The Darkness And The Deep

Nanami and Alcyone finally meet Kazuo, who has enough familiar scent for them to figure out he's someone they can talk to about Certain Things. Things like what to do with powersets whose obvious uses aren't helpful. Not nearly as ominous as the title sounds.

Date: 2018-02-15
Pose Count: 21
Kunzite 2018-02-15 03:13:57 88804
Afternoon means that the little mall on the ground floor of this particular apartment building is somewhat crowded. It being Valentine's Day means that it is, oddly, not AS crowded as it might have been. After all, a fair fraction of the teenaged girls that often throng the place this time of day are off trying to ply the objects of their interest with homemade chocolates.

Not all of them. Not remotely all of them.

Kazuo is not a teenaged girl and so far today has managed to avoid the entire chocolate question. How long this will remain true for is anyone's guess; sooner or later he's likely enough to get mugged. This may be why he's on his way out through the mall. He surely wouldn't intentionally find errands outside in order to try to duck the holiday wholesale. Ahem. In any case, for the moment he's not far enough from the apartment to be safe from recognition. Especially considering that 'six and a half feet tall and long stark white hair' is not exactly safe from attention by any calculation.
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-02-15 03:25:34 88806
Nanami, sadly, has had to face down many questions about who she wants to give chocolate to. It doesn't help that she's far more used to the American version of this holiday, which is a lot more equal-opportunity. As it stands, she's already irritated, carrying around a chorus of really? no boys you want to give chocolate to at ALL? on her shoulders. The dark-haired teenager is fairly nondescript herself, or would be... except for the dog that was closer to fifty kilograms than the human leaning on her.

It's not obvious to the casual passerby, but Alcyone is actually leading Nanami in almost a straight walk toward Kazuo. It's taken some practice to be led by the service dog, but Alcyone and Nanami have figured it out. The incredibly tall, pale-haired man smells familiar, like someone Alcyone only knows from magical things, so she's taking Nanami there.

It's up to Nanami to think of a normal excuse for conversation, something she's rapidly failing at. Hi, can you teach me and my dog magical combat we can manage? Yeah, that'll go over well...
Kunzite 2018-02-15 03:43:20 88807
Normal excuses for conversation appear to be entirely unnecessary. Kazuo pauses and turns, regarding the approach. That is indeed a relatively straight line through the traffic. He steps out of the flow of things, waiting to see if it continues. And when Nanami does in fact approach...

"Please pardon my intrusion," he says aloud to Nanami. "But I can't quite tell whether you're being assisted, or kidnapped. Would you be so kind as to clarify matters?"
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-02-15 03:49:21 88808
Alcyone is trying very hard not to laugh like a person in front of humans who don't know what she is. Still, she stands in front of Kazuo, tail wagging back and forth and her mouth dropping open in a panting, staccato dog-laugh. Nanami's free hand covers her mouth as she tries not to laugh. "No, Alcyone smelled someone she knows on you. I'm guessing you live here?" Maybe... on the top floor?

"Good eye, though. I don't think most people would have noticed she was leading me. It's something new I taught her."
Kunzite 2018-02-15 04:18:11 88810
"Alcyone," Kazuo repeats. "That name seems familiar. But I think I'd remember if we'd met --" He's saying that latter to the dog, yes. He pauses for a moment, and then adds, "Ah. My apologies. You seem considerably larger when you're not asleep. The pair of you visited one of the apartments here a year or so ago, did you not? My name is Kazuo Takeba; I'm one of Mamoru Chiba's housemates."

A pause, and he glances to Nanami and spreads his hands at her addition. "It's not something that I noticed, per se. Only something I couldn't be sure of. I'm pleased to hear that the two of you are continuing to develop your partnership."
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-02-15 04:29:16 88812
Alcyone's tail wags faster at the mention of her name, at his focus on her as an intelligent being. He knows she's smart! Nanami's eyes light up at the mention of her staying over, and she nods vigorously. "Actually, I kind of wanted to talk to one of you guys about it, since you seem to work well with others and I... don't. In fact, I'm kind of under my mom's orders to find a way to work better with others." At least Nanami sounds kind of sheepish and embarrassed, like a normal teenager given marching orders by her mother.

Alcyone boofs her agreement gently, looking around at the relatively abandoned mall. It's better than Nanami sitting and stewing about Valentine's Day.
Kunzite 2018-02-15 04:37:05 88813
"Working well with others is a skillset," Kazuo says. "Some people have practiced the elements of it more than others. May I ask what parts of it you wanted to talk about?" As opposed to which parts of it her mother wanted her to talk about. That's a separate question. Before which he pauses for a moment. "Or, rather. Would it be more comfortable for the pair of you if we went somewhere we could sit down, or speak in private? I don't know your preferences."
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-02-15 04:43:43 88815
"Sitting is pretty much always something I'll prefer over standing," Nanami says, gesturing at her right leg with a small twitch of the wrist. "Maybe upstairs?" She looks at the people around them significantly. She puts a hand to the wire-wrapped ornament at her neck for a moment. "It's... a specific kind of teamwork I think you have more experience in than either of us."

Please, please catch a clue, Kazuo, they're dying here.
Kunzite 2018-02-15 04:53:32 88816
"Upstairs, then, yes. This way." Slight advantage: having Kazuo with them means that they can skip the detour to talk to the concierge. The elevator in question is keyed. Then there is up; then the little hallway with its four doors; then a remarkably familiar living room. With bench installed by the door, exactly where it hadn't been the first time Nanami visited. Much like the one Alcyone informed Mamoru Nanami's parents have.

He does not pursue questions at the moment. He does ask, "May I get anything for either of you to eat or drink?" A glance to Alcyone, and he adds, "My apologies; I don't know your preferences. Also, if you can smell the fox, she's a long-term guest; I doubt she'll come in while you're here, but if she does, we'd appreciate it if you didn't try to eat her."
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-02-15 05:15:37 88817
More than a slight advantage; Nanami would have been entirely too awkward about trying to talk to the concierge and explaining her need to talk to someone from the penthouse apartments. Happily, Nanami follows Kazuo to the elevator, leaning against the wall and petting Alcyone gently behind an ear. "Thanks." When they leave the elevator, the sight of the bench gets her to brighten considerably. Nanami happily plops down on it for a moment, removing her shoes and following Kazuo all the way in.

"We're fine for now. Maybe some water?" Alcyone looks up at Nanami, who nods. "Nanami and I wanted to talk with someone who's more experienced in magical combat than either of us. Nanami's mom basically told me to start actually fighting, if Nanami can't."

"Our powers are purely defensive and purifying, and if I get cornered, I can't exactly run away from danger. We both kind of need help figuring out how to manage combat." Nanami grabs Alcyone's harness-handle and heads into the apartment proper, still fussing at what is likely obviously her magical focus.

"I won't try to eat the fox. If she's a thinking being, I'm not going to attack her without cause."
Kunzite 2018-02-15 05:29:20 88818
Kazuo takes the time that Nanami spends dealing with her boots, and uses it to fetch water. Glasses for Nanami and himself, a bowl for Alcyone who needs to borrow Nanami's thumbs to hold glasses. They're taken to wherever Nanami and Alcyone settle. "The pat answer, of course, would be to manage combat by working as a team with people who need defensive abilities. But one can't carry most teammates around in one's pockets, and one can't control one's opposition, so the pat answer is more or less useless."

No: he did not blink when Alcyone started talking. Apparently his living in Mamoru's apartment means exactly what might have been expected.

"My own abilities are also primarily defensive. For me, the answer was to find ways to repurpose those defenses into attacks. Purification is frequently also potentially an offensive weapon. But that depends on how it manifests for you. What do you know, so far, that the two of you can do? What have you tried to do and not found ways to do yet?"

A pause, and he adds more directly to Alcyone rather than dividing his attention between the two of them, "Thank you for being a good guest."
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-02-15 05:49:21 88819
Alcyone laps carefully at the water, trying not to spill as she drinks. Nanami takes a sip herself, and nods. "I already thought of that part, actually. It's nice having people around who would work well with my powers." At least he sees that. "I mean, technically, Alcyone and I are teammates that are with each other everywhere. We can't transform without each other around: I tried."

They're both grateful Kazuo is at least treating this like the three-party conversation it is. Nanami and Alcyone would both be offended.

"Usually they manifest as really frigid salt water- both the purification and defensive abilities. We can make a wall of water that I suspect is a lot like the water off the coast of Newfoundland, and... well, the only things I've purified so far are what I think I'd turn into if I was somehow cut off from Alcyone." There's a ripple of horrified shudder that crosses Nanami as she says this. "They kind of... disappear after."

"Even when I wasn't a thinking being, I was taught good manners around other creatures. I probably would have licked the fox, but not tried to eat her." Alcyone says with ponderous doggy-dignity and assurance of purpose. "But even without the magical stuff, I'm also about as heavy as the average Japanese person, with claws, a heck of a lot of bite force, and carnivore teeth. I don't like it, but... if I need to, I can fight like that." The dog sounds troubled. 'If she needs to' is only going to be if Nanami is in dire danger.
Kunzite 2018-02-15 06:12:13 88820
"I appreciate the difference," Kazuo says to Alcyone. "The fox in question might reasonably have been unsure of your plans for her, if licked. But you do indeed display good manners, so I am not myself concerned about your trying to do that now. If she worries too much, I'll do my best to intercede."

He considers the pair of them, thoughtful. "One question is whether Alcyone fighting directly would indeed be effective. Some magical beings enhance their physical attacks with their magic; others do not. And fighting magical opponents often needs that enhancement. Normally I would suggest that we run some tests, but we'd want to arrange a healer present in case of accident. I do know a couple. And ... well. Either the pair of you have met Asclepius already, or he'd be delighted to find out that the two of you exist.

"Still." He lifts his glass. "It sounds as if water might be the better choice. So. The thing to do with that is to consider the possibilities. Understand that I do not expect answers to the questions that I ask, about this; they are intended to suggest potential ways to expand or manipulate your abilities, and not to be either prescriptive or exhaustive. And you may have considered many of them already." He pauses, glancing between the two again for a moment to check that they have at least a vague understanding of what that means, before going on.

"Can you control the water that you manifest? Make it manifest as colder still, or freeze? Concentrate it so that it acts like a saltwater firehose? Control it after it appears, to make it fight for you? Control where it appears, to distract an opponent, or leave them choking on the ground? Is it water specifically the thing that your power focuses on, or is it Newfoundland? If it is not the water alone, what else might be in Newfoundland's seas that might be useful? Seaweeds to tangle, shellfish to encrust or to cut, predators whose abilities you might be able to make use of?"

Kazuo pauses again, and this time it's very clearly not merely to check. But to give the two of them time and space to respond.
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-02-15 06:27:34 88821
Nanami closes her eyes as she listens to his questions, running her finger over the rim of the glass in a semi-unconscious gesture of thought. Alcyone rests her chin on the floor and looks up at Kazuo, clearly thinking as well. "I think our powers might be linked to me, and since I'm a dog with my entire breed being meant for working, especially in and around the water there. We have webbed paws that make us good for swimming." Alcyone lifts aforementioned paw, looking at it speculatively.

"And I think they're partly formed by my perception of how Alcyone and I work together; my purification ability actually involves me dragging whoever it is I'm focusing it on into putting their hand on the harness handle." Nanami runs her tongue over her top teeth, eyes vague and unfocused. "As it is, I think I already used it differently once, when we first got our powers, so we can do pressurized water. I'm not sure if I could make it freeze..." That's definitely worth thought.

"Kaoru might be disappointed by physical combat not being a smart idea, but I don't think she wants me hurt, either." There's a shift in weight, and Alcyone moves to lean against Nanami's left leg.
Kunzite 2018-03-04 03:20:43 89253
"If the pair of your powers are linked to you," Kazuo says to Alcyone, "then perhaps one of the things the two of you should do is watch for moments when you feel prompted to defend your young lady. Not actual fights, only moments that strike you in the moment as being wrong or upsetting. What you feel you should do, or what prompts you to feel that way --" he lifts his head to look over to Nanami -- "or what makes you feel as if you need protection, and what form you think it might take -- might give you clues as to possible ways for the pair of you to enhance your physical abilities. It may or may not work at all, but there's no harm in seeing if you can gather information."

He studies Alcyone's webbed paw for a moment, and adds, "Not to mention that there may be things the pair of you can do that have less to do with direct combat, but prove to be useful in other ways. I'd be interested to see if you can work well with other people's water attacks, for instance. And there's at least one magical boy in the city who might be delighted to experiment with the pair of you about whether you can do different things in water. I suspect he'd be ... perhaps almost too enthusiastic about the possibility of there being more people than just him who could handle problems with shipping."

Kazuo has clearly not spent enough time around teenaged girls to remember there might be a problem with that phrasing.
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-03-04 03:29:50 89254
"That makes sense. I know our bond has always been a lot stronger than a normal human and a pet dog, becuase I'm her good other leg. You're saying it's basically instinctive, right?" The black dog blinks a little, licking her paw as she thinks. Nanami nods, running a hand over the the 'glass' marble on her neck.

"Well, we're both strong swimmers. A lot of my physical therapy had me doing things in water, because the big issue is weight on the leg, not so much range of motion. I wonder if we could work well with other water abilities..." The comment about shipping cuts her off, giving her pause and causing her to snicker helplessly. "Shipping what, people? Or things?"
Kunzite 2018-03-04 03:42:07 89255
"Your abilities seem to be linked to the things you would normally do," Kazuo agrees to Alcyone. "Sometimes enhancements of them. Sometimes providing you with things related to them." Like water. Lots of water. "So looking to your instincts seems like a good beginning. Even where things you want to do aren't completely instinctive, your instincts will likely lead you to good areas to --" The human verb there is 'look.' Hm. "-- begin searching from."

Kazuo tilts his head to Nanami. "You might work well with other water abilities. You might work well with other purifiers. You might work well with people you can help defend while they attack -- outsourcing, after a manner of speaking. Many possibilities to try."

A long pause, then, while he regards Nanami and her snickers. Eyes close very slowly. Is it possible to become resigned to being resigned? Yes, yes it is. (And it will probably never stop making people think it's funny.) "Things," he says. "We live in a port city. Transporting objects over water is a reasonably common event. I ... am not the person to ask about the one to do with people."
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-03-04 03:52:08 89256
Alcyone nods. "That makes sense." Her tail wags loosely as she regards Kazuo and his word choice. "Huh. I wonder if I could do something based off of retrieving for her, since that was something else I was trained to do for her." It's a thought.

"Yeah. And there's always defending someone who is more offensive, or purifying something nasty for someone who can't." Nanami takes a deep breath, her shoulders visibly relaxing after a moment. "I've had a lot of... confidence problems about this whole thing, because my abilities don't do offense, and if a situation goes badly or my powers don't work against that particular person, I'm in a situation where I can't just run away from danger." Admitting it makes her shift uncomfortably.

Kazuo's expression earns a small snicker from the teenager regardless of what she just admitted. "Neither am I, when it comes to people. We might be able to help with shipping problems? I don't know if my control over water is that good, but it'd make a good exercise..." From what she knows of currents, it's possible that even if she can't force the currents to change on their own, introducing a large amount of incredibly cold water might change things?
Kunzite 2018-03-04 03:59:06 89257
"When there's trouble in the bay," Kazuo says, "it's sometimes difficult for other people to reach it. But if your abilities are linked to Alcyone's capabilities, and Alcyone swims -- the two of you might have rather less trouble. It's not something that comes up every day, or every month, but it does happen from time to time." And getting purifiers there is often even harder...

Kazuo turns a hand over, not gesturing at either Alcyone or Nanami, but glancing between them both again. "I understand a little of your problem. My primary ability is -- unethical -- to use directly for offense. It takes a little creativity and sometimes more than a little luck to be able to find other ways to use it. My solutions don't translate to your situation precisely; I don't have any purification ability at all, for instance. But the general idea of looking for other ways to use the abilities we have ... I think that will work well for the pair of you. The retrieving idea sounds promising to begin with."

... maybe Alcyone can fetch Nanami out of danger. Who knows?
Nanami Hamakawa 2018-03-04 04:14:28 89259
Nanami runs a hand over her braided hair, nodding again. "Yeah. Thinking about how to use my powers differently..." She shifts a little and hums. "Thank you, this actually helps a lot." Alcyone pads over to Kazuo, genntly nosing his hands and dog-smiling at him for a moment.

"My parents also know about magical stuff as of... pretty recently, and I think they'd appreciate it if some other magical types showed up at our place." She digs in a pocket, picking out a piece of paper and a pen and writing down her number and address.
Kunzite 2018-03-04 04:29:23 89260
Kazuo yields hands to Alcyone's nosing; he doesn't know how to properly reciprocate, human-to-dog fashion, but he reacts well enough and those bony human fingers do not get stuck anywhere inappropriate or uncomfortable. "There are a few people I might be able to put you in contact with," he says to Nanami. "I don't know when you'd be more comfortable with people appearing, against when you'd be more comfortable with my calling you and setting up a meeting. We'll see if we can find people who might work well. Either for trying out working alongside, or for helping think of things for you to try, or only for reassuring your parents that the pair of you aren't alone out there and that there are reasonable people doing this."

... there must be at least two reasonable people he can find. He can use the plural.