A Much Needed Chat

Content Warning: References to child abuse. Fate visits Takashi for a very awkward chat about the situation with Fate's mother and where they stand. Niether party is good at social interaction.

Date: 2017-11-11
Pose Count: 14
Fate T. Waldia 2017-11-11 23:35:39 86458
    After the incident at the hospital an obvious air of awkward discomfort hung in the air like a miasma around Fate Testarossa. A sense of dread that only seemed to worsen after the awakening of the eighteenth Jewel Seed, and the reason should be obvious. Injured both physically and in. her pride, the hair of the Testarossa name dreaded precisely one thing.
    Takashi Agera wants to talk.
    She knows precisely about what. She knows precisely why. And that is why it is so difficult for her to knock when she reaches the door to his lab, one hand raised, hanging impotently in the air, displaying a hesitance that is very much not the decisive and swift Fate Testarossa that Takashi knows.
    She considers a moment longer, and nearly turns away from the door, deciding perhaps to find some other reason to be on the Eclipse property, another reason to put off what will be a decidedly uncomfortable conversation about something that is intensely private. If only it were so easy. It is not, when Fate's hesitance prompts Bardiche to silently send a ping to Agera's Device, like the faithful Device he is. Always looking out for Fate's well-being. It's a large, implicit, statement of trust from the stalwart black axe. He could have kept silent and let Fate turn away. Instead he chooses this moment to reach out for her when she fails to do so for herself.
Takashi Agera 2017-11-11 23:45:50 86459
There's someone else delaying on the other side of the door - only the wooden door of Takashi's Office, which he is actually in - as he pauses. He knows it's Fate - otherwise he wouldn't be waiting here, but he figured, perhaps erroniously, it'd be a better environment than his lab. It still takes him a while to find the door - it takes Bardiche talking to Axion and Axion relaying it.

Takashi Agera has never been good at social situations of any kind.

But he does open the door, and has a sort of half-smile on his face. He isn't angry, but it's hard to fake happiness when you're so very not happy about it. It's hard to do the right thing when it's not obvious or fun. But it may say something about Takashi that he feels so compelled. "Fate-chan. Come on, let's talk. Away from everyone and everything else, just us." He walks over to his desk, but instead of sitting behind it like some looming executive, he sits on the edge of it. Shifting a chair over with his foot so Fate can sit cattycorner, facing him but not head on.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-11-11 23:55:31 86460
    The door opens and in a display that's becoming far too common an occurence of late, the girl starts. The brief instant of shock on her face is quickly replaced once more by the blonde's stoic cool. She thought she was going to get out of a chat, apparently. But that's no longer an option. The door is open. Takashi is right there. Fate regards him and the false smile he bears, for a beat, before dipping into a polite bow. She is about to step into a man's office, it is only appropriate.
    The chair is offered, and as if it was never there at all, there is no sign of Fate's hesitation as she eases into the seat, folding hands together on her lap. Yet she can't look him in the eyes. "Just us."
Takashi Agera 2017-11-12 00:06:18 86461
Takashi Agera takes a big breath. "Look, I know we're not really comfortable about all of this but we obviously have to. And I'm going to do my best not to ask you questions that are uncomfortable unless they're important. Or questions I already know the answer to."

"But first I want to apologize. I got a since of the Tin Soldier's... real nature... but I didn't want to add complication to your life. I didn't realize how fragile it all was - how soon he'd break down. I didn't want to put you into a position of choosing between a friend and your mother's goals. So... I said nothing, which was cowardly of me."
Fate T. Waldia 2017-11-12 00:23:59 86462
    It is one of those terrible conversations that needs to happen, but Fate has no words. She just listens at first, wearing her stoic expression like a mask. Her fingers clench, balling up at the hem of the lacy black dress she wears on hearing that Takashi had even a slight inkling about the truth behind Jin, but she remains eerily placid.
    How would she have reacted had she known? It's a question that turns over in her head repeatedly in her silence. But then, that's when the girl shakes her head.
    "You spared me from having to fret over it." She says, simple and direct, and masking her pain. Even if it was only a temporary preservation of her peace of mind, it was still something.
Takashi Agera 2017-11-12 00:46:24 86463
Takashi sighs. "None of this is really easy, I know. We weren't born into easy lives. We're both, in different ways, trapped to struggle and fight and war." He pauses.

"But that doesn't mean we shouldn't work to make sure that we don't just win, but we win in a way that makes sure we don't lose ourselves. I don't know if the Fate I usually see is a mask or not, but it's something I want you to think about. The real you. Not just... what your mother wants."

He pauses. This may be the harder question. Dead silence fills the room for a little bit. He finally asks in as little words as he can, a question to which he already suspects the answer, but he has to know. "What I saw on your back. Is she responsible?"
Fate T. Waldia 2017-11-12 01:04:15 86464
    Fate hasn't relaxed. Her hands still clench at the hem of her dress, enough to start wrinkling the frilly fabric. War is an almost apt way to desribe the life she leads. A soldier given a task to perform, Fate has not exactly had much of a childhood since those long past memories of life back on Mid-Childa. Memories of a mother's warm smile, a loving embrace, and promises of picnics and cake.
    Fate does not need to think long about it. That which she wants most- that which she reaches out for, the thing that she feels she cannot grasp, is to see that woman's smile again. Yet no matter how hard she works or how much effort she puts into she cannot seem to reach...
    Takashi's question comes. She knew it was going to come, and Fate's hands release the crinkled fabric of her dress. The girl opens her mouth, but no words come out. The silence that follows reigns almost tyranically in the office as Fate's mouth closes. She has no words to give as she looks away. Her silence is as telling an answer as any she could ever muster.
Takashi Agera 2017-11-12 01:12:17 86465
Takashi doesn't respond for a moment. There's more, longer silence. Fate's quiet, and Takashi is... his hands are on the sides of his desk. There's a deadly, silent rage that flows through him in that eerie stillness, his fingers clutching onto the edges of his desk, clutching so hard, so angry that drips of black energy fall, though the evaporate into the air before hitting the floor. A barely-contained rage builds within him.

"Fate, a mother shouldn't do that. Ever." he says simply. Then he questions himself. How would he know? He doesn't know his mother. But yet he still feels strongly about it. Even his own father hasn't harmed him, even if he's abadoned him mostly.

"I can see that... speaking on this may not be helpful right now. But Fate..." He opens his mouth to say something but clumsy Takashi cannot find the words. Eventually his fingers unclench and all he does in the further silence is put a hand on her shoulder. Softly, gently.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-11-12 01:41:33 86466
    And yet it's a rage that is almost palpable. Subtle hints and cues in body language that are impossible for a girl like Fate to miss. The grip in white knuckled hands, the subtle tremble of tensed shoulders. She can see it in the subtle tension and in every breath. Signs she all learned to pick up elsewhere.
    A mother shouldn't do that.
    Deep down Fate knows this should be true but her focus is elsewhere. Scarlet eyes watch the trickle of dark energy, and her own hands clench at the hem of her dress again. "It's..." She cannot say 'it's not what you think'. She can't skirt this issue, nor run away from it. But perhaps even worse, she cannot admit 'my mother does this to me'.
    Fate's shoulders rise and fall in deep, slow, breaths as she searches for words, she looks for something to say and finds herself with nothing for a long moment. So great is her focus on Takashi simply rising from his desk. Now it's her turn to tense. Fate freezes. And then he sets a hand on her shoulder. Fate flinches from the contact. But now Takashi will know why she does.
Takashi Agera 2017-11-12 01:49:37 86467
Another pause, and Takashi Agera begins to talk, though he's not looking at her - he's looking straight ahead, though he doesn't break that physical contact.

"Fate, I know what it's like when people offer to help you, but their brand of help is... self-serving, and doesn't take into account your own feelings. So I'm not going to do that. I'd like to go and deal with this and make it not happen again, but I understand that for your own reasons, you may not want me to do that." And Precia would probably obliterate him in an actual fight, but Takashi is sure he could find away around that. Suicidally sure.

"So... I don't know what I can do for you. And maybe right now you don't know, either. But... That's okay. You don't have to know today, or tomorrow. Because this isn't a time limited offer, Fate."

"I see you like... I would see a little sister. Not in a low way. Like a very capable, dangerous, cool and calm little sister that I can rely on to help me."

"So... in a way I think of you as family. Which means I will help you, whenever you figure out how I can do that. And until then, I won't judge you." He doesn't say anything about not judging Precia though. He couldn't possibly forgive her for those crisscrossing scars he'd seen, their varying ages showing the true duration. He has to put the thought out of his mind to avoid gripping Fate's shoulder too hard - but he does, just keeping it there calmly.
Fate T. Waldia 2017-11-12 02:20:58 86468
    There is... Discomfort. Fate shifts slightly, but holds still and tense. Though he may mean all the best for her- genuinely so- as long as Takashi's hand is on Fate's shoulder, the girl can't properly relax. It's a small glimpse into the truth behind that mask, a glimpse upon a girl far more vulnerable than she tries so very hard to appear- a girl who can no longer abide even the simplest or gentle of physical contact without recoiling.
    Quietly she reflects on his words. Even Jin Meiyou's offer to help her- though wholehearted and genuine- was self serving in a way; catering to his almost desperate need to have someone to protect. Then there is that girl... The one with her hair in red pigtails, striving so desperately with hand held out and open. Certainly she must have reason of her own, as well.
    The truth is that Fate herself does not know how Takashi can help her, but understands that his desire, too, is genuine. And that is why she stays quiet just a few heartbeats longer. She does not want to push him away. But the girl does not know how to fully accept it, either, and that is what makes the moment so painful for her.
    To be thought of as family.
    For him to say that of her when she can't even get her mother to smile evokes a newfound little stabbing pain in her heart as quaking hands threaten to tear the hem of her dress. Fate takes a slow breath.
    "It's okay." She says, voice barely higher than a whisper.
    "I don't know what changed in mother. She wasn't always how you know her now. She used to smile. She used to hold me." Fate speaks, voice bearing a gentleness of old and very fond, bittersweet, memory. "That is why I endure everything. Because I'm sure that bringing her the jewel seeds will make her smile again. That is what I've been fighting for, Takashi. That is what every Jewel Seed brings me a step closer towards. That is what you've already been helping me with, every time I collect one more Jewel Seed."
Takashi Agera 2017-11-12 03:07:17 86469
Takashi just... nods. He doesn't know what it's like. At least Fate has the happy memories, and for a moment, it makes him jealous. That moment leaves, though - and it's replaced by guilt. While he has been helping Fate in a general sense, he hasn't been giving her ALL of his Jewel Seeds - one is in Earth, one is secured deep within his lab - and frankly, what he now knows about Precia makes the idea that he would give her such powerful items... even less likely. Still, it bites at him, the idea that the one thing she's thanking him for is the thing he hasn't been fully doing.

But she understood about what he'd kept from telling her about the Tin Soldier, in a way, and perhaps one day she'd understand this all.

"Fate..." He can't find the words. Too many things to say, things he needs and wants to say, many of them contradicting. Eventually, though, he takes a big breath. "I wish I'd known sooner. I'd have changed priorities."
Fate T. Waldia 2017-11-12 03:30:44 86470
    The memories are distant. Fuzzy at best and incomplete, but she remembers Precia's smile. She remembers it dearly if she views it as something so worthy of aspiring toward. But... Fate shakes her head.
    Could she have told him? About what does to 'correct' Fate. Could she have told him about the painful lessons learned at the end of a lashing?
    No, that is an intensely deep and private thing. It would have been selfish to burden Takashi with the weight of that knowledge. A moot point now as he has learned through means beyond her control. "I couldn't have done that."
Takashi Agera 2017-11-12 03:37:16 86471
Takashi nods. "I know." He doesn't know how he knows, but somehow deep down he does, he understands on some primal level. "That's why I said I wish. Just like I wish I could have made it never happen, or make it never happen again, or make it all go away. Or give you that smile you want so badly."

"Right now it's just a wish. But... I'll do whatever I can to change that. You know if there's one thing I believe it's that moments like this are transitory. UMBRA... we're going to control the present. And we're going to conquer the past with it. Conquer the limitations, the sadness. Each of us has our own heartbreaks and we fight to end them. And I'll help you, and you'll help me."