2017-10-11 03:18:50 84637
Lacrima knows that no one is really around around this time of day. The guys are at school. Others are at school. Or busy. Or at clubs or any number of things that involve not being home. Not to say there isn't anyone in one of the many rooms of the huge penthouse- just that there is usually not anyone around in the area she typically drops things off of.

She likes to not be a bother- and her manner of dress right now- the usual elegant dress- inferring she's trying VERY HARD to make herself feel better. Her Birthday is in three days. She already knows someone is going to surprise her with a party she doesn't really want. IS a birthday day even going to matter when she's one hundred years old? Two hundred? She reminds herself to ask Eilam-kun if he even remembers his own Birthday date.

She has a box of cupcakes in her hands as she arrives from her usual balcony entrace, from a local fine bakery that specializes in weird specialty cupcakes. These ones are made with expensive Pumpkin Spice coffee with a filled pumpkin center with similar flavored frosting. She has a feeling this is the kind of awful that Mamoru and the others here likes.

She places the box on the counter before she turns around with an envelope towards the main room. She has a note to leave.
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 03:32:12 84638
School hours are an excellent time not to catch people. It's not one hundred percent reliable, of course. In Japan, getting into university is the Great Filter. Once you're in, the pressure eases up. Which means that attending classes is not exactly obligatory in all cases, as long as the work gets done.

School hours are also work hours, which means that most adults are, well. At work. It is Not Done to miss work for anything other than a grave condition indeed.

Say, officially being actually at a medical facility.

Say, when a person owning a not inconsiderable stake in the company has personally hinted that those visits are not to be questioned. By anyone. Especially one's superiors.

Perhaps it's the sound of her footsteps that caught attention. But the person who emerges from the hall is not any of the ones that Lacrima might have been expecting to find. Because one example of a type she has never seen here is a fiftysomething businessman in a suit, graying hair receding, regarding her with a confused blink over his bifocals before he gives a cautious bow. "Good afternoon," he ventures. Carefully. From a distance.

He looks remarkably familiar, from somewhere. And he looks for a moment a little like he might be struggling to place Lacrima in turn.
Lacrima 2017-10-11 03:42:34 84639
Lacrima is looking down at the envelope when she enters the main room at first but then she senses /someone/ there who she isn't as familiar with. She's expecting maybe someone like Nephrite or one of the Senshi or some other newer friend of Mamoru or something like Makio when instead she sees...

Well this is an older man for sure. Not the usual person she expects staying over. This causes her to blink. Is he familiar? A little. In that passing way someone is.

Lacrima tries to go out of her way to forget the faces of those she drains because she doesn't want to get the hankering to drain someone twice if she can help it. That and it helps her relax. Because she still has something that at least tries VERY HARD to do it's best to act like conscience.

"....Hello." she says quietly as she stands in front of Kazuo's door. She opens the envelope and looks over her note. Something about Seth's teleportation being like a Dusk Step. Something about Eclipse considers him a rouge project. Something about more red tape and it's getting less of a good idea to poke around.

"...Do I know you?" she asks quietly. "I haven't seen you here before." she says quietly. Her tone is awkward and uncomfortable for the moment.

"One of Mamoru-kun's guests?" she asks curiously, vocally making her best guess.
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 04:03:25 84640
She doesn't know if she knows him. Hiroshi's expression betrays the barest flicker of relief.

After all, if she doesn't know him, then the nagging familiarity is not in fact that this is the girl-who-needs-to-graduate-high-school-first that his son mentioned having some potential future interest in, and the problem at hand is not that his son introduced him to said potential future date and the interaction went so utterly badly that Hiroshi gave up on recording it in his notes. No matter what else happens, nothing else in this conversation can possibly be that awkward.

The dress still does seem the kind of thing that would catch his son's eye, though.

Hiroshi bows again, keeping himself steady. "Yes," he says to the question about whether he's a guest. "Please forgive my rudeness in not introducing myself at once; my memory is not the best. It's a condition that our host insists I visit for treatment for. My name is Hiroshi Takeba. And please, again, forgive me if I was unintentionally blocking your way." He steps to one side of the hall, giving space for passage further into the interlinked apartments. Particularly toward the more elegantly decorated one (matching Lacrima's outfit rather better) that Kazuo and Izumi share.
Lacrima 2017-10-11 04:35:05 84641
Or maybe that hasn't actually happened yet? Lacrima would probably be endlessly amused if this was vocalized. Alas, this doesn't happen so she keeps her general polite demeanor as she eyes Hiroshi and bows back softly. It's polite. "My name is La Crima." she says. A pause. Takeba. "You are.... Kazuo's father?" she asks, curiously. "Ah- you're not blocking my way." she says as she passes. "I doubt you could block my way." she asides.

She passes Hiroshi and gently slides the envelope under the door, and sighs a bit. "Just an update. About some things." she asides. "That I feel better delivering in person."

A pause , she turns towards the man again.

"Memory problems?" she asks. "Long term? Short term? What is it you are forgetting?" she asks. "Mamoru-kun is helping me as well. I can understand it can be tiring to deal with." she offers. A pause.

Wait. Does Kunzite's dad even know about the magic thing? She doesn't think she was being to specific about issues. She purses her lips. She'll see what the man has to say first.
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 04:46:54 84642
Oh god she is on a first-name basis with his son.

Hiroshi blinks twice, and says slightly more carefully, "Yes. Yes, I am." He is intent on not showing fear. The teenagers sense fear, and move in to feed. Not feed on him, usually, but there are only so many pastries a man can eat.

The envelope is watched, and Hiroshi is adjusting his glasses to make regarding her over them slightly easier. "Ah -- a great deal, I'm afraid. I will ... probably remember at most a highlight or two of this conversation. My apologies in advance for any awkwardness this may cause. I don't ... remember the odd things for very long. I do try to take notes, but one can't get everything." Or necessarily put credence in one's own notes.

It's not that anything overtly strange has even happened. Except for that dress, and that hair, and something about her. Maybe he'll remember more than he expects.

Still more cautiously: "May I inquire as to how you know my son? Or is it only through our host's helping you that you met him?"

Hiroshi is more or less certain that if any part of this answer includes the words 'he proposed,' he will faint dead away.
Lacrima 2017-10-11 05:07:54 84643
Lacrima eyes Hiroshi for a long moment as she purses her lips. "Ah." she says. "So it's like that." she says bluntly. "I'm sure what Mamoru-kun is doing will help." she says quietly. A pause. "Kazuo?" she asks silently. "It's complicated." probably NOT what Hiroshi wanted to hear.

But then she blinks and tries her best to elaborate. "Kazuo-kun has been trying to help me deal with some things for a long while. Some of them mutual concerns, some of them personal concerns. The opposite, is true to some degree. I know Mamoru because I knew Kazuo." she offers.

"My problem is largely that I don't really feel the positive emotional spectrum because of what I am. Mamoru-kun is trying to help me return some of that. Probably not all. Not all, actually. But it'd be nice if I could smile even for a few seconds, if not wide." she offers.

"Do you know what's causing your memory problems?" she asks. "Were you the victim of some sort of attack?..." she asks curiously.
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 05:29:44 84644
Hiroshi cannot actually say that he hasn't smiled in the last year. Polite smiles exist. Also, Usagi exists, and she cheats. He does, however, consider Lacrima with a small frown that betrays either concern or the ability to simulate concern. It's a good deal like expressions Kazuo has given her, except slightly more stunted. "Yes. There are any number of situations in which being able to smile is counted as a courtesy. It must be a considerable burden on you, having to sort out other ways of handling them. Not to mention the personal strain. I hope that our host does prove to be of assistance to you."

The question of 'some sort of attack' causes Hiroshi to shift feet. He doesn't know the girl. Does he? He ... hopes he doesn't know the girl. "I'm told that I was, yes. Something about mirrors and a building-sized monster. I'm afraid I don't remember it; I was, ah, unconscious at the time. For a few days. The paperwork was rather awkward. But my best guess is that my condition predated that by at least a decade or two." ... it's complicated?
Lacrima 2017-10-11 18:30:26 84646
Lacrima shakes her head. "I get by. Mostly. Mostly get by." she says. In rapid reiteration. Maybe that's part of that. She blinks merely once, as she listens. "Ah. That would had been. Two weeks. Or so back then. More. Probably. I was doing something else around that time." she says. She tries to search her thoughts a little about this but comes up nothing. This man is still familiar. But she doesn't have memory problems. She just takes a deep breath because.

Well she's asked about the complications.

"Ah..." she says. "I do not know what. You remember. Or know." she says. "-and it probably isn't my place. To decide that." she says curtly. "But."

"I am going to tell you some things. And maybe they will make sense to you. And maybe they won't. And maybe you'll just forget tomorrow. Or maybe you'll remember when Mamoru-kun helps with your issues." she says. "-and you'll understand then." she says.

She fidgets. "The short of it is, I am not human. I'm a vampire." she says. "I used to be human. I bought a necklace in a second hand store. It was containing a curse. But the seal broke. So it turned me into this thing. And now I need to feed off the energy of people to keep my sense of self." she says.

"That's also the reason I don't have half the emotions I should. What I am isn't really conductive to feeling those things very well. Or at all." she offers.

"I met Ku-- Kazuo." she says. "During an incident where a friend of mine was using some crystal for some purpose. It wasn't really on an amicable term at that moment though." she says.

A pause, as if to catch something. "I don't feed on people that visit here. And there isn't permanent injury to those I do. People just go unconscious and wake up tired."

She's not expecting a response. "Complicated." she explains.
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 19:05:50 84647
Hiroshi's first instinct, when Lacrima tells him that she's going to tell him some things, is to make a sudden hasty excuse and depart. But the tangled apartments are not all that conducive to doing so, unless there's a door one can close; and hiding in his son's room does not strike him as the wisest or best of ideas. Besides. Knowing the boy, it's probably empty. And his notes tell him that some of the people here have important things to say.

'I'm a vampire' is not one of the ones he was expecting, though. It startles him enough that he is not aware of his hand moving almost on its own to where a certain pendant might hang, if he were the one wearing it, not Lacrima.

Feed off the energy of people ...

March, and the sun has set; it is chill but no longer freezing, and Hiroshi is on his way home. Clockwork part of his routine. Work until there is no work to do, migrate to an empty house to shower and sleep, then dress and eat breakfast in a kitchen that has not changed since his son left for the university he abandoned, then back to work until there is no work to do. He has not been working for anything in years; he works because it's what he does, because it is the only structure his identity has left.

But there's still enough there that when the girl staggers off the bus and breaks into an unsteady jog, even a block ahead it catches his attention. She's small, she's dressed like she's young. She shouldn't be out alone so late. Perhaps she's ill. Perhaps she's in trouble. That necklace she's wearing might catch someone unwholesome's attention. He quickens his own pace, moves to lift a hand, to give a polite call to catch her attention, to ask if she needs help.

She is terribly strong. He does not see that her hair is not black until they are already in the alley, and he does not understand that that is a warning; and then all there is is the cold and the pain.

He is not a rich source for Lacrima; he has half-drained himself before she ever reached him. But he is enough that she's more lucid when she hunts her next target. And when he wakes, he can only guess that he went for a drink alone and forgot it, and swears off drinking out of company thereafter.

It is so much easier than remembering what actually happened.

He draws a careful breath when she finishes; the color's drained from his face, leaving a hint of sickly pallor behind, but his voice is kept politely steady. "It always seems to be crystals with these people. One could develop a grudge against the entire jewelry industry, if one weren't careful." Another breath; held for a moment; he lets it out. "I am very sorry that that happened to you."
Lacrima 2017-10-11 19:56:22 84648
Lacrima scoffs. "I already have a grudge against jewelry. I threw out anything I had except for the one I wear nowadays. For obvious reasons." she says. She does raise a brow. "It's not always crystals. Sometimes it's weird objects. Or talking animals." she asides.

She does notice the pallor though. "Are you okay? You should sit down." she says quietly. "I brought some cupcakes , if you'd like some. I'm sure Mamoru would insists if he was here right now."

She has no idea what the man just thought. Or maybe think he thought. Maybe that's for Mamoru to see later. But she purses her lips. "Well. I'm sorry it happened to me. There's just not much I can do about it." she says. "I spend most of my free time researching mine or others conditions similar to mine. Or studying creatures." she says. "There's at least one other vampire, but he's not really as pleasant and doesn't really care that he hurts people." she asides.
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 20:16:34 84649
"... talking animals."

Evil mirrors, building-sized dark monsters, and necklaces that make vampires, and it's the talking animals that finally make the man sound skeptical. "Well. I suppose the tanuki stories had to come from somewhere."

And now a teenaged vampire girl is plying him with cupcakes. Hiroshi glances back down the hall, confirms that there are no madly enthusiastic entrepreneurs lurking behind him, and says, "Perhaps you do have the best idea." The living room is -- that way? No, that's the wrong living room, that's the one with the piano and the highly decorative go set. This way is the way they came. He considers his first step, decides that his knees are not about to decide they won't hold his weight, and paces in the correct direction. "Are there really so many creatures that most people can't perceive that you can make a field of study out of them? That seems very strange. But admirable, in its way."
Lacrima 2017-10-11 20:46:57 84650
Lacrima makes sure that Hiroshi isn't gonna topple over. When they make it into the living room, she skips off to grab the box of cupcakes and she returns with the pumpkin spice smell tiny cupped cakes. She places them down on the coffee table and opens the box.

"People call it 'magic' but there's some... sort of weird science there, yes." she says. "I can sit here and theorize but there's no real answer to a lot of these things. Like your statement just now about how people don't really perceive them. It's hard to explain why that is. Then fact that, you're even willing to entertain the fact is odd in itself. Most-----" she bites her lip a bit. "---most people don't seem to." she says.

She caught herself. Trying to say 'Normal' people. She purses her lips a little and offers one of the cupcakes properly, picking it up out of the box. "It is Pumpkin Spice. It seemed something appropriately awful that I thought Mamoru and the boys might like." she says a little coyly.

"I haven't met a tanuki." she offers.
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 21:03:48 84651
"According to my notes," Hiroshi says, and his tone is not nearly as dry as Kunzite's can get but there's a touch of it nonetheless, "I had a conversation with my son's disembodied soul. It seems like the kind of experience that ought to be more difficult to forget." He considers that for a moment, then adds more quietly, "Though threats to family that one can't hope to oppose or address might, I suppose, be something that most people would prefer to forget."

Himself evidently still included, if he still has to reference his notes.

"Still. You say there's science there? I'd thought your study must be more in the nature of a folklorist's, but -- is there some hope that there are principles that somehow guide all this madness hidden around us?" The idea seems to be a hint of relief for Hiroshi. Or maybe that's more to do with Lacrima being reliably where he can see her, once he's sitting down.

When Lacrima offers the cupcake, Hiroshi accepts it carefully and politely, using both hands to be certain it's secure. "Thank you," he says, and then regards the cupcake with a certain measure of mild and fascinated horror. "They do seem to be fascinated with the ... excessive. But I suppose they are still rather young."

It does not appear to occur to him, as he breaks off a bite-sized piece of the cupcake to try it, that he's talking to someone younger still. Maybe he's decided that Lacrima is a secret centenarian.
Lacrima 2017-10-11 21:19:43 84652
Lacrima said she was a vampire. Maybe Hiroshi thinks she is a few hundred years old. Maybe Eilam-kun would like talking to Hiroshi. Maybe she makes that note in the back of her head. Eilam is having more or less the same issue with magic. Not getting it. Having issues when something new pops along.


"Your son's...." she pauses and searches her thoughts. "Ah." she says. "I think I know the moment in time you're referring to." she says.

"Hrm? Of course there's principles and things that work in certain ways that are expected." she says. "There are always deviations from the normal sometimes, but for example- you can make good projections about how normal people will act that haven't been touched by magic or don't get touched by it regularly enough for it to matter." she says.

"Like. Sailor V. She's real." she lets this sink in. "You hear her as 'fighting crime' or 'criminals' because that's what normal humans interrupt 'a dark energy monster and it's dark energy cronies' to be. Of course. Sometimes it is criminals. There is an awful thug and Yazuka problem in some parts of the city." she scoffs.

"Those are ostensibly easier to deal with from a magical standpoint."
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 21:27:04 84653
Reluctant Reality Support Group, organized by Lacrima of Tokyo and the Dusk Zone.

Case in point: Hiroshi's perplexed expression as he regards Lacrima. "Sailor V is a cartoon character, isn't she?" he says, politely baffled. "Or at least -- don't they make video games after cartoons these days? I've never kept track."

A pause, and the coin drops. "Oh." Another pause. "Please forgive me if this is a stupid question. Is the zodiac family from that one story real, too? The cursed ones, that turned into their animals when upset? Our host's young lady seemed very enthusiastic about it."

... he is asking a vampire questions about Fruits Basket. Hiroshi's life has gotten very, very strange.
Lacrima 2017-10-11 21:38:41 84654
Lacrima replies deadpan and makes this face like she's suddenly annoyed. "No Sailor V is real and she tried to shove a steak through my heart. Not like a wooden stake but it was a steak. An expensive cut from Mamoru's fridge apparently." she scowls. "She didn't even break the skin. She was just. Shoving it into me. Like she was expecting it to cure me or kill me. It was awful." she says.

She seems to search her head a little. "Mmmph. If it is. I haven't heard of it personally. There's lots of magical people that have odd things happen around them when their emotions get the better of them, for better or worse." she says. "When I get particularly... messed up emotionally.... I start leaking some sort of miasma and start passing my bad mood onto others and things that have chances to start animating or turning into monsters." she says.

"I'm fine right now. As fine as I can be. I make it a point to try to be responsible for what I am. It's hard. But that's part of the reason I try to keep in touch with your son or Mamoru or my other friends. They will see what I currently can't." she says.

"-and try to do something about it if I won't." she says as she finally grabs a cupcake and bites into it.

"I think I can safely say that most cartoons and comics are just cartoons and comics. It'd be silly if all of them were based on true stories." she says.
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 23:07:22 84655
"A steak? As in meat?"

There's an actual expression other than 'mildly polite' or 'baffled' or 'mildly polite but somewhat pale' on Hiroshi's face. He looks offended. Not at Lacrima; on Lacrima's behalf. "I hope it was at least cook, but even so, that seems both rude and considerably unsanitary. Doesn't the Ministry of Health regulate these things? Or at least offer some sort of ... infection control course for vigilantes?"

Because, apparently, that is the part of this that concerns him.. At least it's probably becoming plainer how Kazuo grew up to be Kazuo.

The discussion of accidentally turning people into monsters makes Hiroshi shift very slightly, uncomfortable, but he nods slowly to her explanation of why she tries to keep in touch. "Apparently we have that in common," he says, somewhat resigned. "Given what happened a few weeks ago."

The news that most cartoons and comics are just cartoons and comics means that Hiroshi lets a breath out again, and relaxes a little. "That's good to know. Thank you. I'd have been up half the night trying to figure out which buildings were secretly not offices after all, but where they stored the giant robots."
Lacrima 2017-10-11 23:30:11 84656
Lacrima scoffs. "Yes as in meat product. No. Not it was not cooked, it was raw and half defrosted. I am not worried about getting sick. I can't get sick with human maladies. I'm not sure if there's something magical I can't catch though." she says.

She raises a brow. "Oh... oh dear. No there's no authorities or control. Just people like Mamoru and Kazuo trying to herd cats once in a while." she says.

"I mean. I guess I am a part of some sort of authority. Of a sort. But I imagine Kazuo would frown hard at me enough to burn my face off if I went into anymore detail about it." she says. "And- you've seen the rules. No doubt? Factions left at the threshold." she insists. "-and I'd like to not test the limit of the rules. Because I like coming here. and having a place I feel no one is gonna bust through the wall and try to kill me at." she says.

"Not that it's easy to kill me. Undead and all. It usually all grows back."
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-11 23:41:20 84657
Hiroshi almost disputes his son's ability to frown hard enough to do any such thing. Halfway through drawing his breath to protest, he visibly remembers that magic is a thing that exists and quietly deflates. For all he knows, the boy does summon bone-searing fire with his scowls.

"I ... haven't seen the rules," Hiroshi admits. "I've been told they exist. But i haven't seen them. Still. I quite agree that it's good to be safe from people ... busting through the wall and ... trying to kill you." The words are not quite levered out of his own mouth with a crowbar, but it's close. "You're one of the more pleasant and reasonable people to talk with that I've met here, our host and his close friends included."

He does not see that her hair is not black till they're already in the alley --

Hiroshi represses the involuntary shudder as hard as he can, but not quite successfully. And, quite methodically, breaks off another piece of cupcake and pays attention to consuming it.
Lacrima 2017-10-12 00:02:29 84658
Lacrima raises a brow. "I try to be. I remember what it was like. To be human after all. Even if I'm not now." she says. "It's what makes me different from a lot of the other 'monsters' around. They've never been. Human that is, or just pretend to masquerade as such because it gets them closer to targets or lets them move around easier." she asides.

"-and I do remember what those feelings felt like. And it's another reason I'm not nearly a big enough mess then I could be. Since I have a baseline for... 'how I should be feeling' in a situation. It's not always enough. It makes me examine every situation. It makes me feel weird and odd." she says. She fidgets a bit.

"Politeness is something I know. At least etiquette. It's weird. Part of this curse is that I have some of the skills and knowledge of a Spanish Count from around the 1440's onward." she says, not going into detail. "That includes a lot of court etiquette. Decorum. How to treat a guest in your home. And what not." she sighs. "-and the dialect of Spanish used at that time frame." she says. "And lots of other miscellanea."
Hiroshi Takeba 2017-10-12 00:18:04 84659
Most of this is beyond Hiroshi's grasp: ideas too strange for him, or too large. But he catches at a detail, considers it. What must it be like to be the only person in the city accustomed to table manners from a place and time that used neither Japanese chopsticks nor Western forks?

"Do things reminiscent of that time and place make you feel more comfortable?" Hiroshi asks aloud instead. "Or is the familiarity unsettling? I don't mean to pry, you understand; I'm only not certain whether calling up or avoiding that time would be more polite to you."
Lacrima 2017-10-12 00:50:36 84660
Lacrima nods. "It does." she says. "It's why I'm dressed as I am now. It helps me. A little." she says. "-and European decor and styles make me feel comfortable. I used to spend much of my earlier time in a Christian church when it was closed." a pause.

"You know. Lots of people ask me the usual questions when they hear I am a vampire. You know. Stakes, Garlic, Sunlight that whole mess."

"None of which really applies. Some of it does. But most of the sterotypes don't." she says.

She fidgets some more a little. More cupcake. Why is this man just familiar in a way that she can't place.

"Where do. Work, Takeba-san?" she asks curiously. "I can't help shaking I've met you before." she says quietly. "Somehow..."