Safe Room Chat

(CW: allusions to abuse) While Akari convalesces in the Waldians' safe room, Fate stops by for a chat. Akari learns she isn't alone.

Date: 2018-11-12
Pose Count: 14
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 22:27:26 100190
The Safe Room in the Waldians' home is designed to live up to its name. First of all, it's surrounded on all sides of by the bedrooms of the Knights and both Princesses; there's no windows, but there is a screen showing outdoor scenery, plus a TV. Everything else in the room is designed to be soft and relaxing. The clocks show that it's a few hours after school.

Mikoto forged an absence-from-school note from Akari's supposed foster guardian; the fact that Akari is home with an injury is only inaccurate if you ask who's home it is. She didn't want to risk damaging Rubindorn further by transforming into her 'base' form, nor further injury to herself via strenuous activity of any kind, so she's just relaxing in the provided bed. All day, she's been alternating between watching TV, reading books, and taking selfies.

Really, she's just reeling from ... well, all of it.
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 22:38:45 100191
Fate T. Waldia gently knocks on the door. "Hello... it's Fate." she says. When the door is opened, she's standing there with a box from Midori-ya, filled with various bakery items. A few muffins. a few cupcakes. A few crossaints. She probably came back from visiting Nanoha's family. She has a key, afterall. Welcome any time!

"These are for you. I figured that you might be hungry, or would at the very least, appreciate something sweet to eat." she makes sure the door is closed behind her.

"How are you... holding up. So far?" she asks with a little bit of stoicism.

"I know it's a little jarring, to say the least." she says. "When the dark energy is ripped out of you." she stands there a little bit awkwardly. She seems to think. WWND? Probably hug. She isn't ready for that kind of thing yet.

"Do you know why you we're created, Akari-san? Did you have an original purpose?" she asks curiously. "I mean. Original. Not, what you intend to do now. That's your choice." she says.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 22:51:10 100192
Akari quickly answers the door, and smiles at Fate. "Oh, hello!" she says. "Yes, thank you!" As it has been ever since she was purified, there's relief in her glowing golden eyes.

She gingerly accepts the box, and sits down on the bed. "How am I doing ..." She grins. "Everything's wonderful compared to this time two days ago. I honestly can't believe I'm finally comfortable in my own skin." She glances down at herself, and looks over the ultramarine markings on her arm. "... I keep thinking 'wait a minute, why's everything a little bit smaller?' I'm just so used to being all ... 'dark' in this form, I never actually thought about what it'd be like to be free." She looks back over at Fate. "... Were you temporarily, um, 'infested' with dark energy?"

At the other question, she nods. "It was programmed into me," she says. "I was created on Ancient Belka by this small-time conspiracy called Doppelkreuz, meaning 'double cross'." She holds up her Rubindorn-pendant, shaped like a double-barred cross; the crystal is still looking cracked. "My mind was based on a brain-scan of the knight who programmed me, Clara Meriva. My purpose was to overthrow the rulers of Belka, and bring order to the world." She shrugs. "But then before they activated me -- or, well, the Device containing all my data -- that part of the lab got blasted into the Dusk Zone, which I've been guessing was because the powers-that-be found out about it. The part of my software which contained my purpose was corrupted by the darkness. Which is presumably why I was so eager to be Eclipse's 'asset'."
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 23:16:26 100193
Fate T. Waldia nods. "Good." she says. She looks down a moment and then back up. "Not 'infested'. By choice. I thought I could become stronger. Riven-kun taught me." she says. She has a seat in the desk chair that's probably here as she turns it around and seems to think. "I don't know a terrible lot about Belka. Nanoha's friend, Yuuno, would know best. He's an expert. But I...."

"I understand what it's like to have someone else's mind." she says. "...Me, you and Lacrima-san share a thread. In that we're constructs." she says. "My.. my 'mother' for lack of a better term. Cloned me from the genetic material of her deceased daughter, Alica Testarossa, and gave me her memories-- though she gave me the name of the project.. 'FATE'."

"Mother... Precia Testarossa." she says. "Did not treat me as her deceased daughter. More like a tool. A soldier. I just wanted to see her smile... because that's what I remembered wanting. What Alica wanted." she's purposefully omiting her actual treatment.

"It was. People like Runealy-chan and Nanoha-chan that got through to me, during my quests to retrieve the Jewel Seeds for her. I didn't know why she wanted them. Just that getting them might make her smile."

"She wanted them to try to bring her 'real' daughter back from the dead. That didn't end well." She shifts again. "Now I'm trying to figure out who 'Fate' is. Because... all my life I've just been a shadow of someone else. All I know is that... Fate likes to bake, she likes staring at the moon at night, and she loves her adopted sister and she loves Nanoha-chan. Romantically." she says, a stilted way at the end of that sentence. Like it's something she's supposed to state like she heard it before.

"The only thing. I can tell you is that you don't need to be the person you we're 'programmed' to be." she says.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 23:41:10 100194
Akari nods. "Well, I'm glad your wrestling with dark energy is over and done with," she says dryly.

But then Fate begins telling her story, and Akari's golden eyes go wide. She listens in rapt attention. "... I had no idea how similar the three of us are," she says finally. "And ... Lacrima-san has her brother Stahlritter-san and I have my sister Sakura-imoutochan ..." She doesn't know if either Fate or Lacrima have girlfriends, though.

There are tears in her eyes now. "I mean ... there's a part of me that wants to protest that you and Lacrima-san are different, but ..." She blinks a few times and rubs her eyes. "I was ... Doppelkreuz created me based on this legend, and I was just the prototype, so I don't think there's any other living magical programs in existence, but ..." She shakes her head. "Just the fact that there's someone else like me ..." Just the fact that she isn't alone ...

She sniffles. "I think I have a fairly good idea of who 'Akari' is," she says. "I mean. I was just going with the flow for who I was ... back when I thought my other form was my 'infiltration' form. And once I realized that 'Akari' was my real self, everything just ... fell back into place." She pauses. "Even if it did seem like it had fallen apart." She shrugs. "And I deliberately haven't tried to think too hard about what Clara Meriva must have been like, or how she relates to 'me'." She looks down at herself. "I just know that I am Akari Hayabusa, a student at Infinity High School. I love my sister Sakura-imoutochan, and my girlfriend Mikoto-chan."
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 23:59:32 100195
Fate T. Waldia listens and nods, a little stoicly. "We are different. But. There's still people that see her as a 'tool' a 'thing' because of it. I know Riventon isn't one of them at least, but the others. The others in that place do." she says quietly.

When Akari begins crying she blinks. "I'm sorry... did I hurt you?" she says. "I didn't mean to... hurt you." she says a little uncomfortably. She walks to the box of bakery items she brought in and digs out a cupcake. "....when I first met Nanoha. I knew her name. But I never used it. I tried to purge it from my head." she says. "But. Something I remember. Is that she found me on a beach. I thought she was going to attack me. We had fought for a jewel seed not too long before." she says. "Instead. She gave me a cupcake. Because I looked sad. So. She became.. 'Cupcake girl'."

She nods. "When I think back... after all that time. I hear Nanoha's voice a lot in my head. Telling me I wasn't alone. Telling me that I didn't have to do what I was doing. Trying to get me to realize what 'mother' wanted was a bad thing..." she says.

"I wish I listened. I wish I called her by name during all that." she says. "...I needed help to tell her how I felt about her, too." she manages just an akward smile.

Not large, but less stoicism.

She offers a cupcake. "Here." she says. "This will help you feel better. The Takamachi's bake amazingly." she offers.

"I hope you hear voices like that too. When you think back." she says. "But I'm glad you're not confused. Being confused was bad for me. I'm glad to have friends who helped me figure something out..."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-13 00:10:35 100196
Akari shakes her head. "Not hurt," she says softly. "Just ... overwhelmed, I think." She smiles faintly. "The universe is just infinitely better than I thought it was back when I thought ... 'Nightbell' ... was my real self." She accepts the cupcake, and begins munching on it thoughtfully.

She blinks, and pauses. "Though, speaking of voices," she says. "According to Lacrima-san, one of the common effects of being infested with darkness, if you try to resist it ..." She shrugs. "You hear a voice. It was my own voice, except ... it felt like something outside of me. It was an exaggeration of things I thought and felt, or it was taken to the worst possible extremes. It told me everything was pointless, it told me to do the most aggressive thing possible, it ..." She shakes her head, and manages a smile. "Well. The bottom line is, it just hit me that I'm never going to hear it again."

She glances down at the half-eaten cupcake in her hand. "This really is good!" she says. "... I just thought of another thing. ... 'Nightbell' ... is a translation of my Belkan designation, 'Nachtglocke Eins.' I don't think 'Nightbell' is going to be a part of 'Akari' anymore, but ..." She looks over the markings on her arm again. "Maybe 'Nachtglocke' can be."
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-13 00:38:06 100197
Fate T. Waldia takes a deep breath. "Okay, good." she says, relieved that she didn't hurt Akari. She listens to Akari talk about dark energy and she thinks on this. "It's my understanding this happens when the dark energy is deeply rooted, but doesn't control everything. I'm no expert. You'd want to speak to someone like Lacrima-san. Though I know that isn't an option right now. Obviously."

"Nanoha's family makes good cupcakes." she says. She looks towards Akari again. "Then omit her from your life. It's your decision. Your name." she says.

"I... still keep. My mother's name as a middle name. Even if she was not a nice woman. She was my mother- and if we had more time. Maybe we could had gotten through to her. But everything happened so fast when she started... trying to bring Alica back. But..."

"I have a much better family name... and a much better family." she says with a series of firm nods. "...Right. We we talked about... just now."

"Runealy doesn't know all that. I still need to speak to her. About... that. And how my mother would punish me... and...." she says. "I am curious about, her mother. I just want to say... 'mother' but... it might be disrespectful to assume that." she thinks a bit.

"Do you play video games? I used to, a lot. When I was alone. With Arf. Not much to do in downtime in some penthouse alone."

"Oh. Arf. Arf is my familiar. She'll be the small orange puppy you see bounding around... or the wolf girl." she says. "She is probably off rolling around with Mistpaw somewhere."

She pokes the desk. "I'm very familiar with this room. When I tried to... run away from Eclipse the first time. The Waldian's hosted me here. My mother coerced me back though..."

"I'm glad I have my own room here now. For me, Bardiche, Arf and Jin-kun." she says. "....Jin. Is a friend. It is complicated." is all she offers. "A Jewel Seed granted the 'wish' of a toy solider to protect people and live the life of it's owner it couldn't protect." she says quietly. " he saw I needed help. Was alone. So he offered to help. Jewel Seeds are insidious of course." she says lowly. "I keep him close." she says.

"Runealy has her Guardian Knights. I mean. They are my friends. yes. But Jin is... my Guardian Knight, I would say."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-13 00:59:02 100198
Akari nods, relieved that Fate is understanding of the voice. "Yeah, I talked it over with Lacrima-san a lot, both before and after I joined UMBRA," she says. "At this point, it's academic, since ... well, the darkness is gone now."

She frowns. "... The only family I have is Sakura-imoutochan," she says. "You're the third person I've met who didn't have a great, uh, blood-family. I'm starting to feel like family you've found is better than the other kind. Friends ... family ... people who are important to you, like Arf-san and Jin-san ..." She shrugs. "The most important people to me are Mikoto-chan and Sakura-imouto. I'm still figuring out the rest of it." She shrugs. "I don't know if I'll join the Knights of Waldia myself, though, I kind of feel like I'd rather strike out on my own. At least, once it's safe for me to do that." She shakes her head. "... if it's ever safe for that. If they send someone after me besides Lacrima-san ... They probably won't openly attack me at school, but ..." She shakes her head. "Yeah, I dunno. School is only for the next three years, anyway, and I don't really think I'm going to age."

She sighs softly and sits back, wincing slightly. "I'm glad for this room, though," she says. "I haven't really played video games before. Usually I just exercised, or watched TV or read yuri manga. I might have to try now, though, if I'm gonna be stuck here."
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-13 01:10:12 100199
Fate T. Waldia blushes at something in that. "...I read some Yuri manga, to try to figure out how I should be doing things in relation to Nanoha-chan. I don't think that Runealy-chan knows much about matters like that, and I feel... odd asking Gaofelle-kun or Hinote-kun about such things. So I am trying to figure it out for myself. I don't take Arf's advice anymore."

"She gave me a note that she said would seal the deal- at a dinner, and it turned out it just said 'Now tell her it's time for dessert and kiss her'." she says crossing her arms. "Arf I think found it extremly amusing." she says cooly.

Fate nods. "I do have a much better family. I am still adjusting. I am... used to being whipped if I ask the wrong question. Bring the wrong thing."

"I'd like to meet... your family too, Akari-san." she says. "I'm sure that they'd be welcome to visit you here. In fact. I can say she is allowed, unless Runealy decides otherwise. Because I'm technically the Princess below her. Not crown princess. But still. Some sort of royalty." she says.

She head tilts. "How did.. you meet. Mikoto. What did you figure out? About that?" she asks, maybe hopeful to learn something from this discussion on romantic matters that aren't from an anime or manga.

She shakes her head. "You don't need to join us." she does say. "This isn't a trade like that. We help people because we can. Because it's the right thing to do."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-13 01:29:23 100200
Akari nods. "Human culture in general was a little bit difficult for me towards the beginning," she says. "I passed it off as difficulty due to being an orphan." She smiles faintly. "Murano-sensei pretended to be my foster guardian 'Rin Sawakaze' a couple times ... though never with someone who knew me as ... the ... other identity, as far as I know." She doesn't even see the need to say 'Nightbell' anymore.

She grimaces slightly. "... But she's still an Eclipse die-hard, and she's known as an Eclipse die-hard, so ..." She shrugs. "Sakura-imouto is the only one in the 'family' category who'd actually come and visit."

She smiles at the question about Mikoto. "I first met her in the kendo club, on my first day of school," she says. She isn't sure if the Waldians know that Mikoto's other identity is Tessen ... "Didn't find out that she was magical until a couple days before I figured out my identity crisis." She shakes her head, and smiles. "We'd started dating before then. That was kind of an exciting couple of weeks, really. I just said 'hang on, is this a date?' while we were having dinner together, and it snowballed from there. It's ..."

She considers this. "Being her girlfriend on the magical side actually changed things a lot," she adds, "but now that I understand myself better, I can't complain at all." She grins at Fate. "Her and Sakura-imouto both. They're collectively the reason I'm here in this room."
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-13 01:47:08 100201
Fate T. Waldia has Bardiche take mental memos. 'more dinners'. She nods. "Nanoha... like I said. Her voice has always been present. When I think about the past three years. When I met her for the first time, it was fighting a giant cat that wanted to be big. Mistpaw. The housecat here, was that cat. It's also the same day that I met Runealy and the knights for the first time. I owe that silly cat a lot." she says with a slight smile.

"...Nanoha-chan has always made me feel odd. We we're rivals, after all. Trying to fight to obtain things before the other. When I was free... I stayed with her family for a while. So I got to spend a lot of time with Nanoha-chan and get to know her. I guess...."

"...mph Arf said.. 'fall head over heels' for her..." she says. "When I tried to explain it to her. I had to ask someone else for advice. That advice worked." she says.

"For the most part." she blushes and coughs. She royally screwed that night up. Yup.

"But... you are not alone in your experiences, Akari-chan." she says. "If.. there's ever anything you need to figure out. Or just want to talk. I'm only one room to the left. If I'm here, you're never interupting anything important." she says.

"I mean there's the others, too. Gaofelle-kun tends to the garden area outside. It's very pretty. You and Mikoto outta go sit out there...." she says trailing off. Maybe her and Nanoha should too, sometimes.... but then she's snapping back to reality. "You should meet him sometimes soon, and Hinote-kun is usually practicing some play piece in the living room, but I think you've at least met him a few times already too?" she shrugs.

"I should probably try to find something to eat more substanial than bakery items. Do you want me to order out from somewhere?" she asks. "I think there's some flyer for a curry place somewhere in the house...." she says thoughtfully.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-13 01:56:08 100202
Akari smiles. "Yeah, 'fall head over heels' actually is pretty accurate to how I feel about Mikoto-chan," she says dryly. "And don't worry, my own experiences and my manga tell me that feeling awkward is fine. It's just part of that whole thing, to just feel that big an emotion for someone."

She nods. "I'll keep that in mind," she says. "But thank you, Fate-san. You, your sister ... everyone else here, too." She grins awkwardly. "The first two times I met Hinote-san and Gaofele-san, they were fighting me. You can ask them about that if you want. They helped me realize that I cared more about Sakura-imouto than Eclipse."

She nods. "If it's for Korma Chameleon ... yeah, that'd be great," she says with a smile. "They really do have good stuff."

Her stomach growls, and she laughs. "Okay, yeah, definitely a good idea to get a meal!"
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-13 02:03:05 100203
Fate T. Waldia nods a little. "It's important, I know, to Hinote-kun- well I'd say to all of us-- to try to talk first. Because more often than not, there's reasons people are doing what they do. I know that... if I had listened to Nanoha earlier than I did. I would had been happier about two years ago." she smiles a little sadly.

"The Korma Chameleon...." she trails off. She shifts a bit. There's a story there, but she shakes it off. She's had enough. "I'll order then." she says. "And go pick it up and bring it back. I'll make sure to get enough for everyone." she says.

She turn away from Akari, before turning back. "...remember what I said about, if you needed to talk to anyone. Please?" she says.

She'll give a soft bow before she takes off. Soon. Soon there will be curry! (and she'll need to stop Arf from eating all of it!)