Brain Freeze

Takashi and Ami intersect at the Crown. It's never easy.

Date: 2017-10-21
Pose Count: 36
Takashi Agera 2017-10-21 22:24:58 85205
Takashi Agera hadn't made it to the Crown in a while. Being busy plotting and working for Eclipse had been a thing. But with them preparing to unleash the dangers of their extra-special Pumpkin Spice soon, he didn't want to take any chances at a Darkbucks - and he was thirsty. And he was in Uminari. And say what you want, but the milkshakes - no, the 'ice cream smoothies' were really good.

So all things considered that's why he was here, and he'd just gotten his order of a vanilla 'smoothie' - closing his eyes after the first drink. It turns out even genius dark scientists aren't immune to the effects of a brain freeze! One hand on the edge of an arcade cabinet, the other holding the drink, and eyes squinted closed, is where someone just walking in would find him.
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-21 22:33:42 85206
Ami Mizuno walks in and freezes, her hand going to the ring on a chain around her neck. Her heart pitterpats in her chest; it takes a moment before she can summon the courage to walk up to Takashi.

"Taka?" she says, hesitantly. "Are you all right?" She then spots the milksha--er, the 'ice cream smoothie' and says, gently scolding, "You should be upstairs with that." And she stands, awkwardly, in front of him, wearing her school uniform and tugging on a shirt sleeve.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-21 22:48:43 85207
There are two seperate and distinct sides to Takashi Agera and both of them are on display in a short period of time - his immediate, instinctive response to someone scolding him, telling him what to do, butts to the front of the line over all of the other signifiers and for a moment he visibly tenses up, frowns, clenches his fist and opens his mouth to say something hostile - before it all catches up, he opens his eyes, and there's Ami rather than someone else there.

And now it's his turn to freeze, mouth slightly open for a moment, his own heart not so much beating faster but beating differently - from a fight response to a shock response.

"Ami-c..." he cuts off and tries, very hard, and with some degree of visible difficulty, to maintain the appropriate distance. To be polite. "Mizuno-san." he finally answers. "I'm hardly the only one down here with a drink. Besides, I wasn't planning to stay." It's not like she's ever seen Takashi play video games, to be fair. Chess is the closest thing that doesn't involve him brooding or reading a book. He's in his school uniform - the dark silver blazer with the grey shirt and the high collar. He tentatively takes a drink of the milkshake and despite the words, he doesn't seem like he's in a hurry to leave Ami's presence.
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-21 22:54:54 85208
"Oh," Ami says softly. "Excuse me, then, Agera-san." She gives a small bow, her eyes filling with tears. She blinks rapidly so that none fall, and straightens, eyes only mildly damp. She nods to him, the ring on the chain having swung free from her grasp and laying out on the top of her school uniform blouse. She tries--tries--to look cold, distant. It doesn't work. "Perhaps I should be on my way."
Takashi Agera 2017-10-21 23:15:24 85214
Takashi is uncharacteristically perceptive today, though - perhaps a unique stroke of luck in their otherwise difficult time - and he notices that something he said was wrong, had the wrong effect, or in some way... upset her.

"Sorry." he says, before he quickly qualifies that sorry, too prideful to let it get away. "I didn't mean to upset you - was just trying to be... polite. I had a brain freeze, too." Excuses, excuses.

"You don't have to leave." He says that very, very rapidly and once again qualifies. "I mean. I have some time."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-21 23:20:40 85216
Ami tilts her head, watching him for a moment. She's slightly breathless--he's making her dizzy. "You're very confusing today. But, I was about to head upstairs. Would you care to join me, Agera-san?" Still that distance, or trying for it. Her face is... not good at being impassive. Her heart aches, and it shows.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-21 23:26:26 85217
Confusing is the definition of his feelings right now, too. He wants to chase her off, but he knows he's not going to. Instead. "...sure." He's also happy to have her invite him. But... at the same time... uneasy. His mouth opens like he's going to say two or three different other things before he finally gives a half-smile. "We haven't talked at all in a while."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-21 23:27:54 85218
Ami Mizuno gives a little bow again. "Very well, then, Agera-san. I will meet you at a booth. I need to get a drink and something to eat." She turns to head upstairs, so he can't see her for a moment. Her expression quickly goes through the stages of grief, minus acceptance. "Is there anything I can get for you?"
Takashi Agera 2017-10-21 23:31:28 85221
Takashi points to the milkshake in his hand. "I'm good, if I can remember how to drink this without making a fool of myself." Another half smile, more of a smirk. More of the real sort of smile he reserves for her. He starts to step up to the counter and go for his wallet before he remembers, a third time, that they're not dating now. Then he steps back. "I'll meet you upstairs, then." A few moments to collect himself. He takes it, walking upstairs and finding a far corner booth.
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-21 23:33:47 85222
A few moments later, Ami follows, carrying a fruit salad and some tea. She settles in across from him and stares, those big blue eyes full of pain--but also hope. "What are you up to these days, Taka--er, Agera-san?" she asks, coloring faintly at the use of the familiar nickname for him.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-21 23:36:54 85223
Old habits die hard for the both of them. "Working." It's a vague answer in the hopes he doesn't have to answer too deeply. "And actually some schoolwork. Science Club has a presentation they're doing soon and I've been helping with that."

A pause. "...Mamoru told you not to drink any Pumpkin Spice stuff right?"
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-21 23:38:19 85224
Slowly lifting her head from her tea, Ami stares at Takashi. "Why would I not want to drink anything Pumpkin Spice, Agera-san?" she asks slowly, deliberately, eyes hardening a little.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-21 23:44:31 85228
Takashi almost visibly recoils back. "Hey, don't give me the ice glare. It's not me, it's Eclipse." Although the two are somewhat entwined, Takashi being part of the group. "It's a stupid idea, and I'm against it, but they okayed it anyways. And I'm trying to minimize the effect. That's why I told Chiba. I don't see the point in it."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-21 23:46:45 85229
Ami Mizuno melts. Slightly. "All right. Then tell me, too." She taps a long finger against the table, eyes on Takashi even still. She blinks a few times, definitely trying to soften her gaze. It works, a little. "Please, Taka. It's important. Especially if you disagree with it." If her heart were visible--cracked and hurting though it is--it'd be shining with purity right now.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 00:09:49 85237
Takashi leans back. "But if I tell you, you'll feel like you have to do something about it. There are like. Dozens of people on your side of the fence. I know, everytime I do something it seems like someone new is trying to give me an ethics lesson." At least this explains why he told Mamoru and not her. "Which means I'd be putting you at risk."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 00:28:00 85240
Ami Mizuno stares at Takashi. "So what makes you think Mamoru-kun wouldn't tell me?" she asks, not icily, but honestly confused. Those big baby blues are filled with hurt again. "I can protect myself." Better than he can, right now, honestly.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 00:32:35 85243
Takashi looks at her, and puts his hands on the table, folded. "I know you can. I've fought you. It's just that the less the better, the less chances to have something go wrong." He's honest here, there's a different tone to his voice, look in his eyes. "Maybe I didn't think it through super well."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 00:41:50 85248
Nodding, Ami's eyes lock onto Takashi. "You do still care." As if there were any doubt. Her voice breaks on the word 'care'. She starts in on the same old questions, catches herself, and pops a grape into her mouth to have something to do instead of talk. She looks down, fiddling with chopsticks in a nervous sort of way.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 00:43:36 85249
Takashi's eyes open a little wider - then narrow. "Of course I still care." He even crosses his arms and huffs a little. Sometimes he's not as mature as he pretends to be. "Why would I stop caring? The issue is that you care too much about the wrong things and not enough about the right ones."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 00:45:33 85250
Ami Mizuno swallows deliberately and tilts her head, eyes narrowing. "I care too much about the wrong things? What are those, Agera-san?" she asks softly. Her voice is like brittle ice, looking strong enough to step on, but your foot goes through the moment it touches the surface into cold, cold water. "I care about you." Her hand goes to the necklace, with his ring on it. "As if this weren't proof enough."
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 01:00:35 85251
"I noticed it." Takashi says, softly. "It's nice to see you still wearing it. It's not every day I jaunt to elsewhere in the Solar System for someone."

"You care more about what I am than what I do for you. You don't like the power I wield, the thing that sets me apart from all of the other kids back in the orphanage still waiting to be picked up like garbage. The power my mother died to give me, even though you've seen it used for good ends. You don't trust me or what I want to do just because sometimes there are side effects."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 01:05:45 85253
Ami sighs softly. "You know that isn't entirely true. I admit that it is, a little. But there's an old English saying--'actions speak louder than words'. I know you ... like me." Some hesitation before the 'l' word she chooses is important. "You act like you do. But then--you go and hurt my friends, which in turn hurts me. It's not fair, Taka." The endearment slips; she doesn't try to take it back.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 01:26:20 85260
"I don't do it on purpose to hurt you." The clumsy wording there comes out as he tries to figure out how to argue it. "I didn't... understand how it made you feel, and I'm sorry." Two apologies in one day may be a record. "But... I can't stand there and let your friends show up and punch me in the fact anytime I do something. Self-defense, sometimes pre-emptive, is... a little out of my hands when they come in swinging and blasting."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 19:49:20 85301
Ami watches Takashi, eyes soft. "What are you doing when they show up and try to punch you?" Rational, calm--everything he probably doesn't want her being right now. She takes a thoughtful bite of food, watching him closely but still with that gentle expression.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 19:51:03 85302
Takashi sighs. "Last time it was trying to stop a sentient tidal wave from crashing onto the shores of Tokyo. And keeping the power of that out of the hands of a 11-year old who can't be trusted with it." He sips angrily at his milkshake.
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 19:52:26 85303
Ami Mizuno frowns gently. "Okay." She sounds too reasoned, too reasonable. "But you do understand why we have reason to distrust your motives, considering we're on opposite sides, yes?"
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 20:07:36 85304
"I understand that." he says, putting hands flat on the table. "But... not always. I don't want to see Tokyo destroyed by those cards, for instance, and neither does anyone else. And I understand them regarding me with suspicion... it's only difficult when it's also YOU."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 20:09:07 85305
Swallowing, Ami drops her gaze and looks studiously at her fruit for a long, long moment. "I can't be sure of your motives either, Takashi. Agera-san," she corrects, but slowly, like the words feel funny in her mouth. "I... don't know what you want. Not really."
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 20:13:34 85306
"To save the world." he says, plainly. There's not a hint of irony in his voice. "The same as you. But you're so convinced you can do it without tapping into the same source of power, and I feel like it'd be like if aliens invaded and we didn't acvail ourselves of their technology. You think it's corrupted me, and I think it's what sets me apart from the rest of the regular people who don't even know how much trouble we're in."

"I've been doing a lot of thinking about it." he admits.
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 20:16:50 85307
Ami Mizuno looks up, then, watching him. She seems to be at a loss for words. "Takashi," she says finally, after a long, quiet moment. "I don't--I don't understand how you're not able to be corrupted. I would be. So would Mamoru-kun. And Mako-chan." She shrugs helplessly. "If you aren't being corrupted that's incredible, but I'm not sure that's even within the realm of possibility." Then, very, very quietly, her eyes filling with tears, she murmurs, "I'm sorry."
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 20:34:05 85308
Takashi's hands go from flat on the table to clenched. "You know I'm different, though." he said, although it sounded as much like he might be trying to convince himself as anyone else. "None of them were born like this. And none of them will die without it. I will. I mean, I know you know that but do you understand it? If I give up this power there won't be any left of me."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 20:39:15 85309
Ami watches his reaction, and lets out a shaky sigh, near letting those tears overflow. She clutches her heart. "I have nightmares about that very thing, Taka. I do. I understand. I just wish..." She sobs a little, and moves her hands to cover her face. She takes a while, but eventually recovers from her little crying jag, and looks up. "You know what I wish." She sniffles softly, dabbing at her eyes with a napkin. "I can't imagine life without you. Nor can I imagine it without--who and what I am." She takes a long sip of her cooling tea, then, remembering it's there. "And my friends. We're in a crappy place, Takashi, both of us, pulling at the other as these--counterweights, or centrifugal force. I don't know... what's going to happen, but I know what I hope." Her hand, damp and a little cold, reaches out for one of his clenched fists miserably, needing that connection. "Please," she whispers. "I can't fight with you any more today."
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 21:03:36 85310
Takashi sighs, reaching out taking Ami's hand in his. "I don't like being apart from you and I don't like fighting you." he admits. "So we're not fighting. Okay? At least not today."
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 21:04:39 85311
Ami Mizuno nods, sniffling once before gracing him with a small smile. "Okay. So--this is..." She hesitates. "I don't want to define today. I just want to bask in it," she whispers.
Takashi Agera 2017-10-22 21:10:10 85312
"Okay." He nods and breathes in and out slowly. "We'll take today for today and let tomorrow come." A pause. "You do know how much I care about you, right? No matter what I'm doing?"
Ami Mizuno 2017-10-22 21:10:41 85313
Ami nods. "As much as I care about you," she answers, smiling gently at him.