Nature of Hope

Alexis meets Miho at the ECFH to talk about recent events and give some advice... and introduce someone.

Date: 2018-08-26
Pose Count: 20
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 16:04:17 96050
    The day after the mess at the Farmer's Market-- and Alexis hasn't been 'home' much between then and now, so to speak. As much of a home as he has at the ECFH anyhow.

    Whatever it is he has been getting up to in the time between, he returns there now-- or what's left of it, anyway. To begin with, since he's not going straight for his own room, he's going where all the public activity within has been redirected for everyone else's convenience while repairs are underway.

    And as the elevator goes *ding!* to let everyone know someone has arrived to the floor, into the apartment steps Alexis, with his hoodie flipped back, and...

    And a small, fuzzy creature of brown and white fur with some black patches held in his large arms against his chest. A corgi. The little dog doesn't seem to mind her current situation either, judging from the fact that she is staying more or less still within the large european's arms, with ears perked high in curiousity over her surroundings and tongue lolled out as she pants idly in that sort of goofy smile corgis seem to default to most of the time.

    "Here, we're gonna stay here for a while okay?" Alexis actually *coos* to the little creature in his arms, in a shocking contrast to his usual rumbling, deep voice, while he carries the doge along further into the apartment, head slightly tilting down to peer at her-- and the pupper, in turn, lifts her head up to nose at the young man's chin and lick at his cheek briefly.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 16:14:03 96051
The elevator goes back down ... and then comes up again. Miho steps out, looking ... well, somewhat improved on the previous day, but still not good. Heck, she practically looks the way she did four months ago, the first time she came to the ECFH when she was still 14.

She looks up at Alexis, and blinks. "Oh, uh ... hi, Alexis-kun," she says softly, before looking questioningly at the dog.
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 16:20:35 96052
    The sound of the elevator going again catches Alexis' attention, and he turns just as the doors to it open to reveal Miho.

    "Hey, Miho," he calls back to her, with a faint attempt at a smile. "I'm actually kinda glad you happened to come along. You seemed like you could have used someone to talk to back when..." His attention draws from her gaze to the corgi in his arms, though - who in turn has turned her attention to Miho, letting out a quiet 'ruff!' in doggyspeak towards her.

    "Oh... uh. Yeah. Say hi to our new friend?"
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 16:26:14 96053
Miho laughs nervously. "Yeah, uh ..." She just shakes her head. All summaries feel kind of inadequate. "Yeah. I ... yeah, I dunno what to say besides what I ... said ... yesterday. Lacchan, um, texted me some cute bat pictures. And. To. Bring me up to speed on ..." She gestures to the door leading to Mamoru's wrecked apartment. "... um, that."

She peers over at the dog. "Um, what's its name? Or, or does it have one yet?"
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 16:30:50 96054
    "Yeah, the place is kind of a mess..." Alexis agrees with a quiet sigh. "I feel like I should have been here. To help. But... it is what it is, right."

    He gives her a considering look -- a long one at that. And his lips purse briefly. "...Well, look. You're my friend, too. So... I did worry about how you looked like you had a particularly rough go of it. So if you want to talk at any point... well, you know. Alright?"

    At her question, he looks down at the dog-- and he can't quite help but put on a bit of a goofy smile briefly. "...Hope," he says. "Her name is Hope."

    He steps closer to Miho then, and adjusts his hold on the corgi just so that his large hands envelop her by her sides, extended towards Miho as if in offer. "You want to hold her?" He asks, and Hope the Corgi for her part? She just looks at Miho with that tongue-hanging-out-doggy-smile.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 16:42:04 96055
Miho nods slowly. "I ..." She nods, and gingerly takes the corgi into her arms before finding a place to sit down. She begins stroking the dog's head and body, and a faint smile begins to form after a little bit.

She starts to speak in a low voice, slightly less scratchy and androgynous now, not looking up from the dog. "I feel like I haven't recovered from anything that's happened since the day I transformed," she says. "Getting kidnapped by a monster ... seeing Mamoru-kun's soul getting ripped out ... Noroiko popping out the next day ..." She looks up at Alex. "Oh, uh, I don't know if you saw, but ... that ... shadowy fox in my shadow, the, the voice of my curse is actually ... this fox spirit who calls herself Noroiko. Who ... isn't remotely subtle about wanting me dead. And she called me 'Life Mage Joy' for some reason." She looks back down at Hope. "... and then a week after that, Sailor Earth just straight-up broke reality and tried to pull everyone into some kind of dream world, and then she turned into a witch and it took an entire crowd to take her out."

She just ... strokes Hope gently. "... and ... I just ... sometimes I feel like I'm fourteen again, struggling to wrap my mind around just the fact that magic exists, wandering into the ECFH and ..." A wry half-smile forms. "... and having no idea what revelation my classmate Maria Hanazawa is about to drop on me."
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 16:48:25 96056
    The very instant Miho takes the corgi, she perks her head up to nuzzle and kiss at the girl's cheek, furry tail happily swishing from side to side and coincidentally brushing at her.

    Alex can't help but smile at that particular sight.

    Either way. The large german boy follows after her, into the living room, and settles to sitting next to Miho and Hope, watching the corgi still try to give doggy kisses to her before turning to flop onto her back upon her lap and arms, exposing her belly.

    "You've gone through a lot all at once since you transformed, from what I understood," he says, a bit bluntly. "THere's nothing to be ashamed of if that feels too much-- because it can be, very easily. You should probably take some time, to just relax, you know? Just... a few days, just for *you*, yeah? Do things you like, or anything that's therapeutic. Like snuggling a dog." A very pointed look given to Hope with that.

    Funny. It's almost like he's forgotten that the whole mess with him and his mother that lasted for the last month didn't even happen. Or maybe he is just... pushing all that aside? Who knows.

    "...So this NOroiko," he says then, a bit more seriously. "She's a constant presence?"
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 17:00:16 96057
Miho lets a soft giggle at Hope's returned attentions, and just ... relaxes, starting to rub her belly.

She nods to Alex. "Right," she says softly. "I ... yeah, I just really to just ... stop for a while. Part of the reason I came through the elevator, instead of trying the balcony again." She grimaces. "... on the other hand ... I'm transgender, and Life Mahou Joy is ... the 'right' body. Which is why it feels awkward being out of henshin. So ... just ... ugh."

She pets Hope a bit more before answering the question. "No, only when things get really bad," she says finally. "... My curse is kind of sensitive to emotions, and ... Tokyo has been giving me more stress in the three months before I transformed for the first time than I had in my entire life before I moved here. And ... I think I said yesterday, I was just ... distracting myself, and ... sort of ... coasting along? And then the attack happened and ... yeah." She runs out of steam a bit there.
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 17:08:20 96058
    Alexis doesn't really look... at all surprised by Miho noting her transgenderness. Maybe he figured it out already? He's not saying it though, if he did, or commenting otherwise either.

    "I used to fight street gangers and sometimes higher end criminals on a daily basis before I even knew about magic," he says, suddenly. "I guess that's why I have been flowing so easily into fighting Youma, ever since I got hold of Kriegsfauste. But... it wasn't easy, back then. Even when I hadn't gotten injured, my body would ache every day and I would keep focusing on those things to the point where I could swear I was going crazy."

    He brings his large hand over to resting on her shoulder then, first, and then extends his arm further over-- and if she allows it, he pulls her into a hug, with Hope left snuggling in between them.

    "It's okay to take it easy," he murmurs. "No matter how right it feels to push yourself to the limit all the time."

    "And for that matter... you can be in henshin even without going out to fight things, right? I keep up the Stahlritter Armor a lot even when I'm not actively patrolling."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 17:30:53 96059
Miho doesn't look surprised by Alex's lack of surprise, either. She nods slowly, and just ... sighs, leaning into the hug, one hand still stroking Hope. "Yeah," she murmurs, after a moment. "I ... guess ... um ... yeah." She shrugs. "Wish there was ... some option for changing, um ... without being, like, a brightly-colored magical girl, but ... eh." She just shrugs again. "Dunno if there'd be some downside to being 'constantly in henshin' either ... besides parents noticing or whatever." She grimaces. "... which ... I guess you don't have that problem!"
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 17:32:28 96060
    "Well I do think it's a good look for you if nothing else," Alexis points out when he draws away from the hug, just vaguely teasing in his tone of voice. THe mention of his lack of problems with parents in... them noticing Henshin brings a grimace from that. "...Believe me, I'd rather take your set of problems with them than the ones I am having."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 17:37:12 96061
Miho smiles at the complement, and then ... goes back to grimacing. "Yeah, I sure as heck don't envy you," she says, and shrugs. "It's just ... I keep thinking, my curse and blessing have been passed down from mother to daughter, so ... my gut says that at least my mom will find it easier to 'believe', since I found it easier to believe in magic because of the stuff that was actively happening in me." She shrugs. "They've been noticing, at any rate. It's just kind of ... awful, not being able to tell them the truth."
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 17:48:22 96062
    "...You're thinking maybe your mother had it before you?" Alexis asks with a slow blink of his eyes sent down at Miho.

    In the meantime, Hope rolls over from her back to settle her belly back facing downwards, as she sploooots on Miho's lap.

    Alexis' hand comes up to rub at the side of his neck, then. "...I don't know what's up with her now though," he murmurs. "I've been looking into things and patrolling since yesterday morning. And... things seem different. No more attacks from her robot squad, and I think they actually lowered surveillance, too. ... It's... almost like she might actualyl be giving up on bothering with me, since she figured out she can't... control me."

    "Since she can't turn me into her assassin or whatever."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 18:07:08 96063
Miho nods, gently stroking Hope's back again. "It's been passed down from her grandmother, Miho Oujino," she says softly. "... The monster that kidnapped me was Kagekumo, the spider-demon who gave her the curse. He's ... in league with Noroiko, as far as I can tell, but I don't know any more than that."

She nods at Alex's summation. "She can't turn you into her berserker-murdermonkey, you mean?" she says dryly. Some of her old self (or, well, her new self) is starting to come back. "Not that this wasn't a foregone conclusion, considering how many friends you have who have your best interests in mind, but ..." She shrugs. "... Well ... I ... want to say that's one less thing to worry about ... but ... I ... am kind of worried about where Rashmi-chan fits into all this." She frowns down at Hope. "... I wasn't paying enough attention to what that woman was saying ... for ... obvious reasons."
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 18:12:38 96064
    "Well that sounds way more complicated than I was expecting it to," Alexis murmurs with his hand rubbing at the side of his head again, for a moment.

    Then, his eyes cast away from Miho. "... I guess it would make sense why I'd been feeling... like I have been, for the past while now," he mutters. "Some of that stuff in the tank did sink in. And the rest was her... pushing my buttons. Which I guess means some part of that still is in me there."

    "As Rashmi... I don't know. The way mom was talking to her, and then there's Nic-.."

    He cuts himself off there, and his eyes widen, slowly. "...Thundering demon bitch."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 18:18:16 96065
Miho chortles. "Yeah, tell me about it," she says. "The first time we met, the only thing I was sure of was that I had no powers, and yet ... here we are."

She frowns, and starts petting Hope with one hand while she puts her other hand on Alex's shoulder comfortingly. She wasn't there for the tank, but she saw the tanks in the facility they did invade. "Yeah," she says softly. "But ... you've got all of us, all right? You're not alone, either."

She pauses at the burst of profanity, which both Nicomachea and Rashmi had used. "... Yes, what about your mother?" she says dryly.
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 18:22:45 96066
    "Huh?" Alexis sounds out to break himself off from some line of thought upon hearing those dry words, and he blinks his eyes at MIho. "No, it's... nothing. Maybe something I ought to look into, though. ...Sorry, one second."

    He pauses to dig his phone out from a pocket with one hand, while he reaches his free hand to give a ruffle over Hope's ears with the other, tapping out a quick text message to send to Rashmi. "It might be nothing, though. I guess I'll see. But nevermind that-- what are you thinking of doing from here?"
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 18:34:37 96067
Miho nods, sitting back and focusing back on petting Hope. "... dunno," she says. "I kind of wanted to talk to Mamoru-kun at some point about how to cope with stuff." She smiles. "I mean, you've definitely been helpful, and so has Hope-chan here." She shrugs, and leans back. "And, I mean, probably I'm just gonna relax, like you said. Maybe ... catch up on some stuff I've been meaning to do, although since some of that was gonna have Nicomachea-san figure stuff out, it'll prolly have to wait a bit." She frowns. "Someone also recommended that I talk to Sora-san about the Noroiko business, and I want to get in touch with my friend Hokuto-chan too, but ... for now, I guess just relaxing, basically."
Stahlritter 2018-08-26 18:40:50 96068
    "Well, there is always hope to hold up," Alex murmurs, with a faint smile. "For your problems and mine. And... everything else. Hope is the important thing, right?"

    He reaches over to scritch Hope behind one ear while Miho's hands are focused lower along her body, and the smile is directed right at Miho, then. "All that sounds good to me. I might not be an expert in scanning things or dark energy despite having had some in me for a good part of my life... but I'm your friend, remember that. I'll be there to support you too, however I can. And remember..."

    His hands reach to take Hope from her lap, then, holding her up by her sides to face Miho. "Hope says 'All will be well'!" And with that, since Hope is being held close enough, the corgi gives a lick to Miho's nose.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-26 18:50:32 96069
Miho nods, smiling up at him. She still isn't feeling great, but she at least feels like she got a load off her chest. "Hope is not currently one of my problems, I think," she says. "But ... yeah. Thank you, Alex-kun."

And she giggles at that nose-lick, adjusting her glasses to avoid them getting smudged by doggy-tongue. "Ack! Yes, okay, thank you too, Hope-chan! ..."